I have a love-hate relationship with porn, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in that.
Porn is problematic, we know this, but it’s also a great way to get off, especially if you’re in a rush. So then why can it feel upsetting knowing that your boyfriend watches porn? Is it even okay to feel this way? I mean porn is pretty normal, right?
According to webroot, “40 million American people regularly visit porn sites,” showing that it clearly is considered normal to watch porn to masturbate. It’s also important to acknowledge that masturbation is healthy in a relationship; having a partner shouldn’t mean that you neglect your sexual relationship with yourself.
However, webroot also states that “about 200,000 Americans are classified as ‘porn addicts’, this is what seems to concern most people.
So, you’re probably wondering should I be upset that my boyfriend watches porn? And what can I do if my partner is addicted to it?
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Watching porn is completely normal when in a relationship, but that’s not to say it’s totally unproblematic.
If your partner is showing addictive behavior to porn, or is being secretive about watching it, then you’re naturally going to feel concerned.
The thing is, it’s still not completely normalized to talk about masturbation in a relationship, so some people feel inclined to hide it.
Masturbation sessions last as long as you would like them to. You could spend an hour pleasuring yourself, being in control of the sensations that you feel and ultimately climaxing when you choose to (if this isn’t something you tend to do, have a read into edging to maximize your masturbation experience).
Ultimately, we’re a lot more comfortable with masturbating than we are about accepting partners who masturbate frequently, especially if they watch porn.
A great way of normalizing masturbation is to experiment with mutual masturbation, and to encourage your partner to masturbate when you’re not around. It’s healthy and can even be sexy, especially if you throw some spicy messages or pictures into the mix of things.
You then have the problem of porn. Why does my partner feel the need to watch porn? Does he have any unmet sexual needs? Is he doing more than simply watching porn? And, should it bother me that my boyfriend watches porn?
There’s no simple answer to any of those questions. It entirely depends on your relationship, and your partners’ behaviors. It can take years to normalize watching porn in a relationship. Generally speaking it’s not an easy thing to talk about.
Typically speaking, you would know if you had something to be concerned about. Of course, we know it’s not always wise to trust your gut instincts, but if you’re feeling doubtful and have cause for concern then you’re probably completely valid in your concerns.
Porn itself is pretty problematic. The average viewing age for first watching porn is 11 for boys, which is pretty crazy.
So, on average, from 11 years old boys are being influenced by porn; this can impact a lot of things from their sexual expectations and even the treatment of women.
Think back to your sexual knowledge at the age of 11, it was probably non-existent. I mean, it’s not something we’re taught from a young age, and so imagine how much porn can influence our perception of sex, body image, and, in turn, how it could cause underlying issues that progress in later life.
Any sense of respect, love, or developing connections  doesn’t tend to be present in pornography. (I would love to be proven wrong on that note, so if you can find good porn that reflects any truth in regard to a relationship please direct me in finding it).
Of course, not everyone watches porn from such a young age, but a major problem with porn is how accessible it is; you can even watch porn on Twitter.
With that being said, watching porn is a really easy way to get off. If you’re looking for a quick masturbation session, porn is typically the way to go.
But, there are many options for masturbating that don’t involve porn. Using your imagination, or focusing simply on the sensations and pleasure can be just as effective.
All in all, watching porn is totally okay in a relationship, but it doesn’t actually do us much good.
You could argue that porn has much more negative effects than positive. It can impact cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, how you view your sexuality, and even impact attitudes and beliefs. 
Then of course, there’s the problem of porn addiction.
If you’re completely comfortable with watching porn yourself, and have no concerns with your boyfriend watching porn, then it can even improve your sex life by leading to experimentation and even just the simplicity of encouraging your sex drives, meaning that you’ll benefit by having more sexual encounters with your partner.
But, if you’re not comfortable with this and feel as though something needs to change, it may be worth posing the question if he has any unmet sexual needs and trying to establish why he feels the need to watch porn so much.
You don’t always need a reason to feel uncomfortable with your partner watching porn. For example, if you personally don’t like porn and feel as though it has negative effects on your partner, it’s completely understandable that you’d feel upset by your boyfriend watching porn.
Again, a lot of couples don’t talk about masturbation and, in turn, watching porn, so discovering that your partner watches porn can feel as though he’s hiding something, even though he might think it’s completely normal to not tell you.
