A ‘Vehement Disagreement’ About Porn

When it comes to porn and its usage in a committed relationship, Hugo Schwyzer and Aaron Gouveia don’t agree. A civil, heated, and provocative debate ensues.

Editor’s note: This exchange between Hugo and Aaron (aka DaddyFiles) was lifted directly from the comment section of the post: “Are Most Men Like This”? Sex, Lies and the Newsweek Study.  

Daddy Files: How can you speak of the importance of honesty after your last piece in which you had absolutely no qualms about a woman LYING to her future husband about the paternity of their child?

It is the absolute height of hypocrisy my friend.

Not to sound like an MRA, but it’s instances like this that make me feel you really do have a very real bias against men—and women can do no wrong. Seriously, let’s think about this.

You’re knocking guys who choose to keep their occasional porn viewing habits a secret because it might upset their significant other. Yet you never once criticized a woman who married a man after getting pregnant with a baby that might not even be his. The paternity lie is FAR WORSE than not telling your wife you watch porn because she gets unreasonably upset about it. Yet here’s an entire column dedicated to honesty, when clearly you seem to think only men need to come clean. Women, apparently, can do whatever they want.

For such a smart guy this one was extremely disingenuous and, frankly, pretty upsetting.

Hugo: DF, you really don’t see the difference? The distinction is that I was (and still am) in no place to criticize Jill. The only people who are are women who have found themselves in similar situations. She was the pregnant one, and she had the moral authority to call the shots on what was disclosed. I didn’t have the right then and still don’t now to override that decision, and I’ll place my entire reputation as a writer and a husband and a father on that. (I think that’s called doubling down.) In a perfect world, would Jill have been honest with Ted up front? Yup. And in a perfect world we’d all use contraception every time, save when we we’re trying to make babies.

“Are men who lie about porn viewing the scum of the earth? Of course not. But it’s weak sauce to say that ‘I’d tell her the truth, but she can’t handle the truth.'” –Hugo

Are men who lie about porn viewing the scum of the earth? Of course not. But it’s weak sauce to say that “I’d tell her the truth, but she can’t handle the truth.” I am in a position to say that because I am a man who has used porn — just as a woman who had been pregnant out of wedlock and unsure of the father’s identity is in a better position to weigh in on what Jill did.

It’s not a bias against men. It’s a belief that men should call out other men before we call out women. I hardly think that’s hypocritical. YMMV.

Daddy Files: I’ve never murdered somebody in cold blood. By your rationale I’m not allowed to condemn that action or judge others who have, simply because I’ve never engaged in that specific activity. That line of thinking is the definition of weak sauce.

In the case of Jill, I’m not arguing it was your place to override her decision. But I certainly think you’d be well within your rights to criticize her decision because of the obvious lack of honesty and high level of manipulation and deceit. That’s just fair play and common sense.

But most troubling is when you say “It’s a belief that men should call out other men before we call out women.” Are you kidding?? People should call out other people when it’s deserved. Gender does not factor into it at all. The fact that it does for you is a little strange, and rather telling. If we’re really all about equality then a lie is a lie is a lie. I’m not going to refrain from criticizing one person who lies just because that person is a woman (or a man). The fact that you think men should focus on solely calling out other men before women is just…well, confusing.

But I guess if we’re talking about honesty at all costs then men will need to come clean when their wives have gained weight and ask the question “Do I look fat?” Or tell her we love how she looks when she asks us, even if we’re not fond of her wardrobe. My point is we all tell little lies, or at the very least withhold the truth, because we don’t want to hurt the person we’re with. Obviously you can’t take that to an extreme, but you also can’t go around saying every little truth that’s on your mind. We’d be taking frying pans to the head.

♦◊♦

Hugo: Aaron, if you want to revisit the discussion about the paternity issue, let’s do it in another thread. Controversy drives things — write a post explaining why my stance pissed you off, and let’s put it out there. Or let it lie. But I’d like to keep this thread focused on porn.

Porn use is not like other little white lies. We don’t live with our sexuality in compartments; what gets us off alone will invariably have direct implications for the person with whom we’re getting off when we’re together. (Bad syntax, but you get the idea.)

The right to use porn and the right to be in a porn-free relationship are both conditional. And the sad thing is that many women would like to be in porn free relationships, but acquiesce to their partners’ porn use because if there’s one thing that they dislike MORE than porn, it’s dishonesty.

I don’t think that’s analogous to a partner’s weight gain, either. People need to eat, people gain weight. People also need sexual pleasure. But they don’t need to use images of other people to get off. I think there’s a colossal distinction between saying “I don’t want to be in a relationship with a partner who uses porn” and saying “I don’t want my partner to ever masturbate.” If a man can’t get off to a fantasy in his head (if he’s in a relationship, preferably about his partner) then he’s had a rather sad failure of imagination.

Again, I’m not anti-porn. I think porn use is fine. But I also think it ought to be negotiable in a relationship rather than just assumed or tolerated.

Daddy Files: Hugo, sticking to the porn thread, I’ll address your last point.

You wrote “If a man can’t get off to a fantasy in his head (if he’s in a relationship, preferably about his partner) then he’s had a rather sad failure of imagination.” Huh? You’re really trying to judge people on how they fantasize and masturbate and who they should be imagining?? That’s just crap.

“Just because you imagine the Swedish bikini team giving you a collective rubdown doesn’t mean you love your wife any less. That’s why it’s fantasy.” –Aaron

Just because you imagine the Swedish bikini team giving you a collective rubdown doesn’t mean you love your wife any less. That’s why it’s fantasy. Forget pornographic movies, we go to the mainstream cinema to watch films like Harry Potter so we can temporarily escape from reality. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just like there’s nothing wrong with conjuring up an image of a woman different from your wife. Second, who cares if someone needs visual stimuli to masturbate? Some people are more visual than others. So what? Condemning men for not having an imagination is just silly.

But more often than not, women make clear their disdain for porn after either having a discussion about it with guys or finding it on their browser history. Most men who are casual porn viewers don’t feel they’re doing anything wrong, so there’s no need to tell their girlfriends/wives. Now if those women ask about porn specifically I think it’s worth the conversation, but those women have to be reasonable. But usually—as evidenced by the women in your aforementioned example—they automatically and incorrectly peg us as “porn addicts” and wonder what’s wrong with us.

What you seem to be saying is “If a woman has a problem with pornography and her husband doesn’t stop watching it, he’s a thoughtless jerk.” That’s not true. Marriage does not mean doing whatever your wife says. If two people have different opinions about things, it does not mean the woman is always right.

Luckily my wife has zero problems with porn, and likes it herself sometimes. If she did have an issue, I’d listen and we’d discuss it. If she persisted and gave me an ultimatum—the “either porn goes or I go” speech—I would probably go. Not because I’m a porn freak, but because I would never want to be married to someone who lacked the ability to compromise and respect my point of view.

Any woman who would leave a man SOLELY because he watches some porn is ridiculous. And I have no qualms about saying that because it’s true.

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Hugo: Aaron, right back atcha:

Any man who would leave a woman SOLELY because she objects to his masturbating to porn is ridiculous. And I have no qualms about saying that because it’s true.

Hell, let’s leave the genders out of it, because I happily admit many women DO like porn and some men don’t. So Spouse 1′s longing to use porn matters. Spouse 2′s longing to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t use porn also matters. I’m willing to stipulate they matter equally. What gets my goat is the implication that Spouse 1′s wanting to use porn is “normal and healthy” while Spouse 2 is an unrealistic control freak. No, they both have needs that are EQUALLY VALID.

Aaron, will you grant that?

Daddy Files:  First of all Hugo, as I already explained I wouldn’t leave because she didn’t like me masturbating to porn. I would leave because she’s giving me an unreasonable ultimatum based on something completely insignificant. That is a major red flag.

And no, actually I can’t grant you your last point. Here’s why…

First of all, let’s leave out those with porn addictions. They need help and have a problem. Instead, let’s talk about run-of-the-mill porn users. No lap dances, no phone sex, no prostitutes. Just your average joe who spanks it on occasion to free Internet porn. He doesn’t do it in the presence of his wife, because she doesn’t approve. He has a healthy sex life and his porn viewing does not interfere or detract from his marriage.

So in short, we have a woman upset about nothing. She doesn’t see him watch porn, she doesn’t hear him watch porn and he’s not choosing porn over her. Which begs the question: why the hell is she upset??

“So in short, we have a woman upset about nothing. She doesn’t see him watch porn, she doesn’t hear him watch porn and he’s not choosing porn over her. Which begs the question: why the hell is she upset??” –Aaron

If she doesn’t like porn, she shouldn’t watch it. She has every right to her personal preference. But asking her husband to stop something he was doing long before he met her—not to mention something that has no bearing on her life—is ludicrous.

I’m a Red Sox fan. I hate the Yankees. But if I married a diehard New York fan do I have the right to tell her to stop rooting for the Yankees simply because they offend me greatly (which they absolutely do)?? No, of course not. I don’t like the fact that she roots for the Yankees, but I have no right to tell her to stop.

This is the same thing.

Hugo: “his porn viewing does not interfere or detract from his marriage.”

Well, nothing could be more subjective than that. If she doesn’t want a sexual life that’s compartmentalized, if she wants all of the sexual energy flowing into the marriage and not dissipated elsewhere, that’s as valid a view as his is.

What bugs the crap out of me is the insistence that women are being shrewish harridans for wanting their partners to be sexual only with them. Men aren’t bad for saying “no” to that — but women aren’t wrong to ask or to make it a deal-breaker.

Sex is not like other human activities in terms of its ability to enthrall us and captivate us. It is normal, it is healthy, but it is also unique in its appeal to intimacy. And it’s wildly unreasonable for a woman to say “I want you to be intimate only with me, and I feel that masturbating to images of other women compromises that intimacy.” He doesn’t have to agree – but HE DOESN’T GET TO TELL HER THAT HER FEELINGS ARE UNREASONABLE. If he does that, he’s far more controlling than she.

“He doesn’t have to agree – but HE DOESN’T GET TO TELL HER THAT HER FEELINGS ARE UNREASONABLE. If he does that, he’s far more controlling than she.” –Hugo

Aaron: This is the heart of the problem, when you write, “What bugs the crap out of me is the insistence that women are being shrewish harridans for wanting their partners to be sexual only with them.”

You think a guy jerking off to porn is some kind of cheating. You think it’s being sexual with someone else. THIS IS NOT TRUE! If I’m watching porn I’m not “with” anyone. I’m by myself. I’m not cheating, I’m just whacking off. Probably because my wife can’t/won’t have sex with me at the time.

If you jerk off in the shower and Halle Berry pops into your head, are you cheating? Are you robbing your wife of sexual intimacy? Hell no. You’re jerking off. Even when you watch porn you haven’t had sex with another woman, kissed another woman, touched another woman…hell, you haven’t even been in the same room with another woman! I contend (again, unless we’re talking about a porn addict) this is a non-factor and has no bearing on the marriage.

But for the guys who are merely using porn to tide them over until they can once again be intimate with their wives, I can tell you with 100% certainty they are not doing anything wrong and the women are getting upset about nothing.

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Comments

  1. This is a very strange dialogue. It’s amazing to me that men would have such a protracted conversation on such a topic.
    HOW about the wife and husband makes some porn together for the husband to enjoy while they are apart or whatever?
    A married man who is sexually dependent on sexually explicit images of a woman who is not his wife is not a man I would marry.

    • but would that be the sole reason you wouldnt marry him?

      Also, if it’s that big a factor, shouldnt it be something that’s discussed at the beginning of the relationship?

  2. A man uses pornography because he “can’t” have sex with his wife, who is at work. The wife comes home and wants to have sex. The man turns her down. He is spent. The wife feels rejected. If this happens often and the wife feels insecure. Is she being unreasonable?

    Also, the sex after not being able to or wanting to have sex for a while is absolutely worth the wait.

    Very few women can compete with the whole Swedish bikini team (let alone one team member).

    I understand that my husband’s pornography use does not detract from his love for me, but I do feel that it sets unrealistic expectations for me and our sex life.

    If your wife fantasized about being with (romantically, not sexually) men who were more wealthy, educated, and funny than you are, each morning in the shower, do you think that there will be no repercussions in your relationship? Can she fantasize one minute about someone who is more than you will ever be and be completely satisfied with you the next?

    That is the question many women ask themselves. I do not think it is unreasonable.

    • A man wants to have sex, but his wife says “no”. The man is not sure why she says no. The man feels rejected. If this happens often and the man feels insecure, why is he being so unreasonable?

      So the man asks her to stop masturbating. Why Is he being so unreasonable?

      The man wants to have sex, but his wife says she is not in the mood. They just had a fight. The kitchen is dirty. She is tired. The kids made her all tense. He doesn’t do enough foreplay. She doesn’t feel attractive. There are all sorts of issues he won’t address. Why is he being so unreasonable?

      These are questions many feminists talk about.

    • Tatyana: I assume my wife does think of others from time to time. And I’m fine with that, because at the end of the day she comes home to me. She kisses me. She sleeps with me. Not the guy she may or may not be fantasizing about, not an ex of hers…me. Because we have a very secure relationship.

      What I’m gathering from some of the comments from women is that they not only want men to be faithful, they don’t even want us to THINK about other women. And that is ridiculous. It’s human nature to think about others from time to time. But as long as they don’t get infatuated with someone else or act on it, it’s no big deal. Women cannot act as the “thought police” and think that is acceptable.

      What if my wife had mostly male friends who I didn’t know that well. She has no romantic history with them, she just enjoys hanging out. But I’m jealous of them because I don’t want any guys hanging around my wife, thinking about her sexually. By your rationale, it would be valid for me to tell her to stop hanging out with them simply because it bothers me. But you’d be dead wrong. While it might make me uncomfortable, that’s my problem because I have no valid reason for being upset.

      Just because one of the people in a marriage gets upset about something DOES NOT MEAN IT’S VALID! This where Hugo misses the mark. Some things are irrational and invalid. Getting upset about occasional porn use to the point that you give an ultimatum falls into this category. Women (and men for that matter) have no right to dictate the sexual proclivities of their partners, especially when said proclivity is having zero impact on their marriage.

