Should I Be Concerned If My New Guy Is Into Porn?

Dear Evan,

I met this guy online and he is incredible. One thing though, I saw a bunch of porn magazines in his bathroom. Should I be concerned?

Tarry

Dear Tarry,

Uh, no.

And for the sake of having a blog post longer than two words, I’m going to try and think of five reasons that you shouldn’t be too concerned.

  1. He masturbates. The porn helps to stimulate him. It would be far stranger to if he didn’t have porn. When your sexual peak has passed you by at age 18, when your hormones are no longer raging, and when you’ve had your fair share of sex, it takes more to get yourself going. Magazines don’t even work for me anymore. Good for him.
  2. He left it out in the open. This is not a guy who feels he has something to hide. Isn’t that much better than a guy who has an alphabetical stash of DVD’s piled up in the recesses of his closet?
  3. He’s comfortable in his own skin. I remember going to a writer’s house back when I was 24 years old and seeing a Playboy in the bathroom. I thought it was so edgy to display it in the magazine rack. And he had a wife who let him do this! Years later, I can’t understand why I found this so remarkable. My Playboy sits in the magazine rack next to my toilet. My girlfriend and her best friend were just citing the Norman Mailer piece in this month’s issue – her best friend read it at her boyfriend’s place. Honestly, ladies – there are some really good articles in there.
  4. He probably isn’t going to be vanilla in the bedroom. A guy who fantasizes in a healthy way is more likely to mix it up a bit.
  5. He openly appreciates the female body. We can discuss airbrushing, fake boobs, unrealistic standards, the male gaze, and the negative societal impact of pornography – all of which is valid – but the simple truth is – men look at breasts with slack-jawed wonder. Better to understand this very base desire than to fight it every step of the way.

I’m sure there are more reasons, but it doesn’t much matter. All that matters is if YOU’RE okay with it. If you’re not, all of the above rationalizations won’t mean a thing to you – and are most likely to piss you off.

But I’ll tell you, whenever I hear about a woman who takes her hubby to a strip club on occasion, I think that’s pretty cool. Instead of trying to enforce the unrealistic fantasy that he’ll never have eyes for another woman, she brings him to a source of temptation, gets him all hot and bothered, and allows him to indulge in fantasy for a night, before taking it out on him in the bedroom. That’s not just sexy; it’s smart.

Moreover, it’s far healthier than the alternative approach: “Look at another woman and you’re dead!”

Moreover, it’s far healthier than the alternative approach: “Look at another woman and you’re dead!”

Denying someone the right to do something is a sure ticket to resentment. Just ask any disciplinarian parent who’s had a kid rebel by smoking pot or getting an earring. The fight to prevent the act is far worse than the act itself.

To be clear, my “endorsement” of pornography isn’t a blanket statement. Porn can absolutely be problematic. If your guy knows the name of every porn actress, it’s a problem. If he has a lifelike doll that sits with its mouth open in his closet, it’s a problem. If he blows half his pay check at the strip club, it’s a problem. If he locks himself in his room for hours at a time to please himself while you’re in the house, it’s a problem. If he’s into violence or treats you in a manner you don’t want to be treated, it’s problem.

But if he’s got a Playboy next to the toilet?

That just means he’s a guy.

1
0

Join 5 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (50 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Markus

    For the most part I agree with Evan. Girls, guys look at porn. Really. There’s not much you can do about it. Evan’s guidelines are also pretty good for when it’s a problem. That said, “a bunch of porn magazines in the bathroom” may be close to that line. A Playboy in the bathroom? No biggie. A stack of Swank/Legshow/Club? An issue.

  2. 2
    juLiette

    THANK YOU.

  3. 3
    Leah

    Here, here! It drives me nuts when women think it’s wrong for men to look at porn. Men are visual. Period. As long as they’re not out there hiring hookers and spending every night at strip clubs–I say let ‘em look!

