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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » I just learned my boyfriend watches porn

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Author Topic: I just learned my boyfriend watches porn
hellohellogia
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My boyfriend and I have been together for just over two years. Our relationship just reached a whole new level where we both know exactly what we want. Anyway, I stay at his place a couple times a week (even while he's at work). This morning I decided to help him out and sort his laundry- that consists of a lot of my clothes too. Under his laundry basket there is a plastic storage container. About a year ago I saw it had family pictures inside of it. As a nice gesture, I thought maybe I'd make some room in there for other stuff he had laying around in the closet. To my big surprise I saw a handful of porn dvd's. I was upset right away and felt so disgusted by one dvd in particular...it was titled "teen...something". I know that men will be men and they'll watch porn. Yes, I was kind of hurt because the girls on the cover looked nothing like me. I thought of all the times we have sex, and I felt like maybe he's thinking about those girls in order to keep the sex going. Then, I realized that he uses pornography to masturbate. I didn't want to be a hypocrite, because there have only been several occasions where I masturbate to him. So I let it go, because I know he is clearly attracted to me- being that he is always all over me. I know I'm his type too. So with all this said, my dilemma is: should I let him know I found the stack of porn (not in a conflicting way obviously)? I don't want to keep it bottled up, because I know that will only make matters worse. To be completely honest, what is driving me insane is the disk that had the word teen in it. I'm extremely against any kind of child pornography. That was what really bothered me, and it made me feel disgusted towards him. Should I ask him to dispose of it, because it is clearly illegal for that to be in the market? Please help me out!

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Gia

Posts: 33 | From: los angeles, ca | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I want to first make clear that "men will be men" stuff often isn't accurate, no matter what we're talking about, since men, like women, vary a whole lot. Some men do watch or use pornography; some don't. Some women do, too.

No matter what gender we're talking about, it's common for people to engage in sexual fantasy with masturbation that doesn't involve their partners, or, if it involves partners, involves others too, or partners in scenarios their parts probably wouldn't be in in real life. Fantasy most often doesn't resemble reality, and most frequently is separate from people's actual lives, whether we're talking about what's just in people's heads, or what they read or look at when indulging in fantasy, whether they're masturbating, having sex with partners, or not doing anything sexual at all. You seem to know that yourself, about yourself.

Mass-produced porn with "teen" in the title doesn't involve teenagers, but people over the age of majority who are acting, pretending to be teenagers for the entertainment of adults. It is very rarely illegal. I understand reactions to it as a matter of taste (as someone who advocates for teens and fights a system which sexualizes them but then often punishes them for being sexual on their own terms, I have my own issue with it), but if that video looks like anything other than a bootleg, everyone in it is likely over 18 or 21.

If you earnestly think your partner has pornographic material with people under 18 in it, that's a different discussion, because it being made and distributed, and his having acquired it, is a felony in the U.S. I'm highly doubting that's what he has, but if you earnestly think it is, we can talk about that.

I'd say given how you're feeling, it's clear this is something you two should talk about, but I'd encourage you to try and talk about it in a way where you aren't engaging in any double-standards, or haven't dealt with your own feelings of insecurity about this first and sorted those out some.

[ 04-03-2010, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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hellohellogia
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Heather,

Thank you so much for your response. After reading through other discussions related to porn, I felt better about the whole situation. The dvds he had were bought at a store, clearly- or it appears to be that way. I guess I totally freaked out when I saw the word "teen".

I'm a petite girl, and so is his ex girlfriend. I know he is into petite girls, so I suppose that explains why he would have a dvd with girls who look younger. I don't think he would purchase illegal underage porn being that he has a teenage sister who he adores and protects. I have decided to not confront him about it, because I don't want him to feel uncomfortable or ashamed. I don't want him to feel like he can't have privacy in his own home. I know I wouldn't be embarrassed if he found pornography on my computer, because yes I know both men and women enjoy watching it. I almost feel like by not telling him, I invaded his privacy (although it wasn't intentionally) and I feel like I'm being sneaky.

I'm clearly second guessing myself and making it a bigger deal than it really is, right?

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Gia

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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If it's clearly legal material, then in terms of worries it's not based only on the language, yes, I think that's unfounded.

What I can't do is tell you what is or isn't a big deal to you in terms of how you feel about what you found. I think you get to feel however you feel about it, you'd just want to sort through those feelings, figure out what they mean for you wand what, if anything you feel you'd need to unpack with a partner about them.

It's not like you were snooping, trying to invade his privacy: you fell on what you did accidentally with no intent of being violative of his home.

