Columns Jul 29, 2010 at 4:00 am



I'll never think of cupcakes in the same way again...
For ITASP--I'd also consider the idea that the wife likes the men who are into fucking her because it's not the hot sex she likes, but the ego boost. So when a guy is into the threesome and not just her, she doesn't get the rush. Sounds like she could be getting off on flattery. I've known quite a few women who are guilty of just that.
The cupcake letter is very interesting because this very morning as I was driving to work, one of the local radio station dee-jays brought up the idea that romantic comedies are to women what porn is to men. The argument he made (and that the two other males agreed with) was that porn gives men unrealistic expectations about sex, while rom-coms give women unrealistic expectations about relationships. Being a women, this completely infuriated me. I would take a porn over a rom-com anyday, but that isn't even the point - anyone who looks at porn and thinks that's what sex will always be like is an idiot. And anyone who watches a romantic comedy and thinks that's what their relationship will be like is an idiot - male or female! When are we going to drop these gender stereotypes and just let people be people?
Oh boy, here comes another debate between anti-porn and pro-porn women for the 'right' to irrefutably characterize the female gender. But the debate will be weighted unfairly, as most pro-porn women will be occupied with the link above.

Ahh, that was a bit to cheeky. Good column as usual. Love hearing from Violet Blue. And the link above is more educational than explicit; she is trying to challenge the same tired old anti-porn mantras with modern facts.
Universally arousing to women, repulses most men = Romance Novels.

You already have societal permission to indulge, Dan's permission is just icing. (so to speak)
First intelligent response I've heard so far concerning the Arab "rapist". Thanks for that!

And as for porn for us ladies -- I'm 24 and have been enjoying it since I was about 12 (all of it guy-on-guy, by the way). And every girl I know has dabbled in it or steadily consumed it since adolescence as well. The fact that women as a whole still think it's odd or even funnier, rebellious, need to wake the fuck up. And porn in the form of the written word counts too, girls -- just because our imagination is a little more vivid doesn't get us off the hook.
Ugh, forget the romance novels and go for the erotica! I don't really dig seeing strangers have sex, but I have been happily reading steamy steamy stories since I was a teen -- and writing them too. There are a million places to go online, and plenty of other women who'd also rather read sex than watch sex.
Haven't there been some studies about how many women read erotica rather than watch porn? I personally know of one women *ahem* who started reading a filthy sex advice column when she was 12 in order to get off, and then would read all the x-matches afterwards to see if there were any local people into the disgusting kinks mentioned in said column.

I wonder how many Savage Love readers are masterbating to Savage Love. And does that creep Dan out, or make him happy?
Romance novels? Arousing? Maybe Kushiel's Dart, if that even counts. (I don't really think it does, personally; it has a solid, interesting, and tightly woven plot.) But me and every female friend that I've talked to about romance novels just laughs at them.

More likely? Yaoi fanfiction. It's by no means universal, but in my friendship groups, that's what women turn to, and it repulses most men.

But it's porn, too, so maybe that rules it out?
@9 Romance novels (Danielle Steele) ... that was exactly what I thought. Generally women like them, men turn their noses up at it. And it satisfies a sexual / romantic desire in women.

I thought everyone loved porn. I love porn. Also erotica, and cupcakes. I've never masturbated to Savage Love though.
That woman humiliated Jewish women everywhere. She cannot be all that religious if she is having premarital sex with a stranger. I understand having a preference for fellow Jews, but accusing someone of rape is not a joke, and in this case, complete bullshit.
I have a hard time believing one out of every three customers of online porn is female. And even if that is true, I'd like to see the data on hours/dollars spent. I think it still skews hugely male.
@Learned Hand: Romance novels?!? Eew...
@Dan: Cupcakes, mmmm...but a bit fattening in excess.
@namae natne iranai: um, excuse me while I google Yaoi non-fiction...
Can't there be shades of gray to the whole porn thing? I'm a feminist. I am by no means anti-porn. But I do feel like SOME porn is problematic, in the way it creates unrealistic expectations of female beauty (anal bleaching and labiaplasty anyone?) and how a lot of straight porn seems to hinge on the objectification of women. Once a clip leans towards the more misogynistic side, it ceases to be hot to me, but I'm not trying to say that people aroused by that kind of thing are gross. I'm saying that there are teenagers, male and female, whose ideas and expectations about sex, and their roles in sex, develop while watching porn; some of them don't have awesome parents or good sex ed or access to this column, making porn a pretty big influence. And we can't pretend we don't live in a society that degrades women. Porn is not the cause, but maybe deeply misogynistic porn is both the result of a woman-hating culture and one of the things that helps to perpetuate it? Maybe that will change as the number of women admitting to watching porn increases. It's complicated. Dear porn lovers and/or feminists: just think it over.
@12 It's not really about religion. It's pretty much like a white woman who had sex with a black guy in Jim Crow era Alabama and then complained she was raped out of lover's remorse (like buyer's remorse for fucking). She is a member of the privileged class, made a regrettable sexual decision, and now is calling "backsies" and if a pleb gets his life ruined, who cares? He's just an Arab, anyways.
Written word porn! Yes! Men (most, not all) like to look; women (most, not all) like to imagine. Rom-coms? Ick, and yawn! Cupcakes? Yum! Of course, my husband happens to love cupcakes!

Romance novels have plenty of sex, but I'll take a nice naughty erotic short story any day. And yeah, I prefer my erotica, written or visual, to have a modicum of a plot. And for the sex to make sense in context. Yeah -- I'm picky. I'm also old and set in my tastes. Sort of!
You're obsessed with that Butch Bakery, aren't you Dan?
I absolute believe that one third of porn consumers are women. I am one of them. The internet has provided a free pass for all of us who having to enter a XXX shop on my own, dealing with creeping leering looks form strange men. Plus the variety and ease of access to one's particular tastes is spectacular!
Waitaminute waitaminute waitaminute...
DEB's request is totally off-base. Men (most men. I think.) don't like porn because they desire some sort of "free pass" away from their partner, they like porn because they like having sex a lot... no, scratch that... they like to orgasm a lot. Porn isn't some trick or deception men (most men) use to sneak away from their partner, they do it because they probably believe (and rightly so) that they would drive their partner crazy if they asked them to constantly do new shit to get them to orgasm quickly.

