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What we feed our minds shapes our perceptions. And our perceptions shape our reality.

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I have come to realize this not only by observing how the media and entertainment industry influence humanity as a whole, but also through examination of my own consciousness. Thoughts and beliefs in relation to gender identity and “beauty” standards that I never had throughout my childhood were implanted in my brain once I began paying attention to trends in school and the TV industry that propagated them. If the media has such an impact on how we perceive ourselves and the world (although I do believe we still have the power to choose whether or not we will adopt/release such perceptions), can porn affect how we perceive and experience sexuality? It certainly can.

Does Porn Alter Sexual Experience?

I personally don’t watch porn but even without it, the mixture of sexual shame and over-sexualization that is present in our culture has managed to alter my perception and experience of sex, which I’m currently in the process of “de-programming.” I have conversations with friends who have admitted that porn has made it difficult for them to be fully present with their partner when making love because instead of connecting with their own – as well as their partner’s body, energy, sensations, and emotions – they were more likely to get stuck in sexual imagery in their minds, kind of like if you’re having sex with your partner while watching TV. The best way to know if we have been programmed is to consider whether we are more dependent on mental stimuli or on one specific way to “get off” than the actual EXPERIENCE itself… which is so much more than a mere thought.

I’m not saying that kinks, fantasies, or even porn is “bad,” they can be fun. It’s all play and exploration after all. However I do believe that any type of addiction which leads to an inability  to connect with our experience in the moment is very limiting. I think we would benefit greatly from stepping out of our minds and getting to experience the full trinity of what sex can offer: a merging of the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of ourselves with another. This isn’t merely a sexy thought in our minds, it’s an experience to have nowhere else but IN THE MOMENT.

Check out this TEDx talk in which Ran Gavrieli, who studies gender at Tel Aviv University, talks about his own experience with porn addiction and the effect he believes it can have on our minds.

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