porn-statsThere's no question: we live in a sex saturated world. And everyone knows that pornography runs rampant. But do you know the effects that porn can have on "normal, intelligent" people like you? (Or even the effect it's having on you right now?) Here are three things you might not know about pornography:

1. Porn = Manliness, and It's No Mistake

Whereas men in generations past had things called "hobbies" to occupy their time, ours has pornography. Especially for men, "masturbating to pornography is so common as to be unremarkable," suggests Michael Bradley, "like brushing one's teeth or doing one's homework."

And it's not just that men are unwitting victims to their hormones: the habit of pornography consumption is actively promoted alongside sports and sexual conquest as the defining mark of a manly life. "The epidemic of pornography and masturbation cannot be explained by adolescents blindly stumbling upon this magic combination for cheap pleasure," says Bradley. "It is held out to them by those already under its spell."

2. Defending Porn is Bad Economics

According to Mattias Caro, "The worst thing about pornography is the simple opportunity cost." Because it's ugly (or at least purely carnal) porn lessens the amount of beauty that we're able to recognize. We all want to see and hear beautiful things since they make us most happy; yet the more we occupy our brains—our ideas and neuro-processes—with smut, the less other stuff we're able to retain.

At the very least, since it limits our access to the thing we want the most, defending pornography is a bad economic decision.

3. Porn Fits with 'Family Values'

Sex sells. It's true for cars, beer—and even political identifiers.

There's no better example of this than Britain's recent push to outlaw hardcore pornography. While you'd expect that "family values" types would have been the first to applaud such an effort, it turns out that they were some of its fiercest critics. Alas, when it comes to sexual gratification, all freedoms are quickly reduced to the "hands off my stuff" variety. Maybe not surprisingly, the rightful (and arguably only defensible) power of government—to limit really bad things from happening to people—is quickly pooh-poohed in favor of personal access to dirty pictures.

"Family values" or not, defending porn consumption in any measure is less likely to produce a generation that can govern itself, and much more likely to create one driven by sensuality and aimed at self-extinction.