It’s quite an undertaking writing a blog post about pornography myths, as there are almost too many to count. Indeed, pornography has become extremely widespread in today’s society. While there are people who indulge in it who live normal and productive lives, the bottom line is that it can be destructive to brain chemistry and one’s sexual psychology.
The porn industry would want you to believe that these claims are the ramblings of paranoid prudes, but there is a tremendous amount of data and real-life case studies which show that porn is more than capable of ruining lives.
As a residential treatment center for troubled teens in Provo, Kaizen Academy has sexual addiction programs that can help boys to move on from the harmful effects of porn. In treating countless teens, we’ve seen all kinds of myths and misconceptions propagated about pornography. Here are some of them:
MYTH: Porn is Harmless
This one’s a doozy, so we’ll start with it first. While we’ve already written one blog post about how pornography affects brain chemistry, there is so much more that can be said on the subject. Fight the New Drug is an invaluable resource which extensively documents the scientific evidence that linked to pornography and brain chemistry, and we invite you to read more over there if you want to explore this subject in more detail.
But in a nutshell, porn isn’t ar harmless as people claim it to be. Because pornography has become ubiquitous and easily accessible, it’s something that an overwhelming majority of the population indulges in. It’s easy to claim, then, that porn is harmless. How could it be, if so many people look at it and still live normal lives?
Ultimately, it’s a question of balance. If someone smokes a single cigarette, it won’t really have any long-term ramifications for their health. But if you gradually move up to chain-smoking, you can bet that it’s going to have severe consequences. Pornography has major effects on the dopamine levels of your brain (as well as many other brain chemicals), and if they’re tampered with too much, it can start to change the way your brain works as a whole.
Many of today’s teenagers find themselves hopelessly addicted to pornography. Other activities become less fulfilling compared to the dopamine explosion that porn provides, and this can extend into their adult life, where normal sex may seem dull and boring in comparison. Porn is destructive in many ways, and these paragraphs are only scratching the surface of it.
MYTH: Porn Is Empowering to Women
As porn has become increasingly common, there’s been one head-scratching soundbite that its defenders use to justify the industry — that porn is liberating to the women who are the subjects of it. There are those who cheer for the porn industry, parading it as a symbolic departure from the ironclad patriarchy that has dominated society for so long. They celebrate the fact that women can be more open about their sexuality without being shamed or oppressed by it.
There’s certainly a conversation to be had about this. Sexual taboos have been weaponized against women for centuries, and to move away from that is indeed a step in the right direction for female empowerment. But don’t be fooled, if you’re looking for an industry that represents those ideals, the porn industry isn’t it.
One simple Google search about sexual abuse in the porn industry brings up countless pages of examples. Trending data supports the fact that porn, in nature, is becoming increasingly violent in its subject matter. This is an industry that abuses and exploits women on a regular basis for profit — quite the opposite of empowerment.
As always, nothing is completely black and white. There are big players in the porn industry that make attempts to be as ethical, protective, and respectful as possible toward their female stars, but the bottom line is that there is so much pornography being created on a day-to-day basis that abuse is inevitable. For every woman who is treated fairly in the industry, there are 100 more who are being exploited.
MYTH: Pornography is Shameful and Sinful
For the mental health of porn addicts everywhere, the shaming mentality behind pornography is something that has to go. We’re not here to define the semantics of what a sin is, especially since the definition varies from religion to religion. Pornography is, objectively, a sin in many belief systems. However, this doesn’t mean you should treat its victims like a dirty sinner.
We have helped more teenage boys through porn addiction than we can count, and one common thread is that they feel embarrassed, ashamed, and judged for their problem. If this is the expectation they have about how others will perceive their habit, you can bet they’re more likely to secretly withdraw further into it rather than trying to seek help.
As a residential treatment center in Provo, the shame that many of our boys feel from their religious families seems insurmountable. It’s a source of tremendous stress and self-degradation, and could scar them for decades to come. We ask parents everywhere to understand and acknowledge how ubiquitous porn is, and how its consumption is often a result of natural, biological urges. If your beloved child or teen struggles with it, they should be met with love and understanding, not shame and guilt.
MYTH: Porn Addiction is Insurmountable
Excessive porn consumption (and, by extension, sexual addiction) is very much a chemical addiction in the same way that drugs are. You’re quite literally altering your brain chemistry every time you partake, resulting in a natural high. And much like drug addiction, the high gets less and less satisfying over time, and your brain more desensitized until it’s hard for anything else to compare.
For obvious reasons, victims of a porn addiction often feel like their situation is insurmountable. Well, we have good news — it certainly is not, and we’ve seen scores of teenagers successfully break their addiction.
While your brain does change from pornography use, these changes aren’t permanent. Your brain can revert to its normal state if the habit is cut off, because it can’t operate without essential reward chemicals like dopamine. If you go long enough without overdosing on the chemicals which porn helps to release, your brain will eventually compensate for it and resume production as it was before.
At Kaizen Academy, our sexual addiction program helps troubled teens to achieve just that – healing from their addiction so that they can go on to live happy and fulfilling adult lives. Do you have a son who struggles with sexual addiction in some form? Our residential treatment center can help. Contact us today to get started.