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March 26, 2015

Ask Me Anything: Men, Women & Porn. {Weekly Advice Column}

Bobi Bobi/Flickr

Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected].

I look forward to hearing from you!

~

Dear Erica,

First I would like to say that in no way am I a prude. I say I’m “try-sexual,” I’ll try anything once. I love sex and exploration with my partner.

I realize that when it comes to porn, it is looked at differently by gender. Men think it’s no big deal, some women are okay with it, some love it and others…abhor it, which I do. I couldn’t care less if men watch porn or not…unless I am in a relationship with him and I feel very sorry for other women who are stuck with a guy who does it.

I feel deeply that if a guy feels the need to watch porn when he’s in a relationship with me, he no longer needs to be and won’t be for long.

I feel that if a man insists on watching porn, it’s an open invitation for his wife or girlfriend to seek another sexual partner without it being considered cheating. In my opinion…they’re loyalty ends as soon as they hit play (if they were even loyal to begin with). How can watching other women and masturbating to them not be considered betrayal?

I would love for every guy who does watch porn to be forced to watch one starring either his mother, his daughter or his significant other.

Would men really be ok if the tables were turned?

~ Try-Sexual

 

Dear Try,

There’s no doubt about it, porn is a “hot button” issue. It sparks great debate and emotion among people of every gender.

Personally, I am not a fan. As you point out, the women in porn are not just nameless, faceless people—they are daughters, wives and mothers (as well as sons, husbands and fathers), and I can never set aside the fact of their human-ness long enough to find such material erotic. It merely saddens me.

Many disagree with me, particularly men.

While I do not believe in imposing my beliefs on others, this is a tricky subject, because two partners in a romantic relationship often have such different opinions about it. So the question becomes, how should people reconcile those differences? Each couple will respond to this question differently, some more and some less effectively.

Some things partners might ask each other to clarify points of view are:

How important is porn to you?

Do you like watching porn frequently, occasionally or not at all?

How would you feel if porn was taken out of the equation?

What, if anything, bothers you about porn?

If your watching porn feels hurtful to me, is it still appealing to you to do it? Why?

Is there any kind of porn that is more or less objectionable to you? What kind and why?

Do your feelings change based on the context of the porn? (i.e.; Is it better if we watch it together? Is it better if I watch it alone?)

Each partner has a responsibility to be compassionate and open toward the needs of the other, and asking questions like these (calmly, without  judgment) helps determine if there is enough common ground to make things work.

If there is not, it might be time to consider moving on.

 

Dear Erica,

An old boyfriend recently got in touch with me. We had a terrible break up—I caught him cheating on me—and we haven’t spoken in over five years.

He reached out to me on Facebook, sending me a friend request, but no message along with it.

I am very confused. Why is he contacting me now? Does he really want to be “friends”?

Just seeing his name and his picture was very painful to me, but I’d feel rude if I just didn’t respond at all. On the other hand, I am curious as to what he’s been up to. What happened was a long time ago and I have moved on. We did share many good years before things went bad.

Should I friend my ex?

~ Not a Friend

 

Dear Not a Friend,

There is no harm in friending your ex if you truly have moved on, but the fact that seeing his name and picture causes you pain tells me that you haven’t.

I have no idea what his motives are, and I realize it is tempting to re-connect with people from our romantic pasts, but if doing so would unravel the hard work you’ve done to heal after he cheated on you I would resist the temptation.

If you can’t resist, be prepared for old emotions to flare up once again. Only you can decide if this Pandora’s box is worth opening.

 

Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Bobi bobi/Flickr

 

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