a
 
Porn Affecting Your
Relationships or Sex Life

Hi there! If you think porn might be affecting your sex life or relationships – you’re not alone.

Heaps of young people use porn to learn about sex, but research says it can sometimes change our expectations, relationships, ideas about sex – and even enjoyment of it
(ouch 😱). We all want to have great sex and relationships – so if you’re keen to change things up, here’s some info, tips and tools to help…

TIPS & TOOLSseeing-porn-glasses

Partner using porn?

If your partner’s using porn and you’re a bit confused about it, here’s some stuff to help…

Partner using porn?

If your partner is watching porn and you’re not comfortable with it – it’s okay to feel confused, sad or even betrayed. You might wonder if your partner prefers porn to real-life sex or compares you to what they see in porn.

For any relationship to work it’s important you’re all good with each other’s porn use – so start by talking about it.

How do I bring it up with my partner?

Rather than diving in with an ultimatum, start with some open questions to work out where you are both at, what you both want and how/if you can make things work. Try these:
 

  • Start with yourself: what is it about my partners porn use that’s worrying me and why do I feel like this?
  • What are both our views on porn?
  • What do we both think about porn in a relationship?
  • If porn’s a problem in our relationship – where do we both sit with this? Is there a middle ground? Or is it a deal breaker?

Random tip

“Give it 48” – when you find out something upsetting wait 48hrs before you bring it up with them.

Your convo is going to be way better with a little more time to breathe!

Relationship struggling?

If you’re made to feel bad, boring or lame for not being into porn or not wanting it in your relationship, that’s not okay.

So make sure you get some support from a trusted friend or adult. If you don’t want to stay in a relationship, that’s OK too!

Here’s some info on healthy relationships from youthline that might help while you’re working it out.

Worried or feeling the pressure?

If you’re worried about your partner’s porn use – check out THIS PAGE for some great tips on how to understand and help someone who might be struggling with porn.

If you feel pressure from your partner to watch or re-enact porn – click HERE. 

<< Click for next tip 👍🏽 >>

<< Swipe for next tip 👍🏽 >>

Rather than diving in with an ultimatum, start with some open questions to work out where you are both at, what you both want and how/if you can make things work.

Porn impacting your relationships or sex life?

Porn can affect our relationships and sex life in heaps of different ways. If that’s you, here’s some tips to help out…

Sex check

If it feels like your sex life is taking a bit of a dive, here’s a checklist that might come in handy.

  • Are my expectations realistic?
  • Are we talking about what we both like and don’t like?
  • Is there 100% mutual consent?
  • Is what we’re trying going to feel great for both of us?
  • Do we feel pressure to be something we’re not?
  • Where are we learning about sex from? If it’s porn, try a reset.

Sex expectations changing?

The experts say that watching lots of porn can change what we expect from sex. Like, 4-hour long sex and wild acrobatic positions 😊. It can also sometimes make real live sex feel like a bit of a fail.

If this is you, focus on the stuff that makes real life sex good – talk about what you both want, check in after sex about what they/you liked, or give porn a break for a while to get a re-set on your expectations.

Whoops, partner wasn’t a fan?

Porn peeps are paid to look like they’re super into everything, so it’s easy to think your partner might be too. If you tried something your partner/date wasn’t keen on, don’t freak out. Just say sorry – it goes a long way.

Next time you want to try something new, ask your partner if it’s okay. If their answer is anything other than a straight up yes, then it’s best to leave it.

Wanna know more about what makes great sex? Click here.

Things not ‘getting going’?

Watching heaps of porn can sometimes affect real live sex. You could try cutting down for a while and see if you can get turned on without it.

When you’re with a partner, focus on what’s in front of you (what you see, touch, hear, smell), rather than what’s in your head.

If this is super hard and you’re really struggling to get things going without porn, check out this app.

Not keen for sex anymore?

If you’re not keen for real-life sex anymore and only want to watch porn instead, that might mean porn has become a problem for you.

