Is porn bad for you and your relationship?

The word porn is short for Pornography. In our opinion, we describe porn as any content which after seeing and hearing leads to sexual arousal in you. In this blog, I want to share my views about how porn influences your relationship and the intelligent steps you may be able to take to strengthen and build more of a balanced happy successful relationship.




A brief history of porn

Depiction of sexual acts where present since the prehistoric times. Archaeologists have discovered sexual acts depicted in ancient Mesopotamian civilisation dated around 3000-year BC. These artefacts were found in the temple of Inanna at Assur which was dedicated to a cult follower of a goddess of sex and prostitution. Similar sort of artefacts has been discovered from the world’s other ancient civilisations of India, Egypt, and the Greeks. It wasn’t until 1748 when a writer named John Cleland published the first pornographic book titled Memoirs of a woman in the English-speaking world. The author was charged with corrupting the King’s subject. Advancement in technology led to the development of photography, this allowed porn to move from a book in to photograph format in Paris. As technology developed further, in 1896 porn moved from the photo into a motion picture made by Eugene Pirou and Albert Kirchner. It was the film called Le Coucher de la Mariee which showed Louise Willy performing a striptease. This gave rise to a genre called the risqué French films. In 1969 the artist Andy Warhol made the Blue Movie which depicted explicit sexual intercourse. Finally, more innovation in technology led to the development of the worldwide web and the subsequent availability of the internet meant porn have successfully infiltrated every corner of the globe.

How porn affects relationship

It has been estimated that the annual revenue from the global porn industry is up to $100 billion. Now compare it to Hollywood which only makes $10 billion a year. Where there is a huge amount of money involved you will find strong associations with payment systems, the global banks, credit cards, mainstream media and most of the social media platforms. If you think about it the porn industry is commodifying our sexuality and turns it into something which is subsequently sold back to us, this then shapes our attitudes towards women in the real world. There has been much research carried out which validates the fact that watching porn shapes our attitudes towards women. This affects us by weakening commitment in marriages because porn creates an utterly false impression of what a normal body looks like and what sexual behaviour is about.

The sexual relationship is meant to be a mutually satisfying expression of each partner’s love for the other. In contrast, porn is about self-gratification and often involves dominating or mistreating the other person. Trust is one of the pillars of building a healthy relationship. Trust allows us to be intimate with our partner by being ourselves and vulnerable. Trust lets us believe that our partner will respect our vulnerability and will honour us. Porn eats away at this trust by being a third person, so our other half feels betrayed and violated. A strong relationship is built on sexual and emotional intimacy. Research has shown that it’s the emotional intimacy which is far more important than sexual intimacy. Porn attacks emotional intimacy by replacing it with sexual intimacy and advocate the false idea that sex is the prime binding agent in a relationship. It is the emotional intimacy that makes a person feel valued, cherished, loved, cared for, listened to and appreciated. When emotional intimacy is kindled between two people, satisfaction with their sexual union is far greater. There is no need to go outside of that relationship for other types of sexual stimulation or entertainment.

Research from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin has shown that consuming any type of porn affects the brain by decreasing the grey matter in regions of the brain associated with reward sensitivity, as well as reduced responsiveness to pornographic content. This helps explain why some users become dependent on new, surprising, more extreme, porn needing more and more stimulation to become aroused, get an erection and attain a sexual climax. Another study has shown brain activity on porn user is like the brain activity of someone who is a drug addict. Porn also alters the users' perception of sexual reality by making them think that porn is how sex should be. Studies have shown porn users report altered sexual tastes, less satisfaction in their relationships and real-life intimacy and attachment problems. Another study on young men has shown porn has given them an unrealistic view of what sex and intimacy are supposed to be and how they then find it difficult to get interested in and aroused by a real-life partner. Indeed, for many of them, a real-life sexual encounter can be a foreign and anxiety-provoking experience. This is because communication skills are required, their entire body needs to be engaged and they must interact with another three-dimensional flesh-and-blood person who has their own sexual and romantic needs. These all have a profound effect on our relationship

