I Caught My Boyfriend Looking at Porn on His Phone. Is This a Red Flag?

6 Shares

 

Very recently, my boyfriend and I were looking at Instagram together on his phone, and when he opened up his photo gallery, I spotted a picture of a woman wearing a bra. I was immediately unnerved and I asked if he could show me that photo again. He acted oddly and said he didn’t want to share the photo and how I’d be infringing on his privacy.

I told him he can choose to not show me his phone, but our relationship will have a huge dent. He ultimately showed me his phone and he downloaded nude photos from a porn site onto his photo gallery. I’ve never really been a jealous girlfriend and I encourage watching pornography. But I don’t know why that incident made me feel so bad.

He was also very apologetic and made me feel like he was cheating, and he was also trying to hide his phone because he felt embarrassed, since these girls aren’t actual porn stars. They are actual people from amateur porn sites. Is this a red flag at all? For some reason, it’s easier for me to stomach a situation if he was just watching porn.

Syra

Thanks for the question, Syra. I also want to refer you to this post called “What Do Men Get Out of Looking at Other Women?” which may add some nuance to what I share below.

I understand why you were unnerved when you saw a bra pop up on his phone. (another woman!)

I understand why he didn’t want to share the photo with you. (how mortifying to be caught by your own girlfriend!)

I understand why you feel that he had to share his phone with you to preserve the trust. (my boyfriend should have nothing to hide from me!)

I understand why he did share his phone with you and apologized (I want my girlfriend to know I’m trustworthy and didn’t cheat on her!)

I don’t understand why you’re parsing the difference between amateur porn and “real” porn.

I don’t understand why you’re parsing the difference between amateur porn and “real” porn.

Do you think that because these women aren’t famous, they’re somehow a greater threat to your relationship?

Do you think that because your boyfriend gets off on regular women, he’s apt to leave you for a regular woman?

Listen, I am not here to tell you that porn use is good, nor am I here to tell you that you’re not entitled to feeling your feelings regarding this incident.

But, from what I can gather from your short email, your boyfriend seems to be a normal guy who likes to jerk off to amateur porn and came clean(!) when confronted. And you seem to be a regular, well-adjusted girlfriend who intellectually understands that his porn use is benign and not threatening to your relationship, but is having trouble actually feeling that way.

As such, I wouldn’t consider this a red flag at all. I would consider it a small victory for honesty and transparency. Now your boyfriend doesn’t have to hide his predilections anymore and now you don’t have to worry about the unknown hurting you. The worst is already over. Go make your own video and stop worrying.

(I don’t mean that about the video, BTW. Too risky. But you get the idea.)

Join our conversation (46 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    mgm531

    News flash to all women: Men look at porn. They always have and they always will. It has nothing to do with the women that they are in a relationship with. Please just accept this fact and move beyond it.

    1. 1.1
      sylvana

      I told the men I dated the same. I love porn, I love hot, built men, I will always physically respond to the sight of a strong, ripped dominant male.

      Guess what? Didn’t go over to well.

      Shoot…watch a bunch of men when they’re out around women (whether they’re in relationships with them or not), and one of those hot dominants walks into the room and draws every woman’s attention. It’s rather comical (and enlightening).

      The whole concept of accept this fact and move beyond it goes completely out the window when the shoe is on the other foot.

       

      1. 1.1.1
        mara

        standing ovation

      2. 1.1.2
        Lisa

        Totally agree with this! If men want us to be fine with it they need to be too and most simply are not.

  2. 2
    JB

    The red flag is he’s stupid enough to watch a video of anything on a phone.            I watch my porn and anything else for that matter on a 65″ HDTV……LOL   I can’t believe the amount of people (mostly younger) that look at a phone as an acceptable device to WATCH anything. I see guys at work watching full length feature films on a 3 inch screen. Boggles the mind. In the age we live in now guys have access to porn as soon as the have their first electronic device. Women who are looking for or expecting their to be “pornfree” men are delusional and will be disappointed.

  3. 3
    Jeremy

    There comes a time in all our lives when we are inescapably confronted by the fact that we are not the people we think we are.   That there is a difference between what we feel and what we think we should feel, how we act and how we think we act, what we believe and what we believe we believe.   And when we are confronted by this reality, there are 2 wrong ways to respond.

     

    The first wrong way is to believe that the real “us” is the person we think we should be.   To squelch the internal feelings because they shouldn’t exist, because we don’t want them to, because we don’t like who we’d be if we prioritized them.   In your case, to be the person who is cool with her BF looking at porn and concealing it, in spite of the sick feeling it gives her.   This is, IMHO, the wrong way to deal because when our subconscious feels a certain way, it looks for opportunity for the conscious mind to obey it.   If you are constantly pissed off internally because of the porn use, you’ll just find a consciously acceptable reason to be pissed off.   The feeling we feel when we ignore our internal feelings is constant frustration – and that benefits no one.

     

    The second wrong way is to believe that our internal feelings represent the real “us” and prioritize them.   To ignore the way we believe we should be because it violates our authentic self.   But doing this ultimately leads to a lack of self respect – because acting without a super-ego is child-like, even bestial.        In your case, if you only prioritize your feeling of hurt and force changes to your BF’s behaviour because of it, what would you believe that says about you?   How would it ultimately affect your self-esteem?    The feeling we feel when we ignore our “shoulds” is guilt – and guilt is a highly destructive emotion.

     

    The (IMO) correct way to respond to such conundrums is to realize that our “self” is not a unified whole, but rather a conglomerate of parts.   Who we are and who we believe we are are BOTH who we are – neither is an alien interloper.   One must find a way to prioritize both – for one’s internal peace of mind and one’s internal self-esteem.   How you choose to do that, the path of least resistance that makes sense to you, is ultimately up to you.

