Q&A: Why Do Men Watch Porn? Am I Not Good Enough?

E-mail Email Icon Print Print Icon
Reddit Digg StumbleUpon Delicious Bookmark

QUESTION: A while back I found porn videos on my boyfriend's computer. Ever since, I have felt worthless, sad and like I can't trust him. He promised he wouldn't watch anymore but twice I have looked and found them again. My boyfriend says he doesn't want to upset me, but that it's just a guy thing - is it? Or am I not enough for him?

Subscribe to the Kinsey Confidential Podcast: iTunes | RSS

Because watching porn is a relatively common experience that many male teenagers share as they grow up together, men often grow up to see it as a relatively typical, normal and healthy form of sexual expression.

Not all men watch porn, of course – some have never seen it and others have seen it, but may feel guilty or shameful watching it, particularly if they have been raised with family, religious or cultural values that view masturbation or viewing sexual images as harmful, wrong or immoral. Others find porn to be funny, silly or un-arousing.

Fewer Girls Than Guys

Fewer girls, on the other hand, tend to have been exposed to sexual images while growing up. It is not nearly as common for women to describe many instances in which they purposely looked at sexually explicit images in magazines, videos or on the internet.

In addition, many young women recall hearing negative things about porn from their mothers or from friends or older sisters. They may have heard that it was wrong for men to watch porn, or that watching porn is a sign of a bad partner, or a partner who is more likely to degrade women or to cheat on a woman.

Any of these messages can make a woman feel understandably weary, distrustful or sad about growing up and finding that her boyfriend, fiancé or husband watched porn. Then again, some women enjoy watching porn as much as some men, so people do vary.

Overcoming Difference In Gender and Experience

There are many ways that couples come to term with these differences in gender and experience. Some couples look for sexual images that a woman can feel comfortable with and they may watch these together, as part of their sex play. If this interests you, look for titles by Candida Royalle, or browse a wider range of options at woman-oriented sex boutiques.

Other times, a man may try to stop watching porn, though that can be difficult for some to do, especially if they feel that there is nothing wrong with it or if they feel judged, condemned or misunderstood by their partner.

For many men, their watching porn is simply a part of their masturbation and a wider range of sexual activities, and not a reflection of their attraction, love or lust for their partner. And yet, if you are feeling insecure, worthless and sad because of your different feelings about porn, that can affect your relationship and your ability to feel safe, vulnerable and intimate together.

Recommended Resources

You may find that reading a book such as For Each Other: Sharing Sexual Intimacy can help you two to improve sexual communication and work around this issue, or else you may find that sex therapy can be helpful. You can find a sex therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
More posts by this author »

Comments