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Sex-Positive Therapy

January 30, 2013

I've been a fan of your Savage Lovecast for a long time, but I had to write after hearing Marty Klein's awesome talk about the fallacy of "sex addiction." I am 27, and for most of my adult life, I have suffered from complete sexual dysfunction with partners. I was ashamed and thought I was too sexually screwed up to be with a partner because I'm kinky. (I have a fetish for tights and pantyhose.) I was also afraid to seek help out of fear of being labeled "abnormal" or "addicted to porn." I managed to get a little better thanks to an encouraging, kinky, porn-loving, sex-positive female partner. In spite of feeling better, I am still having problems with partners. What are some good resources for finding a sex-positive therapist like Dr. Klein?

NON-Addict Despite Dumb Intolerant Counselors' Theories

"If the public knew how little sexuality training most therapists receive, they'd be stunned," said Dr. Marty Klein, a sex therapist, marriage counselor, psychotherapist, and author. "You can get licensed as a marriage counselor or psychologist without hearing the words 'clitoris,' 'vibrator,' or 'amateur porn.' So 'How do I find a sex-positive therapist?' is a very important question."

Klein advises you start by contacting the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT.org). "NON-ADDICT should look for a member in his area," says Klein. "But the group is small, and not all of them will share his sexual values. Here's what he should ask a potential therapist: 'What are your sexual values?' 'How do you define healthy sexuality?' 'Are you comfortable talking about kinky sex?' 'Do you think monogamous, heterosexual, genitally oriented sex is ultimately better than other consensual arrangements?'" The kind of sex-positive therapist you seek will answer straightforward questions like that over the phone before you make an appointment for a session. "And regardless of the answers, if you sense a professional is queasy talking about sex, move on to another candidate."

Klein says there are many ways to find a local, progressive, sex-positive therapist. "He should call his local Planned Parenthood or LGBT center, a gynecologist or urologist, or the person who teaches sexuality at his local university, or a local divorce lawyer" and ask for a referral, advises Klein. You could even call a priest. "Most clergy send their sexuality cases to one or two local therapists, some of whom are quite progressive."

To hear Dr. Klein talk with me about pornography and the "sex addiction" racket, go to thestranger.com/lovecast and listen to Episode 326. To read Dr. Klein's brilliant takedown of the sex-addiction industry ("You're Addicted to What? Challenging the Myth of Sex Addiction," the Humanist, July/August 2012), go to tinyurl.com/addictedtowhat. To find out more about Dr. Klein and his work, go to martyklein.com.


I recently caught my boyfriend watching porn. We have talked about it before, and he said he didn't watch it while he was in a relationship. But when I caught him there with his dick in his hand, I lost it. I have never felt so hurt or betrayed. This is my first serious relationship. I can't get over how sick and sad I feel. It feels like he was cheating on me. Should I be as upset as I am? It was interactive porn—it was like he was cybersexing with one of his ex-girlfriends. What should I do?

Sad And Deceived

Was your boyfriend having cybersex with an ex-girlfriend? Or did it only feel like he was? I would make a distinction, SAD, because while all porn constitutes a betrayal of the terms of your relationship, interacting with a stranger and, very likely, a professional online shouldn't feel quite so threatening.

Backing way the hell up: Your boyfriend shouldn't have lied to you, SAD, but you shouldn't have been so naive as to believe him. If you can't bring yourself to forgive him for lying—if you can't put yourself in his shoes and try to understand why he might lie about this (shame, fear, a desire to spare your feelings)—then this relationship is doomed. End it and find a new boyfriend. But when your next boyfriend tells you he doesn't watch porn, you're going to look at him and say, "Suuuuuure, you don't."

Ask your new boyfriend to be discreet and limit his porn consumption to an extent where you're unlikely to uncover any evidence of it, as porn upsets you. If your new boyfriend manages to do that for you, SAD, if he's considerate enough to cover his tracks, you should be considerate enough to turn a blind eye on those rare occasions when you do stumble over evidence that your new boyfriend watches porn—just like your old boyfriend did and all your future boyfriends will.


I ended a two-and-a-half-year relationship six months ago. By "ended" I mean my then-boyfriend packed up everything I owned and put it on the lawn—just like in the movies! The reason for this was that he hacked into my e-mail and read some very graphic letters about an affair I'd had in Mexico just weeks prior. My CPOS justifications: (1) We were on a break, and I had been living with friends to escape his anger problems and emotional abuse. I was still seeing him periodically and slept with him a couple times. (2) He wouldn't go down on me. (3) When I tried to break up with him in the past, he threatened suicide. (4) He had many kinks and a history of cheating, and he threatened that if I didn't participate in gang bangs, he would find someone who would.

I didn't feel safe sexually or emotionally with him, and I found an evening of relief from my shitty relationship in Mexico while we were on a break. I felt energized, attractive, and like I was dealing with a healthy adult. That was the catalyst that got me out of the relationship on his terms, and I wouldn't do anything differently if I had a choice. Am I a CPOS?

My EX Isn't Completely Obtuse

For readers who are just joining us: A CPOS is a "cheating piece of shit," someone who cheats on a partner without grounds. You are not a CPOS, MEXICO. You had grounds: You wanted out, tried to get out, but couldn't get out because your crazy ex essentially took himself hostage by threatening suicide. (Which is an abuser's tactic, folks, please make a note of it.) Your infantile, manipulative, selfish ex wasn't allowing you to go peacefully. Cheating on him and getting caught may not have been a conscious exit strategy on your part, MEXICO, but it was a perfectly executed one.


SEATTLE READERS: We're doing a live taping of the Savage Lovecast for SINGLE PEOPLE ONLY at the Neptune Theater on February 14. There will be free lap dances, a bondage demo with Twisted Monk, music courtesy of DJ TROUBLE, sex advice from me and Mistress Matisse, the Human Cupcake, and much more. Tickets are available through STG (tinyurl.com/savlov). Be there! This event is for SINGLE PEOPLE ONLY. (But since we can't discriminate against coupled people—damnit—it's for everyone!) recommended

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

My new book—American Savage—comes out in May. Preorder it now!

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Comments (267) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Dan the Man: Thanks for the helpful link to Dr. Marty Klein!!
I am presently going through a real mind-fuck for older women.
Now that my (Atkins) diet is working, I have lost inches around my waist
and seem to be returning to my more youthful early 20ish looks.
Problem: while I love where I live in a college town, guys half my age are scoping me out!! Yikes!!
I went to bed last night humming the Mrs. Robinson theme from The Graduate!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 29, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
2
I like Dan's focus on the manners in play for the second letter.

Do people consider online sex with a paid professional cheating? I would consider it in similar lines to hiring someone who sat across from you in the room, even if there was no physical contact. Or having cyber sex with an ex or someone from Craig's list or other non-pro--to me the personal interaction puts it in a very different category from "looking at porn." Whereas something like a point-and-click virtual stripper falls under "looking at porn."
Posted by IPJ on January 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
3
I'm guessing part of the reason SAD's boyfriend was looking at porn is how much of a prude she sounds like. I think it's fair to assume that a girl who thinks porn is cheating also thinks oral sex is disgusting and doggiestyle is disrespectful.
Posted by ForGodsAche on January 29, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
nocutename 4
Dear SAD,
I understand that this was a bit of shock. Consider that your boyfriend lied to you because he knew you would be very upset to find out that he watches porn. But it's like you getting a bit of a movie or literary crush on a fictional character, his porn-interest. It is no threat to you. It doesn't interfere with his real affection for, interest in, or attraction to you.

You are real. Your relationship is real. Porn offers make-believe sensory stimulation, even if it is cyber porn (provided it's cyber porn with a revolving cast of characters or a pro; it he's having a cyber-sexual relationship with an actual real-life ex, that's probably grounds for a discussion and maybe some limit-setting).

You say that this is your first serious relationship, from which I conclude you're pretty young. There is a saying, "choose your battles." Decide what is really worth fighting about or getting devastated by. Unless your boyfriend is ignoring you sexually and neglecting your needs to have cyber sex or jerk off looking at porn, I'd consider this not worth the battle with him or your own sense of self-esteem.

It's just porn. It's not cheating.

Posted by nocutename on January 29, 2013 at 5:57 PM · Report this
5
third!
Posted by Alex1971 on January 29, 2013 at 6:01 PM · Report this
6
dsmmit!
Posted by Alex1971 on January 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM · Report this
nocutename 7
@5, 6: HA!
Posted by nocutename on January 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM · Report this
8
I hope there's a special club for people who manage to comment first on one of Dan's columns and say something more meaningful than the order in which their comment occurred. It's funny to watch the comment fails, but I'm just saying. And yes, I'm already in the club ;-)))

SAD needs to get over herself... with rare exception porn does nothing to harm a relationship and much more commonly helps relationships. If you're going to feel "betrayed" every time your partner looks at another woman, watches porn, gets at all kinky, you can toss your sex life out the window. Look for someone who doesn't care about sex and you will find your perfect life partner. If you want a great sex life ease up and give your partner the love and the space they need. Nothing else will do it.
Posted by apples on January 29, 2013 at 7:05 PM · Report this
9
auntie griselda is definitely in the club.
Posted by apples on January 29, 2013 at 7:06 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 10
My BS detector was throbbing during the last letter. I'm probably wrong, but the list of certified excuses seemed a little too pat. If they're all true then to hell with the ex. If not, then LW, you are probably a CPOS.
Posted by aureolaborealis on January 29, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
11
I'm really confused by SAD. If he was wanking with an ex over Skype that's not porn, it's betrayal, but if it's only "interactive" because he was handling what after all still belongs to him while looking at pictures of strangers that's not cheating, it's looking at porn.

Also using an acronym whose first letter is provided by the word the acronym spells is in fact cheating.
Posted by SifuMark on January 29, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
lolorhone 12
SAD's boyfriend should have been upfront with her. And SAD should get the fuck over it if she ever wants to have a relationship where her partner does not feel forced to lie to her. And MEXICO should have fucked a healthy adult who made her feel attractive and energized a long time ago, so good for her. Down with emotional/sexual hostage situations.
Posted by lolorhone on January 29, 2013 at 8:12 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 13
@11: That acronym trick isn't cheating. In computer programming it's called "recursion". It can be very useful.
Posted by saxfanatic on January 29, 2013 at 8:52 PM · Report this
14
@13, I'm with 11. The acronyms are there to entertain us, and, dammit, I feel cheated.

I would advise the first letter writer to try Fetlife. Read the discussion groups for a while, and you'll find people whose posts make sense to you, then write them privately and you'll find that most people are supportive and encouraging. We've all felt that "fear of being labeled abnormal."
Posted by EricaP on January 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
15
SAD, MEXICO, in case you missed Savage's seething sarcasm, and his need not to belabor the obvious. SAD: you want someone to desire you only, forever. This is immature egocentricity. Now stop that drama about being cheated on. MEXICO: you should have fled from this nonsense long ago. Yet here you are worrying about whether you are a CPOS. Run, you fool! Geez.
Posted by fm105 on January 29, 2013 at 9:04 PM · Report this
16
@10 My BS detector didn't go off about that letter. "This person has a very good explanation" isn't an indicator of BS.
Posted by Hyacinth on January 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM · Report this
17
I don't doubt a lot of readers agree with Dan, but I wanted to put forth a different view on porn watching. 1. Why is it ok to lie about watching porn if you have the slightest indication your wife/gf might be uncomfortable with it. 2) Why is any such woman such a complete object of disrespect. There are lots of women that are uncomfortable with porn. Higher than the percentage of the population that is gay for instance. Maybe it's not a value you agree with, just like some people disagree with polyamory or even homosexuality, but does having even a hint of this loathsome disorder really mean that they should be dumped without a second thought no matter how many other fine qualities they may have or how long they have been married? 3) Crazy, but I kind of feel that if we labeled this dislike of porn an actual fetish where people twisted it into something they got off on, it would then be perfectly ok. 4) Surely I'm not wrong in thinking that humans managed for 99.999% of history to (gasp no!) live without porn. Maybe the attitude that a woman who wants her bf to do without is equivalent to asking him not to breathe is really a bit much. I agree most men watch porn btw although I don't think 100% do like Dan keeps insisting. I agree it's not not the biggest thing in the world, but that's my value- can't they have a right to theirs? For the record, I'm a cam show girl and I am polyamorous myself.
Posted by Cam girl on January 29, 2013 at 11:03 PM · Report this
18
@17: "Surely I'm not wrong in thinking that humans managed for 99.999% of history to (gasp no!) live without porn."

Have you ever seen the cave paintings at Lascaux (which have explicit depictions of sex and genitalia), the Moche pots of Peru (which feature massive amounts of anal sex), or the massive amounts of Greek and Roman erotic art (which have just about everything)?

There's abundant reason to think that human beings have been making porn for almost as long as there have been human beings at all!
Posted by Don't call me Shirley on January 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM · Report this
19
P.S. Are we sure that SAD's "interactive porn" means "cyber-sex with a paid professional", and not some kind of cheesy computer program where you can choose different options, scenarios, etc.?

There are tons of those around, starting with cheesy 1990s multimedia CDROMs (and their DVD successors), juvenile animated Flash games, Japanese eroge and dating sims, and so on.

I don't think jacking off with a camgirl you're paying is "interactive porn", myself -- that crosses the line into hiring a sex worker. But if SAD is freaking out that her boyfriend masturbates to the porn equivalent of Choose Your Own Adventure, she needs to get the fuck over it.
Posted by Don't call me Shirley on January 29, 2013 at 11:25 PM · Report this
20
@16 She's trying too hard to explain herself. I can see why some people would read that as BS, but given the circumstances, I think it says more about how she ended up in this relationship in the first place. I see a need for outside approval and some people-pleasing tendencies that often cause people to ignore red flags and excuse abusive or controlling behavior. Some sort of counseling is a pretty standard recommendation for people getting out of an abusive relationship and MEXICO could likely benefit from examining that need for approval.
Posted by geekgirl on January 29, 2013 at 11:35 PM · Report this
21
SAD, I'm going to sympathize with part of your feelings, but not all of them.

I can understand feeling betrayed if he said he only looks at porn when not in a relationship, and then you subsequently caught him looking. That implies pretty strongly that he thinks he's not in a real relationship with you. That implication must hurt.

But that's only a correct implication if you believe him about never looking while in a relationship, which is (or should be) an obvious, absurd lie. Men who don't look at porn are rare, though men who lie about never looking at porn are common, because they aren't up to having a fight with you over something that really isn't any of your business.

In any case, no, looking at porn isn't cheating. Interactive porn (point and click games or videos) isn't cheating either. It's just a computer program. It's a stimulus toy, not a person to cheat with. If porn is cheating, so is a vibrator. If your boyfriend started accusing you of cheating on him and betraying his and your relationship with that penis in your sock drawer, I hope you would laugh at him.
Posted by avast2006 on January 30, 2013 at 12:01 AM · Report this
22
What does SAD mean by interactive porn?

If it's a game, ok, but if her boyfriend is talking to another actual person and directing a scene or action (cam girls) that's a bit more than just "looking at porn".

I've been in relationships with some pretty progressive women, but any instance where you can ask someone to "say your name" and have your request fulfilled is probably not something you should do in a relationship without specifically communicating about it first.
Posted by biggie on January 30, 2013 at 2:07 AM · Report this
23
@21 - I expect SAD doesn't have a penis in her sock drawer. But she probably fantasises about Mr Darcy or Ryan Gosling or whoever the young ladies like these days. And that is the same thing as using porn, at least from the recipient end.

This is the problem I have with @17's view. Women who have ethical concerns about exploitation or abuse in porn can disapprove as much as they like, particularly if they have evidence that the ethical issues are a real thing. But women who go all squirly over film stars or boy bands and then disapprove of men using porn because it's 'like cheating' are great big hypocrites, if you ask me.
Posted by misspiggy on January 30, 2013 at 2:18 AM · Report this
24
@23:
I agree completely.

There is a huge market not only for erotica, but also for romance novels, and the readers are almost exclusively women. And I bet a lot of Barbara Cartland-readers disapprove of porn, despite using those sappy novels for the same reason.

But they fool themselves that it is about love, and therefore something completely different...
Posted by migrationist on January 30, 2013 at 4:04 AM · Report this
25
@22 makes a workable distinction for interactive porn vs interactive in-the-cheating-realm. A point-and-click game is one thing, a live person on the other end who can respond to "say my name" is different. (Yes, I'm aware you could write a program to do that; work with me here.)

I don't see how using a cam girl is different from using a person you claim to have met just now on Craig's list or OKCupid who is totally not your ex, just a stranger on the internet you thought you'd join in a bout of mutual masturbation while your partner thought you were getting a beer from the fridge. As biggie says, you don't get to assume your partner is down with that without talking about it. (And how hard is 'not when she's in the next room'?)

She's young, in her first serious relationship, and doesn't know that much about how men, porn, men in relationships and porn, etc work. Quelle surprise. And it turns out to be the opposite of the way he told her it worked when she asked, and she dares be confused about that.

When it came up he could have calmly said something like "I look at naked women--it's something pretty much all straight men do, and gay men look at naked men. It doesn't mean anything to our relationship, just that I'm hard-wired to notice a woman in a bikini. It's not something I'd do in front of you or when you're over." (Which leaves room for her to say the last bits are okay, or where her boundaries are.)
Posted by IPJ on January 30, 2013 at 4:24 AM · Report this
26
Am I the only one who thought that Porn Dude wasn't chatting to a Cam-Girl?

Prude GF said it was "interactive" and "like he was cybering with one of his ex-GFs." To me, that says it was a game or a POV movie or something, not a flesh-and-blood person with a camera. Maybe that's just me.

@2, absolutely. The line in cheating isn't about what you're doing (Frenching and Cybering are cheating just as much as full-bore fucking), but about the fact that it's violating the rules. In our society, the default rule is complete exclusivity. Anything less than that, without explicit permission, is de facto cheating.
Posted by can't think of good name on January 30, 2013 at 6:04 AM · Report this
27
Marty Klein's advice is excellent, especially about the questions to ask a potential therapist! When dealing with a new therapist, your sense of whether or not you're comfortable with them is always your best way of knowing whether or not you'll work together well.

I would like to add, though, that if you're looking for a sex-positive therapist, a great place to look is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom's Kink-Aware Professionals listing (KAP):

https://ncsfreedom.org/key-programs/kink…

It's a place where therapists (as well as lawyers, doctors, etc) can list themselves as being knowledgeable about and open to kinky clients-- and it's national (plus Canada), so it greatly improves your chances of finding someone in your area.
Posted by Gaudior on January 30, 2013 at 6:32 AM · Report this
28
I think MEXICO left out a very important detail: did she do the gangbangs before she broke up with him or not???
Posted by Catface Meowmers on January 30, 2013 at 8:02 AM · Report this
Fortunate 29
@17:
"1. Why is it ok to lie about watching porn if you have the slightest indication your wife/gf might be uncomfortable with it."

Because it is a kindness to them. Virtually all guys look at porn. If your wife / GF is going to get all upset about it then you either lie to them about it or you get them upset. It is far kinder to lie to them rather than get them upset over something that doesn't, otherwise, actually harm them.

"2) Why is any such woman such a complete object of disrespect."

Because they are living in a fantasy land. Virtually every guy looks at porn. His looking at porn isn't going to harm her in any way. Insisting that he agree to not do something that everyone does and which doesn't harm her is unreasonable.

"but does having even a hint of this loathsome disorder really mean that they should be dumped without a second thought no matter how many other fine qualities they may have or how long they have been married?"

No. That's why guys lie about it. If every thing else is great you don't dump them just because they have a bat shit crazy attitude about porn. It makes more sense to lie about the porn than to dump the girl.

But when the girl finds out, and she always does, she has two ways to react. She can appreciate that he tried to spare her feelings and pretend she didn't find out, or she can go all bat shit controlling psycho on him. If she take the later option then she is asking to get dumped. Or lied to again.

"3) Crazy, but I kind of feel that if we labeled this dislike of porn an actual fetish where people twisted it into something they got off on, it would then be perfectly ok."

It's fine as a fetish if both people involved in the fetish get off on it. If the guy involved doesn't get off on having his sexuality controlled by his wife or GF then it isn't a fetish for him. It is just being in a relationships with an unrealistic controlling person.

"4) Surely I'm not wrong in thinking that humans managed for 99.999% of history to (gasp no!) live without porn."

Yes, you would be wrong. From cave paintings of early man to live sex shows in ancient Rome, to internet porn, humans have been producing porn and getting off on seeing displays of sex from other people as long as we have existed.

"Maybe the attitude that a woman who wants her bf to do without is equivalent to asking him not to breathe is really a bit much."

Yes, such a comparison is a bit much. But both requests are still unreasonable. The first is a matter of insanity and the second one is a display of over the top insecurity.

