Pornography is damaging. This is not just some message that youth ministers preach to their Sunday school class, or some talk given by parents to their teenage kids. It is a fact. A research driven, scientifically proven fact. Sure, there are plenty of emotion-based reasons for avoiding pornography, from respecting women to keeping your mind and sexuality uncluttered from all the confusing garbage that porn throws at them. However, there are also scientific reasons as well. For the more logically minded of you, here are a handful of the times science proved pornography to be dangerous:
- Pornography is an addiction
Three different criteria are often used to classify an addiction: reductions of grey matter in the reward circuitry of the brain, which leads to desensitization, impaired impulse control, and tolerance, or requiring more and more of whatever it is that you are addicted to in order to feel some sense of satisfaction. According to a German study, regular consumers of pornography fit all three of these criteria. Pornography is an addiction, and the waters of addiction are always dangerous to tread.
- Pornography decreases sexual performance
Thanks to porn’s desensitizing properties, long term exposure to it has been shown to decrease a man’s sexual performance. Over 50% of porn addicts surveyed in this study, the average age of which was 25, reported having difficulty achieving an erection with real partners, yet were able to achieve an erection when viewing pornography.
- Pornography drives novelty-seeking
According to this study, pornography addicts showed a greater preference for sexual novelty than the control group. While this may not seem all too terrible at first glance, consider the fact that a learned preference for sexual novelty makes it difficult for a person to be satisfied with a single partner for long durations of time, or be satisfied with the same sexual patterns and acts—a problem when it comes to real life sex, which, despite Hollywood depictions, isn’t usually all that novel.
- Pornography addiction leads to an altered stress response
Like drug addiction, pornography addiction has been shown in this study to cause a dysfunctional Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA)—the primary player in regulating our stress response. What this means is that for a porn addict, being withdrawn from pornography can lead to increased stress. On the other end of the pendulum, increased stress will augment the desire to view porn. It’s a vicious cycle that mirrors what is seen in alcohol and drug abusers.
- Those who watch more porn enjoy it less
Like a drug addict who hates the very substance he craves, a pornography addict slowly begins to enjoy pornography less and less as he becomes more and more addicted to it. In the same study that showed pornography addiction to have a direct correlation with erectile dysfunction, porn addicts reported a greater desire to view porn than the control group, but a lower stimulation from viewing it than what the control group saw. This shows that, again like a drug addict, a porn addict grows to view pornography out of compulsion rather than enjoyment as his addiction strengthens.
The list above is far from comprehensive, and more studies into the nuances of sexual addiction are being published every month, but suffice it to say that the proof is mounting that pornography is far more than a harmless pastime and, with every new study published, is being further proven to be an addiction with all the dangers and consequences contain therein.
Author – Mohim Gahimbi