Porn Prevents Real Relationships
Opinions, Column

Porn Prevents Real Relationships

No one really wants to have this conversation. But with a significant percentage of college students watching porn, the issue needs to be addressed. After all, one study found that 76.5 percent of college students have used the internet for “sexual entertainment,” and in 2018, the website Pornhub self-reported that 61 percent of its users were aged 18 to 34. As a culture, but especially as college students, we need to talk about this—because although it seems harmless, porn undermines our romantic relationships and distorts the way we view others.

There are a thousand other reasons why this conversation should happen, ranging from how porn can create harmful attitudes toward women, to its addictive nature, to its entanglement with human trafficking. Most significantly, though, porn sabotages the fulfilling relationships we all crave.

For now, let’s define porn as the use of media to view others’ sexual acts for pleasure. The most immediate danger is that regular porn consumption teaches us to objectify others, to reduce them to conduits of our own physical enjoyment. Porn ignores the non-sexual components of a person’s identity and reduces the performers to their sexual abilities alone. If we consume a lot of that content, it’s bound to change the way we see others. Essentially, porn tells us that people are only tools for sexual pleasure—and this is a fictional view of human beings, who are amazingly complex.

Violence and domination are a big part of that fiction. A 2010 study analyzed 50 popular porn films, finding that 88 percent of scenes contained physical aggression, and 49 percent contained verbal violence. In addition, 95 percent of the targets of that aggression—mostly women—responded neutrally or positively to that abuse, while the vast majority of perpetrators of that aggression were male.

Porn doesn’t make every user into an abusive partner, but it certainly doesn’t teach us how to form solid relationships. On the contrary, it gives the impression that radical, fringe behavior (violent sexual practice and the use of others as simple tools for pleasure) is normal or even preferable to its more respectful alternatives. If we continually feed ourselves the fantasy of objectification, we’ll find it more difficult to connect with the people in front of us. More and more studies demonstrate the health and relationship problems that porn is associated with. Men and women who use porn experience suffer from more sexual dysfunctions, risk alienating their romantic partners, and are more likely to use coercion or aggression in sexual settings.

People don’t set out to use porn because they want these effects. Growing research tells us, however, that the consumption of this content is bound to impact our actions and beliefs over time. Intentions are secondary here—for example, even if we don’t intend to develop lung cancer or a nicotine addiction, cigarettes will have that effect on us. And porn, like cigarettes and other drugs, can be addictive, making it difficult to quit. (If that applies to you, there are a lot of great resources out there, and plenty of reasons to hope for success. Fight the New Drug, for example, has a wealth of information and ideas.) Of course, even for those whose use of porn hasn’t escalated to addiction, the negative effects of use remain—just like how cigarettes will never be good for you, even if you’re not smoking a pack a day.

People use porn for such a variety of reasons that it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one. Still, we all have this in common: We want to feel fulfilled, appreciated, and cared about. We pursue these desires in our relationships with others, but porn impedes us by breaking down our ability to relate to, respect, and appreciate romantic and sexual partners. If we’re used to viewing others as objects for sexual pleasure, the transition back to reality—to real love—is difficult. We can’t just “switch off” that trained objectification on demand. By living between fiction and reality, our partners suffer, and so do we.

Ironically, though porn might seem to offer some form of connection or engagement, its skewed version of intimacy pushes us toward further isolation and dependence. It can be an endless road. (Porn is an industry, after all—its intention is always to increase our consumption.) That’s why, even apart from the abusive culture that it perpetuates and its human rights violations, porn is a stumbling block to one of the most important parts of our lives: strong relationships. It separates us from others and paints a caricature of what healthy love looks like.

So at the risk of sounding like prudes or killjoys, we need to talk about porn. As long as it’s part of our culture, it should be part of our conversations. People are bored, lonely, and hurting themselves and each other, but it doesn’t have to be that way. All of us seek some kind of happiness and love, and all of us—at some time or another—look for it in the wrong places. Men and women who struggle with porn shouldn’t have to feel ashamed or abandoned.Porn doesn’t need to have a permanent grip on anyone. 

January 30, 2020
CONTACT
The offices of The Heights are located on Boston College’s campus. You can find us at:
The Heights 113 McElroy Commons Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
ABOUT
Established in 1919 as Boston College’s student newspaper, The Heights has been both editorially and financially independent from the University since 1971. The Heights serves the students, faculty, and staff of the Boston College community, as well as our neighbors in Chestnut Hill, Newton, and the Allston-Brighton area.  
THEMEVAN

We are addicted to WordPress development and provide Easy to using & Shine Looking themes selling on ThemeForest.

Tel : (000) 456-7890
Email : [email protected]
Address : NO 86 XX ROAD, XCITY, XCOUNTRY.