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Illustration by Maya Chastain

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Refuse to die on every hill. Listen twice as much as you talk. Don’t go to bed angry.

These are the tenants of a happy, healthy relationship.

But there may be another: Watch adult videos together.

Yes, you read that right. According to some sex educators and relationship therapists, watching erotica can bring a whole lot of good (nay, great) to a relationship!

Here’s what you need to know.

Heads-up: This is the sixth piece in Adult Entertainment & You, a limited series about porn and erotica.

We’re going back to the basics to provide you with the tools you need to create a healthy relationship with adult content — if that’s something you’re into.

Intrigued? Read more about why we’re doing this and catch up on pieces you missed here.

Far from being the Big Bad Corrupter we’re taught it is, erotic content can be good!

As clinical sexologist Megan Stubbs, Ed.D, author of the forthcoming book Playing Without a Partner: A Singles’ Guide to Sex, Dating, and Happiness, puts it, “There’s nothing inherently wrong with or evil about porn.”

On the contrary, consuming erotica and consuming it with your partner(s) can bring a lot of benefits to your relationship(s), she says.

It forces you to communicate… a lot

Watching adult videos with your partner(s) isn’t about finding new acrobatic moves to try or comparing and contrasting what happens on screen to what you do IRL, says Sakshi Tickoo. Tickoo is an occupational therapist who uses sexuality to help her patients heal holistically and founder of The OT Shop, India’s first occupational therapy merchandise store.

“Watching porn with your partner can, however, serve as a jumping off point for increased communication,” she says.

Talking about whether you want to watch it together, discussing what types you want to view, making comments during the screening and chatting it up afterwards… Viewing adult videos with your boo requires a whole lot of chitchat.

Opening this avenue of communication can help open many more and ultimately make you better at talking about all sorts of things, she says.

It helps you create a multi-sensory sexperience

According to Tickoo, “the best way to spice up your sex life is to bring in multiple senses.”

Meaning: combining sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings.

“Video porn helps do that by automatically bringing sounds and sights into the bedroom,” she says.

For the record: Erotic video doesn’t have a taste or smell, but there’s no reason you can’t eat chocolate and light a candle while enjoying the content!

It can be hot

“You’re naked and enjoying your partner, while watching other people be naked and enjoying each other, which can be really hot,” says sex and relationships educator Callie Little.

The fact that you’re watching something that so often happens behind closed doors, can create feelings of both forbiddenness and novelty, which can increase how hot it is.

It can help you get in the mood

As we’ve discussed, erotica can be hot. And guess what? Seeing hot things can make us hot and bothered.

As Stubbs puts it, “Graphic depictions of sexuality can push the mind into a state of arousal and cause you to think of sex and become interested in sex, when you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

(This is sometimes known as leaning into responsive desire, which is incredibly valuable in partnerships where there are mismatched libidos.)

It can help normalize certain sex acts

Want to try strap-on sex but feeling nervous about it? Feeling shame about needing store-bought lubrication?

Try consuming erotic content where these acts and sexcessories make a debut.

“Porn performers are performers, so watching videos with these acts can’t teach you how to do these sex acts,” says Stubbs. “But they can help you feel more comfortable trying and talking about them with your partner.”

(For the record: We think paid platform CrashPadSeries has both the best strap-on and store-bought lube video erotica on the internet.)

There can be.

Typically, the potential con has less to do with the erotica content itself, and more to do with your approach to it, says Tickoo.

“While fun and beneficial, watching porn with your partner(s) can’t fix underlying problems within the relationship,” explains Tickoo.

In other words, turning on moving, X-rated pictures won’t resolve any underlying anger, distrust, or incompatibility.

And it certainly can’t fix any jealousy issues!

To that point, Little notes that a common pitfall is for couples, throuples, and individuals to compare themselves to what they see on screen.

“If a partner has any body insecurities, knowing and witnessing your partner being turned on could feel really confrontational,” says Little.

In these instances, choosing content with performers with similar body shapes or opting for audio or page erotica can be helpful.

Because whipping out your laptop and opening to a gangbang scene mid-romp is NOT consensual. You need to ask first.

Here’s how.

Start talking about sex more, in general

Could you introduce the idea by spurting, “Instead of watching ‘Twilight’ tonight, do you wanna watch some vampy porn?” Sure.

But that could be a little destabilizing for your partner, who’s been looking forward to an evening of Team Jacob vs. Team Edward.

