There is currently no solid evidence that watching pornography changes an individual’s sexual preferences. The passage of time is an important consideration when attempting to establish a causal link. Despite this, pornography’s pervasiveness, ease of access, and frequency of use are all comparatively recent trends. Because of this, experts are unable to track the evolution of pornography through time.
Most studies on this topic are focused on self-report and subjective assessment of how pornography impacts a person’s life, sexuality and relationships as well as their self-esteem and body image. Reports may be influenced by a variety of factors, such as feelings of guilt, religious conviction, or the belief that pornography is morally repugnant.
Consequently, it’s difficult to say with certainty how broadly applicable the data we currently have is. Many studies, for example, are inconclusive or provide contradictory findings on how someone is affected by the consumption of sexually explicit media. Adults who were exposed to pornography as children are not fully aware of the long-term consequences.
However, some kids as young as 12 reported having had access to pornographic materials in one research, which found that the average age of first exposure was 14. “Pornhub”, a well-known site, reports having 120 million daily users. Although the exact amount of money this industry makes each year is unknown, it is estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $100 billion.
Pornographic Use during COVID-19
Every element of our daily life has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and this includes visible patterns of pornographic video streaming. “Pornhub”, for example, saw a 24% increase in traffic from February to March 2020.
Stay-at-home mandates came into effect during this period, as did the comparison of pre-pandemic consumption patterns to post-pandemic usage patterns. This information was gathered from 27 countries that used some form of lockdown policy.
At 3 a.m., there was a 31% spike in traffic to pornographic sites compared to other times of the day, according to observations. At 1 p.m., usage had increased by 26%. This raises the question of whether or not the consumption of pornography is linked to sleep disturbances and decreased productivity at work. Boredom or the convenience of having one’s own computer at home could account for some of these trends.
The quarantine brought with it new degrees of financial instability and the inability to spend time with family and friends. Use of porn may be an attempt to satisfy unfulfilled desires, such as a desire for human contact and connection to others. Individuals with a history of addictive behaviour were left without easy access to 12-step programmes during the epidemic, which could have been a contributing cause.
Body Perception Modification
Our expectations of beauty and attractiveness are influenced in part by the images we see on the internet. Pornography can lead to dissatisfaction with one’s love relationships for some people. People with a BMI above 25 who watch pornographic material are more likely to be dissatisfied in their romantic relationships.
Pornography may expose viewers to body types that may be perceived as fit or appealing by the general public. Comparing one’s own body to these norms and concluding that it falls short can be detrimental to one’s self-esteem and self-esteem of others.”
They may come to believe that their bodies aren’t up to snuff. It could lead to relationship dissatisfaction if they compare their partner’s bodies to those in pornography. This could possibly explain the link between adolescent female pornography use and mental health problems.
Affect on sexual satisfation
When more than 6,400 young pornographers were polled, many said it had some self-perceived negative consequences in their lives. One in four study participants reported a general decline in sexual satisfaction as one of the unfavourable outcomes. The desire for more stimulation to achieve orgasm was also mentioned, which was an unwelcome side effect of porn usage.
When compared to pornography users who did not believe their use was problematic, users who subjectively described their use as problematic were two to four times more likely to report sexual dysfunction.
Some acknowledged to putting their fundamental necessities and responsibilities on hold in order to watch porn. This was frequent among persons who claimed to be addicted to pornography. Those who said they had seen pornography before the age of 12 were far more inclined to think it was troublesome and compulsive.
Some other sexual acts
Pornography exposure appears to be associated with a more permissive attitude toward sexual encounters and casual sex, which may be contributing to the “hook-up” culture trend.
What is concerning is when young people believe they are learning from pornography: Condom use in heterosexual intercourse was depicted as uncommon, with a rate of around 2%. However, it was up to 64% more common in gay male sex.
Even though viewing pornographic material is extremely frequent, it is nevertheless important to be aware of the potential negative consequences that such viewing can have on one’s mental health. If you are concerned that you have an unhealthy relationship with pornography, speaking with a professional in the field of mental health can help you better control your intake or try some tips like blocking or deleting all porn materials from your smartphone, changing your lifestyle, do meditation and yoga, spend time with your love or friends and family.