Is watching porn bad for a relationship?

The first time your girlfriend or wife walks in on you huddled pants-less over an internet video of loose genitals flopping all over your computer screen, she tends to respond negatively. After she drives around the block a few times in a comatose state then returns to discuss what just happened, inevitably she'll ask why, and most likely you won't know what to tell her.

Many women assume that this sick little secret is evidence of a relationship problem, or some deeper psychological defect. Some see this habit as a substitute for a fading sex life. Others view it as evidence of an unfaithful partner, if only in spirit. However, according to a recent article published by WebMD, mounting medical and psychological research suggests that watching porn regularly isn't a destructive act, and is not bad for a relationship, so long as it is viewed in moderation.

Psychologist and sex therapist Russell Stambaugh believes that porn is rarely evidence of relationship problems. Rather, it is just a byproduct of the male psychology. "The best studies suggest that only about 5% of porn users have a problem that interferes with their daily life," he says.

It’s common for men, and yes, even men in long happy relationships, to watch porn regularly. Some studies suggest that 26% of men and 3% of women visit adult websites. These numbers will surely rise as generations born into the internet age continue to saturate the population.

While it's apparent that many men enjoy watching porn, the question of why remains. Stambaugh theorizes that men have evolved the adaptation of being easily aroused so that they’re ready for sex whenever the opportunity arises. The internet then presents a kind of perpetual opportunity, at least for simulated sex, which the male "mind" has yet to evolve the ability to distinguish from actual sex.

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