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Porn Might be Less Impactful than Imagined

Porn Might be Less Impactful than Imagined

A National and Local Perspective 

By Nils A. Anderson 

Thanks to the internet, pornography has never been more widely available. As such, both individuals and couples have never been more affected by it. To get a perspective on how some of the people at Walla Walla University feel their lives and relationships have been affected by pornography, The Collegian polled its Instagram followers on the following questions: 

Though all the results of the poll may be of some interest, a few stand out. Interestingly, there is a disparity between the results of questions one and two. In question one, we can see that over half (55%) of the polled feel as though pornography has impacted their image of self. [1] This data is supported by many national and international studies which have found strong correlations between pornography and negative self-perception. [2] However, as can be seen in question two, less than a third (28%) of the polled feel as though pornography has impacted their expectations of their partner. [3] 

This would seem to suggest that people spend a lot more time worrying about their own perceived inadequacies than those who love them do. It would also seem to suggest that the bulk of harm that may be present in porn consumption has more to do with negative self-perception rather than a negative perception of others.  

Further supporting this, result three only shows 39% of those polled feel as though pornography has influenced their beliefs as to how intimacy should look or behave. [4] While 39% is no small number, it would seem to contradict a lot of the concern in certain portions of the media that pornography is destroying the present generation’s ability to form healthy relationships.  

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In question four, we can see that a majority of the polled (58%) have had discussions with their partners about pornography consumption. This statistic is right in line with the national average where more than half of couples discuss pornography viewing to some degree. [5, 6] This suggests that people in general are taking steps to address what concerns they may have about porn and are being proactive in pursuing their relationships’ health. 

Considering all the data, there could be reason to be optimistic not only about how people are managing the effects of porn, but also about the harm it would appear to cause. It seems people largely want to handle their relationships responsibly and intentionally. And their fears or negative self-beliefs would appear to be largely unreciprocated by those around them. 

Citations 

  1. ASWWU. (2022). Pornography poll [Graph]. 
  1. Paslakis, Georgios & Chiclana, Carlos & Mestre, Gemma. (2020). Associations between pornography exposure, body image and sexual body image: A systematic review. Journal of Health Psychology. 135910532096708. 10.1177/1359105320967085. 
  1. ASWWU. (2022). Pornography poll [Graph]. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Willoughby, B. J., Rhoades, G. K., & Carroll, J. S. (2021). The porn gap . BYU Wheatley Institution. https://wheatley.byu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/The-Porn-Gap-Wheatley-2021.pdf 
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