4 Ways Porn Hurts Guys’ Relationships and Sexual Potential

By KC

CHANGE THE CONVERSATION

Do you feel equipped to change the conversation? This #NoPornovember, we’re challenging you to spread the word on the harmful effects of porn. Click here to learn more about this challenge and click here to check out our conversation blueprint site, Let’s Talk About Porn.

We wrote recently about several ways porn hurts men—check it out if you haven’t already. There are so many reasons guys deserve more, so here is part 2 on the subject. While this article focuses on heterosexual couples and heterosexual males, it’s true that porn can affect consumers no matter their gender or sexual preference.

Porn can train men to be less-than-great lovers

Porn teaches false and harmful sexual lessons to all consumers. But the vast majority of XXX material targets male consumers—it’s filmed from the male perspective, or the guy is the dominant “leading character” calling the shots. Basically, porn is often designed to make it easy for guys to fantasize themselves into the scenes, which means they’re in a unique position to internalize the detrimental lessons that porn conveys.

Porn teaches men that pornified sex is the best kind of sex. As so many men have had to learn the difficult way, that simply isn’t true.

Author and scholar Gary Wilson says this of young men today who consume porn on the regular:

By the time they find real partners, perhaps as much as a decade later, some guys discover they have trained intensely… for the wrong sport. (These young men) had simply conditioned their sexual response to screens, isolation, constant novelty, shock/surprise, fetish porn and watching other people have sex.”

This intensely inaccurate training has several unfortunate results:

1. It gives men false assumptions of what women enjoy.

Male consumers see porn actresses who are turned on immediately at every advance and who are constantly thrilled to perform male-centered acts. And if the girl isn’t enjoying what’s happening at all? These male-centric videos communicate that even violence and abuse brings pleasure.

Related: 3 Ways Porn Openly Vilifies Men And Exploits Their Insecurities

A heterosexual guy schooled by porn, when he gets into a relationship with a real woman, will find that he doesn’t understand what actually pleases them and will not be the amazing lover he thought he was prepped to be. This leads to stressful and sometimes relationship-ending tension.

2. Porn consumption is linked to erectile dysfunction, even in really young guys.

The number of young, otherwise healthy men seeking medical help for not being able to maintain an erection during sex is spiking like crazy. And experts link the trend to porn. Compared to the extremity of porn, real girls seem just “normal,” not enough to stimulate the libido sufficiently. What these men see on screen doesn’t translate into their real life relationship or sex life, and their brains are wired for the intensity of porn…so you get guys saying things like this:

“I found that when I was lying next to a girl a lot that I just wouldn’t be horny at all, despite being really attracted to the girl and wanting to have sex with her, [because] my sexuality was completely wired toward porn.

This global issue is unique to our porn-saturated era. Real sex can become more difficult, more embarrassing, and less pleasurable for young, otherwise healthy guys. Doesn’t sound like a worthy trade-off, does it?

3. Selfish lovers can make lower-quality lovers.

A guy viewing porn has his pick of an infinite amount of material. Any preference he has in body type, hair color, behavior, language, theme, setting, or act—with a couple of clicks, he can get it.

But to be in a committed relationship means that he is repeatedly engaging with one person who can’t (and shouldn’t) change to fit his every whim. It also means that his partner has preferences and complexities that he will need to consider in order to please her. This reality of selfless consideration is challenging enough as it is, much less under the weight of heavily selfish porn consumption.

Related: Even If Porn Didn’t Have Addiction Potential, Would It Still Be Harmful?

Building the habit of clicking to what you want when you want it trains the brain in a kind of narcissism—excessive interest in yourself and seeing the world in terms of how it affects you over how it affects others. Obviously, this self-focused perspective does not bode well for maintaining a dynamic, real-life loving relationship.

As one reader wrote to us:

“I think porn just can’t communicate that every sexual encounter is different, and you’re going to be in a different mood at different times, and real sex has to account for that. Porn strips the conversation and personality and even playfulness out of an act that requires conversation and personality and playfulness.”

Love is a symphonic give and take. Porn teaches a selfish take.

So while lacking lover-training obviously hurts a guy’s partner, it definitely hurts him, too. Navigating romance will seem much more uncertain, painful, and tense for the guy—men want to love well, but porn just fills their minds with how to get their way. That’s a lot of rewiring to do.

4. Porn addiction can make men lesser versions of who they really are.

One reader said this of porn-addicted guys:

“The porn addiction dampens their other interests, so they don’t spend as much time developing themselves and their passions. They become more boring friends, boyfriends, and people.”

When a guy’s porn consumption takes on an addictive nature, he can suffer the consequences of what addiction does to the brain and psyche.

The dopamine rush he gets from his porn habit takes over, and the hobbies and interests that used to excite him can’t compete. The long-term reward of training athletically, for example, doesn’t offer the immediate pleasure of XXX material, so an athlete may lose his edge or even quit completely.

Basically, men are complex and multi-faceted beings with a capacity for many interesting qualities and skills, but it takes more time and effort to develop those deeply rewarding things than it does to experience the quick reward of porn. But what matters to a hetero girl who is deciding whether to date a guy, or whether to stay with him? She cares about who he is—the hobbies, interests, and skills that make him a unique, three-dimensional, vibrant person.

A guy who isn’t hooked on porn has all the mental space he needs to pursue the fullest version of himself. And let’s face it—potential partners dig that.

Men deserve more.

We believe in men, but porn truly sells them short. In a lot of ways our society pressures guys—from boyhood to adulthood—to rely on porn. But do you see how messed up that is, considering the negative impacts? Thankfully, there is hope and help.

Many guys start realizing too late that porn’s influence isn’t as helpful, or even as pleasurable, as they thought it would be. Instead, it has held them back and made life less fulfilling.

We exist to promote conversation that encourages guys (and anyone, really) to ditch porn, no matter what society says, because they deserve better than lies and loneliness. Share this with the guys you care about today.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with an obsession or addiction to pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a recovery-focused platform that will allow you take a step toward freedom. Anyone 17 years and younger can apply for a free scholarship to the site, and it’s an inexpensive fee for anyone 18 and older. There is hope—sign up today to get the help you need and join with an encouraging community.

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Guys (and girls) deserve better than what porn offers. SHARE this post and spread the word that porn negatively influences guys.

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