Considerate Partners Can Work Out a Compromise Where Porn Is Concerned

Comments

2

Isn’t there a pretty big difference between porn with models/actors, and an explicit video of his ex? One is clearly hypothetical, and the other is not quite hypothetical enough.

3

@2 it all depends on your preferences. Id love to see my man in a homemade porno with an ex (given her consent obvs), and not because i like to be humiliated. I just think he's the hottest thing ever.

4

I can't speak for everyone with a penis, but for me I don't ever find myself thinking 'oh yeah, this lady is totally hotter than my wife, my arousal is up 5%!' when I look at porn. My brain just loves getting aroused, and looking at these naked people arouses it. They don't look better, they look different. They are variety. When we hear and see other humans fucking it makes us want to fuck.

We are into some kinky stuff and on occasion I'll look at porn while she sucks me or we fuck because it has a sub/dom tinge to it that we both like but even then, it's not like my partner is not turning me on. It's just even more of a turn on to be surrounded by other couples fucking as well.

I doubt any of that will help people who feel cheated on when their man looks at porn, but who knows..

5

It is a well-known bitch move to take deep-rooted "ME" concerns and frame them as bad things thrust on you by other people, typically people you allegedly care about such as family, friends and lovers.

Notably the selfish people who engage in this behavior do not blame strangers on the street, because those people do not give a shit about them.

6

@1 (pjmanaradus): No need to condescend to or denigrate the lw. She doesn't want to control her boyfriend--neither his actions (watching and wanking to porn) nor his thoughts; she wants to know whether she has to watch porn with him or pretend an enthusiasm she doesn't feel in order to be GGG. ("Do I owe it to him to make an effort to try to overcome my feelings of discomfort and inadequacy? What do I need to do be GGG here?")

Yes, she admits to feeling inadequate compared to the women in porn. Yes, she admits that she WISHES she was enough for him so that he didn't want to watch porn. She doesn't say that she expects him to not watch porn. She also doesn't say, @4 (drjones) that she feels "cheated on" when her bf watches porn. She doesn't understand his interest in it, it doesn't turn her on, she never feels the need to look at other men, and she feels insecure about her body and ability to arouse her bf when she thinks about him watching porn or when she watches it with him That doesn't translate into feeling cheated on.

She isn't trying to find a way to get him to stop; she's trying to find a way to learn to tolerate his porn habits. She's sincerely trying--hence the letter to Dan.

So y'all can put away your judgement.

The issues here that stood out to me are that her boyfriend knows she doesn't like to watch porn and he knows it feeds her insecurities and not only does he want her to watch porn with him, he shows her a video of him with an old ex, who has a body the lw considers more "perfect" than hers. That's thoughtless at best, cruel, more likely.
And even if his ex consented to making that video, did she consent to him showing it to anyone he wanted? Because I have a strong suspicion she would not be cool with her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend watching it. So this boyfriend is an asshole twice over. Maybe just an inconsiderate asshole, but an asshole, nonetheless. But really, he's not inconsiderate: this was deliberate. He's DTMFA material.

7

I'm a lady who likes to watch porn, LW. It has nothing to do with a need to find videos of men more attractive than mine because I feel unfulfilled. It has everything to do with wanting to spend some "me time" thinking about/seeing some sexy scenes play out, to make masturbating more entertaining and pleasurable. Do you ever read novels about love or watch romantic movies? Should your partner worry that you are feeling unfulfilled in your relationship just because you enjoy those things? Of course not--it's just entertainment and fuel for our imaginations.

8

I'd have feelings about videos of his ex that I wouldn't have about random porn. First, it's not weird to be insecure about him jacking it to an ex, especially if he's maybe not over her. You may not feel that way, but if you do he shouldn't blow you off. (He should not blow you off about anything.)

Second, if she's signing off on sending her sex tapes his way and his relationship with you is monogamous, again you don't have to have any problem with that, but it's not uncommon if you do.

And Dan's P.S. is a horse dong of a P.S. If she did not okay this, your boyfriend should delete the hell out of it, and the intermediary friend is being a creep, and there are several conversations to be had. I'm hoping it's like the ex puts this out on public and "hey, look what Wanda posted."

9

Actors, in both mainstream and porn movies, tend to be attractive w hot bodies because we are wired to want to look at fit, attractive people. How often do you see fat unattractive news reporters or models or movie stars (especially doing love scenes). I liked watching Magic Mike because yum. But I'm fine then having sex w my pudgy, balding love because that's real life. Porn is just for fun, like imagining winning millions of dollars. Itd never occur to me that my guy would watch that and then not want my fat ass. :)

10

@6, @2 it was a difficult sentence to interpret, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the LW's BF's ex, but the BF's friend and a random woman: "Recently we had a fight about [BF] showing me a video a friend had sent [BF] of a woman he'd slept with in the past." Not entirely clear who "he" refers to, I'm assuming BF's friend and not BF.

Still lots of concerns about consent to share the video, though, that part creeps me out.

11

6) She sure suckered you into massaging her fantasies.

12

"I truly feel no matter what I do I cannot compete with porn stars."

Who asked you to compete with porn stars? I'm a woman, with an occasional interest in porn. Here's how I think about it, and how I think about my husband watching porn. It's a fictionalized bit of temporary entertainment. Like watching a movie. The people in it are characters, and what they are doing is a form of art created to spread (sexual) joy.

When my husband watches Star Wars, he's entertained by what he sees, and then it's over. He had a fun time, but it had literally nothing to do with me or us. He was not comparing his life to that. It was just effing fun.

13

Mostly a tangent to the letter, but I'm curious if the boyfriend has consistently dated relatively young women like age N/2 + 2.

When a man does this once, I haven't seen much in it, that's just who he met. When he has a pattern of it, for me that's been a good predictor that the guy has issues either with maturity or with entitlement. How about you?

14

@10 ah, if that's the right pronoun binding then cancel my ex stuff and underline the consent, because I have even more doubt that his friend's ex likely approved sending video of her to her now-ex's friend and her now-ex's friend's girlfriends.

15

Women with "perfect" bodies exist if you watch the porn or not. Heisenberg principle doesn't quite apply here, your act of observing them changes nothing about your partner's fantasies. I'm not quite sure what the circumstances are in which your partner showed you porn of his ex-partner (I'm sensing that there were both Kink/D/s-based relationships), especially if you don't already enjoy watching porn together. Seems a bit like rubbing your face in it?

"Wishing you were enough" is a normal and common way to think, but it's rational. You owe it to yourself, not your partner, to stop thinking that. To be GGG, you'll need to come to peace with your husbands porn watching. You don't need to start watching porn with him (although I'd suggest you try to find some mutually enjoyable porn because why not), you don't need to cosplay a pornstar or really do anything he's not asking you to. He's a grown up, he can tell you how to fulfill his fantasies; and if he doesn't, that's on him.

16

@15 ack. "not" rational (or healthy). Albeit normal.

17

The P.S. and the P.P.S. in Dan’s response address some important potential red flags in CSI’s letter.

LW has told her boyfriend she doesn’t want to watch porn with him. I’ll give the boyfriend the benefit of the doubt and conclude that perhaps he hopes LW will begin to enjoy watching porn with him if he continues to show her how much he enjoys watching porn with her. If this is the case, and if LW feels confident that she is done with these experiences, she needs to communicate that strongly and clearly. LW says her boyfriend would do anything she wanted sexually, and he needs to respect that one of the things she wants sexually is to not watch porn with him again. He cannot be shamed for his interest in porn, and she cannot be shamed for her disinterest in porn.

Porn viewing incompatibility aside, I think it’s worth more than a footnote to say that if the woman in the shared video did not give consent for the video to be shared, the boyfriend and his friend are demonstratring a total lack of respect and violation of trust and the LW should begin planning a careful exit from this relationship immediately.

