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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Porn?

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Author Topic: Porn?
WhatTheEyeArranges
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Let me start out by saying that I already looked at all the FAQs about this and I don't think my issue here has been addressed before, but if it has and I missed it, I'm sorry.

So I've been dating my boyfriend for well over a year now and we've never had any serious problems or anything and we're both consistently happy with the relationship and he treats me well and everything. I went through some sexual abuse as a child so we're moving pretty slowly sexually, but as far as I'm aware we're both content with that.

We don't really keep secrets from each other at all, and so he told me a few months ago that he does watch porn and he was worried that it wouldn't be okay if he did it while we were together. I know guys watch porn and it's basically a given so I said it was okay. I wasn't really okay with it at the moment but I figured I'd get used to it. He went on to say that he only watches it to think of me and that he only picks girls who look like me (i.e., scrawny with small boobs).

Time passed and eventually I got him to admit that he doesn't always think of me and sometimes he watches porn just to...watch porn. Which I knew all along but, you know, honesty, right? Then recently I found out that he watches porn sometimes with girls with "normal" sized breasts--his words, and I know he didn't mean them that way but it still hurts.

I have a lot of insecurities with my body because of the abuse I went through, and I know a lot of me doesn't look like it's supposed to. Usually I'm okay with that but I have bad days. My lady parts are scarred and not quite right from what happened, and I hate that they aren't like they should be.

Basically the point here is that I figured I'd be okay with him watching porn while we're together but I'm really not getting any more okay with it at all. Is it worth bringing up? It hurts me that he's looking at other women and thinking about them sexually when he has me, and it worries me that when he does see me naked I won't be good enough for him. However, I know a lot of this is founded in my own insecurities and I think it's wrong to judge someone for what they like sexually, so I don't think it's my place to be okay with it or not okay with it...not to mention that I'd feel like a controlling bitch if I did ask him to stop. And, come on, people watch porn. It happens. Even if I asked him to stop, would he? Or would I just succeed in making him feel guilty and/or resent me anytime he did watch it?

I just have a lot of issues with this and I don't know if or how I should even discuss them with him. I was hoping you could offer some advice. Thank you for your time.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I want to first debunk a couple things you've voiced.

1) It's not a given that guys watch porn. Plenty don't, and it's also more typical with American guys than guys in other nations. So, if you have found, or find later, that you'd rather not date someone who uses porn, that is something you can have, it just might be a little trickier to find, that's all.

2) Most people who use porn are not thinking of their partners when they are. Most people are also attracted to more than one body type or way of looking. My guess is that your partner felt unable to be honest with you about that right at the start. Or, he's simply found over time he is attracted to more than one body type.

3) There's no one way people look, so there is no way everyone is "supposed to" look. We all look different.

I do think, again, you can choose to date people who don't use porn, but you will usually need to put that on the table as a dealbreaker early. Unless someone doesn't want to use it themselves, they likely won't stop using it, and I agree that if this is really about expecting things that aren't realistic with or without porn, that's probably not a fair ask in the first place.

So, let's start with this: let's say that your boyfriend is like most people, and finds more than just you and people who look like you attractive or sexually interesting. Let's say that like many people, even during sex with you, he might fantasize, and those fantasies may not always include you or only you.

None of those things are something a person can control. If porn was off the table, but all those things were still true, do you think you'd feel the same or 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

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WhatTheEyeArranges
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I don't know.

I've never considered the idea of people liking more than one body type, or at least not in this situation, I guess. That sounds stupid, I know. But all the girls he's been with before had better chests than me and usually guys like that better--I know, I know, not all of them--and sometimes I feel like he's just settling for me. People have types, right? I'm not his.

I think I would feel a little better in that case. I mean, even the fantasizing part. He's still with me in that case. I don't know, I can't put it in words. I mean, he may be thinking about other things, but he's not actually doing them in that situation.

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Heather
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None of this sounds stupid, I promise.

But I hear you saying "better" when I'm saying "different." What makes a chest "better" or "worse?" Understanding that people all have different tastes and aesthetics -- including guys, so if you think they don't vary widely with that, know you're mistaken -- how could "better" make sense with this?

What do you mean he's not doing them in that situation? With his porn use, he's not directly engaging in sexual activity with others, right?

