You have to be brain dead to not know that the Internet is full of pornography, which is viewed predominantly by men. Two tendencies of modern pornography are its greater reach via the Internet and its more explicit depictions. This more explicit presentation of sex demonstrates the growing split between “erotic” and “gonzo” porn.
Conventional “erotic” porn mirrors Hollywood’s storytelling style, with clear plotlines with both characters and sex serving a “romantic” end, however, typically with a conventional a male focus (http://web.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/gonzo-porn). “Gonzo” porn has pushed the traditional boundaries of pornography to new extremes. “Gonzo” porn depicts sexual performances in which a male actor violates, appearing to harm, the female performer during sex acts that no actual woman would want to engage in. “Gonzo” porn has no pretensions about plot and characters, sex acts are roughly enacted with more than one man involved and more explicitly degrading language (women are called sluts, whores, cunts, nasty bitches, etc.) It has been suggested that a plausible reason for the popularity of this type of porn is women will not engage in such acts unless forced
Pornography and Your Relationship
Couples therapists hear women’s concern about their husband’s use of porn while husbands say it’s normal and that every guy does it. Recent research is beginning to discover that the effect of watching pornography is more significant the people may think.
Here are some recent findings from a 2010 Scientific American review of relevant research (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sex-in-bits-and-bytes/)
- An online study of more than 9,000 people, most of them men who were married or in a committed relationship, who used the Internet for sexual purposes reported the following results:
- Slightly fewer than half used porn an hour or less a week
- Forty-five percent reported engaging in online sexual activity between one and 10 hours a week
- Eight percent used the Internet for such purposes for 11 or more hours weekly
- A small but distinctive 0.5 percent reported more than 70 hours a week.
- Even relatively light use may have a negative effect on one’s partner or spouse.
- Frequent porn use and enthusiasm for porn was related to male dissatisfaction with a partner’s sexual performance and appearance, and doubts about the value of marriage.
- 42% of women in one study said that their partner’s porn consumption made them feel insecure, 39 percent that the partner’s porn use had a negative effect on their relationship, and 32 percent that it adversely affected their lovemaking.
A recent (2014) study at the University of Tennessee conducted by Dawn M. Szymanski and Destin N. Stewart-Richardson (http://men.sagepub.com/content/22/1/64.full.pdf+html) found that pornography viewing was positively associated with lower relationship quality and decreased sexual satisfaction.
A Florida State University study (2012) (http://www.fincham.info/papers/2012-porn.pdf) found that consumption of pornography was related to lower commitment to one’s partner, higher levels of flirting with a woman not their partner, and that, related to the lower levels of commitment, pornography was positively related to infidelity.
What Men Say About the Effect of Porn on Them
Men are reporting delayed ejaculation, a waning desire for their partners, having to play porno scenes in one’s mind in order to orgasm, faking orgasm, “sexual attention deficit disorder” from the habit of jumping quickly form porn clip to porn clip, getting home early from work to masturbate to porn, thinking one’s wife doesn’t measure up to the porn stars (they are younger, hotter, and wilder in the sack). These comment are from “He’s Just Not that Into Anyone” published in the New York Magazine by Davy Rothbart.
Pornography and Morality
Is Pornography Adultery?
Ross Douthat is a conservative op-ed writer for the New York Times, published an article in 2008 in the Atlantic, “Is Pornography Adultery? (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/10/is-pornography-adultery/306989/). His argument is that in the hard-core pornography in which two sexual acts are involved–the on-camera copulation, and the masturbation it enables, are interdependent (neither would happen with the other)–is “real” sex by definition. His point is that this gets awfully close to moving from “fantasy” sexual activity to “real” sexual activity. That’s getting close to what are adulterous actions.
Douthat, therefore, challenges the point of view that looking at pornography is a “perfectly normal” activity, that all men do it, and that women should stop whining and live with (in part because it is a low –risk alternative to “real” prostitution and “real” affairs).
What About the Women in These Films
Robert Jensen, a professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin is worried about the physical and emotional well-being of the women who perform the brutal sex acts depicted in “gonzo” porn. He rejects the old shibboleths “to each his own” and “as long as they are consenting adults”. To the contrary, Jensen wants us to extend the empathy we fell in sexual assault and domestic violence to the women in pornography and prostitution. We have a moral responsibility to the woman who finds herself making a living by being filmed in “gonzo” porn films.
Secrecy not Privacy
Do not confuse having a right to privacy in marriage with keeping secrets. Privacy has to do with keeping things to yourself that do not cause concern, harm, and injury to your wife. Secrecy is keeping things, your engagement with pornography, from your spouse. When you keep things secret, you deny your wife the information she needs to manage her own life successfully.
Here are a few excuses that you do not have to accept as justification for accepting something that is unacceptable to you, namely your husband’s involvement with pornography:
- It’s “normal”; that every guy does it
- Can’t you see I need it (usually referring to some specific act likely picked up from watching porn)
- I’ll never cheat as long as I have porn
- It’s private
Researchers have just begun to explore the possible downsides for intimate relationships of Internet pornography. There is reason to be very cautious about the potential negative effects of watching (and masturbating to) pornography, particularly “gonzo” pornography on your marriage.