4 Reasons Porn Is Actually Really, Really Good for Women

And for everyone, really.

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A Zen teacher once said: "Sex is like brushing your teeth. It's a good thing to do, but not so good to do it all day long." My opinion about watching porn is roughly the same—and I'm not the only one.

Society has come a long way from thinking porn is categorically evil (and categorically male—more 18-to-24-year-old women are watching it than men the same age are), but we're not quiiiiite ready to ditch the taboo altogether. Here's why we should:

1. Science says it's good for you (and it's hard to argue with science)

People tend to cling to the idea that watching porn desensitizes an individual and makes expectations for their sex life unrealistic. I get that that can be true if someone sits around watching it 24/7 and thinks it's real. But for most of us (both men and women) we don't do that. For every article I've ever read about porn addiction I've found a more scientifically backed article saying that such a notion is pop psychology. Incidentally, most of the science says that there is a distinct connection between increased porn viewing and decreased sex crimes.

There was a survey of 688 Danish adults (both men and women) in which respondents claimed that viewing "hardcore" pornography was actually beneficial to their sex lives, their attitudes towards sex, their perception of the opposite sex, and even life in general. The research concluded that the more that someone watched porn, the stronger the benefits would be for them (for both sexes).

There's even more good news. Dr. David Ley wrote in a Psychology Today article that women actually have a stronger physiological response to porn, meaning that all of the benefits get better.

2. It can open up communication channels with your partner

Many people secretly masturbate in shame, but with the Fifty Shades of Grey effect, I have to wonder if this is the moment when we stop hiding the fact that masturbation and/or watching porn is something most (if not all) of us do. In fact, in many of the studies done on porn, the hardest factor was always finding a man who had never watched porn to begin with.

Psychologist David Schnarch says in his book Resurrecting Sex: Solving Sexual Problems and Revolutionizing Your Relationship,"Porn can actually help foster emotional and sexual intimacy." By watching porn with your partner you explore secret fantasies and open up a conversation about what you like, don't like, and think is ridiculous. Because sex is often hard to broach as a topic over the dinner table, putting on a video allows you to explore something seemingly taboo in an open and fluid way. Plus, try and watch a whole video without starting to jump one another. Really, it's quite hard to do.

3. It's fun—and can be liberating

::clears throat:: Masturbation is fun and makes you feel good. There, I said it. When you get yourself off you feel happy, calm, and relaxed. Those are all things we can enjoy.

Speaking of liberating, I will get controversial here and say I don't think you need to watch porn made specifically for women. As the porn star James Deen put it, "My theory on porn for women is it's just porn. Why is there porn explicitly only for women? By saying there needs to be porn for women, you're basically isolating women as a gender and saying, 'This is how women should think. This is how their sexuality should be.' It's counterproductive (from what I understand) to the equality movement." Whoa. Well said.

4. Fantasies can inspire you

It's important to remember that porn often equals fantasy. Unless you're watching some authentic amateur stuff, it is people who are acting something out. Just like Game of Thrones. Just like Modern Family. It's not real, but can inspire thoughts or actions that are real in your own life.

Exploring your sexuality in a private way (or even with your partner) is a way to find out what you like in bed. And, frankly, unless you are exposed to sexual acts outside of what you've experienced before, it's hard to know what you're into. Fantasies should be encouraged. Certain scenarios, certain positions, or even certain places may excite you, and that's good info to have for your real life.

And so I say unto you: Give porn a chance. If you haven't already. Which...if we're being honest...I know you have.

You should also check out:

The Hottest Porn for Women on the Internet

18 to 24-Year-Old Women Watch More Porn Than Their Male Counterparts

10 Sex Truths They Don't Teach You in High School

How Many People Are Actually Doing S&M? We Decided to Find Out

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