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How porn is changing our sex lives
January 20th, 2011
08:12 AM ET

How porn is changing our sex lives

Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

Porn, schmorn.

I don’t care what anybody says, real sex with a real person is better than porn any day of the week.  At Good in Bed, we believe that porn is the equivalent of professional wrestling: phony and superficial. It’s like subsisting on a junk-food diet of Gummi bears and Gatorade when you could be having a gourmet meal.

But when you’re living la vida loca, there isn’t always time for a balanced meal, and for lots of guys, that’s where porn comes in. It’s easy, it’s lazy, it’s fun, and, oh yeah, it’s there. It’s always right there—even when we don’t want it to be.

By my estimate, men are masturbating 50 to 500% more than they would normally without Internet porn. So if a guy normally masturbated once a day, he might now be doing it two or three times a day. If he masturbated three times a week, he might now be getting graphic with his graphics 15 times a week.

Ian, Joy Behar, others talk online porn

If you’re 17 and single, this might not be a problem. But if you’re 40 and toting a gut, it’s an issue—a real issue. Some guys may still feel mentally like they’re 17 years old, but they can’t have sex that way. Their bodies have changed and so have their refractory periods, the natural interval between erections.

As a result, today’s woman faces more challenges to her sexual satisfaction than ever before. An increasing number of men are suffering from a syndrome I’ve dubbed Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder. Just as people with real ADD tend to be easily distracted, guys with SADD have become so accustomed to the high levels of visual novelty and stimulation that Internet porn provides that they’re unable to focus on real sex with a real woman. Men with SADD tend to find themselves getting bored or impatient during sex, and suffering from mechanical “male-functions”: They may be physiologically aroused and even have an erection, but they’re not at peak mental arousal. Guys with SADD may also simply lack the mojo for real sex because they’re depleted from masturbation. They’re not running on a full tank, physically, mentally, and certainly not sexually.

It’s a SADD state of affairs and this new world order of porn doesn’t show any signs of changing. My guess is that we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the myriad ways porn will alter the landscape of our love lives. Porn’s not just an issue, or a problem, or a quick release, it’s part of a major shift in our sexual mores. Just as the sexual revolution led to"The Joy of Sex," and "Sex and the City" led to the mainstreaming of the Rabbit vibrator, my prediction is that Internet porn will affect everything in our sex lives.  That’s for better or for worse—and it doesn’t have to be for worse.

After all, masturbation is a healthy activity. When couples are in good relationships, they actually tend to masturbate more than when they’re not. Masturbation is not something people do just because we’re “not getting any”—it’s something we do because it’s human and healthy. In fact, when people stop masturbating, it’s generally a bad sign: It can mean they’re depressed or have a health problem. Given this, in a healthy relationship, there’s nothing wrong with porn, either. And when couples share porn together, it can make them even more excited about sex with each other and be a strong bonding experience.

Porn can also be a healthy way of exploring forbidden taboos. Fantasies are fantasies for a reason—because they’re not real. Porn provides a venue to explore things that you normally don’t get to explore. People should not be judged on the porn they enjoy, and there isn’t always a direct relationship between the stuff we look at and the stuff we actually want to try.

Of course, that’s little comfort to a woman who’s concerned about her male partner’s use of porn. She may have a lot questions about her guy’s porn use: Is he into something really kinky, does he want me to look different, should I be performing, etc. In truth, a guy often isn’t thinking any of these things—he’s just enjoying some porn and that’s about it. But if these silent questions build over time they can really damage a relationship.

Once couples start discussing porn, it’s a stimulus to their relationship—to sharing fantasies, talking about likes and dislikes, and more. Also, it doesn’t hurt to remember that there was a time before porn, or at least when porn was not so easily accessible to the average person. Sure, guys turned to magazines or videos. But they also relied on their imaginations and their erotic memories. To me, that is one of the biggest downsides of porn. So consider taking a break from porn and letting your imagination be your guide—you might be surprised where it takes you. If you have a question about porn and how it’s affecting your relationship, please visit our expert forum at Good in Bed, where we will answer your individual questions.


soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. JustClay

    I knew it!!! I always knew that song was about that.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
  2. Latin Heat

    Si si. Si.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
  3. blahh

    ahahahahahahaha!!!! this is epic.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    This guy is just floating his agenda. It’s his opinion not based on any data. Just because I guy rubs one out doesn’t mean he can be with his lover too. Not to mention that health studies show that a man should get it at least 5 times a week better if at least once a day. Unless he has multiple partners this isn’t happening unless he does it himself. So I suggest this guy review the medical journals again and stop B.S.ing us.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    I always thought SADD stood for students against drunk drivers. This sounds way better!

    January 20, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
  6. A man

    Love it. I am married 26 y.o. who thinks it's great!

    January 20, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
  7. A T

    a

    January 20, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
  8. A T

    Is this exclusively a male issue/problem like the home page reads ??

    January 20, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse |
  9. Jane

    I love Ian Kerner! I have his book She Comes First.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
  10. johnny

    I'm a man and i do NOT watch pron. There is one if only one.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    If only women behaved the way p0rn stars do then there wouldn't be any need for p0rn, no would there. Oh..and please have the house cleaned, dinner cooked and beer cold. Yes..you can go shopping..here's some money.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
  12. Annunaki

    I'm more curious about the relationship between p*o*r*n*o*graphy and s*e*x*ual crimes. Part of me "hears" the argument that p*o*r*n only serves to objectify people as s*e*x*ual tools, while part of me wonders how many fewer people are getting r*a*p*e*d because of the availability p*o*r*n and people taking care of their needs solo. I need data.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
  13. addictionkills

    the guy in the display picture(top)must be left handed......

    January 20, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
  14. spikette

    married 17 yrs. hubby and i stay fit. we enjoy each other and are respectful to each other. we like each other. seems to work for us. we dont scorn others for having kids, we dont attack the other gender for aging or just being. we dont need to make one less to make the other more.

    and..... we still enjoy our s*x. better than many i see on this board.

    January 20, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
  15. P Malygris

    Hehe Yea Rocky Horror was such a good film, and made fun practically everything. There is nothing so good as the feel the touch and the warmth of another person. I live for it.

    pritcher

    January 20, 2011 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
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