Internet Pornography has a bad reputation. We know it as this sketchy activity that teaches our male youth to dehumanize and objectify women, to create unlivable fantasies, to cause their spouse or girlfriend to become more sexually self-conscious, etc. Bryan Paul, Ph.D. and telecommunications professor at Indiana University who studies sexual messages in the media, says that we have these thoughts about internet pornography simply because there is a “…bias in media-effect research” and goes on to say that porn is always held in a negative light by the media. Look around and see that most illicit sex holds an ominous umbrella over Internet pornography with the media glorifying such deviants, addicts, and assholes like Tiger Woods, Sandusky, and even Schwarzenegger.
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So if the media does have a negative bias towards Internet pornography what is its real role in our culture (besides occupying the lonely single dude on a Friday night)? First of all pornography is defined as media used or intended to increase sexual arousal. With that in mind I could call half of television pornography and make my case with shows like True Blood, half of movies including Eyes Wide Shut, and even most rap songs out there with my favorite example song F**k You Tonight by Notorious B.I.G. should be classified as porn with this definition. One could even call the 2008 presidential campaigns as pornography with Sarah Palin as the “sexy” librarian MILF with her head repeatedly photoshopped on busty women in bikinis holding rifles, Barack Obama utilizing newspaper headlines like “Obama Charms the Pants of the World,” or even Hillary Clinton being called something that “…rhymes with blunt” by the Washington Post. Our culture is being invaded by pornification, so why is Internet porn still a taboo?

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The company comScore measures Internet traffic and said that about 66% of all Internet-using men between the ages of 18 and 24 look at online pornography at least twice a month (let’s be real it’s probably more). So if Internet porn is so widely used and available in our local, national, and international community and there is no real criticism to it except when it involves children, then why are we so afraid of its repercussions? We have already talked about how media and politics have been pornified and even the church has been a victim of pornification. Christianity Today cited that 51% of its pastors admit that looking at Internet porn is their biggest temptation and the Catholic Church even offers online porn addiction support groups…one hour of online porn=ten Hail Mary’s hardly seems pious. In conclusion I will give you six reasons why internet pornography facilitates healthy sexual relationships rather than setbacks so we can all convince psychologists, scientists, the media, and especially our wives and girlfriends that Internet porn is healthy for us.

1.) NO STDs!!!!

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The absolute number one benefit that online pornography has on social relationships is that you cannot transmit a sexually transmitted disease from watching porn. Online porn may take up about thirty minutes of your time, but herpes is forever. Additionally if you’re already unlucky and infected in that department (bummer) you cannot spread a disease that you already have by watching porn. This being said, it is a healthy way to experiment with different men and women in a steady relationship without risking yourself or your significant other. It can be seen as a healthy catharsis that gives us the thrill of being with another woman without actually hurting the women we love.
2.) Internet Pornography does not hinder relationship intimacy.

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In a study done by Scandinavian psychologist Aleksandar Stulhofer involving 544 male college students, there was no direct relationship found between Internet pornography exposure and relationship intimacy. Intimacy is more than just touching, hugging, kissing, and gettin’ it on, but rather it is telling someone you love them and them loving you back. Don’t worry we aren’t focusing on sentimental crap, remember we are still talking porn. In this sense Internet pornography clearly does not hinder intimacy and one can even go as far to say that it does not objectify the real women in a man’s life if he still is intimate with her while simultaneously watching porn. Furthermore the overall lack of intimacy in online pornography proves that it really doesn’t brainwash us into becoming sexual robots void of all emotion if males continually are intimate with their partners.
In terms of the mental side to intimacy, Internet pornography is said to actually help women become more mentally closer and intimate with their sexual selves or partners. While it doesn’t affect a man’s intimacy towards his partner it affects a woman’s in a positive way by allowing her to feel closer to her more visually stimulated counterpart. Men are visually stimulated, while women are mentally stimulated and online pornography can help women feel mentally stimulated simply because their partner watches it. In other words, it brings the woman into her partner’s world of sexuality, which brings them mentally closer together. Don’t worry I will give us more ‘ammo’ to fight for Internet porn when it comes to our wives, girlfriends, feminists, and even prying moms for you teens out there.
3.) Solves a Primal Problem while being great for monogamy.
Throughout the evolution of humanity, a male’s reproductive success has rested on the amount of partners he is able to mate with (cue feminist aggression*). According to Paul Wright, Ph.D. and assistant research professor at Indian University who researches the social aspects of sex, says that “Men’s modern environment has changed dramatically, but their evolved sexual preferences have not.” So, according to Wright, we live in a world where monogamy is valued but our primal instincts fight the idea. In this new monogamist world, Internet porn offers an easily acceptable way to commitment-free sex with multiple partners and hone in on our primal cavemen manly selves.
Furthermore, the fact that online pornography solves this primal problem for men means that it also solves women’s problems with cheating husbands, boyfriends, etc. For instance, how many couples do you know whose partners have identically matched libidos, never crave any other sexual exploration, or who have never thought about cheating on each other? The answer is: not many at all. Internet pornography is therefore simply an outlet for this relationship pressure where a person can turn towards the Internet for experimentation rather than a real person. Even more convincing is that because Internet porn involves no intimacy, then it isn’t associated with love and emotion, which can be the most painful aspects of a cheating spouse or significant other.
4.) It feels great…for everyone!
The moment the male brain processes the vision of a naked woman the message travels immediately to the mesolimbic, or reward system, of the brain and produces a significant amount of dopamine (getting high off porn?). Unlike other forms of pornography, Internet pornography stimulates the brain more directly and causes the release of even more dopamine due to its proximity and privacy to the viewer. This neuroscience tells us that pornography, and especially Internet pornography, creates a reward system that feels great for its viewers. I am not advocating for the use of Internet porn to cure sadness or depression, but rather advocating that it has a positive impact on a person’s happiness, and therefore a person’s relationships, by creating pleasure and reward.
5.) ExPeRiMeNtAtIoN=Relationship Success.
In a study done by the Archives of Sexual Behavior nearly a quarter of men and women say that Internet pornography has helped them experiment more in bed, and just over 20% say porn has made them more comfortable voicing their desires. Furthermore a study published in the Journal of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors notes that men who use Internet pornography in a healthy way to experiment or educate actually experience an increase in real-life sexual activity (whether it is with one partner or many). Therefore, people in relationships or not can learn from online pornography and have more healthy intercourse (high-five bro!). Even more convincing, Neil Malamoth, a scholar of pornography who often argues for its negative effects on society, found in a study that the more one watched online pornography the stronger the benefits for both sexes in a relationship. So next time your girlfriend or wife catches you watching porn, just tell them you’re studying up for tonight.

