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Pornography, Narcissism, And Simp Behavior In Men (Dr. Trish Leigh)

A simp man next to a woman. Dr Trish Leigh on porn and simp behavior
Is my porn habit making me more narcissistic and simp-like?

Today, I’ve transcribed a meaty segment with Dr. Trish Leigh and Austin Burnes. [I’ve featured her work elsewhere on this blog, which you can access using the search function.] In the segment, Dr. Leigh talks about the relationship between pornography, narcissism, and simp behavior. Narcissism, according to Dr. Trish, is the mindset that “everything is here to serve my pleasure.” Pornography as a pleasure-seeking habit fosters narcissism by stripping sex of its relationality. Dr. Trish doesn’t like the term simp for its derogatory connotation. However, she mentions that porn–like other distorted, unrealistic media–is notorious for decreasing the consumer’s self-esteem, and fostering the habit of people placing others on pedestals. Healthy, inter-dependent relationships, she argues, happen when partners and friends view each other as equals.

Dr. Trish doesn’t mention this, but I will add my own observation on the topic of porn and “simp” behavior. I have observed that porn develops the habit in a man (or woman) of resorting to the opposite sex (virtual, or otherwise) to medicate negative emotions or experience positive ones. Porn, to my mind, is, indeed, training in “simp” behavior.” The fact that grown-ups do it doesn’t make it any less infantile.

Check out the video and transcript below!

Sex is not designed to be done by one person. Narcis-sexualism is literally the epitome of bad things emotionally, in terms of personality, and bad things sexually. . . So, the point is not needing people to be on the pedestal. . . When people quit porn, that whole perception of “I’m not worthy” decreases. . . I know porn is turning people into uglier versions of themselves, and some people into the ugliest version of themselves. . .

Dr. Trish Leigh

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.


Burns: Last topic. Last topic we should talk about. Does porn turn men into simps?

Leigh: See, I don’t even like the term simp. My little daughter said it. I’m like, “Dude, don’t say that cause”—and yes, I do call my children dude. I’m like, “Babe, don’t say that, because that’s derogatory.” I’m not saying that to you, but I try to—I approach all of this with kindness. . . Actually, I thought about your comment about alpha males verse beta males. This exists on a continuum. I know porn is turning people into uglier versions of themselves, and some people into the ugliest version of themselves, so whether we want to call it a simp. .

We know from science that men, in particular, are not getting into college or through college. What does that make them? Not the most educated version of themselves. Not the most intelligent version. Just from the brain effects, we know that they’re frying out their frontal lobes in the reward centers. That makes them dumber. It does. How that equates. . I always try to approach with kindness–but I think we’re at a critical mass of men trashing their own brains. Men, in particular, and their own success. And I think the ripple effect of that—they’re treating women poorly.

I just had this crazy experience a couple weeks ago, and actually my best friend Chanel, she texted me. “You know how someone has a problem with porn? They can’t stop talking about it.” And I’m like “Damn, I just had the same experience where, like, you know, it’s just always on their mind.”

They’re in the bubble. The bubble is actually called the narcissistic bubble, meaning narcissism everything is here—talk about nihilism. Trap all of this, put a bow on all of it. Everything is here to serve my pleasure. That’s what narcissism is. Someone put a comment on my channel, “I think sex by myself is fine. I call it narcis-sexualism.” I wrote back to him, “sex is not designed to be done by one person. Narcis-sexualism is literally the epitome of bad things emotionally, in terms of personality, and bad things sexually.”

If you’re like, Trish, yes or no on the simp thing, I’d have to say yes.

Burns: Before that, what do we define as a simp? Because I’m sure there are derogatory definitions for it.

Leigh: Honestly, I had to look it up. My kids were using the term simp—you know how this goes. I thought it just meant simpleton. Honestly, and this happens in the kitchen a lot. Yesterday, my son said something. I don’t even know what it is. And my other kids and boyfriends and girlfriends were there, and my son always does this to me, he throws out this term, and they all go, “No! Don’t let her look that one up.” I didn’t even know what it was. They’re throwing around the term simp, and I thought it meant simpleton.

Simpleton, I’m OK with—simpleton meaning just a simple version. But when we take that down a couple levels—I don’t even know what you would consider your definition—meaning men that are willing to. . be walked over. What would you say your definition is?

Burns: Yeah, that’s part of it.

Leigh: Like desperate.

Burns: Really desperate. Willing to seize every woman as a goddess that’s an untouchable person. They worship.

Leigh: We know from the science, too. I don’t know if you and I talked about this before, but there are studies that show just young men going on Tinder is creating that. It’s decreasing self-esteem in young men. [It’s] low. Very low. Science shows the more they go on Tinder—that study was Tinder—porn is decreasing self-esteem. That alone is making so that. . People put comments on my channel all the time, “I wouldn’t need porn if I wasn’t so ugly.”

Like, there’s no such thing as ugly. Ugly is a perception. That is a negative self-perception because of what you’ve been consuming. It is, we know, scientifically, that it’s just trashing people’s opinions of themselves, which then makes them look up to other people.

Another person I’m working with said that not only are they addicted to lusting after women, which is kind of what you’re talking about. Lust. Looking at every woman as a goddess that couldn’t be touched. A lot of people say this—that they envy other people’s lives. They envy what other people have.

This goes back to nihilism, too. Nihilism is a very materialistic perception of the world. It’s like, our society right now, is so materialistic, that every it creates nihilistic perceptions of it, which leads right into, you know, people being taught from a young age that my self-worth is low. I think it’s awful.

Burns: Just like the contrast theory, where you’re looking at all these beautiful people on the internet, in contrast with yourself, because there [are] no ugly people on porn sites, pretty much. . .

Leigh: Going back to porn. We know that porn consumption—I have a lot of thoughts at the same time—but when people consume porn, many times it’s because they have a co-dependent relationship type. And they have attachment. It’s called an attachment fault line. So they have anxious or avoidant, or both types of attachment styles. So my point about that is, in co-dependency people put each other on pedestals, but they can never live up to that. Porn can only live up to it because it’s just a recording on the computer. But a partner can never live up to it, because if you spend enough time with a partner, they become human, and they let you down.

So, the point is not needing people to be on the pedestal. Not needing to be on the pedestal yourself, and not needing someone to be on the pedestal for you to look up to—is the place for us to get to. And when you get to that place, you have healthy attachment. And it’s called inter-dependent relationships, and that was what I just described. You and your partner are equals. And you and your friends are equals. You’re all different, but you are perceived to be fairly equal.

I’ve been working hard to create that in my own life, which I think it’s a pretty cool place to get to. . . Don’t get me wrong, I work on it all the time to keep it that way, because your brain will try to trick you into trying to go back to these ways we are programmed. .

When people leave pornography behind, that decreases. That whole perception of “I’m not worthy.”

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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