Porn-Star Material

By: Jen

“You let your husband look at porn?”

The woman asked me this question with a look of horror upon her face. I was at a party, filled mostly with people younger and more radical than myself. I was also a little drunk, so instead of excusing myself to find a bathroom and escape the ensuing argument, I replied. “He’s an adult. I don’t give him permission to do things. We decide by mutual consent. And yeah, I have no problem with him watching porn.”

I wondered which stance she’d go with; that porn degrades women or that it was a type of cheating.

I wondered whether I should now go look for the bathroom. But I didn’t want to give up my chair near the pretzel bowl.

She went with B: a type of cheating. She all but came out and said, “You look nothing like a porn star, so why aren’t you threatened? Why aren’t you upset because other women are turning him on?”

I asked her if love meant never admitting you’re attracted to or being attracted to anyone else. I asked her why I should be threatened by a woman that my husband would never meet and probably not even like in real life.

It went on like that. Soon another woman joined in with the “degrading to women” argument. I respect that argument a lot more because there is porn out there that is degrading, violent and/or includes children. This isn’t the kind of porn my husband watches.

I don’t think an adult woman who chooses freely to make money with her body is degrading herself. Do I want my daughter doing it someday? No. But I also don’t want her to be a defense lawyer or a lobbyist either.

Men like variety. They like visual stimulation. They like movies with bad plots. So of course they may enjoy porn. This does not mean that they don’t like looking at their wives, even if their wives don’t look like porn stars. It’s not about finding a porn star more attractive than a real life woman. It’s about seeing someone different do something different.

And possibly a little about imagining having one of those over-sized penises that male porn stars always seem to have.

There are some basic guidelines to men and porn:

Any man who watches porn and then expects his partner to look or act the same way is an idiot.
Any man who feels he has to hide his porn from his partner has confused her with his mother.
Any man who hates porn is obviously the exception that proves my rule. Or a liar.
Any man who won’t let his partner watch his porn with him is hiding something dangerous.
Any man who would rather watch porn than have actual sex has a problem.

If your man does not fit into any of the above categories, let him get his jollies in peace. It’s really no threat to you.

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'Porn-Star Material' have 22 comments

  1. January 22, 2011 @ 8:43 pm Steph

    And here I thought I was the only woman on earth that felt the way you do.

  2. January 22, 2011 @ 9:41 pm Lindsay Dianne

    I agree that I don’t “let” my unhusband do anything or not do anything. He’s an adult.

    I had a girl get all up in my stuff because I said that I had been to a stripper and it was exactly the things you mentioned here, only it was black and white with her. It didn’t matter that there were only consenting adults involved, it was degrading and immoral and..
    well.. I just don’t live in or adhere to black and white very well, I’m afraid.

    I think it’s more about being realistic than being threatened.

  3. January 23, 2011 @ 1:46 pm Hubman

    I love your guidelines!

    These women who think porn is cheating, I can’t imagine what they’d think of those of us like Veronica and I with an open marriage- we just don’t watch others have sex, we participate!

  4. July 4, 2012 @ 12:31 pm Tracie

    Just thought I’d throw in a shout-out for those who disagree!

    It’s not about what I let or don’t let my husband do (we can agree here: I can’t make him do anything and vice versa). But I do want him to care about my heart and the health of our marriage. His choosing to avoid porn is a symbol of the commitment he made to me when we married, to put me above all others (real or imagined).

    If I chose to be okay with my husband watching porn, it would feel like “giving in.” For him, I’d see it as giving in to the lie that men can’t control themselves; and for me, I’d see it as having resigned to being less important to him (sexually or otherwise) than a stranger.

    There are tons of other things I want to say, but I don’t guess either of us will change our minds. We can agree to disagree.

    P.S. Why do we say things like, “I wouldn’t want _______ [fill-in-the-blank] for myself/my child, but to each his own”? If you wouldn’t be okay with your child becoming a porn star, why would you be okay with it for anyone’s child?

  5. July 4, 2012 @ 5:38 pm Chanize

    Thank you for providing another perspective! Certainly everyone is not going to agree with our writer’s view points. As far as someone saying “I wouldn’t want my child doing X,Y,Z” I don’t think every parent has such stringent guidelines for their ADULT children. I think we say those things when they are itty bitty things and we want to protect them from the big bad world. When they get to be 21+ we start to relax a bit and realize that we can’t control or infringe our beliefs on what they do for a living. This week You Won’t Go Blind will discuss the movie “Magic Mike” and one of our commenters touches upon the industry and those who choose, willingly, to participate in it.

