Ask Daddy: Is This Obsession With Porn Unhealthy?

Written by | Gay Voices

Shirtless guy on a laptop in bed

(Image courtesy Shutterstock / Vladimir Wrangel)

Ask Daddy is an advice column for LGBTQ readers with questions relating to sexuality, morality, coming out or navigating relationships. And always remember, the best advice this Gay Daddy has for you is that if you have an urgent issue or are in need of regular counseling, seek out a therapist who can offer you individual care in person.

This week, Kevin responds to a writer who believes he may be substituting porn for putting himself out there on the singles scene.

Dear Daddy,
My question is pretty direct: How much porn is too much porn?

If I’m being truthful, I’ve always enjoyed watching guys have sex online. I don’t mean interacting with sites. I mean watching either professionally made fantasy scenarios. The acting is often pretty lame, but who watches for that? Oh, and I actually really love amateur videos — the kinds boyfriends upload just to see who might get turned on. I am definitely their audience.

But I’ve noticed that I’m kind of withdrawing into a mindset of having porn be my safe place. I’m very sociable. I go out. I hang with my friends. I have close relationships in my family and I’m friendly with my co-workers. But I don’t really put myself out there for a relationship, or even dates.

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I’ve been single for almost two years now (and I’m in my early 30s), and I’m not what people would call ugly. But I’m tired of being disappointed. Most guys just want to hookup and be done. So why bother at all? I can have the hottest guys the internet can deliver to the comfort of my laptop, with no guilt or need for an STD check later.

But when I think about the long term, this doesn’t sound like a pathway to happiness. I’d really like to bond with someone. I’d like a boyfriend. I would be happy to have a husband someday. But right now, my mornings and evenings are spent online with imaginary people doing things that turn me on. Sometimes I’ll sneak away and have my way with myself at lunch, too. So, yeah. I’m a horn dog.

So let me ask my question again: How much porn is too much porn?

Scott in Jersey

Hi Scott,
Some people medicate with alcohol. Some use pharmaceuticals or illegal drugs. Others use work. You’re using porn. And you’re using it because you’re not wild about the reality or the rut you’re in.

Let me be transparent about this: One of the reasons I’m alive today is because like you, I have a pretty hard-to-ignore libido. During the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and ’90s, porn was my best friend, and I used it to keep myself safe and in non-cruising mode. I’m happy to say it worked out for me.

But, also like you, I recognize that porn is not people. The scenarios may be hot, but they’re not going to kiss you and nuzzle in afterglow or tell you they love you. You’re right. You keep this up and you’ll be a single guy living out a Sex Life for One permanently.

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I happen to believe porn in its proper place is a useful option. It can keep you from being so needy you’ll hop into bed with anyone who smiles in your direction. But as you’ve become aware, it can also provide a convenient excuse for not making yourself available to real human beings and genuine interactions.

My suggestion: do both. Use that porn as furiously as you like Monday through Thursday. But try avoiding it Friday through Sunday. Spend some time where singles go — the gym, nightclubs, bowling leagues, piano bars, whatever floats your boat. Bring friends, but show up. And keep showing up. See what happens when you step away from the imaginary and provide some space for your relationship dreams to come true.

And think of it this way: You’re not giving anything up. You’re taking your personality (and the erotic imagination you’re cultivating) out into the real world. Who knows? You may find yourself face to face with star of your most secret fantasies one day.

Got a question? E-mail yours to [email protected]

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Last modified: October 21, 2019