“Are Most Men Like This”? Sex, Lies, and the Newsweek Study

The recent Newsweek article on The Growing Demand for Prostitution is leading to some needed and heated discussion about male sexuality. Leslie Bennetts’ piece is based on a brand-new study of men who buy sex, and the first shock is how much difficulty the researchers had finding men who didn’t pay for sex.

…buying sex is so pervasive that (the researchers) had a shockingly difficult time locating men who really don’t do it. The use of pornography, phone sex, lap dances, and other services has become so widespread that the researchers were forced to loosen their definition in order to assemble a 100-person control group.

“We had big, big trouble finding nonusers,” Farley says. “We finally had to settle on a definition of non-sex-buyers as men who have not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, have not used pornography more than one time in the last month, and have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, erotic masseuse, or prostitute.”*

The second shock is about men’s honesty – or lack thereof – around this issue.

In the past 24 hours I’ve gotten at least a dozen requests to address this Newsweek piece, almost all of them from women. And several asked me the same plaintive question: are men really like this?  One woman wrote, “Now I’m looking at all the men I know, and wondering what it is they’re really doing – and thinking.” Another wrote, “I’m so depressed. It seems like it’s impossible to find a man who isn’t addicted to porn.”

What’s so frustrating isn’t just the percentage of men who pay for sex. It’s the percentage of men who lie about it to their wives and girlfriends, or who minimize the frequency of their porn use. “I used to have a problem with porn” is the grim equivalent of the famous “I used to have an eating disorder.” All too often, that’s wishful thinking if not outright deception. Frequently, what guys try to explain away as a past problem is instead an ongoing habit.

Because so many men are dishonest about sex, either lying directly or being “economical with the truth” about their private behavior, women are left feeling unsafe and mistrustful. Of course, not every single man uses porn or buys sex in other forms. But a great many do, as Newsweek reminds us, and they do include husbands and boyfriends, brothers and fathers, bosses and teachers, coaches and co-workers. That so many women are unsettled by that reality is as much a reflection of what they don’t know about the men in their lives as what they do.

Before we can have the important debate between those who advocate for abolition and those who push for decriminalization of sex work (a key point in the Newsweek article), we need to first get honest about what we’re doing when no one’s watching.

I’ve heard from many guys who tell me that they lie about porn (and the other kinds of sex they may buy) because, as one put it to me, “women go ballistic when you tell them the truth.”  But it’s not women’s job to ratchet down their anger in order to make it safe for men to get real. We owe it to the women we love – and to ourselves – to have the courage to name what it is we’re doing and how often we’re doing it.

Whatever your beliefs about porn and prostitution, we should be able to agree that the women (and men) who do sex work deserve to be treated with human dignity rather than contempt. In the same way, wives and girlfriends deserve the truth. It’s not too much to expect, and it’s not too much to ask.

* Lots of guys say that they only look at free porn online, and they object to being lumped in with those who use cash or credit to buy access to sex. But of course, virtually all “free” porn sites are supported by advertisers who often pay based on web traffic. Each visit is monetized one way or another; anyone who thinks he isn’t contributing financially to the industry because he isn’t paying doesn’t understand the economics of the web.

 

photo by carabendon / Flickr

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About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website

Comments

  1. I have to express my admiration for the posters in this thread. I believe this is the first internet comment thread of more than two entries I have ever read that did not devolve into name-calling and personal insults.

    The author, and several commenters, seem to share some assumptions that I would like to call out and challenege:

    – Pornography and masturbation are somehow wrong, or at least debased, and indulging in them is a weakness.
    I disagree completely, and I suspect that this attitude comes almost entirely from the, not to mince words, demented ways that we represent sexuality to our children (which warped us as children).

    – Pornography and masturbation are substitutes for sex, attractive mostly to those whose sex lives are less active.
    This is simply untrue. For many people (or at least many men), and I would bet it’s the majority, these activities have intrinsic entertainment value. Playing sports doesn’t mean you lose interest in watching sports, does it?

    – Viewing pronography and masturbating are forms of infidelity.
    This is just ridiculous. You can’t be attracted to your wife without being attracted to women in general. Being faithful means being kind, being honest, and keeping your promises. It doesn’t mean never thinking about another woman. I don’t know why so many women find this hard to accept, but it’s true whether you like it or not. Your husband or boyfriend fantasizes about other women. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, or that he would ever act on such a thought. Any dialog about being honest has to include recognition of the fact that this is how it is. I frankly find it hard to believe that this isn’t also true of most women.

    Is my identification of these assumptions correct?

