Sex therapist Vanessa Marin thinks it’s our responsibility to conceptualise porn as something different. ‘One reason porn is seen as unhealthy is because it does not show an accurate depiction of what sex really looks like,’ she says. ‘Porn is meant to be entertainment, but because we do such a bad job with sex education, it’s the only exposure a lot of people get. They think that’s how sex is meant to be, and that causes problems.’ Here’s Marin’s advice for managing a healthy porn habit.
‘Don’t watch porn every time you masturbate, as that can lead to issues. A good rule of thumb is using it less than 50 per cent of the time.’
Don’t check out
‘When you’re watching porn, pay attention to your own body. Notice the sensations, take your eyes away from the screen every once in a while, and look down at your body. Take note so you understand what your body feels during the arousal process.’
‘If you feel you’re watching it too much, or are getting concerned about your habits, take a break – between two to four weeks.’
Value the real thing
‘When I’m working with couples, one rule that’s often helpful is if you’re feeling that desire, try to initiate being with your partner first.’
Support ethical porn
‘This not only showcases more realistic sex, but it’s more diverse than mainstream porn in terms of the acts and actors, plus it’s produced in environments that are safe and fair.’ Search for Erika Lust, The Ethical Porn Partnership or Feminist Porn Awards.
‘Check in with yourself before and after using it. Yes, you’re feeling horny, but is anything else going on? Often we use it as a way to circumvent other feelings.’ If you think you have a porn problem, speak to your GP or visit relate.org.uk.