Society says it’s not a big deal for partners to have a porn habit, but science and research say otherwise. You deserve to know the facts, and how porn can seriously affect a relationship.

One of the biggest lies society has sold is that watching porn is totally normal and harmless.

Lately, it seems we are coming across more and more articles online that are trying to normalize pornography and promote the massively uninformed myth that most people “just can’t help them self.” They tell partners that they just need to accept that their significant other watches it and that’s not a big deal. Stereotypically, with all the movies and TV shows comically showing guys watching porn and their partners being fine with it, it’s easy to see why society believes this one.

We came across an article on a site called Total Sorority Move that represents everything that’s totally messed-up with our generation’s understanding of porn. The article is written by a 20-something who titles the article, Should You Let Your Boyfriend Watch Porn? It starts by telling girls that their boyfriend most definitely watches porn, and if he says different, he’s lying. It then goes on to say that boyfriends watching porn is completely normal and that girls should consider joining in. Via the article:

“Upon sneakily asking my friends about porn, more than half of them said they not only watch porn, but would–if they hadn’t already–watch it with their boyfriends. Still think it’s super weird and that I’m most likely a crazed sex-addict? Sit back while your man watches two people do the dirty and let me tell you why it isn’t so bad.”

Related: Can Porn Improve An Intimate Relationship?

The article lists 10 reasons why girls should allow their boyfriends to watch porn (but the same can be applied any which way in any type of relationship). With each point spreading more misinformation than the next, we have decided to go hit-for-hit with each point, shutting it down with research and reason. These are 10 reasons why your partner, girlfriend or boyfriend, shouldn’t watch porn:

1. He’s Not Cheating
Wouldn’t you rather he watch it than partake in it? You look at celebrities. You look at other guys. Go take a Xanax and chill because he’s not doing anything wrong.

FTND: Having a porn habit usually means having dishonesty and secrecy in a relationship, one of the many reasons it is so poisonous to relationships.

A partner lying to you is not healthy, and when it comes to watching other naked people having sex, it’s a pretty big deal. How is someone desiring other person’s body and sharing their sexuality with airbrushed bodies instead of you as a partner not considered as a form of cheating? If you wouldn’t be cool with your partner getting aroused by nudes their friend sent, why would it be okay for them to specifically seek out naked strangers having sex on screen for their arousal?

2. He Knows It’s Fake
Any mentally stable guy knows that porn is fictional. I don’t know about you, but I would rather him watch another girl do some of these things than do them myself.

FTND: Not exactly. The images that the brain is seeing does not necessarily distinguish between real and fantasy, all the brain knows is it’s seeing highly arousing images and it wants to see more of it, and increasingly more explicit material to get the same thrill.

Porn creates hugely unrealistic expectations in relationships because the consumer naturally starts to want to act those things out in real life. In one of the most comprehensive studies on porn consumption ever conducted, researchers found that after being exposed to just softcore sexual material, both men and women were significantly less happy with their partner’s looks, sexual performance, and willingness to try new sex acts. Many partners don’t watch porn thinking it’s unrealistic, they watch porn wishing their S.O. would do the same stuff because that’s what “hot sex” looks like in the porn world. Not cool.

3. He’s Going To Do It Anyway
He won’t stop. Once he hits puberty, he can no longer avoid the female form. Accept it or accept the fact that he’ll lie to your face if you ask him about it.

FTND: Despite what this writer suggests, men and women aren’t driveling neanderthals who will go to any lengths to satisfy every sexual urge.

There is nothing natural about the very produced and synthetic product of porn, and we are all much healthier without it. Guys don’t have to watch porn, girls don’t have to watch porn, and they certainly don’t have to cheat on their partner and then lie about it. But if they struggle—which millions of people do—there’s help.

4. You Watch Dumb Stuff, Too
“The Notebook,” “27 Dresses,” “Love And Other Drugs.” We watch completely baffling, unrealistic movies where we drool over the perfect guy who doesn’t exist. No man in the actual world is super hot, sweet, loves kids, is great in bed, is totally fine with comforting our insane insecurities, and is all for trying our on-again-off-again sort of vegan lifestyle. Seriously. We know (or we should know) this isn’t real. It’s a fantasy. Hello? Porn is a rom-com for guys, except they don’t drink a whole bottle of wine and cry while watching it.

FTND: The gender stereotypes in this one are pretty ridiculous. While the artistic integrity of “chick flicks” is up for debate, this is not even a comparison. There’s no known research to support the idea that watching a romantic comedy will give a guy erectile dysfunction, decrease their attraction to their partner, or contribute to human sex trafficking. Next point.