"I agree most men watch porn btw although I don't think 100% do like Dan keeps insisting."

No, not 100%. But close enough that it doesn't make a difference. I have no doubt that the number of women who get bent out of shape over their guy watching porn far, far exceeds the number of guys who don't watch porn.

Certainly there are some guys out there somewhere who don't watch porn. But the chances of an anti porn woman finding one is slim. So odds are so insanely against you if you are a woman looking for a guy who doesn't look at porn that if you limit your choice is to either finding one or being alone then you may as well just start calling yourself spinster and get a cat now.

"I agree it's not not the biggest thing in the world, but that's my value- can't they have a right to theirs?"

Anyone has a right to any values they want. But that doesn't change the fact that some values are unreasonable, unrealizable, and hurt the one that holds them. If someone wants to cling to values that are unrealistic and that only serve to cause them distress that is their choice, but the consequences are theirs as well and the rest of us may need to respec the persons right to hold their values, we don't have to respect the individuals or their values themselves.
More...
Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 8:04 AM · Report this
Trinabeana 30
MEXICO, when you're with the kind of piece of shit your ex was, who cares if you cheated? He was the POS, not you.
Posted by Trinabeana on January 30, 2013 at 8:13 AM · Report this
31
MEXICO-- What you're experiencing is the classic pull between a desire to be happy and a desire to be right. This is a perfectly understandable thing when I'm experiencing it. It looks downright stupid when someone else is.

Obviously you're lucky to be out of an abusive relationship. Obviously when things are that bad, it hardly matters how you got out of it just so long as you did get out of it. But what's niggling for you is that your ex doesn't believe that you're right. You want to be understood. Who doesn't? You want to make your point. I would too. But as time goes by, you'll come to realize that making someone you're in conflict with concede your point, making that someone agree that you were the wounded party all along, getting that sort of satisfaction, well, it's not all it's cracked up to be. It's certainly not worth making yourself unhappy in an attempt to get an asshole to admit he's an asshole.

Since your ex will never come around to admitting, you do the next best thing. You seek validation from Dan. You get him to tell him you're not a CPOS. You go to your girlfriends so they can tell you the same thing.

If it helps, here's some more from an anonymous person on the internet called Crinoline: What you did was fine under the circumstances. I'm glad you feel safe now. (Take care to keep yourself safe from that ex. He sounds unstable. I'm in no position to say if he's dangerous, but I'd be wary.) Future relationships will make you feel good about yourself. Look for those relationships. Good luck.
Posted by Crinoline on January 30, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
32
That doctor isn't kidding about sexually uninformed therapists. The last time I was seeing a therapist I mentioned that I was bisexual. She asked if my boyfriend knew about that, because most partners would consider that cheating. I had to explain that, no, being bisexual DIDN'T mean that I was sleeping with men and women at the same time. The experience still surprises me.
Posted by bubblehobo on January 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM · Report this
33
I see thru the DTMFA given to SAD - really its the BF Dan is helping here not SAD. Holy Cats for all the things to wig out over.

Yikes MEXICO just yikes. I'd leave the state and change my name.
Posted by stormcrow on January 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
34
Anyone who thinks it is easier to lie to spare someone elses feelings is a piece of lying shit. Just tell it straight, or you don't deserve to be in a relationship.
Posted by The truth hurts on January 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
35
Great comments here as usual, especially @20.
Posted by repete on January 30, 2013 at 9:16 AM · Report this
36
@27: Thanks for the resource, but I can't help but notice a significant number of therapists in the Kink-Aware Professionals network also subscribe to bullshit like Reiki, reflexology and other magic-based pseudo-therapies. It's hard to trust sexual or relationship advice given by someone who believes rubbing a certain part of your foot can cure kidney stones.
Posted by repete on January 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM · Report this
37
Maybe if so many men didn't lie about it in an effort to "protect" their wives/gfs, there would eventually be fewer "naive" women and fewer feelings of betrayal when the truth did come out. And ultimately, more general acceptance of porn as a normality, which could only help society and even the performers. Men often lie to protect themselves instead of going through the potential unpleasantness of talking out a difference of opinion.

Why do these men want to be with such prudes anyway? In less than 10 years how many men will be complaining to Dan that his wife suddenly lost her sex drive after marriage or that she was only faking her tolerance of his kinks to get a ring.
Posted by Z123 on January 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM · Report this
Helix 38
SAD needed this reality check. It's pretty unreasonable to expect your partner to just stop watching porn if it's part of their life/routine.
Posted by Helix on January 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Fortunate 39
"Maybe if so many men didn't lie about it in an effort to "protect" their wives/gfs, there would eventually be fewer "naive" women and fewer feelings of betrayal when the truth did come out."

Maybe. But that doesn't change the fact that right now there are many relationships where, if the woman knew the guy looked at porn, it would end even though everything else is fine.

Since the porn doesn't actually harm anyone keeping it secret seems the logical choice.

That may not make it right, but it is certainly understandable.

"Men often lie to protect themselves instead of going through the potential unpleasantness of talking out a difference of opinion."

On this topic, however, there are a whole hell of a lot of women who are just unreasonable. If you know your wife or GF is unreasonable about it then is it worth it to break up over? Most would say 'no' I think.

"Why do these men want to be with such prudes anyway?"

This doesn't make a woman a prude. For all we know these same women may be very kinky, sexual and otherwise GGG. This issue with porn isn't about being a prude. It's about being insecure.

But if everything else is good, including the sex life, then do you really think that a bit of insecurity exhibited in this one way is reason enough to end it? If so then end it. But for those who value the other things they get out of the relationship it's worth it to just pretend.

"In less than 10 years how many men will be complaining to Dan that his wife suddenly lost her sex drive after marriage or that she was only faking her tolerance of his kinks to get a ring. "

Already happens. The difference is that the guy watching porn isn't denying his wife of anything. He's not cheating. He's not neglecting her. He's not taking anything away from her.

It's a very different kind of deception. We all lie. We all tell little white lies to our spouses to smooth the waters.

'I don't look at porn' is a little white lie.

'I will satisfy your leather fetish if you bind yourself legally and financially forver through marriage' when you don't mean it is a pretty big fucking lie.
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Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM · Report this
40
I would put camgirls right next to visiting strip clubs in terms of how close it is to cheating. It is a) a real live person on the other end of the transaction, b) looking but not touching, and b) costs money.

Camming with a friend would definitely be cheating.

I'm also confused by what is meant by "it was like he was cybersexing with one of his ex-girlfriends." Does that mean he was webcamming with a pay site? That it was a game program, but looked live (e.g., Virtual Stripper)? Or does that merely mean that him watching a video with his junk in his hand felt to her like he was cybering with a girlfriend? Based on her consistent characterizing it as "looking at porn" my hunch is that it wasn't a live video feed, but I could be wrong.
Posted by avast2006 on January 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Report this
41
@39, I agree with @37. If all the men who regularly watch porn spoke out publicly to say so, the whole issue would vanish. I think many men get off on the secrets and shame and want to believe that their girlfriend or wife doesn't know that side of them. They don't want to date the kind of woman who would date such a pervert (as they see themselves).
Posted by EricaP on January 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
42
I found my very sex-positive therapist through this website: http://www.polychromatic.com/pfp//main.p…

I know it's specifically poly-friendly, but one might have better luck finding someone kink friendly and sex positive through this filter.

- Christie
Posted by Christie on January 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Fortunate 43
Erica, Sorry, but I don't buy it. In fact I call total BS on this one.

The Madonna / Whore complex may be alive and well in some men, but it isn't that prevalent that it accounts for why so many men hide their porn watching.

In fact, most men really don't. Because not all women (or men in the case of same sex relationships) are so insecure as to have such a big issue with it.

But when they are I have little doubt that the majority of the men who hide it do so not because they have some idea that if their girlfriends knew and stayed with them then the girlfriend was a problem.

No, they lie because they want to avoid having to deal with the insecure, batshit crazy response that some women have regarding this issue.

The lie is the symptom, not the dieses. The dieses is the insecure, crazy reaction some women have regarding this, and that is what should be the focus.

If men didn't lie the issue would go away? No. The issue is the insecurity of the women. Being honest about the porn isn't going to make these women less insecure.

The women dealing with their insecurity (perhaps with a professional therapist) is what will make them less insecure, and THAT will lead to the men not feeling like they need to lie about porn.
Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 10:39 AM · Report this
44
I followed the link to AASECT.org, and looked at the provider list for my area. Ironically, the provider I clicked on specializes in treatment of sexual addiction :)

So, Dr. Klein is correct that not all sexual therapist will share the your sexual values, and the need to interview the therapist first.
Posted by vagarious on January 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
45
I agree with others who think the distinction should be less whether it's an ex or a stranger on the other end, and more if by "interactive porn" she actually means someone on the other end responding to his directions, or if it's an electronic game or something like that.

I think that if he'd posted an ad on Craigslist for a girl to cam with him, Dan would rightly call that cheating. I don't see how it isn't if it's an anonymous cam girl.

If it really is just a game though and there's no recipient on the other end, then it is just porn and not cheating and SAD needs to get a reality check.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on January 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM · Report this
46
If the men didn't lie there would be a lot more fights and recrimination, some small amount of dumpage, and a lot more unhappy women caught between not wanting to end the relationship and not wanting to let go of their gut feeling that porn is the same as cheating and that their guy is the insensitive one for not respecting her feelings, rather than her being the insensitive one for demanding something unreasonable.

True, eventually the message would get out and the problem would diminish over time, but I don't foresee it ever vanishing.
Posted by avast2006 on January 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM · Report this
47
"he threatened that if I didn't participate in gang bangs, he would find someone who would." Excuse me? Nobody can push you in having sex with other people if you don't want it. I can't even imagine how damaging it is to get gang banged if you don't really enjoy it and really want it yourself.
so if MEXICO really did that, next time she dates a psycho like that, she should pack and leave immediately. that is so so fucked up that it's hard to believe that the letter is real!
Posted by crazyprotein on January 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Necktieknot 48
"...sex advice from me and Mistress Matisse, the Human Cupcake,..."

Methinks the editor needs an editor. Is the Human Cupcake a separate person or is Mistress Matisse the Human Cupcake?
Posted by Necktieknot on January 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
49
@41: " I think many men get off on the secrets and shame and want to believe that their girlfriend or wife doesn't know that side of them."

What, that they look at porn? How very secretive and daring of them. (eyeroll)

More like they don't feel like dealing with the embarrassment (most people don't like being walked in on when they are taking a shit, either) and shame that has been heaped on them since well before puberty for something that should by rights be entirely their private business. Often as not, an orgasm is a good substitute for a sleeping pill. Instant roll over and go to sleep (remember, the act that men are infamous for? Their insensitivity when the hormones hit?), without the hangover the next morning.
Posted by avast2006 on January 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
50
Okay, I'm clearly going to be in the minority here, but SAD's bf lied. If he wants to be with someone who is okay with porn/mutual masturbation with other people/whatever the hell was going on there, then he shouldn't be with her.

I am choking on the condescension here from both Dan and the commenters. Guess what? Not all women who are anti-porn are insecure prudes. We aren't porcelain dolls who need protection, we are partners in a relationship who deserve the truth. If porn/Skype mutual masturbation/etc., etc. is a dealbreaker for her, then she deserves to know so that she can end the relationship.

That is all. *Climbs down off soapbox*
Posted by Clearly the Minority Here on January 30, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
51
I don't think anyone should lie about watching porn if they are asked directly. Most don't ask, because they prefer "not to know (for sure)", or they think it's none of their business, but when someone asks directly, one of two things is true: a)They really want to know because they are curious, want to know what you like, want to watch it with you, etc. or b) they want you *not* to watch porn and they want an opportunity to tell you you have to stop if you are. With person a, no issue. Person b needs a reality check, and far better to get it sooner rather than cause issues when (not if) they find out. They'll get over it once they realize it is inevitable. Have a screaming fight every time if you have to. The point will get taken, or you'll break up. I'd rather that than lie or be lied to.
Posted by SfR on January 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM · Report this
52
@34: "Anyone who thinks it is easier to lie to spare someone elses feelings is a piece of lying shit. Just tell it straight, or you don't deserve to be in a relationship."

OK, here goes. I'm not very attracted to you anymore, and I often wonder whether I could do better, but I'm too lazy and insecure to take the chance, especially now that I'm older. And besides, now that we have kids, I can't escape without hurting them and/or going broke.

Also, I tell you you're a great lover, but I'm not mentioning that you're still not nearly as good as several of my exes. I still get off thinking about some of what I did with them; I can't imagine ever doing that with our sex life. Our sex is OK, but I've had better, and I don't think you're capable of ever really being a great lay.

Also, half of the time you speak, I'm bored and just waiting for you to stop. I can usually guess what you're going to say anyway, since it's almost always the same thing, so there's basically no point in listening.

Also, I'm tired of dealing with the chip on your shoulder. You're not the victim of anything; people don't like you because you're mediocre and annoying and self-oriented, not because they're unfair.

I could go on, but right about now those little white lies start looking pretty good, eh?
Posted by Careful what you wish for... on January 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
53
Why can't MEXICO and her ex *both* be POSes? There's room for two in a relationship.
Posted by Alec on January 30, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
54
@52. Lol. Knocking it off with the lies long *before* marrying and reproducing would prevent a lot of those issues. :o) Also, I think it applies to *direct questions*. I'm not so foolish as to ask a direct question to which I can't handle an honest answer. And the best way to cure someone of that brand of foolishness is to get unpleasant honest answers.
Posted by SfR on January 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
55
What if it isn't porn insecurity? What if it is a matter of taste or politics? (or feeling safe in a sexually hostile world) Finding a cheesy, hyper commercialized, exploitative mag (that insults you and turns you the fuck off) in your Twu Wuv's nightstand is almost like finding Mcdonald's wrappers in your social justice and vegan activist mentor's purse. You thought you both believed in the same things, pursued the same ideologies, and were building something better for the future. Your intimate future. I'm not saying everbody must pursue erotica/porn and sexuality together, as couples and have no differences or private interests- but a little white lie about something so personal as what turns your significant other on? When you're young new at this?
Hard lessons, those sexual expectations.
Posted by blackwinterbyrd on January 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM · Report this
56
@52: the counterpoint script is:
At the beginning of our relationship we agreed that no question was out of bounds, and that "I'm not ready to answer that right now." was always an acceptable answer. We've stuck to those rules and they have served us well.

In the early years you weren't the best lover I'd ever known, and our conversations on sex weren't always easy, but we talked, we never settled for the status quo, and now you are the best lover I've ever known. (And I'd known more than a few before you. You've never asked about them. Thank you.)

We've each helped the other grow, worked to keep the relationship fresh, worked to keep it healthy in spite of kids. No way would we be where we are now without being able to speak truth, and ask questions, nor without each taking more than 50% of the responsibility for building the relationship.
Posted by baubo on January 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
57
A lot of men look at porn. A lot of women feel insecure when their guy looks at porn. Both are totally reasonable feelings, both are rooted in biology, culture, and socialization. We don't need to demonize either. We do need to accept that there is a conflict, and try to suggest ways to deal with that conflict. Can we all just start from there?
Posted by wxPDX on January 30, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 58
@53: That's pretty much where my thinking on this is.
Posted by aureolaborealis on January 30, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
59
Dan, thank you for your response to MEXICO. A few years ago I started a relationship with a guy whose "ex-gf-now-best-friend" entered his apartment without his permission while he was away visiting family, looked for his laptop which he had hidden, and read his emails to me. She threatened suicide on multiple occasions, and did a few other things slightly less crazy but same general direction. I told him this behavior was emotionally abusive and he wouldn't accept that -- kept making excuses for her behavior. And he wasn't much better -- he would tell me one thing and tell her another thing, then behave the opposite of whatever he said. This was exceptionally hard on me since I'm used to people behaving rationally. Eventually we broke up and later I heard they got back together to "try to make it work." It took me a long time but I moved on and now am in the best relationship ever. Glad to hear independent confirmation that these are the signs of an abuser.
Posted by dirthawker on January 30, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
nocutename 60
Yes, in a more perfect union there would be no lies at all. But all lies were not created equal. "No honey, you don't look fat in that dress" and "I don't mind your hair loss at all" fall under the category of harmless little white lies to help everyone save face and which allow the relationship to continue. Shakespeare wrote about this in sonnet 138 ("When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her though I know she lies") coming to the astute conclusion: "Therefore I lie with her, and she with me/ And in our faults by lies we flattered be."

Now the usual disclaimers apply, and if you have a relationship founded on radical honesty that works for you, that's wonderful. But not everyone can handle that much naked truth, and it isn't the end of civilization to turn a blind eye and deaf ear occasionally in order to preserve romantic harmony, particularly if you know that your own insecurities are illogical, but you are vulnerable to them nevertheless.

To therefore suggest that everyone who says "I don't watch porn," or "I only use porn when I'm not in a relationship" is contributing to some sort of massive social problem that could be erased or overturned if only everyone was 100% honest 100% of the time where porn is concerned is naive.

The fact is, that the vast, vast majority of men, gay and straight, watch porn sometimes (women, too, but that's a different number) and a lot of women (some men, too, but again, not as frequently) have insecurities, as well as convictions about what sexual commitment means founded coincidentally on the same romance novels and movies that are generally consumed by women.

Their expectations are unrealistic, and while over time they may come to a more mature understanding about the role porn plays in men's lives, it is a shame if otherwise good relationships break up because the woman either hasn't learned that lesson yet or is unable to ever confront it.

In which case the white lie does more practical good to the actual couple at hand, even while it may do some theoretical harm to society.

It's funny, #23 (misspiggy), but when I commented @4, I had exactly Ryan Gosling (movie crush) and Mr. Darcy (literary crush--and hey, happy 200th birthday, Pride and Prejudice, as of yesterday!) in mind. Women are sold these men and further sold that if it is true love the man won't ever want to look at another woman again. The battle to replace this myth with reality can be fought on two fronts simultaneously: with an education campaign about how much porn men really watch and what, exactly it means to them emotionally/how much a threat to their real relationship it is AND if the woman seems unable or unready to hear that in its totality, by a little white lie, which she pretends to believe and doesn't try to expose as a lie in order to accuse her bf or husband of "cheating."

But hey, some people think that masturbating, if done by a person in a relationship, is a form of cheating. It's a long, uphill battle, idealists.

P.S. Barbara Cartland's romances are pretty tame. But people should check out what's in the romances on the table at your local Barnes and Noble--it's often more explicit than a lot of people assume. Always couched in the concept of love, however. Many (though by no means all) women gobble it up by the metric ton--some of those same women are the ones devastated that their boyfriends or husbands watch porn.
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Posted by nocutename on January 30, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Luluisme 61
@13 I don't think SAD constitutes a recursive acronym because the word "sad" has its own meaning, unlike say GNU, which refers to its own acronym in order to define itself, hence the recursion.

I wouldn't call it cheating, but it _is_ kinda lame.
Posted by Luluisme on January 30, 2013 at 1:48 PM · Report this
62
@nocutename:
Yes, Barbara Cartland novels are completely tame- that's the reason I used them as an example. I wasn't sure if the more explicit novels would underscore my point as well, since they could be classed as written porn.
Posted by migrationist on January 30, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Fortunate 63
@55 "What if it isn't porn insecurity? What if it is a matter of taste or politics?"

Taste is irrelevant. He doesn't have to have the same tastes as she does in everything. In fact that may be why he looks at porn. As for politics, if there is such a big difference between them in politics between them it would manifest in some other ways. If porn is the only way it manifests then it isn't such a big difference.

But come on, that may be the exception, but that certainly isn't the rule, and it certainly isn't what the letter writer was saying. She was hurt, and sick, and sad, and felt like he was cheating on her.

That's not a political difference. That's insecurity.

"Finding a cheesy, hyper commercialized, exploitative mag (that insults you and turns you the fuck off) in your Twu Wuv's nightstand is almost like finding Mcdonald's wrappers in your social justice and vegan activist mentor's purse."

If that's how you feel then you shouldn't date men. It's that simple.

And really, what does the fact that the mags or what ever else it is turns you off? If it turns you off then don't look at it. It isn't for you. It's for him. And what the fuck are you snooping through his nightstand for anyway? For that matter why are you digging through your mentor's purse? I think you have some boundary issues.

" I'm not saying everbody must pursue erotica/porn and sexuality together, as couples and have no differences or private interests- but a little white lie about something so personal as what turns your significant other on?"

Your reading far too much into it. He likes to look at naked women other than his wife. He gets off on seeing other people have sex. In other words, he's a heterosexual man.

Here, let me disabuse you of any uncertaintly about what turns your significant other on.

If your significant other is a man, porn turns him on.

There. If that is too much for anyone they need to avoid men. And a huge chunk of the female population as well.

@50, "Okay, I'm clearly going to be in the minority here, but SAD's bf lied."

