How much porn is bad for you? Expert weighs in on how it can spice up or ruin your sex life

Milad Hassandarvish
It is estimated that pornography use accounts for 13 per cent of total internet traffic. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — Internet pornography has become as varied as anything else you can find online.

Based on a 2011 study, pornography use makes up approximately 13 per cent of total internet traffic, which suggests that most of us have watched online porn at some point in our lives.

As the accessibility of internet pornography proliferates exponentially, consultant urologist Professor Dr George Lee Eng Geap said many clinicians and scientists have become concerned about the issues of porn-addiction and the potential of encouraging unethical sexual behaviour.

“In reality, individuals who watch porn regularly get used to the ‘quick-fix’ intense rush it creates.

“This is in contrast to real sex, when courtship rituals including flirtation, appreciation, respect and consent prior to sex are part of the necessary process to build trust and confidence in a relationship.”

Dr Lee highlighted that the fantasy of what people should look and act like are obviously different in porn when compared with real life.

“This can form disparity in expectation that will eventually create a dent in a normal sex life for couples, decreasing interest in a committed relationship,” he added.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom

Citing a study published in Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr Lee said it was found that watching 40 minutes of porn twice a week can actually boost sex drive and overall desire for sex.

“The authors argue pornography can spark curiosity and generate open conversation between partners,” he said.

“As many believe when sex life gets into a routine with a long-term partner, watching porn together allows couples to explore activities they are curious about and enable deeper sensual relationship.”

Moderation is the key

Despite some positive signs that pornography could spice things up in the bedroom, Dr Lee said evidence suggest that overconsumption of pornography content makes both men and women feel self-conscious and inadequate in many ways.

“Women may feel that they have to look and behave in a certain way like the actresses to satisfy men,” he said.

“On the other hand, men always have the feeling of failure ‘measuring-up’ to the porn-stars, not realising the manhood of the actors can be artificially enhanced by camera tricks and lighting techniques.”

He also pointed out that the myth of sustained erection with the prolonged interval of intercourse in pornography is simply physiologically impossible (in real life).

Porn-induced erectile dysfunction

When asked if regular consumption of pornography content could cause erectile dysfunction (ED), Dr Lee said the topic is a controversial subject as the scientist and clinicians still cannot agree on the issue.

He added that a 2016 article proposed men were seeking help for ED as the effects of hardcore pornography desensitised them, causing them to have decreased satisfaction with their own body resulting in anxiety during sex.

On the other hand, Dr Lee added, another study in 2015 found that men reported greater sexual responsiveness to their partner watching porn in a laboratory setting.

“The researcher suggested porn could prime the body for sex potentially improving intercourse for men with ED,” he added.

Effects of pornography on women

According to Dr Lee, although the impact of pornography consumption in women is less studied, a 2010 research revealed that women elicit fear and negative reactions to porn.

“Generally, women feel negative effects on their identities and relationship with men, especially in violent pornography.

“Some studies even suggested that men watching porn and having sexual avoidance may put off women.”

Dr Lee concluded that while moderate pornography consumption with your partner to aid open communication in a sexual relationship may be healthy and fun, excessive viewership of such content to the extent of relationship avoidance is clearly detrimental.

“As the accessibility to porn is easy on modern devices and available to younger consumers, the danger of such consumption threatening to public health is exceedingly high,” he said.

“The only counteracting way to prevent such catastrophe is adequate sexual education and open dialogue about sexual health.”

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