Sex Advice

7 Ways Watching Porn With a Partner Can Be a Great Relationship Booster

Gabrielle Kassel

Photo: Getty Images/South agency

Sure, “Netflix and chill” can be an effective game plan for spurring some post-TV binge pleasure, but my partner and I prefer a different, more direct sexy entertainment routine: We love watching porn together. The habit started by happenstance when my partner once “caught” me reviewing porn for work (oh, the life of a sex writer) and decided to watch with me. After that led to—no exaggeration here—the best sex of my life… well, let’s just say I’m now a big proponent of watching porn with a partner.

And I’m not alone. According to sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD, host of the @SexWithDrJess podcast, and psychotherapist Rachel Wright, LMFT, watching porn with your partner can be a relationship win in ways that certainly include but also extend far beyond sexual pleasure. “In my practice, I encourage couples to watch porn together quite frequently,” says Wright. Below, learn seven ways watching other people have sex on camera can mean good news for your committed partnership.

7 sex- and relationship-boosting benefits of watching porn with your partner

1. It ramps up your communication

Adult films force you to communicate effectively, and that’s always a positive in a committed relationship. “Introducing porn into the bedroom requires thoughtful communication from both parties about why they want to watch porn together, what they want to watch, and when,” says Wright.

“Introducing porn into the bedroom requires thoughtful communication from both parties.” —Rachel Wright, LMFT

To bring it up, she recommends implementing the AEO approach: acknowledge, explain, offer. “Start by acknowledging that you haven’t watched porn together before, explain what the potential benefit might be, then make an offer or ask a question about watching it together,” she says. For example, “Watching porn used to be part of my solo sex life before we met, and I feel like it might be a fun thing to try together. Is that something that you might be interested in exploring?” Or, “We haven’t watched porn together before, and I read an article that made me feel like it could be really fun and intimate. Can I send you the link?”

No matter how you frame the question—or how well you articulate your why—do remember that you’re asking a question. That means the answer can be no; if your partner is hesitant, they shouldn’t feel pressured to try it.

2. It’s helpful for establishing healthy boundaries

Next up is to figure out what the heck you want to watch and why—and that involves even more communicating. “Are you going to each bring your favorite porn video to the date, and then take turns watching them together? Or are you going to scroll through a site and pick one together?,” asks Wright?

According to Wright, no choice is right or wrong—what’s key is to make sure you verbalize your boundaries around what you do and don’t want to see ahead of time. For example, “if you don’t want to see any age play, feel triggered by step-sibling scenarios, or know for sure you don’t want to see blood, your partner needs to know that,” she says.

3. It can be a turn-on…

I mean, think about it: You’re watching turn-on material with the person who ostensibly already turns you on. “The porn stimulates your brain, and your hand or your partner’s can stimulate your body,” Wright says. “Assuming you actually like your partner, your heart is involved, too.”

4. …even if sex was the furthest thing on your mind

Even if we’re not in the mood when we press “play” on some erotic material, my partner and I are tearing off each other’s clothes within a few minutes of viewing. Dr. O’Reilly credits this to responsive desire.

“Many of us are so overwhelmed by work, kids, social commitments and other responsibilities that even though we love sex and we’re sexually attracted to our partners, we don’t find ourselves spontaneously in the mood.” So instead, she says, we may benefit from doing (or in this case, watching) something to get turned on, thus invoking responsive desire.

5. It can spark new ideas

Watching porn with your partner to learn how to do a new sex act is akin to watching Grey’s Anatomy to learn how to operate. As Wright puts it, “porn is not an instruction manual or sex education—it’s entertainment.” But, that doesn’t mean watching Dr. McDreamy in action can’t inspire you to learn how to be a doctor. In the same vein, it’s possible that you’ll see something in porn that you want to learn how to do and try IRL. “Often, porn introduces us to sex acts and roles that we didn’t even know existed,” she adds.

This is especially the case with inclusive, ethical porn, which Dr. O’Reilly says has been helpful for making pleasure accessible to people of all ages, ethnicities, sexual identities, and sexual preferences to embrace.

6. It can be a fun way to explore group sex and threesomes

For couples who interested in exploring what it would look like to have a threesome, porn can be a way to dip your toe in the water and approximate the dynamic. “By going online, you’re able to fulfill your fantasies without the risk of STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and in-person interactions,” says Dr. O’Reilly.

7. It encourages post-sex pillow talk

Once you turn off the erotic entertainment, chatting about the experience can also be a relationship win. How did it feel to watch porn together? Do you want to do it again? “If there is going to be a next time, talk about what you want to do to enhance the experience,” says Wright. For instance, maybe you’d like to bring out the lube and vibe beforehand, so you’re digging through your drawer in the heat of the moment.

“This back and forth after watching porn helps you get in the practice of checking in after any sexual or intimate moment,” says Wright. And since post-sex pillow talk is a ritual many sex educators recommended, it’s a great habit to strike—even when porn isn’t involved.

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