Here's how porn is affecting Irish relationships. Sex therapist Teresa Bergin (2017)

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By Anna O'Rourke (link to article)

Whether you admit it or not, porn plays a role in Irish lives.

We have never had as much access to a wide variety of porn as we currently do, thanks to the internet, but what does that mean for us?

We recently did some digging to find out about our readers' porn habits and learned that over half of ye (55 per cent) admit to watching porn, either alone or with a partner. This wasn't too surprising, though what did surprise us was another set of research we came across this week.

A US study showed a strong link between men who watched porn frequently and those who reported a lack of sexual desire, as well as erectile dysfunction - but also showed that women's sex drives weren't negatively.

If this is anything to go by, we ladies can watch porn 'til the cows come home without any consequences while men risk their sex drive if they indulge in too much of it.

Sex therapist Teresa Bergin told Her that this is indeed the case for Irish men.

"Some men have real difficulty managing their day to day lives because of the amount of time they're spending on pornography," she said.

"For other men, it's not an addictive problem but nevertheless impacts on their ability to become sexually aroused and connect with their partners."

"When men masturbate to pornography too regularly, their arousal circuit becomes connected to that stimulus. Interpersonal arousal can never match the intensity of pornography and so, over time, it ceases to be enough. When this 'mis-wiring' occurs, the man can experience a reduction in his sexual desire with his partner or they develop P.I.E.D., porn induced erectile dysfunction."

She pointed out while erectile dysfunction is traditionally associated with middle aged or older men, she's now seeing it in men in their twenties and thirties.

"This is now a very common issue among younger men who have grown up with pornography readily available on a phone or tablet," she said.

"In essence, their sexual arousal has become hard-wired to the device they use."

But if you think that women are off the hook when it comes to porn, you'd be wrong.

According to Teresa, both men and women suffer from performance anxiety because of porn.

"Women will often say that they are worried that their partner is comparing them to the porn stars being viewed, or will have expectations of similar activity," she said.

"When this is not discussed, it has the potential to be quite a problem between partners."

But being honest may not be so easy for Irish couples.

"We still struggle in this country to talk about sexual problems," said Teresa.

"Also, because porn is now so widely used and normalised, people may not be aware of it as a possible factor within a sexual difficulty - 'it's only porn, sure everyone watches it'."

She had this advice for anyone who is concerned about their partner's porn habits or the effect of porn on their relationship.

"Talk with him. Open up a conversation about your concerns and try to talk together about what pornography means to you both and how it might be affecting your sexual relationship. Try not to accuse, blame or criticise.

"If your partner is experiencing erectile difficulties, encourage him to see his G.P and if necessary, seek therapeutic help, and even better, go along with him."

You can find out more about Teresa's work at Sextherapy.ie.