7 Ways That Porn Can Help Your Relationship

Porn gets a bad rep, for a lot of good reasons. It can promote unrealistic expectations about sex and certain sex acts. It can make people feel self-conscious about their bodies. It can be filmed unethically, which is something very, very few of us want to be a part of as consumers. However, I think that porn has been catching the bad end of the stick for too long. Sure, a lot of the mainstream, tube site stuff might make you feel icky to watch, no matter what your sexuality or gender is, but there’s a wide, wide variety of porn out there these days for people who aren’t feeling the mainstream stuff. And no matter what kind of porn you like, porn can actually strengthen your relationship with your significant other.

Carlyle Jansen, sex therapist and co-founder of the female-friendly Toronto sex shop Good For Her, has heard from many female clients in heterosexual relationships who feel threatened by even the idea of their partner watching porn.

“The concerns that I hear are, ‘My partner is going to be addicted to it,’” Jansen tells Bustle. “‘They’re not going to want to have sex with me or I’ll never live up to what’s in porn.’”

However, at this point it’s safe to say that porn isn’t going anywhere — Pornhub’s statistics are proof of that. So rather than fear it or be blanket anti-porn, I think it’s worth it to figure out how to integrate it into our lives in a healthy way. With that in mind, I asked Jansen about ways that she’s seen porn actually help relationships. Here are the seven things she and I came up with.

1. It Can Be A Tool To Get Aroused

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“I know lots of women who use it as a way to get aroused,” Jansen says. “Lots of us, especially if we’ve been in a relationship for awhile, don’t feel horny all the time. We need something to get aroused.”

And porn is undoubtedly the quickest way to get there. So next time date night rolls around and you’re just not feeling the sexy part, pull up a quick flick to help you get there.

2. You Can Get Ideas From It

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“Some people use it to get ideas,” Jansen says. “But I think we have to take that with a grain of salt. Don’t watch something really intense, like a piercing, and then be like, ‘Hey, let’s try that!’”

Or, she added, watch a threesome video and then go hit on the neighbor. Remember, any sexual activity outside your normal routine requires at least one conversation about consent and boundaries.

3. It’s A Great Way To Explore Your Fantasies

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“A lot of women I talk to say they don’t have any fantasies,” Jansen says. “Their partners ask them what they fantasize about and they’re like, ‘I don’t know… Nothing?’ I know that I didn’t have fantasies before and it was reading erotica that got me fantasies. But certainly someone like Erika Lust, who has lots of storyline in her short films, gives you some suggestions on what your fantasies might be.”

Reading erotica or watching porn is a great way to figure out what gets you off, if you haven’t explored that part of your sexuality yet. Do a little exploring — there’s porn on literally everything these days.

4. It Can Help You Show Your Partner What You Like — And What You Don’t Like

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“You can watch it together with a partner and be like, ‘I’d love it if you did that to me, but not that part,’” Jansen says. “Or, ‘I kind of like this scenario but if you were a little more X, then that would work better.’”

Nothing like a visual aid to get your desires across! If you feel comfortable watching porn with your partner, it can do double duty of turning you both on and helping you communicate your desires more clearly.

5. It’s A Great Release When Your Partner Isn’t Around

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This one is pretty obvious, right? Porn is a great way to get off when your partner isn’t around or isn’t currently interested in sex.

6. It Can Be Used As A Suggestion

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If you know what you’re into but don’t know how to bring it up with your partner, a link can be a great way to communicate that.

“You can use it as a way to say, ‘This is what I want to do the next time we have sex,’ especially if you have a hard time voicing your fantasies,” Jansen says. “A lot of women in particular — and sometimes men — struggle with accepting our fantasies. It’s like we have an image in our minds but don’t know how to communicate that without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Either writing it down or sending your partner a link can start the conversation and make it a little bit easier to talk about those fantasies.”

7. Watching Porn Can Help You Stay Committed

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Monogamy can be hard — some scientists argue that it’s not natural for humans at all. Porn can be a great way for someone in a monogamous relationship to get a little variety without stepping outside of a monogamous commitment.

Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle; Giphy (7)