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Well I had to address the feminists at some point…There are many sex-positive, pro-sex, and sex-radical feminist groups that actually argue for women’s active role in the production, consumption, and experimentation with pornography. Unfortunately they tend to go for the shitty Fifty Shades of Grey form of book-club erotica, or mommy-porn, but sex-positive feminists advocate for all sexual exploration between consenting adults, which includes pornography. Furthermore, women have more rights in sexually liberal societies like the United States. The more sexually explicit material out in the public, the more rights that women have (imagine telling Abigail Adams to embrace her right to orgasm online). Internet porn, in a safe and controlled environment away from children, is a basic freedom and clue that our society holds sexual freedom as high as political freedom (Ron Jeremy for president!). In conclusion Internet pornography has proved that it has a positive impact on sexual exploration and education for both men and women that can lead to healthier relationships.

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6.) Save energy, watch together, and become closer.
Throughout my research I have found that those who watch online pornography as a couple reported more dedication and higher sexual satisfaction with their partner than those who watched alone (“Hey honey let’s have a movie night tonight.”). In a way, online pornography is advocating for more partner dedication and satisfaction. Studies done at the University of Arkansas and University of Denver found that those who used Internet pornography media in lovemaking had higher relationship statuses than those who watched alone. It may be hard to convince your spouse to watch Internet pornography with you, but it proves to be a healthy activity for relationships as we remind ourselves of the male and female benefits reaped from pornography not hindering intimacy.
7.) Porn addiction is not real. Internet porn only convinces you to engage in sexual acts that you would’ve done otherwise (no matter how ‘persuasive’ our pornographic world is according to our friends like Tiger Woods out there).

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Internet pornography and pornography addiction was not included in the recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DVM-V, which is considered the bible of mental health diagnosis. This is because there is barely any evidence for its actual existence and it is too broad and widespread of an area to study, no matter what Tiger Woods and those horny priests say. Therefore if Internet pornography is not addictive then it really cannot change your sexual desires and mindset like a drug can. Sadly, this means we cannot begin to defend ourselves to our spouses and girlfriends with, “While under the influence of internet pornography…”
Paul Wright, Ph.D, says that personal preferences play the biggest role in how Internet pornography can shape desires. In his findings, pornography only convinces you to experiment with things that you are already considering or are neutral on. For instance, you may watch Internet pornography that includes taboos like threesomes, but this does not mean that you ever want to make this fantasy a reality because you may have always considered it a negative effect on personal relationships. Internet pornography is simply bringing up these neutral or already-considered sexual acts for us to confront in our real life relationships and not convincing us to complete deviant acts that we do not agree with that could damage our relationships.

 

In conclusion, the media has taught us that Internet pornography is an abnormal and secret addiction among society, but if we look at evidence in its favor it creates more benefits than harm. It all depends on using Internet pornography in a healthy way—to watch with a partner, educate, or experiment and not for anxiety, depression, or an escape from reality. I am not advocating for the excessive use of Internet pornography; I am not advocating the use of violent pornography that treats women in a horrible way; I am not advocating for men or women to replace pornography for healthy real-life sexual relationships. Rather, I am advocating for the benefits that Internet pornography gives relationships that the media repeatedly ignores.