5 ways porn can affect your relationship

5 ways porn can affect your relationship

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A GUY’S FIRST foray into the world of porn is like a coming of age.

Unlike puberty, though, it usually lasts through manhood. Or, you know, forever.

And the tricky thing is, porn can become somewhat problematic, particularly for relationships.

Some people believe watching porn counts as cheating. Others become addicted to viewing dirty flicks and lose the intimacy in their relationship, since a porn addiction can repel the real person they could be having sex with. (Speaking of which: Are your masturbation habits normal?)

Meanwhile, advancements in the adult entertainment industry—likePornhub’s new interactive videos that sync with sex toys—can complicate a situation that’s already complicated for a lot of people.

Ultimately, though, handling the sensitive topic of porn in your relationship is totally navigable. And, these days, it’s probably a conversation most people should have. Here, Michael Aaron, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist, sexologist, and sex therapist, highlights the positive and negative ways porn can influence your love life, as well as how to keep it from derailing your relationship.

Should you ask your girlfriend if she’s cool with you watching porn?

In short: yes. It’s important to discuss potentially divisive topics early on in a relationship. (You know, things like: Hey, I run a profitable business selling fake IDs on the deep Web, or My mother has a key to my place and free range to stop by whenever she pleases). You want to feel comfortable expressing your opinion, even if it’s coming out and saying you enjoy watching strangers romp every now and again on your computer.

“If you’re sneaking around trying to watch porn because your partner feels uncomfortable, that’s a recipe for disaster,” Aaron says. Again, this is why you want to have a conversation in the beginning of the relationship, even if it’s awkward. “If you’re not on the same page about porn, you’re probably not on the same page about many things related to sex,” he adds. That said, assume nothing going into the conversation (meaning don’t think she’ll automatically shun you from watching porn or doesn’t watch it herself). People are surprising. And porn isn’t automatically damning to a relationship.

“Porn helps people explore their fantasies in confidential, non-judgmental ways,” Aaron says. “You can learn more about your sexuality and the kinds of things that appeal to you without taking any major risks.” It’s also a helpful way to get you both in the mood—whether you watch porn together or separately.