I watch a lot of porn, is that something I should be worried about?

AG: Hi everyone! Last week we started answering this question by talking about some of the messages that can be portrayed in mainstream porn and this week we’re going to shift towards some of the impacts that these messages can have on us.

AA: If a person becomes accustomed to watching a specific type of niche pornography they may find difficulty in relating to sexual encounters in their own life. This can be seen through problems becoming aroused and for male bodied individuals ED (erectile dysfunction). Any sexual interaction that does not match the niche pornography they have been watching may no longer create arousal and/or an orgasm in their body. This person may no longer find satisfaction in sex that they once found arousing.  Frequent mainstream porn watching has also been linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and anti-social behaviors.

AG: One facet of the often exploitative nature of porn that we mentioned last week is that there is frequently little communication, especially about consent or pleasure. If someone grows up learning about sex through porn, they may think that it’s less essential to check in with their partner about feelings and pleasure before, during, and after the sexual interaction.

AA: Some of the messages can carry beyond a sexual experience into everyday life. The imbalance of power represented in many forms of pornography can have a negative impact on how vulnerable or at-risk people are treated by those who are engaging with mainstream porn.

AG: As we mentioned last week, porn is not inherently problematic, and it is of course an incredibly personal decision regarding porn’s effects on your life. I think that being aware of some of the more negative messages in porn and the impacts these can have is an important piece of evaluating this question.

AA: If you have decided that you want to change your pornography habits there are a variety of options to begin changing your behavior. Here are a few:

  • Reduce the amount of pornography you are watching;

  • Change the type of porn you are watching to a less graphic or exploitive option;

  • Limit your porn viewing to only with an equally interested partner;

  • Speak with a professional about your porn use and the way it is impacting your life

AG: If you do not wish to change your porn habits, as with any media consumption, it is always important to think critically about the similarities and differences between the representations you’re viewing and the experiences you’re having in real life.  

Amanda Ayers

Health Educator

AG
Student