      • Tatyana made a great point when she mentioned the fact that men sometimes cannot have sex with their wives because they’ve already jerked ot over porn and are spent. Is THAT a reason for a wife to get upset about his porn use? I never saw my ex husband watch porn. But I had to deal with impotency issues, him not being able to keep it up to have sex with me without stopping to stroke it himself (I’m guessing because he’d become so accomstomed to his own firm grip that he could’nt keep it hard without it?) and wanting sex in the strangest, and oftentimes what were painful positions for me. This was AFTER he begged me not to watch porn because it made him feel insecure.

        Since him, I’ve had lovers who occasionally had the same issues. Another thing I noticed about some of them is that they never seemed to be present in the moment, it always, no matter how badly I longed for a feeling of intimacy, felt like they were just f#*£ing.

        It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized what was more than likely going on with them: they were porn users. Saying that porn use doesn’t affect the user’s sex life is too simplistic. Unless a man really does only do it a few times a month, I’m willing to bet that there’s a partner somewhere who’s felt the effects of it.

        • SpudTater says:

          A man typically needs only half an hour or so to “recharge”. If they’re using porn so much that sex is out of the question, that’s a serious addictive problem; we’re talking about numerous times a day.

      • I am not saying that I do not want my spouse to THINK about other women. I understand that is natural. Where does thinking and fantasizing end and infatuation begin?

        I do not support “thought policing” nor do I believe that is right to act as though I have a rubber stamp and can label my partner’s or anyone’s emotions and thoughts as “irrational” or “invalid”.

        Who gets to decide what is irrational and invalid?

        Women cannot be “thought police” and men cannot be emotional police.

        I think that it WOULD be unreasonable to ask your wife to stop having male friends. It would NOT be unreasonable for you to tell her how it makes me you feel (I sincerely hope she would care). It would not be unreasonable for you to ask her not to go alone to their houses in the middle of the night.

        I do not believe that I can or should control my husbands actions, but that does not mean that the way that I feel about them is not valid.

        Pornography use does not always have ZERO impact on a relationship, as mentioned above. I would like to see some empirical research on this topic. Until then, we each can use our own anecdotal evidence, and to each his or her own.

        • Tatyana: I agree with a lot of what you just wrote. I wish it had been couched that way from the beginning by other posters.

          But here’s the rub…

          In reading these comments, I’m not getting the sense that there would be a whole lot of compromising going on. What I’m hearing is “Porn bothers me as a woman and hurts my feelings. Stop watching it.”

          Again, I’m limiting the discussion to guys who occasionally watch porn and do not regularly visit strip clubs, and who don’t participate in things like phone sex and hookers. I feel this apty describes the majority of guys out there. Not all, but the majority. So we’re not talking about the guys who are addicted to porn.

          For everyone else, the line between fantasy and infatuation is pretty clear. If you think about another woman from time to time and admire her physical beauty and wonder what it would be like to be with her, that’s fantasy. If you buy all of her movies, videos, posters and can no longer function normally, that’s infatuation. And it’s a bad place to be. And although I don’t have research at my fingertips, I’m willing to bet that represents a small percentage of men.

    • If your wife fantasized about being with (romantically, not sexually) men who were more wealthy, educated, and funny than you are, each morning in the shower, do you think that there will be no repercussions in your relationship? Can she fantasize one minute about someone who is more than you will ever be and be completely satisfied with you the next?

      If it were EVERY morning; then it is likely there is a problem – at least potentially. If it was once a month – which is the standard used in the “study” – then I’d say probably not.

      Let me propose an actual scenario. My partner thinks one of the men on “Dancing with the Stars” is smoking hot (forgive me, I have no interest so I can’t remember the name). If she goes into the shower, or the bedroom, or wherever, and fantasizes about him making hot passionate love to her; then is she OBLIGATED to discuss this with me?

      She might and she might not. But if she did it once and knew that it upset me, hurt my feelings, made me feel bad about myself because I will never be a professional dancer with a hard-as-steel body…she probably wouldn’t bring it up twice. Does this mean she is being mean to me or deceiving me? Does it lessen, in any way, the attraction she has for me?

      I think the answer to those questions is a resounding, “No!”

      Would it be unreasonable for me to tell her she could no longer watch “Dancing with the Stars”? Yeah, I think it would – because it costs us nothing and it is on once a week, so it’s not an investment of time or money or even energy (okay – a little energy is required to masturbate, but still…not much).

      Now, if she records it to watch it three or four times a week, or decides to spend money out of our family account to make the trip to be in the audience, or buys special “backstage” online content to see him in his tighty whities…there’s a problem. But the problem isn’t that she finds someone else attractive, or that she likes to look at that person, or that she likes to fantasize and masturbate. It’s that she has lost control of what is fantasy and what is not and is ruining reality by chasing fantasy.

      But that is the difference between someone who looks at porn once a month (or once a week) and someone who is using it habitually. Can a person indulge in fantasy one moment and then immerse themselves in reality the next? Yes. It happens every day.

  3. Tatyana, I have been asking that same question of men for a long time and I have yet to see men directly address it. I’ve asked over and over again how a man would feel seeing his partner use the images and videos of other men, men who were all tall, perfect, rich, funny, smart..and she was using these images for whatever purpose that made her feel good then was coming to him telling him that that was just her “fantasy” and he was her “reality”. Then see how good he feels as the man in her life.

    DaddyFiles said : “So in short, we have a woman upset about nothing. She doesn’t see him watch porn, she doesn’t hear him watch porn and he’s not choosing porn over her. Which begs the question: why the hell is she upset??” –Aaron

    So if I go out with another man, if I flirt with him, if I kiss him and if I have sex with him, that’s all okay as long as he doesn’t have to hear or see it? I bet even my guy didn’t see all this, he would still be very upset. Am I saying looking at porn is the same as cheating? No. I am saying that just because you don’t see your partner doing something, just because you don’t hear them doing something, doesn’t take away from the fact that they are doing something. And that action says something that either the other partner agrees with or doesn’t. And that’s what matters. Not looking the other way and being forced to pretend something doesn’t exist when it does because your partner wants to engage in a behavior you find troubling to the relationship.

    • FYI! Kudos to the picture for this article. Appriopiate but light hearted enough for a very serious and often heated discussion topic.

    • I seriously don’t see how you can compare porn to going out and being physical with someone else. There is no comparison…. you’d be cheating.

    • I used to tell my wife, now my ex, that of course she was free to look at and check out other men.

      STOP CRIMINALIZING THOUGHT!

      I didn’t care who or what she looked at. As long as she would dance with me. Now when she stopped dancing with me, well, that her problem to solve. But I cannot believe that if I was all female on her ass and tried to control her body and thoughts that she would somehow have been more romantic with me.

    • Erin: You’re joking right?

      If you go out with another men, kiss him and have sex with him, YOU’RE CHEATING! Unless you’re in an open relationship. So no, that would not be OK. But watching a little porn is not cheating. Not even a little bit. Not at all. Thus your example does not make a lick of sense.

      • DaddyFile, I clearly stated that physically going out and sleeping with someone was not the same thing as looking at porn. Not exactly the same thing. I clearly stated that so why are you arguing a point that wasn’t even made?

        My point had to do with the idea that your rational was that it was okay to engage in certain things as long as your partner can’t see, hear or touch them. I think that line of thinking is completely wrong and detrimental to a relationship. Substitute that whole theory of yours with drug use, substittue that whole theory with anything else and you can see it just doesn’t work. If two people are in a relationship, one doesn’t like drug use and the other does, do you really think as long as the one partner doesn’t see, hear or tough the drugs while the other person is that it doesn’t change the dynamics or the relationship? Porn changes the dynamics of the relationship whether a partner knows about it or doesn’t. Keeping one partner in the dark about another partner’s acitivites breeds distrust and hurt. Men that want to use porn and want their partners to pretend they aren’t aren’t being realistic about the relationship and really aren’t thinking of their partners at all. I know you don’t like that answer. But that’s the reality. Because wanting your partner to pretend that one partner isn’t infact using porn is about the desire for the person using the porn to have the best of both worlds, porn and the real relationship. They aren’t thinking about their partner. They are thinking about themselves. The one that is being asked to ignore something that bothers them is doing all the sacrificing all the compromising and all the stuffing down of feelings so their partners can get their jollies through any other woman they want.

        If you like porn, fine! If your partner likes porn, fine! But stop trying to shame other women because they see issues with porn or have experience issues with porn and men. When you say things like “thank god *my* wife is so super cool we both can like porn”, you using a very insidious game that is basically putting down any woman that isn’t like your wife. And hey I’ve experienced a lot of men that use that same game. “Cool” women are the ones that love porn! Of course that’s “cool” to you as men because porn is 95% all about men and what they wish and want out of women.

        You’ve been in a committed relationship with one person for a number of years. I’ve been off again and on again dating for a while now and I’ve seen a change in men. And it’s not a very promising one. And it’s not because I just pick one type of guy. It would be nice to find one man in this world that wasn’t somewhat obessed with all things porn and wasn’t always defning his sexuality around pornography.

        • Further let me add, it would be nice to find a man that was on my side. It would be nice to see men on their *real* woman’s side. Not the side of porn. But just look around this board and see how many times and how many men come to the rescue of porn while shaming real women the entire time. It’s not real women that matters. It’s porn. And every time I see men stand on the side of porn and defend it, I am reminded of that.

          If you don’t like seeing busty 18 year old school girls have sex as a woman, you aren’t “cool’. If you don’t like seeing women debased physically and verbally, you aren’t “cool”. If you aren’t down with women being called “sluts”, you’re just a prude! Llets get women in on their own debasement! Because that’s what matters. Not real women.

          How would you as a man feel watching your female parner not watch the porn that we have today but watch porn that called men names. That debased men. That used men for their money then kicked them out the door. That said that men had an expiration date. Maybe that expiration date was about when a man ran out of money and he was no longer useful to her. And these were the movies that women were watching and excited about and telling you that it was jsut fantasy. Would you like that as a man DaddyFiles? Would you like seeing other men represented as a gender that where happy to be called names by women, used for money, then tossed right out the door when they no longer had any money to give? My guess is that no man here would like that. So again, I ask, why do men think it’s okay to view women like this in “fantasy” and expect their real life partners to think they have any respect for them as women?

          • How would you as a man feel watching your female parner not watch the porn that we have today but watch porn that called men names. That debased men. That used men for their money then kicked them out the door. That said that men had an expiration date. Maybe that expiration date was about when a man ran out of money and he was no longer useful to her. And these were the movies that women were watching and excited about and telling you that it was jsut fantasy.

            There is a TON of that online and it has a HUGE market. Mostly male.

            My guess is that no man here would like that.

            You might not want to make that bet so quickly. I know of men who actually pay for women to verbally abuse and humiliate them. Men who want to be used for all many of degrading and humiliating acts that go far beyond what is normally considered sexual acts.

            • You might not want to make that bet so quickly. I know of men who actually pay for women to verbally abuse and humiliate them. Men who want to be used for all many of degrading and humiliating acts that go far beyond what is normally considered sexual acts.
              And oddly enough there’s no concern that the way women are during those sessions is a reflection of how she thinks of men. No presumption that its ruining any relationships she might be in or thoughts that since she is like that in the bedroom that must be what she really wants to do to men. In fact I’d wager even bringing that up would be taboo. Probably something to the effect of saying such talk is about trying to control that woman’s sexuality.

              Now I’m sure people are thinking that since more men watch porn that women and more men show disdain for women than the reverse there’s no need to look into that. I’m not trying to say which happens more often but just offering what I think would happen in that situation.

            • Tomio Black, what you are describing is pretty fringe. It’s a very narrow market. Not what is mostly projected out there. Most mothers, daughters, girlfriends and grandmothers aren’t on the internet looking and excited by the humiliation of men. *Most*. But many men are excited by watching women be objectified and stereotyped based on their body, age or ethnicity. Please don’t try to hinder my argument by using a very fringe sector of sexual appetite as comparison.

            • Erin – please be honest about what you were saying. You said you would bet that no man here would be into this sort of thing. I’m arguing that you are wrong. Try to tone down the sweeping invectives and it might not hurt so much when someone points out that you are out of order.

            • Tomio, you’re not being “honest” about my points. Infact, you are being purposely insideous about them. If you want to know what I really said, all you have to do is read my posts. Lets review what I said and then why don’t you directly address my comments based on what I really said, not what your attempting to pass off me as saying:

              “I’ve asked over and over again how a man would feel seeing his partner use the images and videos of other men, men who were all tall, perfect, rich, funny, smart..and she was using these images for whatever purpose that made her feel good then was coming to him telling him that that was just her “fantasy” and he was her “reality”.”

              and this:

              “How would you as a man feel watching your female parner not watch the porn that we have today but watch porn that called men names. That debased men. That used men for their money then kicked them out the door. That said that men had an expiration date. Maybe that expiration date was about when a man ran out of money and he was no longer useful to her. And these were the movies that women were watching and excited about and telling you that it was jsut fantasy. ”

              Are you really trying to tell me that there is porn out there where women call men names, use them for their money (not their bodies), and kick them out the door when they are done with their money? I’ve never seen such porn.

              I never denied that porn doesn’t exsist that showcases men in submissive postions. But as I already stated, that is a fringe sector of interest. My comments have been about what most porn seems to be about. Most porn is made for men by men and most porn is pretty debasing toward women. You want to ignore that truth because of your own agenda.

              So Tomio, why don’t you answer my question how men would feel about that type of porn that I actually asked about in my self qouted comments. Instead of attempting to defile my comments with your own false statements. I’m not talking about porn made for men by men that caters to a special fetish that is a narrow part of the market that you’ve wrongly attempted to represent in comparison to the huge market porn is and it’s general representation of women. Most mothers, daughters, wives and girlfriends aren’t sitting around watching porn of men being debased. The porn you talk about is porn made for men by men. And even then, it’s a fringe sector of general interest. Most porn seems key on debasing women on varying levels – verbally, emotionally and physically. And if you are honest with yourself. I tihnk you know this. Which is why you are doing all you can to dance around the real comments I made.

