Is Pornography Harmless? 6 Ways It Can Negatively Impact Your Life
March 10, 2023
Did you know the average online user spends over 40% of their waking hours online? That’s a lot of time.
Studies have shown that 91% of men that are online are also using pornography. 60% of women are online looking at pornography as well. So you’re probably thinking, if that many are doing it, what’s the big deal?
But it is a big deal. Here are six ways that pornography can negatively impact your life.
1. Porn hijacks the reward system in our brain.
Dopamine levels in your brain start to increase astronomically the more and more you watch pornography. Dopamine is the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain that gets released whenever we encounter something satisfying. When dopamine in the brain remains high, it makes it more challenging for an individual to be aroused or attached to that same stimuli. And that’s what pornography does. It over stimulates the reward system in our brain making it more and more difficult to achieve the high.
2. Porn can distort the intimacy in our relationships.
We are not able to connect and truly attach to our real life partner in a healthy way because we are so used to seeing things from a virtual perspective that isn’t real life.
3. Porn makes you an avoidant.
Instead of working through the challenges of life, you are more likely to choose to run away from those things. Pornography becomes an escape from the difficulties of life. You may use it to escape your feelings, escape your situation, or escape difficult moments with people. Ultimately, it doesn’t fix anything. It just keeps you disconnected from life rather than maturely dealing with the challenges in your life.
4. Porn reduces your energy level.
As you spend more time online, and more and more time engaged in this activity, looking to get that next dopamine surge, you tend to lose track of time and the next thing you know, you’ve spent hours of your day online – time that otherwise would have been spent working or sleeping, or spending time with your family. You’ll find yourself tired and behind.
5. Porn can negatively impact your sex drive.
I work with a lot of men who have an issue with their libido, whether it’s high or whether it’s low, and it gets in the way of them being able to have a healthy, functional sexual relationship with their partner. The more porn you watch, the more your brain wants and craves this type of sex, these types of images, these types of positions. For some, it makes it next to impossible to get enough. But the opposite can also be true. Porn use can actually lower your libido for your partner because you’ve gotten your fix and your satisfaction from this virtual world.
6. Pornography can lead to financial problems.
I see this time and time again with my clients and studies also validate this as well – most never stick with just pornography. Pornography is a gateway drug to all other forms of acting out. Porn leads to going to the strip club, going to the massage parlor, hiring an escort – all chasing that bigger thrill. Meanwhile, you spend through your savings or rack up massive debt putting yourself in financial ruin.
What I hope you take away from all of this is that pornography is not as harmless as you may think. The more you expose yourself to it, the more it can lead to compulsive sexual behavior and addiction. I don’t want it to ruin your life or your relationships. If you see your own pornography use escalating, let’s talk.
How healthy is your marriage?
ready to have a conversation?
You may also like:
A lot of the therapy work I do is helping couples and partners understand what their contributions to the relationship are, and how they can start making changes for the better, specifically with communication. Specifically, when communicating with your spouse, it’s important to make sure that you are not part of the problem, but part of the solution.
I bet many of you have already seen the recent Brene’ Brown video making the rounds where she calls out the myth of marriage being a 50/50 partnership.
I get asked a lot how to save a marriage when one spouse is leaning out or is contemplating divorce. Everybody’s situation’s different, but what I’m seeing a lot lately is very concerning to me.