  2. I’ve heard from many guys who tell me that they lie about porn (and the other kinds of sex they may buy) because, as one put it to me, “women go ballistic when you tell them the truth.” But it’s not women’s job to ratchet down their anger in order to make it safe for men to get real. We owe it to the women we love – and to ourselves – to have the courage to name what it is we’re doing and how often we’re doing it.
    Did it ever occur to you that the reason that they lie is because they don’t want them to go ballistic?

    While there’s nothing wrong with her being angry but there are proper ways of expressing it. Going ballistic is not one of them. Flip this around and there is no way people would be saying “its not his job to ratchet down his anger in order to make it safe for women to get real”.

    How can you expect anyone from porn watchers to abuse victims and back to be able to get real when they are facing nothing but rage and anger from their audience? (In fact isn’t that part of why feminists and MRAs have such a hard time making leeway on each others sites? Because the rage and anger of the locals runs them off.)

  3. “… it’s not women’s job to ratchet down their anger in order to make it safe for men to get real. ”

    I wonder, Hugo, if you feel the same way about a man who goes ballistic over a woman’s use of porn,
    or perhaps her use of a vibrator or a sex toy? Do men have no responsibility for controlling their anger when interacting with the women in their lives? Is it not ever a man’s job to ratchet down his anger to make it safe for the women in his life to get real?

    • Linguist says:

      In Hugo’s rabbit warren little mind, women’s anger is always legitimate, and men’s anger is always illegitimate. It is one of the feminist axioms that he uses to form his world view.

      • I have to say I tend to agree with Linguist based on the three articles I’ve read so far by this author. Is this the Good Men Project or the Bad Men Project? Are their editors reviewing this stuff before it’s published and if so, then what is the agenda of this magazine?

        Rael’s flipping the scenario and asking if it’s men’s responsibility to control their anger when interacting with women reminded me of a personal example. I had a partner who I discovered was using vibrators on her own and my initial reaction was feeling hurt, threatened and angry. I didn’t think this justified me acting out in an angyr or accusatory way with her. What I did do was search my feelings and fears and then ask her for reassurance that they were unfounded. (She convinced me they were and although it took some time, I got over my bruised ego.)

        When I have any kind of extreme emotional response to any one else’s actions I always check with myself where that might be coming from before acting on those emotions. This is a life skill I have learened through experience, regret, positive reinforcement, counselling, good examples in my life and discussion with friends. I actually think of this as one of the skills and attitudes that makes me somewhat more mature and adult than I have been in the past.

        Am I not allowed to expect that my partner attempt to control her anger in a similar scenario simply because she is female? Wouldn’t that actually be a chauvanistic attitude? Equal until she’s too weak to control her emotion because she’s female?

        And I only expect her to try. We all have our emtions get away from us from time to time. I know I still do. But another life skill I’ve learned is how to call BS on myself and apologize and ask for forgiveness when necessary. I expect that I should allow my partner, and all other significant people in my life, the same luxury.

        “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

  4. SpudTater says:

    > In the same way, wives and girlfriends deserve the truth. It’s not too much to expect, and it’s not too much to ask.

    Except that I would imagine that most wives and girlfriends do not expect, nor want, the whole truth. Or husbands and boyfriends for that matter. I think a lot of us are perfectly happy to know intellectually that our partners use porn and masturbatory aids, without wanting to know the exact type, frequency, or any other details. Just because we are in a relationship, doesn’t mean we feel the need to control or be involved in every facet of the other partner’s sexuality.

  5. dungone says:

    Hugo, I swear you are the Joseph Keller of feminist male bashing. You just got done writing a series of posts about how it’s perfectly okay for women to be “economical with the truth” when they fail to tell their husbands that they might not really be the real fathers. I guess that’s perfectly reasonable, but men be damned if they watch a little porn. Then you wrote about how we really shouldn’t celebrate men’s sexuality until men learn to stop making women feel unsafe and mistrustful. And here you are now saying that men who are compelled to keep their sexuality a secret are the ones who are making women feel unsafe and mistrustful.

    You know, it’s a free world. You know, you had a bunch of women tearfully write to you asking for advice on male sexuality and you cheated them. Maybe they were upset because they wish that their partners were completely open and comfortable about their own sexuality in the relationship. And maybe the reason they can’t be open is because our culture stigmatizes male sexuality to the point where husbands can’t even trust their wives to understand. Maybe these women feel hurt because they’ve been brought up to believe that their own sexual needs should be more than enough to fully reciprocate a loving husband and they can’t understand why they’re failing by societal standards. Or maybe they’re complete idiots. Maybe they’ve been brought up by bigoted feminists to believe that male sexuality is inherently evil and thought themselves to have found the one guy in the world who is a woman with male genitals. The point is, all of these issues could be addressed by celebrating male sexuality, but you ended up bashing it some more. Thanks for that disservice to the women who turned to you for help.

