Watch Porn – It's Good For You!


By Elizabeth Shore

Okay, so before I begin, let me just throw a little reminder out there. I’m referring to the one that says: don’t shoot the messenger. I’m going to be talking about porn in this post – as you no doubt figured from the title – and that topic can be as divisive as Trump vs Clinton. Dogs vs cats. Chocolate vs potato chips. You get the picture. So remember, if you would, that I’m just your intrepid Lady Smut blogger bringing you the dirt, so please don’t turn it into mud and fling it at me.

With that disclosure out of the way, let’s talk about porn! Today’s specific topic involves the assertion, by a team of researchers involved in a porn study, that acceptance of porn’s use in a relationship can actually help the relationship. Now this, thought I, is interesting. Usually what you read pertains to how much one partner or the other’s viewing of porn is fraught with disastrous relationship consequences. Women in particular feel belittled when they find out the virtual folks at sex.com know their partners as well as bartenders at Cheers know their regulars. If only I were slimmer, they think, or had bigger breasts, were more sexually active, liked anal play, etc etc etc he wouldn’t be looking at porn. If only their alleged shortcomings could be ignored, things would be so much better and their partners wouldn’t be looking at porn. The conclusions a woman may draw about herself upon discovering her partner’s viewing porn can be damning and make her feel as if she’ll never be quite desirable enough. It’s a conclusion, researchers say, that’s miles away from the truth.

Here’s a question, and answer it honestly. Have you and your sexual partner had a completely candid, out-in-the-open, no-holds-barred conversation about your sexual desires? If your partner was taken into a room by himself and required to tell someone everything they know about what you like, what turns you on, what every single one of your sexual fantasies are, would he be able to do it? And in the reverse, would you be able to do so about him? Do you feel confident that you know about all of his sexual fantasies? If the answer to both questions is yes, you’re apparently in a vast minority. According to researcher David Ley, a clinical psychologist and author of Ethical Porn for Dicks: A Man’s Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasurethere are many reasons why a man doesn’t feel comfortable discussing his sexual fantasies with his partner. He might be ashamed, afraid of being judged, concerned that something he wants will be viewed unfavorably from her. So he keeps silent and turns to porn instead of dealing with a potential uncomfortable conversation.

In his studies, Ley says that what he’s discovered is appealing to men about porn is that the women truly seem to be enjoying the sex. That in itself is an enormous turn-on. The irony, of course, is that as in any movie, it’s an act. Porn actresses are putting on a show just as every actress does in a mainstream film. But the point is that viewers are buying the act. They’re getting from porn what they want from real life, which is for their partners to enjoy. For them to be open enough to accept whatever predilection might exist and be willing to give it a go and enjoy.

Clinical sexologist Claudia Six said in a Psychology Today article that porn by itself isn’t the issue, but secret porn use is actually a symptom of what she calls, “the great sexual silence in many heterosexual relationships.” (nb – whether or not there’s a silence in homosexual relationships – and I gotta believe there must be, at least in some – wasn’t stated in the article so I’m sticking with what they gave me, which dealt with hetero couples). Couples, Six says, are often clueless about their sexual selves. This is where the statement came in that accepted porn viewing between couples in a relationship can actually have positive outcomes. If partners see what the others are into, what turns them on, by seeing what they view in porn, it can bring their sexual expectations together. So says researcher Brian Willoughby, whose findings were reported in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Willoughby and his team of researchers state that viewing porn together leads to “greater sexual knowledge, sexual openness, and communication.” It can also lead to a conversation about sexual fantasies and desires that lends itself well to enriching the relationship. As Willoughby rather obviously states, “communication is key.” So, too, is non-judgment. Men who watch porn can very quickly be labeled “sex addicts” by their hurt partners. But a true addiction also brings in the idea of lack of self-control, and that’s not necessarily the case with porn viewing. One partner might decide the other is a “sex addict” based on a couple viewings a week or a month. A couple of drinks a week or a month wouldn’t likely earn the drinker the label of alcoholic, yet because porn viewing leads to emotional hurt, the “addiction” label is more quickly brought into use.

