How Watching Porn Can Mess Up Your Ideas on Sex and Harm You and Your (Future) Partner

By: Rawan Khalil

Sexual fantasies and sexual frustrations are both prominently present in our society. We hear it in the jokes we say and laugh hysterically at. We see it in the shameless catcalls as we walk down narrow streets and dark alleys. We see it in the women too scared to show their bodies. We hear it in the predators jumping on the opportunity to ask: “what were you wearing?” But, most importantly it’s as prominent as ever in our houses, behind the closed doors of our rooms where our screens play pornographic video clips. 

Porn has entered the lives of horny teenage boys and girls as their knight in shining armor. Porn might be the definition of many teenager’s sexualities- whether they’re single or in a relationship, porn in any way, shape or form has (probably) shaped their sexuality and fulfilled a void created by a society which suffocates any mention of sex. Pornographic magazines, videos, and clips act as an outlet for the sexually frustrated youth of today. Watching them enables them to fulfill their sexual desires in a considerably safer environment. For teenagers it’s a way to free themselves from shackles of silence that encircle sexuality- it’s not really rebellion as much as it’s a way to seek pleasure.

Sadly, porn can slowly shift from being an outlet to the reason people have messed up ideals of sexual activities, and subsequently messing up their libido (sex drive). Porn use can get out of control and start causing serious problems. Porn can turn from a substitute to a sexual drug, compelling people into addictive cyber-sex use; taking over a person’s personal and sexual life that they cannot move past it. However, hear me out here, not everything is so extreme and porn usage can still lead to problems even if it doesn’t consume someone’s entire life because it can make real sexual activities seem stale. Porn paints unrealistic images of what both sex and people should look like. 

Unarguably, porn can be used to stimulate and arouse someone, but watching porn regularly, or excessively can make being aroused in real life very difficult as one will get used to the intense rush that for some reason does not happen unless a person looks a certain way, and even if it does it’s not as perfect as the fantasy and the image pornography tends to lend. A great deal of research has proven that extensive viewing of pornography can cause erectile dysfunction and low sex drive- and that is inclusive of teenagers and people in their twenties. 

Porn is called a “supernormal” stimulus. Supernormal means something that exceeds the normal threshold, and what pornography does is that it activates reward mechanisms in our brain at such a high level, making the average person perceive that arousal to be much more pleasurable than the average stimulus. This slowly develops into our brain becoming desensitized to regular, real-life sexual interactions. It skews what we perceive as beautiful because we start to see more imperfections in real life and find it really difficult to ignore them. But, pornographic videos are heavily edited to seem perfect. Every pimple is graphically removed, every blemish is smoothened. Porn stars are meant to look almost like perfectly carved statues. Porn creates fantasies that are almost impossible to fulfill in real life. 

Real-life sexual experiences start with foreplay, flirting and kissing. In other words, sexual encounters are an erotic dance between anticipation and arousal. Porn crucifies that erotic dance as it focuses on penetration- intimacy, flirting and foreplay are factors of sex which are usually absent in pornography. The more porn someone watches, the more that image gradually gets stuck in their head, which means they became far less invested in the anticipation as they want to jump straight into penetration, despite so much of the arousal starting in foreplay and flirting and hence unknowingly they are killing their sex-drive.

If you are in a relationship and you watch porn you need to tell your partner if you do- not because it’s a bad thing, but because in the BDSM community there is what’s called voyeurism- and it’s when people get aroused by watching other people have sex and that’s exactly what we do with porn, and that’s why watching porn is considered having sex or could be referred to as sex addiction. That is why if a partner finds out that you watch porn secretly they may be upset or offended. There needs to be certain trust and understanding of each other’s preferences, and how you will fulfill one’s sexual desires. 

Also, if you and your partner are sexually active you need to understand that your partner also has desires and that you need to satisfy not just your own, and if over-watching porn is a reason you can’t then it’s very unfair.

Overall, porn can be a positive thing, but not via the kind of porn sites Egyptians are obsessed with which promote rape and violence cultures. Considering there’s a feminist ethical porn revolution going on right now, it’s worth taking a look at if you’re ‘an addict’, rather than keep fueling your own shit ideals and myths, which do you and your partner/future partner more harm than you can imagine. Educate yourself and stay safe. 

Love,

Rawan xx

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