You feel lonely, when you let yourself feel, and you sometimes think you’ll never find the perfect girlfriend you’ve been fantasizing about since you were a kid. Maybe you’re a man who struggles “with women.” Maybe you’re too picky. You probably think there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you just haven’t met her yet, and need to go on more dates to cast a wider net.

Maybe pornography is a bigger part of your problem than you realize.

Watching a lot of porn can make you more anxious and depressed, lower your libido and confidence, make you less able to connect to women in general and eventually get–and keep– the relationship you most want.

Pornography makes you more anxious and depressed.

Which means you’re inside a lot more, avoiding social interaction. Which means you’re less likely to ask someone out, less likely to go on a first date or want to keep investing when it starts to get more serious. You’re less likely to exert the effort needed to do something with a huge payoff.

Fight The New Drug, one of our favorite sites, talks about these mental costs of watching porn. Depression could be part of the reason you’re not connecting on dates, but then looking at porn because you’re depressed makes you even more depressed, which creates a feedback loop that’s easy to get stuck in. 

“As you numb yourself with graphic sexual images and videos, you are missing out on building some real, amazing relationships with your spouse, friends, and community. In the end, no amount of pornography will take away your problems. In fact, it will just become one of them.””

And then there’s anxiety. Anxiety leads to porn which leads to anxiety which leads to less dating.

There’’s almost nothing more gut-clenchingly terrifying than dating and intimacy. The emotional risks are huge. It’’s easier to escape into sexual images than it is to connect to real women, who take effort. You can get a quick fix from your computer, but relationships take courage. And if it takes courage, then it’s going to be rewarding. Period.

Pornography makes you worse at relationships, more disconnected from women, and less attracted (and attractive) to them.

Fight the New Drug talks about what pornography does to relationships and real connections. “”Pornography compulsion or obsession has a huge negative impact on relationships. As humans, we are wired to have relationships and build connections with others. We need the social interaction and sense of community, not the fake intimacy that pornography provides.””

If we listen to ourselves, we truly crave face-to-face, body-to-body, eyeball-to-eyeball connection, not the deeply unrewarding brain junk food that is porn.

Porn makes you a lot more scared of intimacy.

There are more and more men choosing pornography and masturbation with sex dolls over real relationships. Real sex and relationships sound difficult when you’’re used to having anything you want in front of you all the time. Real women have physical flaws, they talk (because they’’re human), they’re harder to please than women in porn (who usually pretend to orgasm, in case that wasn’t obvious). And then there’s the increase in erectile dysfunction in young men, which is attributed to frequent porn use.

Things like this make some men choose to live in a fantasy world instead of having to put in effort towards something wonderful.

“The sex they watch online has left them ‘with a bad taste in their mouth for human sexual contact,’ but their frequent masturbation has ‘satisfied all their sexual needs.’ They have been absorbed into the second world, with very physical consequences” (ThoughtCatalog).

Art of Manliness talks about the same problem. He says that “porn-obsessed men” struggle to start and maintain positive relationships because they’re looking for a girl more like girls in porn, and real ones “don’t measure up” to the “pornographic filter” they look at their dates and relationships through.

I’m sorry, but this is just…… sad.

Porn also makes the ups, downs and subtleties of intimacy more difficult by over-saturating you with your moment-to-moment desires.

“Porn wants viewers to think that sex is all about getting what you want when you want it. What it doesn’t tell is that consistent porn use weakens, hinders, and destroys the connection and intimacy that sex can provide to a relationship” (Fight the New Drug).

This makes you less sexually confident.

When you’re oversaturated with everything you want, guess what goes down. Your libido.  Your physical ability to enjoy sex with women, yes, and also your desire.

Real women can’t compare to air-brushed, surgically-altered pleasure-drones, so a lot of men would rather hang out with their computers than try.

Furthermore, Big Think warns against not having to work for your sexual experience, with “nothing but a click of the mouse–no work needed, no struggle or embarrassment, no trial by fire.” He believes this is creating “weaker men–dependents who require the approval of others.”

We need to struggle a little to enjoy something to the fullest. If sex is one of the best parts about long-term relationships, then great sex is something you explore together. That mutual discovery can be incredibly rewarding for you both, and the seat of true intimacy.

Porn skews your perception of how women enjoy sex, which makes you, well, worse at it.

As ThoughtCatalog points out, “In porn, there’’s little talking, less seduction, no romancing and minimal-if any-tenderness displayed. Usually there is little kissing or foreplay. There is, however, an ever-changing stream of highly-arousing objectified body parts and sexual images.”

But men in satisfying relationships know that rewarding sex includes time spent with romance, foreplay, and connecting on a deeper level.

Research on depictions of the female orgasm in mainstream porn show repeatedly that sex in porn is for the most part one-sided and based on male satisfaction: it’s something she performs for his pleasure.

Uh… We didn’t need research to notice this.

