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8 Worthwhile Reasons to Give Up Porn

By avoiding porn, you’re avoiding contributing to the normalization and glorification of toxic narratives. Here are eight worthwhile reasons to quit porn.

By November 15, 2021No Comments
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There are many reasons to quit porn, here are just eight of them.

1. Avoid perpetuating toxic narratives

Popular porn plotlines often include incest, racism, sexism, rape, manipulation, exploitation of the LGBTQIA+ community, the sexualization of minors, etc. By avoiding porn, you’re avoiding contributing to the normalization and glorification of toxic narratives.

See our article “How Porn Can Distort Consumers’ Understanding of Healthy Sex” for sources.

2. Have a healthier understanding of sex

Research shows that porn plays a role in informing young people’s understanding of sex and relationships, which is especially concerning considering how toxic porn can be.Rothman, E. F., Beckmeyer, J. J., Herbenick, D., Fu, T., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2021). The prevalence of using pornography for information about how to have sex: Findings from a nationally representative survey of U.S. adolescents and young adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50(2), 629-646. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01877-7Copy Copy 

Plus, research also indicates that problematic porn consumption is associated with sexual dysfunction and arousal issues for both men and women.Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603Copy 

Doesn’t sound very “pro-sex,” does it?

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3. Invest in your relationships

According to a study that tracked couples over a six-year period, porn consumption was the second strongest predictor that a marriage would suffer.Perry S. L. (2017). Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence from Longitudinal Data. Archives of sexual behavior, 46(2), 549–559. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0770-yCopy 

Another study showed that those who never viewed pornography reported higher relationship quality—on every measure—than those who viewed pornography alone.Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing sexually-explicit materials alone or together: associations with relationship quality. Archives of sexual behavior, 40(2), 441–448. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4Copy 

4. Stop normalizing sexual violence

1 out of every 8 titles suggested to first-time users on porn sites described acts of sexual violence, according to a 2021 study.Vera-Gray, F., McGlynn, C., Kureshi, I., & Butterby, K. (2021). Sexual violence as a sexual script in mainstream online pornography. The British Journal of Criminology, doi:10.1093/bjc/azab035Copy 

Research also suggests that as few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn scenes contain physical violence or aggression.Fritz, N., Malic, V., Paul, B., & Zhou, Y. (2020). A descriptive analysis of the types, targets, and relative frequency of aggression in mainstream pornography. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49(8), 3041-3053. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01773-0Copy Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C., & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography videos: a content analysis update. Violence against women, 16(10), 1065–1085. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801210382866Copy 

Even more concerning is that the targets of violence and aggression in porn almost always appear to respond either neutrally or with pleasure, sending the message that sexual aggression is normal or even desirable.Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C., & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography videos: a content analysis update. Violence against women, 16(10), 1065–1085. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801210382866Copy 

5. Maintain mental & emotional health

A number of peer-reviewed studies have found a link between pornography consumption and poorer mental health.Koletić G. (2017). Longitudinal associations between the use of sexually explicit material and adolescents' attitudes and behaviors: A narrative review of studies. Journal of adolescence, 57, 119–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.006Copy Camilleri, C., Perry, J. T., & Sammut, S. (2021). Compulsive Internet Pornography Use and Mental Health: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Sample of University Students in the United States. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 613244. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.613244Copy 

These studies have found that these links are particularly strong when pornography is consumed to try to escape negative emotions, and also when pornography consumption becomes heavy and compulsive.Levin, M. E., Lillis, J., & Hayes, S. C. (2012). When is online pornography viewing problematic among college males? Examining the moderating role of experiential avoidance.19(3), 168-180. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.657150Copy 

Quitting porn can help interrupt the unhealthy cycle of escapism and mental health issues.

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6. Help combat sexual exploitation

It’s virtually impossible to guarantee that the porn someone is watching is ethically, consensually, or even legally produced. The porn industry has an extensive history of profiting from nonconsensual content, abuse, and sex trafficking.Donevan, M. (2021). “In this industry, you're no longer human”: An exploratory study of women’s experiences in pornography production in Sweden. Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence. 6(3) doi:10.23860/dignity.2021.06.03.01Copy 

Avoiding porn is a meaningful way to support the countless survivors of image-based sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse material.Kristof, N. (2021). Why do we let corporations profit from rape videos? New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/16/opinion/sunday/companies-online-rape-videos.htmlCopy 

7. Develop healthier habits & deal with stress in healthier ways

Many consumers use porn as a form of escapism to avoid their challenges rather than facing them in healthy ways, but research shows that those who consume porn to avoid uncomfortable emotions have some of the lowest reports of emotional and mental wellbeing.

By letting go of porn as an escapism technique, someone can build healthier habits and more emotional resilience.Brown, C. C., Durtschi, J. A., Carroll, J. S., & Willoughby, B. J. (2017). Understanding and predicting classes of college students who use pornography. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 114-121. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.09.008Copy 

8. Side with the research

Which is more credible—hundreds upon hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, survivors, and the personal experiences of countless people who cite the harmful effects of porn?

Or a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off of getting consumers to believe their product is harmless?

If you’re looking for help in giving up porn, we recommend Fortify, which is a free, science-based recovery platform that actually works. In fact, 90% of users report that Fortify has significantly helped them move toward lasting change.

Porn is trash and you deserve better.