Can You Answer These Basic Questions About the Harmful Effects of Pornography?
If you’re a part of this global movement, congratulations, you’re a world-changer!
Decades of studies from respected academic institutions have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society. Fight the New Drug’s mission is to help individuals be more informed and more empowered with the facts so they can choose for themselves whether or not to consume.
This is why we have conversation-starting gear.
One thing can’t be denied about Fighter gear—almost everything in our online store is quite the conversation starter. Some people’s reactions are positive, some negative, and some just genuinely want to know more.
If you have gear from the FTND store, you know the feeling: you’re walking in a public place and everyone’s eyes seem to be darting at your shirt and you know it is only a matter of time before someone asks you what the bold statement on your shirt means.
Basically, the point of these shirts is more than just funding our awareness campaign, it’s being able to start conversations about porn and getting this message out into the open. We create our gear with THAT purpose in mind. We wanted these tees to grab attention and encourage people to talk about something that isn’t always a popular topic of conversation and is usually shrouded in shame and secrecy.
Related: 3 Reasons Why We Say “Porn Kills Love” Instead Of “Love Kills Porn”
And while we like to think we do a good job at getting the facts about the harms of porn out into the world, we realize some Fighters might be having trouble putting into words exactly what the shirt means and how to address the issue themselves.
Don’t worry, Fighters. We got your back. Before you go out with spreading the conversation in mind, it’s key you’ll be able to at least cover the basics and answer some questions. After all, knowledge is empowerment, right?
Educate, empower, equip, repeat
Here are some easy-to-remember answers for whenever asked about your attention-grabbing Fighter gear.
When in doubt, you can always tell them to check out FTND.org (the website you’re currently on), or Learn.FTND.org to check out the facts behind porn’s harms, and watch our three-part documentary for free.
Related: Why The Goal Of The Phrase “Porn Kills Love” Isn’t To Shame
But if you have time for a chat, go for it. Answer those tough questions and remember these pointers:
-Respect and kindness always win and never go out of style. Be a thoughtful good listener. This can often be more persuasive than even the strongest argument.
-Face-to-face conversations are the foundation of this movement, and what do you have to lose?!
–Practice, practice, practice, and read, read, read. The more you study and talk about these issues, the more confident you’ll become in answering questions.
–Don’t be a jerk. People often are not curious to know more from the “know-it-all” or the shaming person. Be nice, use common sense, take a risk in actually being a kind person.
Questions you might be asked while repping Fighter gear
As for the basic facts, here’s a reference sheet to help you spread the word and rep the movement with some factual ammo to keep in mind (and click here to see even more Q&A topics) whenever you’re repping or whenever you see an opportunity to spark some conversation about porn and exploitation.
Question: How can pornography impact relationships?
Answer A: Countless studies consistently show that porn consumers tend to struggle in their relationships. From poorer relationship quality to an increased likelihood of cheating, research suggests that porn plays a major role in fueling unhealthy relationship dynamics.
Dozens of studies have repeatedly shown that porn consumers tend to have lower relationship satisfaction and lower relationship quality. Porn consumers tend to experience more negative communication with their partners, feel less dedicated to their relationships, have a more difficult time making adjustments in their relationships, are less sexually satisfied, and commit more infidelity. Research also shows that porn consumers tend to become less committed to their partners, less satisfied in their relationships, and more accepting of cheating.
Answer B: Research indicates that consuming porn can normalize sexual objectification, which can have profound consequences in the ways porn consumers view and treat others.
Research consistently shows that porn can play a big role in teaching viewers to consume people as products for their own personal sexual satisfaction, which can ultimately have unhealthy consequences for individuals, relationships, and for the cultures in which we live.
Obviously, porn is not an accurate representation of how everyday people look or how sex and intimacy work in real-life relationships, yet the research shows that porn can, and does, shape the way that consumers think about others and about sex.
Answer C: Ironically, despite porn’s promise of improving consumers’ sex lives, there is growing evidence that porn consumption is linked to sexual dysfunction and less sexual satisfaction.
Ironically, despite porn’s promise of improving consumers’ sex lives, there is growing evidence that porn consumption is linked to sexual dysfunction. Research indicates that compulsive pornography consumption is directly related to erectile dysfunction, sexual dysfunction for both men and women, problems with arousal and sexual performance, difficulty reaching orgasm, and decreased sexual satisfaction.
Click here to see sources for these answers.
Question: Can pornography be addictive? Is it like a drug?
Answer A: One of the most common questions is whether or not it can actually be addictive. According to many addiction experts, it absolutely can be.
Not everyone who consumes pornography is “addicted.” As many experts agree, pornography consumption is a behavior that can, in fact, qualify as an addiction in serious cases. A number of studies have illustrated the similarity between substance addiction and compulsive pornography consumption.
Research and the experiences of thousands of people have demonstrated that over time pornography’s negative effects can be managed and largely reversed.
