5 Subtle Ways Porn May Be Affecting Your Sex Life

You guys. I don’t hate porn.

I feel the need to say this so people won’t start throwing their vibrators at me when they finish reading this post. Let’s be clear: porn can be great, and there is no denying that it has a valid place in the modern discovery of personal sexual preferences.

However, like any good thing, too much pornography can actually begin to have a negative effect on both men and women — particularly when it comes to their sex lives with actual partners.

Here are some subtle ways in which porn may (literally) be f*cking with your romantic and sexual life:

1. It conditions you to constantly search for novelty.

Exploring one’s sexuality is vitally important, and should never be considered shameful or “icky.” However, watching porn can gradually increase our personal desire for perpetual “newness” during our sexual encounters. Think about it: rarely will you see two porn stars going at it together more than once — and even if you do, it will be in an entirely new location, and another partner may even be involved. There is little to no repetition in the world of pornography.

In reality, however, repetition is an inevitability, particularly in committed relationships. You and your partner may change up locations or positions, but there are significant odds that, more often than not, the two of you will engage in coitus in your bed. Not only that, but you will (presumably) be engaging in intercourse with only each other. Watching pornography can gradually lead you to become dissatisfied with your partner, and leave you (consciously or subconsciously) desiring that little thrill of discovery every time you engage in a sexual act. This is known as the Coolidge Effect.

For single folks, this can go totally unnoticed. But, if you’re trying to make a monogamous relationship work, it can intensely strain the sexual satisfaction you have with your significant other.

2. Porn gives you an often false idea of what pleasure is supposed to sound like.

The outrageous moans an vocal acrobatics of the average female pornstar give impressionable viewers the unrealistic notion that this is what good sex sounds like. In actuality, most of the women in porn are faking it (because it’s very difficult to climax when you have an entire film crew watching you), and their noises of mid-coital passion are mostly for show.

Once you become accustomed to associating these noises of faux pleasure with sex, however, there’s a decent chance that you will start mimicking them. This isn’t inherently problematic, but it can give your partner false cues about whether or not you’re actually enjoying yourself — and can leave them utterly clueless about what you actually like in bed.

3. You have difficulty reaching orgasm.

When you consistently masturbate to porn, you become accustomed to reaching orgasm — alone.

You therefore start associating sexual pleasure with solitary computer time, rather than with a partner. Bringing someone else into the equation can make it difficult for you to climax, as you’re conditioned to view orgasm as a private and furtive experience that you can only reach with the assistance of pornographic material. It can almost make you embarrassed to come, as you feel awkward focusing solely inward on your personal pleasure.

4. You feel the need to be an entertainer for your partner.

Porn is a performance. Sex is an experience.

However, constant consumption of porn gives us the impression that when we’re in bed, we need to “dazzle” our partner — often at the expense of actually letting ourselves go enough to have fun. If these tendencies actually align with your sexual desires, that’s great. However, if you’re focusing solely on emulating what you’ve seen in pornography, there’s a good chance you’re concerned more with how you look than how much pleasure you’re receiving. This leads to women feeling the need to fake orgasms for their partners, even though when they aren’t even close to climax.

5. You stop having sex that you like and just start having sex that men like.

If you truly enjoy talking dirty in bed, then that’s exactly what you should do. If, however, you’re mixing in the smutty talk in order to please your boyfriend, that’s problematic.

Women are well aware of the fact that a significant percentage of men are avid porn-consumers. As such, it makes sense on some level that many women have evolved to develop sexual behaviors that they feel men are looking for in the bedroom. The problem with this is that it’s disingenuous to their own desires, and turns the act of sex into a method of serving the man’s needs rather than their own.

And let’s be honest: the majority of pornography is produced with men in mind. So, if you’re emulating porn, you’re perpetuating the notion that male sexuality is the only valid sexuality.

While it’s difficult to change these habitual behaviors, it’s important to recognize that, while an occasionally dose of porn can be fun and healthy, it can also severely skew our sexual behaviors in ways that may not actually be doing us any favors.

So … perhaps the next time you’re tempted to give yourself some self-love, you can turn to one of these books and just use your imagination instead.

Related-ish: 8 Sex Myths Men Believe Because of Porn

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