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What You See Is What You Get: Acting Out Porn in the Bedroom

Last Updated: June 21, 2021

Dana Brown Smith

Dana Brown Smith is the author of Girls Watch Too! Female Fascination with Porn: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do About It. Drawing on her own personal involvement with porn and her professional experience as an expert in investigating and responding to sexual harassment claims in the workplace, she brings an in-depth and well-rounded perspective to the conversation on the effect of pornography, especially as it relates to women. Dana is a frequent blogger on Huffington Post.

While scrolling my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a status update from a woman that read “I like porn!”

Curious to read the comments to this bold statement, I quickly clicked the post and to my surprise, there were absolutely no comments. No “me too,” no “TMI,” not even a single “like” to acknowledge her proclamation. Just digital silence.

I suspect this woman is not the only person in her Facebook network that watches porn, but no one else was willing to publically admit their consumption or agree with her statement. Porn is the secret that many people are engaged in but few will admit to.

When we develop a pattern of watching pornography, we’re exposed not only to unrealistic images of sexual intercourse, but also to themes that promote infidelity and de-emphasize love and commitment. These ideas, when viewed frequently, can become more familiar and acceptable, causing us to act out in real life what is seen when watching porn.

The popular book series Fifty Shades of Grey has reportedly influenced the sexual behavior of its wide fan base. Handcuff mishaps, for those new to the book’s B&D genre, and increased sales of the book’s sex toys are just a couple behaviors women are emulating. However, for some, the activities they ingest from Shades are not harmless. In a study conducted by Michigan State University, researchers found some correlation between young adult women who read the book and their likelihood of engaging with a verbally abusive partner much like the lead character in the Fifty Shades saga.

Related: Should Porn Be Used to Spice Up the Bedroom?

Continuous porn consumption often leads us to adopt radically warped concepts about sex, some of which include the idea that:

  • Marriage is sexually restrictive
  • Abstinence and sexual inactivity are abnormal
  • Overly accentuated bodies are the norm and more desirable; and
  • Everyone enjoys kinky, aggressive sex

There’s a serious risk in allowing strong sexual content to become part of your everyday life. In many pornographic films, characters do not practice safe sex—nor do they contract AIDS, STDs, or get pregnant. Casual and indiscriminate sex generally has no consequences in such portrayals, and this is a huge misconception that porn consumers ingest.

Because repeated exposure to the same sexual explicit material causes the initial “thrill” to eventually fade, a common response, therefore, is to watch more porn for longer periods of time, or graduate to hard-core images to duplicate the original sensation. If you’ve experienced this progression, this may signal that your pornography viewing has shifted beyond casual entertainment to compulsive behavior.

So where do you fall when it comes to viewing pornography?

  • Have your tastes expanded over time demanding more explicit material?
  • Do you find it difficult to resist the temptation to read erotica?
  • Do you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of pornography?
  • Have you stopped consuming porn altogether, only to fall right back into it?
  • Perhaps you’re so consumed with viewing porn or reading erotic stories that it negatively impacts how you feel and respond to your partner.
  • Or do you find yourself masturbating to pornography in lieu of cultivating a healthy, sustainable relationship with your spouse?
  • Have you attempted to emulate the sexual activities you read about?
  • Have you looked, or are you hooked?

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  • Comments on: What You See Is What You Get: Acting Out Porn in the Bedroom
    1. Website Traffic on

      Website traffic is quite clear — pretty much everyone watches porn. Digital trends wrote about this. Thirty percent of web traffic —– ALL WEB TRAFFIC —– is porn related. We just lie to ourselves in America about sex. But what do you expect from a country that at on point would not show men and women sleeping together. I don’t understand how sex became so evil in society. Why guess is in the past people got simple diseases from sex and died because of no medicines so that made it taboo. Look at America. We lock people up for consensual sex that harmed no one. We will literally send a person to a disease ridden death filled cage and condemn to a life with a record —- for things that harmed no one. All this puritanical childishness must stop. One guess on why people are losing faith in religion and dropping out of religion is because people are tired of it all. From puritanical takes on sex to talking snakes — people see the BS. They know it is BS. We will look above and see hundreds of billions of planets that have been around for billions of years and think we are the only life in the universe and think people who believe in aliens are insane. Yet, we will turn around and say people who believe in “talking” snakes are sane. It is all crazy.

      http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322668

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Wow. Lot’s of odd ideas here. Let me see if I can untangle this.

        1. Yes, lots of people watch porn. A whole lot. We have a large conglomeration of stats that agree with you. No disagreement there (although I’m not sure what the relevance is).

        2. I’ve often heard the argument that the reason why people are so into porn today is because of America’s prudish past, but this is overly simplistic at best. No doubt, our Victorian past had its problems, but there are so many reasons why people watch porn today. As you said, many people are largely irreligious. They watch porn too, but not because they have some deep-seated reaction to religion. They just like porn because it feels good to watch it. Do you honestly believe the 12-year-old kid in his bedroom masturbating to porn is thinking, “Ah, I love shucking off the norms of my nations Puritanical past”?

        3. Yes, many people see religion as BS, but I fail to see what it has to do with this article.

        4. There’s nothing at all in Christianity that precludes the possibility of life on other planets. I’m also not sure what this has to do with porn.

