(22) How Porn Almost Wrecked My Relationship

Men and porn.

When I sat down to write, I spent more than an hour asking myself how to attack this subject.   I have political opinions about porn, but I’m disinclined to share them because I have nothing to contribute to the discussion (interestingly, these are the only political opinions I have that I don’t like to talk about).  Every critic with strong opinions about porn and a few brain cells to rub together has already written about it, and much of the analysis is superior to anything I have to offer.  My experience in the sex industry has also given me a perspective that I previously lacked.

So, I decided to ditch the analysis and spare you my tiresome complaining.  Instead, I’ll do narrative.  I almost never get grief when I write about my personal experiences, however unlucky or ill-advised they are.

This is the story of How Porn Almost Wrecked My Relationship (maybe “How I Almost Wrecked My Relationship Over Porn” or “How My Boyfriend Almost Wrecked Our Relationship Over Porn” would be more accurate, but, for the life of me, I still can’t decide who or what gets the credit for relationship-wrecking).

I was 23 years old when my then-boyfriend Michael gave me his old computer.

(That’s really all you need to know about the story, right?  All 8 of you readers know exactly where this is going, right?  Did reading that make the male readers groan and shake their heads in sympathy for my hapless boyfriend?)

He transferred all his data and scrubbed the hard drive before giving it to me, of course.  Alas, he didn’t get it completely clean.  A few days later, when I was setting it up in my apartment (CD-ROMS and FLOPPY DISCS!  Remember those awful, unstable pieces of shit?), I found… a cache of his porn.

If this happened today, I would delete it all and never say a word.  I wouldn’t even poke around in it out of curiosity, just to see what he was looking at, or to “make sure” it wasn’t pictures of his ex-girlfriend or men or god-only-knows.  I have matured out of my jealous tendencies, and I have also learned that snooping only causes pain.

But, this didn’t happen to me today.   It happened to me when I was 23.

I freaked out.

If you’re wondering: the porn in question was completely unexceptional.   It wasn’t gay, or about some threatening fetish, or something alarming like pictures of women who didn’t know they were being filmed.  Most of the pictures (yes, I admit: I looked at them all) didn’t even involve sex acts.  It was pictorials of naked babes, like Hustler or Penthouse.  Do they even make porn like that anymore?

I still freaked out.

All that I can say, is that my pain was real.  I was very hurt and upset.  The feelings were not rational, but they were legitimate: a lot of women have exactly the same reaction I did when they Find His Porn.   Why does he look at The Porn when he has me?  Is my sensitive, liberal boyfriend actually some galloping misogynist?  Am I being objectified or fetishized for my youth (I was ten years younger than Michael was)?

There was anger, too.  My male readers might take offense when I say this, but the picture of male sexuality one can discern from mainstream porn, is not exactly complimentary.

Another part of the freakout was that The Porn was concrete evidence that Michael had a private life and a life before & beyond me and our relationship, and that I had nothing to do with it and couldn’t control it.  I was very young at the time, and I had difficulty accepting this concept.  I felt that The Porn was somehow A Big Lie in the relationship.

I called Michael on the phone and instigated the first in a week-long series of confrontations we were going to have over The Porn.

Poor Michael.  I have to hand it to him: he handled it pretty well.  He was a little defensive, and he was miffed that he was being taken to task over a private issue, but he kept his composure and basically said that he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.

Which is true.  He hadn’t done anything wrong, and he was exactly the same man that I thought he was before I found The Porn.  Buuuuuuut…I still had my feelerz, and I was still hurt and upset.

Eventually, after a few days of fights and fight-y emails, we moved past it.  I ain’t going to lie to you, though: I never totally got over it.  The Porn took a huge piece of my naiveté and, I hate to say it, my idealism.  Losing it was tough.  It really hurt.

