Porn Is Bad For Men


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I was about 12 or 13 when I first watched porn. One of my friends from school had told me about a site where you could watch clips for free. I went to a majority white elementary school, so naturally the site featured pretty much all white male actors and sometimes non-white actresses. As with any boy growing into puberty, watching porn was an amalgamation of curiosity, (mis)education, insecurity, rebellion, anxiety about being a virgin, adrenaline, and raging hormones. But after a while I got disinterested, because as a Black kid, I didn’t really want to watch white people have sex (as crude as that sounds). Clicking through various sites and pop-ups, I stumbled up Latina sites, and my consumption greatly increased. But once I found that Black porn was actually a thing, it went down-hill really, really, really fast.

Watching porn is something we just don’t talk about, because our “civilized” society sees porn-watchers as sick, perverted people. Though that characterization is “logical” in a sense, it can be not only dismissive of the problem, but actually ironic and hypocritical. Canadian researcher Simon Lajuenesse says that most boys now seek out pornography by the age of ten. With the advent of fast-streaming, boys across of the country have virtually unlimited, easy access to free pornography. Researchers would like to conduct more studies on male porn consumption, but they often run into one key problem: they can’t find big enough control groups to even be able start the study.

What this means is that, in general, guys who have not watched porn do not exist. 

All humans have certain basic impulses that we cannot ignore: sex, bonding, eating, drinking, sleeping, using the bathroom. Some are easier to satisfy than others. But pornography doesn’t really satisfy our deepest desires, it’s just a base transaction, no different than a junkie getting a quick fix. The drug and dealer is different, but the addiction is the same. Ironically, it’s one of the most taboo subjects, even though it is thoroughly more common than several other abuses.

There are so many detrimental effects watching porn has on men. It implants a level of aggression into guys’ sexual fantasies that mostly like would not be there otherwise, it gives an unrealistic sense of how women’s body should look, promotes self-pleasure over collaboration,  fast orgasms over sensual bonding experiences, lack of intimacy, and fortifies the idea that men can only truly enter into masculinity through what they do with their dicks. We also don’t know how much these sessions of virtual fantasy fulfillment actually affect what we do in reality. Fetishes ranging from kinky to eclectic to weird to downright sick are mainstays at many of the top streaming sites. In fact, many of them still offer a “Rape” section. But aside from the many social and psychological affects porn addiction has on men, it also induces unhealthy biological drawbacks as well.

Porn addiction is no different than any other addiction. With each new visit to your favorite nude hub, the brain releases dopamine through the prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and ventral tegmental area (also known as “The Reward Circuit”). Too much dopamine can screw up our natural satiation processes, which promotes binge behavior. Binge behavior leads to changes in the brain that numb pleasure response. Like a drug, the more men consume porn and masturbate, they have to seek novel experiences to get the same level of gratification. This type of hyper-activity is one of the most overlooked causes of depression, performance anxiety, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction (which can not so ironically be the only thing that will get men to moderate or stop their binge behavior).

When  I was younger, I can definitely say I was addicted to porn. Now, I go long periods of time without any XXXtra-curricular activities, but then something triggers me (a random twerk video on my timeline, a sexualized ad on a torrent site), and I snap back.  I remember having a candid convo with some of my guy friends about our porn watching habits; about we how much we watch porn, what we like and dislike, and how we feel like a complete lowlives after the fact. It was probably the funniest conversation filled with gut-wrenching laughter that I’ve ever had in my life. Not because it was “funny”, but because it was such a relief; a moment of self-deprecation, where we are could all let down our guard down and talk about something admittedly scumbaggish, but ultimately normal (not normal in the sense that it’s ok, but in the sense that it’s more ubiquitous than not, and it’s something we all choose to suffer with in silence and solitude). It was a catharsis that we all needed.

While my friend group is open to talking about subjects like these, many people still feel the stigma is too massive to approach. But there are plenty of support groups and platforms such as “The Good Men Project” where you can have these type of conversations. If you’re having trouble quitting porn or simply weening off of it, I suggest watching a few TedTalks; “The Great Porn Experiment” by Gary Wilson, “Why I stopped watching Porn” by Ran Gavrielli, and “Why Giving is Better than Porn” by David Erasmus, in which he gives some really good advice that I think can be summed up in one key quote:

“To figure out if something is good for you, you have to ask the simple question: Where does it lead you, and where does it leave you?”

 

We Out Here,

Josh A

 

(for more info, go to http://www.yourbrainonporn.com)

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