Tracey Cox tells when you should and shouldn't worry about porn habit

Should YOU be worried about your partner’s porn habit? Tracey Cox reveals the reasons men turn to explicit content, whether they REALLY compare you to women on screen and how much is too much

  • Sex expert Tracey Cox says when you should and shouldn’t worry about porn
  • She said porn traffic from the UK has increased by almost 27% in lockdown
  • Tracey said don’t worry if you’re having good, regular sex with your partner  

Not all businesses experienced a downturn during the pandemic – porn websites were booming.

Pornhub – the world’s largest pornography website – reported an 18 per cent spike at the start of the lockdown. Traffic from the UK increased by almost 27 per cent.

Most people watch porn for pleasure but there’s also evidence we’re far more likely to want some temporary relief from our lives if we’re feeling lonely, depressed, stressed, anxious or bored.

That’ll be a tick, tick, tick, for most of us then, robbed of our friends, pubs, restaurants and anything else to do other than yet another bloody walk around the park.

The good news is, if your partner (or you) have been watching way more porn than normal, it’s probably nothing to worry about.

Only around five per cent of porn users have a habit that interferes with their daily life and porn use is expected to return to pre-COVID levels once the lockdown is lifted.

Not sure this is going to be the case with your partner?

Let’s start with the positive.

Tracey Cox speaks about when you should and shouldn’t be worried by your partner’s porn habits and said most people watch porn for pleasure but there’s evidence we’re far more likely to want some temporary relief from our lives if we’re feeling lonely or bored (stock image)

Why you shouldn’t worry

If you’re having good, regular sex with your partner and he’s just supplementing that with porn masturbatory sessions, I wouldn’t give it another thought.

Also don’t panic if he’s watching porn that seems odd or ‘disgusting’ to you (though it goes without saying that sex involving children or extreme violence does warrant confrontation).

Often men watch sex they’d be horrified to take through to reality.

‘Women on porn do interesting things,’ one man told me. ‘But that doesn’t mean you should feel you have to. Men fantasise about threesomes with strippers but it doesn’t mean they want to date one.’

He doesn’t want you to look like the women onscreen either

Men are not stupid – they know what ‘fake’ lips and breasts look like. That the long, thick hair and eyelashes probably aren’t real; that most women don’t always sport a perfectly maintained full Brazilian (or get their bottoms ‘bleached’).

‘Would I walk down the street, proudly, with the type of women that I masturbate to? Hell no!’ was a common response.

‘My girlfriend is real and I love that she looks natural,’ one 24-year-old told me. ‘I’d hate her to look like the women I watch. Porn is just sex. Sex in relationships is about so much more than looks.’

When you SHOULD worry about porn

Porn’s there to jazz things up a bit, not replace real sex. It should make him want sex, want more sex, give him ideas and make him feel pleasantly ‘naughty’.

THE REASONS WHY MOST MEN ENJOY PORN 

It’s ready when he is. Porn isn’t affected by periods, fat days, moods or arguments. It’s predictable – partners aren’t.

It’s instant. All he has to do is turn on his phone or device to turn himself on.

It’s lazy sex. Most men have a few favourite sites and a particular type of porn they know will push all the right buttons. Zero effort required. If he’s single, he doesn’t have to risk rejection or splash cash to win a woman over. Even if he’s in a relationship, there’s a certain amount of effort he needs to make before sex is on offer.

It’s quick. Men are easily aroused by porn because they’re visual. He can have a quick solo sex session in the time it takes you to pop downstairs to make a cup of coffee.

There’s no pressure. If he’s having erection issues or premature ejaculation, there’s no one to witness it.

It appeals to all tastes. The choices are mind-boggling and never-ending. All niche fetishes and predilections are catered for.

If he’s finding your usual bread-and-butter romp completely uninspiring and unappealing after watching porn, he needs to tone down the porn (or you both need to up the ante in your real life bedroom!).

Some men do say a steady diet of porn can leave them desensitised and one, lone, imperfect girlfriend in the bed can seem a bit lacking.

This is when porn can cause problems in relationships.

If sex with you has decreased or stopped but you know his porn habit hasn’t, Houston, we DO have a problem.

OTHER SIGNS HE’S IN TROUBLE

If porn is affecting his relationships or work, there is obviously an issue. Some men are so addicted to porn, they’ll risk losing someone they love or a job they need, in order to indulge it.