In the end, Michael said that he wouldn’t look at porn anymore, and I accepted that, and we put it behind us.  I knew that he was full of shit, but I said that I believed him, and after that, I sure as hell did not go looking for trouble: I didn’t snoop on his computer to try to “catch” him.  Both of us pretended that The Porn did not exist.  In my opinion, this is the very best thing that can happen in a relationship were one partner does not like The Porn: he keeps it locked up so that she never has to see it, and she gives him privacy and doesn’t try to find it.

I never fought over porn in a relationship again.  By the time I was 25 or 26, and had a little more life experience and experience with men, I became more pragmatic.  Men watch internet porn.   I don’t get upset over it for the same reason I don’t get upset over gun control: it will never, ever change, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it.  I completely capitulated on that issue, 1000%.

When I was prodomming, some clients used to talk with me about their relationships–their marriages, their divorces, their attempts at internet dating.  “My Wife Is Angry With The Porn” was a common story.  Guys, if you know that your SO doesn’t like porn, lock that shit up.  Don’t be a lazy jerk and leave it on your phone or your open browser.  Get Fort Knox with it.  Leaving it out is disrespectful.  Your half of the deal is pretending like you don’t watch it.  Her half of the deal is to pretend to believe you, and not pry around in your stuff or accuse you of watching.

“Miss Margo, what kind of porn do you like?  Favorite videos?”

–Random Internet Strangers

I’ve gotten this question several times.  I have zero clue why anyone would care.  With guys, is discussing porn like trading baseball cards, or something?  Like discussing favorite TV shows?  Like getting-to-know-you chit-chat?

Answer: I do not watch much porn.  When I watch it, I usually feel aroused and repulsed out at the same time.  I do not enjoy that particular combination of feelings.  If I am trying to get off, I would prefer to feel just aroused, or aroused and scared.  They don’t make porn for me.  I use my imagination.

I do have a few videos that I like, but I do not use them for masturbation material.  They do provoke strong emotional response, which is why I have them.  I study them.  They are fetish videos; sexual but not much sex.  James Mogul has done some excellent work–I’m a fan.  There are also some dommes who make good videos, and I watch those in admiration or to learn how to be better at my job. I really like Claire Adams.  I would hire her to dominate me.  Very impressed by her.


6 thoughts on “(22) How Porn Almost Wrecked My Relationship”

  1. It’s somewhat shocking to me to find someone who, presumably, enjoys sex and still resents porn in the 21st century.
    I really am at a loss for words after reading this.

    You acknowledge that your feelings were irrational; Most of the paragraphs of this blog entries sound like “I know I was naive back then, but have become more open minded now”. As if you knew you were wrong. But you don’t reach that conclusion.

    Instead, you don’t bring up any actual reasons, why it would’ve been bad for him to watch porn.
    You don’t mention any actual problems that arose from the fact your then-boyfriend watched it.
    And yet you somehow come to the conclusion that what he did was wrong, and your feelings were right.
    Even worse, you already acknowledge that it’s unreasonable to believe or demand for that to change.
    Failing that, you demand of him to outright *LIE* in your face; Telling you that he’d have stopped watching porn, when you KNOW he did not.
    Hypocrisy right there. Wow.

    Coming from Epictetus, who wrote that
    “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things. ” there is a great proverb that I have always believed in:

    If you don’t like something, change it.
    If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

    And yes – it was me who posted that question, among many more, as a suggestion to write about.
    I never would’ve assumed this to be a big thing. I never believed there is someone out there who feels resentful about porn and yet practices BDSM herself.

    1. Oh please! Spare me! You’re at a loss for words to read a story about a girl who freaked out about her boyfriend’s porn collection, and started a fight over it? The entire reason I posted this story–besides the fact that I have to post one every day, and I’m behind–is that it is such a COMMON contention in a relationship, that I thought readers would be able to identify. One of my mother’s friends was complaining about her husband’s porn just the other week.

      Here, let me try something. I just Googled “I found my boyfriend’s porn” 2,130,000 hits
      If you google “I hate my boyfriend’s porn” it’s 12,200,000 hits.

