Donate Now
We've Moved! Check out our new boards.
  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » "real" pornography

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: "real" pornography
concerned404
Neophyte
Member # 40413

Icon 1 posted      Profile for concerned404     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My boyfriend visits sites that claim to have nude photographs of real, everyday girls(one site even has a "know her personally" tab). "I shot myself" is especially irritating to me because it implies that these girls are taking photographs of themselves and posting them on the web because they enjoy it (they just happen to be paid and featured on a paysite). I'm not really anti-porn, but my boyfriend seems not to realize that even the sites that he visits feature flights of fancy. I think he's turned on by the idea of a girl choosing to post a picture which expresses her own sexuality, and he thinks that is what those sites represent. It's his attitude that bothers me more than anything. He thinks I take things too seriously (I am cautious, I like to be prepared), and I feel like the existence in his mind of these carefree nude girls gives him some sort of evidence that I am too serious. I am a very sexually outgoing person, but I take issue with the way porn frames sex and women; even for the sites which are generally respectful of women, I am still repulsed by the fact that they are primarily money- making ventures presenting themselves as public art. I wish our society were more sexually open so porn wouldn't exist...it's exploitative of both the model and the viewer.

In sum...I'd like some advice as to how I might a)deal with my own insecurities regarding my boyfriend's relationship with porn given the type of porn that he views b)approach the issue with him further (we've talked about it a bit over the course of our relationship, but we always seem to just slide past each other).

Posts: 17 | From: New York | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JamsessionVT
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 17924

Icon 1 posted      Profile for JamsessionVT     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think you have to understand that his preferences when it comes to porn are nothing more than preferences. They are not an indication of what he thinks of you, what he likes in women, etc.

You cannot make this personal; his looking at porn is not about you. Trying to make it so is putting yourself in a battle that really doesn't need to happen.

I find some of your comments interesting. You say that you wish our society would be more sexually open so that porn didn't exist, but then ask yourself this: is it possible that this sort of porn is a way of expressing sexuality openly? Too, porn is an industry, like almost every other business venture out there: the primary goal is to make money. If people can make money, most will do pretty much anything. Do I think most people see porn as public art? No way. Nor do I think porn companies try and portray themselves that way. It's not quite the same thing as going into a museum and seeing a painting of a nude woman on the wall. The porn industry is an entertainment and money making industry.

And to boot? You will find that models in porn videos or shoots are (and obviously this is not the case with all, but as a rule) doing it willingly, for the most part, with regular STD screenings, health check-ups, etc. So as far as being manipulative? I agree to you to a certain extent, but as a whole? Meh.

You're not the only one who doesn't like the way the porn industry portrays women, but in this case, that's neither here nor there. I think this comes down to your own insecurities and less of your problems with porn, given you said yourself you're not anti-porn.

Have you talked to your boyfriend about these feelings in a serious setting, and not just as a passing conversation? It may make more of an impression on him if you come at like "I know you think I'm overly-sensitive sometimes, but I need to talk to you about something that's really bothering me. Please listen to what I have to say before you respond." Granted, understand that it is not your place to tell him to stop looking at porn, but explaining your feelings may help him understand what you're thinking.

[ 09-29-2008, 12:59 PM: Message edited by: JamsessionVT ]

--------------------
Abbie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Us? Keep Us Around by Donating!

Posts: 3987 | From: Greater Burlington Area, Vermont | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
concerned404
Neophyte
Member # 40413

Icon 1 posted      Profile for concerned404     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, it really is just a matter of my own insecurities...I'm just not sure how to get over them. Our relationship is very intimate and supportive, so this isn't really a big deal at all; I just want to know what I should be doing to try to get over being so insecure about myself.
Posts: 17 | From: New York | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To be honest, sites like "I Shot Myself" pay so little (to the models, anyway: the producers tend to be who is making the bucks) when they pay models at all that often the biggest reason someone does work for them IS that they want to as an expression of their own sexuality or body image.

I can tell you as an art photographer who often works with women and nudes, and who rarely gets paid for it, so those who want to sit for me are not usually compensated, either, that the women I hear from -- some of whom just want photos for themselves, others are comfortable having work shown (though it's not being shown with the intent of being masturbation material) -- have a number of reasons for wanting to be photographed, and money doesn't top the list. For years, I modeled for photographers and artists myself and never got paid once. I did it because I liked working with other artists, I liked seeing what we came up with as a collaboration and yes, it was one way of expressing my sexuality.

Thing is, that can all be true, and you can still simply not be someone who finds that the way you want to express YOURS. Neither you nor other women are better or worse than the other, you're just different, in different spaces in our lives, have different ways of expressing ourselves and different feelings about how we do.

Because your boyfriend finds the idea of that exciting also doesn't have to mean you are NOT exciting. Know what I mean? I find lots of different kinds of people attractive and exciting, but that doesn't mean that when bits about them differ from bits about my partner he's not exciting.

