Should porn be used to spice up the bedroom?

Ready or not, pornography is a stronghold in the bedrooms of people who have sex. While some people believe that pornography will spice up the bedroom, the reality is that the increasing impact of pornography is anything but sexy.¹

Should porn be used to spice up the bedroom?

How porn is rewriting the sexual script of digital natives

I recently finished reading about 200 of the latest studies on porn to write the book, How Pornography Harms: What Teens, Young Adults, Parents and Pastors Need to Know. A major finding is that pornography is rewriting the sexual script of today’s digital natives. Researchers who study the impact of pornography on sexual behavior (including me) have found that the more people use pornography, the more they expect the porn they have seen to come to life in reality.² Some of the ways porn actually does influence real life include:

  1. People increasingly view violence in explicit media and then repeat these behaviors in their own relationships.³
  2. The more men use pornography, the less their wives or partners are satisfied with their sexual relationship.4
  3. The more men use porn, the less they enjoy sex and the worse they feel about how their body looks.5 So much for making sex more satisfying through porn–the truth is it makes sexual satisfaction worse.

With all of the porn today’s generation is consuming, they are developing expectations for sexual experiences that are not realistic. Researches have found that porn use usually occurs two to four years before first sexual intercourse. And once porn use begins, these individuals are set up for unrealistic expectations for what the encounter will feel like.6

When I wrote How Pornography Harms, I interviewed a multitude of porn users, researchers, and performers. When I asked a particular man in his late 20s how watching pornography from a young age affected his first intercourse, he noted that what he expected from his porn use did not happen. He had expectations about “how the girl is supposed to react, she is supposed to be making noises, begging for more, everything you see in a porno I was trying to recreate in the sexual experience I was with. It didn’t go well at all.” In fact, he admitted to me that his porn-fueled sexual encounters eventually led him to commit rape.

I wish I could say that this man’s experience is rare. It is not. Surely not every man who watches porn commits rape. However, there are more ways in which people are affected by pornography than that most extreme case.

For example, in an interview with Dr. Ana Bridges of the University of Arkansas, I learned that today’s generation is watching more and more violent porn, and for many of them, the combination of violent behavior shown in concert with sex gives them the kind of permission they feel they need to act out this violence.

I also learned from Dr. Paul Wright of the University of Indiana that the mechanisms that pornography uses to influence sexual violence, particularly among frequent users of violent porn, include making viewers:

  1. Favor more impersonal sexual relations,
  2. Produce objectified cognitions about women, and
  3. Encourage attitudes supportive of violence against women.

A new term emerging in talk about pornography use is “porn-specific behaviors.” These acts are more violent and extreme, and are more likely to occur in pornography rather than in real life. However, the tide is changing, and these behaviors are entering the bedroom. The overwhelming majority of these behaviors are too graphic to describe here, but they include degrading, uncommon, and aggressive acts.7

Sadly, the more that women watch pornography, the more they are likely to have experienced degrading behaviors in their sex lives, committed by men who are imitating pornography.8

In fact, sex itself with another person is becoming increasingly less likely with men who are addicted to pornography.9 In the addicted population, 60% have erectile dysfunction with a partner, but not with their pornography. In fact, it isn’t just addicts; fully 1/3 of men under 30 now experience erectile dysfunction from porn use.10 This is a 30-fold increase in the last century.11

Related: 10 Day Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction Recovery Challenge

So, should porn be used to spice up the bedroom?

If anyone tells you that pornography is a great way to spice up your sex life, their assertion runs counter to hundreds of studies stating the opposite. In fact, with more pornography use, people have less satisfying intercourse and, in many ways, miss out on the chance to form a stronger emotional and physical bond with their spouse.

What can we do?

  1. Educate others about how porn undermines sexual integrity.
  2. Encourage people you know to find out the real facts about how pornography impacts sex.
  3. And take a pledge to avoid viewing pornography yourself–in the long run, you are likely to be far more satisfied.

Related Covenant Eyes articles: 


john foubert

John D. Foubert, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, professor, and consultant. His latest book is How Pornography Harms: What Teens, Young Adults, Parents & Pastors Need to Know.

 

 


¹ Joseph Price, Rich Patterson, Mark Regnerus and Jacob Walley, “How Much More XXX is Generation X Consuming? Evidence of Changing Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Pornography Since 1973,” The Journal of Sex Research 53, no. 1 (2015): 12-25. 

² Paul J. Wright, “A Three-Wave Longitudinal Analysis of Preexisting Beliefs, Exposure to Pornography, and Attitude Change,Communication Reports 26, no. 1 (2013): 13-25.

³Laurie A. Miles, R. Lyle Cooper, William R. Nugent and Rodney A. Ellis, “Sexual addiction: A literature review of treatment interventions,” Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 26, no. 1 (2016): 88-99. 

Franklin O. Poulsen, Dean M. Busby and Adam M. Galovan, “Pornography Use: Who Uses It and How It Is Associated with Couple Outcomes,” The Journal of Sex Research 50, no. 1 (2013): 72-83.  

5 Ana BridgesChyng SunMatthew Ezzell, and Jennifer Johnson, “Sexual Scripts and the Sexual Behavior of Men and Women Who Use Pornography,” Sexualization, Media, & Society 2, no. 4 (2016).

6 E.M. Morgan, “Associations between young adults’ use of sexually explicit materials and their sexual preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction,” Journal of Sex Research 48, no. 6 (2011): 520-530. doi:10.1080/00224499.2010.543960

Ana Bridges, Chyng Sun, Matthew Ezzell, and Jennifer Johnson, “Sexual Scripts and the Sexual Behavior of Men and Women Who Use Pornography,” Sexualization, Media, & Society 2, no. 4 (2016).

8 Ibid.

9 Valerie Voon, Thomas B. Mole, Paula Banca, and Laura Porter, “Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours,” PLOS ONE, (2014).

10 Lucia O’Sullivan, Lori Brotto, E. Sandra Byers, Jo Ann Majerovich, and Judith Wuest, “Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Functioning among Sexually Experienced Middle to Late Adolescents,” The Journal of Sexual Medicine 11, no.3 (2014): 630-641.

11 Anaïs Mialon, André Berchtold, Pierre-André Michaud, Gerhard Gmel, and Joan-Carles Suris, “Sexual Dysfunctions Among Young Men: Prevalence and Associated Factors,Journal of Adolescent Health 51, no. 1 (2012): 25-31.