  6. July 4, 2012 @ 6:07 pm e

    I have multiple conservative/religious friends that consider avoiding porn and / or stripclubs a covenant between themselves and their G-d(s) I can respect it, I don’t understand not watching it together to prime the pump in longer relationships. I guess I split the hairs of “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and the committing of the act. Many years into a monogamous relationship and sex becomes pretty standard, no matter the emotions, positions, toys. Is it bad to have the “pump primed” elsewhere if the water is drunk at home? Monogamy is not “natural” it’s puritanical social mores, imo. I’m not saying bang a porn star. I’m also not ever going to buy one book, read it and never read another book, never will buy a painting and put my eyes out to never see anything else beautiful. I don’t think it realistic that people don’t look…whether its porn or the cheerleader on the field,etc…it is human nature to *look…nothing wrong with self control, to be sure so that it remains *only a look if the touching is not acceptable to the partner. I lose nothing by a partner finding beauty elsewhere, I am not devalued by others’ beauty.

  7. July 5, 2012 @ 9:50 am Mitchtress

    I touched on porn in my own story for this site, too. It has its place, but it should be like the walls: present, remarked upon occasionally (crap, is that a stain?), changed when the time comes to redecorate, but not a threat.

    I don’t really find it to be degrading toward women, either. I’m pretty sure the women who participate in it don’t feel degraded, and frankly even if they do, it doesn’t impact me.

    Why is it that the negative behavior of a woman can impact all of us (you’re working as a porn star! That objectifies all women everywhere!) but the positive behavior of same doesn’t uplift women everywhere (you’re a surgeon! That makes us all look better!)? Why is it always the negative we have to drag around?

  8. July 5, 2012 @ 11:51 am Laurie

    porn is no better or worse than reading a romance novel… it’s not about getting your spouse to be who they are not or about cheating or objectifying or demoralizing… it’s about entertainment. and if – while watching or reading – you think… oh hey, I may want to try *that, I would lay odds you are not thinking “hey I want to try that with the person I am watching or reading about” but about trying it with your spouse. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with change within the guidelines you and your spouse agree upon.
    If my husband told me he wanted to watch porn my response wouldn’t be “oh no, what am I am doing wrong??” but probably more along the lines “oooh, let’s watch it together” if you can’t laugh during porn when can you??

  9. July 5, 2012 @ 12:18 pm eargeeknance

    I agree, it is a couples decision about viewing pron–and all about respect. if you are totally against it, and your spouse defies you, then that is a major issue–there has to be some sort of a “compromise” or understanding, because once you start having to “sneak” anything, its a problem. If there is really an issue over this, then perhaps some type of counseling is in order, because again, sneaking or hiding the truth in any shape or from in a partnership is a dangerous road-i know whereof I speak.
    I had never ever viewed any until recently, and I am not at all bothered about my hubby viewing it, and like laurie, as long as its not too “nasty” , I would and have enjoyed viewing with my hubby.

  10. July 5, 2012 @ 1:11 pm Mitchtress

    @Tracie: “If I chose to be okay with my husband watching porn, it would feel like “giving in.” For him, I’d see it as giving in to the lie that men can’t control themselves; and for me, I’d see it as having resigned to being less important to him (sexually or otherwise) than a stranger”

    I’m curious about your stance here. Do you really see looking at porn as an indication that a man can’t control himself or that it’s because you’re not enough for him?

    I hope you come back, and that you’ll answer. I’m not trying to change your opinion, just trying to understand it. :-)

  11. July 5, 2012 @ 3:32 pm Kathybat

    I want to see backup that monogamy isn’t natural.

    Like anything, porn is a mutual decision between partners, everyone may have to compromise a little, or it may be a make it or break it for someone in the relationship.

    More power to those who want to swing, but I’ve met a whole bunch who do, and only one couple who is still married. But again, as long as everyone is consenting and aware of waht is going on, it’s between them.

  12. July 5, 2012 @ 5:42 pm ILikeIt

    Wonders how many of the women opposed to porn have read the “50 Shades of Gray” books?

