Porn almost always divides opinion - it's why you steer clear of it as a topic of conversation at dinner parties.

Some are all for it - in fact porn sites are more popular than all social media and shopping sites - while others find that it can be demeaning to women (since most modern porn caters largely for men).

Suzi Godson, sex columnist for The Times said: "One of the main anxieties that comes up when women are interviewed about porn is the issue of “attractiveness”. For many women, the issue is simply that porn has created unrealistic standards of physical attractiveness and sexual prowess."

watching porn

Whatever your opinion is, however, there is no denying that when faced with those statistics, people are watching a lot of porn. And most of those people are likely to be in relationships.


Ann Chilton wrote in The Herald Scotland
a few days ago "Relationships Scotland is the largest couple counselling agency north of the Border, and over the past five years, there has been a increase in couples and individuals coming to us saying their usage of porn is either out of control or is affecting their relationship."

So the question is - if you find out your partner likes watching porn - what does that mean for you?

Firstly - it doesn't mean your relationship isn't working. Suzi says: "If using porn means that there is something wrong with your relationship, there is something wrong with almost all heterosexual relationships. More than 70% of men use porn and in 2006, 97% of all searches for free porn were made by men. Even studies of clergy show that well over half have accessed pornography."

Perhaps we need to move away from the question of 'is it right or wrong' to have an honest debate about it.

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Sex and relationship expert Mike Lousada says: "I don't believe that pornography is either good or bad (except in the cases where individuals are being coerced against their will such as child pornography). Pornography can be an added spice for an individual or a couple. What is important is whether it adds something to the relationship (excitement and experimentation, seeing enactment of fantasies which the couple wouldn't act out in real life, reconnecting someone with their libido) - or does it detract from the relationship?"

The concerns mentioned in Chilton's column is that porn acts as a barricade for intimacy between a couple, but Mike says this depends on the couple. He says you need to ask yourself some frank questions. "Does the person watching porn have more of a relationship with the porn than with a real person? I think there is a real danger that people begin to relate to porn instead of relating to a person - after all porn is an easy route to arousal and orgasm for most people who watch it. It can lead to disconnection, desensitisation, lazy sexual performance and to unrealistic expectations from a partner."

Porn isn't just something a man watches however, and on the flip-side, women tend to use sex toys if they want some alone time. Suzi says: "The real challenge with porn is accepting that it is OK for two people in a committed relationship to have a private solo-sex life. Since nearly 50% of UK females now own a vibrator, I think its time we were all a little more honest with each other."

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Dr Brooke Magnanti, author of the Belle De Jour books says that an increasing number of women are interested in hardcore porn, and says that the internet has helped remove some of the stigma around it.

This may be a hard fact for women to swallow (no pun intended) - especially if you don't agree with porn - but the reality is that porn is here to stay. The question is how to handle it, if it makes an unwanted appearance in your relationship.

A study last year reported by The Daily Mail revealed that men who watch porn in a relationship can end up damaging their partner's self-confidence and affecting their sex lives.

Suzi advises: "There are lots of legitimate reasons to criticise the porn industry — the exploitation of some of the women involved; the rare sighting of women actually enjoying themselves — but graphic portrayals of sexual interactions have been around since cave paintings, and the internet is not going to disappear any time soon, so we need to be realistic.

"It is easy for women to occupy the moral high ground, but being right about the evils of pornography does not resolve the problem it poses in the relationship.

"Sex on screen is not a contact sport. It is a voyeuristic experience devoid of any physical connection or emotional engagement with the performers; it is a fantasy that can be turned on and off with a remote control. In contrast, romantic love and real world sex is the warm-fuzzy, the intimate connection that makes life worth living. Not much of a competition is it?"


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