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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Porn is dangerous, no matter how great it seems

Porn is everywhere. It’s on billboards, advertisements, television, movies and referenced fairly directly in music. Porn—defined as printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings—is something you will probably encounter, purposefully or not.

And at our core, I think most of us would have to admit we like porn.

The fact that porn is appealing to the vast majority of people is indicated by the success of the porn industry, in which websites alone grossed $3 billion in revenue in 2014. Those same porn websites also have more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

We like porn.

But I, probably like many, like porn in the same way I like a deep-fried Oreo covered in chocolate syrup: I know it’s bad for me, it may cause some unpleasant effects and it is not the ideal nutritional snack for my body, but it’s just so freaking good that I can’t help it.

And just like sugary snacks, porn is plentiful in today’s world. It is being met with increasing levels of acceptance as normal. It is estimated that 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women watch porn, with both of those numbers rising rapidly. It has become a way of life; an average part of growing up in a world where anything is accessible, just one click away.

Now, nothing is normal about portraying women—or anyone, for that matter—as sex objects with no depth or value apart from their physical forms. And I don’t buy the new “feminist porn” movement.

It’s pretty simple: If I’m watching an attractive woman banging a dude, I’m still going to be objectifying her in my mind. Women saying they can be just as shallow and thoughtless as men by gearing porn toward a more diverse range of viewers isn’t going to make things any better.

In addition to the many evils that go into making porn, it is also harmful for the viewer.

There are a few aspects to its damaging effects. First of all, it’s addicting. Porn triggers a rush of dopamine—a chemical that makes you feel good and is sort of a built-in reward given for when people eat food or have sex—to your brain. This chemical reaction makes you want that dopamine reward again, thus making porn look all the more attractive—as if it needed any help.

In addition to its addicting nature, the product that porn sells—the “everything is about sex” mantra, the notion that the wilder and hotter the girl is, the more she is worth—is damaging to our personal relationships.

Love and sex, in reality, require not just two bodies, but two peoples’ characters, personalities, intellects and complexities. In stark contrast, porn involves one person typing up a search to find exactly what they want in that exact moment. That can create unreal expectations and lead to a letdown when real life is not the same as the fantasy world.

In relationships, porn is often a catalyst of distrust and insecurity. In the 2011 Archives of Sexual Behavior study, 36 percent of women said they equate porn with cheating. Even if you don’t consider it cheating, the psychological effect of knowing your significant other is looking at porn probably isn’t an ego boost.

Love is real and it is awesome, but porn is an easy fix that can cause more harm than good. Not only is it damaging for those involved, but it can hurt personal relationships as well.

Even though pornography is more visible now than ever before, stay cognizant of its dangers and try to live in the real world.


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