Your Brain on Porn

Your Brain on Porn Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

62 thoughts on “Get the Latest Pornography Statistics

  1. My son, at the age of eight, was exposed to pornography at our local library. It happened while I was with my children in the children’s library. Two young boys were looking at it on the computer. When my husband called the library and talked to the director the director just laughed about the incident. My son came and told me that the boys were looking at something bad. I wish I could take the experience away from him.

  2. Hey Luke, I’m glad you recanted in our personal email exchange and agreed that the statistic you published that states “50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to porn” is totally baseless and without merit. As a subject matter expert who is often quoted in the media myself, I am very careful about the statistics and studies I cite related to porn use.

    Since my credibility as an expert is on the line each time I speak out on the issue, I’ve personally gone back and researched the source of many of these stats, especially ones that sound hyped and are often tossed around in church talk on the subject.

    The one you cite above is one of the most oft used, misquoted statistic that has absolutely no basis in fact and is completely unscientific. So when Christians and Christian organizations cite such hyperbole, it hurts our credibility outside the church and is misleading to those inside the church.

    Let’s not be like the self-promoting porn industry and insiders like Paul Fishbein (also someone who you quote in your statistics package who is well known as a promoter of the porn industry and who’s been known to exaggerate industry consumption stats to make their/his industry look bigger than it really is).

    The bottom line on this statistic: SCIENTIFIC studies that are often quoted by addiction and medical experts estimate that 3-6% of the adult population is sexually addicted. My personal belief based solely on empirical evidence (and thus not fact) is that this rate in the Christian community alone COULD be double that, or 6-12%, which would still be a big number. But 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women – no way!

    • Right. The survey never concluded that that many Christians were actually addicted to porn but that for those who responded to the survey, 50% of men and 20% of women said they were. Big difference. It is doubtful (1) that many of those people would actually fit the criteria for a true addiction, and (2) that the survey was done in a manner that accurately reflects the state of the church nationwide.

      The fact that many Christian men or women in any church would claim that they “feel addicted” to pornography is indicative more of the way they use the term “addiction.”

    • All good comments…but isn’t there is a difference between sex addiction and porn addiction? Based on my empirical evidence (audiences I’ve talked to, teens and men I coach,…) that stat. is believable if it talking about porn addiction. The other statistic that is problematic is the age of first exposure….officially it has been stuck at 11 years old since the 80’s…even though all of us in this arena know from personal experience in the field that it is closer to 8. My own son was exposed to porn on a school bus when he was 9. It was one of the reasons why I started Explicit Content. Thanks you all you do Luke.

    • There is a difference between porn addiction and sex addiction, yes—especially today. Modern Internet porn addiction is often as much an addiction to the Internet as it is to porn. The two are co-mingled. It isn’t uncommon for porn addicts to be virgins—thus, they are not sex addicts. The two experiences can be very different. That said, many sex addicts are also porn addicts. Addictions can co-exist.

  3. hi luke, my names daniel and i am addicted to pornography, i was 9 years old when i was on a computer game and an ad for cybersex came up. Im 15 now and I am looking for help, this addiction is tearing my life apart, and i cant stand by and watch as it does. When i read these statistics,i was in shock. I never knew that so many people could be porn addicts. I just want to thank you for doing this, i can use this as a motivator to resist my urges, and i can finally find peace in my life when its over.

    • Hi, porn like anything else that is harmful to one is like a cancer it starts small but quickly can take over. I suggest finding support from someone at your church, that will hold you accountable when you use and will pray for you and with you. In addition since our body(flesh) is the thing that craves it and your spirit(conscience) feels convicted you have to bring you body in line with your spirit. The only way how is to pray, fast (look it up for details) read and recite God’s word pertaining to the problem you have and want to change. You can do it, may not be easy but you have already learn to do more difficult things (walk, talk,learn new things) whats the difference with this? If you need some other advice, prayer, ect email me ATHTVSubmissions@yahoo.com

  4. There is a 12 step accountability program to help those addicted to porn. Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) has a website where you can get contact info to find out if there is a local group in your area. My husband was addicted to porn for 35 years, and with God’s help He has delivered him from it.

