We live in a time when adult movies and “skin flicks” have become a normal occurrence and even a staple of internet culture. According to a website called projectknow.com, over 420 million websites are dedicated to adult entertainment! And because it’s so openly available, people are being exposed to the medium at a younger age than previous generations… which means that exposure starts at a time when a person’s psyche is still developing. And while this isn’t any different from kids in the 80s and 90s finding a stash of Playboy magazines under their older brother’s bed, prolonged exposure to adult films does create a warped sense of sexuality that sticks with a person all through their adult life.
Needless to say, that’s not a good thing.
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer or the Bastion of Buzzkill, but research has shown that this much early exposure to skin-flicks has a few damaging effects, especially on younger people. And by that I mean… premature ejaculation, a disinterest in sex with their partner, difficulty reaching the Big-O, and erectile dysfunction. Yikes! I’ve compiled a list of 15 horrible side-effects of watching adult films that no one talks about but should, because they’re all absolutely horrible!
15. Triggers An Addiction Cycle In The Brain
The most common side-effect of watching skin-flicks is that it triggers an addiction cycle in the brain. Every other side-effect that I’ve listed below is pretty much a result of this one major outcome of watching too many adult movies over a prolonged period of time. In a recent study, scientists at Cambridge University used MRI scans to map the brain activity of adult film connoisseurs and were surprised to find that the images looked exactly like those of drug addicts! It turns out that when the test subjects were shown explicit material, their brain’s reward centers would light up the same way an alcoholic’s would when they’re exposed to imagery relating to alcohol! The researchers eventually concluded that habitual indulgence in this sort of entertainment can create a chronic addiction cycle in the brain that viewers are not able to stop through their own willpower. The study was published in a British documentary called P*** On The Brain.
Look at it this way; watching these explicit videos releases certain chemicals in the brain that make the user feel pleasurable. Once the brain is aware of this, it will crave more in order to feel that “high” again, just like alcohol, drugs, or even sex. This need will soon turn into dependency if left unchecked, and once it reaches that state, other aspects of one’s life start to feel its effects.
14. It Becomes A Part Of Your Bedroom Routine
One of the most common confessions made by people who are hooked to movies of the “X kind” is the fact that they aren’t as easily aroused by their spouses or real-life sexual partners as they are when surfing that part of the internet. Studies have shown that the brain responds to adult entertainment the same way it does alcohol, certain drugs, and yes, even sex. This means that for some people, watching an adult film is the only way for them to get aroused before doing the actual deed in bed! Adult films become the equivalent of foreplay… which is pretty bad considering not everyone is going to be okay with you whipping out your phone to watch 30 minutes of random people going to town on each other before you’re ready for the real deal.
A good analogy (no pun intended) would be the famous story of Pavlov and his dog, often told in Psychology studies. Pavlov would ring a bell right before feeding his dog with tasty meals, conditioning the dog to associate the bell with these delicious treats. Eventually, Pavlov removed the food but kept ringing the bell, and the dog would continue to salivate at the bell even though there was no food around. This is how a skin-flick works. While you can still be physically aroused by an actual person, the lack of visual stimuli causes the arousal to be mediocre and not as intense as when you’re looking at two people plowing on the screen. In short, an adult film addict is usually more turned on by actors on a screen than they are by a real person standing right in front of them!
13. It Wrecks Your Libido
Another thing that takes a hit due to habitual indulgence in explicit entertainment is your libido. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2014) found that regularly viewing these videos seemed to dull the subjects’ response to sexual stimulation over time. Don’t be confused though… the urge to watch people banging doesn’t mean your libido is in tip-top shape. In fact, a nagging need to watch adult movies could mean an addiction is brewing under the surface.
A healthy libido is the natural drive to seek not just sex, but also intimacy and emotional bonding. It comes from the body’s biological need to engage in physical sexual experiences. But an urge to constantly watch random people bumping-uglies comes from a lack of control, and it stems from the brain’s need to constantly feed itself to trigger pleasure centers. Because of how easy it is to access pound-town material online and how abundant it is in variety, a junkie slowly but surely loses the interest to have actual sex or even engage with real potential partners, because an internet connection is doing the trick for him or her already.
Long story short, because the brain is being fed with pleasure-inducing visual stimuli on a routine basis, it loses the natural urge to look for sex in real life. The computer becomes all the “sex” the brain needs, and because of how convenient it is, finding an actual partner becomes something the brain doesn’t actively need anymore.
