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What You Won’t See on Porn Sites: Where to Go For the Best Sex Tips

What’s more helpful than getting sex advice from an industry that profits off of fake orgasms? Actually talking with your partner.

By December 16, 2021No Comments

A common reason why sexually active couples in long-standing, committed relationships turn to porn is that they watch for ideas to try with their partner.

And in our world where porn is the go-to for everything from entertainment to education, it makes sense that partners would turn to porn for a few tips.

Couples who have been together for years often hit a rut in their sex life, want to change up their routine and there’s an endless supply of porn with examples awaiting them. How can you argue with two people in search of ways to improve their sex life?

The unfortunate fact is that porn can do more harm than good for those who are hoping to learn a thing or two.

With the increasing variety of porn—including violent, nonconsensual, or demeaning explicit content—there are much better, healthier sources to turn to for sex ideas than porn. Allow us to explain.

Why porn isn’t the answer

Porn is not the best place for couples in search of new ideas because, on a basic level, porn is not produced to promote accurate sex education, mutually-satisfying sexual encounters, or safe and loving relationships.

The truth is, porn can take a heavy toll on real-life relationships.Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The effects of sexually explicit material use on romantic relationship dynamics. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. doi:10.1556/2006.5.2016.078COPY Park, B. Y., et al. (2016). Is internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysunction? A Review with Clinical Reports, Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. doi:10.3390/bs6030017COPY  Many people report feeling distressed or hurt by their partner’s pornography consumption,Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784COPY  but even if a partner has no issues with their significant other’s porn habit, it can still damage the relationship. In fact, research consistently shows that porn consumption is associated with poorer relationship quality and sexual dissatisfaction.Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2018). Women's perceptions of their male partners’ pornography consumption and relational, sexual, self, and body satisfaction: Toward a theoretical model.42(1), 55-73. doi:10.1080/23808985.2017.1412802COPY Stewart, D. N., & Szymanski, D. M. (2012). Young adult women’s reports of their male romantic partner’s pornography use as a correlate of their self-esteem, relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction. Sex Roles, 67(5), 257-271. doi:10.1007/s11199-012-0164-0COPY  The idea that porn is a personal decision that doesn’t affect anyone else is simply not supported by the research.

Related: How Porn Can Harm Consumers’ Sex Lives

There’s no doubt that porn can shape the way people think about sex. Despite how unrealistic pornography is, research indicates that many young people report trying to copy porn in their own sexual encounters, and that the pressure to imitate porn was often an aspect of unhealthy relationships.Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). 'Without Porn … I Wouldn't Know Half the Things I Know Now': A Qualitative Study of Pornography Use Among a Sample of Urban, Low-Income, Black and Hispanic Youth. Journal of sex research, 52(7), 736–746. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2014.960908COPY 

Studies also show that increased pornography consumption is associated with the enjoyment of degrading, uncommon, or aggressive sexual behaviors.Ezzell, M. B., Johnson, J. A., Bridges, A. J., & Sun, C. F. (2020). I (dis)like it like that: Gender, pornography, and liking sex. J.Sex Marital Ther., 46(5), 460-473. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2020.1758860COPY  And a number of other studies also show that the sexual scripts in pornography can socialize consumers toward sexual aggression,Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2016). A meta-analysis of pornography consumption and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 183-205. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12201COPY  cheating,Rasmussen, K. (2016). A historical and empirical review of pornography and romantic relationships: Implications for family researchers. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 8(2), 173-191. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12141COPY  and risky sexual behaviors.Koletić G. (2017). Longitudinal associations between the use of sexually explicit material and adolescents' attitudes and behaviors: A narrative review of studies. Journal of adolescence, 57, 119–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.006COPY Wright, P. J., & Bae, S. (2016). Pornography and male socialization. In Y. J. Wong & S. R. Wester (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology®. APA handbook of men and masculinities (p. 551–568). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/14594-025COPY 

Ironically, despite porn’s promise of improving consumers’ sex lives, there is growing evidence that porn consumption is linked to sexual dysfunction. Research indicates that compulsive pornography consumption is directly related to erectile dysfunction,Park, B. Y., Wilson, G., Berger, J., Christman, M., Reina, B., Bishop, F., Klam, W. P., & Doan, A. P. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 6(3), 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs6030017COPY  sexual dysfunction for both men and women,Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY  problems with arousal and sexual performance,Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnson, J. A., & Ezzell, M. B. (2016). Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 983–994. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2COPY  difficulty reaching orgasm,Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY  and decreased sexual satisfaction.Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64COPY 

In one neuroscientific study on compulsive pornography consumers, researchers found that in 11 out of 19 subjects, porn consumption had lowered the consumers’ sex drive and/or ability to maintain arousal in real-life sexual encounters, yet were still able to sexually respond to porn.Voon, V., et al. (2014). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), e102419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102419COPY 

Related: How Porn Can Hurt a Consumer’s Partner

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Consider a real-life example of this research-demonstrated issue.

