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Felicity Warner / HCM
Sex + Relationships

The Truth About The Impacts of Porn

Trigger Warning:

This article discusses pornography, sexual violence and child abuse.

Please read at your own discretion.

Pornography has become very mainstream in our society in recent years. It’s been reported that about 40% of Americans regularly visit porn websites with ⅔ of those viewers being male. Many may not see this statistic as alarming and may see it as adults simply exploring their sexuality in a healthy way.

However, the type of pornography being viewed this often is not the healthy and liberating porn we may think it is. The type of pornography being viewed this often is actually very harmful, specifically to women and children.

A study done in 2010 analyzed hundreds of scenes from the best-selling porn videos. According to that study, 90% of those scenes depicted some type of physical aggression. The person receiving the aggression was predominantly a female, who reacted either neutrally or with pleasure. This can make those watching believe that sexual violence is a part of healthy sex. This type of aggression that is viewed has an impact on the brain of the person watching, consciously and unconsciously. With increased exposure to these types of aggressive porn videos, viewers are desensitized to the violence. 

How does it affect us? Well, desensitization to violence leads to the normalization of it. Men who are exposed to violent and degrading pornography are more likely to try to mimic what they see in porn in real life scenarios, leading to an increase of women experiencing unconsensual violence during sex.

According to an article published by Fight The New Drug, pornography exposure also leads to objectification, victim-blaming sexual assault survivors and expression to intent to rape. 

Pornography also, sadly, effects children.

In porn, some of the most commonly viewed scenes include the word “teen” and “barely legal” in the title. The concept of desensitization and normalization also applies to the age of women receiving the sexual violence portrayed in porn.

Those who watch porn with younger women in it become desensitized to the age and extent of violence towards women and want to see younger and younger girls, often times meaning child pornography.

Child abusers also use pornography with their victims as a means to groom the child and show them that the violent sexual acts they are seeing are normal and healthy. Therefore, when they abuse their victims, the victim sees the experience as normal.


What can we do to change this harmful narrative?

Pornography in it of itself is not necessarily harmful, it can even be a part of a healthy sex life and sexuality.

However, the porn industry is not doing their part to enforce that narrative. There are healthy ways to enjoy porn. Companies such as Bellesa offer free and ethically sourced pornography, erotic stories, buy sex toys and offer sexual health articles for women to try to change the way we see porn. According to their website, “At Bellesa, we believe that sexuality on the internet should depict women as we truly are- as subjects of pleasure, not objects of conquest.” The best part about their company? It’s run by women!

As women, we can combat this issue by staying educated, speaking up against sexual violence and prioritizing our own pleasure. For more ways to help, click here.

Talia Gogel

Kent State '23

Hi! My name is Talia Gogel and I'm a sophomore fashion merchandising at Kent State! I love shopping, cooking, bunnies, astrology, and reading! I’m involved in the Fashion Student Organization, a member of Tri Sigma Sorority, and HerCampus!
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