Q: My boyfriend watches porn without me. Is that weird?

A: Not necessarily. Porn in and of itself is not a bad thing. Lots of men and women enjoy watching triple-X clips solo from time to time, even when they're in relationships. However, if he goes to hard-core stuff nightly and never invites you to join in, that may be a red flag.

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If you're concerned about his habit, ask yourself these questions: Do you feel like he's more interested in sexy videos than the real thing? Is he pressuring you to try moves he's seen porn stars do that you're just not comfortable with? If so, you should have a conversation about it. The danger with porn is that it's arousing—and it stimulates the reward centers of the brain, so it can actually become psychologically addictive. On top of this, frequent porn watchers may grow desensitized to less exciting erotica and develop higher expectations for what a real-life intimate human interaction should be. If you think your guy's behavior is crossing the line, I recommend talking to him about cutting back. Do it outside the bedroom, though, at a time when there is zero sexual pressure.

 

Gail Saltz, MD, is a psychiatrist and television commentator in New York City who specializes in health, sex, and relationships.