Personally, I think couples being honest and open with each other is very important, so my own advice would be to talk about this in any way you feel you need to, just also with an awareness and accounting for your own issues, if you follow me. I also think honesty is especially important if and when you find out something about a partner they don't know you know about them, because anything like that can be a bit tricky, like having something about them they don't think you do, but you know you do.

Lastly, I think there are ways to talk to partners about any part of their solo sexuality without making them feel ashamed. I'd be happy to talk with you about that if you like.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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hellohellogia
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I may be getting ahead of myself, but we have talked about moving in together in the near future. I don't want to pretend that I love the fact that he watches porn, because if it were up to me those dvds would be in the trash. At the same time, I'm okay with it. I know he's not in love with the women in the movies nor am I going to lose him to them...the same way he's not going to lose me to justin timberlake.

Where I'm going with this is I don't want him to hide this from me when we live together. I also don't want him to think that by me being okay with it he can go out and fill his storage container with porn. I'm not sure if this makes sense, but he may be getting a higher rush out of watching something that I don't know about. Is that even relevant? I'd love some help on how to express all these mixed emotions the way an adult should. He's well aware that I masturbate, but we've never talked about whether I watch pornography or not. I guess I want him to be comfortable with me in every possible way, the way I am with him. How can I make this happen with out pressur
ing him?

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Gia

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, it sounds like this may actually be a good opportunity to talk about all of this then, especially if you're thinking about moving in together. And certainly, I think two years into the relationship, it's been time to talk more together about sexual fantasy, including pornography use, especially if you think or know one or both of you may have any limits around that or you've never even talked about it in general to have any idea.

It sounds like you're pretty well-adjusted about this, and already in a good position to have a comfortable conversation about it because of that.

In bringing it up, I would explain you did fall upon it by accident, and that while you have a bunch of tricky feelings around some of it, some of them negative -- which he can ask you to share if he'd like -- you don't feel like it's a dealbreaker or anything, but wanted not to be hiding anything from him, and also wanted to talk about this so you two could both touch base on the issue, including talking about how you both might be most comfortable when it came to pornography and masturbation should you move in together.

When it comes to expressing how you feel, lots of "I" statements are always helpful -- as in, "I felt some insecurity around this I think I can work through," rather than "You made me feel X because..." Taking responsibility for your own feelings and thoughts is another big help, as is being very clear that you want both of you to feel comfortable talking about these things openly, not ashamed in any way.

Ask about how you two might negotiate. If he feels like, for whatever reason, he would like to continue to keep his porn hidden or very private, then you talk about how you feel about that, then he takes a turn, and then if you two need to find some sort of middle ground from there, you can work out compromises together.

One thing I would suggest again in this is making sure you're not applying any double standards. For instance, while your first instinct may be that if it were up to you, those DVDs were in the trash, that doesn't mean he wouldn't have similar fantasies in his head, just like you have your own sexual fantasies. In other words, are you feeling like his fantasies aren't okay but yours are? If so, it might help to think that through on your own first, putting the shoe on the other foot. As well, do you use pornography? If not something labeled as porn, do you have sexual fantasies that might be spurred on or incited by mainstream films or books or websites? If so, would you treat them the same way?

I do just want to add one more thing, which is that while I personally think anyone asking partners not to masturbate is violative of everyone's right to have their own body be their own, I do think that everyone also has the right to choose, if they want, not to date/partner with people who use any given kind of pornography they're not comfortable with. The caveat with that, though, is that tends to be something someone would need to put on the table at the onset of a relationship to be really fair about it, rather than coming to an established relationship with someone who entered into it without knowing that was something the other person wanted or needed.

For a bit more on that, this might help: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/sexuality/pornography_strip_clubs_other_feminist_relationship_quandaries

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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hellohellogia
Neophyte
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I keep repeating the moment I found the pornography in my head, and I find it silly to ask him to get rid of it or not masturbate to those women. I consider myself to be a big feminist, which he knows. He knows I don't necessarily like pornography because I personally couldn't take my clothes off for everyone and anyone to see. However, that's MY issue. I have watched pornography on the internet when I'm alone...so you're right...if I'm doing it, why can't he? I love your approach on everything and I will do just that. I will also check out that article. I'm sure you get this all the time, but thank you so much for your help, and I am so thankful I found this website. Thanks!! [Smile]

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Gia

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Absolutely glad to have been of help. Good luck with this! [Smile]

One thing I might add that might help is seeing if you can't unpack the issue about porn not being something you like merely because it's not something YOU would do as a subject. I'm sure there are lots of things you wouldn't see yourself doing, or even want to do, but that probably doesn't make you dislike them. I mean, I don't see myself performing brain surgery, but that doesn't mean I don't like brain surgery; I have issues with the military, but they're not usually about the people in the military (especially not about people who aren't pulling the strings) or the fact that I don't see myself in the military. Get what I mean?

