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50 Good Reasons to Stop Watching Porn Forever

With the easy access to an unlimited, ever-increasing supply of porn these days, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that porn is having an effect on peoples’ lives.

In fact, there is an ever-growing body of research showing that porn can have profoundly negative, long-term effects on people’s lives, relationships, and our society as a whole.

Many people don’t even realize that porn is having an effect on them until they quit. So if you’re curious about how porn might be affecting your life, or if you’re looking for the motivation you need to kick the habit, here are 50 good reasons to quit porn for good starting today.

What do you have to lose?

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1. Have a healthier understanding of sex

Perhaps the biggest lie porn sells is that its fantasy world is filled with sex positivity: sexual education, more sex, better sex, etc. What it doesn’t mention, however, is that the fantasy world it sells can warp sexual expectations in unhealthy ways. It’s no secret that porn is wildly unrealistic and often straight-up toxic, yet 1 in 4 young adults report believing that porn is the most helpful source to learn how to have sex, according to a 2021 study.Rothman, E. F., Beckmeyer, J. J., Herbenick, D., Fu, T. C., 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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01877-7COPY  Another study indicated that young people often reported trying to copy porn in their own sexual encounters, and that the pressure to imitate porn was often an aspect of unhealthy relationships.Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). ‘Without Porn … I Wouldn’t Know Half the Things I Know Now: A Qualitative Study of Pornography Use Among a Sample of Urban, Low-Income, Black and Hispanic Youth. Journal of sex research, 52(7), 736–746. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2014.960908COPY  Bottom line, porn isn’t contributing to a healthy understanding of sex.

2. Porn can be habit-forming

Many porn consumers are surprised to find that porn can be incredibly difficult to quit. While most porn consumers are not addicts in a clinically diagnosable sense,Willoughby, B. J., Young-Petersen, B., & Leonhardt, N. D. (2018). Exploring Trajectories of Pornography Use Through Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood. Journal of sex research, 55(3), 297–309. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1368977COPY  many experts agree that pornography consumption is a behavior that can, in fact, qualify as an addiction in serious cases.Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 5(3), 388–433. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs5030388COPY Stark R., Klucken T. (2017) Neuroscientific Approaches to (Online) Pornography Addiction. In: Montag C., Reuter M. (eds) Internet Addiction. Studies in Neuroscience, Psychology and Behavioral Economics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46276-9_7COPY De Sousa, A., & Lodha, P. (2017). Neurobiology of Pornography Addiction – A clinical review. Telangana Journal of Psychiatry, 3(2), 66-70. doi:10.18231/2455-8559.2017.0016COPY  Regardless of whether someone’s porn consumption is classified as an addiction, compulsion, or simply an unhealthy habit, quitting porn can be a difficult process. Even if it feels daunting, there is support out there, making quitting more possible than ever!

3.  Habits and addiction can escalate

Research indicates that porn consumers can become desensitized to porn, often needing to consume more porn, more extreme forms of porn, or consume porn more often in order to get the same response they once did.Banca, P., Morris, L. S., Mitchell, S., Harrison, N. A., Potenza, M. N., & Voon, V. (2016). Novelty, conditioning and attentional bias to sexual rewards. Journal of psychiatric research, 72, 91–101. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.10.017COPY  Over time, a porn consumer’s appetite can escalate to more hardcore versions just to achieve the same level of arousal. In fact one 2016 study, researchers found that 46.9% of respondents reported that, over time, they began watching pornography that had previously disinterested or even disgusted them.Wéry, A., & Billieux, J. (2016). Online sexual activities: An exploratory study of problematic and non-problematic usage patterns in a sample of men. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 257-266. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.046COPY 

