Can Pornography Be Good for Your Relationship?

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About Alyssa Royse

Alyssa is freelance writer, speaker and sex-educator living in Seattle with her husband and their 3 daughters. She is the former host of Sexxx Talk Radio on The Progressive Radio Network and is the co-founder of NotSoSecret.com, a site dedicated to empowered women's sexuality. She can also be found on her eponymous blog, where she pontificates about food, family, politics and the Seattle rain. Yes, she would love to speak at your event, host a workshop or write something for you. Just ask.

Comments

  1. nice advertisement for goodvibes.

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      Not an ad. Would be nice if it was, but it’s just my personal opinion. I love them. And know that they support the ethical treatment of porn performers and producers, which matters to me.

  2. FlyingKal says:

    You haven’t read Nerdlove’s takedown of Don Jon (and porn), have you?
    http://goodmenproject.com/sex-relationships/hesaid-learn-from-this-don-jon/

  3. Hi Alyssa

    I do not intend to enter a porn debate. I am not qualified since I do not use porn. That’s a personal choice.

    But when you write:
    ✺”watching porn sure doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. In fact, I’m pretty sure it can help in
    several ways.”✺
    I am sure this is your personal opinion, and not a statement based on research of the use of pornography in marriage and long term relationships?

    You see I am skeptical , but love to read reports if you have any links.
    Online we can see lots of webpages where lawyers tell about porn use often come up in divorce cases.
    Sexologist should know something about this,as they seems to see porn as dissociation of feelings.

    • A good link for you.
      http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/homo-consumericus/201001/pornography-beneficial-or-detrimental

      It basically finds that there is no basis for the thesis that explicit material is harmful.

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      Iben, there is tons of research on it. I will try and dig some up for you after I do all the “mom” things that my evenings are filled with. But you can Google it. Lots of sex therapists will “prescribe” porn to people and couples to explore sexual ideas…… The problems come when people lie about it, and / or don’t understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Which is a problem in general, not just with porn.

      Ironically, I think that’s one of the points that Don Jon was trying to make, but it was so flacidly written that it just didn’t get around to it. But the female character was obsessed with romantic comedies and couldn’t understand how life wasn’t actually like a movie. Same thing.

  4. Carol Queen has written some good books about the beneficial uses of pornography in a relationship. She has written many books and has a PhD. Start with her.

  5. Alyssa, I understand you won’t agree with this assessment, but yes, I do think porn is more bad then good. Do I think it’s “inherently” bad? I don’t know because I’m not even sure I know what really means. Is someone who committed a murder inherently bad? Maybe. Maybe not. I am not trying to compare porn to murder but just make a point about the term “inherently bad” being rather confusing.

    I will tell you what I do think. I do think porn is an industry largely built on, not sex or the desire to benevolently supply a safe sexual out-lit to the public, but to make as much money off of people in regards to their weaknesses concerning sex. You could argue that porn is also about our sexual strengths but I don’t personally believe that porn brings out our sexual strengths or even our best selves. Since porn is largely built around money, not sex, it sets up a lot of unhealthy motivations all around to which porn producers largely base their material on and are very crafty and intelligent in using human psychology and desire to draw users in.

    I think a lot of people have negative experiences regarding partners and/or pornography, not just because a partner may have lied about their porn use, but because of their own inner complexities and the issues they see in the industry that force them to confront their own responses to something that is extremely complex. There are many more situations connected to porn use and sexuality then simply lying about it cause harmful experiences.

    I personally have a very hard time coming to terms with the way women are often depicted in the majority of porn. I see a lot of repression, abuse, sexualization of abuse, objectification, (applied to both men and women), male domination over female subservience, stereotypes about women’s ages and body parts and how we should perform sexually I personally feel very alienated as a woman based on those depictions and it causes me to feel alienated from men and their sexuality and rather uncomfortable with it since how men’s sexuality is projected in a lot of mainstream porn is domineering and often bordering on abusive. The fact that men respond so strongly to these depictions does infact say something that we may not yet be ready to really address yet. especially with so much of culture pushing more of “ accept porn!” attitude then one that says porn is “bad”. At least that’s my opinion.

