Online Pornography and Sexual Violence Are Linked

Online pornography eroticizes violence. In fact, teenagers are legitimizing aggressiveness in their relationships because it's what they see every day on their cell phones.
Online Pornography and Sexual Violence Are Linked

Last update: 27 June, 2021

People often ask whether there’s a link between online pornography and sexual violence. The answer is yes. It’s a problem that’s reflected in the adolescent population.

The social image of pornography is negative. Indeed, most people can’t find anything positive to say about it. Nevertheless, in the privacy of their own homes, billions of people make use of this audiovisual “product” every day.

It’s free, easy to access, and people see it in private. However, this easy accessibility is having serious effects on our society. Being a voyeur of porn has consequences. Unfortunately, it’s something we don’t tend to talk about.

A button on a keyboard.

The relationship between online pornography and sexual violence

As if easy access to online pornography wasn’t enough, we now have the field of virtual reality. In fact, these days, the observer can become the protagonist. This means that, far from there being legislation to limit the use of pornography, there are sophisticated ways to access it. Consequently, it’s creating real addictions, which are particularly evident among teens.

Some claim that there’s no link between online pornography and sexual violence. They say that what you watch and what you do daily are completely different. However, we simply can’t deny the reality. In addition, several scientific studies confirm its adverse effects.

Countries like the United Kingdom campaign against the use of pornography in the same way they do against the use of drugs or tobacco. Let’s find out why.

Dating in adolescents and violence in relationships

Northeastern University, Brown University, and the University of Denver conducted a study in 2019. They wanted to uncover the relationship between online pornography and sexual violence. They discovered that teenagers imitate the violent practices they see on pornographic sites.

This evidence corresponds with information from Save the Children:

  • 54.9 percent of adolescents want to carry out the pornographic practices they see.
  • In teenage relationships, girls are often denigrated. In fact, sexist behavior is often normalized among 15- and 16-year-olds.
  • They rarely use condoms. This means unprotected sex, leading to unwanted pregnancies and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

Another problem concerns the ease with which individuals can find pornography on the Internet. This can happen both voluntarily and involuntarily. Consequently, children often end up using it at increasingly earlier ages (Schick, Calabrese, Rima, and Zucker, 2010).

The mainstreaming of pornography and unreality in relationships

We define “mainstream” as the ideas, attitudes, or activities shared by most people. Easy access to the Internet, along with the technological revolution, means that the boundaries between the real and the digital world have become blurred. In other words, the way in which sex is viewed and understood is being misrepresented.

In fact, many people think that what they see represented in pornography is normal and even expected of them. This has many consequences:

  • The relationship between online pornography and sexual violence is often demonstrated in people’s beliefs and desires. Pornography combines desire, dominance, and violence. This means that aspects like empathy in a relationship tend to disappear.
  • Porn places women in positions of subordination where men completely dominate them. In fact, they become mere instruments of male desire.
  • However, perhaps we should consider pornography movies, where nothing is real. In this world, perfect bodies abound and it reinforces dangerous stereotypes. For example, women are passive, perform unrealistic and acrobatic poses, and sex is shown as devoid of emotion and affection. This all makes online porn extremely damaging.
Two young people on their mobile phones.

Inadequate sex education

The sex education offered in schools and colleges often isn’t sufficient. Furthermore, all teenagers these days tend to learn about sex via through their cell phones.

Access to this kind of information at the ages of nine, ten, or 12 means young people acquire expectations or tend to normalize some uncomfortable and unpleasant scenarios that wouldn’t happen in the real world.

Everything that happens in pornography is scripted. However, this isn’t the case in real sex.

To a large extent, we’re leaving the education of our children in the hands of technology. This happens because there are no filters or any firm legislation to limit access to pornographic content.

The most worrying thing of all is that the Internet is moving much faster than the mechanisms regulating it.

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  • Chen, L., Yang, Y., Su, W., Zheng, L., Ding, C. y Potenza, M. N. (2018). The relationship between sexual sensation seeking and problematic Internet pornography use: A moderated mediation model examining roles of online sexual activities and the thirdperson effect. Journal of behavioral addictions, 7(3), 565-573
  • DasGupta, B. (2017). Effect of Pornography on Sexual Beliefs and Behaviors. North American Journal of Psychology, 19(2), 371–386
  • de Miguel, A. (2020). Sobre la pornografía y la educación sexual: ¿puede «el sexo» legitimar la humillación y la violencia? Gaceta Sanitaria.
  • Rostad, W. L., Gittins-Stone, D., Huntington, C., Rizzo, C. J., Pearlman, D., & Orchowski, L. (2019). The Association Between Exposure to Violent Pornography and Teen Dating Violence in Grade 10 High School Students. Archives of sexual behavior48(7), 2137–2147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1435-4