Columns Sep 3, 2014 at 4:00 am

Crazy in Love


@97 seandr: What's up? I'm with LavaGirl @99 and XiaoGui17 @100.
Adz @95 "Some people just end up in a place where the only satisfaction they get is from crushing their spouse."

Good point. See "Normal Marital Sadism"…
("People who refuse to acknowledge their own hatred, vindictiveness, and punitiveness are the most pernicious people to those they love. You can't learn to control hostile impulses you won’t acknowledge having")

Or, I suppose, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
@LavaGirl: And you say it's her problem for having limits and it makes her bad in bed?

A woman can set whatever limits she wants around her sexual repertoire, but I'm not going to give her a medal just for showing up.
I'm pretty sure my husband's introduced a lot of new sex stuff into our marriage that he got from porn but he's not dumb enough to say "hey, I saw this on Pornhub and I totally think we should try it!", and I have never asked "where did you get that idea?" because frankly, hearing "I saw it on a porno" is not the most appealing answer. He just seems to be able to subtly suggest stuff that I end up doing and then look back thinking "wow, I'm glad I went along with that". Sometimes (e.g. pegging) I take a while to get used to the idea. We've been monogamous for 20 years and he's still not going to give me a medal just for showing up.
SNAP - Present her with divorce papers. Tell her the reason for them is that there are only two possibilities here. Either:

A) She is right that watching ordinary porn makes you a pedophile, in which case there is no way in hell she should be married to one; or
B) She is batshit crazy wrong about porn, in which case there is no way in hell that you will continue to be married to someone who calls you a pedophile for watching ordinary porn.

One or the other. There is no middle ground here. Now, choose. She has exactly one minute before you choose for her.

Assuming that neither of those is acceptable to her - I'm assuming they aren't, or she would have divorced you as a pedophile long ago, and this is really about controlling you -- when she gets done hyperventilating, casually mention, oh, yeah, there is option C) We stay married, but you get some lined paper and hand write 500 times the following: "Watching porn has nothing to do with pedophilia, I have been a complete asshole on this topic for the last (insert period), I admit this freely, and I will never, ever use this tactic again, on pain of divorce."
@5: If SHIT's wife is openly saying she never wants to have sex again, he should take her at her word, rather than try to talk her out of it. But he should be equally free to openly tell her that just because she doesn't want sex ever again, that doesn't mean he doesn't, too. If she does not want to be an active participant in his sex life, his sex life now has no relevance to her. He will not rub her nose in his sexual activities, but neither will he consult her, nor ask her permission.

And he should tell her all of the above. If she chooses to divorce him over it, hey, at least it wasn't him divorcing her over it.
@22: "So, yes, the LW should let his wife know that this behaviour is not acceptable - but with compassion and concern, and a suggestion that she get therapy to deal with her issues."

Did your eyes just kind of skip over the phrase "literally yells at me in public?" Someone who literally yells at their partner in public over something completely irrational is not deserving of a gentle response. She needs to be told _first_, "Knock that bullshit off right the fuck NOW," and only _second_ "Gee, you seem to be irrational on this topic, maybe you should get some therapy for your insecurities."

By "as someone who has flown off the handle in similar ways," I hope you aren't admitting to having behaved the same way, because that would make you an asshole.
@87: " Wanting equality is my understanding of Feminism."

For you to start by accusing others of the Readers' Digest version of Feminism, and then use the above as your summation of What Feminism Is -- as if "Nobody owes anybody else sex, ever" was not something that many, many feminists vehemently support -- puts the irony meter up in flames.
@109; wtf are you guys on about? " nobody owes anybody else sex". I think, as in I think this means one ( which includes everybody), is allowed to say no. As in, having sex is a mutual act of consent. Of course, in a marriage, in a monogamous LTR, a contract ( implied or stated) exists where the expectation is on each person to engage in sex, on a regular basis- otherwise other arrangements can be looked into.
And yes , my take on Feminism is it is about women wanting equality. Of voice, of occupation, of time not doing the housework or minding the kids , gee even a chance to equally govern the world.
Having troubles commenting, so I'm going to try breaking this into two comments.

@92 Basically, that seems to be my view. I do strongly support therapy for abusers. I think cognitive-behavioral is probably the most productive path, but I could be convinced otherwise if there is recent data suggesting other things work better. I also think that therapy isn't just for diagnosable disorders. I think that far too many people who could benefit from therapy don't go in until a problem is really huge (and harder to fix), because they think "they aren't that messed up". In truth, therapy (if the therapist is good... mileage really varies here) can help a lot of people in a lot of situations. And you don't need a mental illness to be someone who should get therapy (if it is available to you - I do wish there were fewer barriers to getting therapy).

@94 That's basically what I'm discussing... how should we define "pathological"? How should we define illness? Seandr @98 is making a valid point. Psychology defines things as problems when they are causing harm to yourself or others. This is important because it's the difference between a kink that is not a psychological problem, because the person is happy with it and only consenting adults are involved, and a sexual compulsion that is a problem, because it either involves abusing someone else or because it is causing you great distress. If something is really distressing you, it is an issue.
I remember in the 1970's when talking about marital rape was a new thing. Legally no matter what a man did to a woman it could never be rape as long as they had gotten married and not gotten divorced. Feminists thought this was a problem and got laws changed.

Legally a husband was entitled to his wife's body. This had been recognized in law pretty much everywhere (for millennia?) until feminists said no, individuals are entitled to their own bodies and nobody else's. That meant that women could choose to have sex and that it was nobody's business but theirs, and it meant that they could choose not to have sex and that they weren't denying anyone anything they were entitled to.

These changes were initiated by feminists because they affected women disproportionately but they apply to everyone.

So yeah, I agree with XiaoGui17 @65 here.
But I don't think it's helpful to create diagnoses for actions that are well within the range of typical human behavior and thinking. Basically, I think we need to keep a clear divide between mental health issues that are caused by significant differences, like a depression that is caused by a chemical imbalance or a phobia, which is caused by a traumatic event or emotional response in overdrive, and problems that are caused by reasonably normal people doing things that aren't actually that uncommon in our society based on differing beliefs. I don't think "being an asshole" should be a diagnosis, even though it does cause harm to others. Basically, I don't think the labels are as helpful, if you get to a point where it is more likely that you have a mental illness than you do not. And if we label every abuser whose only relevant mental health issue is that they abuse, then that's a huge category of new "mentally ill" people. And then you have to ask, so do we label anti-vaxers as all being mentally ill? They do have a belief one could easily define as a delusion, and they are a danger to others. But is "mental illness" really the most helpful label for it? And the issues that cause someone to be an anti-vaxer aren't really that different from the issues that cause many people to become an abuser. And so forth for every harmful belief and viewpoint that causes harm to others.

The lines are always blurry. And this is why I think one certainly could label all abusers as mentally ill. But as I said, I don't think it's helpful and I do think it is harmful. I don't think it's helpful, because I just don't see what it adds to our understanding of abuse or our ability to deal with it. Most abusive people have the ability to control their actions, but choose to act abusively, because they feel it is justifiable and acceptable. Abuse responds to social pressure to behave differently. You can't just socially pressure someone into not being depressed, or not being schizophrenic, or not having a phobia, or not being borderline, etc. A whole ton of the types of actions you shouldn't do with a mental illness are totally fine to do with someone who is abusive. Other than being abusive (and often only to a select few people... many abusers save their abuse for family or other special loved ones), most of them are fairly normal. This is why so many abusers don't look abusive. They are fully capable of having normal social interactions, leading a normal life, and maintaining plenty of social ties in a non-abusive way. They just also abuse some people. This is why it's so hard for victims, because most of them will have an abuser who tons of people know and their own interactions with that abuser are nothing like that. That just isn't really the profile of what I think of as a mental illness, but it is the profile of an asshole.
@94 - I'm not a pro and I'm probably guilty of being sloppy with my terms - I really mean sociopathic behaviors rather than pathological. I do not believe there is a bright line definition of what is mental illness and what is "normal" (agreeing very largely with @114), and it gets messy. IIRC, seandr has said in other threads that there was a push to eliminate a bunch of PDs and other diagnoses from the DSM, but nobody has been able to come up with a better scheme. Along those lines...