12. It Makes You Lazy
Adult films have taught us that people are supposed to be at their sexual peaks 24/7. Whether it’s the 37-year-old babysitter pretending to be 18 with the massive cleavage, or nurse with the ridiculously tight uniform who always goes commando, every single person in an adult film is in a state of perpetual gung-ho-ness. A woman in these films will order a pizza, and when it inevitably arrives without the extra sausage, she’ll hold the “poor” pizza delivery guy accountable for the next 45 minutes. And let’s not even get started on the men; they’re locked, cocked, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Well it’s time for a reality check, because those people are actors and they’re paid to be in a perpetual state of heat.
A number of studies have shown that one of the biggest complaints from women is that men who partake in too much watching of skin-flicks don’t focus on foreplay as much as they should. And that’s because there’s hardly any foreplay in these movies! The notion that sex should be fast, hard, and loud is a silly standard that was set a long time ago to cater to teenage boys who didn’t know any better, and yet so many people still hold true to these standards for some bizarre reason. Hey, we’d all love to go from 0-90 in a millisecond, but in reality people need to be aroused first to get out of their pants, and not the other way around.
11. It Creates Unrealistic Expectations
For some strange reason, adult films are considered by many as the benchmark for their own bedroom endeavors. Much like pro-wrestling, some people just can’t seem to tell what’s real and what’s not in the world of adult entertainment… so they assume that whatever they see in an adult movie has to be replicated in real life, with the results being just as “illustrious”. Sadly, holding explicit videos to such high standards can only lead to disappointment, frustration, and maybe even mild confusion.
Adult films are a work of fiction, plain and simple. The actors in those films are paid to moan, groan, and “finish” on cue. Heck, there are even stunt doubles who jump in when the lead actor has a flat tire, so to speak. There are multiple cameras on deck and once filming is done, an editor packages all of it together in post-production by snipping out hours upon hours of unusable footage and bloopers from the final movie. Yes, bloopers… like starts needing to take a breather or use the toilet in between different positions. Don’t look so shocked, they have bodily functions too, it happens. Nevertheless, “skin flicks” have a way of blurring the line between reality and make-believe, and compulsive viewing usually blurs that line even more, leading viewers to feel frustrated with their own sex lives because it doesn’t have the same “production value” and intensity as the action they see on screen.
10. It Makes Intimacy Seem Boring
Studies have shown that people who use sites relating to “the other industry” extensively have a difficult time experiencing any intimacy during sex, and that’s because the brain has rewired itself to depend solely on the body for arousal and sexual pleasure. You see, the pleasure centers in our brain are naturally stimulated by both physical pleasure and emotional intimacy. It’s why we form relationships with our sexual partners. It has also been scientifically proven that reaching the big-O together creates a residual bonding effect that draws two people closer together for a certain period of time after the deed. However, intimacy doesn’t happen in skin-flicks, and so the physical pleasure is all that registers in the mind.
As corny as it sounds, there’s a big difference between “making love” and simply “having sex”. For a compulsive user, the intimacy that comes with “making love” is not only non-existent, but is also considered boring and mundane. For them, the anonymity in sex is what turns them on. Unfortunately, physical gratification can only go so far. Intimacy is what builds relationships, and it’s a known fact that people addicted to skin flicks find it increasingly hard to form proper relationships with anyone in the real world, let alone a romantic partner.
9. It Creates Novelty-Seeking Behavior
A number of surveys and studies conducted by sites like ProjectKnow.com found that for people addicted to explicit entertainment, arousal actually declined with the same partner. This caused them to either look for different partners or find other methods of realizing their sexual desires. This condition is called the “Coolidge Effect”. It basically means that a person has the tendency toward novelty-seeking behavior, which usually increases for people who are hooked to these skin-flicks. But why is this the case?
Simply put, this type of entertainment trains the viewer to expect constant newness in regards to their sexuality. In more crude terms, it means they crave a new “body” each and every time. Things like one’s personality, intimacy, and attachment don’t exist in most adult films. And while that sense of anonymity naturally entices a lot of people on some level, overexposure to adult films also has the tendency to associate anonymity with pleasure, and attachment with boredom. Now you’re probably thinking if a person wants to live their life with a new partner for each sexual endeavor, more power to them, right? Well, not really. Unlike attachment, novelty doesn’t have room to flourish… otherwise it wouldn’t be considered a novelty. And because of this, even the greatest sexual escapades will become routine and mundane after a while, rendering the novelty factor moot and nothing more than uncontrollable, compulsive behavior.