It’s important to try and get to the root of this problem. The best way to do this is by asking him. You might find that you have absolutely nothing to worry about, but having an open conversation with him will help you to understand each other and how to move forward.
You may come to the conclusion that he wants to stop watching porn, or you may decide that going forward you decide to be honest with each other regarding porn use. You may even decide that you're only going to watch porn together. I can’t tell you what’s right, because ultimately it depends on your relationship and what will work best for you and your partner.
There are many different types of porn, and everyone has their reasons for their preference. I personally quite enjoy porn with a bit of a story to it; I love a good plot.
If you were to go on pornhub, the top 50 most watched videos, the first one on there is Kim Kardashians sex tape, followed by stepmom and step sister videos. A 2022 Year in Review for PornHub, found that the most searched for genre was ‘reality’; with the most popular searches being ‘real orgasm’, ‘real couple’ and ‘real massage’.
I have known people to find their partners’ watching ‘bisexual porn’ or ‘gay porn’ in a heterosexual relationship. If you find your partner watching gay porn, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to sleep with men. I mean, we see Tiktok videos all the time of straight girls talking about lesbian porn.
Understanding a person’s desires through their preferred porn is very complex, and can only be understood by asking your partner.
He may have unmet sexual needs, or he may simply be curious about experimentation and is figuring this out by watching porn. I also want to point out that just because he’s searched for a specific video it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s particularly into it.
Watching porn is usually a process of trial and error. How much time have you spent scrolling through videos trying to find the right one? Or turning a video off after realizing it’s not for you?
It’s important to go into the conversation open-mindedly and non-accusatory. You’re simply looking for him to open up, not looking to start an argument. It’s also a good idea to go into this conversation being open yourself, talk about your own porn use or how and when you masturbate; this may encourage him to be honest and open in return.
Of course, if you think your partner may be struggling with porn addiction, you have to have an entirely different approach. You want him to know that you’re being supportive, and you want to show him that you’re willing to help him get through this, but for this he will need to be honest and willing to try.
Another problem that comes with porn is the triple A influence:
You have to remember that if your partner is struggling with porn addiction, it can be hard to overcome as porn is easily accessible and it can be easy to hide.
If this is something that he’s willing to overcome, you can contact your internet provider and set a ban on porn, likewise, you can go to Google and turn on ‘SafeSearch’. But this is something that he needs to be willing to do for himself, and isn’t a decision that you can make for him.
There are many ways you can help your partner overcome porn addiction, but it’s important that he’s willing to try. You need to remain open-minded, and always have his best interest at heart.
Porn addiction is complex, so it’s important that you thoroughly educate yourself before you can even begin to understand him.
An NHS study explains the difference between sexual addiction and porn addiction. Porn addiction is a topic that is relatively misunderstood and there has been confusion over whether or not it can be classed as compulsive, impulsive or addictive.
Many websites offer explanations and support to those struggling with porn addiction and doing your research will help you in understanding your partner but also helping you find the tools in order to support him.
Sometimes it can be easy to get ahead of yourself and view the situation in a negative light. But, if your partner is struggling with porn addiction he’s most likely aware of it, or at least aware of the negative impact that watching porn has on him.
Remember, he is learning and is trying to understand himself, so in turn you need to do the same.
Being open and honest with yourself, and assuring him that he has your full support is the best way to encourage open communication.
He should be able to speak to you about his struggles, the same way you should feel comfortable voicing your concerns.
Whether it’s at home, socially, or even doing nice things for him at work, making all environments feel supportive will really help him get through this.
For example, if he struggles to get through his work day without sneaking away to watch porn, showing up with his lunch or sending him texts throughout the day should help him stay in touch with reality and to overcome his problem.
You never want to give him an ultimatum, but realistically, if this is causing problems for you and your relationship there is only so much you can take.
For example, if he continues to hide things from you or acts out when you’re being supportive, you have to be clear where you stand with him. As much as you’re there for him, you should take care of yourself first, always.
Asking him about his porn consumption may help you to understand if he does have any unmet sexual needs, and this is certainly something that you can help him with.
Porn addiction is complex, but generally speaking if he’s obsessing over a specific type of porn, you may be able to make it a reality instead, showing him that he’s got no need to obsess over these specific videos.