Well, so far you are with the majority. We all pretty much agree he lied. That isn't in question. The question is if he was out of line to lie.

"If he wants to be with someone who is okay with porn/mutual masturbation with other people/whatever the hell was going on there, then he shouldn't be with her."

Did she tell him this on day one? Do most women? Most women don't and I'm willing to bet this woman didn't.

What most likely happened was they dated, he got hooked. She never mentioned porn. And then he developed feelings for her and they started to get serious, and only then, after he already developed an emotional connection to her did she lay the "I don't want you to look at porn" BS on his sorry ass.

By the time he realized it he was probably already hooked.

If she told him very early on, before anything approaching serious was reached, that if he watched porn he wasn't the guy she wanted, then that would be one thing. But I'm willing to bet money she didn't.

It would be great if no one felt the need to lie ever, but this is the real world.

If women don't want guys to lie about porn then before a guy gets too invested in a woman she should make a very clear statement that: "I don't like porn. If you watch porn I don't want to be with you. If we get together and I catch you watching porn I am going to go batshit crazy on your ass and make your life a living hell."

If he still gets involved with her knowing that then he deserves what he gets. But if she already gets his heart on a hook and then pulls that shit, which is what seems to happen in the vast majority of cases, then she is asking to be lied to.

Because if he told her now that no, he isn't going to stop watch porn and she can either deal with it or leave, I guarantee you she isn't going to be happy, relived, or see him as a great guy for telling the truth. It will either end the relationship hurting both (and she will blame him for it ending), or she will stick with it but continue feeling betrayed, hurt, sad, whatever (and blaming him for it).

No matter how this ends she's going to make him the bad guy, so if he can spare himself all that with a little white lie then is it any wonder that is the option he chooses?
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Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 1:54 PM · Report this
gueralinda 64
I've been with the same man for fifteen years, eleven of them married. We're monogamous, so far successfully. Porn is a very small part of our sex lives (which is awesome, thanks) - we watch it together maybe two or three times a year. I've made it clear to him that I have absolutely no problem with him watching porn alone and doing what men do. In spite of that, I actually truly believe he doesn't. We share computer passwords, and while I don't snoop, I have never, in fifteen years, come across anything more explicit than a babe in a bikini on the hood of a sportscar. To be clear, again, this isn't important to me and if I DID find porn I would ignore it and be fine. I'm writing to say I think it's just possible that a healthy red-blooded man might not use porn as a regular part of his life. Just possible.
Posted by gueralinda on January 30, 2013 at 2:37 PM · Report this
AlyinSebby 65
SAD I was you many years ago.

Raised in the 80's I felt kind of socially trained to believe all forms of pornography were filthy, degrading to ALL women, bad for communities and society at large.

Then I went out into the world as a single gal living on her own in the big city.

I discovered some great sex positive advice columns and evolved my thinking. I also acted on advice - like check out a sex positive Adult store in my area.

I delved into written erotica, experimented with toys and in a few years many of my previous beliefs shifted dramatically.

Shortly before I married my hub I found he had looked at porn on our computer.

My initial reaction was just like yours but I kept it to myself and processed for a few days.

Then I opened the files he had downloaded. While it didn't do anything for me, I could see it was harmless whack off material.

Next I ASKED him about it (not confronted or demanded). I asked why he enjoyed it and accepted his explanation.

Finally I processed all of that an decided that I would rather be in this relationship with this guy and his porn habits than not.

15 years later we both enjoy watching porn together now as part of our repertoire.

I accept that he has self pleasure that works for him and doesn't include me or have anything to do with how desirable he finds me.

I have my own too.

Broaden your horizons and your views on this may change.

Your reaction is much more about you than your guy or the porn.

You get to decide if that is who you want to be in a relationship with. But you don't get to decide or demand anything about his porn habits. You really don't want that BURDEN, not in a healthy relationship.
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Posted by AlyinSebby on January 30, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
66
Methinks Necktieknot needs the grammar lesson, not Dan. That comma is perfectly appropriate.
Posted by Conan the Grammarian on January 30, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
AlyinSebby 67
LOL geralinda you said it way better than me & in less words! Kudos!
Posted by AlyinSebby on January 30, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
68
Here's the thing about women and porn. I think it's fine if they're insecure about it, but women need to accept that finding a guy who doesn't watch porn is not a reasonable expectation. The reason why Dan always says "All men watch porn" is not because every single man on the planet does, but so many do that it's a fact you have to accept if you date men.

It's fine if you want to date a man who watches porn in a way that you can accept. My boyfriend only watches porn when I'm not going to catch him at it, not because I'm in denial about his porn-watching, but because it DOES make me insecure. I tried to watch porn with him early in the relationship, but I was uncomfortable when some of the girls were "hotter" than me, and I learned that my vanity can't handle watching porn with him. So I don't, and he doesn't make me. That's a reasonable compromise.

It's not reasonable to break up with a guy for watching porn at all. It might be reasonable to break up with him for lying about it, but I think you should try to make him stop lying about it before you break up with him over it. A lot of men have good reasons for making that decision.
Posted by alguna_rubia on January 30, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
AlyinSebby 69
@ 52,

Most every marriage ends up where you are.

Parenting is not sexy, often not fun or as fulfilling as others things we crave.

Your post is almost a form letter example of why people need to go to therapy/couples counseling.

If all that is your internal dialog and you have never bounced it off a friend or trusted adviser, you are disassembling your marriage and never giving your wife the possibility of helping create change in your lives.

You took part in bringing those kids into the world. As a parent you are responsible for making choices with their best interests first.

Not saying people shouldn't break up ever. But this is boilerplate Marriage & Kids 101.
Posted by AlyinSebby on January 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
AlyinSebby 70
@ 68,

Yep and this too!
Posted by AlyinSebby on January 30, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Fortunate 71
@68, I think what you describe is a perfectly reasonable compromise.

We all have insecurities. The thing to remember is that we are responsible for our insecurities, not our partners. It's one thing to ask our partners to be considerate of our insecurities ("please be discreet about watching porn because I don't want to see it") and foisting our insecurities on our partners ("If you watch porn you will hurt my feelings and be responsible for me feeling bad").

As for the right to lie, I agree that it is better not to lie, but some women don't give the men in their lives a reasonable option. It's either lie or deal with guilt trips, threats or manipulation.

If a woman approaches it the way you have then the man has no reason to lie. If they approach it using emotional manipulation trying to make the guy feel guilty about making them feel bad for looking at porn then the dude is stuck between a rock and another bigger rock about to fall on him.

So yes, it's fine to have insecurities, until you start taking your insecurities out on other people. Then it's not so alright.
Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
gueralinda 72
My issue with porn - and as my last post made clear, I watch porn, both with and without my husband, and I assume he watches it alone - is with the abundance of violent, misogynist, exploitative porn. My local sex shop has a wall of the most popular movies - and invariably, the number one title is something like "Shove a bitch's head in the toilet while you ass-rape her and then make her suck it." Many years ago, I also worked briefly in the sex industry (legally, dancing) and saw firsthand that a large percentage of men's fantasy's is not the harmless "I like to look at naked girls" vibe that the guys here are trying to push (hi there, fortunate, I'm talking to you). Looking at naked chicks, or looking at people fucking + great! Looking at women being coerced and abused + not so much. If I found ordinary porn on my husband's computer my reaction would be something along the lines of m"lock the door, honey, let's watch this together." If I found "gang-raped teens 4" it would be something altogether different.
Posted by gueralinda on January 30, 2013 at 3:06 PM · Report this
73
"If you ..... I'll KILL MYSELF!" Should be responded to by getting the fuck away from the person and leaving them a typed, unsigned, note with the suicide hotline for your area.
Posted by EclecticEel on January 30, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
74
64-Gueralinda-- When Dan says that all men look at porn, he's not saying that all men look at porn at all stages in their lives or that all men look at it as a regular part of their sex lives. Your husband's habits are part of Dan's generalization. That is, men look at porn more at some times and less at others. And men look at different porn and for different reasons. Watching porn 2 or 3x/year with your partner still counts as looking at porn.

I believe that my boyfriend of 25 years doesn't currently look at porn. I know that he did way back when. I found some rather tame magazines of the Playboy/Penthouse sort, started to tease him about them, learned in no uncertain terms that he preferred not to be teased, and never brought up the subject again. Really it was a very short conversation. But just because he doesn't look at porn now doesn't negate Dan's supposition that all men look at porn. In my boyfriend's case, it's just something he did when he was younger.
Posted by Crinoline on January 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this
Fortunate 75
Look at me all you want Gueralinda. I never said all porn is great, nor did I say that a woman never has a right to express issues with the porn her husband or bf watches.

Most guys like to look at naked girls, and people fucking. Some guys like to look at more extreme things, or more fetish oriented things. Some of those things can cross a line.

If you catch your husband watching porn featuring actual acts or scenarios that you think are misogynistic and want to ask him not to watch that kind of porn, fine. If you find him watching something clearly exploitive and you want him to not watch something like that then fine.

But don't assume that the segment of men you came into contact with during your foray into the sex industry represents all or most men.

Also, this is going onto a real tangent. If the letter writer, or the people chiming in to defend her, had stated that what they were objecting to is their spouses looking at porn of women getting their heads shoved into toilets while the guy simulates raping them, and they had a problem with that then fine.

But the discussion was about "porn", and from having once lived in a dorm with a bunch of straight guys, and having had straight guy friends my whole life, most of what the average guy watches is fairly tame by comparison. Maybe not always so vanilla, but not necessarily what you are describing.

Letter writer wasn't saying she was objecting to his watching violent, misogynistic porn. She was complaining about his watching porn (and left it very ambiguous about exactly what that porn consisted of as many others have noted).

So you are now making a straw man argument. No one ever said that all kinds of porn were always alright and that no woman ever has a justification for complaining about the porn her man watches. So changing the goalposts is not called for.

If you want to talk about the issues and problems about specific types of porn that is a worthy and interesting topic of it's own, but it is taking this discussion into a completely different subject.
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Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
76
Mexico,

You were a CPOS. At least you were a cheater. The majority view is that POS must follow the C.

But you were a total idiot for not dumping him way before he dumped you.
Posted by Hunter78 on January 30, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
gueralinda 77
Fortunate, you are trying to frame the argument with the assumption that "porn" means naked people fucking. I only wish that were true. I like naked people fucking. In fact, there is a large, albeit minority, percentage of pornography that is the depiction of ugly, abusive, non-consensual acts. I think that percentage has increased exponentially in the last fifteen or twenty years, although I freely admit I have no hard data. In my PERSONAL opinion, the existence of this element of violence and hatred is enough to make some women's objection to porn in general valid. It's like saying "I object to factory farming methods, so I choose not to eat meat" even though humanely raised meat exists. One of my problems with Dan, who generally gives excellent advice, is that he simply chooses to ignore the horrible reality of abuse and coercion in the sex industry. Once again (I have to keep repeating this) I am NOT opposed to porn or even to prostitution - but I am opposed to pretending that the industries, as they exist today, are not massively harmful and mostly based on misery and fear.
Posted by gueralinda on January 30, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
gueralinda 78
By the way, my guess is that soon this last comment of mine will be deleted for not being sufficiently "sex positive." That's funny. I've had as much sex as anybody I know, and I like it all ways. But suggest that men's sexuality might be anything but wholly benevolent, and I'm gonna get censored.
Posted by gueralinda on January 30, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
79
@69: That wasn't a confessional post, but a hypothetical one.

(I'll admit that I'm drawing on some real-life experiences, but with different people, not one particular person -- and I don't have any kids.)

(Also, why are you assuming that I'm a man talking about a woman? I deliberately made my post gender-neutral.)

My point is that those who claim they want "radical honesty" would probably be traumatized by actually knowing how other people, including their romantic partners, perceive them. For most people, survival and sanity depends on being blind to at least some of our flaws, and blind to the disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us (either negatively, or just in a way that's totally at odds with our self-image). So basically, what #60 said.

Life is a mix of joys and disappointments, and almost everyone is disappointed by their relationships and marriages in some degree. That doesn't mean that the bottom line is always disappointment, or that the disappointments always cancel out the joys.

But the disappointments are still real. If they're so bad as to overwhelm the joys, then couples counseling may help, but only if you want it to work. And many people are in relationships that they DON'T want to work, because they don't even like the person they're with, but they don't want to deal with the economic and practical consequences of separating. So they stay put in a situation that makes them unhappy, or even hate -- and truth be told, they may be right to do it, because it may literally be the best they can do (not everyone is awesome).

We all "settle" -- that is, we all end up with people who aren't really 100% what we want, and who inevitably disappoint us even if we don't have unrealistic expectations. It's very hard to foresee which of those disappointments are dealbreakers, and which ones are not. Sometimes it's no one's fault; sometimes two people just realize, too late, that they don't enjoy each other, don't like who they are together, don't like the way the other person's mind works. C'est la vie.
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Posted by Careful what you wish for... on January 30, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
Fortunate 80
"Fortunate, you are trying to frame the argument with the assumption that "porn" means naked people fucking."

No, I am framing the argument that the general term "porn" tells us little about what he was watching, and that nothing in the OPer's letter specified certain kinds of porn. It was a clear, blanket condemnation of her BF watching ANY porn.

"In my PERSONAL opinion, the existence of this element of violence and hatred is enough to make some women's objection to porn in general valid."

And I say that's bullshit. Even if it is true that this element is increasing in general, that is no justification for giving all men shit about watching even the vanilla flavor of porn.

"It's like saying "I object to factory farming methods, so I choose not to eat meat" even though humanely raised meat exists."

No, it's not. It's like saying "I object to factory farming methods so I choose to tell you that YOU can't eat meat, even if it is humanely raised."

"Once again (I have to keep repeating this) I am NOT opposed to porn or even to prostitution... "

Great, but were not talking about you. We are talking about women who try to tell their husbands and boyfriends they can't watch any porn, period. You keep trying to frame this into some objection about what you do, and I already said I don't have an issue with how you handle it.

What I think is wrong is how the OP handled it, and how the women who try to tell their boyfriends and husbands that they can't watch any porn at all. That's what the discussion was about, not about certain kinds of exploitive porn, or about the circumstances under which YOU are OK with porn.

The OP didn't want her BF to watch porn, period. That's unrealistic and a matter of her insecurities. I said there is nothing inherently wrong with a guy watching porn (I never said there was NEVER anything wrong with porn), and that it was not a reasonable restriction to put on a man.

Again, the subject of exploitation in some segments of the porn industry, the negative effects that certain genres of porn may have, and other similar subjects are all valid and worth discussing. But it is not what I (nor I think most of the others on my side of this argument) was arguing. Nor was it what the OP was complaining about. And so reframing it in those terms is a strawman.

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Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
AlyinSebby 81
@79

My bad, I think maybe yer scenario was too similar to what a lot of my circle is going through right now.

:/ and I was too hasty in my reaction to read the post more than once to see yer gender neutral.

Good points, like yer argument.
Posted by AlyinSebby on January 30, 2013 at 4:53 PM · Report this
82
@80: If we go back to the original letter, she is not in the least upset that he has in the past watched porn. She does feel as though porn--specifically jerking off to images of naked women not her, to leave aside the possible hiring a pro aspect for now--feels as if he's cheating. And well gosh... hey, isn't that what he implied when he said he never looks at porn when in a relationship? Almost like he completely bought into the "it's like cheating" frame.

It's not just on LW, our young person embarking on her first serious relationship, to understand how it is with men and porn in general and in particular for her guy, while her guy is allowed to be clueless. (Tuesday's LOTD had straight guys clueless about some aspects of straight sex, and no one leapt to post that they must be repressed and hate everything but missionary and be instantly dumped as unsalvageable, the way 3 does up there.) She actually first tried to address this *with her boyfriend*, who explained that he would never look at porn in a relationship because it would be like cheating on his partner.

So either a) He actually believes that. No, really: men are allowed to feel porn is dirty, and that porn is something they shouldn't do, and it's especially dirty if their gf is right in the next room waiting. Or b) He believes there is nothing wrong with looking at porn, but rather than have a grown-up conversation about how men look at porn and why and that he wouldn't do it when she's there and neglect her for a fake, obviously, he lied. I don't see why he gets the "Oh the poor baby" stuff and she's a prude. Even leaving aside the manners issues of both while she's there and with a real person, he did not cover himself in glory during this conversation.
Posted by IPJ on January 30, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
83
@55: Nonsense. "Safe in a sexually hostile world"? Sure, the world is sexually hostile. I'm a large-chested blonde and nobody knows that better than me (I get whistled at in the grocery store like I'm a dog . . . lucky I haven't been arrested for assaulting one of these bozos yet). But you know what . . . I am not insecure about my girlfriend bringing home porn (straight, lesbian, m/m or poly). It's a way to spice up the sex life. Fortunate has this one right--it's flat-out insecurity and I say that AS A WOMAN. As for taste or politics . . . how long have you been reading this column? Not long enough, say, oh, the last two months, or you'd have heard Dan talk about sex-positive, woman-positive porn (both for and by women). And I'm going to guess you're one of those Insecure Irenes yourself--or you'd also know about sites like Xtube, where amateur porn is king/queen and videos run the gamut from poorly-made, "look, it's a badly-lit penis ramming into a badly-lit hole!" clips to twenty-minute videos from foreplay to lovemaking (and I use that term deliberately--once upon a time there was a French couple on Xtube who posted two or three times a month and it was very clear both of them had an exhibitionist kink, and weren't just in it for the down and dirty). There's not a whole lot for a woman to object to if another woman wants to show off her tits. It's her body and her right.

Queralinda: Sorry, I agree with Fortunate and as noted above, I'm female. Do I like those "busty bitches" who "get what they deserve" videos? FUCK NO. Do I enjoy porn? Bet your ass. It sounds to me like you're objecting to all porn while disguising your argument as being about objectionable forms of porn like snuff or coercive porn.

You know what the solution to that is? YOU ARE. Embrace sex-positive, partner-positive porn (there's a great selection of amateur stuff on Xtube, as noted above, and that's only a jumping-off place) and state in explicit terms, when asked, why you disapprove of exploitative porn--while making it EXPLICITLY CLEAR that you are referring to a subgenre, not the genre as a whole. I have to do this a lot because I fall into one of those subgenres--I'm a lesbian who can't stand "lesbian" porn where some bored-looking actress goes "oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah" and could as easily be giving a naked weather report as having sex. I object routinely to such porn while pointing people to women-friendly, lesbo-friendly porn and porn actors like Jiz Lee. You can too--if you can stop being totally anti-porn.
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Posted by Ninalyn on January 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM · Report this
84
Re men and lying: I'm not arguing for radical honesty. I like white lies as much as the next person. (Also I like watching porn.) But the way to make social change is to be brave. Gay people stopped lying and came out of the closet. I don't blame them for lying, but telling the truth was better: for them, for the people who had been lied to, and most of all for the next generation.

Our culture has made a huge shift, and most of that is due to the brave people who stopped lying. Women who hate porn won't face reality until they believe that any reasonable marriage-partner is going to watch porn.

I'm happy to do my part to get the word out, but the education campaign nocutename suggests @60 isn't going to do much good as long as so many men undermine it with overt lies.
Posted by EricaP on January 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM · Report this
seandr 85
@IPJ: A point-and-click game is one thing, a live person on the other end who can respond to "say my name" is different.

There are gazillions of live streams on the internet featuring women on web cams. You can usually watch them loll around half naked for free, or for something like $5000000/minute, you can purchase "one-on-one" shows in which they strip for you.

Does that count as cheating in your book? How about going to an actual strip club? How about if your man tips and gets a little extra attention for it? How about a lap dance?

In my opinion, live webcams are not cheating, although if I were a woman who caught my partner paying for them, I'd demand that he stop immediately and then call him a cab to the local strip joint where his entertainment dollar will go much further.

Everyone is free to draw the line wherever they want, but assuming web cams haven't been explicitly ruled out, I'd say they (along with porn) default to "not cheating".
Posted by seandr on January 30, 2013 at 5:11 PM · Report this
seandr 86
(I have a fetish for tights and pantyhose.)

You and 40 billion other guys. You realize there's an entire sub-industry of porn dedicated just to guys like you, right?

If this is the problem you are seeking treatment for, the solution is to find a woman who doesn't mind wearing them for you, and be ok with it if she wants to take a break from them once in a while. If you can't perform without them, that might change as over time your aroused brain gets conditioned to other stimuli and experiences (her eyes, body, voice, smell, etc.) during sex. The first step, though, is to find a partner that accepts this about you.

And, your partners will have an easier time accepting this kink if you accept it yourself and are able to ask them for what you want nicely and without shame.
Posted by seandr on January 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
87
E, [@34]

If all the men who regularly watch porn spoke out publicly to say so, the whole issue would vanish.