        5. No one believes that snakes talk. Christians believe angels and demons can talk, and if these spirits choose to use animals as a mouthpiece, that’s their prerogative.

    2. Website Traffic on

      Humans are sexual creatures, and that’s good, because having sex ensures the survival and evolution of the species. That’s why sex feels so good. If God designed us, then God designed us to crave and enjoy sex. That rule was written into our DNA by God. It’s a commandment written in God’s own handwriting….

      Yet the Bible tells us that lust is evil. We should feel ashamed for wanting sex, and we should kill people who have too much of it. This is not a sane perception of reality. It’s a crippling guilt trip and a recipe for deep rooted anxiety.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Incorrect. I’ve never read a single verse in the Bible that calls sex evil. Not even one. The Bible speaks of sex as something wonderful, from the first chapter of Genesis, through the extremely erotic love song (The Song of Solomon), to the celebration of marriages all throughout the Bible.

        Your perspective on the Biblical idea of sex is extremely skewed.

      • jarhead on

        yep pretty much.

    3. Robert carr on

      Your list of harms from “continuous porn consumption” is not correct.
      • The vast majority of porn never refers to marriage at all. A better description would be that porn fails to promulgate the idea that marriage is a requirement for sexual activity.
      • Abstinence and sexual inactivity ARE abnormal. Furthermore, if masturbation is included in your abstinence, you will suffer adverse health effects as well as harmful psychological effects.
      The last two points may have some validity but only in the very small number of people. Most of us do very well in distinguishing reality from fiction. Porn feeds our fantasies but doesn’t change how we behave in real life.
      You fail to mention that increased porn use is correlated with a decrease in rape and sexual violence. It may not be causal but it certainly dispels the idea that porn use would lead to violence against women as had been claimed by some. I find it hopeful that the massive increase in use of porn has had no discernible ill effects at all

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        I think you’re misunderstanding the article, Robert.

        1. When the studies indicate that porn use leads to a view that marriage is sexually restrictive, it has nothing to do with how often or not often marriage is referenced in porn. It has to do with the sexual expectations and desires fostered by porn that cannot be fulfilled in marriage.

        2. What are you counting as “abnormal”? Atypical? Uncommon? Unhealthy? The study Dana is referring to (published in the Journal of Adolescent Health) is using the term in the sense of being unhealthy—that is, porn use leads to the belief that abstinence is unhealthy. Is that the way you mean it, or some other way?

        3. I have no doubt many people can cognitively distinguish fantasy from reality, but that’s not the point of the studies that have been done. It has more to do with how we wire our brains: even if we cognitively understand what reality is, we condition the limbic system of our brains to prefer fantasy.

        4. I also disagree that porn use leads to a decrease in rape and sexual violence. While a couple studies have attempted to show this, they are inconclusive at best. Even if there is a decline in rape today, this can also be correlated to many other factors, such as more education about rape and sexual violence or greater measures of protection for women—none of which are reasons explored by these studies. Plus, claims that rape prevalence is on a rapid decline, as reported by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), for instance, are based on poor data collection. The National Women’s Study, the National College Women Sexual Victimization Study, the National Violence Against Women Study, and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey all report higher rates of rape and sexual assault than the NCVS. The National Research Council has found multiple problems with ways rape data has been collected by the NCVS. Rape and sexual assault are grossly under-reported.

      • Campbell on

        There are many times that kids rape other kids to act out what they saw in porn. I know someone close who knew of this situation first hand.

    4. Pete on

      To THOSE that responded and to the others that didn’t……. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT PORN DETERIORATES THE BRAIN AND WE LOOK AT OTHERS AS OBJECTS INSTEAD OF PARTNERS! I lost my wife because of my porn addiction. Some may call me a pedophile, but my use of porn over the years digressed me to view younger girls as OBJECTS and trophys, with out the respect that they were just being girls! Dressing to impress society and their peers. PLEASE TAKE A DEEP LOOK INTO YOUR PORN USE AND GET HELP IF YOU NEED TO BEFORE “IT” RUINS YOU!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

      Reply
    5. James on

      I know that your article does not directly address this issue but there is real danger of a highly restrictive sexual spouse using this article to justify their obstinance. Claiming that the missionary position is only acceptable position within a marriage and making the claim that exposure to porn is reason one would want more would be an abuse of your article.

      A sexually restrictive marriage is unhealthy. If one wants to explore the beautiful of the God given gift of sexual pleasure within the context of a lawful marriage but the the other spouse is insistent that there is only one sexual position acceptable within marriage means that one person is being sexually denied. Being denied normal sexual pleasure can greatly increase the temptation of porn. Other forms of restriction can be the amount of sex and when sex can occur.

      If a person only allows the missionary position and all other forms are disallowed. Then how can that be loving to the spouse who wants more? Porn is not the only reason people want to try other biblical lawful sexual activities with in a marriage. It could be curiosity, previous sexual relationships, and the imagination. Sex is for the enjoyment of both the husband and the wife and if one is denied good and healthy sexual pleasures then only one spouse is being satisfied.

      The real danger of porn use is that it robs one of time. The time spent watching porn is time way form the things that God has designed us to do. I agree that porn changes the brain. However, a sexually restrictive marriage makes recovery from porn extremely hard and does become unloving to the person needing more touch.

      Reply

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