As more Indians surf for online pornography, despite efforts to ban it, experts caution that excessive exposure to explicit sex on the net may result in some of them turning into porn addicts and hypersexuals.
"Obsessive porn viewing can turn some into hyper-sexuals and addicts. This may later lead to porn dependence or even promiscuity, leading to relationship break-ups," says Dr Manish Jain, senior consultant (psychiatrist) at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi.
In India, porn watching on internet, particularly among women, is on the rise. They are slowly bridging the gap with their male counterparts who have traditionally been leading consumers of sex online. Today Indian women are 30 per cent of the regular visitors to porn websites, says a study undertaken by New York-based news website, The Daily Beast in collaboration with popular sex website Pornhub.
The figure has risen from last year, when 26 per cent of Indian visitors were women. The data was collated from nearly 40 million Pornhub users.
According to Dr Sameer Malhotra, director (mental health and behavioural sciences) at Max Super Speciality Hospital, too much explicit porn can be associated with a need for stronger visual signals for arousal.
"It can make the act feel too mechanical. It can also cause stress in a relationship along with various other problems in one's romantic and personal life," he said.
Sexual behaviour and libido, however, vary from person to person.
"There is evidence to suggest that watching pornography does result in a greater objectification of both men and women," stresses Dr Samir Parikh, director of mental health and behavioural sciences at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi.
Can excessive porn affect the libido in women?
"Results can vary as in some cases, it can increase libido leading to promiscuity and excessive masturbation. In others, however, it may lead to decreased sexual activity in which gratification is attained only by watching pornography," explains Dr Jain.
Despite several studies claiming that porn is bad for your brain and your relationships, there are other studies saying that porn does not cause irrecoverable harm to the brain or your sex life and, in fact, it might even be kind of good for you.
"In a recent paper, two Danish researchers concluded from a survey of 688 Danish adults that porn did not yield any negative mental or health effects," Dr Jain said.
In fact, the researchers found a positive correlation between subject's porn viewing and increased sexual satisfaction, as well as self-reported benefits in other areas of their lives, he said.
Another recent study by Pornhub for Mic.com—a New York-based website focussed on news for millennials—revealed that while the core audience for porn is predominantly male, there has been a surge in women porn viewers among the millennial generation (those born after 1980) globally.
"Perhaps if this trend continues, we will get to a place where porn is produced with both male and female fantasies in mind," the Mic study said.
According to the data, 60 per cent of porn-watching millennials watch it on their smartphones while only 33 per cent watch porn on computers.
Dr Parikh, however, tends to differ. "There is nothing to say that pornography is healthy. At the same time, depending on the nature of pornographic viewing, and that too infrequently, may not be of concern but either ways would not be a healthy thing to do," he said.
"It can also stimulate one's fantasy and predispose one towards risky sex behaviour," notes Dr Malhotra.
At times, multiple clippings are used and clubbed to showcase a prolonged intercourse in the porn movie. "This could generate myths and anxieties with respect to one's own performance capabilities," he warns.
In the meantime, a healthy and mature porn watching is what experts recommend for the young women.
"Do not just treat porn for carnal pleasure but for enhancing the overall experience of being together with your partner," they advise.