  4. 4
    Zann

    By the way, many women read porn, too…including feminists. Oh yea, I used to get out my feminist flag & wave it about, raging about porn’s impact on how men collectively view women, the power implications, and how young men will be influenced if sucked into porn’s evil vortex. What a mighty tempest in a tea pot. The multi-layered political issues surrounding porn are daunting, to be sure, but I believe we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Like genocide, starvation and war, thanks. And I’m assuming the porn we’re talking about does not involve children, snuff, human slavery or exploitation. Regardless of what anti-porn zealots say, it is easy to separate porn depicting paid, consenting adults and the illegal stuff. And if the problem is women feeling objectified, oh my goodness, why would you stop with porn? You’d have to eliminate about 75% of all advertising and the entire fashion industry. My bigger point is that porn DOES objectify both men and women because it’s supposed to, it has only one goal: to stimulate through fantasy. Why humans like this has been debated by people smarter than me, and I don’t think there’s ever been a definitive answer, but porn’s as old as dirt. But it IS about fantasy, so it doesn’t mean that if your man looks at those cosmetically altered, hairless, airbrushed “perfect” women that he’s suddenly going to expect that you, or the rest of the female population, look like that up close & personal. And look at him! My guess is that he’s not the perfectly smooth, bronzed, abs & buns of steel man you see depicted in most porn publications or in men’s “health” magazines? Does that make you desire him less?As already pointed out, there’s a time when there should be concerns — like when it becomes an addiction and his real world fails to arouse or interest him whatsoever. Like any other addiction, it’s a problem when it starts causing problems in other areas his life: financially, employment, isolation. If a couple is trusting enough, porn can be a fun, reliable resource for those times when lovemaking between you and your familiar sweetie just needs a little kick-start or variety, which happens to the best of us.

  5. 5
    BeenThruTheWars

    Porn becomes a problem when you wake up in the morning and your computer is crashed because your man stole away from your bed at 5 a.m. to sign up on a gay cruising site (at least the bastard used his own credit card). Porn becomes a problem when your man pressures you to accompany him to strip clubs and pouts for days when you refuse. Porn becomes a problem when you are doing a Mapquest on his computer and you go to retrieve something from his browser history — and see what he’s been laying eyeballs on every day for the past three months. (“Extreme Barnyard Fun”?? Give me a break.) Those are indicators of a sexual addiction requiring professional help, or at the very least a 12-step program. That is a case of HIV waiting to happen. Compare and contrast to a stack of porn magazines in your new boyfriend’s bathroom and I believe you’ll see where Evan is coming from.

  6. 6
    Marc

    I’m always amazed when women think that guys have no other sexual outlet outside of traditional sex. What do you think we do when we’re not with you, or not in a relationship? We masturbate. Sometimes, even twice a day!

  7. 7
    downtowngal

    I agree with Evan. I think it’s only an issue if he turns to porn instead of being physical with you. Same thing with women and our ‘girtoys’.

    You haven’t said for how long you’ve been dating, but as your relationship progresses you’ll have a better sense of how much his interest in pron affects your relationship. Some couples enjoy watching porn together, it all depends on your comfort zone.

    And a note to the guys out there – if you’re trying to impress a woman and don’t know her that well, show a little discretion, don’t keep the playboys laying about in your living room.

  8. 8
    Ava Mazur

    Im jaded on this issue. Yes most people have a healthy relationship with porn. It can be some inspiration for some quality me time. That being said I was in a relationship where my ex’s relationship with porn was an addiction and quite frankly a perversion. I was fortunate enough to stumble across this truth 2 days before wedding invitations were to be dropped in the mail. I ignored all the waring signs: Staying up late on the computer, inability to perform, avoiding sexual realtions with me, lying, mysterious credit card charges (they dont come up as porn just generic names), there was never any history on the computer…lots of little things can add up.

    So in summary, I dont really think you have a reason to worry. However, dont be a camel like I was and burry your head in the sand. If your gut says something isnt right…trust it. If you gut says hey hes a horny guy…stop reading my response and go get it on!

