Porn and mental health

Why porn messes with your head

Jordan Zy

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Not another article about the negative effects of looking at naked people too much.” Not too long ago, I would have thought the same thing. I too had seen the facts of how it ruins people’s love life, libidos and futures, but I always said, “Not me, I’m not that bad.” So do most of us who dabble in pornography a little more than they admit. The truth is, pornography is the most wide scale addiction you’ve ever ignored. It is an embarrassing subject, but I think we need to see more people step forward to talk about it like Russell Brand did in a recent video.

According to a general online study, men are 543% more likely to look at porn than women, 64% of men look at porn at least once a week compared to 18% in women. It’s getting worse every year, and I’m part of a generation that had a free and limitless stock of porn because of the internet. I’m a part of this generation that was consumed by porn addiction.

Pornography is addictive as any other substance can be. And like any addiction, you will never consciously see it that way. You keep coming back to porn because you can’t quit; you need the release of dopamine and serotonin that it brings. Soon you start getting into more graphic pornography, and you want to see more of it. Your tastes get weirder. What you would have horrified you before is now your latest high.

Paranoia sinks in. You worry that someone is going to know, or find out. You know you should stop because that’s the best way to make sure no one finds out. Except it isn’t that easy, you can’t just quit. Nothing is worse than the stress of someone else holding your phone or using your computer. You are panicking inside about what they might accidentally find. I remember having lots of passwords, or coming up with ways to nonchalantly snatch a phone out of my friend’s hands.

To make it worse, porn desensitizes you. You are becoming numb to it, but it’s too late. Your brain has associated the chemicals that make you feel good with the act of seeking porn, not the act of sexual release. You try to find something more graphic, more degrading, but that’s not doing it for you anymore. You’ll even find yourself seeking the release when you aren’t even horny.

The consequences? Sex is no longer a loving act, it is now one person using their partner to release. That is if you could reach release, porn created an unrealistic expectation for sex so it’s very likely that you’ll not even be able to perform. Your brain has rewired itself to associate pleasure with searching for porn instead. Worst case scenario, you act out sexually. And knowing some of the depraved porn out there, you can imagine how bad that could be.

The facts are out there, the facts are real. The worst part is that when you are addicted you will still refuse to believe it is affecting you. For more information, you can look into all sorts of resources such as Fight The New Drug, an organization that is “dropping knowledge on the harmful effects of porn.” Take it from me, get help now.  Quitting will be the best decision you ever made, and as an addiction, it is almost certain that you cannot do it alone. It may be scary, hard and embarrassing, but you are not alone.

Jordan is a senior studying psychology.