Why Do Men Watch Porn: The Real Truth - Romancoholic

Why Do Men Watch Porn: The Real Truth

There are two reasons why you clicked this article: Your man is watching porn and your concern for this “hobby” is growing. You want to figure out men’s fascination with it, and understand why do men watch porn.

Whichever of the two you’re here for, you came to the right place.

Today we’re getting down and dirty (pun not intended) and dig into the roots of this fascination.

Ultimately, I want us to discover whether you should be worried porn will ruin your relationship.

More...

What’s all the fuss about?

I have to admit, while doing research for this article, I started off by reading about the cons of pornography. And boy, are there plenty.

But after several extremely strong-minded websites I’ve concluded that...

…A lot of people get their proverbial panties in a twist over pornography.

I don’t want to take sides, but reading various sources made me feel not only guilty for thinking porn is harmless, but also a little trapped.

It’s no wonder so many women are confused, undecided and even frightened by porn, and how it affects their love life.

It actually took me some time to get my mind back on track about my own attitude towards porn.

Everyone involved in this debate needs to stop demonizing porn (the “safe” one that is. I won’t be discussing illegal pornography here).

And those who read said opinions need to take them with a grain of salt, and draw their own conclusions.

So, I want to help you form your own opinion, and ease some of your doubts and fears.

Do most guys watch porn?

I believe it’s safe to say that yes, they do.

Or at least a large majority of them.

Statistics show that around 70% of men watch porn regularly, but that their watching habits differ from what women perceive them to be.

With porn magazines and DVD films almost extinct, most guys are balls deep in the era of free online porn.

It’s less costly, there’s more of it, and it’s more anonymous than getting a magazine from a newsstand.

Mike South, an online porn producer, describes it: "We had a goose that was laying golden eggs at one point in time. We were going around collecting the eggs but we didn't really protect the goose."

A single click can take us to any site, with fetishes and preferences we never knew existed.  

When it’s so easy to reach it why wouldn’t people want to watch?

Though, to be honest, the problem isn’t if they watch it, but for how long.

Why is it such a big deal for men?

Science actually has a great explanation. Men are hard-wired for sexual novelty and the unending supply of online porn hijacks their natural sexual system.

When they first start watching it, the brain releases dopamine, a hormone that controls the pleasure and reward centers in the brain.

The dopamine hit that porn generates has them coming back to it, over and over again.

And after years of consuming pornography, they need stronger and stronger doses of it.

Nude images, bare chest, or naked butts no longer do the trick.

So with each new visit, their brains begin to look for more and more graphic content, in hopes of getting more and more dopamine.

This is because the dopamine receptors in their brains become desensitized over time. So normal amounts of dopamine no longer generate the same pleasure sensation.

The pleasure hormone is released every time men get sexually stimulated by the sight of a naked woman or a sexual act.

Before online porn, the only time men could experience this was either through a dirty magazine, or actually sleeping with a girl.

But the difference is that the supply was limited to a single (or more) magazines, and not unlimited like with online porn.

And since porn nowadays is available to anyone, whoever needs it, gets their fix of dopamine with a single click.

This leads us to our next point:

Is watching porn cheating?

While there is a trend to present porn as something as equivalent to cheating, it’s not.

Many of my male friends talked about their favorite female porn stars while in relationships.

And I haven’t really seen any physical similarities between those women and their girlfriends...

Nor do they seem to neglect their girlfriends, either in bed, or otherwise.

There are anonymous online accounts of people who became so engrossed with porn, they became infatuated with their favorite actors.

After some time, it was no longer important whether or not the sexual act in the video was violent, fetishistic to the point of weirdness, or disrespectful to men or women.

As long as the actor or actress was in there, that was all that mattered.

While watching porn is far from cheating, the reason why he watches is more important.

What do these women mean to men?

Most often than not, they just find them beautiful, sexy, and a means of fulfilling fantasies they don’t really express in real life.

These porn actors could be doing things men wish they could do in real life with their girlfriends.

The situations in the videos could be their secret desires: a high school gym where he’s the jock, or the excitement of a quickie in a public place, or in the back of a car.

The most important thing is not to jump to conclusions.

There is a myriad of reasons why he would watch porn, and fretting over it will only make it worse.

Should you be upset that your man watches porn?