8. It Starts To Get Weirder and Weirder
Let’s get biological for a second. A study by a group of German researchers found that both having sex and watching adult films triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for that feeling of reward and pleasure. But repeatedly causing this sudden surge in dopamine by watching skin-flicks means the brain will start to be desensitized to its effects. This also means the brain will soon require more dopamine to feel the same “high”.
After a while, “regular adult flicks” just don’t do the trick anymore. Addicts usually confess that their surfing habits have gotten weirder and more unorthodox over time. Because the brain just isn’t feeling the buzz of normal adult films anymore, heavy users start to descend into weirder fetishes and even questionable behavior.
An ex-adult entertainment-user movement aptly named “NoFap” conducted a survey amongst its members, and a disturbing 64% reported that their tastes in adult content have become more extreme or deviant over time. We’ve come far enough into the Internet age that no one is really going to judge you for looking at naked people online… but if what you’re gawking at is disturbing, gross, violent, or even borderline illegal, then you’re not going to be making friends very easily. In fact, making friends might be the least of your worries.
7. It Gets Weirder In The Bedroom, Too
Unfortunately, the surfing habits aren’t the only things that get weirder the more you watch. In 2011, a study was published in Psychology Today and it found that these increasing dopamine spikes in people who frequently indulge means that, as time goes by, they’ll start needing increasingly extreme experiences to become sexually aroused. This basically means that “regular sex” just doesn’t do it for them anymore, no matter how great the deed itself is or how much of an expert their partner may be.
Now, everyone knows that spicing things up in the bedroom is not only totally okay, but is even encouraged in long-term relationships. But when slightly disturbing fetishes and borderline offensive requests are the benchmarks for a proper turn-on… let’s just say it might put a wrinkle in your sex life. Again, this doesn’t mean the person is inherently freaky by default, but rather that his or her need to replicate the weird, freaky stuff they’re watching online doesn’t allow them to appreciate or even indulge in sex anymore no matter how great it is, simply because it isn’t as extreme as their online tendencies. Researchers have also found that the weirder the fetish, the less emotion it carries… meaning that sex soon becomes an ugly outlet for release instead of an act of bonding between two partners.
6. Tenderness Is Lost
As cheesy as this sounds, there’s a certain amount of tenderness that comes with having good sex. One night stands and quickies in bar bathrooms notwithstanding, good communication and a proper understanding of what the other wants in bed is key to having mindblowing orgasms and an intense sexual workout. That’s not to say that some amount of rough fun isn’t good or even encouraged, but even that comes with proper consent and open communication. Unfortunately, like I mentioned previously, adult films on the internet seem to be the textbook for a lot of people and by trying to replicate the sex in those films, the tenderness, communication, and respect is lost in the process.
Long story short, a skin-flick is all about gratification, domination, and zero communication. There’s an automatic “top” and “bottom” in any such scenario, and whatever the “top” does, the bottom enjoys or is forced to enjoy by default. That’s how this type of entertainment is wired, to predominantly serve the male-brain, and it’s done this way purely as entertainment. But because heavy users associate these flicks with pleasure, anything else that happens in the bedroom seems like a major c*ckblock. In their eyes, sex should be wordless, impersonal, quick, and dirty… and the other’s pleasure should be a given regardless of effort.
5. It Trains You to Have Immediate Gratification
Now, while some users experience a lesser erection, others experience it too much and “finish” way too soon! You’ve been warned, things are going to get pretty awkward and rather graphic in about three seconds.
Still here? Great, there’s no turning back now. The mechanism of watching an adult film is pretty simple and it’s pretty much the same for both men and women. You pick a video, you gawk at it for however long, and then you help yourself by getting off. You know… taming the dragon, polishing the rocket, flicking the bean, buttering the whisker biscuit. The problem with this mechanism for certain avid adult film connoisseurs is that it teaches the brain that arousal must be followed by instantaneous gratification, and that an orgasm is the core of any good sexual experience. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the real world.
In the real world, sex is an activity between two people that takes a certain number amount of effort before you’re both singing Hallelujah in unison. But in order to get that far, you need to make sure the rocket doesn’t launch before the countdown ends. All euphemisms aside, there have been countless studies that correlate heavy indulgers to being lousy lovers in bed. And it’s not so much that they’re bad at sex per se, it’s just that their brain doesn’t know it has to pace itself for a nice, long session of bed-rocking. Instead, it’s firing on all cylinders to reach that big-o because hey, that’s what happens when you’re watching one of those skin-flicks, right?