From his TED Talk about why he stopped watching porn, writer and lecturer Ran Gavrieli says, “What porn is showing us 80–90 percent of the time is sex with no hands involved. No touching, no caressing, no kissing. Porn cameras have no interest in sensual activities. They are only into penetration. This is not how we authentically desire.”

“There’s a certain way of experiencing sexual arousal that is the opposite of closeness,” said Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years. “At best, it can be managed somewhat by some people, but most of the time it creates a barrier that poisons relationships.”Interview with Dr. Gary Brooks, Oct. 23, 2013.COPY 

Related: Popular Porn Site Launches “Sexual Wellness Center” For Sex Advice & Education

We all know this, but it’s worth repeating: porn is an exaggerated, airbrushed, and highly edited digital fantasy. This is true for both LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, as well as cisgender, heterosexual ones. While most adults can comprehend that, porn still twists ideas of attraction, sexual pleasure, and consent.

The negative narratives porn shows can still affect a longstanding committed relationship.

BHW - General

So…where do you go for the best sex tips?

So if we know where not to turn to for sex advice and tips for a healthy and committed relationship, where can someone go for better info?

Instead of turning to porn, a better place a couple can start to freshen their physical relationship is through honest communication with each other. Even therapy can be helpful if both partners are interested in talking to a neutral but knowledgeable third party.

This may not sound like a great solution, but hear us out.

Related: How Porn Can Distort Consumers’ Understanding Of Healthy Sex

Honest and open communication about sex requires both partners to be totally vulnerable, and in that moment, a couple can rekindle a deep connection that brings purpose and meaning to their intimacy. True sexiness can be found in being completely open in talking about desire with a committed partner who wants nothing more than to please you the way you want.

Committed, loving partners can build intimacy by simply sharing honestly what they are interested in sexually. This can be a time to learn to listen, and in turn, be heard. It can turn the conversation about physicality into more about what you give, not just get. After all, healthy love is in part about understanding a person and their unique needs, right?

The value of trust

Trust is not necessarily an automatic gift to a partnership when you make it Facebook official. Through open communication and honesty, a couple can build or, if need be, repair a sense of trust that will a lot of times benefit in the bedroom.

When two people are comfortable with each other, they can explore all aspects of their intimate life respectfully. This can include changing up a steady but stale routine, creating a romantic experience, and dedicating time to sex. It all comes down to honest communication, though.

Related: Asking My Wife To Watch Porn With Me Actually Ruined Our Marriage

Think about it this way: turning to porn for suggestions could be a cover-up for a conversation that needs to happen, sometimes. A conversation is a much better solution to improve your physical relationship without creating problems in the future.

Also, professional and licensed therapists can be an awesome resource for both individuals and couples. Individuals who visit the OBGYN can also ask their doctors for sex advice and tips.

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Bottom line

Basically, it isn’t worth the risk to add porn into a relationship for any reason, even if it’s one that’s based in love. Even when there are struggles, porn is not the answer.

Ultimately, porn doesn’t solve issues in the bedroom, it adds to them.

Related: How Watching Porn Taught Me To Focus Only On My Own Sexual Pleasure

The problem is, porn has become so normalized in our society, which is why the excuse that watching porn a partner to get ideas is so popular. Many well-meaning people think that it’s safe and harmless because they view it together. While we are all for committed couples working together to improve their sex lives if that’s what’s important to them, watching porn as “research” is clearly not the way to do it based on decades of research from respected institutions.

From both personal stories and research explaining how porn can harm relational intimacy, it’s clear that it has no place in a healthy relationship.

What the porn sites won’t tell you: try ditching getting turned on by other people’s naked bodies, and instead, opt for open, honest conversations with your partner—clothing optional.