Pornography has become less hidden than it's ever been. The access to free movies and images have continuously increased across age groups and genders because everyone is always "plugged in". There are even mobile applications available that will give casual voyeurs instant streaming privileges depending on the type of data plan they have. A multitude of sex acts are literally in our hands for spontaneous consumption.
While viewership has gone up, peoples' sentiment toward pornography hasn't shifted very much. They tend to be on extreme ends of the spectrum; either they like it or they don't. They watch it or they don't. They're willing to try the things they've seen or they're not. New York Magazine took a survey last fall of 20 couples of individuals, ranging from dating singles to homosexual couples to even a Jew.
Although the article was able to break the subjects down into 20 different ideologies, there's five that are prevalent in the general population. The following tend to unite supporters based on their experience with pornographic materials.
* It's educational: Look, pornography is about as real as Dr. Dre's Detox. The only thing that can be learned from it is how women fake orgasms. There's nothing passionate about pornography because it's all about selling a performance. On the other hand, pornography can open your mind up to new activities to experiment with. I randomly came across a conversation about tickle porn. You're probably asking yourself what's sexy or erotic about being tickled during sex? But it's a real thing. It's not something that I'd personally try, but there's no harm in being exposed to other manifestations of sexual intimacy.
* It's a substitute: Unless, you're in a relationship with someone that's an addict, pornography is not a replacement for skin-to-skin contact. Women often don't like to watch with their male partners because they feel like the actresses become their partner's object of affections. They sometimes think that if their man is sexually aroused by a woman that looks nothing like her that he might be losing interest in actual sex with her. That's simply not true. For the most part, pornography is like an icebreaker for viewers. It'll never take the place of real life intimacy.
* Women don't watch porn as much as men do: The asterisk on this is intentional. Women are less likely to admit that they watch (and enjoy watching) pornography. That doesn't mean that they don't watch it as much, though. Even with feminism and the heightened awareness of curbing "shaming", women still don't feel very comfortable discussing their interest in pornography. It could be religious beliefs, growing up sexually repressed, or just plain old embarrassment that prevents them from openly talking about it. Out of the 20 ideologies shared in the article, this is probably the one that'll never change.
* It creates a bucket list of unrealistic expectations: Referring back to its educational value, pornography offering puts a seed of aspiration in many of its viewers. Think about where the notions of threesomes came from; it didn't come from locker room conversations. It was something that we were first exposed to through pornography and it slowly gained popularity. Now, you're considered a square if you don't want to do a threesome. BDSM is another type of sexual pleasure that has really seen a boom in its audience. The average person wouldn't associate sexual pleasure with pain. Yet this market has a large audience. As anything else, everything isn't for everybody. You have to be mindful that no matter how you present a new idea in the bedroom, some people just have set boundaries on what's okay and what's not.
* It can keep things exciting: After awhile, sex will get boring. That's not indicative of your partner's love for you or their vested interest in your relationship. However, even good sex will become predictable. Your body will be programmed to the routine of your partner's actions. For example, if sex always starts with oral sex leading into doggystyle then ending with missionary, your body will acclimate itself to those nerve endings being activated in that order. So even if you're mentally turned on by intimacy with your partner, you'll notice that the anticipation will undoubtedly wane. Is pornography the answer to that? Not necessarily - but if you watch it with the purpose of introducing something new in your own activities, breaking the repetition can certainly improve things.
Ultimately, you have to be able to communicate your desires and figure out how pornography is effecting your relationship. Whether it's a hinderance or a help, the best decision you can make to preserve the normalcy in your sex life is moderation.