porn / Relationships

Thoughts on How to Talk About Porn and Compromise

Following the train of a Charlie Glickman tweet yesterday, I clicked through to a website called Scarleteen and found myself lingering for over an hour. Despite the fact that I was supposed to have been writing, my time was well spent, or at least vastly better consumed than the previous hour, which involved one too many mini-mint ice cream sandwiches and CSI Miami. Oops.

Scarleteen, as the name suggests, is an excellent sex ed site for teens, though arguably useful for adults as well. I read numerous great articles—especially this one: Pornography, Strip Clubs & Other Feminist Relationship Quandaries written in response to a young woman querying about whether she has the right to feel upset when her man watches porn and bellies-up for a lap dance. Heather Corinna gives excellent and in-depth advice, stressing that it’s up to the couple and the individuals involved to decide what works for them; there are no blanket rights or wrongs for what we should or shouldn’t feel okay with when it comes to sexuality.

Back at the computer screen, and away from the dang TV (seriously considering going back to my cable-free twenties) I began thinking about how much the story of the huz working in porn is about compromise. I will over-share, as per usual, a little tidbit that relates. Back when we were discussing whether he should take the job filming Webdreams, we dealt with some trust issues in our relationship–in part because he’d lied to me about what porn he watched and how often. To his credit, it’s not an easy topic to talk about, and I was not always the easiest person to talk about it with (think: Miranda Priestly meets Wicked Witch of the West). After many discussions, I asked him if he would tell me when he watched porn. Sound controlling? It sure did to me at the time; I’d always been terrified to make such bold requests in a relationship. But I didn’t feel comfortable with my man watching porn, let alone filming it, and the fact that he appreciated my feelings and was willing to go there for me was the better part of the battle.

As time passed, he would occasionally mention (and yes, having to talk about it made him watch less–something else he’d agreed to give a whirl) what he’d checked out and my reaction was increasingly—oh, cool, evolving to—oh, hot. The process helped me realize it was more of a trust thing than a porn thing that I was actually dealing with. Are we still in that arrangement, you might ask? No, but post-husband working in porn, let me tell you, we share a whole lot more of everything, no ultimatums required.

Right then, off to my personal assistant job to complete random tasks, which in the last week have included: planning a trip to Italy, haggling over car insurance, and calling the FBI.

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4 thoughts on “Thoughts on How to Talk About Porn and Compromise

  1. Wow– I imagine that wasn’t an easy thing for you to ask… Did he get defensive about his porn watching (and about being asked to share when he watched)? Or was he immediately willing to open that private world with you?

    • At that point we’d been through so much discussion that he was immediately willing, and plus he’s pretty amazing like that. I’m a stickler for privacy so it was very hard for me to ask. Well worth it in the end though.

  2. I appreciate that there is a site dedicated to our youth and educating them on sex. They should have a place to speak candidly about what they are feeling/thinking. I don’t know if I would want my children on there though..lol..i have to be honest. Great article

  3. Good article…but I am always struck by the fact that women get irked with porn. I think of myself as very pro-feminism, but I have NO problem with porn. I wouldn’t care if a guy i was dating watched it…but then again, if i cared, that’d make me a hypocrite!

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