5. Girls Can Watch Porn
Ever tried? There’s tons of stuff out there. It could open your eyes to some new things, and shockingly, girls can be turned on by it, too. And I promise you will get his attention if you start a sentence saying, “So last night I was searching through this porn website…”

FTND: Just because something “can” be done, “should” it?

Porn’s negative effects don’t discriminate based on gender, or any other diversifying factor. It’s true, lots of girls are watching porn now, which only increasingly shows how big of a problem pornography has become in our society. We receive countless stories from teenage girls telling us of their struggle with porn and how it negatively affects their lives. The harms of porn can affect girls just as much as guys, looking at the research. Anyone can also get their partner’s attention if they start a sentence saying, So last night I was searching through porn… and I don’t have much of a sex drive for you anymore.”

6. Suggest A Night To Watch It Together
Also, please invite me to the wedding, because he will without a doubt think you’re a keeper after that.

FTND: The perception that it’s healthy for couples to watch porn together is just as harmful as the one that says it’s healthy for your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife to watch it. The reality is that porn can truly damage relationships from the inside out by driving a wedge and comparison into that special intimacy. Read “Why Watching Porn With My Husband Was The Worst Decision I Ever Made” to see one example of what can happen when couples watch porn together.

7. You Could Spice Up Your Own Sex Life
I’m not saying you should be a porn star (but, like, no judgment). I’m just saying you can do some work and be creative every now and again, too, sweetheart.

FTND: YIKES. See above. Also, read True Story: I Became His Porn Star To Try And Save Our RelationshipThis applies to both men and women, easily.

8. He’s Thinking About You When He Watches it
Romantic, huh? I don’t mean he wants you to do every little sick thing that turns him on, but the fantasy he has is that it would happen for him. In his mind, you’re the one doing it for him. So, really, you should be flattered. And next time you ask if he thought about you while you were gone, you can be sure he had you on his mind.

FTND: Really? The argument here is that while your partner is being aroused by impossibly enhanced porn performers that look nothing like you (or anyone else you know) and their exaggerated reactions to sex, they are thinking only about you and your relationship? Is that meant to be…comforting?

9. Every. Guy. Does. It.
They just do.

FTND: Wrong. Wrong. And also, wrong. We’ve got close to 2 million Fighters on our social platforms who beg to differ. Men deserve more credit than that, and so do women. It’s degrading to say that everyone watches porn because it’s simply not true, and there are countless people who have learned the harms of porn and chosen to do something else with their time. It’s healthy to like sex, it’s not healthy to like porn. There’s a huge difference.

10. It’s Called Compromise
There are things about you that he doesn’t like. He answers all of your, “Am I pretty?” or, “Do you love me?” questions. He lets you eat all of the food in his house. He buys you drinks when you go out, and lets you pick the movie when you stay in. If you picked a good one, he doesn’t ask for much. I think accepting the fact that he watches porn isn’t that big of a tradeoff considering the fact he’s buying YOU dinner, not the girl on the screen.

FTND: Again, stereotypes. Also, relationships should never have to compromise their love and intimacy for the selfishness of one partner, if porn is a deal-breaking issue for someone. This would be the same as “compromising” that your partner can go home with or hit on other people, as long as they take care of you and buy you dinner. Insulting, right? Keeping the relationship healthy with complete loyalty and devotion should never be a compromise.

Why This Matters

We know the science about the harmful effects of pornography and our simple mission, much like the TRUTH campaign against tobacco, is to educate and raise awareness on these facts. Simply because most everyone is wired to want sex at some point, doesn’t mean that everyone looks at porn or that it’s okay for them to do so. In fact, quite the opposite.

For anyone who is aware enough to know that porn is harmful, can ruin their sex life, and is inseparably connected to sex trafficking, they don’t want any part of it. Men can, despite what popular culture would have you believe, control themselves when it comes to sex. So can women. To believe otherwise is to believe that people are just mindless creatures that are allowed to support assault, rape, degrade, and the abuse of people in the pursuit of sexual gratification. We all deserve better than that.

The all-too-common idea that “men just can’t help themselves” or “men are visual creatures” or that “women who watch porn are hotter” don’t hold up against the facts. Men and women have every ability to think and act for themselves and choose otherwise. They can choose people over pixels, and be healthier for it.

We know thousands of guys and women who choose not to watch porn because they know its harmful effects and they don’t want it messing with their relationships or their brains. No one should never just accept the false idea that porn is cool and healthy, and can provide benefits for a relationship. That is a huge myth in our society, and we’re here to fight for the facts.

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If you’re not cool with the popular myth that everyone watches porn and partners should just accept it, SHARE this article. Let’s put an end to this harmful attitude and raise awareness on the real harms of porn.

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