              Lastly, don’t sit there and tell me men would feel good if women had an industry that depicted men as not good for anything but their money, only as usefull as their money, called men names while presented the fake image that men just love to be called names and used and thrown away for their money. And yet…all these things are okay to do to women through porn for sex.

        • So now I’m supposed to feel bad about saying nice things about my wife, simply because it makes you feel bad? This just gets more and more ridiculous.

          Just because a man defends porn use does not mean he is shaming his wife. Are you even reading what you’re writing?? I’ve seen all kinds of porn. I’ve seen porn where men are led around on a dog leash and completely dominated, doing whatever the woman in charge told him to do. My wife also watched said porn. So I can safely say that no, I didn’t mind. She can watch whatever porn gets her hot as long as she comes to me afterwards!

          And then you compare porn viewing to drug use. The only problem is drug use is illegal. So of course it’s OK to be against drug use (even if you don’t see your partner doing it) because it is against the law. Porn is not. If you’re going to use examples, please try to make sure they make sense first.

          In your description of the kind of guy you’re looking for, it seems you want someone who agrees with you about everything and bends to your every whim. Good luck with that. I actually searched out a woman who had different opinions. Someone who challenged me at every turn. I’m happier for it.

          • DaddyFiles, in many of your response toward me, you’ve managed to put down my conversation in one way or another by calling them silly or ridiculous. Have I done that to you? No.

            I never said you had to stop staying nice things about your wife. I’m just pointing out the deeply pyschological game you play when you say things like “thank god my wife is cool with porn!”. You don’t simply say “my wife and I enjoy porn, it works for us”. It’s something many men do. “Cool” women like porn, “lame” women don’t. It’s a “shaming” game.

            Please stop acting like porn that debases men is nearly as prevelant as porn that debases women. Please stop acting like women are sitting around watching tons and tons of porn with men being lead around on leashes. While we all know that many men are sitting around watching porn that might use some kind of racial, sexual or other slur against women while showing her crawling around, or being choked on a man’s penis to the extent that she cleary isn’t getting a lick of pleasure from it.

            No, I didn’t just compare porn to drug use. I said that you can insert any product you want into the equation. It doesn’t much matter if the product is legal or not because it’s not about that is it. It’s about what we keep from our partners in the name of saving face and not hurting their feelings. When you refuse to be honest about what you are doing within a relationship, you take away the other person’s choices nad are making them for them. And that is so degrading to them. When one partner thinks it’s okay to do some kind of action as long as the other partner can’t hear, see or touch it; they are setting that relationship up for failure. Please stop ignoring clear comments I made in my post because of your own ulterior motive to insideiously put my comments down instead of talking to me like a professional writer of this website and and an adult.

            You know nothing about the kind of guy I am looking for and I never stated anything that would enable anyone to draw the conclusion that I’m looking for a man that agrees with everything I say. You’ve decided to wrap up your post by personally slighting me then again, talking about the real topic at hand.

    • I’ve asked over and over again how a man would feel seeing his partner use the images and videos of other men, men who were all tall, perfect, rich, funny, smart..and she was using these images for whatever purpose that made her feel good then was coming to him telling him that that was just her “fantasy” and he was her “reality”.
      Yeah there’d be some insecurity. But depending on how often she indulged in it I either would not say anything (which is what’s pretty much expected of men when it comes to feelings that aren’t happiness, lust, and rage) to speaking up to leaving.

      So again, I ask, why do men think it’s okay to view women like this in “fantasy” and expect their real life partners to think they have any respect for them as women?
      Because you’re trying to take someone’s taste in porn and sex and then segway it into “that’s how men feel about women”. Not always the case. Yeah I watch porn and I probably some things that some would call “degrading”. Does that mean that I don’t care about women and that I see the entire gender as self sustaining sex toys? No. Does that mean that I want to actually rape a woman? No. You’re free to think my watching porn means I have no respect for women…but you’d (and those real life partners) be wrong.

      Now as for the wife that’s uncomfortable with it I’m not going to say something is wrong with her (despite the regular implication that something must be wrong with men who watch porn) and she can have her own reasons. If she says something I would actually consider her feelings in the matter. However she has no more business trying to demand that I give up something than I would trying to demand she give up something. And who knows depending on how she brings it up (as in expressing her feelings vs. shouting ultimatums) I might would give it up.

  4. Hugo “gets it” more than any other writer on this site; he’s pretty much the only thing that keeps me coming back.

    Aaron sounds like a little whining boy with no concept of reality in comparison.

    • Yeah, Hugo really got it last week didn’t he.

    • n: Resorting to name-calling because someone disagrees with your opinion? Very telling. And what it tells me is that anything you have to say from here on it is pretty much meaningless.

      • “Not to sound like an MRA,”

        Yeah, wouldn’t want any name-calling ’round these here parts.

      • I have to admit that n has a bit of a point here Daddy Files. In a place that’s supposed to be about fair conversation I find it odd that its okay to use MRA to mean (what insult may come to mind but may not make it base the sensors) while doing the same to just about any other group would be tabboo.

        I used to generalize feminists because of the angry man-hating ones (the ones that most feminists like to pretend don’t exist at all and are only figments of men’s imaginations). But in spirit of fairness I stopped doing that. Yeah there’s angry man haters (but in my mind I’ve come to realize that the dangerous ones are not the overt haters of men but the covert ones that simply deny the existense of the things that harm men or only bring them up with it suits them) out there but there are also fair minded ones as well.

        Oddly enough I picked that up from an MRA site.

  5. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Romance novels, although not as explicit usually, do (exactly) let women (often those in relationships) fantasize about men who are more romantic, sexy, powerful, noble, and wealthy than those they’re married to. Look, at one point I was more the type of feminist Hugo is. I often wonder about my deep motivations because it did make me popular with women. In the last few years, I’ve decided to say what’s real for me as much as I can. I think men can support women and their interests, but they’ll never think exactly the same way they do, and shouldn’t try. There should be absolute gender justice in the economy and polity. But there’s also a class/education bias on this site. The women’s voices that suggest men think and act like women are middle class educated voices. My university students, largely from the working class, are very different– they like edgy stuff, probably much of it porn, and this includes many of the women.

    Many people are going to use erotica, even in relationships. And it’s absolutely fine. It better be, because things are going to get looser, rather than tighter, given increased choice. So I think that the era of “should” has really been over since the 60s. I think the new philosophy (expressed by a few) of more behavioral controls is unrealistic and basically wrong.

    • OMG if you people don’t stop comparing porn to romance novels my head is going to explode.

      Tell you what. Since some of you insist on making this comparison, let’s take away your visual porn and give a script that describes what the actors are doing. Let’s see how many of you are just as turned on by that. Okay?

      Ans who reads romance novels anyway?

      • Plenty of people read chick-lit, and go to chick flicks. And believe it or not, I can think of at least ten women friends of mine — all intelligent, educated, professional women — who have said to me that these types of emotional fantasies have negatively affected their ability to engage in healthy dating and healthy relationships, because they have imprinted an unrealistic standard. Women and men tend to be wired a bit differently — not always, of course — and the reason that emotional fantasy is compared to porn is because of the potential effect it has on someone relationally, not because they are exact stimulus parallels. Women’s fear is that porn gives men unrealistic standards, and that the fantasy becomes more provocative and engaging than the reality. Emotional fantasy designed for women carries the same risk. It’s not about being turned on, it’s about the temptation to attach more strongly to fantasy than to reality.

      • Actually Miranda, I’ve read some erotic literature that is EXTREMELY hot. It had the same effect as porn. Why do you discount this aspect of erotica? Because it doesn’t help your argument (or lack thereof)?

        • It’s a false equivalency. Women are visual creatures, too, and the numbers of women who watch porn are steadily growing (although, since most porn-I said most, not *all*- is made for men and is decidedly misogynistic in nature, which is another reason that many other women object to its use by their spouses).

          Also, are romance novels really considered a form of erotica?

          And Joan– “Emotional fantasies”? Really?

          Sigh. Would that I lived in a world that wasn’t so afraid of acknowledging the truth about female sexuality…..

          • Have you read any of the romance novels published in the past 10 years? The sex scenes are hot!! Honestly, I read them just for the sex scenes…and sometimes the seduction that comes beforehand. After the main characters have had sex twice, I usually stop reading because the ending is irrelevant. The only exception would probably be Laurell K. Hamilton’s stuff and that’s simply because her main characters have sex with several different partners throughout the story. You never know what you’re going to get from one chapter to another.

      • Explicit erotic stories are very popular, even for men. Many link-aggregator porn sites include erotic stories among their offerings, so there is clearly a market for them. Likewise with non-gonzo porn and the laborious storylines to facilitate sex between strangers.

      • Actually, a LOT of people read romance novels. It is one of the most popular genres in modern literature and generates a huge profit for the publishing industry. Romance novels are mostly read by women. I have read romance novels off and on since the mid-80s. I can tell you they have evolved tremendously since that time. The sex scenes are more explicit than they were and are definitely geared towards the female reader in that they often describe such things as clitoral stimulation using hands and mouths. More and more of the novels are including BDSM (including females dominating males), bisexuality or homosexuality, and group activity. The men who are interacted with sexually are usually alpha males, wealthy, extremely fit, intelligent, and attractive. Romance novels are porn for women. A lot of women read them constantly.
        Furthermore, there’s an online genre of erotic literature that is mostly written and read by women. It is called FanFic. It is highly explicit.
        I read erotic stories to my primary lover all the time. He loves most of them. He gets turned on by most of them. I post erotic poems online frequently. Both men and women love the stuff I post.

  6. Tatyana says:

    “If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” Atticus Finch

    Men do not need to “think or act like women”, but if they want to have healthy relationships with them they need to understand their point of view. And of course each person, regardless of gender is unique.

    Just because things are plentiful and readily available does not mean that we must thoughtless consume them.

    I don’t think that porn is inherently evil. I personally think that it should be used thoughtfully and not taken for granted.

    Working class, university student in the house.

    • dont see why anyone would down vote this comment. all youre doing is advocating for empathy.

      my wife and I both respect each others’ boundaries. One of her hot button issues was porn. I don’t use it and it wasnt a big deal for me. I’ve asked her to make some similar changes for me. I dont see the use of lying to each other. Sometimes there are some hard truths that need to be debated and hashed out but I think honesty breeds intimacy.

      This works for us. Neither one of us is a control freak. We’re usually open to each others point of view. We try to find solutions that we’re both enthusiastic about. If its not a big deal to us we let sleeping dogs lie. We still have our fights (usually about time and money) but all in all we do pretty well.

      Why was porn a big deal to her? Did it relate to some deep insecurities? I dont know. It wasnt a big enough deal to me to argue about it. I’ve got my own insecurities/issues that she accomodates as well so I am in no position to lecture her about it.

  7. Could a man say to his wife, “I don’t want you to own a vibrator?” without being called on being a sexist pig trying to control his wife’s body and sexuality?

    Could a woman say to her husband, “You may not watch porn” without being called on being a sexist pig trying to control his wife’s body and sexuality?
    Could a woman say to her husband, “You may not own a Fleshlight(TM)” without being called on being a sexist pig trying to control his wife’s body and sexuality?

    Could a man say to his wife, “I know we haven’t had sex in a week, in a month, in a year, and I don’t want to have sex with you tonight either, and I hate your pressuring me” without others wondering what his problem is, if he’s having an affair, if he’s gay?

    Could a woman say to her husband, “I know we haven’t had sex in a week, in a month, in a year, and I don’t want to have sex with you tonight either, and I hate your pressuring me” without others wondering what his problem is, and noting how he demands sex, how he wants to control her body, how their is probably a lot of abuse in the marriage, how women do so much more in a family than the man does?

    • Could a man say to his wife, “I don’t want you to own a vibrator?” without being called on being a sexist pig trying to control his wife’s body and sexuality?
      My money says his insecurities would mean nothing all of a sudden.

      Could a man say to his wife, “I know we haven’t had sex in a week, in a month, in a year, and I don’t want to have sex with you tonight either, and I hate your pressuring me” without others wondering what his problem is, if he’s having an affair, if he’s gay?
      Yeah people seem to get suspicious if a guy doesn’t want to have sex with women all the time, but then get mad when some do.

  8. “Not to sound like an MRA,”

    Don’t fall for feminist shaming and silencing tactics Aaron, say what you believe in without making excuses.

  9. What I am thinking is that the issue isn’t porn. Porn is the excuse; the underlying reasons of unease need to be addressed as a team.

    • THANK YOU! Dear God in Heaven, THANK YOU!

      My humble opinion is this: Women have been socialized into believing that they MUST be the sum total of their husband’s desire or he will go to another woman and their happy home will therefore be destroyed. Because of that, any errant thought or action is immediately a threat to their entire relationship and future, and it must be confronted, and defeated, quickly and in no uncertain terms.

      Men, on the other hand, are socialized into believing that it is against their biological nature to see one woman as the fulfillment of their sexual desire. They are encouraged to have a “wondering eye.” Any statement to the contrary is a threat to their manhood, and it must be confronted, and defeated, quickly and in no uncertain terms. Or, alternatively, they will say one thing and do another.

      Yet both are often socialized into believing that some forms of sexual activity are “good” and some are “bad.” So a man wants (for example) a little bondage – which is “bad.” He can’t tell his wife, because she is “good”. Either he buries it, or acts on it. If he acts on it, either she knows or she doesn’t. If she knows, either they redefine what is “good” or things go badly from that point forward.

      But for the redefinition to take place – or even for it to have a chance of taking place – the ideas that lead into labeling “good” sex and “bad” sex have to be explored. This is best done as a loving and supportive team. Unfortunately, the truth is that not all partners are loving and supportive when their sacrosanct ideas are challenged.