4. Stop supporting an abusive industry

In the porn industry, there is virtually no way to guarantee that any piece of pornographic content is truly consensual, ethical, or even legal. The unfortunate truth is that the porn industry has an extensive history of profiting from nonconsensual content and abuse, even ignoring victims’ pleas to remove abusive content.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 Kristof, N. (2020). The children of Pornhub. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/sunday/pornhub-rape-trafficking.htmlCOPY  Virtually every major porn site has had issues with nonconsensual content, abuse, or child sexual abuse material (aka “child porn”). 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 Burgess, M. (2020). Deepfake porn is now mainstream. and major sites are cashing in. Retrieved from https://www.wired.co.uk/article/deepfake-porn-websites-videos-lawCOPY Kristof, N. (2020). The children of Pornhub. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/sunday/pornhub-rape-trafficking.htmlCOPY Meineck, S., & Alfering, Y. (2020). We went undercover in xHamster’s unpaid content moderation team. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en/article/akdzdp/inside-xhamsters-unpaid-content-moderation-teamCOPY Titheradge, N., & Croxford, R. (2021). The children selling explicit videos on OnlyFans. BBC News Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-57255983COPY 

5. Form deeper connections

As human beings, we are hardwired for connection. These important connections with others, however, can be undermined when porn comes into the picture. Research indicates that consuming porn can normalize sexual objectification, which can have profound consequences in the ways porn consumers view and treat others.Zhou, Y., Liu, T., Yan, Y., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography use, two forms of dehumanization, and sexual aggression: Attitudes vs. behaviors. Null, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1923598COPY  The porn industry objectifies people and commoditizes sex, which can make it more difficult to develop intimate connections with real people. Disconnect from porn and connect with real people!

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6. Have a healthier body image

The makeup, surgery, Photoshop, acting, and editing that go into porn give us an unrealistic view of the human body and sexuality. In fact, research suggests that consuming porn can result in poorer body image—both for the consumers and for their partners.Tylka, T. L. (2015). No harm in looking, right? Men’s pornography consumption, body image, and well-being. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 16(1), 97–107. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035774COPY  Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784COPY  Don’t buy into the unrealistic, airbrushed fantasies of porn. You deserve to feel confident in your skin rather than comparing yourself to impossible standards.

7. Invest in your relationships

As world-renowned relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman wrote about porn, “Intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people. But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction. [Additionally], when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner… In summary, we are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (April 5, 2016). An open letter on porn. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/an-open-letter-on-porn/COPY  One 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. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4COPY  Staying away from porn is a great way to invest in your relationships.

8. Prevent sexual dysfunction

Interestingly enough, porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex. Research routinely shows that compulsive pornography consumption is associated with sexual dysfunction 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  difficulties with arousal and sexual performance,Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnson, J. A., & Ezzell, M. B. (2016). Pornography and the male sexual script: An analysis of consumption and sexual relations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45(4), 983-994. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2COPY  and decreased sexual satisfaction. Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64COPY  Doesn’t sound very “pro-sex,” does it?

9. Help stop the demand for sex trafficking

Sex trafficking shares a variety of symbiotic connections to pornography. Even in the production of mainstream porn, sex trafficking can still occur—and it happens more often than most people think.Cole, S., & Maiberg, E. (2020). Pornhub doesn’t care. Vice. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en/article/9393zp/how-pornhub-moderation-works-girls-do-pornCOPY BBC News. (2020). GirlsDoPorn: Young women win legal battle over video con. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50982051COPY  Trafficking is legally defined as a situation in which “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106–386, Section 102(a), 114 Stat. 1464. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BILLS-106hr3244enr/pdf/BILLS-106hr3244enr.pdfCOPY  Manipulation and coercion are unfortunately common in the porn industry, which legally qualifies as sex trafficking. Again, there’s no viable way for a consumer to guarantee that the porn they’re watching is truly consensual and free of abuse or coercion. As long as there’s a demand for porn—especially porn that is extreme, abusive, or degrading—the porn industry will continue to exploit vulnerable people to meet that demand.

