5 Subtle Consequences of Pornography

My son is a typical teenage boy, who loves to play video games. But my wife and I have noticed that when he plays a lot of first-person shooter games, he tends to become more aggressive. It’s like he’s still in attack mode after he’s done playing. He’ll argue a little more, say nitpicky comments to his sister, and make negative comments about the show we’re watching. The interesting thing is that he doesn’t notice the change in his demeanor—the change is so subtle he’s unaware of it.

Sometimes, the consequences of our actions are obvious to us, like not paying bills on time and being charged late fees, getting unfavorable reviews at work because were unfocused, or hurting our kids because we forgot about a promise we made and didn’t keep it. Other times, the consequences are so subtle we fail to see them. These include some pornography effects men experience. The problem is that those consequences, which may seem small to some, at best make life less satisfying. At worst, they cause pain and disconnection. Here are 5 subtle consequences of pornography.

1. It makes you a little colder.

Thinking sexual thoughts about people means you’re using them for your pleasure. It’s all about you. The people are objects to you rather than individuals with thoughts, feelings, pain, hopes, and dreams. They become what you want them to be for a moment and then are easily discarded. This exercise makes us lose a little of our humanity, empathy, and connection.

Real relationships and a healthy sex life take time and effort.

2. It dims your love life.

There’s nothing real about pornography. It’s an act, an easy way be stimulated, and it fosters phony desire and selfish pleasure. Real relationships and a healthy sex life take time and effort. Rewards in real life are delayed and arrive after you give each other a significant amount of energy, effort, and love. Porn’s instant gratification can leave you disenchanted when a real relationship takes work. Now, you may think, “Maybe I should just watch porn then and be gratified right away.” But the excitement and thrill it brings have a diminishing return. So you will consume more and more of it with less and less satisfaction. Meanwhile, your real relationship suffers.

3. It breeds misery.

In the book The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk writes, “When our rational and emotional brains are in conflict … like when we lust after someone who is off-limits, a tug of war ensues. This war is largely played out in the theater of visceral experience, your gut, your heart, your lungs, and will lead to both physical discomfort and psychological misery.” Watching porn awakens, nurtures, and grows a spirit of lustfulness. Because the women you view are off-limits, it creates an inner conflict that makes us miserable.

4. It nurtures moral weakness.

We all have sexual urges or pent-up stress, and porn is an easy place to attempt to satisfy them. But the thrill and relief it gives us are temporary. We are pulled into it more and more, which erodes our discipline and fills us with a self-centered pursuit of pleasure. Pornography effects on our attitudes cause small shifts that create subtle cracks in our character. Those cracks deepen over time and can lead to sometimes life-altering massive errors in judgment.

5. It’s a waste of investment and time.

The amount of time and energy we have is limited. Think of all the things we can learn and contribute instead of spending time watching porn. We could be spending that time improving and growing. Even worse, we often have to spend extra time working our way to a healthy place, undoing all the negative pornography effects you just read about. It’s a waste of our time and energy.

Sound off: What are some other subtle pornography effects?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some of the benefits of waiting?”