Why you should ditch pornography in your sex life – Reason 2

In my last post I explained that one reason to not use pornography in the bedroom is because communication between men and women is often so delicate and difficult that there is a lot of room for exploitation, intentional or unintentional. Once this occurs, it is in the relationship and cannot be easily reversed. It can have lasting consequences both in the bedroom and out of it.

The second reason to avoid porno in your sex life is because sex offers the opportunity for real presence, and porno leads you away from presence. You and one other person can shut out the world, and be exclusively present to each other the way few people ever are any other time. It is a shame that people do not practice being truly present to each other in conversations, in work situations, etc., but the bedroom perhaps ought to be one place where you and another person are deeply present to one another. What do I mean when I speak of presence?

I mean being fully in the moment, fully with the other person. I mean not being distracted, not thinking of other things, not mulling over work, or the kids, or money, or another human being that you perhaps find more physically attractive, or more powerful. I fully realize that this flies in the face of popular wisdom, which tells couples to make fantasy an active part of their sex lives. I like to advise people to make reality an active part of their sex lives. In those moments you are with a real person who, though perhaps not as physically beautiful as others you can think of, is the person who is committed to you — the person who is letting you do things to them and with them that they do not allow anyone else to do. 

No one else has the access to that person that you have (and there are probably a few others who wish they did — never forget that). This is a person who probably knows the real you — the good and the bad. This is a person who is under few illusions that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread but who nonetheless loves you, cares for you, and is willing to be extremely vulnerable with you in order to bring pleasure to you. If you think about it this way, you can see how absurd it is that couples are encouraged to regularly take flights away from reality and retreat into fantasy sex with strangers they will never know and never even meet. What could be greater than the fact that someone knows you through and through still loves you enough to go to bed with you?

Now here I am not talking about pretending. If  a couple wants to play doctor, or otherwise dress up, or otherwise make believe something or other, that is fine. I am talking about the kind of fantasy where you, in bed with your partner, imagine yourself making love to somebody else. Our greatest challenge in this world is learning to find beauty in the present moment and not always be checking out mentally to find it in flights of fancy. Like Madonna said, “Beauty’s where you find it.” Find it in the one you’re with.

Furthermore, I encourage presence not only in the bedroom but everywhere. When your spouse is speaking to you, be fully present. Look up. Put your book down. Listen intently. Ask questions. Be present. In that moment, someone is trying to love you, to connect with you. Be open to their attempts to love you, even if it’s not exactly the way you would want to be loved in that moment. The tragedy of human life is that most people feel neglected and unloved, while they are surrounded by people who love them and are trying to connect but they don’t see it because it’s not coming in the forms they might be looking for.

So be fully present during sex. Be in that moment, with that person. This is intimacy and connection. And practice that same presence outside of the bedroom. That will bring intimacy into potentially every conversation and every encounter. When intimacy is there in every conversation and encounter, I assure you sex will come alive and you will not need to retreat into having fantasy sex with strangers.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. A request for me to defend some of my comments does not obligate me to do so.

  • Jeff Vannest

    I enjoy your blogs. You talk about things that people care about and think about.

    I agree with this completely, that porn can lead to the lack of presence, which is extremely important during sex. That being said, I don’t think that means that it is bad, rather that it deserves careful consideration before attempting. I don’t agree that it is akin to inviting another person into the bed any more than I believe that watching Dexter invites a serial murderer into my family. Personally I think this makes the faulty assumption that adults cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, which is the same poor argument that people used to try to fight against the proliferation of early television and video games.

    • Thanks for your well thought-out comment and your affirmation about my blog. I don’t think the Dexter analogy is comparable, given that my point is simply about presence, and with the Dexter analogy you have moved away from presence and into the difference between fantasy and reality. I never hinted that adults don’t or can’t understand the difference; only that though pornography may introduce exciting new variables at the beginning, in the long run a couple would be far better off in the long run to eschew it, and simply practice being with one another.

      I have had clients who were using pornography and I encouraged them to ditch it for an indefinite period of time, and they decided they were better off without it. I believe most couples would come to this same conclusion on their own, because in general, it is simply the case.

  • Joe

    the 2nd to last paragraph was excellent. i feel a lot of people miss out on loving eachother and fail to communicate by simply not really paying attention or giving thought to what the other person is saying