It’s Complicated: Why More Research is Needed When it Comes to Porn

The following topic about porn may create uncomfortable feelings for some people. Please understand the purpose of my blog is to talk about mental health concerns and sometimes topics are triggering. If this is you than I advice you to skip this weeks blog post but make sure to come back next week.

Porn has been around for decades but before the Internet existed it took more effort to get access to illicit material.   A Porn2naked picture was so taboo and rare that in the mid-1800s a photograph of a naked prostitute cost more than engaging her for sex.   It wasn’t until Hugh Hefner launched his magazine did porn go to the mass-market level.  VHS created opportunities to anonymously watch porn in the comfort of homes rather than having to visit seedy movie theaters.

Is porn on the rise due to the anonymous nature of the Internet? According to Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, two-neuroscientist who wrote a book, “A Billion Wicked Thoughts.”  Ogas and Gaddam reports that 4%-11% (depending on which software one uses to gather the data) of Internet space is used for accessing and storing pornographic content.  Obviously consumption of porn usage has gone up and yet there is very little research done on the effects of absorption of these materials.

The American’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has advising to researchers to avoid using the word “sexual” when asking for funding. This has led to a lacking of research not only in sexual offenders but also in normal sexual functioning. NIH has a rule that no computer purchases via their funding can contain sexual images or films. Are you as confused as why there is such strict limitation for funding studies on porn effects?

Here is what we know about sexual functioning/porn. Studies show that reported porn use is higher among Porn1people suffering from erectile dysfunction, relationship difficulties, medical and social problems. Individuals who engage in porn at an early age and are heavy users often simplify sexually activity as simple physiological functions; like eating. These same people have at least one occurrence where they have tried to coerce partners into sexual acts. The problem with the lack of research is we have no idea if porn consumption caused these types of behavior or did the behavior come first.

Other studies show evidence we form our sexual tastes around puberty. One of the criticisms of porn is the unrealistic expectations it creates in people. These myths can create difficulties with intimacy and may create lifelong problems.  According to Geoffrey Miller men have used porn as an easy substitute for real pleasure. The porn isn’t the problem according to Miller but the porn does make it easier for men to stay stuck in a rut.

I will leave you to make your own judgments if porn is harming society but what I strongly believe is we need more research done on human sexuality. We have to take responsibility to educate society on the possible effects of porn use.  We can’t sit by idle anymore, because like it or not accessing and the consumption of porn is far too easy these days.

 

Source:  Hardcore, abundant and free: What is online pornography doing to sexual tastes – and youngsters’ minds?  http://www.economist.com/news/international/21666113-hardcore-abundant-and-free-what-online-pornography-doing-sexual-tastesand?fsrc=scn%2Ffb%2Fte%2Fpe%2Fed%2FAusersmanual