Counter debates to Porn

We have heard the other side of the debate which says porn is good for the relationship, it allows a couple to talk about sex as well as give people confidence and sexual know-how. We say to that it is worrying that one would learn about sex from porn as well as need porn to talk to their partner. What they should do is focus on rebuilding trust, intimacy, and sharing of vulnerability. These all will help much more compared to porn which doesn't add any value but cause harm. The other major point is that porn is part of free speech, and as an adult, each should have the right to see what they want. We say to this viewpoint is that morality and sound scientific evidence should overrule free speech. Besides free speech should bring positive effect for the mass and not negative effect. One of the other main argument put forward is that porn empowers women and there is ethical porn which is beneficial. We say to this point it is indeed naïve to think like this. Pornography’s famous stars, producers and website owners are the ones who get rich and not most of its workers who happens to be women. They don’t get royalties or a share of the profit. Massive competition for internet clicks drives down pay and forces people to perform ever more extreme and physically harmful acts for ever more demanding audiences. It has also been documented that the women don’t enjoy it as they often must take a load of painkillers and drugs just to get through it all and Of course, they just do it for the money. Makers of ‘ethical porn’ believe a violent fantasy of any kind can be a legitimate part of your sexual identity, one that you have a right to explore. This idea is morally flawed. In the porn industry, the only difference between ‘ethical’ ‘art-core’ porn and hardcore mainstream porn is that consumers pay for the latter. The ‘ethical’ version is the sanitized poster girl of the trade, but, it’s a smokescreen and a loss-leader for a highly exploitative industry. Before long it will have been subsumed within the mainstream, helping drive traffic to brutal depictions of sexual violence and subservience.

How to get out of the porn hole

There are options of breaking out the habit of consuming porn and it all starts with your realisation that porn is bad for your health, wealth, mental welbeing and relationship and if you are single then it’s bad for your future relationship goals. Once you truly believe in this realisation then the next step would be to cleanse your home and life from all signs and connections with porn. This means deleting, cancelling and cutting off all ties with anything related to porn and with any individual who encourages you to be part of porn. Following on from this the next step would be to start developing other interests in place of porn which could be anything positive such working out, gaining knowledge, socialising, travelling, or consuming beneficial contents about self-development, spiritual development or something of your interests. It will be difficult at first but taking small steps and making it continuous would be much more beneficial for you in the long run. Failing all the previously mentioned steps if you are still finding it difficult to get rid of porn then there is professional help there which your GP could recommend out to you. Using their expertise could help you get over porn usage.

Final thought

Our final thoughts are that most porn doesn’t even try to be ethical or feminist. It is revolting, and everybody who isn’t completely twisted knows it. Robert Jensen, academic and author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, believes that no matter how any woman feels about making or using pornography, the industry is not interested in empowering women. ‘Male dominance is at the core of pornography, exacerbated by the relentless quest for profits in capitalism. This means producers must “innovate” if they want to maintain profits, which means offering increasingly extreme material. The tobacco giants once peddled propaganda about how cigarettes were glamorous. Today, we are led to believe that porn stars are cool, that acting in pornographic films is empowering, and that masturbating to those films is a healthy way of expressing oneself. The dominant view among industry apologists is that pornographers are not exploitative capitalists but agents of unleashing sexuality from religious or state-imposed constraints. We say these are lies. Just like tobacco, porn is highly addictive. It ruins lives. It doesn’t cause cancer or heart disease, but porn is worse than tobacco, it exploits people and damages relationships, family and the fundamental blocks of society. These truths are suppressed because a few groups are making enormous sums of money out of this harmful business. The only way to change is if you change first and followed by helping someone else dear to you to change and the same thing repeated by the other person. Soon over time, we hope that this exploitative brutal industry will collapse.

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