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