Of course! It is all men's fault! Women are too busy subserviently handling their masters. Men must make the decisions in this world.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 30, 2013 at 5:34 PM · Report this
88
That should have been @41.
Posted by Hunter78 on January 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
89
Mr Fortunate - Can't you die on a gay hill?

Ms Cute - Mr Darcy? Oh, dear. I had you down as being devoted to Captain Harville. But you put the thought into my head that someone I'm sure we could both name has a big literary crush on Mr Knightley...
Posted by vennominon on January 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
90
"...then you may as well just start calling yourself spinster and get a cat now."

Thanks for that. I blew that swig of beer up my nose. Owww....

I'm really enjoying the thread about porn. My two bits:

Lying is never healthy for a relationship, and I would hope that SAD will find that the person at the other end of the "interactive porn" isn't a former lover. And to beat this dead horse further into the ground, good luck finding a guy that doesn't watch porn.

Having said all that, I watch porn for a variety of reasons. To be turned on, curiosity, self exploration, ad naseum. And there are times I want to do this alone. Not for some nefarious, deviant reason. I just don't want an audience. I don't feel like talking. Whatever. I'm that way about golf too. Sometimes I want to play with a foursome and enjoy the competition, interplay, conversation, and sometimes I just want to smack the ball around the forest and be left to my thoughts. The same can be said about nearly any activity. Sometimes you want other humans present, sometimes you need some space.

I think it's safe to say that SAD and her boyfriend are young and/or do not have a lot of experience in the arena of love and sex to date. Without all the details of the relationship to consider, I would argue that maybe the young boyfriend is just figuring his own shit out. I'm not condoning the subterfuge and lies. But from what I can divine from the letter, it's not hard to imagine that the boyfriend had no intent to harm anyone and was simply caught in the act of trying to hide his own insecurities. Maybe he's trying to achieve some sort of fluency in sexual vocabulary because he's totally into his girlfriend and wants to please her and is ashamed he isn't comfortable with his own understanding of himself and his own sexuality.

My advice to SAD, settle down and put things in perspective. If he's not interacting with an ex-lover, you have nothing to worry about. If you know this is true and you are still bothered by the situtation, then you need to have a serious adult talk with the guy about expectations and boundaries. If you can't do that, you're not ready for a sexual relationship.

And a comment on porn in general; I find that the people who are at ease with porn and their partner(s)' involvement in porn and sex in general, have.... surprise!... pretty healthy sex lives and relationships. Let me point out the very obvious here SAD... Dan's column exists because we're all interested in knocking down all the walls that inhibit open communication about sex and relationships. I'd suggest you start doing the same at home.

Bon Chance!
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Posted by bugdog on January 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM · Report this
Fortunate 91
"If we go back to the original letter, she is not in the least upset that he has in the past watched porn. She does feel as though porn--specifically jerking off to images of naked women not her, to leave aside the possible hiring a pro aspect for now--feels as if he's cheating."

Clearly that's what she feels. And that's batshit crazy. Watching porn isn't cheating by any rational definition. There are lots of gray, blurry lines regarding what's cheating, but jerking off to porn isn't one of them. It's not cheating, it's her being insecure.

"And well gosh... hey, isn't that what he implied when he said he never looks at porn when in a relationship?"

No, that's him telling her what she wants to hear. I'm not saying that's a great thing to do, but that's what it is. Guys don't spontaneously offer up statements like that. That's the kind of thing that a guy says in response to a question about porn that's so loaded he knows what she wants to hear.

"It's not just on LW, our young person embarking on her first serious relationship, to understand how it is with men and porn in general and in particular for her guy, while her guy is allowed to be clueless."

This isn't just an issue of her understanding how men are. It's about her wearing her insecurities on her sleeve and him making a choice to avoid the drama. Again, not necessarily the best way to handle it, but it's understandable.

"It's not just on LW, our young person embarking on her first serious relationship, to understand how it is with men and porn in general and in particular for her guy, while her guy is allowed to be clueless."

And if you have been reading what I have been posting you would see that I defended her on that way up there in post 39 saying that it was not fair to call her a prude.

"She actually first tried to address this *with her boyfriend*, who explained that he would never look at porn in a relationship because it would be like cheating on his partner."

Yes, that the kind of things guys tell their partners about porn when the know they aren't going to win this one.

"So either a) He actually believes that. No, really: men are allowed to feel porn is dirty"

Sure, there are plenty of guys who watch porn who still think it's wrong. Preachers, republican congressmen folks like that.

"r b) He believes there is nothing wrong with looking at porn, but rather than have a grown-up conversation about how men look at porn and why and that he wouldn't do it when she's there and neglect her for a fake, obviously, he lied. "

Or he knew he couldn't have a grown-up conversation about how men look at porn and would be subjected to a guilt trip about how his porn watching hurts her feelings and makes her feel like he is cheating on her.

"I don't see why he gets the "Oh the poor baby" stuff and she's a prude."

I never said it was good that he lied, only understandable, And I never called her a prude or implied it. In fact I defended her against accusations of prudery.

" Even leaving aside the manners issues of both while she's there and with a real person, he did not cover himself in glory during this conversation."

No, he didn't. What's more, he didn't cover his tracks very well either. Perhaps he was doing it intentionally to tell her something in a passive aggressive way. All that is possible. It would be great if he would talk to her and it would be great if she would listen. But from her reaction in her OP I don't see that as being likely.
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Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Fortunate 92
"Mr Fortunate - Can't you die on a gay hill?"

Excuse me????
Posted by Fortunate on January 30, 2013 at 6:44 PM · Report this
mydriasis 93
Watching porn? Zzzzzz

Making porn? Now you're talking.
Posted by mydriasis on January 30, 2013 at 7:54 PM · Report this
94
@queralinda. You are mixing up two distinct features of porn:

- what it depicts
- how it is made

What is more misogynistic, how the women are treated on or off screen?

There is "misogynistic" porn out there where the female performers willingly participate and are treated with respect when not performing.

And there is porn just depicting naked bodies and fucking where the female performers are coerced or forced to participate.

And I bet, lots of women who have rape fantasies like some of the porn you find so distasteful.

I think you have the right to steer your partner to non-exploitative porn and to ethically sourced meat. You have no say in which fantasies turn him on or force him to become a vegan.
Posted by migrationist on January 30, 2013 at 9:23 PM · Report this
95
@87 Boehner78: Did your mother's obstetrician by chance drop you on your boner-obsessed head on the day of your birth?
Stop if it starts to hurt.

Posted by auntie grizelda on January 30, 2013 at 9:38 PM · Report this
96
Can we stop calling the LW crazy? Come on.

In the history of relationships, people have forgone things that upset their partners. The way people here are speaking makes it seem none of you would ever give up porn even as an act of love and kindness to your partner. Not as an obligation, but as an act of love. Watching porn isn't an unassailable right. It's something that couples negotiate. How can you even have a reasonable discussion if you start by assuming one person is nuts and the other has an unassailable right?
Posted by wxPDX on January 30, 2013 at 10:21 PM · Report this
97
@96: "How can you even have a reasonable discussion if you start by assuming one person is nuts and the other has an unassailable right?"

If you spend five seconds looking at what is being requested, and on the one hand the kneejerk response is "asking for that is batshit crazy" and the other hand it's "it would be an act of love for you to give this up for me" it's a damned safe bet that on the merits, what is being requested is fundamentally unreasonable.
Posted by avast2006 on January 30, 2013 at 11:11 PM · Report this
nocutename 98
@Mr. Ven:
I mentioned Mr. Darcy specifically, because he, more than any other literary character, seems to be the young woman's idealized romantic boyfriend archetype: handsome, rich, arrogant (not without cause--so definitely sexy), and ultimately the big rescuer. Not to mention the appeal of Colin Firth's performance in the 1990s.
My type is actually a little more Captain Harville crossed with Henry Tilney and just a dash of Frank Churchill thrown in.

Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of P&P's publication, and two of my P&P-obsessed former students said something wry about Mr. Darcy giving them false expectations, as teenagers, about what a boyfriend and "love" would be like. I had to point out that Jane Austen wrote the majority of P&P as a 21-year-old, and she died a spinster, so what did she know?
Posted by nocutename on January 30, 2013 at 11:27 PM · Report this
nocutename 99
@96 (wxPDX): Who's calling the letter writer crazy?
Naive and unreasonable, sure, but crazy? No.
Youth and insanity do share some characteristics, but the "youth" part is all I'm accusing her of. And she'll outgrow that.
Posted by nocutename on January 30, 2013 at 11:29 PM · Report this
Fortunate 100
I referred to her as batshit crazy, but I was speaking of her behavior in regards this subject, not an overall characteristic.

Ultimately I still think what I said in one of my first posts is the way of it. If a woman tells a guy of this expectation right up front before they get too involved then the vast majority of men will take a hike because it is unreasonable.

She might get lucky and get a guy who really doesn't watch porn, but the chances are slim. She might still get a guy who lies about it but the chances are much less.

If everyone was up front about their expectations then there would be a lot less issues over this (and a lot more single women).

But here's some advice to anyone thinking of getting involved with anyone else. If they ask you to prove your love by giving up something that doesn't actually cause any real world harm or inconvenience to them, run for the hills. Love isn't proven by such idiotic things. Love is proven over the long haul, not in a few minutes by some random decision. The person who thinks that giving up porn proves that the person loves them knows nothing of love or real relationships and is looking for some storybook romance that doesn't exist.

And if anyone has a problem with their guy watching porn then let any guy you are interested in know that very early on before they have too much invested in you. And be prepared for them to choose not to get more deeply involved with you. Otherwise expect that they are most likely going to lie to you about it.

It doesn't matter if it is right or wrong to lie about it because in the end you are going to get lied to regardless.
Posted by Fortunate on January 31, 2013 at 12:05 AM · Report this
101
As to the "If you love me, you wouldn't look at porn." If we want to consider that a valid request, couldn't someone counter with, "If you love me, you'd learn to accept that I watch porn"? Why is it that whoever is involved in the more sexual behavior is the one who needs to make sacrifices?

Personally, to cut porn completely out of my life would be a bit of a big deal. When I'm single, I watch it pretty regularly. Not as much when I'm in a relationship, but I still do. Sometimes with a partner, sometimes with friends. Hell, we used to get together and have porn nights just so we could laugh at how ridiculous some of it is (if you haven't watched Dickheads, I both highly reccommend watching it, and not watching it).
Posted by KateRose on January 31, 2013 at 6:18 AM · Report this
lolorhone 102
I think the type of extreme porn that's being discussed is only problematic if the participants are actually being abused, as opposed to simulating abuse. There are many kinks and fetishes that have NOTHING to do with one's values or politics, and part of the function of pornography is to provide a forum for release and exploration without judgment or real-life consequence. For those who think this perpetuates real-life sexual abuse and misogyny, not too long ago Dan cited a study that said access to pornography actually decreased the level of sexual assault.
Making sure that the porn being watched is ethically produced is reasonable. Branding all porn unethical simply because it makes you uncomfortable is not.
Posted by lolorhone on January 31, 2013 at 6:25 AM · Report this
mydriasis 103
I love the assumption here that everyone watches porn so wanting a partner who doesn't watch porn is super unreasonable. I don't. Of course I don't care if anyone else does, but it's not like people who don't watch porn don't exist.
Posted by mydriasis on January 31, 2013 at 6:53 AM · Report this
ScienceNerd 104
I consider myself pretty open, sexually. I just can't get behind sex work. My Christian upbringing may have a lot to do with this. I don't see watching porn as cheating, but interactive, like a webcam girl who talks back, that IS cheating, at least in my book. I don't care if it is a stranger, doesn't make one bit of difference.
Posted by ScienceNerd http://stanichium.tumblr.com/ on January 31, 2013 at 7:35 AM · Report this
105
@103: lots of people who don't watch porn exist. Almost all of them are women.
Posted by EricaP on January 31, 2013 at 7:38 AM · Report this
mydriasis 106
@Erica

Most definitely, but the whole "HAHA NOT WATCHING PORN, HOW RIDICULOUS" thing gets old.
Posted by mydriasis on January 31, 2013 at 8:03 AM · Report this
107
@mydriasis

I think the reason it's considered unreasonable to want a partner that doesn't watch porn is less about whether or not those people exist and more about your likelihood of finding one. Particularly if you're interested in men. Of course there are men who don't watch porn. They are a minority, and as such difficult to find.

It's like anything else. A person is welcome to want what they want in a partner, they just have to accept that the more things they want (especially if the things they want are not typical)the longer it will take to find a partner.

Personally, I'm a bit picky, though not in specific qualities as much as I just don't "vibe" with a lot of people. I also don't bitch about how rarely I'm in a relationship, because I recognize it as partially "my fault".
Posted by KateRose on January 31, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
Fortunate 108
Mydriasis, It's not "Not Watching Porn, How Ridiculous".

It's, "If You Are With Me You Can't Watch Porn" part that is ridiculous.

None of this discussion has to do with what any individual wants to do themselves. It is about what they demand from their relationship partners.

You may not watch it, and certainly there are others who don't watch it. And that's fine.

But the vast majority of men do watch it. Vast, Vast majority of men. Getting all upset that they do is insecurity, and trying to tell them they can't is controlling to say the least.
Posted by Fortunate on January 31, 2013 at 8:51 AM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 109
Nocutename @60 gets the prize for the most literary references and trivia included in a post today.

And I concur: Between Disney princesses settling down with Prince Charming, romance novels with their "one true love" meme, and churches that teach that monogamy is God-given and therefore will be easy; a lot of women (and some men) have totally unrealistic expectations about finding "the one". The one (straight man) who doesn't watch any porn, puts the toilet seat down, loves Meryl Streep movies, doesn't get at all whiney about wanting sex, but rises to the occasion she's aroused. The one (straight woman) who is always perfectly made up, never grumpy, buys you just the right power tool for Valentine's Day, and is always ready to jump your bones, except when you really rather she fetch you a cold beer. "The one" exists. But as the name implies, there's only one of them. One of each. They've hooked up with each other and are deliriously happy, satisfied and have no interest in dating anyone else. So the rest of us will have to settle for somewhat less, squint a little, focus on their strengths more than their faults and "round them up to one".
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on January 31, 2013 at 8:54 AM · Report this
nocutename 110
@DAVIDinKENAI: Thank you (takes little bow).'
Okay, I can compromise on the porn, the Meryl Streep-watching, but the toilet seat: that's a deal breaker!
Posted by nocutename on January 31, 2013 at 9:09 AM · Report this
111
Mr Fortunate - Sorry, I should have reference Dr Schlessinger (doesn't one just love those workplaces that play conservative talk radio all day) and one of her few useful questions, as to whether the particular stand a caller was taking was really The Hill on Which (S)He Wished to Die.

In other words, you often make highly coherent and reasonable posts. This is the most detailed, lengthy and passionate I have ever seen you being on any subject. Do you really want to die on the hill of defending straight men whose women don't want them looking at pornography, especially when there are so many breeders capable of defending themselves who would never return the favour for us, and there are so many issues much closer to home where your coherence, intelligence and passion are desperately needed?

Of course, you have every right to make this your big issue if you genuinely feel so moved, but please consider it a compliment that I thought you worth the comment. Nine people out of ten or more I'd just let defend straight men until they passed out from the effort and barely notice.
Posted by vennominon on January 31, 2013 at 9:15 AM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 112
@Nocutename: And I can accept PMS and actually prefer no make up, but I have to stick to the power-tools rule. It could, however, be a Home Depot gift certificate - a reasonable compromise, I think.

Besides, what is a Hitachi Magic Wand itself, but a power tool?
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on January 31, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
Fortunate 113
Ah, thanks for the clarification. Now I understand what you meant.

Well, I have no intention of dying on this hill. And I have made other, more detailed and lengthy posts in the past. The detail and length of my posts tends to have more to do with how much free time I have at the given moment than anything else.

That said, I have no reservations about defending straight men in this regard. I recognize that many straight men have stood up for me (directly or indirectly) in many instances. Hell, some of my best friends are straight guys ;^)

But thank you for the compliment. It is appreciated.
Posted by Fortunate on January 31, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
nocutename 114
@DavidinKENAI: I love to wear makeup--I wear it because I want to. The Hitachi Magic Wand is not every woman's go-to vibrator (it doesn't do it for me). But I appreciate the gestures. And a gift certificate from Home Depot is surely an easy enough gift. I don't know that most people who want to get power tools as presents would really want a non-power-tool-loving person choosing the tool for them, anyway.

@Fortunate: I look forward to your detailed, lengthy posts, which are generally so nicely logically laid out.

@Mr. Ven: "Breeder?" Really? Most of us on this thread are your allies; I wouldn't dream of calling you a faggot or a homo. Why the insult? I realize that you are probably thinking of other straight people, perhaps those not on the Savage Love site, but we are the ones reading your comments. Additionally, must we all just fight our own battles? Can we never help anyone else out? There isn't a single civil rights issue that was won by the participation of the rights-deprived group alone. And, yes, members of a minority group can stand up when members of the majority are being wronged. I know you are a separatist, but I didn't think it extended so far.

As for the term "breeder," it's fucking offensive. Not all straight people reproduce; not all are even fertile (so I imagine a straight person who wants children but is struggling with infertility might find being called a breeder at best, ironic, and at worst, deeply painful). Gay people can reproduce--they can "breed," in the careful, deliberate way that breeders of purebred animals breed those animals. Well, that's pretty offensive, isn't it? Likening gay parents to animal breeders. So why is it any less offensive to equate all straight people--parents and childless ones--to dog breeders.
Lastly, if it weren't for the breeders, no one--gay or straight--would be here.
More...
Posted by nocutename on January 31, 2013 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Anarcissie 115
It seems to me that if someone in a close relationship says, 'I won't do X', and then does X, regardless of what X is, it's cheating. It has nothing to do with the intrinsic goodness, badness, universality or inevitability of X.
Posted by Anarcissie http://www.etaoin.com on January 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
nocutename 116
@115: It's not cheating; it's lying.
Posted by nocutename on January 31, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 117
@114's third paragraph: An argument I (a straight ally) make to non-aligned straights that seems to get some traction is, "Why am I doing this (starting a PFLAG chapter, advocating before the School Board, passing non-discriminatory language at the electric utility, etc)? I'm doing this because during the last big Civil Rights struggle for more racial equality in the 1960's, I was in diapers and therefore excused. I don't feel like I can be excused from this round, even though it doesn't directly benefit me or, as far as I know, my children."

"Daddy, what did you do during the War?" is question I want to be able to answer proudly. Shooting Wars? As an un-registered-for-the-draft CO. Wars on poverty, racism or discrimination? On the side of justice, I hope.

I'm straight, white, property-owning, male, and part of the upper 2% - people like me have always been "in the tent". I feel better about tent, society, and myself when the tent is bigger.

vennominon: People with dicks who like dick? That's cool. People with dicks who like dick and ARE dicks? It doesn't help your cause. Sorry, it's not fair that you have to ask the majority for your rights, but you do. So you and I both need to work for that day because 5% of the population can't do it on their own.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on January 31, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Anarcissie 118
@116: I would say 'cheating' because not-doing-X appears to be part of a deal (in this case). It's a promise about future behavior.
Posted by Anarcissie http://www.etaoin.com on January 31, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
119
Ms Cute - I thought the use of the B word, especially as there were several other instances in which it was NOT used where it could have been, was a sufficiently clear marker indicating a particular SUBSET of straight people with a nasty turn of mind (Classic example - Ms Gallagher or Mr Brown) that regards openness to natural, unplanned procreation (and there is a tie-in to the most recent anti-equality argument) as the one shining quality that entitles the holder to all the goodies making the rounds.

However, in honour of Mrs Collins, I shall refrain even from considering the question of whether you might be straightsplaining. And I thank you for the opportunity to: a) both be rather more reasonable than Mr Ank by explaining my usage and then dropping the word in question rather than defending it through three or seventeen posts, and b) commemorate an anniversary by yielding readily - easily - to the persuasion of a friend, even if, as someone once said, to yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either.
Posted by vennominon on January 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
120
Mr Kenai - I have no inclination to quarrel with you. But I shall not merely agree with everything and thereby imply that you were undeserving of the compliment of rational opposition.

There is a bit of a difference here. If gay people were being attacked in a thread (sorry if anyone thinks that porn-viewing opposite-sexer men aren't being attacked; please accept chastised then as a substitute) and the most eloquent and vociferous defender were straight, eventually there would be a feeling of appropriation about it, or perhaps a sense of a perception that we could not properly defend ourselves.

Here, Mr Fortunate has gone well above and beyond the call of duty of any ally in defence of opposite-sexer men (and I am sorely tempted to start a bi-related sideline, but I won't) who watch porn. My reaction to that had parts. One, there were more than enough of you to defend yourselves perfectly adequately; you yourself were performing admirably in that respect. As you note yourself, we are not so fortunate on home topics. But the main cause of my rue was that Mr F was fitting far too well into the Useful Sidekick role, not only taking but apparently reveling in secondary status. That always gets us taken for granted - as Miss Mitford would say - every, every time.
Posted by vennominon on January 31, 2013 at 11:50 AM · Report this
121
Oh, bother! I put my a) in the wrong place.

(Worthy of a Caption Contest, I suspect.)
Posted by vennominon on January 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
122
Mr Fortunate - I entirely agree that there are many times when one should stand up for straight men, women, or anybody else besides ourselves. And I am relieved that you won't be dying on this particular hill. It was just starting to feel like hearing someone Jewish outpontificating Mr O'Reilly concerning the War on Christmas.
Posted by vennominon on January 31, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
123
@ 101. Thanks! The "If you love me..." meme sounds sweet, but it is just the edge of the blade. Slice in a bit deeper, and it becomes emotional blackmail of the most insidious, passive-aggressive kind.

But that's not what I'm here for. Since there's a porn theme going on today, I'm asking for references. I'm looking for online porn of a genre that's apparently so kinky, so transgressive that it's almost impossible to find.

Strong stomach? If so read on:

Two straight people.

Explicit, penetrative sex. Oral okay too.

Credible, affecting orgasms for both. (Yes, even the guy!)

Believable people (not porn stereotype people).

No money shots! Very demanding about this one.

Call it a wild and crazy dream, but I envision the male and female orgasms taking place /during/ the penetrative sex part.

...and here's the really tough part:

A vibe of caring, and of the two people enjoying this rather than all of the quite different vibes that porn works up so hard. (Men in particular seem to be forbidden to express any emotion at all.)

There's my kink. No electricity, no costumes, no geese, no Mazola, or Bulgarian tumblers.

Thanks for your patience! I hope others will also benefit from these suggestions.

Posted by Token Straight Old dude on January 31, 2013 at 1:11 PM · Report this
124
@123:
Try x-tube. Between all the other stuff, you sometimes get one exactly as you described.
Posted by migrationist on January 31, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Report this
125
Great column as usual, but I think you forgot to give MEXICO one piece of important advice. If this creep gained unauthorized access to her email account (I am reluctant to call it hacking, as most common methods don't require much in the way of cumputer skills), she needs to change ALL her passwords, and password recovery questions, for ALL her accounts on ALL services, yesterday. Furthermore, she should check the password recovery details (and any automated forwarding/notification settings) to make sure that no unauthorized addresses have been added. Then, just to be safe, she should consider turning on two-factor authentication for those services that offer it, and start using a robust password manager like LastPass.

In today's world, personal information of all sorts can be used as an opening to carry out all kinds of abuse, from pissing off someone's Facebook friends to full-blown identity theft, and these acts can perpetrated by crazy exes just as well as criminals. Information security is important, people!
Posted by fulloftastyfigs on January 31, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this
Posted by Anarcissie http://www.etaoin.com on January 31, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
127
But the vast majority of men do watch it. Vast, Vast majority of men.

*shrug* It could be true, but I don't get how anyone knows this. I can't think of more than a couple of people IRL whose porn habits I know anything about.
Posted by Eirene on January 31, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
nocutename 128
Thank you, Mr. Ven.
Posted by nocutename on January 31, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
129
Men do talk about what they do. Women could talk about their men who don't.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 31, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
130
"batshit crazy" is sure getting thrown around a lot in these comments - i'm kind of disappointed with you guys. can't we discuss how to deal with the underlying issue instead of calling a (probably very young) woman crazy? that will probably just make her more insecure and defensive - certainly not introspective or secure, the emotions i personally deem necessary to get her through this.
Posted by AintNobodyGotTime on January 31, 2013 at 7:40 PM · Report this
131
Myd,

You'd have to play the small-dicked genre.
Posted by Hunter78 on January 31, 2013 at 7:41 PM · Report this
132 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
seandr 133
@123: Dude, I shudder to imagine what horrible things must have happened to you in order for you to develop such a perverted kink!

Seriously, though, the genre you're looking for is "homemade video" and there's quite a bit of material out there. If you are willing to pay, you can find it on AEBN.

Unfortunately, it seems there is a lack of supply of genuine homemade videos to meet the demand, so much of the porn in that category isn't the real deal. Some of it is, though, especially earlier releases.
Posted by seandr on February 1, 2013 at 8:29 AM · Report this
134
"Most men lie about it and women should get over it" is the prevailing attitude I see here, which is pretty fucked up. I agree that looking at porn isn't in the same ballpark as cheating; hell, it's not even the same game. My boyfriend downloads porn all the time and who really cares?

But at the end of the day, if someone lies to their partner that's a shitty thing to do. It has nothing to do with men wanting to protect their girlfriends and everything with men wanting to continue watching porn without consequences.

If you watch porn, be honest when asked. Your partner can then either make the choice to accept it or to break up with you. If they refuse to accept it, break up with THEM. Be honest until you find someone who doesn't care.
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 8:40 AM · Report this
mydriasis 135
@cork

Agreed wholeheartedly.

Cue: "But being a man is haaaaaard. Waaaahhh."
Posted by mydriasis on February 1, 2013 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Fortunate 136
Cork,
That's the ideal, and in a perfect world that is what would happen.

And as I said, if women made this criteria clear up front before a guy gets too invested in them then that is most likely what would happen.

But you and I both know that isn't what happens. It doesn't happen with just porn. Kinks, special circumstances, and pretty much anything out of the norm is typically kept out of the light in hopes that by the time it comes out the person will have gotten to know all the positives of the individual in question and be more accepting of what ever it is.

It makes logical sense, but has its drawbacks.

Not many woman go on about how they don't like porn and don't want to date a guy who looks at porn on the first date. Or the second date. Or even the third date.

They wait until they feel things are going someplace. But by that point the two are already invested in each other. The guy may think that this girl is right in every way if only she wouldn't be such a nag about porn.

The anti porn attitudes typically only get expressed AFTER an emotional investment is made.

So yes, your ideal scenario is the best, but it requires the woman to be up front from the start about what she wants and doesn't want, giving the guy the option to back away BEFORE getting invested in her.

If a woman expresses her anti porn wants right off the bat and the guy still wants to go out with her and promises not to watch porn, then he is getting what he is asking for.

But if a woman waits until she knows the guy is already getting hooked on her to roll out the demands and conditions then she is getting what she is asking for as well.

But no, the attitude isn't, "men lie and women should get over it".

The attitude is that people often find themselves in situations where they feel that the small white lie is the less severe of the options, and that if you don't want your partner to lie then don't put them in a situation where you are setting it up so that the lie seems like the best option.

And just to be clear, women aren't the only one's who do this. It's just that with this particular scenario of porn watching it is far more likely to be a woman's issue than a man's. But men can do the same kind of thing and the same advice holds true.

If you don't want to be lied to by your spouse then don't lay unreasonable expectations on them, and let them know about anything that you should know they have a good chance of bristling about BEFORE you lure them into getting emotionally invested in you.

If it were a scenario of a man doing the same kind of thing to a woman I would say the same to him. Because men can be insecure and controlling too, and women lie too.

And sometimes those are also understandable, little white lies because the man is being unreasonable and it just seems like the best option than constantly fighting over something.
More...
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM · Report this
137
Thanks for addressing sex therapy, as it is indeed a really needed field yet there are so many therapists out there who have no training.

Fortunately, we are living in a culture where people are feeling more empowered to seek help for their sex lives. Hopefully, with articles like these the discussion will continue in helping people find the right resources for their issues.

Rachel
Medical Center for Female Sexuality
NY, NY
Posted by rachel456 on February 1, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this
138
Thanks for addressing sex therapy, as it is indeed a really needed field yet there are so many therapists out there who have no training.

Fortunately, we are living in a culture where people are feeling more empowered to seek help for their sex lives. Hopefully, with articles like these the discussion will continue in helping people find the right resources for their issues.

Rachel
Medical Center for Female Sexuality
NY, NY
Posted by Rachel345 on February 1, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this
139
No Fortunate, you're wrong.

"If you don't want to be lied to, don't make unreasonable expectations" completely neglects to recognize that we are all responsible for the choices we make. If you choose to be unreasonable about porn viewing, you might get dumped; if you choose to lie about porn viewing, you might get caught.

"But if a woman waits until she knows the guy is already getting hooked on her to roll out the demands and conditions then she is getting what she is asking for as well."

Wow, really? I'm pretty sure that in the real world of relationships we generally talk about our feelings about things as situations arise. Neglecting to mention that I have a problem with porn until the topic comes up isn't being sneaky, it's being normal. Sometimes the goalposts have to shift for a relationship to continue. You either both agree to the change or one (or both!) of you declines to continue playing. It's gross and douchey to agree to change the rules but still secretly play the game the old way.

Sometimes we don't learn about our partners' limits on a certain topic until we've been together awhile. That's how relationships work. If a partner sets a limit with us and we aren't douches, we either respect that limit or we be honest and let them know we have no plans to do so. If we lie and say we're going to respect the limit and then don't, we have 100% of the responsibility for being a douchebag.

"but I'm emotionally invested!!" Apparently not enough to be honest with your partner!
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
140
@Fortunate:

But most women who want their partners not to look at porn don't know that this is an unreasonable request. They don't wait on purpose until the partner is emotionally invested to discuss this topic.

No, for them it is completely "normal", "natural" or whatever that a guy does not watch porn while in a relationship. So it doesn't even occur to them that it might be a topic that needs discussing on one of the first dates.

This is different to kinky people/ fetishists who usually KNOW that they require something unusual.
Posted by migrationist on February 1, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
141
Dan - sex addiction IS a myth, and is yet another way in which male homosexuality is attacked. Sadly, even though the APA has yet again rejected this pseudodiagnosis, many media and online sources such as WebMD continue to present it as real. The more public figures such as yourself stand up and call this a fraud, the more the public can see that they are being deceived.
Posted by David Ley on February 1, 2013 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Fortunate 142
@139, "No Fortunate, you're wrong.

"If you don't want to be lied to, don't make unreasonable expectations" completely neglects to recognize that we are all responsible for the choices we make. If you choose to be unreasonable about porn viewing, you might get dumped; if you choose to lie about porn viewing, you might get caught. "

Where am I wrong? Show me where I said that if a man lies about viewing porn he doesn't have to worry about getting caught?

I never, ever, even once hinted, that if a guy lies about porn and gets caught that there is no, or should be no, repercussions.

Of course there are. If a woman puts unreasonable demands on a man then he most likely is going to lie about it.

If he lies about it he may get caught.

These things are fairly self evident.

"Wow, really? I'm pretty sure that in the real world of relationships we generally talk about our feelings about things as situations arise. Neglecting to mention that I have a problem with porn until the topic comes up isn't being sneaky, it's being normal."

If it's such an issue that it will cause you great distress to find a guy watches porn then it isn't normal. That's not rational or normal.

"Sometimes we don't learn about our partners' limits on a certain topic until we've been together awhile."

Sure, but dealbreaker issues shouldn't be ones you have to wait long to find out. Deal breaker issues aren't normal issues. They are special, important issues that should be laid out on the table up front.

"If we lie and say we're going to respect the limit and then don't, we have 100% of the responsibility for being a douchebag. "

If you lie and get caught then you face the consequences. But I find it funny that you argue that the dynamics of relationships are complex enough to excuse a woman for not being upfront about specific, deal breaking limitations right off the bat, but then simplify the dynamics of relationships to ignore that sometimes a partner creates a situation that invites dishonest behavior and that they share the blame.

""but I'm emotionally invested!!" Apparently not enough to be honest with your partner! "

No one is 100% completely honest with their partner.

"No, this isn't a new dress, I had it in the back of my closet and haven't worn it in forever."

"No dear, I never look at other women's breasts."

We all lie at some point. And often we lie BECAUSE we are emotionally invested.

Sorry, YOU'RE wrong.
More...
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Fortunate 143
@140,"But most women who want their partners not to look at porn don't know that this is an unreasonable request. They don't wait on purpose until the partner is emotionally invested to discuss this topic."

Their intent ends up being rally irrelevant.

Sure, some folks don't realize that their request is unreasonable. But at some point they should get the clue.

When you find that your request is unreasonable you don't still insist on it. You deal with what ever issue you have about it.

Not everyone who has a fetish realizes it before then get involved with someone. But once you realize it you have to accept that if it is a fetish too far you can't demand your partner indulge you in it.

Because you know that when these things are presented they aren't presented as a discussion. They are presented as a demand, not something that can be negotiated. If they were then a reasonable compromise would be negotiated and very few would feel the need to lie.

" So it doesn't even occur to them that it might be a topic that needs discussing on one of the first dates."

And in that case when it does come up then that is what it should be. A discussion. Not a demand, and not emotional manipulation ("you can do what you want, but know that when you do you make me cry").

"This is different to kinky people/ fetishists who usually KNOW that they require something unusual."

Not really. If you have been reading and listening to Dan you should know that lots of people don't recognize their kinks and fetishes until later on. Some know and some don't. If you discover something later on then you have to own responsibility for dealing with it in a rational and reasonable way.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
144
""
"No dear, I never look at other women's breasts."

We all lie at some point. And often we lie BECAUSE we are emotionally invested."

Then you're doing it wrong, sorry. If a man lies and says he never looks at another women's breasts, that's fucked up. If he does it, he needs to own it. Women can either live with that, ask him to change, or dump him.

I can't for the life of me fathom why anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone they can't be honest with. If my boyfriend freaked out when I look at another dude's ass, I would dump him for being a childish douche. I'm emotionally invested in him, but the reason I'm invested is because *he's not a douche.* If he suddenly becomes one my emotional investment (and my boyfriend) will go right out the window.

We don't lie because we're emotionally invested, we lie because we're cowards. I'm emotionally invested in my partner and that means I take the risk of telling the truth. Lying is easy and it doesn't have anything to do with emotional investment.
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
145
@130: Okay, for the sake of argument, stay away from the phrase "batshit crazy." That does not mean abandoning the idea of asserting that behavior is completely unreasonable and controlling.

Part of the problem is that the anti-porn crowd long ago seized the rhetorical moral high ground, and merely refuting them is to fight an uphill battle, because it is arguing the case on their terms. To investigate the issue in terms of exploring and soothing the anti-porn person's insecurities is still to frame the debate with a fundamental assumption that porn is wrong and threatening to the relationship.

The proper stance should be a robust and unapologetic assertion along the lines of: "Masturbation is something that falls entirely within the sphere of personal privacy and bodily autonomy. It is something that I do in private, by myself, for myself, and nobody else* is involved. Telling me how I may and may not masturbate is about as invasive and controlling as telling me what music I may and may not listen to on my iPod, or whether and how I may pick my nose in private. If you think you should exercise that kind of control over my bodily sovereignty, there's the door. Your period to rethink your stance starts right now."

*(If that is their cue to say "what about the porn?" the response should be: "No, a picture or a movie is not another person. It is an inanimate object. I assure you I know the difference, and I suggest you get clear on the distinction.")

This still leaves room to deal with things like webcamming or visiting strip clubs, neither of which arguably count as simply "looking at porn."
Posted by avast2006 on February 1, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this
seandr 146
@mydriasis: I love the assumption here that everyone watches porn so wanting a partner who doesn't watch porn is super unreasonable.

It's not unreasonable because everyone watches porn, it's unreasonable because watching porn is, in the vast majority of cases, a harmless and healthy activity that poses no threat to one's partner.

Look, if I had a hangup about vibrators, I'd certainly be within my rights to seek female partners who don't use them. But I wouldn't call that "reasonable", I'd call it what it is - a hangup.
Posted by seandr on February 1, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Holmes 147
@139, I agree.

There is probably a middle of the road standard for what should and should not be discussed prior to investing ones self into a relationship. One can't nit-pick all the details in advance. On the other hand, there are a few things it is commonly accepted to discuss before hopping in the sack or moving into shared housing.

At the outset, I like to ask a few questions usually guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. BDSM? Anal sex? Its the reaction to the questions that I'm interested in, not so much the actual answer. Can my potential partner calmly discuss the topic and state her position on it? Or will an emotional scene ensue due to my 'insensitivity'? Neither of these kinks are things that I'm overly attached to, so 'No thanks' is a perfectly acceptable answer. I'd just rather have the important issues covered calmly beforehand, rather than have my partner freak when the handcuffs and butt plugs come out.

Porn could very well be an issue with some people. But that makes it all the more important to discuss at the outset of a relationship. True, there are some people that don't know themselves and react badly to a new situation. But that's what relationships are about. People will grow within them.

I do have a minor problem with the unaddressed issue of porn. Porn is mainstream enough that encountering it shouldn't be a surprise. A goat and jar of peanut butter I can understand as being unexpected.
Posted by Holmes on February 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
148
I usually agree with Dan, but this CPOS is just a CPOS.

Adults END relationships before they start new ones. Children do not.
Posted by Kylere on February 1, 2013 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Fortunate 149
"I can't for the life of me fathom why anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone they can't be honest with. If my boyfriend freaked out when I look at another dude's ass, I would dump him for being a childish douche. I'm emotionally invested in him, but the reason I'm invested is because *he's not a douche.* If he suddenly becomes one my emotional investment (and my boyfriend) will go right out the window."

See, we all have our priorities.

If the only issue you had with your boyfriend was that he got upset when you looked at another guys ass you would rather dump him than just pretend you didn't look at another guys ass?

Seriously?

See, we all have our values, and by my values (and apparently a lot of other people's) that's fucked up.

Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 11:29 AM · Report this
150
"If the only issue you had with your boyfriend was that he got upset when you looked at another guys ass you would rather dump him than just pretend you didn't look at another guys ass? "

If looking at other dudes' butts bothers him THAT badly, I'm not a very good person if I promise to never look at another dude's butt ever again and then still do it. At that point I know I'm doing something that harms my partner. I choose not only to do it anyway, but to lie about it so they can't make an informed decision about whether or not they can adjust to it.

So no, I wouldn't dump my boyfriend out of hand, but I wouldn't lie about it either. I'd (shock, gasp!) negotiate to what is hopefully a mutually satisfying agreement. Does he want me to not openly ogle asses when he's around? Does he want me to be more discreet? Does he want me to reassure him more often that I think his ass is the best ass of them all? Ok, cool. I can do some or all of those things, and in exchange I get to ogle booties with his blessing. Everybody wins!

If, on the other hand, there was no middle ground on the issue and no matter what I did my boyfriend was going to be hurt by this, I have two choices. I can 1. lie about it like a douche, or 2. keep doing it and tell him 'sorry, but if you don't like it you have the choice to leave.'

Option 2 is what assertive adults with good communication skills do. Option 1 is what's done by cowards who are afraid of consequences. Option 2 shows respect for my partner by being honest and accepting his right to make choices for himself, while option 1 is a childish attempt to have my cake and eat it too.
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
151
Seems like we are all agreed that porn habits and our opinions thereof should be a topic that comes up on the first (or second or third) date. Single men who like porn -- you need to bring that up. Never mind that it might make you seem strange. Single women who object -- you need to bring that up, never mind that it might make you seem controlling.

I guess I got lucky. My husband and I laid all our cards on the table the first night we met. Not everything came up, but we knew what we were getting into. He knew I'd need therapy, I knew he'd need (redacted). We've had our fair share of conflict, but nobody was "tricked" into this relationship.

Do so many people really hide their true selves in order to get into relationships?
Posted by wxPDX on February 1, 2013 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Fortunate 152
"Option 2 is what assertive adults with good communication skills do."

Options 2 is what is done by people who would rather be right than happy. Option 2 is short sighted. Option 2 throws out the baby with the bathwater.

Option 1 doesn't hurt anyone so long as you are discrete.

Option 1 is the option for people who recognize that no one is perfect and is willing to appreciate the good and work around the not so good.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
153
If we believe our partner's expectations are unreasonable how do we help the situation by saying "sure honey, I'll totally do what you're asking!" That's only reinforcing an unreasonable expectation.
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
154
Let's use another example.

Bob and Mary are in a relationship. Bob wants kids someday and Mary doesn't. But Mary is "emotionally invested" in Bob. Mary doesn't want to break up with Bob, and she doesn't want Bob to break up with her. When Bob tells Mary he wants kids, Mary says "Sure! Me too!" even though Mary knows she will never want kids. Mary hopes that Bob will just forget about the issue over time, or that he'll someday change his mind.

Is that ok? Or is Mary being a huge douche?
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Fortunate 155
If you believe your partner's expectations are unreasonable you tell them that. But if they still decide to adhere to their expectations anyway you have to make a choice.

You have to look at what else they offer and decide if it you are willing to just walk away from that, or if you are willing to find some way to deal with it.