Answer B: Addictions to harmful substances like tobacco have striking similarities to porn compulsion, including impaired decision-making.
When someone uses an addictive drug, that drug uses the same dopamine process as part of the high, flooding your brain with feelings of pleasure and positive reinforcement. Your hardworking brain then immediately starts doing its job: developing a preference for whatever produced those feelings and rewiring itself to find and experience those feelings again. This creates a feedback loop that leads us to develop and seek out preferred ways of triggering that flood of happy-making chemicals.
Porn can trigger the brain’s reward system release of dopamine endlessly because it is endlessly available. Just like addictive products such as tobacco, porn can create pathways within the brain that lead to cravings, and those cravings can push consumers to search longer and more diligently for the same level of “high.” What’s worse is that the amount of dopamine that floods the brain only increases with repeated consumption. Each time a consumer turns to porn, they increase their cravings for more.
Click here to see sources for these answers.
Question: Does porn hurt anyone—it’s a personal choice. Why are you telling people what to do?
Answer A: Raising awareness on something harmful to society isn’t telling anyone what to do, and the porn industry impacts more people than just consumers.
In the porn industry, there is virtually no way to guarantee that any piece of pornographic content is truly consensual, ethical, or even legal. Unfortunately, image-based abuse, nonconsensual pornography, and child sexual abuse material are increasingly common issues on porn sites, even mainstream ones. Consider that MindGeek, the company who owns and operates much of the mainstream porn industry, has been sued by almost 100 survivors of sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking. Same with non-mainstream sites, too—there is verifiable child exploitation images on OnlyFans, too.
Also, one common argument in defense of porn is that professional performers are all “consenting adults” who “love their jobs.” But unfortunately, that is virtually impossible to guarantee. In the porn industry, the lines between abuse and consent are so blurred, that there’s no viable way to tell the difference. Performers can be coerced into participating and into lying about their experiences on set, and consumers wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell the difference even if they were watching something nonconsensual.
Answer B: Porn perpetuates, fuels, and supports the demand for sex trafficking.
A trafficking victim in a porn video is not likely going to turn to the camera and announce they are being trafficked. In fact, even if the victim does register their distress, it’s still virtually impossible to distinguish, because rape and abuse-themed porn are so mainstream,and producers can edit content any way they choose.
Ultimately, modern sex trafficking shares a variety of symbiotic connections to pornography:
- Sex trafficking victims can be forced, tricked, or coerced into pornography production
- Porn performers can be trafficked into acts they didn’t consent to
- Porn can be used to groom trafficking victims and “train” them on what is expected of them
- Porn can normalize sexual violence and objectification to the extent that in some cases, the desensitization of consumers can manifest in more willingness to buy sex, thus increasing the demand for sexual exploitation and sex trafficking
Answer C: Porn normalizes abuse, sexual violence, and assault as part of a “fantasy.”
Even by the lowest estimate, 1 in every 3 porn videos depicts sexual violence or aggression. In fact, according to a study that analyzed porn titles alone, 1 out of every 8 titles suggested to first-time users on porn sites described acts of sexual violence. That’s especially concerning, considering that research indicates that these sexually violent narratives can bleed into consumers’ attitudes and behaviors.
One team of researchers with the same question analyzed hundreds of the most popular porn scenes and found that 88.2% contained physical violence or aggression while 48.7% contained verbal aggression. Another study estimated that nearly 40% of videos analyzed on Pornhub contained visible aggression or violence, while 25% contained verbal aggression. And yet another study suggested that 33.9% of videos on two of the world’s most popular porn sites depicted violence or aggression. And as each of these studies agreed, women were almost always the targets.
Click here to see sources for these answers.
For more personal stories about people who have struggled with porn so you can get an idea of how to talk about it, click here.
Why this matters
We exist because research and peer-reviewed studies are continually showing how harmful porn is, and consumers deserve to know what they’re consuming.
Our aim is to raise as much awareness as possible that porn isn’t natural, it isn’t normal, and it definitely isn’t a healthy part of any meaningful relationship. So many people in society, especially in our tech-obsessed generation, believe that porn really is just harmless and pleasurable entertainment, and that it can even be a satisfying substitute for love. In reality, we are learning that it is just the opposite. It is harmful to the consumer, can make relationships even more difficult, and it can make single people even lonelier.
Related: The Science Behind The Slogan: How Exactly Does Porn “Kill Love?”
We’re here to tell you that love in real life is so much better and healthier than what porn has to offer, and we’re taking a stand and not settling for anything less than real. This is a movement for love fueled by science and research, and an understanding that love, healthy relationships, and an exploitation-free society are some of the most important things in this world.
Research is telling us something important about the effects of porn. It’s is not just a simple personal choice with no negative side effects. It harms the brain, hurts relationships, and harms society as a whole.
The post Can You Answer These Basic Questions About the Harmful Effects of Pornography? appeared first on Fight the New Drug.