That’s why Stubbs recommends creating a foundation in your relationship where you talk about sex regularly.

Share your erotic viewing habits and ask them about theirs

Do you watch erotica every time you masturbate? Have you only watched it a handful of times in your life? Share that with your boo!

Likewise, “if you don’t know about your partner’s viewing habits, ask them,” says Tickoo.

“If your partner doesn’t know about your porn viewing habits, and you don’t know about theirs, that’s a great place to start,” she says.

Some lines you might try:

  • “What kind of erotic aids do you use while your masturbating? Your imagination? Explicit video? Written erotica?”
  • “I was reading an article about OnlyFans this morning and was thinking about subscribing to some erotic laborers’ and sex workers’ pages. Do you subscribe to any pages?”
  • “I was thinking about watching some porn tonight while I masturbate. Are there any videos you’ve watched recently that you’d want to share with me?”

Introduce watching it together

Whether in the same conversation as the above (^) or a second (or third!), bring up looking at erotic content together!

“Suggesting that you watch porn as a couple can be done as casually as suggesting trying a new restaurant together would be,” says Tickoo.

That might mean:

  • “I know you don’t often watch porn on your own, but would you have any interest in exploring it together? Maybe this weekend?”
  • “Hey babe, I read an article about watching porn with your partner and it made me interested in watching some together. Can I send you the article so we can discuss?”
  • “Have you heard of audio erotica before? I just learned about this platform called Dipsea, and I think it could be really hot to check it out together. Are you down to try it with me on Saturday?”

If you’re too nervous to approach this topic super casually, Little says it can be really helpful to name that feeling before introducing the idea.

For example:

  • “I’m really nervous to ask this, but… ”
  • “I’m about to be vulnerable. Ready?”

“You need to make sure they know that you respect their preference,” says Little.

“If watching porn with your partner is really important, ask if you can bring it up another time after they’ve had some time to talk about it,” she suggests.

If they’re open to a second conversation, next time you might suggest using paid audio erotica (like Dipsea or Quinn) or purchase a raunchy comic book (like Tina Horn’s Safe Sex comic) instead of an adult video.

From R-Rated Reddit threads to OnlyFans Clips and subscription vids, there’s a ton of erotic video footage floating around the internet.

These tips will help you weed through it to find something you’ll both (or all!) enjoy.

Make a Yes/No/Maybe list

“It can be helpful to sit down and actively think through what acts you do and definitely don’t want to see in porn,” says Tickoo.

For that, Stubbs recommends making a Yes/No/Maybe list. “This will help you understand your own ‘f*ck yes,’ ‘f*ck no,’ and ‘maybe,’ [acts] and teach you about your partner’s,” she says.

To figure out what belongs on that list, scroll through an erotic platform and see what types are available. Or check out some preexisting Yes/No/Maybe lists (here, here, and here).

You can make one list together and talk about what goes into each column as you create it, says Stubbs. Or you can make two separate lists, then come together to see where your Yes and Maybe columns align.

(And remember, just because you want to watch some anal fisting videos and your partner doesn’t, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo watching them altogether. Just watch them on your own time!)

Commit to being ethical erotic content consumers

Make a commitment with your partner(s) to consume ethically.

Because being an ethical consumer means dropping dough on your content, talk with your partner(s) about what you can afford to pay each month.

(For a frame of reference, most subscription services cost somewhere between $10 and $30 a month.)

Peruse your options

For that, we recommend reading the fifth and seventh piece in this series:

Pick something!

“A good rule when it comes to finding anything with a partner is to go through your options until you both say Y-E-S,” says Little. And that’s especially true with erotic content.

“Find your mutual yes, and if it doesn’t work out perfectly, try again,” she says.

Afterwards: Talk about it

“One of the most fun parts about watching porn with a partner can be talking about it afterwards,” says Little.

Some questions you might ask each other:

  • “What was your favorite part?”
  • “What, if anything, was something that you saw and liked watching, but wouldn’t want to try in real life?”
  • “Any parts of this you want to rewatch?”
  • “What do you think? Should we add this to our spank bank?”
  • “Three adjectives to describe how you’re feeling right now?”

So long as you find the “right” video, watching erotica with your partner(s) can be seriously pleasurable!

But if you and your partner(s) aren’t feeling it, no biggie. There are plenty of other ways to get off and even more ways to strengthen your relationship.

Like, yanno, communicating (and not going to bed angry!).


Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.