There are many differing ideas as to whether pornography has an affect on mental health or not, with various studies showing conflicting results. Part of the problem involved in analysing the question, is in the very definition of pornography itself, and which media it is presented on, such as magazines, television, DVD or the internet. In addition, there are then exposure levels, age groups and social categories to be taken into account, which all go further to complicate the situation.
Pornography itself can also be categorised, with the words light and hardcore often used to describe things as varied as semi-naked still photo shots through to films involving multiple partners and much more. Online, it can then take the form of free or ‘pay-per-view’ pornography.
Self-esteem is the term used to describe how we think and feel about ourselves, and can also be described as a measure of our own worth. Self-esteem can change between positive and negative at different points of our lives, and goes some way to contribute towards how we decide to live our lives and the decisions that we make.
It is only natural for people to fluctuate between high and low self-esteem from time to time, but prolonged periods of low self-esteem can be detrimental to mental health. People that experience low self-esteem tend to hold negative views about themselves, thinking that they are not good enough for a job promotion for example, or that they feel unloved and worthless. Low self-esteem can, in some cases, then lead on to other things like depression, and this is when a vicious circle can start, with factors like depression, low self esteem and anxiety all feeding off of one another.