CounselorBarb

Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Pornography: Is It Good Or Bad?

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Not an easy question!  Is it good or bad? Is it causing harm to couples? Is it cheating?

First, let’s tackle the “good or bad” question. It can be both!

Why It’s Bad

From my reading, it seems that excessive porn use outside of an intimate relationship seems to be bad for three main reasons:

  1. It can create sexual desensitization, possibly leading to erectile difficulties. For more information, read this article.
  2.  It can create trust issues. Because porn users are often embarrassed, or worry that their partners won’t approve, porn use is often driven underground. This leads to secretive behavior, which can cause or exacerbate trust issues.
  3. It can lead to a process addiction, where the user needs more and more to get his or her sexual needs met. Gradually, porn replaces sexual intimacy with their partner.

Why It’s Good

It seems porn use can be beneficial when used by a couple, or when used by a female. For more information, read about the study done by Brian Willoughby outlined in this article. Also, since pornography is often used as a masturbation tool, it can be helpful to couples with discrepant sexual drives because it can help the higher-drive partner get their sexual needs met.

Is Porn Cheating?

However, despite this data, a lot of people, primarily due to religious or other morally-based reasons, will not see porn as anything but harmful.

This depends on your definition of cheating. If you define ANY sexual experience (even when alone) outside of your intimate relationship as cheating, then yes. Unfortunately, this is often an untenable position for most couples, since it is likely they will have differing sex drives. Masturbation can be a great tool in negotiating these differences.

One major reason women think porn is cheating is because they can never live up to the images that their partners find so stimulating. Once women realize that porn is mainly used as a way to express hidden sexual needs and is “not a mark against them,” as Joe Kort states in this article, they may be more accepting. Besides, most porn users realize that most porn is fantasy and not real.

One thing seems certain, and that is the shame and stigma surrounding porn in and of itself causes a lot of issues. When something is taboo, it goes underground and gains power. If we can put porn out into the light, and take an unflinching look at it, perhaps we can eliminate many of the problems surrounding pornography.

If you or your partner is having trouble controlling their pornography use, please make an appointment by calling (813) 404-9215 or by using my online scheduler. I can help!

Dr. Barb LoFrisco
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