Tuesday, 19 February 2019
1- ‘Porn makes a bad society’. Wrong: data shows that sexual crimes are lower in areas where there is greater access to porn. This phenomenon is observed widely: it is common knowledge that when sex is repressed, people can demand it in ways that are inappropriate.
2- ‘Porn creates objectification’. Wrong: objectification is focusing on a body parts and making it an object of sexual gratification, without considering the whole human being. Research in sexual fantasies show that men and women, even those who do not watch porn objectify. In fact, it seems that objectification is a part of sexual desire and sexual arousal. Some people may objectify more than others, but, it is largely a normal human thing to do. However, when men objectify, it can be perceived as being more threatening, understandably, because of the number of men being sexually violent to women. Another interesting study shows that many men focuses on the performers’ faces rather than body parts, as what is most arousing is the look of pleasure. Men and women both have fantasies that have emotional component, but we tend to express it in different ways. Men are not from Mars and Women are not from Venus. We all are from the same Erotic planet.
3- ‘Porn creates relationship problems’. Wrong: porn is the easy and convenient way to make an exit to avoid the problems in the relationship but it doesn’t create relationship problems. Other things create relationship problems. Like sexual shame, high morals, contempt, anger, power struggles, low self-esteem, distorted beliefs about sex and relationships, insecurities, and so on.
4- ‘Porn creates erectile dysfunction’. Wrong: this is a popular view promoted by anti-porn campaigns that is fiercely inaccurate and unscientific. Erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems pre-date watching porn: porn is the easiest area of enjoying one’s sexuality without the anxiety of performance, so it is more enjoyable. True scientific research finds that the erections and orgasms with porn can be of better quality: it can truly be a special quality sexual time with yourself.
5- ‘Porn pornifies the brain and re-wires it negatively, the brain needs to be re-booted’. Wrong: this is another popular opinion that has no bases in sciences. It is so popular that there are some anti-porn, anti-masturbation organizations using the word ‘reboot’ in their slogans. I’m going to burst your bubble again: the brain is not a computer and there is no re-boot button. The brain never reboots as it continuously develops. Once we watch something that titillates us, it tends to stay in the brain and we tend to return to it. The same process happens if we watch something that repulses us, we tend to stop watching it and never return to it (which disproves another inaccurate view that porn watching escalates to places we don’t want to go to: wrong). The brain keeps re-wiring itself based on experiences that we have. If we keep having anxiety-filled experiences having sex with someone and anxiety-free watching porn, porn will continue to be more attractive. Stopping watching porn and stopping masturbating for 90 days isn’t going to reboot your brain. In fact it’s going to increase your sexual shame and your anxiety. And it won’t teach you how to have anxiety-free sex with partners the way you want to, which is the crux of the problem, actually.
6- ‘Watching porn leads to paedophilia, sexual offending and sexual violence towards women’. Wrong: this is probably the most fear-mongering propaganda against porn. In fact, proper research consistently proves the opposite. Paedophilia and sexual offending are specific areas of pathology and psychological disturbance. Watching porn and masturbating is not pathological and does not indicate psychological problems.
7- ‘Porn is addictive’. Wrong: this is also a very popular belief based on moralistic opinions rather than science. The use of pornography is being consistently rejected from all medical and psychological bodies as there is no clinical evidence of addictive properties to porn. the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has made a diagnostic criteria for compulsive sexual behaviours (ICD-11), and which is very much led by scientific evidence, has explicitly rejected the idea of ‘sex addiction’ and ‘porn addiction’.
Sunday, 10 February 2019
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Monday, 3 September 2018
The world that we live in is a stressful one. There is the pressure to work harder and to earn more money to meet the demands of an ever increasing cost of life. There is the pressure to look good, have children to have a happy family, to exercise five times a week, to live in the right desirable area in the right house, and so on and so forth.
Charity organisation Mind says: ‘approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week’.
On top of the stress that we face in our every day lives, there is also the stress of social media. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you are bound to see other people who appear to do better than you: better body, better job, better money, better holiday, better life. We can’t help but feeling inadequate when bombarded with so much unattainable perfection, all of it being an illusion.
The stress of modern life that we face can go unnoticed for a long time, yet it accumulates, and can cause significant mental health issues if we don’t look after ourselves well enough. In the imperfect world that we live, looking after our mental health should not be a luxury but it should be an every day consideration, much the same as looking after our personal hygiene or looking after our diet/ exercise regime.
You may think that you are invisible or stronger than others. Perhaps you are. But I would argue that everybody should look after their mental health as it is a crucial part of general well-being. Behind closed doors, many people don’t feel so good about themselves.
The secret to looking after your mental health is self-compassion. Here are my easy five top tips to practice self-compassion:
1- Validate your difficult emotions.Speak outloud: ‘This is difficult for me’, ‘It is painful’, ‘it hurts’.
2- Bring kindness to your emotional pain:Speak outloud: ‘Go easy on yourself’, or a single word such as ‘gentle’.
3- Do an act of kindness:lay a hand on the emotional pain. For example, if you feel the pain in your chest, you can lay a hand there and breathe. Or you may want to lay your hand on a soothing part of your body like your abdomen or your forehead, and breathe.
4- Defuse judgemental or unhelpful thoughts.You are bound to have some unhelpful or critical thoughts springing up, that’s what our mind usually does. When you have a critical thought, notice it and say: ‘this is my mind trying to beat me up again’, or ‘My mind is telling me something unhelpful’. It is a helpful defusion technique to remind yourself that your critical thoughts are not truth. They are just thoughts engineered by your mind, as it does with everybody else.
5- Connect your experience with others.You are definitely not the only one having a stressful moment, or difficult and painful emotions and critical thoughts. The entire human population does. Speak outloud: ‘this is something I have in common with everyone else’, ‘this shows I’m human’, ‘we all screw up and make mistakes sometimes’, ‘it’s hard to be human sometimes’.
Does your judgemental mind say self-compassion sounds silly? Or it’s too easy? Or it won’t work with you? Or you’re not that type of person to do that? Listen to what your mind is telling you, and challenge yourself to be more self-compassionate. There are only five easy steps, which can be done in five minutes: validate your emotions, bring kindness to them, following by a kindness act, defuse your critical thoughts, and remind yourself that your experience is a human one, common to the rest of us.
Regular and consistent self-compassion is one of the most important tool for mental health well-being. Practice for yourself and share your experience with others. Our world needs more of it.