The relationship men share with porn is confused. On one end, we love the absolute crap out of it, often watching the content on a weekly basis. But on the other side of things, there's an associated cloud of societal shame emanating from the viewing of said content.
However, it's a gloomy guise that, as it seems, has no effect on us when hidden behind our relatively anonymous computer screens. According to research from the University of Montreal, the average single university-aged man consumes roughly 40 minutes of porn three times per week, while those in relationships watched 20 minutes of porn 1.7 times a week. The study also reported that men who don't — or haven't — watched porn don't exist. Therefore, those who insist they haven't are liars.
Men who don't — or haven't — watched porn don't exist.
But do our lives behind the computer screen ever spill into our real lives? In other words, do men really want to physically perform the acts we see in porn so often? The answer: an indefinite yes and no. It really does depend on the dude. So let me explain.
Perhaps the most relevant example of porn's influence on men is the insatiable hunger we share for anal sex. "It's so common in porn," Dr. David J. Ley, author of the book Ethical Porn for Dicks, A Man's Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasure, says. "This kind of content reflects the increasing acceptance of anal sex."
Combined with the associated taboo, these alluring factors make the forbidden act all the more exciting. "The sad thing is that porn makes anal sex look easy, and doesn't show the extensive preparation and negotiation required for pleasant experiences by both partners."
However, as with anal sex, a man's willingness to experiment with what he sees in porn is more of a scale than it is a definite thing. "The best research demonstrates that porn has a differential effect on men, based on the man's predisposing characteristics," Ley says. "It's a variable that interacts with a man's sexual values, sexual needs, as well as their emotional maturity."
Ley makes the point that men who have little sexual experience and little sexual education about the diversity of sexuality (for instance, those who have been taught by their religion to hate or fear sex) experience pornography in a different way. "They have greater difficulty integrating that material and compartmentalising it in their sexual self," he adds.
This suggests that people who associate porn with fear are less likely to encourage this type of behaviour in their own bedroom.
"The thing is, pornography is truly just sexual fantasy made visible and shareable," Ley says. "And fantasy is a very healthy thing, often serving as a form of cognitive release valve."
As an example, Ley points out the most common sexual fantasy for men: the threesome. "It's ubiquitous and around 75 percent of men endorse this fantasy." However, fewer than 6 percent of men actually ever experience this in real life.
Now while the reasons we don't experience this fantasy could easily be blamed more on not being able to make it happen than it is an apprehension in making pornographic behaviour a reality, is anyone's guess.
But one thing is certain, everybody is influenced by porn and other associated media, not just men. "Unfortunately, much of the modern dialogue about porn and its effects paints men as weak-willed creatures, where the arousal from porn will overwhelm us and lead us to become monsters driven by our porn-fuelled penises."
Ley believes this view of men and porn is both damaging and sexist. "It may also be self-fulfilling," he suggests. "When we tell men to be afraid of their sexual desires, we create the shame and secrecy that increases the negative effects of those sexual desires and behaviours."
Do we really want our partner to squeal like a sow ready for slaughter? Of course not.
So to better answer the original question: sure, men do often want to perform the things they see in porn. But we also know that porn is fantasy and that these acts are more of a show than they are a staple in our sexual repertoire.
Do we really want our partner to squeal like a sow ready for slaughter as is so common in porn? Of course not. But are we curious to divulge some of these fantasies with a woman (or man) we trust? Sure. There's no harm in that as long as both parties have consented.
But let's not solely blame porn, let's instead toss some responsibility toward the lacking sexual education within our society. One that chooses to solely and limitedly talk about contraception and STI-prevention, typically using fear-based techniques.
"We aren't preparing people to effectively nor healthily negotiate the modern world of sexuality, which includes porn, gender fluidity, polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships, and kinks like Fifty Shades of Grey," Ley says. "When we don't teach kids about sex, we can't be surprised that they learn poor lessons from porn."
Besides, the things you see in porn aren't even half of what it's made out to be. Trust me on this.