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Porn: pros and cons

Posted by Questionmark on March 26, 2009, at 15:20:06

In reply to Porn addiction and medication, posted by myname20098002 on March 6, 2009, at 1:04:21

As with most subjects, i feel that most people are too polarized with their opinions on the issue, and i feel somewhere more in the middle than many people (usually with social conservatives on one end and social liberals on the other, as almost everyone seems to be one or the other). I also quite frequently feel fairly uncertain and conflicted on what i think the best position on an issue is (no coincidence that my user name is what it is). Porn, and internet porn in particular, is one of these issues.
I do not feel that it is morally wrong necessarily or in itself to watch porn, at all. I do not feel that there should be any shame in watching porn, in and of itself (and probably relatively speaking of course-- i.e. barring certain illegal forms). And i also agree with several of you in that it can have significant benefits-- or at least, positive aspects. However, i DO wonder if there can, at least potentially, be detrimental qualities to watching porn, for society as a whole and/or an individual. (Keep in mind here also that i am NOT talking about masturbation alone.)
Is it possible that watching porn can, at least potentially, have harmful neurological effects? It is so highly reinforcing and rewarding, and at the same time so easy and convenient (if one has the necessary resources available), and takes so little effort, it is bound to have the potential to be extremely habit-forming. Also, watching porn allows one to have the visual and auditory (in the future it will also probably be tactile) qualities of a real-life sexual encounter, as well as the corresponding powerfully rewarding sexual pleasure that is derived from this (i am also assuming the involvement of masturbation and, at least eventually, orgasm here). It provides all this, but without all of the physical exertion and real human-to-human contact that is normally required and necessarily a part of real-life sexual relations. It makes me wonder if this could have detrimental neurophysiological consequences, maybe of the kind that other excessively rewarding (and sort of artificially rewarding) activities have, such as cocaine and other powerful CNS stimulants-- perhaps a desensitization or down-regulation of dopamine receptors in certain areas of the brain, for example. Now does this mean that occasionally using cocaine or amphetamines or watching porn is *necessARily* wrong or permanently harmful? In my opinion it does not. But it certainly is a risk-- not only the risk of excessive use and possibly addiction but also of disadvantageous brain effects. (I'm also not saying that watching porn is on the same level as using cocaine, or even necessarily detrimental at all in the same way-- i don't know-- but i do wonder if it might be. Now using cocaine AND watching porn, that may be even more detrimental :?) ).
On a similar vein, and for similar reasons, i have wondered if watching porn may gradually and subtly-but-significantly reduce the pleasure and wonder of real-life sexual encounters. The few friends with whom i've discussed this disagreed with me (and offered several counterpoints), but i still seriously wonder.
Finally, i wonder if something so powerfully reinforcing and easily accessible to so many people can have negative cultural and societal impacts. For one thing, how much of our time (of which we modern people are grossly in short supply anyway) is spent watching porn, especially for us males? It will probably only continue to increase in population number and time proportion. Now sure, it has its benefits. In some ways it is a positive recreational activity, like drinking or getting high or watching a movie. But you cannot do anything else while watching porn as you can while drunk or high. And there are no real messages to be discovered like watching a movie (which is also why i think many TV shows and some movies are worthless and detrimental). And unless you're watching with a partner or spouse, there is no social connecting whatsoever when watching porn. It is largely a completely solitary activity. So if we modern humans are consistently spending enormous amounts of time watching porn, we are missing out on numerous other possible uses of our time, such as connecting with each other, learning & gaining knowledge, helping others, helping ourselves, creating, inventing, working, and the list goes on. So, bottom line, for an individual, watching porn is not necessarily detrimental, but for society as a whole, it concerns me. (Is it possible, for example, that if internet and other porn were available in the late 1700s, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Jefferson, and others would have been too busy watching strangers have sex on a screen to accomplish all that they did to help us create our new great nation?)
There are other factors that make me wonder if porn may have some negative societal or cultural consequences. I won't go into detail or into all of them since i've rambled enough, but for instance are or will men develop [even more] unreasonable expectations for women in the bedroom (or vise versa)?
Okay, enough, i'll stop. ... I'm not saying people should feel guilty for watching porn. I'm just saying we need to think about it. Think about the potential consequences. Don't just assume it's without detriment because it has some significant positive aspects or because it's available and widely used. Just as i would tell the anti-porn people that just because it might have some negative qualities does not mean it is without some benefits or should be shame-inducing. Of course, i don't even know what the solution should or would-- or *could*-- be if hypothetically say, scientific studies suggested and some panel of scientists, philosophers, and psychologists concluded that watching porn was more detrimental overall than beneficial. But still, we should think about these things. We should wonder. Question what you assume to be right... or wrong.
god i'm an idiot. This was so long, i'm sorry.
But to the original poster, i agree with the others who said that therapy would be the most beneficial and effective thing for porn addiction. That said, if you absolutely needed pharmaceutical assistance, serotonergic drugs and atypical antipsychotics would probably be the most beneficial (other than directly estrogenic or anti-androgenic substances, which i would think would be too extreme).




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