@114 - yeah, so here's the thing: your observations on the banality of evil - and calling evil out as evil - are entirely appropriate. Still, sometimes it's important to be able to point out to a victim that hey, there's something really messed up and broken in the head of the person you're dealing with. Stop trying to dance with them like they have full use of their faculties.

And yes, being snarky, IMHO, anti-vaxers are kind of mentally ill. Delusional, irrational behavior is delusional, irrational behavior. This is why the cluster diagnoses have multiple elements.
seandr @98:

From Wikipedia…
"A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a mental or behavioural pattern or anomaly that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in ordinary life (disability), and which is not developmentally or socially normative."

Pooping behind the couch: developmentally normative when you are three, not when you are thirty.

Believing that there is an invisible man who keeps careful tabs on your sexual thoughts and behaviour, compares them to a list of impossible standards and will torture you eternally for any deviation: socially normative if you were raised in a christian fundie cult, not if you are a feminist hindu intellectual.

The bit about "normative" is to determine whether someone is displaying symptoms of a disorder or just doing what they've been told is correct. The person raised in a christian fundie cult might have wrong beliefs that make them miserable but they are not delusional because those beliefs are normal for their social circles. The feminist hindu intellectual who starts worrying about a malevolent invisible being preoccupied with her sexuality is displaying psychotic symptoms.
Am I really missing something here? " no required sexual activity", has nothing to do with rape. Of course, changing the laws to disallow forced sex was right and proper, Dur! How exactly does that evolve to " no required sexual activity"?
If a woman refuses Over time( which of course is a key issue, how much time), to have sex, after taking a marriage vow or having some expectation that a relationship is monogamous; then this constitutes a broken contract. Therefore, in my opinion, the man is free to initiate, openly, other arrangements to have his sexual needs met. Basically, the contract has been made void.
Obviously, if children and property etc are involved, it could become a dicey situation. However, not impossible to sort. And if the woman has either stopped finding the man attractive or just lost interest in sex, either a divorce is in order or the couple continue to live together as co parents only, and the man is free to find sexual relationships elsewhere.
I still fail to see how Feminists, fighting to remove laws that allowed men to force their wives to have sex is in anyway related to this. Women who try to use some sort of weird logic, and calling it Feminism, are fucking with men's heads and dicks.. Why fall for such flawed logic?

"until my admission, she assumed I was a generally good person. "
Since all the complaint behavior happened after his slip, I think it's about his porn use, and porn, and hidden trauma most likely since the new suspicion is severe and paranoid. He doesn't seem to like her much (lied cause she'd be stupid) but wants to get her to stay and needs a quick line.

I agree with everything Dan said to SNAP, except to go back into the closet with porn. Was it because this guy is such an asshole he deserves the closet and periodic abuse? Or was Dan protecting other guys from having to put up with her damage? Both? I predict that he stays but starts drugging her before he's done with fake therapy. His only concern seems to be "stay with me". If he still has fondness for her he'll move out until they can speak rationally together about this. But he'll probably keep humoring her like a pesky puppy. People are more dangerous than puppies.

SHIT's wife doesn't seem to have desire for him but she could certainly still have a sex drive for others. Finally, some advice to negotiate an open relationship honestly, thanks! Marital sex lives seem more likely to die from a rape/trauma or mutual neglect or ignorance and I'm glad cheating wasn't the only advice offered here. I like the idea of telling her that he still wants to have sex with her even though he respects her decision, does she have any suggestions for his sex life now, or is anyone ok, and how does she feel about discretion? I anticipate that as long as his current desire for her and respect for her is made clear, they can negotiate boundaries that will ease his frustration. Possibly hers as well.
Diagnosed BPD person here. High-functioning, though. (No suicide attempts or history of sexual trauma.)

Most those experience it DO have a history of sexual abuse, so if that's the wife's problem, that could go some way to explaining her phobias. I was also raised very religious and taught that all porn is unilaterally evil and addictive.

I think that divorce, regardless of whether she has a personality disorder or not, is going to be an absolute shitshow. It's not being "dumped;" he's married.

On the plus side, if they can work through her fears with a therapist, she's unlikely to be like middle-aged sexless wife. We crazies are nymphos, usually.
I've learned a lot reading the responses to SNAP's dilemma. (Thank you especially, Allison Cummins.) It really comes down to different paths to the same thing. SNAP should divorce his wife because she's wrong, or because she's mentally ill, or because neither of them are wrong, but they're wrong for each other. We can talk all day about where to place the blame and for which actions/non actions, but it still comes down to this marriage can't be saved.

I see something similar in SHIT's dilemma. I can imagine a backstory that would make Mrs. SHIT blameless and SHIT the villain. I can imagine vice versa. We can move blame and victimization around like puzzle pieces on a game board.

I appreciate the discussion about expectations in marriage and monogamy. I'd like a little more discussion about menopause, why a woman might not want to have sex, alternative definitions of sex like the possibility that Mrs. SHIT is having difficulty with PIV sex but might be open to other possibilities. Then I think that we've already talked those things to death and that I probably wouldn't learn much going over it all again. The bottom line still comes down to Dan's oft repeated options and his question of the choice between an open marriage and failed one.
Also, I feel like the issue of teens/"jailbait" in porn is not necessarily--dare I say it?--black and white.
I would advise SHIT to maybe give his wife one final warning that this bullshit about porn is over yesterday or he's out of this marriage. But it's his choice; this is advice not binding arbitration. And even if she gets over the porn, she could just find a new stick to beat him

@seandr, your writings about what feminists believe/think/are, "the wife" (your wife), and your tendency to call women who disagree with you "sweetie", "honey", "babe" etc. does way more to make me angry at men than the stuff Jessica valenti writes about free tampons.
And your defense of rapists and pedos as being "not pathologically disordered if what they're doing works for them" is just so many shades of wrong.

Stay classy, seandr. Or maybe I should call you "babe"?

seandr was not defending them at all. He was starting from the shared assumption that these folks are so many shades of wrong and getting into a philosophical debate about whether one of those shades is “sick.” He tends to think of them as sick, I tend to think that human beings have this in us as part of the normal range of behaviours.

Neither of us is cool with sexual assault of anyone, adult or child.
And please don't take offence on my account, rowing@dawn. A little bit of play with seandr is ok by me.
So what is going on here for you? Why this relentless charge and rage directed at seandr? It is starting to feel a little creepy and slightly unhinged.
Crinoline, what's there to say about menopause, except ain't it awesome? God I love that I no longer have to bleed or have any chance in hell of getting pregnant again. How I dreaded those labours.
You really think menopause is the problem with SHIT s( why would he call himself that? He feels like shit, maybe), wife is menopause? They haven't had sex for 11 long yrs.
I experienced a short period where I didn't want sex, didn't have an erotic drive. So, I can't relate to women who loose it altogether at menopause. Surely, it depends on the marriage. If the mans drive is also declining. I know I'd be pretty pissed, if a functioning man who I was in a relationship with, declined my erotic needs.

@Alison Cummins: I tend to think that human beings have this in us as part of the normal range of behaviours.

Actually, I found your arguments in @34 compelling. It's probably not an accident that our gene pool would include a small percentage of radically self-interested, sociopathic personality types. As you noted, in times of war, these traits are adaptive at both the individual and species level, and in times of peace, they allow one to exploit the relatively pro-social strategies the rest of us use to pass on our genes, which makes them adaptive at the individual level, perhaps at a cost to the species. You might say that it's normal, even beneficial from a fitness perspective, for some percentage of our species to exhibit these "pathologies".

In that context, parts of the DSM could be seen as an adaptation of the pro-socials in our culture to protect themselves from being exploited by the anti-socials.

