Millions of people watch porn- mostly men but not exclusively. How you use it is what matters for your mental and emotional health.
Recently, Playboy Magazine announced that it’s reinstating nudity. The publication took nude photos out of its issues last year, citing the fact that the Internet has made pornography so accessible that having risky content on paper was no longer a major selling point.
But it was a mistake, they say. The whole thing. So, nude photos are now back in.
Big deal? It depends. I guess so. The unanswered question though is, is looking at pornography actually any good for you?
(When we talk about viewing pornography here, we’re talking about porn that’s been made with consensual adults, 100 percent legal that follows North American safety standards and protocols. Obviously anything involving human trafficking and content made with minors is abhorable.)
Some professionals have argued that viewing pornographic images can actually do some mental damage. Is this something to keep you up at night?
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Here’s the scoop. It’s been argued that individuals who watch porn are flirting with trouble. They have been found to have increasing difficulty being turned on by their partners during sex. These individuals need a fancy porn set and some ripped actors to get them going. They needed to imagine a porn scene in the moment in order to do the deed.
Some don’t agree with this viewpoint though- and they have evidence to support them. A study done back in April of 2015 found that men in their 20s who watched more porn had a greater desire to masturbate and have sex with a partner than those who watched less porn.
The study proved that watching porn was not associated, in the researchers’ view, with an inability to perform in bed, at least on a man’s part.
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However, it could depend on the viewer. Some men could be more deeply affected by watching a lot of porn than others…and what about women? Why are the ladies left out of the conversation?
Research indicates that women tend to watch pornography more as part of a couple, than on their own.
Men, however, will do both.
And sometimes it’s helpful. According to a post on Menshealth.com, a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that about 25% of men and woman who watched pornography said that it helped them experiment in bed.
And about 20% of people found that it made them more comfortable expressing their desires and talking about them with their partner.
OK, so that does leave about 75-80% of people who watch porn not really gaining anything in a positive way from the activity, but the point is that it’s not all bad.
According to researchers, the problem seems to lie in two places. First of all, if a person is watching a lot of porn and they don’t have a lot of actual experience with a loving partner in bed, it can mess with their head, so to speak.
A study done on university students and published in the Journal of Sex Research found that young guys who watched porn once a week expressed a larger desire to act out what they saw on screen.
Menshealth.com states that this group asked their partners more frequently to use sex toys, take part in threesomes, dominate them, talk dirty and shave their pubic hair.
Is there anything wrong with this? Not really. In the end though, it takes away the power from couples to create and express true sexual desires, on their own.
It takes away power from individuals to get to know one another sexually- to engage with the person in front of them- instead of simply act out fantasies that serve one half of the couple.
Education vs Getting a Fix
The second problem area seems to lie in the mental health of the person taking in all the porn.
It’s been found that men (and possibly women) who watch pornography in order to simply learn something new, experience an increase in their sexual activity with a partner- it’s a benefit.
On the flip side, if an individual turns to porn to relieve their stress or to improve their mood, it can spell trouble.
They’re turning to fiction on a screen for a fix, and not connecting with their partner over real life issues, something that can make it harder for them to seek out their partner in the future.
So, is Playboy doing the world a good service by bringing nudity back to its pages? It looks like it depends on the viewer, and how you use it. Being reflective can keep you on the right track.