The Porn Pandemic

The term pornography comes from two Greek words, porneia (whores) and graphos (work/writing). It is understood as the work of prostitutes or writing about prostitutes or prostitution. The etymology of the term notwithstanding, pornography, which is a huge part of the sex industry, is today pervasive and increasingly accepted in our culture today. That is not to mean that it is not without effects. Its ubiquity and normalization have allowed it to move freely in the open while causing severe problems. In this article, I would like to explore some of the harmful consequences of pornography as indicated by increasing research on the subject.

The consumption of pornography, in spite of its glorification and normalization in movies and media, has consequences that psychological research is unearthing more and more. The detrimental implications of porn have even led to some hotel chains and businesses to block access to porn sites within their premises.

In this article, we shall explore the consequences of pornography on men, women, adolescents and mental illness in separate parts to aid in reflection.

Impact on Men.

Pornography and Erectile Dysfunction:

Whereas erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to get and maintain an erection firm enough for sex, was viewed to be an old people’s problem, studies show that the age of men with erectile dysfunction has dramatically lowered since the 2000s. This increase is strongly correlated with the availability and ease of access to porn.

Further studies have found that a significant number, almost half, of men who consume pornography experience problems in erectile dysfunction, have lower levels of satisfaction with sex and low desire for physical sex.

Men seeking assistance due to frequent use of pornography and masturbation report having problems with erectile dysfunction and low desire with a physical partner. This means that most of these men would rather watch porn and masturbate than have sex with a real person.

Almost seven in ten men who watch pornography for seven or more hours a week experience some form of sexual dysfunctions and some of these men have delayed ejaculation. The latter means that they can have sex for a long time without climaxing which might result to their partner getting exhausted, then men themselves having to masturbate to porn in order to ejaculate and thus lower sexual satisfaction.

Other than having diminished libido and erectile dysfunction, constant exposure to pornography pushes men to desire new and rougher sex and more hardcore pornography. This is similar to tolerance, a key indicator of addiction or at least a pathway there.

However, the removal of the sources of pornography and dealing with the underlying issues can lead to normal and satisfying sexual engagement.

Lower Sexual Satisfaction and Sexual problems:

Many couples watch pornography with the hope that it will make their sexual life better, fun and more intimate. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Even though pornography use often results in higher sexual desire, it also leads to a lowered sense of sexual satisfaction overall, and increasingly, a difficulty in getting and maintaining an erection. This often means that couples who started to watch pornography to improve their sexual life end up having decreased enjoyment of sex, less satisfaction in the relationship and with sex itself!

Porn Changes Men’s view of Women

A significant number of men who watch pornography have been found to have thoughts or views of women as objects of sex or simply means to pleasure. Moreover, such men tend to have strong attitudes that support violence against women. Basically, porn makes men less empathetic, less respectful and less protective of women.

Risky Sexual Behaviour and harmful attitudes.

Men with high levels of porn use tend to have more sexual partners, greater acceptance of sex before marriage, greater willingness to accept and indulge with sex outside of marriage for those who are married, more alcohol consumption, and reduced child-centred parenting. This often means that the couple that started watching pornography to spice their sexual life end up not only liking each other less but with either one or both of them cheating and the woman being left to raise the children alone as the man becomes less and less child-centred. This of course is a recipe for marital dysfunction.

Willingness to sexually harass others.

In addition to objectifying women, porn consumers are more likely to harass or coerce an age-mate sexually or even force someone to have sex. In simple terms, pornography contributes to sexual predators.

Body image issues

Men who watch pornography often tend to have increasing insecurity with their body image. They tend to view themselves as fat, not muscular and this leads to anxiety in romantic relationships. They are constantly worried about whether their partners will think of them as handsome and appealing. This can and does affect the quality of relationships and satisfaction of sex.

Porn addiction

Men, being more visual than women, have a higher chance of being clinically addicted to online porn. This can result in withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, low mood and other negative emotional states unless one watches porn and masturbates.

Pornography and sexual deviance

Some studies show that men who watch pornography want to try out what they have watched. They may end up pushing their wives to perform anal sex and other sexual activities that their partners might find offensive or too aggressive. This might lead to the man seeking prostitutes and other partners to pursue these desires, leading to infidelity and diseases between couples.

As one’s brain becomes more used to one kind of porn, it requires more rough and hardcore pornography for a man to experience an erection and to masturbate. This is a clear path to addiction. This leads to frequent consumers, especially of all forms of pornography, to watch more deviant and harmful forms of porn that include violence and the sexual abuse of children and animals.

