Sex, Porn and what it can do to you and your sex life

Fiona Clark

It’s sexual health week and this year the theme is porn and sexual health. While there may be a role for porn in a healthy sexual relationship, there is also a significant downside. Fiona Clark reports.

They don’t call Wendy Hurn ‘Willie Wendy’ for nothing. She’s spent much of her career as a urology nurse dealing with the effects of porn on men but now she is seeing a growing number of younger women as well.

As access to porn on the Internet has increased so too has the flow of people to her clinic in Bristol. For men, the main problems she sees are an inability to become aroused by their partner, an inability to ejaculate due to too much masturbation, and a warped body image.

“Many of these men have watched so much porn that they’re desensitised mentally and physically,” she says. Some she claims are masturbating up to ten times a day and as this progresses they have to apply more and more pressure to their penis to get aroused and can sometimes resort to some quite damaging practices in order to climax.”

And if you’re thinking it’s only older men who are effected, think again – the main age group she sees is 17-25.

 

Body image: Am I normal?

But it’s not just men.  Harley Street based consultant psychiatrist and aesthetics physician Dr Neetu Johnson says women are falling into a downward spiral when it comes to self-esteem. Her clients are reporting “low self-esteem and lowered body image of themselves after watching porn. There has also been an increase of women reporting criticism of their bodies by their partners, which in turn feeds into the already established low self-image issue.”

sexual-health-week-porn-journal-harley-street-emporium

Dr Neetu believes this low self-esteem is a driving force behind the growing rates of breast augmentations and ‘designer vagina’ cosmetic surgery as our perception of what is ‘normal’ is now skewed.

In 2013 there were almost 95,000 operations performed on women’s genitals (labiaplasty) around the world. In the space of a year that figure jumped by around 6% to just under 100,000 according to statistics from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). When it comes to breast augmentation, between 2014-15 there was a 12% jump in the number of operations performed in the UK with 9652 women opting of for the procedure according to the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), although the figures dropped afterwards inline with the current economic uncertainty. In 2016 however, BAAPS says labiaplasty was the third most sought after procedure.

And while women don’t think they ‘look right’, men also feel the same way. Hurn says she often hears them saying: “It’s not long enough, it’s not big enough, it’s not wide enough”, and she says some have resorted to some extremely damaging practices to try and lengthen their penises.

 

Sexual expectations

But it’s not just a question of image. When it comes to the act of sex itself, things are going awry.

“The increase pressure of women to perform acts seen in these films has also become evident with many women feeling uncomfortable to what is being requested by their partners. Men have reported being more critical of their partners’ body and less interested in the actual sexual act or even foreplay”, Neetu says.

It’s a trend Hurn has noticed as well. She says the lack of foreplay means women are often enduring quite painful sex which can add to the psychological burden including female sexual dysfunction or FSD.

“The younger men, under 25 or under 21 just want to go straight to sex, they just want to orgasm and aren’t interested in the other stuff, so women are having dyspareunia or painful sex. Then he climaxes and blames her for making it happen too quickly so the girls lose confidence. Some of the girls I’ve seen are in so much pain that they can’t even use a tampon”, Hurn says.

“People just don’t know what normal is anymore”, Hurn says.

sex-porn-sexual-health-sweek-journal-harley-street-emporium

Re-educating them can be a long, slow process – up to a couple of years in some cases to get people back to enjoying their own bodies, their partners bodies and sex.

“I tell them to stop watching, turn it off – it’s not real. Talk to someone they can trust if they aren’t getting fulfilment. The earlier they get help, the better.”

It’s a question too for society at large as open debates that talk about the evidence that is being collated over time needs to be discussed in a rational way so we can help prevent problems later.

Neetu says there is evidence that’s starting to appear that shows exposure to pornography at a young age can have a detrimental effect later in life.

“Within the adolescent population the concept of porn has become so normalised with easy access of material on phones. There is starling evidence to show that early exposure to pornographic images and material could be a future predictor for sexual offending behaviour and crimes,” she says.

To help avoid this early awareness and education on self-esteem and  healthy body knowledge is vital. She advocates developing a “healthy attitude towards sexual education and openness to this at an early age, as well as awareness that early exposure to degrading and violence sexual images can have a detrimental effect on mental and sexual health.”

Useful links:

NHS:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodsex/Pages/Goodsexhome.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Sexualhealthtopics/Pages/Sexual-health-hub.aspx

College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT), https://www.cosrt.org.uk/

The Sexual Advice Association, (formerly the Sexual Dysfunction Association)  sda.uk.net

Advice for under 25’shttp://www.themix.org.uk/sex-and-relationships

Dr Neetu: https://www.mindbodymedicineclinic.com/about

Related Products

Related Posts