The effects of pornography

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The effects of pornography

Texas passed a law making it mandatory for porn websites to verify the age of consumers. If breached, porn websites could face penalties of up to $250,000. Pornhub later disabled its website for users in Texas.  Although this law can be circumvented by VPN, it is interesting to see what prompted Texas to carry through this law. 

Mainstream use

The internet has made porn instantly accessible. Coupled with free-to-access pornography, its use has become prevalent and normalised, even among children, at an unprecedented rate in human history. 

This has shaped societal standards regarding sex. It’s a concerning trend, especially in light of a 2021 study  indicating that 1 in 8 videos on three of the major pornography platforms , depict sexually violent acts. Consequently, children become accustomed to sexually violent content from their very first encounters with pornography.

Mental health

Frequent pornography use can lead to the development of addictive behaviours, characterised by a loss of control and adverse consequences, especially if the addiction sets in from a young age. Individuals grappling with compulsive porn consumption often go on to experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.


Pornography’s relentless bombardment of explicit imagery can desensitise users to sexual stimuli, necessitating increasingly extreme material to evoke arousal—a phenomenon known as “tolerance.” This desensitisation not only distorts perceptions of healthy sexuality, but also perpetuates the objectification of human beings, especially women. 

Relationship Strain and Dissolution

Porn can significantly impact intimate relationships. Studies indicate a correlation between frequent pornography consumption and decreased levels of sexual and relationship satisfaction, particularly among men. Furthermore, individuals who regularly engage in pornography while in a relationship are more prone to experiencing relationship dissolution.

Sex trafficking links

The global epidemic of sex trafficking is very much linked to the rise in the demand for online porn, perpetuating cycles of exploitation and victimisation. Pornhub itself has already admitted to profiting off of sex trafficking, with its parent company agreeing to paying a US$1.8M fine in December 2023. 

The need for education

The Texas case reminds of the dangers of uninhibited online porn.  We need to go beyond legislation. Efforts to raise awareness of the perils of pornography and advocating for a culture of respect, intimacy and a genuine human connection are key in empowering healthy, fulfilling relationships. 

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