Porn for men is relief. Not some kind of pleasurable spa-massage vacation. They load it up, jerk off, and get on with the rest of their day.

Women, if they NEED to have something similar, should feel more than welcome to have a "free pass" on something that they really really want and that their partner does for them out of love but maybe doesn't always love doing themselves. If that's cupcakes, fine. If it's porn, fine. If it's a spa-massage day, fine. Whatever. But to imply that men have some "special privilege" in getting a free pass with porn and they want that special privilege too? I resent that. Having a super high sex drive is not always a huge benefit. In fact, for many people, it's a huge detriment. Porn is the poor-man's way of getting that "benefit" taken care of. It's nothing to envy.

And... rant done.
I'm all for removing the whole society taboo of women being into porn. I think the problem isn't women being into porn, though; I think it's the fact that most porn seems to be aimed specifically toward men. I think I can probably count on one hand any porns I've seen that involve someone who looks like they enjoy going down on a woman. Juxtapose that to the number of facials I've seen, or blow job porn in general (not that I don't immensely enjoy blow jobs in porn, but double standard? Yes), and I think one can see a pretty clear rift of intended audiences.
What an interesting continuation of the discussion about female arousal, which continues to be elusive (see Mary Roach's book 'Bonk'). Anyway, to throw in my two cents: I would agree with The Wild Sow @17 about the necessity of plot and context, which is missing from male-centred porn, and thus I'd recommend Second Life. I don't know why Second Life has never been mentioned before, (perhaps we are all a bit shy about letting our geek show?) but I have found it to good solution for discovering and playing out one's fantasies, whilst avoiding the risks of real life. It sure saved my marriage. Although, like porn and other forms of sex that go beyond what you and your partner(s) have agreed, I think it is important to discuss, reassure and get a pass.
As for the Israeli woman who fucked an Arab man posing as a Jew and then blamed him for rape:
First, it should be noted that they've only spoke for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding to a "nearby building". And just for the record, they actually did it on the roof!!! Which is somewhat funny considering how King David, living in the same city thousands of years ago, spotted an attractive woman "washing on the roof" one evening (from the biblical text it's hard to understand whether she was washing her clothes or her body, and I read the original text few times as a horny native speaker teenager). He then sent her husband to the front line to be killed in the battlefield just so that he can fuck her. Which he actually did.

As for the poor Arab guy, he got 18 (yes, that's EIGHTEEN!!!) months of jail for this ridiculous charge, though it should be noted that him and his lawyer accepted a "plea bargain".
All agree he had a lousy lawyer, but that can also point to a judiciary system that can intimidate and discourage Arabs, as I'm sure some of you will point to and unfortunately rightly so (Hi Pamela, how are things these days?)

It should be also noted that most Israelis commenting about this obviously-ridiculous sentence sided with the guy.

Let’s just hope that Arabs and Jews living throughout the Holy land will now concentrate on fucking and pleasing each other in the sexual context only, and that words like “shooting” and “blowing” will get a new, positive meaning in the Middle East and all over the world. Amen!!!
Characterizing porn as "this whole other sex life, which is (mostly) external to their partnerships and is sexually satisfying," is bullshit. What porn is, is an aid to arousal and stimulation. If porn is "this whole other sex life," then so is a vibrator.
I like my porn to have just enough plot to get to the sex.

And generally prefer gay porn, since that focuses on the man. Most straight porn focuses on the woman. Being a straight woman, I'm not interested in watching another woman.

Show me the cock! Stiff, please. Can't believe how many I've seen where both guys were like cooked pasta. >
Could ya use the phrase "preserve the marriage" rather than "save the marriage"? The latter indicates that it is always in peril. I hate to think of it that way.
@5 Exhibit A: Twilight

But I think that only works for preteen girls.
Twilight is vile.

I used to go to Literotica for written porn, but I got so tired of sifting through really dreadful writing, and the lack of "tags". I mean really is it too much to ask for girl/girl without the fear of incest???? I do not think so!

Try StoriesOnline. The quality of writing is much better.
Must it be either porn or Erotica/fanfic? To me they're very different kinds of turn-on.

If I just feel like some quick solo release, sure, I go online and look for some porn, preferably anal (doesn't matter much which gender the ass belongs to, as long as some nice cock is working it) to masturbate to.

If otoh I feel like making a nice steamy evening out of it, with hubby's participation, I find myself something hot and written that helps me really get in the mood.

Women, we're complicated, I know. We want it all :).
I'm a feminist who's not into porn at all and never watches it, but I'm certainly not an anti-porn crusader. I have no moral objection to porn and don't begrudge anyone their enjoyment of it, including my husband -- it's just not my thing. When I whack off, I just use my imagination.

Am I weird?
I do not think it is that weird. As it has been mentioned a lot of porn is just geared towards the male audience. Most of them do not require a "lead up" to get to the sex and more often than not women prefer it.

I typically take what I've read and use it later if I like the story.
Thanks for clarifying why the Israeli girl crying rape is absolutely appalling under those circumstances. Never mind the inherent racism. At the risk of sounding judgmental the judge's statement on the case seems wrong too. "If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have co-operated. The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price – the sanctity of their bodies and souls." We don't care what she thought. She didn't bloody ask. This was a horny girl who saw a hot guy, felt free enough to fuck him there and then (oh, yeah, don't forget to praise israel for giving its women such freedom and being the ONLY democracy in the middle east!) but then gets pissed off and squirmy because somehow she finds out he's an arab after the fact. Now the guy has been charged with something called "rape by deception" and the only reason he got caught is because he called her up and wondered if she wanted to be "raped" again. Oh my lord. 18 months in prison for having a quickie.
Romance novels? Blech. Cupcakes? Meh. I like porn as much as the next porn-using person (of any gender).