  4. 4
    Yet Another Guy

    My advice to any woman who is worried about her man viewing porn is that she should seriously consider switching teams because all men view porn to some extent. A man’s consumption of porn usually has zero to do with how he feels about his woman. More often than not, it is due to the fact this his opportunity to have sex with her is too limited for his sex drive. For most mentally healthy men, porn is a supplement to sex, not a replacement for it.

    1. 4.1
      sylvana

      YAG,

      then she’d be competing with erotica (90% female audience, even in the most extreme categories). And written porn is much more explicit and perverted than regular porn. There is absolutely no competing with that. I’d rather take on film or photo porn any day…lol

      As a porn lover myself, I don’t have any issues with it.

      What I don’t understand, however, is this constant reassurance that it has nothing to do with feelings (aka – the emotional side of things).

      Well… duh! No woman feels emotionally threatened by porn. It’s a sexual threat, not an emotional one. A person can cheat and truly be in love. One has nothing to do with the other.

       

    2. 4.2
      No Name To Give

      YAG, most gay people will tell you they don’t choose to be gay. Since I’m not gay, I wouldn’t know, but that is what many have expressed.

      There is no perfect solution. A woman who cannot deal with her man looking at porn can either decide it’s a price to pay to be in a relationship or she can just not be in a romantic relationship. Because it sounds like either way. Porn is going to happen.

  5. 5
    S.

    For some reason, it’s easier for me to stomach a situation if he was just watching porn.

    He was just watching porn.   Just amateur porn. Porn is porn.

    Do you think that because these women aren’t famous, they’re somehow a greater threat to your relationship?

    Yeah, Syra? Do you think this?

    I don’t think the women are more accessible because they aren’t famous.   And he ain’t trying to contact them.

    Heck, if it makes you feel better and you really encourage watching porn, why not you both watch some together? Professional porn if it makes you feel better.   He’ll still watch what he’ll watch privately, but hey, maybe he’ll like some of the ‘real’ porn you guys watch and hey, it might even lead to some sexytimes for you both.

  6. 6
    Elle 1

    I get that men are wired differently than women sexually, and that men’s desire for porn (and prostitutes) reflects that. But, it just seems  unfaithful when you are in a committed monogamous relationship to be viewing porn and getting turned on by other women. It crosses a line, in my opinion, particularly when it involves live action video.

    Men often say it means nothing emotionally so it doesn’t matter. But men can get addicted to this stuff and it can really impact their ability to form intimate relationships with women.

    Some men might say the porn allows them to be faithful to one woman, but it is like having your cake and eating it too. There are men who say having affairs helps them stay married to one woman, and that the affairs don’t mean anything because they are just about the sex.

    1. 6.1
      Clare

      Elle 1,

      There is no indication from the OP’s letter that her boyfriend is addicted to porn, or that he is being unfaithful, so your comments seem like catastrophising.

      It is a very common human habit, by the way, to take a small thing and extend it to the most extreme and terrible worst case scenario, and then try to prevent that worst case scenario by making a big deal out of the initial small thing. This is called making a mountain out of a molehill and it is a fear-driven response.

      It is far easier, healthier and more relaxing to deal with things like porn addiction and infidelity  if  there are actually signs that these things are occurring. Looking at amateur porn sites once in a while and downloading the odd picture does not make a man an addict or a cheater – otherwise 90% of men would be these things.

      1. 6.1.1
        Elle 1

        Clare,

        There is no indication in my post that I was specifically referencing the OP’s situation. I was making general comments about the subject of porn.

        Some previous comments on this thread were of the every guy does it, no harm no foul approach.

        The purpose of my post was to point out that there can be a significant downside to porn use, and there can be ethical issues as well. That is something that a lot of people don’t want to hear.

        My point of view is supported by the facts. If you don’t believe me then google the following sentences:

        – statistics on porn addiction

        – recovery from porn addiction

        – how porn addiction destroyed my marriage

        After reading about the downside of porn for a couple of hours, most people are more cautious about getting too deeply involved in watching it.

        Many people drink alcohol with no problems. Many people get addicted to alcohol and it causes a lot of problems. No one ever expects they will become an alcoholic when they first start drinking alcohol.

        Likewise, no one ever expects they will end up addicted to porn, or that it will end up having more negative than positive effects. But it does happen more frequently than many people are willing to acknowledge.

        The argument that “everybody does it” does not absolve anyone from taking personal responsibility for their own choices.

        The fact that pornography use by people in relationships is so prevalent seems to indicate how few people are really capable of being, and are really committed to, engaging sexually solely with one partner in a committed monogamous relationship, with zero sexual activity of any kind related to someone else.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Porn use does not break the bonds of monogamy unless you think jerking off to a video is the same as actually being unfaithful with a live human being. That seems as objectively untrue as comparing Aziz Ansari to Harvey Weinstein. Perspective, please.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @EMK

          What I do not get about women like Elle 1 is that they demand absolute fidelity from a desire point of view. Yet, they often pair with men for comfort, not arousal reasons. That is like wanting have one’s cake and eat it too. Let’s see, women like Elle 1 demand absolute sexual desire fidelity from a man to whom they are often so weakly physically attracted that sex more than a couple of times a week is a chore, and sex once a day involves divine intervention. My advice is to offer sex more frequently and spice things up in the bedroom.

        3. mgm531

          “My point of view is supported by facts”

          Oh Really?   Well try this on for size:

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sex-life-the-american-male/201710/pornography-addiction-in-2017

          Just a few excerpts from this recently pusblished study on so-called porn addiction:

          “…there are  still continued debate and confusion as to the fundamental aspects of this hypothesized condition.”

