Is Watching Porn in a Relationship Bad?

Nov 7, 2021

It’s a pretty big question and one that has seen a lot of debate. 

Is watching porn in a relationship bad? There’s no perfect answer, as pornography in itself isn’t inherently a bad thing, but more so, the way that pornography is navigated within a relationship is or at least can be. 

Every person is unique in their viewpoints, setting different standards and barriers of what is deemed ‘okay’ within every relationship. Some couples are simply more open and accepting of something like pornography, whereas others might entirely shun this construct away. And then, of course, there are the couples where one partner maintains an entirely opposite view than the other. With this, the true answer lies only in yourself and your loved one. 

We want to take a neutral stance on the subject and simply highlight a few instances when watching porn in a relationship would be more acceptable than others, and vice versa, to only shed a little light on the subject and support both sides of the party. No one answer is better than the other, but they are both as equally important as the effects on your relationship can be fairly potent if you are using pornography in a shoddy and selfish manner. 

Instance 1: Watching Pornography in Secret Despite a Healthy Sex Life: Bad!

Suppose you have a healthy sex life with your loved one, but you still find yourself occasionally sneaking away and watching pornography in secret, despite your current levels of sexual fulfillment with your partner. In that case, this is a bad instance of watching porn in a relationship. 

When you maintain ample romance and satisfaction with your partner, but you still feel the urge to view sex from a pornographic standpoint, then something is missing and wrong. Perhaps the issue lies in the quality of your sex- are you having plenty of sex, but you are actually not fulfilled by it? Maybe you are missing out on your biggest fantasies or kinks, but you are unable to present these to your partner, and therefore you seek them out through pornography?

Or perhaps your sex lacks connection, or you are afraid of connection, and pornography helps you feel the disconnect between yourself and your loved one, a form of a ‘reminder’ that sex can only be about pleasure and have nothing to do with emotions like love. Whatever the reasons behind it, needing pornography despite a healthy sex life means that some sort of gap exists between yourself and your partner. You should work on identifying where this gap comes from so that you can communicate these issues to your partner and implement strategies to help negate them.

is watching porn in a relationship bad

Instance 2: Watching Pornography Together For Fun: Good!

If you are in a relationship where conversation flows and where you can fearlessly talk about sexual subjects, such as watching porn in a relationship, then the idea of watching a sex tape together has probably popped up in your mind. With this, if you can openly communicate the idea of watching pornography together, with your loved one, as a fun and exciting activity to add a little spice to your sex life and to do something different and risky together, and they are entirely accepting of this idea, then this is a good instance of watching porn in a relationship. 

This shows strength in your sexuality, trust in your connections, and trust in your ability to work on varying forms of sexual discovery and exploration with one another in a way that is healthy and leads to growth for everyone involved. 

We are all human, and sometimes watching a little pornography is exciting and sexy, especially with your partner with you during a bout of shared mutual masturbation. No one is using it for escape, and instead, you are using it to craft an experience of sexuality together, and this isn’t a bad thing at all. 

Instance 3: Watching Porn in a Relationship Despite your Partner’s Views: Bad! 

Has your loved one made it clear that watching porn in a relationship is a total no no? They have every right to their own opinions, but if you find yourself sneaking away and doing it anyway, then you are blatantly breaking their trust and going entirely against their points of view, like lying through your actions. 

Sure, you might have a different opinion than them as well, and you are also entitled to that opinion, but being entitled to an opinion is very different than going behind someone’s back for your own pleasures, regardless of the hurt that it might cause to them. 

Have you ever asked the question, “is watching porn in a relationship cheating?”. Well, if your partner views it as such, and you do it anyway, then in the end, yes, this is an interesting form of adultery. No, it didn’t involve any physical touch or emotional connection with a human being, but it did involve throwing your partner’s cares and ideals out of the window with disrespect and going behind their back to do something that still is sexual in nature. 

If this is the case, you need to learn how to talk about sex with them with openness and honesty to find a middle ground between your opinions. It’s all about compromise and creating a set-up that can actually lead to more trust and growth, not the direct opposite. 

is watching porn in a relationship bad

Instance 4: Watching Pornography to Satisfy Sex Drive with your Partners Permission: Good!

Some of us have higher sex drives than others, and although we can train ourselves to feel differently, sometimes there’s no getting around this inherently biological trait. An especially higher sex drive than our partners might lend to feelings of unfulfillment or discontentment, but not if you can navigate them accordingly!

Suppose you have made it clear to your partner that your sex drive is much higher than theirs and that you are totally okay with meeting them in the middle by allowing for ample room for safe and healthy masturbation practices, and this includes the idea that watching porn in a relationship is deemed as entirely healthy and okay. In that case, this isn’t a bad thing at all. You have simply come up with a strategy that is aimed at finding balance in your sex drives, which then boost fulfillment and happiness, as well as increasing your trust with your partner, and this is an instance of watching porn in a relationship that very much leans towards the good side. 

Instance 5: Watching Porn in a Relationship Becomes a Habit: Bad!

If watching porn in a relationship ever becomes something that alters your shared quality of life because it becomes an addiction-like habit, then this is definitely bad. Sex addiction is a serious thing, and watching too much porn is directly linked to it. The second you find yourself reaching for your phone to sneak away to the bathroom, you should realize that perhaps there is an underlying issue at hand. 

And when this directly interferes with not only your but your partner’s quality of life in a negative manner, then this is unhealthy indeed. 

Instances like avoiding connection and intimacy, not being present at the moment with them, steering away from their needs and wants are all examples of when this becomes an inherently unhealthy act. If your partner wanted you to clean the dishes while they ran an errand, and you instead used the time to watch pornography, then the truth of the matter is that it might be time to get the priorities straightened out or to seek professional help regarding this subject. 

Instance 6: Watching Porn in a Relationship to Fulfill Desires and Promote Sexual Exploration: Good!

We all have desires, that’s for sure, and sometimes these desires vary from our partners. If pornography is the chosen outlet for these desires, and your partner has full consent in knowing you utilize it, then this is a good example of watching porn in a relationship. 

Let’s take the simple fantasy of a threesome as an example. Perhaps you have always dreamed of a threesome, but your partner isn’t ready for one, and it doesn’t seem like they will be any time soon. If watching threesome pornography is your simple way of fulfilling this idea, versus going off and committing more intense forms of adultery, like cheating on your partner to fulfill this fantasy in real life, then this seems like the better option of the two, eh? 

 

Another positive about pornography is that it promotes sexual exploration. You get to see new sex toys in action, perhaps discovering one you want. You get to view different sex positions, then try them out for yourself, or you might stumble upon a kink you have never heard of that sparks desire in your mind to try it. When pornography leads to healthy exploration, and you can use it to enhance the overall sexual intimacy and fulfillment with your partner, there’s nothing bad about using it as a healthy and consensual way to promote this sexual discovery. 

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