If you’re consuming pornography: stop.
You are contributing to one of the most harmful industries in the world.
Pornography is growing rapidly as an industry and people of all ages are consuming and accepting it with little regard for the harm it causes to themselves, society and their future.
If you’re unconvinced about the prominence of pornography, consider the following statistics.
In the modern era, approximately 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites and 35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography.
Ninety percent of teenagers admit to have seen pornography and 10% of them admitting to daily use.
In 2018, PornHub had over 33.5 billion site visits and that number climbed to 42 billion site visits in 2019. Although this statistic is slightly outdated, the trend is obvious: pornography is an extraordinarily popular industry that will continue to grow.
Ninety percent of teens and 96% of young adults are either neutral, encouraging, or accepting when talking about pornography amongst their friends (although behind closed doors, 43% of those teens believe pornography is wrong) it’s obvious that pornography is socially accepted and speaking against it — regardless of its evils — is socially taboo.
The harmful effects of pornography are practically endless, however, I will focus on five I find particularly relevant and impactful.
Pornography is harmful to women.
Eighty-eight percent of the most popular pornography videos on the internet contained violence against women. If that statistic isn’t convincing by itself, consider this; the women in the videos have to act as if they like the abuse if they want to get paid. This isn’t an unfounded claim but a rather common phenomenon, numerous former adult actresses have spoken of their abuses in the porn industry.
Taken directly from an article that recounts the horror stories ten pornstars went through when recording their most popular scenes: “I got the **** kicked out of me… most of the girls start crying because they’re hurting so bad… I couldn’t breathe. I was being hit and choked. I was really upset and they didn’t stop. They kept filming. [I asked them to turn the camera off] and they kept going.”
If the rampant abuse on camera isn’t enough to convince you that pornography is harmful to women, think about this: if people who consume porn assume that the women enjoy the pain and indignity they go through and begin to associate it with pleasure, doesn’t it follow that the person who wishes to please woman will assume being more aggressive is the way to do so?
This is exactly the case. In 2019, a survey was conducted which show that a third of British women under the age of 40 have been subjected to unwanted choking, slapping, spitting or gagging during consensual sex.
Moreover, when you take into account the unfortunate fact that 6/10 women will be exposed to pornography before they’re 18 and the fact that the average age of pornography exposure is 11 it is with a somber heart that I conclude a majority of young girls will grow up thinking that abuse is a form of love and will possibly be subject to unwanted rough sex.
These girls are our future mothers.
These are our daughters, our sisters and our future spouses.
Imagine your daughter being exposed to this horror and what she could become. Imagine a woman you love being abused because of the twisted conception of sex she grew up with.
Pornography is one of the most harmful things to happen to women, and yet we blindly consume it and promote it while lying to ourselves saying we value women.
Pornography promotes and gives a platform for pedophilia, child pornography, rape and revenge porn.
One of the most top-rated pornography genres is teen.
Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old).
This should be extremely alarming. Pornography consumers are trying their best to see people who look borderline underage committing sexual acts. There are an obscene amount of websites dedicated to seeing people who look suspiciously young having sex.
Child pornography is obviously a crime. In order to work around this, child pornography distributors will advertise their pornography as “teen” when it’s really underage children or simply share child pornography through emails and private web forums. The line is so blurred between “teen” and “child” unless, of course, the child is an obvious adolescent, that it’s hard to distinguish the two.
In December, PornHub took down all of their unverified videos because, according to an article written by Nicholas Krisof in the New York Times, PornHub was monetizing videos that contained “child rapes, revenge pornography, spycam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.”
There is a genre of porn called “Rape Porn.” This doesn’t require an explanation; porn is making rape something to be sexually fantasized about instead of being chastised and rebuked.
Pornography promotes teen pregnancy and is linked to mental health issues.
While childbirth is one of the most beautiful and honorable things in the world, childbirth while unprepared for a child is staggeringly irresponsible. Pornography promotes teenage pregnancy and most teenagers are not ready for the responsibility of a child.
Studies show that teenagers with frequent exposure to sexual content have a substantially greater likelihood of teenage pregnancy, and the likelihood of teen pregnancy was twice as high when the quantity of sexual content exposure within the viewing episodes was high.
Moreover, pornography consumption is linked to lower quality of life, mental health issues, low self-esteem, body dysmorphia and depression in young adults.
Pornography promotes unrealistic expectations of sex and ruins relationships.
There is nothing more dangerous in relationships than a partner who believes they can perform better than they truly can, causing an individual to expect more than their partner can deliver.
Pornography promotes both.
Pornography makes most consumers believe they can perform like a pornstar and assume their partner can do so too. This leads to nothing but possible injury and disappointment.
Imagine possibly meeting the love of your life only to find out they can’t do all the things you’ve been led to believe can and should be done due to pornography consumption.
You’d probably walk away from the relationship.
Pornography has been shown to distort intimacy because of the twisted image it promotes about sex in relationships, such distortion may result in infidelity due to the expectations their partner cannot meet. Sex in a relationship should not be about mistreating your partner for self-gratification nor expecting them to meet absurd needs, on the contrary, mutual gratification and emotionalism are the cornerstones of great sex life and a blossoming relationship.
Pornography is unproductive.
Ask yourself what long-term good comes from viewing pornography. At the very most, pornography provides a fantasy for a masturbator to indulge themselves in instead of using their imagination. As soon as the sexual urge dies down or is temporarily eradicated, the consumer is left with nothing but the harsh reality that they wasted time on nothing more than a fantasy and they are utterly alone.
The time that could have been spent working, reading, exercising and most importantly looking for love beyond a screen and getting rid of a false illusion of what love is.
Time is the most valuable gift we have been given.
Stop wasting it on pornography.
Jermelle Macleod is a junior studying journalism and philosophy.