Most people think of “pornography” as some site on the internet, but actually pornography is very common in people's sexual relationships. Because at its core, pornography involves wanting sex that is impersonal - that is, sex just for the sake of having sex for pleasure. I’m not saying that wanting a physical release where any partner will do is a bad thing; it’s very common in our species. But impersonal sex that you could potentially have with anybody does not involve cherishing a specific person. You could plug in anybody, any of the number of different kinds of partners, or even body parts, and that's pretty impersonal. It's not about lovemaking and it does not build an emotional connection.
We, however, are interested in a different kind of sex, one that is very intimate and very personal. Even though it does involve a physical release, personal sex is also about a meeting of minds and a meeting of hearts.
Couples who are having personal sex cherish one another as irreplaceable and special, not as tits and ass. Maybe they think of sex as impersonal occasionally, but they are also thinking, this is my lover, this is the person I've chosen. They are nurturing the idea that their partner is special and cherishing them as unique and even irresistible. Personal sex is about thinking only this person will do, and I need them - it’s not just about the physical release.
This is really what everyone in a long-term relationship that’s working well, and where the sex is good, is doing. They make a lot of love over many, many years, and it gets better and better because they are constantly learning how to love one another better as they connect emotionally. Communication becomes very essential, and that communication is what makes the difference between sex being personal or sex being pornographic.
The Gottman Institute