  5. Its in yahoo images that it is not all covered and I really would love to get
    over this cause I travel a lot in my current Job and am away from my family but my desires are real and I can’t take no more so plz help if you can. Thanks Many Thanks….

  6. I have more reason to believe it’s your repressive attitude towards sexuality that causes your marriages to fail. I’ve recently had a women I loved very much, and who loved me back by any reasonable standard, leave me because I was a broke loser… and I’m sure you could make a reasoned argument that I would be more successful if I spent less time thinking about sex… but our relationship, just like every relationship I’ve been in with a woman who was openminded about sex, was more open, more romantic, more intimate, more sexual, and generally better as a result of us being indulgent towards one another’s sexual desires. And when I found myself in that position (the broke loser position) the first bad habits to go were laziness and pessimism, not pornography; I’m doing just fine now, thank you for asking. I think the whole concept of sexual addiction is preposterous… it’s like being addicted to football, or clean mountain air, except that neither of those things is a fundamental human drive which is naturally unhealthy and stress inducing to ignore. Could you indulge in those things too much? Sure. Could you indulge in them too much with your wife!? Probably not, unless you’re watching football when you (both) ought to be getting up off of your lazy behind(s) and finding (a) real job(s). Watching pornography with your lover is one of the most intimate sexual activities there is… you see one other at your weakest, with the very root of your sexual psyches exposed. I suggest you all try it. Don’t be stupid about it, though… just like if you were having sex, you have to know your partner and be gentle when you are trying something new, until you have a deeper understanding of what they like and don’t like. It’s perfectly normal to have some kind of “weird” fetish (the rule more than the exception, I’ve found, but maybe that’s just New York City), but that’s not what you should be breaking out the first time you watch an erotic film together… ESPECIALLY if you’ve already been married for years! Anyway, my point is that while you can do anything too much, I can tell you that I know from personal experience that a man and woman, in love, and intending (at least at the time) to marry and raise a happy family together, can enjoy watching porn together that would have made the Whore of Babylon blush. So there.

    • Hi Reg,

      As you said, “Could you indulge in those things too much? Sure. Could you indulge in them too much with your wife!? Probably not, unless you’re watching football when you (both) ought to be getting up off of your lazy behind(s) and finding (a) real job(s).” That’s exactly the point: when someone’s viewing of porn takes people to the place where they are sacrificing things that make life sustainable, they are addicted. That’s exactly what marks an addiction. I know men who go into tens of thousands of dollars in debt because of porn. Addicted. I know men who go to jail because their obsession with porn brought them to more graphic and sadistic material, eventually bringing them to child porn. Addicted. I know men who watch porn every day and refuse to make love to their wives who are desperate for intimacy. Addicted.

      I would hardly call a woman “repressed” in her sexuality simply because she doesn’t want her husband to use her body to masturbate to fantasy images of porn stars. That’s called “normal.”

  7. Hi, I am doing a speech on this on the 13th of this month (so basically I need to have the outline done today). It is a 5 to 6 min speech for a college speech class. I am over loaded with information and struggling with what my 3 points should be. I was thinking definition, effects on the brain, and effects on family/society… basically the change in view of woman. But with the amount of information, I have no idea how to narrow it down. Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks so much.

    • Not sure if I’m replying too late, but here’s one way to narrow it down:
      1. How porn changes the brain
      2. How porn harms one’s view of women
      3. How porn shapes one’s sexual expectations

  8. Thank you, Luke. This would have been on time if I had remember to watch for your reply. I like that better than what I ended up with, but this will have to work. Thanks again!

  9. Hi,
    i recently found out that my dad might have problems with pornogrophy because of the history on the computer but i dont think he had it for too long because i only saw the side effects not too long ago of how he acts with mom. And they have been married happily for about 32 years. I love him very much and i know he hates what he is doing but i dont know how to help and i dont think mom knows whats going on. Scared to tell her anything. Maybe somehow he will stop before it’s time to tell mom. How do i help him? i am praying but what other steps should i take?

