Why I don’t watch porn

Adult films only have as much power as society gives them


I have never watched porn. 

Some people may believe this to be a bold-faced lie, but it’s not. Throughout my entire life I’ve made an active choice to avoid graphic pornographic material and have never even tried searching for any kind of the content. 

While I choose not to engage in porn, I don’t agree with those who feel its production and distribution should be illegal. 

Recently, there have been countless well-respected organizations, people and publications that promote censorship of all pornographic material. In 2016, The Washington Post published a piece written by Matthew Schmitz calling for the public to give up their right to watch porn for the sake of societal betterment. 

But banning all pornographic material is blatant censorship. The battle to ban pornography has existed since the 1960s, but has never been seriously considered in higher-level courts because of the first amendment. If I hopped on the bandwagon to make porn illegal, I would also have to be okay with the banning of books, publications, music and other forms of media as well. 

The right to freedom of expression cannot be compromised; this only leads to oppression and loss of public voice. 

So we can’t just ban a media form in its entirety. Instead, I believe the responsibility falls on the consumer. I will never watch porn and I believe everyone else should stop watching it too.

Pornographic content has existed for hundreds of years. Erotic images can be traced all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Porn, in its current form, was first produced in the 1800s and the industry has only grown and become more commercialized since. 

Today pornographic messages are everywhere from Levi’s advertisements to your favorite family sitcom. And porn’s recent rise in acceptance is directly related to its repeated references in mainstream media. Even ‘90s hit sitcom “Friends” regularly references porn as if it is a normal part of everyone’s lives. This completely normalizes a subject that was previously considered taboo. 

But let’s talk about the root of the problem.

Porn isn’t real. Adult films and pornographic images use just as much “movie magic” as the newest “Terminator” movie. 

Women, specifically, are often altered to fulfill impossible ideals and fantasies. This gives men and women unachievable standards for their sexual relationships. The mainstream acceptance of porn in media makes realistic expectations of sex and relationships feel like an anomaly. 

In her 2018 dissertation “Walk Like a Man,” Ashley C. Lee asked men to describe what kind of pornographic material they indulge. Lee, through surveys, found that most men who watched violent and dramatized porn in large quantities had more instances of sexual aggression and control in their everyday encounters, showing a link between watching porn and feelings of male entitlement toward women and sexual satisfaction. 

Lee’s study is just one example of the negative effects of frequently watching adult material. Other studies have found that 64% of people between ages 18-24 watch porn at least once a week. Excessive viewing of erotic films can decrease partners’ ability to “perform” in sexual situations and can lead to self-esteem problems among women whose spouses regularly watch pornographic material. Porn’s prevalence in society is marginalizing sex to the point where some people don’t value the serious issue of healthy sexual relationships.

Relationships can, of course, exist platonically as well, and porn can even play a role in non-sexual interactions. 

With the help of pornographic images in advertising and mainstream media, sex has become associated with work, school, exercising, eating and even medicine. Every interaction is subconsciously influenced by the advertisements we have been exposed to. When advertisers regularly throw pornographic images at us to sell products, it becomes natural to associate those themes (male dominance being a prime example) into our everyday interactions. 

I choose not to watch porn because I believe this will preserve respect for both myself and any person I may be involved with sexually in the future. Because a person’s worth should not be placed on what they can achieve sexually and porn only creates more roadblocks to functional romantic and platonic relationships.

If everyone stopped watching porn today, the industry would have no means to continue producing material. This would end exploitation of actors and actresses and start placing value on other aspects of human interactions. 

The best way for society to manage the increasing problem of pornography is for each of us to take responsibility for our actions. 

Banning negative material is not the answer to solving deep-rooted societal issues, because the bottom line is if people want to make or watch porn, they’ll find a way to do it.

I believe it’s time for everyone to close their laptops and come back into the real world. It’s time to experience relationships, dating and even sex firsthand, not to let “Big Brother” make decisions on society’s behalf.

So call me a prude, but I refuse to give in to the mainstream sex machine. 

Opinion desk can be reached at opinion@ubspectrum.com.