There are those who would indict the adult entertainment industry as criminal, sinful, or possibly both. Opinions vary widely on this contentious issue; some women’s rights activists often argue that females in this industry are being exploited, and it’s true that a high level of consumption of violent adult content has been linked to increased aggression in men. However, there’s plenty of above board, accessible adult material out there that doesn’t involve anything particularly risky or taboo, and studies have discovered some potentially great things about that less risqué side of adult entertainment.
When considering some of the aspects of this controversial industry that are not purely not negative but that may, rather, even be positive, what might come to mind? Besides all the T&A and well-endowed men you could want at the click of a button — all a huge (pun intended) part of the fun — what else could erotic entertainment be good for? The business gets a bad rap, but if you’re feeling guilty for your indulgences, take a look at the following. These are just a few positive things that adult entertainment can bring to your life.
8. You and your partner can enjoy it together
According to a 2013 report in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Emerging adults’ expectations for p*rnography use in the context of future committed romantic relationships, most of us think enjoying adult entertainment when in a relationship is OK. A survey reported in this study shows that over 70% of men and around 45% of women find this acceptable. And why not? When a couple watches adult material together, it’s a way to do something for themselves as well as for each other and with the other. The stats show that it’s more than likely your partner will be watching some erotic material on his or her own, so doing so together will strengthen trust and intimacy. It’s also a useful way to break down taboos in a safe and controlled environment, introducing and exploring new ideas.
7. It’s good for learning new tricks
Not all of us have the time or patience to read the Kama Sutra, and standing around the water cooler at work generally leads only to casual chit-chat rather than an exchange of bedroom tips. In many parts of the world, people just aren’t comfortable talking about their intimate lives, sometimes even with their partners.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a well-known American sex therapist, advises couples to regularly try different things in the bedroom. Dr. Ruth regularly uses the example of adult entertainment; it just might be an eye opener, where you can learn and consider fun sexual activities you may not have even known existed.
6. The adult entertainment industry creates jobs
This is a big industry, and has been since print first began – though it’s suffered its ups and downs over the years. What was once a $1 billion per year industry grew to a $3 billion per year industry by 2007 in the United States alone, but that same industry was hit hard by the recession. Still, it’s an industry the U.S. values highly enough to take a request for a $5 billion bailout in 2009 seriously.
With lewd drawings, early photographs showing a bit of décolleté, and the very first peep shows, there has always been an audience for adult entertainment. The digital age has opened up a whole new world, where adult material is diffused to an unprecedented degree. Women are a new audience in this time-tested industry; the erotica genre of literature – so much more accessible thanks to ereaders – is bringing in millions of dollars a year, and many believe it may be the saviour of publishing in a difficult age. Of course, any jobs that are created in the fields of mainstream modelling and typical Hollywood movies are also created in the adult movie industry, so cameramen, costume designers and even composers are also cashing in on the billion dollar industry. And then there are those enterprising people who have their own websites and live streams, making huge money from the comfort of their own home.
5. It can be a stress reliever
Dr. Mark Goulston of Psychology Today notes that for most women, venting and talking through emotions is a great stress-reliever. For men, he says, the moment of climax achieves this same type of stress relief. Men in particular, he says, have a tough time separating loving sex from plain old sex i.e. some men feel guilty using the woman they love just for orgasm and release. Thus, these men are more comfortable looking at sexually explicit material in their down time, aiding stress relief without bringing their frustrations to the relationship bed.
4. It helps foster emotional and sexual intimacy
David Schnarch and his wife are psychologists from Colorado who conduct couples’ therapy. Schnarch is also the author of Resurrecting Sex. Schnarch states: “A significant portion of our work in helping couples develop a deeper sexual connection is through erotic images. Erotica, as well as couples’ own […] fantasies, can be useful tools for helping them develop as adults.” Whether couples step up their intimate relationship, and how much, differs greatly based on the people involved and on their relationship dynamic. Health professionals agree that fantasy is quite normal in a thriving sex life. Sexually explicit material greatly helps exercise the imagination.
3. It helps people vicariously live out their fantasies
Many people, often women, are threatened by the idea their partner is secretly looking at sexually explicit pictures. “I’m right here. Why does he need to look at other women?” Marital therapist Michele Weiner-Davis says these emotions may occur due to a lack of understanding about what fantasy in an active, sexual adult life should look like. Weiner-Davis, who wrote the book The Sex-Starved Marriage, is also the founder of Divorce-Busting, which is a “marriage-rescue” service involving both coaching and therapy. She says even partners who have been together for many years may never have discussed their fantasies, and believes it important for partners to know that fantasy is normal and that many people enjoy images which are sexually explicit in nature. Men in particular tend to be more visually oriented, she notes.
2. It increases men’s tolerance and acceptance of women as equals
University of Louisville sociologist James Beggan co-authored a study with psychologists at Texas Tech University. It was one of several studies to show that users of sexually explicit material have more positive and egalitarian views of women than men who do not look at such materials. Beggan says, “If you spend your time looking at pictures of naked women, that’s not really consistent with not liking women. It’s consistent with liking them.” This might be a reductive point to make, but studies by both female and male researchers have all found that there is no relationship between the use of p*rn and misogynist feelings or behaviours.
In fact, P*rnography and Gender Equality: An Empirical Analysis – a 1990 report by Larry Baron in The Journal of Sex Research – suggests that the acceptance of adult entertainment is often concurrently present with greater gender equality in the more tolerant societies in the U.S.
1. Erotic material could actually reduce incidences of sex crimes
This one is a controversial point, as many believe in the received wisdom that adult material can increase aggression and incidents of sexual assault. Indeed, there is solid evidence to support the idea that over-exposure to aggressive or violent adult material can translate to more sexually aggressive behaviour – with the overwhelming evidence, there’s really no way to defend or support violent adult material.
However, consumption of adult material depicting safe and consensual acts has no link to increased sexual violence. As pointed out in a 1986 report by Luis Garcia, Exposure to Po*nography and Attitudes about Women and Rape: A Correlational Study, men who are more regularly exposed to non-violent sexual material typically demonstrated more open and liberal attitudes towards the sexual behaviour of the fairer sex.