    • dungone says:

      I forgot to finish my thought, above :(

      I meant to say it’s a free world: women can choose to watch porn just as easily as men. If women really wanted to, men would be lined up around the block with job applications to Chip and Dale’s opening on every block. If women don’t feel compelled to do it, it just means that they are slightly different from men. So why come into a discussion about male sexuality by stigmatizing it right off the bat? Why is it that no matter what men do, Hugo’s response is that men are scum who make women fear them. Projecting much?

    • What aspects of male sexuality would you celebrate that you feel aren’t currently celebrated? I’m curious because it seems like male sexuality, the male view of sex and of women and male sexual needs and desires are celebrated in our culture everywhere — just look at the prevalence of porn. I see very little evidence that male sexuality is being squelched in any way.

      • dungone says:

        Jill, that’s really an excellent question. I would say that the real answer requires an understanding of what it actually means to celebrate something and an understanding of what that thing actually is. I would hardly say that our society celebrates porn. If that was the case, we’d let our kids watch Debby Does Dallas before we ever considered letting them watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and husbands would be at ease to openly discuss these aspects of their sexuality with their wives. But that’s porn, it’s hardly everything. Start at something as basic as the penis and how society treats it as some sort of vulgar thing. Some straight women are actually disgusted by penises. We can’t show them in movies, etc., and if a guy were to expose himself in public he’d get labeled a sex offender whereas if a woman flashes her breasts that’s generally okay. Anyway, it would take days to truly answer your question and I don’t think I’m the most articulate person out there to try to convince you. It would be a great start if people started to ask themselves if there was something more to male sexuality than porno and 5 minutes in some form of hole.

        • Well, vaginas aren’t flashed in films either, and male breasts are constantly shown, so what’s your point?

          • dungone says:

            You’re dissembling. Full frontal nudity is in fact more common for women than for men and female breasts are considered to be sexual by society, maybe because they serve a reproductive function. And it’s not because women are being exploited or objectified, but because the male form is vilified.

            Clearly, you’re missing the point and not seeing the alternatives. Compare our culture to classical and renaissance art where male and female nudity both played a prominent role and were celebrated to an equal extent. Compare ours to classical cultures where they didn’t just enjoy pornography, but literally embraced it right down to erotic lawn ornaments, huge wall murals, and a general openness about it. Our culture relegates porn to seedy shops in shady districts and forces men to engage in it secretively, and you consider this to be celebratory of male sexuality. That’s just crazy.

        • Hi Dungone, those are good points (although I have to say that many people, including women, feel that vaginas are as gross as penises, if not grosser!) I would love to think that men feel there is more to their own sexuality than porn and 5 min. of P in V. I wish more men would talk about that. In my own sex life, for example, I’ve learned that many men love cuddling after sex even more than I do even though that’s contrary to the stereotype. Traditional gender stereotypes harm men as much as women.

          • dungone says:

            I’ve seen some surveys that show that men consistently place more importance on cuddling than women do. I don’t have a link, but I think you’re onto something with that observation.

          • I would love to think that men feel there is more to their own sexuality than porn and 5 min. of P in V.
            I bet a lot of men do but I bet there are those that don’t but if its not then that’s no reason to villify them (and there are a ot of people who really do come down hard on men who actually fit that stereotype as if there is no possible and honest way he could have developed it on his own).

            And there’s also a matter of mood. Sometimes there will be times when a guy really does just want that 5min PIV. And there are women who want that at times too. But here’s where it gets tricky.

            While the mainstream of porn may cater to that male desire of a 5minPIV bear in mind that porn, despite its penetration into mainstream culture in general, is still often considered a bad thing (you might even say that its penetrated the mainstream because its considered a bad thing, bearing in mind how often “bad = good” in pop culture). And this is going on at the same time that people are trying to say that a woman wanting a 5minPIV is not a bad thing.

            You know how in regards to sex and gender roles “real men” are supposedly overcome with eternal lust and just want it quick and dirty while “real women” have no lust and never want it quick and dirty, with the understanding that deviating from those roles means that one is a “pathetic loser” or “slut”? Well it seems that people want it to be known that a woman that wants it quick and dirty is just as “real” as a woman that doesn’t while at the same time simultaneously demonizing the guy that wants it quick and dirty (womanizer, leach, dog, sleaze, player whose connotation is turning from positive to negative, perv, creep, and he doesn’t respect women) and the guy that doesn’t want it quick and dirty (pathetic, loser, wimp, gay, and of course using virgin in a negative manner).