It’s important to note that this whole idea of porn enhancing a couple’s relationship centers around doing away with the need for secret viewing and using porn as a tool to communicate fantasies and desires. If there’s no need to skulk around and watch porn on the sly, the use of it may serve to bring a relationship closer together rather than driving a deep wedge between it. So say the researchers. But what say you? Sound off in the comments below and let us know. And follow us at Lady Smut. We’re definitely good for you.

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9 Comments

  • Mischa Eliot
    July 27, 2016 at 7:27 am

    You know, you bring up a good point about a post I have been working on and haven’t decided about sharing or not. People go out into the world hoping to meet their ideal partner and then ten years down the road they are either alone, divorced, or very very lucky. I always think that the people on the very very lucky side have either been open with each other about all of their needs, including sex, or they are simply happy being together.
    I know people who are married and are on the opposite spectrum of the sexual interest scale, which makes things difficult, but they love each other and they work it out, and have an open marriage, yet there’s still that disconnect when they aren’t getting what they need to feel fulfilled.
    I always tell people that I would rather be alone than miserable. And it’s true. Life isn’t meant to be easy, but it isn’t meant to be fraught with misery, either. Thanks so much for sharing this, it was well-written and informative.

    • Elizabeth Shore
      July 27, 2016 at 10:16 am

      I appreciate the comment, Mischa. Thank you! As soon as I read those researchers’ concusions that porn viewing between couples can actually lead to positive outcomes I knew it was a topic I wanted to explore. We have divided opinions here at Lady Smut about porn and I know that with the socio, political, emotional attachments to it, porn’s a topic that can be the very definition of divisive. But for sure, at least to me, it’s an interesting one… 😉

  • madeline iva
    July 27, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I am fascinated by the title of that guy’s book: Ethical Porn for Dicks. Sounds like a take off on the Ethical Slut book. I can just see cute single guys across the land hauling out that book while sitting in a cafe scoping out the women. It would be a real conversation starter. Snort!

    The key dichotomy with porn isn’t just about indulging in one’s fantasies. “Classic porn” as I like to call it, is all about the man’s fulfillment. The woman is enthusiastically enjoying herself because she’s a cypher who just wants what the man wants.

    Therein lies the rub.

    Meanwhile, your blog post reveals to me that I’m definitely in the minority. I won’t share with you *what* sweetie and I talk about when we talk about sex, but I will share that just bringing up the topic and having a frank open conversation about what turns us on–turns us on. ; > And leads to sex. So that’s one upside to making the effort to honestly talk things out, bring up fantasies, desires, preferences, etc.

    I was fascinated by something Rachel Kramer Bussel was talking about in terms of “What does a couple do when they have different kinks.” It would be interesting to hear more from her about that in relation to this topic.

    Good post!

  • Alexa Day
    July 27, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    ” If your partner was taken into a room by himself and required to tell someone everything they know about what you like, what turns you on, what every single one of your sexual fantasies are, would he be able to do it?”

    Damn you, plot bunny.

    • Elizabeth Shore
      July 27, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Hahahahaha! No problem.

      • sophiekisker
        July 31, 2016 at 12:13 am

        My husband and I both watch porn, sometimes together, sometimes seperate. Many of my girlfriends watch porn, too, and those of us who are married have pretty solid relationships. Porn is not the root of all evil; issues within relationships that are not discussed – that lead to secretive porn watching – are the problem.

        • Madeline Iva
          July 31, 2016 at 6:57 am

          Issues that we close our eyes to — certainly I agree with you about that, Sophie!

  • cpmandara
    July 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I think men and women are aroused in different ways. Men like to watch the act – they are very visual. Women don’t get turned on so much by the mechanics, but by the emotions, storylines, plot etc. I’m guessing that’s why women read porn and men watch it, for the most part. Or I could be completely wrong 😉

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