The Negative Effects of Pornography

The topic of pornography is rarely discussed in a positive light. It is commonly classified as “sexual deviance” (Lauer & Lauer, 2008). There are people who defend it, but proponents of pornography rarely have a better argument than “freedom of expression”. What supporters of pornography do not take into account is the damage that these obscene images cause, and not only to those who watch it. The damage that pornography causes includes violent tendencies, strained marriages, and problematic childhoods. For the purpose of this paper, pornography will be defined as “predominantly sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal.” Hard-core pornography “is sexually explicit in the extreme and devoid of any other apparent content or purpose” (Anderson, 1992). The fact remains that there are negative outcomes from watching pornography and such obscene materials have no place in our society.

Pornography & Violence
One of the major impacts pornography has is that it has been linked to violent tendencies especially regarding men. Studies have shown that men who watch pornography, whether it is violent or non violent are more likely to be violent themselves. They are more prone to sudden violence against women than other men because this is often what they see in pornographic films. The violence often does not stop at domestic issues and it is not uncommon that serial killings are linked to pornography. Research has shown that repeated exposure to pornography causes a desire for more abnormal violence such as sadomasochism and rape (Rogers, 1990). Men who have violent tendencies from watching pornography not only affect their lives but also the lives of people around them.

Pornography & Family Life
Another major negative impact of watching pornography is the affect is has on marriages and families. We already know that pornography can cause violent tendencies, which in a marriage are often taken out on the significant other. This leads to strained marriages and oftentimes, divorce. It has been shown that people who watch porn constantly develop a psychological dependence on it and feel the need to watch more and more. Along with increased exposure to it, the types of pornography that are watched become more violent and strange. People who watch pornography may feel ashamed of it and attempt to hide it from their spouse. This leads to lives lived hiding secrets and also causes marriages to be stressed. It is also common that people in marriages who watch pornography become less devoted to their spouse and are more likely to engage in extramarital affairs. Pornography is also linked to the devaluation of religious beliefs as well as moral beliefs. Watchers of pornography begin to lose their values the more they are exposed to it and lie and make excuses to make themselves feel better about the decisions they are making. People who consistently expose themselves to pornography not only affect their marriages but also their children.

Pornography & Children
It is often argued that children receive the most negative effects of pornography. Negative effects on children include modeling the behavior; emotional problems such as anxiety, guilt, confusion & shame; stimulation of premature sexual activity; and the development of harmful attitudes and beliefs about sex and sexual relationships (Lauer & Lauer, 2008). Studies show that approximately 70% of printed pornographic materials eventually end up in the hands of minors. Each year, about 1.2 million children are affected by child pornography and/or child prostitution (Rogers, 1990). Adults who watch pornography not only tend to be more violent towards other adults, but also towards their children. The time devoted to their child’s lives tends to decrease. Adults who try to hide pornography also increase the risk of their children being exposed to it the more they watch it. The repercussions of a strained marriage or a divorce can have lasting psychological effects upon a child. Finally, adults who watch pornography tend to have increased instances of job loss and financial strain. There are documented cases of children who are exposed to pornography tending to have earlier experiences with sexual intercourse and thus having an increased risk of STDs. They also lose interest in a stable monogamous relationship and are more prone to adulterous behavior later in life. Their behavior changes and they may become more addicted and compulsive. Finally, there are lasting traumatic responses associated with the exposure of children to pornography.

Spread of Pornography
In today’s world, pornography is extremely easy to come buy, an in many forms. Perhaps the easiest is the World Wide Web. About 7% of all pages on the Internet (260 million) are made up of pornography (Lauer & Lauer, 2008). At a mere click of the mouse, one most intimate fantasy can be acted out in the privacy of their own home. The ease of this has aided in the increase of how wide spread pornography has become. Besides the internet, there are a multitude of “adult bookstores” along with theme shops and “boutiques”.

In conclusion, the general population views pornography as a serious issue. It has been proven to have a multitude of negative side effects with no positive attributes what so ever. Politicians debate it, religions preach about it and people steer their children the other way. Unfortunately, it is the opinion of this author that as long as humans remain sexually active, pornography in some shape of form will continue to exist.

Anderson, K. (1992). Pornography. Retrieved May 5, 2008 from the Leadership U website:
Lauer, R.H., & Lauer, J.C. (2008). Social problems and the quality of life (11th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Rogers, J. (1990). The Documented Effects of Pornography. Retrieved May 5, 2008 from The Forerunner website: