Call Off The Porn Patrol And Let Your Husband Watch It!

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Love, Sex

Porn can be part of a healthy relationship. So, embrace it!

Porn is an evergreen issue in our mailbox — we frequently get letters about it from both men and women.

The men tend to say, why is my girlfriend/wife so bothered by porn? And the women tend to say, why does my boyfriend/husband watch porn when he has me? Or, why does he continue to watch porn when he knows I don’t like it?

Today, we want to address those women, a.k.a. the Porn Patrol. Because for all of the issues we have with porn (political, ethical, feminist, intellectual, aesthetic... we could go on), we think that compromising on porn may just save your relationship.

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 many women 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 realistic sex and what works for women (physically and psychically) 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 critical thinking about porn to be an equally prevalent part of our culture (we love this Danish sexologist’s idea for teaching young people to be critical and conscientious about their porn consumption).  

We also think it’s important that people — especially women — 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 an uptight Big Brother. 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.

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 your guy 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.

*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!

This article was originally published at Em & Lo. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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