Five Reasons Porn Can Hurt Your Love Life

Letters s e x on keyboardAccording to comScore, which measures Internet traffic, 66% of Internet-using men between the ages of 18 and 34 look at online pornography at least once a month. Does it really matter if you watch pornography? Does it really impact marriages and relationships? Two-thirds of divorce lawyers say the Internet has played a significant role in divorces within the past year, with excessive interest in online pornography contributing to more than half of such cases. That does not even speak to the impact pornography has on physical and emotional intimacy in relationships.

Consider these five reasons pornography can hurt your love relationship:

  1. Men who view pornography can experience “sexual anorexia”! What? Indeed, the results of a study in Italy that surveyed 28,000 porn users seem to corroborate the notion that too much porn has a negative impact on sexual performance. Apparently, men become so accustomed to the unrealistic images they see in pornography that they can no longer get erections. Many men don’t realize their brain’s sensitivity is declining toward “normal” sex because web-based erotica delivers endless dopamine hits—making erection and climax possible where normal encounters would not. When they try to have actual intercourse and cannot, they understandably panic. The brain changes that cause porn-induced erectile dysfunction arise from actual, physical addiction processes (among them, numbing of the pleasure response of the brain).
  2. With porn, partners are always willing and ready for sex! Where sexual drive varies in individuals, porn creates the unrealistic illusion that your partner should always be ready, willing, and able. Imagine the pressure this puts on your partner. It leaves no room for emotional connection, real-life circumstances, and the fun of pursuing each other in ways that are meaningful to each other rather than with only one objective in mind. If your partner has had a tough day at work, fought traffic, made dinner, taken care of the kids, done laundry, and prepared the family for the next day but then felt too tired for sex and consequently got replaced by porn, is this going to build intimacy or destroy it?
  3. Porn creates scenarios that just aren’t real! Here are some conclusions from a study by the surgeon general: The values expressed in pornography clash with the family concept, and potentially undermine the traditional values that favor marriage, family, and children. Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again. Sexual gratification in pornography is not a function of emotional attachment, of kindness, of caring, and especially not of continuance of the relationship, as such continuance would translate into responsibilities, curtailments, and costs. Now what if I told you that study was conducted in 1986? Consider how much more widespread pornography is today with the Internet, social media, etc. Porn sets up couples and families to fail because as one becomes more immersed in the false “reality,” true reality suffers and is shamed.
  4. Real-life partners can’t compete with embellished pornography! Porn creates an environment in which everyone is beautiful or handsome. Body parts are perfect, accentuated, and responsive in extreme satisfaction. How can anyone’s spouse or partner compete with that? If someone is indulging in hours of pornography, how can it not affect his or her reality when looking at a spouse or partner? The partner will begin to feel inadequate, judged, and compared, and might shut down or withdraw. This only leads to more disconnect on both parts and, for the one viewing porn, can start the path to even more sexual dysfunction.
  5. It is not only the partner who can’t live up to the porn standards! So you view pornography, watch how “perfect” things are, how every encounter is desired and accepted, every act brings mutual satisfaction, and the performance never fails, never disappoints. How can anyone live up to that? The truth is, you can’t—and you are not supposed to. In a true relationship, you accept each other for who you are, you make it special for each other, and there is understanding and compassion, not fear and judgment. Pornography is NOT reality, and forcing oneself to watch unrealistic situations over and over and then expecting yourself to perform the same way is setting yourself and your partner up for disappointment.

This is the reality of the impact pornography has on your loved one and your love life. There is the argument that moderation is the key, but too many studies show that it typically does not stay at moderation—it escalates, requires more intensity to meet sexual gratification, begins to have a negative impact on sexual experience with your partner, and eventually causes a disconnect in relationships that is difficult to overcome.

Sure, it is easy to brush it off and say it won’t happen to you, but before coming to that conclusion, take an honest look at what pornography has already done in your life, in your partner’s life, in the area of hiding the habit, shame on you and your partner … if you want a truly honest response, have an open mind to what your partner thinks of your viewing of pornography. Based on real studies, real facts, real impacts on relationships, what are you going to do? It is never too late to get help through counseling, support groups, and accountability to begin the path of personal and relational healing.

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Janie Lacy, LMHC, NCC, CSAT, therapist in Maitland, Florida

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • laura

    laura

    January 11th, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    There is a certain radio host that I sometimes listen to who thinks that porn is okay for couples to use in their sex lives, and while I am always trying to improve my love life, I have never been comfortable with doing that. Thank you for showing me that this is not the only way to spice things up, and that it can often do more harm than good.

  • Betty White

    Betty White

    January 13th, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Very good article. After five and a half years with my addicted husband, one separation, one divorce, and now almost two years remarried, I’m done with this lifestyle.
    All of life is a choice, and to be consistently harmed by those kinds of choices, which have sickened me and just humiliated and completely angered me, I’m making the choice for myself and my teenage kids to go ahead and let him have his stupid waste of time life, and I am divorcing him as soon as possible.

  • James

    James

    May 29th, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    In my case, I’ve found watching porn very convenient to remain “abstinent” until marriage. I’m 35 and since I’ve never been with anyone sexually. At this point, I can only see the benefits porn can bring vs. a true relationship. Here are the benefits: 1. Watching pork guarantees 100% sexual satisfaction. 2. Since I’m being 100% satisfied, there is a 100% guarantee i won’t get a divorce if im 100% satisfied, there is a 100% guarantee i will never be disappointed. 3. Next, there is a 100% guarantee i will not have kids and not have the responsibility of having to earn more income to support a family etc etc.

    4. I will never have to worry about EVER getting divorced OR having to pay child support

    5… And I can list at least 10+ reasons….

    What am I missing here? (Oh, and filing taxes is so much simpler being single)

    I think staying ignorant, remaining a Virgin and meeting my needs through watching pork is a DAMN GOOD DEAL… (HONESTLY)
    That being said, what am I missing?

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