Dear Em & Lo: I’m Put Out About His Porn

porn_dharmaphoto by Andres Moreno

There’s been a bit of a debate going on in the Confessions section about whether porn is good for you or bad for you. We also got two questions recently from ladies disturbed by their partners’ porn consumption. So we “remixed” our Wise Guys’ thoughts on the topic with some of our own to come up with advice after the jump:

Dear Em & Lo, I just learned my amazing college boyfriend uses porn to masturbate, at least twice a week. Understand, we’re not talking an unhealthy dependency on porn, and he remains very focused on me when we have sex. He says it’s just an old habit from high school. I consider myself very tolerant, and I am aware that most guys indulge in this kind of thing. However, I can’t understand why he needs the help of a girl he’s never met to satisfy himself. I realize there is high quality porn available that helps empower women, but that’s not the sort he described to me as his preference. I just can’t understand the appeal of what he’s watching. To a degree, I almost feel cheated on. I’m not ridiculous, and wouldn’t demand an ultimatum or anything silly like that. I just don’t understand.

Dear Em & Lo, My wonderful husband and I have a full and varied sex life, yet my husband insists on watching porn. I generally like porn for us to watch together. What he does however is watch porn during the day when I am not home. I have asked him several times to not do this and he either says he will stop or is non-committal. Now what he does is watch it anyway but deletes it from the history in the computer. My question is, am I wrong to ask this of him? Do I need to just get over this issue even though it really bothers me?
Dear Porn Patrol,

Let’s take your relationship with shoes (or women’s magazines, or whatever): imagine if your partner said he was viscerally opposed to it, thinks it is a horrible industry that exploits people and perpetuates sexism and misogyny, and suggested that it might be a deal breaker. Or imagine if he asked you to give up masturbation*, because he should be enough for you. You’d be bummed, because you know those things don’t impact the love you have for your guy. You might, out of generosity and kindness, give them up, but then you might become bitter and resentful for being forced to change.

We understand how porn makes you feel uncomfortable and unloved and disrespected — we’ve been there — but really, from his perspective, it has nothing to do with you; you’re not in any competition with it; it’s a normal and almost unavoidable part of being a guy. (It’s also a normal part of being a woman, for some.) And honestly, you’ll have a hard time finding a man who doesn’t like porn; it’s hard enough to find one who doesn’t like sports!

This is not to say that all porn is harmless. We think that the prevalence of porn can be blamed for a lot of the misconceptions young people (and plenty of adults) have today about sex and safety and what constitutes sex and what works for women and what it means to treat people with decency and respect. Which is why it’s so important not only for decent, realistic sex education to be readily and widely available, but for people — especially women — to support the production of quality porn (because porn ain’t going away).

Of course, you can’t dictate people’s sexual fantasies or tell them what they can and can’t watch, like some uptight Big Brother bitch. Well, you can, if you’re their partner, but it probably won’t go over so well. Which is why it’s better to tell them how you feel. Compromises can be made on both sides so everyone’s more at ease. Maybe you try to find something that turns you on, that you find acceptable so you can see where he’s coming from, as it were — maybe so you could even enjoy it together. And you can certainly encourage him to stay away from the more disturbing stuff, like, say, Brazilian fart porn — there is plenty of good, old-fashioned, healthy and responsible boot-knocking going on out there by consenting adults who aren’t on drugs. But if he’s watching porn instead of having sex with you, or his porn consumption is getting in the way of school or work or social outings or daily living, then you’re in your rights to demand he seek professional help.

Assuming it’s not an unhealthy porn addiction, and you can’t find a way to get into it yourself, but you’re not willing to walk away from the relationship, then make sure he keeps it a private thing (and if he’s doing this already, consider it him being polite!). Don’t talk about it and definitely don’t watch it, and ask that he hide all signs of it.  In this case, ignorance can be bliss.

Em & Lo

*Masturbation is something you should continue to do whether you’re in a relationship or not, married or not — it’s good for you to have some quality alone time!


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40 Comments on "Dear Em & Lo: I’m Put Out About His Porn"


Jan
2 years 11 months ago

Well I don’t see how leaving him would help anything. Apparently every guy watches porn on a nearly daily basis. If they can keep up a masterbating and sex… Sounds like a sex,porn,love addiction of some sort. So obviously cheating is a justifiable action. I’ve been w this guy for four years. We love eachother, and he loves porn. I’m not sure what the difference between chatting on sites and watching sites such as motherless and home alone sluts isn’t well, cheating. He insists it’s fine and this is his right so cheating is mine. I enjoy sex at the basis of what it is, physical pleasure. And anyone I trust to give it to me doesn’t mean I need to be in love with them. So I guess I’ll imploy the help of an ex to get my sexual needs and attention met. He has his porn for his. My bf grew up with porn, it’s his first lover. It’s his sex life. Unfortunately porn makes his sex life much more different then mine. I rely on my partner to go with me threw our sexual experiences and discoveries together. As where he does the same boring sex thing over and over because hell, he’s got never ending amounts of porn for veriety. Frequent porn has made him a selfish and shallow lover. But hey, at least he’s not cheating right?! So for people that think porn is so great… Maybe you should check out the emotional side of a true intimate sexual relationship, if you have any self respect/esteem/intelligence, I’m sure you’ll find something
Lacking in yours.

Johnny
2 years 11 months ago

^ … why not just leave him rather than cheat? You’re not married. Just bail.

Jan
2 years 11 months ago

My boyfriend doesn’t have much of a sex drive and yet he still can’t help but share what little he has w porn. I wasn’t getting enough sex and porn and masterbating isn’t much fun for me. Soo apparently as everyone on here seems to be saying, I can cheat. Kuz it’s either porn or cheating. I hate that he watches porn and I don’t even hate porn. I knew he watched it n I wasn’t worried about it. That was until our sex life vanished and I found what he watche and how often he watche it Underage webcam videos. So I worry about what he might turn to in 20 years if we get married. Frequent porn use is scientifically proven to ruin the natural brain chemistry in the reward zone. Men, and women, become desensitized and need more crazy porn to get excited. There are many sites out there supporting all of this. So as much as I dont mind porn, it does effect most relationships in some way. Even if it’s only the occasional ‘sry hunny I already watched porn so I can’t get it up for you’ to the pitty fuck n it takes obnoxiously long for him to get off, to erectile distinction and the loss (or lack) of emotional intamacy w a human sex partner. I don’t see how regular porn use has any positives. I now have to cheat I guess because that seems acceptable as long as I don’t infringe on his porn right.

college girl
3 years 7 months ago

Okay you women need to grow a pair and ask your significant other to stop watching porn if you’re not comfortable with it, why is there no expectation of self control?

A relationship is about making sacrifices and compromising, I’m sure you’ve made sacrifices for him

4 years 28 days ago

Imagine if he asked you to give up masturbation*, because he should be enough for you.