Why this relationships coach says couples can use pornography to enhance their sex lives
Many couples will balk at talking about pornography, says Valentina Tudose, but two people in a loving relationship can use it to find new pathways to pleasure. Concealing its use from a partner can wreck a marriage, she warns
The digital age allows us to access all kinds of things instantaneously – and that includes pornography.
Some see pornography as a perversion of human sexuality. Others warn that viewing pornography can be addictive and wreck relationships. Most women feel angry and betrayed upon discovering that their partners use porn, because they don’t understand why men need such explicit sexual materials when they already enjoy regular and loving sex.
The reality is that most of us seek mental stimulation, something the sexual routines of a committed relationship may not deliver, says Valentina Tudose, a relationship expert at Happy Ever After, a Hong Kong-based dating agency.
“There is a big difference between sex in a committed relationship and the mental stimulation provided by pornography. It is very common that, after the initial lust and attraction phase, couples quickly settle into sexual routines, which often lead to boredom and lack of exploration,” she says.
When couples no longer feel stimulated, each partner needs to find a way to cope with the drop in their sexual satisfaction. Men may turn to pornography to meet their sexual needs, while women are more likely to shut down their sexual desires and start to think of sex as a chore or duty.
To avoid this, Tudose says, partners need to discuss their sexual needs without fear of being judged.
Whether viewing pornography is good or bad for a relationship is a matter of perspective. When it is used as a substitute for a loving sexual bond with your partner, porn can damage your relationship. However, Tudose says, it can be used to enhance a couple’s sex life by stimulating their imaginations, increasing their arousal levels, and helping them explore new pathways to pleasure.
Furthermore, she says, when partners trust each other enough to discuss their sexual fantasies and desires, pornography can help couples learn how to safely explore those desires.
Exploring pornography with your partner is an exercise in honesty and trust.
“A strong relationship is built on a foundation of trust and the ability to be authentic and vulnerable with your partner. This means having the confidence that your partner will not judge you, leave you, or love you less if you reveal your most intimate desires,” Tudose says. “When people open up to each other about their turn-ons, fantasies, and desires, a lot of magic can happen that brings them closer together.
“They may discover that a part of themselves they always felt uncomfortable with and possibly rejected can actually be a great connection point that may open many new doors to excitement and adventure. Pornography can be a part of that journey and enhance the experience.”
“When the time is right, suggest an open and honest discussion about fantasies and desires, needs and wants,” says Tudose.
“There are many playful ways to have this conversation to reduce the perceived risk of judgment or rejection. Games like ‘never have I ever’, ‘truth or dare’, or strip poker are great ways of exploring unexpressed desires and open the door to communicating sexual needs in a more natural and fun context,” she says. “Once both partners feel at ease, they can take turns to share a sexual fantasy and see whether it would be interesting for the other.”
However, if that’s not part of your partner’s sexual repertoire, don’t pressure them into it.
Many couples balk at having such an open discussion. Instead, one partner hides their consumption of porn from the other – which can have disastrous consequences, Tudose warns.
“Porn is addictive because it quickly delivers a pleasurable hit of dopamine and adrenaline to our brain just like a drug, so it can be hard to control, especially if we don’t experience a lot of pleasure in many other ways.
“[It] can reduce interest in investing time and effort into building that sexual connection with your partner, so you grow apart and sex becomes automatic and/or infrequent,” she says.
“Too much viewing of porn can lead to losing interest in other areas of life, decrease performance, focus at work, and even cause exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. Exclusive use of porn leading to complete withdrawal from the relationship is also very likely to cause severe issues with a partner, who will feel deprioritised, unloved, and unattractive.”
Luisa Tam is a senior editor at the Post