Pornography in relationships has been an issue for a long time. Even today, professional recommendations on how to manage the use of pornography still vary widely. We attended one workshop in a couples therapy conference that recommended to merely accept porn use, especially by men, as natural and harmless. While this may be an extreme view, many clinicians have suggested that if a couple uses pornography as a stimulus for intimacy, or if they both agree to read or view pornographic materials together, then porn use is fine. In fact, many professionals have thought it might increase relationship connection and intimacy. In the Bringing Baby Home new parents workshop, we initially took this view since our research had demonstrated that, after a baby arrives, relationship intimacy decreases and measures were needed to strengthen intimate sexual connection.

Recently, however, research on the effects of pornography use, especially one person frequently viewing pornographic images online, shows that pornography can hurt a couple’s relationship. The effect may be true, in part, because pornography can be a “supernormal stimulus” (see Supernormal Stimuli by Deirdre Barrett). Nikko Tinbergen, a Nobel Prize winning ethologist, described a supernormal stimulus as a stimulus that evokes a much larger response than one that has evolutionary significance. One effect of a supernormal stimulus is that interest wanes in normal stimuli. Tinbergen studied male stickleback fish who would naturally attack a rival male that entered their territory during mating season. He created an oval object with a very red belly, more intensely red than the natural fish. The fish fiercely attacked the mock up and subsequently lost interest in attacking its real male rival. Now the supernormal stimulus evoked a reaction, but not the normal stimulus.

Pornography may be just such a supernormal stimulus. With pornography use, much more of a normal stimulus may eventually be needed to achieve the response a supernormal stimulus evokes. In contrast, ordinary levels of the stimulus are no longer interesting. This may be how normal sex becomes much less interesting for porn users. The data supports this conclusion. In fact, use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction.

There are many other factors about porn use that can threaten a relationship’s intimacy. First, intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people.  But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction. Second, when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner. Thus a porn user may form the unrealistic expectation that sex will be under only one person’s control. Third, the porn user may expect that their partner will always be immediately ready for intercourse (see Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski). This is unrealistic as well. Research has revealed that genital engorgement leads to a desire for sex only 10% of the time in women and 59% of the time in men. Fourth, some porn users rationalize that pornography is ok if it does not involve partnered sexual acts and instead relies only on masturbation. While this may accomplish orgasm the relationship goal of intimate connection is still confounded and ultimately lost.

Worse still, many porn sites include violence toward women, the antithesis of intimate connection. Porn use can become an actual addiction with the same brain mechanism activated in other behavioral addictions, like gambling (see Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson). Pornography can also lead to a decrease in relationship trust and a higher likelihood of affairs outside the relationship. Many porn sites now offer an escalation of sexual activity beyond simply viewing porn that includes actually having sex with other individuals. Finally, the support of porn use is reinforcing an industry that abuses the actors employed to create the pornography (see The Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges).  

We applaud major media outlets like Time Magazine that have joined the anti-pornography movement. Their April cover story titled Porn and the Threat to Virility dives into how modern men who grew up watching porn as children and teenagers have started a movement against it, hoping to shed light on the sexual material’s power to harm Americans.

In summary, we are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our readers around the world to understand what is at stake.

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Drs. John & Julie Gottman

World-renowned researchers and clinical psychologists, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have conducted 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples. They have published over 200 academic journal articles and written 46 books that have sold over a million copies in more than a dozen languages.

  • http://makelovenotporn.com/ has been tackling this issue for the past eight years since I launched it at TED with this talk:

    http://blog.ted.com/cindy_gallop_ma/

    We are pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-knowing the difference. You may be interested in what we are doing with https://makelovenotporn.tv/:

    http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/04/porn-sex-tech-and-cindy-gallop/

    and how our community is responding:

    http://talkabout.makelovenotporn.tv/category/realworldinbox/

    The solution is don’t block porn, disrupt it:

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-08/14/cindy-gallop-open-letter

    while also identifying sextech solutions to creating a more open, healthy dialogue around, attitudes towards and behavior for #realworldsex:

    https://www.hottopics.ht/stories/consumer/what-is-sextech-and-why-is-everyone-ignoring-it/

  • Thank you for weighing in and, as always, backing your perspective with research and not just opinion. Anyone who truly wants the most out of their own relationship and sex life should really pay attention!

  • Miles Elway

    Hoorah! You rock Mr. G. Kick porn in the butt.

  • Mitsu47560

    Thank you for posting this article Mr. Gottman! I respect all of your knowledge and research. I think it’s great for couples and other individuals who would like to be in a relationship to be aware of the devastating effects porn has on true intimacy.

  • This crap makes me so flipping mad because:

    • Their scientific basis for this judgement they’ve made about porn habituating humans to stimuli that can’t be replicated during sex with a partner is pretty flimsy. They’re citing a study that found that introducing a supernormal stimulus into a stickleback fish’s environment led to disinterest in the normal stimulus. No findings have linked these studies on fish to human sexual behavior. Human beings =/= stickleback fish. Defending one’s mate =\= sex and / or masturbation. For people who are otherwise so science-minded, The Gottman Institute has a very narrow view of human sexuality, in defiance of the evidence.

    • They assume that there is such a thing as “normal sex,” claim that all people ought to be aroused by it, and imply that there’s something wrong or “addicted” about those people who require more intensity or variety or stimulus to be excited.

    • They assume that pornography use has the exact same impact on every couple in every conceivable situation. Look guys, I’ve no doubt that there are relationships where compulsive porn use is symptomatic of a larger issue in the relationship or being used as an escape from intimacy. But that’s not *all* marriages / relationships where porn is in play. Just like not everyone who is given morphine in the hospital turns into a heroin addict, not everyone who uses porn is automatically an addict or habituated away from intimacy during sex. It really is possible to enjoy both.

    • Jennifer Elliott

      Well said Teresa! I thought the exact same thing you did on all of your points. I also think this article’s foundation comes from John’s values regarding growing up in a time where nudie magazines were a young man’s sexual education. Just as many more people today have tattoos and normalized those body decor rituals, more people today view porn as an addition to normalized sexual behavior. John also completely ignores the research that shows women are the highest growing segment of porn consumers. There seems to be this kernel of a movement starting where people are turning away from sex, as if abstaining will get them some kind of award for self control. Whatever a person uses to get aroused, if that works for them that’s all that matters. I highly respect the Gottman’s but John is way off on this.

