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Can You Watch Too Much Porn?

Porn. We’ve all seen it. Dads secret stash of dirty videos that you discovered under the bed when you were 15; that scene in the one DVD you bought 4 years ago that always manage to get you off when you need it, or the library of favourite vids you’ve got saved on Xtube – whether we admit it or not, most of us have watched it to some degree at some point. One thing’s for sure; love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.

Good porn is hot. It's a turn-on and it’s fun. It's pretty hard to find a gay man who doesn't have a collection of some form of one-handed viewing or reading or a bookmarked list of favourite internet sites. Check with your friends and you might find they've discovered the world of porn right along with you – just that you’ve never talked about it.

Porn has been around in various forms for over 100 years. From Victorian postcards to the ‘bow-chika-bow-wow’ theme music of seventies porn that we all know and love. For a lot of gay guys their exposure to porn started with magazines that were the staple back in the 80s and 90s. The old classic mags like Advocate Men, Mandate and Inches were huge sellers in their day – a bit of an institution really.  Some of the ones that came out in the 70s like Drummer also had some really good writing. One of the more bizarre magazines was Straight To Hell: The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts. It was full of stories, some sent in by readers, some it would seem made-up. It also had lots of amateur photos; it was weird at times, but usually hot. You can still buy reprints of it if you search hard enough.

Then along came the internet. The massive rise of online entertainment over the last two decades has completely reshaped the world of porn and how we use it. And the variety! Prior to the net, you could probably identify a handful of gay porn models that had made a career out of it, but these days it seems every man and his cock wants to bare all. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! The never-ending demand has given rise to a plethora of genres, showing guys of all shapes, sizes and races. Twinks, Bears, Muscle, Daddys, Boy-Next-Door, BDSM, or Romantic - almost any combination you like can be found somewhere online – thousands of guys showing their goods for our arousal. There are so many sites like Xtube now where people post their own home-made stuff too. For a lot of guys it’s a major turn on to show their naked bods online – and who’s to judge! Our sexual identity is formed by what turns us on – as long as it’s legal, consensual and safe, we say go for it!

One thing porn has done is break down the taboo-factor of sex, and that can only be a good thing. There is certainly nothing wrong with jerking off, whether we use our imagination to conjure up a hot fantasy, or watch a hot scene online, masturbating is just as much part of human sex as anything else. Don't feel guilty because you like to rub one out while watching something hot!

There is a downside to porn though.  It can lead us to believe that these fantasies we see acted out on screen are what normal sex is like. The goal of every porn producer is to find the hottest guys they can to get naked in front of a camera – usually for money. While we love to watch drop dead gorgeous gods fucking each other’s brains out, those might not be the kinds of guys available to us in real life. A lot of guys find they’re comparing themselves to the guys they see online and not liking what they see. In some cases this can lead to pretty low self esteem which is far from healthy.   Trying to base your own sex-life on porn is probably not such a good idea. Remember that these are actors, usually getting paid for sex. We don’t see what happens off-camera. Some of them use assistance drugs to stay hard for ages, soft cocks and unconvincing exchanges are edited out, and  a lot of the guys are "gay for pay", just doing it for the bucks. Importantly, most of us are never going to look like a porn star, and our sex-lives won't be as wild as what we see online or on DVD, so don't use porn to set up impossible standards. Use it for fun.

Sometimes everything does fall into place and you can fuck like you're a porn star, but for most of us, we fuck for fun and enjoy it, or we make love with someone special, which is a  whole different thing. Just don't expect your own sex-life to be like a porn movie.

There is also a dark side to porn, no denying it. There has been a stream of HIV scandals hitting the US porn industry in recent years, with porn actors getting infected through their work. There is a lot of bareback porn out there now too; guys of all ages, some still in their teens, fucking raw seemingly without any consideration of the consequences.  A lot of porn from the poorer part of the world is done by very poor men desperate for any cash they can get - it's exploitation pure and simple. Actors usually get paid more for going bareback – an enormous risk that, in the harsh light of day, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. The important thing to remember is just because you see it on screen doesn't mean you should copy it. Remember the difference between reality and fantasy and make your own calls about just what you read, watch or enjoy.

As HIV prevention strategies are more sophisticated now, barebacking is no longer the threat that it used to be. If the pornstars doing bareback scenes are taking PrEP consistently, they literally have no risk of contracting HIV at all! As for ourselves, If you're HIV negative and struggle with consistent condom use, you could consider taking PrEP to stay safe. But remember that while PrEP is great at preventing HIV transmission, it won't protect you against other STIs like gonorrhoea, syphilis or chlamydia.

Can you get addicted to porn? Like so many things in life, it all depends. What one person calls an innocent bit of fun, someone else might call addictive behaviour. If you can't function sexually at all without porn, you might have an unhealthy dependence, but it's not a hard rule. Look at how much porn you watch and consider it. But hey, for some guys it's a key part of their sex-life, and why not?

Getting off is fun, whether it's by yourself or with others. If watching porn of some sort helps you have even better sex life, we say go hard.

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