Some people prefer porn because of fears around performance or body image, or because it feels much easier than sex with a real-life partner/hook-up.

But the experts tell us if we want to have a great long-term sex life, watching tons of porn might not be the best way to get there! Text the pros at Safe to talk 4334 anonymously with any questions.

Partner not liking your porn use?

It’s normal in relationships to have different views on porn and what is/isn’t okay. If your partner isn’t into what, when or how much porn you watch, it’s good to talk about this with them.

Check in on their thoughts and feelings, share yours too – and see if you can work something out or find a middle ground.

If you can’t agree, that’s okay too.

Ouch - comparing yourself to porn actors?

People in porn are performers. It’s their job. They have lunch breaks, they stop to change scenes and angles; heck, they even have bathroom breaks and get more lube – they’re professionals.

Comparing yourself to porn actors is brutal – they say themselves that porn is definitely not like real sex.

Great sex takes a while to learn, so if it doesn’t go well, that’s cool, it usually gets better with time – but don’t compare yourself to the porn performers.

<< Click for next tip 👍🏽 >>

<< Swipe for next tip 👍🏽 >>

Porn peeps are paid to look like they’re super into everything, so it’s easy to think your partner might be too – but trying out stuff straight out of porn often doesn’t land so well.

If you’re worried about the types of porn you are watching – click HERE 

Change topics?

LEARN
Porn and relationships

People can have positive and negative experiences watching porn – it’s important to respect everyone’s experiences.

Even if it’s mostly good times, the experts tell us that for some people that watch tons of porn it can affect their relationships. For e.g. they can become less affectionate in real-life sex, be less likely to seek out real-life relationships or start to prefer porn over real life sex(19)(20). Some partners of people that watch lots of porn can feel betrayed or insecure about it.

Note: If you’re watching porn and in a relationship, this doesn’t mean you’ll experiences these things – but if you’re watching a lot of porn and/or using porn as a learning tool, over time there’s more risk it may impact your relationships.

“Sex education through porn is dangerous because it gives an unrealistic idea of sex and intimacy.”
Anon youth, TLP Survey 2020

Porn and Sex

There are also lots of studies on the impact of porn on sex, which suggest using porn (particularly a lot of it) doesn’t always positively affect our sex lives. Here are some of the ways it can affect someone’s sex life:

  • less sexual satisfaction (even just with monthly use)(21)
  • wanting riskier sex e.g. no condoms or experimenting with sex earlier(22)
  • struggling to get turned on or needing porn to masturbate (23)
  • pressure or pushing boundaries while hooking up(24)
  • preferring porn to real-life sex or needing porn to get aroused(25)(26)

Here are some links to research on some possible effects of porn on sex: Porn and Young People or Can Porn Affect Us?

If you relate to any of these, don’t freak out – the great news is most of these impacts can be helped or reversed. Call the pros at Safe to Talk or head to your local sexual health clinic HERE.

What’s a healthy relationship – no regrets?

You might not know this but learning what makes a great relationship will probably help you more than algebra!

So, before you dive into a relationship, check out these signs of a healthy relationship, so you have NO REGRETS:

Nice: Sounds old fashioned, but it’s a no brainer … you’re nice to each other.

Owesome: O is for owesome. Most of the time you feel awesome when together.
Real: The relationship is honest and real. You can be yourself just as you are.
Easy: It’s easy and un-complex. You have LOLs, enjoy hanging and don’t fight heaps.
Good fit: Your friends, parent/s and wider whānau are supportive.
Respect: Respect each other’s sexual boundaries, there’s no pressure & 100% consent.
Encouraging: You encourage each other to live your best lives.
Trust: You trust each other, and you’ve got each other’s backs.
Safe: It’s safe. You don’t try and control what each other can or can’t do or say.
“Positive – I now know more about how a woman enjoys herself. Negative – it made it look ok to do to anyone at any time.” MALE, 15, OFLC research
“Many girls don’t want their partners to watch porn because it makes them feel insecure, while others put them down for being controlling. I think it’s important to be able to express their feelings about porn without being labelled as a prude.”
Anon youth, TLP Survey 2020
What’s the difference between porn sex and great sex?

