How To Watch Porn As A Couple

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
Whether you’re watching porn with a partner to bring a little novelty into a long term relationship or you just like the voyeuristic thrill of looking at naked strangers , it can be a little awkward to broach the subject of porn with someone else for the first time, regardless of your preferences. Here to help everyone get a little more chill about watching other people have sex, Meghan Maas, PhD, assistant professor in Human Development & Family Studies at Michigan State University, and licensed sex therapist Vanessa Marin, break down what you need to know about viewing porn as a couple.
Advertisement
Talk about it
As with most relationship decisions, talking about it is pretty much always the first step. And if you’re worried that blurting out, “Hey, instead of The Office tonight, let’s watch some nude penetration?” might get things off on the wrong foot, Marin has some simple suggestions. When you start getting into foreplay, you can kick things off with a flirty question, like, “You know what we’ve never tried before…?”. Or, if you’re a little unsure about how your partner might react to the request, Marin has another solution: a little white lie. Try something like, “I had this crazy dream last night we were watching porn together,” and you’ll be able to gauge their interest level based on their response before you take things further.

One of the great things about watching porn as a couple is that you might see something you want to try yourselves.

Picking it
Here’s a not-so-secret fact: the internet is filled with porn. Which, if you’re not a seasoned user, can make it hard to filter through to the stuff you like, and harder still for two people to find something they both like. Here’s another not-secret: a lot of mainstream porn can be violent, misogynistic, and unrealistic, so talking about your boundaries beforehand is important. Maas explains that on the main “tube” porn sites, even a simple search for “threesome” could yield results featuring step siblings, or other taboo-themed content, which may or may not not be your thing. “If you're already searching together, it can be difficult, particularly if you are more shy to say, ‘I don't want you to click on that.’ So having that discussion about content ahead of time helps,” Maas explains.
Advertisement
Once you have a sense of each other’s boundaries, Marin suggests switching off who gets to pick each time to avoid a “What do you want for dinner? I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” situation. Each person gets veto power of course, but, as Marin notes, “If you take turns being the executive decision maker, that can make it a lot easier.

Both Maas and Marin recommend seeking out ethical porn production companies, because, as Maas explains, “Everything that you click on, you're essentially voting for it and contributing to it in some way.” So giving your vote to companies that treat performers fairly and depict pleasure realistically is a great place to start. Some of the sites and producers they both recommend include: Erika Lust, Make Love Not Porn, Bellesa, Bright Desire, and more.
Watching it
While you might not think how you view your porn matters, it can actually make a difference. Marin suggests trying it out on a laptop versus a phone, at least at the beginning. “I think on a laptop it just logistically tends to be a lot easier. And then you guys can just get cuddly in bed and take your clothes off and just feel cozy,” she adds. Even though whipping out your phone might feel more spontaneous, if you’re fumbling around on a tiny screen it can be harder to see and more challenging to choose a video together. Setting up everything so that you’re as comfortable as possible, both emotionally and physically, is always a good idea for first-time anything. Save the phone porn for when you have your go-to sites established.
Advertisement
Do (or do not) try this at home
One of the great things about watching porn as a couple is that you might see something you want to try yourselves. Maas explains that this can be a good staging area for consent, because you’re both watching the same act in real time and can agree together if you’re into it, versus one person trying to incorporate something they once saw on their own. Marin suggests a simple, “Hey, that looks really hot,” as a way to signal that you’d like to give a particular sex act a shot. You can pause your flick, keep the action going, or even bookmark the clip for later.
Watching porn can also be an interesting teaching moment too. Maas notes the popularity of positions like reverse cowgirl in porn because those scenes often show breasts and vaginal penetration in the same shot. In reality, that’s not always the most pleasurable position if you don’t have a penis. So if you’re watching something that feels hyper-unrealistic (or even something your partner does that you don’t love), you can take a moment to point that out. “I think all of this stuff should be approached with as much humor as possible,” Maas says. “So, just making either a sarcastic or a funny statement about how like, ‘She's totally faking it,’ or ‘There's no way that would feel good,’ or ‘I've done that and I hate it.’”
Hate watching porn? No problem.
If videos aren’t your thing, there are tons of other ways to experience erotica as a couple. For example, try reading erotica out loud to each other. There are lots of sites featuring sexy stories, and reading it with your partner can be an incredibly intimate experience. There’s also aural erotica, which is basically like listening to a really sexy audiobook. You might not know if you’re aurally-inclined until you give it a shot. “I've had a bunch of clients who said, ‘I thought that was one of the weirdest things I'd ever heard of but then I went and listened and I could not believe how turned on I was,’” says Marin.
So why not try some alternate programming tonight? Netflix will still be there tomorrow.
Advertisement

More from Wellness