This isn’t always the case, but at least it encourages honesty and open communication regardless.
Depending on how much he is struggling with porn addiction, it’s unlikely that he’ll never watch it again. So, you can help him to understand ethical porn, and porn that may not have such a negative impact on his mental or physical state.
Ethical porn is respectful, all performers are consensual, it’s sex-positive, and is naturally more realistic.
You could even make your own porn videos, for your eyes only. Whatever works best for you and your partner.
It seems obvious, but coming up with a healthy distraction is a great way of overcoming porn addiction. You’re essentially giving him something much healthier to obsess over yet it’s much more positive and is something that you can do together.
Not only will this help with porn addiction, but it will do wonders for your relationship.
Learning his triggers may help you to prevent him from caving him, it also highlights to him his own triggers that may be underlying and helps him to gain control over his obsessions.
Couples therapy is never a bad idea, especially if you feel as though an outside perspective could be helpful.
You can always ask your friends for advice, but the topic is a little sensitive and you wouldn't want to overshare. Seeking advice from a couples therapist will help you both to understand each other better and help you to have a plan set in place for how you can move forward together.
If you feel as though he’s not really receptive to anything you’ve suggested and you’re stuck for ideas on how to support him, you can always ask him to verbally tell you how you can help.
It may not be as serious as you thought, or it may be more so, but asking him exactly what it is he needs from you is never a bad thing. It’s then what he chooses to do with your support that counts.
If your partner is struggling with porn addiction so much that it’s impacting his day-to-day life, it’s important to suggest that he seeks professional help.
It may be a doctor, a therapist, a specialist or even via an online service. Whatever works best for him, and whatever will make him feel the most comfortable.
Porn addiction is often paired with other disorders.  If this is the case, medical treatment may be a viable option.
Typically, medication would be prescribed along with behavioral therapy.
It goes without saying but it’s important to remain supportive throughout. You may have days where you feel like you’re not getting through to him, or you’re arguing. Whatever happens, remain supportive and be understanding.
Whilst watching porn is certainly not an act of cheating, it can have a connection with the act of cheating itself. It’s important to remember that this isn’t always the case, but, if he has unmet sexual needs it’s possible that your partner could be seeking this elsewhere.
With that being said, watching porn is completely normal and doesn’t have to be viewed negatively, as long as you’re honest with your partner about your porn consumption or even watch it together. There are healthy ways to watch porn without having to hide and lie to your partner.
They do. A Cambridge study found that men who have a higher frequency of porn use also have lower levels of sexual self-competence. However, the same study found that women who have a higher frequency of porn use actually have higher levels of sexual self-competence, improved sexual functioning and enhanced sexual satisfaction.
Ultimately, the best way to determine if your boyfriend is addicted to porn is by asking him. Porn addiction can be easy to hide. If he is struggling with porn addiction, it’s likely that he’s aware and that would naturally change his behavior.
If you feel as though he is hiding his porn use, or that it’s taking over his day-to-day life then it’s possible that he has a problem.
It is 10000% okay for your boyfriend to watch porn, if you are both okay with it. You both have to agree that you are comfortable with the other watching porn. It doesn’t make you controlling, it is simply something that you’re not okay with, and that’s normal.
It might be something that takes a little time to get used to, or you’d rather he doesn’t tell you when he does, or you may even prefer it if you only watch porn together. Whatever works for your relationship is what’s important.
3-6% of people are addicted to pornography, and so it clearly affects a lot of people. It’s important to determine whether your partner is actually struggling with porn addiction or if he just watches porn casually.
Typically, he will know within himself if he has a problem and as much as you can offer your support it’s important that he’s willing to try and is receptive and understanding of your support.
Ultimately, if your partner isn’t a porn addict yet you feel as though he’s been hiding his porn use from you, this is pretty normal. As much as we should feel comfortable enough in our relationships to talk about porn and masturbation, it's not always the case.
Encouraging honesty is the best way forward. You can have a lot of fun when you’re open with your partner regarding masturbation and it may even help to increase your sexual gratification.
If you’re still feeling uncomfortable with the idea of your partner watching porn, this is totally okay too. Not everyone is okay with it, you will just need to have a conversation with your partner to determine how to best move forward together.
If you have any further insight into porn consumption then please feel free to comment, and as always, share with a friend in need.