10. Porn glorifies sexual violence

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.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, azab035. 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. https://doi.org/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. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866COPY  Even more concerning is that 95% of the time, the targets of violence and aggression in porn 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. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866COPY 

11. Porn can fuel sexually violent behavior

So we know that porn glorifies violence, but research also indicates that porn’s sexually violent narratives can bleed into consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. In fact, research indicates that porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize others,Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY Skorska, M.N., Hodson, M.N., & Hoffarth, M.N. (2018). Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women (objectification, sexism, discrimination). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 261 – 276.COPY Zhou, Y., Liu, T., Yan, Y., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography use, two forms of dehumanization, and sexual aggression: Attitudes vs. behaviors. Null, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1923598COPY  more likely to express an intent to rape,Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY  less likely to intervene during a sexual assault,Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault. 18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY  Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32(20), 213–243. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558414547097COPY  more likely to victim-blame survivors of sexual assault,Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(20), 3071–3089. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515596538COPY  more likely to support violence against women,Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2016). Men’s Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 955–964. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0644-8COPY Seabrook, R. C., Ward, L. M., & Giaccardi, S. (2019). Less than human? media use, objectification of women, and men’s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 9(5), 536-545. doi:10.1037/vio0000198COPY  more likely to forward sexts without consent,van Oosten, J., & Vandenbosch, L. (2020). Predicting the Willingness to Engage in Non-Consensual Forwarding of Sexts: The Role of Pornography and Instrumental Notions of Sex. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(4), 1121–1132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01580-2COPY  and more likely to commit actual acts of sexual violence.Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2016). A meta-analysis of pornography consumption and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 183-205. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12201COPY Rostad, W. L., Gittins-Stone, D., Huntington, C., Rizzo, C. J., Pearlman, D., & Orchowski, L. (2019). The association between exposure to violent pornography and teen dating violence in grade 10 high school students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(7), 2137-2147. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-1435-4COPY Goodson, A., Franklin, C. A., & Bouffard, L. A. (2021). Male peer support and sexual assault: The relation between high-profile, high school sports participation and sexually predatory behaviour. 27(1), 64-80. doi:10.1080/13552600.2020.1733111COPY Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY  Saying no to porn and its problematic narratives helps to build a healthier world.

12. Stop perpetuating racism

Porn often depicts and profits from blatantly racist narratives. For example, a 2021 content analysis of more than 1,700 scenes from two of the world’s most popular porn sites found that videos featuring Black people disproportionately emphasize violence and aggression, perpetuate harmful racist stereotypes, and often depict Black people as “worse than objects.”Fritz, N., Malic, V., Paul, B., & Zhou, Y. (2021). Worse than objects: The depiction of black women and men and their sexual relationship in pornography. Gender Issues, 38(1), 100-120. doi:10.1007/s12147-020-09255-2COPY  The porn industry often fetishizes race, reducing people of color to sexual categories that often focus on damaging stereotypes.xHamster. (2018). xHamster trend report 2018. Retrieved from https://xhamster.com/blog/posts/745297COPY 

13. Live a more honest life

Many consumers conceal from their partner how much and what types of porn they are viewing. According to a 2017 study, women tend to significantly underestimate how much porn their male partners consume.Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Brown, C. C. (2017). The porn gap: Differences in men’s and women’s pornography patterns in couple relationships. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(2), 146–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2016.1238796COPY  In fact, in this study none of the casually dating women—zero—reported that their partner consumed pornography daily or every other day, but 43% of casually dating men in the study reported this level of heavy porn consumption.Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Brown, C. C. (2017). The porn gap: Differences in men’s and women’s pornography patterns in couple relationships. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(2), 146–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2016.1238796COPY  Scholars have also noted that pornography concealment may influence the partners’ sense of trustworthiness and security in the relationship.Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Brown, C. C. (2017). The porn gap: Differences in men’s and women’s pornography patterns in couple relationships. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(2), 146–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2016.1238796COPY  Healthy relationships are built on honesty and communication, so hiding a porn habit definitely doesn’t help. And hey—you don’t have to clear porn from your browser history if you don’t watch porn.