  10. A female associate has just kicked her husband out of their home because she caught him using internet porn. I’m interested in www porn stats, but I’d like a little more info as to how and where, etc. the info you have on this page was obtained. Would you be willing to share? I haven’t found much in the way of primary polling. She and I both consider this a very serious situation, though I tend to think it’s more widespread than she does. I’d like to help her if I can. The husband has applied to his pastor for help, who I think is probably as likely to be as competent as anyone is likely to be.

  11. I don’t think there is anything wrong with porn. Is there anything wrong with pleasuring yourself every so often? No. Desire happens and I’m sure multiple people in family watch porn and we are all happy normal people and a regular family.

    • This post doesn’t really get into the ethics behind pornography, but thanks for bringing it up. Ultimately, I believe porn is exploitative. The harms done to individuals will differ from person to person, but in the end the worst part about pornography is that it is lustful, a craving for something that in turn exploits and depersonalizes people made in the image of God.

  12. Totally biased. Seems to be focusing on negative aspects of porn , like it was written by some unattractive “christian” who is has kids, a husband but only engaged in sex to conceive & never touched since those few occasions.

    • Well, if you want to judge if I’m unattractive, you can visit the author page and look at my photo. No doubt: I’m not the handsomest dude in the world. Not sure what that has to do with porn.

      As to whether I have kids, yes! A proud father of four boys. Again, not sure what that has to do with my research on porn.

      And as to whether I have had sex since my twins were born…um…why would anyone stop having sex with the one they love? You lost me.

      Biased? Absolutely. The list is compiled to demonstrate the damaging nature of porn. I’ll tell you what: you compile another list of stats from peer reviewed journals that shows the opposite side of the picture and we’ll compare notes.

  13. I could very well be looking over it, but what are your resources on the statistics? I am doing a research paper over porn addiction and I have been looking for the statistics and i cannot find reliable resources.
    Thanks!

    • Great! In your debate you could simply cite the article saying, “According to the Internet safety company Covenant Eyes’ most recent release of pornography-related statistics…” or something like that. If I were the one doing the debate, I might go back to the original sources on specific stats to lend more credibility to the argument. We have our complete list of all our stats, along with all the citations for them, here. Feel free to download and use it!

  14. I first discovered pornography at the young age of eight years old. I looked up the term “nudist colony” online, and I saw a lot of images of people with no clothes on. (Imagine that.) I knew the images were bad; however, I liked what I saw and wanted more. For eight years I have been wanting more. For eight years I have been struggling with an addiction to pornography. For eight years I have pleaded to God to help me overcome this addiction. I don’t know if I’m not trusting Him enough or what, but nevertheless I still have the addiction!! It is driving me insane. Images flood my mind every day and night, and I am DROWNING in my lusts!!! This addiction is killing me from the inside out, and I sometimes I wish I would just die already. I’ve tried reading my Bible, praying to God, reading self-help websites like this, and so many things like this, but this addiction is relentless. Can someone here please help me?! I’m dying!!

    • The first thing to do is to find someone you trust and tell them about it….maybe a mentor at your church. It can be very hard to share about a personal struggle like this, but if you find someone you trust to keep it private and hold you accountable, they can help you find ways to root out and kill temptations. It will be a strong process, but God will see you through it!

    • Find someone you can talk 2. Getting it off your chest is the first step to liberating yourself from the pressure. Make sure it’s someone you trust, if you have a pastor that’s a good person to go 2. Or find a mature Christian adult. They will help you release and will hold you accountable. If you need help or prayer email me at dthomp27@emich.edu

    • This is typical of a life dominated by this sin. You need to not only tell someone you can trust, but I strongly recommend that you go through the free course at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com. You wont regret it! You will be assigned a mentor who will walk with you towards freedom in Christ! As someone who struggled with this sin for 25 years I can tell you there is freedom from this sin. Christ died for our freedom. We just need to learn to walk in it. And trust me, we need the help of others! Don’t buy into the lie that your somehow okay now, or it’s just once in a while. These are just the cycle of pornography. From cover to cover the Word of God talks about sexual immorality. So if some doubt those statistics then look for yourself. The apostle Paul alone mentions sexual immorality in 11 out of his 13 letters. Very high statistics my friends.