    While it could be argued that the book is just fantasy and there’s no harm, the same could be said about porn. I also wonder why we focus on not letting men watch porn when there are many of us women who enjoy it within reason too. While I don’t deny that porn can become a problem in a relationship, it can certainly *enhance* a relationship too.

    Last time I watched porn my husband got laid twice in one night. Certainly not the norm in our house after almost 19 years of marriage. He certainly wasn’t complaining.

  13. July 5, 2012 @ 5:58 pm Liz

    My husband and I both on occasion view a little porn. Usually together. He and I have been married for over twenty years; even I’d like to look at someone else’s boobies at this point. He finds enjoyment in seeing a beautiful naked woman; I do too, for that matter. He and I can both appreciate the sight of an attractive human being without wishing to be with that stranger or valuing that stranger more highly. I know he values me because he entrusts me with, and appreciates my efforts in, maintaining the household, caring for the children, and making our life together as pleasant as possible. Plus, he ultimately is coming to bed solely with me, regardless of whom he is looking at. That tells me that he’s placing me above all others.

    In addition, a little porn can open up discussion to things that one might ordinarily never discuss – like “I’d like to try that” or “ew, no, I don’t like that.” After two decades of marriage, it helps us to find new and interesting ways to communicate and to please one another.

    I know porn is not for everyone. Within the guidelines of the article, though, I think it’s just fine.

  14. July 5, 2012 @ 8:08 pm Tracie

    Wow! 

    @Chanize, I kinda get what you’re saying. I guess it depends on the subject. But I feel certain, when it comes to their health and well-being, I’ll care just as passionately when they’re 21 as I do now. I have a 23YO son. Even though he makes his own choices, he seeks and (I believe) values my opinions to this day. Although I can’t imagine trying to force my wants on him, my passion for his well-being hasn’t decreased. 

    @E, Jesus said its adultery when a man looks at a woman lustfully. (But he didn’t expect people who don’t follow him to behave as though they do, so I’ll do my best not to expect that either.) I agree with you though, monogamy doesn’t always come naturally. But I don’t think “natural” can be the baseline for how I behave. Otherwise why teach my kids not to bite? Or worse! I also agree that I won’t stop looking at art or reading books after I’ve enjoyed just one. But sex is different. I think we can try to say it’s less important, less soulish, and less spiritual than it is. But that doesn’t change what we know. Sex is different. 

    @Mitchtress, On your first post, I don’t know why it’s that way for women or anyone else, but the double standard is definitely there, and it definitely sucks! On your second post, I don’t think that a man looking at porn is a man who can’t control himself. I think he’s a man who’s using his nature as an excuse to abandon self-control. In other words, if everyone says it’s perfectly natural for men to watch porn, then the issue of self-control doesn’t even have to come up. He can acquit himself of wrongdoing without ever really asking the question he really ought to wrestle with. That’s why I see it as giving up. How strong are you if all you’ve ever done is cave in, if you’ve never said “no” to yourself? 

    @ILikeIt, I don’t think romance novels are harmless. I think they’re porn too. I know women have porn issues too. I believe from experience that porn is destructive to any sex. I haven’t read 50 Shades. I don’t plan on reading it. 

  15. July 5, 2012 @ 8:22 pm Kim

    I can see both sides of it. While I don’t think porn is always degrading, I can tell when a woman is uncomfortable with what she is doing. That makes is harder for me to enjoy it. If I see pain or discomfort in her face, I have to turn it off. Which makes it hard for me to watch with someone else. I was okay with the ex watching solo (and the current) but it’s not something I want to use as a tool for sex for the two of us.

  16. July 5, 2012 @ 8:26 pm ILikeIt

    RE: Adultery, I don’t lust after the people who are in the porn, I lust after my husband to GIVE ME what is in the porn.

    I’ve been known to say I’m a visual lesbian. I love a good looking woman, I appreciate the form of a female’s body far more than that of a male. Translation I think that the male sex organ is frankly a bit ugly. Functional, pleasurable, satisfying but ugly. I don’t have any bi-sexual tendencies. I have 0 interest in having sex with a woman, but I’m usually the first to comment on an attractive woman when I see one.