            I think its important to give men a chance to discover if they want more than the 5minPIV but that should not have to come at the cost of forever demonizing men that do. Even in the line, “ I would love to think that men feel there is more to their own sexuality than porn and 5 min. of P in V.“. To a lot of guys that comes off sounding like “I hope he likes more than that because if not he’s worthless, I’m sure you don’t mean it that way just offering a possible interpretation.

            • Hi Danny, well I didn’t mean to demonize anyone, but what I meant by “porn and 5 min of P in V” was the negative cultural stereotype that presents men as walking penises who spend their lives going around looking for convenient orifices to stick themselves into. Unfortunately that’s what’s presented in most porn I’ve seen. Here’s a big dick, here’s an orifice to stick it in, yay. Honestly, most porn bores me more than it offends me. Of course, in a real sexual relationship, sometimes it’s fun to be quick and dirty, and sometimes my partner and I have a great time that way. But he’s always interested in whether or not it’s fun for me. I don’t intent to “vilify” men who have no interest in anything other than 5 min. of P in V, but I certainly don’t want to sleep with them.

  6. Stephan says:

    Porn use isn’t cheating, and girls need to chill the fuck out about it. Seriously.

    It’s irrational. Just like men freaking out that their girlfriends having sex toys. A vibrator isn’t a replacement for intimacy. It’s a tool for getting off. Same as porn.

    *You might say that the difference is that the girlfriend’s toy doesn’t have the bad ethical aspects that porn does, since the porn industry is exploitative. Well, if I had that moral issue, I’d find my partner ethical porn. Perhaps made by feminist, vegan amateurs. Because I care about him being happy and I’m not some jealous psycho.
    So glad I’m gay. *sigh*

    • Oh Stephan!
      If you weren’t gay, I’d totally date you! 😉

      • Stephan, porn use isn’t cheating to *you*. And that’s great. But everyone should be allowed to set the perimeters of their own relationship based on what they are comfortable with. Refering to women as “jealous psychos” doesn’t do anything to help the converation and it’s not even a health or honest protrayl about what’s going on with women.

        • Yes, but Stephan does make an excellent point which is that gay male couples rarely view porn as an issue in their relationship. They know one or both of them view it. They know it isn’t cheating. They know it doesn’t mean a thing about they feel for each other. It’s a non-issue. One does have to wonder why women are so eager to pathologize this behavior and why they are so threatened by it.

          • You don’t know every single gay couple out there, and neither does Stephen. Individuals are individuals. Porn is cheating in my relationship, and my fiance has no problem with this viewpoint. When he first mentioned his porn viewing, I was honest with him and did not go ballistic. I simply explained why I felt it was cheating, and he had no problem putting it away because he respects me enough and knows porn is not a need for him.

            It’s silly to feel a partner is demanding or jealous or controlling when he or she stops asking you to view porn. How hard is it to give up something you don’t need, assuming you’re not addicted?

            • Would you be willing to share with us why you feel that it’s cheating? Because I just can’t understand that, and it appears that I’m not alone in that.

            • Here’s a quote from Dan Savage:
              “But of all the issues I get letters about form straight couples, battling over porn—it’s use, it’s production, it’s concealment—is right up there in the top three…I never, however, get letters from gay men expressing the same sentiment, more proof that gay men are men first and gay second. For us, it seems, porn is a non-issue.” (http://chemistry.typepad.com/the_great_mate_debate/2007/08/reading-about-p.html)

              I’m happy for you that you’ve found yourself a partner who doesn’t watch porn.
              Maybe I don’t NEED my Jupiter wand, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give it up. Maybe I don’t NEED my erotic short stories, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give them up. Maybe I don’t NEED my porn, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give it up. All of these things enrich and open my sex life, encourage me to explore my boundaries, my inhibitions, my limits. If I had ruled out any or all of these things from my life I would not have had the wonderful, beautiful, pleasurable, erotic experiences I have had. My sexuality would not be bringing me the joy it now does. I guarantee it.

              I won’t give that up for anyone. It was too hard won and is now to central to my life. I give the men and women in my life the same respect I want for myself.

            • Johnny B. Good says:

              Jupiter wands, erotic short stories and other such things are more easily seen as enriching a woman’s sexual life and opening it. Yet anything man would use is sure as h*ll not seen “enriching” nor “opening”. The sexuality of men is demonized at every turn.