14. Free up some time

You may have noticed that consuming porn can take up a lot of your time—scrolling from page to page, switching between videos. Aside from all its negative effects, time spent watching porn is time that could be spent developing your hobbies, achieving your goals, or nurturing your relationships with others. It’s estimated that over the course of their life, the average person spends about 3 months on the toilet, 4 months in traffic, and 9 years on their phone. How much of your life will you spend watching porn? Will it be worth it?

15. Focus on real relationships

In porn, everything from the way people look to how and why they have sex is fake. Porn consumers can become so preoccupied with chasing something that isn’t real that they miss out on actual relationships. In fact, people who view porn regularly are less likely to get married than those who do not. Researchers suggest this may be because consumers see porn as a substitute for sexual gratification in a relationship.Malcolm, M., & Naufal, G. (2016). Are pornography and marriage substitutes for young men? Eastern Economic Journal, 42(3), 317-334. doi:10.1057/eej.2015.7COPY 

16. Avoid hurting your partners

Over the years, we have received countless messages from partners of porn consumers who feel deeply hurt by their partners’ porn habits. Individuals who learn of their partner’s porn habit often internalize their shame and confusion, asking themselves why they aren’t enough.Szymanski, D. M., Feltman, C. E., & Dunn, T. L. (2015). Male partners’ perceived pornography use and Women’s relational and psychological health: The roles of trust, attitudes, and investment. Sex Roles, 73(5), 187-199. doi:10.1007/s11199-015-0518-5COPY  Hundreds of studies show that porn can be toxic to relationships. Porn is not a harmless pastime, especially when it’s hurting a romantic partner. It’s time to refocus on what’s real.

17. Become a better parent

The harmful effects of porn don’t always revolve around romantic partners. We’ve heard from many Fighters who have reached out to us telling how porn has harmed their family relationships. When consumers become engrossed enough in their porn habit, they can start to neglect important aspects of their lives, including family relationships. Regardless, modeling healthy behaviors—including not letting porn control your life—is an important part of being a secure parent. Help promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.

18. Become a better friend

Again, for consumers who become wrapped up enough in their porn habit, they can also begin to isolate themselves from valuable social time with friends. Additionally, some porn consumers start to feel shame about their porn habit, which make them feel even more isolated from their support systems.Gilliland, R., South, M., Carpenter, B. N., & Hardy, S. A. (2011). The roles of shame and guilt in hypersexual behavior.18(1), 12-29. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.551182COPY  Disconnect from porn, reconnect with the people around you.

19. Maintain mental/emotional health

A number of peer-reviewed studies have found a link between pornography consumption and mental health outcomes like depression,Harper, C., & Hodgins, D. C. (2016). Examining Correlates of Problematic Internet Pornography Use Among University Students. Journal of behavioral addictions, 5(2), 179–191. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.5.2016.022COPY  anxiety,Wordecha, M., Wilk, M., Kowalewska, E., Skorko, M., Łapiński, A., & Gola, M. (2018). ‘Pornographic binges’ as a key characteristic of males seeking treatment for compulsive sexual behaviors: Qualitative and quantitative 10-week-long diary assessment. Journal of behavioral addictions, 7(2), 433–444. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.7.2018.33COPY  loneliness,Butler, M. H., Pereyra, S. A., Draper, T. W., Leonhardt, N. D., & Skinner, K. B. (2018). Pornography Use and Loneliness: A Bidirectional Recursive Model and Pilot Investigation. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(2), 127–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1321601COPY  lower life satisfaction,Willoughby, B. J., Young-Petersen, B., & Leonhardt, N. D. (2018). Exploring trajectories of pornography use through adolescence and emerging adulthood.55(3), 297-309. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1368977COPY  and poorer self-esteem and overall 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  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.

20. Take back control

According to qualitative research involving individuals who wanted to quit porn, many reported feeling that they had “lost control over [their] own behavior.”COPY  Getting caught in an unhealthy or even addictive cycle of pornography limits the feeling of control a consumer has over their life. Although it may take some time, quitting porn can allow you to take back that control and live a healthier life.

