The new bedfellows: porn and loneliness

When I watch porn  I have to consciously silence the critic in me and try be present with the purpose of porn :  entertainment to  arouse the many millions who  watch  it daily.  I acknowledge and even enjoy the healthy, recreational   benefits of porn that promotes a positive permissive environment and opportunities for couples to actually communicate their pleasures and needs to each other.

The porn I watch is mostly research  recommendations and those  from my colleagues internationally.  I also glance at porn  my clients are viewing as its important for me to gain insight into the porn part of themselves so I can  further understand their eroticism and love maps.

The critic in me  is deeply uncomfortable with the underage appearance of many women, the oversized  breasts and sexual organs of most of  the actors/actresses, and the misconstruing of heterosexual  sexual interactions.  For example  women need arousal to  lubricate so avoiding discomfort , even pain,  before they can tolerate a penis pumping inside a vagina. Porn doesn’t show this step in her journey to orgasm.

I acknowledge that  many people have tremendous angst around their porn consumption, feeling out of control with their viewing time. About 17% of internet porn users  are estimated to have an out of “control or compulsive” use.   The definition of this is ” a difficulty controlling a strong urge , even in inappropriate moments., and trouble stopping and decreasing this behaviour ” . Compulsive use is not only abut high frequency, but also includes a pattern of out of control fantasies, urges, or behaviours .

I know that many of you wonder if you fall into that 17% bracket. Consider this as you hold your breathe in fear.  What the research suggests is that it is not the frequency of porn viewing that is a problem . The problem is your own critical subjective interpretation of your porn viewing. You can spend a whole lot of time watching and feel totally in control. But if you are a person who watches porn and feels tremendous psychological  distress – guilt, shame, fear – you’re not  going  to end up in that 17% category. Worse.. you’re going to end up  with relationship distress and … loneliness.

Stay with me here as there is  chicken and egg situation  that needs unpacking.

Tick off which loneliness items apply to you: Loneliness is defined as feeling lack of connection or companionship

  1. How often do you feel that you lack companionship?
  2. How often do you feel alone?
  3. How often do you feel left?
  4. How often do you feel that your interests are not shared by those around  you?
  5. How often do you feel that no-one really knows you well?

Survey data was collected from a sample of 1247 participants, ages 18-70 years old,  who completed an online survey about pornography and loneliness. Results revealed significant and positive association between porn use and loneliness.   And most revealing was that a bidirectional relationship exists between porn viewing and loneliness.

This means that  if you experience relationship distress, you feel lonely, so  you will watch porn . You watch porn to feel better cos your relationship sucks. And also to piss her off as you know she is opposed to porn.  However when you watch porn you may be so consumed with guilt and shame, eroticism and fantasy so that you distance yourself from your relationship and end up feeling .. lonely.

Think about how you feel when watching porn : it  mesmerises you into a calm state of sexual arousal. Butler et al refer to it as “autoerotic palliation” 🙂 It is a self soothing escape for every day stress, including relationship and domestic distress.

What impact does porn viewing have on your significant relationship/s?

  1. None
  2. Enhances
  3. Distress
  4. Distancing
  5. Unsure

In the light of day I concur with the researchers that  by its very nature porn is not relationship friendly: Porn’s sexual script is of eroticism, objectification , promiscuity and misogyny which is the opposite of what guarantees a secure relationship.  And here we have the chicken and egg situation again : Because of this relationship disruption , people feel lonely and .. you got it.. watch porn.

In summary porn use will predict loneliness and loneliness may trigger porn use. Loneliness may lead you to vulnerability to sexual media as a coping mechanism. It’s not a  satisfying way to cope as porn cannot meet your need for attachment and intimacy. So be aware of your loneliness and turn to a health care provider for couple counselling. Turning to porn increases your feelings of relationship alienation and distress.

And because I know you watch porn and I want you to watch porn that is not relationship disruptive, rather relationship and self, enhancing , I recommend these hot off the press porn sites- made especially for women:

A brand newly launched App , SUNSETTE. 

It is an App with a wide variety  of erotic fiction for women. Ive just begun to explore it and find it tasteful and honouring diversity.

OMGYES is a firm favourite  and heterosexual women should  try out forthegirls.com  

Pinklabeltv is fabulous for  its diverse  offering of  kinky, queer , people of color , sexy sc-fi etc.

brightdesire.com  regularly wins feminist porn awards . Its all about amateur content- I love it ! It offers the non mono hetro normative person of every colour shape and size, something to drip over.

And leaving the best till last, Cindy Gallup’s world famous site which is an activist site of sheer celebration of everyman’s sexuality and pleasure .  MakeLoveNotPorn.com 

For more information on Porn and Loneliness, contact me.