Relationships And Porn: Can There Be A Healthy Confluence Between The Two?

Relationships And Porn

Relationships and porn often make for a contentious mix. Many couples struggle to come to terms with this element of sexual gratification in their intimate life, leading to doubts, discord and disharmony. Particularly when the perceptions of both partners vis-à-vis pornography are markedly different from one another.

This can lead to a host of questions about the ways that porn and nudity hurt relationships. Is watching pornography an indication of perverse tendencies? Does seeking sexual gratification from porn amount to cheating? Does it indicate a lack of desire toward one’s partner? What about porn addiction and its effect on relationships?

In this article, Sangeeth Sebastian, founder VVox (Vatsyayana’s Voice) – a platform dedicated to rebuilding sexual health in India, writes about the various myths and facts associated with relationships and porn and addresses the myriad questions that couples struggle to make sense of.

Relationships and Porn: Myths Vs Facts

Relationship issues occurring due to one partner’s proclivity toward pornography are not uncommon. However, the core reason behind this isn’t the consumption of pornography itself but our perceptions toward sex in general as well as underlying relationship problems that a couple may not have been able to work through.

For instance, if a person has been conditioned to look at sex as dirty or hasn’t learned to embrace their own sexual urges and needs, they may project the same perceptions on the act of watching pornography. Likewise, we have been told to believe that men need more visual stimulation for arousal whereas, for women, it’s linked to an emotional connection.

Owing to this, traditionally, a majority of women weren’t comfortable with the idea of pornography. However, research suggests that it’s no longer the case. More and more women are not only consuming porn but also becoming more accepting of the fact that relationships and porn can co-exist without any severe consequences for the quality of a couple’s connection.

Red flags with porn and relationships
Our perception toward sex determines how we look at porn

Another popular myth is about porn addiction and relationships. Consumption of pornographic material is seen as problematic because people worry about porn addiction and its effect on relationships. However, porn addiction is not a condition and is completely medically unsupported.

Red flags with porn and relationships

So, as you see, that none of the red flags with porn and relationships are essentially about the consumption of pornographic material at all. They either stem from a lack of understanding or acceptance toward porn or underlying issues that a relationship is already festered with.

For example, if a person feels insecure because their partner watches porn, instead of looking at this problem from the prism of porn addiction and relationships, one should attempt to understand why one partner is indulging in it and why that is an issue for the other.

It could be a case of lack of sexual compatibility or mismatched sex drives, where one partner’s libido far exceeds the other, pushing them to seek sexual gratification through pornography. One common scenario where this may happen is post-childbirth. In that phase of life, the sexuality of a woman undergoes a paradigm shift. Her erotic energies are channelized into nurturing and caring for the child.

Related Reading: Watching Porn Saved My Marriage – A True Account

This may leave the other partner wanting in terms of sexual satisfaction, and they may seek refuge in pornography. Since the woman may already be grappling with body image issues post-childbirth, this shift can fan her insecurities furthermore.

Likewise, a person who has been cheated on in the past or has an insecure attachment style may perceive their partner’s interest in pornography as a slight. So, red flags with porn and relationships always boil down to the two people in a relationship, their individual conditioning and the health of their bond as a couple.

great sex

Relationships And Porn: The Problem Areas

While a lot of issues surrounding relationships and porn are fueled by tangential factors, categorizing it as “good” or “bad” would be too simplistic. Yes, consuming ethically produced pornography for sexual gratification can be harmless, and even healthy. However, this does not negate the fact that there are many ways that porn and nudity hurt relationships.

The foremost is the performance anxiety arising out of the unrealistic ideas of male and female anatomy as well as sexual pleasure propagated in pornography. The unusually well-endowed men in these movies or clips can lead to the idea that the size of the penis is directly proportional to pleasure being subconsciously internalized by men. Such sexual myths can make men conscious about their anatomy and make them second-guess their ability to satisfy their partner in bed.

However, scientifically, a two inches penis long after erection is sufficient enough. What matters is not how long you got it, but how well you make use of what you got. Besides, since the vagina has no nerve-endings, it’s not the pleasure point for women, so the size is anyway rendered inconsequential.

Women too may end up developing body images issues if they buy into the unrealistic notions about the size of breasts, curves or body proportions shown in pornographic material. This can dent body confidence and lead to anxiety in sexual performance. It is these very factors that also fuel concerns about the relationship between porn and abusive relationships.

Related Reading: Men share their wives’ responses to their ‘porn night’ dates!

To counter these common ways that porn and nudity hurt relationships, it’s vital to remember that this is a hyperbolic representation of sexual pleasure. The way romcoms display romance on steroids, porn does the same to sex. Not losing sight of this fact is crucial to not let it become a source of emotional distress in relationships.

Other common issues surrounding relationships and porn included dissatisfaction, unmet needs and a sense of neglect. When the needs of one partner are met through porn (and masturbating to it), their appetite for sexual intimacy may be diminished, leading to the other partner’s needs being unmet. This can make the partner feel undesired, neglected, and result in dissatisfying sex life or a sexless relationship.

On the other hand, couples who watch pornography together may see an improvement in the quality of their sex life. In any long-term monogamous relationship, sustaining the spark after the rush of love hormones fades away is challenging. It takes constant work and effort through experimentation, introducing surprise elements into your sex life, and exploring new ways to fan the desire. Whether that includes relying on pornography is only for a couple to decide.

The bottom line is that relationships and porn can co-exist in complete harmony as long as both partners are accepting of the idea. Just like any other aspect of sexual interaction between two individuals, consent is of utmost importance here too. That consent must be without coercion, influence or pressure. If that’s not where you’re at, it’s a good idea to examine the red flags with porn and relationships, and arrive at a middle ground on what’s appropriate behavior for you as a couple.

FAQs

1. In what ways does porn influence relationships between men and women

In what way porn influences the relationship between a man and a woman depends solely on the two people involved in the relationship. If both partners are open to the confluence of relationships and porn, it can improve their sex life. If their views on the role and effects of pornography on relationships are divergent, it can lead to discord and disharmony.

2. Why do couples who confess to watching porn are happier and have better relationships?

As long as both partners recognize that the depiction of sexual experiences and human anatomy in porn is exaggerated and don’t seek to replicate that in their personal life, the stimulation provided by these videos, clips, images or even literature can fan sexual desire and lend impetus to the libido, thus improving a couple’s sex life.

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