            • It’s silly to feel a partner is demanding or jealous or controlling when he or she stops asking you to view porn. How hard is it to give up something you don’t need, assuming you’re not addicted?
              Couldn’t you just as easily say that it would be silly to feel a parther is cheating or “has no respect for women” or “doesn’t accept women the way the are” for watching porn? How hard is it to just have a “don’t watch it when I’m around” policy? Why a “you have to get rid of that” policy?

              What I’m getting at is there are people on both sides saying that the other side is being unreasonable.

            • Anonymous Male says:

              “How hard is it to give up something you don’t need, assuming you’re not addicted?”

              Forgive me for taking that quote a little out of context, but I’m trying to point out that it may not be a perfect rule to follow. The vast majority of things in a relationship are not really necessary, in fact intimate relationships themselves are not strictly necessary, but that does not mean that they are all expendable. Husbands and boyfriends don’t technically need sex. Wives and girlfriends don’t technically need conversation from their partners. No one absolutely needs TV shows, movies, or the internet. No spouse actually needs the other spouse, and no one is going to die without orgasms or cuddling. For that matter, no one really needs monogamy – if a husband asks his wife to give that up, why can’t she give that up when she doesn’t need it?

  7. I was just thinking about something this morning. I think some men hide their porn use because they don’t want to feel disapproved of. (I am not suggesting that I think this is a good reason to hide it but it is a reason why men might hide it.) They want to feel accepted within their relationship. And I think some women dislike porn use because it also makes them feel that they aren’t being accepted for who they are as women in the relationship and sexually. So we have both sides of the coin that want to feel accepted within their relationship but this thing in the middle, porn, comes inbetween the desire for each gender to want to feel accepted for who they are.

    I can only say for myself as a woman that most porn doesn’t make me feel that men accept women for who they are. And I don’t see alot that is about celebrating real women for who they are sexually. Instead, it’s this whole world that tells us what men wished we were. Young forever, perfect bodies, sex crazed, willing to do anything to our own bodies to please men. The list goes on. But just like men aren’t feeling accepted in their relationships, porn can easily make women feel like they aren’t accepted either.

    I really am sincerely curious why many guys feel that their sexuality and their sexual fullfillment is intrinsic to porn use ….strip clubs…the sex trade in general.

    • Erin,

      I don’t enjoy most porn either. It’s boring, unimaginative, and it’s not clear the woman is actually getting off. I seek out porn that I do like. I often share it with others in my life. The men have always been grateful and ask me where I find it. Many times, they want good porn as well that honors both women and men but don’t know where to look.

      I understand there’s a lot of negative messages out there about women’s bodies. It’s true. It does cause insecurities. I know I feel them from time to time. But, when it comes to sex, I think men value confidence and desire more than perfect bodies or youth.

    • I really am sincerely curious why many guys feel that their sexuality and their sexual fulfillment is intrinsic to porn use ….strip clubs…the sex trade in general.
      Because they are getting something out of porn that they are not getting in their relationship?
      Now hold up a moment on that one. People seem to think that that “something” is inherently better than the woman they are in the relationship with therefore porn must be bad. That’s not necessarily the case. That something could be something he wants to try but he’s afraid she’ll deny it or perhaps deny it and pass final judgment on him or maybe she’s already denied it and he’s just living vicariously through the porn.

      As has been said already a guy that says he wants to try some sex act that’s considered “immoral” could be a one way ticket to SingleTown. And its not always the acts the people associate with “degrading women”.

      In a perfect world where people in relationships could actually have a fair chance to truly express their desires when it comes to sex I think porn watching would be drastically reduced, but no eliminated. Because even in that perfect world there will still people like DaddyFiles who watches porn with his partner and they are both enjoying it. But now that I think about it perhaps even then it may not be reduced so much if you take into account people who introduced something in the bedroom and their partner flat out denied it. That person may still want to try it and try to drown the feeling in porn. (Because its not like being told by your partner that they don’t want to do a certain act is not going to (always) just magically cause that desire to disappear.)

      I can only say for myself as a woman that most porn doesn’t make me feel that men accept women for who they are. And I don’t see a lot that is about celebrating real women for who they are sexually. Instead, it’s this whole world that tells us what men wished we were.
      You’re free to feel that way. But to me as a man porn (when watched within reason) is a matter of looking at something different, not inherently better. That is not to say that a said porn watcher does not accept that woman for who she is (finding another person attractive is not an indicator that you think they are more attractive than your partner or that you want your partner to be more like that other person). And as for the celebrating I think it does since (most of) the women in porn are doing what they want, in other words being who they are sexually. Are there people who watch porn that do go the route you mention and actually do hold real women to unfair standards? Yes. Are there people who truly (and by truly I mean the difference between bringing up giving the wife a facial and her being okay with it and giving her a facial without her consent or the difference between forceful sex and actually raping a woman) want to degrade, humiliate, and disrespect women for their own sexual pleasure?

