While pornography won’t be curing cancer anytime soon, it isn’t always as bad as the anti-porn frenzy would suggest (the internet’s version of Reefer Madness ) and, in fact, comes with surprising benefits for porn users.
While we’ve also covered the very real dangers of porn addiction, there’s worth in discussing its benefits.
1) Because it’s healthy
Despite the many, many, many studies claiming that porn is bad for your brain and your relationships, there are just as many studies saying that porn does not cause irrevocable harm to the brain or your sex life—in fact, it might even be kinda good for you. In a paper from 2008, two Danish researchers Gert Hald and Neil Malamuth concluded from a survey of 688 Danish adults that porn did not yield any negative mental or health effects.
In fact, the researchers found a positive correlation between the subjects’ porn viewing and increased sexual satisfaction, as well as self-reported benefits in other areas of their lives.
“People who say pornography is an addiction, they tend to come from the addiction community and not always the field of mental health or sexuality,” Weston told me a few months ago. “They tend to say ‘This is dangerous, porn is fraught with danger.
You better watch out, it’s a slippery slope.’ It was sort of the same as people in the drug addiction community saying if you smoke pot, you better watch out or you’ll be doing heroin.”
2) Because sometimes it’s better than the real thing
Some nights you want to get dolled up, put on a freakum dress, and pretend to be someone who does not eat food out of the garbage long enough to trick a guy into having sex with you, but you don’t always want to put in the kind of effort that involves changing out of your pajama pants.
In lieu of being able to have sex with your Netflix subscription (in which case no one would ever leave the house), free Internet porn is the next best thing.
Those who are anti-porn might suggest that you use your one-some time to create your own erotic fantasy, escaping into the vast
Blue Lagoon-like garden of your sexual imagination, but that’s not really the point of pornography. Porn is great for when you want your fantasies created for you; because let’s be honest, we’re not always that creative.
For someone who writes for a living, my erotic reveries are shockingly dull, displaying all the playful imagination of a golf match.
3) Because it relieves stress
Life can be stressful, and from my experience, owning a stress ball does not make the complicated twists and turns any easier to deal with. Sure, practicing a few down-dogs and cobras may have helped me find my center, but just like sex, porn decreases stress as well. When you are stressed your brain releases cortisol that blocks problem-solving and the ability to think clearly.
In a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, men who flipped through pictures of naked women cut their cortisol in half and did a lot better on a math test.
4) Because it’s hilarious
I don’t watch porn often with my boyfriend, mostly because we have wildly divergent tastes.
He likes ten-minute sloppy blowjob clips. I’m a fan of narrative-driven vintage content, particularly if the term “ X-rated musical fantasy” is somewhere in the title. But when we do, we tend to focus less on the action onscreen and more on what’s going on in the background.
For instance: Why is there a long-haired Maine coon at the living-room orgy? Did he receive an invitation, or is he merely an impartial observer? (We’re not the only people to discuss the presence of cats in pornos, too, if the Tumblr “Indifferent Cats in Amateur Porn” is any indication). Why does the same KARLSTAD white chaise sectional appear in literally every gay porn I’ve ever seen? Did every gay porn producer get together and decide to do a run on IKEA? And why do lady porn stars’ voices always crack like that of a goddamn bar mitzvah boy’s when they’re trying to talk dirty?
5) Because it could benefit your relationship
Watching porn with your partner can open both of your minds to new sexual possibilities.
My last long-term boyfriend and I did not watch porn together, and once that ended (thank god), I found someone I felt more comfortable enough with, making it easier to communicate and have confidence in our sex-capades.
When both parties are sexually confident in their relationship, they are probably more committed and less likely to stray (unless the emotional connection isn’t there.
6) Because exploring your sexuality is how you find out what you like.
There’s a reason that the first step in every queer man’s coming out process is looking at pornography.
Unless you’re exposed to sexual practices outside of what you’ve been told is acceptable, it’s hard to become comfortable with your own desires or normalize them in your brain.
Just as sex ed is how we find out about the mechanics of sex—what goes where—pornography is how many of us begin to figure out how that relates to our sexualities.
Pornography is not an ideal replacement for sex ed (because if you think Bait Bus is realistic, you’re in for a world of hurt), but it’s an excellent education as to what’s out there for you to explore.
7) Because watching porn may decrease aggressive tendencies
Anger causes us to do things we normally wouldn’t do, like yell at a server because your favorite restaurant isn’t selling the duck confit you’ve been craving all week.
If porn reduces stress, it should also have a correlation to reduce aggressive tendencies. Contrary to the belief that porn causes people to be sexist or commit violent crimes, watching a moderate amount of porn may actually decrease the likelihood of someone committing a sex crime.
It’s a controversial idea, one that’s been researched a lot, and a popular study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that watching pornography offers a safe place to express sexual, deviant desires.
8) Because honestly, guys, you could probs learn a thing or two Let’s just get this out of the way:
Porn is by no means an instructional manual for how to have sex IRL. It’s a fantasy, and sometimes it’s a very silly one. No one (or at least very few people) enjoys having sex the way people have sex in porn.
No one (or at least very few people) is turned on by spitting into a butt, or gagging on a penis, or washing their face with baby batter—or any of the other porn tropes that lead anti-porn activists to conclude that porn is always dangerous and destructive to women. But just because something is gross to you doesn’t mean that no one is into it.
And just because you’ve seen a few things in porn that you wouldn’t do in your own sex life, it doesn’t mean there are zero benefits of porn for regular viewers.
9) Because it’s affordable
Save a few bucks and stay inside for your next personal romp session.
Visiting your local strip club (or brothel or escort service, what have you) frequently can cost you a lot of money, and sometimes being in the comfort of your home adds a nice touch rather than striking up a conversation with a stranger.
Also, getting off in public is walking the fine line of harassment.
There are a lot of free porn sites offering quality porn that’s just as good as the real deal, and may even offer better and more specific sexual content than paying someone IRL.
11) Because it satisfies your desires
So, you have a foot fetish, you’re aroused by clowns, or you like dominatrix costumes but your partner isn’t really into that kind of foreplay.
That’s OK—there’s a porn site for that. One of the great things about online porn is the ability to satisfy any fetish or desire you may have when it comes to sex.
Porn sites that are tailored to these desires also comfort you in knowing you aren’t the only one who is turned on by specific characteristics.
It creates a sense of community. Porn is also a great option for couples who are hesitant to try sexual positions that are more rough like anal or the practice of BDSM.
Watching porn can either ease the idea of trying the positions out, or solidify the decision to leave it to the professionals. It’ll always be there for you to indulge in when the timing is right.