4. It Warps Your View Of What “Attractive” Is
Much like Hollywood and entertainment in general, skin-flicks have taught us that beauty is measured by a very strict set of standards. For a lot of people, their first sight of another naked human being comes from adult movies or adult magazines. And that’s a dangerous thing because those things teach us that only certain body types are to be considered attractive, and that both men and women need to be a certain way in bed to be called good-looking.
This creates a lot of unhealthy, unreasonable expectations because the truth is, surprise surprise… not everyone looks like a demigod when their clothes are off! For women, it’s always a matter of weight and not reaching those peak physical standards of having perfectly toned arms, a zero-fat waist, and a butt that looks like a damn apple. And for men, anything less than a perpetually erect, virile 9-inch trouser snake accompanied by warrior-like abs is considered below average.
It’s important to understand that adult films emphasize on the body and physique because it’s supposed to. It’s a form of simple, male-driven entertainment, and not a documentary. However, holding everyone to those standards is just silly, but that’s what happens to some people who become too engrossed in their secret online habits.
3. Erectile Dysfunction
One of the biggest concerns among people habitually indulge in adult entertainment is PIED or “P**n Induced Erectile Dysfunction”. That’s right folks… the very thing that’s supposed to be giving you boners is probably slowly taking them away as well! PIED happens when the brain is rewired to be turned on by nothing other than explicit material. This process is called neuroplasticity, and it happens when the brain conditions itself to respond to activities that it’s used to in order to familiarize the body with these triggers and external stimulants. In the case of a frequent skin-flick enthusiast, that trigger becomes the pictures and videos of random men and women getting it on.
Now, although it’s very normal for absolutely anyone to get turned on by images depicting anything relating to sex, years of exposure to excessive material like this means that the user slowly withdraws themselves from actual human relationships because they no longer get a kick out of real interaction. This is a sign of neuroplasticity, i.e. the brain has rewired itself to think that all that explicit material on your computer is the true sexual stimulant, and physical human contact is not! Just like a coffee-drinker’s body trains itself to need caffeine on a daily basis to function properly, the brain now needs an adult film a day to start the cycle of sending blood to all the right places to create a proper, undisputed erection. As you can imagine, for someone who is desperately hooked onto all those sites your parents warned you about, the brain’s signals start firing at a much lower level when they’re in the company of an actual sexual partner, causing problems such as erectile dysfunction. What a bummer!
2. Shame, Low Self-esteem, and Fear of Being Exposed
Being caught watching adult films is like being caught with your pants down. It’s embarrassing as all hell, even if everyone else is also doing it. Because indulging in adult entertainment is still considered as deviant behavior at the very least by society’s standards, and maybe even taboo in some communities, heavy users are normally shameful about how much they need a dose of explicit material to run their lives on a daily basis.
More often than not, compulsive users have admitted to shying away from interaction with members of the opposite sex (or the same sex if you’re homosexual) because of that nagging feeling of being “dirty” on the inside. Studies have shown that because they’re afraid of being exposed of their addiction to films of the filthy kind, which some suggest is worse than alcoholism because of the social stigma attached to bodily perversions, users normally avoid interacting or even taking a chance at getting to know someone who they might fancy. Imagine trying to chat-up a girl you like while also being afraid of her seeing through your façade and finding out about the 75 gigabytes of Japanese tentacle shenanigans you have stored on a separate hard-drive. It’s bound to make anyone feel sh*tty about themselves!
It’s an effect that slowly starts to cripple a person’s confidence, and in the process their ability to create relationships with potential partners in the real world also takes a hit. The shame slowly starts to become a core component of the addict, which sucks big time.
1. “Flying Solo” Fatigue
Have you seen that movie Shame with Michael Fassbender? Apart from being “that movie with Fassbender’s d*ck in it”, it’s also a movie that got rave reviews because of how raw and emotional it is. Fassbender plays a sex addict and when I say addict, I mean this dude revolves around sex like it was the sun. His computer is filled to the brim with filth. There’s also a scene that shows Fassbender’s character heading to the office bathroom to “rub one out”, as you do.
Now, I’m not going to judge if it’s okay or not to include a five-knuckle shuffle in your lunchbreak routine, but if you’re flying solo six times a day it is bound to wear you out. It’s just basic common sense that self-pleasure is fine, but excessive “pleasuring” requires energy to expel even more energy. The problem with explicit entertainment is that it usually, inevitably leads to a little solo-time. And if the compulsion is so strong that an addict starts watching these videos outside of home, such as at work or on their mobile gadgets, and then being compelled to figure out ways to release that tension… it’s going to waste a lot of time and energy that could be used in other aspects of their life.
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