One of the ways of dealing with it might be to tell a white lie about, particularly if what you are lying about isn't something that can actually cause them harm (not like lying about cheating, where you may end up bringing home a disease or creating another little person).

I don't think that unreasonable requests should go unchallenged. Not at all. But in the end the other person is either going to come to a place where they can be reasonable about it, or they aren't.

We are all irrational about something sooner or later. We can all be "batshit crazy" on some subjected eventually.

We can either accept that when it happens and try to make a work around, or we just walk away from everything else because of what can be an insignificant flaw in the other person if we choose to see it that way and treat it as such.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
156
We fundamentally disagree on what makes a good workaround. (initially I typed "good reacharound," which changes the point quite a bit!)

A white lie means a lie that's insignificant or trivial. Porn might be trivial to me, but if it's not trivial to my partner than I'm not telling a white lie-- I'm just lying.
Posted by cork118 on February 1, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
mydriasis 157
Cork is on fire right now.

Seriously, thank you.

I am beyond disgusted by the whole "what she don't know can't hurt her and I get to decide what is legitimate pain and what is crazy unreasonable pain I can dismiss on a whim" attitude displayed here.
Posted by mydriasis on February 1, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
seandr 158
@cork118: As @Fortunate says, people who are otherwise reasonable and generous can be unreasonable and dig in their heals around certain pet issues and peeves. If person is being stubborn and overbearing about an issue that has no real consequence aside from the fact that it bothers that person, they have created a situation in which lying is a reasonable workaround to the pointless and oppressive acrimony that direct confrontation would bring.
Posted by seandr on February 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
mydriasis 159
@seandr

Some might consider that to be an incredibly manipulative and condescending way to go about a romantic relationship.

As opposed to actually... gosh, I don't know, loving and respecting your partner?
Posted by mydriasis on February 1, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
160
@157 I think I love you
Posted by wxPDX on February 1, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Fortunate 161
" Porn might be trivial to me, but if it's not trivial to my partner than I'm not telling a white lie-- I'm just lying."

By that rational there are no such things as white lies. All lies are significant to someone and so we must all speak 100% truth.

And all end up single because there is no relationship that can survive 100% truth.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
seandr 162
@cork118 and @mydriasis:
So, what's the longest that you and your uncompromising value systems have lasted in a relationship?

@mydriasis: No one likes to be treated like a crazy person, least of all those who are actually behaving like one.
Posted by seandr on February 1, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Fortunate 163
"Some might consider that to be an incredibly manipulative and condescending way to go about a romantic relationship.

As opposed to actually... gosh, I don't know, loving and respecting your partner?"

Yes, because when your partner has a hang up they can't get over the loving and respectful thing to do is to dump their ass or tell them to stuff the tears and deal with the fact that you are going to do what it is that upsets them.

Because that's so loving.

"I am beyond disgusted by the whole "what she don't know can't hurt her and I get to decide what is legitimate pain and what is crazy unreasonable pain I can dismiss on a whim" attitude displayed here. "

Sorry, but while there are some areas where what is legitimate and what is crazy may be blurred, not every situation is ambiguous.

A guy watching porn is not something that is rational to get so upset about.

When what she does know will definitely hurt her, then her not knowing may be the best thing if there is no actual harm. Porn doesn't invite disease, unwanted children, or in anyway bring physical harm or an inherent undermining of the relationship with it.

Porn can be a problem depending on how the individual chooses to interact with it, but not inherently.

But when you know the truth is only going to hurt the other person, and if you are honest it will only destroy the relationship even though it really doesn't have to, then forcing the other person into that scenario is not loving.

The idea that the only way to respect someone is to always tell the truth is BS. Sometimes a lie is a kindness. Not always, and maybe not even most of the time. But at times it is, and this scenario is one of them.

Because, "here's the way it is. Now you can go cry somewhere else or get out" is not love, and it is not respect when you have the option of "alright, I won't do that thing that causes no inherent harm to anyone" followed by honest effort to not get caught doing that thing.
More...
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
John Horstman 164
NON-ADDICT might also find the Secular Therapist Project useful. While not all of the therapists are necessarily going to be sex-positive, sex-negativity is frequently linked to religious attitudes and sexual judgement to (implicit) evangelism, so ze might find it a good place to start looking.
Posted by John Horstman on February 1, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 165
I'm surprised to see so many people advocating for dishonesty in this thread.

Dan advocates discretion in his answer above, and that's fine... But lying to your partner about porn is not OK. It's not a "white lie," it's an obfuscation of your sexual identity.

Besides the obvious disadvantages of dishonesty in general, lying about porn to your partner also perpetuates the stigma associated with porn. Lying about porn to your partner moves you away from a sex-positive space into a closeted, shame-filled sexuality. Lying about porn to your partner: No bueno.

I say this as a hetero guy in a long-term monogamous relationship, btw. Guys: If you can't be honest with your girlfriend about your use of porn, either examine how much you need that porn or DUMP YOUR GIRLFRIEND. She may be your sexual partner, but she doesn't own your sexuality. You do.

And ladies: Get over it, unless you think it's OK for your partner to police your fantasy life too.
Posted by kitschnsync on February 1, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Fortunate 166
Telling the lie is implicit in Dan's advocating discretion. Being discrete when your girlfriend is dead set against you looking at porn means not letting her know you look at porn. A lie.

Yes, lying about it may perpetuate the stigma associated with it. But if she isn't going to budge then she isn't. You don't have to use your personal relationships as the battle ground for every single sex related issue plaguing society.

And sorry, but I don't think most people see looking at porn as anything even remotely related to their sexual identity. For most people looking at porn is what they do, not who they are.

Again, you want to either rub her nose in it or dump her, even if everything else in the relationship is good? This is really worth ending an otherwise good relationship, or callously inflicting emotional distress for?

Look, no one is saying this is an ideal situation. But as shocked as everyone is that some of us would advocate lying in this circumstance (and again, this is a lie about looking at porn, not cheating with someone, stealing money from the joint account, doing crystal, etc... It's looking at porn), I find it equally shocking that so many people are advocating callously hurting your partner or dumping her as the only reasonable options. And that doing this to her is seen as a good, positive thing.

Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
167
@Fortunate:
You see this as very black&white. It's either dumping her or lying to her. What about agreeing to disagree and then to promise to be discreet?

If she can't live with that compromise, she will probably not be able to compromise on the really important things down the line. And while the LW is still obviously quite young, imagine her and her bf having children. How will they agree on what values to teach their children regarding sexuality? Will she tell their children that porn has no place in a relationship, while he tells them behind her back otherwise? Or will he lie to them as well and mess up the expectations of the next generation?
Posted by migrationist on February 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 168
I find it equally shocking that so many people are advocating callously hurting your partner or dumping her as the only reasonable options.

Yeah... I find it shocking that so many women think they can control their partners' fantasy lives. To me, it's a dumpable offense. But then, I enjoy living my life openly and without shame. I'm not interested in lying about who I am (or, as you would have it, "what I do").

You don't have to use your personal relationships as the battle ground for every single sex related issue plaguing society.

It seems pretty common around here when the sexes are reversed.
Posted by kitschnsync on February 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Fortunate 169
"You see this as very black&white"

I'M seeing this as black and white??? I'm not in the "if she doesn't share your ideas on porn then hurt her or dump her" camp. THAT'S pretty black and white if you ask me.

"What about agreeing to disagree and then to promise to be discreet?"

This whole discussion is predicated on that not being an option. If promising to be discreet is a satisfactory option then there is no problem to begin with.

The problem in the scenario IS that being discreet isn't good enough.

"If she can't live with that compromise, she will probably not be able to compromise on the really important things down the line"

That's not necessarily true.

One hang up does not make for a completely dysfunctional person. One area of blindness, one subject that can't be dealt with in complete rationality, does not necessarily equate to a whole bundle of issues.

Really, I find it funny that I get slammed for referring to the irrational distress over porn as "batshit crazy", yet I seem to be one of the few who doesn't see this one area of irrationality as an overall indictment against her ability to otherwise conduct a relationship in a reasonable and rational manner.

She very well may be able to function in all other ways as a perfectly rational, compromising, and reasonable partner.

You don't discount the whole diamond because it has a slight flaw in it. If we did we would all find our asses out on the street sooner or later.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 2:38 PM · Report this
Fortunate 170
"It seems pretty common around here when the sexes are reversed. "

Common perhaps. But not necessary. And it certainly shouldn't be an obligation for everyone.

Look, no one is saying that if you don't want to have to hide your porn watch, and that is a line in the sand that YOU want to draw, that you must lie about it and doing it in hiding.

For you dumping her might be the best option for you if that is how you feel.

What you and others don't seem to get is that it might not be the best option for everyone. Not everyone feels as strongly about taking a stand and being as open about this one thing as you are.

Hey, I fully support you doing what you feel you need to in order live as you feel best for you.

All I'm saying is that lying about something relatively trivial like saying you won't look at porn when your girlfriend is not capable of being rational about it is not the worst offense in the world. It may not be an ideal situation, but it's understandable.

And I'll say it again. We ALL lie about the little things we don't think are serious. Even if it is something as simple as "no, that dress doesn't make you look fat at all!"

We all do it now and then. This is a trivial lie in the big picture.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 171
"Trivial" is disagreeing about whether or not TNG or the original Star Trek is the better series.

Issues that relate to sexual satisfaction in the context of a sexual relationship aren't really trivial.

Maybe that's just me, but I doubt it.

It seems like the easiest way to avoid years of deception (and the eventual fight and/or breakup when the deception is discovered) is honesty.
Posted by kitschnsync on February 1, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Fortunate 172
Porn watching is trivial. You can't equate watching porn with issues like lack of sexual satisfaction with your partner, or having an unmet sexual need.

It's porn. It's often a solo experience. It's only not trivial if you really feel the need to enjoy porn With your partner.

Disagreeing about Star Trek, on the other hand, is a divorce worthy disagreement, so clearly you need to sort out your priorities.

Will there be an argument down the road (About porn. Hopefully not about Star Trek)? Probably.

But long enough down the road and you probably aren't going to break up over it. In fact long enough down the road she may actually realize that you've been watching porn all this time and haven't left her, cheated on her, or put down the size of her breasts because they aren't as big as the latest hot porn star's, and get over it on her own, in her own time.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
173
I think the answer here is to assign both sides to write an essay on A Fairly Honourable Defeat and Julius King's thesis that any two people can be parted by the application of the correct pressure on the relationship, crossed with Pride and Prejudice and Charlotte Lucas' assertion that happiness in marriage is entirely a matter a chance.

What this really means is that I can't decide whether Ms Cork or Mr Fortunate is more correctly comparable to Rupert Foster.

Ms Cute, do you think that Sir Quentin Oliver of Loitering With Intent applies here?
Posted by vennominon on February 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
seandr 174
@kitschnsync: advocating for dishonesty

Not all dishonesty is the same. In this particular instance, it was a small act of rebellion against a tyrannical regime. Or a sub against his dom, if you prefer.

Look, I'm just trying to help the LW out. If she can learn to tolerate porn, which is something she's certainly capable of doing, her relationships with men will be richer and more rewarding.
Posted by seandr on February 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
175
Those women who, in whatever way, make it impossible for their men to watch porn at home should just consider this: Sooner or later, while watching porn in a porn shop video booth, he is going to be offered help by another guy there. Many otherwise straight-identifying guys accept.
Posted by cockyballsup on February 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM · Report this
176
Aha! I have found a Useful Parallel Situation.

From a post of Ms Hopkins in the Twink thread:

[I know at least a few guys who identify as gay, but I they're bi. Know some of their lady exes, have heard them comment on this that or t'other woman, etc. (Not confusing lady exes w/ ladies some guys would date in an attempt to look/be straight.) They'd cop to being bi if it wouldn't make their (sometimes misogynistic) husbands crazy; a couple of them have told me as much.]

Mr Fortunate? Ms Cork? Anyone else?
Posted by vennominon on February 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM · Report this
nocutename 177
Mr. Ven,
You know, I started Loitering With Intent several years ago, but failed to get into it, and stopped early, so I don't know or remember the character.
Posted by nocutename on February 1, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
178
Hey Dan, I'd like to kick your ass. Get back in the closet.
Posted by straight on February 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Fortunate 179
Vennominon,

I don't see that as a parallel.

That IS sexual identity. Lying about watching porn is in no way in the same class as lying about your sexual orientation. One is a small white lie about something you do that doesn't have any impact on the other person except in their head.

The other is lying about who you are.

Being gay and being bi are not the same thing, and while no two people have the same experience no matter the orientation, there is a certain commonality to most gay peoples' experiences if they are from the same country that is different from what a Bi person's experiences are likely to be.

One is a small white lie about a harmless vice. The other is a fundamental lie about who you are and where you are coming from.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
180
Mr Fortunate - Well, it gave you a nice framework with which to make your point; good enough for me.

I might go so far as to guess that you wouldn't get emotionally invested without having talked through enough to know, even if you didn't frame the actual question. But I could see it not coming up until there was an emotional investment, and I could imagine the thought process of someone who decided, given the state of the relationship, to keep quiet about a point of identity that might strike him as different than it does you. I'm not really on any particular side here, just envisioning possibilities. And I rather imagine that, for a good many monogamous men who round identity in either direction, bisexuality might be less likely to be found out than porn watching.
Posted by vennominon on February 1, 2013 at 7:34 PM · Report this
Fortunate 181
You would be right in your guess.

As I suggest to the women who have an issue with porn, I was always very fast to get to the issue of sexual orientation, and to make it clear that it is important to me.

By the time any emotional investment was made they would know that this was an issue for me and would have had more than enough chance to bow out before anything got serious.

Because I know that for a lot of people it doesn't matter, and I wouldn't necessarily assume that the person I was with would realize I might have an issue about it, so I pretty much always laid my cards on the table early on.

It saves a lot of grief for everyone that way.
Posted by Fortunate on February 1, 2013 at 7:45 PM · Report this
182
What's confusing me, as I read along, is why Fortunate keeps saying that the guy's choice is between:
a) lying to, or
b) dumping his girlfriend.

Isn't the choice rather between
a) lying to your girlfriend or
b) allowing her the option of leaving a relationship she doesn't like?
Posted by EricaP on February 1, 2013 at 9:47 PM · Report this
183
Fortunate@163: "when your partner has a hang up they can't get over the loving and respectful thing to do is to dump their ass or tell them to stuff the tears and deal with the fact that you are going to do what it is that upsets them....Because that's so loving."

When a partner steps all over my boundaries, the loving thing to do is talk it out, explain my boundaries, and see if my partner can figure out how to deal with adult boundaries. If my boyfriend told me not to talk to my interfering mother anymore, would it be better to lie and pretend I never talk to her, so I can maintain a wonderful relationship with the boyfriend?
Posted by EricaP on February 1, 2013 at 9:52 PM · Report this
184
migrationist@167: yes, exactly.
Posted by EricaP on February 1, 2013 at 9:53 PM · Report this
185
seandr @174:
"Look, I'm just trying to help the LW out. If she can learn to tolerate porn, which is something she's certainly capable of doing, her relationships with men will be richer and more rewarding."

She can only learn to tolerate porn if her partner is honest with her.
Posted by migrationist on February 1, 2013 at 11:56 PM · Report this
186
@154 cork118: You've got a point: if Mary really doesn't want kids, she should be up front with Bob, even if it means that he might dump her for somebody willing to have kids.

I was straight up with my abusive former spouse about not wanting to have children. He adamantly wanted kids--for the stupidest reasons (i.e.: "because all my friends have kids"; "I'll hold your hand in the delivery room!"; "Because I want kids!", etc.)--but still married me, anyway. I had to assert myself no end against my emotional train wreck husband, his equally belligerent parents, idiotic younger sisters, and his clueless male friends----none of whom would have been subjected to bearing any "expected" children.
This and so many other valid reasons are why I'm so glad to be unmarried and remain childless by choice now.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 2, 2013 at 2:03 AM · Report this
187
re: @186: And no, I am not the least bit bitter. I'm just glad to be out of that insanely messed up relationship, and happily on with my life.
Lesson learned: If I'd had to do it all over again (perish the thought!), I never would have gotten married in the first place.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 2, 2013 at 2:28 AM · Report this
188
No, the likely route to tolerance is to be lied to, and then come to realize that the relationship is more important than trying to control this otherwise unimportant behavior.

Posted by Hunter78 on February 2, 2013 at 2:35 AM · Report this
189
Atkins Update (for anyone interested): I'm losing important inches; my once-formidable "Buddha belly" is almost completely gone! I'm going to need new clothes!

Best of all, I think my new ND-prescribed diet change helped me solve an additional problem: no more excruciatingly painful, batshit crazy menstrual periods! From now on, I'll just be crazy.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 2, 2013 at 2:41 AM · Report this
190
@188: No, the likely route to a healthy, well-adjusted life is to learn from one's own mistakes and that hopefully, history does not repeat itself.
Goodnight, Hunt.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 2, 2013 at 2:48 AM · Report this
191
The woman who insists her potential bfs tell her they don't look at porn, and doesn't get lied to, only realizes her mistake as she dies an old maid.

Posted by Hunter78 on February 2, 2013 at 8:12 AM · Report this
mydriasis 192
So, what's the longest that you and your uncompromising value systems have lasted in a relationship?

Wowww, bitter.

Listen, not everyone needs to lie to make themselves appealing to a partner.
Posted by mydriasis on February 2, 2013 at 8:16 AM · Report this
193
What a lot of patronising is going on in this thread. OK, so you want to watch porn, and you don’t want a partner who can’t accept that. Fine. But you don’t get to dismiss her concerns as something that you know better about.

I don’t like porn. I could be prepared to accept porn-watching in a partner*. But a man who I found had lied to me about his porn use for “my own good”? He’d be out on his ass in a minute. Because if I consider something important and non-trivial, my partner doesn’t get to ignore that so he can carry on fucking me. He can dump me, and I’ll respect that choice. But he doesn’t get to have sex with me while treating my sexual concerns as irrelevant. Redefining a woman's opinion as trivial so a guy gets to carry on doing what he likes is the definition of misogyny.

*I note that there are almost no comments in the thread that suggest the man should not watch porn if he wants a relationship with a particular woman. Nope, all the compromise is expected to be on the woman's side. Colour me surprised at this.
Posted by anotheranon on February 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM · Report this
seandr 194
@EricaP: allowing her the option of leaving a relationship she doesn't like?

If she was actually going to leave him over this, OK. But come on, she's not going walk away from an otherwise good relationship because he likes to look at pictures of naked ladies.

More likely, his honesty would simply be met with yet another pointless fight as it clearly has in the past. She'll lob some shame and guilt at him, threaten him with abandonment, withhold affection for a week or to, and eventually get over it after making him promise again that he'll stop. And round they go.

In the end, the relationship would probably improve if he can overcome his fears of being abandoned by her and stand up to her directly. But if he isn't ready for that, I'm not going to judge him.
Posted by seandr on February 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM · Report this
seandr 195
@mydriasis: Apologies - my question was perhaps a tad belligerent.

Still, I'd love the hear the answer. My experience tells me that making a relationship last beyond its second decade entails relaxing one's rules and requirements and developing a tolerance for interpersonal messiness. (None of this has anything to do with making oneself appealing.)

If you've found otherwise, do tell.
Posted by seandr on February 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM · Report this
196
@194 you don't judge people for choosing option 2a (@182) rather than 2b. Fine. All I was pointing out was that these were the options, rather than 1a and 1b (dumping porn-averse girlfriend), as Fortunate kept saying.

In practice, I think that repeatedly choosing 2a (lying, getting caught, lying, getting caught) ends up being a lot like choosing 2b. Which is close to what you're saying @195, if I understand correctly.
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
197
Ms Erica - The interfering mother is an interesting example. It could depend on specifics. The original thought is to wonder whether you could successfully conceal the offending contact - only calling, say, during breaks at work. But it seems probable that the request would only be made as a result of how you become after contact with Mama E, especially if the request were to sever contact completely instead of just to do it out of sight, which would seem more likely if the problem were that you were calling Mama E ten times a day and the calls were consuming too much of your time for doing other things. It seems highly likely that you'd trigger the radar.

I thought the anti-bi-partner situation an interesting comparison in part because, as the example of Ms Hopkins' friends attests, it's potentially easily concealed, and in part because the prejudice can often be unreasonable at origin (say, a monogamous bisexual person might have a monosexual partner who thinks bi people incapable of monogamy). There's always a case to be made that openness helps extinguish prejudice, but a lot of people appear to have decided that a concealment that is of no material personal hardship (in their private opinions) is a worthwhile cost to preserve freedom from this particular source of drama in their relationships.

I can't change my mind on this one, as I have no pre-existing opinion to change.
Posted by vennominon on February 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM · Report this
198
@197, don't bring in factors which make it reasonable to object to the behavior. I brought up banning calls to mom as an unreasonable, controlling gesture, equivalent to banning a partner's healthy use of porn.

