Building the next generation of leaders for marriage, family, and sexual integrity

Frequently Asked Questions: Pornography

What’s the big deal about pornography?

Pornography offends human dignity, perverts sex, and kills love. Pornography hurts the person viewed, the viewer, and often also the family of the viewer. There is nothing healthy, helpful, or good about pornography.

Pornography is “prostitution with a camera” and often involves trafficking, rape, or other forms of violence and abuse. In this way it hurts those who are used to create the pornography.

Watching such violence and perversion also hurts the user. Studies have shown that even consumption of non-violent porn is correlated with a greater likelihood that the user will push women into sex via verbal coercion, drugs, or alcohol. Porn increases the likelihood of violence and warps one’s understanding of intimacy, sex, and human dignity.

Over time, repeated consumption of pornography can also lead to addiction. Pornography affects the brain much like other addictive substances – by rewiring the brain’s reward pathways in response to dopamine rushing to the brain every time pornography is viewed. Addiction means an increased appetite for pornography, and often for more hard core and perverse porn.

Pornography also often leads to estrangement from family and friends. It kills love by making it more difficult for the user to respond sexually to another human being and to experience pleasure or satisfaction with another human being. It harms marriages and families and is therefore a burden on society.

Is it true that viewing pornography is addictive?

Yes. Repeated consumption of pornography affects the brain much like other addictive substances. Viewing porn causes a rush of dopamine to the brain, and when this happens repeatedly the brain’s reward pathways are rewired. This change in the brain can result in an increased desire for porn, and in addiction.

How pervasive is pornography use on a college campus?

Unfortunately, pornography can easily and readily be found on your average American college campus. Pornography will be viewed in the classroom by professors either because the class is about pornography (such as UCLA’s course, Pornography and Evolution), or simply to convey a point. Some universities are also host to a program called “Sex Week” during which pornography is viewed and praised, and students are instructed via pleasure workshops. And of course, pornography consumption can be found in dormitory rooms as well. The prevalence of pornography on college campuses is a major problem in that it teaches risky sexual behavior, disrespectful and degrading attitudes, and tolerance of sexual abuse and violence.

Can you oppose pornography and still support free speech?

Yes. There are all sorts of speech that are legally protected, but that can legitimately be discouraged because of their injurious effect or apparently immoral nature. Whether or not pornography should be protected under the First Amendment is a matter of debate, but it is worth considering the fact that much pornography is produced via prostitution, trafficking, rape, and other types of abuse, all of which are prosecutable under law.

How does pornography affect romantic relationships?

Viewing pornography can affect romantic relationships in many ways. First, the more a person views pornography, the more difficult it becomes to get aroused by a real person. This is one reason why pornography consumption often leads to having less sex and experiencing that sex as less satisfying. Many users often feel as though something is wrong with them, and experience loneliness and isolation. Partners of porn users also suffer. Studies have found that partners experience feelings of betrayal, anger, loss, and mistrust in response to learning about their loved one’s porn use.

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