      • Elizabeth

        Wow the evidence of your own addiction to pornography just revealed itself big time. There was such a tone of dissatisfaction for what porn has done in your own life so you are OVERLY defending it to deny such. Denial IS indeed the first stage and you both just proved that very accurately! One day you will embrace the reality of the harm of porn and find true healing from your pain.

        • Catman

          That is truly a lame response. So if someone emphatically disagrees with the oversimplifications and leaps of faith in applying such infant-stage neuroscience to such complex behavior (and quite rightly so!), that means they are simply gilt of defending their own vice? Really? Perhaps it is you who are merely engaging in reaction formation; or, perhaps, your own need to justify your obviously deep-seated sexual discomforts? You are a good example of how logic is the true enemy of faith. And faith is all the “porn addiction” movement has…

      • I heard about this guy from a University Professor I worked for in Tennessee who was trained by him in Psychophysiology. You’re speaking about a man who can spend time in a room with a couple and then 94% of the time tell you if their marriage will end in death (so no divorce and happy;masters) or in failure (or complete dissatisfaction;disasters). 94%. Let that number sink in. So when the man says, “Look, porn is not good for your relationships. It will hurt it”, I tend to trust the guy. You may not and that’s your opinion, but facts don’t lie. Also, here’s a credible medical study. If you weren’t satisfied with words of experience, maybe you will be once you read the findings of this study.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3050060/

        • Bob Adams

          I agree porn is not so simplistic. Nor is the data that Gottman uses to talk about 94% accuracy which has its own debatable logic inside how it came to that conclusion and who even says every marriage can be saved if both partners have motivation.

          It saddens me that sexuality continues to be an enormous taboo topic, driven by simplistic moralistic attitudes towards what is good, healthy, right, and functional. (With some random science articles to back it up for good measure.)

          I’m glad there are therapists startled by this simplistic blog post. It does a disservice to our field and to couples for whom they don’t have problems, but are told clearly that porn is taboo for the therapist who simply can not handle it emotionally and must thump them over the head that it is pure evil and will destroy their sex life and marriage.

          And then we attack a therapist (like above and like I’ll be attacked as some porno sex addict even though I don’t participate in porn at all) because somehow defending more rigorous thinking implies we have usage problems with it. AAAAAH.

      • Mancrack

        And well said Jennifer! I’d like to weigh in from a different angle – the economic aspects, not just the pseudoscience and big leaps of faith Gotmann and the other conservative organisations deploy.

        Porn and sex addiction have become a hot topic and books, videos, clinics are making a fortune out of it. Gotmann and others need the myths to be perpetuated because this is how they get even richer than they already are.

        Sex addiction/porn addiction/libido mismatches are now becoming the main demand drivers for shrinks and psychologists and boy are they milking it. You can see this also via the college applications and course choices in the UK even.

        The simple fact is, men in particular are biologically made to desire vast quantities of sex and masturbation as are virtually all animals esp mammals.

        What Gotmann and his acolytes are really doing is re-instigating an old religious value system that seeks to deprive people of knowing the realities of human existence.

        Lastly I take heart at you bright ladies looking for reason and logic in life. So much crap is written and broadcast – Oprah and Dr Phil come to mind – and I’m afraid to say the majority of the protagonists are female. Perhaps Gotmann and co should be why gay men dont complain when their partners watch porn, why it is that it is mainly women who feel threatened?

    • Diha

      He does talk about how it isn’t ALL relationships.

    • Elizabeth

      Wow the evidence of your own addiction to pornography just revealed itself big time. There was such a tone of dissatisfaction for what porn has done in your own life so you are OVERLY defending it to deny such. Denial IS indeed the first stage and you both just proved that very accurately! One day you will embrace the reality of the harm of porn and find true healing from your pain.

    • Moses

      Well said Teresa,
      I would also like to add that this is typical American Puritanistic mentality. In other parts of the world where sex and human sexuality are not taboo, porn is not “over used”. The “over use” of porn in the United States is a symptom of unconscious societal wish fulfillment based on shaming of human sexuality by religious conservatives. A simple google search will show you that the most conservative countries (mostly in the Middle East) are also the largest consumers of pornography. So when do we get to see a scientific study about how the use of porn decreases the more sexually free a society is?

      • Ice

        This arilcte went ahead and made my day.

      • Jared Morgan

        Ummm….I wouldn’t use the Middle East as an example of intimacy in marriage or the fair treatment of women. Careful there. I don’t know the culture well enough to say that there is no intimacy in marriage, but frankly at face value it’s hard to say that women are treated respectfully or equally by most modern standards.

        The point of marriage is intimacy. Porn is the antithesis of this – it’s typical use is designed to please one person in a fantasy of self stimulation. There could certainly be scenarios where this is not the outcome. But across the board, those are exceptions not the rule. Porn≠intimacy

    • I am mostly confused by your 2nd last bullet Teresa, as I re-read the article trying to see where it is that the Gottman’s have assumed that there is not such thing as “normal sex”, and if in fact this is the case, doesn’t that mean that they would actually be more open to the idea that there is no set standard, and therefore pornography use might not be problematic in all situations? If these are in fact your opinions, you of course have a right to it; I applaud the Gottman Institute on the sources they have cited, and references they have used. I am also appreciative of their stating directly that they did in fact support pornography use within a couple-ship at one time, but have since changed their position based on escalating research and novel problems that were unrealized before.

    • Teresa,
      I appreciate your informed opinion on this. I respect the Gottmans but I do not respect their approach to Human Secuality issues. They often pathologize people and their behaviors. Their use of the phrase “normal sex” is nothing but an indication of prejudice. You can’t make conclusions about remarkably complex issues such as porn use based on one research on fish. As we know, most behavioral sciences neglect to acknowledge or include social oppression, injustice, shame culture, etc in their research… So that pretty much forms my opinion on this.

    • margo

      I, as a woman, personally DIS-like porn use by my husband. It’s demeaning, dishonest and emotional adultry. I don’t give a rat’s ass if ‘every man’ is conditioned to watch it, like it or ‘need’ it- NOT IN MY HOUSE!