Maybe this dynamic benefits you in the short term (“perform for me, yay hooray!”), but if it’s lasting companionship you want, then you’re going to have to change your approach. Great sex, the kind that people in great relationships have, is generous both ways. Because you care about each other and want each other to have a great time.

All women– and men– are a little bit different. Listen, learn, and respect what you find out.

Pornography gives you a distorted view of women, which disconnects you from them.

“If you could look in someone’s brain the way you search the internet, and the internet was a dude, that dude has a problem with women” (The Art of Manliness).

New studies show that 88% of popular pornography includes violence against women, and pornography trains you view them as objects meant to be used for your pleasure. This bleeds quickly into how you treat them. If you want to treat women like crap and therefore never find a strong relationship, then by all means, keep seeing them through a porn filter.

As Fight The New Drug says, “Healthy relationships are built on equality, honesty, respect, and love. But in porn, it’s the reverse; interactions are based on domination, disrespect, abuse, violence, and detachment.”

Because women in porn rarely say what they think or feel, and because they’re usually shown (inaccurately) as enjoyingabuse and humiliation, your ability to pick up on her nonverbal, even verbal, cues, is pretty screwed up.

For great sex to work, women need to know that they’re 100% safe, emotionally and physically. This means:

  • No means no
  • Only yes means yes
  • If it starts out as yes, and then turns into no, it has to stop.

This includes women into more “kinky” things sexually. All people need to feel safe and respected, no matter what the game is, and at the end of the day, that is what a solid relationship is built on. 

Pornography gives you unrealistic, even bizarre expectations from women.

After watching pornography consistently, you may think that a woman you hardly know would like it if you ejaculated on her face the first time you have sex. Hate to break it to ya, but… no. Just… no. (If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. This happens.)

Young men are becoming more and more demanding of girls to perform sexual acts in exchange for basic affection and quality time, to send them naked pictures before they’ve even kissed, and to alter their bodies to look more like girls in porn. In case you didn’t know, this is not okay. This is light years away from the loving, egalitarian, mutually respectful, mutually enjoyable relationship that healthy people enjoy.

These behaviors are essentially normalized forms of sexual abuse– not courting.

Porn can even make your “type” change to be more pornographic.

Yes, it’’s important that we’’re physically attracted to who we date, but looking at too much porn will change your type so that you’’re even less likely to find regular women attractive. If you do this, you’’re missing out on a lot of potentially fulfilling connections.

Gaming has a similar effect.

POIP.net offers insight to men who game frequently and can’’t find a girlfriend. Part of this is the fact that, like men who watch a lot of pornography, gamers struggle to connect with women because of how their brains are conditioned to view them.

“Considering that gamers spend hours upon hours watching sexist portrayals of women getting raped, beaten, or rescued as helpless damsels in distress in video games, it shouldn’’t be surprising that gamers are notorious for not being able to get a girlfriend… Start actually hanging around some women. You’’ll learn to respect them, become a decent human being, and eventually get a girlfriend.””

It can be difficult to pull yourself out of that gaming/porn subculture, first of all because it’s as easy to look at graphic pornography as it is to send a text, and second because it’s considered totally normal and you’re pretty much weird if you don’t.

But you probably want more than that. Otherwise, you wouldn’t still be reading.

You may think mastering the art of the “pickup” will help you get the lady you want. This is a mistake.

Our culture’’s recent obsession with pickup artistry tactics may help in the short term, but it can have a negative backwards effect. Through pickup artistry, you aim for “hookups” and “notches,” but deep down, almost every guy is looking for a lasting connection with the right girl. Pickup artistry only adds to a distorted view of women that disconnects you from them. Why? Because the pickup approach is manipulative, and a woman is something you gain.

Porn and the pickup industries teach men to “treat and view women not as human beings with a soul and value, but as numbers, objects of pleasure, and tools to use to gain power and confidence.” 

Trust me on this one: You’re more of a good woman-repellent if you keep approaching them like they’re things to be manipulated, used or gained. And it’s harder to hide than you might think.

Furthermore, pickup artistry focuses on getting external validation from women to improve your confidence. But real confidence comes from a well-developed sense of self, a self not dependent on how much attention you’re getting, and it can’t be broken by a rejection. 

“If you want to become more successful with women, the solution,” says Art of Manliness, “Isn’t a quick fix– it’s the long, arduous road to becoming a more successful, stronger, and self-reliant man…. by mastering the art of strength and honor.” 

What should I do instead?

Start by becoming a man you would have respect for.

Overcome your dependence on pornography, reset your libido and recover your strength and confidence. Work on empathy so you become more aware of how you’re affecting others. Decide that real women are going to become your turn on, so real sex becomes exciting again.

Decide to fight for a great relationship, and a great life, rather than being lured away by instant gratification.

Just as someone recovering from alcoholism chooses to live in the real world, in all its ickiness and loveliness, each day– each day, you make a choice to either give in and escape yourself with pornography or get out and find yourself.

This is the real start to a fantastic relationship.

 

For more guidance on becoming a more respectable, confident, well-rounded and attractive man, peruse The Art of Manliness as much as possible.