@Freche_Lola: Amen to Kushiel's Dart as the rare, hot, HOT!

@avast2006 and Urgutha: I agree...sometimes hard to sift through the straight porn that seems to be made for 20-something frat boys to hoot over with their friends during their "we're so straight we like to get boners together watching those dirty sluts". The gay porn has more of what I guys doing hot stuff.

@coyote69: It's not a men/women's a variability of human traits thing. Some PEOPLE have really high sex drives and porn/jacking off is a good way to release some tension/energy. It's saved my sanity in libido-mismatched relationships and now that I'm with a guy who runs at my speed, we're BOTH happy as pigs in mud doing it all the damn time...and watching porn together and separately.
I'm one of those tedious guys who claim not to use porn. But then I'd get the derision, I must be a liar, like claiming not to masturbate (which, yes, I do). FWIW, I generate the necessary fantasy in my head.

Talking of lies, now that the precedent has been set for rape by lying about things beforehand, how's about a guy prosecuting for rape, for entrapment to marriage - the woman pretended to be keen on sex, until the ring was on the finger. Or fraudulently claimed that he was the father of her kid. Must be rape, n'est pas?

I have this vision of a dystopian world where, prior to the dread act of intercourse, forms in triplicate have to be signed and witnessed by a costly team of lawyers, backed by DNA samples, forensic and medical tests, binding pre-nuptial agreements and of course, continuing witness during the act itself to ensure that it continued to be consensual. Perhaps it's not a vision but reality.
ITASP: This is a situation where not only are the terms of the agreement unequal, but the practical aspects of fulfilling those terms makes the inequality way worse.

On her end of the agreement, she gets to go find and have sex partners who are focused on her. On your end of the agreement, you get to have -- you don't get to find, you only get what she brings you -- sex partners who are either focused on HER, not you, or the ones that are interested in both of you together turn her off, which spoils the mood. Here it is, your fantasy sex, and you don't even get to be a primary participant. That is seriously fucked up.

Why is she free to seek sex outside the relationship without regard to you, but you only "get to enjoy the occasional threesome with her and one of her partners"? Why don't you get to find sex partners on the same terms that she enjoys? Is it that threesomes really are what you want, and it's just that the ones you are getting are mediocre? If not, your agreement is seriously unfair.

What is missing here is a sex partner who is focused on YOU. It's clear that role isn't going to be fulfilled any time soon by the guys that she brings home. (If at all. I can't tell from your letter whether you are bi and the guys are into you, or if your threesomes are two men focusing on the woman.) That role is either going to have to be her, or it's going to have to be another person of your choosing, independent of your wife, using the same freedom to choose that she herself enjoys. If she is not comfortable with you dating outside the marriage independently, she is going to have to stop doing it herself, and focus her attention on you.
@31: No. It's just that people don't tend to talk about how imagination oppresses their sex lives, so nobody is defensive about it.

Besides, if you're using your imagination, that's porn ... in your head. (To me, pornography *tends* to be shorthand for videos, photos, etc., but generally it just means scenarios and ideas intended to curry sexy feelings.)
@37: Although I guess that broader definition is a little silly if the word includes the word for "image." Oh well.
I always enjoy reading the Don but I do get a bit tired of "Please let me usher you out of the cage of old definitions of normativity into the cage of new definitions of normativity. As you transit, please be sure to enjoy your five seconds of actual freedom to be yourself."

Stop with the generalizations and pronunciations of what's 'normal', FTLOG. Anyone of any gender can like or not like porn. Or monogamy. Or anything else. And open marriages can work (only ever seen it not working myself, but remain willing to take it on theory) but they tend to come with more baggage than a Samsonite factory and more drama than Italian opera.
" out of every three consumers of internet porn IS female..." Is the editing staff on holiday? Sheesh.
If there was more porn where the woman looked like she was REALLY enjoying it and was having a GENUINE orgasm, I'd be much more interested.
And I agree with above comments about the porn featuring guys with REALLY stiff cocks! Limp noodles are not going to do much for women - we want to see that hard cock and imagine how it feels thrusting inside. A medium sized hard cock is much better for me than a huge squishy one.

Thank heavens for the news item about the Jew/Arab rape case; it's the only thing mentioned in this week's column that isn't insanely uninteresting and pointless.

Oh, and #23? That couldn't have happened; David was only interested in boning Jonathan, whom he met on
Jews are the new Nazis with their racial apartheid laws.

No Israel = Know Peace
If we're looking for something for straight women that repulses most straight men, I'd have to go with /slash fanfic. Written by straight-identifying women, it refashions (weird choice of word) male pop culture icons into lovers--think Harry Potter/Malfoy, Kirk/Spock. While I've only sampled a little of it, it's XXX erotica, as in it has graphic sex preceded by an elaborate emotional build-up--i.e. the characters slowly realizing they're in love is "the" erotic trip switch. I don't see many straight dudes being into that--seems to me it primes feminine longing as desire, esp. romantic narratives of over-coming obstacles.

In my own life, I've been sorry to discover over and over that too many straight men see toys as a threat. Such a turn-off.

In the cases of toys and porn, I wish both straight men and women, respectively, would confront their insecurities. Being turned on by openness myself, I lose interest almost immediately when I hear any declarations of "real men don't do that" or "good women don't like that." Makes me feel isolated and not at all horny.

Count me in as yet another woman who likes her porn to be verbal rather than visual. I don't know why I have this preference, but I don't think it's because I suffer from the stereotypical feminine thirst for romance or some prudish aversion to "real" pornography. Language just gets me going in a way that pictures generally don't.
GrammarSnot - at least be right if you're going to correct someone/something.

One (blah blah blah) IS Female.

One is the subject, not consumers jackass.
DEB is an idiot.