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21. Be the author of your own sexuality

Watching porn isn’t “exploring your sexual fantasies/preferences.” It’s allowing a toxic industry to dictate your sexual template for you—it’s internalizing misogyny, racism, aggression, and all-around unrealistic and unhealthy expectations for sex. Reenacting whatever you’ve seen in porn does not make you a great sexual partner, it just makes you a non-communicative one. Unplugging from porn will help you become more in tune with what you and your partner want instead of influencing you to reenact what you’ve seen in porn.

22. Be pro-sex

As a sex-positive organization, we’re here to tell you that an industry that glorifies a lack of consent, fetishizes race, and ignores mutual pleasure is not sex-positive. Not to mention, research consistently shows that porn consumption is associated with sexual dysfunction (for both men and women) and decreased sexual satisfaction.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  Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64COPY  Rejecting porn’s toxic narratives is unequivocally pro-sex—it’s about discovering what you want, and not letting a multi-billion dollar industry dictate your sexual template for you. Be the author of your own sexuality, not an imitation of something that isn’t even real.

23. Have more energy

A porn habit can consume, your time, attention, and energy. Research shows that many porn consumers report neglecting basic need like eating or sleeping in favor of watching porn.Dwulit, A. D., & Rzymski, P. (2019). Prevalence, Patterns and Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption in Polish University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(10), 1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101861COPY  Without healthy food and sleep habits, your body can easily feel drained of the emotional, physical, and mental energy it needs to keep up with the daily hustle of life. By turning off the monitor, you can refocus on building healthy habits.

24. Be emotionally resilient

Many consumers use porn as a form of escapism to avoid their challenges rather than facing them in healthy ways. Interestingly enough, research indicates that those who consumed pornography to avoid uncomfortable emotions had some of the lowest reports of emotional and mental wellbeing.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.COPY  By letting go of porn as an escapism technique, you can build more emotional resilience.

25. Stop exploiting the LGBTQ+ community

For an industry that is often culturally thought of as being allied with the LGBTQ+ community, the mainstream porn industry’s depictions of LGBTQ+ individuals and relationships suggest that they are less interested in accurate representation and more interested in profiting at the expense of LGBTQ+ people. Porn often fetishizes sexual orientation or gender identity, uses degrading terms to describe LGBTQ+ people, and misrepresents them through harmful and degrading stereotypes.

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26. Protect your relationship

According to study that tracked couples over time, porn consumption was the second strongest indicator that a relationship would suffer.Perry, S. (2017). Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence From Longitudinal Data. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 549-559. Doi: 10.1007/S10508-016-0770-YCOPY  Plus, research consistently shows that porn consumers are twice as likely to later report experiencing a divorce or breakup—even after controlling for marital happiness, sexual satisfaction, and other relevant factors.Perry, S. L. (2018). Pornography use and marital separation: Evidence from two-wave panel data. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(6), 1869-1880. doi:10.1007/s10508-017-1080-8COPY Perry, S. L., & Davis, J. T. (2017). Are pornography users more likely to experience a romantic breakup? Evidence from longitudinal data. Sexuality & Culture, 21(4), 1157-1176. doi:10.1007/s12119-017-9444-8COPY Perry, S. L., & Schleifer, C. (2018). Till porn do us part? A longitudinal examination of pornography use and divorce. 55(3), 284-296. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1317709COPY  There is no substitute for real connection, and porn isn’t worth risking that.

27. Save your money

Paula Hall, a sex and porn addiction therapist, says sexcam addicts make up an increasingly large number of clients who come to her seeking help, and that users become hooked on these fantasies that feel more like a personal relationship than free porn. “People start spending more time and money than they intend to… They keep chasing the same dopamine hit.”Jones, A. (2019). Sexcam therapy. The Face. Retrieved from https://theface.com/life/sex-webcam-therapy-porn-addictionCOPY  Even if you’re not personally spending money on porn, your time spent on porn sites is contributing money to a toxic industry.