      Maybe you live on the moon, or someplace where couples have never argued over this.

      “And yet you somehow come to the conclusion that what he did was wrong, and your feelings were right.”

      No, I did not say that what he did was WRONG. Please re-read. I said that he HADN’T done anything wrong! I expressed sympathy in retrospect. Nor do I make a case that my feelings were “right.” They were certainly REAL, and I wish that I had not experienced them, because it felt awful. I would not have those feelings today, were I to discover my boyfriend’s porn.

      Finally, I did not “DEMAND” that he lie. At some point in the argument, he said something like “If if bothers you so much, I won’t do it.” I knew that was bullshit, because even at 23, I knew that it’s impossible to control a man (or woman) that way. The offer was actually generous of him–he could have said, “No, I’m not giving up my porn. He would have been right, but it would have made the fight worse.

      Is it hypocrisy? Well, it was definitely a lie, on both our parts, but it was a lie for the common good. It’s called letting sleeping dogs lie. Couples do this in relationship, and friends do it in friendships. People lie to keep the peace sometimes.

      It makes me sad to remember this fight. He was a good boyfriend, and we were together for four years. This was the worst fight, by far, of our relationship. And he tried to do me a favor by giving me his old PC! Talk about no good deed going unpunished!

      And, I have no idea who you are, all I see on the comment is “anon”. I have gotten four emails asking me about my porn viewing habits, all from Random Internet Strangers. The question doesn’t bother me at all, I just think it’s a little odd, as it would never occur to me to ask someone on the internet what porn they liked.

    2. Ha! Easy to tell that Anon is male. 🙂
      The surprising thing to ME is that there is a male in this day & age who is shocked (Shocked! I tell you!!) to find out that a normal 21st century woman can be upset and resentful to find her SO’s porn.
      Is it logical? not really. But it’s a normal emotional response – especially for a young and/or naive woman.
      Her emotional response is no more wrong than is the guy’s impulse to watch porn. Geez.

      1. Yup, you said it, Anne.

        What chaps my ass are the guys who react with anger and indignation when their SOs express being hurt/sad at The Porn. The entitlement involved in that anger is really ugly. Being hurt is not allowed; only 100% approval and pom-poms will do. I’ve even heard guys (not MY guys, thank God–like I said, after this incident, I buried it) bring up romance novels, vibrators, or crushing on male celebrities, as if any of these things were remotely comparable to porn as a cultural influence or masturbatory aid.

  2. “Being hurt is not allowed; only 100% approval and pom-poms will do.”

    love your writing miss margo 🙂

  3. Some random thoughts.

    Maybe what hurt you was not so much the fact that he was into porn, as the fact that he didn’t tell you. That he had secrets. Secrets and lies are like rat poison. They end up bleeding a relationship to death by a thousand little haemorrhages. There is no substitute for communication and openness.

    As for porn itself, the difference between porn and erotic art is that the latter has some genuine aesthetic or social value. The paintings of Rubens or Caravaggio are not porn. Nor is a sex manual (although back in the 1950s, the standard sex manual of the time, and one of the first works to talk openly about women’s orgasms, was prosecuted as being pornographic),

    Looked at in another way, erotic art is about love. Porn is about solitary vice.

    The only reason it seems to be a specifically ‘man’ thing is that women, traditionally have been far more repressed. Looking at some of the feminist blogs these days you will see plenty of sexually-liberated women using porn, and lamenting the lack of good, fem-oriented porn that’s worth downloading.

    The notion that men are more ‘visual’ than women flies in the face of simple biology, as many of these women point out. Women, no less than men, have eyes and a visual cortex that is interconnected with those parts of the brain that handle sexual pleasure.

    The fact that women are brought up to think of themselves as primarily the object of a man’s gaze, and that men feel entitled to think of women in this way, is culture-bound.

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