Check out this great resource that compares porn sex to great sex in terms of consent, connection, pleasure and safety.

What’s a healthy sexual relationship?
Quick 5 checklist..

Consent – an enthusiastic “hell yeah” kinda yes to the type, place, person and timing of sex
Communication
– both partners say what they’re into/not into and it’s respected
Contraception/Condoms
– it’s risk free of STIs and unplanned pregnancy
Comfort
– it’s pleasurable, feels great for both partners and there’s no pressure
Connection
– there’s connection and it’s not just all about the sex.

What do NZ young people think about porn and sex?

If you want to learn more about young people’s experiences with porn and how this might affect their relationships, checkout the Classification Office’s latest research with 50 young kiwis: Growing Up with Porn

What’s a healthy sexual relationship?
Quick 5 checklist..

Consent – an enthusiastic “hell yeah” kinda yes to the type, place, person and timing of sex
Communication
– both partners say what they’re into/not into and it’s respected
Contraception/Condoms
– it’s risk free of STIs and unplanned pregnancy
Comfort
– it’s pleasurable, feels great for both partners and there’s no pressure
Connection
– there’s connection and it’s not just all about the sex.

“Many girls don’t want their partners to watch porn because it makes them feel insecure, while others put them down for being controlling. I think it’s important to be able to express their feelings about porn without being labelled as a prude.”
Anon youth, TLP Survey 2020

LISTEN

PORN AFFECTING YOUR
RELATIONSHIPS OR SEX LIFE?

Young People's Views On Porn

New Zealand young people share their views on porn.

Russell Brand on sex and 50 Shades – The Trews

Russell Brand, in his usual humour shares his own experiences with porn, views on how it can impact our relationships and the d-low on 50 shades.

Professional Athlete Lamar Odom Shares Why He's Given Up Porn in Exclusive Interview

Professional Athlete Lamar Odom shares why he’s given up porn.

Why I Stopped Watching Porn

TEDx by Ran Gavrieli on how porn impacted his sex life and what he did about it.

Tea Consent (Clean)

Great video on how giving/receiving consent is like having a cup of tea.

Professional Athlete Lamar Odom, Russell Brand, and Ran Gavrieli talk porn, their sex lives, and how it didn’t work out for them. If you’re keen to hear from them, and get some extra ideas from NZ young people – tune in…

TALK/TEXT

1737

If you’re feeling anxious, down or overwhelmed, 1737 offers a free confidential call or text line with trained counsellors 24/7.

Text: 1737
www.1737.org.nz

Aunty Dee

Awesome wellbeing tool that helps you work through any type of problem by guiding you through a series of questions that help you come up with ideas, solutions and connections to the right support.

www.auntydee.co.nz

YOUTHLINE

24/7 free service designed just for youth. You can call or text to talk about big or small stuff.

Anonymous online chat 7-10pm.
Freephone: 0800 376 633
Text: 234
www.youthline.co.nz

Safe to Talk

If you’ve been affected by sexual harm or are worried about your own behaviour, Safe to Talk provide great 24/7 confidential non-judgmental support and advice with trained counsellors.

Anonymous online chat 24/7.
Freephone: 0800 044 334
Text: 4334
Website/online chat: www.safetotalk.co.nz
Email: [email protected]

The Lowdown

An awesome website and 24/7 help service for youth who feel stuck. Whether it’s mental health issues, relationships, or school issues, the lowdown offers ideas, info and help.

Freephone: 0800 111 757
thelowdown.co.nz Text: 5626 for confidential chat. Anonymous online chat 24/7.

Fun Fact: Studies at UCLA showed that talking with someone and ‘labelling’ emotions can slow the part of the brain that triggers negative feelings and help calm our minds.