Claims porn has damaging impact on some relationships

  • 23 October 2012
  • From the section Health
Depressed woman (portrayed by actress)

One of the UK's leading relationship advice charities has told Newsbeat the growth of online porn has led to more people worrying about the impact it's having on their relationship.

Relate says more young people are coming to them claiming porn is having a damaging effect on their sex life.

Newsbeat's also been shown a study by The University of Plymouth and the UK Safer Internet Centre.

More than a third of those interviewed admitted porn had caused problems in their relationship.

More than 900 16 to 24-year-olds chose to take part in that online survey.

Newsbeat spoke to Relate counsellor Sharon Chapman.

How can porn affect relationships?

"As porn has become more accessible, this distorts a person's view of what a normal sex life should and could be like.

"I think it has also made sex more extreme. When you look at a sexual image that is incredibly graphic and exaggerated in terms of sexual performance, it takes away the mystery and the element of experimentation between two people."

Some people argue porn can be healthy in a relationship

"I don't think anyone wants to demonise porn. However, nobody should be doing anything they're not absolutely comfortable doing.

"People will often find themselves looking back thinking, 'Was that right or did I just go along with that because it was what I was expected to?' That's the danger with porn."

Sharon Chapman
Sharon Chapman is a Relate counsellor

Has porn made people more confused about sex?

"In some cases, yes. Guys tend to think it's all about performance, they think they've got to be sexual athletes.

"For girls, it's often about doing things which perhaps they wouldn't normally be comfortable with. Those are the dilemmas people come to us with."

What is your advice for those who feel under pressure?

"I don't think anybody, whatever age, should be doing anything they're not comfortable with.

"It's about pushing the pause button and having the courage to say, 'I don't want to do that yet. I want to think about that.'

"If you can't talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend, find someone else to talk to about it."