      • Margo, check out a website: His Porn. Your Pain. Healed (www.pornpainhealed.com) I’ve written some useful information to help you and/or your marriage.

    • LP

      Teresa,
      I think you make some valid points, especially ‘not everyone who uses porn is automatically addicted.’ I agree with you on some of it.

      Since you made some good arguments, I’d like to get your take on this:

      What would you say about those who ‘require even more intensity… to be excited,’ when it comes to the point where even porn isn’t enough, and the one seeking to be excited needs to do something even you think is too harmful to themselves/others?

  • Martha Viniola

    Trilpe

  • Adam

    Great read. Another group out there discussing this same issue is Fight the New Drug (FTND). Great to see the Gottman Institute warning on the harmful effects pornography use can have in the lives of couples.

  • Notafanofporn

    I couldn’t agree more! Porn was a big part of why my first marriage was a bust. My ex was addicted to it, literally. It ruined his sense of what actually happens in a bed room & made him a selfish lover. Not to mention my self confidence tanked. I had no problem with it before him, but when you’re partner chooses that over his wife, how do you compete with that? I am now in a happy & healthy 2nd marriage.

    • This is a terrible blog. It is not evidence based. Gary Wilson is not a valid authority. I have to reconsider using Gottmans in my practice. This is bias not information. Dr Roger Libby certified sex therapist and sexologist

      • Junior say

        To Roger Libby – You are incorrect about the current state of the science, as 24 neuroscience-based studies and 4 recent reviews of the literature all support the porn addiction model. The up-to-date list of current “brain studies” and reviews are here – http://pornstudycritiques.com/current-list-of-brain-studies-on-porn-users/
        Clicking on the name of the study leads to the original paper

        So far, the results of every “brain study” (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, neuro-hormonal) offer support for the concept of porn addiction. In addition to reporting the same fundamental brain changes as seen in substance addicts, a few studies also reported greater porn use is associated with erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, decreased libido, and reduced neural response to images of vanilla porn.

        I also suggest you actually read TIME cover story Gottman linked to which quotes two world renowned neuroscientists who have published fMRI studies on porn users (Simone Kuhn of the Max Planck Institute, Valerie Voon of Cambridge), and Dr. Ajay Nangia, former president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology.

      • margo

        It figures that you, a ‘sex therapist’, would condone porn…. guess you’re male, too? Shame on you!

  • Thank you for this and the research backed approach. I am so weary of trying to explain this to couples I work with as well as men I date!

  • Buster Ross

    I have no doubt that you mean well…

    But this is so off base.

    Porn, and homosexuality, just intimacy avoidance…

    SERIOUSLY – Intimacy has to do with communication, vulnerability, shared experience, the senses… Porn is no different than TV in terms of relational intimacy. This is just erotophobic sexpanic furthered by people who are so obviously unexperienced in human sexuality and fundamentally afraid of eroticism.

    Sad really. I thought you had a better sense of intimacy. Perhaps you can go deeper. Maybe you should watch some porn.

  • Amy

    “Worse still, many porn sites include violence toward women, the antithesis of intimate connection.”
    I wish you had said more on this. This isn’t just about what’s available out there (which is bad enough) but how common this is. I was just reading an article about porn being today’s sex education ( http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/22/porn-generation-problems-hardcore-pornography-teenage-boys?CMP=fb_gu )
    that said that:
    “Porn provides a huge bank of sexual imagery, at the click of a button. Regrettably, it often depicts aggressive sexual acts – a 2010 analysis of 50 bestselling adult videos in the US found that 88% of the scenes included physical aggression. This aggression is overwhelmingly carried out by the male, with the target of the violence being a woman 94% of the time. In addition, porn rarely depicts romantic intimacy, tending to omit kissing, verbal compliments or laughter.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20980228
    This was really shocking to me.

  • Brian Wiebe

    Good article. As one other respondent mentioned, a group offering excellent insight into this is fightthenewdrug.org.

  • Russell J Stambaugh, PhD, DST

    The idea that porn represents a ‘supernormal’ stimulus analagous to Tinbergen’s sticklebacks is entirely lacking in empirical replication in humans re: anything, porn included. It is important not to misapply evolutionary metaphors.
    Nor is the idea that sex should perform primarily evolutionary functions in a relationship all that congruent with your sound reasoning about communication and conflict management in relationships

  • Rebecca

    I have known 3-4 women in my life that had a relationship deteriorate because the men stopped wanting to have sex with the their women, but wanted to continue massive usage of porn to masturbate. The question that forms in my mind is the following: are men more apt to become addicted to porn and not desire sex with their mate, than women? What are the psychological components to this (Eg: the man has issues with performance with a partner or feels pressured to perform, ED, sexual arousal disorder, anxiety, stress, etc) I would love to know how many women have become addicted to porn, since I only hear about the guys. Some past studies suggested that porn makes people have unrealistic expectations of their partners during sex, and that people have a tendency to compare their own partner to the men & women they have seen in porn.

    • Rebecca, You wrote: “I wold love to know how many women have become addicted to porn…” Here is a webpage that lists some stats. (Also note that it links to another study of female porn users done by Dirty Girls Ministry):
      http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/08/30/women-addicted-to-porn-stats/

      Also, If those “3-4 women in my life that had a relationship deteriorate… because the men… wanted to continue massive usage of porn” are still having difficulty, send them to His Porn. Your Pain. Healed (www.pornpainhealed.com) I offer tips to help women in that situation.

  • As a Certified Sex Therapist and member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and Society of Sex Therapy and Research I found the content of this article not only a disappointment but also a worrisome overreach beyond one’s area of expertise perhaps motivated by the need to deliver the unquenchable thirst of the blog sphere. There are sex researchers, sex therapists and sex educators who dedicate their professional lives to addressing the sexual illiteracy in our country that have their responsible due diligence and dedication to the nuanced knowledge within the complexities of human sexuality dismissed by influential esteemed professionals who wander into an idea and promote it as sexual science.

    • Dee

      As a Certified Sex Therapist and member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and Society of Sex Therapy and Research MYSELF, I found the content of this article not only a open and honest but also a breath of fresh air coming from someone as the esteemed professional Dr. Gottman. There are sex researchers, sex therapists and sex educators who dedicate their professional lives to addressing the sexual illiteracy in our country that have their responsible due diligence and dedication to the nuanced knowledge within the complexities of human sexuality who are trying to educate the public of the harms, mental, physically and relational, of pornography use..

