If you asked 100 people on the street to give a reason why pornography is bad for you, I’d bet you’d be met with a lot of blank stares or people who outright disagreed with the premise. Mainstream culture conditions people from a young age to think that pornography is a harmless activity, like changing one’s clothes or using the bathroom. (Many people harmed by pornography in their youth have grown resentful.) In addition, to see the effect of a behavior on one’s life requires the skill of introspection and observation, which is increasingly rare in this busy, overstimulated world. Finally, the subject of pornography is taboo, which makes open and honest conversations about it a rarity.
This article elaborates 7 personal detriments of pornography, to say nothing of the industry in general. If you’ve read around on the site, these will be familiar to you. I also encourage you to check out 7 Ways Pornography Destroys Your Brain (TeachingMensFashion), which elaborates several effects that did not make my top 7.
Without further ado, here are a few answers to keep in mind for whenever Why is pornography bad for you? is the question.
7 Reasons Why Pornography Is Bad For You
1. It trains you to be self-centered and selfish.
Reciprocity is the lifeblood of most adult relationships. People get their needs and wants met in the same context they help others to do the same. Relationships, romantic and otherwise, where people think only of themselves are toxic and typically don’t last very long. That said, pornography trains the viewer to think only in terms of their own gratification, even at the expense of others. Whereas sexuality is relational and reciprocal, pornography is lonesome and unilateral.
Pornography is a wholly selfish act that eclipses the concerns, needs, and well-being of everyone around you.Heath Lambert
Almost the main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this prison. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.C.S. Lewis
2. It desensitizes you to natural beauty.
Pornography actors are chosen for their enlarged sexual features. And it is commonplace for them to undergo numerous operations and treatments to enhance their sexual appeal. This creates an artificial standard of beauty that is far-removed from its natural counterpart. People who watch pornography consciously and unconsciously compare their current and prospective partners to what they see on screen. As a result, pornography viewers are harder to please and less likely to be satisfied in their relationships. Their baseline for attraction is unrealistically high, which has a detrimental effect on their love life.
Pornography GIVES US UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE, AND CERTAINLY WHAT LOVE OR SEX IS SUPPOSED TO BE.Gordon-Levitt
3. It makes it harder to love one man or woman.
Monogamy is still the global norm for relationships. Cultures around the world generally agree that relationships work best when they involve two people who are committed to one another (see Is Monogamy Against My Nature?). For people in such relationships or those who have monogamous aspirations, it pays to keep in mind the relevant detriments of pornography.
in one pornography session, a Male viewer is likely to see more naked women than their grandfather did in his entire lifetime.
Pornography entails access to a never-ending catalog of people doubling as sexual objects. As soon as the viewer can be slightly more stimulated by someone else, he or she discards the subject in front of them. Pornography, it follows, is training in polyamory. It foils the patience, contentment, and self-sacrifice inherent to monogamous relationships.
The harem [of lust] is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions, which no woman can rival.C.S. Lewis
4. It increases feelings of isolation.
Many people can attest to feeling lonely and depressed after watching pornography. Indeed, this is a common side effect of turning sexuality, a naturally reciprocal act, into solo missions. Neuroscientists say that a chemical called oxytocin is released after sexual activity. Known as “the love hormone” or “cuddle chemical,” oxytoxin is associated with “trust, sexual arousal, and relationship building” (oxytocin). Unfortunately, none of this is possible in isolation.
In addition, the isolating effects of pornography are compounded by knowledge of its harms. Most people know from experience that pornography is bad for them, and those who have been educated on the issue experience a double sense of remorse.
Loneliness, along with stress and boredom, belong to a class of pornography triggers. However, pornography has the effect of exacerbating these symptoms. Sadly, people who self-medicate with pornography only magnify their problems.
If you just relapsed, listen up. Stop feeling shameful. It makes you want to do one thing: isolate. Studies show that when you isolate, you become extremely stressed out. That stress builds and builds and makes you want to do one thing again, go and relapse. Relapse, shame, isolation, stress, relapse, all the way to your inevitable hell.Josh Hudson
5. It is a waste of time and energy.
While time and energy are finite, pornography consumption is time-consuming and energy-intensive. As I elaborate in 7 Powerful Benefits Of Quitting Pornography, an increase in time and energy are two of the most immediate effects of ceasing pornography consumption. An increase in these resources can be used for productive ends, like doing better in school or at work, learning a new skill, or practicing a favorite hobby. Or simply to live life in a more wholesome manner with no progressive agenda. Pornography, in a word, is wasteful and inefficient. Quitting it is a step in the direction of an optimized life.
Quitting pornography is a step in the direction of an optimized life.Walk In Integrity
6. It keeps you from evolving relationally.
On July 21, 2001, I wrote the following:
Absent porn and masturbation, a man’s sexual urges drive him to go out and interact with women. Through these interactions, a man receives feedback on the qualities that women find attractive in a partner. The end result is typically a more sexually attractive man, and a stronger person overall. Porn and masturbation severely hamstring this process. Unlike women, they demand nothing and communicate nothing of value. It follows that porn and masturbation are an enemy of personal growth. (Pornography Versus Women).
It’s still true today (for both men and women).
7. It keeps you from evolving spiritually.
In Christian theology, lust has been classified as one of the 7 deadly sins, which are “abuses or excessive versions of one’s natural faculties or passions.” (The other 6 are pride, greed, wrath, envy, gluttony, and sloth.) Every major religion speaks to the general detriments of lust and its potential to wreak havoc on vertical relationships. To engage in an action that God finds repulsive is to distance oneself from him and to forfeit spiritual blessings.
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.Jonah 2:8
On the flip side, integrity is the path to relationship.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.Jesus
Finally, a healthy reminder, as I’ve reiterated numerous times on this site: Pornography is one area of life. It is not the be-all, end-all of our struggles here on earth. However, for anyone hooked on pornography, quitting is always a massive step in the right direction.
For more, see #NoToPorn: 50+ Reasons To Turn The Other Way.