      • Yet both are often socialized into believing that some forms of sexual activity are “good” and some are “bad.” So a man wants (for example) a little bondage – which is “bad.” He can’t tell his wife, because she is “good”. Either he buries it, or acts on it. If he acts on it, either she knows or she doesn’t. If she knows, either they redefine what is “good” or things go badly from that point forward.
        True. What has happened is that people have been led to believe that “oh my god you sicko! what kind of freak are you to suggest that?” is the same as “I don’t want to do that”. So let’s say the wife wants to introduce bondage but the husband doesn’t. Chances are that husband doesn’t regard bondage as simply something that is okay for others its just not something he wants to try. He regards bondage as a terrible act and his wife wanting to try it surely means that she’s a sick and depraved deviant.

        (To go on a small tangent there are people who have no problem with homosexuality, they just aren’t homosexual themselves versus those who aren’t homosexual and think that gay people are the worst thing since the Bubonic Plague. Why? Because the latter think being gay = evil.)

        I think this swapping has something to do with why people think that watching porn = not respecting women. In reverse think about people who don’t watch porn. They are free to have their reason for not watching porn but would it be fair to say that “do not watch porn” = “think sex is bad”?

  10. The litmus test here for Hugo would be on female porn and sex industry involvement. Dildos, toys and erotic lit (far more damaging to the environment and exploitative of child workers and porn use. Also infidelity, and paternity fraud, I believe that Hugo believes that women committing paternity fraud is reasonable behavior.

    I suspect the answer would be more sexism and double standards from Hugo and he would insist that men have no business interfering with their partners adult industry participation alone or in secret.

  11. I would never date a man who does not use/view porn in some way. It would really creep me out. I would think him some form of religious dunderhead, or self-aggrandizing twit whose self-sacrificing ways can alleviate my body image issues, or even worse, believing the key to a successful relationship is fantasy fidelity. Toss that fish back in the pond.

    • “I would think him some form of religious dunderhead, or self-aggrandizing twit whose self-sacrificing ways can alleviate my body image issues, or even worse, believing the key to a successful relationship is fantasy fidelity.”

      How did you manage to get upvoted so much for generalizing about dudes who don’t use porn? You didn’t even generalize about people who demonize it. C’mon. This is just as bad as saying someone who views porn once a year is a deranged sex addict and can’t be trusted in a relationship.

    • Good grief — really? Some people just don’t like or get the point of porn. My atheist boyfriend is one of them. He’s not self-sacrificing; he just doesn’t find porn very interesting. I’m sure he has had sexual fantasies, just not porn-inspired ones. Which raises the question of where the line is drawn…if you met a guy who had a shoe fetish, for example, but who preferred to fantasize about the shoes and feet of women he sees randomly on the street, rather than using fetish porn, would that be good enough for you to consider dating him? Someone’s lack of interest in porn doesn’t indicate prudishness or even a lack of a fantasy life. It indicates a lack of interest in porn.

    • @tshaka_zulu says:

      I’ve never been to a strip club because I find them pointless. Get me all hot and bothered and I can’t do anything with you? Nah, not my cup o’ tea. I’d rather have a real, intimate exchange over some random exotic dancer 100% of the time. For me, the reason is one of logic (I don’t like teases, dangling carrots), not religion and when you pre judge every one of us who may be a little more cerebral than visceral in how we enjoy sex then you’ve done yourself a great disservice, IMO. Also, that you’d feel that way is very telling about your views of religion and self-sacrifice which can be very important in a healthy relationship.

    • I would never date a man who does not use/view porn in some way. It would really creep me out. I would think him some form of religious dunderhead, or self-aggrandizing twit whose self-sacrificing ways can alleviate my body image issues, or even worse, believing the key to a successful relationship is fantasy fidelity.
      Whoa whoa whoa slow your roll. No need to attack the guys that don’t watch porn (the ones that do are getting attacked enough here).

      There are most certainly guys that indulge in porn and I think it would a long leap to presume they are some sort of weirdo.

  12. The idea that women don’t use fantasy or images of someone otehr than their significant other is a lie.

    If pornography is used in moderation by a couple to spice things up or even laugh at sex, it’s fine. I agree with Aaron. There’s a reason “top five lists” or “free passes” or “dream girls/guys” exist. If you love your wife/husband and they love you back, then that love will circumvent fantasy.

  13. “Not to sound like an MRA,”

    Screw you Aaron for buying into this bullshit.

    If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, work for peace.

    Insulting, dismissing without listening, disrespecting a group of people is no path to virtue or justice. It shows ultimately where your bias is, where you are anchored, how far we all have to walk.

    Tonight my kids are sleeping at their “grandfathers”, except the guy has no legal or biological relationship with them and my ex just wanted to make sure they did not spend the night at my place as she took an impromptu vacation, so she never even called me up to give me the chance.

    Of course, by mentioning that, I am just a whiny MRA pedophile wife-beater half a man insecure gay basher — I’ve heard all of that at Hugo’s blog and Amanda’s blog and Salon’s blog and so many upright righteous caring for everyone oh so sensitive feminist blogs — shortly before the blog owners ban me of course for speaking truth.

    • anon: Sorry, but the vast majority of the MRA-related rantings I’ve read on here have turned me off completely. Even when they have valid points, the anger and the rudeness of their words completely obliterates their point and makes me not want to associate with them. Sorry if that pisses you off, but in my opinion it’s true.

      That’s not to say there aren’t intelligent, well-spoken MRA representatives out there. It just means I haven’t seen them.

      • But surely you’ve seen similar angry rants from self-professed feminists? Why not the similar distancing yourself from that movement?

  14. Aaron

    You should look at what men’s rights people are actually saying (instead of what clowns like futrelle and marcotte are saying we are saying), and look at what feminists are actually saying. Feminism is organised sexism, double standards and abuse denial/apology. The men’s movement is attacking it on that basis.

    Hint – feminist silence or victim blaming on the recently castrated man verses their loud and often calls for state violence in the form of men in costumes with guns and steel cages for men merely accused of some wrong doing.

    The mens rights people arent the bad group here.

    • AJ: If you’ve read much of my stuff you’ll see I do not usually associate with feminist groups. But a vast majority of the MRA folks who leave comments here are just so rude and angry that even when they make a good point it’s often lost.

      I get tons of crap from feminists telling me I’m an MRA. Then I get tons of crap from MRA folks telling me I’m a feminist apologist. If both sides hate me equally, I’ll take that as a good thing.

      • Don’t know if you’ll see this, given how comments work (or don’t work.)

        Here’s my point: call out vicious hatespeech WHEREVER you see it.

        Don’t ever say “Not to sound like…”

        It’s a stupid irrelevant point. It’s distracting. It’s needlessly insulting and dismissive and disenfranchising. It of course will enable people who dislike you because you sound like X to again accuse you of being X. And members of X will just loathe you, and justifiably for it.

        If groups A and B are fighting it out, and you dislike aspects of both and agree with others aspects of both, WHY get in the middle!?

        Just act and behave reasonably and call out stupidity and hate speech where you see it.

        Oh, and “If both sides hate me equally, I’ll take that as a good thing.”

        Fallacy of the middle of the road.

        When everyone around me tells me I’m an idiot, I don’t wander around with a smile on my face thinking how smart I must be.

        When a reporter says, the left says I am wrong and the right says I am wrong and that’s proof I am right, there is an enormous possibility, that …. THE REPORTER IS JUST PLAIN WRONG.

        • I disagree completely. Having worked as an award-winning journalist for many years, I can say with great certainty that when both sides have claims of bias on a story that’s an indicator you’ve done a good job.

          It applied here because I don’t want to commit to either camp. Hardcore feminists turn me off because some of them are arrogant, dismissive and believe anyone who disagrees with them is a misogynistic idiot. But MRAs (again, on this site) tend to harbor the biggest chip in the world on their shoulders, and too often come across as mean-spirited, angry people just looking to rant.

          The middle of the road is not a fallacy. Sometimes it’s the best place to be.

          • Well, there you go. You were in a profession that claims a hard partying liberal arts major with an MS in Journalism can magically turn into an unbiased and objective individual and which institutionalized a complete nonsensical fallacy in order to perpetuate it’s lazy and silly approach to the news.

            Congratulations on your awards. Woohoo!

            Now ask ANYONE apart from a journalist if the journalism belief is correct or bullshit.

  15. We would all be better by being honest, abuse of porn is like abuse of anything else. If you have a drinking problem your wife & friends may know it before you, denial etc Porn can be damaging to the relationship & to your brain, too much football can be too. Holdng on to & lying about & defending something that negatively impacts some one you love & your self is not freedom or healthy. I think balance is needed, is there some porn you would not want to spend time with? What are your limits? Interesting to find out. And Young men watching porn as they are becoming/learning about sexual/intimate relationships can be very damaging to some. Healthy open honest sex ”sacred sex” I say yes to that.

  16. Whether the question is about porn, strip clubs or prostitutes it is hard the answer question, “Is he/she being reasonable?”. Our (and most) cultures have not designed an equivalent to the ‘sex industries’ based on women’s desires. The occasion women who watch male-oriented porn etc. misses the point.
    Other than the reading of romance novels as discussed we do not have a direct comparison of services DESIGNED for women…so we do not know if it would make men jealous.

    • people have tried. there isnt as big of a market for it. Women don’t consume it as much. Its NOT because women are BETTER than men, its because the majority of women don’t want it because it doesnt trip their trigger. Some women are enthusiastic participants in a women centric porn market but not a lot.

      Its just like beauty products for men. Its a much smaller market. A large portion of men dont buy it because they dont want to. The messages don’t trigger for them. Some men, but not a huge portion, buy all the crap.

      We (guys) should just adopt the victimology approach and say we’re victims of all the pervasive cultural issues about porn and absolve ourselves of any agency. (sarcasm is heavily intended)

  17. Amberbug says:

    I think porn shouldn’t be in a committed relationship. Men would feel the same betrayal if that billion dollar industry was 99% geared towards women. Always having her look at guys who are better than you. A subscription in the mail of mags of men who are better than you. Videos of men who do sex better than you. Your wife would be spending a lot of time on the computer jerking off to men who are better than you. She’d come home late because she stopped by the strip club and tucked a few bills into a man’s thong because he gave her a lap dance. And she’d lie to you about it. How the hell would you feel? Makes a hell of a lot of women feel like shit. Reason enough in a ‘committed relationship’ to throw out the porn and jerk off naturally. Jerking off isn’t the issue, btw, as I believe someone above pointed out.

    • Amber: WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT STRIP CLUBS?!?!?!

      This is the problem. The minute porn is mentioned so many women automatically correlate it with strip clubs and hookers. This. Is. Not. The. Case. We’re talking about occasional porn viewers. A handful of times a month. Regular guys who are not obsessed, not addicted and not visiting other women for sex. Of course those things are a problem. No one is denying that. But paying someone for sex and watching some Internet porn while our wives are away are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS.

      Even if your guys jerks off “naturally” (whatever the hell that means), he could still be thinking of someone else. Are you going to outlaw that too??

      And this will be unpopular, but ladies, please stop bitching and moaning about the supermodels on TV. There are just as many hunky guys on TV as there are gorgeous women. But most men aren’t getting all crazy over having to be fit just like the guys on TV. We don’t sit up at night wondering if our wives are secretly wishing we looked like Brad Pitt. And we certainly don’t want to leave you for an actress. We love you. We’re attracted to you. That’s why we’re with you. Get over it already and stop being so friggin neurotic. You don’t hear many guys complaining about this stuff.

      Blaming the media and the beautiful people on TV is a way of not dealing with your own insecurities. If you want to fix things, start by looking in the mirror and leveling some of this criticism at the person you see!

      • You seriously believe that men’s and women’s bodies are treated and thought about the same way in this culture? Seriously? Have you ever watched any form of mass media?

        Have you looked at the statistics for eating disorders in the United States? Those girls and women are just neurotic? It has nothing to do with the cultural climate in which they are living?

        Women who feel differently than you are being “neurotic”?

        “Resorting to name-calling because someone disagrees with your opinion? Very telling. And what it tells me is that anything you have to say from here on it is pretty much meaningless.” Your words Daddy.

        • There are skinny women on TV. And in magazines. I get it. But so what? Any guy who expects you to be rail thin with D-cups is an ass. I’m a fat guy. When I was still dating I had several women tell me they liked me, but wanted me to lose weight so they could be more attracted to me. I just stopped dating them. I didn’t stick a finger down my throat or blame skinny male models, I just dealt with it. Is it different for women? I don’t know. I’m not a woman. You can’t ask me to imagine what it’s like to live life as someone of another gender. But I’ve seen first hand that it’s usually women trying to impress other women, and women are 10 times as cruel to each other about looks as men are.

          It’s not name-calling if it’s true. If you’re constantly worried about looks to the point you have to throw up everyday, you’re being neurotic. How is that false? It has nothing to do with them feeling differently than me, it has to do with their behavior. Which, in this case, would be neurotic.

          • Tatyana says:

            I hope if you ever have a teenage daughter, and she has body image issues (many of the do and once again I don’t have the statistics but we could look it up) or develops an eating disorder, I hope that you would not tell her to get over herself and stop being so neurotic.

            It IS different for females! You do not have to imagine. Read the literature (if you would rather learn about it, than belittle body dissatisfaction etc). Look it up.

            Ah heck here is one article
            http://jar.sagepub.com/content/19/3/323.short

            This is a cultural issue. Not a male/female issue (of course SOME women can be cruel and I was not blaming men).

            • I’ve read “the literature” and it’s totally biased. There’s absolutely zero concern for male body images, as there are basically no concerns about anything related to men, such as suicide risk which is overwhelmingly a male problem.

              Many, many men will start going bald by their mid to late 20s. Many of them will spend hundreds of dollars a month staving off this fate, often using drugs with pernicious and permanent side-effects due to the fact that men on television and movies almost never go bald.

              Any guy that obsessively works out, or fails by constantly starting and stopping has a body image issue. This includes the guys that are constantly rehabilitating sports injuries and literally sacrificing their health so they can look hotter. Most of the people I know that are into bizarre physical activities and byzantine diets are men. Chowing down on meals made up of protein powder are viewed as totally normal though so long as it is men doing it. Any guy that is fit, or wishes he were fit, or tries to be fit has a body image issue.

            • Tatyana says:

              I was responding to Daddy’s post about neurotic insecure Women, not men.

              I agree that male body image and masculinity are important and issues and should not be ignored. However, that does not take away from the fact that rates are greater for females.

