The Secret To Improving Your Sex Life That You've Never Heard Of

When searching for ways to improve your sex life, you've probably been bombarded with a lot of different information. Everything from learning to communicate better to trying new positions, to bringing toys into the bedroom to easily 100 other suggestions, there's always someone offering up an idea that's supposedly going to make the sex life you currently have skyrocket into an orgasmic stratosphere.


But of all the suggestions getting thrown our way, one in particular makes some couples raise an eyebrow and politely ask, "Come again?" That suggestion would be watching porn together. Although pornography gets a bad rap from some, a 2018 Gallup poll found that 43% of Americans think porn is "morally acceptable," up from 36% the year before that. While that's still the minority of the country, the truth is that a lot of people don't know much about the world of pornography, or that when you watch porn, you can make the choice to watch something ethical porn.

If your sex life needs improvement and you feel like you've tried it all, then watching ethical porn together just might be what your relationship needs. You'll be truly surprised by the benefits of sharing such an experience.


What is ethical pornography?

If you've ever watched mainstream porn, then you know it can feel like walking through a minefield. It seems unscripted, the focus is very much on men's pleasure (usually a straight, cis guy), and it can contain a lot of violence against women unless you specifically search otherwise. There's also the reality that what goes on behind the scenes of mainstream porn tends to be shady. From making unfair, inadequate wages to not having basic health insurance, it's often not a glamorous profession unless you happen to become a breakout star.


Ethical pornography, on the other hand, is completely different. "Ethical porn validates the needs, boundaries, and curiosities of the performers," sex therapist Kamil Lewis, AMFT, told MindBodyGreen. "[It] is inclusive, creative, and consensual ... Centralizing the physical and emotional safety of performers is essential in creating ethical porn."

Performers are paid proper salaries, given time off, and are part of the creative process. Ethical porn also acknowledges that sex is an umbrella term and not just penis-in-vagina (PIV) penetration, shifting the focus of pleasure away from the straight, male gaze to one that people of all gender and sexual identities can enjoy.

Benefits of watching porn with your partner

If you and your partner struggle to communicate your sexual needs, then watching ethical porn together can really help in that area. "In my practice, I encourage couples to watch porn together quite frequently," psychotherapist Rachel Wright, LMFT told Well + Good. "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."


Watching ethical porn with your partner can inspire new ideas of things to try, introduce you to a world of sex and sexuality that you may have not known existed, and build intimacy. "A significant portion of our work in helping couples develop a deeper sexual connection is through erotic images," psychologist David Schnarch told HuffPo. "Erotica, as well as couples' own masturbatory fantasies, can be useful tools for helping them develop as adults."

It can also be a major turn-on, cranking up your arousal even if you weren't initially in the mood. It's easy to get turned on when you see others getting hot and heavy, so watching porn together can end up being a major asset if you and your partner have mismatched libidos.


But this doesn't mean all mainstream porn is bad

As refreshing as the concept of ethical porn is, we'd be remiss to not address the fact the word "mainstream" is rife with stereotypes that suggest anything that isn't ethical is exploitative. That's simply not the case.


"Ethical porn has fostered a conversation in society around porn and has helped people find a way to enjoy it without shame or guilt — which is great! However, 'ethical porn' also reinforces the idea that 'mainstream porn' is unethical by definition," porn filmmaker, performer, and founder of Lustery Paulita Pappel said in a May 2024 press release. "That is not only vague and inaccurate, but it is harmful to sex workers and the whole industry, as well as to people who then fear relating to any explicit representation of sex."

Sex work is real work and it's important to understand that just because a performer isn't in "ethical porn", it doesn't mean that they don't have total autonomy. Sex workers deal with enough ignorance about their profession from outside the community, so allowing the concept of ethical vs. mainstream porn to add to that deeply misguided thinking is irresponsible. In other words, yes, you can still feel good about watching mainstream porn if you find something you enjoy.


Where to find ethical porn

To no surprise, you're not going to find ethical porn on Pornhub. Not just because Pornhub caters to a certain type of consumer, but ethical porn isn't free. "These people are doing a job and earning a living like any other person, and they deserve the same kind of respect and safe and equitable working conditions as in any other profession," doctor of philosophy Dr. Anne-Francis Watson told ABC Australia. "If people really want porn that is 'good', then they should be willing to pay for it." In fact, if a porn site claims to be ethical or free trade — another term for it — but it's free, then it's probably not ethical after all. 


If it's a legitimate ethical porn site, it will have a wide variety of people and types of sex that are all-inclusive. Lust Cinema, owned by Erika Lust, is great a site to check out, as are Pink Label TV, Lustery, FrolicMe,, and Bellesa. Also, all these sites are women-owned.

Although porn, whether ethical or mainstream, isn't for everyone, it's still worth watching with your partner if you've yet to do so. You never know what sort of sexy situation awaits you if you never give it a try. You'll also be supporting an industry that's doing its best to end taboos surrounding sex which, honestly, should be enough to encourage you to drop a few bucks a month on a membership.