Modern Love


In recent years, an ethical and scientific argument has arisen over whether or not prolonged exposure to pornography is a bad thing.

Porn was a trifle more difficult to get your hands on “back in the day.” Today, it’s everywhere and we’re the first generation that has had such instant access to it from the time we were first sexually curious.

So I’m asking, is sex too pervasive in the digital age?

On one side, there are traditionalists in defense of true monogamy, who argue that prolonged exposure to pornography can seriously damage the brain’s process of getting aroused.

We’ve heard these arguments before: that porn serves instant gratification, that it warps our perspectives on real intimacy or that it’s plain GROSS. There certainly is a point here. Porn tricks the subconscious mind into thinking it really is having sex. That’s weird…

Then, there are those that think of watching pornography as a harmless hobby. It’s entertainment! Some scientists even argue that there is a correlation between the increased availability of pornography and decreased sex crime rates. Porn could be a way for some to pacify their aggressive sexual desires.

Just how much porn is the world watching? Pornhub, the internet’s largest porn engine, reported 78.9 billion videos viewed in 2014 alone. Let’s divide that up. It’s 11 videos for every person on earth. With industry revenues in the billions, pornography is a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.

So, you’re better on the couch being a weirdo than on the streets being a weirdo? Could be, but hold on.

Netflix provides the same easy escape, the same cure for boredom. See, research about porn’s effects on the brain is mostly contradictory. Maybe porn itself isn’t the problem. Maybe the instant access we have to it is.

There’s compelling evidence both ways. Is sex too pervasive today? Maybe… probably. But it’s not going away. Just like with french fries, it is the responsibility of the individual to decide what overconsumption is.