P*rnography has deeply troubling effects on young people, but there are ways we can minimise the harm
For many young people, p*rnography has become the default sex educator. Children and young people are encountering pornography in greater numbers, at younger ages, and with a wider variety of content, influencing young people’s sexual lives.
Research evidence from around the world shows porn has harmful impacts on young people and adults alike. Some impacts are deeply troubling, particularly p*rnography’s contribution to sexual violence.
But with sexually explicit material still so easy to access online, there are ways we can minimise its harms among young people, from providing better education at school to developing more ethical porn.
The effects of porn: what the research says
1. Regular p*rnography use decreases sexual satisfaction
A 2018 study found that more frequent porn viewing was associated with decreased sexual satisfaction.
Here’s a fundamental way to understand this. The brain loves a shortcut.
When you eat a meal of roasted chicken, peas, and mashed potatoes. Messages are sent to the “pleasure center” in your brain and it begins to glow and hum sending out to the body sensations of pleasure and satisfaction.
However, when you consume Flaming Hot Cheetos messages are fired to the “pleasure center” like bullets. The brain lights up and rings like a bell.
P*rnography is much like those Flaming Hot Cheetos. It is a faster route to an end result and always leaves you wanting more.
In increasing measure, young men are experiencing what is called porn-induced erectile dysfunction. What this means is that due to the amount of porn they are watching they are not able to maintain an erection without it. Their brains have been trained to use the shortcut to their pleasure center.
2. P*rnography Use Increases Divorce Rates
Not surprisingly, with decreased sexual satisfaction, and increased feelings of isolation and loneliness, marriages more often struggle to survive. It is not uncommon for couples to describe their use of pornography as an enhancement or supplement to their sexual relationships. But according to a recent study, pornography use is a better indicator of relational disruption and disconnection than it is a tool for marital enrichment.
If pornography is wreaking havoc in your most meaningful relationships, if it feeds in you a deep and pervasive sense of loneliness, consider setting a goal of reducing your p0rn intake.
If you find the process of cutting back or eliminating p*rn0graphy more difficult than you anticipated, you may be dealing with porn addiction. You can get help from a professional, or from a group focused on sexual addiction, and learn tools for coping with stress and understanding the hole that pornography has filled in your life.
If Cedar Tree can be a help to you as you work to understand and end your addiction to p*rn0graphy, please give us a call.
3. P*rn0graphy Use Increases Feelings Of Loneliness
There is a vicious cycle we find with porn use: p*rn0graphy leaves people feeling lonely, and feeling alone leads people to use pornography.
There is an inherent loneliness associated with pornography, and much of that is tied up in feelings of shame.
The general themes of p*rn0graphy are eroticism, objectification, promiscuity, and misogyny, these run fully counter to the intimacy and secure attachment required in safe and meaningful relationships.
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