          “As a result, the researchers concluded our current  understanding  of porn addiction is “not grounded in robust evidence.”

          “Other studies of porn addiction utilize an arbitrary measurement of “problematic” or “excessive” porn use in spite of there being any known demarcation point at which porn use becomes extreme.   While there is a common belief that more porn use equates with more problems, even this putative truism is questionable.”

          “Finally, Landripet and Å tulhofer (2015) challenged the common assertion that pornography use is harmful to sexual functioning.   They concluded public concern about pornography use and sexual dysfunctions are misplaced and instead surmised more likely factors are  substance abuse,  stress,  depression,  intimacy  deficit, and misinformation about  sexuality. “

           

          In other words, so-called porn addiction is questionable at best and for all intents and purposes in credible scientific communties is considered the scientific equivalent of Bull Shit.

        4. Clare

          Whether you were referring to the OP’s situation or not, I still think your point of view tends to catastrophising and lacks nuance.

          Yes,  some  people get addicted to alcohol. Does that mean those of us who are not addicted should not enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer with friends on a Saturday afternoon? My  point is that many men know how to handle their porn watching without it having negative effects on their life or relationship, just as many people know how to have an occasional drink without overdoing it.

          Until you actually see signs of a more severe problem, when a particular habit is innocuous, I would posit that no good comes from looking for worst case scenarios. It just generates fear.

          I also agree with Evan that conflating watching porn with infidelity is very black and white thinking which does not take nuance into account. I think most people recognise that a person is fully capable of watching porn and also of having no desire whatsoever to have any intimacy with anyone other than their partner.

      2. 6.1.2
        Marika

        Hello Clare!

        Happy holidays. How are you? How’s it going with your squeeze? 🙂

        1. Clare

          Hi Marika,

          Thanks for the note! Happy holidays to you! Lovely to be spending Christmas in the southern hemisphere where it’s hot and sunny, eh? 🙂

          Haven’t been around the blog much recently. But yes, things with the squeeze are going very nicely thank you 🙂 We don’t argue, and I love that he’s a direct communicator. Things are going very well. Hold thumbs for me that it continues this way

    2. 6.2
      Lisa

      I was in a serious relationship with a man who had porn induced DE and death grip syndrome.   Basically his use of porn combined with too frequent masturbation meant he could not reach an orgasm any other way than by using his   hand and thinking of porn.   Prior to this experience in my 37 years of life I too thought porn was a normal thing that never really bothered me, and all of my past relationships the men were quite open with me about their use, and I could have cared less.      I had to end the relationship.   The damage he had done to himself was too far gone, and stopping only made the situation slightly and temporarily better.      Is porn healthy for most people to use in moderation, I think the answer is yes.   That being said I think that particularly our younger generation who is exposed to porn so early and so often need to be aware that there are potential consequences for us. The studies in fact do show that porn creates increased masturbation in most men.     If you condition yourself to porn and your hand you can have problems when presented with the real thing, and this can ruin your chances in a relationship. I also think that porn is more of a problem in many relationships that psychologists are willing to admit.     I see porn and masturbation totally different than I did before being with an addict.      Women and men have the right to set their own expectations. If a woman does not want to be with a man who views porn and things its morally wrong she has every right to feel that way.

  7. 7
    sylvana

    I, for one, don’t consider nudity or pictures of half naked women porn. To me, porn is sex, a sex act, or at the very least sexually explicit. So – if it’s a picture – she/he better be doing something that is obviously sexual. And I assume that Syra feels the same, since she mentioned she doesn’t have a problem with him watching porn – aka sex acts. In this case, it sounds like there was no sex acts or anything sexual involved, it’s simply other women (naked, or partially naked).

    Why is any of this a problem for most women? Simple answer:

    It all boils down to feeling desired.

    We all know that most men will pretty much screw anything. So being able to get laid doesn’t mean anything special. Him having sex with her only means that he wanted/needed sex, and she’s available.  In short: He desires SEX. His body is aroused for whatever reason (which doesn’t in any way mean it’s related to her).

    Now, checking out other women, and looking at pictures of other women who aren’t even doing anything sexual is a clear sign that those WOMEN are causing arousal in him. He desires those WOMEN.

    If a woman feels threatened by him checking out other women or pictures, it’s a clear sign that he is NOT making her feel desired. If she was feeling desired (or at least desired enough), she would not be feeling threatened. And no, wanting to have sex does not equal making someone feel desired.

    To take a drastic example: This is often the little detail that either makes or breaks a swingers relationship. As long as both partners feel equally desired by the other (sexually or emotionally, etc.), the relationship works well. As soon as one feels less desired than the outside party, things start going downhill.

    Feeling desired also tends to play a huge role in cheating (for both sexes).

    In this case, it also shows because she claims she’s not bothered by (even encourages) him watching sex (what I consider porn). It’s the women with no sex involved who are bothering her.

    Is there anything wrong with any of it? No. But if you do, you better make darn sure that you also make your partner feel desired. And by make her (or him, for that matter, since it applies both ways) feel desired I don’t mean, “I’m horny, I need/want to have sex, you’re attractive enough/available, so you’ll do.”

    Women are obviously guilty of not making their partners feel desired as well. Jeremy had mentioned (correct me if I’m wrong, Jeremy) that being/feeling desired is pretty much the unattainable holy grail for most average men.

    What men don’t seem to understand is that it is just as unattainable for most average women. Once again, just because a man desires sex and she’s available doesn’t mean he desires HER.

    The one big difference between the genders is that women, in general, try not to rub salt into the wound by making it obvious that she desires other men, but has sex with him because he’s sweet and kind, and available, and she’s horny (aka, not all that arousing, but he’ll do).