      • Jenn

        Thank you Dee. Your response was perfect. I applaud you. You are an asset in your profession. Keep up the great work.

      • Yes, Dee, You are definitely an asset to your profession!!! Thank you for the work you do.

  • Pingback: » Award-Winning Relationship Research Institute Releases “An Open Letter on Porn”()

  • This is extremely disappointing to see you write on something I have never seen or heard you talk about before.

    You say nothing here about gay and bisexual men and lesbians who do not have a problem with watching porn. For the this population, nothing compares to the problems heterosexual couples have in terms of their reactions to porn.

    And that really is the issue as I see it clinically. It is not the viewing of porn–it is the reaction to a partner’s viewing of porn that is often the problem.

    Gay men and lesbians talk about their porn. They watch each others porn and they are not threatened by what the other is watching. This is particularly true for gay male couples.

    Pornography isn’t the threat, it is the lack of sexual literacy that troubles individuals and couples.

    • Dawson River

      To Joe Kort – Like heterosexuals, gay men and lesbians have brains. As a result, gay men and lesbians can also develop porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. For example, a gay man discusses his recovery from porn-induced erectile dysfunction in this September, 2015 TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/YSmJDn-emqY

      • Michael

        I agree with Joe. There is always a part of society that is trying to demonize sex. There was a time, not too long ago, where masturbation itself was thought to cause blindness or homosexuality. I recommend the book “Sex Outside the Lines.” And I agree that Gottman’s theory is (surprisingly) totally heterosexist in configuration.

        The studies are conjectural. It’s bad science to put forth data like this. What we should be more concerned about is the Religion-making of Science, which does not follow scientific method and puts out “Science-y” data to convince someone of a personal prejudice.

        Perhaps some people get addicted to porn, but their opposites, the prudes, are often the relationship killers. They censor porn but then don’t want sex either.

        • Dawson Rive

          Demonize sex? That’s hilarious. The gay man in the TEDx video, and hundreds of thousands of others, are quitting porn to be able to have sex. Gays, straights, bisexuals, lesbian, you name it. Porn use has messed up their sexual response and they want to experience fun, enjoyable sex…again.

          By the way, NoFap, which is by far the largest “porn recovery” forum in the US, published a large survey on their members. 60% of the members were atheists or agnostics. Only 11% were quitting porn for moral or religious reasons. The men want their mojo back.

  • Ryan

    If real sex isn’t a supernormal stimulus…well…you are doing it wrong.

    Come get a bit of education

  • Renee Kirk

    None of the comments critisizing this article have addressed the point that “the support of porn use is reinforcing an industry that abuses the actors employed to create the pornography.” Many have argued that “legitimate” porn from well known companies are ethical, but the recent sexual assault allegations against porn star James Deen from several sources is evidence that even the most “ethical” of porn companies still aren’t free from abuse. James Deen’s subsequent increase in fame and success shows how the porn industry as a whole does not value the testimony of victims and promotes and protects abusers. Are these the kinds of people we want educating the sexuality of our partners? Personally, my choice to not watch porn deals greatly with the fact that I have no guarantees that what I am watching is 100% consensual and that everyone involved is comfortable and enjoying themselves. Some say that porn like that can exist, and that it can be free of sexist gender roles, but with the current state of the porn industry I don’t think that can be safely assumed.

    • Renee,
      I noticed the same thing; no one mentioning the part of Gottman’s article saying, “(it) abuses the actors employed to create the pornography.” Very interesting.

      btw: You have my respect for your reasoning to not use porn.

  • Penny Soutar

    I was in a relationship where my husband was addicted to porn. All of what is said about the supernormal stimulus. My husband told me as much. “I get more intimacy out of it.” Yup. He’s my ex- husband now, and still addicted to porn…14 years later. But he’d been addicted for 20 years when I married him, unknowingly. I feel sorry for him, so trapped in what I’ve heard is the most difficult addiction of all to recover from.

    • David

      Michael, great comment. I too am surprised to hear from these professionals who seem blind to the negative effects of porn. Perhaps they’ve never worked with a spouse or partner or someone who compulsively views it. Maybe they’ve never been asked to help someone who can’t get away from it. As a therapist myself with lots of experience on this topic I’m at a loss to explain why they would react the way they do when it’s clearly (not from my degrees but from my humanness) detrimental to a relationship. It’s a real problem that really changes how people see themselves and others. This seems impossible to deny.

      It leaves you to wonder what their defiance is really about.

  • Michael

    I don’t understand the controversy and difference of opinion. I would have thought the central argument is pretty simple – porn hardwires you to lust. After watching it, when you walk past a woman on the street all you can see is her in a porn position. All women, including your wife, eventually become a collection of body parts. Does anyone seriously think that the wife cannot sense this is how she is perceived. The sex PHDs / therapists that are posting on this blog in support of porn have taken leave of common sense and basic observation.

    • David

      Michael, great comment. I too am surprised to hear from these professionals who seem blind to the negative effects of porn. Perhaps they’ve never worked with a spouse or partner or someone who compulsively views it. Maybe they’ve never been asked to help someone who can’t get away from it. As a therapist myself with lots of experience on this topic I’m at a loss to explain why they would react the way they do when it’s clearly (not from my degrees but from my humanness) detrimental to a relationship. It’s a real problem that really changes how people see themselves and others. This seems impossible to deny.

      It leaves you to wonder what their defiance is really about.

  • Lisa

    Dr. Gottman,

    Thank you for this insightful and truth-filled post on pornography. In my work I regularly meet people who are suffering the devastating impacts of pornography in their lives and those of their loved ones. In the last six months I’ve met three women whose marriages have failed because their husbands of many years are choosing pornography over them, and another young mother who lost her husband to porn. And, just yesterday, I was speaking with a man who was wrecked to learn of his wife’s pornography problem. It’s heartbreaking.

    As others have observed, sexual fantasy is “rehearsal for relationships.” If you imagine others as mere instruments of your gratification, you are literally rehearsing exploitative patterns of behavior towards others. And, of course, the more one engages in such behavior, the more normal selfishly using others for sex becomes (whether its the real life partner in your life, or the person displayed on your computer screen). Interestingly, brain science has revealed that fantasizing or imaging doing something activates many of the same brain circuits as actually doing it (see: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120723134745.htm). Thus is can come as little surprise that so many people through their pornography use are conditioning themselves away from loving and passionate relationships with their spouses.

