Ask A Sex Therapist: My Boyfriend Prefers Porn To Real Sex

by Cay L. Crow

Can Watching Too Much Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Dear Cay,

My issue is that my boyfriend of 2 years seems to have no idea what makes me (and as I understand it, many women) satisfied. I have guided, requested, and advised all to no avail. He seems stunted and withdrawn sexually rather than the free spirit I desire. He seems more comfortable with pornography than with a “real” partner. He is struggling to overcome this issue. When he’s actively using porn, things are much worse to the point of erectile dysfunction. Apart from sex, he is wonderfully kind, generous, thoughtful, soft-spoken, even- tempered and the best friend any woman could have. We need some pretty intense help. Can you offer some sources?

B.A.

Dear B.A.,

The first thing that occurs to me is that your boyfriend never got accurate and realistic information about women’s physiology and sexual functioning. He may have turned to the most readily available and salient stimulus for sexual release (porn) early in his sexual development to the point that it is essential to his sexual satisfaction. If this is the case, he may have some compulsive aspects to his sexuality. Individuals like this usually learned one route to sexual release and cannot deviate from that without “ruining” the experience. Porn, for him, may be his only route to satisfaction. Sex with a partner brings other variables into the equation to which he cannot readily adapt.

Is Pornography A Good Source For Learning About Sex?

Do not blame porn for your boyfriend’s sexual habits. Pornography is the not the best source for learning about sex and women yet because of its availability, many young people turn to porn for their sex education. Most pornography caters to the sexual tastes of heterosexual men, usually an expression of male fantasy. This typically means the women are idealistically attractive and ravenously responsive to whatever the man does – a ridiculously naïve and unrealistic portrayal of sexuality.

I also wonder about a negative beginning to his sexual education. For example, I wonder if he got the early message that sex was dirty and therefore compartmentalized his sexual expression with porn. Or did he rush through his sexual experiences (usually masturbation) in an effort to hide them?

It also strikes me as odd that his sensitivity as a boyfriend does not translate into the bedroom; and that he seems “stunted and withdrawn” sexually. This also supports the theory that there is a schism between his sexuality and the rest of his life. I also have to wonder if he has absorbed some cultural conditioning that in order to be a “guy,” he must be a certain way sexually – namely, disconnected from his partner and focused on orgasm.

Does he realize that this is a problem? The motivation to change must come from him. My guess would be that many his former girlfriends encouraged him to seek help - but it is ultimately up to him. I suggest that he see a Sex Therapist. You can find a list of local Sex Therapists at the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) website, www.aasect.org. Click on the map of the U.S. to find a provider. The Sex Therapist will do a comprehensive sexual history and try to determine from that information which direction to take in therapy. The Sex Therapist may want to work with him alone at first then eventually include couple therapy.

At the very least, share your perceptions about how kind, generous, and thoughtful he is in general and then point out how different he is in a sexual context. Ask questions. Does he get nervous about sex? Does his mind go elsewhere? Can he be in the moment with you? Can he go slowly? Ask if he is curious about why he shows up differently during sex; perhaps a discussion might follow.

CAY L. CROW, LPC, AASECT-CERTIFIED SEX THERAPIST

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