Although the great debate regarding whether watching porn is simply a harmless pleasure or a dangerous addiction has raged on for decades, statistics indicate that plenty of people are watching it.
According to Pornhub, the internet’s largest porn site, 78.9 billion porn videos were viewed in 2014 on their website alone. The United States led all other countries in per capita page views. (1) This leads to several important questions. What are the social costs of pornography? How does pornography affect relationships, family life, motivation, and other important aspects of life?
Watching Porn Occasionally VS. Porn Addiction
Let’s start by addressing the difference between watching porn and having a porn addiction because the social costs and affects tend to be substantially
different. When someone is addicted to porn, it often becomes one of their primary focuses in life. They frequently exhibit secretive behavior, miss important events to view videos, dedicate longer and longer periods of time to viewing, and try unsuccessfully to limit their viewing. However, a person who watches on occasion enforces limits and does not usually allow their viewing to interfere with other parts of their life.
As a result, the following focuses on the social costs and effects that are more likely to be experienced by someone with a true addiction to porn. It’s important to understand that women can be porn addicts too. While 83 percent are male, 17 percent of porn addicts are female. (3)
The Impact on Relationships and Family Life
Porn addictions tend to have dire consequences for relationships, particularly with the addict’s partner. For example, married men who watch pornography tend to be less satisfied with their sexual relationship and lack an emotional attachment to their partners. When couples in this situation were questioned, both reported feeling that viewing pornography was tantamount to infidelity and often a precursor to divorce. 56 percent of those addicted to watching porn end up losing their spouse, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. (1)
In addition to devastating marriages, porn addiction can dramatically impact children. They often live in homes that are less affectionate and loving with undertones of anger, betrayal, and mistrust. In a study involving adolescents who stumbled across their parent’s pornographic material, most reported that this incident significantly increased their uncertainties about sexuality. Many also reported feeling depressed, lonely, and unsure of who to turn to in order to discuss their feelings. (2)
Motivation and Porn Addiction
As with any addiction, porn can greatly decrease an individual’s motivation and desire to succeed. This definitely applies to workplace. Shockingly, 70 percent of porn viewing occurs during normal business hours.(5) This is one of the primary reasons employers have began to closely monitor employee’s computer habits. In addition, around 1/3 lose their jobs as the result of their addiction. (2)
Due to their secretive behavior, porn addicts tend to isolate themselves from others and have little to no motivation to go out and interact with others. It leads to a decline in quality of almost every area of life. This leads to increased depression, feelings of disgust, and a lack of desire to do anything to put an end to their porn addiction. (6)
Take a minute to consider the following findings.
- Males who watch porn regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexual behaviors, including rape and aggression. (1)
- The longer men watch porn, the more likely they are to begin viewing women as sexual objects instead of people. (1)
- Approximately 58% of addicts suffer significant financial losses as the result of their addiction. (2)
- Over time, men who are addicted to porn become incapable of getting sexual satisfied by real women. This leads to depression, loneliness, and unhappiness. (4)
- A porn addiction often leads to desensitization, distorted views of reality, and a desire to pursue more deviant forms of pornography to fulfill their sexual desires. (2)
- Addicts often report they feel ashamed and disgusted with themselves because they start to become stimulated by images that would have repulsed them in the past. This may include violent sexual acts and child, particularly teen, pornography. (6)
Many porn addicts find it difficult to admit they have a problem, despite all the evidence to the contrary. However, eventually they will hit rock bottom and when they do help is available, starting with Sex Addicts Anonymous.