      Yes there are people who look down upon porn stars but that’s hardly everyone. And let’s not act like the negative stigma of porn is solely the work of porn watchers (even the ones that go too far and actually embody the behavior you mention).

      I’ve seen anti-porn types who are just as bad, if not worse, in their treatment of porn stars. Its one thing to get enjoyment out of watching a woman get a facial (which is supposedly a sure indicator that one has no respect for women), its quite another to tell a woman that the only reason she’s doing porn (or sex work for that matter) is because she must have been abused in her past (but rewriting her life is just fine I guess).

      Even in this thread so far there have been people a few keystrokes from straight telling porn watchers that our watching of porn just has to be an indication that we don’t respect women in general (in fact didn’t someone earlier say that DaddyFiles was being ridiculous to think his wife wasn’t bothered by his porn watching?), despite there being porn watchers in this thread that have positive and respectful relationships with women (and not necessarily couples either but with women in general).

      • “‘I really am sincerely curious why many guys feel that their sexuality and their sexual fulfillment is intrinsic to porn use ….strip clubs…the sex trade in general.’
        Because they are getting something out of porn that they are not getting in their relationship?
        Now hold up a moment on that one. People seem to think that that “something” is inherently better than the woman they are in the relationship with therefore porn must be bad. That’s not necessarily the case. That something could be something he wants to try but he’s afraid she’ll deny it or perhaps deny it and pass final judgment on him or maybe she’s already denied it and he’s just living vicariously through the porn.”

        Speaking for myself, an occasional viewer of pornography who is currently in a very, very active and satisfying sexual relationship, what I get out of it is something of an entirely different kind than what I get out of that relationship. It’s entertainment. I am a straight man, and it’s simply fun to look at pretty women. It has nothing to do with my personal relationships. Just as I can enjoy a movie where a guy is in a series of firefights and high-speed chases without actually wanting to do those things, I sometimes enjoy watching a depiction of people who’ve just met engaging in wild sexual antics, even though I don’t do that. It’s often fun to fantasize about doing things that one would not do in real life. And as Jeni points out above, it can help you learn to understand your own desires and boundaries.

  8. “But it’s not women’s job to ratchet down their anger in order to make it safe for men to get real.”
    No, it is. If you want me being honest, you have to deserve it.
    If someone (man or woman doesn’t matter) is “punished” because he has been honest, is any surprise he won’t be as straightforward the next time?
    Trust is something you have to win, not something granted. If you behave like my enemy, how could I be your ally?
    I’m naturally quite honest and straightforward… but I learned (the hard way) that not everybody deserves my truth.
    Anybody “going ballistic” is a sure winner for being lied upon.

  9. Going back in time here a bit.

    I’ve heard from many guys who tell me that they lie about porn (and the other kinds of sex they may buy) because, as one put it to me, “women go ballistic when you tell them the truth.” But it’s not women’s job to ratchet down their anger in order to make it safe for men to get real. We owe it to the women we love – and to ourselves – to have the courage to name what it is we’re doing and how often we’re doing it.
    Okay from this passage I think we can safely say that men should just “man up” and be honest with their wives. Cool. How can you expect those men to be honest when they are expecting an explosion? Just as all men aren’t dishonest about their porn watching not all women will blow up when they find out. Just as there are men who are dishonest about their porn watching there are women who will blow up when they find out.

    What I think I’m seeing here is the notion that women should be free to blow up and make as big a mushroom cloud as they want while men simply shouldn’t be dishonest. So I guess we need to get down to why they are being dishonest right? Not much chance of that happening if they are expecting a reaction that will prove why they were lying in the first place.

    So either women lean back enough so the truth can come to light (no I’m not saying they can’t get mad, I’m saying not to “go balistic”) or keep setting landmines around these men and then getting mad when they refuse to step into the light.

    Ideally they said men should not have to lie but instead of just saying they have no reason to lie why not find out why they lie and put those underlying fears to rest?

    (And while I’m willing to say this exact same thing if the genders were swapped my money says that this post would not exist if the genders actually were swapped.)

  10. You sir, are wrong and stupid. I also believe that your man-card is revoked.

  11. I agree with the spirit of this post. Men who use sex services, lie about it, and know that their S.O. doesn’t want them to use it are absolute filth of the worst kind. Not because they use sex services. But because they have the audacity to enter into a relationship on false premises, and then pretend as if they don’t understand why anyone would be so angry when their deceptions and lies are uncovered.

