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Sexual Wellness: Is There a Place for Porn?

Sexual Wellness: Is There a Place for Porn?

From wearable sex tech to sex therapy apps, sexual wellness is on the rise. We’re finally realizing that sexual health is wealth. And we’re working through years of social conditioning to let go of shame and prioritize pleasure as part of our self-care. It’s our time to have more orgasms, more pleasure, and to recognize our sexuality as a crucial part of our wellbeing.  

But, despite all of this progress – porn remains somewhat in the shadows of the wellness boom. Is there a place for porn in our sexual wellness routines?

What is sexual wellness? 

Sexual wellness consists of your physical, emotional, and mental state when it comes to sex and intimacy. It includes everything from your knowledge of sex to your body image. We know that when people lack a comprehensive sex education growing up, they’re left on their own to discover themselves sexually. Sexual wellness allows people to start making conscious choices to their overall sexual health and satisfaction.

According to a study by The Lancet, there are four pillars of sexual wellness: 

  • Sexual health –  this includes access to contraception, STI prevention and management, fertility management, and sexual violence prevention.
  • Sexual pleasure – this encompasses everything that allows us to have pleasurable sexual experiences such as consent, privacy, safety, and communication.
  • Sexual justice – this includes sexual rights, access to public health services, and sex positivity. 
  • Sexual wellbeing – this is all about sexual self esteem, comfort with sexuality, and our relationship to past sexual experiences. 

To start your own sexual wellness journey you can check the four pillars to see where you might have gaps. Ultimately, sexual wellness is individual – you define what it means to you and what needs you have. 

Why is sexual wellness important?

Sexual wellness is important for our overall happiness and wellbeing but regardless of all of the benefits of sex, it also just feels really good! And what is our purpose in life if it’s not to feel pleasure? 

Pleasure is one of the most overlooked elements of our wellness. It’s also just really fun, and we all need as much fun in our lives as possible.

And if you want to get into the facts of why sexual wellness is important, here it goes: 

  • Increased confidence and body image – research shows that having sex often boosts self-confidence 
  • Stress relief – the endorphins released during sex help you feel relaxed and satisfied 
  • Improved relationship quality – the endorphins also help build trust and connection between partners
  • Increased intimacy – sex releases the hormone oxytocin, which produces feelings of emotional connection and intimacy
  • Higher levels of happiness – one global study found that sexual wellbeing, especially physical and emotional sexual satisfaction, predicted higher levels of overall happiness. This was especially true for women and older adults where lower sexual well-being suppressed their overall happiness. 

Why use porn for sexual wellness?  

More sexual pleasure

Watching porn is associated with increased sexual satisfaction. Women who use it to masturbate have an easier time getting aroused, report greater pleasure during sex, and have more orgasms.

Plus, women who see performers stimulating their own clitoris in porn are also more likely to stimulate their own clitoris during partnered sex. Clitoral self-stimulation leads to greater orgasm consistency so… need we say more? 

Higher libido 

Watching porn can help boost your desire for sex, increase your arousal, and get you in the mood when you’re not feeling your sexiest. One study analyzed the porn habits and sexual function of 280 men and the results showed that those who reported watching more porn each week reported greater arousal than those who watched less porn. The study also found that frequency of porn viewing was linked to greater sexual desire for both solo and partnered sexual activity.  

Communicate with your partner

Watching porn with your partner can be a helpful starting point for conversations about what you like or want to try in bed. You may get a new idea and start a conversation about your desires, sexual fantasies, kinks, and more. Or, you might just have a fun night watching porn together!  

Porn can also teach you a lot about communication. Whether it’s dirty talk or just telling your partner exactly what you want, porn performers tend to be quite vocal with their needs on screen. In one 2018 study, participants who watched porn reported better sexual communication.

Read more: Talking About Sex: A Guide to Sexual Communication 

Read more: How to Watch Porn with Your Partner

Discover new fantasies 

There are endless types of porn out there that can help you discover new fantasies that you may not have thought about before. It offers you a chance to explore them in a safe and private way, without fear of judgment, which is especially important for those fantasies that aren’t accessible in your day to day life. 

Maybe you’re into specific kinks like BDSM or age play, or maybe you’re curious about certain sex acts that you’re not ready to try in real life yet. There also might be stories, kinks, or sex acts you like to imagine, but don’t ever want to experience physically. Porn is a great way to incorporate fantasies into your sex life, with or without the intention of ever experiencing them in real life.

Read more: Sex Fantasy or Desire? 

Explore & affirm your sexuality

Porn can be a useful tool to help you explore your sexuality through masturbation. If you’re queer or questioning your sexuality, watching porn that depicts the type of sex that you’re into can be validating and hot. 

And while you can enjoy watching porn with sex that you don’t want to try in real life, it can also be affirming for your sexuality to watch certain types of porn. For example, if you’re a bisexual person who’s never been with someone of the same gender, watching gay or lesbian porn can be validating. 