              Yes, men have eating disorders… 10% of people with eating disorders are men. That leaves 90% who are women.

              Another example:
              One in 10 rape victims is a man. Should we deny that? Hell no!

              Must we acknowledge the fact the other NINE are women? Are MORE women affected by it? Yes.

              Women have to spend at least 10 times more money and time on their looks, than men (too busy to find the actual numbers).

              “Any guy that is fit, or wishes he were fit, or tries to be fit has a body image issue.”
              I don’t believe unfounded blanket statements like that.

              I don’t think that the “literature” reporting the numbers is biased.

              Male issues are often overlooked. That is why I think this website and this discussion is important.

            • wish we could spend a little less time on the entire “WOMEN HAVE IT WORSE” debate. It crops up every single time a men’s issue comes up.

            • Whoa, whoa, whoa…did you just compare rape to an eating disorder? Do I really have to tell you how off-base that is??

            • You said “Women have to spend at least 10 times more money and time on their looks, than men (too busy to find the actual numbers).”

              Women don’t HAVE to do anything. No one is holding a gun to your head. If you feel compelled to spend an inordinate amount of money on your looks, that’s your problem. Not society’s.

            • Tatyana says:

              Duh. I didn’t mean they HAVE to. I meant the amount (that exists) MUST be greater. Maybe I should’ve been more clear. The guy before me was complaining about Balding issues? I didn’t bring that up.

              Using two different examples is NOT comparing the two. I was using two examples to ask how the numbers are biased.

              You really only see what you want to see huh? Way to ake things out of context.

            • Rape is a crime and when someone is raped there is a victim harmed by a perpetrator. Having an eating disorder is not a crime. It is brought about when a person is unhappy with his/her weight and either throws up or stops eating on a voluntary basis. I just don’t think these were examples that belonged in the same breath.

              “You really only see what you want to see huh?” As opposed to being so open-minded like yourself???

            • Tatyana says:

              Once again I was NOT comparing the two. YOU are. I do not need an explanation of how they differ from one another. I understand.

              They were used as examples of how women are disproportionally effected by certain issues in response to someone’s post. That is why the two were chosen. Would you like to offer two different “acceptable” examples?

      • Miranda says:

        Um. I see a lot of men (especially here and on MRA gathering sites, but I repeat myself) complain about the way men are portrayed as idiots on tv. And it’s really weird, but they are often the *very* same* ones* who admonish women to stop bitching about how women are portrayed in tv, the movies, music, music videos, gaming, advertising, porn, etc., etc., etc. The double standards from some of you are really quite astonishing, and reminiscent of my dealings with the emotionally abusive man that I was once married to. Not that you guys that I’m referring to are that way, because I wouldn’t know. But the tactics used are so similar that I often find visits to the more disgustingly vile MRA sites quite triggering. That’s not meant to be an insult…..just an intersting observation.

    • Men would feel the same betrayal if that billion dollar industry was 99% geared towards women.
      And we’d probably told to just get over it.

      I’m seeing the topic of how porn stars look and men (and women) jerking to those images. Simply put. Being married to someone doesn’t mean that’s the only person they find attractive.

  18. Amberbug says:

    I just added in the strip club part to make you really think about what its like. You would hate it. The AMA (American Medical Association) is saying, finally after all these years, that perfected, airbrushed pics of people are dangerous to the health of (esp. younger) girls. Probably is for guys a bit, but you’re wrong about there being as many sexualized airbrushed half nude men out there. I can try to find a ratio for you, if that would help. Girls as young as 4 are upset about being too fat, because they see perfected images (yes, even in women’s mags). It is now official that the AMA recognizes that it causes Body Dysmorphic Disorder and various eating disorders, particularly in women. But you call women neurotic? The AMA says otherwise. So do millions of women.

  19. @tshaka_zulu says:

    When I was first married at 20, one of the older guys once told me that “it doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat at home.” To which I replied, “you can only look at the other dishes for so long without eventually wanting to try one and eating out.” After 15 years of faithful marriage, I can now say I still believe my response to be the right one.

    If you use porn as a crutch for when you’re not getting any, so to speak, then what happens when your wife has endometriosis and due to complications can’t have sex with you for an extended period of time? You turn to porn for an extended period of time… Then what? For many men it becomes more than a crutch. This isn’t just about holding you over until you’re able to be with her again, there are things going on bio-chemically that are damaging as well. This isn’t just about fantasy but about about the connections in our mind and how associating glam’d up, phony images with the pleasure and reward responses in our brains can also hurt a relationship which is something more subtle and insidious than I think most people really understand.

    • Sorry Tshaka, I’m not buying that one.

      Sure for SOME men it can become a problem. If you get addicted to anything that’s probably going to have negative consequences. But I disagree with your fundamental premise that just because you keep looking at the other dishes means you’re going to switch restaurants. That is just not true. And frankly it sends a really scary message to women, because it tells them “Even if your husband is just looking at other girls but not acting on it, eventually he’s going to cheat.”

      We got married. We didn’t turn off all attraction to other people. Whether you’re a man or woman, you’re going to look from time to time. No shame in that. As your friend said, just make sure you eat at home.

      • @tshaka_zulu says:

        Agreed. We didn’t go blind when we married but I’m not talking about just looking… This whole thread/post is about ruminating. It’s about fantasizing and masturbation. Theres much more to that than a pretty woman walking through the crosswalk in front of me while I’m stopped at a red light.

  20. It comments like Amberbug’s that make me think many people don’t even understand the real reasons the be against porn.

    Even before I knew what porn was, I was using visual stimulants. Everything from the catalog sears women’s clothing to wedding dresses magazines. I’m pretty sure that would still violate everyone of the issues many people have.

    Over stimulation and poor user-age control are the main issues..

  21. Lying to your partner about something that is probably at least a weekly part of your life seems a bit of an issue, especially when it is because you’ve decided in advance that they won’t approve. Whatever happened to discussing your problems and compromising? Rather than an ultimatum on either side, an explanation of WHY you are using porn, or WHY you aren’t happy with porn in your relationship would be better.
    The three later solutions, following those discussions, from my (female) friends are: yes, watch porn, but I would like to see some of it, so I know what it is you are watching; yes, watch porn but I have no interest in it and don’t ever want to see it; and a no porn agreement. Any of those agreements is much much better than ‘I’ll watch porn but I just won’t tell you about it, so it won’t matter, even if it would upset you if you knew’.

    • What about the reaction: “You sicko! I want a divorce and will do everything in my power to never let you near your kids! I’m going to make sure everyone you work with and everyone you socialize knows what a sicko you are! I’m going to ruin your life for being so sick!”?

      Not everyone has rational reactions, as the responses to this ongoing story show.

  22. Margo & amber, for 20 to 30yrs now enterprising women and men have tried to market mags, strip/lap clubs and porn made specifically for het women.

    These attempts have received continued national attention eg at the start of the 90s i remember the chippendales flying into the uk from the usa and doing all tv talk shows. They were a big hit

    Yet magazines, strip/ lap clubs and porn made only for het women, remain a niche market. By their disinterest Het women as a group have spoken on this matter

  23. Amberbug says:

    @Bobby: Did I not mention woman’s mags? (You can address me personally, btw.) Didn’t make the small leap to catalogs, did you. Over stimulation and poor user-age control are issues, but I think there are more pressing ones. Personally I think it stunts the imagination, and gives unrealistic depictions of sex and women, and what women should be like in bed. And NO, Daddy Files, I do not want you to stop fantasizing. That’s stupid. And by ‘naturally’ I meant without physical visual aids. They are just not necessary for a good masturbatory sex life. I KNOW men, like women, can get off without it. Why put it before your marriage/ relationship? Why? It’s disproportionate to your relationship with your wife/ partner isn’t it? I would hope so.

    • First of all, please don’t tell me what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to me masturbating. I’m pretty sure that’s something each and every one of us should decide for him/herself. Second, I just don’t understand how it’s BETTER if your guy is thinking of having sex with another woman and not using visual aids, rather than whacking it to porn. So you’re OK with him thinking about nailing other women, but you draw the line at a few minutes of online smut?

      I guess it’s a matter of priorities.

      And finally, no one is talking about putting porn before their marriage. Again, just because you watch porn doesn’t mean you’re a bad husband/wife, and it doesn’t mean your significant other is taking a backseat to anyone or anything.

  24. Amberbug says:

    Whoa, daddyfiles, you took that comment about masturbation personally, didn’t you?
    In this conversation you have to distinguish between masturbation and masturbation with porn. Some people are commenting as if they are the same thing, which they are not. Don’t you agree?
    I do draw the line at a few minutes of-what did you call it?-smut? A few minutes each time adds up. Unreasonable standards for sex and women, being burned into your brain.

    • “Unreasonable standards for sex and women, being burned into your brain.”

      Same could be said for woman using a rabbit, bullet, watching porn, read erotic lit, going to strippers, watching twilight but it seems that you followers of Hugo, are so wrapped up in yourselves and your own gender, egalitarian arguments never even occur to you or feature on your landscape, its all about you trying to shame and control men.

    • Honestly, I don’t understand this stuff about “unreasonable standards for sex and women, being burned into your brain.” It sounds like you and a lot of the other women commenting here feel really insecure about your sexuality or your relationships. Sex is about pleasure whether it’s by yourself, with a partner, or with 5 other people.
      A man’s cock belongs to him. Just as you have no say over what a couple does in their own bedroom, you have no right to tell a man how he is going to have sex with himself. He gets to choose how he derives physical pleasure with his body. Not you. It’s HIS body, not yours.
      I’ll be damned if I’d ever let a man tell me what I can read, watch, or use to bring myself pleasure. If he can’t handle it, then he shouldn’t be with me. Men deserve the same regard.
      If porn is a deal-breaker for you in a relationship, then put that out there with the men you date before you get serious. Let him choose if he wants to hand over his body and his sexuality over to you. Sheesh!

  25. Sar Low says:

    If you want certain boundaries in your marriage, you need to be open with your spouse and both be cool with it. If you need porn, and she needs you to not need it, find another chick who’s cool with it. Don’t be a liar.

    Also, there’s not accounting here for the subjective. One person says that using porn doesn’t interfere with their marriage, and I say my affairs don’t interfere with mine. What? I’m doing them on my lunch breaks, and they help me be happy, and what my husband doesn’t know, doesn’t hurt him. But why is that still generally accepted as “wrong” even though I have my tubes tied, and use condoms, and make no risks to my husband or our way of life? I don’t tell him because he’d get all bent out of shape. He has no right to tell me what I can’t do.

    • Ahem, open relationships (even marriages) and polyamory.

      They say that if you discuss beforehand, that cheating can be less or not wrong. Because it’s agreed upon by both parties.

      I doubt you NEED to tell someone you use porn first thing, but you might need to tell someone it’s a dealbreaker, if it is to you. Before the relationship becomes serious.

    • One person says that using porn doesn’t interfere with their marriage, and I say my affairs don’t interfere with mine. What? I’m doing them on my lunch breaks, and they help me be happy, and what my husband doesn’t know, doesn’t hurt him. But why is that still generally accepted as “wrong” even though I have my tubes tied, and use condoms, and make no risks to my husband or our way of life?
      People would probably say its generally accepted as wrong because that affair involves another actual person. If that husband who watches porn was hiring prostitutes (and no there’s no certainly that porn is a gateway to hiring prostitutes) or had some sort of affair that would be see just as wrong, even if he had a vasectomy, wore condoms, and made no risks to his wife or their way of life.

  26. DaddyFile, You are missing the point. Porn does affect your relationship. Your wife knows when you are into her or when you are just into the sex. She also knows when you are thinking of someone else. Women need to stay away from porn for the same reason. It begins to take away from the worth of the person you have committed to. You are looking at fantasy as being the ideal and whoever cannot meet up to that ends up not getting full credit for who they are in your life. Women who read bodice rippers are just as guilty. Or women who watch Grey’s Anatomy and sees you as less of a man because you are not McDreamy. Men everywhere gripe when their wives have unattainable expectations of them in romance, finance, and the bedroom. Why should wives not gripe the same.

    This is not about what women want, it is about being a man of honor. You committed to her, then she should be your focus. You committed to sex with just her. Sex is sex is sex. Anytime you put your sexual energy somewhere else, then you are cheating her. At the same time, when she puts her energies somewhere else, (friends, kids, PTA, her family, etc) she is cheating you if it diminishes your sex life.

    If you think that your ingestion of porn does not affect how you see and treat your wife then you are delusional or not ready to look at things objectively. A ham sandwich is not good enough anymore if you watch enough steakhouse commercials, our advertising efforts in the media have taught us that images and experiences can make us dissatisfied with what we have based on what is being presented. Porn is no different. You are putting effort into making your wife less of a woman in your mind as you are becoming less of man in hers.

    • StrongFathers,

      I think there are many ways of defining the conditions of commitment and marriage. Your definitions are pretty strict. (Personally, I’m not sure they’re sustainable over the long-term. However, that’s what you and your wife choose.) Other people choose to define their commitments in different ways that allow more flexibility. People who make those choices are not doing wrong they’re just doing different. I think that topics like porn and the like should be discussed before commitments are made so that everyone involved knows what they’re committing to.

    • If you think that your ingestion of porn does not affect how you see and treat your wife then you are delusional or not ready to look at things objectively. A ham sandwich is not good enough anymore if you watch enough steakhouse commercials, our advertising efforts in the media have taught us that images and experiences can make us dissatisfied with what we have based on what is being presented. Porn is no different. You are putting effort into making your wife less of a woman in your mind as you are becoming less of man in hers.
      The problem with that analogy is the presumption of “stepping up” from a ham sandwich to a steak.

      I think one thing at work here is then when talking about porn in a relationship its instantly classified as proof that you would rather be with someone else other than your partner because you think they are more attractive. While that can and does happen I don’t think that’s the default.

      If you think that your ingestion of porn does not affect how you see and treat your wife then you are delusional or not ready to look at things objectively.
      I would think that the only people that can determine that are him and his wife. I know we don’t have his wife’s side of the story here but I its a bit of a leap to say that he is delusional for thinking porn does not affect their relationship.