--------------------
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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WhatTheEyeArranges
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Better makes sense with this in that I feel worse. Knowing that he watches porn makes me feel ugly. And since I don't fit the modern American aesthetic ideal, it's easier to feel that way.

No, that's not what I mean. I mean that if he's just...you know what, I don't know what I mean. I'm less okay with porn than I am with fantasizing, but I can't really explain why.

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Heather
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I don't think there is one "modern American aesthetic ideal." I think what the media presents, and the way it does, can make it seem that way, sure. But the media is the media, and it's mostly about selling things. One thing it is not and has never been is a sound reflection of people and our realities.

I think the reality here is clear: he is attracted to how you look. He's also attracted to people who look different than you.

But what I hear in this answer is that this sounds like a lot of it is about not being comfortable with porn use per someone you're dating at this point in your life. You get to have that be something that isn't in your life to the degree you can control that: everyone does, just like I get to choose to only date other vegetarians if I want.

the tricky spot here is that this isn't something you knew was a dealbreaker walking into this relationship, so what you need to accept right now, IME, is that you are involved with someone who uses porn. Then you need to decide if you can and want to deal with that or not, and if you can, but don't feel really good about it, what, if any, fair compromises you could both make for this to feel okay for you.

--------------------
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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Heather
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Also, you feeling worse about yourself because someone doesn't only like/find attractive breasts just like yours? That doesn't make your breasts worse or those other breasts better. This isn't about the 'quality" or appeal of any given kind of breast, but about your feelings about your own body, which, if they're negative, would not likely be made positive otherwise.

Know what I mean? I'm wondering if you can't kind of switch your thinking around that a bit to help move you forward a little bit on the metaphorical gameboard of of your own body image.

Have you ever gotten any help, per counseling or something else, with these feelings? As well, just to check in, do you feel like you're ready for a sexual relationship with someone else in terms of what it asks of you with body confidence?

--------------------
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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WhatTheEyeArranges
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So I take it that you're suggesting I talk to him about this. How should I go about doing that? Do I wait until I know if I can deal with it or not, or should I seek a compromise first?
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WhatTheEyeArranges
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I haven't ever sought out counseling because it's not really something I'm okay with. I know what you're saying and sometimes I understand that and feel good about myself and sometimes I hate everything about my body. I'm better about it than I used to be, but that's not saying much.

I know without a doubt that I'm not ready for a sexual relationship right now because of my self esteem issues as well as issues with sexual abuse when I was younger. But we're not having sex right now, or anytime soon, so right now I feel okay in this relationship as far as that goes.

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Heather
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Do you feel like you can feel a lot better about yourself without help? That's not a directive, it's an earnest question. In other words, without some extra help, how has this been going for you? Do you feel like you're healing and moving forward, feeling better and better about you at a pace that works? Do you feel like you have what you need by yourself to make big strides so that you don't always have to feel this way?

When I asked about a sexual relationship, I didn't just mean one where sex was happening, but where shared sexual feeling were involved. In other words, a relationship in which it matters to each person that the other has sexual feelings and where those may be expressed and shared, in any number of ways.

It sounds to me like this is a sexual relationship in the sense that this person having sexual attraction to you is very important. Do you feel ready for that part of this and able to deal with all the feelings that can bring up?

--------------------
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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WhatTheEyeArranges
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Yes, I do, and I am.

Yes, I am okay with the relationship as it is right now. I'm just concerned with moving forward and how this will affect me when our relationship is more physically sexual.

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Heather
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Okay.

So, if you want to stay in this relationship, understanding he does look at/use porn, what do you feel like you need in order to be okay with that?

Which of whatever those things are are things you think are fair to ask of him, and that he'll likely also feel good about, and which are things you think you need to do for yourself?

--------------------
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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WhatTheEyeArranges
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I don't know. Are these problems that I need to figure out on my own or should I bring it up with him?
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Heather
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I can't tell you that, that's something you have to figure out for yourself.

How about maybe taking some time this afternoon with pen and paper (or keyboard, whichever), to just jot down some notes and try and sort that out?

You could write:

- what you think you need to be okay with this and to feel better than you do

and then
- which of those things you think only you can do for yourself
- which of those things are bout you, not him, but you need help with, and
- which of those things are things he could do, or you could together

Once you have a better sense of what you think you need like that, I'm happy to help you stratagize further.

--------------------
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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WhatTheEyeArranges
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Alright. Thank you for your help.
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