Porn and Mental Health: 10 Facts from the Experts
Friday, November 6, 2015 | Written by Matt Fradd
Is porn use associated with greater mental health or the opposite? Here are 10 facts from the experts.
1. Multiple studies have shown that frequently viewing porn is correlated with more casual sexual partners, sex with friends, and sex at an earlier age. 1 2 3 4
2. According to a study of college-age men, the more men watch pornography, the more likely they are to have lower self esteem. 5
3. According to a study among adolescents, porn use is frequently associated with cheating on one’s girlfriend. 6
4. According to a study of Dutch adolescents, exposure to sexually explicit movies online is significantly correlated with the belief that women are sex objects. 7
5. According to another study in the Journal of Sex Research, the more frequent someone’s porn use is, the less satisfied they tend to be with sex and human relationships. 8
6. According to a study at the University of Sidney of 800 regular porn users, 20% said they prefer porn over sex with a partner. 9
7. According to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, just as it is with those who have substance dependencies, porn use was shown to interfere with someone’s working memory capacity. 10
8. According to a study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, when men view porn the regions of the brain called the thalamus and hypothalamus are significantly activated. These are the regions responsible for some of our core drives like food, water, and sex. This means when men view porn, it doesn’t register to them as something they just desire. Their brain experiences it as a survival need. 11
9. According to a study of youth ages 10 to 17, there’s a significant correlation between watching porn and feelings of loneliness and major depression. 12
10. According to a study of adolescents from Israel, boys who viewed more porn were less likely to have pro-social attitudes, meaning they were less likely to desire or actually be involved in behaviors that benefited society as a whole. 13
The evidence is clear. Consuming porn is associated with all kinds of mental health concerns. We deserve better as a society. Our kids deserve better. The women in our lives deserve better.
As commonplace as porn use is today, if porn made us healthier, we would be healthy by now.