Smooth legs, muscles defined by slight shadows and a shine traveling from the tan calf to the upper thigh. Your eyes take in the bare skin, moving to her flat stomach, your gaze resting on her large chest. Next, two girls: bodies tight and shining, cleanly shaved.  Next, a strong chest, collarbone highlighted by the muscles of his shoulders. This man’s strong hands grab a girl and push her down; she is his.  His hips press into her violently.

You look at her face, you see it as if it were a mirror displaying your lust.  You are in a daze of this garneted satisfaction; you look back at the motion of the two bodies spotting her face again.  She is grimacing, suddenly her identity no longer blurred by your lust, and you recognize who she is. The girl on her hands and knees is your sister. The girl being used is your best friend or your mother. The man in the scene is your brother, best friend and father.

You flashback to long car rides with your sister where your dad told you both to be quiet because your laughter is too loud, you are laughing so hard you can’t make eye contact. Your best friend; you played soccer with her, you remember her legs sprinting on the field and going for the goal. Your mother, your father; they use to hug you when you were afraid of the dark, tears streamed down their faces the day you left for college.

But those tears are different now. They are tears of a person who has lost humanity. The face of this girl, this guy, they are people who become objects through the need to satisfy sexual desires. Some may say the effects of porn are insignificant, explaining that it is just an instrument to satisfy a natural human desire.

But what is the action of watching porn actually grooming humanity to do?  The overuse and misuse of porn trains us to view each other through the lenses of physical appearance that can lessen the quality of relationships.

Watching porn is an addictive activity that trains our brains to react to physical appearance in a particular way.  Like external addictions to alcohol and drugs, watching porn induces the same chemical release.  The Fight the New Drug website explains the parallels between the manipulation porn and drugs hold over our biology.

“Once they’re in the body, they all do the same thing to the brain: flood it with a chemical called dopamine. That’s what makes them addictive. And porn does the exact same thing.”

Watching porn activates the brain’s mating instinct, convincing us that it is a good thing according to the Fight the New Drug website.

The website continued, “When a person is looking at porn, their brain thinks they’re seeing a potential mating opportunity, and pumps the brain full of dopamine. And unlike healthy sexual relationships that build up over time with an actual person, porn offers an endless stream of hyper-sexual images that flood the brain with high levels of dopamine every time the user clicks to a new image.”

Kelsey Caron a Keene State College junior, studying nursing said that over-watching porn could definitely impede initial encounters with new people, “I feel like they would be looking at the screen of all the different videos you can watch and they [frequent porn users] see this person that they meet for the first time in the same way.”

Caron links initial encounters with a real person to someone who is picking their preferred style of porn.  “They see a video and they’re like, ‘Oh I like that, that girl looks good. I want to watch that video,” Caron said.

It is quite possible that we are incapable of viewing each other without physical appearance affecting our original opinion. But, if plausible, how can viewing someone without focusing on appearance enhance first impressions? Tarissa Dunham, a KSC junior, said when talking to a guy for the first time the she feels nervous because of how her looks are being perceived.

“A lot of girls in the industry are the perfect women figure. They are tiny with an ass and boobs and for a person who doesn’t have that it makes you think, ‘What is wrong with you?’  And makes you think you can’t get this kind of person, you’re not going to be able to do this kind of thing.

It definitely alters someone’s self worth.  [It alters your] self confidence in a certain situation when it comes to someone confronting someone you’re attracted to,” Dunham said.

So, if pornography does affect human interaction is it possible to be less affected by someone’s appearance if you don’t watch porn? Caron said she is not sure.

“I feel like we all would want to say that we can do it [view someone without judging their looks]” Caron continue, “I feel like you automatically act different when you look at a guy then a girl.”

Caron said she would like her initial opinion not to affect her perception of someone. “I wish you could talk to them without seeing them,” Caron said.

Is it possible to remember that the person you are meeting for the first time is just like the people who are of value to you.  Going up to a person without seeing, and slowly creating a depiction of who they are through intellectual conversation, is that possible? In order to accomplish this we must reach past the surface and try to define people based on their intellect.  Will Holden, a KSC junior said he believes it is possible to view people as people, without physical appearance becoming a huge distraction.

“It’s a cognitive bias you just have to become aware of it,” Holden said.

Ryan Weaver, a KSC junior, explained that at the time in his life that he watched the most porn, intellectual relationships with girls did not concern him.

“In terms of me actually watching it often or watching it more so than I ever have in my life, it was at an age when a relationship with a female wasn’t important to me.  It was about me maturing and finding that stuff a little attractive and probably at an age where a lot of people were doing it,” Weaver said.

Weaver went on to recognize that porn could negatively affect interactions but noted that it is only a problem when it becomes an addiction.

“If you have a good head on your shoulders and you’re just not obsessed with it to where it does have a little bit meaningful part of your life than it probably shouldn’t affect [your life],” Weaver said.

KSC junior Jake Dimeglio,  said it is imperative that we as a community try to make a shift in cultural perceptions created by porn.

He said his opinion is practice makes permanent. “It’s like we said before, if you start doing something over and over again or if you practice watching porn over and over again that practice of judging someone on their physical appearance becomes a habit.  So when you see someone that habit just comes out.  What you do over and over again; that just becomes a habit.”

So extend your hand and take your best friend, sister, mother, father, brother out of the lustful dissolution that porn creates.  Recognize the humanity in all people and strive to know them for their minds, it’s time to train ourselves to see without the distraction that over focusing on appearance creates.

Anna Glassman can be contacted at

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