P.S. Thanks for clarifying my prior post. It's not much fun to be horribly misread by someone who is determined to hate you.
From what I've seen of comparatively normal women down here in Texas, the comfort toward the concept of porn that is seen in Savage Love Land is generally not shared in the larger world. I've never met a woman who I knew well enough to talk about it with who was OK with any part of porn. It really has more to do with the existence of coercion in the porn industry and discomfort with their partners being aroused by seeing other, potentially more attractive, women than it does with religion or feminism. Also, remember that until the age of the internet, a lot of porn, even made by adults of legal age, was illegal. That cultural stigma, like the one around pot, dies hard for a lot of people.
seandr @127, you’re welcome.

I’m not sure that BPD is anti-social exactly — just difficult. They are often very protective of family (and as DC270 points out, very stimulating in bed).
We crazies are nymphos, usually.

Gross understatement. Good on ya for tackling the issue. Also, well played @121
@115 If it really does help victims, I'm fairly okay with that. I am not sure it needs a diagnosis to do that, but if we found that giving it a diagnostic label did help, then I would probably be willing to support it. As far as I am concerned, I fully believe there is something wrong in their head, but it is, in most cases, their values system and their beliefs about what a relationship should be like. Especially beliefs like, it's okay to punish my partner when they do things that I do not approve of to try to change their behavior so that they do not continue to do those things. That's a belief. That's a belief that most abusers seem to have, and that seems to be at the heart of a lot of abuse. And it is actually normative in some cultures. Just as abuse is normative in some cultures. Actually, some abuse victims have it especially hard, because they have to leave their culture before they can get support. And I feel weird calling a belief like that a disorder, but I have no problem with calling a belief like that as indicative of an abusive mentality.

Personally, I think what would probably best help victims is a huge push to educate the populace about abuse. Part of that would be to help children grow up with better guidelines so they don't become abusers. Part of that would be to help children to grow up to recognize when they are being abused and to know that other options exist. And a large part would be to teach the bystanders what abuse is like and how to better be supportive if somebody they know is being abused. I don't think we need a diagnosis for any of that.

In fact, I think we're doing a lot of that currently with regards to rape and schoolyard bullying (which is what we call abuse when both people involved are children, because we are squeamish about talking about schoolyard child abuse). We still do have a long way to go, but we really are making progress, for which I am glad. But I'm not deadset on it not getting a diagnostic label. It just doesn't feel like the right way to go with it to me.
LW3 has been married for 26 years. We don't know more than that.

If they married at 18, they are 44 and the wife could be premenopausal, working 40 hours a week and raising 4 kids.

If they married at 30, they are 56 and may be within the realm of menopause.

If they married at 55, they are 81 and never may be very realistic to her.

Do these scenarios change your thoughts? Might there be 2 sides to a pancake?
@18: I have nothing of value to add, but I thought the references to pedophiles having "fanasties" was a very apropos and pretty clever typo, considering.
126 Lavagirl--

In my comments in 120, I was not suggesting that SHIT's wife's lack of interest was definitely due to menopause. There's not enough information in the letter to support that. I was suggesting that we don't know what is fueling her lack of willingness to have sex with her husband and that menopause MIGHT be one piece to the puzzle of what MIGHT be wrong. I thought my writing was clear in the original.

As for the awesomeness of menopause, I understand that many women have different experiences with it. Some find it awesome, others not so much.
@AuntieGriz, @avast2006, what's so frustrating is that SNAP will almost certainly never leave his harpy. Have you ever noticed how often really nice people marry really fucking mean people? She chose someone she can control. For those of us who love those really nice people, it's crazy-making. But ultimately, it's their choice.
Good for you for getting out, AuntieG! Some of us do learn from mistakes...
Re Crazy in Love.

Crazy. Start there. Oh, and abusive and selfish.

"At this point, I'm not sure how to get her to see me for the person I am rather than the person she thinks I've become."

If she doesn't see you for who you are, who the fuck did she marry? Other peoples' delusional thinking isn't your responsibility. Stop grovelling and see her for what she is. Crazy.

Get out. Now. The world is full of women who will love you for who you are. You don't have to tolerate being demeaned to have that (unless you really enjoy that sort of thing, of course).

Source: Experience

(FWIW The kind of reaction that she exhibits is usually a red flag for being molested herself, and if she hasn't dealt with that at any level.... Crazy.)
Crinoline, sorry if I read your post wrong. Late at nite, sloppy reading.
Of course, menopause has it's moments, it does get such a bad press, though.
I have been lucky and it has been a late and relatively hassle free transition. Of course, some mental adjustment needs to go on, as well as the physical changes.
Like all stages of a woman's life, and experiences( except maybe the pain of Labour), isn't it better to celebrate and enjoy what the change brings to us?
To all those who were discussing the definition of feminism: My favorite definition is still Gloria Steinem's, from some forty years ago. "feminism is the radical proposition that women are people." It sounds facile, until you spend some time thinking about it.
@97 seandr: I think the question of whether or not porn has created men who are bad in bed is a fascinating one. I can only speak for my experience, which is: yes, but only in a few cases. I am positive that all the men I've slept with consume(d) plenty of porn, and mostly I don't notice any effects at all. I've had two relationships with surprising sexual moments which appeared to me to be porn-induced (e.g. the guy asking "Do you want it? Tell me you want it. Tell me you love my cock" etc. on a first sexual encounter, meaning before an interest (or not) in dirty talk had been established). Both relationships were quite brief, partially for that reason and partially for others. I would make a statement about porn having a larger effect on relatively less educated men, because part of me thinks that might be true, but my data don't back me up: one of the guys was uneducated (by my standards, which are admittedly high) and the other was highly educated. So who knows.

I guess I'd say that most reasonable guys have figured out that porn is not reality, and that it's good to get a feel for a girl (through experience or conversation or both) before trying anything that feels too porn-y. That said, I'd also hope most reasonable girls would be willing to speak up and express it if something didn't work for them. Unless the guy's an asshole he should be willing to hear what you have to say. And vice-versa: if a guy shows up with a new thing he wants to try, you should be open to the thought, even if the thought originated in porn.

Also, I agree with @LavaGirl: rowin@dawn's anger at seandr is getting excessive and unnecessary.
@111 LavaGirl: Spot on again!!
I want equality, mutual respect, and 9 days out of 10 am just happy enough with a kiss and a cuddle.

@135 portland scribe: Thank you so much for your supportive comments. That is so true. It really IS hard to leave a bad relationship when one is with an abusive BF/GF or spouse. The abuser, regardless of gender, already has the manipulation game down to a gold medal-winning Olympic sport that is NOT to be underestimated.
Thirteen years later i'm healthier, infinitely happier, in a helluva lot safer environment and upon reflecting back have indeed, humbly learned a lot from my past mistakes. One post-divorce bonus: the additionally pacifying realization that I cannot make others' mistakes (i.e.: my ex and older siblings, etc.) for them. I can only continue to work on bettering myself.
I hope that SNAP and others in his unfortunate circumstances can one day do the same. Easier said than done, though.
Oh, yeah. I have plenty of fully warranted reasons as to why I happily remain an auntie.
Alison Cummins, Re: your comments about a man's right to his wife's body. You may find it interesting that in traditional Jewish law, a husband was required to provide for his wife's basic needs. Those needs were food, shelter, and sex. If he failed, she was legally entitled to a divorce, and to the return of her dowry and any property she had brought into the marriage. The societal norms were pro- monogamy, anti-divorce except under some very specific circumstances.
Gueralinda @148:

I think it may have been Marie Shear almost 30 years ago.…
tachycardia @142,
Yes, and I love the jurisprudence around that. There’s a frequency chart for how frequently a wife is entitled to expect sex depending on her husband’s occupation. If he’s a goatherd, every day. If he’s a merchant seaman, a few times a year. (Or something like that.)

What is his recourse if she isn’t putting out?
@74 Seandr
"Huh? Sorry, babe, but [you're wrong]"
Playing dumb looks bad on guys too. I agree with LavaGirl, porn generally shows how NOT to treat a woman. Most women want porn sex rarely or never. Most porn features a bored unaroused woman, or an aroused and mistreated woman. Almost all shows a woman willingly participating in sex with an uncovered vulva. If guys had to watch porn mostly featuring soft dicks or aroused dicks being slapped around with their owners and the sex was never balls deep, they may feel differently about porn sex too.