Lastly, it’s interesting that LW mentions the 23 year age difference, as it isn’t relevant to her question(s) in any way. I wonder if the age difference plays an important role in the relationship. Does the boyfriend use his age and experience as leverage? Does the LW feel unintitled to her preferences as the younger, less-experienced partner? Maybe the mention is meaningless, but the letter skips many details (How long have they been together? Do they live together? Are they monogamous? What about their sex life is good and fulfilling?) and includes their ages, so it sticks out to me. I can’t help but wonder if the LW was hoping Dan would say, “You’re young, you’re not compatible with this man, dump him whether he’s a MF or not.”

18

@6: “ thoughtless at best, cruel, more likely”

This, especially after asking him not to.

19

The porn is less an issue than his more manipulative attempts.

20

It's impossible for me to tell whether the woman in the video is the letter writer's boyfriend's ex or the lw's bf's friend's partner from a while ago. I actually think it's the bf's ex from the phrase, "I just wish that I was enough for him and he didn’t have the desire to watch these videos, whether it’s of someone he’s known in the past or just regular porn from the internet."

But whatever. That doesn't matter. The lw has told her bf she doesn't like watching porn, yet he asked her or surprised her with porn--and the porn featured someone whose consent was almost certainly not obtained before it was shown to our lw.

I also wondered at the age difference. The lw is not a child, but it's a pretty significant age difference, and to me, it hints at a power imbalance, which could be part of the appeal, but which seems in this case to be used to manipulate the lw.

21

I agree with others that I'm not fully following who was in the video sent and that context makes it tough to figure out if there was any consent given to film the video. If there was no consent, the dude who filmed it needs to be prosecuted. If there was consent the LW's man needs to know enough by now not to show it to her.

I'm with #4: While I certainly would love to go on a date with Stoya or xorabbit, I don't see those women on my computer screen and think that they are better looking, sexier, or more intelligent than my partner. I don't know those women but I know my partner (both good and bad). I'm sure there are some guys who do want their partners to look more like porn stars or to act more like porn stars, just as there are some guys who wish their partners looked more like super heroines or rock stars or mainstream movie stars. But most reasonable people understand the role of porn in their lives as a certain type of sexual stimulant or entertainment, just as most people understand the role of popular culture in their lives as entertainment or a break from the routines of everyday life.

22

There isn't any indication the video was without consent. It's probably a HUMP submission.

23

Such a perfect answer. Dan, congratulations on your full recovery!

24

Young woman why? Nocute has covered most of what I feel re this rude man, angry at her youth perhaps. The age gap is troubling enough LW, his offensive and abusive behaviour on top of it and I say dump him. Don’t waste your youth on such illmanered men, whatever their age.

25

I just wanted to chime in to say that I feel for the LW. I used to feel this way. I'm happy to report that I was cured by 1) working on my self worth 2) developing my own sexual interests and not fixating on my partner's.

Trying to be the end-all-be-all object of desire for someone is an unfair thing to put on yourself and your partner. It's hard to let go of the need to be that way, there's a lot of social programming for some of us that needs to be dismantled to get there.

If things don't work out (those postscripts!), try not to fall in the dream girl trap again in your next relationship.

26

I, too, feel for the lw.
I don't like porn. Most of it actually kind of disgusts me. Although I have seen some in recent years that isn't too bad, and might even be somewhat erotic for me, I still have to grapple with the fact that I can't help but be aware that the bodies I see don't look like mine, even mine at its best, when I was young and hot.

I feel insecure and inadequate when confronted with the images that my partners have watched. I can't help but compare myself with the women on the screen, and I can't believe that my partners don't.
I don't consider it cheating, but some part of me wishes that the men I love didn't want to watch porn I find so distasteful.

And I especially feel for the lw because even though I would never dream of asking my partner to not watch, even though I try to be GGG about lots of things, and so have long ago adopted a cheerful matter-of-factness, no-big-deal, I-know-everyone-does-it attitude, people's attitudes like those expressed here @ 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 21, not to mention Dan's typical response suggest that there's something wrong with me if I don't like porn or feel insecure.
I consider Dan's standard advice about mutual consideration, pretending not to watch porn and ignoring any evidence that your partner does indeed watch porn, should you happen upon it, to be good and useful, and for the most part that is what I tend to do in my relationships. But I still feel shamed by this crowd for not being an enthusiastic supporter of porn.

I have read dozens of "I-wish-my-man-wouldn't-watch-porn" (or the specific kind of porn) and "my-controlling-wife/girlfriend-irrationally-hates-my-porn-use" discussions here and I see how any woman who confesses to not liking porn or feeling inadequate gets treated by both Dan and the commentariat: lumped in with religious conservatives who consider masturbating to porn a form of infidelity, or controlling bitches who try to micromanage their man. Or, maybe most frustrating for me, there are all the letters from the women who say some form of "what's her problem? I like porn," or "I used to feel that way, but I'm more enlightened now."

I find it ironic that the "Savage Love" space is one where someone can write about practically any fetish and be taken seriously, but if a woman confesses to feeling threatened or bothered by the fact of her partner's porn use she's chastised by virtually every person here.

27

Nocute @26: I don't like porn either. In fact I was musing to myself the other day that I'm among a tiny minority of people whose laptop includes zero porn and zero links to porn sites. It's just not my thing. I agree that there seems to be more scolding than sympathy for women who admit to the very human problem of feeling insecure or inadequate. Those feelings are real; they don't entitle anyone to ask their partner to stop watching porn, but they should be acknowledged as a real thing that real people struggle with.

It's okay to not like porn.

It's okay to have complicated feelings around porn, so long as you don't let these feelings spur you to behave like a controlling asshole regarding someone else's porn use.

It's not okay to assume that having complicated feelings about porn means you're a controlling asshole, as Pija @1 did.

Your comment @6 was stellar, thank you.

28

The video was of some woman BF's friend (BFF) had once boinked. BFF was not in it. People don't really send video files around much these days, so I consider it likely that BFF ran across it on one of the "tube" sites, uploaded by either participant, or by both.

It's no likelier the video has consent problems than any other video on those sites. (Which I am sure is nonzero, but hopefully not too high)

29

To me, the matter of who is in the video could change everything. If it's BF with an ex, that would be more troubling than BF's friend with an ex. I am unbothered by Mr. P watching porn, if he chooses. (Heck, I watch it from time to time.) I don't mind if these women have 'perfect' bodies because it's just a fantasy.

I would object to him watching videos of an ex. That's not a fantasy as much as a memory, and it invites unpleasant comparisons to be made. I'm sure you could argue my stance is irrational, but there it is, and I don't think "watch porn if you want, but no sex tapes of exes" is unreasonable. Of course, neither is "watch porn if you want, but don't insist I need to watch it." If sharing porn is critical to this man's sex life, you're not compatible. Don't let him put all the GGG onus on you - he has equal responsibility.

30

Bravo nocute @26, beautifually said. And so many women do write in saying they don’t like the intrusion of porn. So what gives, eh?
I too find porn distasteful and totally not a turn on. I much prefer to create my own fantasies where the men adore me so.
It has to be a subtle habit, porn watching, if a partner isn’t into it. Not shoved in your face like the LW’s man does. It’s crude and showing no respect for her true feelings. Using porn to intimidate.

31

See I thought it might be my Catholic upbringing my reaction to porn, and yes the boys to men round here get all jumpy if their porn is threatened. Yet, you’re a Jewish woman nocute and you too have a similar reaction. Then I see Fan’s not a fan either.

32

Excellent advice from Dan as always. My two female cents--porn for guys is exactly on the same level as Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice or Chris Messina as Danny Castellano in The Mindy Project. No guy is going to measure up to Mr. Darcy, because women wrote those roles. If the end result is to get you in the mood for sex with your partner, that's the best. Or even just to make you feel more sexual, a sexual being, that's good too. Now if you start obsessively fangirling over Chris Messina and neglect your partner, that's bad. But the thing in itself, the romance object role, that's a neutral thing.

