To Watch or Not Watch Porn with your Partner? Sexperts Weigh In
watching porn together

To Watch or Not Watch Porn with your Partner? Sexperts Weigh In

Love porn or hate it, it’s a part of our society that’s been around forever and is only becoming more advanced. With differing views on whether or not porn is healthy, if it supports or harms your relationship, and what constitutes “ethical” porn, it’s easy to get confused or feel embarrassed about your desires. We spoke with sex educators and therapists to get the definitive answers to your biggest porn questions.

To Watch or Not Watch Porn With Your Partner?

Most sexuality professionals agree: Watch if you want to.

Sex and relationship therapist Shadeen Francis elaborates, “Porn can be a great opportunity to explore your fantasies, observe new kinks, or to just set the mood. Watching with a partner is an opportunity to have these be a mutual experience and to practice some erotic vulnerability.”

Amber Mallery, the sex educator behind Gay On Tuesdays, agrees. “I find it healthy for [both me and my partner]. Maybe when someone isn’t in the mood just being present and physically there while you/your partner watches helps with arousal. Sometimes we even take turns picking videos for the other.”

At the same time, one or both partners may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed watching porn and that’s OK! If that comes up in your relationship, RN and sex educator Rae Higgins says to let it open a bigger conversation about not being as ashamed about your desires

How can you introduce watching porn together?

No matter how long you’ve been together, it’s always a good idea to talk about your desires, which can include pornography. This helps you have more pleasurable sex as well as explore how your wants and needs change over time—because they will change.

“Having an open line of communication and clear boundaries allows you to ask directly about porn or allow for an open environment for it to come up naturally. If your partner may have some apprehensions it may just be better to be clear and hash everything out,” says Mallery. 

Not sure how to open that line? Francis suggests a few conversation starters:

“I would love to watch this erotic scene with you if you’re interested.”

“I am going to watch some porn tonight, do you want to join me?”

“I saw this really hot video yesterday. Can I show it to you?”

As for what to talk about during your conversation, sex therapist Lindsey Devin recommends talking about the role of pornography in each of your lives and how you want it to be part of your life together.

If you don’t want to start the conversation with porn, Francis says to “consider sharing other sexual material first, like a story or watching a sex scene from a non-erotic film together.” 

Is it a problem if you and/or your partner always watch porn in order to get turned on?

Opinions about porn vary tremendously, even among professional organizations. While the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists does not recognize sex or porn addiction as a mental health disorder, the World Health Organization included Compulsive Sexual Behavior in their most recent diagnostic manual.

As with most things related to intimacy, the answer is, “it depends.” 

Devin explains: “This would depend on the couples’ expectations of their own or their partner’s arousal but I could see it posing a problem if you or your partner are unable to expand your sexuality out of [using porn in your sex life]. Anything too rigid can become problematic.” Some factors to consider might be how often and how long you’re watching porn—both together and individually—and whether that bothers one or both of you.

If you’re satisfied with you and your partner’s relationship to porn, Francis says to enjoy it. “Anything you enjoy that doesn’t cause harm is fine! Two people consenting to an activity that arouses them is a wonderful foundation for a sexual relationship.”

Of course, it is always a good idea to switch things up in the bedroom once in a while. According to Francis, this is especially true if you notice yourself getting bored or experiencing sexual difficulties when porn isn’t present. 

Is there such a thing as tasteful porn?

The beauty of there being so much porn available is that there is truly something out there for everyone’s desires, preferences, and ethics. Mallery calls this the “golden age of porn” thanks to there being so many platforms that give performers options for releasing content and promoting themselves. 

She says, “This supports my idea of tasteful porn because my support and viewing content has a direct line to someone who seems to be truly thriving in what they do. I know my partner supports this and likes content where everyone seems genuine, engaged and as my partner would put it “real”. Meaning the vagina owning person isn’t just the object.  

“Don’t be afraid to shop around for where you view your porn! My strong preference is for ‘feminist porn’, a genre of pornography that is made with fair labor principles at its center to avoid the actors from being exploited,” says Francis. 

Some of these sites include:

Feminist Porn Awards

Crash Pad

PinkLabel.tv

FolicMe.com

SexSchool Hub.

Another option is to support individual porn creators on a variety of sites, from Patreon to ManyVids, MyFreecams.com and many more.

The Final Verdict

Porn can absolutely be one tool in your pleasure toolbox. Check-in with yourself and your partner(s) around what role you want it to play in your intimate life, and let the conversation and exploration be ongoing. Remember: just like with consent, you can always change your mind. 

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