I Need My Porn, or Do I?

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About Michael Rosker

For the past thirteen years Michael Rosker has counseled thousands of people to help them release their negative emotions and reconcile their past experiences in order to live more full, free and successful lives. You can read more about Michael's work and his insights at http://michaelrosker.wordpress.com/. Michael is also a husband and a father to three children.

Comments

  1. Many men never voice, never examine, and never talk about what it is they want from sex. Therefore, they may spend a lot of time feeling unsatisfied. Most of us are never taught to communicate our sexual needs.
    In addition to that I think its work looking at why this happens. I think in a lot of cases I don’t think its a case of men not examining or talking about what we want from sex but rather that men examine what they want but are so bogged down in the constant reassurance that male sexuality is predatory by nature men are left thinking, “She’ll think i’m a sick freak if I express interest in _____”.

    Just as girls start feeling unwantable at an early age boys are told that we are some sort of uncontrollable beast that must be held in check if we hope to have anything resembling a normal life.

    I think men will have a much easier time speaking up if we aren’t being assumed to be sick sexual freaks just because we’re male.

    • Danny, I agree with you. It’s a problem that boys and men grow up hearing the refrain of men’s uncontrollable, primal urges.

      The only thing I want to point out is that I don’t think that assumption happens on an individual level. For example, a girlfriend probably doesn’t assume her boyfriend is a depraved, pathological sex fiend, or she wouldn’t be with him. That trope is propagated by the culture at large. TV, movies, ads, water cooler banter… Some women buy into it and some don’t. The same goes for men.

      It IS problematic, harmful, and unfair. But it doesn’t get any of us out of the responsibility of having those conversations with our partners, if we want a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

      • But it doesn’t get any of us out of the responsibility of having those conversations with our partners, if we want a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
        By no means do I mean to imply that we don’t. I’m just saying its a lot more than just acting the only reason men aren’t having these conversations is because we don’t want to and/or that there are no forces that are acting against us on that front.

  2. Anonymous Male says:

    I’m sure there are some men in relationships who would get much more sex and better sex with their partners if they would just express their desires more. No doubt.

    But, is this really the main sex problem men face in long-term relationships? Just ask and you will get all you want? Who knows, maybe she’d be into a threesome? Umm…sure. Please forgive my skepticism, but I think it’s well-founded. I think I know enough about how my wife feels to know that this would be a non-starter, to say the least.

    On this website, if you look at the ongoing discussion about porn, you will find the reaction that merely to suggest a particular preference counts as “putting pressure” on your partner to do something. To suggest something new is to suggest that you are deeply dissatisfied, brainwashed by the dominant culture, why isn’t your partner enough for you, etc.

    • I guess a question I would ask if I found out my significsnt other was using porn is why he feels “unsatisfied”. Is it because he feels regular sex is boring and wants more “extreme” stuff shown in porn, whether it’s 3-ways, anal sex, BDSM or whatever? Does he feel that my non-porn star body is lacking and prefers to imagine himself with younger sexier women? If so, that could be a tough one because most regular women (myself included) cannot compete with porn stars either inthe looks department or in the ability to enjoy extreme sexual stunts. So I think insecurity would be warranted in that situation. Perhaps fundamentally we aren’t in the right relationship; maybe he should look elsewhere for someone who can better meet his needs. There may be other reasons for porn viewing that would not be so threatening.

  3. This whole porn issue is obviously complicated and very controversial. So when I read a piece like this that claims to boil it down, I become skeptical. (Especially when the author makes a tired joke about ladies griping over Cosmos.)

    I think this article does a major disservice to men as well as to women.
    “Men need to ask, Why am I assuming my sexual desires and needs aren’t going to be met? Why am I assuming I have to use porn to be satisfied?”
    I’m not convinced this is the case for most men, and certainly not for ALL men. I’d argue that a lot of men — and a lot of women — look at porn because they enjoy it, not because they need it for a release they won’t otherwise get.

    And as for reasons some women dislike porn, there are also a great variety of reasons. I’m sure that for some women, some of it has to do with insecurities about skill or appearance. But that’s not the only factor. Some women may object on an ideological basis. Some women, like myself, love porn but find the majority of it deeply unerotic in its fakeness: clichéd visual cues for “SEXY!” that have little to do with the actual experience of hot sex. There are probably more reasons for people to dislike porn than I could possibly imaging.

    Personally, I think it’s silly, naïve, and futile to expect one’s partner not to use porn, or masturbate, or fantasize, or be turned on by other people. Jealousy can happen in a relationship, but it can also be dealt with. My concern would be about the REASON my partner was looking at porn. If it’s because the only way he can get off is to blank-eyed stares and fake orgasms from a “barely legal” starlet wearing pigtails* and kneesocks* on a computer/TV screen he’ll turn off in 5 minutes, I’d have to wonder why he was in a relationship with a living, breathing person in the first place.

    (* Note: I know we all have our fetishes, and I don’t have problem with the items I mentioned per se, but when our arousal is more a reaction to the props than to the people and the actions, I worry that the fixation with fantasy might be beginning to supplant reality.)

    I got a little off-topic there, but I think what I’m trying to say is that while I agree with the author’s call to be open to honest discussion and compromise with our partners, in my personal opinion it’s probably a bad idea to start that dialogue from a place of stereotypes and generalizations.

  4. Most pornography is very male chauvinistic and that’s why so many women hate it. I have no desire to look at porn with my partner and I do not feel obligated to be his subservient “porn star.” This article, like so many other articles in The Good Men Project, reinforces that male-dominated status quo.

  5. Agree with MB that porn is overwhelmingly about domination, humiliation, and usury, and barely even about sex. It is about doing to, rather than doing with. Almost none of it involves the slightest hint or eros, passion, or even human mutuality. That is why I think most women dislike it. It dehumanizes us as both women and partners. That said, I would have to disagree with her summation of GMP, which I love. I think the fact that men are talking about so many of these topics at all, let alone in the thoughtful and thorough manner they are, very hopeful. Great work! guys. These are difficult things to tackle, and always raise hairs. Thank you for a good and human-centered article.

  6. Both men AND women look at porn, both inside and outside of relationships.

  7. If a relationship gets to the point where the girl has settled down and she is more into nesting, rather than having sex… well I’m watching porn or bouncing down the road. ‘You could work together to come up with a weekly schedule to satisfy both of your needs”. Once a week? If I want to “make love” and all I ever get from my partner is “oh well it’s not thursday”. What’s the point?

  8. “So, why do men look at porn, and why does it piss women off so much?”
    In extreme semplification, men love porn because it makes them feeling GOOD (pleasure), and (many) women hate porn because it makes them feeling BAD.
    Since looking for pleasure and avoiding pain (feeling bad) are the strongest driving forces inside us (save for survival), it’s obvious that porn elicits strong reactions, both ways.
    Your advice is good and can be useful, but it’s far from a solution: when what I want and what my partner wants are far away, there’s not much you can do… save for using your fantasy (and here porn can help).

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