33

Everyone should be free to like or not like porn as per their own tastes. But of course, you should never foist your own preferences on someone who doesn’t share them. As usual, the commentariat Is a diverse place, but I think the vast majority of commenters are trying to help not shame. Since the answer to “How can I get my guy to stop watching porn?” is most realistically, “You can’t,” I think the best suggestions are “but here’s how you can learn to live with it” and aren’t intended to be, “There’s something wrong with you.” It makes me sad that so many women have these feelings of inadequacy caused by videos of someone they and their partner don’t know and will never meet, and more generally, that many women are constantly comparing themselves against each other. Not that men don’t do that, but we don’t seem to get as obsessed with it as women do. Personally, I love that Girlfriend likes to watch and fantasize about other men fucking, it shows me that she’s into sex, and women who love sex are a turn-on.

34

...whereas men who love sex are just horny assholes...OK, SOME are. “Men!”

35

Yeah. If men expect women to be understanding about porn as "just something men do," they should be prepared to be understanding about insecurity as "just something women feel." And vice versa.

36

Um...if you re-read, I'm pretty sure the friend emailed a video of a woman the FRIEND previously slept with, not the LW's husband. Pretty important distinction; I'd want to be sure before jumping on this guy. He may have just wanted to see her reaction to a normal bodied person in a normal video (which this may or may not have been, but I don't imagine the friend is going around sleeping with people who later appear in porn videos.

37

Platypus@29 ~ Ditto.

38

Nocute @26 and BiDanFan @27: well said.

I have no porn on my computer, and no interest in watching porn. To be honest, reading this column over the years, I've wondered about my disinterest... my demographic is apparently supposed to relish porn.

39

I agree that people shouldn't feel shame about not liking porn. I agree that there's an obnoxious swanning attitude that surrounds the topic around here. To clarify, in my post above I should have specified that I no longer feel threatened or less-than by porn--not that I've gained enlightenment or become super liberated or anything like that. Just that there's only so much I can do about the fact that porn/much sexier people than me exist for view on demand and there's nothing I can do about it other than to worry about my own needs rather than how I stack up. It's an approach that's helped me not feel like steaming garbage while respecting my partner's autonomy--I certainly didn't mean to use it as a weapon against other women and I'm sorry. We all deal with enough shit, right?

40

I get a little tired of the Mr. Darcy stuff, granted I have not seen the Firth movie adaptation. Only one person mentioned it above, but Dan has regularly cited Darcy as an example of a romantic ideal that's absurd, and I always wonder if he's even read the book? Darcy is unattractive, socially awkward, snobbish and petty. The whole point of the story is that he is a flawed individual. Elizabeth judges him for it immediately and then interprets all his actions through her lens that perceives him as a brute. He likewise judges her, and they misunderstand one another. Turns out that both these flawed individuals do not quite fit in with the society around them, and if they'd both stop being such know-it-alls and give one another a bit of grace, they'd see that they are both kind people. They become attracted to one another but can't admit it / don't understand it, adding some fun sexual tension to the book. Then it's revealed that Darcy has actually gone out of his way to selflessly help out Elizabeth's family (which seems a major sacrifice except that he's richer than god so it wasn't such an effort for him).

So I get really annoyed at this idea that Darcy is an example of a ridiculous romantic ideal. He's just a flawed dude grappling with his own ego and prejudices and dealing with a woman who is likewise flawed.

If you strip away the social and class conventions (he's filthy rich to fit in with the genre but that's irrelevant), the thing that makes Darcy an appealing romantic figure to women is this: He takes the initiative to do something thoughtful for the woman he cares about without expecting reward or recognition. That's it. Anyone can do this. It is not a ridiculous romantic ideal.

One way you can do this is by being discrete in your porn consumption if you know that your partner feels insecure about porn.

41

Also it doesn't matter if the friend emailed the video or not. The point is that the LW's bf tried to share it with the LW even though the LW has told him repeatedly that she does not want to watch porn with him.

I agree with everything NoCute has said.

42

I mostly don't like porn either. It has nothing to do with my own feelings of insecurity- I have those too but not around porn consumption. I do not feel threatened by it at all on a personal level.

It's just that sometimes when you get a glimpse into how men view women sexually, it can make you feel like you want to cover up and hide away from them. Like, if they get off on looking at women like THAT, then I don't want to be anywhere near them. It's a feeling of degradation, and there's nothing sexy about it. It's on full display in the SCOTUS hearings right now. Makes me want to never leave my house. You walk around wondering how many of the men who seem normal actually think of you as less than human.

And then back up on a more rational level, yes I know that not all porn is like that, yes I've seen plenty of porn that I enjoy as well though I don't feel a need to watch it regularly, yes I've spent time watching weird shit too, yes I know that most men are not this way, yes I know also that men can tell fact from fiction, of course. Doesn't change the fact that my feelings around this are complicated. It doesn't do any good for someone to tell me that my feelings are wrong or irrational. They exist.

I think Dan's advice here is perfect by the way. Since the LW is not shaming the man for watching porn nor trying to control his porn consumption, she is not the problem. The problem is that the man will not accept this and keeps crossing her boundaries.

43

@13 I'm curious about the age difference as well. In my opinion you shouldn't date people that are less than N/2+7, and even that is lienent.

There's only a few things I can think of that would make a 50 year old interested in a 27 year old. I'll let you guys guess what it is. Additionally, given the letter writers insecurities I wonder if she is specifically dating older men because she thinks they're "safe" and less likely to leavd her for a "better" (younger, hotter) woman.

44

@40 "granted I have not seen the Firth movie adaptation" ....missing the point then. Also, come on, even without Colin Firth in a wet shirt, just as the entire fantasy genre was basically spawned by one work of fiction, The Lord of the Rings, the entire romance novel genre was spawned by Pride and Prejudice. Pick any supermarket bodice ripper at random and the plot will follow Austen's plot. And you may be one of the women who is immune to the whole romance thing, just like some men are like Christopher Walken and don't see the point of porn. But you HAVE to admit it's a thing, yes? "I'm fully aware," Firth told a reporter for the English magazine Now, "that if I were to change professions tomorrow, become an astronaut and be the first man to land on Mars, the headlines in the newspapers would read: `Mr. Darcy Lands on Mars." And JFC, when Danny Castellano gave Mindy her Secret Santa gift and started dancing to that Aaliyah song, I spontaneously orgasmed on the spot, and that is the truth. Because of the romantic build up that had gone on before. And the female gaze.

45

I agree with everything EmmaLiz has said, both about Mr. Darcy and other reasons for not liking porn.
I am frequently horrified by the porn that someone I care about watches and gets off on (and the stuff I've seen isn't out of the ordinary). Sometimes some of that disgust can seep over into my feelings about the man himself ("THAT's what turns him on? He gets off on THAT shit?") That's why it's best for both of us if we both pretend he doesn't watch it.

I also get tired of the Mr. Darcy trope. First of all, Darcy is not Colin Firth. Second, Colin Firth is not necessarily every woman's idea of perfection. Thirdly, not all women are alike. We don't all read romances, or drink cosmopolitans or lust after overpriced stilettos. I love all Austen's books; I read them for pleasure and I'm an English professor who loves and has taught "Pride and Prejudice" (FOR FUCK'S SAKE, DAN AND THE STRANGER WEBMASTER, WHY CAN'T WE MAKE ITALICS ANYMORE? WOULD IT KILL YOU TO LET US NOT LOOK LIKE PHILISTINES?) and to me, the romance aspect is probably the least of the reasons for reading any of Austen's books, and certainly not my interest.

I'm glad to see others here who don't like porn--and I am pretty sure from what I know of LavaGirl, BiDanFan, fubar, and EmmaLiz, they don't try to control any man's porn consumption.

@tabletop_joe, thank you for clarifying; I didn't think you were trying to convey the attitude of being a better, more enlightened person than other women because you have found a way to not feel threatened by porn; I understand that you were offering advice and trying to be helpful. There have been other women who made the kind of comments I was thinking of, and I apologize if it seemed like I was attacking you.