  15. This is some SERIOUS religious BS. PLENTY of people watch porn for pleasure and maintain completely normal relationships. These statistics are so completely skewed its embarrassing. “A 2012 survey of porn actresses demonstrated 79% of porn stars have used marijuana, 50% have used ecstasy, 44% have used cocaine, and 39% have used hallucinogens.” Tons of Americans have “tried” all these drugs, hell even our president has “tried” cocaine. Those statistics are completely irrelevant along with most posted in this article. Saying porn is a main cause of recent divorce rates is a joke. Maybe attribute it to humans and now women having the courage to end marriages when they aren’t working, rather than living unhappily. Porn hasn’t all of a sudden created a new urge for sex and fantasy, human nature remains relatively consistent. I think most people understand that sex in the real world does not resemble that of pornography. Quit being afraid and learn to deal with it. On no, your 8 year old son saw a naked woman? The world is coming to and end! If you really think it’ll completely change his view on how women are treated maybe you should learn to be a good parent and teach him. If anything, new technologies will be a reason we can slow domestic violence in this country.

    Basically, let’s be honest…you are lying to yourself if you don’t think porn is entertaining. Sex for money has always existed, sorry that you can now watch it. If you don’t agree, go read the bible and maybe everything will be all right! I think Jesus has a paragraph about mobile porn ruining human existence.

    • If you have a problem with the statistics, then I suggest you speak to the authors of the studies themselves. Most of these stats come from organizations and people who are not religiously motivated.

  16. while the poster above me came at it like an attacking Neanderthal, I do agree with some of his points. Life is nothing more than a balance, and some people tend to equate porn to be the root of the problem when in reality it is something deeper within them that is USING porn as a conduit. I’m very good at analyzing people and solving the problems of our psychology so naturally thats what i grew up to be. Take my case as a child for instance, I was looking at internet porn all the time from the time i was 8 years old because it was shown to me. I was molested and i came from a very broken home thanks to my mother. So naturally sex and porn became a dependence and a friend. It was hard to separate myself from that escape because of the underlying cause of the reason i continued to use it and the reason was i was miserable wreck on the inside. I had not forgave anyone from my past, i held on to every painful memory and never let it go. After i came to peace with everything inside me, porn use seemed to subside and my need for it decreased. We attack the escape when in reality we should be looking for the underlying cause they are needing that escape so often. Are they just not feeling like they are accomplishing much in life? Are they feeling valued and needed? Are they looking for a way to ignore inner pain? These are all reasons ive dug up in my sessions when others would have pointed to pornography as the problem, i found the reason behind the porn and solved it which, in turn, solved the porn “problem”. Do i think that all porn use is bad? absolutely not. It turns into a problem when it becomes an unhealthy escape or when that person clings to it to ignore inner pain. We have to separate ourselves from this old style of thinking that the porn itself is the problem when I’ve seen patient after patient who had their porn problems “solved” and they simply clung to something else, usually MORE harmful or destructive simply because they only solved the visible weed on the surface instead of finding the root behind the weed. There is such a thing as normal porn use because we are all humans and to deny our sexual nature is folly. The poster was right that trying to suppress it actually makes it that much harder and unhealthy for the average person. Now you have demonized the very need ingrained inside all of humans which makes it “bad and sinful” which gives it allure to the mind and they will get stuck in a cycle because of the allure of how “wrong” it is which releases more feel good juice from the brain because it mimics an adrenaline rush. To have a healthy sexual drive, from what i have seen, is to embrace your sexuality but keep it in check. Not too much, Not too little, the balance of all life. Porn use is no exception, not too much, not too little. If you have a problem with porn, please dont attack just the porn itself. You have to analyze the why behind it to truly understand it. The porn itself is like alcohol, a little bit wont hurt you or sometimes might even be good for you in small doses (I.E relieves stress, promotes sleep and rest) but when someone is addicted we seem to attack the substance instead of the reason they are addicted to it. The substance itself is not bad in small doses its only bad when people abuse it. If we solve the reason they abuse it in the first place then the abuse will stop. I never try to get my clients to stop watching porn and when i first tell them this they usually are shocked to hear me say that. Im not trying to get them to stop watching porn im trying to help solve the reason it over whelms them and help them find the balance that they need in their life. Sex is not bad/sinful, we as humanity need to start embracing that we are sexual creatures and stop the demonization of sex. Ive seen more problems come from sexually repressive homes (scientifically observant minded, no judgement or bias) then i ever have from a home who openly embraced sexuality and even taught their children that they should pay respect to it but didnt shield them from it because its a natural progression of human life. Those families never end up coming to me. The families or persons that end up coming to me are men and women (usually christian) who are trying to suppress sex entirely because they are single and dating or persons who feel that if they get too wild with their wife then they are sinning somehow or their wives arent meeting their need (or husbands yes men it happens to us too, sometimes we arent meeting their need) and they use porn because they just arent getting what they need. Completely and total sexual repression is a VERY dangerous mix. Ive learned that more child molesters came from sexually repressive CHRISTIAN homes then ive ever seen from an open and educating family. Thats just personal experience, doesnt mean its the truth. But dont just look at the alcohol as the problem, just like dont look at porn as just the problem! There are plenty of people who use it that are 100 percent healthy. You have to look at the reason BEHIND the problem you may have and solve THAT. Only until that happens are you going to find peace.