"If all men get a pass to have this whole other sex life, which is (mostly) external to their partnerships and is sexually satisfying"

Porn is a means to an end. The end being an orgasm. Do you really think men would pass on real sex with a willing partner for porn instead?!? I mean really.

Porn is just a substitute until you can get your hands on the real thing. It's hardly this entire separate relationship men (or women like me) are having on their own to the point of excluding their partners (and if it is then that silly DEB is called an addiction - and addictions are always cause for concern).

And DEB is also an idiot for the generalizations she makes about women not enjoying porn.

I watch porn. Lots of it. More than my husband because hey I like to get off. I don't care about a plot, misogyny etc. It's just a tool to get me off. So just about anything on say XVideos will do. And you know what else? Many of my girlfriends do the exact same thing.

Ugh. I'm not quite sure what it is but everything about DEBS letter + tone irritates the shit out of me. It's not rocket science. People eat ice-cream because it's yummy. People watch porn to have orgasms. C'est fini.
Add me to the 1/3 of women who watches and *le gasp* buys porn. I/we are a huge fans of Adam & Eve's productions and it took us 6 different sessions to make it through Pirates!

On the other hand, when it comes to masturbation, I love to read/listen to romance novels (long commute) and have a dozen hentai novels I brought back from Japan that are kept near the toys. Something about the onomatopoeias... :-)
@47: This pretty much said all I needed to know about DEB: "[W]omen are a little bit more complicated." *facepalm* So grating and condescending.
romance literature is hot to women, because it taps into what's turning us on, without showing us the details that turn us off.

Sure, i've tried watching porn. Too bad all of it sucks (ya including the stuff aimed at women. Fat chicks in their forties fucking sluggish looking balding chubby boring people. They look like my parents, ick). If I like the porn actress, I almost invariably hate the actor. If I like the act, the porn actress is making a stupid face and screaming like a stuck pig the entire time or wearing a onepiece hot pink leotard. You know what, I'm actually pretty happy with anything that happens as long as the guy is hot, but the guy is NEVER EVER HOT.

I have found ONE good porn in my life, ever. It's Kenny Styles and Asa Akira. He's hot, she's hot, he looks into it when he's doing things to turn her on, she looks pleased, etc. THATS ALL I WANT.

Anyway, that's why women turn to romance literature (or gay porn, where you can actually sort porn to look for hot guys). Romance literature/fanfics taps into all the mental hottness of "Ohhh, the temptation! I must resist! Nay I am seduced" and leaves your imagination to fill in the sexy details, without some ugly actor ruining it for you.
@20: I can't believe no one has called you on this post yet. The suggestion that women don't have high sex drives is ridiculous! Even more ridiculous is the suggestion that all men do.

The simple fact is this, and hold onto your hats because it might rock your preconceived gender notions: some women do want more sex than their male partners! For you to imply that all men have high sex drives is perpetuating a myth that has left more than a few highly-sexual women feeling downright duped.

@49 Totally agree!

@47 Actually, I've heard from more than a few women about their male partner turning down sex in favour of porn. Usually there were bigger issues involved -- porn is easier, the male partner is less attracted to female partner after a baby or weight gain, male partner feels inadequate, etc -- but the fact is that some men turn to porn because real sex is too "difficult".

It's not a bad thing about the porn industry, and I'm certainly not busting on that. I'm all in favour of porn, for people who like to watch it, and I read erotica myself.

It's just that I think we all really need to dispel some of the myths we have about porn and how it fulfills sexual needs (women don't like it, men prefer sex, men need porn because of a higher sex drive) in order to really get a clear view.
Thanks a lot for the cupcake reference. I was about to make a huge batch for my grandma's 100th birthday. Now I get to have horrific images your cupcocks stuck in my brain while I'm making cupcakes for my nana. I might also be making a batch for my pregnant sister-in-law's shower. I would rather read about filching ATM sex than hear you refer to cupcakes as cupcocks. Not everything has freudian meaning, unless you go out of your way to look for it. Thanks, again, Dan. Thanks.....AGAIN.
I mostly read porn, but I watch porn too. Sometimes both. I'll read if I want a nice buildup to a great orgasm, or I'll watch if I want to have an orgasm NOW (these never seem to be quite as satisfying, though). Sometimes I'll read and get off and then watch right after to get off again. The problem with a lot of porn I watch is that the people in it look bored or the guy is silent while the woman makes a lot of noise. I don't have a problem with women making noise, but a lot of it sounds like it's done just to please the guy. Anyway, I want to hear the guy being satisfied! It's hard to sift through a lot of videos which turn me off to get to the good stuff where both people are genuinely enjoying having sex.

Women should demand more porn that we like. It's good that we're talking about it more openly now. Hopefully it will become more mainstream.
I agree with 47 (except the "DEB is an idiot," part. She's not an idiot--I think she's mostly trying to be cute.) I am one of those women who enjoys porn that's more hardcore than the porn enjoyed by her boyfriend. He likes mostly posed nude stills of women with big tits and the occasional blowjob clip. I like to watch women getting fucked, preferrably by multiple men at one time. Also, I'm not a fan of storyline. I don't want romance. I want to see people fucking.

I once asked my boyfriend about his "relationship" with porn. He said it's just about wanting to get himself off in a completely selfish way. You know what? I can respect that. You know what else? We have plenty of sex, and I have no cause for complaint. I'd love to have more sex, but christ--we have jobs and other stuff to do. I don't feel that porn is in any way a hinderance to our relationship. In fact, as me and a couple of gay male friends were discussing last night, I think it helps. I've seen it said that porn helps monogamous men stay that way. It gives them the opportunity to engage in a sex act while looking at another woman, providing them with something that they want while keeping their promise to be faithful. I can buy that argument. My gay male friends who are in monogamous relationships concurred.
"...probably because the hotter guys are more interested in her alone than in us together. My wife is GGG, but it is hard for her to persuasively feign interest in the guys who are interested in us both."