As for DonnyKlicious @ 33: "Personally, I love that Girlfriend likes to watch and fantasize about other men fucking, it shows me that she’s into sex, and women who love sex are a turn-on." Please take care with your phrasing--or maybe even your reasoning. All of the women in this thread who have said they don't like porn are into sex. Some are downright obsessed. Some are kinky. Please don't commit the logical fallacy that if a woman who likes porn also likes sex, it means that a woman who likes sex must like porn.

A = women who like sex
B = women who like porn
Therefore:
Women who like sex, like porn

Not the same as

A = women who like porn
B = women who like sex
Therefore women who like porn, like sex
(even that may not always be true; in fact, I know it's not.)

If that wasn't what you meant to convey, I apologize, but I do encourage you to think more carefully about what you mean to communicate.

46

BiDanFan @35: "Yeah. If men expect women to be understanding about porn as "just something men do," they should be prepared to be understanding about insecurity as "just something women feel." And vice versa."

Right on!

47

Marrena, I'm not disputing the movie as a romantic genre- as I said, I have not seen it. The pond scene is not in the book, btw. Darcy is ugly in the book also. As for bodice rippers and rom coms, yes I am immune to them, they generally bore me to tears.

There were romance books before Austen and after her but that's a different conversation and I'll skip it because I do agree that her books are romantic and influential. I disagree that Darcy in the books is anything at all like the stereotype ideal romance figure that people misrepresent him as being. That's my whole point, not to contradict yours- I'm just being pedantic. Darcy has been misremembered as the figure that (it sounds like) Firth is in the movie- the whole romance genre laid on top of him, not so much the other way around.

And my point is that the thing that makes him a romantic ideal is that he takes the initiative to do something thoughtful for someone he cares about without expecting recognition- this is the common feature of all the romantic male leads in Austen books. This might be expanded to chivalry and sacrifice and all the like (gifts and dances and pining), but if you look at what the core is to the fantasy, it's simply taking the initiative to be thoughtful of the other person.

48

@45 my point is that the Mr. Darcy trope is a TROPE. YMMV, #notallwomen, but come on, the reason why the movie Titanic made two billion dollars box office was because, as was pointed out in the movie Don Jon, Titanic is for women what porn is for men. Now that I understand it, can reverse it in my mind, I don't find men's porn habits objectionable in the slightest (unless of course they are using it to make their partners "porn widows"). In a very weird way, in the right context I can even see it as romantic.

49

@47 I think we may agree--yes it's simply taking the initiative to be thoughtful of the other person. I'm guessing you haven't seen The Mindy Project either. The thing that made the Aaliyah dance so perfect was that dance was so out of character for his character, and was practiced and done to a song his character particularly disliked and she loved, simply to make her happy, with a great risk of personal embarrassment for his character. (Of course it did not hurt that Chris Messina is sex on a stick and bless his childhood dancing teachers.)

But if evolution has made the females of a species so in tune to perceptive males, like bird mating dances where the male exactly matches the female's movements, and women find that so sexual, how can we fault men for their likes too?

50

A lot of these comments seem to be responding more to the general category of women who are uncomfortable with porn than this specific LW, who I'd like to remind everyone wrote the following: "I’ve told him in the past that I don’t care if he watches porn when he’s alone but I don’t want to watch it with him." Everything that comes after that would never have come up if he had respected that clear and simple boundary.

She's allowed to have her feelings, however silly they might seem to someone who doesn't share them. She doesn't even insist on the silly charade where he pretends he doesn't, she just wants him to not shove it in her face.

51

@Marrena:
I'm well aware that it's a trope. But it's far, far from a universal one, and I find it tedious that people assume because I am a woman, I'm swooning for Darcy. I also dislike rom-coms, and I loathe with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns, any- and everything by Nicholas Fucking Sparks. In my opinion, "The [Fucking] Notebook" has really messed with young women's expectations of men and relationships.

I didn't want to watch "Titanic" because I knew enough about the movie and I know myself enough to predict that I'd detest it. I finally saw it when it was 20 years old, and my prediction was accurate. Leonardo DiCaprio is a beautiful BOY in that movie, but he's a boy, not a man--which is not my thing (and yes, I was a grown-ass woman, and not an impressionable teen when the movie first came out)--and the story, the characters, the dialogue, the EVERYTHING are so stupid I couldn't get past them. So no. Not all women consider "Titanic"-era DiCaprio or "Titanic" to be the apex of cinematic romance. And not only is it #notallwomen, it's not a whole lot of women. So I wonder why people feel compelled to trot it out as the female equivalent of porn for men. I don't think we need to establish a female equivalent. I think most of us are capable of understanding that a lot of people--male and female, but more male than female--like porn and that those who don't, often really don't. I don't understand why the porn-loving men here so often feel the need to belittle women who don't like porn, but I guess it's part of the whole paradigm wherein men's likes are normalized and seen as the preferred way of being and women who don't support them are bitches. Too bad Hunter doesn't read the SLLOTD; I'm sure he'd weigh in eloquently.

@EmmaLiz, I have read "P&P" about 8 times now, and I don't remember Darcy being particularly ugly--though he's no Colin Firth in a wet shirt (and yeah, it bugs me, too, that the moment in that otherwise excellent BBC adaptation that everyone thinks about and has become a trope is something that doesn't occur in the book). I'll have to go back and see if he's described as ugly-I could simply not have remembered that.

@Malevolent Al: a fair number of comments, including mine @6 (and I introduced the personal category of disliking porn @26, so blame me, if it bugs you), note the fact that the lw's boyfriend is inconsiderate or even cruel by shoving his porn in her face when she's made it clear she doesn't like porn.
I have seen your name before, so surely you're familiar with the occasional tendency for a specific letter to spark a general conversation on a related theme.

52

It's funny how people's reactions to porn seems to either be "fap fap fap" or "ew!! Make it stop!" I almost feel like we should have all children watch animal mating in sex ed so they could see how it works and what non-porn sex looks like without any of the distracting boners and emotions.

53

@51 It is this type of comment, "but I guess it's part of the whole paradigm wherein men's likes are normalized and seen as the preferred way of being and women who don't support them are bitches" why I'm flogging a dead horse here. Not that I'm challenging you to a duel to defend men's honor, but I will say that that is a perfectly ridiculous thing to say. Savage Love is a very Through the Looking-Glass part of the Internet. Overwhelmingly it's women's sexual tastes that are accepted by our culture. Sure, some of the more extreme fangirling is mildly mocked. Supermarket romance novels are mocked as cheesy but they are in fact sold in supermarkets. Men are expected to take women on dates to see rom-coms, and the men are supposed to sit and suffer through them without complaint (except to their men friends later with an eyeroll and a groan). Women's erotica is the mainstream and displayed publicly, whereas men's erotica is seen as shameful.

Again, I agree with Dan about his advice--her tastes are her tastes and her boyfriend should respect them. Was just giving my own perspective about how I now see porn with different eyes (and why) compared to younger me. I just think it would be sexier and friendlier world if each gender could see and understand the lure of the erotica of the opposite sex.

54

@51 Nothing wrong with having a general conversation from a specific letter. I decided not to call anyone out specifically but I did see a few different commenters extrapolate the conversation to our LW having a problem with her boyfriend's porn use. Not you. =P

55

@53: Marrena, you said: "I will say that that is a perfectly ridiculous thing to say. Savage Love is a very Through the Looking-Glass part of the Internet."
I agree with you that Savage Love and the community who comments on it is/are a Through the Looking-Glass part of the Internet. I believe I made that clear throughout my post @26. I said explicitly and repeatedly that I was referring to this specific community.

You say: "I just think it would be sexier and friendlier world if each gender could see and understand the lure of the erotica of the opposite sex." To which I respond, speaking only for myself: I try. I take it on faith that most men find porn alluring. I would never think to require my partner not watch it. I suppose to that extent, I see and understand the lure of it, in that I get it's a popular thing (I was going to call it an art, but I don't know if that is the correct term).