28. Avoid being sexually self-centered

Porn can easily reinforce self-centered sexual behavior by focusing only on the consumers desires and boundaries. In real-life sexual experiences, communication, consent, and mutual pleasure are key—all of which are rarely shown in porn.Séguin, L. J., Rodrigue, C., & Lavigne, J. (2018). Consuming Ecstasy: Representations of Male and Female Orgasm in Mainstream Pornography. Journal of sex research, 55(3), 348–356. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1332152COPY  Quit porn and normalize asking your partner—not porn—what they like.

29. Invest in your hobbies

Qualitative research reveals that problematic consumers who are trying to give up porn often report regretting the “wasted time” they could have been spending on hobbies or other worthwhile pursuits.COPY  Pornography is not only a passive activity rather than a hobby, but it can be a destructive passive activity. Plus, replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones is a great tip to quit—start exercising, learn some new recipes, take up knitting, whatever!

30. Listen to the research

Who should you really believe—hundreds upon hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, survivors, and the personal experiences of countless people? Or a multi-billion dollar industry that makes money off of getting you to believe their product is harmless?

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31. Promote mutual pleasure

Research analyzing the content of the most-viewed porn videos of all time reveals that only 18% of women compared to 78% of men were depicted as reaching orgasm.Séguin, L. J., Rodrigue, C., & Lavigne, J. (2018). Consuming Ecstasy: Representations of Male and Female Orgasm in Mainstream Pornography. Journal of sex research, 55(3), 348–356. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1332152COPY  That’s a pretty significant gap, and can perpetuate male-centered sexual experiences rather than promoting mutual pleasure.

32. Prevent sexual entitlement

Porn culture has normalized getting exactly what you want sexually, exactly when and how you want it. With so many people consuming pornography, is it any wonder that many are developing attitudes of sexual entitlement?Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY  Feeling entitled to anyone else’s body is a dangerous notion, and it’s not healthy.

33. Stand in solidarity with survivors

It’s no secret that the porn industry profits from nonconsensual content and abuse, so avoiding porn is an effective and meaningful way to support the countless survivors of image-based sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse material. Not only are porn consumers more likely to victim-blame survivors of sexual assaultFoubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(20), 3071–3089. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515596538COPY  and more likely to support violence against women,Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2016). Men’s Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 955–964. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0644-8COPY Seabrook, R. C., Ward, L. M., & Giaccardi, S. (2019). Less than human? Media use, objectification of women, and men’s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 9(5), 536-545. doi:10.1037/vio0000198COPY  but it’s virtually impossible to guarantee that the porn you’re watching is ethically, consensually, or even legally made. Listen to survivors, and stand with them in solidarity.

34. Help break the cycle of shame

Porn and shame are inextricably linked. In fact, research shows that shame can actually fuel problematic porn habits, leading to an unhealthy cycle of both porn and shame.Gilliland, R., South, M., Carpenter, B. N., & Hardy, S. A. (2011). The roles of shame and guilt in hypersexual behavior. 18(1), 12-29. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.551182COPY  Letting go of both porn and shame can be an incredibly empowering experience that can help you live a healthier life. As one Fighter explained after quitting porn, “I’m not ashamed of myself all the time. It feels like I’m finally myself.”

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35. Build more productive habits

Addictive habits can make us lose sight of our priorities and ultimately feel unproductive. Our grades slip, our passion for projects dwindle, and our relationships can become abandoned. One study of adolescent boys showed that increased pornography consumption was associated with decreased academic performance six months later. Beyens, I., Vandenbosch, L., & Eggermont, S. (2015). Early Adolescent Boys’ Exposure to Internet Pornography: Relationships to Pubertal Timing, Sensation Seeking, and Academic Performance. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 35(8), 1045–1068. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431614548069COPY 

36. Invest in your career

Paula Hall, the sex and porn addiction therapist we mentioned earlier also says that some porn addicts “start noticing they are not spending time with loved ones, or are leaving the club early to spend more time on these sites. They might then gravitate toward using them at work. Often it ends with them using the work computer. That can end their career and I’ve seen people lose a marriage over it.”Jones, A. (2019). Sexcam therapy. The Face. Retrieved from https://theface.com/life/sex-webcam-therapy-porn-addictionCOPY  In fact, real stories of people being caught watching porn at work prove that more and more people are putting their jobs at risk by looking at porn during work hours. Don’t let this destructive material ruin the things that matter most for your daily life.