So, if you're feeling that way about it, might that be about feeling like you can't compete in some way? Or is it about a character judgment of the people who do create/participate in porn as subjects/actors? If so, those probably aren't notions that are benefitting you much.

Not saying, to be clear, you don't get to fee how you feel, or that I think there is anything wrong with having personal objections to pornography. But as a thoughtful person, you probably want those objections to be sound and logical, rather than reactive or knee-jerk, and if you have reactive objections, it's always helpful -- ether we're talking about porn or anything else -- to cultivate an awareness of what those are.

[ 04-03-2010, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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hellohellogia
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I totally understand what you mean. This is actually something I never really thought about. I guess I am against beautiful women being "used" solely for sexual pleasure. However, I know it's not in my place to judge. Who's to say women in the porn industry even feel "used". I'm definitely not uncomfortable with any kind of sexuality. I know I've learned some "moves" and positions from looking at pornography. By now, I feel completely okay with the fact that he chooses to masturbate to pornography. I will, however, make it very clear that I don't want him to feel like he has to hide things from me. I can totally understand why he wouldn't come out and tell me he's watching porn. At the same time, he didn't know why I was so "anti-porn", because I just found out why just now. So I will make that very clear as well. I don't see his liking porn as cheating, and I feel like he thinks I do. I'd rather let him have his alone time with beautiful women on a screen than beautiful women in person!

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Gia

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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If you want to talk more through your feelings/ideas on this, by the way, I'd be glad to. For instance, I think the idea and sometimes actuality of actors/subjects in porn being used is a fairly complex one, that also involves two different, and in many ways, unconnected experiences, which is that of those working in/producing porn and that of the client/viewer.

But didn't want to just start that conversation if you just wanted to work out this situation with your partner rather than talk porn-politics. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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hellohellogia
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Well I think the reason I got so offended at first sight of my boyfriend's porn is because I'm so confused as to exactly what it is about pornography that I hate. It's definitely not the women in it, because clearly they are beautiful. I'm not sure if I'm getting off topic, but I feel the same way about strippers and call-girls. That's another story though.

When i first became aware of my sexuality, I thought I had to be sexy or look a certain way to get "that boy". I was extremely insecure. I started to get more confidence when I was getting all the boys' attention for the wrong reasons, which seemed just fine to me back then. By the age of 18, I had two terminated pregnancies and too many sexual partners. I'm not blaming pornography for MY mistakes. I could, however say, that the behavior I saw, the lingo being used, the way women moved in those movies, inspired me to be more of an "easy" girl.

It got to the point where I couldn't and for some reason didn't want to say no. When I finally became aware of my actions and turned a complete 180, I started to see why young women act that way and why do they think it's okay. I started to read some articles online...feminist articles to be exact. I saw that all these articles pointed the finger at porn. I had a set mind that because women choose to make those movies, young girls think it's okay to negatively flaunt their sexuality and pretty much disrespect themselves. But now I'm starting to think...why do women choose to be in the porn industry. Some make great money. but why or how did they end up that way? I don't know...

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Gia

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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So, what I hear you saying is that one of the reasons you don't like porn is that you feel that it, and what is in a lot of it, has contributed to you feeling pressures to meet certain standards of sexuality and the way you presented it. I also hear you saying that you feel like some of your own sexual behavior may have had something to do with the ideas you had about what sound motivations for sex were, which didn't happen to be sound motivations for you.

In terms of why women choose to be in the porn industry, for most, it's the same kinds of motivations as most people have for choosing any other kind of work, namely, it's economic and also based on the skillet and interests those particular women (and men) have (or don't). For sure, plenty of people ARE exploited in porn and other sex work, and there are many who choose that because they have other options but don't feel they do, but there are also women in porn and other sex work who don't feel that way at all.

If it helps to have a different perspective, I had many sexual partners in my early life, too (and later), but it sounds like my motivations were very different from yours, and I didn't have any trouble saying no. I also didn't grow up with a whole porn "industry" or the internet, etc. so in my case, I know that had no influence at all. Some similarities, but very different situations and motivations, with one of us likely influence by something (and partners, too), and another one of us without that influence at all.

I do agree with you that it's exceptionally pervasive right now, but also given a lot of clout and power by young people, and I don't see how that can't have influence and can totally understand how that can also create sexual pressures and modeling. But I also think, especially from a feminist viewpoint, it's important to remember who is driving that car: the people who make/direct/produce that material (mostly men) and the people who purchase that material (also mostly men). Those two groups are who decide what the content is like and also tend to personally benefit from it the most. While there are notable exceptions, very few women in pornography and sex work have a lot of power or clout, either as the market or the supplier.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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