Educate yourself about sex

Most porn is not educational and is made to be entertainment only, however that’s not to say you can’t learn anything from porn. As long as you’re not caught up in the details of what’s happening, you can learn about sex positions and get inspiration for experiences you’ve never tried before 

There is also some porn that is made specifically to teach you something about sex such as afterglow’s eduporn. Whether you want to learn how to squirt, have better hook ups, or give a sensual massage – these instructional films are hot and educational.  

Watch & learn with afterglow eduporn

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Learn about anatomy 

Yes, really. One study found that people who watch porn frequently know more about anatomy, physiology, and sexual behavior than people who don’t. When most of us aren’t shown accurate depictions of our anatomy in school and our genitals are censored from most mainstream media, porn is left as one of the few places where we can see other people’s personal bits up close and personal. 

Feel good naked

The relationship between porn and body image is complicated and we don’t know enough from research to conclude whether porn is harmful or not to body image. But we do know that, for the vast majority of people, it either has no effect on how we feel about our bodies or improves how we feel about our bodies.

However, at least one study shows that porn might actually help women become more satisfied with their vulvas. And, another study found that some women who watched porn felt more comfortable being naked. This is a big deal because high body appreciation is associated with increased arousal, overall sexual satisfaction, and more orgasms.

Read more: Vulva Diversity: 5 Porn Films with Different Types of Vulvas

Read more: Porn and Body Image: Let’s Talk About It

Reclaim your pleasure for yourself 

It often happens that we wake up one day or we end a relationship and suddenly we don’t seem to know what feels good to us anymore. We feel disconnected and out of tune from our bodies and our pleasure. If you’re experiencing this type of funk, watching porn can be a good way to reconnect to your body. 

It can help you get to know yourself sexually again and understand what turns you on, which you can then bring to sex with other people. Getting to know yourself sexually is fundamental to knowing the type of sex and pleasure you want to have with others. 

How to use porn for sexual wellness 

Watch ethical porn 

First and foremost, it’s important to engage with ethical porn. When viewers are unsure if the porn they’re watching was made ethically or if they believe it doesn’t align with their own values, they may experience distress and negative feelings that distract them from the experience. 

Ethical porn allows you to reap the benefits of watching porn without doubts or concerns that may otherwise ruin the enjoyment of it.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Ethical Porn 

woman touching her chest

Analyze what you’re watching 

We are socially conditioned to watch porn in secret, quickly, without talking about it. This creates a feeling of shame which means that we don’t engage with critical thinking, reflection or moral judgment when we’re watching it. Almost as if we’re so ashamed of watching porn that we don’t allow ourselves to think about it in any real way.

To counteract this it’s important to become an active viewer and analyze what you’re watching. This will not only counter shame but allow you to get more from your porn viewing experience and discover what you like. 

Some things you can ask yourself:

  • What about this turns me on?
  • What about this interests me?
  • Is there anything in this that makes me feel uncomfortable or turns me off? 
  • Are there parts of this that I would like to try IRL?
  • Are there parts of this that turn me on but that I definitely wouldn’t like to try IRL?

Practice mindful pleasure 

Mindful self-pleasure is very similar to meditation but with the added element of self-touch. It asks you to explore sensuality whilst bringing your attention and focus into your own body, sensations and emotions. It creates a goal-less environment where you’re no longer chasing an orgasm, and instead let your body respond naturally to the present-moment feelings. 

One way of watching porn with mindful pleasure would be to start watching a film that turns you on but turn it off after a few minutes and continue to masturbate using your imagination to finish the scene or think about other erotic scenarios. 

Watch it with your partner 

Many couples swear by communal porn-watching to improve their sex lives and their relationships. One study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that couples who watch pornography together report a positive association with sexual intimacy. When they increased their communal porn-watching, they also reported greater sexual intimacy.

Another study found consistent evidence that partners who watch pornography together report higher relationship and sexual satisfaction than partners who do not. And if that wasn’t enough, a 2016 study found that women who watch porn with their partners are more sexually satisfied.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Porn for Couples 

Follow adult performers 

Adult performers are some of the most well educated people when it comes to pleasure, sexual justice, sex workers rights, consent and more. By following them you can increase your sexual literacy and debunk myths that you might have picked up about what sex is or should be. 

Some of our favorite performers to follow are Madison Young, jessica drake, Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, Jiz Lee, Courtney Trouble, Lorelei Lee. You can also check out the work of the Red Umbrella Fund and Sex Workers Outreach Project USA.

We’ve all directly benefited from sex workers in one way or another so let’s support them and amplify their voices. 

The bottom line 

There is absolutely room for porn in sexual wellness, but as everyone’s sexual wellness journeys are individual, it is up to you how you engage with it.


60% of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives. We’re on a mission to change that.

What if you didn’t have to search to find a body that looks like yours, a sex act that turns you on, or a guided exercise that helps you tell your partner exactly what you’ve been craving?

What if YOUR pleasure came first?

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