"There's also an endless variety of porn out there, and the savvy porn consumer can definitely borrow ideas to enhance his woman's pleasure."
But asking what she likes works 1000x better.

"Many times I've sat in front of the computer, dick in hand, watching a scene and thinking "Hmm, that's interesting, I wonder if she'd enjoy that." Sometimes she has."
Sometimes I've wondered if my partner would enjoy my fantasies too. Sometimes he has. If porn shows a fun act 1/100 times, why argue that it shows fun acts?

"Finally, I've been with women who were turned on by their ability to turn me on, and porn has definitely helped me identify what turns me on"
Finally, a pretty rational response! Yes that's what straight porn is good at showing, how to please a man! Uh.. glad that helped with your sex life?

Thou doth protest too much.
M? Phil - A Gertrude Award for Dr Sean? Hmmm.


I'm not backing any army in the porn wars, but am becoming increasingly uneasy about the likelihood that multigender standards are going to end up being imposed on unigender work. Given all the erasure in this thread, it seems almost inevitable.
@Philophile: Most women want porn sex rarely or never.

Given that almost every sex act there is has been depicted in porn, you're going to have to clarify what you mean by "porn sex". If you mean that most women don't want to fuck a guy they don't know doggy style in front of a camera for money while he pulls her hair and slaps her ass, no argument from me. Yet lots of women would be totally up for that with a man they are into in the privacy of their bedroom.

And yes, the women (and men) in porn aren't really having that much fun. And Leonardo DiCaprio never set foot on the Titanic. And hobbits don't really exist. Yet somehow some of us manage take away enjoyment and insights and ideas from these productions despite the fact that everyone in front of the camera is just pretending.

If porn shows a fun act 1/100 times, why argue that it shows fun acts?

Fewer than 1/100 books are, in my opinion, worth reading. Fool that I am, I still read books and recommend them to others. And other people seem to enjoy books that don't at all interest me.

If guys had to watch porn mostly featuring soft dicks or aroused dicks being slapped around with their owners and the sex was never balls deep, they may feel differently about porn sex too.

What you're describing is a typical John Holmes movie from the 70's. If that were the only kind of porn available, trust me, men would make do.
@ven: I have no idea what a Gertrude Award is, but I'm flattered nonetheless. Who would have thought little old me would be honored with such a distinction?

In the interest of not erasing gay and bisexual men, I'll note that John Holmes made at least one gay porn movie. I've already given the lesbians a shout out in my discussion of amateur witch porn.
@19, BiDanFan, I don't think it's possible to conflate jerking off to porn with sexual attraction to the prepubescent without some very negative attitudes about sex in general or men's sexuality, hence my religious nut/feminist nut question. Hearing second hand about someone in the porn industry seducing a girl under 18 doesn't quite justify the wife's conclusion. That's like hearing about a dentist who fondles his patients and then concluding that anyone who gets his teeth cleaned must enjoy blowing dogs.

Regarding the mental disease diagnosis issue, it seems to me that the wife is allowing her disgust at porn to severely skew her perception of objective reality. When emotions interfere with accurate perception of reality, a clear line has been crossed between normal variation and disease.

It's also possible that she knows she isn't making sense and she's just emotionally manipulating her husband, cynically using his shame to make him think he's in the wrong. In that case, the problem is the husband's shame about normal male sexuality and porn. Either way, anti-sex, religious bullshit is the root of the problem.

And, um, Bek Bek, the term is deep-seated, not seeded. FYI.
LavaGirl wrote @99 regarding porn: If the woman's felt response is that's disgusting, then that's her limit. And you say it's her problem for having limits and it makes her bad in bed? The man fucking is actually fucking the woman present, not the fantasy woman on the screen.

I'm going to suggest to you that what you see in porn is uninhibited, fully-enjoyed, good sex (or at least a poorly-acted approximation). And if you have a problem with it, if it seems unrealistic, degrading, unpleasant for the female, disgusting, or whatever, perhaps that's because your attitudes about sex are tainted by shame and fear that were programmed into your emotional makeup when you were a psychologically defenseless child.

According to my notes, you're 63, so I don't expect you to change, but perhaps you could make an effort to realize that your personal tastes are not laws of the universe and therefore don't need to be foisted onto the next generation.
@111: "And yes , my take on Feminism is it is about women wanting equality."

There are a lot of people who call themselves feminists whose take on Feminism is one hell of a lot more than simply "women wanting equality." For you to reduce it to "women wanting equality" is to say that you, if anyone, are the one indulging in the Readers' Digest version.

One of the principles these folks often and loudly espouse is "nobody owes anybody sex, ever." This is one of several rather silly oversimplifications that have made their way into mainstream feminist doctrine.

For what it is worth, I am in complete agreement with you regarding the idea that sex in a monogamous relationship is an agreement. In the context of that -- the agreement to actually and regularly have sex with the person that you not only have partnered with, but whom you require has sex with nobody but you -- that's the closest one comes to "owing" sex to another person.
What , is this Groundhog Day avast2006; think you said all this last nite. Maybe my memory really is fading or doing very weird shit. For a start, go fuck yourself. As a Feminist of over 40 yrs, having battled many moments to assert my equality-
I don't think my take on Feminism needs to be expanded to thousands of words.
Feminism, includes the analysis of cultural constructs etc etc etc. How males have dominated our cultural / religious/ political lives. Women delegated to the home, tend the kids and tend the house. Oh yes, women today have made it out into the big world, but in many instances, they are still responsible for keeping the family going as well..
The readers digest version of Feminism includes the dingbats who get sucked into listening to and repeating "nobody owes anybody sex, ever".. Without looking at what these words are saying. Yes, it's true, "nobody owes anybody sex, ever".. And? What's the punch line? What's the context?

avast2006 @111, maybe you could send me the latest publication of mainstream feminist doctrine? I've been a feminist for over 20 years and I've never heard anyone loudly espousing "nobody owes anybody sex, ever!". I've heard "nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted" and similar but they're not at all the same thing.
I do believe both parties to a monogamous relationship have an agreement to have an active sex life together and things are broken if that's not happening and need to be fixed somehow - unless they're both happy that way I suppose!
Wow, the boys are coming out. You looking at porn thru women's eyes, Allen?
I don't have the right to speak my perceptions, because I'm 62( couple of months till 63, your notes, Allen? You take notes of people who post here? )
And I might taint the minds of younger women? To what, think for themselves? Maybe, look at porn as visuals made by men to serve men's fantasies? As I read it, these young women, who have posted above- seem pretty strong minded and clear in their perceptions to me. You can go fuck yourself, too.
What a patronizing bullshit attitude that is. But hey, perfect example of how the male mind gets so threatened by women saying their bit. Even, horror , horror, a 62 yr old woman (about whose sexuality you have no clue) who dares to comment on issues affecting our culture.
Fucking Amazing. Classic.
Allen Gilliam @150, "according to my notes"? Really? That is just creepy.
Tell me Allen, did you even read the previous comments that lead to the quote you gave of my words. Seandr said, if a man comes to the woman with a suggestion for a sexual activity, she responds, that's disgusting- seandrs response to this was that it implied the woman was bad in bed.
Excuse me? A woman responds from her own comfort zone and that makes her bad in bed? How's that for pressure for a woman to do or have done to her whatever the man fancies, otherwise she's deemed( by seandr) as bad in bed. Gee, that really gives the woman total agency over how she wants to conduct herself in her sexual life, NOT.
Yes Allen, I am a 62 yr old woman, was married for 30 yrs, gave birth to and raised 6 children. Have lost a son. You don't think a woman with experience, may just may want to share what she's learnt with younger women? A lot of the younger women here on Dans site, have confronted my view of life.. But not one of them has ever tried to shut me down because of my age.. You are a piece of work.
@140 Not sure what you mean about my comment, or the erasure in the thread. Clarify?

@147 Nothing you said persuaded me that women enjoy typical porn sex as defined in my post. Again, with bored/unaroused women, or they're aroused but slapped around or condescended to, and uncovered vulva. I know there are exceptions. But if you're not a masochistic woman, porn mostly fails.

