Porn: Good for Your Sex Life?

Porn: Good for Your Sex Life?

Why you should care

Because if porn can up your game in bed, then everybody is a winner. 

Maybe you watch porn on the occasional rainy day when you’re lonely and can’t get your ex out of your mind. Maybe it’s a habit — every night after dinner. Or maybe just hearing the word makes you feel dirty and morally degraded. Love it or hate it, the majority of people still probably wouldn’t venture to say porn is good for your sexual health. In fact, it’s got a rep for ruining the real-life stuff.

But does it? A new study, published in the journal Sexual Medicine, found that men who viewed porn didn’t have any more problems with erectile function than men who abstained from it. In fact:

Men who watched more hours of porn were better able to get it up.

And we’re not just talking about the infrequent indulger. The conclusions held true for dudes who watched up to 25 hours of porn a week, or more than three hours a day. “It’s quite amazing, actually,” says Jim Pfaus, a co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Concordia University.

Pfaus and Nicole Prause, a research scientist at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, analyzed data from 280 men, half of whom were in relationships, who had participated in previous studies. The two scientists were looking for a correlation between how much porn the men watched and how well they could get and maintain an erection. Participants were also brought into a lab, where they watched a couple having sex and rated how turned on they were. (There weren’t any researchers behind glass walls. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Obviously, porn raises a number of other issues that have nothing to do with sexual health, but that’s beside the point of this study. And no matter the evidence here, don’t expect your doctor to prescribe you a monthlong subscription to Porn Hub just yet, but the results definitely fly in the face of a lot of beliefs around erotica, says Pfaus. There’s definitely still research out there that indicates men are becoming desensitized — Marieke Dewitte, who studied men’s and women’s arousal levels after watching “chick flicks,” porn and a documentary, says that one hypothesis why men didn’t get that turned on by explicit sex scenes was that the “availability of porn on the Internet has made [sex] less arousing for men.”

While many men who watch porn have shown increased rates of depression, this study proposes another theory: Porn doesn’t cause depression; it’s just a secondary effect. In other words: “Food doesn’t make you fat”; eating a lot and poorly makes you fat, says Pfaus. Iffy metaphor? Who cares — the Internet is your oyster!

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