Women and Porn: Caught Up in the Fantasy | The Ranch

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Women and Porn: How Women Get Caught Up in the Fantasy

February 7, 2018 Sex Addiction
young lady on computer in bed late at night

Men are not the only ones with intimacy disorders. Women also have issues with love and sex. While much research and attention has gone to studying men and pornography, women’s porn addiction is a trend that cannot be ignored.

Women may not have the exact same relationship with porn as men. “They have not been exposed to it as often as young as men have, or with the same cultural acceptance, but they are drawn to the fantasy that is presented in pornography”, says Karen Brownd, CSAT, Director of the Center for Relationship and Sexual Recovery and associate clinical director at The Ranch.

“If you had asked me 11 years ago, I would’ve said it’s rare to hear of women using porn other than watching it with a partner or spouse in an erotic and teasing way,” she says. “It was mostly used by women as an aid to have great sex with a partner.”

But with the prevalence of porn on the internet, changing social norms, and the cultural trend of people spending more time at their computers, women’s porn addiction is growing.

“More and more I’m seeing women who say, ‘I look at porn a lot,’” says Brownd. When asked if they are viewing with partners, they usually tell her they are watching alone.

How Women Relate to Porn

Brownd says some women are drawn to porn for the same reason they like romance books–the fantasy. But there is also intimacy in accessing the experience. Women are less likely to seek out strippers, sex workers or prostitutes; but in the privacy of their home or office, they can connect to a fantasy.

“When they have the computer and can be online, that computer becomes what they see and experience in their relationship,” says Brownd. “They don’t know who is on the other side. They do not have to communicate or be friends. They don’t have to be engaged with a person. But they can fall into what the actors are doing.”

“A woman can become the porn star and sort of live that fantasy out with them,” she adds. “Women’s porn addiction usually involves observation of the material and becoming drawn into that world.”

The Allure of Porn

Viewing pornography online may have a similar impact as reading racy novels because the brain does not register the difference between fiction and reality. Research shows when reading romance or any fiction people tend to put themselves in the shoes of the character.

“People are soaked in and they’re living those roles in the romance novels,” says Brownd. “It can be the very same thing when they’re looking at porn on the computer. They are viewing a fantasy on screen the way they may read a fantasy in a book. It creates desire, and makes them wonder what it would feel like to experience the fantasy in real life.”

“When you add masturbation with that, you’re adding real live sensual, sexual feelings,” she says. “They attach to it and for a moment—in their minds—believe it’s happening for real.”

When Does Porn Become an Addiction?

For most women, pornography is not a problem. It becomes a problem when a woman loses control over how and when she engages in using porn. It is considered porn addiction when a woman continues to use porn despite negative consequences.

Here are some of the symptoms of women’s porn addiction:

  • Compulsive porn viewing
  • Excessive masturbation in conjunction with pornography
  • Using pornography instead of having intimate relations with an existing partner
  • Using porn instead of seeking healthy intimate relationships
  • Difficulty formulating and keeping friendships and social ties
  • Isolation from the “real world” and long periods of immersion in porn
  • Depression and loss of interest in activities outside of pornography
  • Shame and guilt
  • Poor performance or difficulty focusing at work or school
  • Misuse of employer, school or other people’s computers
  • Financial or legal issues
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Sexual dysfunction or injury from masturbation

The problem with porn addiction is that the addicted woman has to constantly try to replicate the feelings over and over again, sometimes spending hours or days watching porn. They’re always thinking of the next time.

The porn industry has been producing more female-focused romantic pornography and it could be one of the ways women are drawn in. But in all sex addiction, the arousal template increases and the addicted person will seek porn that is more extreme, dangerous and possibly illegal. This is why recognizing and treating women’s porn addiction is so important.

Sometimes the most difficult step to getting help is admitting there is a problem. It is important for women to know they are not alone and other women are going through treatment for women’s sex addiction, too.

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