Is Porn Cheating?

An in-depth look at how porn affects you and your relationships

Is Porn Cheating? An in-depth look at how porn affects you and your relationships.
Is Porn Cheating? An in-depth look at how porn affects you and your relationships.

We live in a wild, wild world. The porn industry grosses nearly $15 billion a year, some veteran porn stars are multimillionaires and household names. A porn website can generate billions of hits each month.  Spam porn ads flood email inboxes daily; you’re one Google search away from seeing the most intimate act be cheapened and exploited in pursuit of the dollar. The next thing you know, your daughter is knocking on someone’s door looking to become a porn star for quick money and the allure of becoming rich and famous in Hollywood.

Porn provides an escape for its viewers where they can enter a fantasy land even if it’s just for a few moments. Escapism and chasing the unattainable has become an epidemic in our current cultural snapshot. More than 40 million people in the US routinely watch porn. Some people feel that it undermines our culture of marriage, family, parenting, and monogamy. Others feel that porn is a healthy indulgence which helps breathe new life into their relationships and their sex lives.

Some studies show that regularly looking at porn can lead to problems in the home because it increases marital distress and the risk of infidelity, separation and divorce. Intimacy and sexual satisfaction in the relationship can suffer if one partner starts relying on porn for sexual excitement. There’s also the danger of your kids accidently finding your porn at a very vulnerable, young age and developing skewed notions of happy and healthy relationships and male/female roles in society.

Porn paints the role of the woman as a sex object or a commodity meant to be exploited by men and other women.

Porn as Escapism

For the majority of porn watchers, porn is escapism. You can escape the mundane and embrace the fantastical. If your healthy sexual desires aren’t being satisfied in your personal life, a perfectly rational option is to look at porn in order to satisfy your sexual needs.

If you’re having trouble with your relationship at home, porn can help ease sexual frustration by giving you an outlet through a rough patch and help keep your relationship alive.

Just like with any activity, some people can take porn to the extremes. Since so many types of porn are available, it’s easy to come across bizarre fetishes and illegal, abusive, or unsafe sexual activities. People can easily get bored of normal and healthy porn and start looking for more intense or abnormal varieties for novelty’s sake when there are so many options advertised on the internet. This could lead them down a dark and dangerous path.

How Porn Affects Your Brain

Let’s take a look at how a porn experience affects your brain. In any sexual activity, the chemical dopamine is released in your brain which creates a sense of a “high” and a vicious craving to chase that “high. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter released by the brain in response to addictive substances. The sub-par feeling of mere “satisfaction” from a rush of endorphins after your grueling workout pales in comparison to the experience of a “high” from dopamine.

The chemical norepinephrine is also released, promoting readiness and alertness. During an orgasm, your brain releases the chemical oxytocin which creates a bonding sensation to whatever created the stimulation. Natural opiates are also produced during orgasm to create a feeling of euphoria and escape, followed by a release of serotonin to create a final sensation of calm and peace.

Watching porn causes many of the same chemical effects as a healthy sexual interaction. But the more you watch it, the more your brain craves and anticipates the barrage of feel-good brain chemicals it triggers. This creates the potential to become addicted to porn instead of looking to your partner for sex.

Is it Cheating?

This brings us to the question, “Is porn cheating”? If you’re having trouble at home, it’s important to communicate your feelings with your partner. If you sweep relationship issues under the rug and rely on porn for your satisfaction, it can lead to bigger problems can weaken or even destroy your relationship. 

But if you’re going through a tough time in your sex life and you’re just not getting the satisfaction you need, it’s completely natural for you to look for a way to fill that need. If you have an affair that would be cheating. So you opt for porn because it gives you an outlet without the physical act of cheating. To each his own, just don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.

Sources:

Impact of Pornography on the Brain in Counseling for Addiction in Mesa AZ.  Godfrey F.  Family Strategies Counseling Center.  Web.  25 Jan 2016.

Is Watching Porn Cheating on Your Partner?   Fight The New Drug, 29 Mar 2015.  Web.  25 Jan 2016.

Online Infidelity: The New Challenge to Marriages.  Mao A, Raguram A.  Indian Journal of Psychiatry:  U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec 2009.   Web.  25 Jan 2016.

Pornography’s Impact on Marriage & The Family.  Manning JC.  Testimony on Family and Marriage, 9 Nov 2005.  Web.  25 Jan 2016.

Pornography: The New Narcotic.  Piper J.  Desiring God, 9 Oct 2013.  Web.  25 Jan 2016.

The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community.  Fagan P.  Family Research Council.  Web.  25 Jan 2016.

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