Poisonous Power of Porn

The biggest danger of pornography is that it separates us from God.  This separation grows exponentially worse with pornography’s habit forming nature.  When a person looks at pornography, a flood of chemicals including Oxytocin and Endorphins are released in the brain that carve out neural pathways that encourage repeated actions.  Your brain says, “that was good, I enjoyed that, let’s do it again.”  So not only does this sin drive a wedge between us and God, but it encourages addictive behavior.  As you repeat the action, those neural pathways get strengthened and become increasingly habit forming. 

Pornography thus becomes a downward spiral that picks up speed and drives us further away from God the longer we engage in it.  However, being spiritually harmful is not the only negative effect of pornography.  There is a high price to pay for looking at pornography.  Viewing pornography affects you in every facet of your life.  It affects you relationally, emotionally, and physically  .  Consider these statistics: 

– Between 14,500 and 17,500 sex slaves are trafficked into the U.S. each year. Another 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking each year.[1]

– Sexually explicit media content skews children’s world view, increases high-risk behaviors, and alters their capacity for successful and sustained human relationships.[2]  

– Pornography addicts are 300% more likely to cheat on their spouse.[3]

– Pornography addicts are twice as likely to get a divorce.[4]

– 1/3 of porn addicts lose their jobs

– 60% of porn addicts have significant financial loss

– Severe clinical depression is twice as frequent among internet pornography users.[5]

– Sexual addicts are 23 times more likely than those without a problem to state that: “discovering online sexual material was the worst thing that had ever happened in my life.”[6]

– Heavy exposure to pornography leads men to judge their mates as sexually less attractive.[7]

– A 2006-2008 survey of youth aged 10-15 found that youth who reported exposure to pornographic materials were 6.5 times more likely to report sexually aggressive behavior.[8]

– 71% of those who used porn experienced sexual dysfunction and 33% reported difficulty having an orgasm. Many of these men preferred online pornography for achieving and maintaining arousal to having sex with partners.[9]

– Excessive Pornography can cause Erectile Disfunction.  (See explanation below).

Getting Technical

“When people start watching porn, there is a huge flood of dopamine in the brain,” explains Dr. Elizabeth Waterman, a psychologist at Morningside Recovery Center in Newport California. “Over time, the receptors that were once very sensitive become less sensitive, and normal physical intimacy does not produce enough dopamine to stimulate the dopamine receptors.” In other words, the more porn you watch, the more – and harder and more graphic – porn you need in order to get it up. If the trend continues, men can find themselves physically unable to maintain an erection, much less enjoy sexual contact with another person.[10]

Look over the list again, it is a depressing list.  Pornography can affect every area of your life.  Pornography increases chances of adultery, causes marriages to fail, affects the ability to have healthy relationships, and promotes child sex trafficking.  It is a miserable master.  No good thing comes from pornography.  Even if you did not believe in God, and even if you didn’t care that pornography wrecks your relationship with God, teens should still stay away from pornography for its other negative effects.

If those statistics are not bad enough look at how harmful pornography is to the brain:

Dopamine – is the “feel good” hormone that motivates people, helps them to focus on tasks, and propels them to action.  When we look at pornography, huge amounts of dopamine are released and our brains can become “addicted” to that dopamine fix.  This causes us to feel unmotivated to do anything else except look at pornography and get our next “fix.”[11]

Oxytocin – is referred to as the bonding hormone and causes people to feel intimate with one another.  Oxytocin is released with two people kiss, when a parent holds a new born baby, and also during sexual intimacy.  The problem for the porn user is that instead of bonding to a mate or learning to bond with women, they learn to bond with a screen.  When a real woman comes along, they have a hard time forming lasting relationships, and sex becomes more difficult because they have trained their brain to react to a screen instead of a real person.

Testosterone – Known as the male hormone, produces sexual desire and arousal.  With increased pornography use testosterone levels rise causing a chemical imbalance.  This also causes a guy to become hyper sexualized.  It becomes hard for him to control sexual fantasies and even modest women become provocative. 

Cooledge affect – The Cooledge affect describes our propensity to novelty.[12]  We like things that are new and different.  This is especially true with sexuality.  Like other drugs, we can build up a tolerance to pornography, and we have to look to  more extreme forms of pornography to get the same fix.  The more a person looks at sexual images, the more novel the images need to become.  This causes people to go from softcore porn to hardcore to violent pornography.  This leads the viewer to seek out extreme forms of pornography such as bestiality and pedophilia.[13] 

The Cooledge affect causes some men to have performance issues because normal interactions no longer suffice. “Virility is important for almost every man I know. The rise in porn-induced erectile dysfunction is something to be alarmed about. Frequent porn use leads to frequent masturbation and erections which can increasingly only be induced by hardcore pornography.  Porn viewing then becomes a sort of psychological conditioning which creates performance anxiety.”[14]


[1] Convergence Summit, How Does Porn Driving Sex Trafficking?, April 13-14, 2011 available online at http://www.covenanteyes.com/convergence/social-justice/ (accessed Feb. 26, 2013).

[2] Villani, Susan. “Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10-Year Review of the Research.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 40, April 2001, 392, 399.

[3] Steven Stack, Ira Wasserman, and Roger Kern, “Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography,” Social Science Quarterly 85, (2004): 75-88.

[4]  Perry, Samuel L., and Cyrus Schleifer, “Till Porn Do Us Part? A Longitudinal Examination of Pornography Use and Divorce,” The Journal of Sex Research (2017): 1-13.

[5] Michele L. Ybarra and Kimberly J. Mitchell, “Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children and Adolescents: A National Survey,” CyberPsychology & Behavior 8, (2005): 473-86 (479).

[6] Donald W. Black, Laura L.D. Kehrberg, Denise L. Flumerfelt, and Steven S. Schlosser, “Characteristics of 36 Subjects Reporting Compulsive Sexual Behavior,” American Journal of Psychiatry 154, (1997): 243-49 (247).

[7] Dolf Zillmann and Jennings Bryant, “Pornography’s Impact on Sexual Satisfaction,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 18, (1988): 439.

[8] Ybarra, Michele L., et al. “X-Rated Material and Perpetration of Sexually Aggressive Behavior Among Children and Adolescents: Is There a Link?” Aggressive Behavior 37, 2011, 1, 3, 7.

[9] https://www.recoveryranch.com/relationships/psychological-side-effects-of-pornography/

[10] https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/are-you-watching-too-much-porn-20130821/

[11] http://anthologycw.com/about-us/does-porn-really-change-my-brain/

[12] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2015.1025123

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20980228

[14] https://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/pornography-erodes-masculinity/

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