I believe it's better if both parties refuse unreasonable requests, rather than agree to them and then become a sneak.
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
199
Ms Cute - I'm almost surprised, but can imagine that you disliked Fleur Talbot enough to abandon the book. I wish I could give up books, but I always soldier on.

You probably didn't get far enough to reach the catch phrase, "Sir Quentin insists on complete frankness," which is uttered to Fleur in various turns and no particular order by her frenemy Dottie, Beryl Mrs Timms, Maisie Young, Sir Eric Finlay, Lady Bernice "Bucks" Gilbert and la Baronne Clotilde du Loire. Only Mrs Wilks and Father Egbert Delaney are let off, presumably because no private conversation Fleur has with either of them is ever given. It probably starts about 3/8 of the way through and repeats well into the final quarter of the novel, as Sir Quentin starts needling the members of the Autobiographical Association and trying to insert into their real lives predetermined fates that he lifts right out of Fleur's novel Warrender Chase.

The novel is full of repetitions of various themes. If you like Benvenuto Cellini or Cardinal Newman, you could find it worth another try. And I found it most interesting in reading a biography of Dame Muriel about a year ago to see how one of the men in her own life served in so many ways as quite a model for Fleur's bisexual lover, Dottie's husband Leslie.
Posted by vennominon on February 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM · Report this
seandr 200
@197 vennominon:
The best analogies I can think of would be a husband who forbids his wife from using vibrators or dildos to masturbate, or forbids her from reading erotic literature.

Perhaps we can all agree that such behavior would make him a controlling, insecure creep.
Posted by seandr on February 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM · Report this
nocutename 201
@Mr. Ven.
Okay, you had me at "repetitions of various themes." When you threw in Cardinal Newman, I was persuaded to give it another chance. When I get a chance . . . or the time.
I used to feel an obligation to finish all books (and movies) that I started, but now I subscribe to the motto "life's too short" which allows me to just stop. I've never regretted the stopping and I can always change my mind and pick the book in question up again if I decide I missed out on something.
Posted by nocutename on February 2, 2013 at 5:52 PM · Report this
202
Seems to me the letter-writer so conflates masturbation, porn, and paid sexual interaction that it's totally not clear what she's objecting to. I mean, "caught him there with his dick in his hand" sounds as though she'd have been upset even had he been masturbating to nothing more than his own fevered imagination. I think we can all agree that objecting to a partner masturbating is way, way over the line. OTOH, whatever the heck "interactive porn" is, it doesn't sound like just watching a movie. I think most of us would agree that paying a sex professional to interact with you, even digitally, is a form of unfaithfulness to a monogamous relationship.
Posted by Eirene on February 2, 2013 at 6:29 PM · Report this
mydriasis 203
@seandr (200)

And I'd advise her to break up with him. I wouldn't be saying 'hey, you better lie so you can hold on to THAT gem'.

Compromise is fine, but there's a difference between compromising likes/wants/preferences - which we all have to do in relationships, and compromising principles about how to treat other human beings. Do we make mistakes and violate those principles? Sure, but there's a difference between making a mistake and consciously deciding that the principle is less important than having what you want.

It's kind of like saying 'hey, sure, rape is wrong, but I mean... how much sex does your uncompromising value system get you?'
Posted by mydriasis on February 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM · Report this
204
In my first relationship, my boyfriend decided to just go for the boob without any warning. We were both part of a conservative religious tradition with a zero-tolerance policy towards porn. When I ran away in tears, he ran after me, and decided to make the "I sinned and watched porn!" confession. As this somehow led to crossing boundaries, the porn made him do it? It only made me cry harder.

This is part of the problem with this attitude in my mind - being virulently anti-porn can lead to an internalized misogyny and sex negativity if taken to an extreme. I'm happier now that I can talk about sexual preferences openly with my current partner, and guess what? Neither of us are super into make-believe porn: we're too busy fucking.
Posted by DC270 on February 2, 2013 at 7:17 PM · Report this
205
Oh, this same religion also forbids masturbation. Definitely for all unpartnered people, probably for married ones too. So yeah, my vote is that SAD is Mormon. (Insert tasteless Jodi Arias joke here.)
Posted by DC270 on February 2, 2013 at 7:22 PM · Report this
206
Myd won't tell you, but she has never had an ltr. She stormed into this column like she was looking for Mr Goodbar. Then she started gasping about great monogamy was, and, yes, she had a special bf. Oh, but he's gone now and she doesn't talk about it.

Posted by Hunter78 on February 2, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Fortunate 207
@196, "@194 you don't judge people for choosing option 2a (@182) rather than 2b. Fine. All I was pointing out was that these were the options, rather than 1a and 1b (dumping porn-averse girlfriend), as Fortunate kept saying."

If he knows that she will dump him then telling her is the same thing as dumping her. He is doing something that he knows will end the relationship. The only difference is semantics.

As for a spouse telling their partner they can't speak to their mother, that isn't even in the same ballpark.

Either the mother really is interfering and causing problems, in which case you should deal with your mother before it gets to the point that your spouse wants you to stop speaking with her. Or she really isn't and if your partner tries to forbid you from speaking to her pack your bags and get out because trying to prevent you from contacting family is a red flag for an abuser.

So far the only comparable scenario presented is the vibrator or romance novel one.

Otherwise all I need say is, What Seandr said.
Posted by Fortunate on February 2, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
208
"If he knows that she will dump him then telling her is the same thing as dumping her."

Not in my universe. Maybe in the universe of convenient rationalizations and the assumption that people never change when faced with new circumstances.
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2013 at 8:33 PM · Report this
209
Yo, I physically need a vibrator to achieve orgasm alone. Like you need your hand.

I don't necessarily need erotica. Porn & erotica can be compared. Not porn & vibrator.
Posted by wxPDX on February 2, 2013 at 8:56 PM · Report this
Fortunate 210
Maybe not in your universe, but in the real universe it is.

If you do something that you know is going to end a relationship, and you do it knowing that, then you are ending the relationship.

I'm not assuming people don't change. Perhaps you should go back and actually read everything I wrote. I discussed that people change, and thats one reason why someone may lie about this issue. Because if they can keep it hidden long enough then when it comes out down the road their partner may be willing to deal with it better.

But if you know they are going to leave if they find out and you tell them then you are initiating the end of the relationship. There is what is happening.
Posted by Fortunate on February 2, 2013 at 9:04 PM · Report this
Posted by mydriasis on February 2, 2013 at 9:22 PM · Report this
212
@210, you can't know what she will do. Women say something is a deal-breaker and yet they stay -- happens all the time. Plus, when a partner admits the truth (rather than getting caught), that improves the odds the woman stays.
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM · Report this
213
I side with the porn-watcher because from my POV what it comes down to is that it's inherently unreasonable to expect a partner not to watch any movie they would like to watch. Censoring adult use of legal porn is a thought-police move, not a sexual values move. What if a guy masturbates to a picture of a woman in a bikini? Is that more acceptable? It's really simple to me: it's inherently ridiculous to ask other grownups to promise not to watch the videos they feel like watching, whether that's Tarantino films ("too violent!") or porn.

But this means I tend to fall on the "don't date someone who doesn't want you to watch porn" side -- I mean, I wouldn't date such a person. I still understand, though, that sometimes you fall for someone and it seems really sad to end the relationship over something like this. I can't say I think it's healthy to be in a relationship where one would have to lie about this, but I don't think a lie like "I do not watch porn" is any different, on a moral plane, than a lie like "I do not fantasize about anyone else when I'm having sex with you."
Posted by Hyacinth on February 2, 2013 at 10:27 PM · Report this
Fortunate 214
Unless it doesn't.

So women say one thing but do another is what you are saying. And a guy lying about watching porn is the problem? The guy's lie in this instances is worse than the woman's?

Making false ultimatums about ending a relationship sounds like a much more serious lie than lying about watching porn.

Posted by Fortunate on February 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM · Report this
215
@215 --being incorrect is different from lying. Anyway, I'm not on the side of giving ultimatums. I'm recommending what I think is the best path to a satisfying, fulfilling life. Guess our experiences have taught us different life lessons.
Posted by EricaP on February 2, 2013 at 11:37 PM · Report this
seandr 216
@EricaP: Women say something is a deal-breaker and yet they stay

@Fortunate: Making false ultimatums

Yes!

I have no doubt that LW has threatened her boyfriend with abandonment over this silly issue, even though she likely would never follow through. And yet she (and so many other female commenters here) feel such a strong sense of entitlement to the truth. "Confess your sins so I can decide whether to dump you! As woman, this is my right!"

Having received my share of angry, empty threats of abandonment (and dealt out a few of my own), I've come to see them as a form of abuse, and one that is intrinsically hostile to honesty and openness. Honesty is not an entitlement, nor is it something you beat out of someone with threats. It's something you earn by demonstrating your ability to handle the truth, and by being truthful yourself. Otherwise, it's a gift.

As a man, I'm fascinated by the male/female disconnect here. It almost seems like there's a cavewoman instinct that goes ballistic at any sign of sneakiness in a man, regardless of context.

It's also fascinating to me that some women here seem perfectly comfortable assuming a degree of control over a man that, if genders were reversed, would be considered textbook misogyny. Probably no coincidence that among all the relationships I know in my little circle of upper middle class liberals, if power isn't shared equally between the couple, it's the female who calls the shots.

@EricaP: Plus, when a partner admits the truth (rather than getting caught), that improves the odds the woman stays.

Yes. As a man, if you can get to a place where you can be honest because you can handle the possibility of her leaving you, or you are willing to leave her if need be, she'll probably stick around.
More...
Posted by seandr on February 3, 2013 at 12:26 AM · Report this
seandr 217
@mydriasis: And I'd advise her to break up with him.

Wonderful. And yet when an insecure, controlling woman writes a letter complaining that her man is still showing signs of free will despite her efforts to break him, your advice is that she could probably find a more breakable man.
Posted by seandr on February 3, 2013 at 12:33 AM · Report this
seandr 218
@206: Dude, you're trolling. Internet doesn't need more trolls.
Posted by seandr on February 3, 2013 at 12:35 AM · Report this
219
@seandr:
What you call sneakiness, I call manipulation.

I don't like being manipulated. And strangely enough, almost all men I know don't like being manipulated, either.

It's not a gender divide. If this was a guy writing in that he didn't want his gf to read romance novels/ erotica, and he caught her with one, I'd tell him the same: he doesn't get to tell her what to read, but she should have stood up to him and not lied to him, either.
Posted by migrationist on February 3, 2013 at 1:05 AM · Report this
220
@93, I've done it, it's actually passionless, scripted, formulaic bad sex. And kissing is usually discouraged, which makes it really bad sex.
Posted by Walt Waters on February 3, 2013 at 1:23 AM · Report this
221
Seandr,

It was a direct answer to your question in 162.

Posted by Hunter78 on February 3, 2013 at 4:32 AM · Report this
mydriasis 222
@seandr

What?

No, my advice to him is that he can find a woman he doesn't have to lie to.

My advice to the LW? I can't wrap my head around what exactly her issue is. But if she's just bothered by straight up standard porn watching in a partner? I'd suggest she reexamine the issue - look at all the facts that people have listed here, and reconsider whether or not she really thinks it's fair to have a partner cut out porn.
Posted by mydriasis on February 3, 2013 at 5:21 AM · Report this
mydriasis 223
@220

1. I've done it too (Kind of figured that was implied)

2. You're talking about professionally, doing it for fun? None of that stuff applies. (Or has to)

3. Sex without kissing can be fun...
Posted by mydriasis on February 3, 2013 at 5:25 AM · Report this
224
It's just payback.
Posted by Hunter78 on February 3, 2013 at 6:23 AM · Report this
mydriasis 225
What?

Look, it doesn't take a psychological genius to see why we don't get along. You quite obviously remind me (and probably lots of girls like me) of every dirty old man who ever hit on me at my old job, the boss that comes on to you, the teacher who flirts with you, every middle aged man going through a mid life crisis who wants someone who will make them feel young again and doesn't realize how upsetting he can be.

And I remind you of every pyt who ever rejected you since you got on in years (or maybe even before that), made you feel old, obsolete, impotent.

You don't hate me, you hate any young woman who makes you feel that way. That's why I can never be offended by your weird obessesion, and stalking of everything I do/say - it's not about me.
Posted by mydriasis on February 3, 2013 at 7:14 AM · Report this
226
What is the definition of porn in this discussion?
Almost every R-rated movie today includes female (and male) nudity and simulated sex. Is this porn?

Are those against their partners watching porn also against their partners watching mainstream R-rated movies, for example, Bridesmaids?"
Posted by Amos101 on February 3, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 227
I think people are making this into a bigger lie/truth issue than it either needs to be or usually is. I don't think there's a need to bring up, as a dealbreaker, on a first, second or third date: "do you watch porn?" or "I watch porn" and see if you two are compatible that way.

Firstly, I think a lot of women, especially, young women, have false expectations of how a man should feel/act/want to be when in a relationship. This is due in large part to unrealistic attitudes perpetuated in romantic comedies and romance novels, popular music, and in general, a "dump" culture that prizes fidelity to a ridiculous level and can view anything from watching porn, to looking at other women with lustful thoughts, to masturbating as examples of cheating, and which suggests that if women are only attractive enough, and the men are really in love with them, their men will never have to look elsewhere. Man fantasizing about someone else? He doesn't really love you. It's over.

If this is your feeling, I think you need to reexamine it. If you view porn as a threat to your real relationship, you need to ask yourself why this is. If you feel that women in porn represent some ideal that you can never compete with, you need to understand what men are getting out of porn, and what is valuable about yourself, what you and your body, your brain, your personality, your heart, bring to the table. You need understand that male sexuality may be different from your own, or from the depiction of it in popular culture. You need to learn to not feel threatened by porn or your bf's interest in it. This can be hard and sometimes takes a lot of time. And no, not all women feel this way, but many do. A good way to tackle these issues, if you're in a relationship, is to TALK about them with your boyfriend; to really talk, not accuse, not harangue, not wrangle false promises or give ultimatums. And of course, this means that the man has to be willing and able to confront his own interest in porn and his girlfriend's insecurities and have a grownup conversation, too.

I don't know the background to this particular letter writer's letter, and this only applies to non-interactive porn, but in general, the advice I would give to women is to assume that the man she is dating watches some kind of porn. If you know that this is a problem for *you,* you need to bring the topic up yourself, but not in a way that will almost guarantee defensiveness and either a lie (Man: "I don't watch porn/don't watch porn when in a relationship/will stop watching porn") or a breakup (Woman: "I can't stand the idea of you watching porn; I view it as cheating. So if you watch porn, I'm leaving").

Instead, the onus is on the you, the woman who has problems with porn to start the following conversations:

1) Tell your bf that you have problems with porn and may need his reassurance that it's not a replacement for you and he doesn't wish you were like the women he sees in it--if your issue is that you're insecure about measuring up to some porn star "ideal."

2) If your issue is with the ethics of the porn industry (not the content or subject, but whether or not the actors were coerced), ask him more about the porn he watches.

3) If the idea of his watching porn upsets you and you don't want to have to confront it, ask him to please be discreet. Most men, unless they want to watch porn with their partner, should have no trouble doing this, especially if the couple isn't living together. This might be where the whltest of all lies comes in. I don't mean that the man should explicitly lie and say he isn't going watch when he will. I mean that he registers your discomfort, which you may acknowledge is your issue or irrational, and he decides not to make you uncomfortable by rubbing it in your face. It's a lie of omission. This is what Dan says, he pretends he isn't watching, and you pretend he isn't watching. But if asked a direct question, I don't advocate a lie; I suggest reopening the topic for a discussion.

Then DON'T GO LOOKING FOR HIS PORN OR EVIDENCE THAT HE WATCHES IT, and don't freak out if you accidentally stumble upon it or upon him masturbating to it.

I don't address the men who really don't watch porn, because not only are they a minority, but most women are probably not bothered by the fact that their bfs don't watch porn.

I have no problem with any man I'm dating watching porn, unless it is exploitive (of the actors, not the scenarios), but I don't like watching porn myself. I've never actually had to ask anyone to not watch his porn around me, and none has (unless we're watching together).

I agree that no one has the right to deny his/her partner to solo self sexual pleasure and interest (barring illegal sources of pleasure: child porn, snuff films, etc.) That's the mind police. It's equivalent to a partner telling the other what tv shows s/he can watch, what books s/he can read, what music s/he can listen to. (Years ago, I had an agreement with my ex about certain musicians that one of us liked but the other couldn't stand: we agreed to only play the offending person's music when the other was out of the house. It worked just fine.) I think that because this issue takes place in the sexual realm, people see it differently, and feel entitled to more control over their partner's private preferences and activities, but that shouldn't be the case.

As for me, I read erotica, though not romances. It's no secret: the books are right on my bookshelf for anyone to see. I don't consider my liking them to be shameful or something that needs to be hidden. And anyone I date knows I masturbate a lot, because I love sex and lots of it, and we find it exciting to talk about our sexual interests and activities. So that topic comes up, playfully, and in a flirtatious way in our conversations, texts, and emails. If a bf objected to my reading erotica, I'd ask him what he found objectionable and then we'd have a conversation about that; I wouldn't lie, nor would I feel the need to break up with him.
If I found out that the content of my bf's porn was something really disturbing to me--perhaps poop-based or involving animals, because not much freaks me out to think about--I'd initiate a conversation with him about it.
More...
Posted by nocutename on February 3, 2013 at 9:43 AM · Report this
nocutename 228
Crikey! Please ignore the comma after "especially" in the second paragraph, and "whltest" should be "whitest."
Posted by nocutename on February 3, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
229
@nocutename 227: I hope people read your third paragraph, because it is spot-on. Especially:
"A good way to tackle these issues, if you're in a relationship, is to TALK about them with your boyfriend; to really talk, not accuse, not harangue, not wrangle false promises or give ultimatums. And of course, this means that the man has to be willing and able to confront his own interest in porn and his girlfriend's insecurities and have a grownup conversation, too."

Too many people on this thread are advocating an approach that side-steps the grownup conversation part. "It's her problem, not mine" might be true but isn't a way to have a grownup relationship. (In case our resident troll is wondering, I've been in this relationship for seven years.)
Posted by wxPDX on February 3, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
230
So what exactly is the value in a "conversation" about whether or not a guy (or girl, though that hasn't seemed to come up here yet) watches porn, what they watch, and how their partner feels about it? At best it's a roundabout way of saying "what are you into" and at worst it can end a relationship. I don't see why anyone would agree to volunteer that kind of info unless they were being coerced, in which case lying is the most reasonable course of action.
Posted by Weird Assumption on February 3, 2013 at 2:23 PM · Report this
nocutename 231
@230: Are you asking "what exactly is the value in a 'conversation'" with your romantic partner about how to feel valued and loved and how to reconcile that with everyone's needs being understood and respected? Do you think that trying to talk with your partner so that you both come to mutual understanding and agreement--even if the agreement is that she's going to turn a blind eye to something and both are going to pretend it doesn't happen--is pointless?

I agreed, way upthread, that sometimes lying is the course of action that gets taken, as a response to coercion, and I don't necessarily condemn it. But that doesn't mean I think it is the best way for adults to address the issue. I kind of think that good relationships depend on good communication. About all sorts of things, by the way, not merely porn habits.
Posted by nocutename on February 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
232
Ms Cute - If you like audiobooks, Nadia May gives a good reading of LWI that runs, I think, between five and six hours, which might be a good travel length. And, just in case you'd find it a treat, I also found her reading of Precious Bane to be first-rate. That was a particular delight for me, to encounter such an old favourite.
Posted by vennominon on February 3, 2013 at 2:50 PM · Report this
233
@231, I'm not saying it might not be necessary if someone forces the issue, but it seems like a loser's battle. There are quite a few possible negative outcomes and very few positive ones, and even the "best" choices are going to put strain on the relationship. Ultimately those conversations are a waste of time, at least in my experience, and it's baffling that people would suggest initiating them when keeping silent on the issue is still an option.
Posted by Weird Assumption on February 3, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
234
I don't see why anyone would agree to volunteer that kind of info unless they were being coerced

If you're being coerced, you're not volunteering, so that's kind of begging the question. But if you're not prepared to have a risk-taking intimate conversation with someone occasionally, it seems pretty weird to have a major relationship with them. I honestly cannot remember ever having such a conversation with my husband that didn't end up making our relationship better. (Granted, we're both introverts, and probably have such conversations much less often than we really should. It's possible that some people could actually get to the point of oversharing.)
Posted by Eirene on February 3, 2013 at 4:38 PM · Report this
nocutename 235
@233: How about this: "Honey, I love you and think you're sexy as hell. I also like to watch porn sometimes, just because I like to LOOK at and IMAGINE a variety of people and/or acts that I don't expect to do in real life. This doesn't mean I wish you were any different, and I don't prefer the women I see in porn to you. I understand if you don't like porn, so I won't bring the subject up, or leave it up in such a way that you'll see it. But I know that some women have an issue with porn and I thought I'd get this out in the open. The end."
That script seems relatively painless, and I don't see how it could be a waste of time.
Posted by nocutename on February 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
nocutename 236
@Mr.Ven,
I actually have the audio book of LWI (have to check who the reader is when I get access to all my audible library, rescued from a dead desktop but not yet transferred to the laptop from a portable, external hard drive), and did, indeed, try listening to it during a road trip (I love audio books), but for some reason, it didn't strike my fancy. Maybe it was just the mood I was in at the time. I will definitely give it another go.
Posted by nocutename on February 3, 2013 at 6:17 PM · Report this
237
@235, I think we're having a misunderstanding. I get that there are decent responses to the "why porn?" question, in fact I used a similar line the last time that came up with my now-ex (I focused more on her attractiveness to me because she was pretty down on her looks at the time). It just seems weird to bring it up yourself, like some people have been suggesting. Even if you can mitigate the damage, why invite it in the first place?
Posted by Weird Assumptions on February 3, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
nocutename 238
@237: Well, I don't think it should be a first date opener. And I don't think it is always necessary. Perhaps this comes up if an anti-porn sentiment gets voiced by the woman, as a sort of "by the way" statement, so she doesn't end up deciding that she's been cheated on or something (I confess that even though I'm a straight woman who dislikes porn, I don't understand how women feel cheated on by their mates' watching it. But apparently some do, so . . .).

