Are There Really Consequences to Pornography Addiction?

Studies show that pornography can have similar effects to drugs and can kill your ability to feel love as powerfully, leading to dissatisfaction with your partner, (now and/or in the future).

Fight the New Drug is a non-profit organization that addresses a problem that no time in history has ever faced before: clickable “love.” The thing is, there’s no love on a screen. You deserve better. In fact, there are many harmful consequences that should be understood before the risk is taken.

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This organization talks about many different aspects of the harm causes to the heart, the brain, and the world by porn, creating an awareness for how porn kills love. They aren’t the only ones who have done work looking at the consequences of pornography addiction. Here, I’m only going to cover the drug-like effects of addiction and it’s correlation to domestic violence.

On a scientific level, Fight the New Drug talks about how porn has two simultaneous effects on the brain, causing it to feel pleasure it hasn’t earned and it rewires the brain to be less capable of excitement. These short cuts to pleasure are easy and addicting.

In a work on the neuroscience perspective of pornography addiction, Dr. Donald Hilton MD and Dr. Clark Watts MD, says:

The sex industry has successfully characterized any objection to pornography as being from the religious/moral perspective… If pornography addiction is viewed objectively, evidence indicates that it does indeed cause harm in humans with regard to pair-bonding. 

They go on to discuss how over time the frontal cortex of the brain becomes gradually more dysfunctional and decreases the ability to control compulsive sexual behavior. Intense pornography addictions have been compared to cocaine and found identical in studies. This isn’t to say that if you’ve watched porn you’re a long-gone internet junkie or anything, but it does mean that there are real consequences to these things and images on a screen can do real harm when used extensively.

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The recent meta-analysis by Hald et al. strongly supports the correlations that pornography induces violence attitudes against women. This isn’t only in the most intense addictions either.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

87% of college age men view pornography. 68% of young adult men use it weekly, 20% use it every day or every other day. 31% of women view pornography as well, with 18% using porn at least once a week.

In an article by Robert Jensen and Debbie Okrina for the The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, they break down the causes of this violence when it occurs:

  1. Pornography can be an important factor in shaping a male-dominant view of sexuality;
  2. be used to initiate victims and break down their resistance to unwanted sexual activity;
  3. contribute to a user’s difficulty in separating sexual fantasy and reality;
  4. and provide a training manual for abusers.

These conclusions provide support for the feminist critique of pornography that emerged in the 1970s and ’80s, which highlighted pornography’s harms to the women and children:

  1. used in the production of pornography;
  2. who have pornography forced on them;
  3. who are sexually assaulted by men who use pornography;
  4. and living in a culture in which pornography reinforces and sexualizes women’s subordinate status.

These are only a few of the effects that researchers have done on the effects of pornography, but for now it’s a good thing to consider. Ultimate, the best thing to do is to look at different facts and make the best judgment you can based on it. I encourage you to look even further into the different ideas surrounding this topic.

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Are there any other effects you think should be brought up? Let us know in the comment section below.

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