Why I Avoid Watching Porn, Even When “Premium is Free”

Why I Avoid Watching Porn, Even When “Premium is Free”

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Relationship Adjustment

If you look at what is fake for too long, you will begin to find faults in what is real.

If you’re reading this, you’re on the internet, and that means that you’ve seen porn, on purpose or not. A coworker was talking to me about how a popular porn site is offering premium services for free. (Hint: If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.) He was very happy to be able to spend hours masturbating at home to “better” porn. I told him that I avoid porn and wasn’t interested. Why?

There’s a term in psychology called “relationship adjustment” that is used to measure trust, the direction and health of the relationship, and overall happiness. Essentially, it evaluates how happy you are with your relationship. In a scientific study involving almost 1300 individuals, participants that did not view porn reported significantly higher relationship adjustment, indicating that they were quite a bit happier in their relationships.*

Other studies have shown that those who don’t routinely look at pornography are more attracted to their sexual partners, are more terminally committed, have better sexual lives, and have better self-esteem and self-worth.


Neurocognition

The neurocognitive studies on this subject are pretty depressing, too.

Two researchers, Dr. Nikolaas Tinbergen and Dr. D. Magnus, played a trick on butterflies.  After figuring out which marks on female butterfly wings were most eye-catching to their mates, they created their own cardboard butterflies and painted them to look like super-females. Their wing patterns were based on the wings of normal butterflies, but with more exciting marks than would ever be found in nature.

And the butterflies fell for it. Even though real female butterflies were around and available, the males kept trying to partner with the cardboard versions. It wasn’t getting them what they wanted—which was the chance to mate—but they had been tricked, so they ignored the real females and kept trying to charm the decoys.

Does this sound familiar?

The human mind is an amazing thing, but we’re susceptible to tricks. Obviously what happens with butterflies happens with humans and pornography, but we fall prey to something even more insidious: we tend to determine what normal is by the fallacy of appeal to common practice.  The basic idea behind the fallacy is that the fact that most people do X is used as “evidence” to support the action or practice. It is a fallacy because the mere fact that most people do something does not make it correct, moral, justified, or reasonable.

Yet we think, “Hey, everyone sleeps with this girl, so I’ll take a crack at her, too.” Or, “Everyone watches porn to get off—and humanity is really on the upswing! Technology is increasing by leaps and bounds.  So it can’t do anything bad to me.” (Not, of course, that this is logically sound or means that people are happier, more joyful, or more morally stable.)

In 2014, Terry Crews released his autobiography, Manhood: How to Be a Better Man or Just Live with One. In the book, Crews made public details of his long standing addiction to pornography, which he relayed had seriously impacted his marriage and his life, and which he was only able to overcome around 2009 and 2010 after entering rehabilitation; he now takes an active role in speaking out about the condition and its impact.  Yes, it’s an actual problem, and it harms people.

Dirty Girl Ministries and the secular site Fight the New Drug both have information that might help someone. It’s worth it to explore this in more detail.


One large porn conglomerate has also often profited off of child rape (taking the videos down later), and promotes fetishes of incest and other abnormal sexual appetites. Porn has no human connection, and thus darker and darker material is needed to fuel one’s excitement, which leads to sad things like this:

After a Woman in India was Raped and Murdered, Her Name Trended on Porn Sites

If you don’t speak up against something when others call it good, that thing becomes what is accepted in culture, no matter how disturbing it is. Avoiding pornography can be hard, but it can lead to great improvements in life, as Terry Crews has noted. (In the cover photo.)

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is amiable, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

*Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2009). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4 


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