    If you have a visceral and fundamental objection to the bedrock foundations of what constitutes a “relationship” or “monogamy” in your partner’s mind, why are you dating them?

    This isn’t about whether or not porn is a right. It’s about people who abuse their partners by doing something they full well know they would object to, and then lying about it. You want all the perks of a relationship without having accountability to that person. You will pretend that they do not have equal right to negotiate the terms of your relationship, and then lie to them, knowing full well it will hurt them. And you will do this to the people that you supposedly care about above almost all other people.

    • “Men who use sex services, lie about it, and know that their S.O. doesn’t want them to use it are absolute filth of the worst kind.”

      Worse than men who actually rape, torture, and kill other humans?

      Give me a break. This is just the type of hysteria that drives men into underground shame over their sexuality.

      • It’s called hyperbole for the affect of expressing my extreme disapproval. It’s a fairly common writing style, and I don’t like being accused of bad faith for someone that both you and I know I surely didn’t allege.

        I really don’t care about whether or not people use porn. I expressed as much when I explicitly said “not because they use sex services,” and then continued with, “but because they have the audacity to enter into a relationship on false premises, and then pretend as if they don’t understand why anyone would be so angry when their deceptions and lies are uncovered.”

        From this fairly easy to understand statement, you should have been able to conclude that it wasn’t the way men (these men, not all men) express their sexuality or the gender of the people studied that I had any issue with. It was the fact that they LIED about it, and used that deceit to both poison the bedrock trust of their relationship while accusing the other party of bad faith and assuming no responsibility for their falsehood.

        A lot of the people who lie about the use of sex services may do it out of shame. But they also do it out of a selfish desire to avoid equality and transparency with their partner. They behave like petulant children who, if they don’t win a game, throw the board across the room and accuse the other person of cheating.

        I have no respect for liars. I would feel absolutely the same way about women who lie about their porn use to their partners. This isn’t about gender or porn or male sexuality, it’s about pathological lying that poisons the trust and equality necessary for a health relationship.

      • talk about high drama. Your response is over-the-top. I don’t see the correlation to the original arguement at all.

  12. I so don’t need male “feminists” who buy into the same rigid gender essentialism that conservatives do and act as though they need to “protect” me from Teh Big Bad Pron, thank you very much. I read and even write plenty of graphic material myself. I guess that makes me… what, not a Twoo Womban or something, according to your theory? Also, Melissa Farley is completely full of crap, and since I’m childfree and uninterested in getting married ever, people here can spare me their heteronormative, pro-natalist views on why Pr0n is Bad.

    Also, Hugo, I’m completely unsurprised to find out you’re a youth pastor. Can’t beat liberal xtian clergy when it comes to patronizing smarm with a veneer of progressiveness. Feel free to delete this comment, as I’m sure you will, as I’m not being a “polite” and “civil” “lady” who’s oh so thankful for your protectiveness.

  13. Black Iris says:

    I’m sure it’s been said before, but one of the things that troubles me about the article is lumping porn usage in with visiting a prostitute. This may be one reason it was so hard to find anyone who had never done any of the things on their list.

    It also makes it confusing to talk about relationships and honesty. No woman should ever have to put up with a partner who is getting lap dances or visiting a prostitute. It’s completely reasonable to dump a guy who has or to never get involved with a john. It’s not going ballistic to get mad if your partner visits a strip club. If going to prostitutes and getting lap dances are wide-spread behaviors, we have a social problem.

    Using pornography on the other hand (sorry) is more complicated. There are many good reasons for a woman to object to her partner using it, but it’s not proof he’s a jerk. It’s something couples need to talk about. Both sides need to be more honest – women need to explain why it bothers us. Women need to be able to hear what men have to say, but men need to be able to hear that we don’t like it..

    The bottom line is I don’t think we can have a sane discussion of the issues and what to do about them unless we make some distinctions between looking at porn and actually paying a woman to have sex with you.

  14. switch in to glide says:

    You can really tell we live in a sex-negative culture when using sexual services is viewed as a social problem of sorts. It is the oldest profession for a reason, people–as long as we can ensure it is safe for the workers involved, I don’t see a problem with it.

    I would be angry if a partner lied about it, but I don’t give my partners any reason to lie about it or be uncomfortable. As a bisexual woman, I encourage my partners to use feminist/queer sex-positive porn, incorporate it in our sex life, and have no objection to going to strip clubs with a partner as long as I feel the women are being compensated fairly for their work (things are pretty ok in Montreal). I think it is a matter of not feeling threatened by something as silly and transactional as a lap dance…

    Then again, I am a sex positive feminist and so is my (male) partner. I know That means I am in the minority here.