    The funniest thing about this whole issue is that men complain about the same exact thing in women. Then turn around and tell women that they need to deal with it when they do it.

     

    1. 7.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @sylvana

      “The one big difference between the genders is that women, in general, try not to rub salt into the wound by making it obvious that she desires other men, but has sex with him because he’s sweet and kind, and available, and she’s horny (aka, not all that arousing, but he’ll do).”

      I have to disagree with you on this one. While a man will sleep with just about any willing woman when he is young due to the power imbalance when it comes to sex, a man rarely marries a woman who he does not find all that arousing, at least not when he is young. Men tend to marry primarily based on arousal; hence, the tongue-in-cheek at least an 8 hot on the hot axis and between a 5 and a 7 on the crazy axis on the Hot Crazy Matrix (a.k.a. the wife zone). A woman’s status rarely factors into the equation until a man is much older than normal marrying age, and even then, it does not factor into the equation as much as a man’s status for peer-age women. I was engaged twice before I married. Both of those women fell into the high maintenance Barbie category. My second fiancee was so smoking hot that I was afraid to go to the beach with her. She had the nicest derriere I have ever seen in the buff, which she liked to show off by wearing a thong bathing suit. I could not let her out of my sight on the beach because guys would congregate around her like hungry wolves. To say that the girl was genetically gifted is an understatement. I should have married her, but I was still operating in self-centered asshole mode. My ex was an over correction from the excesses of that period. Everyone in my family told me that my ex was not my type, but I did not heed the warning.

      1. 7.1.1
        sylvana

        YAG,

        I will agree that men rarely marry women who they don’t find all that arousing. Seeing how there is no way I would ever so much as date anyone I didn’t find rather highly arousing.

        But you missed my point. Just because she objectively IS smoking hot to you, others, and people, in general, doesn’t mean she FEELS desired by (or smoking hot to) YOU.

        To the man, it might be obvious. But oftentimes, the man who is partnered with her doesn’t make it obvious to her. While, on the other hand, his desire for other women IS obvious to her, because that, he makes obvious without even noticing. Classic case of your actions speaking way louder than your words.

        The less highly a woman ranks on the objectively “hot” scale, the worse the problem is.

        Jeremy posted this absolutely wonderful reply on the last blog post.

        Something about a woman telling her man that just because she doesn’t want to have sex as often as him doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him. She does love him, she thinks he is absolutely wonderful, she desires him, etc. She just doesn’t have as high a sex drive as him.

        And all the man hears is “blah, blah, blah” I don’t really care about you or desire you, because I don’t want to have that much sex. Basically, in his mind, her actions are contradicting her words. (of course he put it much better than I)

        That entire post of his would have been perfect here. All one would have to do is change out “not wanting as much sex” with “desiring other women”. And he with she. And you would have had your perfect explanation.

         

        1. Jeremy

          You are right   Sylvana. The analogy holds. Thank you for pointing it out.

        2. sylvana

          Jeremy,

          I think no matter which actual meta-goal or want/need/desire of a person you insert into that statement, you would have hit the nail on the head. That was one of the most powerful, and best written explanations I have ever read.

          See, cheer up! We need you 🙂

        3. Mrs Happy

          Dear Sylvana,

          “All one would have to do is change out “not wanting as much sex” with “desiring other women”. And he with she.”

          I couldn’t directly reply to your post in the last topic, but you made this analogy, and it was extremely useful in illustrating why some women feel so hurt by their partner watching porn.

          Also, this: “Him having sex with her only means that he wanted/needed sex, and she’s available.  In short: He desires SEX”,   is gold.

          Thank you.   You have really original thoughts.

  8. 8
    Elle 1

    Evan

    You asked for perspective. Here it is. Think of a bell curve for the definition of infidelity. On one end is a very narrow definition which excludes all sexually gratifying activity that involves anyone other than your partner.

    On the other end is a very broad definition that says kissing, oral sex, phone sex, sexting, pornography use, and virtual sex are all permissible in a monogamous relationship because only a penis in a vagina other than that of your partner meets the definition of infidelity.

    Most people’s definition of what constitutes infidelity will fall somewhere in between those two extremes, and how they view the gray area of psychological infidelity.

    I guess I view porn use as a kind of psychological infidelity. It is definitely not the same kind of infidelity as the penis in the vagina, as you have pointed out. But it is about becoming sexually stimulated and gratified by someone who is engaging in sexual acts, who is not your partner. So in that sense it seems to constitute a type of infidelity, albeit one that most people would view as being far less serious than the penis in the vagina kind, if they view it as a form of infidelity at all.

    But in this internet age, the use, types and frequency of porn use has dramatically changed. So perhaps it is not unreasonable to view porn use in certain manifestations as a form of serious psychological infidelity, given the extent to which it can impact intimate relationships, according to research.

    YAG

    You made a lot of assumptions about me, and women who are supposedly like me. None of your assumptions about me are actually true! But it was interesting to read them.

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Your scale is a bit skewed, Elle, as if 8 condone physical infidelity short of intercourse. I don’t. Infidelity is an act committed with another person. It is not masturbation to a video, no matter how much you protest otherwise. But hey, if your definition works for you, keep using it.

    2. 8.2
      sylvana

      Elle 1,

      I’m with you. And I’m a person who has no problems with open relationships, where we are both allowed to have sex with other partners. And a porn addict, to top it off.

      I only have one minor difference in opinion.

      To me, there is a huge difference between receiving sexual pleasure or satisfaction from watching sex, or something kink specific, etc., and receiving sexual pleasure or satisfaction from another person, no matter HOW that pleasure is received.

      Sex as a stimulant vs. a person as a stimulant.