  17. I’m a 21 year old male with a wife and two infant daughters. I was a porn addict from the age of 18 to 20, and three months after I overcame my addiction did I meet my wife to be, and we had twins to start with. I say this for a good reason. All the time I hear people say “what’s the harm in porn?” Or even “porn is good for blowing off steam, and even good for my relationships.” I want to testify boldly that i have seen both sides, as an addict, and then as a recovered addict who has been completely faithful to his spouse. You people who preach that there is no sin are dangerously destroying yourselves, because you deny the harmful effects of pornography that you inflict on yourselves. The commentor who said they are addicted and would that he die already because he feels enslaved, is far better off than those who say “there is no addiction, and there is no harm.” As a person who was once addicted, I know the emptiness and tragic depression that is caused by porn. I know that even when you are in relationships, porn causes you to feel extremely alone. I know that porn is never satisfying, and always feeds the appetite, and never the soul, always leaving you wanting more, and always destroying you little by little. I plead with you… Stop fooling yourselves! There is a better way! You think you were born to suffer, and that this fake pleasure is the closest a person can come to achieving a feeling of success, but it’s further from the truth than you can possibly imagine while you are addicted! There is a flip side to all of this. I know from personal experience, that there is no pornographic lust or rush that can compare with two completely faithful married individuals, who have vowed their lives to each other. Intimacy between two faithfully married people is at least 10 times more powerful than the cheap knock off that is pornography. I cry when I think that if I had never overcome my addiction, I would never come to know of the unworldly, fulfilling, powerfully potent joy intimacy with fidelity brings. I almost bit the bitter hook of pornography, and forever denied myself the limitless treasure trove of monogamous, faithful, mind-blowing, more-powerful-than-even-could-have-lusted-for-with-the-assistance-of-porn kind of sex, that only comes from knowing that my spouse will only ever share her body with me, and give it to me completely. The people who say “trying porn with your spouse is a good way to liven things up” -to them I say that they are already being unfaithful, and misery is just a little less miserable in sharing company. To those who believe my words and testimony, and have a strong desire in their hearts to one day know if what I testify of is true… To you I say Have hope, because it is true, and if you would retain that hope, and seek out by every means possible to rid yourself of your addiction, and acknowledge unceasingly that you would rather have no sexual desire at all, than to desire something as fake, empty and destructively unsatisfying as pornography, then God will not forsake you, but will guide you to a way to escape the chains of your addiction for good, so that one day you can be deserving and even experience the unworldly joy of which I’ve spoken. And when that day should come, you too will cry in joy because of the overwhelming mercy of a God who loves you, and look back to revere pornography as the never ending pit of darkness disguised as beautiful bodies, that almost swallowed your soul for all eternity.