Wait, I think this was overlooked. He is pissed because the men his wife brings home are not interested in sex with him and the guys who are interested in him do not interest his wife. It sounds like he needs to get out and date some men on his own instead of expecting his wife to bring them home for threesomes.
Not sure if another commenter mentioned this, but gay porn is highly enjoyable to some women and highly not enjoyable to their men. So there's that. I second the yaoi fic and other forms of Japanese boy/boy animated porn. Now, if I find a man who can enjoy these things WITH me, I'm gonna marry that man.
A sex positive shoutout to all the married woman at #47-54 on the blogue! I too am a married man and my wife has inspected the porn I purchased for myself on Dvd. After talking to her about the details after the fact she has masturbated to it even though it's not exactly her type. She figured he spent "our" money on it I better get something out of it! She has, and she likes big black porn studs in action! American women have been shown to be aroused by videos of ordinary naked women doing arobic type excercises. This is from a contemperary US psycho-sexual human studies program.
For Deb, how about Erotica? Men tend to be less interested in it than women.
Erotica? That was Madonna's most underrated album!
For women who find mainstream porn (and womens' magazines!) boring - I recommend having a look at Filament Magazine ( It's published by a woman in the UK who got sick of how [a] most porn marketed to women was just repackaged gay porn, and [b] most womens' magazines were nothing but catalogs for beauty products, clothes, and celebrity gossip. Filament is founded on the idea that women can enjoy perving on hot men while still having brains: the photo spreads are intentionally shot for what they call "the female gaze", and there are well-researched and interesting articles on subjects ranging from the limits of social tolerance to the history of cocaine to the mounting popularity of boylesque. Excellent stuff, I highly recommend it.
Puh-leez, Dan. You like cupcakes. I know you do. You spoke lustfully of a cupcake you had pictured on your desk.
Thank god somebody called DEB an idiot. Does she even know what porn is and is for? "Free pass on external activities" . . . bitch. Are you seriously that insecure?

I'm going to go drown my anger in a cupcake.
First off: if you think of cupcakes as mini-cocks, you check these out:…

I think it is pretty obvious in reading this thread that--guess what?--different people are aroused by different things and different people use whatever constitutes "porn" to them in different ways. PEOPLE, not men, not women.

I am a woman who happens to find visual, pictorial hardcore porn rather repulsive, but am a huge reader (and writer) of erotica.
I am linguistically oriented, and like dirty talk during sex, and often when I masturbate I replay a particular evocative phrase from something I've just read.

Although I don't like porn, I don't care if the man in my life watches/uses it, but if we're using it together it can be tricky because so much of it actually puts me off sex. So I assume that he watches it without me, which is fine; why would I want to begrudge him pleasure?

Sometimes I share the erotica, but it's generally a solo act for me. However, occasionally I think about/visualize some of the scenarios (and the words themselves) I find especially hot while having sex to get me to orgasm. I assume that sometimes my partner does the same, using mental images of real images he's already masturbated to.

Lastly, please do not assume that all women like or are turned on by either romance novels or romantic comedies. Some of us really hate both of them.
@53: Yes. Exactly. My main complaint is that actors in pornos often look like they got hit in the face by a truck.

And my boyfriend has said to me that he definitely has more still images than videos, and the videos tend to be short, selected clips, and not just because he wants to skip plot filler.

It's much easier for him to find something that works overall for him when it stays simple. The more factors you throw in -- like in porn film -- the more likely there's going to be something that kills his buzz.

I mean, combine the facts (1) I'd never pay for porn, (2) lots of porn sites are virus cities, and (3) there's too much crap or stuff that may actually be well done but isn't my taste, and ready-made porn just isn't a common habit for me either. I still like it, but there's just very little that I can find and like.
If the religions were reversed in an Islamic country he would be torn to pieces by a mob and she would probably be flogged.
@47 Unfortunately there are lots of men who would rather jerk off to porn than have sex with their partners. Porn widows are a big and growing segment of the population.
porn for women: romance novels? yaoi?
i new this little old lady once with an entire room stacked floor to ceiling with trashy romance novels on a third grade reading level.
@66: "Porn widows are a big and growing segment of the population."

We should lobby city hall to get them reduced bus fare!
Eva @51,
I'm not suggesting all men have higher sex drives than women or that all men want it more than women. If a woman (in a straight relationship) had a higher sex drive and watched porn to relieve herself and her guy partner wrote in complaining that HE wanted a free pass too, I'd have said the same thing but with the genders reversed. My only real point was that porn is just a relief valve, not some kind of fantasy second life that DEB is envious of.
@62 by way of 47: I don't think it's cool to call DEB an "idiot" because she's got some hangups about porn. It's just a flat out insult, and it does nothing to illustrate where a lot of women get off base when it comes to their men looking at porn.

My boyfriend looking at porn doesn't a) mean he's going to cheat on me, or b) he finds me unattractive. I think some women believe that one or both of these things are true when it comes to their partners looking at porn. For whatever reason, they can't imagine someone not bonding with their source of stimulation, so they see an emotional connection that just isn't there. Meanwhile, a lot of men just see porn as a low-hassle way of getting off, which has already been pointed out. When I pointed out to my boyfriend that I understood that neither a nor b were true, he said, "THANK YOU!" with relief about the fact that he's finally found a woman who didn't view his porn through her own completely different perspective--even though my own personal perspective is a lot like his.

I'm sure none of this is new, but it may be a perspective that's new for DEB. Women are surrounded by the message that they should worry about their partners' sexual appetites and therefore try to control them out of fear instead of trying to be more open and understanding of the different ways in which people view sex. Now I'm gonna go have a cupcake because I'm at work and can't look at porn.
I suddenly have the urge to shove my dick in a cupcake.
Porn widows are a big and growing segment of the population.