      While I don’t have a problem with either, I can’t understand how someone who just received an orgasm brought on by someone else (a person or certain type of person rather than just sex) can claim they were being faithful while doing so.  The whole argument that “HOW you received the orgasm from that person is what makes the difference” just boggles my mind.

      So if he masturbates to a video of a hot woman spreading her legs for the viewer (aka: him), talks dirty to him, tells him exactly how to masturbate, it’s all right, as long as it’s pre-recorded? Or is it still all right if it’s live, as long as he doesn’t answer, and just does as told?

      What if the hot neighbor, knowing he can see her, is the one stripping, or spreading her legs and masturbating for him? Is that all right? I mean, as long as he’s just masturbating, he’s technically not “committing and act with another person.” Or is it not ok because she’s close by, in person, rather than on video or in a picture? But that would leave strippers out.

      What about pictures? Does it matter where they came from?  Is there a difference between live and/or in person and (pre) recorded? A pro or amateur porn star or stripper and a “regular” woman? Where exactly does the line get drawn?

      Can he masturbate to a woman masturbating on video, but not to a woman masturbating in the same room? Why is it ok for his face to be ten inches away from a stripper’s naked crotch or boobs, but not any other woman’s?  Or are both all right?  

      What about lap dances? Is that considered “committing an act”? While legally not allowed, reality is it’s two bodies grinding against each other in a completely sexual way. And if it’s still ok, what if he gets an orgasm while her naked crotch is rubbing over his dressed dick? Still innocent, because technically, he didn’t touch, maybe didn’t even move, so he didn’t “commit an act?”

      The biggest problem I have is defining what exactly constitutes “a sexual act”. And what exactly constitutes “with another person”.   Since it seems that the interpretation of both the act, and the with are pretty much depending on the situation.

      As a sexually open minded person, I need a thousand page manual just to navigate my way through an “exclusive” relationship. Because I’ve committed some serious no-nos in the past. So, the boys got a little drunk last night. A couple of them decided it would be kind of hot to masturbate for the ladies. Nothing wrong with that, right? I’m just watching (and getting rather turned on because, well, they’re hot). And the boyfriend was at a strip club just a few days ago. So he obviously doesn’t mind that kind of stuff. Apparently, I should have walked away. Because these guys were NOT strippers. And it wasn’t a video. Um… Huh???

       

      1. 8.2.1
        Elle 1

        Sylvana
        Thank you so much for posting this. It does a great job of illustrating the point I am trying to make about how narrowly or broadly (in real life and in different kinds of media) we define infidelity or sexual transgressions. The lines get blurred and it can become quite confusing as to what is and is not acceptable and why.   What is perfectly acceptable to one person can be viewed as utterly unacceptable by another.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          And the people who deem minor porn use as utterly unacceptable because they believe masturbation is akin to infidelity will suffer from a much smaller dating pool, eliminating an endless amount of potentially great husbands – in fact, I assume it would eliminate the majority of married men on the planet.

    3. 8.3
      Lisa a zelenak

      I think the scale of infidelity may tip higher when it comes to porn use when that porn use directly impacts the sexual relationship.     So if the female would like to have sex more often, the man turns her down and uses porn instead that’s a problem for the couple and that to me leans towards infidelity.     But if the couple’s own intimate relationship is leaving both parties satisfied and the porn is used in addition to the relationship and has no effect on it, then I don’t see it as infidelity.   It’s very similar to emotional infidelity in the sense that things that you should be sharing with your partner are now being shared with someone else instead of not in addition to your partner.

  9. 9
    No Name To Give

    Never get between people and their vices.

  10. 10
    Elle 1

    mgm531

    A definition of an addiction is feeling compelled to engage in an activity despite repeated resolutions to not engage in that activity, and despite experiencing negative consequences associated with the activity.

    There are numerous personal testimonials in articles on the internet and in newspapers and magazines, written by men who tried to stop visiting porn sites and viewing porn, but were unable to do so.

    There are numerous support groups and recovery groups for men who can’t stay away from porn even though they desperately want to. These groups would not exist if there was no need for them.

    There are also articles written by men who were able to finally get free from porn use and who describe the benefits of staying away from porn.

    It is possible that even more men are addicted to porn but don’t realize it because they don’t intend to stop using it. It is only when they try to stop, and can’t, that they find out the hold porn has on them.

    Evan

    Your blog posts impact a lot of people, so here is a challenge for you.   Starting January 1, 2019, give up all porn use for three months (assuming you do use porn), then write a blog post about that experience and how it impacted you.

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I may use porn once every two months, if that. It is a sleep aid when my wife is either tired or out of town. I’m quite sure I’ve gone three months without it before. Your view of porn seems to lack an understanding of how MEN view porn. It is the same as any other minor vice – drinking, smoking, sugar – used occasionally, they enhance life. When abused, they can destroy life. I grant the latter; you don’t seem to be able to grant the former – that when most guys use porn, it’s a minor outlet that has absolutely no impact whatsoever on his relationship and is CERTAINLY not a form of infidelity.

      1. 10.1.1
        sylvana

        Evan,

        Female porn addict chiming in here. This is not an issue of how MEN view porn. It is, as you have well said, an issue of a vice becoming an addiction – regardless of gender.

        More men than women admit to sex or porn addiction, but that doesn’t mean that this is an issue that effects just, or even mostly men. A lot of female sex addicts will never be thrown into the category of sex addicts because – well – it’s not considered a “vice” in women. It often gets dismissed as simple self-destructive behavior or adrenaline rush/high risk addiction. Because we’re supposed to be the gender that is NOT driven by sex. So every excuse in the book is made for behavior that in men is instantly labelled sex addiction.

