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Porn.. a big turn off ? Some women say it makes them feel inadequate, others claim their partner no longer wants 'normal'' sex but some women reckon it spices up their sex lives. So is porn helping or destroying our relationships?

Byline: WORDS: SHANNON KYLE

Waking in the middle of the night groggy Tina*, 34, rolled onto her side to hug her boyfriend Mike, 36, but he wasn't there. Throwing off her duvet, she angrily walked into the lounge, knowing exactly where she'd find him.

Hunched over his laptop, his face lit up by the screen of writhing naked bodies, Tina had caught him once again - using porn to pleasure himself.

The huge rise in smart phones, handhelds and computers means more of us, men and women, are looking at porn than ever before and the sex industry in general is now worth billion of pounds.

But according to some, porn appears to be slowly damaging relationships and it's women who seem to be paying the price.

In a survey in association with the Tavistock Trust, eight in ten men aged 18 to 24, compared to just a third of women, admitted they regularly looked at porn. And not only is it affecting the confidence of both sexes, experts say this obsession is making women feel insecure about their bodies.

Therapist Jacqueline Hurst (jacquelinehurst.com), who specialises in hypnotherapy, is seeing more women approach her for help about their partner's attachment to porn.

She says, 'Many women come to me and ask: "Is it me? Why is he looking at this?" They feel insecure, and not good enough.

'But actually men are visually aroused by pictures more than women. And some of them are actually addicted to porn. I have to explain: "It's not you it's them."

'Looking at these images is as exciting and as arousing sometimes as taking drugs, drinking or gambling.

'It can cause changes to your brain and ultimately end in an addiction. If your partner is looking at porn several times a week the chances are he'll need professional help to stop. It has little or nothing to do with the way his partner looks.' Tina has been living with Mike for five years. She realised he was becoming obsessed with porn a year after they started living together. 'When we first got together I didn't notice Mike using much porn. Then we decided to watch it together one night as part of a couple. It was actually fun.

'But soon afterwards Mike bought his own laptop and I realised he was becoming less keen on sex with me and happier to stay up late on his own.

'I caught him once and we had a huge row. He said it was normal as 'everyone' is doing it. But I hated the thought of him looking at other women's naked bodies, especially as many were very skinny and young. I'm a size 14 and always felt OK about the way I looked, but I can't compare to them.

'Mike also asked me to shave down below for 'change' and to begin with I was open minded then thought about it... and I was certain this is to do with porn.

'All the porn stars have had a Brazilian wax. I was horrified he wanted to turn me into one of them.' Cosmopolitan magazine interviewed 68 leading sex and relationship experts about the effects of porn on relationships today and the results were overwhelming. Ninety per cent of experts had seen an increase in relationship problems due to porn.

But it's not just adults being affected. From a young age teenagers are now exposed to porn in ways not seen just ten years ago.

One mum, Zadia*, 45, of Kent, was horrified to see that her 14-year-old son Sid* was staring at porn with his friends in his bedroom. 'I saw on his internet history websites for hard core porn on his iPad.

'So I took him to one side and tried to explain how damaging it is to view women like that and how unrealistic it was.

'They all had fake boobs, were very skinny and hairless.

'He was very embarrassed and laughed but it made me realise how it's twisting boys' views of the female form severely from an impressionable age.' As the relentless rise of porn appears to continue more couples like Tina and Mike are struggling to keep their relationship growing. Tina has stayed with Mike but is having trouble persuading him porn is a major problem for her.

She said: 'He's in denial and I am not sure how long our relationship can continue like this even though I know he loves me.

'It's difficult as porn is viewed by many men as normal and he says his friends do it.

'But I cannot believe they do it to the extent he does. I struggle not to take it personally. At the end of the day I just want to meet all of his sexual needs by him looking at me, not a computer screen.' *name has been changed Signs your partner uses a lot of porn:

He uses a laptop secretly

He lies about his porn use

He appears depressed and anxious

He neglects family or social relationships

He has trouble staying aroused in the bedroom

He doesn't sleep properly
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2013
Words:849
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