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Porn

Porn

Never before has so much sexually explicit imagery been so easily and inexpensively available. More free pornography is available on the internet than any guy could watch in a lifetime.

Whether this is good for society at large is an open (and moot) point — there’s no putting this genie back in the bottle. The question is how individuals can best respond to this unquestionably tempting lure.

Like other things that plug into primal human desires (e.g. alcohol, sugary foods, fatty foods, nicotine), pornography can be tricky to handle. What is pleasurable and harmless at first, and in moderation, can easily become habit-forming and hazardous to one’s physical or mental health.

The hazards are there whether you simply view pornography or whether (as is usually the case) you both view and masturbate with pornography.

The problems are two-fold: first, the intense and often idealized visual stimulation available with pornography can make it more difficult to become aroused by a real-world partner; second, frequent masturbation may lead to delayed ejaculation or difficulties being sexually aroused by the physical sensations of real sex, as opposed to self-stimulation.

Occasional use of erotica, whether online, video, or print, is probably harmless—it may even help spice up a sex life if the erotica is appealing to both partners and both are interested in exploring that option. (Note to guys: what appeals to you may not appeal to a woman—look for erotica featuring couples who at least appear to have an emotional connection, erotica that has high production values, and in which women are not hit, slapped, or otherwise abused.)

But if your use of porn seems to be causing a problem in your relationship, take a break from it. Let the images of perfect bodies fade and take a break from masturbating. Focus, instead, on the qualities of your partner that you first were attracted to, and let your desire build naturally so that you both can enjoy the pleasure of real, as opposed to “virtual,” sex.

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