    I don’t see men or women viewing porn as “giving in” to anything. I’ll even admit I struggle to understand the concept that viewing porn is a lack of self control on a man’s part. I’ve come into the room long after our children are in bed and have found my husband looking at porn. Some nights I jokingly tell him to enjoy it I’m just not up for it tonight. Other nights I take a seat and later we have some fun or tell him I’m hitting the shower and he can join me there or in our room in 10.

  17. July 5, 2012 @ 8:46 pm Laurie

    what are your guidelines for porn Tracie? i read romance novels, I read trash novels, I read biographies… some of which can have sex in it. I am faithful to my husband, I love him, and many a night he benefits from something I may have read that I think might be fun to try. Now, we don’t watch porn a lot… or even often enough to be considered someone who uses it to enhance a relationship. We have watched movies, we probably will again… i’m curious as to how you feel the man is abandoning self control by watching a movie? I am being honest when I am asking for an explanation – i am struggling with your points.

  18. July 5, 2012 @ 8:58 pm e

    There are many articles on line re the “naturalness” of monogamy http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/22/opinion/la-oe-barash22-2009nov22 c&p:
    First, there can be no serious debate about whether monogamy is natural for human beings. It isn’t. A Martian zoologist visiting planet Earth would have no doubt: Homo sapiens carries all the evolutionary stigmata of a mildly polygamous mammal in which both sexes have a penchant for occasional “extra-pair copulations.”
    But natural isn’t necessarily good. Think about earthquakes, tsunamis, gangrene or pneumonia. Nor is unnatural bad, or beyond human potential. Consider writing a poem, learning a second language or mastering a musical instrument. Few people would argue that learning to play the violin is natural; after all, it takes years of dedication and hard work. A case can be made, in fact, that people are being maximally human when they do things that contradict their biology. “Doing what comes naturally” is easy. It’s what nonhuman animals do. Perhaps only human beings can will themselves to do things that go against their “nature.”

  19. July 6, 2012 @ 7:53 am Mitchtress

    I’m with ILikeIt. Well, except that I think the vagina is the ugliest orifice ever created, way uglier than the penis. For me, porn just adds a little heat to the situation; especially on an evening when I’m not averse to the idea, but getting appropriately turned on will take a while. It’s like a shortcut.

  20. July 6, 2012 @ 8:33 am Kathybat

    I’m with ILikeIt and Mitchtress…but I’ll walk both body parts are unattractive LOL. Men more so, it’s just so funny looking LOL. That’s why I’m sure they sell more playgirl magazines to gay men than they do women.

    I lust after people I see, it’s an automatic response that I can’t control, I can only decide what I do with it or not. I’ve met guys who I’d say made my lower chakra’s fly open and make grabby hands at, LOL, but it’s my decision to NOT drag them down to the floor with me.

  21. July 7, 2012 @ 8:02 pm Tracie

    @Laurie, I guess for my own purposes, porn is anything that doesn’t leave the sexual details to the imagination. So it can be a movie, or it can be words.

    I’m not sure how to explain it. Some men (and women) use nature as an excuse, in this case to watch porn. They’ll say it’s only natural to look/crave, so why should we deny ourselves. I think that’s an easy excuse. Nature isn’t making me watch it. Nature didn’t buy the movie or do the Google search. A person with a heart and a brain made a choice–and if I say I didn’t choose, that my hormones or nature or evolution made me do it… Pfft. No, it’s really a lack of self-control. I wouldn’t say no to myself.

    (And that’s not even delving into the addiction arena, which is a whole ‘nother animal.)

  22. July 8, 2012 @ 11:00 am Mitchtress

    Tracie: First, I give you huge points for coming back. Usually, when this group starts discussing somebody’s posts, the author screams and runs, never to be seen again. So, mega points!

    Second, I guess I can see using “nature” as an excuse to watch porn; my only issue is why anybody even needs an excuse. Unless you’re referring to that new, odious YOLO thing going around, that is.

    I have a BIL whose wife has a horror of porn, to the point where she is so threatened by it that she genuinely sees it as a direct betrayal if she catches him with it. Aside from the fact that he’s a complete asshole, all she has accomplished is to make it more alluring to him than it would have been if she just shrugged it off.

    Myself, I can’t see it as anything threatening unless you (general) catch your partner masturbating to it or catch them in a cyber-sex situation with another person. IMO, it’s the same as admiring another person’s physique at the gym, even if your own partner is somewhat less than perfection and has abs made of marshmallows instead of steel.


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