And to continue flogging MY dead horse, I am the "opposite sex" from men, and I take issue with the assumption that my erotica includes Colin Firth as Darcy, rom-coms, "Titanic," bodice-ripper novels with foiled covers found at airport news stands, and Nicholas Sparks books or the movies made from them.
That was my only point.

I, too, would like to see more tolerance and acceptance and less judgement. But I find that to be in short supply in SavageLoveland when the topic of porn is introduced.

56

@32, Mr Darcy is a whole person who one gets to know, porn is not the same. Not mainstream porn at least. Awkward fake sex can’t be compared to novels, especially excellent ones like P&P.
And what’s wrong with reading about Darcy and going yes? He was ahead of his time respecting and admiring and falling in love with a woman with an independent mind.
Oh Donny, will I never be forgiven.

57

I never understood why the characters fell in love on Titanic. They didn't seem to have anything in common. The only meaningful scene in that movie for me was the old couple who decided to lie together as the ship went down. Whatever, women loved that shit and made it the biggest box office phenomenon of my lifetime (the biggest since Star Wars, before I was born).

People threatened by porn stars are the same as those threatened by 'Chads' - people who feel like they weren't born with the tools (physically, socially, financially) to ever compete with the sexual ideal. Mr. Darcy isn't the equivalent to a porn star, tho, he's equivalent to the Cool Girl; they're romantic idealizations rather than sexual ones.

I think it's fair to argue that the externalities of porn are of more concern than the externalities of the romance novel industry. Lot of sad stories about former porn performers.

@49 yes - willing embrace of humiliation is a common trope (explained explicitly by David Krumholz in 10 Things I Hate About You). Also a well explored porn trope as well and I think they're attacking the same centers of our brain, the idea that someone would sacrifice what's valuable to them for our pleasure is likely universal. Most of these things are universal.

58

@LavaGirl, we've had our differences, but I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say @56. There is no way that a video of bodies fucking can compare with a novel for me as entertainment. There's no way a video of body parts mashed up together compares with well-written literary erotica--for me--or the experience of actually having a sexual encounter with a real live human--for me. But I realize that that's what you and I like. I don't try to shame people who like porn for liking porn. I wish they would extend the same consideration.

59

He seems like a jerk, and you seem like a basket case. One of those problems is yours to solve, the other is something you can live with or walk away from.

60

You ever read P&P Sportlandia? Darcy is not like the Cool Girl. And I never watched the Titanic. If it had had different stars, would it have been such a hit? Leo was a sweet boy then. It was the tragedy as well which drew women to watch. Finding the perfect boy and then that happens.
You’re an internet sister to me nocute and I agree. The shaming of women or men who don’t like porn is ignorant and defensive in some way.

61

@Marrena

My personal little pedantic pet peeve here is using Mr. Darcy or Jane Austen in general as an example of these tropes. The male leads in her novels don't fit them, and neither does Mr. Darcy. The film version, perhaps!

I think it's a bit more complicated in regards to what we've been socialized to like- let's not assume it's universal or primal.

Sounds like you are mostly talking about the trope of the man who builds hard defenses around his tender vulnerabilities- all he needs is a woman who will see through his sulking or his tough guy act and pull out his inner thoughtful good guy. And he displays this by trusting the woman with a show of risky vulnerability. This is not at all appealing to me in any way- it's one of my biggest turn offs in fact. Mr Darcy, as much as I love him as a character, is emotionally immature in the beginning- haughty and then treats Elizabeth poorly (unintentionally) as the cause of his emotional confusion. He takes the eventual redemptive step to reflect on his behavior and grow from it which makes him a decent person, but I'm not the sort of woman who finds anything at all appealing about being the catalyst for a man's emotional growth. Emotional unavailability or emotional detachment or immaturity does not have to be a part of that- I think it's a flip side of toxic masculinity that says men aren't allowed a full range of emotions and therefore we sexualize or romanticise any male emotion at all. This is why it's hot to certain women to see a man do something that puts him "at great personal risk" of embarrassment- he is revealing his vulnerabilities and hoping to be accepted. I can't turn on my suspension of disbelief long enough to go along with this as a hot thing.

There's also the trope of the man who is tough and strong and will defend/protect/support a woman- the savior or white knight type, chivalry. I personally get some of this attraction- I like big strong guys (I like lots of types of men, but definitely big strong men are up there high on my list of preferences) and it can be really thrilling to be with someone bigger and stronger than you and also see how sensitive they can be and how they lose control when they are sexual- I think some of these tropes play into that. For a fantasy, this is fun so yes please save me Aquaman! In real life, guys who are all about protecting women are usually dangerous.

There's a trope of men pursuing and wooing the woman- doing things for her to show his attention and faithfulness and deservedness and I think this is not just unappealing to me personally but harmful and a product of socialization. It stinks of entitlement at best and stalkerism at worst. At it's core, yes it is nice for EVERYONE to show thoughtfulness towards someone they care about- and I think that in Western culture, we've become so hyper individualistic that it's also become sexualized in this way as romance- how you get the girl.

So I think our culture has a lot to do with it, and biology not so much. On a broader gendered level, sure I think there are differences and a lot of them might stem from the idea that men are more powerful- there's some advantage to having this on your side but it's also dangerous. So you get these weird courtships in which the powerful man has to prove that he's actually not going to hurt you- though there is always the threat that he might hurt the people who hurt you. In the end, I think a lot of it comes down to that, and the romance has just developed in cultural ways over the years.

As for Titanic, Leo diCaprio looks like a child to me, but the appeal of the larger story also includes class transgressions- the rich woman feels stifled in her environment, gets a safe way to experience a more wild side of life, then suffers no consequences for it (it wouldn't be a romance story if the ship hadn't sank- she'd have gone back to her rich world and just thought about her romance with Jack as a hot period of slumming). Jack is not appealing to me also because there's a creepy element of proving his worth to the rich white lady and then dying to sacrifice himself to her like the working class dog he is. Yes, I'm loads of fun to watch movies with. And as for 50 Shades- again, it's a wild side fantasy that is actually safe. She's a virgin and he's a rich man and they fall in love and get married right? All she has to do is do everything he says. No doubt they end up together in the country club.

I think the Princess Bride is a beautiful love story. I also love the Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy trilogy- every single one of them tug at my heart strings. In the classics, I love Roman Holiday- it's one of the few where I think the older experienced man showing the sights to the young girl actually works. It's mostly because in the end they have to admit what it's really about and go back to their own lives, and neither are weepy eyed idiots about it- it's what great about Casablanca too, though a different trope since the woman is not naive. Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans does it for me, yum yum, and if I'm just looking for sexual fantasy fodder that doesn't engage my brain, I'd rather just watch Khal Drogo run around without a shirt. I can't think of a single rom com that I could even sit through.

@NoCute,

You're the expert here and it's been a long time for me so I might be misremembering that part. I thought Elizabeth, after the girls first meet him at the ball, described him as being unattractive. But she might've been talking about his behavior only and I've misremembered it also being about his appearance. Others did describe him as a attractive- the older couple she went on holiday with for example, so this is probably my memory at fault.

62

The woman in fifty shades doesn’t do everything he tells her EmmaLiz. She does with him what she enjoys. Yes the books are trashy. The first film I thought was enjoyable, that’s because of a good director. And the actors made the film.

63

I hated those Ethan Hawke movies. Blah blah blah turn you off love for life.

64

lol Lava, I love that trilogy, think it's gorgeous. The woman in 50 shades has to sign a contract saying what she'll eat, wear, who she'll date- right? I get that she agrees to all that. The whole point is the fantasy is appealing because the risk isn't real, like a rape fantasy- no one thinks real rape is cool. Surrendering yourself to kinky sex with a dom, but he's also filthy rich and in love with you and will marry you in the end and you're a smart sensitive virgin and he values you- the whole thing makes me vomit. I think it's appealing to a certain kind of woman because she gets to have her cake and eat it too- all the excitement of doing something risque without really having to do anything more than be a nerdy virgin who marries a man that is filthy rich and loves her for who she is. It's a housewife fantasy. Really prudish people love to talk about wild and crazy they could be. That's why it's fantasy and fine, but I'd rather fantasize in the Ethan Hawke / Julie Delpy way- beautiful people with beautiful meaningful lives who deeply love one and have loads of hot sex despite the fact that their lives are full of troubles and flaws. It's the best any of us can hope for and just real enough that I can turn off my bullshit detector and be carried away by the love story.