        A lot of porn addictions in women also go unnoticed, because women tend to go for written porn, instead of visual (and I’m not talking romance or steamy romance here, but extreme, explicit smut without any romantic undertones, including what we authors call “ultra smut” – stuff that is illegal to act out in real life). Somewhere around at least 85% of our readership, who PAYS millions upon millions each year for written porn is female. Same goes for erotic, and explicit smut art. When it comes to spending money on porn, the genders are near equal. The only difference is in the version of porn.

        And the cluelessness of men.

        And with 3D getting big, bringing “believable” monsters and fantasy creatures to the screen in porn (ogres, orcs, trolls, etc.), the number of women paying for porn has steadily risen as well. Creators of such are finding that the majority of paying customers there are women as well.  

        It might not apply to the women on this blog, but I often get a kick out of the fact that women like to play the innocent card, when I darn well know that 90% of my, and tons of other extreme smut author’s rather substantial paychecks are being signed by women.

        So do the genders view porn differently? Sure. Men view the version that moves on the screen, women view the version that doesn’t move, and has to be read (or is fantasy or illegal in real-life drawn art). The whole porn issue isn’t anywhere near as black and white as people like to make it out to be.

        The other difference I found when targeting genders with porn is that women are way harder to please and way more demanding than men. I can make money off men by simply providing a woman who is naked, semi naked, or stripping. She doesn’t have to do anything else. If I tried the same with women, I’d go broke in a heartbeat. Women want sex. A simple (albeit hot) naked dude won’t cut it. He’ll catch her interest, but he better start doing something actually sexual rather quickly, or he becomes just another good-looking naked dude. The only way I could keep a woman interested in “doing nothing but stripping naked dude” is if he is an exact match to whatever her sexual triggers are.

        Why is this relevant? Because when men look at random naked women and stay aroused, can even masturbate to orgasm because of them, it doesn’t mean much to the man. To his woman, however, it is a clear sign that there is something about that particular women that sets off all his sexual triggers, even brings him to orgasm, despite the fact that she is doing nothing but being naked or getting naked. Something that should have bored him to tears within minutes. That kind of elevates that woman to goddess status in her eyes. And to something she will never be able to compete with.

        While Elle raises a lot of good points, the problem is that she is focused on just men, and focused just on just visual/moving porn. And that most men completely overlook the fact that there is way more to porn than the stuff they’re looking at.

        As for being potentially damaging? Both forms of porn are equally dangerous. Both versions set unrealistic standards that people cannot live up to. Both are especially designed to target specific fantasies, to bring something to people that a regular sexual partner cannot bring. It is an industry that makes money of triggering the highest form of “high” a person can experience without the use of drugs.

        Romance novels have women expecting men to be something they aren’t or cannot be. Written porn is a thousand times worse. Even worse than visual, since there are absolutely zero worries about restrictions of reality or legality.

        As Evan pointed out, moderation is key.

        A woman’s sex life and relationship can easily start having problems when her partner cannot come anywhere close to giving her that same high, that same hard hitting orgasm and satisfaction that written porn and masturbation bring her. Sexual pleasure for women comes mostly from the mind. Very few men know how to engage a woman’s mind during sex. Written porn authors profit hugely because of this fact. We give women something their men cannot give them. Judging by our success compared to the success of men trying to keep their women interested in sex in long-term relationships, it makes one wonder who of the two genders has a bigger issue with porn.

        So women don’t need to pretend that this is just a male issue. As a matter of fact, any romance novel short of the ones in the “clean” category are actually porn. Because they contain sex scenes. Just because it can be very softcore porn (although it rarely is, it’s simply less vulgar) doesn’t mean it’s excluded from that label of actually being porn. There is a reason that the majority of romance novels (all but “cleans”) are actually labelled 18+.

        Heads off to you, Evan, for being able to go that long without porn, by the way. If I go so much as a day or two, even in a relationship where I have sex two to three times per day, heads are going to roll.

        Sorry for the long post, but this man=loves porn, woman=hates porn war seems like a case of nothing but total miscommunication and bias to me.

        The other thing that completely baffles me is that men seem so totally unwilling to try and find some sort of compromise in that regard. Would it kill you to get your variety by just watching sex, and forgoing just naked or stripping women without sex? Or forgoing certain types of sex that bother her? (possibly due to the reason the women are being treated)

        I’m fully behind you when it comes to no porn at all being ridiculous. But if it is that hard to compromise on certain aspects or forms of porn, maybe you should just end the relationship.

        As with anything we do, and in any type of relationship we have (friends, family, professional, and romantic), what we mean by what we do really doesn’t matter as much as how it is perceived by those who matter to us. My intentions might be harmless, but if they hurt someone I care about, or make them feel bad in any way or form, I will try my best to adjust or compromise.

        No porn at all – not acceptable. Certain types of porn only enjoyed in extreme moderation – compromise. And kill the double standards. If you don’t like her doing certain things, don’t expect her to accept you doing the same exact thing.