    Moreover, it’s more than a little scary to consider how many people are consuming forms of violent and degrading pornography. Even if only a fraction of the people consuming such pornography acted out those scripts in real life, it would have traumatizing impacts on countless lives of real people.

    The evidence demonstrates all too well pornography’s coarsening impact on sexual attitudes. For instance, Zillman (2004) found that men who used pornography were more likely to agree with statements such as: 1) “A man should find them, fool them, f*** them, and forget them,” 2) “A woman does not mean ‘no’ unless she slaps you,”, and 3) “If they are old enough to bleed, they are old enough to butcher.” Ugh! What woman would want to be in relationship with a man with attitudes like these? But these are the very attitudes that pornography use breeds.

    More recently, a meta-analysis assessing 22 different studies from seven countries around the world found that consumption of pornography was associated significantly with both verbal and physical aggression, among males and females (see: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12201/abstract). That seems pretty compelling to me. But I guess some people’s pornography use is so important to them, they are okay with risking becoming more verbally and physically aggressive towards their sexual partners.

    In light of all this, I think there are important questions any pornography user should ask him or herself. To begin, is their pornography use making them a more loving, affectionate, attentive, and caring sexual partner, or a more self-centered one? Is pornography use changing their sexual template and tastes–do they now find themselves enjoying more violent and fetishized forms of sex? Do they find themselves consuming pornography they don’t even like? Are they struggling with a compulsive need to view pornography? Would they rather look at pornography than make love to their partner? Can they even make love to their partner?

    Those who express concern about the harmful impacts of pornography are not anti-sex, they are anti-garbage. Pornography represents a trash heap of humanity sexuality–a place full of putrid decay that robs people of joyful, tender, passionate, mutuality, and truly intimate relationships. Thank you for inviting people to walk away from the muck and mire of pornography and welcoming them to join the feast at the table of love.

    • Michael

      Very well said Lisa. Beautiful response.

    • Thanks for the ingisht. It brings light into the dark!

    • Lisa,

      I am interested in what you wrote “Zillman (2004) found that men who used pornography were more likely to agree with statements such as:” May I ask what book or article you’re referencing here?

      Otherwise, great information–thank you for including the links to the studies!

    • categories of condition(s) that (patients may fall into that further) necessitates referral to a neuropsychologist.  All three of them involve situations where brain damage might be present, suspected or

    • Enjoyed the article, Cindy and love the photo of EJ with the Burmese boy. I didn’t even realize that there was another form of musical notation. I don’t even remember how to read ours

  • The shaming tone in this post is unnecessary. Yes, turning to porn can drain away energy from a committed relationship, but the problem isn’t necessarily porn. I am a psychologist, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist & Supervisor, and author of a textbook on sex therapy. Trust me, lots of men and women in committed relationships use porn, together and separately, and it causes not a single issue. The problem is more likely to be a lack of good sexual health, e.g., the male partner doesn’t know how to express his sexual needs; hasn’t been open with his partner or anyone else about negative emotions he has been experiencing; and hasn’t discovered different outlets that don’t interfere with his, or with shared, values. Often there is an avoidant attachment style that has nothing to do with pornography. There are plenty of ways to be avoidant, overuse of porn is just one way. I’ve had many women in my office state that they don’t particularly care if their partner looks at porn–but they do care about the lack of connection. Even the affected partner often looks past the porn and sees that isn’t the real problem. In terms of therapists and their ability to treat sex and relationship issues, it seems that it would be good if more programs would have more than one 10-hour class devoted to sexuality.

    • helen s

      re: Dr. Stephanie Buehler and “shaming.”
      Speaking of shaming, several ASSECT members have posted comments here that attempt to shame Dr. Gottman for writing a post about the possible adverse effects of internet porn on users. What all these posts omit is any discussion of the science presented in the TIME article which prompted Gottman’s post. Multiple neuroscience-based studies have reported addiction-related brain changes in frequent porn users, while several studies have found relationships between porn use in young men and ED, anorgasmia, low sexual desire, delayed ejaculation and lower brain activation to sexual images. This “shaming” tactic is typical of those who dodge substance while attempting to shame any who dare to go off script. It has a chilling effect not only on those who are attacked, but also on any who may be “listening.” It’s a cheap tactic unworthy of responsible psychologists. Why should anyone to continue to fall for this?

    • M. Mackenzie

      Dr. Buehler makes a valid point neglected in the article and other comments. “The problem is more likely to be a lack of good sexual health…”

      Use of porn may be a way to satisfy the natural impulse for sexual stimulation, and serve as a (poor) proxy for intimacy and connection when a intimate, real-human relationship has broken down. This relational breakdown may involve avoidant attachment styles, and/or other relational issues, of course. Perhaps in this type of scenario, porn is a symptom, not a primary cause of relational damage.

  • Candice

    Thank you Dr.Gottman for weighing in on this much controversial topic. You cited some of the research, and there is indeed a lot more. Gail Dines research on the damages of porn are also extremely telling and very disturbing. Her tedtalk Link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_YpHNImNsx8. Her research shows that the number one thing that our youth first look at when they stumble across porn is either gag porn where the female is being choked with a penis to the point of vomiting and crying, or anal rape. I’m not religious, and not speaking about this being a values issue of moral issue- that to me is an excuse people use. This is about violence. Anyone that loves sex can’t love porn because porn is not about sex- it’s about violence. Research the porn industry; read Gail Dines research- if you have kids- you will agree that this epidemic is absolutely impacting our youth and our relationships and will theirs. As someone that is pro-sex and pro love, and happens to be a Certified Sex Addiction therapist who works daily with partners who are devastated, betrayed and rejected by their partners abuse of porn, and porn addicted folks who have literally injured their penises from masturbating so much to it, and are suicidal because of it, the devastation to relationships is real. We can debate all day long- but what are we promoting with porn?? Look at the Coolidge Effect- The brain literally rewires itself to be stimulated by porn and not a real person- hence why so many folks struggle to get erect with their partners. A porn addict’s brain fires in the same places as a cocaine addict- for the pro porn peeps- may be worth your while to look a bit deeper at people’s experiences first hand along with the research. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

    • Great points Candice. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolidge_effect Porn introduces novelty and and arousal to an artificial/counterfeit partner. Instead of coupling with a trusted other, bonding is to the high and to arousal, leaving each individual longing for intimacy that is missing, and by far the greatest damage to life-giving sexual intimacy.