    Perhaps if I saw more men who truly wanted to see more fair depictions of sex between men and women ,perhaps if I truly saw more men desiring to connect with women on a more authentic level, I would feel differently. But I simply do not see that with modern men and modern porn. Usually the “good” kind of porn is some kind of sub-genre not often found anywhere that you have to really know where to find it.

    Also, it usually seems like women are the ones that want more fairness and men don’t really seem too interested in that. I also don’t really know what to think of the fact that yes, you can infact find every kind of porn out there now-a-days on the internet. Is this good? Is this bad? I don’t know. I for one thing, believe that most men are still mostly interested in the stereotypes of the “young, hot porn babes” then I think they are in treating women like diversified people. I also am not sure if the wide range of porn out there is really all that liberating for women or is simply adding to the classification and objectification of women based on their body parts and age.

    This doesn’t even touch on the fact that most porn, still today, despite whatever link you could supply to the contrary, is still largely geared to men, for men. That isn’t to say women can’t fantasize about the same things. But when we keep repeatedly demand that both men and women draw forth “ideas” from material that largely caters to men, what exactly does that same about our sexuality? When we have to keep reinforcing to ourselves that porn is fantasy, that reinforcement is clearly needed for a reason despite or causal dismissal of the complexities of how the human brain, body and emotions respond to fantasy stimulation.

    Asking both partners to enjoy porn that is specific to male fantasy and pleasure can be dangerous ground. Sure, you can find porn that very well may be more “equal”. But the chances of both men or women looking at that more then the other kind is unlikely for the simple fact that porn about male fantasy is more widely accepted.

    I am a bit confused by the idea that you clearly state that porn is not sex-ed but how if you are “curious about but don’t know how it works? Guess what, there’s porn for that”. To me, that is a contradictory message. Is porn sex-ed or isn’t it? Is porn fantasy or should we be doing it in real life?

    I also really dislike this social desire we have lately to accept everything someone else may like simply because they like it and we don’t want to hurt their feelings. Such as your suggestion to not use judgmental words like “gross” or “weird’. But guess what? Sometimes stuff in porn is both gross and weird. Is it shaming to say that? I am not convinced that it is. It’s shaming if your partner likes something and you think it’s gross and weird and you say to them, “Omg you are so disgusting that you like that!” But that’s not the same as you expressing your own dislike for said thing. It is funny how incredibly PC we get when it comes to talking about porn. Meanwhile, porn itself is the most unbelievably incredibly u-pc thing ever. But we are suppose to just accept that without making any comments on it? That doesn’t seem very healthy to me.

    I personally don’t understand what you got out of watching “big-boobed” porn frequently in your relationship with your partner. I am open to you giving further details on this though so I can try and understand better. I’m small boobed too. And while I think both small and big boobs can be beautiful, I don’t want to be with a man that is always looking for things I don’t have. I want a man who lives with the mindset that he is happy with what he has. He doesn’t need to seek out other things to substitute for what he believes he is lacking. This doesn’t mean that I expect to be everything he wants in a woman. It means that he is mature enough to understand that what I offer him is unique to me and that he values and appreciates that and doesn’t hold the expectations that he needs all this outside titillation to make the relationship better sexually for him. I think porn has largely bread this idea that if your partner doesn’t embody ever fleeting whim or shallow desire, that you MUST seek it out in other ways for you to be a happy fulfilled indivdual. To me, this is an unhealthy mindset. Add on the cultural narrative that often gets spoken about breasts, and how men do often attach more value on larger breasts, asking your partner to indulge your desire for other women with large breasts while he is having sex with you doesn’t seem very intimate or connected at all.

    I really don’t think people need advice to “watch porn” or to “bookmark” porn pages. I think people are doing plenty of that all on their own lol. I actually think that maybe it’s time we put the porn down for a little bit and re-discovered sex separate from porn. Because I got to tell you, lately, it seems like sex is simply all about the porn. It’s not even really about sex itself anymore.

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