How Internet Porn Is Changing How Men and Women Are Having Sex

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Sexual satisfaction is important for pair bonding in a relationship, as well as for one’s own psychological health. What’s more, we’re living in an age where personal fulfillment seems to be the ultimate goal. Despite this, men and women today may be having less fulfilling sex lives than in the past. One reason, the internet has altered human sexuality in a myriad of ways.

There have of course been positive impacts. The internet has helped normalize BDSM and kink, and revealed to the world different relationship configurations, which of course impact sex. These can include what New York Times sex columnist Dan Savage calls, “monogamish,” swinging, and polyamory (or ethical non-monogamy). Rather than be trapped in the dichotomy of monogamy or dating, we now have other options. It’s also allowed those with certain kinks and fetishes to feel acceptance and find fulfillment, as well as become a part of their own community.

Now for the bad news. There’s been some talk that the internet may be causing a minority of men to experience porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Internet porn obsession coupled with chronic masturbation saps interest or capability, when it comes time to be with a partner. The urological community has gone back and forth on whether this is a legitimate condition. One particular research paper contends that instead of a physical problem, such men may be conditioning themselves to orgasm only with a certain kind of stimuli, be it tactile or visual, which may confound sex with a partner.

Now for the first time, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, looks at how internet porn may have impacted female sexual functioning. These findings also tease out larger questions about how much sexuality is biological behavior, how much is psychological, and how much social. The female orgasm has been seen as the pinnacle of the sexual encounter. So has internet porn enhanced or inhibited the female climax?

Léa J. Séguin at the University of Quebec in Montreal, led the study. What Séguin and colleagues found was, it wasn’t the age when masturbation started or a woman’s dexterity in the pursuit. It wasn’t the number of sex partners she had either. What determined whether or not she could orgasm during sex, was whether she was mindful during the experience and how connected she felt with her partner.

“Social representations, which appear in a variety of media, can influence the way sexual experiences are perceived and understood,” researchers wrote. “While pornography is not the only medium in which orgasm is portrayed, it is the most explicit, and it is widespread and easily accessible.” What they looked at was how male and female orgasm was portrayed in 50 of Pornhub’s most viewed videos. Each was analyzed and coded for the “frequency of male and female orgasm.” Researchers coded content by the orgasm-inducing sex act the onscreen couple engaged in. Continue reading here.

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