  • Lisa – correlation doesn’t equal causation.

    Renee Kirk – Regarding the perceived lack of comments about the “porn industry” referenced by Renee Kirk. If you are concerned about the labor conditions of the industry, than we should work to regulate the field to prevent exploitation. Bring it out of the shadows of stigma and the people participating won’t be as vulnerable to exploitation. I assumed that’s more effective than curbing the demand for sexual entertainment.

    • Thank you Dr. Gottman for your post. As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) through the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) I work with young men who’s pre-frontal cortex’s have been hijacked by this “Supranormal stimulus” that Tinbergen talked about. I have grave concern for future generations now that virtual reality is here and making taking the “Supranormal stimulus” to new heights. I am not a “sex negative” therapist and believe there is a place for “erotica,” but unfortunately, parents, teachers and even some therapist don’t want to talk about this issue. Thank you again for your concern.

  • Jay

    The Salsa Deck published by the Gottman’s in 2011 as part of their GottSex? Program encourages couples to “Rent an X-rated video and watch it together.” Are the Gottmans now disavowing that recommendation?

    • The say at the start of the post that they were once in favour of porn use but they have since changed their stance based on the latest research.

    • Jay, Yes, they are reversing their previous stance in light of what science is revealing:
      “In the Bringing Baby Home new parents workshop, we initially took this view since our research had demonstrated that, after a baby arrives, relationship intimacy decreases and measures were needed to strengthen intimate sexual connection.

      Recently, however, research on the effects of pornography use, especially one person frequently viewing pornographic images online, shows that pornography can hurt a couple’s relationship.”

  • Thank you so much for adding to this discussion. I do believe pornography needs to be thought of as a public health crisis given the harm it is doing to sexuality both in couples and young people. I am an Imago therapist, substance abuse specialist, trauma therapist and CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) and now see more clients impacted by sexual compulsivity than substance abuse issues. Gail Dines, PhD is someone else in the UK who has spent her entire career looking at pornography and how it is influencing and shaping the arousal templates of youth and changing behavior.
    Adolescents who have limited sexual information and unlimited access to the Internet will often get much of their information about sexuality through porn. This has been so damaging to both men and women. Often we will hear the term “sex positive” thrown out there when any mention is made about restricting access and my question to that group is this one… is it sex positive for all involved? Having worked with prostitutes and other women who have made a living using their bodies I can tell you it is NOT sex positive for them. Over the years porn producers have had an increasingly difficult time finding women who will film the violent and often physically damaging scenes. They are not only humiliated but endure extreme violence and tissue damage. This is mainstream porn today – violent and humiliating to women. We know it contributes to erectile dysfunction and an expectation that has been very confusing to forming intimate bonds. Dr. Don Hilton and Dr. Valarie Voon have also contributed in the field of neuroscience about how pornography is changing the brain. Thank you Gottmans for speaking out!

  • Dr. David Hersh

    As a Board Certified Sex Therapist, and also a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and Society of Sex Therapy and Research, I found the content of this article disturbing and sad to see come from an esteemed professional like Dr. Gottman. There are sex researchers, sex therapists and sex educators who dedicate their professional lives to addressing the sexual illiteracy in our country that have their responsible due diligence and dedication to the nuanced knowledge within the complexities of human sexuality who are trying to educate the public of the harms, mental, physically and relational, by the iatrogenic, specious construct of sex or porn addiction. It is an unsavory and moralistic perspective that ultimately destroys relationships.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with the Gottmans. When couples rely on pornographic materials to increase sexual stimulation and intimacy, they actually are moving away from the hard work that is required to learn about what the other person wants….I applaud your stance and I am glad you have sited this explanation as a reason for moving away from legitimizing pornography as a couple’s aid in lovemaking.

  • Lisa

    Dr. Gottman,
    Thank you for bravely taking on such a difficult topic. It flies in the face of current cultural norms and positing a position like that is always an act of courage. I have been a counselor for close to ten years and have watched how destructive porn is on relational intimacy. It is heartening to see that research is beginning to bear that out. I hope that this begins a much needed conversation in which we are willing (even if it is painful and causes our defenses to go up) to have an honest discussion about the influence of porn on our relationships and our culture. Because widely available and increasingly graphic pornography is a relatively new phenomenon, we are only beginning to see the ways in which it is shaping our culture. We need to be able to look at the implications of widespread pornography use with a critical eye, something I think we are afraid to do out of a concern that we will revert back to a Puritanical shame based approach to sexuality.

  • J Ramlow

    For those naysayers and those blaming the ideology behind this article on prudish social conservatism, perhaps you would gain greater insight by reading Time Magazine’s article. It was more about the affects on individuals and less on the relationship aspect, but it had some interesting things to say about porn use.

  • Great article/post Dr G,
    I suggest some of the sex therapists who are commenting about the so called lack of evidence cited and who are saying things like, (paraphrased)’Some people just have avoidant attachment styles and this has nothing to do with porn addiction’ (!) especially ought to re-read the post, read all of the links in the post and the links to research on sites such as Your Brain on Porn and the Time article and then come back and make an informed comment. Just saying.

  • As an AASECT clinical sex therapy supervisor, and PhD, with over 30 years of couples therapy experience, I find so much disturbing about this post by Gottman.

    First, Gottman inappropriately leverages his popular platform to suggest that all porn is created equal and used the same by all people and all couples. This is the unspoken premise of his article. Those of us who are sex therapists and train sex therapists know this is not true.

    Second, Gottman takes advantage of the lack of real knowledge about sexuality, pornography, gender, violence, etc., in the general public AND the vast majority of trained psychotherapists, to pump up fear while providing no real solid information in his post. Some of the “research” he cites is controversial at best.

    Third, if Gottman was truly concerned with how and where some forms of porn may cause harm to vulnerable populations, he could have used this post to educate instead of alarm. For example, how and when is erotic imagery used to enhance one’s sexual life? Under what conditions might erotic imagery pose problems? What are case examples that can inform the public and clinicians alike instead of scare them?