      You sound like you don’t watch porn and you have your reasons. Fair enough. But there’s no need to presume the worse of those who do.

    • StrongFathers: Only one little problem with your theory…my wife often watches porn WITH ME!

      So tell me how I’m not a man of honor, or how I’m dishonoring her, if we both enjoy it and do it together? Sure I occasionally watch without her, but she knows about it. We’ve talked about it, and she doesn’t care at all. Not even a little. I’ve never been unfaithful to her and I desire her more than any porn starlet I’ve ever laid eyes on. So don’t tell me I’m cheating my wife of anything, because you’re wrong. So, so wrong.

      Second, I love when you say “At the same time, when she puts her energies somewhere else, (friends, kids, PTA, her family, etc) she is cheating you if it diminishes your sex life.”

      You know what? That one doesn’t even require a response for obvious reasons. I’ll move on.

      The most insulting and condescending part of your argument is this: “Porn does affect your relationship. Your wife knows when you are into her or when you are just into the sex. She also knows when you are thinking of someone else. Women need to stay away from porn for the same reason.”

      I’m sorry, have we met? No? Then how in the holy hell can you presume to know ANYTHING about the intricacies of my relationship with my wife?!? Speak for yourself all you want, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But how can you try to speak for me or my wife when you know NOTHING about us?

      Perhaps you’re so insecure that your wife watching a little porn would tear at the fabric of your marriage. If that’s the case I’m genuinely sorry. But don’t project your own insecurities onto my wife and I. We’re fine. With porn and everything else.

      The arrogance you display is by far the most troubling thing I’ve read on these comment pages yet.

      • Arrogance. So your wife does not know when you are not into her? She does not know when you lack a certain amount of intimacy? She does not know when you are thinking of someone else? Well, you are right, I do not know you but porn affects every relationship in one way or another. I think what is arrogant is to believe that what you ingest does not have an impact on you. The music we listen to, the books we read, the conversations we have, the ads we see on television and in magazines, and the pictures we look at impact how we think and feel. To think otherwise is the arrogant part. To what extant it impacts you is definitely personal but it has an impact nonetheless. I choose to spend more time focused on my wife. It is not easy, and I have dealt with porn and just good old lust, but I find that it takes aways from my marriage and has destroyed way more marriages than it has helped.
        As one woman stated in one study:
        I am no longer a sexual person or partner to him, but a sexual object. He is not really with me, not really making love to me… He seems to be thinking about something else – likely those porn women… He is just using me as a warm body. ~ Bergner & Bridges

        If that is your relationship, you can have it, so can any 15 year old boy, or my bull out in the pasture.

        I am not saying that men have to follow a female agenda on sex. I think men should have the right to deal with their sexuality in a masculine way and that their partner should understand what makes him tick. However, men viewing porn are most likely taking away from a stronger intimacy that they deserve and the one that are destroying by adding so many more issues into the mix.

  27. It seems to me the problem is not the porn usage or lack of condonement thereof… the problem is the implied expectation that the relationship trumps all other values, but only for one partner.

    No matter the disagreement, if it is so divergent that one partner would issue the ultimatum of choosing between a value and their relationship, then they have already made the statement that they feel this value holds more weight than their relationship, and yet they expect that the partner will feel the opposite to be true. The expectation is that the partner will value the relationship more than the source of the disagreement, and will choose to give up the thing they value for the sake of the relationship.

    In the case of porn, the girlfriend says to the boyfriend, “If you do not stop watching porn, I will leave you,” (genders can be switched freely – this is only an example) – the girlfriend in this instance has assigned the boyfriend’s desire to watch porn a stronger value than their relationship. She would rather leave him than allow for his porn watching. The expectation, however, is that his values will be the opposite – that he would choose the relationship over watching porn. (I am not saying her stance is unreasonable – everyone’s values are their own, and should be defined only by their own thoughts). If the boyfriend in this instance chooses to continue watching porn at the expense of their relationship, he has in actuality placed the exact same weight on his values as she has on hers – but the standards by which he would be judged would be much different.

    Another example, from an alternate (though not exactly analogous) stance: a boyfriend says to the girlfriend that he will leave her if she does not engage in anal sex. Again, he has defined the value of their relationship to be less than the value he places on anal sex. She, in this case, is expected to choose the value of their relationship over the value of anal sex (whether she knows she enjoys it or not beforehand is irrelevant – if her reasons for choosing to engage in it are based on his ultimatum).

    I would argue that both partners have the right to define certain values as more important to them than their relationship. In fact, people should value things moreso than their relationship – I love my wife, but I would never castrate myself for her, for example – because not valuing certain things above a relationship is not only unrealistic, it is unhealthy.

    Relationships are meant to be mutual and consentual. The values involved do not have to be equal and shared at all levels, but when they do not coincide, both partners should be willing to accept the other’s values as equally valid… and avoid the double-standards. It’s not unreasonable to say that you value having a “porn-free relationship” over a “relationship” – but it *IS* unreasonable to be upset if your partner chooses to not assign their values in that same order, and chooses to leave. You have chosen to place a heavier value on the status of porn in your relationship than on your relationship alone, they may freely do the same.

    The same could be said for any value you place a heavier weight on than your relationship alone – simply because porn is viewed as a non-essential part of a relationship does not make it any less important. Values are values – no matter what they encompass – and it is up to each individual person to decide what theirs are. When two people’s values coincide, they can choose to enter into a relationship, when their values diverge, they can then choose to exit that relationship – being in the relationship should not alter a person’s values, except insofar as defining them in terms of that relationship.

  28. Hugo: DF, you really don’t see the difference? The distinction is that I was (and still am) in no place to criticize Jill. The only people who are are women who have found themselves in similar situations. She was the pregnant one, and she had the moral authority to call the shots on what was disclosed.

    This argument is utterly absurd. It’s not just murderers who have moral authority to vote to punish murderers.

    All men are in a place to criticize Jill, because they can or should be able to emphasize with Tim, the man she duped into marrying her and paying for and helping raise her child, who there was only a 50% chance was also Tim’s. She lead Tim to believe that she was sure it was his. She had an absolute and clear moral obligation to tell Tim of her uncertainty right away, as soon as she learned she was pregnant and traced back that she’s had sex with both him and YOU Hugo during her week of fertility. She should be sueable by Tim for fraud for not doing so.

    Men can only afford the time and money to have a very limited number of children in our culture of high investment and high cost parenting. Cuckolding him into supporting a child that wasn’t his was morally appalling.

    • Worse than that, as this isn’t about not being in a place to criticize her. He actively praised her and promoted her absolute choice in the matter that no one, man or woman, should be able to criticize her for it.

      That same lack of criticism and promotion of choice isn’t being extended in this argument. If it were Hugo would be telling women across the board that they have absolutely no room to criticize men for watching porn. They aren’t the ones watching porn and so are in no position to criticize, and each man is free to choose rather or not to watch porn which is none of women’s business.

      The thing is, as you point out, we criticize Jill because we empathize with Ted and how he was wronged. Ted, the aggrieved man, doesn’t enter into Hugo’s version of morality. The equivalent is if the aggrieved wife of a masturbating husband not entering into the moral calculus here, but Hugo doesn’t extend this same faulty logic. In fact the woman’s concerns are in fact paramount to the discussion. It is the aggrieved woman’s concerns that define morality. Morality only exists as something adjunct to a woman’s ego, which is why Hugo declares Jill in the right no matter what she chooses to do, and any man wrong for not disclosing his masturbatory habits with his significant other.

  29. @Amber, I think my only real disagreement with any of your view points is with this “natural visual aids” idea.
    “And by ‘naturally’ I meant without physical visual aids. They are just not necessary for a good masturbatory sex life.”

    When we talk about stimulation that implies increasing the pleasure. The imagination is extremely powerful, but as far as human experiences it will always be trumped by the physical. Let me explain a little more. Imagining the Eiffel tower will always be below seeing a video walk through of it. The video will always be below standing on it. Imagining flying a kite will always give less pleasure then going to the park and watching someone else fly a kite.
    An artist that uses his own work for masturbation causes unique issues with this topic in my mind as well, but I don’t want to tread away from my point.

    There is a reason most people don’t often become overstimulated by their mind because of that experience gap. The goal of masturbation is to achieve a great deal of stimulation leading a orgasm. Often the case is more stimulation leading to more powerful the orgasms. Visual aids will always add more to the pleasure than the imagination. Can you have a good masturbatory sex life without them? Sure. But you wont reach any new heights with the mind alone.

    http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-the-top-10-worst-things-to-happen-to-men-this-millennium/P3/

    When Men masturbate we increase the power of the orgasm by focusing on a mental or physical object while drawing out the physical pleasure as long as possible. A physical image will be stronger and work for longer then imagination alone.

  30. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Wife one and I were in an open marriage when she got pregnant (by me – she was into women.) She asked me not to have other partners during her pregnancy, and I didn’t. We resumed the open marriage later. It began to suck (from my point of view,) so we changed to don’t ask; don’t tell. I’m monogamous in marriage 2 now, but I think DADT works best if you are doing an open marriage. We didn’t have internet porn in those days, so it was either VCR or theatres. VCR was okay, and the early 80s porn was more sensual and human, although it could be degrading. A late night or two of IN (while wife sleeps) porn now takes the edge off of my desire for others, which is still there at my advanced age. We have langorous sex about once a week, occasionally twice. My wife does not like watching porn, but says the sound effects can be stimulating sometimes. This may have something to do with the visual, aural, or kinesthetic idea.

    • jameseq says:

      vcr, i hope you were watching on a betamax, as the visual resolution on vhs was terrible. couldnt see anything, and thats why pubic trimming wasnt necessary then.
      couldnt have seen anything even if the performers were shaved pubically bare.

  31. Amberbug says:

    I thought this was a discussion about porn use. Looks like someone’s personal business is being splattered all over the internet.

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      Right, the problem with this site is also the return of a disgusting prudism. One would have thought that, after the sixties, this would have gone away. Much of the “critique” that occurs on this site is an attempt to police language, and most of the language police here are the female participants. That’s why the issue of porn is so important: it’s an erotic language. I personally don’t like the bulk of modern porn, because it, indeed, does emphasize a variety of cruel fetishes. But much of the “should” stuff here is a flat and dispiriting move to the 1950s (a time of intense repression) or before. Other things that should make us suspicious is the anger that’s displayed regarding age differentiated dating, and other items that don’t point right to a (probably unrealistic for both parties) monogamistic ideology.

      There’s a reason that I post here using my real name. I think that most commentators should, or they are continuing the unfortunate tradition of keeping sexual subjects in the dark, and therefore dangerous. I respect Hugo for using his real name, although I disagree with him most of the time.

      We were fairly right about sex, or at least attitudes about it, in the 60s-70s. It was more relaxed, more romantic if you will, then. More mythical. I am currently monogamous, and I’m old (so it’s easy), but I’m not going to promote a reflexive yuppie-monogamistic ideology that only tells a one-sided story about sexuality.

  32. “discussion about porn use”
    I only know of one use for porn…

  33. Amberbug says:

    @Bobby: You said “When Men masturbate we increase the power of the orgasm by focusing on a mental or physical object while drawing out the physical pleasure as long as possible. A physical image will be stronger and work for longer then imagination alone.”
    Women can do that to. But maybe a person’s strength of orgasm isn’t as important as maintaining a relationship with someone whose orgasmic ability can go DOWN because of what you do to ‘strengthen’ YOUR orgasm.

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      In my experience, sex isn’t a zero-sum game. Quite the opposite.

    • @Amberbug: If a person’s orgasmic ability goes diminishes because of his/her partner’s pleasure there is something seriously wrong. What we have in that situation is NOT love. It’s weird and enmeshed. It’s expecting that you and your partner become one and the same person.
      Woman-to-woman, I’m going to give you a piece of advice: NEVER allow your ability to derive sexual pleasure to be dependent on any individual (male or female). When you do that you give your power away to that individual. Your sexual pleasure is YOURS regardless of who you are fucking.
      Porn does not inherently exploit or objectify women (at least no more than many other industries). The 60s and 70s also gave rise to sex-positive feminism which believes that sexual freedom (for everyone) is necessary to women’s freedom.
      I just keep asking myself what it is about porn that freaks women out so much. Honestly, sometimes folks baffle me.

  34. Amberbug says:

    @Henry: Where is the prudishness in not wanting to exploit or objectify women? That is hardly 1950’s. In fact, these ‘critiques’ came out of the feminist movement DURING the wonderful 60’s and 70’s. And I don’t understand what you mean by the female participants being ‘language police’. Cite one. It seems an hysterical reaction to women speaking their viewpoints. How is that policing your language?

    • jameseq says:

      scold, scold, scold de scold
      proper lil schoolmarm aint ya
      *rolls eyes

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      I’m not arguing for exploiting women at all. I marched with NOW and precursor organizations a number of times. But much of the woman-discourse on this site is nevertheless too “boundary oriented,” too scoldy, too shouldy, and so on. You can see this on practically every page. We’ve become much to anti-sensual (people are afraid to hug these days – I don’t even think there was more sex in the 60s – there was more touching – and it was a good thing.) Hugo begins many of his articles here with “shoulds,” and I think this is the anti-human approach.

  35. Amberbug says:

    Name calling and mocking- signs of true intelligence. You’re going to make me cry- (yawn). Can someone with an argument post now?

  36. Amberbug says:

    I’ve displayed plenty of reason in my posts above, which is, I believe, one reason you don’t HAVE an argument to give. And no, porn advocacy is not on my list of priorities. I just can’t cry for you, sorry. There are wars going on and people being hurled into poverty and you think all the empathy should be yours cuz you’re afraid you can’t have your little jerk off picture books? My god.

  37. wellokaythen says:

    I don’t think Aaron is suggesting that any husband simply disregard his wife’s feelings about porn. I don’t think he is suggesting that if your wife does not like your porn viewing then you just tell her that she’s being unreasonable and she should just get over it.

