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Four Myths of Porn that will Hurt Relationships


The following article simply by Zach Brittle, LMHC, was originally posted on The Gottman Institute’ s relationship blog in 2014. It has been edited to get length.

The first exposure to pornography has been over 30 years ago. It was in the basement of years as a child home where my dad stored a dusty stack of Playboy magazines. I remember finding them one day and thinking that, as long as I left the correct one on the top, he’d find out (I soon found out it was not a good strategy). Many years later on, I remember finding a folded up page from a more x-rated magazine in a bathroom of a mall restaurant. For a teenage boy in the pre-internet age group, this was an Indiana Jones-caliber find. I can still recall the thrill of that secret value.

Three decades afterwards, access to pornography is far easier. Anyone with a smartphone in their pocket can view it in a moment’s notice. Pornographers are usually savvy marketers who have been engaged in a relentless pursuit for years to make porn mainstream. They are winning.

Web porn is practically inescapable. During every second of each day, roughly 30, 500 internet users are viewing porn material. 12% of all websites and 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related. It’s a far cry through crumpled pages of erotica hiding in the darkest corners of our everyday world.

Let me say, as a therapist, that I don’t have the moral objection to the use of pornography. I do, however , believe—both personally and professionally—that an unexamined relationship with porn material always does more damage than good.

Scientists have been exploring the effects of porn on the body for years, asking yourself about its impact on everything from brain chemistry and libido to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and inspiration. The general consensus is that it’s not good. But porn affects more than just the body. Dr . Gottman’s own scientific research exposed that masturbating to pornographic images results in the secretion associated with oxytocin and vasopressin, hormones linked to attachment and emotional connection. This discovery points to perhaps the most significant factor about porn use: the impact on personal relationships.

Associated: Renowned Relationship Therapists Drs. Julie & John Gottman Release “Open Letter On Porn”

Brain Heart World

Within What Makes Love Last?, Dr . Gottman unambiguously weighs in with this, noting, “even non-compulsive utilization of [pornographic] images can damage a committed partnership. ” He expands, saying, “most porn encourages ways that can lead to betrayal, ” including the loss of emotional connection, secret-keeping, negative comparisons, and dismissing the partner since unattractive and, worse, not worth.

The implication is clear: The most devastating effects of porn-use are more emotional compared to physical and more relational compared to personal. One of my clients, struggling with pornography addiction, has even called it “soul-destroying. ” My goal here is to not climb up on a soapbox. Rather, it’s to offer a sobering perspective on what is otherwise becoming a mainstream “reality” based nearly entirely in myth. Listed below are four damaging myths about pornography for you to consider.

Myth of Perfection: Most pornography is based on the idea of physical and sexual perfection. The ladies in mainstream pornography have got stereotypically idyllic proportions and they are mostly free of the blemishes, wrinkles, and love manages that are common to most of the women you know. The men in porn industry are usually marathon lovers with six-pack abs and perfect curly hair. The sex itself generally involves multiple orgasms for her and always involves a good orgasm for him, one which she is more than happy to provide. None of the participants ever sneeze or burp or fart. The sex is never awkward or uncomfortable (unless by design). It’s perfect. He’s perfect. She’s ideal. And it’s a sit.

Myth of Ease: One of the most tragic myths of pornography is that sex is easy. Pornographic sex exists in the world without needy kids or ringing phones or football games that will be over in just ten minutes. Intercourse is never postponed simply by fatigue or illness. It really is never rejected. Initiation is a simple process. Foreplay is usually quick and painless, if not skipped altogether. It’s a world where you can sleep with the a cheerleader, plumber, a teacher, a pizza delivery man, and a police officer without discernment or consequence. There is no anxiety about rejection and no resistance associated with initiation. It’s easy. Plus it’s a lie.

Associated: Is My Partner’s Porn Habit Harming Our Relationship, Or Was I Just Insecure?

Myth of Escape: I actually often hear clients explain their use of pornography being an escape from the norm. A means “to spice it up a bit” or “to get some relief from the mundane. ” But this narrow view clouds the reality that a temporary get away from the real world can actually lead into a more permanent much less healthy attachment. The typical story of pornographic sex is incredibly simple: strangers meet, have sexual intercourse, and never see each other again. Even within that pattern there are consistent sub-patterns which are relatively standardized and expected (read: mundane). Problems arise when porn viewers become more attached to the pattern than to the person they’re committed to making love with. That attachment provides the viewer to a fetish of impersonal sex plus ultimately leads them far from personal relationships and back in pornography. This can lead to overuse and compulsion. It feels such as escape. And it’s a lie.

Myth of Privacy: Many viewers warrant their porn habit as no big deal because it does not affect anybody else. This is naive. In addition to the myths discussed above – all of which have implications for others – we now live in a world where every thing is interconnected and it’s virtually impossible to assume that your private behavior has no public impact. But think about the simple notion that porn use is a gateway in order to sexual escalation. Dr . Gottman has articulated a “typical” descent from porn in order to infidelity simply by seeking out boosting stimulation. Eventually, private on the web activity leads to personal connections and giving yourself permission to cross boundaries you swore you’d never mix. Once this happens, you compromise your own privacy as well as the privacy of your family and community. Privacy is a lovely idea. Plus it’s a lie.

By now you’ve determined that when I say “myth, ” I really mean “lie. ”

Fun fact: During the course of my research with this article, I learned that the least popular day for People in america to view porn is Thanksgiving holiday Day. I wonder if that will tells us something about the relationship between gratitude and closeness. If not, perhaps it should.

Follow the link to read the full article simply by Zach Brittle.

About the Author

Zach is a Certified Mental Health Counselor plus Certified Gottman Therapist in Seattle, WA specializing in married couples therapy. You can learn more about Zach and inquire about accessibility at www.zachbrittle.com.

The particular Gottman Institute is focused on combining wisdom from research and practice to support and strengthen marriages, families, plus relationships. It brings the knowledge of research to therapists–and the insight of counselors to researchers. This hyperlink between research and exercise reflects the collaboration associated with John and Julie Gottman, whose combined research and clinical experience is comprehensive and incomparable.

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