1) The hard-core pornography now available in the internet age has ended the “soft” porn interest in magazines like Penthouse and Playboy. Ana Bridges, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas, observes that traditional pornography no longer arouses most men: “With hard-core pornography, you’re able to become aroused more quickly and intensely.” A 1985 study found that 92% of boys had looked at Playboy by age 15. A 2008 study found that 74% of 15 year old boys had seen porn on the internet that is highly graphic, hard-core and deviant.
2) A study of men who regularly used porn by Utah State University found that more than 50% of men admitted that using porn led to “problematic outcomes – social, spiritual, psychological, or relational.” Porn use causes unrealistic expectations that are rarely met in a real life relationship. Most negative consequences are considered “worth it” because of the intense pleasure attained. Women who view porn or voraciously read erotic fiction also develop unrealistic expectations from their relationship.
3) Paul Wright, Ph.D. of Indiana University has researched the effects of internet pornography on men. One inescapable conclusion he found was that men who regularly view pornography are more likely to engage in casual sex, have multiple partners, and cheat on their spouse.
4) Some men who had been bullied or abused as children are motivated to use porn to live out sexual fantasies where they are in control, or even dominate the other person(s). The resulting serious addiction is inevitable. Ray Bergner, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Illinois State University, remarks on the combination of normal sexual desire and using sex to cope with emotional problems: “So this person has two really strong motivations going – a pretty potent sexual cocktail – and a whole lot more reason to use porn”.
5) The essential psychological problem with porn and masturbation is explained by William Struthers, Ph.D., bio-psychologist and author of Wired for Intimacy: “This is what really stores the memory. When you have an orgasm, there’s a release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, presumably to bond you to your partner. If you’re viewing pornography, your partner is the screen in front of you.” Marital therapist Jill Manning, Ph.D., author of What’s the Big Deal About Pornography?, concurs with these findings: “When all those hormones are released, you’re conditioning the brain to bond and attach to those images.”
6) Struthers sees much of pornography use as a counterfeit form of intimacy: “People think porn is about sex. It’s not. It’s about intimacy. The guy who can’t find a girlfriend and starts looking at porn is searching for intimacy. He hasn’t found it. He’s found the erotic payoff of orgasm.”
7) Norwegian and University of California studies have concluded that when only one partner is into porn, intimacy problems and sexual dysfunction often arise. An “unwelcome third party” is present in the relationship.
8) A 2011 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 36% of women surveyed consider porn use as being unfaithful. More than 40% of women feel their partner’s porn use means that she’s “not good enough.”
9) A telling comment is from a husband who is a regular porn user. He says that when he is sexually intimate with his wife "...I've got to resort to playing scenes in my head that I've seen while viewing porn. Something is lost there. I'm no longer with my wife. I'm inside my own head."
Davy Rothbart, "He’s Just Not That Into Anyone", New York magazine, February 7, 2011
Elizabeth Lawson, “Smut Check”, Men’s Health, November 2012
Photo: YetAnotherLisa (flickr)