65

Yeah I know, I went to see the first film and it was a mummy and babies session. All these young women watching what is no longer possible. A free from children sex adventure.
And she wasn’t a nerdy virgin.. she’s a saucy woman, even in overalls.
The thing about dear Ethan’s movies is they are so fraught, too many words are needed.
With Elizabeth and Darcy, the distance between them is right, with Ethan’s character you can see him charging into the loo while you’re doing a shit, raving on about something.
Darcy was a man of principle when put to the test. Yes at first he was a snobbish prick and love did transform him. His basic nature though, was one of principle. I watch my son transforming himself with his beautiful and strong gf. Good love is about that, isn’t it?

66

Ferret @36: I re-read, and I can't see any compelling evidence that the "he" in "woman he'd slept with" is the boyfriend or the friend. Could be either. The issue is that CSI told her boyfriend that she didn't want to watch porn with him and he showed her this video anyway.

EmmaLiz @42: "sometimes when you get a glimpse into how men view women sexually, it can make you feel like you want to cover up and hide away from them."
Yes! This! It makes me think, "THIS turns you on!? Ew, I don't want to go near you now." And I don't want to think this about my lovers. Another reason to keep your porn to yourself.

Nocute @45: I didn't read Donny's post as implying that women must be into porn to be into sex, or to convey that they're into sex, or that he's turned off by women who don't like porn. In other words, I think his phrasing was fine.

Marrena @48: I disagree that romantic movies are analogous to porn. One is a romantic fantasy and the other is a sexual fantasy. I would say that erotica is for women what porn is for men. To describe chaste romances as "porn for women" denies that women have libidos, which is inaccurate. We just -- in general terms -- prefer our sexual stimulation less visual, less vulgar. Good point @49 that what turns us on turns us on, and we shouldn't judge others just because what titillates them is different.

67

I loved Ethan and Julie in the first movie; liked them in the second one; haven't yet seen the third.
I love "Roman Holiday" and "Casablanca" and I would wait in that cave for Daniel Day Lewis in "The Last of the Mohicans" for a very, very long time.

BiDanFan hits the nail on the head with the difference between erotic and romantic fantasy, and the fact that women's romantic fantasy is presumed to be denuded of raw sex. BUT. Have you ever read any of those trashy romance novels they sell in the airport newsstand? They get pretty explicit these days. I still hate them, but I have a new respect for all those cat ladies reading them now.

68

Erotic visuals can be a turn on too Fan, if done well. The thing with mainstream porn is it’s straight to business, little connection past the physical is established between the participants. A good erotic film will tease and build up the pressure, so when the sex arrives it has some power in it.

69

@NoCute

The third one, they are not so pleasant. I assume there will be a fourth. It feels real though.

But I was writing to say the first time I ever cracked one of those paper backs was when I was just a young teen and I had NO IDEA that grandma liked such filthy naughty stuff. Shocked me then to think of her that way, quickly put it back on the shelf and pretended I did not read it. I guess it's sort of similar to finding your dad's porn mags back in the day. I'd be even more shocked if the old Indian ladies on my mom's side read such things, which they didn't- I suspect they'd never had any fictional experience with sex and never slept with anyone but their husband. But they were the ones in what we'd call a poly relationship.

I'm so avoiding these damn confirmation hearings right now, hard. Just want to throw up. But about to have to turn off the internet and step out so I guess I'll hear more about the real world in a bit. Creeps.

70

I'm having a little giggle @ nocute @45's explanation of how the converse isn't logically equivalent to the original conditional statement; of course, she's right--what's humorous/sad to me is that anyone would even read it as such: when Donny says "Women who like porn then like sex," I see the conditional. But I think nocute's right to point out what she does, because I know after years of teaching that plenty of people interpret conditionals (if...then...) as if-and-only-ifs (if...then and also if...then.. with the bits reversed). Still, I'd prefer the world if people got that right on the first reading and didn't have to be reminded about how logic works. sigh

I'll join the group of women here who don't like porn. I have tried on many occasions to watch it to please partners, and I did over time go from an active distaste/revulsion to a more neutral ground; this correlates slightly with my own internal fantasy life becoming more explicit as I get older (it used to consist almost entirely of set-up and scenario, and contain little actual sex; now it contains both). That said, I still fail to find porn sexually pleasing, as it tends to me to feel ridiculous--of course, ymmv, but even when the acts portrayed are things I like, I find the behavior of the participants silly or stupid (mostly in the over-the-top vocalizations/talking of the women). And much of the time I can't help wondering what happened to the young girls that they thought becoming a porn actress was a good decision. (I realize, of course, that some do quite well with it, but my impression is the vast majority are in and out of the business in under a year, and with a much limited set of career options afterwards.) The thought process tends to take the fun out of it. But I no longer feel alienated or odd if my partners enjoy it, so long as they follow Dan's general advice and don't rub it in my face (which none of them have, being generally thoughtful men).

As for feeling inadequate by comparison, that seems pretty natural, but an ultimately useless activity. Comparison to other real-life people can make one feel bad, as well. It happens now and then but as much as possible I try to avoid the whole thought process, and think instead of the ways I am cool and can make myself cooler; this leaves me blithely sure of myself, and besides, confidence is attractive ;) For the same reason, I avoid beauty magazines and commercials. They are designed to make you feel unhappy so that you will spend money trying to fix it. And of course, that works--if you consume the ads to begin with. Best to avoid them completely (if you'll allow me a brief high-horse).

I also think most rom-coms are offensively ridiculous (although I admit to enjoying Austen, now that I've finally read her stories, but I maintain that the character growth in her books is part of what makes them a richer story than your average movie). There are a few I enjoy but as a rule they're pretty awful. Like Sportlandia @57 said above, it's always a mystery to me why the main characters fall in love at all, as they are rarely shown as having anything in common apart from being good-looking. Most bothersome to me are the stories in which the main virtue of the man appears to be his willingness to put up with bullshit from the woman: this feeds quite unhealthy beliefs in how relationships should work, I think, as it seems to imply the best thing is to find a man who will put up with your crazy rather than try to not be crazy. (Note that I don't think all emotion qualifies as crazy--but feeling that emotions are fact, or automatically to be respected even if they can't be explained, kinda does.) Along this line I wholeheartedly agree with nocute: Nicholas Sparks' movies/books are detestable rot.

Lava's point @56 that Mr. Darcy is a complete person that you get to know is a good one, and a general argument I think for books over movies altogether, if one wants something with realistic depth. But that's not what people want from rom-coms or from porn, so oh well.

71

Oh COME ON! The Lust of the Mohicans isn't arousing for women? Seriously? Give me that one at least.

72

Nocute@45 ~ "...I do encourage you to think more carefully about what you mean to communicate..."
I get what you're saying, but I was speaking about what "I" think, not generalizing for everyone. It's somewhat problematic to always convey the completeness of thought in a brief paragraph and I try to be clear. I do, however, think that women who like porn are probably less likely to have hang-ups about what is "proper" and are more open to experimentation in their own sex lives. I say this because it has been my experience not because it is a hard and fast rule that the whole world has to subscribe to.

Lava@56 ~ Of course you're forgiven, I just said, "Men!" as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the past thread ;-)

Marrena@71 ~ Yes! And let us not forget classics like, "Midsummer’s Night Cream", "Anus and Andy", "Muffy the Vampire Layer", "Planet Of The Gapes" and "Romancing the Bone". All inexplicably snubbed by the Oscars.

Congrats, EmmaLiz...perfect time to have 69.

73

Before this enormous rant, if Marrena is reading this, thank you for your support and understanding. I appreciate it.