And no matter what the motivation is, an image is still not a real person and can only tell us so much about a person. As a decently-known artist and writer, one runs into people who have the idea they know all there is to know about you, or have some sort of relationship with you, because they have a relationship with your images or your words. But that relationship still isn't with you, but with one reflection of you: with those images, with those words. Do you feel like your boyfriend gets that distinction? Do you feel like you do, as well?

I'm wondering, too, if some of where the insecurity you're feeling isn't coming from perhaps you and your guy not being the best match? Do you feel like -- sexually and overall -- you both basically appreciate and understand each other? Like you're compatible? (Sometimes simple incompatibility can create insecurities we wouldn't otherwise have with someone with whom we are very compatible.) That what's unique about you, and your sexuality, is something he values? You say you're a serious person: so you feel like he gets that about you and likes that about you?

[ 10-01-2008, 05:33 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
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
concerned404
Neophyte
Member # 40413

Icon 1 posted      Profile for concerned404     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We've been dating for awhile, even through major transitions in our lives (like starting college). We've of course changed over time, but our worldviews and general attitudes toward life and people are still remarkably similar(not that our interpretations of every event or issue are the same(what then would we talk about?), but our values and general approach are). I think we are a great match, and as far as I can tell, so does he. We're open with each other, spend an enormous amount of time together but still pursue our own interests, and communicate well; there's really no outrageous drama.

He just seems slightly evasive whenever I try to talk with him about porn and my own image of myself...I suppose that's normal since both of those items can be touchy issues both to talk about and respond to(in terms of trying not to unintentionally offend anyone).

The thing is though...we don't really typically have issues that we're touchy about. Typically everything(at least on this end, and I believe on the other) is out on the table, because we recognize that the other person isn't going to judge us for it--we're just not like that. We both have always shared a philosophy of living in an intellectually honest way--appreciating life in all its variety coupled with reflection and critical observation of the world. We love life, we love people, we love differences. So I'm just not sure why he is slightly evasive about this...there's really nothing that we're much embarrassed to talk about since we don't really buy into mainstream "should and should nots" (nor labeling things as such). Could it just be that he doesn't want to end up having to listen to me talk about how insecure I am with my body image (he already knows that I am insecure)? I just need an outside perspective.

He really likes some aspects of my personality that come out of being a serious person...like the fact that I'm usually thinking critically and end up being out on an orthogonal vector when it comes to the kinds of issues (social, political, whatever) everyone encounters daily. We both like the fact that we both bring new, weird perspectives to eachother's attention. But we do this in different ways...I'm usually a bit cynical and pessimistic and he is similarly so but tends to be able to brush the issue off more readily than I can. I can laugh at the absurdity of a social issue but I can't then later just stop caring about it; I want to change it. So in a sense, I'm a bit idealistic about my pessimism whereas he's more nonchalant. That's really the only major difference, and taking the issue seriously in its own right I think occasionally gets tiresome for him. That's really the only thing even remotely approaching a conflict that I can think of, and it's not even a major one...and sometimes its useful. He can make me laugh more easily about an issue and I can make him think about it a little more and little more seriously. And I think we both recognize and appreciate that about each other.

Posts: 17 | From: New York | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chris Michael
Neophyte
Member # 40500

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Chris Michael     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Unless I were with a girl who was interested in watching porn together (I'll try new things), I'd consider it to be like cheating on her. I mean, if you saw your bf with a girl doing something sexual to herself in front of him, naked, you'd be pissed. What's different from that and a webcam? Or a video? So what if he didn't touch her, he took some of his sexual attention, and rather than giving it to you, he turned it to her. That's the way I see it.

Besides, I don't see the need for porn if I were actually with a girl and we were in love. I'd much rather make love to one girl forever than see countless other girls online or even in person. Maybe my opinion is influenced by that.

--------------------
"I can go without risk and feel dead, or take risks and be alive."

Posts: 9 | From: Atlanta, Georgia | Registered: Oct 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, concerned, what I hear you expressing is that in almost every other arena, you feel like you two are deeply compatible, and you do feel understood and appreciated for who you are, rather than who you are not. It also sounds like, for the most part, you two can communicate well on other topics.

That given, I'd posit that you just try again to communicate better on this, and make clear you want to. What might be helpful is to make clear to him that you own your own feelings about all of this, and are not holding him responsible for how YOU feel. Make sense?

In other words, it's going to be tough for him to talk about this if the environment is such that his use of some of this porn is framed as this thing he does that hurts you, and that his use is what is responsible for you feeling hurt, rather than how you view his use and attitudes, and what you are concerned is underlying disapproval of how you are sexually, and approval for people who are very different from you, or wishful thinking you were those people, not yourself.

