Porn

Humans are wired to behave in ways that increase their odds of reproductive success, so having sex, it seems to me, is a great way to tip the odds in your favor. Having lots of sex is even better.

Pornography is an interesting twist on our basic human urges. It allows people–mostly men–to “reproduce” without actually reproducing, and without the risks that come with sex. Lest these men get addicted to internet pornography, it would seem harmless.

Unless it’s not harmless at all.

Unless what happens in porn videos is divorced from what actually happens in a bedroom. Unless women in porn videos are being coerced, or humiliated, or both. Unless men are exposed to this at a young age when their brains are most vulnerable.

Then, pornography can be incredibly harmful, and when a generation of young men come to college, get intoxicated, with their only sexual experiences coming through the eyes of people with no empathy, it creates a public health crisis.

This public health crisis has a name: sexual consent. On Thursday the New York Times published a massive narrative about sexual consent on college campuses. It’s worth your time.

The philosopher Alain de Botton has two interesting videos on how to think harder about porn and porn addiction.

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