Temple City High School

Porn creates not-so-incognito side effects

When I asked my friends if they watched porn, the general reply came off as “Yeah, doesn’t everybody?” And yet, an “I don’t” caused my friend to receive sarcastic “Sure you don’ts.” Given the majority of the student population views porn, I feel that the negative side effects should be common knowledge.

At our school, porn usually stays under the realm of conversation, unlike drug abuse or drinking. Health teachers don’t extensively talk about it, and I still remember my class just looking up definitions of numerous body parts in the textbook instead of discussing sex or pornography.

This may lend itself to the fact that many people view pornography use as an adolescent phase, or a small issue written off as a vice. However, according to the Journal of Adolescent Research, 87% of young men and 31% of young women report using pornography, but only 67% of young men and 49% of young women agree that viewing pornography is an acceptable behavior.

Some people view porn as just another type of entertainment, similar to TV dramas or movies. Those forms of media seem to capture real life, and yet we know that what we see is not real because of the reality we face every day. We know, despite romantic comedies, that not every ex will chase us to the airport and that problems in our lives aren’t magically solved by a prince. However, most students who watch porn do not have consistent, real-life experiences to compare porn to, leaving an unrealistic perception of sex behind and making porn the norm.

Those who regularly watch pornography can end up with a skewed perception of sex. Many young, sexually inexperienced viewers can be easily convinced that pornography accurately depicts sex. Women are often portrayed as ready, willing and able to do whatever their partner wants, leading many males to believe this to be the case in real life. In reality, women possess their own rights and desires. When males find that their real encounters differ greatly from what they are used to from porn, their unmet expectations can cause serious issues within a relationship.

As a result, they turn back to porn for a quick and easy satisfaction instead of working to solve the problems in their relationship. This initial search for pleasure or satisfaction eventually leads to failed relationships and damaged emotions.

Often times, porn is thought to relieve sexual desires or have no detrimental effects, but watching porn can lead to lasting effects in the years to come. In particular, the physical effects of pornography may also come as a surprise. For some guys, even years after quitting porn, they struggle from performing without viewing pornography, a condition called porn-induced erectile dysfunction. A personal history of pornography use can also lead to dangerous sexual acts. The Center for Disease Control has shown that youth users of violent X-rated material are six times more likely to report forcing someone to do something sexual online or in-person compared to a non-user. This increased access to pornography correlates with the recent heightened concern over college sexual assault and rape.

As our technology has improved, the accessibility of pornography has increased. Thus, as the first generation to grow up with pornography, it is our responsibility to be wary of its effects and caution our peers in order to protect the people we love.