So why do men watch porn? The answer is not as simple as you may think. Most people immediately think it's because men like, want, or are "obsessed" with sex. Those are some of the reasons they're drawn to porn, but not the real reasons why men watch it.
Before we go further into the negative affects, let's first get back to the reasons why men watch porn. Below are some reasons from the article, Why Men Use Porn and What Women (and Men) Need to Know About It, by my colleague, Jed Diamond, Ph.D. As you read them, notice that of these 8 reasons, only 4 really have to do with sex.
As a therapist I talk to many men and women where pornography has become a problem in their lives. For some it creates a moral dilemma. "If we've agreed to be true to each other does having ‘virtual sex' in an on-line chat room constitute being unfaithful? One of my clients, Sarah, thinks it is. "I know if I did something like that, it would be the end of the marriage", she told me. "I know men are different and have different sexual drives, but if I can't trust him to be honest where will it end? Is it OK if he goes to a sex club and gets a lap dance? We had to deal with that for awhile. We've all got our desires. I don't see why we can't control them. Why do men need porn?"
For others it creates anger and distance in the relationship. Monica was furious with Ed when the couple came to see me. "I just don't get it. I like sex. I'm available whenever Ed is interested. Why should he be going after pornographic bimbos? I guess an occasional look see doesn't hurt, but he seems to be on the computer all the time. It's wrecking our marriage. Why does he need to do this?"
But with the advent of the internet it seems to be in our face in a big way. So why do men use porn?
1. They enjoy sexual excitement and release and porn delivers.
2. They like sexual variety and porn has an endless selection to choose from.
3. In real life the sexual practices that men like might not be those that their partners would like to engage in. In the world of porn, our sex partner will do anything we want them to do. And they will enjoy it. And they never get tired. And they are always ready for more.
4. The real world has a lot of stress and uncertainty. The world of porn is predictable and controllable.
5. Even when our sexual partner is available and interested most of the time (which can be a problem at any age, but particularly as we get older), there are always those times when we're hot to trot but our partner is tired tonight. A quick visit to the home office and a harem of available playmates awaits our commands.
6. Though many have overcome the Madonna/Whore complex where we find it difficult to get aroused with our motherly wives but go wild for the wanton woman we work with, for many its still easier to have "regular sex" with our partner and let our minds run wild with the things we might do if we let ourselves go.
7. In a world where we are all so busy with work, home, and family, a pornographic affair may seem like some small comfort for those who are cut-off and lonely.
8."Instant gratification isn't fast enough for me, "one client told me. In our speeded up world where we want everything served up fast and hot, pornography may be the perfect solution for our times (excerpted from Why Men Use Porn and What Women (and Men) Need to Know About It).
I've discovered some other significant reasons why men watch porn in my counseling for men who are struggling with Internet porn. Porn is so much more complicated than people think. As I mentioned earlier, understanding the negative effects of watching porn and doing something about it is so much more important than knowing the whys. Whether you're a man looking at porn or his partner, don't make the mistake of minimizing or ignoring what it does to you and your relationship.
Please share your thoughts about why men watch porn in a comment below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published February 27, 2010 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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