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Some say men use porn because it is uncomplicated. Others (like one wife who responded to our user question) think, “Men use porn because women are picky.” And, if picky means having their sexual needs and desires met while respecting what they feel comfortable with, then in comparison to porn, yes some women are picky.

Men may be in happy relationships but still consume porn because it's quick and relaxing. Relationships and intimacy are work. Pornography is fantasy - the user is in control.

And porn has never been so readily available. You no longer need to go out and buy a magazine. “The internet, and millions and millions of adult websites,” says Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of the upcoming book, Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband), “have allowed more access and a level of discretion that make it an appealing option to many consumers.”

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The numbers:
1. American adults who regularly visit porn websites: 40 million
2. Forty to 70 per cent of men admit to watching porn, Syrtash says
3. Estimates say men consume close to three quarters of all porn on the market
4. In 2006, the pornography industry had revenues larger than Microsoft, Google, amazon, eBay and Netflix combined

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Why? In its simplest form, porn exists because it stimulates and arouses. But why do men seem more drawn to it than women? There are a variety of answers ranging from the biological to the social.

Syrtash gives three explanations:
1. Men are drawn to the immediate gratification
2. Men are more wired than women to crave a variety of sexual partners
3. Men are also more visual than women

Other experts say women prefer erotic or pornographic stories where they can create the fantasy in their heads. As adolescents, most men learn the mechanics of sex from magazines, now websites, and begin consuming it as a “harmless masturbatory diversion,” succinctly described in a 2003 article on porn in The Guardian.

Despite more permissive attitudes, society still encourages men to explore or experiment with their sexuality more freely than women.

And what about women? Men do consume the majority of pornographic material, especially the more explicit and hardcore, but Syrtash argues that the numbers of women consuming has risen. The likely explanations she says are: a greater level of acceptance, and easy, private access from a computer or hand-held device.

Most experts agree that there’s a darker side to porn that involves power, false expectations and a loss of normal, healthy interactions. But, as Syrtash explains, “As long as an individual’s porn viewing habits haven’t affected his daily life it’s okay (generally speaking). Fantasy is a healthy part of our sexuality.”

Information is current as of the original date of publication.

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