Porn and its effect on our sex practices

I have heard a lot through my life about the dangers and detrimental effects of Porn on our sex lives.  I think we all have.  I have heard how it humiliates and diminishes women, indeed all adult performers, how it promotes unsafe sexual practices, breaks up relationships, how it changes our core values and encourages the engagement in sexual practices that go against our moral structures.

I am an avid watcher of porn.  Has it caused problems in my relationships?  Unquestionably!  Many thoughts go through my mind at this point.  While I freely accept that sexually explicit portrayals are definitely a matter of taste, as are the specific acts themselves and some enjoy it and others do not.  But I have noticed that it has a profoundly different gestalt within relationships than any another fetish.  It can cause feelings of competition, resentment, rejection, and fear far more than (perhaps) a desire to cross dress might.  Obviously these things are exclusively determined by the people involved in the relationship, but hopefully my thoughts are coming across.

Porn can be thought of as a caring adjunct to a relationships sexual life or as a threat to its existance, depending on the acceptance of those involved.  But considering the commonality of the issues and conflicts, I was pleased to read about a recent study in the journal “Sexual and Relationship Therapy” on the effects of Porn on the sexual behavior of gay men.

While I am having difficulty locating the original study, the descriptions from the above linked YNOT article that particularly came to my attention were things like “Of primary importance, according to the study, is that viewers must find the porn behaviors arousing“, “porn doesn’t necessarily change viewers’ core values about sexuality“, “Another primary determinant of whether porn viewers would consider modeling porn behaviors is whether they have a “trusted partner” with whom to experiment” and “porn may introduce viewers to new ideas and practices, but it doesn’t necessarily change behaviors or attitudes. According to the researchers, interpersonal dynamics are far more important in determining whether porn action escapes the screen“.

It reminds me of the fears over hypnosis in the 50s and 60s that it could force you to do things that are morally repugnant to you.

Porn, in my opinion is a way of enjoying those elements of your sexuality which may not necessarily mesh with those chosen by your partner.  While it is a broad analogy, I can enjoy football because my partner does.  We can watch it, and she can explain much of what I do not understand.  Sharing it is an enjoyment because she likes it.  (Yea, I know, but she really liked it, and other than with her, I didn’t really care.)  I would wish that more people could share an observation of porn even if it is in areas of interest that you may not wish to experience, just because it is of interest to your loved one.  It is the enjoyment of your loved one that is important, is it not?

I sincerely hope that this study be repeated within the broader heterosexual community.

Nov. 21, 2012 received this link to additional information on the original study.

May you all have a very joyful Thanksgiving, and spend some moments thinking about all you have for which you are grateful.

The Eroticist

6 Comments

  1. Can you really be surprised that an art produced with a male audience in mind would not be all that enticing to women? Or that even if parts of it were, that the longer a girl has to consider what she’s watched, wet pussy and all, the more she’s hurt by what she’s seen… it wasn’t for her, you know. It was never made for her.

    And there you are, though you didn’t engineer the world or gender inequality, without a clue as to why women recoil away from that which you find so enticing (?). It was made for you. You’ve never lived in a world where porn wasn’t made for your gender. You’ve never lived in a world wherein, just a few minutes ago, you were the bitch by nature of your sex. Or still are…

    We’re all someone’s bitch at some point, for whatever reason, and maybe some of us aren’t (lucky, really). But it’s never men because of their gender when it comes to sex (not even war – that’s to do with economy). We’re all ugly to ourselves, sadly, when we’re feeling low. I know this well. Oh, and I’ve had so many men throw their grief about their perceived non sexiness at me. I know the pendulum swings the other way. I write the way I write for a reason.

    Porn, in my humble opinion, is not the best tool for enhancing a relationship. You have to have a WONDERFUL relationship in the first place to enjoy porn together. You have to know how adored you are by your partner. If not, then not…

    Sensitivity and tenderness is in order.

    • I have done a lot of thinking on your comment. There are some points on which we disagree, but I would wish first of all to acknowledge and agree with the majority. Sensitivity and tenderness are always in order, in both directions each towards the other. Empathy is a valuable tool. If you and I were negotiating a relationship, there would be a need for extended talks on a deep level before the issue of porn could be safely enjoyed between us.

      Porn is primarily made not for men or for women but to make a profit. I would agree that the major market is male based, but I will not agree that it is exclusive. I am familiar with many female producers who make their profit exclusively with the female market in mind. I will also disagree that the reason the women who do “recoil away” from porn do so simply because it was not made for them. I believe those women who have a very strong negative reaction to porn do so for far more complex reasons involving their view of male/female relationships in this male entitled society, their own sexual experiences and personal struggles with sexual identity.

      I struggled with that last sentence because even with only a limited experience and understanding of what it means to live in this male entitled society, and far less experience and understanding of what it means to live as a female, I do not wish in any way to sound condescending. I have seen countless examples of abusive behavior towards women expressed in the most casual ways with little or no understanding that it might not be appropriate. I have heard heart wrenching stories from women itemizing the countless ways their character and personality is reduced to sexual desirability and availability. I am not saying that it is right that a woman’s opinion of male/female relationships are so affected. I am saying it is justifiable and far more common than even a small fraction of the male population comprehend.

      The Eroticist

      • I’ll give this a good long think, but for now I’ll say this… All people are “sexually abused” or reduced to something simplified unfairly – not just women, but men as well. And everyone has likely been guilty of it at one point or another. We just can see everyone we encounter as they really are, no matter how broad minded we’re trying to be.

        But viewing the pornography thing through too wide a filter tends to paint picky people or detractors as being emotionally damaged or maybe deranged. People have tastes and desires, and often those aesthetics and desires are simply put-off by a lot of pornography.

        I’m willing to put up with a lot of what I don’t like when I’m offered it by someone I know values me, understands me and when it’s a good, good two-way street, but how easy it is to put me on ice when someone jabs the wrong porn at me at the wrong time. And not only can I not see the good in the porn, the intent of sharing it is utterly lost.

        Because there are women making porn ostensibly for women, it does not mean that there’s a significant amount of that. Also, these pornographers likely have to have an eye toward staying professional looking, etc., in a male-market focused profession. So even if they intend to make something BW/FW, it’s still tinted with the shades of male aesthetic preferences.

        I find myself wondering what pr0n would really look like if it was an equal market. What of what we’re seeing would simply cease to exist as industry-standard… that sort of thing.

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