"What you're describing is a typical John Holmes movie from the 70's. If that were the only kind of porn available, trust me, men would make do."

Really? Holmes' soft dick was featured during sex? And he and his dick were slapped around when he was hard? His partner wouldn't let him go balls deep? This was a straight film? Title?

My point is that this kind of porn is unheard of for men, let alone 99% of the porn available.

Women don't want to be treated like the women of porn with rare exception. I dont' even think an exception spoke on this thread. You're wrong, it happens.
Dr Sean - As Ms Cute will recall, I named the Gertrude Award after Hamlet's mother and her famous line about excessive protestation.

It was actually the sweeping declarations (regardless of content) made by others about "all porn" or "most porn" that set me off on a flashback to a quarter of a century ago. People, is it *really* that hard to stick "OS" into a sentence when appropriate - especially now that there are those who actually manage to specify whether they mean OS or SS when referring to an individual marriage?
@150 LavaGirl is a nice poster always willing to explain her position, she's very reasonable even if she's very different from me. I don't find this post reasonable. What do you do when your partner wants to take a dump on you or something you find disgusting? Or you find nothing disgusting? What if it were illegal, would you do it anyway because sexual limits are so unfair?
@158 Sorry. Straight porn, gay male porn and gay female porn have different issues. I didn't think that gay male porn had many issues to begin with other than gay for pay. I think a few years ago gay and bi women tried to change lesbian porn to appeal to gay women and had some success. Mainstream straight porn got worse, but offshoots of sensual porn and Manuel Ferrara showing sexy hands, James Deen with enthusiasm and a hot face but not great at fucking. Whatever, there's good porn and bad, but applying porn memes to real women is generally bad. Talk about the gay porn issues?
busy_quilting @153,

What do you find when you google "nobody owes anybody sex, ever"? Nothing? Because I get lots of hits.
M? Phile - Our posts crossed, or I'd have included you.

As I implied earlier, I am very concerned about SS works being judged or regulated by OS standards that require participants of multiple genders and thus don't really have anything to do with SS at all.

You, for instance, did not qualify in #145:

[Most porn features a bored unaroused woman, or an aroused and mistreated woman. Almost all shows a woman willingly participating in sex with an uncovered vulva.]

Had you begun, "Most OS porn," I'd have had nothing to say in dissent. As you actually stated it, my default assumption would be that, to fix an OSP problem that doesn't exist in SSP, you'd incidentally throw SSP under the bus.
Thank you Philophile.
Me Ven, I would maybe incorporate your letters in my posts, if I had any idea what they meant.
Seandr , you ever see a movie" InThe Cut ", with Mark Raffalo and Meg Ryan?
Written and directed by Jane Campion and it's a mystery/ murder movie with some very erotic scenes in it. ( sorry no doggy style fucking with hair pulling and arse slapping).. That it's a woman's take on erotic play, makes it an unusual movie.
vennominon, philophile specified straight porn @145 and @157. Not in every sentence, but in her posts. In fact, she's the only person in this thread to use that qualifier.

With porn it's usually most useful to refer to the target audience, in this instance straight men. Porn featuring only women, for instance, usually targets straight men.

*** *** ***
One hint that there is often something about porn for straight men that is disturbing to women is that women (including lesbians) often prefer to watch gay male porn instead. I don't see what is to be gained by denying this. Just because the target audience is fine with it doesn't mean that what the non-target audience often sees is not there or not important. (White people were mostly fine with minstrel shows. That didn't mean that black people who were disturbed by them were wrong.)

On another thread someone (whoever it was please claim credit!) distinguished between free porn and for-profit porn. He suggested that free porn posted on the internet is mostly made by assholes who are doing it as a form of macho posturing and that the straight stuff is likely to be legitimately upsetting to a lot of women. He implied that paid sites were more likely to have less-disturbing porn.

There might be something to this. When I'm looking something up on free porn sites I can't stay very long. I find what I'm looking for and get out as quickly as I can. The cool, queer porn that the arty young folks are making these days is all paid and I'm not that into porn that I've paid and watched it, but I'm willing to believe I wouldn't be disturbed by it in the same way.

However, back in the day when I was learning about porn in the basement of the video store it was all paid and I still found much of the straight porn disturbing.
@162 "you'd incidentally throw SSP under the bus"
I had assumed OS because the conversation started with:
@68 You think porn shows men how to treat women as they want to be treated ?" (a hetero comment)
I mentioned a column or two ago that I appreciated MM porn, the hot actors and more GGG sex got me into videos.

Looking back, seandr actually didn't seem to say this to begin with, although he and Allen did seem to defend this idea. The main point I wanted to make is that not all porn biases are irrational, and some men seem to irrationally assert its virtues as some women irrationally distort its dangers. There was a fairly balanced comment from a guy about porn on SNAP's sllotd run although he also talks about unbalanced feminists:…

Again, I'm speaking only of hetero porn, I'm sure people have issues with typical gay porn both male and female too but that's a different conversation.

@164 Clarify? Straight porn tends to film, but not stimulate, women's external genitalia during sex, whereas MM porn more often includes a reach around or self stimulation in addition to internal stuff. I know it's cause guys want to see vulv, like the male pov shots it's understandable but annoying for women to watch. Did that answer your question?
Hunter, surely the implication is that mistreatment causes arousal in women. You know, women love to be slapped around-
Worked out your letters Ven. God, I'm sharp.
I wonder if the main distinction here is, as Alison @166 said, about free vs paid.

Imagine if you were someone who'd only watched YouTube-only videos, and perhaps some Funny or Die videos. When the rest of us talked about The Wire or Game of Thrones, you'd be saying, "Videos are such a waste of time! They never show anyone realistically and the dialogue is so stupid and stilted." We'd all disagreeing and talking about the greatness of OITNB.

The truth is, to get good quality porn, you do often have to pay for it. Just like with good TV (either HBO or Netflix, nowadays). As a regular attender of the feminist porn awards, I can say that there's lots of porn that shows women who are aroused and enjoying sex in a vast variety of ways.

If you aren't watching it, it isn't seandr, Avast or Hunter's fault.
@170, do you think these guys or most guys pay for porn? Do you Hunter, seandr, Avast, Allen?
"How can you tell the woman is (a) bored, (b) unaroused?" Unswollen genitalia=unaroused. For a guy it's easier to notice how swollen his junk is, but like I said a close up of an uncovered vulv is a common shot. But I think the level of arousal is easiest to see in the eyes. I hate it when a woman's eyes look bored or nervous in porn.

"How much porn do you watch, that you can analyze "most porn"?"
Butt out of my private life :) Not as much these days..

"Are you saying the aroused women are all mistreated? What is the nature of this mistreatment? Why does mistreatment create arousal in women?"
Not in all but most vids. Slapped, called names, pushed around, as opposed to held, caressed, then stimulated inside & out to orgasm. I think the women are more swollen in misogynistic porn because they choose masochistic actresses who consider it a bonus. Also there's less acting involved, there's no pretense the guy is into her pleasure.
Ah, the Porn Discussion.

So many angles, so many issues. So many points of view. In general, I would like to say that there is no monolithic "woman's" response to OS or SS porn, that professionally-produced porn (of either kind) doesn't necessarily mean that the actors in it are more aroused or that the acts depicted in it are necessarily more female-friendly. I agree it's hard to measure the level of women's real arousal from watching porn, and I assume that, since it's unnecessary to produce the video, and since time is money in the entertainment world, quite a lot of female pleasure in commercial porn, and probably also in amateur porn, is exaggerated if not outright faked. But not all women in porn are miserable, either. And not all women want to be held and caressed in the same way. I would direct those in this discussion to the "Public Humiliation" series on the women are "slapped, called names, pushed around," etc. and at the end of the video there is a little debrief moment, in which the woman lets us know that she really enjoyed herself. Having been an extra on a "Public Humiliation" video shoot, I think they're telling the truth.

I am a straight woman who doesn't care at all for porn, but still, there's some I find okay ("okay" is probably going to be my highest compliment). I can't presume to speak for all women, lesbian or straight.