@Nocute 58

"There is no way that a video of bodies fucking can compare with a novel for me as entertainment."
Well, no. They're not remotely the same thing. Novels are art (Harlequin romances excepted), even "Titanic" is art. Porn is no more art than an IKEA manual is. I'd compare porn to a dildo. There's roughly equal intellectual stimulation, and that's working as intended. There's no way a dildo can compare with a novel for me, either, but that doesn't say anything about my artistic judgement vis-a-vis those who are turned on by using a dildo.

"There's no way a video of body parts mashed up together compares with well-written literary erotica--for me"
That's actually a pretty good analogy. There's some literary erotica that I like, but there's also lots of it that leaves me thinking "this could be how people who don't like porn feel about porn".

"or the experience of actually having a sexual encounter with a real live human"
Yeah. I've been single for 97% of my adult life. (I counted. Counting 3% is really easy.) And by "single" I don't mean "between long term partners". I mean "as likely to go on a date as most places in the Sahara are likely to receive rainfall." (There are some places in the Sahara that get a surprisingly large amount of rainfall.) So, yeah, I'd like to have a sexual encounter with a real live human who's attracted to me and whom I'm attracted to. There's a significant number of each but almost no overlap. So, realistically, I've almost never been in the position of choosing between partnered sex and porn. "Choose partnered sex or porn" is not a choice someone like me needs to make.

"or me. But I realize that that's what you and I like."
Yeah, if you're driving a Mercedes and I'm driving a beat-up second hand chevvy (supposing money's no object), then driving a Mercedes is just what you like, it's subjective. I totally could be driving a Mercedes, I just choose the chevvy, because it's what I "like", no judgement from you. Bullshit. No one in their right mind would choose the chevvy and you know it. (Although it is possible to get stuck with porn the same way it's possible to get stuck with "death grip".)

"I don't try to shame people who like porn for liking porn."
Excuse me? Shaming (in a patronizing way) is what I've heard from you through most of this post.

I've been told in person by both men and women that liking porn makes me a "pervert" and a "loser". I remember when porn magazines had black dots printed over the womens' nipples, just to spoil it, and with the bonus effect of making sure that the reader didn't forget how skanky he was. Actually, the more I think about it, the more similarities I see between porn-shaming and slut-shaming. On the other hand, society expects people like me to live without partnered sex, because, hey, having sex, having romantic relationships, having a family, those aren't big deals. Friendships are all you need. (Although none of the people who tell people like me this live this way themselves.) So, yeah, I'm actually pretty insecure and defensive about this. It turns out that all humans get insecure about things. It can get pretty tempting to lash out when someone hits one of your sore spots. Being told that I chose porn over having someone to love and be loved by, but hey, you're not being judgmental or shaming... Sorry, Nocute, because you're generally a pretty decent commenter.

Imagine how you would feel if Dan's recommendation for couples where the woman uses dildos or vibrators, and the man doesn't approve of that, (imagine, for purposes of this analogy, that society finds men being disgusted by dildos completely understandable), was that "[the female partner] should do her best to keep dildos/vibrators out of sight and out of the man's mind, [and in return the male partner] shouldn't go looking for evidence that she's using dildos or vibrators — and if she slips up every once in a great while he should let it go." And if she needs the dildo to get off, and isn't very often interested in partnered sex with no dildo, well, the man should DTMFA because she's sexually incompatible with him. And that society considered this an enlightened, tolerant attitude towards vibrator use. How would you like that?

I'm certainly not saying that vibrator use should be treated like porn use currently is. I'm just trying to draw a picture that might help you see it from our side.

This isn't to say that any of you are wrong to not like porn. Lots of porn is pretty unlikable unless you're horny. Most porn is designed to be hyperarousing to a specialized subgroup of men who are ready for arousal, not even to all men let alone women. But in a society that's really judgmental and shaming about porn use, it's really easy to be come across as judgmental and shaming about porn use without intending to be.

74

I don’t like to watch any animals copulating. And I feel for some of those girls having cocks forced into their orifices. I don’t get aroused. It’s more of an ouch response.

75

Hugs to you Old Crow.

76

Old Crow, you have completely and totally misunderstood me. I'm not going to go back point by point, but I don't think you read me accurately.

Marrena, I think that EmmaLiz and I were both saying that we DO find Daniel Day Lewis in "The Last of the Mohicans" to be sexy.

77

@73 You’ve obviously never seen any of Jean-Daniel Cadinots films. Those are art.

78

That's understandable. There are genres of porn that I feel that way about.

But it's not a moral difference. I didn't choose to be aroused by some genres of porn. You didn't choose not to be aroused by porn. That's at least as hard-wired into us as sexual preference.

I don't have any particular answers. We, as a society, seem to be muddling through about as well as we might. Trying to be considerate of, sensitive to, the people we're intimate with, as a start. Hopefully that's a platitude.

79

78 was to Lavagirl @74. Thank you.

@76, NoCute, it's very likely that I misunderstood you. It was quite triggering, and that's usually more about the reader than the writer.

Regarding to analogies to porn, I'd go with the "romance novels" that women read once each and then go on to the next one with the same formula of as something analogous to porn. The key similarity being that porn scenes are generally also watched once and then the viewer moves on to another one with the same formula. If something makes a significant number of people want to read or watch it again a second time, it's deeper than the vast majority of porn.

I've never heard of Cadinot. It seems I should check him out.

80

Lava @68: Agree completely, and you've just perfectly described the sort of visual thing I find sexy. If any of y'all have Netflix, watch Sense8. It's about a group of (conventionally attractive) young people around the world who are psychically linked and can astrally project into each other's lives and bodies. Halfway through Episode 6, two of the characters are having sex with their respective partners. The psychic link connects them erotically and it becomes a set of pansexual threesomes-and-moresomes soundtracked by some sexy soul music. No genitals on show but that scene was the best porn I've ever seen. Music is a huge part of setting a sexy mood for me; sexy music and sexy people, even if fully clothed, are far hotter than hardcore porn with cheesy tunes.

I would also agree re Daniel Day-Lewis in Last of the Mohicans. See? Dudes with long hair. Umf. There were some hot scenes in Bram Stoker's Dracula too. Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder! One common theme here is that many women would rather see men and women in historical attire than naked.

Ciods @70, I too traditionally spent far more time fantasising "set-up and scenario" than actual sex! A fantasy is too nebulous to me if it's not believable. If I want to have a fantasy about Emma Watson, for instance, I can't just picture myself in bed with Emma Watson. How did we get there? How did I seduce her, or did she seduce me? Who and where am I that the possibility of bedding Emma Watson might arise? Or maybe the fantasy doesn't even involve me, but other characters -- where did they come from and how did they hook up? There's dialogue and everything. Perhaps we spend less time on that these days because we have vivid memories of real, hot sex to visualise.

Old Crow @73: Throughout this thread I have seen no shaming of people who like porn, nor an insinuation that people who like porn have rejected in-person sexual relationships. Negative critiques of -porn itself-, sure. But not of the people who like it. I've seen nothing worse than grudging acceptance of people who like porn, who are acknowledged to be the majority. I also think there is a broad acceptance that people who don't have partners will use porn regularly, but a misplaced assumption (by some) that once a person is partnered the porn use will stop because you now have the opportunity to have the "real thing" which is indisputably better. That's why women write in, distressed that their partners are still looking at porn.

Thanks for acknowledging that, like NoCute in the opposite direction, this is a sore spot for you and you're fighting an instinctive defensiveness about it. I do think you're conflating things NoCute didn't actually write with assumptions and aspersions other folks have flung at you over the years.

I actually think your dildo/vibrator example is a good one! Some men are self-conscious about their penis size, the way some women are self-conscious about their figures. If a woman had a collection of huge dildos that made her boyfriend feel insecure, it DOES make sense to advise her to be discreet about them. It's not a perfect analogy, but yes, if Person A can only get off in a way that makes Person B feel bad about themselves, Persons A and B are not sexually compatible.

"Lots of porn is pretty unlikable unless you're horny." Indeed! Porn is off-putting when I'm not horny, and when I am horny, I'm already horny so what's the point?