  9. 9
    gale

    i was married to a porn addict for 17 years. he preferred movies and mags and many times masturbated up to 10 times a day – to the point of irritating the seminal vesical and ejaculating blood semen. he said he did not find me “attractive” and preferred the mags and flicks. i lived frustrated and feeling unattractive inspite of any and all efforts to ‘jazz’ up the sex scene with props and costumes and ‘talkin’ dirty’. i usually felt like a substitute for the models he adored when he had to close his eyes and concentrate really hard just to orgasm during sex with me.

    as for the blow up doll and other ‘signals’ you mentioned above, i thought i might add this: when i met him he had penthouse and playboy mags in open view in his apartment and told me his roommate subscribed to all of the x-rated cable channels. 3 months after we were married i got a phone bill for $300 long distance to 900 telephone numbers — calls between 1 and 4 am when i thought he was sleeping soundly next to me. a few years later he was driving 35 miles to rent ‘illegal’ pornography (in state we lived in) that was copied to video from satellite dish. maybe he was ok and maybe i had the problem – but i prefer men who don’t have such habits and would strongly urge any woman i know to avoid guys like this. and believe me, there are guys out there who don’t over do the porn – they just walk a fine line since this is addicting. just like alcohol and other drugs – pornography abuse makes a man emotionally unavailable. pornography is a slippery slope that can end up making everyone’s life miserable.

  10. 10
    JB

    Hey ladies …one other thing that I don’t think anyone’s mentioned here. You might have a slight problem if he’s looking at GAY porn exclusively….lol He might be on the “down low”. Oh btw do people still look at magazines in this video age ?? Just curious….Oh yes I know Playboy has great articles….LOL Playboy is NOT porn !!

  11. 11
    DJ Nelson

    Oh how I love having the minority opinion. But I will say that everyone should do what they are comfortable with. If you don’t think that men should look at porn then avoid those who do. There are plenty who don’t despite what people will lead you to think. If you have no problem with the overall impact that is has then don’t worry about it. Porn all day and night, just don’t get mad if you eventually start to become uncomfortable with it.

  12. 12
    downtowngal

    Porn in and of itself I don’t think it’s an issue. The situtations described by gale and beenthroughwars suggest symptoms of some sort of emotional instability.

  13. 13
    Kat Wilder

    I agree with downtowngal – porn itself isn’t the problem, but many women are very conflicted about their guy watching porn. (I just blogged about this myself.)

    But if anything is being used in such a way that it’s destructive to the relationship and isn’t being addressed in an open, honest discussion, it’s just like an any other addiction.

    I wish people getting into committed relationships would have the “porn discussion” then, at least, the couple could decide if they were on the same page about porn and, if not, move on …

  14. 14
    Steve


    Zann Nov 23rd 2007 at 10:07 am 4
    By the way, many women read porn, tooincluding feminists.

    Yes, but in that situation they call it “erotica”

    1. 14.1
      Jennn

      I will point out here that erotica is not the same thing as porn. Yes, they’re both about sex, but erotica has more to do with having sexual relations in an intimate, monogamous partnership. Porn has no such distinction – it’s strictly about getting in, getting off and getting out. 

  15. 15
    Steve

    I see a few people are posting horror stories. Porn is a compulsion and an addiction for many men. I think Evan’s response is referring to the situation where porn is something that doesn’t take over his spare time or detract from his relationship. At that point I think it is time to dump the guy, but I would also say that with football widows or guys who spend most of their free time surfing the net instead of doing something with their lives.

  16. 16
    Selena

    If I had just started dating someone and they left a stack of porn mags in the bathroom, I’d find it really tacky. A stack? We’re just getting to know each other–is this some kind of not-to-subtle message regarding sexual expectations? It sure isn’t a show of respect.

    If someone invited me to his home, I would hope that he cared enough to CLEAN the bathroom and was thoughtful enough to put the mags in a cabinet where they’d be convenient for later use if sex didn’t work out with me that night.

  17. 17
    suki

    I’m with Selena. Nudie magazines left out in the bathroom = tacky.

    Other than that, feel free to ogle away, boys.

  18. 18
    Camilla

    Right there with you Selena & Suki. It’s the tackiness that is a turn off for me about the stack o’ porn mags.

    I think the basic premise that men are visual, and that often includes some kind of porn is a fact. Ladies need to accept that men are wired that way. HOWEVER, ladies also need to know themselves enough about what they can handle and what they cannot. Do you have a zero-tolerence because it makes you jealous, tearful, and crazy? If so, then you best find a guy who isn’t into it, or you’ll BOTH be miserable.

