The euroClinix Health Blog Everything for your health

Is Porn Damaging Your Sex Life?

Posted in: Sexual Health 29 Dec, 2014

Many people enjoy watching porn, whether alone or with a partner. Usually this is a private activity that causes no harm to the viewer, however recent studies have suggested that, actually, in some cases excessive indulgence can have a negative effect on your sex life. This is particularly true for men, who can experience sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction. So let’s take a closer look - how does watching porn really affect your brain?

Let me use an old psychology theory to explain

Who remembers being taught about Pavlov and his hungry dog in psychology lessons? Pavlov would give the dog a juicy steak, but he would ring a bell before the dog saw the steak. He basically conditioned the animal to associate a ringing bell with getting a meal. So even when Pavlov rang the bell without giving the steak, the dog would salivate in response to the ringing.

Something similar takes place when we view pornography. If you masturbate while watching porn, your brain begins to link arousal with an image or video rather than a sexual encounter with a person. For those who watch porn to an excessive degree, this can result in becoming aroused at inappropriate times, and not at the right time, such as during sex. If this sounds familiar, you too may need to rewire your brain so you don’t salivate to the wrong thing.

What has science got to say about it?

Science calls porn a ‘supernormal stimulus’ because it strongly activates the reward mechanisms in the brain, so you perceive pornographic images to be more pleasing than real life stimulus. The problem is, this causes your brain to require more stimulus when you’re having sex in order to get the same level of enjoyment.

As a result, you may start resorting to hardcore pornography over real life sex. This is because you become desensitized and end up wanting to see something more sexually extreme. If this happens, you can get mentally addicted to porn and it will slowly start to hijack your mind, leading to a distorted view of sex.

Higher expectations of sex

Watching porn repeatedly can distort your perception of what is attractive and give you unreasonable benchmarks for sex. For example, a lot of men expect their partners to perform a lengthy session of oral sexwithout reciprocation, because they see it happen all the time in porn scenes. As most partners refuse to behave like porn stars, you may be left disappointed with most, if not all, of your sexual encounters. This in turn can lead to problems such as erectile dysfunction (ED), making it difficult for you to participate in sex at all. Many men experience ED, and of course, it’s not always porn-related. However the problem often stems from psychological causes, and this is particularly apparent if you can achieve an erection while masturbating (with or without porn) but not with a partner.

What is the solution?

The good new is that, with a little work, you can recondition your brain to desire sex with a human partner again. Unfortunately, this may require you to quit porn altogether for a period, in order to ‘reboot’ your brain. While recovering you may experience a temporary loss of libido, however it should pay off in the end, enabling you to enjoy a full and satisfying sex life again.

Submit Comment
  • Your Name:*
  • Your Email:
  • Your Comment:*
Continue reading
Discover euroClinix Blog Categories
Discover more
Finding the right bra is no joke. Misery-filled hours in John Lewis,... Continue reading
Chemsex. I wonder if that'll make it into the dictionary next year? If... Continue reading
How do you manage your period? With Kit Kats, crying and a sex desert that... Continue reading