I know that whatever I say won’t change your mind so easily.

Nor will you immediately feel at ease, knowing there is nothing wrong with your man.

It’s something that takes time and active involvement.

But you should be concerned if he begins to exhibit suspicious behavior offline.

So how should you approach the issue?

What I can advise is that you try and talk to him.

How would you feel if someone approached you about your private sexual matters?

It’s always a touchy subject and should be handled with care.

However, if he doesn’t want to talk, leave him be. Simply express your concern calmly, so he’s aware of it.

Otherwise, he’ll feel attacked, accused and shunned, which will only make him shut himself off more.

Think about the pros and cons

You need to think it out with yourself why you perceive porn as cheating.

Pros
  • It’s an outlet. Sexual frustration is a thing. And occasional masturbation with a visual aid is hardly cause for concern. If anything, it helps relieve the pressure.
  • It helps visualize our fantasies. What’s more, research in Denmark showed that after porn legalization in 1969, there was a significant decrease in sexual aggression. Men who fantasize about rougher, probably more harmful sex will be less likely to try it in real life.
  • Porn prevents us from feeling isolated. Many people will admit to having strange turn-ons. But they’ll rarely say what they are, even to their closest friends. Seeing videos of that one turn-on we believe to be weird actually helps us feel less alone. It means there are more people aroused by the same thing.
  • Porn can be sexually liberating. We live in an age where pornography has become the norm in one way or another. It’s in Hollywood movies, and TV shows. Those who embrace porn as a part of society and life and are unafraid to admit watching it, feel less pressured by others and generally more relaxed about their sexuality.
  • When watched together, it can encourage novelty and intimacy in the bedroom. More often than not, couples who watch porn together are bound to have a great time. It’s intimate and revealing to browse categories together in search of what they’ll both like. This is also a great way to share fantasies and get to know each other on a deeper sexual level.
Cons
  • Porn can create unrealistic expectations. Both for men and women. We’re always afraid of male fascination with porn actresses, and how we’ll never live up to them. And while it’s not always the case, the fear is not unfounded. Hence us always trying to “up the game” by learning new tricks in bed.
  • He’ll always want more. Remember that pleasure hormone, dopamine? Well, the more dopamine he gets, the more he’ll want. And it’s not the guy’s fault, it’s the brain. Which leads me to my next point...
  • There’s a risk of addiction. It’s like with a drug. When the regular kind of porn stops doing it for him, he’ll go look for something spicier, and when that runs out, he’ll go even further. And at that stage, he begins to find that nothing is satisfying enough.

What should you be concerned about?

I’ve already explained that there is no infidelity involved when your man watches porn.

He might be biased towards some actresses, but he ultimately watches for the fulfilment of his own fantasies.

However, that doesn’t mean that excessive consumption of sexual content online isn’t a sign that something else is missing.

That is the perfect time to put your thinking cap on and figure out what had changed about your relationship lately.

If you’ve noticed a significant change in him, don’t avoid analyzing the relationship overall.

Because while you were worrying that masturbating to porn is a sign of cheating, the following actual, serious consequences of overusing porn could be happening:

Addiction

There are some clear signs that your man is a porn addict, which you can read about in more detail here.

However, when he starts watching porn more and more often, up to the point of regular sex not being enough... something is really wrong.

While porn consummation in itself is harmless, when taken to extremes it can ruin relationships.

Spouses feel neglected, not good enough, and emotionally unfulfilled.

Erectile dysfunction

Believe it or not, erectile dysfunction is a real problem here.

Sexual arousal is dictated by...you guessed it, dopamine.

When a man watches too much porn, and makes his “dopamine threshold” higher, regular sex just doesn’t arouse him anymore.

Not to mention it’s one of the reasons why some people have an abnormally low libido.

Distancing

Excessive porn use leads to estrangement.

Men who turn to porn in a relationship tend to compensate for something that is missing.

And while this fixation makes them happy for a few minutes, they are then thrown back to real life.

And so they seek out more of it, more eager to avoid the problems than solve them, and sink into mild depression.

Women then turn their heads and start to experience lower self-esteem, all because of the belief that he’s unhappy with their sex life, when the problem is wholly different.