    I think erotic literature is sexy. Not into videos myself, but if my guy was into some higher-quality productions, I’d probably be ok with it. Ditto on mags, sex blogs, etc. I’ve even okay with some pretty edgy stuff, as long as it’s on the artistic side.

    What I couldn’t deal with is if my guy was into the tacky silicone-sportin’ stupid porn stars, which seems misogynistic AND tacky to me. I would also dump a guy in 2-seconds flat if he was involved with interactive chat boards, personals, and so forth.

    This isn’t saying that I care of OTHER guys are into those things, but I know I wouldn’t respect or feel safe if MY guy was doing it. It’s a compatability issue, not a moral one.

  19. 19
    Gigi

    Yep, I agree that it’s crass to leave the laddie mags out in the open. And I disagree that it’s “just a guy thing”, because not all men are as into it as others. Out of all the men I know/have dated, I’d say only 65% of them actively pursue porn or pictures of scantily clad, splayed-out women. At the end of the day, I would say it’s a lifestyle thing because – let’s face it – what most of the men’s magazines like Playboy and FHM are really selling is a lifestyle. Some guys are just more into that fantasy of the beautiful, unattainable woman. More power to ‘em. Other men I know could take it or leave it.

  20. 20
    valerie

    That’s interesting what you said about compatibility, Camilla. I think I agree with that.

    I once went over to this guy’s house and his idea of interior decorating was to pin up semi-nude pictures he’d torn out of magazines all over his walls. Even the desktop wallpaper on his computer was a picture of some starlet showing some skin. It wasn’t his objectification of women that offended me. It was his aesthetic. ;)

  21. 21
    Karina

    I prefer not to know if he is viewing porn. If I watch it, I prefer the soft type and I do it alone, very ocasionally. I just don’t feel confortable seeing it with him, not so much because I don’t want to be compared to a woman 20 years younger with a perfect body which is hard for me to compete with but more because I am not interested in another man’s body, I am very attracted to my husband and don’t need to watch another man in action.
    I think he sometimes discreetly may look at it but I am sure it is not something frequent. If it became an addiction or interfered with our intimacy I would certainly have a problem with it.

    Like Steve said, men who view too much porn have too much time in their hands and not enough interesting things going on. Let’s just say that a man who abuses porn is a loser with issues.
    As for the magazine in the bathroom, it is tacky. He should respect her more. Imagine a guy comes to his new GF’s house and sees a playgirl in the bathroom, how would he feel?

  22. 22
    Karina

    Also Evan, I would never condone or go with my man to a strip club. Really! Maybe we should start having 3somes as well! Maybe if I were a lesbian yes, but I am not, so why do I want to go see my husband hanging out his tongue for another woman, or applauding while another woman puts her breats on his face…oh please Evan. I think you are too young and naive!

  23. 23
    doubledogdareu

    What some of the women are alluding to here (and I agree) is that there is a classy way to appreciate the female body, and that is to be discreet.

    Sure, men are naturally wired to be visual, but just because one is innately predisposed to do something doesn’t mean you let it all hang out when you’re doing it.

    We naturally need to eat, but we chew with our mouths closed. The toilet is considered a private place for natural bodily function. We can’t have sex in public no matter how “natural” it is. You’re supposed to be discreet when you pick your nose, scratch your balls, or even adjust your bra strap.

    So, fellas, women don’t necessarily want a reminder of what makes you pop a chubby, or want to know what you’re wanking to when we’re not around. That’s you taking care of your own priimal bodily business.

    Do us a favor and please put the stuff away when we come over, alright? Thanks.

  24. 24
    Nicole

    I can certainly understand that everyone has a different perspective, however I fall into the “uncomfortable with porn” category.

    I dated a guy for 5 years and there were “red flags” everywhere. He was involved with: downloading photos of topless young girls, chat rooms, inabiltiy to perform, late nights of the computer, lying, admititng to being a “porn addict” at one time, and so much more. In time, we were married. I failed to listen to my instinct that there were many things wrong and I was uncomfortable and angry. Within 3 months of our marriage, I snapped and left him. We have been apart for about 2 years now and it is still something I am struggling to be okay with.
    Ladies, listen to your instincts. Your gut reaction means everything. Do not let these things slide, as they only get worse with time.
    Good luck.

