Is Porn Ruining Your Sex Life?

Before I dive in, I’d like to say that while, yes, porn can have a place in healthy functional relationships, I do strongly advocate for the usage of couples-friendly/female-friendly porn: a lesser-known niche of porn that is easily searchable and readily available. Like any other tool, porn could be used successfully to spice things up in the bedroom and initiate conversations about fantasies that have yet to be lived-out and fetishes that are yet to be explored.

However, with a bewildering onslaught of porn addiction cases identified over the past decade due to the readily available nature of mainstream porn, we are now facing an addiction that some experts have even described as an epidemic. Simply put: we’re dealing with an addiction that has developed so quickly that it has yet to be clearly defined and given satisfactory treatment, which also makes it difficult to diagnose in those suffering with it. So while behavioural psychologists work to catch up, this does raise the question: is our tech simply evolving too quickly for traditional sciences to keep up?

As we continue hearing more and more cases about children as young as 9 years of age accessing online porn, we need to recall — we ain’t talkin’ about your daddy’s Hustler’s! We’re talking about a medium that, in its most mainstream of states, openly encourages distortion around how we view our bodies, how we view our sexual selves and even how we view the people in our everyday lives, let alone the people we’re intimate with.

Porn and Your Sex Life

So what does this mean for someone who is dating a porn addiction sufferer, or for someone who is concerned they might have a porn addiction?

While there are many symptoms tied to porn addiction, those who seem most at risk of having the most adverse symptoms are those who began habitually watching porn at any point in their childhood to mid-teens. These are formative years in which we begin showing an interest in dating, sex, love and the intimate relationships. Imagine if the influences and lessons you grew up with, the very sources that taught you about sex and intimacy, were completely replaced by internet porn. Could you even imagine what the outcome would be if porn became your go-to educational tool for sex and intimacy? With this being said, while it’s been some time since I’ve taken a high school sex-ed class, I’m really hoping school educators have begun exploring the effects of habitual internet porn use with pre-teens and teenagers.

Three Red Flags

These are glaring red flags you can’t afford to ignore when it comes to the ways mainstream porn could be ruining sex and intimacy for you and your partner(s):

1. “It’s not you, it’s me.” — Loss of Sexual Interest

Those addicted to porn have reported a lack of interest in flirting and interacting with those they’re attracted to, and if they are in a sexual relationship or wanting to have sex, many have a really hard time getting aroused by a live person (more on this in my video on porn).

One of my clients voiced his own concerns surrounding his use of porn: “I just wasn’t interested in speaking to women.” After withdrawing from porn for thirty days, he found his interest in flirting and dating return.

It’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault if your partner has increased their use of internet porn and have seemingly lost interest in sex with you. This lack of interest could also be noted in some instances of dating someone new.

2. Feeling Crappy About Yourself

Big cocks, heavy makeup and plastic surgery abound, it’s not hard to see that adult entertainment is simply that – entertainment. Porn is intended to bring just about any fantasy to life for its audience, but for those who frequently view porn, it’s not uncommon for these fantasies to take their toll on the viewer’s reality (much like reality TV and even some social media, but that’s a whole other article). Sex is already a nerve-wracking affair for many, especially when it’s the first time with someone you’re really into. Add the fear of not having a big enough penis or a sculpted bod like porn stars typically do, and it could be enough for a person to pack it in! Even for infrequent porn users, the very limited range of body types seen in mainstream internet porn could leave viewers feeling very inadequate in the most psychologically crippling ways.

3. Performance Issues

Currently, the most observed internet porn addicts are men who, after spending hours upon hours masturbating to porn, find themselves developing a slew of performance issues, including erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low or no libido, bruised/scarred genitalia and, naturally, carpal tunnel syndrome (to name a few).

Since mainstream porn also puts an emphasis on a lack of foreplay, exploration and focus on the needs of your sex partner(s), sex IRL also suffers in quality when there’s an attempt to mimic mainstream porn without mutual consideration and respect in place.

So what can you do?

While we are seeing steps towards more thorough recognition and treatment for porn addiction, the problem still remains in awareness about this issue. Like any other addiction, it’s difficult for many addicts to admit this is a problem. With very little awareness around this addiction, this only proves to further compound the issue for both those who are addicted and their loved ones.

Nevertheless, there is a wide range of online resources available and, in the lighter cases of porn dependency, I’ve personally seen through my coaching practice that it is possible for people to step away from porn and use other resources (i.e., their imagination or still images) for self-pleasure instead. As an aside, I will note that these men I’ve spoken with and/or have coached didn’t grow up frequently viewing online porn in their childhood or early teens, and were also able to discontinue the use of porn on their own without significant withdrawal symptoms.

For more on this topic along with additional solutions and resources, check out my video, Porn + You: A Tantric’s Perspective:

Devika J. Singh is a Tantric sex and singles relationship coach. Got a love/sex question? Email her.

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