Change Becomes You
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Change Becomes You

Porn is Ruining Your Relationships

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

While viewing porn is not inherently wrong, I do think there are some toxic misconceptions surrounding it that lead to a degradation of real relationships.

1. It’s Not Cheating

Except it is.

When you are in a committed monogamous relationship, you have agreed to not have sexual encounters with others. Unless you and your partner have specifically agreed otherwise, a virtual encounter is still an encounter. A passive encounter is still an encounter. Porn is a sexual encounter.

Technology has blurred the lines so much in our lives. We like to keep an attitude that online life isn’t real life. Except our online lives bleed into our real lives. A troll who says mean things behind a screen still causes real world pain on the receiving end. A person finding their partner engaging in tech sex feels real world pain. As a relationship coach, I’ve seen the pain caused to so many people upon finding their partners viewing porn. The sense of betrayal and broken trust is the same as if they had found their partner in bed with someone. This betrayal and broken trust from a partner viewing porn drives the same kind of wedge that old fashioned infidelity drives between people. Broken trust creates a lack of true intimacy which slowly devolves the relationship.

The exception of course is if both parties are aware and okay with the viewing of porn. Same as how bringing in a third party is only acceptable with the agreement of both partners. Because porn is a third party. Without specific agreement, any clandestine viewing of porn is a violation of the relationship commitment and is a breach of trust.

2. It’s Healthy

Actually, it’s addictive.

There was an experiment done on rats where the rats were hooked up to electrodes and were given a hit of dopamine (the same hormone that porn & masturbation release) every time they pushed a button in their cage. The rats pushed the button until they starved to death. It became all they wanted even until they died.

You might think that is not related. However, I was told a story once of how someone was watching porn inside a bathroom stall at work. Some man jeopardized his employment and livelihood and potentially the livelihood of his entire family to get a hit of dopamine in the bathroom.

Is he so different from the rat pushing the button?

Let’s also talk about how the brain can’t tell the difference between actual sex and porn/masturbation. When you use porn, it tricks your brain into thinking you have fulfilled your biological need of reproduction and will decrease the amount of testosterone you produce. This decrease in testosterone affects you in two ways.

One, you will have little to no drive for your actual relationship. Is a digital sex life worth the cost of your real sex life?

Two, you will have a flabbier body. Testosterone is a requirement for building and retaining muscle.

Additionally, overuse of porn and masturbation can lead to what is colloquially known as ‘death grip syndrome’ where a man can no longer experience an orgasm from being with his partner. That could really hinder your dating life. It could be difficult to find a partner who is going to be okay with that.

Is a digital addiction worth a real relationship?

The good news is, if you find yourself in the predicament of having an addiction you don’t want to have, there are resources and help available. It is possible to stop.

I recognize that this article focuses primarily on men consuming porn and the effects it has on their relationships. So far, in my own coaching practice, the issue from the flip side has not come up. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t an issue; it just means that I don’t have one to talk about. If you are a man who feels your relationship has been negatively impacted by your partner’s porn usage, I would love to hear from you. Your point of view matters also and I would love to have it if you are open to sharing.

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Melinda Gerdung

Melinda Gerdung

I write for my former self and what she needed to hear.