  25. 25
    J

    I personally don’t feel really comfortable with seeing the stuff myself because I know I look nothing like the women in those magazines and movies. Even if HE doesn’t expect me too, it is hard to get those images out of you head and not feel unappealing in comparison. I just don’t get off on looking at women with large boobs and who are spread eagled all over everything wearing nothing. These images are all over personal pleasure objects for women too. Rarely is there a man in all his glory on the package of a vibrator – even if it is made for and primarily marketed to women. This is true of most type products – almost always the naked woman. There is something of an equivalent to this comparison in that many men would rather their girlfriends or wives not leave out BOB (battery operated boyfriends) in plain view. Some pay close attention to the size and length and get offended if they think BOB is more endowed than they are, or more needed ; ) and/or more satisfying. I think it depends on a person’s needs vs that of their partner and finding some way to compromise to the best of both of your abilities. But does mean you have to find a range YOU ARE BOTH relatively good with. Any time something is taken to an extreme -whether consciously or because one is addicted and no longer in control – then it is a problem. But what is extreme to one person won’t be to the next. I haven’t read Maxim or Playboy, though I am sure there are some good articles in there – I don’t want to see all kinds of stuff on parade that I don’t even see in my own mirror (itty bitty t!tty committee charter member and all that) to get to them. That said, both Men’s Health (clearly not porn) and Esquire (definitely guy oriented but a great read for women too!) are fabulous and very edifying as well as entertaining – for females as well. I wouldn’t look down on a guy for having a Maxim or Playboy – though would prefer it more discreet than on the coffee table -, would not want to look down on the woman on the cover (literally), but would be delighted to find he has a subscription to Esquire and to Evan’s blog/newsletter : )

  26. 26
    Mike Paahana

    i luv porn at first my gf when get all messed up about it but after a while she no give me greif anymore or i just make like no beeg deal

  27. 27
    hunter

    ..some therapists say, porn deteriorates the mind, slowly….

  28. 28
    Alex

    I watch porn, alot. My wife knows it. I don’t think she minds it…but look at it this way…in our situation…i work wed. through sat, 7 pm to 7 am, and she works second shift, so by the time we actually see each other i am sick of the porn and ready for the real thing. so in my case its a substitution so i don’t go insane…and thats what i think its meant for.

  29. 29
    Sahaja

    Look, men or women can have other outlets other than their mate, but do we have to have all out there? I don’t care if you watch porn or have mags, but dont but all out in stacks in ur bathroom or on ur comp desktop or plastered all over your walls – Its cheesy and disgusting. I don’t even care about it in a political feminist manner or if objectifies women or men, b.c they legally signed up to do it. I agree with the above women who say its just plain tacky. Do what you want, and maybe Id enjoy it with you from time, but dont have it everywhere.

  30. 30
    Muffin

    I’ve been with my partner for 2 years plus now…
    I do not feel comfortable with him looking at other women..porn..magazines…i feel strange thinking about how im going to feel when we go to the beach together for the first time.
    I am a beautiful, sexy female…and I wouldnt mind him looking at other women..if I could truly know what he was thinking when he saw them. I dont feel comfortable with the thought if he is looking at another woman and thinking that she beautiful or thinking about what sex would be like with her. If I knew when he looked at women, it was the same as when I looked at men (the thought of..oh another human being) then things would be easier for me.
    I have trust issues and I feel that I am beautiful enough that he does not need to look at another woman to get off..if he cant go a few hours with out sexing me…then he has no self control, which is a total turn off. I think it should be what ever people are comfortable with, my partner knows im not comfortable with this…so he does not do it. If it is not an unhealthy addiction…then when asked to quit, it should not be a problem. If you are sneaking it behind someones back..and having to lie about viewing things, then it is obviously more important for you to look at other women…than to be happy and appreciative for the one you have. I know what im worth and know what i deserve..and if a man cant give me that…then its on to the next. Everyone has somebody out there for them..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>