    2. 10.2
      Lisa

      I think the realities of porn addiction are important to address, specifically that there are many more addicts out there than one realizes.   Often times they do not even realize they are addicts until they start to date and struggle with performance in the bedroom.   Addictions are problematic because they effect one’s life in a negative way.   So often a porn addict is thought of as someone who spends 5 or more hours a day watching it and misses work, looses his job etc.   But that’s like saying that the only drug addicts are those that use cocaine for 5 hours a day or you can only be an alcoholic if you are a daily drinker, and that’s just not true.   The question is does the habit or behavior effect your life in a negative way?   Some people (usually men but also women) can have issues in intimate relationships directly related to porn use and only view it once a week for a short period of time.   Just like some people can have a drink once a week and have no issues but others cannot.     It’s truly related to the release of dopamine, and very similar to gaming addictions, that are more prevelant in men.     When women in relationships are dealing with porn addicts, unfortunately most psychologists give them the response that Evan does, defending the poor use, saying minor use is not a problem, and while I don’t doubt that it is not a problem for Evan,   it can be for many other men.   Doctors are seeing a big increase in cases of ED and DE in men in their 20s with no health conditions related to porn use, so something is happening here.     So I think men and women do need to be aware of this issue.   Young men should consider how their use either will effect their relationship or is currently effecting their relationships.   We have so normalized porn use, that when a couple seeks help the focus is rarely on the porn use, because of course porn use is normal.   The counselors don’t even ask about it and the couple does not consider it.   The number of marriages that could be saved if this issue was just spoken of is astounding.   I mean my ex who had this, took pills, had every test in the book including things hooked up to his penis, he was looking into injections, therapy you name it, anything but the porn, because it could not be the porn that’s normal, but it was in fact the porn.   How do I know?   Because for the short period he stopped it, he could perform fairly normally in bed.     So while I don’t think by any means that everyone who views porn on occassion is an addict, I do think that a lot more people are addicts then we know, and we need to start discussing this rather than just brushing it under the rug.   I really suggest reviewing the Ted talk “Your Brain on Porn” and I also would really like EMK to address this in blog topic, I think it would be helpful to a lot of women out there.      Women who have no idea that this is even a thing, and wonder why their spouse never wants to have sex with them?   Women who are in new relationships with men who have DE or ED at a young age, and are blaming themselves.   Men who think their DE or ED is the fault of the woman, or medically related and struggle for years to fix something the wrong way.   Women who are so ashamed that their man has PIED or PIDE that they hide in the shadows thinking they are alone.   Porn is impacting modern relationships whether we like it or not.   Prior to dating my ex I had healthy relationships with men that looked at porn and I had zero issues with it. I had no idea either that porn addiction was even a thing for men or women, but there I was and that relationship has changed my view on the subject.   I still am fine with men using porn, but if the sex is lacking in the relationship and he’s using it, then I address that issue and nip it in the bud if that’s a problem.     See the big problem is when   you have a ready willing and able woman who wants to be intimate, and you either chose porn instead of her, or your porn use prevents you from performing in bed with her.   This is more common than you think.

      1. 10.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        TL;DR, Lisa. Your point is that there’s such a thing as porn addiction and it’s harmful. I agree with your point. Let’s see if you agree with mine: billions of men masturbate to porn on occasion without becoming addicts. Think of it like social drinking vs. alcoholism. Is alcoholism a problem? You bet. Should we prohibit it or make everyone feel guilty about their glass of wine? I don’t think so…but perhaps you do.

        1. Lisa

          I agree that billions of men masturbate to porn withut becoming addicts and I agree with   your comparison to alcoholism.     Where I think we disagree is how prevalant it is in this day and age for porn to cause issues in a couple’s sexual relationship.   Let’s call it “problematic porn use” rather than addiction?   And by issues I do not mean that the female in the relationship is upset by the use.   I mean the man engages in sex less frequently because of his use, has DE or ED in the bedroom, because of his use and the couple has an overall poorer sexual relationship then they could have without the use.   The number of women who want sex more frequently than their male partners is getting higher and higher and many say their husband watches porn and turns them down.   Male use of porn is associated with lower sexual quality for men and their partners.  https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/pornography.aspx

          The bottom line is if you are masturbating and looking at perfect 10s several times a week, you are less likely to initiate and want sex with your partner and less likely to enjoy it.   This is often simply because you are spent from having sex with yourself or used to your own hand rather than sex with your spouse.   This is even more problematic as men age.   Whereas an 18 year old male can have sex daily with no issues, a 40 year old man may struggle to be with his partner after being with himself and/or porn too much.     Women in relationships are often left thinking “huh?” as to why the man is less interested in sex with them, and so she seeks out counsel and the response she gets is “its normal to use porn.     You are being too harsh on him.   All men do it. He’s not an addict he only does it a few times a week.”

          Whether someone feels guilty or not about their porn or alcohol use is self imposed.   People cannot make you feel ashamed for something that you are not ashamed of.     But personally no I do not think one should feel guilty for porn use on occassion, or drinking a glass of wine.   But I do think if a couple is having issues in the bedroom the man’s porn use needs to be addressed.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          On this, we agree. If it’s a problem, it should be addressed. If it’s not a problem, we shouldn’t be obsessing about it.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Lisa

          But I do think if a couple is having issues in the bedroom the man’s porn use needs to be addressed.

          More accurately, the reason why a man is overusing porn should be addressed.   While the overuse of porn can be attributed to lack of motivation to seek a real woman for many uncoupled men, the overuse of porn can be a symptom when it comes to coupled men.   Porn is often used as a coping mechanism for coupled men.   It is no different than substance abuse.   More often than not, substance abuse is the result of a person self-medicating in order to deal with one or more personal problems.

          I personally believe that women have no clue as to how pressured a lot of men feel to perform in bed, especially in relationships that lack intimacy and open communications outside of the bedroom.   Porn removes the pressure to perform.   A man receives the same dopamine hit while only having to worry about pleasing himself.   Men are as self-conscious about their size as women are about their bodies.   We have a problem when the majority of men believe that they are smaller than average, and porn does not help with that problem.   The average male penis is 5.16″ long with a girth of 4.59″, which is not all that large.   Compare and contrast those measurements to those of the average male porn star.   Factor in the reality that men are ready to go as soon as they remove their pants when they are younger whereas most women need more more time to get to that point as well as the fact that the average time to climax for men is 5 minutes where it is 20 minutes for women, and we have a situation where men start to feel inadequate after the novelty of being with a new partner wears off.