  15. I occasionally use the services of sex workers. I beleive they are not forced, drug addicts, trafficked or extremely poor. They work indepdendently, have fewer clients and only take new clients by reference. they are not high end escorts and some have regular day jobs as waitress or maids. I dont have any disrepsect for sex workers, infact I have a lot of respect for them. I am always courteous and polite to them and we agree the terms beforehand.

    I pay for sex because I dont want to get married or pursue a woman for a relationship now. But sex and physical intimacy is a very basic want. I would love to have casual sex, flings and Friends-with-benfits but my expereince and observation tell me that it is not a territory for every guy to venture into. I dont think its easy for a lot of men to attract women for casual sex relationships. I think its very important for a guy to have good looks and be socially attractive in order to pull that off. I am just mediocre in every aspect.

  16. “We owe it to the women we love – and to ourselves – to have the courage to name what it is we’re doing and how often we’re doing it.”

    O RLY? Hugo, no. We don’t “owe” anything to someone due to loving them. Love is not a debt. When you love someone you’re not obligated to reveal every minute detail of your life which might potentially be uncomfortable.

    Are women honest about how much they masturbate? How much they might ogle other guys? How much money came into the equation? Hopefully, sure, but someone not wanting to openly discuss what they look at isn’t bad, and it is not reneging on some kind of agreement.

    Are we also obligated to discuss political literature and religion we read?

  17. Skeptic says:

    The demonization and shaming of men and male sexuality, that this guy does, is nauseating.

    • Totally agree with Skeptic… This article is meant to put massive feelings of guilt over men. I don’t think I should ever be “ethically” suppposed to tell a woman, or any other person, the truth about how I satisfy my sexual drives when she’s not around or willing. I think sex is a primary basic drive, just like food.

  18. Skeptic says:

    On another article on this site, there is a fat woman whining how easy it is for her to get casual sex with fit young men. On yet another forum on casual sex there are women joking “Men would shtupp anything that moves..there is really no honor in getting laid for us”

    What I want women and Hugo Shywyzer to realize and appreciate is, that it is not easy for most men to be promiscuous. most men dont get that option. Casual sex, FWB’s, hookups, Flings elude most men. For most men the only way is to pursue a SINGLE woman for a serious relationship and then start a sex life with her.

    Barring married men who are cheating on their partners, most men hire sex workers simply because they want no-strings attached sex / intimacy. Paying for sex is only an alternative to that for most of them.

    The sexual marketplace hugely favors women. (for whatever reasons). Women are much much more selective in the casual sex marketplace. There is more pressure on men to be good looking, confident, great in bed, have a good body lifestyle, personality etc. Women can be mediocre in every way and still be as sexually active and adventurous as they want to be.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 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.   […]

  2. […] Good Men Project is hosting a raging debate about pornography and dishonesty in intimate partner […]

  3. […] 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 […]

  4. […] which we are dealing. The Newsweek article that Hugo Schwyzer cites in his recent article in here (“Are Most Men Like This?”) casts a pretty wide net in seeking to get at the truth about men’s motives for purchasing sex. […]

  5. […] Schwyzer’s recent piece on how almost all men participate in the sex industry, and almost all lie about it too. But that’s not really the content of this post. I’m done with the porn debate, […]

  6. […] Hugo Schwyzer —The recent Newsweek article on The Growing Demand for Prostitution is leading to some needed and heated discussion about male sexuality. Leslie Bennetts’ piece is based on a brand-new study of men who buy sex, and the first shock is how much difficulty the researchers had finding men who didn’t pay for sex. […]

  7. […] “Are most men like this“? Sex, lies and the Newsweek study thinks the article is leading to much needed discussion, and is generally positive toward the article. […]

  8. […] 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 […]

  9. […] The Good Men Project (via andythenerd) […]

  10. […] porn in with men who use prostitutes.  Of course, it got lots of attention and some good posts (this one in The Good Men Project for one) on other sites were written in relation to it. And it was emailed to me by several people asking […]

  11. […] that catches my attention.  Today, I found The Good Men Project because a blog linked to this […]

  12. […] we tend to reduce men (in this instance) to their worst acts, both real and imagined—as Hugo put it, since the Newsweek story about widespread male participation in the sex industry broke, women have […]

  13. […] “Are most men like this“? Sex, lies and the Newsweek study thinks the article is leading to much needed discussion, and is generally positive toward the article. […]

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