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The silent killer

Credit: Joel Mayorga/The Foothill Dragon Press
Pornography can lead to the break down of real relationships and to the deterioration of authentic love. Credit: Joel Mayorga/The Foothill Dragon Press

A man and woman engage in sexual intercourse during marriage. That in it of itself is an act of total giving of one’s self to another, potentially creating new life. Sex in its purest form is truly beautiful due to the act of love that takes place.

It is disappointing to see something that is inherently good, being twisted to become something quite awful. That is the case with pornography today. Ironically, pornography is taking an act made for love and using it to destroy love.

According to one survey from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, as many as 68 percent of young adult men and 18 percentage of young women use porn at least once every week. Another 30 percent of women and 17 percent of men use porn once a month. For as many as 85 percent of young men and almost half of young women, watching porn is a monthly activity.

Today, with the advent of the Internet and smartphones, accessing porn is literally only a click away. This is damaging not only to the brain, but also to relationships and society as a whole.

The first reason why pornography is harmful is because of how it changes your brain. Scientists studying neuroplasticity have discovered that the brain continually lays down new pathways based on various experiences, which causes neurons (brain cells) to be activated. When neurons are activated they release chemicals like dopamine to strengthen the connection between them, while also causing you to feel good. This reward pathway is designed to help keep you alive.

Porn is similar to cocaine in that it uses the reward pathway to release high levels of dopamine. The problem is that when porn is used, dopamine is released in high amounts, which over time causes the brain to build up a tolerance to it. This leads to users needing to find more porn or hardcore porn to achieve the same dopamine high. The more porn a person looks at, the worse the damage is to the brain, while also impairing their ability to stop. Thankfully, neuroplasticity works both ways, meaning the damage to the brain can be undone when they stop the porn usage.

Pornography also destroys real relationships since it creates a fantasy reality. In porn almost everything can be edited, using Photoshop to enhance the body, and making it seem like people are having a good time. The more porn is watched, the harder it will be to have a real loving relationship, since porn portrays people as the sum of their body parts, needed for one’s own sexual desires. To be clear, porn is not wrong because the body is shameful and sex is bad. It is wrong because it removes sex from its purest form, creating a multi billion-dollar business, which portrays men and women as objects to be used-instead of people to be loved.

Pornography greatly impacts families too. A survey of members from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, found that 62 percent of the divorce attorneys surveyed attributed porn obsession as a significant factor in the divorce cases they handled in the last year. When porn leads to the breakdown of a marriage, it not only greatly impacts the spouse but also the children. When a parent is hooked on porn, they are wasting time that could be better spent with the family.

Today, porn is the silent killer of authentic love. It is impacting many people and each day is taking precious time from people who could be building honest, loving relationships. We can change this. Pornography is winning because of its stealth and power. We need to bring light to this darkness through genuine dialogue about porn and its consequences.

If you or a loved one is struggling with pornography, here is a resource to help.


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Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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  • E

    egoNov 25, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Get your porn facts straight!

  • F

    FelixOct 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I think you’re demonizing something for the wrong reasons. Pornography is not meant to ruin relationships, all it does is give young people an unrealistic expectation of sex. What should be focused on is the constant objectification of women and the harmful industries behind it.
    I understand this is solely your opinion, but maybe you should spread your mind a bit. Pornstars have families and relationships of their own, which run smoothly. Some pornography companies are very positive and fun places, and they spread sex and body positivity. These people make pornography because they enjoy it and want to help destigmatize sex, not to break up a family or ruin relationships. If a person is truly “addicted” then they have an underlying problem completely separate from watching pornography.
    If I were you I’d write a piece about why the porn industry is harmful through exploitation and trafficking, rather than it breaking up an already unhappy marriage.

  • K

    KileyOct 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    “which portrays men and women as objects” stop playin like men are objectified in porn and not doing the objectification like