How dangerous is pornography?

I wrote a blog a few months back about sex and relationships. I started by saying I’d been thinking recently about sex and if various surveys are to be believed, so have you! According to other research I have come across, many of you have been going further, not just thinking about sex but regularly viewing internet pornography.

This is not totally surprising considering how freely available mass-produced porn is. However according to research quoted in a free e-book available from such behaviour is very harmful.

Apparently researchers from Indiana University in the 1980’s exposed people to different levels of video pornography over a 6 week period and then asked them various questions to find out what impact exposure to pornography had on them.

They found the following –

  1. Watching pornography decreases our sexual satisfaction. Watching endless pornography results in people struggling to have sex with real human beings. Men and women become consumers of sex rather than lovers.
  2. Watching porn disconnects us from real relationships. The more porn someone watches the more likely they were to prefer sex without emotional involvement. Cheap thrills of fantasy are valued over committed relationships. Men are trained to prefer looking at women more than seeking out genuine intimacy.
  3. Watching porn lowers our view of women. Those exposed to significant amounts of porn believed the stereotype that all women are really “as hysterically euphoric in response to just about any sexual or pseudo sexual stimulation, and as eager to accommodate seemingly any and every sexual request” as the porn girls. The more porn someone watched the less likely they were to support women’s rights. Women are seen as commodities.
  4. Watching porn desensitizes us to cruelty. Those who watched excessive amounts of porn were very likely to believe anal sex, group sex, sadomasochism and bestiality were common. The more porn someone watched the more likely they were to trivialise rape.
  5. Watching porn makes us want to watch more porn. Two weeks after the experiment those exposed to more pornography were significantly more likely to want to watch hardcore porn. As time went on they watched more novel and bizarre material to achieve the same level of arousal and interest.

With pornography so freely available the temptation is constantly there for us all. This research highlights the dangers for us all of giving in to the temptation. If this is a problem for you please don’t just accept it as one of those things, do something about it – get help. The ebook mentioned above gives some helpful advice on what you can do to overcome temptation.



Tony is an Elder at Hope Church Luton and part of the Leadership team.

He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.