Bullshit. If anyone is "widowed" by porn, it's because their relationship is already dysfunctional. There might be some compulsive porn users that are exceptions, but generally porn is consumed as a side dish, not the main course, in healthy relationships.
@#13: Chone: You don't buy that 1/3 of people watching porn are women? Where are your studies? Your numbers? What supports your opinion? Dan cites his sources, but you'll keep your opinion based on how you feel. Nobody cares how you feel.... give numbers to back yourself up, or your opinion is worthless.
What language, religion, and porn have in common is that they are representational.

- words are not interchangeable with what they represent

- religions are established to form a vocabulary for our experiences; what we consider authentic religions have references to their own deadness ie the commandment against idolatry in the Abrahamic religions, the portrayal of the universe as a theater in religions like Hinduism, and things like the koan in the eastern religions

-porn establishes a vocabulary for arousal that refers to its own deadness in the form of crappy scripting and acting

Because of this deadness, porn can't constitute a "pass to have this whole other sex life" any more than Christianity can enforce a literal rapture. At its core, porn provides men a vocabulary for female lust. Sex is, after all, interactive, so for a man to live without a vocabulary of a partner's lust is to live without a sexual identity. Which in the 21st century still means interacting in society without a gender role. (Otherwise our children would be enforcing their own masculinity and femininity by their abstinence.)

Women don't need a vocabulary for male lust, because the penis they are working with is either erect or it isn't. Or even just the sexual suspicion women go through men don't have to go through. And going by some of the studies Dan cites, women experience arousal as an inversion of how men experience it, so there is no default benefit of such a vocabulary of arousal for women. Porn for women is paradoxical.

The closest analogy to porn for women seems to be a guy who refuses to look at porn. Maybe this explains the initial attraction women with a healthy appetite for sex will hold out for men disinterested in sex. Someone should do a study of normal men in heterosexual relationships, have half of them live without porn for 6 months or a year, and see what the increase is in their partner's interest in sex.

Or at least that's how it seems to me.
@ Kylara7 it was actually the person after me who mentioned the Kushiel series, though I have read it and like it a lot. However I like it for the plot more than for the sex. To me it's a good fantasy series in which sex is a large component rather than an erotic novel with a plot.
@#60 (roseneko): Thanks! That looks awesome. Signing myself up.

Is there any other woman friendly porn out there? I have been largely turned off by free porn sites on the internet and would love to be pointed in the right direction!
@ #74:
"The closest analogy to porn for women seems to be a guy who refuses to look at porn. Maybe this explains the initial attraction women with a healthy appetite for sex will hold out for men disinterested in sex"


I am mystified.

I have to vote for adult fan-fiction as the female answer to video based porn. Regardless of the genre, it seems to be by far a female 'thing' and not enjoyed by most men.
To DEB, I'm going to go ahead and say look into yaoi.

I'm big into yaoi, and in many ways it is for me exactly what DEB described. Maybe you should look this up Dan, I'd love to see your take on yaoi. There's even a convention for it, yaoi con in San Fran, and I'm talking rooms full of women screaming for cock and unabashedly discussing what they think is hot.

Yaoi is, for those who don't know, basically an umbrella term in the English speaking word for Japanese comics centered on the relationship between gay guys. Unlike most porn, which focuses on boobs and pussy, yaoi is all guys, but it isn't just drawn gay porn. It's written by women for women, and although there is sex there's also some plot, and a lot of emotions.

Personally, I think a lot of porn is gross or just boring. Yes people are having sex, but who cares. A lot of girls I've talked to say that what makes something interesting to them is the idea that these aren't just bodies fucking, but people who care about each other. Tender kissing is just as erotic as sex acts, and in yaoi the shot of one guy getting a towel to wipe cum off his partner's face while apologizing for cumming on his face like that is more interesting than the cum shot because it shows these two people care about each other, they're human beings in a relationship.

Yaoi isn't for everyone. It's idealistic, and essentially romance with all the tropes attached to that genre. Except instead of a boring female heroine, you have another hot guy. It's also a visual medium because it's mainly available in the form of manga.

Now, I'm not a comic book person, which kept me from trying this stuff out for quite a while, but now I'm hooked. I have quite the collection of yaoi manga, do yaoi based rps online with other girls (not so much cybering as two girls writing erotic fiction together, this stuff is generally a good mix of plot and porn, and the rps read more like a romance novel than a chat as we aren't playing as ourselves but writing characters. But it's still hot, and turns the players on, but not in a lesbian way, because it's very much an expression of I like boys!)

And that's sort of what's great about it. Because women aren't supposed to say they like boys, not really, as in we're not supposed to say that heaven forbid that they like cock. They're supposed to say they like boys to fulfill a heteronormative role. We're supposed to like guys, but not sex, women are supposed to want to get married and have kids, women are supposed to be sexy, be something that turns guys on, but not sexual because then you're a slut. Slut bashing still exists as do gender inequalities in terms of sexual expression. Guys are pushed to lose their virginity's and brag about it, but when a girl loses her virginity she still faces the risk of social stigma. Men get a free pass to watch porn, while a lot of women, even sexually active women, would never masturbate because it's considered wrong somehow.

I like that yaoi was made by women for women and I like liking it, because it shows that it's ok to be a woman, and be sexual. Guys can have their sexual fantasies in porn, and women can have ours. Because the way guys act in yaoi isn't realistic behavior for gay men, or any men really, it's idealized, it's a female ideal of what is hot for guys and for porn.

Yeah, not all women are the same. Some men don't like porn, and some women don't like yaoi. Some because they see as too gay, and think that watching something with gay guys because guys are hot will somehow make them lesbians, while some say they want a female character to identify with. Some people just don't like romance and don't like the romance fluff that makes up most yaoi. Most gay guys I know don't like yaoi for that reason, they say it's a bunch of guys acting like girls and talking about their feelings during sex.