I'd also suggest, when you talk about this, dividing up the different issues. How porn treats/impacts women economically and otherwise is one issue, while you feeling personally insecure or substandard is another one.

(Just to clarify for anyone adding to this conversation, do tread as lightly as you can, and try to speak from an experiential and productive standpoint when possible. In other words, if you haven't even worked this kind of issue out yourself, or been with a partner at all, tread extra-light.

One additional bit of food for thought is that most people, at some point, if not frequently, will fantasize about others, and/or fantasy scenarios, while having sex with a partner. If you haven't been sexually active with someone, especially not over time, that might be tough to grok, but it is an overwhelmingly common sexual reality for more people than not. So, stating that any thoughts or visuals of something else are cheating is going to be a pretty precarious route to take, since it'd mean that it's highly unlikely in your sexual life that cheating will not occur, even with partners who are not sexually -- physically -- with anyone but you.)

[ 10-05-2008, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
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
concerned404
Neophyte
Member # 40413

Icon 1 posted      Profile for concerned404     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I completely recognize that this is an issue that I have with myself and my own perceptions, and I've been very careful not to make it seem like I'm assigning blame or anything like that (because, after all, there's nothing for him to be blamed for, and I know that). So we talked a bit more today about it and really just tried to reframe how I look at this. He said that usually he just does it when I'm not around because he's bored and that it's easy, fun, and pleasureable to view porn, and that there's really nothing more to it than that. This made me feel a lot less insecure. I was totally reading much to far into it and into his attitudes toward it; I was projecting my own insecurities onto my perceptions. I never minded if he looked at porn (in fact, I think it's healthy to every once in awhile), but I was just insecure about his attitude toward it and toward me (which obviously is my problem). I'm feeling a lot better about it now.

I also think another part of my problem is that I really, really would like to have a public outlet for my own sexuality (I like photography and have a fair number of nude self-portraits which I do share with my boyfriend), but I just can't really justify putting photos of myself up on a paysite because they are money-making ventures. There really don't seem to be any websites that just allow people to upload and share nude photos as art and not charge the people who want to view them: a truly public art venture. Why aren't there any (or are there some that I'm not aware of)? I guess what irritated me initially was the idea of paysites selling themselves as representing the kind of thing I just described, as brought to my attention by my boyfriend.

The other thing is, if I'm ever in the public eye and trying to explain my views to others (I care about a lot of social, political, and environmental issues, so I may very well be someday), I feel like if I were to ever express my sexuality in a tangibly public way that it could be used against me in the future and cause whatever message I might have for a certan group to be a)closed off to them b) the idea itself (and simialr ideas) to be further "tarnished" from their perspective if they are not open minded about sexual expression. People are remarkably petty and quick to judge, especially when they are only marginally interested in listening to someone or hearing about different perspectives. I recognize that I can't live in fear of being negatively judged, and generally I don't, but this just seems like an area which is particularly prone to negativity, and people seem to resent and judge aspects of sexuality with which they aren't comfortable (and the people involved in them) more than they do for other things.

@Chris: When you start thinking that way, you become closer to having an attitude of ownership toward your partner (you own their bodies/have a right to police what they think). In my opinion (and experience), it's much more fulfilling to consider a partnership as being two people who share their lives and their experiences in an intimate (in the old sense of the word) way. Why does sex have to be the one thing to share exclusively? Other people are much happier having sexually open partnerships, and there are other aspects of their relationship through which they connect most. My bf and I may very well be sexually open at some point (we've talked about it at some length actually). I don't know, I just think that the whole idea of "cheating" is really quite antiquated. People have all kinds of needs, sexually or otherwise, and no one person can ever fulfill them all. A friend of mine actually called it "emotional cheating" when her boyfriend had long conversations with other girls; that's just plainly obsessive and controlling, but I feel like the notion of cheating sexually is similarly based in antiquated attitudes about ownership. Sure, one partner shouldn't do something that the other is uncomfortable with...but part of the responsibility on the part of both individuals is to work through where that discomfort comes from and figuring out how to best support each other and each other's needs. It's all about being trusting, being open, and sharing rather than posessing.

[ 10-05-2008, 09:52 PM: Message edited by: concerned404 ]

Posts: 17 | From: New York | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Concerned, if you are looking for a way to share photography, why don't you take a look at Deviantart.com?

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Suffice it to say, you also can be artistically expressive of your sexuality without being publicly so.

You're right: a person does take risks when they do that, risks that will tend to linger...well, forever. It's wise to consider that with any kind of public expression of sexuality, especially something permanent, like a photograph or any content on the internet. I'd say a good question to ask yourself with anything like this is to consider if you think it's something you'd be comfortable with the whole world seeing in your 40's or 50's, since that always is a possibility.

I'm so glad your talking about this went better!

--------------------
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
   

  New Poll   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3