Women's Issues

Porn Might Be Making Your Partner A Lousy Lover

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185924921Naomi Wolf sat down with Nancy Redd on Huffpost Live to talk about what porn is doing to modern relationships. Surprise! It’s not helping them:

There’s new science showing porn is addicting and desensitizing. What it does to men over time – and I’m not making a moral judgment – is that it makes them less attracted to their partner. They’re literally neuro-biologically bonding with the porn rather than their partner. Studies show when men use porn, their partners look less attractive to them than control groups who don’t use porn.

I’m not surprised. I certainly don’t look like any of the women you usually seen in porn – and I probably don’t have as many tricks up my sleeve as they do. It’s never crossed my mind that my husband may be comparing my prowess to the ladies he “sees” on the Internet. That’s depressing.

Wolf and Redd also discussed what has been termed the “kink spiral” — the way the ubiquity of pornographic images can lead those looking at them to quickly become desensitized and unsatisfied with what they are viewing. “What turned you on a month ago isn’t arousing anymore so you need more and more extreme images,” Wolf said. “An ordinary woman in your bed can’t duplicate that novelty effect of clicking through multiple images.”

Can you imagine? That’s not working for me honey, do this. No, actually this. No this.This. Oh, forget it. I’m going to my office.

Wolf says that in her research she has seen more and more complaints from women who think that porn is having a negative effect on their partner’s performance. It makes sense if you think about it. Her research is just on men – but I’m sure it’s affecting everyone. When you have hardcore images at your fingertips – I imagine your patience for the slower pace of real-world sex can grow a little thin. I have to believe that what’s going on in people’s bedrooms has changed dramatically since porn became more mainstream.

Frankly, I just think there’s too much of it. The sheer endlessness of the selection depresses me. I can’t even get turned on by it anymore. It sucks to think it may be putting a damper on the fun couples are having in the real world by making them lazier lovers or harder to please.

(photo: Getty Images)

11 Comments

  1. Kay_Sue

    December 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I think it’s like most things–moderation is key. People that are prone to addiction will get addicted, and like most addictive substances, should proceed with caution.

    My partner doesn’t watch it by himself often (that I know of, anyway), but we do occasionally share a night of kink where porn is sometimes involved. Heck, I occasionally like to watch it myself.

    But I can definitely see the overkill, especially for people that are just casually surfing. It’s easy to get sucked into the underbelly of it all too, because there really is SO MUCH of it.

    A little fantasy, not a bad thing. When it gets to the point that you need more and more, and that it is impacting your life and relationships, it can quickly become a serious issue.

    • Maria Guido

      December 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      I agree.

    • Kay_Sue

      December 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      Part of the problem is that we (societal we) teach boys that consuming rabid amounts of it is perfectly normal too. Absorbing it at younger ages I imagine probably compounds the effects.

  2. Lee

    December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Eh, my partner doesn’t need porn to be a lousy lover.

  3. keelhaulrose

    December 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I’ll admit to watching a little porn now and then. I’ve actually used it with my husband. I’ve shown him a scene and said “I think that might be fun.” He’s done the same thing with me, and it’s got us talking about desires and boundaries. We don’t watch much, so I don’t think it really desensitizes either of us. I guess it’s the difference between using porn solely for arousal, and using porn as a stepping stone to what might be an awkward conversation.

  4. Rachel Sea

    December 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Not all porn is created equal. I used to work for an online porn shop, and have watched more hours than all the denizens of your average frat house, combined. Some porn shows fairly normal sex, some shows horribly objectifying sex, and some caters to kink. I’m sure the content makes a difference in whether there is an adverse effect on real live sexual experience. A guy who watches a lot of the crap where one, or more guys are basically masturbating with women’s bodies are going to get a warped sense of what constitutes female pleasure.

    • Kay_Sue

      December 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      This is an experience I would love to hear more about, actually.

    • Rachel Sea

      December 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Most of my stories are great for grossing people out at cocktail parties.

    • Kay_Sue

      December 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Just the ticket to get rid of those annoying people at holiday get togethers. 🙂

  5. NicknamesAreDull

    December 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I like porn, my husband likes porn. I honestly have no idea how I’d make it through my husband’s deployments without it. We have watched porn together, and have gotten ideas to spice up our sex life. I think having access to porn has helped us get closer as a couple, because it’s helped us feel less weird about trying new things. We don’t watch it excessively, and have amazing sex without it. That being said, I think if we relied on porn to have sex or I felt like one of us was watching it in place of sex, I would feel differently.

  6. doriangirl

    December 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I have to admit that ever since I was a girl I have always hated pornography. Not that I hate what it stands for or feel it’s objectifying anybody I just plain ol’ do not find it appealing. It’s just so fake it makes me laugh, and I don’t find the type of super muscular hairless men in porn attractive in the least. I used to be fairly neutral on the subject-I didn’t mind if other people watched it and didn’t think it was hurting anyone-until I dated someone who watched so much he had trouble being with real flesh and blood women.

    Then I noticed most of the things the article touches on in other men as well. In my experience, men who watch a lot of porn tend to be inferior lovers and treat women less well than men who don’t watch much. I know many other women who feel the same. I think it’s fine to look at it some times but there is definitely too much of a “good thing.” I hate that people who don’t like porn get labeled as prudes or accused of not being open minded.

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