So it's not for everyone, but it does fit the criteria of what DEB was asking for. Check out "Sensitive Pornograph." if you can , it's a classic.
@77: What you're quoting from me was written very badly, but everyone here knows that every time Dan gets a request for help from some distressed woman trapped in a marriage with a guy who never had a strong sex drive in the first place, an angel gets his wings.

Women do not encourage men who ogle, because they aren't attracted to men who ogle. They are attracted to men who don't ogle. And who ogles less than a guy with a low sex-drive?

When men see a horny women, they get horny. How do women get horny? From watching someone attractive get horny? Not by default. We don't even know. They scan a woman in a state of physical arousal, and she might not even know she's what men normally consider horny.

According to various articles floating around, a man's unavailability boosts his attractiveness to women. How attractive then is a man unavailable by default? A man unavailable by his own lack of a sex-drive?

If you have a more plausible explanation -- speaking as a guy -- we are standing-by to hear it. It will be twittered everywhere.
I was in a relationship where my boyfriend masturbated daily and occasionally watched porn while he did so (the other times, he did it in the shower to wake up in the morning). We had sex once or twice a month (his preference, not mine, I was horny as hell!). So it is definitely possible for some people to separate porn from sex, creating a very unhappy partner in my case.

And some advice that nobody has mentioned for ITASP: perhaps your wife has a cuckold fetish, as in she fantasizes about cuckolding YOU. Which could be why she's not very into it when you're involved. A compromise I'd like to suggest: she is allowed to have sex with guys like she is now, but you have to be able to watch. Maybe she could tie you up and make it seem like she's forcing you to watch? It's worth a try anyway :)
Oh, and! I'm female, and my favorite erotica are disturbed hypersexual novels with uncontrived BDSM acts in them. Like the Sleeping Beauty trilogy by Anne Rice, or the published works of the Marquis de Sade.

Romance novels have the right idea, but they don't usually take the sex far enough to be interesting.
Thanks, CameoAmalthea,
your post was intelligent and informative, and although I don't usually like comics or Manga, I'll check out yaoi because your description was intriguing. And we're back to straight women getting turned on by gay-themed porn--interesting.

I hate 99% of the porn I've seen, which has always been straight. The men are unattractive and silent, the women bother me for unknown reasons, and the contexts are stupid. But mostly, I just find that closeup of penis-in-mouth or penis-in-vagina leaves me cold. So I guess I'll have to check out some gay porn, too, if only to see stiff cocks on hot-looking men.

But I suspect that gay porn won't do much for me, either.

I've never seen porn--even when I've seen homemade stuff between real couples who really love each other--that accurately conveys the sense of DESIRE I find arousing. I do find it in well-written erotica, and even though I am a straight woman, I like gay and lesbian erotica as much as het stuff. As long as the need and passion is conveyed well, I "become" every character in the story.
@50/Caralain Check out Tristan Taormino's "chemistry" series (I've only seen 1&2). Everyone is hot and everyone is into it. Its vaguely reality-esque as she got a bunch of porn stars who wanted to work together, stuck them in a house for a weekend and filmed it.

Super hot.
The female equivalent to porn is erotic romance novels. Men are more visually stimulated than women, whereas women need the emotional stimulation that comes with the passion described in romance novels. Women consume those things far more than men, who often find them sappy or silly.
Mike Leung:
You're not making a logical connection between your statements that woman aren't aroused by seeing a man get horny (and yes, they often are, if they think that the arousal is triggered by them; noting is more attractive than feeling desired) and the idea that woman want men who either ogle other women or are unavailable.

On what do you base this?

I once had a boyfriend who frankly lusted after every female we saw. But he turned me into the object of all that lust, and I was one happy camper. I loved the evidence of his libido.

Contrary to what you may believe from your obviously skewed reading of this column, women with high libidos don't prefer men with low ones.
@47: "Porn is a means to an end. The end being an orgasm. Do you really think men would pass on real sex with a willing partner for porn instead?!? I mean really."

Yes I do. Because sometimes you just want to get off and it's too much work to go w/yr willing partner. You can take care of business in 5 minutes. Sometimes it's just much much easier that way.
@45: YES! Language turns me on, too. When I wank-fantasize, I'm visualizing people doing stuff while a voiceover narrates it. True story.

@50: This is an excellent description of why some women don't enjoy porn. I'm totally down with the idea of watching pretty people fuck (M/M, M/F, F/F, doesn't really matter), but it's difficult to find porn that's to my liking. I'm fairly particular both with regards to who I find attractive and what acts I want to watch (me trying to get off to a woman giving a blow job is like most people trying to get off to a kid getting jabbed in the eye). Also, as much as I'm able to find women attractive, their junk sort of freaks me out - and all the porn I've seen so far insists on big squelchy EXTREME CLOSEUPS of the genitals in action. Bleh.

I hate being stereotyped as "Oh, she's a woman, she wants rainbows and candles and plotlines and romance and emotional connection." That's not it. I'd be perfectly pleased to watch porn where two strangers jump right into the action and do all kinds of raw, kinky stuff - but I want to find both people attractive and I want them to seem like they're enjoying themselves and I want them to have the kind of sex that I actually like. And I want the women to actually seem like they're having orgasms.

And although I do appreciate fanfic and erotica, most of that isn't up to my exacting standards, either. And romance novels are a) usually horribly written, b) feature a submissive, idiot woman falling for a guy who acts like a total asshole, and c) use stupid, coy metaphors for body parts that irritate me much more than they arouse me. It's not a sword or a sceptre or a love-wand, people: it's a cock.
My wife got upset I looked at porn, so I've stopped. Guess what? I went from hot sex with her every day to sex once a week maybe. I'm just not turned on. Niether one of us is happy at the result, but hey, porn is evil, right...
I'm 100% monogamous, never cheated, even a little, but without porn, I've just lost interest in sex.
I'm going to save my marriage and just go look at some porn. And then have a long multi-orgasmic sex session.
Those who don't follow VB's OPO facebook group: too late. FB's guardians of Disney-flavored good taste have decided it shall no longer their site grace, and nixed it.
@81 - I wonder about this "sex drive" issue and how this is related to "porn addiction" - how much of that lack of desire for sex with a partner has to do with a broken relationship or loss of attraction and how much has to do with substituting porn. In other words: the porn seems like it was a side-issue, and the daily masturbation seems to suggest the guy's sex drive wasn't nil. However, the desire to masturbate rather than have sex with a real live woman suggests that the guy might have had issues with intimacy or was emotionally immature. I dunno...

