Dear Gigi,

Do you think watching too much porn can have a bad effect on your love life?

I find myself watching some weird and wonderful stuff which I love and get off on! But recently when I’ve had [people] back [to my place], I really struggle to finish! Do you think this could be because of my habit of watching too much adventurous material online?

Apologies if this isn’t something you can provide advice on!

Be good,

J

Hey J,

Thanks for writing in. Happy to offer some advice on this. Watching a too much porn is super common and can get the better of many of us. Much of it is highly entertaining and sexy, after all.

Let’s break it down.

Porn is this intense, hyper-erotic version of sexual activity. Comparing it to real sex is like comparing Van Wilder to your actual college experience. It isn’t real. Everything is theatrical, exaggerated, and meant to fulfill a fantasy. It’s important to remember that this kind of erotic entertainment is designed to be highly stimulating. It is entertainment, not a realistic representation of sex.

When used responsibly, porn viewing is a perfectly normal form of entertainment. It makes for great masturbation material and can even inspire you to try some new moves in your real sex life. As long as it isn’t negatively affecting your real sex life, watching porn is OK. You gotta do you.

Honestly, we demonize porn too much. Yes, a lot of it is degrading to women and some sex acts are done with questionable consent (and sometimes without it), but porn is still a movie at its core. As long as you recognize that it isn’t real and is just a low-budget film designed to make men jizz, you’re doing alright. It wouldn’t hurt to get yourself some variety of feminist porn in there too, by the way.

That being said, it sounds like you may be over-exposing yourself to porn. Porn can over-stimulate the mind, infiltrating the ways we perform and behave in our real sex lives. I’m hesitant to ever call it “porn addiction,” but “porn complusion” is definitely a real thing.

Now, that being said – my predilections towards porn addiction are not the only viewpoints out there. There is conflicting evidence in the medical and sexology worlds about whether or not porn addiction is real. If you’re interested in learning more and forming your own opinion, you can read some interesting information here and here.

When you’re so used to seeing gang bangs, threesomes, double penetration, and intense bondage — real sex can seem a little underwhelming in comparison. Not to mention the breast implants, bare vulvas, and bleached blonde hair you tend to see in porn. Real women don’t look like this.

If you feel like your porn consumption is fucking you up, lay off it for a while. It’s awesome that you’re looking at adventurous stuff and trying new things as a result, but if you’re not finishing or staying hard during real-life sex as a result, it hardly seems worth it.

I’m not saying you have to quit porn entirely. You just need to cut back. Start by stopping altogether. Use your brain as your fantasy machine for a few weeks. Take note of how this affects your sex life. If you see an improvement, that’s awesome.

After a month or so, reintroduce porn. Only this time, keep it to a maximum or twice per week. Keeping tabs on what you’re viewing will help keep you in check.

I hope this advice helps and I wish you many, many wonderful sexual experiences in the future.

XOXO G

Gigi Engle is a feminist writer, sex educator, and speaker. A book with St. Martins Press is forthcoming.

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