Sex

The One Kind Of Sex That Fosters Bonding And Connection

Photo: cottonbro studio / Pexels via Canva
couple looking at each other

There are compelling reasons to shut down the computer, turn back to your partner, and invest or reinvest in real eroticism — with your partner! PornHub is not harmless entertainment; it is addictive and poisonous.

This assertion is supported by research, brilliant authors such as Gail Dines, the recent empirical review of research by Rothman, and my clinical work with thousands of couples over the last 30 years, along with the wisdom of attachment science — the new science of love and bonding.

To state a few reasons to shut down porn:

it is linked to increases in depression and anxiety, destroys intimate relationships, and offers a deliberately mesmerizing lesson in how not to have a healthy sexual relationship with someone you want to be in a relationship with.

Moreover, it distorts one’s self-perception as a healthy sexual being. Much of porn is violent and abusive, linking sex to domination and the misuse of power. The detrimental effects could go on.

RELATED: 11 Ways To Develop Strong Emotional Intimacy So Your Marriage Never Ends

Habitual porn consumption often leads young men to share with therapists that they struggle to achieve an erection with their girlfriends. This outcome is unsurprising, given that their brains have been conditioned to respond to the distorted sexual cues offered by platforms like PornHub.

Young women, influenced by the techniques portrayed in porn, may agree to acts that frighten and disturb them because they and their partners have seen these moves on the screen repeatedly, assuming they are “supposed to like it” — mimicking the behavior of porn performers.

A recent interview with singer Billie Eilish by Howard Stern delves into this issue, revealing her struggle to assert boundaries in sexual encounters, leading to nightmares about sexuality.

Furthermore, an increasing number of young university students report to health practitioners that practices like choking have become the new “normal” in the dating scene.

These alarming trends highlight the need for awareness and dialogue surrounding the impact of porn on sexual norms and well-being.

The irony is that in this age of sexual “freedom’ and a focus on ‘consent’, our young people are turning to porn to learn about sex and their sexuality. Men under the age of 18 are its biggest consumers, with more than 35% of all downloads in the US being pornography.

They learn to see sexuality and themselves through a distorted lens.

However, perhaps the most compelling reason to give yourself a “Stop Porn” card is what I discuss in chapter five of my book "Love Sense" and in my other works, "Hold Me Tight" and "Created for Connection."

Pornography offers only emptiness. It portrays sex purely in terms of sensation, mostly as the pursuit of a moment of release in orgasm and power.

This perspective is one-dimensional and empty of emotional connection, disregarding research that shows that, for most of us, most of the time, sex is as much about bonding as it is about orgasm.

RELATED: To The Women Who Worry That All Men Want Porn Stars — Relax

I discuss in "Hold Me Tight" three kinds of sex.

The first is Solace Sex, which revolves around seeking reassurance that you are desirable and loved.

Many clients have discovered with me that they are not addicted to orgasm or porn per se, but to touch — what attachment scientists call “contact comfort” — and to the emotional feeling of being desired, wanted, and important to a loved one.

I also delve into Sealed-off Sex, where the focus is exclusively on sensation, and emotions are shut down and cut off.

Intimacy becomes a hindrance, and the pursuit of more and a more intense sensation takes precedence. In this scenario, the partner is merely a pathway to this experience—an object.

And then, there is the real present — now available to all since we understand love, bonding, and healthy sexuality: Synchrony Sex.

This is when two people feel safe and seen, connecting with their own moment-to-moment experience and needs, and coming together in erotic play. This sex doesn’t pale with repetition; it’s always different.

Research tells us that long-term couples in loving relationships have more sex, find it more thrilling, and simply enjoy it more.

Sealed-off Sex is just the crust — the dry bread on the sandwich — the delicious filler is the dancing together and building the music of connection, both physical and emotional. This is why romance novels are so popular; the heroes and heroines swoon, drown in pleasure, and fall “in love” — as we all long to do.

This kind of sex fosters bonding and connection, just as bonding enhances the ability to play and discover new elements in your sexuality.

With porn, you find yourself alone — just you and your screen. We often settle for porn when, for valid reasons, we find other people too intimidating to let them close — to let them “touch” us. However, it’s always a con and perpetually the booby prize.

Our work guides you in learning how to turn to your partner, shaping a safe space where real sex — Synchrony Sex — is a glorious present just waiting to be unwrapped.

RELATED: How A Year Without Porn Changed Everything I Knew About Intimacy And Love

Dr. Sue Johnson is the Director of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, focused on studying the tapestry of human connection and emotions.

This article was originally published at Dr. Sue Johnson's website. Reprinted with permission from the author.