As far as the porn issue in this week's letter goes, I would guess that SNAP's wife's main objection to porn is that she is insecure. He says that she considers watching and fapping to it to be "cheating," so if she regards it that way, it's safe to assume her issue isn't with the real vs. faked pleasure of the actresses or the virtues of paid-for vs. free porn. It's unlikely that she objects to depictions of specific sex acts, but would prefer others or that she finds mainstream porn misogynistic--though in fact she may well believe that women are always coerced into making porn and exploited. But I don't think that is her main concern.

He says she gets upset if she sees him looking at any other woman she perceives as younger than herself, under apparently any conditions. I think she feels threatened because of her insecurities. She's worried that her husband will prefer the more "perfect" bodies or younger women he sees in porn or that he will expect her to enthusiastically participate in acts she doesn't want to perform or finds disgusting (I'm making the perhaps erroneous assumption that she's not particularly adventurous in bed, but I could be wrong). While she may or may not have BPD--another interesting discussion, but in this case, one based wholly on conjecture with virtually no information on which to base our "diagnosis"--her reaction to the very concept of pornography seems to me to be the actions of some who feels deeply insecure and therefore very threatened.

This is not to excuse her crazy-ass, irrational attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Things will likely not get better, and I predict her irrationality will just get worse and worse. There are no kids; he should run as fast as he can. She likely surrounds herself with people--friends, talk-shows/women's magazines, a religion--that support her worldview.
Re porn, just wanted to add that the stories I read to get off rarely have believable characters. And the fantasies I conjure up in my head feature male jerks abusing a woman or man who is both terrified & aroused.

Many straight men watch visual porn, and many straight women read trashy erotica, but I don't see that either should feel bad for enjoying situations that the porn-actors or porn-characters don't enjoy.

I'll even say that in the bedroom, I would like my partners to act a bit more like unrealistic, abusive jerks. (Not too far... but a step or two farther in that direction gets me hot.) People like what they like.

If one's partner wants something one doesn't find interesting, it's helpful to avoid saying "ew, that's disgusting" (per the discussion @97, 99, 150, 156 & 159). It's more useful to say, "that's cool, but I don't know if I can go there; let's brainstorm about some babysteps that we could take to try it out." Or "hmm, could you tell me some stories that show the sexy side of that? I'm not clear on how to approach that fantasy."
@Philophile: What I think you're saying is that most women don't like to watch porn, which seems obviously true. That's entirely orthogonal to my point, however, which is that the entirety of porn is, among other things, an encyclopedia of human sexual activity which, admittedly, includes lots of cliches and crap, but also includes plenty of activities enjoyed by real women.

Again, with bored/unaroused women, or they're aroused but slapped around or condescended to, and uncovered vulva. I know there are exceptions.

Yes, and by acknowledging there are exceptions, I believe you've conceded my point.

BTW, the exceptions are no longer as exceptional as you seem to think. There's a lot of "alternative" porn out there these days. For example, here's an amateur NSFW slow tease BJ made by Tara Tainten, the leading lady. I've studied this clip pretty carefully, but I'm unable to spot the bored woman with an uncovered vulva being slapped around and condescended to. In fact, the clip has very few if any porn cliches, not even deep throating (heresy!), which is probably what made it so popular. I think it's hot.

Really? Holmes' soft dick was featured during sex?

Famously. Before Viagra, most men would have difficulty maintaining wood in front of the camera. That's why exceptions like Ron Jeremy were able to get so much work, despite the fact that he's butt ugly.
@173: This. The insecurity thing.

Mrs SNAP is insecure. Either about her husband creating unreasonable expectations in bed or sizing her up against some of the younger, hotter bodies with whom she cannot compete. Insecurity is, within reason, a normal response in some cases. Problems arise when a person becomes overwhelmed by it and controls other peoples' lives with the expectation that they conform to the victim's needs. At some point, SNAP can say that he didn't sign on as a lifetime therapist and, if Mrs isn't going to make an attempt to get over her problem, he's outta there.

Life is full of these sorts of things. Forget porn, there is always going to be a hottie in a short skirt that men will (subconsciously or not) size up. There are going to be activities that the husband (or wife) might find "interesting" but to respect their spouse's boundaries must forever be relegated to fantasy. That doesn't stop them from thinking about it. Deal with it.
Regarding "Reader's Digest Feminism," and "nobody owes anybody sex, ever":

LavaGirl, back @70, you responded to XiaoGui17's statement @65 in which she said: "I think that both notions stem from two ideas about relationships:
(1) Everyone owes their partner a duty of sexual exclusivity, and
(2) No one owes their partner a duty of sexual activity

The notion of universal sexual exclusivity is a holdover from tradition, and the notion of no required sexual activity is a product of feminism. Together, however, they overlap into one person having the power to effectively end another's sex life."

with "Where do you people get your understanding of Feminism from, The Readers Digest?"

First of all, I think that is a disingenuous statement, the sneering tone of which was uncalled for. The fact is that it has long been a tenet of feminism that sex, even sex with a spouse, isn't owed by anyone, ever. This was the basis for getting anti-marital rape laws enacted, because prior to feminist thought, it was indeed an accepted truth that married women "owed" their husbands sex on demand, with no (legal) option to refuse what was rightfully his. Therefore no act of marital sex could be considered rape. That's no longer the case (this was Alison Cummins' point), which by necessity rests on the distinctly feminist idea that sex can't be "owed" to anyone.

This is, in fact, basic feminist thought, Feminism 101, or if you will, "Reader's Digest Feminism"--and what, exactly, is wrong with that? It's the most common-denominator feminisim there is, and it's predicated on the idea you yourself espoused @111 when you said: "my take on Feminism is it is about women wanting equality. Of voice, of occupation, of time not doing the housework or minding the kid, gee even a chance to equally govern the world. . ."

So you subscribe to what can only be called "Reader's Digest Feminism," yet you're contemptuous of it. You said @117 'Am I really missing something here? " no required sexual activity", has nothing to do with rape. Of course, changing the laws to disallow forced sex was right and proper, Dur! How exactly does that evolve to " no required sexual activity"? '
To which I would answer that, yes, you are confused. Which is well and fine, as it happens to all of us from time to time. But you're also being combative--to seandr, to philoPhile, to Alison Cummins, to avast 2006 and Allen Gilliam, and a bunch of other commentors, and your hostility, voiced most virulently in the directions to "go fuck yourself" hurled at avast2006 @152, and Allen Gilliam @154.

So if you're going to lower the level of discourse to vulgar insults, I wish you would at least do it based on something that makes sense.

[Most porn features a bored unaroused woman, or an aroused and mistreated woman. Almost all shows a woman willingly participating in sex with an uncovered vulva.]

And what about the men? The use of Viagra (you do know how to spot it?) on porn sets is quite common. So much for the myth of the 'always eager' male porn star.

[Had you begun, "Most OS porn," I'd have had nothing to say in dissent. As you actually stated it, my default assumption would be that, to fix an OSP problem that doesn't exist in SSP, you'd incidentally throw SSP under the bus.]

OSP, SSP, who knows. In the porn biz, there's so much 'gay for pay', 'straight for pay' and other combinations going on that I'm just going to assume that most of the actors on screen are there for the pay. Don't fool yourself into thinking that they are always aroused by the activity going on with the people on set. To resurrect a previously mentioned example, John Holmes did a few SSP productions in spite of his being hopelessly straight. Rumor was the makeup people attached 'appliances' to a female actress to pass as a man and keep Mr Holmes 'up'. In the pre-Viagra days. Now, anything is possible.

Go ahead and enjoy the fine acting. But don't think that male porn actors (gay or straight) don't differentiate between love-making with a significant other from making scenes on a set just the way women do.
Yup: porn actors are acting. Shocking, apparently, to many.
Before Viagra there were fluffers. Pussies can look wet because of lube. And while it's true that vaginal lips get puffier when aroused, sometimes that difference is more subtle, and few porn consumers are watching for it that closely or really care so long as the illusion of arousal is achieved and maintained. It's not real, even if the sex is real; it's fantasy. As in all film productions, makeup, camera angles, and lighting make what is make-believe seem real. That's the nature of the thing, and it applies to straight porn, gay porn, lesbian porn, by which I mean porn that is meant to appeal to a straight audience, a gay male audience, and a lesbian audience, not the orientations of the actors who are performing. And, as someone upthread pointed out, most "lesbian" porn is targeted to and enjoyed by straight men.

