Porn: Does it augment a couple's sex life, or destroy it?


Porn has been thought to be both something that can separate couples and something that can bring them closer together.


From my experience as a therapist, I have seen it be both harmful AND helpful depending on the couple’s unique situation and how it is used and talked about by the partners.


Here’s what we know…


1. Porn can increase desire. Research suggests some women watch porn as a way to become more aroused, a sort of “foreplay”. Come as you are is a great book that speaks to this concept of responsive desire - desire that is cultivated in response to stimulation, visual, physical etc. Well worth the read.


2. Despite many people believing that viewing porn impacts a relationship negatively, this same study found no evidence that watching porn led to decreases in how happy people are with their partners, nor did they seem to be using porn as a way of making up for shortcomings in their relationships.


The only exception was that people, more men than women, were less likely to use porn the day after they had sex with their partner. This finding suggests the opposite of what many believe - there was actually a reduced interest in porn after sex, rather than using porn as a substitute for it.


How porn impacts your relationship is closely connected with the attitudes each partner has about it. If you have been raised to believe that porn is damaging, equal to being unfaithful or morally bad, you may feel guilt and shame about watching it and therefore may not be honest about it with your partner, leading to negative relationship issues.


If you have more neutral views on porn, it can help your relationship by improving your desire, which will almost certainly enhance your sexual and overall relationship. It can help improve communication and provide ideas to further explore one’s own sexuality.


I think it's the lack of dialogue around porn that’s the real issue, not porn itself. What's most important is that you and your partner can communicate your beliefs about sexuality and porn, openly and honestly.

~ Laura


Next month I’ll be answering another question about sex from the steady flow of questions I'm getting from my subscribers. Got a sex question? You can ask anonymously right here. I’ll answer as many as I can in my upcoming emails.


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