Health

I’m in a long-distance relationship – will porn stop me being unfaithful?

I don’t really like using porn, but I am worried that if I stop, I will start looking for sex with other people

I am a gay man with a long-term partner. He recently moved away so we are currently in a long-distance relationship. We have mostly good sex when we are together, although my sex drive is normally higher than his. When I am alone, with little to do, I become bored and instantly think of masturbating. I normally turn to porn, although I don’t really like it; I prefer the feeling of real sex or even video-sex with my partner. But I don’t know how to break my porn habit. I have gone some months without it before but always come back to it; I feel a bit addicted. I have also thought of having sex with other people in my home town, but this would mean having a discussion about an open relationship, which I doubt either I or my partner would be comfortable with. This leaves infidelity, which I would not strive for but occasionally dream about. Essentially, I have a high sex drive, am bored and like sex. How do I channel this in a positive way?

You are experiencing the perennial challenge faced by every sexually alive human being: “How can I navigate the expectations of my partner, my family, myself, and of the society in which I live, and get my needs met at the same time?” Many people can find a favourable answer to this question for a portion of their lives – but most feel that they are more often than not at war with their bodily desires. Small wonder that so many people take a pragmatic – rather than a moral-based – approach and choose to simply “do what they’ve got to do”. Managing your libido while trying to maintain a long-distance relationship is a torturous effort, so try to be more accepting of your human condition. In my view there is nothing inherently wrong with using erotic online material – especially if it helps you avoid seeking live contact that could potentially cause you more problems. You will know if you are overdoing it, as you will feel so compulsively driven to view porn that it will significantly interfere with the rest of your life. The prospect of “infidelity” is always going to appeal in fantasy – since forbidden sex tends to be highly erotic – but there are certainly potential risks (your distant partner may well be facing similar impossible choices). Just do the best you can.

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