Overexposure To Porn May Decrease Sexual Sensitivity

Overexposure to Porn May Decrease Sexual Sensitivity

We like porn. A lot. There's nothing wrong with that. However, like anything in life, there can be an upper bound on what constitutes a healthy amount of indulgence. According to sex therapist Ian Kerner, too much porn can have a negative effect on your actual sex life.

Photo by Porsche Brosseau

To be absolutely clear up front, what Kerner is not describing is not "porn addiction". This is why Kerner has come up with a different term: Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder. While "disorder" might be a strong term, SADD helps convey a simple idea: watching too much porn can skew our perceptions and make it difficult to focus or get excited when with a partner. As Kerner explains:

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of masturbation. It helps a guy blow off some steam and is like a 30-second spa day. But easy access to internet porn and the sheer variety of novelty it contains have affected average guys who wouldn't normally have a problem. Because of this, these men have rewired their brains to crave the instant gratification of a porn-enabled orgasm. This means that they're developing what's clinically referred to as an idiosyncratic masturbatory style: They have accustomed themselves to an intense type of physical stimulation that's not approximated during real sex. Their overall levels of sexual desire for their partners are down, and they need to fantasize during real sex in order to maintain a full erection.

Of course, it's easy to leap straight to hyperbole on this topic. We know that porn isn't necessarily a bad thing by itself. When you and your partner are open about it, it can even lead to a happier, healthier relationship.

However, in the same way that skimming on the internet runs counter to heavy reading in books, porn and masturbation use one set of mental processes, while sex and relationships use another. If porn usage starts to set the bar of expectations for real life, it can become counter-productive.

To combat this effect, Kerner has a couple of common sense (if possibly difficult) suggestions. For starters, try reducing the amount of time you spend masturbating. Making yourself wait for physical contact not only helps you adjust to the right level of stimulus, but it can also make things more exciting for both you and your partner.

You can also lay off the porn for a bit. Using memories of previous experiences can help adjust your mental diet to more typical fare. The most important thing, though, is to redirect sexual attention to your partner. Don't try to treat your partner like your own personal porn, but it's just like stepping away from the TV, video games, or any other distracting habit. Turn off the distractions and turn on your partner to adjust back to reality.

Too Much Internet Porn: The SADD Effect [Ask Men]


Comments

    As someone who runs a popular porn site, I see a lot of different porn every day. I don't need to fantasize about something while having sex with my parter. If you do need to fantasize, it sounds like you may just be bored of your partner.

    So what's the effect on women? I watch quite a lot of porn, and generally find it hard to get off (by myself) if I'm not either reading or watching erotica. I do sometimes wonder if I've become desensitised to stuff or whether it's just about becoming more open minded. I'm not sure why (I assume it's the same as straight men enjoying lesbian porn) but I really love gay porn (and quite like lesbian porn as well, as long as they don't have those terrifying fake nails), and prefer it to straight porn. Maybe because the dudes are more attractive. Anyway, that's my story there, but what kind of effect would that have, if any?

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