The Porn Crisis That Isn’t

A small number of adults—roughly 11 percent of men and 3 percent of women—consider themselves somewhat addicted to porn, even though a number of scientists dispute whether “addiction” is an appropriate label for watching lots of porn. Believing that porn is morally “bad” is strongly correlated with feeling like you have an addiction to pornography, regardless of how much porn you actually watch. “The best predictor of self-perceived sexual-use problems, like pornography addiction, is high levels of religiosity,” says Bryant Paul, a media professor at Indiana University and a faculty affiliate of the Kinsey Institute, which studies human sexuality.

I grew up in a cult with very strict rules about pornography. I thought porn was harmful, disgusting, and a rabbit hole that led to sexual deviancy. What’s fascinating is that I hardly ever watched porn back then, and yet each time I did, it absolutely tormented me. The guilt. The shame. I thought I had a problem.

Funnily enough, porn is now a regular part of my sex life, and yet it doesn’t have a detrimental effect in my life or on my partners.

That being said, I think the article brings up excellent points when talking about its access to children. What I would’ve given to have comprehensive sex education and sex-positive conversations growing up!

Instead of incorrectly labeling porn a “health crisis,” I’d love to see better wages and safer conditions for sex workers. We need more inclusive sex education that not only talks about safety, but pleasure and gay sex as well. Finally, parents need to embrace sex positivity. These beliefs that villainize sex are the real thing that causes harm in people.