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Four Considerations For Using Pornography As A Couple

Pornography often gets a bad reputation. While there are certainly reasons to question why someone is watching porn, it can also be part of a healthy, intimate relationship. The secret is to understand how and why it is used by the couple or individual. These tips can help make it a positive experience: 

  1. Respect Comfort Levels

Everybody has a different comfort level with watching pornography. If one partner is comfortable with it and the other isn’t, maybe it’s something that one partner watches separately. Sometimes both partners are comfortable with it but have preferences on whether it is together or alone. Maybe, one person is very uncomfortable with certain types of porn. No matter what it is, discussing the comforts and discomforts surrounding pornography and being upfront about feelings and how it is used within the context of the relationship is essential to the wellbeing of both individuals and the relationship as a whole. 

  1. Distinguish Between Porn And Reality

Real sex does not feel the way that porn looks. It’s important to remember that porn portrays actors having sex. Therefore, there is a lot left out of the scenes. We don’t usually see people having to pee, farting during sex, losing and gaining an erection, or other common experiences. We also generally don’t see couples negotiating the sexual experience or asking permission before anal penetration, bondage, or other acts that require specific consent. Porn allows people to enter a fantasy world, and it’s important to recognize it as such.

  1. Discuss the “Why”

There are many different reasons an individual or couple may choose to watch pornography. It can be exciting, provide new ideas for spicing up a sex life, or provide added visual stimulation during sex. When discussing porn with a partner, be clear about the reason for watching it, whether it be together or separately. Being on the same page can help prevent hurt feelings and uncomfortable situations. Furthermore, having a conversation about the “why” may also pave a path for openly expressing feelings about intimacy as a couple. 

  1. Acknowledge When Porn Is Interfering

While some couples do integrate porn into their sex lives or as a tool for masturbation, it is important for someone to be able to share with their partner if pornography is interfering with the relationship. In some cases, a partner can feel lonely, inadequate, or generally uncomfortable with their partner watching porn. Having open communication about your thoughts and feeling will help alleviate resentment or quiet discontent.

Pornography is often a difficult topic to discuss in a relationship. I’m here to help. Reach out about couples therapy for support while having these discussions.


Dr David Helfand is a licensed psychologist with specialized training in clinical psychology, relationship skills and sexuality, neuroscience, yoga, and meditation. He founded LifeWise in 2017 in order to create an optimal approach to helping individuals, couples, and families based on his experience of what actually helps people move forward to a more peaceful and fulfilling life.