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Is Pornography Good or Bad for Us?

Pornography is probably one of the most controversial topics in society. Many people is watching, listening or reading pornographic content. But others claims that the damage done by the porn industry is too great and must be combated. Basically, pornography in itself is not bad. It doesn’t matter what and how much pornographic content we consume, as long as it doesn’t interfere with our daily lives and develop into an addiction. Be that as it may, it is impossible to pretend that such an industry does not exist. Forbes says that in 2019, the porn giant Pornhub was visited by 42 billion people. That means 115 million users a day!

What is pornography?

Pornography can be defined as the depiction of the human body, sexual activity and sexual content in sculpture, art, cinema, literature or other media designed to provoke sexual arousal. The name is derived from the ancient Greek words “porneia” (prostitution) and “graphein” (to write). In the past, pornography was only available to nobles, and its supporters were not prosecuted. However, as the media became available to the general public and erotic content began to be “advertised” to everyone, the legal system began to restrict the distribution of pornography.

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Probably many of us became to know pornography when we were young. There was at least one classmate in primary school who found a ‘secret’ magazine or videotape in a parents’ room and later showed it to friends. Such a curious and shameful first connection with sex apparently left deep imprints on many people’s subconsciousness. However, it is somewhat surprising that pornographic content is used on such a large scale in the world.

After all, we don’t look at the way others eat while we are eating. So why can watching other people’s sex be so exciting? Interestingly, scientists have also tried to explain this phenomenon. In 2008, French scientist Harold Moore and his colleagues discovered that mirror-neurons were responsible for arousal while watching sex. The results of the study were published in this article “Activation of the mirror-neuron system by erotic video clips predicts the degree of induced erection: an fMRI study”.

Why do people watch porn?

Although pornography is diverse, we primarily associate this content with videos and visuals. Obviously, we can mostly find such content on the Internet. Audio pornography, which has no video but only sound, is becoming increasingly popular too. American sexologist Carol Queh says that such a genre of pornography frees the imagination. It’s “portable” and listening to recordings in a public place through headphones can create extra pleasant tension. However, pornographic content of any kind is used for other reasons too.

Pornography as a way to escape. We often try to escape from difficult emotions because, well, they are difficult to get rid of. We surf the web aimlessly for hours, or distract ourselves otherwise. Pornography can become one of the ways to escape from reality and calm yourself down. Especially if a person is unable to form a strong romantic relationship and emotional connection, and longs for physical contact. Pornographic content can create the illusion of a human connection lasting several minutes.

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Pornography can teach you something. Due to poor sex education, pornography is often the only way to get to know one’s own and another person’s sexuality, and in the 21st century it is still very easily available. There are both pros and cons to this availability.

Pornography = Masturbation. Probably one of the main reasons people watch porn is to get arousal. This is not a bad thing unless you realise that you aren’t getting excited by your partner or alone. In addition, masturbation and especially masturbators can greatly improve your technique in bed.

Diversifying Romantic Relationships. Couples often watch pornographic content to introduce something new to a relationship and possibly try what they see in videos.

Why porn can be bad for you?

While there are many reasons to watch pornography, it should not be forgotten that moderation and common sense are key to everything here. When pornography becomes the first and only source of sexual intercourse, in the long run, you can start to set unrealistic body standards for yourself and others. And you may constantly compare yourself to porn actors. This leads to low self-esteem and problems in sex life. A study published in 2018 “When Pornography Use Feels Out of Control“, reported that participants who watched a lot of pornographic content were more likely to report dissatisfaction with their romantic relationship. Don’t forget – what we see in porn movies is artificial and scened. Fantasies and their fulfillment on the set are very different from real life.

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Pornography can also distort attitudes towards sex itself. Unfortunately, the mass production of the porn industry is still focused on men’s enjoyment. A woman very often becomes just a tool for fulfilling certain fantasies. Not to mention that men’s faces are seen very rarely in these videos, but no one tries to hide the faces of female actresses. This is another proof that everything is seen only from a man’s perspective. This is another reason why mass pornography should not become a source of sexual education.

Another threat to pornography is addiction. This is often highlighted by the controversial organization Fight the New Drug which fights pornography and sees it as a public health problem. Addiction to pornography, like any other addiction, makes a person isolated from society. It disrupts a life and makes sex in real life impossible, as arousal is only gained by watching porn stars acting. In the long run, it can also cause erectile dysfunction. The measure, which was supposed to stimulate sexual arousal, begins to work in the opposite direction.

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The positive side of pornography

Of course, you don’t have to think that pornography is pure evil. As mentioned at the beginning, the most important thing is to realize that this is not the reality. Pornography can have a positive effect on both couples and people who are not in a relationship.

Pornography normalizes our fantasies – People’s sexual needs, fantasies and desires are individual and always changing. Sometimes we are ashamed to admit to ourselves or others that we are fantasizing about one thing or another, considering whether it is normal. There are so many genres of pornography that we can find videos that illustrate virtually any sexual fantasy. It helps us understand that we are not “abnormal.”

Pornography helps explore your sexual identity – Findings from the 2017 – “Enjoyment, Exploration and Education: Understanding the Consumption of Pornography among Young Men with Non-Exclusive Sexual Orientations” show that pornography, especially for young people, can be a way to better understand yourself and your sexual identity, orientation, etc. This is especially important in an environment where conservative attitudes prevail, making it difficult to discuss sexuality.

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Pornographic content can help discover new things – it’s probably best for young people who are just starting to have sex and for couples who have a long relationship or routine. Not only negative things can be learned from pornography, but also new sex positions and places to make love. This can often be an incentive to try sex toys.

You may like it, you may hate it

There are many arguments as to why pornography can be a threat to society. But its positive qualities are just as rich. It is perfectly normal to take any position. The most important thing is to realize that there are no perfect bodies or perfect sex – everything you see on the screen is not a reality, so there is no need to compare. As with all choices, you can look for alternatives in pornography, you don’t just have to look at the content where the woman is showen as an object. One of the most famous feminist porn makers is Erika Lust. Unlike the creators of mass pornography, she makes films that focus on women’s enjoyment and tasteful visual solutions.

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If you feel that you are watching pornography more than you would like, if it affects your relationship and you notice that expectations of sexual intercourse become unrealistic or you feel constant guilt, do not be afraid to seek help from psychologists. You don’t have to be ashamed of it, because like any other addiction, it can be overcome.

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