The Negative Side Effects Of Viewing Pornography

The Negative Side Effects Of Viewing Pornography

Is porn really that bad?
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"Porn is not bad!"

"Watching porn can help with your sex life!"

"You only think porn is bad because you've never watched it!"

"I watch porn all the time with my boyfriend/girlfriend, it's fun!"

Can I be honest? It breaks my heart that these are the statements that I have heard about pornography in the past few days. Let me just say right now, pornography and the addiction that comes from viewing it destroys lives and alters your brain for the rest of your life.

An article on Covenant Eyes by Luke Gilkerson stated that "93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18." That means, according to this article, "only 3 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls have never seen Internet pornography."

These statistics are very alarming. Children are viewing pornography when they should be outside playing or reading a book. What porn addicts do not know is that by viewing porn, they are forever altering their brains and their brain chemistry.

Here is why pornography is harmful to the addict and the loved ones of the addict:

BRAIN:

By viewing pornography, your brain rewires itself to fulfill the "pleasure" porn brings about. According to Fight The New Drug,

"Neurons that fire together, wire together. Just like other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with dopamine. That rush of brain chemicals happening over and over again rewires the brain’s reward pathway ultimately changing the make up of the viewer’s brain. This can result in an increased appetite for porn."

Why viewing porn at any age can become addictive, children who begin viewing porn at the start of puberty are more greatly affected. When a child reaches the start of puberty the brain goes through "pruning." At this time, whatever neuron connections that were not made prior to that point (like learning a second language) are destroyed for a new wave of neuron connections to be made. This means, you have one more shot to learn whatever you want in this time before you lose that ability. Scientists describe this as the "use it or lose it" concept. If the child has viewed pornography within this time, the child knows only that "reward" of dopamine, therefore breaking porn addiction habits become more difficult.

When the child does begin entering puberty, the frontal lobe cannot make wise decisions (due to the flood of dopamine, other brain chemicals are cut back and produced less). If a child has viewed porn within this time, decisions that they make from there on out will be thought of as an 'OK' decision when the decision might be horrible.

BEHAVIOR:

Dopamine, to clarify, is the brain chemical that makes you happy. Because viewing porn has now made the addict "happy," they begin to associate that behavior with happiness. The effects of dopamine are short, and because of the little amount of time that dopamine lasts, the viewer then begins to have to view the material again and again with greater quantity. This creates "monkey see, monkey do" behavior. The material that the addict views become what they enjoy seeing and doing--because they receive that dose of dopamine.

While porn is all around us, porn is not real. What the viewer is watching grows overtime and the material that "makes them happy" will also have to grow. As the addict continues to watch porn, addicts say that they "find themselves getting aroused by things that used to disgust them or that go against what they think is morally right." This causes many porn addicts to view those sexual acts as common or even normal.

"The Michigan State Police Department found that pornography is used or imitated in 41 percent of the sex crimes they have investigated" --Fight The New Drug

As the addict grows in his addiction, his or her behavior changes as well.

RELATIONSHIPS:

As I stated earlier, pornography and the material within porn is not real. Women have been photoshopped. Angles have been skewed to increase "viewing pleasure" and the "love" between the two actors is being faked. Nothing about porn is real.

However, "porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined." Addicts are beginning to believe that what they are viewing is an example of love and how love should be. Addicts chase something that they see as pleasurable on a screen full of lies, missing out on a real chance of happiness.

While addicts think that porn is helping them or even helping their relationship, pornography is actually destroying that love they have within the relationship. For many porn addicts, having a sex life after becoming addicted is low or even non-existent. Think about it -- the addict has trained their brain to be alone, staring at a screen of others having sex to become sexually aroused. Sex is not enough. Soon after that, porn cannot even satisfy.

Pornography not only affects the sex life of the addict, it also affects the sex life of the addict's partner. Think about it -- a married couple begins to view porn together to create a better sex life (like many couples say they do for their relationship). The man (typically, not every case) becomes aroused by what he sees online. While the wife can be aroused as well, the wife then begins to compare herself to the actress or actor on screen. This creates trouble and a sense of worthlessness within the partner (in this scenario, the wife).

WORLD ISSUES WITH PORNOGRAPHY:

While porn might look glamorizing and enjoyable, behind the camera is a different scene. "In 2011, two Miami men were found guilty of spending five years luring women into a human trafficking trap. They would advertise modeling roles, then when women came to try out, they would drug them, kidnap them, rape them, videotape the violence and sell it to pornography stores and businesses across the country." This is how pornography is created (in many cases). Women are lured to a false job, typically a "modeling career," then are bribed, drugged, or raped and the captors sell the act as porn.

The abuse does not stop there. For women who are forced into prostitution (whether it is for a pimp or due to life circumstances), almost half have been recorded and sold for pornography.

"In the end, porn fuels prostitution; and porn and prostitution are the products the sex trade exists to deliver."

Whether you have viewed porn, or have not viewed porn, have been addicted to pornography or do not think anything is wrong with porn, the facts are clear and evident. Pornography is harmful to the brain and destroys lives.

To my friends who have not viewed porn: great! Please, do not head down that dark and dangerous road. Your brain will thank you!

To my friends who have been addicted to porn and have overcome the addiction: I am SO proud of you. Pornography is not an addiction that is easy to overcome. The addiction is not like a drug or alcohol addiction -- those eventually leave your system. Once you view porn, those images are forever seared into your brain, and overcoming those takes a great amount of effort.

To my friends who view porn and do not see anything wrong with pornography: please reconsider. The facts are there. The statistics prove just how damaging pornography can be to yourself and those around you. If you do not believe the facts in front of you about how porn damages your brain, please consider the person in the film. In many cases, the pornography you are watching could be an actor playing a part, or a victim of trafficking. You. Do. Not. Know.

Think about what you are doing to your brain, those you love and the people in the pornography video the next time before you click start. Do you want your child to be viewing the material you are currently viewing? Stop. Think. Click exit, and change your life.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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