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Porn: What's Sexy And What's Dirty

Porn is everywhere. From the bangketa DVDs to the explicit porn sites that you can access from almost
any mobile, this high speed proliferation of pornography is one of the biggest money makers in the
digital age. Consequently, a debate has been ongoing (for decades now!) within the world of sex experts
as to whether or not porn is healthy at the individual, relationship, or even the societal levels. What
makes you want porn? Is it just to spice up your sex life or to fill a gap that exists in your relationship?
Some mental health professionals believe that porn shouldn’t be indulged at all. Why? There are those
who argue that porn and sex addiction exist. With the addiction model, they believe that even a little
porn can get you hooked. Some will even warn you about the dangers of what they call “porn-induced
erectile dysfunction.” Thus, for them, it’s better to just stay away from temptation. (Disclaimer: A vast
review of scientific literature gives no credence to that claim. Uh-huh.)

On the flip side, porn has been used for successful HIV prevention campaigns (which I really feel we
should adopt in this country) to popularize safer sex, encourage MSMs to adopt less risky sexual
behavior, and promote masturbation instead of engaging in high-risk casual encounters. By showing
that safer sex is thrilling and pleasurable, porn has helped eroticize socially-responsible sexual
behavior.

 

So what is it really? Should we or should we not watch porn?

Filipinos loooove porn. We love porn so much, we even go above average in terms of duration of
watching, a whole 3 minutes more of holding that orgasm in! Talk about endurance and willpower! To
add: The Philippines is number one when it comes to female viewers! See? We women love porn too! ;)
One then might ask, how pornography, with so many negative connotations, continue to find itself in
our phones, bedrooms, and even our relationships, every single day?

Simple: We are repressed when it comes to sex. More so, being a people with strong adherence to
religion, we were raised to think of masturbation, nudity, and sex itself as taboo. Boo! The fact that we
weren’t given anything but silence on topics such as anal sex, lesbian sex, men who have sex with men
(MSMs), orgies, bdsm, sodomy, and the wide array of sexual acts offered by pornography, could lead to
feelings of anxiety and guilt, and worse, getting compulsively hooked to the material because of these.
Thus, we get enticed to watch these videos, scandals, and even movies.Think: “Masarap ang bawal.”
But is it really “bawal?” Yesterday, I met with a professor from the University of Toronto and after five
hours of porn-discussion and going through scientific studies, we both agreed that…porn is not “bawal”
nor is it good, mind you, it is “just is.”

Ah! A safe answer from a sex person, you might say. But not really. Porn, unless it’s used for illegal
activities (but that’s another story), is just is. And as with anything else that’s “just is,” it should be
taken in moderation. Think about your favorite margarita, for example. With just the right amount,
you’ll feel liberated, confident, and sexy. But go beyond that, the tequila will take over, and you will end
up feeling downright dirty. Same goes with viewing porn, especially in relationships: There’s the sexy
side and there’s the dirty side.


Let’s start with The Dirty

 

1. Porn can make couples feel insecure.

Porn can contain radical, unrealistic depictions of sex acts that most people don’t engage in. Some may
include scenes degrading to both men and women. Hence, because most people are not able to do that
back flip, helicopter, Kamasutra style happening on screen, nor do they have that 8-inch organ, and
melon breasts the porn stars have, they have this nagging feeling that they will never be enough.
(Newsflash: What you see in porn is not real, honey!)


2. Couples who watch porn tend to be less committed and are more prone to cheat.

As bad as it may sound, there are studies with this conclusion. Studies state that couples who regularly
engage in watching porn see porn as a way to think about other possible partners. And it doesn’t stop
there, they also tend to act on impulse to cheat on their partners when given the opportunity! Yikes.
And even if their relationship is good enough, the fact that they feel there’s something better out there
can be enough to send them looking! OH MY.


3. Porn can make relationships go uh-oh.

Most men feel that they cannot trust their women with their use of porn. Hence, they tend to hide it
and lie about it. When found out, however, usually, the women feel hurt, betrayed and cheated on.
Ouch. “My husband is watching porn behind my back, does he not love me anymore?” Sounds
familiar?! Yes. This could lead to not just problems with their sex lives, but also to major relationship
issues as well. Mind you, this could also happen the other way around, and it’s a no win-win situation
at all.


Then There’s The Sexy

 

1. Porn can be a substitute in times of destitute.

When you need sexual release, and your partner is not just up to it, watching porn can help you with
your journey through self-pleasure. For many couples, this is a way for them not to resent their
partners–allowing the SO to watch porn, when they can’t perform!

 

2. Porn can ignite your passions.

Some couples see porn as that one thing you need as a lubricant, to release inhibitions and help you
take those clothes off. Porn can act as an igniter to tickle those sleeping desires, as something to shake
things up. Add some sex toys, costumes, and a little bit of fantasy play and erotic storytelling, and porn
can help couples bring excitement to the everyday, monotonous sex routine that they have. It’s like that
wine, taken with a little bit pepper and cardamom. Spicy, isn’t it?


3. Porn can help you discover those kinks together!

Watching porn as a couple is a way for the both of you to explore what you like and what you don’t like
in bed. Some couples even recreate what they see on the screen and laugh it all up when it becomes
disastrous! It happens, believe me! By going through these, they feel more intimate, closer, and secure
with one another. Hoorray for couple points!

These are only a few of the arguments about pornography that even us professionals and experts have
trouble in finding a consensus. (We all might need therapy for this! Lol!)

Porn can be a stress outlet and a sexual companion at the end of the day. It can also help rejuvenate sex
lives. Porn can be used to learn more about one’s sexuality, which is essential for overall well-being.
But taken excessively and deceitfully, it can lead to undesirable consequences. Just like that margarita.
It can make you feel good if you have a glass or two, but if you binge, and get out of control, then the
problems start to kick in. And as with any of us who binge on margaritas and get out of control –
there’s usually something hidden underneath (not just sex!). I know you know what I mean!

So my advice before you start collecting those DVDs, and paying that monthly redtube subscription, try
asking yourselves this: What makes you want porn? If it’s just to spice up your sex life, then so be it!
But if you feel that there’s something deeper in the relationship that makes you want it, then put that
payment on hold and go get help, girl! #fromthesexexpert

 

Our Love & Sex Expert
Rica Cruz is a Psychologist, and Sex and Relationships Therapist with the Ateneo Bulatao Center for
Psychology Services. She is also a faculty member of the Department of Psychology at the Ateneo de
Manila University. Her expertise focuses on Filipino sexual behaviours with an emphasis on sexual
pleasure and relationship satisfaction.

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