Pornography: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

People have been discussing the pros and cons of pornography since it became a part of our reality, but that doesn’t mean society has reached a verdict on it yet. In fact, the debate is now hotter than ever as people from around the world are starting to question whether viewing pornographic imagines can wreak havoc on a person’s overall health or improve their ability to fulfill sexual fantasies and instigate passion in relationships. The conclusion: Modest amounts of pornography are as harmless as intermittent masturbation which, interestingly enough, is under the same line of fire.

The Porn Problem

A series of articles have been published on the matter of pornography and its effects on people, relationships and society, sparking controversy about the supposed side effects of excessive pornographic enjoyment. As it turns out, a handful of researchers are now calling for the criminalization of porn, especially if it can be considered harmful in any way. And since the use of sexually explicit materials can have a direct negative effect on some families, businesses and relationships, teams of so-called experts are now blaming pornography for society’s otherwise inevitable downfall.

As a result, pornography is almost always associated with sex addiction, or erotomania, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Those same experts believe that the simple act of viewing porn can have immediate and damaging consequences, regardless of content or volume. It does help matters one bit that there have been countless reported cases wherein pornography has negatively affected someone’s life. Whether porn or people are the problem, however, remains unclear.

The Porn Controversy

In general, it seems that the real issues lie within the minds and hearts of the average pornography enthusiast. In other words, a viewer’s own perception of the porn they encounter is the true culprit, not the pornography itself. Mankind has always derived pleasure from enjoying sexually explicit imagery (with or without a partner), but mankind hasn’t always allowed such lifestyle choices to blur the lines between right and wrong.

Meanwhile, porn is being attacked on all sides like it has no legitimate use in modern-day society. That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a well-made porno can have an immediately positive effect on a person as well. Unfortunately, facts supporting such conjectures are not as openly discussed as the facts promoting bans and criminalization.

As much as those overzealous researchers would like for this next statement to be false, the fact of the matter still remains: Responsible use of pornography can help scores of people do things that are otherwise impossible. Take long-distance relationships and erectile dysfunction as two primary examples. Both scenarios often require the use of pornography, automatically making it a feasible and holistic part of our hyper-connected, drug-crazed culture.

The Porn Solution

While most anti-porn advocates come across as militant, right-wing conservatives with no real grasp on humanity, many are well-educated individuals who have their priorities straight and their hearts in the right place. In an effort to find an acceptable compromise that protects the viewer while still promoting personal freedoms, a majority of sexual behavior experts now agree that pornography in and of itself is not as damaging as the habits and lifestyle choices that surround it.

Irresponsible use of pornography typically includes binge watching, but even excessive exposure to can’t do as much harm as straight-up recklessness. In fact, automatically using pornographic imagery to have sex and/or masturbate is a terrible idea regardless of where you stand on the matter. Such behaviors can make a person unable to reach orgasm over time, not to mention it can make “regular” sex seem boring after a while. Limiting the volume and carefully managing the content of the porn you enjoy can make all the difference.

The solution will therefore not be found in a complete ban or criminalization of porn, but rather in a restructuring of society’s perspectives and uses of it. Perhaps it’s true that our culture has been flooded with sexually explicit imagery. As a person who values wholesomeness, it’s certainly fair to ask for better censoring and/or market control of pornographic imagery. However, the answer will never be to ignore the fact that sex and porn are essential parts of our modern-day world.

Special Porn Considerations

It’s important to know the risk factors and signs of becoming a sex addict, especially since porn and sex addiction are so closely related (and for a good reason too). Seeking help as soon as possible can prevent your sexual compulsions from getting out of control, plus it can assist the pornography industry with maintaining and/or improving its level respect and acceptance in our culture. Unchecked sexual urges due to pornographic inspiration can be extremely damaging to the progress we’ve made as a species.

Aside from simply knowing your porn of choice, honestly answer the following 10 questions to determine whether you and/or someone you know needs to seek treatment for sex/porn addiction:

  1. What struggles do you have in terms of your sexual health, appetites or behaviors?
  2. Do you engage in any sexual behaviors that are unwanted or potentially dangerous, especially as a result of enjoying porn?
  3. Have your current sexual habits ever negatively affected your personal and/or professional life?
  4. At any point, have you ever felt like you were living a double life?
  5. How often do you call up images from porno while having sex with a partner or masturbating?
  6. Do you ever experience things like fatigue, impotence or difficulty maintaining an erection because of your sexual compulsions or pornography habit?
  7. Have you ever gotten confused or made mistakes on important tasks because you were thinking about sex, masturbation and/or porn?
  8. Does your bank account often suffer from your compulsion to buy and/or watch sexually explicit materials?
  9. Have you ever tried to quit watching porn but failed to do so successfully?
  10. Do you often hide pornographic material out of shame or secrecy?

If your answers indicate a problem, contact a sexual behavior therapist as soon as possible.

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