#AskDrMegan: When Is Porn-Use a Problem?

“Ultimately, sexuality and intimacy are about giving and receiving pleasure.” — Megan Fleming, PhD

Last year after speaking at the National Women’s Studies Association annual conference on ways the digital age affects how women feel about their bodies and sexuality, I hung around to take one-on-one questions. I quickly realized that the entire presentation could’ve easily centered on one of my sub-topics: porn.

“My boyfriend uses it every night and I feel weird about it,” one woman said. “I feel guilty about that—and a little prudish.”

No one is “prudish” for having concerns about porn. It’s common to have mixed feelings about it, especially in a culture with messages around sexuality just as mixed.

“I’m all into visual sexual expression,” said another, “but why is porn so violent and over-the-top?”

Thankfully, it’s not! If you like the concept of porn but find the content offensive, I highly recommend feminist porn as an alternative. The genre dedicated to gender equality and social justice doesn’t demean women, or anyone. IMO, that’s dang sexy. I’m also a big fan of Cindy Gallop’s efforts to bring authenticity into sexy TV. (You can hear my interview with Cindy here.)

So how do you know if porn is detracting from your life or relationship(s)? I couldn’t think of a better resource to explore this than Girl Boner®’s resident relationships expert, Dr. Megan Fleming.

Check out this short video I recorded during my recent NYC visit. You may recognize the audio from the latest Girl Boner® Radio episode. In this excerpt, Dr. Megan answers two common questions about porn-use, including one of the above. I have a feeling you’re going to love what she has to say.

Stream the full episode, which also features my chat with adult star Moe “the Monster” Johnson, on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or my homepage.

How has porn affected your sex life? Any questions of your own you’d like answered on Girl Boner® Radio? As always, I welcome your respectful thoughts! ♥

Leave a comment

8 Comments

  1. I believe that regular, or out-of-control porn use is based on a man’s problems with intimacy. Many men have wall up, and it is deeply psychological. I’ve known men who always had a partner and things were fine for them. Eventually the man gets married and he almost immediately has a problem becoming aroused. That’s because “flings” are safe, you can just move on, whereas marriage means the field is no longer open. Commitment to a person or a cause involves maturity and diligence. Ask a woman how many mature men they know and the first thing they’ll do is laugh. So, some men turn elsewhere for relief. And of course the porn industry plays on that to make money. I think porn interferes with and breaks up many committed relationships, because the man is preoccupied and woman feels rejected. I thinks it’s common sense.

    Reply
    • Some really fine points there, Rob. Porn surely can’t replace intimacy, and can cause damage if it’s misused. Those stories are some of the most heartbreaking, IMO. Men really do need to feel free to be sensitive and intimate, without fearing either make them less manly. If porn gets in the way of a relationship, rather than enhancing it (used occasionally together, for example), it can get very risky. Thanks for weighing in!

      Reply
  2. I think shared porn can heighten sexual tension, variety, and enjoyment between lovers.
    Thanks, August. Great post.

    Reply
    • I think so, too, Bette. Like so many aspects of intimacy, it’s important to find what works for us — and if those are the effects, bring it on! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Excellent clip and post. I do use porn, and would hope to continue some of that practice if in a relationship, but I do see that boundaries should be set and ideally set by set on that subject. Thanks for the chat.

    Reply
  4. Really informative and such a great subject, August. A lot of people tend to sling men into the pornography pool,but I know of a few relationships that have been broken because the woman was addicted to porn. However, I think both sexes can get blindsided by the grandiose nature of pornography and feel disappointed when they’re experience isn’t similar. I think it’s a healthy activity for someone or even partners that can take the entire world of pornography with a grain of salt and just learn that the most important thing about sex is just to have fun. Great post. 🙂

    Reply
  5. My husband and I don’t fall into “typical” porn watching roles in our house…I like it and he doesn’t. But, like you mentioned, I go for more of the “feminist porn,” where a woman’s pleasure is as important as a man’s. If I don’t believe I’m seeing *genuine* female pleasure, then it’s not for me.

    Reply

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