Sexologist Isiah McKimmie explains why people need porn to enjoy sex

Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au’s weekly column that solves all your romantic problems, no holds barred.

This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie helps a man struggling with his new girlfriend’s addiction to pornography.

QUESTION: I started seeing a woman and I really like her. She is cute and funny and we have great sex. The only problem is that he doesn’t seem to like sex unless we’ve watched porn and it’s playing in the background. When we first had sex I thought it was kinky, but now it’s become a habit I don’t like. I find pornography distracting and prefer to do without it. How can I make him enjoy sex without porn?

ANSWER: It’s great that you’ve met someone you really click with, but understandably watching porn every time you have sex isn’t your problem.

You’ll have to start by letting him know that; you have a great opportunity here to start some open and honest conversations about sex that should deepen your relationship.

Why someone might use porn to get turned on

It can be helpful to understand why your girlfriend uses porn. Of course, the best way to find out what’s really going on is to ask her, but here are a few possibilities:

Porn can increase arousal

Women’s bodies need at least 20 minutes of foreplay to fully prepare for sex. Less than 20 minutes of foreplay increases the chance of pain during sex and decreases a woman’s ability to reach orgasm.

Unfortunately, many women feel pressured to get aroused quickly and worry that it will take them “too long” to reach orgasm. If you’re not spending at least 20 minutes on foreplay, you might want to use it as a shortcut.

Maybe he doesn’t like what you’re doing

Women often struggle to ask for what they want during sex; sometimes, they don’t even know what they really like. Porn may be covering this up.

Viewing pornography can distract us from discomfort or shame

Sex can clash in your privacy. It may feel less intimate and therefore less confronting to use porn as a distraction during sex.

Porn can become a habit that is hard to break

Anyone can fall into a porn habit. Usually watching porn can prevent you from being able to turn on without it. It is possible to break this, but your girlfriend will have to love it.

Talking openly about sex correlates with greater sexual satisfaction

Research shows that being able to talk openly and honestly about sex is a key factor in having a satisfying sex life. Only 9 percent of couples who say they can’t talk openly about sex say they are sexually satisfied.

Couples also report that being able to talk openly about sex correlates with being able to have other important but difficult conversations in their relationship.

Talking about this is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship, sexual and otherwise.

Give feedback on what you want

In order to move forward, you will need to be honest. When commenting on a sensitive topic like sex, consider using these three steps:

1 Start with something positive, for example, tell her that you love meeting her and that you think sex is great.

2 Tell him what you would like to change, but in a positive way, for example: “I would like to try new things with you.” Could we try quitting porn next time and explore some new ways to have fun?’

3 Show that you are genuinely interested in her feelings about it, perhaps by asking questions like “What do you like most about sex?”, “Have you ever felt pressured to be in the mood?”, “Have you ever struggled to reach orgasm?” ?’, ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’, ‘Do you always use porn to get turned on?’ ‘Have you ever had sex without it?’

How to activate without porn

If your girlfriend is struggling to get turned on without porn, suggest alternatives like massage, dirty talk, longer foreplay, more mindful sex (where you focus on being more present and “in your body”), and even body mapping. you discover new areas of pleasurable touch on each other’s bodies.

It can take time to develop new activations and your girlfriend should want to follow these steps. I hope she is open to it.

Isiah McKimmie is a couples therapist, sexologist, sex therapist and teacher. To book a session with her, visit her website or follow her on Instagram for more advice on relationships, sex and intimacy.

If you have any questions about Isiah, please email relation.rehab@news.com.au

Originally posted as “Why can’t my new girlfriend enjoy sex without watching porn?”

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