What is the Definition of Pornography?

By Caron C. Andrews

Pornography is the portrayal of explicit sexual content for the purpose or intent of causing sexual arousal. It is intended to be titillating. It has become a commodity and a billion dollar industry which intentionally and strategically targets its audience. Pornography can be created in a variety of media contexts, including but not limited to photographs, painting, animation, video, books and magazines, and sound recordings. It is not romantic or at all about love and intimacy.

Online porn is vastly different than anything today’s parents grew up with. Children are exposed to pornography younger and younger, and people are forming attitudes about sex through porn. It’s a huge influence as it trickles into and hypersexualizes all aspects of popular culture, including the media, toys, games, language, and attitudes.

 Porn damages individuals through addiction, decreased empathy, increased callousness toward sex, dissatisfaction with the person’s real-life sexual partner, a diminished view of women, acceptance of the rape myth (that women like to and want to be raped), and disconnection from real-life relationships.

 Porn damages relationships. It can cause problems with trust. It desensitizes you to your partner’s humanity and individuality. It puts the focus on the user’s own pleasure and satisfaction without regard to their partner’s. The growing rate of erectile dysfunction in men is linked to prolonged exposure to and use of pornography (Voon, et. al., 2014).

 Porn damages society. Millions of people viewing porn leads to rape culture and a focus on women in positions of powerlessness. It leads to a collective loss of empathy and the idea that women should be sexually available. It leads to a hypersexualized culture. The porn industry is actively making it more accessible and more acceptable.


Voon, V. et. al. (2014, July 11). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours. Retrieved from http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0102419