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What Porn Doesn’t Show About Sex and Relationships

Science and research have spoken: porn can change the brain and do real damage to relationships. But as important as it is to raise awareness on the false, exploitive, and degrading nature of pornography, it is also important to recognize what porn doesn’t show or teach viewers about sex and relationships.

Porn doesn’t show how much we need healthy relationships in order to be happy.

Relationships are really important for us human beings. As teens and adults, we need a variety of strong, healthy relationships in order to thrive. These includes relationships with friends, parents, siblings, teammates, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. Healthy relationships build self-esteem, boost mental and emotional health, and help us to live overall healthier lives.[1] Studies have shown that people in committed relationships are generally happier.[2] Now, on the flip side of the coin, counterfeits like porn do the exact opposite. Porn is very damaging to relationships which decreases mental, physical, and emotional health, and is a legitimate cause of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.[3] Porn can’t even compare to the happiness and fulfillment that real love provides. In fact, it’s a straight up unhealthy “substitute.”

Porn doesn’t show the sacrifice required to be with somebody.

If you’re watching porn thinking it will teach you something about sex, you’re training for the wrong game. Looking to porn for sex tips is like looking to action-packed car chase movie scenes for driver’s ed. Not only does it portray sex completely unrealistically, it also doesn’t promote healthy safer sex practices like using protection and getting tested for STIs.

And that’s not all. Porn doesn’t portray the realistic give-and-take nature of a partnership. News flash: relationships are hard. They take sacrifice. Just ask anybody in a long-term relationship; relationships require putting the needs of another before your own. John Gottman is a world renowned relationship therapist and in his research on what causes relationships to last, he found kindness and generosity to be the top two factors.[4] Couples who were kind and generous with one another were more likely to stay together and to be happy. Once again, porn is in complete contrast to that ideal. Porn is selfish and often frequently portrays selfish and even violent acts. In fact, when a team of researchers analyzed the most popular porn videos a few years ago, 88% showed physical violence and 49% contained verbal aggression.[5] Viewing physical and verbal aggression for sexual pleasure certainly doesn’t encourage kindness and generosity in a relationship.

While healthy relationships involve trust and communication, porn decreases trust and communication in a relationship and isolates the viewer.[6] It also sells the lie that being with another person does not require the effort of getting to know them, asking them out, devoting time to them, working through arguments, and getting through all of life’s messy moments together.

 

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