I don't think the porn is the evil; I think it's a convenient avoidance/escape route.

I am a guy who likes erotica (literotica) better than visuals, and I can't stomach Romance I'm going with the latter as the female equivalent.
I'm a woman and I hate romance novels (no offense) and erotica. I also just like the hard core fucking and group gang bangs. I'm 25, I don't know if it makes a difference, but I was pretty much raised by the internet and exposed to porn at an early age. I guess my round-a-bout question is: do think age has something to do with it? I used to watch porn with my girl friends in college for entertainment purposes, not to get off necessarily, too.
I'm another woman who just (as in within the last couple of months) found the world of yaoi. There's different levels. Do you just want hot men pining after each other? Shonen-Ai. Do you want sex? It's normally labeled as smut or "lemon". Hentai is more or less straight up graphically drawn sex. A lot of hentai isn't yaoi, but I've found some. Plus you can look up doujins, which are basically fanfiction drawn out. So if you have two favorite pop culture male characters having hot sex with each other, you can probably find that too. Yay, right?
I'll tell you the female equivalent. It is of course, going out and being picked up by a hot man. That is the only equivalent because women want most to be desired. The sick rejection our male partners would feel if we acted on this equivalent as regularly as they enjoy thier porn, would comepletely cripple them. I say we all start taking up our birthright. Afterall we deserve to feel desired by someone as much as our partners desire their women online.
What about ITASP?!
Dan, I'm surprised you didn't catch something right off the bat- the couple had no luck dating single women or couples, but have had success with bi men?!!! In my experience, it has been completely the opposite. There are LOTS of couples out there interested in dating other couples. And my partner and I have had many successful threesomes and couple swaps. ITASP expects his wife to settle for bi men that she's not attracted to? Seriously. I'd be pretty pissed if I was that woman. She does all the work! Not only does she find hot dates for herseld, but she sets up the threesomes, too! Why should she settle?
ITSAP needs to get off his lazy fucking ass and pick up a girl or a couple on his own.
I want to clarify that I hate most of the crappily-written garbage that passes for erotica online, especially. And I, too, hate euphemism; nothing like a good four-letter dirty word or two in combination to get me going. The erotica I mean is written by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Alison Tyler, Thomas Roche, et al.

Interesting thought, Roadflare, about age having something to do with taste. I suspect that women who were raised on the Internet and saw different kinds of porn regularly might have a different reaction to it than those of us who are older.
@36 - I can't believe I looked through almost 100 posts and yours is the only one that said what I was thinking!
If ITASP is reading this, you are being taken advantage of, and if you're too weak to do anything about it, then you deserve what you get. Maybe you'll like #81's idea - to help increase you're status as a cuckold.
But seriously, what is the point of an open marriage if you can't get any pussy on the side?
Eva @ 51..."Actually, I've heard from more than a few women about their male partner turning down sex in favour of porn."

The questions is are they turning down sex JUST because of porn? Or are they turning it down because their partner is not interesting/attractive/enthusiastic/take your pick or because they have some personal reason why? To me the REASON is key. Turning down sex JUST because you can watch porn instead is unheard of to me. Turning down sex because you are tired, don't feel your best, are holding a grudge, aren't feeling your partners new look etc, AND then turning right around and using porn to get off...that's NORMAL.

For instance I prefer to have oral sex performed on me right after a shower. It's a mental thing, silly I know. So yes I have turned down oral sex, kissed the husband good bye and turned on some hardcore Katja Kassin the minute he's gone. He's done the same. I've offered sex, he's said "Uh no I just feel like a quick hand, my muscles hurt from my run this evening.". I say okay, give him some privacy, and let him do his thing...YES to porn.

Why? It's not because either of us are placing porn above the other. It's just at that particular point in time there is an underlying reason that makes getting off to porn a better alternative for us. This happens in a normal relationship. Everyone likes easy, and getting off on your own to porn you like can be easier than full blown sex. Still doesn't mean porn is king shit over actual sex. One could argue I'm arguing a fine point. But to me it's crystal clear.

Take Mmmmm @ 87. He's not rejecting sex because PORN is above sex. He's rejecting sex at a particular point in time because he's tired and wants an effortless quickie. I can relate to that! That to me is perfectly normal and is not the equivalent of having a "serious relationship" with porn that competes with your relationship with your partner.

Shahnahnah @ 70, DEB's not an idiot because of her take on porn or whatever. DEB is an idiot because she makes several grandly stupid assumptions e.g. what porn symbolizes to all men, that all men watch porn, that all women find porn repulsive, that all women are so darn complicated etc. DEBS an idiot because of the bevy of assumptions she makes with seemingly no critical analysis of WHY she holds those assumptions.
Mariaw @ 94 please speak for yourself.

Nothing is more of a turn-on to my husband than my being ogled and chatted up by men. I think it's silly but it gets him going that other men want his wife. So yeah I don't know what the fuck you are on about...

I don't want the hot men who are attracted to me sleeping with me. And my husband doesn't want the hot porn actresses sleeping with him either. The hot men who chat me up and the hot women in porn he looks at...spice us both up for...wait for it...for us! Unbelievable isn't it? :-)
Everytime the subject of porn comes up in Dan's column or Savage Blog the comments go through the roof. I think there should be a forum (no pun intended) for just this topic. Anyone want to start one?

By the way, yay porn! As long as it's consensual and safe. And it's not that hard to find actresses who are pretty clearly having a good time. I'd put it at about 30-40%.

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