How Much is Too Much?

Top shelf magazines seem to be available in most local newsagents, yet couples often wonder if using porn in their relationship helps or harms. There is nothing unhealthy or unusual in using visual stimulus as an addition, to spice up your sex life. Many people do it, from watching hot love scenes in a film to looking at sexy pics in a magazine. But when you get into the extremes of hard core videos and no-holds-barred sex sites, you may be in dangerous territory.

Most people use some form of erotica to pump prime their desire or to give them ideas to use in their own repertoire and if you banned every erotic sight you would have to remove almost every work of art in the world as well as most books, magazines and films. But what separates a healthy addition from an unhealthy addiction is when the object, in this case pornography, becomes the most important aspect in the sexual act.

It’s not the porn itself that’s the problem but how and why it’s being used. If you can’t make love to your partner without it or would prefer it to them, that’s the time to seek help. The attraction of pornography, of course, is that it’s an easy shortcut. Porn makes no demands. Porn doesn’t talk back, it doesn’t ask for it’s own orgasm, it doesn’t make comparisons and it certainly doesn’t expect to be wined, dined and romanced. It delivers the goods by getting you aroused, allowing you to get your kicks and letting you disengage when you choose.

The problem is, like Chinese food, you tend to want another hit pretty quickly afterwards and like any drug you usually find you need more each time to get the same effect. Users often claim their partners doesn’t mind, but that could be for several reasons. One may be that they simply doesn’t realise how much pornography is becoming a part of the shared sex life and possibly edging them out of bed. Or maybe they do and it actually suits them just fine. After all, one person may be using porn because deep down they suspect their relationship is in trouble and it’s a way of avoiding confrontation.

The non-user may see it as a way of getting the user off their back and sooner or later a good excuse to dump them. Or it could be that they hate it but simply doesn’t feel able to say so, scared that speaking the truth could lead to arguments.

If someone is worried, they should ask themselves:

  • Have I ever passed up the chance to make love, preferring a session with porn?
  • Do I find I can’t have sex, or sex seems flat and uninteresting, without porn?
  • Have I ever encouraged my partner to go out with friends/not to see me some night, so I could indulge in porn?
  • Have I ever promised to stop, only to find myself buying one more video/mag/logging on to one more site?
  • Would I rather look at porn than go out with friends?
  • Have I ever missed work to use porn?
  • Have I ever looked at porn at work?
  • Have I ever masturbated in risky circumstances with my porn?
  • Do I spend more than I can afford on porn?

Say yes to 3 and you’re getting into trouble; 4 and you’re at serious risk; 5 or more and you are putting your job, your bank balance and most important your relationship on the line in pursuit of illusion. That would be the time to have an honest talk with your partner and consider seeing a counsellor.

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