Porn and mental illness

Many people tend to use pornography to cope with mental illnesses such as loneliness and rejection among others. People who have poor time management, poor social skills and have trouble with emotional expression tend to use pornography as a reprieve and as a coping mechanism. However, this closes one in a vicious cycle where one watches porn in order to feel better but then feels worse which leads them to watch more porn and the cycle goes on.

Porn and Poor friendships and relationships

Regular consumers of porn over time tend to have lower satisfaction in interpersonal relationships. They might have friends but they report feeling lonely. Their level of satisfaction even in non-sexual relationships is affected. As we have already mentioned elsewhere in this article, male users of porn tend to significantly experience lower sexual libido and satisfaction but also poor relationships with their partners. Porn simply destroys marriages and relationships but it is too accepted by many people as to be viewed as the culprit.

Porn, self-control and purposeful, long-term thinking

Porn consumers, whether simply as pictures or videos, have a tendency to prefer small, immediate pleasures and gains and ignore larger and future pleasures and gains. They are also more inclined to cyber fraud, cyberbullying, illegal downloading of services and products and cyber theft. Moreover, they are willing to buy fake as opposed to authentic products online and have little to no qualms when it comes to invading other people’s privacy online. This makes men-users of porn to act with low self-control and awareness of the future and the consequences of their immediate behaviour.

 

Overall, porn is clearly harmful to men and it does not seem to have any benefit at other than the immediate pleasure. However, it is this inability to see the future consequences of one’s consumption of pornography that in fact proves the detrimental character of pornography similar to other drug users: most drug users underestimate the control the drug has on their lives and thus never self-correct until the consequences are dire if not too late.

 

Studies Cited:

Brian, Y. Park et al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports; Behavioral Sciences 6, 17, 1–25.

Capogrosso, P. et al. (2013). One Patient Out of Four with Newly Diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction Is a Young Man—Worrisome Picture from the Everyday Clinical Practice, The Journal of Sexual Medicine 10, 1833–1841.

Carroll, J. S. et al. (2008). Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use Among Emerging Adults, Journal of Adolescent Research 23, 1.

Cheng W., & Chiou, W. (2017). Exposure to Sexual Stimuli Induces Greater Discounting Leading to Increased Involvement in Cyber Delinquency among Men, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Giordano, A. L, & Cashwell, C. S. (2017). Cybersex Addiction among College Students: A Prevalence Study, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 1-11.

Janssen, E. (2007). The Psychophysiology of Sex. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Klein, V., Jurin, T., Briken, P. & Štulhofer, A. (2015). Erectile Dysfunction, Boredom, and Hypersexuality among Coupled Men from Two European Countries, The Journal of Sexual Medicine 12, 11, 2160–2167.

Kunaharan, S. et al. (2017). Conscious and Non-Conscious Measures of Emotion: Do They Vary with Frequency of Pornography Use? Applied Sciences 7, 5.

Laier, C., Pekal, J., & Brand, M. (2015). Sexual Excitability and Dysfunctional Coping Determine Cybersex Addiction in Homosexual Males, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 18, 10, 575–80.

Landripet, I. & Štulhofer A. (2015). Is Pornography Use Associated with Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men? The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12, 1136–1139.

Lucia, F. O. et al. (2016). A Longitudinal Study of Problems in Sexual Functioning and Related Sexual Distress among Middle to Late Adolescents, The Journal of Adolescent Health, 59, 318‒324.

Nicolosi, A. et al. (2004) Sexual Behavior and Sexual Dysfunctions after Age 40: The Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, Urology, 64, 991–997.

Porto, R. (2016). Habitudes Masturbatoires et Dysfonctions Sexuelles Masculines, Sexologies 25, 4, 160-65.

Sutton, K. S. et al. (2015). Patient Characteristics by Type of Hypersexuality Referral: A Quantitative Chart Review of 115 Consecutive Male Cases, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 41, 6, 563–580.

Voon, V. et al. (2014). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLOS ONE 9, 7, 1–10.

Wéry, A & B. Joel. (2016). Online Sexual Activities: An Exploratory Study of Problematic and Non-Problematic Usage Patterns in a Sample of Men; Computers in Human Behavior 56, 257–266.

Wright, P. J. & Tokunaga, R. S. (2015). Men’s Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence against Women, Archives of Sexual Behavior 45, 4, 955–64.

Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., Kraus, A., and Klannm, E. (2017). Pornography Consumption and Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis, Human Communication Research.

2 thoughts on “The Porn-ndemic – The Dangers of Porn to Men.

  1. Great content and analysis Mr. Dominic.
    Considering writing on how those with porn addiction could get help or be helped or come out of the addiction

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