Is watching pornography bad?

No matter where you grew up, you were probably told that pornography is bad. Growing up, I repeatedly heard this statement; however, I was never given an explanation as to why it was bad.  I was always curious about this question, but it was too sensitive of an issue to bring up with any adults. My friends were no better informed than me and I was too afraid to Google the answer to this question, as I was perpetually paranoid of my parents scrutinizing the browser history of the computer our family shared at the time.

Years passed, and I heard no explanation for this deeply troubling question; this unexplained assumption, that porn was “bad.” Finally, in my senior year of high school, my curiosity reached its apex. I needed to know the answer. And so, I did something almost all of us had thought of doing, but never dared to do: I Googled “the pros and cons of porn.”

Well, let me enlighten our community. Let me do what all of you have wanted to do but have not had the courage to. Let me tell you why porn is “bad.”

Apparently, pornography creates unrealistic expectations, a claim with which Robert Sandoval ’19 concurs. “I feel like porn is a good thing,” said Sandoval. “But if you start indulging in it, you start creating completely unrealistic expectations.”

Additional cons of porn include desensitizing people, and the objectification of women and men as sexual objects. Another issue is addiction; globally, the majority of the people diagnosed with a sex addiction had a porn-addiction as well.

However, most of the cons associated with porn are speculative, as there have not been conclusive studies on the issue. In part, this lack of studies is due to experiments being unable to find a large enough control group of individuals that had not watched porn.

Even if some of you are aware of the cons, I’m sure that only a very miniscule percentage of you have ever thought to look up the pros of porn: porn can open up one’s attitude towards sex and make them more open to experimentation, even give them inspiration for new ideas.

It can also be educational, helping people who need to understand how sex works and teaching people about trans-women. Courtney Trouble, creator of TROUBLEfilms, also said that the porn industry is making a conscious effort to make porn appear more like how sex ‘should be,’ as they try to portray “safer sex, trans inclusion, how to engage in kink responsibly, and consent practices.”

Porn can also help promote LGBTQ rights, as it often portrays queer sex in the same light as heterosexual sex. This normalization can help people better understand sexuality from a perspective that may be broader than their own.

The purpose of this article is not to advocate either side of the argument regarding pornography. My hope is to simply help the reader answer the question of whether or not porn is bad by creating awareness about the fundamental, ongoing debate regarding the question. Although the topic is sensitive, if we are going to discourage future generations from viewing pornography, we should help them understand why it is “bad.” Small actions like this can help promote a rational society with individuals that stand for their own cultivated views.

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