Good discussion, everyone.

81

PS on the porn-vs-dildo example: Again there is a conflation of vibrators with dildos when they aren't the same thing. OK, some dildos vibrate, and there are toys like rabbits that combine both, but generally, a dildo is a phallic toy used for penetration, and a vibrator is intended for direct clitoral, not vaginal, stimulation. If a woman says she can only get off by bringing a dildo into partnered sex, what she's saying is, "I get off on penetration but not on being penetrated BY YOU." That does send the message that the man is inadequate, either size or stamina wise. A vibrator, on the other hand, produces a sensation that cannot be replicated by a man's penis or any other body part. Saying one needs a vibrator to come only says "I get off only on this particular sensation," not "you are inadequate."

How either of these parallels porn is an interesting thought exercise. "I need to watch porn to come" suggests "I need visual stimulation," which is fair enough, but isn't looking at your partner "visual stimulation"? Turn the lights on? Do it in front of a mirror? Would that not satisfy the visual stimulation need that porn is serving? (Obviously for some, the answer is no, but it's hard to follow the logic.)

This is why it isn't a perfect analogy.

82

Old Crow, yes, I agree with what you say, and that was why I have been commenting here, although I haven't been articulating my thoughts very well. During and after my divorce, Titanic kept my heart alive (I was a big Billy Zane fan) and then Stephen Colbert until I was ready to date again. I understand where you are.

That said, I would encourage you to take a dip in the female end of the pool and get a feel for what we like, maybe check out ao3. At least it might give you a feeling of virtual female camaraderie, because the women reading ao3 are DEFINITELY fapping to it.

And nocutename, I'm just saying that Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans is, um, more than "sexy". Oh LOL, I just checked out the entries for Lust of the Mohicans on ao3 and there are fifty-fucking-six even though the movie came out decades ago.

83

It's deeply wrong to assume that someone who says he or she finds you sexually attractive is lying. If they then demonstrate that yes, they do get turned on by you, and you still think he (or she) is lying, what do you think is going on?

When you say, "oh, I don't look like the kind of woman (or man) that men (or women) are turned on by", you're making a very wrong assumption that everyone's taste is the same, and you're denying other people's reality. If you think they're lying about finding you sexy, what do you think their motives are? You can get in lots of nasty head spaces if you refuse to acknowledge that some people think you're sexy..

When someone says they think you're sexy, the proper response is "Thanks" and believing them. No matter what YOU think, they get to have their own tastes in sexual partners. And you will fit a lot of people's taste in sexual partners, no matter whether you think you're attractive or not yourself. Your opinion does not matter in this case.

If they also find women (or men) attractive who are not like you - so what? Many of us have broad erotic tastes, and don't have one "type". That's a good thing. It doesn't mean that you are not as attractive, or MORE attractive, than the other people he (or she) is also attracted to.

It really isn't a competition.

84

My apologies for missing this thread.

I was about to give Mizz Liz credit for applying an unconventional definition of "unattractive" before she clarified herself. Here is the introduction to the romantic male leads:

"Mr Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners...

his friend Mr Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes of his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year."

As perhaps was usual in such society, while Mr Bingley made many friends, Mr Darcy was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, but, once he was discovered to be proud, above his company, and above being pleased, not all his large estate in Derbyshire could save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and from being unworthy to be compared to his friend.

While the paragraph seems to some extent a commentary on the general mode of evaluation prevalent among that particular class, it does seem we can take it that Darcy possessed all the superficial qualities required to draw general initial admiration. For myself, I always considered Mr Firth too short for the role (as well as Miss Ehle too nearly Ms Harker's equal in appearance); the earlier BBC adaptation with David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie seemed rather nearer the mark. Height can be deceptive, though (if memory serves, I recall discovering that Ms McEwan was taller than Ms Hickson, which one would be unlikely to surmise from witnessing their portrayals of Miss Marple).

The point of Darcy's Grand Gesture is nowhere near so much the relative lack of difficulty for him in providing the funds for the match he brought about as that he would still be willing to marry into the same family as the scoundrel who'd nearly eloped with his sister (in addition to bribing that scoundrel). The Darcy of the first proposal would never have countenanced such an idea.

While Mizz Liz gets a good deal right in her appraisal, I shall question how she concludes that Elizabeth is KIND. Of all Lizzie's "amiable qualifications" (to quote Mr Collins), kindness is not one of the first half-dozen qualities I'd attribute to her. Darcy, just perhaps (although Mr Knightley is considerably his superiour), but not Elizabeth. And Mizz Liz surely is not confusing Elizabeth with Jane. Ms Cute's favourite, Mary Crawford, with a habit of saying things of similar wit, is rather more kind than Elizabeth. The lead heroines tend to be short on that quality - excepting Anne Elliot, perhaps (Catherine Morland doesn't think enough, but seems likely to become kind later on).

I should add that I tend to predict a less happy future for the Darcys than for other Austenian couples, as the novel never resolved their debate on friendship from Chapter 10, nor do the personal amendments of either party seem to extend so far. "To yield readily - easily - to the persuasion of a friend is no merit with you." "To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either."

To close with something amusing rather than stuffy, I venture to ask Ms Cute her opinion on declaring Marianne Dashwood to be the Austenian Social Justice Warrior, far ahead of runner-up Susan Price.

85

While I agree with everything Dan said and I personally like watching porn by myself and with a partner. If my partner was watching videos of an ex (without my knowledge and consent) that would piss me the fuck off. If he was watching videos of any woman he knew (without my knowledge and consent) that would piss me the fuck off...

86

Hold on there, Mr. Ven! While I would like to hang out with Mary Crawford, I am somewhat partial to Anne Elliot, for being the heroine.

I have always preferred Elizabeth Garvie's Lizzy, as well as the Darcy and especially the Mr. Collins in that production. Though the Mrs. Bennet of the Colin Firth production is pretty much perfection.

Yes, I can easily see a contemporary version of S&S in which Marianne is a SJW.

87

Shades of Clueless. It's a pity that my screenwriting friend who could do it so well has no familiarity with Miss Austen whatsoever.

Alison Steadman was also Jane (the "feminist") in Shirley Valentine. I definitely agree about the first Mr Collins, who was appropriately heavy where the second was mainly oily.

Given that the first thing Lydia says in the novel reveals that she's the tallest, I thought 1 miscast her more than 2, though they both have a good go at the part. Even stranger was 1's choice of Irene Richard as Charlotte Lucas - at about the same time, with curled hair, she was Elinor in the BBC's S+S. 2's Charlotte looked more right for the part. There seem a number of stylistic choices comparing the two - should Miss Bingley be robust or waspish? was Mrs Gardiner 2 or Lady Catherine de Bourgh 1 a little young? etc. It would be interesting to see a comprehensive poll somewhere.

88

Wow, this thread blew up while I was away! Add me to the list of women here who don't like porn, or even bodice rippers. I don't care if my guy watches porn, if he asks I am generally amenable to cuddling while he watches it, but I get nothing out of it. It doesn't make me feel insecure, I just find it incredibly and boring. Something that occurred to me: While it is obvious that all of us consider the video porn, the LWs husband may not have been thinking of it that way. In our day to day, we don't always have perfectly logical thoughts. If you take a minute to think about it, yes, it is asking her to watch porn when she has said she doesn't want to. For him, porn may be something he associates with impersonality, not what he or his friend is doing. It is totally possible that he was like, "Look what Billy Bob sent me," without it ever occurring to him that what his friend sent him, is in fact, porn. If he is generally respectful, I don't think this is a dtmfa level offense. Misunderstandings happen in relationships and things need clarifying all the time. Semantics matter.

89

Tachy @88: That's a good point, though no one was advising CSI that she should dump her husband (not boyfriend) nor was that her question. The only DTMFA that was advised was if she discovered these men were sharing the video without the consent of the woman involved, which the letter itself did not imply.

90

Sorry! @89 should read "boyfriend (not husband)". Need more coffee.