Porn and Relationships: A Personal Opinion

Porn and Relationships: A Personal Opinion

Ah, porn. The very first experience I had with porn was when I was 12 or 13. Remember Myspace? In it's early stages of development and popularity, my only friends on this social network were hardly social. It was my sister, and then 20 too many shirtless men who claimed they were 16 but were probably 50+ years old. Oh, how naïve I was. And so one of these 16-year-old babes messaged me and essentially taught me what masturbation was. WHAT A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, RIGHT?

I wasn't entirely ignorant at the time, and did in fact block the dude. But, what he left me with was far more curiosity than my 12-year-old mind thought it was capable at the time. And so, I watched some porn on my laptop that I got at far too early of an age (thanks mom and dad) and learned very quickly how to erase the internet's search history. It was fascinating to me, it turned me on, and I still continue to watch it. Less frequently now that the sex I have with my boyfriend is far more fulfilling than the sex on a screen; but nonetheless, "porn-watching" has always been something acceptable and "normal" in my life.

That being said, OF COURSE there is a large chunk of the population (predominantly female, I presume) that may have a less than positive relationship with porn, or no relationship at all. And the distaste of porn is actually really clear to me. I get it. Porn itself has been shown to actually alter the human brain; there is an addictive component to it when our "feel good" hormones are activated (ahh, orgasms). And when find ourselves addicted to porn, we are also wiring our brains to assume that all the kinky shit that goes on in porn can also happen in our own bedrooms.

A lot of times (again, for females) this can look like objectification, and sometimes aggression or violence. And when females perceive that they cannot perform at the level of kinkiness that underlies most of the porn we see, some may feel less sexually attractive and less able to please their partners.

And so, per usual, I look at porn from a female perspective in a way that both supports porn-watching, and one that understands where porn can be a less than favorable third-party of a relationship.

The why

Porn is easy

Watching porn versus "pleasing your partner" are two very different things, and by that I mean they have very different expectations. Women are pretty consistently given the message that they are successful at getting men off; whereas men are taught more often that they are unable to do the same for their female partner. When I say porn is easy, I'm specifically referring to the ease of getting pleasure. For men who watch porn, they don't have the responsibility of anything but fulfilling their own sexual needs in the moment. Throw a "real-life" partner into the mix, and the pressure to please your partner builds. Porn can feel like an outlet to get personal sexual needs met without "performance anxiety."

Curiosity is human nature

Often, the porn really isn't about the people we're watching, but the actions themselves. I have watched countless porn videos where I was so far from attracted to the male "actor." And yet, I found myself watching it because it was simply pleasurable to watch, and I was curious. This curiosity can also come up for us when the relationship we're currently in doesn't actually include the sort of sex we may see in porn. It's not to say that our relationship is always lacking sexually, but there's a natural curiosity to see "what other sex exists," whether or not we actually want it to exist in our own lives.

Is it becoming a problem?

And to begin answering this question, we must first begin by asking (and answering) another. How is the porn impacting the relationship - whether that be positively or negatively? I am not watching porn as a way to bring what I see into the bedroom with my own boyfriend. However, this isn't always the case: when we feel that certain "acts" are brought into the bedroom that we don't actually want or agree with, it can feel both objectifying, uncomfortable, and play on insecurities that may already exist.

Likewise, are your emotional and physical needs getting met?

"He watches porn more than he has sex with me. What's wrong with me?" This is a phrase I've heard a few times before, and maybe some of us have even felt this way ourselves. And when our foundational needs of emotional and physical connection are not met, then perhaps your partner's relationship to porn needs to be re-evaluated and reconsidered.

This may also be providing more insight about your own needs or the language you use to communicate affection in a relationship. With the above statement as an example, it's clear that the individual places more of an emphasis on physical touch as a way to express (and receive) love and affection. Her partner? He might not speak that same love language. His might not rely so heavily on physical touch, but instead on emotional connection, for example. This doesn't mean the relationship is headed for doom, but that the conversation of physical/sexual needs may need to be brought on the table.

That being said, your partner's porn watching doesn't always even have any relation to YOU. The men or women in porn do not minimize your own attractiveness. The men or women in porn do not mean that you are lacking. The women and men in porn are individuals that your partner cannot touch, and will most likely never touch. So you automatically already provide something that porn actors cannot.

And if you're not okay with porn, it's even more okay to establish boundaries.

Just because porn is "normal" does not mean you have to accept it. If watching porn hurts your partner, you have two choices. 1) stop watching altogether, or 2) get to the root of WHY the porn hurts.

 

 

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