Is porn good or bad for your relationship? Doctors explain

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An illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • Sexologist and relationship expert, Dr. Elmari Mulder Craig, does not consider porn to be all bad for relationships, saying it depends on the couple.
  • According to  Dr. Larisse Badenhorst, the attitudes of the partners will determine what the effect of porn viewing will be on their relationship.
  • It is vital to remember that porn is fantasy, it is set up and rehearsed. It can create unrealistic expectations.

Dr Craig reminds us that what we see in pornography is not what sex is in reality.

In addition to this, the partner of someone who watches porn can also bring about performance anxiety because of the expectations of things they should and shouldn't do, how they should act, or how they should look.

"Often, women would wonder, 'when he does have sex with me, does he think about me, or does he think about the images in pornography',” says Dr Craig.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve been celibate for 3 years, here are 5 things I’ve learnt about love, sex and intimacy so far’

Suppose porn is used by one person for solo masturbation regularly. In that case, it can become problematic because it might become difficult for this individual to be present when they are with their partner.

The doctor says sexual satisfaction is about finding balance, such as opting for mutual masturbation, solo masturbation, or any other sexual alternative that helps the couple to meet each other halfway. 

READ MORE: Having casual sex? Here’s what to do if you start 'catching feelings'

Porn can become an addiction to some people. It can happen that they cannot stop watching it or that it interferes with their daily routine and they end up watching it at inappropriate times and places, such as at work.

According to Dr Badenhorst, porn can also cause sexual problems such as unexplained erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and declining interest in real partners.

On the other hand, porn can be fulfilling when it is consumed in a manner that's not obsessive.

It is beneficial when it's used to help each other or one of the partners to get aroused. It can also be used for educational purposes, such as teaching women how to hit their G-spot and have more sexual pleasure.

READ MORE: #MyTruth - 'I've knowingly been the other woman several times. Here's why' – Plus, experts weigh in

BE OPEN AND KNOW WHY YOU WATCH PORN

Dr Badenhorst believes "it is tough to say if porn is the culprit for an unhappy relationship or whether it has to do with lack of skills in relating to each other, managing conflict and knowing how to regulate each other emotionally."

She says the biggest way porn can hurt a relationship is secrecy, adding that people have to know why they use porn. "Suppose porn causes emotional distress for you or the relationship and interferes with your daily functioning. In that case, it might be a good idea to examine your relationship to porn and what function it serves for you," she says.

Do you use porn and how has it helped or harmed your relationship? Tell us about it here.

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