Maybe it gets brought up by the man fairly early in a discussion of sexual fantasies.

Of course, if the woman catches him watching porn and has a similar reaction to the letter writer, the solution is to have that conversation then and there. But she suggested that they've had some kind of porn conversation before, because the upshot of that was that he lied and said he didn't watch porn when in a relationship. And that was a very stupid lie, because now she feels betrayed. I don't know how the topic was originally broached, or by whom, or why, but if when it first came up, he gave that kind of scripted statement, she can pout and be upset and maybe even decide she needs to break up with him (which I think is unlikely), but she can't pull the "I feel betrayed and lied to" card. Which is better, because people often *do* break up because they were lied to and feel betrayed.

Either bring it up preemptively, or at least be honest when the topic is raised by another, or be damn sure you never get caught.

Although I think that the woman who has this big of a porn problem needs to do some self-examination and learn not to try and control her partner that much.
Posted by nocutename on February 3, 2013 at 6:35 PM · Report this
239
@191 Hunt: If you were still responding to me, who said I was looking for a boyfriend? I'm not, actually.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 3, 2013 at 10:18 PM · Report this
240
Hunter78: Your obsession with "myd" makes you look pathetic. She cannot possibly be thinking about you as much as you obviously think about her. Get a life.
Posted by marilynsue on February 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM · Report this
AFinch 241
Do so many people really hide their true selves in order to get into relationships?

Sadly, yes. Mostly insecure people, but yes, that includes a lot of people. Also, in fairness: we change, so who we are and what we want might change a bunch over a few decades.

@198 "I believe it's better if both parties refuse unreasonable requests, rather than agree to them and then become a sneak."

THAT! That nails it perfectly. Do not make promises you can't or won't keep. It will come out sooner or later, and whatever hell-to-pay you're attempting to avoid will surely arrive regardless, with interest. Above all: do not cave into unreasonable requests right off the bat. If you think looking at porn is a normal and reasonable thing to do, don't let her threat of rejection drive you to cave...what, is her opinion of you and what is 'reasonable" more valid than yours? Think about that a while.

I was given to understand that "discretion being the better part of valor" really meant not saying things that do not have to be said. Not asking difficult questions when you don't want to hear the answer (ie, "does this dress make my ass look fat"), and not making promises you don't have to make. However, while the distinction is fine, it's plenty big enough: if you don't get asked directly and then don't lie directly, no lies have been told. If she is OK with not knowing about his porn use, and is smart enough not to ask, then she can pretend he doesn't look and he can make sure he doesn't get caught (Dan's standard advice). Once the question gets asked, that little bit of make-believe is no longer possible.

The minute she asked - an admittedly stupid question - he should have just told her the truth: I look and I'm not going to stop looking. If it's a dumping offense for her - zero tolerance policy - call her on that implied threat and make her pull the trigger. And in the process, save yourself years of feeling like a guilty sneak and becoming the 'bad guy' over someone else's insecure controlling hangups, political scruples, or whatever - because you lied and then became "the liar." The minute you tell the white lie, you opt-in like signing a cell phone contact or a credit card account.

I happen to come down on the side of "no porn" being a silly and very self-limiting requirement, but then I have my own weird little deal breakers, and so she's entitled to her own. He should save them both the added pain of deeper investment than has already occurred, and give her the opportunity to decide if it really is a deal breaker.

The amazing part is, that often these things aren't really ultimately deal breakers. And you might be giving someone an opportunity to grow and see things differently - she might view you as a misogynistic rapist because you view porn which she sees as treating women like meat puppets, or she might just start seeing the side of it that includes women enjoying (genuinely) being dominated (yes, I know this is nearly non-existent) and objectified. I think the former is generally more likely, but then, aren't you better off not stuck with someone who sees you in that way?

Sorry Mr. Fortunate: I really started out on your side of this, because I think the no-porn rule is dumb, and because LW didn't sound to me like she made a clear statement of "I don't tolerate any porn, period", but ultimately, if she told him she couldn't deal with it, he should've manned up. They sound young anyway, so maybe having a dumb breakup over a dumb lie over a dumb deal-breaker will teach them both a lesson: that these are small issues not worth tossing a good relationship over.
More...
Posted by AFinch on February 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
242
AFinch: I don't entirely disagree with you here.

As for the overall argument about honesty, however, here's a slightly less extreme example than the one posted a while back of how honesty can be less than the best policy.

"Dear, I know it's entirely because of a medical condition that you're going to the doctor for and which is starting to get under control, but the thirty pounds you've put on over the past year make you less attractive. I've started noticing other women more often because of that. Also, have you ever noticed how incredibly hot your best friend/sister/etc is? Oh, and by the way, I really dislike it when you're depressed."

Because, when it comes down to it, these are terrible things to say, even if they're not entirely untrue. Being supportive to one's significant other does sometimes mean telling them what they want to hear, or at least answering their question without telling them what they don't want to hear.
Posted by dale1 on February 4, 2013 at 2:35 PM · Report this
243
The difference I see is that truths like "You're not as attractive since you gained thirty pounds" are ones that the other partner usually isn't keen on facing either. (Anyone who REALLY REALLY WANTED to tell their partner something like that would probably have a relationship that was already in trouble.) In that case the white lies benefit BOTH parties in the relationship. Whereas a lie such as "I don't look at porn" doesn't benefit the teller unless s/he has guilt feelings about porn use.
Posted by Eirene on February 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
244
Mr Finch - But hasn't the stress thread taught us that straight men are so short on opportunity that they can't afford to get miffed over being seen to be misogynistic rapists?

Oh, and, as a general comment, the dress never makes anyone look fat. Try blaming instead... oh, I don't know, maybe... the fat?
Posted by vennominon on February 4, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
245
Myd,

Stop flattering yourself for a second. I don't desire you, I'll never see you. I lust for real women.

Your constant line of attack is my age. Because of your molestation by the male relative.
Posted by Hunter78 on February 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Fortunate 246
@241, "Sorry Mr. Fortunate: I really started out on your side of this, because I think the no-porn rule is dumb, and because LW didn't sound to me like she made a clear statement of "I don't tolerate any porn, period", but ultimately, if she told him she couldn't deal with it, he should've manned up."

Yes, should have. Should have, would have, could have.

Where does that go against my side? I never said that lying is what anyone SHOULD do. I never said it was the best option.

What I said, and still stand by, is that if you put a guy in that position many are going to see lying as a valid option, and it really isn't hard to understand why.

We can "should" the subject all we want. Reality is what it is.

The reality is that if you are anti porn and you try to tell your male partner that if they want to be with you they can't watch porn, and they have an investment in you already, there is a good chance they will lie. Yes, he isn't manning up. And the anti porn partner is creating a scenario that isn't hard to see would make the lie seem like a good option for a lot of men.

That's not something I'm advocating, or celebrating, or endorsing. People seem to think I am for some reason when I haven't suggested such a thing. All I am saying is that is what happens, and while it may not be something to advocate it is none the less understandable, and more importantly, predictable.
Posted by Fortunate on February 4, 2013 at 7:41 PM · Report this
AFinch 247
@242 - Your example fits entirely within the category of "discretion" - as @243 says, these aren't truths anyone is seeking to hear and so, unless you are really angling to hurt your partner, why would you mention them, unless they prompted by asking you straight up?

Yes, of course, men and women, notice other people and find people other than their partners sexually attractive, and some other people more attractive. Only someone who is subtly abusive goes around pointing them out to their partner, or commenting on how, particularly when (to use your example) they've started to make a change.

My ex-wife first ballooned weight-wise (losing her rather nice trim figure) within two years after marriage and then followed that with a period of depression - the latter was actually worse and had a worse impact on our marriage and sex life. We didn't resolve these issues, and eventually I was so alienated (emotionally mostly) that I stopped caring about trying to make it work and ultimately left her (~14 years). I never said, "you've gotten fat and unattractive and there are all these other hot women around I want to screw", even though that was entirely true. Moreover, those other women weren't depressed and a drag to be around and still felt hot and sexy enough to want to have sex.

The thing is: when we discussed those things, I focused on the behavior - and when I expressed my unhappiness about our lousy sex life, I didn't talk about her body, and instead tried to express that I wanted to have sex with someone who wanted to have sex! - horny and enthusiastic beats hot, every single time. Believe me, I take your point - I lived it.

The huge mistake I made (hindsight being 20/20) is that I didn't express the problems with the behaviors nearly early enough - I told white lies "oh, it's ok" instead of saying, no, it's not ok, and I'm tired of living under a cloud of depression. I didn't have that honesty until after things were so eroded I just didn't really care any more about losing the marriage.

@Vennominon: Heh, I'm guessing you're being snarky, but no, your odds of getting laid are much greater if you're with someone who has some respect for you and self-respect is pretty much key to that. Besides, although correlation never implies causation, I find an unpleasant coincidence of strong anti-porn attitudes with body, intimacy and general relationship issues. Just my anecdotal experience. And of course: it's always the fat, but muffintops never help things!

Mr. Fortunate, I dunno what to say, I'm reacting to your words - you start of with a pretty lengthy defense of telling lies:

Because it is a kindness to them. Virtually all guys look at porn. If your wife / GF is going to get all upset about it then you either lie to them about it or you get them upset. It is far kinder to lie to them rather than get them upset over something that doesn't, otherwise, actually harm them.

I really do agree with you with the one modification: you don't volunteer hurtful information - you are absolutely 100% correct about that, but if asked, straight up, be honest.

You are also 100% correct that the choice to lie rather than incur the predictable unhappiness is completely unsurprising. I'm just sayin', in the long run, the truth will out.
More...
Posted by AFinch on February 5, 2013 at 7:44 AM · Report this
Fortunate 248
AFinch,
Nothing I said was wrong as far as I can see it.

My point was that lying in that situation makes sense. Not that it is the best choice. But it makes perfect sense.

It often is kinder to lie. Kindness isn't always the best choice, but that doesn't change the fact that a lie can be the kinder option.

Yes, I was defending the lie. Defending isn't advocating as the best option.

But ultimately what I said boils down to this line:

"If your wife / GF is going to get all upset about it then you either lie to them about it or you get them upset."

Sorry, but that statement is 100% accurate. I call the lie a kindness since it isn't about something that actually can cause the other harm.

If other's don't agree, fine.

But I never said that it was the choice a person SHOULD make. Nor is it the choice I would make.

But everyone is acting like the guy who lies in this instance is some kind of uncaring abusive monster. My point is that, No, he's a fairly average guy doing what a whole lot of guys would do in that situation, and it is perfectly understandable and often motivated as much out of a desire to be kind as anything else.
Posted by Fortunate on February 5, 2013 at 7:57 AM · Report this
AFinch 249
@248 - I do agree: he is acting rationally and predictably and not out of malice. I think I and others were reacting reasonably to the way you presented your original argument (in response to a question), which you then doubled-down on a few times. I do see the distinction you are drawing.
Posted by AFinch on February 5, 2013 at 8:19 AM · Report this
250
Many women would care much more if their husband thought they were fat than if they watched porn. Nobody would EVER advise a man to tell the truth to a woman he thought were fat. It would indeed be unkind. So what's the difference here?
Posted by cockyballsup on February 5, 2013 at 9:41 AM · Report this
251
@247: So, if asked by a depressed significant other whether their weight, which had been ballooning but is now stable and possibly decreasing, is problematic, honesty is really the best policy? Or is it more appropriate to be encouraging, and diplomatically encourage activities that will get their weight down and make them less depressed?

Don't get me wrong, my example was extreme. But having been asked the relevant questions myself in a previous relationship, I know that it can happen. (Yes, even the bit about the best friend was, in fact, asked.) Personally, I chose the option that I thought was less likely to end in suicide, since that was a serious risk at the time. It didn't end up saving the relationship, but it might have saved a life.

This is, of course, only tangentially related to the letter written to Dan up top... but seriously, honesty is NOT always the best policy. Period.
Posted by dale1 on February 5, 2013 at 2:31 PM · Report this
mydriasis 252
Does no one here know the difference between telling the truth in a sensitive manner and just outright lying?
Posted by mydriasis on February 5, 2013 at 6:14 PM · Report this
253
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Posted by kimbutler001 on February 6, 2013 at 1:19 AM · Report this
254
I would be okay with giving up porn if my partner was okay with taking on the responsibility of the entire sum of my sexual energy and my need for regular releases. With porn in my life, it's one every day. If I haven't had sex that day, I'll usually "do what men do" as sort of a sleeping pill; orgasms are quite a useful natural sleeping aid.

I think such an arrangement is pretty hard to find; many emotionally-bonded partners would simply find it too objectifying an agreement to consider, and I wouldn't blame them. Frankly, that's not an arrangement I would want to propose, unless I was faced with a girlfriend who was trying to get me to quit watching porn. Even then, I would feel pretty ashamed admitting I had those kinds of needs to my partner, and like I was overburdening them with unrealistic requests.

So, from my viewpoint, there is some amount of irony in the LW's complaint, in that getting those meaningless releases out of the way takes a pretty large burden off of her shoulders. You could take the point of view that one "shouldn't need" to get off that often, but that's not very sex-positive, and would probably lead to a very frustrated partner.
Posted by uncelestial http://www.nah.com on February 6, 2013 at 1:37 AM · Report this
255 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
AFinch 256
@251: I would, in fact, try hard to avoid answering the question directly. I would attempt to shift the conversation away from "are you as attracted to me now as you were when I was fifty pounds lighter?" to "you look so much hotter now; I can't believe how much you've lost". I'm not saying I come down on the side of being mean in the guise of being truthful...and in your circumstance I think that's probably even more difficult to finesse.

However, yes, if pressed: people deserve honesty from those who care about them most, even if nobody else does. The suicide threat doesn't make the lying OK, nor does the threat of high drama responses - these are actually emotional manipulation.
Posted by AFinch on February 6, 2013 at 6:10 AM · Report this
257
@252: There are times when telling the truth can't be done in a sufficiently sensitive manner. My previous example was of honesty without any sensitivity, but there really isn't a sensitive way to honestly answer those relevant questions. (Do you think I'm less attractive with this extra weight? Do you think my friend is hotter than I am? Does it upset you when I get depressed?) You can try to avoid answering, but evasion is not honesty.

@256: Sometimes it's not just a threat. Sometimes a person is actually suicidal, something I have learned from personal experience. (Relatively) happily for me, nobody I was dating at the time or had recently broken up with has successfully committed suicide... I'd like to think this is partly because I have figured out when to be sensitive in telling the truth, and when the truth just isn't something that my S.O. can deal with at the time when the question is asked.

Lying is bad, but sometimes there really aren't good options.
Posted by dale1 on February 6, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
258
Thank you, Cork, wxPDX, and nocutename. Spot on.
Posted by ForEmpathy on February 6, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
259
If a man who watches porn regularly,thinks a woman who disapproves of and objects to his habit is 'insecure' and 'crazy', then what the hell is he doing going out with her in the first place?! It's pretty easy to find out someone's opinion on the issue early on in a relationship.
Men need to stop being so cowardly and desperate, and actually date women with whom they are compatible.Also, calling women who don't like porn 'crazy' is misogynistic; women are perfectly entitled to find porn degrading. If SAD is disgusted and feels betrayed by her boyfriend,then she should end the relationship.
Posted by Mozzer on February 6, 2013 at 2:56 PM · Report this
260
Mozz,

You don't get it. In this time-culture men find it easy and enjoyable to watch porn. If some women find that a dilemna, they're putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Posted by Hunter78 on February 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
mydriasis 261
How are those grapes tasting?
A little sour, huh..
Posted by mydriasis on February 7, 2013 at 4:53 AM · Report this
Fortunate 262
"Also, calling women who don't like porn 'crazy' is misogynistic"

Who called women who didn't like porn crazy?

Not liking porn isn't crazy.

Telling your significant other they can't watch porn is crazy.

Believing them when they say they won't is batshit crazy.

It has nothing to do with being a woman. It goes equally for men as for women. It's just rare that a man takes that stance. But if he did he would be just as crazy.

Trying to control your spouses' sexual activity to that degree, however, is controlling and insecure.
Posted by Fortunate on February 7, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
263
The NCSF Kink Aware Professionals list is also a good place to find a kink aware therapist. https://ncsfreedom.org/resources/kink-aw…
Posted by BellyDancer72 on February 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM · Report this
264
SAD:

Yes, it's okay to feel cheated on when someone lies to you or breaks an agreement.

Are you coming here to ask that question, or to ask whether it's reasonable to be upset when your boyfriend watches porn? I guess it's okay to be upset about whatever you want to be upset about, provided you've communicated clearly beforehand, but it may not serve you well.

If you want a boyfriend who doesn't watch porn, good luck--most guys do, many girls do, and the number of creative, versatile, knowledgeable guys who don't watch porn is probably very small indeed. What do you hope to gain by controlling someone's thoughts or choice of entertainment?

Are you hoping that Dan will convince you that you shouldn't be upset by porn? You'd have to talk a little more about why you're upset; maybe find one of the therapists he mentions in the previous letter (and remember that it would serve you well to ignore any stigma against therapy that you may have--a good therapist is gold!).
Posted by something on February 25, 2013 at 8:57 AM · Report this
265
Dr. Klein's point about the sexuality training standards for many counselors and therapists being almost non-existent seems very, very important.

Interviewing your counselors as to their views on sex and ethics and other such stuff as you feel needs be in accord seems like a good way to go.

To quote the definition offered at www.Sex-Positive.com for sex positivity as:
"an approach to human sexuality regarding individual choices of consensual sexual expression which over time cultivate health and happiness as fundamentally good"

aloha
Posted by sexpositive http://www.Sex-Positive.com on July 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM · Report this
266
Dr. Klein's point about the sexuality training standards for many counselors and therapists being almost non-existent seems very, very important.

Interviewing your counselors as to their views on sex and ethics and other such stuff as you feel needs be in accord seems like a good way to go.

To quote the definition offered at www.Sex-Positive.com for sex positivity as:
"an approach to human sexuality regarding individual choices of consensual sexual expression which over time cultivate health and happiness as fundamentally good"

aloha
Posted by sexpositive http://www.Sex-Positive.com on July 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
267
I've been with my husband for 16 years, we now after many years of work base our relationship on absolute honesty. So yes he can say when he thinks I've put a bit of weight on, or if the dinner I cooked didn't taste good. Why wouldn't I want to know his thoughts and feelings?

I don't like porn, but I do like sex, very much. Our arrangement is that either one of us will always give the other one chance to be involved if we feel horny. We won't just sneak off and do it alone and deprive ourselves and partner of fantastic sex.
He doesn't watch porn, I know that because we're too busy getting naked together.

Everyone has the right to negotiate their own boundaries within a relationship and expect their partner to stand up for their own desires and needs and not lie about them.

There are not only two options (porn or no porn) but any number of compromises and agreements possible in between if you have two mature adults willing to communicate honestly and collaborate to find a mutually acceptable solution.

For me, the worst solution possible is for him to hide it from me. Watching it together would be far preferable, making our own even better. Lying just walls off part of yourself from your partner and closes a door to greater intimacy and happiness. Truth takes effort and courage but is ultimately much more rewarding.
Posted by R0sych33ks on July 6, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this

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