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We Asked People How Much Porn Is Too Much Porn

When does a little self-love aide become a problem?

Graham Isador

Graham Isador

All photos by the author. 

I once masturbated nine times in a single day.

I was fourteen years old. My parents had left me alone for the weekend. Our home computer had recently been upgraded from dial-up to broadband. High on independence and pubescent hormones I loaded up proto-gifs of Britney Spears and pre right-wing conspiracy theorist Stacey Dash, then gleefully went to town on myself. After cleaning up I realized that there was still another two days before I was back under the shackles of adult supervision. I immediately returned to the internet and participated in a solo-session lasting literal hours, each time bombarding myself with more hardcore images. At the end I was stupefied, chafed, and ashamed. My computer was infected with something called the stoned monkey virus and looking at my beaten boyhood I wondered what I had just done.

Porn is weird like that. In the right amount it can be great! A fun little pick me up, a treat to share with your partner, or a fantastic aide in putting yourself to sleep. But too much porn can be trouble. The need for porn can ruin relationships, cause problems with people’s junk, or cost thousands upon thousands of dollars.

The balance for the right amount of porn is going to be different for different people, what is extreme for one person might be a joyful Tuesday for another. While my nine orgasam teenage marathon still makes me feel shame, in recent times I’ve had a relatively positive—and fun—relationship to pornography. It all got me thinking: how much porn is too much porn? I decided to ask people about it. You can read their answers below.

Mark Akiman, Buddies in Bad Times

I haven't quite hit the level of too much for porn. I've tried. Though I did have to stop following porn sites on tumblr. Not because of too much, volume wise, but one day I was absent mindedly scrolling through tumblr and saw dude shoulder deep in a guy's ass. It was a gif. It was too much.

Claire Burns , Artist

I'm an erotica girl myself. I guess I've felt it’s been too much when I'm like fucking someone but I can only think about that one line in the story, that moment, you know, where the girl comes in wearing acid washed jeans and...I'm suddenly literally projecting my porno fantasies, like manifesting them, like what's it called- virtual reality or whatever. All that to say—it's good to stay present and if your porn is starting to impact your actual sex life, maybe check in.

Sabah Haque, Producer

How much is too much? It depends on my mood and the kind of porn. I have built quite a repertoire over the years. I’m very particular about what will watch. Consent is sexy. When I’m in the zone, I generally don’t watch more than 20 minutes. My average is 7 minutes. Sometimes it takes longer because I don’t find what I’m looking for. Back in the day I used to read erotica, and one or two stories usually did it for me. I leave the rest of it to my imagination, because there is a point when porn becomes tiresome. If it’s not fun, it’s too much of the wrong stuff. And the right stuff—well, it does the job doesn’t it? But honestly, it’s simple. I don’t go back until I’m ready for more.

Erin Pim, Bedpost Sex Show

Porn is great for entertainment purposes, but the issue lies with folks who grow up watching porn before they've experienced what pleasurable sex is actually like. Porn is a terrible education tool. Unfortunately, lots of young people are letting porn inform them how to have sex, what orgasms are supposed to look like, and what bodies are sexy and desirable. If we're consuming mainstream porn on a really regular basis, this toxic stuff will seep into your world view. If we all paid for our porn like we should be doing, and actually supported the performers and independent companies that we want to see flourish, this wouldn't be an issue. Secondly, you're going to pigeon hole your orgasm if you watch the same thing again and again while masturbating. Our bodies like to develop habits. Your orgasm will be much more versatile if you watch different types of porn once in a while, or consume another type of erotica, or touch yourself in slightly varied ways, or use a new toy, or an old one on a different setting.

Matt McCready, Improviser

Day Three. [Editor’s Note: We asked Matt if he wanted to elaborate on his answer. He did not.]

This article originally appeared on VICE CA.