          The TL;DR version is a woman should attempt to understand why her man is overusing porn in the first place, and that is only possible by communicating with him in a calm, rational way.     I am certain that most men do not want to overuse porn just as most alcoholics and addicts to not want to engage in substance abuse.   The problem here is that most men are not good communicators and socialization that men undergo starting as young boys does not make things easier.   Men are emotionally walled off by societal design because men are raised to be expendable.   Good sex is about communication inside and outside of the bedroom.   It is about working with one’s partner to surface the reasons why he/she does not want to engage.   A lot of women expect a man to be able to read their body language and know what they want because women are gifted with that ability, so that they can care for newborns who are unable to talk.   Men need to be told what a woman desires.

  11. 11
    Chris

    If she’s going to get so upset about a picture of a woman in a bra, then that’s a red flag – but not the sort she thinks it is. Its is a red flag for him.

  12. 12
    Ames

    I don’t find porn threatening at all. Just a tool for release and relaxation. I did become worried when I saw my boyfriend repeatedly collecting pictures of a woman he knows in real life (he did it in front of me), googling her name to look at her work, (director,) and a years long trail of Facebook comments of how beautiful she was. She’s out of state but it scares me because it’s a real person he knows.  He’ll never have a chance with a porn star. They’re a fantasy while this woman is very real.

  13. 13
    Clare

    For me, all the proof I need that porn is not something I should be worried about is that, when I was younger, like in my early twenties, I felt very threatened by porn, erotic magazines and images. I remember finding lots of risque photos of unknown internet women on my boyfriend’s computer and completely flipping out. I was very insecure at that stage of my life. As I’ve got older and matured and become a thousand times more secure and comfortable in my own skin, so my anxiety about porn has dwindled to zero. This tells me that my issue with porn was based on my own fear and insecurity only.

    For a while now, I have been happy for the guys I date to use porn. I’d far rather they did that while I was not there than text or meet up with another woman. Moreover, I’d happily watch it with them, although the guys I’ve dated all agree that porn completely pales in comparison to the real thing. That’s all the reassurance I need. My comfort in talking about it and the fact that I don’t get upset also gives guys the freedom to be honest with me – and honesty is something I really appreciate and find essential.

    To Elle 1’s point that watching porn is on a sliding scale of infidelity, I don’t know how she figures. Infidelity involves some kind of interaction with another human being. When one watches porn, you are not communicating with the people in the video – you are not talking or texting with them, they are not present in the room, they do not know you exist. To me, it’s like saying you can have an affair with a vibrator.

    1. 13.1
      Elle 1

      Clare – re post 6.1.1
      I also agree with Evan that conflating watching porn with infidelity is very black and white thinking which does not take nuance into account.
      I am perplexed by this statement. As Sylvana’s post 8.2  indicates, this whole discussion is about nuance and fine distinctions between different kinds of sexually stimulating activities. I am questioning whether getting off sexually to porn, which is a one-sided relationship with a real person who is visually stimulating you sexually, in essence violates the spirit of the commitment to not engage in sexual activities with anyone other than your partner, in a monogamous relationship.
      Many people would say it doesn’t precisely because it is one-sided. I recognize that I am an outlier for even raising the question of whether it does.  
      On the topic of nuances, we haven’t even gotten into the whole area of the different kinds of porn available on the internet, from still pictures of nude women, to amateur porn that shows vanilla sex, to revenge porn posted without permission, to celebrity hacked porn posted without permission, to hardcore porn that terribly degrades and demeans and objectifies women.
      Can any man watch that kind of porn and not have it filter into his attitudes and actions to women in everyday life? How many porn users watch hardcore porn? Who knows, I am just raising the question.  

      Then there are the nuances of women and porn vs men and porn. I can’t cover every aspect in a single post! But thankfully Sylvana in post 10.1.1. has addressed the female side of porn.
      I still think your point of view tends to catastrophising and lacks nuance …  Until you actually see signs of a more severe problem, when a particular habit is innocuous, I would posit that no good comes from looking for worst case scenarios. It just generates fear.
      I would imagine you have seen television commercials for various prescription medicines. They show positive images of people experiencing the benefits of the medication. Then towards the end of the commercial, they announce a whole list of possible side effects, some of which are very serious. Is this wrong? Are they catastrophising and creating fear, such that a lot of people who could benefit from the medication will not use it? Or are they presenting both sides, so that people can make an INFORMED decision?
      All I am doing is pointing out that there are negative aspects to porn use, and that it is not always innocuous.  I am not discounting the fact that there are people, like  Evan in post 10.1, who uses porn in a way that is clearly innocuous and not problematic.  I just want people to be INFORMED about both sides of the story, that’s all.
      Is informing people about the negative aspects of porn use catastrophising and creating fear? What do you propose instead? That all the comments that are posted about porn use be positive only?

  14. 14
    Erica Jones

    For all who say men watch porn and it’s just what they do, stop generalising because not all men are sexually ingrained animalistic beast like you guys are potraying. Some men have control, so men watch others don’t, just as women do. Just because men are more visual doesn’t mean they all watch porn.

    Op you said you even encourage porn watching, well now you got. Be careful what you wish for. You guys say you watch porn for release, if anything you should be going to your woman, and not indulging in fantasy. Watching porn eats away at the sex drive and that has an effect in real relationships. Erotic images of porn never go away mentally as they continuously pop up throughout ones lifetime.

    You start romanticizing and fantasizing about porn with your lover and now your sex standards increase because porn creates unrealistic high expectations which in turn fail. You get aroused by these men and women in porn and now sooner or later you will compare these individuals to your lover but they don’t measure up because porn has a false reality to it. Don’t be surprised when you’re sex lives plummet and libido goes south because instead of having sex with you they rather watch porn. Don’t say I didnt warn you….. 🙂

Leave a Reply

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