Porn: how much is too much

There are as many as 30 million people watching porn RIGHT NOW. But before you go and make it 30 million + one, let’s talk.

Porn is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry – out of everyone who came to visit us in the Sex Pod, 70% admitted to watching porn (and those are just the ones who admitted it). So it’s pretty common. But there’s still a certain amount of taboo around porn; some of us are ashamed, some of us are scared we’re watching too much and some of us are just downright confused. But we’re here to help with the answers to a few questions you might have about porn.

How much should I be watching?

This week on Sex Pod  we met Zak, who watched porn around three times a day, and Naman, who often found himself sneaking off to the toilet when out with friends to watch porn. Is this a bit much? Well, there’s actually no definite answer to this question. It comes down to you personally but, as with almost everything, watching porn in moderation is okay. If you find that porn is beginning to affect the way you live your life, your relationships, or your sex life, then it might be time to cut down. Oh and if you’re watching it in public toilets, you might want to try and cut that out.

Is it real?

Usually, no. Most porn is like any other TV show or movie; it’s made to look as good as possible using a set, actors and editing. In reality what you see on screen is a final edit of what really happened, they probably stopped and started a lot, certain noises will have been exaggerated and the stars will have been chosen specifically for the way the look. It often looks nothing like what happens in most real life relationships.

As long as you realise its exaggerated then there’s nothing really wrong with this. Just like there’s nothing wrong with watching an action movie, just don’t expect yourself to be abseiling from burning building with a knife between your teeth anytime soon.

It’s important to remember that when you have sex yourself, it probably won’t be like it is in porn, and that’s fine. Porn is all about what is looks like to people watching it – not what actually works for the two people doing it. Sex is different for everyone and as long as you understand that, you’ll do great. It’s also important not to compare yourself – or your partner – to how porn-stars look or the things they do . As we discovered this week on Sex Pod things like frequent anal sex, or porn star moves, aren’t necessities. Just do what you feel comfortable with.

Is there anything wrong with it?

Too much porn can have negative effects. If you’re watching it in moderation and understand that it’s not real then it’s basically fine. But living vicariously through porn can make it even harder to have real relationships, as expectations won’t be met in real life. For those who have an active sex life, too much porn can lead to erectile dysfunction and a disappointing sex-life as the extremes and heightened reality of porn can make real life less arousing. But only you can know if it’s having a negative effect on your life, so if you’re watching it, enjoying it and it’s not impacting on your life away from the screen, then don’t worry. If you’re beginning to feel like it’s having a negative impact, then there are things you can do. First find someone you trust to talk to about it and if the problem persists, there’s lots of handy advice, people you can talk to and numbers you can call over at Net Doctor or, if in doubt, there’s always your real doctor.

Is it ethical?

Not always. There’s a lot of nasty stuff out there. One Sex-Podder talked about watching celebrity sex tapes – this is less than ethical. Leaked sex-tapes and “revenge porn” in which private videos are posted as a form of revenge on a previous partner are a huge problem in porn. Celebrity or otherwise, if it seems like what you’re watching has been put online without consent, you shouldn’t be watching it.

As for the rest, if it’s shot in a studio the actors will have consented to it, it’s usually pretty safe. It’s tough to know what’s ethical and what isn’t though – because even if actors have consented to being filmed, you can’t always know why that is, or even how old they are, and they are still often depicted in submissive, demeaning and objectifying roles.

If you’re worried about what you’re watching there are options. Erika Lust is the female director behind (this is obviously a NSFW link!), which focuses on giving women roles beyond the usual stereotypes and presenting sex in a realistic and empowering way. There’s also sites like Make Love Not Porn  (again, NSFW!) which simply feature real couples, having real sex. This kind of porn is on the rise and it is out there, you just have to do some crafty Googling beforehand (maybe in incognito mode though).

How do I stop?

If all this sounds a bit scary and you think you’re watching a bit too much porn, it can be hard to cut down. As before if you’re looking for help first find someone you trust to talk to about it and if the problem persists, try heading here or simply talk to your doctor. If porn is affecting your relationships or your sex life, try talking to your partner about it and explaining what’s wrong, otherwise this will only add pressure and make it that much harder to stop.