The only "real" thing is the "money shot"--that's why it's called that, because that is the proof that someone really got off.
Why are people surprised that the actors in professional porn are acting?
So if most of the women in porn are bored-looking and clearly unaroused, that is less the fault of deep-seated misogyny and the fact that the women aren't participating in the kind of sex that they prefer, so much as it's the fault of poor acting on the part of the actresses!

There's a reason certain actors and actresses become stars. Convincingly pretending to be thrilled by what's happening on camera (even if you really like the act and are attracted to the co-star, having sex while having to hit your mark, with lights, microphone booms, and cameras right up all close and personal, and a bunch of crew members who are not necessarily particularly into you is challenging and all the more reason a performer who sincerely gets off is treasured) isn't that easy.

A friend once recommended Marilyn Chambers' Insatiable--when she died he said that that was his favorite porn movie of his youth. When I asked what made it so good, he said: "the appearance of unfaked enthusiasm."

Oh finally, some reasonable comments. I admit I was a bit horrified by the sheer amount of porn-is-evil hatred here.

When was the last time you actually saw porn, you porn-hating people? If you go on any mainstream free porn site, yes, you'll find a lot of crap, but mostly because it looks fake and unrealistic from both sides. And it definitely isn't as uniform as you make it out to be. First of all, any mainstream website has all sorts of porn with all sorts of gender/sexuality/power dynamics combinations. It's by no means all evil egocentric men slapping around and doggy-fucking bored unaroused women. In fact I don't remember seeing any of that recently.

And kinky porn doesn't even always feature sex and most of the times focuses completely on the submissive party which makes it harder to fake enjoyment.

And puh-lease, Philophile, don't act as if submissive/masochistic women were some kind of weird & rare exception. It's such a common and banal thing. If you look at erotic lit and fanfiction, both overwhelmingly produced by women and for women, you will find far more pushing around than caressing and holding.

And any person with a sufficient degree of critical thinking will not just look at some crappy porn and then bring some crazy unrealistic expectations straight to the bedroom.
P.S. Just like I assume sane people can watch a romantic comedy and not expect a prince to turn up at the airport or whatever.

By the way. I am a straight woman.
Puddles, I am a straight, porn-not-watching-because-porn-actually-tends-to-turn-me-off-sex, but definitely NOT porn-hating woman.

Men I'm with can watch all the non-pedophillic porn they want (porn in which an adult actress appears to be younger than she really is, but post-pubescent is fine), so long as I don't have to see it, too, so long as there is a reasonable expectation that it was made ethically and without exploitation, and so long as they still want to have sex with me.

I have noticed an increase in some behavior since I was a young lass (I'm 51; was out of the dating scene through my mid-20s to mid-40s), which I attribute to a more porn-literate culture and the predominance of some specific tropes in porn (ass-smacking, hair pulling, etc.), but since those happen to be the very things that make me swoon, I'm kind of grateful to porn-culture if I get to reap those rewards.

Btw, I hate rom-coms more than I hate porn, and avoid them and fanfic or romance novels equally as much as I avoid porn. Give me some well-written, romance-free erotica any day.

Really nocutename? I have to go back over my responses, again, cause you decide to join the chat this late in the game.
Maybe, read thru @65 again. " the notion of no required sexually activity" is not " nobody owes you sex, ever".. And then the rest of that comment. The latter phrase is not the same as the former phrase , thought they seem to jump around as the same. And really, nobody does "owe " you sex , ever, it is a choice.
This is very different to " the notion of no required sexual activity" leading to the position where one person gets no sex..
And EricaP, of course saying" that's disgusting ", ( seandrs words), is perhaps not the best response. However If this is how the woman responds, in that moment, it doesn't make her bad in bed .
You know, nocute, if I wanna sneer, I'll sneer. Whether you think it's called for or not. What, you my mother?
No, LavaGirl, I'm not your mother. I'm just someone who appreciates civility and maturity. By all means, go ahead and sneer all you like. It might carry more weight if it was founded on accurate readings, but whatever makes you happy.
@ nocutename, I only mentioned I'm a straight woman for the context, so as not to suddenly be accused of being one of the men. And I definitely didn't imply that because you don't like porn you are one of the haters.

Anyway, I would attribute the ass-smacking and hair-pulling rather to a kink-literate, not porn-literate culture. (Or maybe not so literate if it happens without any prior discussion). It's just that it's something that makes me swoon too, but I have largely witnessed it in kinky-labeled porn.
Thanks, seandr- I'll check that clip out. I'm not against watching erotic play on a screen; good visuals can be arousing.. It's the shit visuals I'm talking about.
Oh, no, puddles, I understood why you mentioned why you are a straight woman, and I assumed you didn't lump me in with the haters. I was trying to show solidarity!

I think there are a lot of women in the "though I don't like to watch porn myself, I have nothing against it in theory" camp (Alison Cummins comes to mind here, as does EricaP--though I don't know if she doesn't like it as much as I don't).

As I frequently do, I was trying to add a little nuance and some shades of gray--but not, god forbid, fifty crappy ones--to what was becoming an otherwise black-and-white, boys-against-the-girls discussion.

Carry on.

As to the distinction of porn v. kink you make in your second paragraph @187, perhaps. But I think that that relatively small level of kink has largely infiltrated mainstream porn and/or conceptions of ordinary sexual behavior, which was my point. Just as oral sex has gone from being a taboo, kind of outrageous act to a standard part of everyone's repertoire, being closely followed by anal, it seems that a bit of hair-pulling and smacking, once pretty shocking and relegated to the fringes, is now accepted as commonplace. So perhaps the definition of vanilla sex is expanding and being more kink-literate is becoming synonymous with being plain old sex-literate.
Excuse me , nocute. Right. Accurate readings according to you? Got it. And where, in your good manners crusade is your reprimand of Allen's attack on me? Yeah, a selective good manners crusade is a prejudiced one.
I have had a couple of bad experiences with guys and porn. While ideally men can watch porn and have it not affect their real life sex lives, for a lot of guys, that doesn't seem to be the case.

I'd always assumed my husband had a low sex drive, but one day he forgot to log out of our shared computer and I found out that he's actually been jerking off to porn several times a week while only wanting to actually have sex with me once a month, and only when I initiate. I think it's a combination of laziness and the need for novelty and the fact that he can now watch girls that look like freaking models doing it (as opposed to the low rent types we grew up with).

As an older woman, it sucks to know that the girls he's jerking off to are 20 years younger and there's basically nothing I can do to compete with them. And frankly, if he's jerking off to them instead of having sex with me, he may as well be cheating.

Anyway, I'm just throwing this out there because whenever this topic comes up, women tend to be painted as crazy, insecure bitches with no basis for worrying, when the reality is that it does actually affect some of us in legit ways, especially those of us who are really into sex. Maybe there's more to LW1's story than the husband knows about.
LavaGirl, I've disagreed spectacularly with Allen Gilliam in the past (yet never resorted to cursing at him), so I have no problem with calling him out when I think it's deserved. In the case of the only post he directed to you, #150, he's responding quite civilly and rationally to your post @99 when he said:
LavaGirl wrote @99 regarding porn: If the woman's felt response is that's disgusting, then that's her limit. And you say it's her problem for having limits and it makes her bad in bed? The man fucking is actually fucking the woman present, not the fantasy woman on the screen.

I'm going to suggest to you that what you see in porn is uninhibited, fully-enjoyed, good sex (or at least a poorly-acted approximation). And if you have a problem with it, if it seems unrealistic, degrading, unpleasant for the female, disgusting, or whatever, perhaps that's because your attitudes about sex are tainted by shame and fear that were programmed into your emotional makeup when you were a psychologically defenseless child.

According to my notes, you're 63, so I don't expect you to change, but perhaps you could make an effort to realize that your personal tastes are not laws of the universe and therefore don't need to be foisted onto the next generation.

