To watch or not to watch

Time to discuss a controversial question: Would it be fun to watch porn with your significant other?

Whether you like it or not, almost everybody watches porn. Exactly how much “almost everybody” is changes depending on who you ask and where you are. The three most reliable studies I could find were mostly focused on men (as most studies of sexuality unfortunately are).

In the US, Canada, France and Australia, studies found that between 77–99 percent of men ages 18–25 watch porn on a regular basis, and a conservatively estimated 30–60 percent of women do as well. Either way, odds are solid that the person you’re dating watches porn regularly, especially if they are a guy.

What does that mean? Well, that is one of the most controversial and highly disputed topics I’ve ever read about. I won’t dispute the vices or virtues of porn at this moment. I will just say that before you radically alter your opinion on porn because of whatever click-bait headline you just read, look at who did the study.

While doing research for this article, the first 30 or so articles I found all decried the “epidemic” of porn and how harmful it is. Upon further reading, almost all of the articles cited the same two or three studies which were all conducted by extremely conservative Catholic or Mormon institutions. Gee, those guys “discovered” that porn is the worst thing to ever happen to men? I’m shocked. Really.

In short: Don’t believe everything you read, especially on the Internet.
One article that seemed a lot less biased came from the Huffington Post. In February 2014, they reported on a survey conducted by the French polling institute IFOP. Their polling found that “90 percent of men and 60 percent of women reported watching porn regularly. 53 percent of survey participants watch porn as a couple, and 66 percent said they would watch with their partner if asked.”

Anyway, assuming that you feel porn is OK, you or your partner may bring up the idea of watching porn together. Should you do it? The short answer is yes, if you are both comfortable and want to. If you’ve read my column at all, or have talked with me about sex in person, you’ll find that’s my opinion on most sexual acts.

The better question, I feel, is how to prepare for the experience to make it as comfortable as possible. Here are some hopefully helpful thoughts to guide you through those moments following “So, do you maybe … want to watch some porn together?”

Numerous relationship articles I’ve read talk about how watching porn with your significant other is incredibly erotic and can help introduce each other to new ideas. To this I say, “Eh, sort of.”

Frankly, porn is usually pretty absurd, especially when the actors and actresses attempt to actually act. All of the idiotic plots and oftentimes weird or idiotic things they say during sex seem doubly stupid when your SO is sitting right next to you. This awkwardness can get in the way.

On the other hand, watching porn together can jump-start an encounter. The taboo-ness of openly watching porn can also be titillating. On that note, the French poll I mentioned earlier found that the couples who watched the most porn also tended to have more sex than couples who did not.

I’ve heard many people say that watching porn together is a great way to find out what your partner likes or to let your partner know what you like. This is the part I really disagree with. Porn can be really weird, especially when you are on websites like or They are kind of grab bags of random five-minute clips; you don’t really know what’s exactly in the video until you watch it.

Nothing obliterates a sexy mood faster than, “Wow, she’s way younger than she looked in the thumbnail. Oh god, please don’t think I’m a creepy pedophile.”

What’s more, based on conversations with friends, I’ve noticed that kinky people tend to like to watch more extreme and intense things than they like to do. You don’t want you partner distracted by thoughts of “Geez, this is getting rougher than I…HOLY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Please don’t ever do that to me!”

Ergo, going in with the assumption that you or your partner is using porn to reveal their longings is a recipe for disaster. If you want to reveal or discover sexual tastes, you’re going to have to use your words.

Altogether, watching porn together can be a lot of fun, and I’d recommend adding it to your sexual bag of tricks. Just keep in mind how fulfilling (or more accurately, not) watching porn is on your own. Also keep in mind how many times you have looked at the screen post-orgasm and thought, “What weird crap was I just watching?”

In short, it’ll work best if you don’t expect too much. Use their moans like mood music, or perhaps a competitive challenge, and you should have a good time.