    There is a difference between expressing a feeling and making a request, and there’s a difference between making a request and making a demand. Just because one spouse dislikes the other spouse’s activities does not automatically mean the “offending” spouse is insensitive or horribly selfish. What seems to be in Hugo’s messages is the idea that if I do something that my spouse does not like then I am disregarding her feelings. I think that’s a bit of a leap, which is what I think Aaron is suggesting.

    Similarly, when my wife says she is upset about something I do, that does not automatically mean she is ordering me to stop it. Spouses have every right to express their feelings and make requests. Spouses can say what they will put up with, what they will compromise on, and what they will not compromise on. Ultimately, though, they don’t have the right to issue orders to their partners.

    Two people can disagree, even about fundamental things, and if the relationship is healthy enough still be able to have a reasonable, constructive discussion about their differences. (Maybe not at first, but eventually.) A reasonable discussion could still result in an ultimatum being issued, but starting with an angry ultimatum is not really a reasonable, constructive discussion. I don’t believe either partner should get a free emotional nuclear option, no matter what the subject matter is. Just being upset about your partner’s activities does not mean you now have to get your way. Feeling rejected or offended is not a mandate for a dictatorship.

  38. curious says:

    I am curious about why men who use porn never consider the ethics of it. I’m not talking about “morality.” What are the ethical implications of playing a part in something which objectifies and often leads to the enslavement other human beings?

    Why is it not creepy to jack off to a photo of some young woman who is younger than your daughter, and who is posing for the pictures because she needs the money for her next fix or an abortion or because she is desperate and has no other options, or because she is mentally ill, or because she holds herself in low regard?

    I understand that use of porn is natural, and that it will always be with us. It seems to me that it would be more honest for porn users to say, “I know that it violates some ethical considerations, but I’m personally OK with that because my need for it is greater than my humanity.”

    Is it natural for people (who are usually male) to want to look at dirty pictures? It certainly is. But does a mature, intelligent, well-adjusted man who is trying to do what he can in his own small way to make the world a better place for his children, decide to find ways to be happy and fulfilled without porn? Are men that simple? Either be choose happiness or go without porn and be miserable?

    As much as men are said to think about sex, how did any of them ever get around to creating so many wonderful, beautiful or useful things that benefit mankind? If men are as sex obsessed as they’re said to be, then why do they build museums and libraries? Why do they create symphonies and poems and parks?

    • Men created beautiful things, buildings, museums, and libraries to give back to the community, to make themselves important, and therefore get laid. Even though I believe men are good and meet many. It comes down to getting down most of the time. Most wars did not start because of valor but because of testosterone. So be it.

  39. I enjoyed reading the conversation between Hugo and DF! Great debate! I happen to side a bit more with Hugo here, because I have been in this position before. I also happen to have different ideas about commitment. I think what it comes down to is a good match between couples. People have their own ideas about what is good for them….

    The bigger issue to me is the one about “lying.” I think they are just assumptions, but they are important ones. Hugo mentioned, in passing, about the idea that men lie about their porn. DF on the other hand took a more casual approach and almost seemed to imply that men assume something about the woman’s expectations they are dating (that women have their own negative assumptions of men and have already made judgment on that assumption). It’s true that if DF has to “hide” his porn habit/do it in secret, because he’s not sure whether or not his partner will accept it, there’s something wrong. But this doesn’t actually apply to DF.

    Hugo:
    “Are men who lie about porn viewing the scum of the earth? Of course not. But it’s weak sauce to say that “I’d tell her the truth, but she can’t handle the truth.” I am in a position to say that because I am a man who has used porn — just as a woman who had been pregnant out of wedlock and unsure of the father’s identity is in a better position to weigh in on what Jill did.”

    DF:
    “Most men who are casual porn viewers don’t feel they’re doing anything wrong, so there’s no need to tell their girlfriends/wives.”

    If men are operating on the assumption that their porn is a problem to the woman and don’t say anything because of it, and continue in secret, I find it dishonest and an insult to both partners and feel like it detracts from the relationship. When it comes to serious relationships, I think that the “porn” conversation is an important one, if only to find out where your partner stands on it. I think both men agreed that if the habit gets in the way of the relationship, then it’s bad. The problem then is who has the “say” about what is “too much?” That is a personal preference and why I think it’s important not to “lie” (e.g. dismissal, avoidance, and omittance) about porn habits/expectations.

    Final say: I don’t advocate ‘you are how you are, and I am how I am’ as conducive to a good relationship. I see it more as a way out of compromise and commitment. That type of mentality strikes me as all ego driven, and insecure. It’s a bit hypocritical for someone to condemn another person’s idea of commitment as “prudish” or rigid, when that person only accepts their own standard as the most “open” one. When it becomes more about acceptance of ego, it becomes less about the relationship. You’ve put yourself in a position above the good of the other person, and that is wrong in a union where you’ve promised to work together toward agreeable decisions and compromise.

  40. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I’m not sure about the conditions for sex workers in the porn industry. One commentor rightly said that, if your choices are floor-person at WalMart at $7.50 an hour versus porn at $1,000 a scene, you may choose porn. I’m pretty sure that either of these jobs would predispose people to use drugs or alcohol, but I’ve read and believe that people in porn often have abuse histories and are isolated from family systems, so they are probably at greater risk. Erin said that people in the Industry can be objectively exploited, even if they say that they’re not, and I believe that this is probably true. I think one danger for sex workers is that they probably become alineated from their own sexuality. One of my friends was an escort, and this was fairly damaging to him/her sexually. If I decide to stop watching porn, I think it’ll be based on the damage to performer argument, not the partner argument. I agree with the commentor who said out sexuality is basically ours.

  41. Wow. Who would have guessed that the most commented on post on record for this website (I am guessing here) would boil down to a conversation about viewing porn and masturbation? I followed the heated debate between Hugo and Dave (?) yesterday. I was fascinated by the strength with which each defended their position. I thought it was an exceptional display of one important dimension of manhood – the refusal to back down from something we feel strongly about. Thanks for staying with it guys. Good stuff.

  42. Excising porn addicts (or porn addiction) from a conversation about porn is akin to talking about the glories of dessert but exempting the overweight from chiming in.

    It’s a deceptively fine line between use/ abuse. From my work in this field, I can assure you that no single porn addict EVER set out to become one; it always started with plain, old curiosity. We might well consider our own potential vulnerability to it while we’re so vehemently defending our right to use porn.
    Why it’s relevant to this thread is that because once compulsion takes hold, our free choice evaporates, including the choice to be honest or not with one’s partner. And by then, the marriage has been thrown under the bus, with the non-using partner almost always being blamed for something/ anything.

    I propose GMP really get things cooking and post a survey of our values for all members of this site to take. Then, host a one month porn-off. Those still left standing after the month take a lie-detector test to verify they actually went a month without. Then give them another survey on those same values and allow them to facilitate the Next Debate on Honesty around Porn here.

    Otherwise, speaking about honesty here is a partial conversation and undermines the “cunning, baffling, and powerful” nature of addiction.

    • I guess my concern regarding honesty is that we live in a sex-negative culture. Simply because someone lies about their porn use doesn’t make them an addict. It makes them ashamed or just wanting to keep it private.
      If people weren’t fearful about being fully self-expressed about their sexuality you’d have a lot less lying about all sorts of sexual behaviors. The fact that this fear exists or that people are judged negatively because of their sexuality doesn’t mean it is an addiction or some sort of blight on society.

      • You are correct, Jeni- “Simply because someone lies about their porn use doesn’t make them an addict”. Correct. Show me where I said otherwise.
        An addict is an addict because they know themselves to be one and/ or they have been diagnosed by a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist to be one, and even then, it’s not a rubber stamp–it’s based on criteria that BOTH the compulsive and the therapist come to conclude together.

        And I don’t disagree that we’re living in a sex-negative culture, but as Hugo Schwyzer pointed out in one of his recent columns (last week?) a lot of that has to do with the trust that good relationships need to thrive in, often not being forthcoming.
        I also agree with you that we need less fear of self-expressing so that people don’t feel the need to lie in the first place. At PoSARC.com that is part of our mission, to alleviate the shame around sexuality for precisely the reasons you so rightly named. That plus once compulsion/ addiction does set in, if someone’s feeling crippled by shame from his community, s/he won’t get help. Thanks for your views, Jeni!

    • Roger Durham says:

      Lili Bee, your argument confuses me a little. I agree that the line bewtween use and abuse is thin and the slope on which that line stands is slippery. And that is true of anything – not just porn. Substitute porn for anything else, and your point is valid. This conversation, however, is hyper-charged by the fact that it revolves around sexuality and relationships. I contend that all things in moderation are not harmful. I also contend that a relationship based on full disclosure is based on suspicion and is, ultimately, an un-trusting relationship. Relationships remain interesting to the degree that there is room for the individual and there is room for some mystery. So if one partner enjoys porn (substitute any word you want here), in moderation, and chooses not to tell her/his partner, there should be room for that in a trusting and healthy relationship. If porn is not the word used, the whole tone of the conversation is much less charged.

      • Roger- Forgive me if I’m not understanding your question correctly but you keep saying, “if it were anything but porn….”
        But why the abstraction? The entire point of everything being written here in Hugo and Daddy File’s disagreement IS about porn!
        To start crafting other metaphors and what-if’s only confuses and takes us off-point. So I’m not sure what purpose it serves to imagine we’re speaking about anything else…?

        Also- you state “So, if one partner enjoys porn (substitute any word you want here) in moderation, and chooses not to tell her/his partner, there should be room for that in a trusting and healthy relationship.”

        Using the words “chooses not to tell his/her partner” in the same sentence as ” in a trusting…relationship” reveals, to me, a paradox I choose not to invite into my relationships today. Trust is the first thing that erodes in the absence of honesty, and takes forever to rebuild, so in my mind, it’s not worth it.

      • Roger,

        I made a very similar point to Lili Bee a couple days ago and am waiting for her to reply. However, I specifically cited women’s use of vibrators and other sex toys accompanied by steamy romance novels, magazines, etc. that get them aroused. That serves the same purpose as porn except there is a virtual third person touching her and/or penetrating her.

        Not surprisingly, the feminist porn critics have no problem with women doing the very same thing as men, except they take it a step further and have a virtual lover “down there” bringing them to climax in record time. The message is that women using sexual outlets is good, but men’s use is bad. It’s not a stretch to conclude that their ultimate message and ideology is that men are bad.

    • What, pray tell, is the “work [you’ve] done in this field” – the nature and length? I’m curious, since you mention it.

  43. The illusion (or delusion) of porn is to replicate the experience of having or watching sexually provocative acts. Of course this is not real but our brains WANT it to be. That seems to be the rub for those that would object to their partner watching porn. The fact that their partner is wanting to have that sexual experience with others rather than themselves.
    It sure appears that those that are into porn (if you are in a relationship) don’t want to own up to the possibility (or probability) that the feelings behind your actions are creating distance or damage between you and your partner, so many would be deceptive about it. This is what the article is about, yes or no? Deception or lying is a huge and often traumatic issue within relationships. Is it ok to be deceptive, or not?
    There are those of you that feel absolutely sure that porn does not have any effect on your relationship, maybe cause you watch it together (sometimes) or claim that your partner is fine with it. If that is really true then that is your relationship, it’s all yours. Nobody is going to take away your vices and devices.
    We do not live in a Puritanical dictatorship of King George (or Caligula). Those that choose open relationships, with other people, porn or whatever way that looks like, knock yourselves out. Seriously. And those of us that choose fidelity and honesty can do so as well.
    Where the wrecking ball is swinging thru this argument is how all of this affects our love, of our partners and of our selves. If your lovers are fully aware of your behaviors and are fine with it, even share or support it, then Hallelujah for you. But if our lovers are hurt, or would be hurt if they knew of our behaviors, then we have some issues to work out. The relationship may not be able to repair broken trust issues.
    When we knowingly are doing something that we believe to be bad, we generate shame within ourselves. And shame has huge and damaging effects to us in deep levels. This is not honoring and loving to ourselves. But of course, if you are feeling sure that you are not doing anything that you believe to be bad, there is no shame being generated. You get to be you.
    Maybe in future marriage vows, or beginning of relationship agreements, there will be need for a porn disclosure because there sure seems to be a lot of protective, deceptive and hostile stances out there. What this discussion seems to be about is simple honesty in a relationship. Why all the hostility?

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      I won’t argue with the main thrust of your argument, Kenny. I think it’s quite acceptable that a couple could agree not to have either partner watch porn. Or whatever. I do think, though, that we probably ought to try some of the things we “know to be bad.” I say this because I believe that sexuality plays a unique role in our culture as a touchstone for extra repression, which makes us ultimately less democratic and autonomous. The guilt and shame imposed on children is a deeper “bad” as far as I’m concerned. It serves to attach something like a “handle” to us where we can be controlled. Men and women should not oppress each other of course, but consider that the “sexual harrassment” discourse is used by employers to promote more control over workers and an exaggerated productionist ethic. Autonomy is squashed, and people start referring to normal flirting (which is healthy) as “predation.” (Predation used to mean serial murderers or rapists.) I think flirting humanizes a workplace. I’m not referring to real sexual harrassment, of course, like quid pro quo, but what some have referred to as “hostile environment,” which many have ratcheted up to mean any sexual or flirty references. I’m extremely suspicious of this reintroduction of repressive-productionist discourses.

      • (Henry, I’ve been trying to comprehend what others in this thread are feeling about the issue in the article, honesty about porn use. To my understanding, the article is not suggesting that porn be banned from relationships, just that those that have porn in it should be above boards. The responses have sent many ricochet arguments, mostly all skirting the issue. It’s like ADD on steroids. If you would and could, please try to keep the conversation on topic. We all know there’s seriously bad and detrimental issues out there and maybe we can address some of those you mentioned on some other blog or thread?)

        When you wrote [“we probably ought to try some of the things we “know to be bad.”] What were you saying? Was that meaning that sexuality is like a social lubricant (no pun intended) and helps our culture evolve? That’s what I got out of it but can you explain?