Desensitization

On a slightly farther side of the spectrum, research conducted in 2013 suggested that porn addicts aren’t really... addicts.

It argued that unlike drug addicts whose brain activity spiked when shown images of drugs, porn addicts revealed no change when looking at sexual content.

In fact, their brain function hardly changes from, say, looking at images of food.

This supports the fourth problem, which is desensitization; porn becomes a compulsive need, like checking your phone every two minutes, rather than an addiction.

Objectification

Without even knowing it, men can actually begin to objectify women on a much greater scale.

Some describe this porn-induced phenomenon as seeing people as a collection of appealing body parts rather than actual people.

While this is more likely to happen with teenagers and young adults, men who have no way of meeting, flirting, and sleeping with real women, are more likely to carry the problem over to adulthood.

So why do men watch porn?

Plenty of things could be wrong in a relationship that makes a man seek an escape online.

And now that we know porn is used as an easy fix for unpleasant feelings, we can observe the following issues in a different light.

  • Work stress that he can’t simply talk out with you, so he needs an outlet
  • Compulsion as we mentioned before, it’s become a force of habit
  • Insecurity: physical or emotional
  • Dissatisfaction with his love life, whether it’s an emotional or physical aspect
  • Inability to connect intimately where he turns to porn as an easy fix to the problem
  • Your inability to connect, which results in his distancing from you through porn

What can you do about it?

Don’t worry, not everything is as bad as you fear.

It turns out that porn viewing is simply a consequence, a signal that something is wrong with the chemistry between you two.

And the best part is, a lot of the time, it’s actually fixable.

All it takes is some time and effort from both parties.

First of all, talk it out

Try to do this without addressing his porn-watching habits.

As I mentioned, he’ll most likely feel attacked and shamed for it, instead of feeling your concern.

It’ll feel like you’re taking the high ground, proving yourself the better person for not needing it.

Create a safe, trusting atmosphere where he’ll be comfortable being open about the relationship issues.

Let him know you’re concerned and come from a place where you’ll do your part to fix whatever may be broken.

This is essential to identifying what went wrong and where.

Strengthen your emotional bond

Find hobbies and activities that you’ll both be engaged in.

One of the reasons he’s so estranged could be because you’re essentially two strangers.

When a couple is two individuals going about their day and meeting only at night, how does that create a strong partnership?

Such an environment won’t get either of you to talk about the problems you face.

And if you do, it’s more likely you’ll fight instead of being constructive.

Work on your approachability

If you’re the more dominant one in the relationship, think about toning it down a little.

When you put up a wall around yourself, not just for others, but for him as well, it hurts your ability to communicate with each other.

Take a step back and assess where you could be more open, and more encouraging of discussion.

Do this with your man and everyone around you.

We have a tendency to refuse help and show what strong women we are, and in that display, we push it to the extreme.

He won’t think less of you if he sees your vulnerable side.

Maybe it’s exactly what he needs.

Spice things up in the bedroom

This is an imperative, really.

You need to put in effort just as much as he does.

There are many things you can try out:

BDSM, flirting in public like high-schoolers, roleplay, new positions...

Throw in some dirty talking in any (or all) of these, and, gradually, you’ll bring him back from the screen.

Seek outside help

If all else fails, go to a professional for help.

Marriage and relationship counselling is there for a reason.

It will cushion all the potentially devastating fights, and direct you both towards finding a healthy resolution.

There is no shame in seeing a therapist. It’s either that, or watching your relationship deteriorate before your very eyes.

I hope my words provided some relief, or at least shed some light on the issue of men and porn.

As I read the article, I kept hoping I managed to drive one point across: we have to stay informed.

Porn is the symptom, not the disease.

My whole point was to present just how complex and deeply rooted this issue is.

How we can help our men when they’re stuck in this dopamine-chasing cycle.

Self-doubt will lead to accusations and shame. It will drive the two of you apart faster than if he actually did cheat.

Sex and our sexual drive are a normal part of our lives.

Let’s stop blaming everything on it.

I mentioned dirty talking above. Learn more about how dirty talking can get your man to open up to you, and bring his sexual fantasies to life, and away from his secretive porn habit.

About the author

Zoe Lynn

I am an aspiring writer, lo-fi music lover, and a woman trying to keep her life varied and fulfilling, with never a dull moment.