In the June, 2015 3-day Men Mentoring Men (M3) intensive workshop, a dialogue began on pornography. M3 founder and workshop facilitator, Dr. Ed Adams PhD., requested that the men consider the impact of pornography on their lives and love. This discussion opened up the potential effects of pornography on health, relationships, and addictions.
Men are portrayed in our culture as seeking to distance themselves from intimacy and having no interest in it. However, a workshop participant stated “my desire for intimacy is at least as, if not more, important than my desire for sex.” This yearning for increased intimacy was widely shared by the other men.
How does viewing pornography influence how men think about sex, how they become aroused, and their ability to engage in intimacy? Does it lead to unrealistic expectations of their partners and themselves? How might it contribute to feelings of dissatisfaction, resentment, and alienation?
Many women disdain pornography. They disparage the demeaning way in which women are portrayed, that the random sex depicted disregards the significance of relationship, and sets female partners up for a competition they cannot win.
While more men use pornography than women, women do engage with erotica, as demonstrated by the unprecedented success of the “50 Shades of Grey” series. The sex depicted in these books and movie is within a committed relationship, contrary to most pornography favored by men.
Use of pornography is a complicated issue, particularly regarding how it influences both men’s and women’s ability to achieve the intimacy they desire. Only by remaining aware, awake and engaged can we hope to connect in meaningful ways.
Article includes information culled from “Is Pornography Addictive?” from the American Psychological Association by Kirsten Wier and “Is Porn Harmful? How porn rewires your brain, hijacks your libido and threatens your sex life (and just might improve it too)” published in Men’s Health Magazine.
Robert Hackman 07/15