  18. Greetings. We think it is very commendable of you for taking a stand against the “porn addiction” problem. Unfortunately, you’re dealing with the symptoms instead of the problem. Addiction to anything is merely a symptom of a person who hasn’t learned how to control their flesh. The primary reason for that is their heart hasn’t been changed. Change the heart, then have the heart empowered by the spirit of God, give that person the Word of God, and the problem in that person’s life will be solved. It’s not easy, but it CAN be done. Let me tell you about my experience. I was born again on Sept 30 1982, between 9:10 and 9:25 PM. Approximately 4 months later I was baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. Now I realize you may have some theological disagreements with that. Well, that’s on you. If you read the New Testament, especially the book of Acts, and be willing to admit that you might of missed something, there is no other conclusion that you can come to. In my case, the vast majority of the sexual acts I had already done before I gave my life to Jesus. Before I came to Jesus I had the opinion that anybody that watched porn was basically unable, for whatever reason, to participate in those acts. Their watching porn was merely their own frustration acting out by watching someone else do what they wanted to do. I found porn to be, quite honestly, BORING. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 states this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” In over 30 years we have found of being around “Christians”, we have found them to be, for the most part very religious but not new creations. Now, either God is a respecter of person or there is something deeply flawed in the experience of most American Christians. We are continually amazed at the lack of basic New Testament understanding among Christians. If American Christians are having a hard time now resisting porn, what are they going to do when within the next 10 years, no matter where you are, you are going to see naked bodies performing sex acts. America almost yearly is becoming more like Ancient Rome. And if people can’t learn how to be victorious over the urge to watch pictures on a screen, how in the world will they be able to do anything when it’s right in front of them? We know that these comments will probably anger some. And that’s OK. My question would be to them, when you gave your life to Jesus how come you didn’t become a new creation? I mean after all, I’m assuming that all who read these words are born again Christians. If that is true, then how come their nature hasn’t changed? Mine did. One more personal observance, we don’t blame the people in the pews. Nor do we even believe that the Lord Jesus Christ holds the people in the pews to blame. But rather, it is those who have set themselves up to be leaders in the church and do not have any more power than the leaders of any other religion. They’re to blame. They’re held to a higher standard by God than the sheep. I know you are probably going to have all kinds of problems with what we have just said. And that’s OK. But we know from our own personal experience that when one is born again, and baptized in the Holy Spirit, the New Testament doesn’t become that hard to understand. And the victory over whatever is wrong in our lives, in every area, is simply a matter of going to the New Testament, taking our religious glasses off and walking in victory over ALL temptations, whether of the flesh, of the eyes or the biggest one, over pride. Good luck to you and your endeavors. The reason we use the term luck, because it is fairly obvious you’re urging people to overcome something in their own strength and their own endeavors. As much as we hate to say this, there is a real good chance that after a period of time you will find your ministry going the same way as Exodus Ministries went. You will throw in the towel and apologize to everybody for making them feel guilty. And then you will close your doors. Because you are trying to do it the same way they tried to do it. And you are going to get the exact same results that they did, which is failure. And when you stand before the Lord Jesus Christ you will not be able to say that no one ever said anything to you. Good Luck.

    • Hi Austin,

      I am happy to hear about the great change the Holy Spirit is bringing about in your heart and mind (and body!). Personally, I believe that believers can and do have greater in-fillings of the Holy Spirit, as the book of Acts and other places in the New Testament testify. I also believe, however, that believers will continue to live in a sinful world, surrounded by temptations, and battle against those temptations in the power of the Spirit—and they can find great victory!

      You seem to think that is it “fairly obvious” we’re urging people to overcome pornography and lust in their own strength, not in the strength of God’s powerful Spirit. You also seem to think that we are making people feel guilty. I’m not sure what you are talking about, to be honest with you. We constantly write about overcoming sin in the power of the Spirit, relying on God to sanctify the human heart and mind, and taking full advantage of God’s great means of grace to bring about radical change. Our first (and most popular) e-book, Your Brain on Porn, is full of this kind of advice. I’m not sure, exactly, where you are getting your poor information from. Can you elaborate?

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