If he can’t get an erection without watching porn, this also (clearly) isn’t great.

If he’s desensitised by watching excessive amounts or extreme porn, some men consider taking it further – interact with webcam girls, visit a sex worker or have random hook ups.

Most of these things aren’t something the average person will put up with in a monogamous relationship.

How much porn is too much porn?

It’s impossible to generalise but more than 11 hours a week is probably getting up there.

Though the Laurel Centre (which specialises in sex addiction services) points out that it’s not the type of activity or the frequency that defines an addict, it’s the relentless preoccupation with pursuing sex or porn in spite of the damaging consequences.

What to do if you find something

Just ‘accidentally’ found out your partner’s history is rather heavily peppered with visits to You Porn?

First up, try not to overreact. Yes, most porn is disgusting. It’s sexist (at best), often misogynistic, degrading, exploitative and it teaches men dangerous lessons about sex.

The British sex expert (pictured) said porn traffic from the UK has increased by almost 27% in lockdown and not to worry if you’re having good, regular sex with your partner and he’s just supplementing that with porn masturbatory sessions

But women aren’t the only ones who know this: men do, too.

The difference is men don’t take porn seriously. For most men, porn is a three-minute escape from normal life. A quick, fun way to arouse themselves.

That’s all well and good, I hear you say, but why would he want to watch porn when he can have the real thing?

MEN TELL WHY THEY LOVE PORN 

‘Because you have control over your own orgasm. You can be as quick or as long as you like. You only have to worry about yourself.’

‘There’s no anxiety. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get very hard or if you come too soon. You can be as proud as you like about your penis because it’s only you there.’

‘It’s the endless variety. I enjoy sex with my girlfriend but she’s not adventurous. With porn I get to indulge all my kink without cheating on her.’

‘It’s a form of arousal which doesn’t require consent. Porn never says no, never has an excuse and never passes judgement.’

‘It’s an escape from the real world. You can explore fantasies that you’ll never act out in real life.’

‘Sometimes you just need a quick release of tension.’

‘Women worry if they catch their man watching something it means he wants to do it in real life. That’s not true. I’ve caught my wife watching lesbian porn but know she doesn’t want to act on that. It’s just fantasy.’

‘My partner stopped having sex with me years ago. It’s the only outlet for sex that I have.’

‘It’s the fantasy of sex unadorned by guilt, shame or histories.’

‘It allows those of us who have a very vanilla sex life to enjoy a more exciting one vicariously.’

‘Men are filthy animals. We have to pretend otherwise in our relationships but when it’s just me, my hand and the screen, I can let loose completely.’

 

Again, nothing to be concerned about: most men still masturbate to porn even when in a sexually satisfying relationship.

It’s not (usually) a lack of sex that makes him want to disappear to the loo. It’s a different type of sex that’s enjoyable for totally different reasons.

Porn sex is scratching an itch. Men don’t view porn or solo sex as infidelity and see no reason why they can’t have both.

What if he’s stopped having sex with me?

This is a completely different scenario.

If masturbating to porn has replaced sex with you, there is definitely a conversation that needs to be had.

But don’t assume it’s because your partner’s not in love with you anymore or doesn’t find you sexually attractive.

A lot of men would rather never have ‘real’ sex again to avoid the embarrassment and shame of admitting to erection or ejaculation problems.

Others – often wrongly – think they’re doing you a favour by instead satisfying themselves. They think you aren’t that interested in sex or don’t want to ‘bother you’ if you seem too busy.

The only way to find out what’s really causing this is to talk about it.

Choose a time when you’re getting on well, then broach the subject by saying, ‘I’ve noticed we’re not having sex like we used to. Can we talk about that? I miss it’.

Hopefully, this will be enough to open a gentle, calm conversation which explores why sex has stopped and how you can get it on track again.

If you want to let him know you’re noticed he’s satisfying himself using porn, say, ‘I’ve noticed you still enjoy watching porn and masturbating. Is there a reason why you choose that over us having sex together?’

He might well get defensive – he’s probably embarrassed more than anything – but if you make it clear you’re up for an honest and open discussion about sex, that might just be what you have.

Nearly all problems are solved with good communication and this is no exception.

If you’re concerned porn is interfering with your sex life and need help, find a therapist at cosrt.org.uk, bacp.co.uk, relate.org.uk or visit thelaurelcentre.co.uk. You’ll also find sex advice at traceycox.com and in Tracey’s books, also on her website. 

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