    Instead, Gottman puts himself out there as an uninformed inflammatory clinician who unfortunately has a wide enough net to cause some real damage. After this article, are our clients, couples or clinicians more informed, or just more freaked out?

  • I couldn’t agree more – thanks for posting. I work as a psychotherapist to young women with eating disorders. The stories I am hearing in relation to expectations on them from young men (and indeed their own behaviour around sex), is largely influenced by the way men and women are relating to each other in porn eg. not desirable if they have pubic hair, sex being one sided (all about one partner’s needs), rough and abusive sex, lack of intimacy etc.

  • Fran

    Interesting post and even more interesting comments especially from some sex and relationship experts. I found this post on truthjoybeauty https://truthjoybeauty.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/475/ which discusses the impact of porn on relationships in detail with links to various resources very helpful. The issue is not a moral one against porn or sexuality, freedom of expression nor is it about sexual shaming. It is more to do with the nature of online porn and the way it is consumed en masse in society which is the problem. Someone once said, The medium is the message, it seems today that should change to, The medium is the problem.

  • Megan

    Thank you so much for taking a stand against this terrible epidemic in our society! Porn is so horribly detrimental to the foundation of society – the family. I am grateful to hear your voice in the fight against porn.

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  • I thoroughly enjoyed the information provided in the article and comment section of this blog. Knowledge is power, and is definitely useful for equipping the public with tools to gain a balanced perspective.

    In philosophy classes I have taken at the University of Texas, pornography was examined, both arguements for and against it. One point always stuck out to me, that rings true as far as human development is concerned. How attraction is formed after watching pornography was interesting and disturbing to learn about. With many pornographic videos, though not all, a vast majority focus camera angles only on parts of the female body.

    This leads to dehumanizing a view of women, as just a series of parts to be used at the man’s convenience.

    It is interesting to see staunch defenders of this way of viewing women. I have noted a theme of a defensive tone in every post championing pornography. None have presented actual data in scientific journals or periodicals regarding beneficial effects of pornography on emotional health.

    It just seems to be a defense of personal vices in the face of being offered the option to analyze habits as being detrimental to a larger social diaspora, especially in regards to the development of the social skills, health, and sexuality of the youth.

    Violence in the porn industry is well documented, as well as the importation of foreign women as slave sex workers, so when defending the personal use of pornography on this blog post, please remember what you are supporting and endorsing.

    These facts stand alone regardless of any interpretation or assumptions of the beliefs held by the authors of the post.

    Please consider separating emotional reactions to this post if ultimately the root of your argument stems from defense of your own lifestyle, as the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of women is well documented in the pornography industry.

  • There’s no doubt this is a big conversation that is still being hotly debated, as seen in the comments here. I was glad to see my colleague Dr. Joe Kort bring in the LGBTI perspective on porn here: http://www.yourtango.com/2016287733/porn-addiction-public-health-crisis-slut-shaming

    I work with a lot of same-sex couples and on the whole, they tend to have a more open attitude towards porn use. I agree with Dr. Kort in his article that problematic porn use in gay couples tends to be about something else (such as a lack of intimacy in the primary relationship), but viewing porn is not the primary problem itself. I’ve found when the connection and intimacy in the primary relationship are restored, the use of porn is often no longer problematic.

    • Junior say

      Re: Joe Korts title – “If Porn Was ACTUALLY Killing Boners, Wouldn’t Men Be FREAKING Out?”

      Men are freaking out. All studies assessing young male sexuality since 2010 report historic levels of sexual dysfunctions, and startling rates of a new scourge: low libido. Documented in this article – http://pornstudycritiques.com/research-confirms-sharp-rise-in-youthful-sexual-dysfunctions/

      Erectile dysfunction rates ranged from 27 to 33%, while rates for low libido (hypo-sexuality) ranged from 16% to 37%. The lower ranges are taken from studies involving teens and men 25 and under, while the higher ranges are from studies involving men 40 and under.

      Prior to the advent of free streaming porn, cross-sectional studies and meta-analysis consistently reported erectile dysfunction rates of 2-5% in men under 40. That’s nearly a 1000% increase in youthful ED rates in the last 20 years. What variable has changed in the last 20 years that could account for this astronomical rise? In addition recent studies reveal a 400% increase in low libido in young men.

      Several studies have found relationships between porn use in young men and ED, anorgamsia, low sexual desire, delayed ejaculation and lower brain activation to sexual images. Link – http://yourbrainonporn.com/porn-induced-ed-media – In addition this page contains articles and videos by about 60 experts (urology professors, urologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, sexologists, MDs) who acknowledge and have successfully treated porn-induced ED and porn-induced loss of sexual desire.

  • Name withheld upon request

    I can’t speak to attachment avoidance, degradation of women, whether criticism of pornography is due to society’s demonization of sex, etc. etc. — but I can tell you that I ran my marriage into the ground because of my use of pornography, and that my behaviors had all the markings of an addiction.

    Pornography is poison. Everybody knows that, in their heart of hearts. I am disappointed that so many people try to defend it, on whatever grounds.

    • I know exactly what you mean. It took 5 long years to build trust again and have a renewed relationship with my wife. Understand that she has been through a trauma that feels just like she has been cheated on. That will make things difficult but it can still be done.

  • Chuck W

    This article is on target. The responses are interesting. As someone who has dealt with same-sex attraction and used pornography as a medication, and as a truth-seeker, I offer this personal view.

    We are born of Flesh and Spirit (God’s Spirit within us). (Those who don’t believe in God or eternal life of the Spirit, and who believe this life is all there is, and, therefore, seek all the fleshly pleasure you can get – you can stop reading now.) “Anything which increases the power and authority of the Flesh over the Spirit, no matter how good in itself, that for you is sin.” (Susanna Wesley). Sin is “missing the mark.” The mark, the bulls eye, is holiness/wholeness/purity/oneness of spirit. God’s word tells us that our Creator loves us, calls us to wholeness/holiness by growing in His likeness, wants the best for us, gives us the words of life, but also free will to love or not. He stands ready to forgive when we miss the mark, because the ultimate goal is reconciliation or oneness of spirit with Him. (See John 17).
    How I wish I had known this when I got married at 25 – that the goal is oneness of spirit (true intimacy). When oneness of spirit is present between a man and a woman, then and only then, sexual relations become a valid physical expression of a greater, transcendent, spiritual reality. Absent oneness of spirit, sexual relations are a delusional, substitute attempt to experience the transcendent that is never ultimately satisfying. Hence, the lure is present for addiction – “It FEELS so good!”. But like substance addictions, it is a temporary “high” which is ultimately self-destructive. It temporarily medicates symptoms but never heals.

