• The Lover Team

How to Use Porn Ethically

What does ethical porn use look like today? The answer is in two parts: how you access porn, and how you use it.



How to Be an Ethical Porn Consumer


The best way to be an ethical porn consumer is to pay for your porn, with money going into its creators’ hands as directly as possible. Full stop.


“One of the most frequently touted ways to support artists and workers in today's world is by paying them. But while people seem to be OK with supporting mainstream artists by paying for streaming music services and concert tickets, they don't typically grant porn the same respect — in large part because, culturally, we continue to have a problem with it,” EJ Dickson writes at Mic.


Image boards like 4chan, GIF porn on Tumblr (RIP), and tube sites have led many consumers to believe that porn should be free, as Ana Valens argues in her book Tumblr Porn, and removed from the means of production. Even for consumers who didn’t come of age on the free porn internet, that culture alongside the stigma and shame that many associate with enjoying porn is a barrier to paying for it.


“How would it change what we think about pornography if we thought of porn folks not as seedily glamorous porn starts but working stiffs and hungry artists?” Constance Penley asks in her piece in The Feminist Porn Book. Sex work is real work. Sex workers — including porn stars, whether they’re creating traditionally, on OnlyFans, or on other platforms — deserve compensation for their labor. The best way to make sure they get it is to pay, as directly as possible, for your porn. The fact that doing so also makes it easier to avoid non-consensual imagery and other problematic productions is a happy bonus.


How to Incorporate Porn into Your Sex Life


When it comes to making porn part of your sex life, whether alone or with partners, moderation is key. Porn can be a great part of your fantasy life, and falling down a porn rabbit hole can lead you to discover acts and angles you never would have considered fantasizing about otherwise. However, it should also support for your fantasies, not replace them.


When it comes to consuming porn, “There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, for vulvas and penises. Porn is great, but too much porn creates burnout of the part of the brain that wants novelty,” Dr. Britney Blair, clinical psychologist and Lover co-founder, says.


This means that balancing your porn with exploring other types of materials, fantasies, and being simply present with your body (and your partners’), is key. Not only does that let you explore a different type of novelty, it also keeps you active and engaged in your sexuality.


Porn can be a great part of your sex life “as long as it’s limited to 30 minutes a week, and not every time you have sex (solo or partnered) involves porn. More than that and you risk sexual dysfunction,” Dr. Blair says.

Want to learn the ins and outs of how porn can impact your sex life (in good ways, too)? Download the Lover app to try courses and activities designed by Dr. Blair and her team.

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