Almost two years ago, I heard the interesting bit of information regarding pornography and college. The LAN share (accessible through any DC++ type software) has more than 8Tb amount of pornographic videos and images. I reckon it must have increased by now. Apparently, owning a lot of it was even cool at one point. The “churan” that everyone boasted of, was everywhere. A look at the recent releases on any of our hubs will give you insight into how much porn is being consumed by the people on our campus. There are a few select people who upload this porn, and I wonder if they have even seen all of it.
This has come to my notice because of a variety of personal reasons. More than one important person in my life has admitted to have realized that porn is actually not much different than self-harm, at least for them, and that it is a problem for them. None of them are against pornography by principle, but to say that pornography has no effect on how you behave on a daily basis, is a gross misconception. This article gives enough insight into how pornography does in fact affect real life relationships, and even the overall behavior of the person who might have a problem with it.
To think that anything that brings you enough entertainment has no repercussions, would be bad mistake. This holds true for smoking, excessive drinking and even exercising, and porn is not off the list. All of us, including me, grew up with a taboo against pornography, with various lies told to people around me about why one should not indulge in it. One popular rumour was that masturbation is likely to make you go blind. I had a friend who believed this up to 12th grade, and I was stupid enough to think that it was extremely dull of him to believe this. But one thing it did accomplish was to keep him off the porn.
To start off, I want to tell the reader that for a person to admit they have porn addiction problem is an extremely difficult thing to do, considering our surroundings. Even people who watch porn everyday might not really think they have a problem. Nicotine, alcohol and even weed might be “addictive”, not porn, they might think. Porn is not a chemical that your body gets used to. But the truth is that addiction can be physical (when the lack of the chemical in your body gives you various symptoms like shaking of hands, urge to consume that chemical, insomnia, anxiety, stress, and even nausea), and also psychological (when you just cannot help it). I have heard around me people being extremely judgmental about any sort of distress pertaining to the mind. Whether it is depression or addiction (even physical), people are extremely non-understanding and think that people who are depressed or addicted, lack self-control. The truth is, however, that these issues may be genetic, or have a history behind them. It is not as easy as self-control. For depression, the go-to advice is to just be happy, or not to dwell on whatever makes you sad. For other types of addiction, it is to just stop. Addicted to nicotine? Just stop. Addicted to alcohol? Why don’t you stop? Addicted to pornography? How is that even possible?
To anyone who has even a slight interest in psychology and empathy, it is clear that addiction is a more deep seated issue. For people who have never been addicted to anything, it makes no sense. For them, it is as simple as not doing something because they don’t want to. People who have never undergone depression, also, never understand what it is like. Depression, I suppose, must be a horrible state to live in, to know that what you feel is probably not justified but you feel ache regardless of your life circumstances. Which is not to say that the people who do not understand are to blame; that is the environment we live in. Whenever there is some discussion related to suicide, I have personally heard remarks that suggest that they made an extremely stupid choice, and they were an idiot for not thinking of their parents, or that they (this is a personal favourite) were overreacting. No one can be bothered to understand what it is like to be chained up inside your own brain, knowing full well that a person sometimes knows that their life is too good to actually be depressed about, which actually makes it worse.
I, however, digress. My talking about depression is so that I can bring a little more empathy to what addiction is. If you, the reader, feels that porn is an issue for you, this might help clarify your doubts. Of course, this is just a blog, and not academic quality, but it is easy to understand and not off the mark.
My main agenda in writing this was two-fold. One is to make sure that people understand that the viewing of porn is not without repercussions. It affects a person’s energy, if done in excess. A quick burst of pleasure is psychologically distracting. Masturbation, as I can tell, is an activity of boredom and deflection more than anything else. Either a person is bored, and has nothing to do, or that they feel that the activity of masturbation will distract them from whatever it is that is making them feel stressed out. This might actually be precisely why the more stressed a person is, the more susceptible they might be to develop an addiction – for porn or even addiction. Smoking a cigarette after a long, hard day, is similar to masturbating at the end of the day. This might actually be a good thing, everyone needs to unwind, and an orgasm is definitely supposed to make you happy. However, according to the NoFap (more about this later) community on Reddit, sex is supposed to make you happy, not masturbating. The end result of sex with a loved one is relief from stress, but with masturbation, it is generally a feeling of guilt and disgust, especially if it is done in excess.
But what about people who view porn, just not regularly? Let me be upfront about this and tell you that while you may say you know this, sex in real life is nothing like pornography. “Of course I know this”, people tell me. All of my friends tell me they know this. But is this true? I really doubt it. No one knows what they don’t know. If you have never had a sexual experience, how do you know whether or not something is real? A woman’s body does not look anything like it is shown in those films. And I do not mean the size and shape, I even mean the texture and the clothing. And this is true for the men as well. The reactions are also extremely fake, and what a woman might enjoy in bed are also screened and scripted. It is not a huge exaggeration to say that every person is different, and has different tastes, and this is generally not something that porn really keeps into account. Objectification is a real issue, and nothing is more objectifying than turning the woman into an item of sexual pleasure. This extends into real life when people (not just men) make comments about a woman’s body parts in their own right. “Her legs are hot,” or “Her breasts are large” or “The shape of her ass is weird”. I am sure you have had heard someone make comments like these before.
Not just this, I know way too many people who have used porn as means for sex education because apparently that is just not something that young adults should be taught when they are teenagers. There are major misconceptions of people regarding sex even in college, and the only place they can solve this is from pornography. I wish there was a sex education column or a club in college which might help people understand sexual urges in a better way. A lot of students need this to get their questions answered. But the truth is that our college even blocks sites on the basis of “SexEducation”, so this concern is definitely legitimate. The recent debates about whether serious sex education should be a part of school curriculum will tell you how lightly our country takes the issue.
The truth is that it is not difficult to obtain hardcore pornography these days. It is a few clicks away. This means that everyone (especially post puberty) has seen some sort of porn in their lives (this may vary with gender). My point here is not that pornography is bad, or that it causes sexual harassment or even rape, but that it is not just an innocent production. Of course, there is different kind of porn available online, but all of it does feed into the unhealthy obsession of young teenagers for sex and orgasm. Overall, it is not entirely a bad idea to refrain from watching any kind of porn at all. For encouragement, here is a success story from a subreddit that I have realized is a place of acceptance and understanding.
Reddit has an amazing community for people who are depressed, as well as for various kinds of addictions starting from gaming (another underrated addiction), to pornography. This is the link to their NoFap community, where different people (men and women) come with different goals (like not viewing porn, not masturbating, and even not having an orgasm at all) but a common agenda – to make the lives of themselves and their loved ones much better. As the story tells you, it is a more freeing experience than you might understand now. I’ve read very interesting anecdotes from people who have been either addicted to porn or are currently in that state, and a thing that also got my attention was the fact that they think that pornography is making them feel entitled to sex. As if it was a commodity that the person they are doing it with has to enjoy, because that is what porn tells them it will be like. The truth is, however, that the person in real life that they will eventually experience it with, will be a person in their own right, who has feelings and emotions and inhibitions about what they want to do. Before one can learn them, how is sex supposed to be a good experience? In fact, in reality, most first-time sexual experiences are a big let-down, because everyone expects to feel good, and they realize that the person they are with might be shy or refrained.
Regardless, I am subscribed to the NoFap community simply for the heart-warming success stories that people share. Most of them have to do with healing relationships with their spouses, immediate family and even their friends. The benefits and the goals vary from person to person, but NoFap has made me see pornography in an entirely different light. And I hope that other people will agree with me on this eventually.