    Neuroscience is providing evidence. In Daniel Goleberg’s “Social Intelligence”, the author states in the introduction that what all the studies covered demonstrate is that our brains are wired for relationship. I believe relationships are the “treasure” that Jesus says (Matt.6) we are to store up in Heaven (the Spirit world). The world of the Flesh dies. Images (e.g. pornography) and music directly affect the amygdala part of the brain, the unregulated emotional center, the center of addictions. The frontal brain is the word processing/critical thinking/decision making part of our brain. When the emotional part overpowers the rational part, we are in danger. As a previous historical era was known as the Age of Reason, today’s society can truly be called the Age of Feelings. The continually increasing power of images over words in our society has become a dire threat to our humanity – our Spirit. Pornography is a huge part of that threat to our health. Thankfully, God’s Word helped me realize that feeding a bad habit wasn’t good for me. When I confessed to Him “…but I really wanted to.”, he removed my desire for it. Now I’m “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”

    • Sue T

      Sue T

  • Karen Lambie

    I will not comment on the “meat” of this article regarding the harmfulness of porn, but I do want to speak to one issue that was briefly touched on: the fact that many of the people involved in these films are actually victims of sex trafficking. They may appear to be enjoying the experience, but are being FORCED to do what they are doing. Victims of sex trafficking are entrapped through various threats to themselves, their children or other family members. This is sex trafficking in a very tiny nutshell…there is much, much more that could be written on this subject.

    • Karen,

      I agree with your comment… I, too, believe many “Being forced to do what they are doing.” I heard a surprisingly-high statistic recently about the percentage of porn stars who would leave the industry “if they could,” but the speaker has yet to confirm the source, so I won’t give it here.

      But I’ve seen too many interviews with ex-porn stars who admit how they got into the business saying, “I’m okay with (a and b), but not (x, y and z).” They’re told they don’t have to do those things. Then they get on set and, mid-act, are expected to do everything… then they had to pretend they enjoyed it (or they wouldn’t get paid)… only to leave the business and speak on the horrors they’d faced while on set.

      Sources of these interviews:

      2 Part Interview by Diane Sawyer
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBtLst3espU&index=1&list=PL8A4520439BF60513

      FTND Article: “10 Ex-Porn Stars Share their Most Disturbing Stories from Within the Industry”
      http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stars-speak-openly-about-their-most-popular-scenes/

      xxxchurch.com has many podcasts by ex-porn stars relating such stories

      • ParallaxView

        Doctor Drew said decades ago he was against pen because people in the pen industry trends to have been sexually abused as children. That’s why they are engaging in such self destructive behavior, and unfortunately continuing the abuse.

  • Lyd

    Anything that takes away from sex being intimate and cherished is not needed. Porn is one of those at the top of the list.

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  • I absolutely agree with the article. While I believe that every person will have a different level of response to a given stimulus, I also know first hand the damage porn created for me and my wife.

    Addiction is in the mind of the addict, if it is causing negative impact on his relationship, work, social, or spiritual life THEN IT IS A PROBLEM.

    I am six years clean of porn and blog on porniskillingm.com to help men struggling to get porn out of their lives and wanting to heal their relationships.

    My wife writes on pornpainhealed.com to keep this from destroying relationships from the woman’s point of view (especially for woman outside of the church).

  • Dawn Robins

    Sometimes it seems crazy making to me how we are still flirting with the idea that pornography “may be problematic”. You don’t have to even depend on research at this point to understand it’s potential devastating effects. Just run a search online and look at all the people seeking help because of the negative impacts. From teenage boys seeking help for porn induced Erectile Dysfunction to couples, women, singles, etc… desperate for help. To many voices to ignore really. And of course yes, it is obvious that it is not a problem for everyone. That same logic is true for things such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, gambling, food, etc… doesn’t matter whether it’s a process addiction or chemical addiction. Some people try it or engage it and do not have a problem and do not become addicted. Does that mean that these substances cannot be devastating? No, of course not. I applaud those voices that are pointing out that Pornography can be harmful or even devastating. I believe Utah has declared it a “public health crisis” and Tennessee is considering doing the same. This is not a evidence blind conclusion. We have many many voices normalizing and mainstreaming it and it’s fair enough to warn people of the potentially devastating effects it can have on their sexual health as well as their relationships.
    I applaud the Gottmans for voicing their concerns. It is apparent that many people will continue to experience upset in the implication that porn can be harmful. Historically, all addictions have been processed by society in the same fashion….it will be years before we acknowledge this one fully. Sad how much brokenness it will produce before then.

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  • Surely porn is one of the most addictive tools. But too much of addiction will surely have some major side effects. Relationships are greatly influenced by the porn, not in a positive essence at all.

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  • Well it starts with a fascinating experiment but with time it gets really addictive and most of the time it becomes a habit with every day passing.

  • Thanks for this article- glad there’s a growing acknowledgment of the negative (and misogynistic) reality of porn.

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  • jcounselor

    Thank you for addressing this issue. Every professional counselor needs to read this!

  • Yahhhmon

    While there is no question porn can be devastating to relationships and minds, male and female and especially to children, I’ve found not all women find it degrading and “evil.”

    Some personal experiences: One woman, very sexual in nature, told me (unsolicited) she thought it would be fun to watch porn together. Another woman I dated, broke out porn (never discussed between us before) to watch to get in the mood. Yet another woman told me her ex-husband made homemade porn of them. I asked if she thought it hot and she said “oh, yeah”.

    In a “different life” I met a couple before and we watched porn and I noticed the wife was riveted by it, much more than the husband who quickly wanted to abandon viewing it and play.

    Now, one woman who pitched watching porn to me also told me she was crushed when she caught her ex-husband watching porn instead of being sexual with her.

    Porn has numerous negative qualities and byproducts yet it seems from the small sample size above that not all see it as ugly.