Pornography, often colloquially referred to as porn, is any sexually explicit material—written, visual, or otherwise—that is intended to sexually arouse. While pornography has existed in some form for millennia, today it’s most readily available online—though it continues to be widely available in literature, audio, magazines, and more.
The increasing presence of the Internet in daily life has led to a rapid spread of porn: The world’s largest such site claims that in 2018, it had a daily average of 92 million unique viewers, the vast majority of them males.
What effect does the ubiquity of porn have on individuals and relationships? Is it a harmless pastime or a pernicious addiction? Is it a fun way to add spice to a couple's sex life, a relationship destroyer, or potentially both?
The debate over whether pornography is detrimental to sexual development and mental health has picked up steam in recent years—particularly as researchers have debated the existence of “porn addiction,” a concept unheard of until recently. That supposed disorder has no universally accepted diagnostic criteria and is not included in the DSM-5.