37. Stop perpetuating sexism

Remember earlier when we talked about how research indicates that as few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn scenes contain physical violence or aggression? Well, that same research also shows that women are almost always the targets of that violence or aggression in porn—approximately 97% of the time.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. https://doi.org/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. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866COPY  Violence against women is unfortunately common in pornography, and research also suggests that it can have an effect on people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors.Ezzell, M. B., Johnson, J. A., Bridges, A. J., & Sun, C. F. (2020). I (dis)like it like that: Gender, pornography, and liking sex. J.Sex Marital Ther., 46(5), 460-473. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2020.1758860COPY 

38. Appreciate body diversity

A recent poll found that the more porn a man consumes, the more likely he is to be dissatisfied with his penis size. And the same goes for women with male partners—the more porn they consume, the less satisfied they are with their partner’s penis size.International Andrology London. (2017). The porn hypothesis – findings prove porn consumption fuels the desire for penis enlargement surgery in the UK. Retrieved from https://london-andrology.co.uk/news/the-porn-hypothesis-findings-prove-porn-consumption-fuels-the-desire-for-penis-enlargement-surgery-in-the-uk/COPY  With airbrushed images and highly edited scenes, porn can easily set the stage for body dysmorphia. But real, flawed human bodies are unique and beautiful. A world without porn and synthetic beauty is a world where comparison doesn’t overtake appreciation. Ditch the porn and its unrealistic body expectations.

39. Be an influencer, not a follower

By raising awareness on this important issue, you won’t just be another person in the crowd following along—you’ll be helping to shift the culture that feeds into a toxic industry. Don’t be a follower—take a stand and be the change you want to see in the world.

40. Ditch loneliness

Many consumers watch porn when they’re feeling lonely, but research actually shows that pornography fuels loneliness.Butler, M. H., Pereyra, S. A., Draper, T. W., Leonhardt, N. D., & Skinner, K. B. (2018). Pornography Use and Loneliness: A Bidirectional Recursive Model and Pilot Investigation. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(2), 127–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1321601COPY  Researchers found that the relationship between porn and loneliness was bidirectional, meaning those who viewed pornography were more likely to feel lonely, and those who felt lonely were more likely to view pornography. At the end of the day, porn fuels an unhealthy cycle of loneliness that just isn’t worth it.

41. Avoid contributing to victims’ trauma

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—there’s no viable way to guarantee that the porn you’re watching is truly consensual, ethical, or even legal. For those who have been abused, manipulated, or coerced in porn, contributing to the viewership of that trauma can feel like re-victimization to survivors. As one former performer told us, “I hate that ten years later, people are still watching my most humiliating and traumatizing moments out of the consent I gave in my teens and twenties as an addicted, alcoholic, traumatized young woman running from her dangerous off-porn life. I wish ‘consent’ had an expiration.”

42. Deal with stress better

Instead of healthy levels of stress, which can help motivate us in healthy doses, research suggests that porn can contribute to an unhealthy cycle of stress, which is actually one of the hallmarks of addiction.Jokinen, J., Chatzittofis, A., Nordström, P., & Arver, S. (2016). The role of neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of hypersexual disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 71, 55. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.07.144COPY  As one individual who successfully quit porn told us, “The stress and anxiety that used to be persistent in my life is basically gone.”

