My Bag

How Porn Helped Improve My Relationships (...Eventually)

By Mish Back

watching-porn-in-relationships

On our third date, over vegan fettuccine, my new lust interest awkwardly suggested we watch porn together. We hadn’t slept together at this point. I nearly spit my noodles out as I tried to make sense of Bob’s (changed name for privacy) mumbled porn request between his loud chews. 

He suggested it in the way a person would recommend mini golf for a first date. I can’t remember precisely the combination of words I used in response. It was probably something along the lines of, “Maybe we should talk about this in private if we even get there.”

During our next date at his loft, not even 24 hours later, he asked me again. If we watched porn together, he argued, we’d be in sync physically and mentally. I let the idea sit with me for a whole two minutes before things got hot and heavy. 

Mid-makeout, he opened his laptop, began typing in the address bar, and a list of suggested sites immediately dropped down. His cursor navigated over three different URLs before he finally clicked on one.

I thought I was mentally prepared for what was to come, but a myriad of thoughts, including past insecurities and bad memories, flooded my mind. I was instantly filled with doubt and discomfort. I realized I simply wanted to please this man just to hold onto what I thought could be a good thing. 

As Bob scrolled through Porn Hub, I found myself trying to think of subtle ways to leave and never see him again. The best I could come up with was, “If we’re not getting married, I don’t think I can do this.”

Immediately, he became uncomfortable and not-so-nicely rushed me out of his apartment. By the next morning, he had shared and twisted my cringe-worthy moment on his Instagram story.

To his followers, I was a crazy stage-five clinger who wanted marriage on the fourth date. But this isn’t a story about a douche who publicly shames girls he dates, so I won’t get into all that.

Now here’s a plot twist. 

Believe it or not, I’m an advocate for introducing porn in healthy relationships. Regardless of my bitter first experience, I learned that if you do anything for the right reasons, there can be a lesson learned. 

There are plenty of benefits to watching porn with a significant other if it’s comfortable for everyone involved. It might seem small, but saying yes to things you don’t want to do only takes us further away from reaching authenticity and independence. 

After my bizarre experience, I was disappointed that I was willing to accept discomfort for a stranger. That realization sent me diving nose-first into self-help books. Choosing ME before WE by Christine Arylo really stood out to me. 

The premise revolves around empowering women to make better decisions so they can find themselves in healthier and more meaningful relationships. Reading it felt like a deeply satisfying conversation with my best friend.

The whole read was great, but this part really hit home for me, since I was exploring why I was so conforming:

“You live in a society that has made it more comfortable to read a book about the ten ways to get a guy or girl to fall in love with you, or to obsess about your romantic love life than to share your self-love journey with your friends and family. You’re bombarded with images and media, like reality TV shows, whose underlying message tells you it’s normal to look to outside sources for confirmation that you are good enough, rather than to unapologetically stand for self-respect and self-worth.” 

Even though there has been a massive awakening when it comes to equality, there is still a lot of resistance that takes place internally. As women, we constantly question ourselves, put our self-respect on the side, and even take up draining hobbies just to try and pique the interest of a man.

It’s as if we’ve been conditioned to think if we lose ourselves a little bit, we’ll find a partner in return. For me, it took a strange porn date to snap me out of that mentality. 

Before I started dating again, I made sure all my future decisions empowered me. I let go of friends who didn’t serve me and only went on second dates with men who uplifted me. This created space in my life for better relationships.

Soon, I found myself in a consistent courtship with someone new. After a month of promising dates, James (name changed for privacy) and I developed a high level of comfort. On one rainy Friday night, we decided to stay in. 

Cozied up, during an episode of Hell’s Kitchen––the least sexy show––things started heating up between us. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was suggesting we change the channel to something more suitable for the moment. 

There was no drawn-out conversation or back-and-forth on the matter. We simply exchanged a look, let our eyes do all the talking, then browsed the web for something we both liked. 

This time around, porn led to a special kind of bonding that might not have happened without it. It allowed us to discuss what we liked, disliked, wanted to try, and even what we found a little bizarre. We talked, laughed, and well, you know. 

Thanks to porn, we developed more trust and the freedom to express ourselves—and not just about sex. Sharing such an intimate moment dropped our guards and helped us communicate more effectively. Life between us got a little less serious in all the right ways. 

Maybe porn isn’t always the answer, but I’d say that it’s not always a problem either. Take it from someone who tried, failed, and tried again—sharing that experience with someone you trust can unlock things you may not be able to verbalize right away. Who knows, it could be well worth your while. 

What do you think? Have you ever watched porn with a partner? I’d love to hear how it went or why you might not want to in the comments below!

Mish Back is a freelance writer, wellness practitioner, and relationships and sex enthusiast. You can find Mish globetrotting and getting in trouble for her sarcasm on Instagram.

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