I could quibble with his assessment of you as being psychologically scarred into being ashamed of sex when you were a child, but otherwise, I don't think there was anything particularly offensive in his message. Whereas in response to him you said:
Wow, the boys are coming out. You looking at porn thru women's eyes, Allen?
I don't have the right to speak my perceptions, because I'm 62( couple of months till 63, your notes, Allen? You take notes of people who post here? )
And I might taint the minds of younger women? To what, think for themselves? Maybe, look at porn as visuals made by men to serve men's fantasies? As I read it, these young women, who have posted above- seem pretty strong minded and clear in their perceptions to me. You can go fuck yourself, too.
What a patronizing bullshit attitude that is. But hey, perfect example of how the male mind gets so threatened by women saying their bit. Even, horror , horror, a 62 yr old woman (about whose sexuality you have no clue) who dares to comment on issues affecting our culture.
Fucking Amazing. Classic.

I don't believe anyone has tried to deny you your right to speak. But no one else has peppered their posts with insults.

@144 I am no scholar, but to the best of my understanding, it wasn't really an issue. Historic Judaism (as opposed to the model usually followed nowadays) included one-way monogamy. You'll notice that many of the Jewish males had multiple wives, but the wives are expected to stay faithful to their husbands. They could also have sex with handmaids, such as Sarah famously giving her handmaid to her husband to use when she was having problems conceiving a child[1]. So, men had a lot of sexual options women didn't have, and thus women needed more protection. Also, men had a lot of power over their wives. I expect that women were taught sex was their duty and I would not be surprised if marital rape were common. (See footnote, said handmaiden is never mentioned as having any say in the matter.) Also, a husband was able to give his wife a get by his own choosing (a "get" is the term for a Jewish divorce), but a wife could not. So, it was very important for the rabbis to know when to pressure a man into letting his wife go.

Apparently the ease of a man choosing divorce was sometimes abused, since that seems the most likely reason Jesus ranted against it.

[1] Yes, she was a total jerk, and I am sorry about that. She mistreated her handmaid in a ton of ways, and casting the mother and child out to die after she did conceive a biological child was utterly horrible. I apologize to those still holding a grudge, but this was an alleged incident that happened many thousands of years ago by one nasty woman, so can we maybe get over it now?
I agree with LavaGirl that Allen Gilliam @150 was 1) being offensively patronizing and 2) trying to use age-shaming to shut her down.

He succeeded in getting her worked up, which is between them; in demonstrating himself to be a pompous troll of a particularly vicious kind; but not in getting me to concede him any moral high ground for not using the f-word.

LavaGirl was very articulate in identifying how and where Allen Gilliam was being offensive and how she felt about being his target. I can’t support any effort to shame her for defending herself.
uncreative @193 "I expect that women were taught sex was their duty and I would not be surprised if marital rape were common. (See footnote, said handmaiden is never mentioned as having any say in the matter.)"

Yes. Pretty much what I was getting at. It's nice that women are allowed to leave if their husbands are neglecting them (not just denying them pleasure but also denying them sons and the associated status), but marital rape is not thereby addressed.
nocutename @189 >>I think there are a lot of women in the "though I don't like to watch porn myself, I have nothing against it in theory" camp>>
Personally, I appreciate MM videos, but they don't push my buttons as effectively as stories, so I don't turn to them much. Re MF videos, Mr. P and I enjoy acting out what's on screen, especially blowjobs. Though my own eyes aren't watching the screen, then... Hmm, anyone have any good recommendations for hot MF cunnilingus scenes? Might be fun to try switching roles...

virginia mason @191, it might be more helpful to focus your attention on what you need and aren’t getting, rather than on what he’s doing during his free time. Have you tried going to your husband and saying “I really want sex at least once a week these days. Do you think we can set aside a specific evening to make that happen?”

Suppose you had enthusiastic, satisfying sex with him three times a week (or whatever your ideal level would be)...Wouldn't you care less whether he watched porn on the off-days?

You deserve more than you’re getting. I believe you can get there, if you open up a conversation about how to improve your very common situation, without blaming him for where you've ended up.
Once again, Ladies and Gems, the heteros have all the problems. When will people get that mixed marriages just don't work?
For example, here's an amateur NSFW slow tease BJ made by Tara Tainten, the leading lady. I've studied this clip pretty carefully, but I'm unable to spot the bored woman with an uncovered vulva being slapped around and condescended to.

The women in that clip is not slapped around, but she seems rather bored to me. And unfortunately, she also has those horrible square plastic nails which seem to be a requirement for women in porn movies.

I'll admit that there are a few hot fragments to be found in that clip, though.
[The only "real" thing is the "money shot"]

Ahem. I have the recipe for some realistic looking goo (lots of fun at WAM parties). Plus some hints from a few people in the business as to the best way to palm a squeeze bulb.

Sorry to burst your bubble. But when the camera is rolling, we can't wait for the hand job.
@192 That's an interesting perspective. It reminds me of Don Jon and its message about the difference between reality and fantasy.

I asked my guy if he'd ever been to therapy. He said yes, because his Mormon bishop had diagnosed him as being "addicted" to porn. I highly doubt that he was any such thing. I asked him if looking at porn had made him feel depressed, or if being depressed made him turn to porn. He said it was a cycle.

Now, neither of us attend/believe the Church. We have a good sexual relationship -- and surprise! -- he doesn't feel the compulsive need to watch pornography. I agree with the person way up-thread who said that in Texas porn is not normalized it is the way in the SLOG world. Preach, sister!
Virginia Mason, I'm sorry; that sounds so painful.
I do think that there are all different legitimate reasons for people to dislike porn or anything else, and obviously sometimes there is a real reason to feel threatened by it.

Your story plays into every woman who worries that she'll not measure up to her man's worst fears, and I'm sure you're not alone.

I hope you and your husband can work through and past this.
@200 (Holmes): Well, then, you've actually proved my point more thoroughly.
#197, Believe me, I'm not shy and I've tried everything. But honestly, I think talking about it and adding that kind of pressure has the opposite effect and is even more of a boner killer.

Scheduling sex is not really exciting (to either of us). For the last few weeks I've done the opposite and not made any moves at all. And we haven't had sex the entire time.

Someone mentioned Don Jon. I saw that movie, and that's pretty much him. I'm no Scarlett Johannsen, but I'm in good shape and not ugly, so I don't really know what else I can do. I've even watched porn with him, but he's always reluctant because he's worried about it being disrespectful. And then when we do watch it, it kind of is, because he stares over my head at the tv the whole damn time.

It sucks, because other than this, we have an amazing (and even romantic) relationship. Sex isn't a dealbreaker for either of us.
So, I have a question for the crowd: I've heard a lot more talk recently about "ethical porn," and I'm all for it. But I have no idea where one finds it. My simple googling seems to turn up more interviews where it's discussed than actual recommendations for companies or products. Is there a known source for ethical porn? (Is the term even well-defined?) Does anyone out there rate porn companies, like we've got AAA certifications for meat?
For me (and probably for a lot of other generally sex-positive feminists) anti-porn sentiments were formed from exposure to "bad" OS porn. The kind most people in this thread refer to, where little to no attention is paid to female gratification, the actresses seem bored or obviously uncomfortable, and degrading behavior towards women is common. Sure, some women are into that, but for the most part this porn is intended for and consumed by men. And many men who do not act that way in real life still enjoy it, either because they are into that kind of thing on a fantasy level, or because it's readily available and the potentially objectionable things about it just don't bother them that much.

For me, it has been distressing to find out that a man who treats me with love and respect is aroused by such depictions. Over time I've come to understand it better, but I can definitely empathize with women who are surprised and offended by their male partners' porn habits. It's sometimes hard to tell how much or how little they reflect the viewer's actual preferences and understanding.

"Good" porn certainly does exist, but for me the effort of wading through the crap to find it isn't worth it. By the time i find something that might turn me on, I've been exposed to so much that turns me off that I'm not interested any more. I recognize this is probably a result of my own ignorance on where to look, and is therefore my own problem. But it did color my perceptions of porn as a whole for a long time.

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