08/12/2011 04:40 pm ET Updated Oct 12, 2011

Could You Be the Problem With Porn?

What if porn isn't the problem and the problem is you? Research out of Utah State University should have anybody asking this question, having found that the impact porn has on a person all boils down to the individual. In asking 299 undergraduates if they consider their pornography consumption problematic, researchers found that the more participants tried to repress their sexual thoughts and desires, the likelier they were to regard porn as a problem.

Such data should seemingly help to settle the long-standing, heated debate on the positive versus negative effects of porn. For decades, proponents and opponents of this form of erotica have fought over whether pornography harms women, makes users more sexually aggressive, hurts relationships, and promotes sexism.

Those for porn use claim that it empowers lovers with ideas, enhances self-pleasuring, and even reduces the desire to sexually assault another in providing a safe escape for deviant fantasies. Those against porn consumption say such visuals create and raise unrealistic sexual expectations, turn lovers off to one another, and incite violence.

Pornography consumption is, by far, one of the most complicated realms of sexual pleasuring and expression, especially when one's use becomes more than moderate or the imagery involves violence. Yet the answers to questions around porn use, often fielded by sexologists, like "Is it okay to enjoy?" "How often is too often?" "What kind of porn makes me a pervert?" and "Is pornography consumption problem-inducing?" all come down to the person.

The potential problems that can come out of porn use are largely manifested by one's own personal values and views about different types of erotica, intimacy, and sexual enjoyment. It's your intrusive thoughts around what's positive and good versus bad and wrong that influence your pleasuring.

What the Utah State University research indicates is that porn's probability of becoming problematic is first and foremost directly due to one's repression reaction. It's this suppression of the desire to look at porn that boosts one's longing for it. And this becomes complicated for the individual when processed against one's personal morals system, including religious influences. It's the conflicting feelings that arise that often ultimately lead to sexual problems.