Pornography has the ability to enhance desire and sexual gratification; used as an addition to consensual sexual experiences it can make sex life more stimulating and enjoyable.
For a portion of individuals who view pornography however, it can become their only source of sexual gratification, leading to isolation from others and the inability to form consensual relationships and have real life experiences.
This reliance on porn can mean that users become bored with what they usually use, and lead the individual to seek out different forms of pornography – that are more exciting – to provide the sexual thrill.
When Pornography becomes a Problem
This quest for new experiences can lead to trouble if the new pornography contains images of a child, animals or harm coming to individuals. The reliance on pornography for sexual gratification and the pleasure received can also lead individuals to prioritise pornography use over other social interactions, expectations or commitments.
Pornography can also lead to unhealthy sexual expectations of self or others. Individuals viewing pornography can negatively evaluate themselves against the physical characteristics of porn actors, their sexual ability or the actors’ apparent pleasure in sexual acts that the viewer may not personally enjoy. It can also cause unhealthy expectations of others, as the individual can feel that their sexual partner should react the same way as porn actors – to enjoy the same range of sexual acts as depicted in porn, or to react with the same amount of pleasure and enjoyment that porn actors do.
Firstly we need to remember that we are viewing actors and while they may seem to be experiencing pleasure and enjoyment – it might not be true. The expectations people can have around sex following viewing of pornography can lead to difficulty in being able to explore sexual acts with partners, and learning to identify appropriate sexual responses from others. This can lead to relationship conflict.
Pornography can also lead to the expectation that everyone is happy for sex at any time, and individuals can fail to respect the need to gain consent for each and every sexual act with another.
Why is a Psychologist writing about Porn?!
Everyone should be able to experience a healthy sexual life. When this gets out of balance it can be embarrassing, lead to dissatisfaction and potentially a mental health disorder (for example depression), sexual dysfunction and relationship issues.
A psychologist can help with identifying and treating any underlying mental health disorders, and provide treatment for sexual dysfunction (potentially in conjunction with a medical expert).
In addition, a psychologist can help the individual to manage their porn use so that it no longer has a negative impact on their life; to identify healthy sexual goals; and learn new skills to interact with others in intimate relationships. If the individual is in a relationship that is experiencing difficulties, then relationship counselling is also available and may be beneficial.
Author: Laura Fleming, BA, BSc, Grad Dip Psych, M Psych (Forensic).
Laura Fleming is a Loganholme Psychologist, experienced in providing treatment and assessment reports for clients across the life span. Her goal is to assist her clients to gain an understanding of why problem behaviour is occurring currently in respect to their life story, and to help them to develop goals to live a full life.
To make an appointment with Loganholme Psychologist Laura Fleming, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.