43. Object to objectification

Sexual objectification occurs when people perceive others as sex objects, rather than complex human beings deserving of dignity and respect. In fact, in a review of research on sexual violence, two leading experts called sexual objectification the “common thread” that connects different forms of sexual violence.Gervais, S. J., & Eagan, S. (2017). Sexual objectification: The common thread connecting myriad forms of sexual violence against women. The American journal of orthopsychiatry, 87(3), 226–232. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000257COPY  Consuming pornography is often objectification in practice, so it’s no surprise that research routinely shows that frequent porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize others.Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY Skorska, M.N., Hodson, M.N., & Hoffarth, M.N. (2018). Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women (objectification, sexism, discrimination). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 261 – 276.COPY Zhou, Y., Liu, T., Yan, Y., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography use, two forms of dehumanization, and sexual aggression: Attitudes vs. behaviors. Null, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1923598COPY  Let’s be the kind of people who treat people like people.

44. Ditch fake sex

Don’t take sex tips from an industry that profits from fake orgasms. Enough said.

45. Stop contributing to toxic narratives

Popular porn plot lines often include incest, racism, sexism, misrepresentation of the LGBTQIA+ community, underaged teens being taken advantage of, rape, manipulation, etc. By avoiding porn, you’re avoiding contributing to the normalization and glorification of toxic narratives, and that’s a great thing. Plus, by ditching porn, you’re also helping to protect yourself from developing toxic attitudes based on those porn themes.

46. Reclaim self-confidence

Research indicates that consuming porn is linked with more negative body image, lower self-esteem, and poorer mental health.Owens, E. W., Behun, R. J., Manning, J. C., & Reid, R. C. (2012). The impact of internet pornography on adolescents: A review of the research. 19(1-2), 99-122. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.660431COPY 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  By kicking the habit, you can start to build confidence in all aspects of life.

47. Avoid romanticizing unhealthy relationships

It’s no secret that porn glorifies aspects of toxic relationships. Whether that’s cheating, incest, a lack of communication, coercion, or lopsided relationship dynamics, normalizing unhealthy relationships isn’t okay. Real intimacy offers so much more. Real intimacy is a world of satisfaction and excitement that doesn’t disappear when the screen goes off. It’s the breathtaking risk of being vulnerable with another human being. It’s inviting them not just into your bedroom, but into your heart and life. Real intimacy is about what we give, not just what we get. Porn doesn’t portray true connections, it can only scratch the surface.

48. Have realistic relationship expectations

Relationships require work. They aren’t always flawless, and sex (if sex is involved) won’t be easy and perfect every single time. Love can be messy but that’s the beauty of it—it’s real, not synthetic. It’s natural, not produced. Porn can be the opposite of connection—it’s isolating and self-focused. Real connection is immeasurably better than porn because real connection is exactly that—it’s real. Ditch the porn and develop healthier relationship expectations.

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49. Be a more supportive partner

Being a supportive partner includes being sensitive to the feelings and needs of your partner and what might be causing them pain. According to a 2015 study, previous partners’ pornography consumption predicted women’s levels of feeling sexually objectified, higher levels of body shame, and even lead to increased eating disorder symptomatology.Tylka, T. L., & Van Diest, A. M. K. (2015). You looking at her “hot” body may not be “cool” for me: Integrating male partners’ pornography use into objectification theory for women. Psychology of Women Quarterly,39, 67–84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784COPY  Additionally, porn has been shown to foster unrealistic expectations that partners feel they can never live up to in a real relationship.Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784COPY  Many partners internalize their shame and confusion, asking themselves why they aren’t “enough.”Szymanski, D. M., Feltman, C. E., & Dunn, T. L. (2015). Male partners’ perceived pornography use and Women’s relational and psychological health: The roles of trust, attitudes, and investment. Sex Roles, 73(5), 187-199. doi:10.1007/s11199-015-0518-5COPY  In fact, one study found that the frequency of an individual’s porn consumption was negatively correlated with their partner’s sense of self-esteem, level of relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction.Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784COPY  Invest in your relationship, support your partner, and let go of porn—it’s not worth it.

50. Do something you can be proud of

Taking the challenge to give up porn is not always easy, but by quitting porn, you’re taking a stand against a dangerous, exploitative industry and building healthier habits for you and your relationships.

No matter your reasons, giving up porn is definitely something you can be proud of. You got this!

The post 50 Good Reasons to Stop Watching Porn Forever appeared first on Fight the New Drug.