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Is Porn Ruining Your Sex Life?

Do you think porn is a harmless replacement for sexual relationships? Well, you might be wrong.
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Porn has come a long way over the years. What started as a dirty little secret kept by teen boys under their mattresses is now a huge industry that caters to every fantasy you might ever have (or even think about). The subject of porn itself is largely divided, though – some people steadily maintain it’s just harmless entertainment, while others tout lists of evils that the porn industry is responsible for.

Here at KitschMix, we talk about the wonders of masturbation. Like, a lot. And it would seem that porn and masturbation go hand-in-hand – but do they really?


Porn actually messes with your brain.

It seems strange to think about, but it’s actually been scientifically proven that “compulsive porn users” react to pornographic cues in the same way that a drug user would react to drug cues. There’s a section of the human brain that was developed when civilization was still relatively unheard of. This part of the brain deals with pain and pleasure (or punishment and reward, whichever way you choose to look at it).

Now, the brain’s reward center actually does a lot of good for the body. We naturally associate things like sex, food, and intimacy as positive things. This is good when they’re done in moderation. But in some people, an excess of the chemicals produced for these events can lead to a strong dependence – a literal addiction to either food, sex, or physical touching. For a food addiction, this can often mean that the person will consume large quantities of high-calorie, low-nutrient food. For those who crave touching, it can create a sense of neediness.

(Please note that needing your partner’s touch is not automatically a bad thing – but if the need is so strong that it impacts your daily life, that is definitely a problem.)

When we translate this to porn, it means that we’re always searching for the “bigger high”. For people with an addiction to pornography and sex, this means that the “normal, boring” sex is often not enough, and the person will always be reaching for the next big thrill.

Kinks in sex are not a bad thing, either. But if you are unable to have a pleasurable sexual experience unless your kinks are satisfied, this can create a lot of undue strain in a relationship. And of course, if your partner isn’t meeting your sexual needs, you’re more likely to turn to porn – which only deepens the inadequacy of your partner.


Porn creates unfair ideals.

Porn’s detractors often cite the unrealistic body types represented in porn. The women are often busty, feminine, and downright gorgeous. That’s because it’s a consumer industry, and that’s what people want to see. But it creates another sense of inadequacy if you don’t meet those ideals.

(Note: Please don’t base your body image on any media representations, especially ones that value “conventional beauty”. You do not have to look like that to be gorgeous.)

Some people like to claim that this is mostly unfair to women, but it actually does extend to men, too. Think about the last porn you saw that featured a male actor. (If you’ve never watched porn that included a man, feel free to skip this section.) Most likely, these men are well-groomed, well-endowed, and well-off (at least as far as appearances go). How many men are actually hung like a horse and waxed and oiled and rich? Not very many.

I’ve already said that porn is a consumer industry, and that means that it wouldn’t be that way unless people wanted to see it like that. But unfortunately, this creates even more of a rift between the porn addict and their partner. Since it’s nearly impossible for the partner to match up to the expectations of professional sex actors (yes, it’s important to remember that’s what they are), it can create a sense that the partner will never be good enough.

Often, the porn addict won’t see it like this. He or she may even think that it’s a way to get their fantasies fulfilled without disrespecting their partner. But the truth is, over time, you will grow to expect these things – even if you don’t think you will.


Over time, you will build a tolerance.

Most likely, when you started looking at porn, it was just still images of naked women. (I’m pretty sure that’s how it usually starts.) But you know that there’s more out there, just a few clicks away – and you will find it. The internet is already a crazy place, but add in the perceived pleasures that could be waiting just around the proverbial corner, and you’re setting yourself up to need bigger and better.

Eventually, these occasional indulgences become serious fantasies, and at that point, it can become hard to be satisfied until you’ve checked them off your list. You’ll want porn that goes above and beyond the edgiest you’ve seen so far, and you’ll want your sex life to step up to the plate. The same sex you’ve had a hundred times is suddenly not so great anymore – you need more.

Trying new things in the bedroom is good. The feeling of being completely sexually uninhibited with your partner is one of the most liberating and invigorating feelings you can experience. But it’s important to remember that not everyone is into the same things – and if you pressure your partner into doing things that she’s not really sure about, it’s probably going to be awful for her – which means it’s going to suck for you, too.

It can be tempting to want to try every new thing that you saw in a porno, but it’s important for you (and your partner) to remember that sex is deeply personal. Just because it worked for some actors doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you – and even if it does, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do things.

Try to remember that your partner’s sexual needs are important, too, even if that means she doesn’t want to participate in the activities you’ve got planned. If it’s so important to you that you feel the need to make a big deal out of it – chances are, she’s not the right partner for you. Either you or her would need to change drastically to make the relationship work. Are you ready to take on that challenge?

(Hint: When in doubt, do not assume your partner will change for you. It’s wrong to expect her to, and if she does change for you, it’s your responsibility to make it worth her while.)


Habitual porn use changes your actual sex life.

The more frequently you’re exposed to pornographic images, the harder it is to be sexually aroused by your partner. This can be particularly ironic if you’re watching porn with your partner, in order to get in the mood. It’ll probably work, but it’ll become an associated part of the sexual experience – leading to issues if you don’t have the porn to kick-start things.

“Easy,” you might think. “Just watch a porn every time you want to get intimate.”

Well… Yes and no. Again, it’ll probably work, but your partner is quite likely to feel inadequate because of this. How would you feel if she was more aroused by a stranger than by you? It’s a painful thought, even though it’s not (entirely) your fault. It’s just how our brains work.

This happens because we are so inundated with possibilities and ideas that we have a hard time being satisfied by things that aren’t new and novel. When’s the last time you watched the same porn twice? Probably never – or very rarely. That’s because we know there’s something else out there. Why would we be content for the same thing every time?

This is damaging when our brain starts to associate it with real sex, too. I’ve often thought that watching pornography was not as bad as cheating, but the truth is habitual porn watching may actually make you more inclined to stray. If your partner loses her novelty and you’re after the newest piece of eye candy, your brain can deceive you and make you think that a wandering eye is a good option. This has the potential to turn ugly, pretty quick.

Of course, this isn’t to say that porn watchers are always cheaters. Not even close. There is an implied sense of willpower and self-control. For those whose self-control is more powerful than the allure of these new, novel, beautiful women, infidelity isn’t even an option – but, then again, I wouldn’t consider those people to be porn and/or sex addicts, either.


Is it hopeless?

In short: No. But if you have a strong dependence on porn, it’ll probably be hard. You can reverse the effects of a porn addiction, just like any other addiction, but only if you’re dedicated to fixing the situation. If you think of the negative associations with porn (the above, as well as social anxiety, depression, and overall arousal addiction), it might be a little easier to let go.

If you want to see a true change in your sex life, try giving up porn completely. It might seem drastic, but if the addiction to porn is enough to cause strain in your personal relationships, it’s time to make some changes. Focus on how things could be better, and in as little as two to three months, they may very well have gotten better – as long as you’re diligent.

Truthfully, porn is intended to be shock media. We associate it with arousal, but that’s not its only purpose. The porn industry at large is bent on making money – not curing any problems. Use porn for inspiration, not replacement. It’s perfectly normal to want to look, as long as you don’t make it your primary goal.

You can thank me later!

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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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