        • Henry Vandenburgh says:

          Hi Kenny,

          I suggested that due to extra repression, *some* of the behavior we’re discouraged from is more natural and normal than we think. This might include viewing and using erotica. (I used the side-example of tightening sexual harrassment codes because we’ve all seen this as adults.) I’m suggesting that a more experimental, less prescriptive approach to sexuality would be better. I think a more eroticized, less repressive society would be better. My argument parallels Herbert Marcuse’s in Eros and Civilization. I’m not advocating sex with childrem or anything that really *is* bad, but am advocating for loosening up adult sensuality and sexuality.

      • This subject has bothered me to the point that I reread the transcript that compromises this article. I found a couple of items that would maybe score in a debate competition.
        1- The topic of this article/debate is about honesty and compromise in a relationship for those who use porn, should we bring it out in the open or hide the truth? There has been many ricochet arguments that strayed off topic.
        2- The topic is not about some other article regarding paternity issues. What seems to be that (non-sequitur) mud-fight is to suggest that if Hugo was judged to have made a bad compromise under duress then that person will therefore be wrong in everything else he does? Can anyone throw that first stone? And how does that even relate to being above boards about porn in a relationship?
        3- DF has not addressed the topic of compromise and honesty other than stating that his wife is not kept in the dark about his behavior. Which means that he does not lie! Good for you DF, but that bit of integrity would seem to more support the argument for compromise and being honest.

        My position on the subject is that we can all create our own relationships. Nobody has the right to enforce honesty (or deception) onto other people. There’s evidence and theory for those that are interested in either direction but the bottom line is ‘to each their own’. I think John Lennon said it simply, “And in the end, the love we take is equal to the love we make.”

  44. Stephen D says:

    This argument proves the futiliity in trying to convince anyone of anything. I might as well try to get all the air molecules in the room to all start moving in exactly the same direction, because *en masse*, people aren’t much different.

    We all have our own perception of the world. My worldview isn’t necessarily yours. So why must you think like me? I think the goal is just to find people with a highly compatible worldview then take it from there.

    Bringing it back to the first paragraph. Not telling a man he might not be the father of “his child” is not as bad as keeping porn use secret? Good lord, Hugo, you must have been a teenager during the 90’s – the feminazi movement – and allowed yourself to be indoctrinated. By the way, these ladies, once having turned 33+, have since apologized for their behaviour….

    “Baby, I beat the boss from time to time. You weren’t home and I fancied a little variety.”
    – Me too. BTW, this 20yr old son of yours? Isn’t yours.
    “Oh, ok honey. Well I guess that makes us even.”

  45. If there is nothing wrong with porn, then would you allow your daughter to pose? It does no harm? If you are a good dad, and there is nothing wrong with it, then you wouldn’t mind some other guy whacking off to a picture of your daughter after she is of age. Correct? Or your wife or partner. If it is just looking and spanking, why shouldn’t they help another dude out. Or if this is O.K. with you, then how about your son when he heads off to college. He is not gay but why shouldn’t he make money from letting other guys look at him on the internet. You continue to tell me there is no harm, it is the choice of those that pose. It does not objectify.

    Your porn use (and my mine as well) objectifies women, whether or not she is cool with it or not, it tells your wife that sex is not as intimate as she had thought or hoped because you can do it with her or by yourself, or with someone else in your head with her or by yourself. You begin to erode at the value of others, the value of your significant others, and the value of your own children because those people who made the choice to pose (or didn’t) are someone else’s child as well. I am working to stay as far away from porn as possible because of what it does to me, my marriage, and MILLIONS of other marriages. Tell your daughter I am not going to be able to support her in college while she poses because I ain’t playing or paying. But tell her it is O.K. because there is not anything wrong with it. You say it here in this article and you say it through your choices.

    • StrongFathers, I have a daughter and a son. If either of them chose porn as a profession, I would support them. I would tell them to be strong with their boundaries and not to think this will be a life-long career though.
      Yes, porn objectifies. So does the fashion industry. As long as boundaries are respected, I don’t have a problem with it.

      • Rick S. says:

        It is worth noting that women objectify men all the time, not so much as sex objects but as money and success objects. But porn is an easier target, and our culture doesn’t encourage us to look at the less admirable side of certain women.

    • “If there is nothing wrong with porn, then would you allow your daughter to pose?”

      I never understood this argument. In a diverse society there are plenty of different values and different wants and need. I never wanted to be a plumber but I wouldn’t hesitate to employ one. I don’t think plumbers are morally objectionable or don’t less respect for plumbers. I would strongly advise against my daughter joining the army in most circumstances (a war like WW2 being the possible exception), or the police or other dangerous professions but I don’t think the police are morally objectionable or wrong.

      As for porn stars, I would not have any problem hanging out with them, knowing them and I don’t have less respect for them.

      “If you are a good dad, and there is nothing wrong with it, then you wouldn’t mind some other guy whacking off to a picture of your daughter after she is of age. ”

      No I would not mind. And I don’t see who its hurting.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Honestly, no, I would be deeply worried if I had a daughter who wanted to act in porn movies. I would probably try to talk her out of it. I’d want her to have a different career.

      I can see how that might look hypocritical, but only if you use really faulty logic. Just because I’d be paranoid about dangers to my daughter doesn’t mean that the activity is therefore morally wrong. If I had a child who wanted to join the military, I’d try really hard to talk him/her out of that as well. That doesn’t mean military service is morally wrong, or at least it doesn’t mean that I think military service is wrong. I would just have selfish reasons for preferring someone else’s child do it.

      I’m glad my society has a police force, but I would prefer my kids chose a less dangerous job. That doesn’t make me anti-police or pro-police.

  46. Rick S. says:

    One of the nice things about being a gay male is that the partnership is made up two guys who don’t have a problem whatsoever with porn, and often enjoy it together. The “Strong Father” post about daughters and sons is good for a few campy laughs. I’ve met college-age guys who work in porn, and not only do they know they are being “objectified”, but they thoroughly enjoy it! I don’t think there is a need for me to write to their dads and apologize for rubbing one out over a picture of their sons, particularly since their dads are most likely rubbing one out over somebody else’s grown daughter or son (I know, that is not something we are supposed to talk about).

    News flash, “Strong Father” — we “objectify” people all the time — as celebrities, as politicians, as sport heroes — and it happens with the objectified’s consent and even collaboration. Women spend billions annually in cosmetics and clothing in order to be checked out, while guys lift weights and invest in flashy cars — and so what? I know we all have beautiful souls and such, but enjoying somebody’s external qualities is not mutually exclusive with acknowledging their humanity. Unless you want to go to the extremes of the Taliban and make sure women are covered up from head to toe lest men have a single lustful thought about them.

    • I have a gay friend who says that the gay community is vicious towards aging men. He says that if you’re not young and buff you’re insignificant, to put it mildly. That’s not very good evidence for building long-term security in a relationship. The harsh truth is, we live in a difficult time in a socially adolescent or immature culture. One can NOT only hope that we grow up but we must actively undertake the challenges of doing so. And mutual respect and honoring of each other is a very healing and healthy way to begin.

      • Rick S. says:

        “The gay community is vicious towards aging men”. Gee, and then why don’t aging gay men turn towards EACH OTHER for relationships? Ah, because they too, lust the “young and buff”, but rather than admit it, they complain that nobody appreciates their beautiful inner selves…even though they themselves are hardly seeking a relationship with somebody solely for his beautiful inner self. Anyhow, I know of too many inter-generational relationships (e.g. guy in his 20s hitched to a guy his 50s) to give such a claim about “viciousness” much credibility.

  47. What mostly ticks me off about this article is how judgmental you’re being, DaddyFiles. My fiance didn’t think it unreasonable at all to stop watching porn when he entered in a relationship with me. I never nagged him about it. He was simply honest with me in a straightforward manner on the phone one day when we were in a long distance relationship, and I reasonably told him why I didn’t like that. I didn’t actually expect him to give it up, especially since we’d only been dating a month, but he respected my wishes and did. And it’s none of your business as to the reasons why I find it problematic. My reasons are just as valid as your reasons for viewing porn. I’m also going to be honest when I say I think it’d be A LOT easier for you to give up porn than for your wife (or whoever) to accept your porn use. The first one doesn’t involve emotional turmoil (and if it does, there is clearly some other problem going on that needs to be addressed), while the latter does involve emotional turmoil. Now I have no problem at all with what you choose to do in your relationship, so long as your partner as no problems. My problem lies in how you choose to view other women who have a problem with it, especially if these women are in HEALTHY relationships with men who have no problem giving up porn use for them. I also want to mention that when you get in a relationship, it’s a give and take. Sometimes you have to give up something in a relationship to gain something, and I’m not talking about something earth shatteringly important, like giving up your friends. I’m talking about something meager: like porn use, or you can no longer just throw your clothes on the floor now that ‘X’ person is living with you. And yes, giving up porn use is not a stringent demand. I can respect your POV all I want, but if I have to accept that in a relationship and am always bothered by it, no matter how hard I try to change, then clearly I need to be the one to leave because I shouldn’t have to find myself emotionally comprised over something that can be easily given up. Of course no relationship is perfect. Of course you’re not going to accept everything your partner does. But if you find yourself emotionally comprised and cannot look at your significant other in a positive light, then the relationship is not healthy and something needs to give.

  48. What both posters are missing here is that there are a large number of women (and men) who are uncomfortable with their partners watching pornography (when they would not be uncomfortable with their partners fantasizing about other people, real or imagined) because “porn culture” and the depictions of sex/social relationships/power dynamics in pornography are fundamentally degrading and damaging to women–because someone who gets off to pornography (or, at least, mainstream pornography) is AT SOME LEVEL getting off on the dehumanization of women, and on a representation of violence against women. (I use women here because I’m talking about the apparent set up in this discussion where it’s a woman objecting to her male partner’s use of pornography. Gay and lesbian porn is problematic too, largely because it inherits some of its practice from the tropes of mainstream heterosexual porn, but it also has a different set of issues at stake). Objections on these grounds seem nothing but reasonable.

  49. Muffy Says says:

    I felt that the former husband using porn and hiding it was deceptive. I did not feel like he was cheating by looking. I felt like he was cheating by hiding. By keeping me from sharing part of his sex life. By keeping me held at arms length so I could not know him and his desires. Those desires were more important than the hurt his distance caused and that was the cheating. It should be every person’s right to have a sexual life that is fulfilling and gratifying. It is not the right in a relationship though, to use that sex life to hurt your partner. When you commit you expect your partner to be faithful and honest. My sex life now involves more than one partner. Had my porn loving ex been met with my new lover in his bed he would not feel that it was the same as his porn yet the hurt is the same. I am now, a decade later, a pornographer by profession and open with my partner who freely masturbates in front of me and I do in front of him. The statement that “She can’t handle it” is laughable.

  50. Daddy files fails to address the important studies that repeatedly show that porn men who use pirn consistently rate their partners as less attractive and themselves as less satisfied in their marriages . Additionally, he fails to address the fact that the porn
    Using spouse is doing something that hurts the self esteem and body image of their significant other . Of porn use is really no big deal to a man as he claims then why not stop it in order to protect the partner and show them he doesn’t need pre baby perfect looking female bodies to get off to . How does he honestly think this makes a woman feel . We are the ones who carry your babies and experience the many changes that come with that . At least show is enough respect to be honest enough about needing something other than us ( if you do ) so that we can choose whether to accept it or find a man who doesnt

    • A woman has the right to establish porn use as a deal breaker, just a man has the right to establish deal breakers as well. The point is that if a man knows it’s a deal breaker for her, then he should be upfront about it for both of their sakes. Then she can make an informed decision as to whether she wants to live with it. And there is nothing wrong with her if she decides that she does not want it at all in her marriage or relationship. Just as some people want to marry someone who thinks the same politically, or religiously, or who doesn’t eat meat or smoke, or a person who strongly believes in a kosher kitchen. What Hugo is saying is that there is nothing wrong with a woman who does not want it in her relationship and men have a responsibility to be honest about it so she can decide. You are denying women the right to want that by saying they’re unreasonable. Who are you to say that your view and preference is the absolute? If a woman was asked if she smoked and she just said no because she didn’t want the guy to leave, but then he catches her and finds out she’s been smoking since day one, he would be justified to be angry and leave. It would save everyone a lot of time and pain if the truth would just be upfront. By saying that your porn use is none of her business, you are exerting control over a situation that should be a partnership when she says openly that she does not want it in her life.

  51. If someone doesn’t want a relationship with a porn user that is totally valid . How dare Aaron claim that because he sees it as ‘no big deal’ then everyone else must too
    He calls for women to respect if her partner wants to watch porn yet reuses to extend the same respect to a woman who doesn’t want porn in her relationship
    His argument is flawed and is that same as if I said ‘oh me not wanting you to use porn is no big deal so dont’
    It’s as simple as this . Each side has the right to use porn or to chose whether to be with a porn user ! What no one has the right to do is to lie about what they do and trick someone into a relationship !!!!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] not believing that men and women have different natures we fall into arguments like the one taking place over at the Good Men Project between Hugo Schwyzer and Aaron Gouveia (aka […]

  2. […] But the conversation soon switched to the great evergreen of pornography use. I wrote a short response for Good Men Project (which got picked up at Jezebel). In the comments section below the GMP version, I got into a friendly argument with the magazine’s managing editor, Aaron Gouveia — which begat a post of its own here: A Vehement Disagreement about Porn. […]

  3. […] But the conversation soon switched to the great evergreen of pornography use. I wrote a short response here (which got picked up at Jezebel). In the comments section below the GMP version, I got into a friendly argument with one the magazine’s editors, Aaron Gouveia—which begat a post of its own here: A Vehement Disagreement about Porn. […]

  4. […] Good Men Project’s important, honest, useful, running debate about pornography—especially the “vehement disagreement” between Hugo Schwyzer and Aaron Gouveia about how honest heterosexual partners should be about porn […]

  5. […] went on to write the single most viewed article on our site. He humors us when we want to have a “vehement disagreement about porn.” He has run the DadsGood section, getting hundreds of posts from dozens of dad bloggers, […]

  6. […] about how much we want, or should be able, to know about our partner’s porn habits. Over at The Good Men Project, Hugo Schwyzer and Aaron Gouveia had it out in “A Vehement Disagreement About Porn” and The […]

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