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The pros and cons of watching pornography

By Faeza
02 May 2017

ACCORDING to a survey by a popular porn website, South Africans are among the world’s

top 20 porn consumers. This is compared to three years ago, when the country did not feature on the list. South Africans are now in the same league as the US, Germany and India. So why the increase in the appetite for porn? Experts believe that the rise of mobile technology is playing a role as it makes watching porn completely private. However, this does not mean that porn is a recently acquired taste. As far as external sexual stimulation goes, porn has always been popular because it provides visual stimulation.

THE GOOD

Watching porn may be taboo to some, but it is a good thing for people who enjoy it, such as Neo Bodibe (34).* “Watching porn is fun and a great way to spice up my sex life. I started watching porn around 2006 out of curiosity. I wanted to find out why my boyfriend liked it. While watching it, I got turned on and have been watching it ever since,” she says. She adds that other than spicing up her sex life, porn also helped her to get out of her skin sexually. “I wouldn’t say I was shy in bed, but I had reservations about certain sexual acts, which I was able to let go off after watching porn,” she says, adding that watching porn also helped her understand her man’s sexual desires. “I believe that all women have a right to their sexual boundaries and must only do the things they’re comfortable with. There were things that I did not do in bed because I considered them dirty, disgusting or taboo. Watching videos that featured those sexual acts normalised them for me and made me want to experience them.”

THE PLEASURES OF PORN

¦ Porn can help you become comfortable with yourself and discover what you are attracted to

¦ It can open your mind to different sexual experiences, for instance, being comfortable with giving and receiving oral sex, playing with toys and role playing

¦ A study by the University of California found a positive relationship between the time spent watching porn and desire to have sex

¦ According to research by Carnegie Mellon University, watching porn can relieve stress.

THE BAD

Even for those who enjoy watching porn, it can have a downside, which is addiction. Although not widely spoken about as much as drug or gambling addiction, porn addiction can be just as damaging. “The addiction,” says Errol Naidoo of Family Policy Institute, “leads to a significant lack of self-respect and dignity. From porn, one cannot learn healthy

sexual behaviour or how to have a healthy sex life.” Cape Recovery is a treatment centre for addictions that include porn. According to the organisation, “People suffering from a porn addiction tend to ignore, replace or neglect significant relationships because of their

obsession with porn. They also actively isolate themselves just like those who are addicted to drugs. Signs of porn addiction vary depending on the individual and availability of

pornographic material.”

* Not her real name