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Why is there no middle ground when it comes to porn?

Tagged as: Pornography<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 August 2010) 199 Answers - (Newest, 29 April 2011)
A female Australia age 26-29, anonymous writes:

ok, so my question is simply 'why is there no middle ground when it comes to porn?' It seems there are two sides, those for porn, and those totally against it. I have read many a question about porn on here, and there are the guys and some women who say its ok, its not a threat, its normal etc. And those (mostly women) who say its not normal, women shouldn't have to put up with it if they dont want to and that the guy should stop looking if it hurts his partner. But why are they the only options? Stay and put up with it or leave in the hopes you'll find someone who also doesnt like it. What about compromise? What about the realisation that trying to change someone is fruitless. And that if someone does change to make the partner happy, they may end up resenting that anyway? I know for myself, i am ok with porn itself. I use it myself sometimes. Not because im unhappy with my fiance or our sex life, but because sometimes when im home alone i just want to do it. My fiance sometimes uses it (like mayb once a wk...) it doesnt affect our sex life, it doesnt affect our relationship. Its a maybe half hour thing every so often. Logically, not really a 'big deal' when you think about how much time we spend together and how often we have sex and for how long. I know sometimes (usually when my hormones go stupid) i get upset over it and cause a fight. I can admit im not always 100% ok with porn, but i know that at least 90% of the time i am. The reasons we had issues over it were because my partner lied about it to start with. Like alot of guys do. Eventually he realised it was in fact his lying that i hated, far more then the knowledge he'd sometimes use porn. The other issue was that id worry that he would start using it more, or choose it over me etc. The things ive read on here. And instead of there being answers that would help the gal work through it with her partner, the majority were 'get over it' or 'you deserve better' Why? If you've been with someone years, you love them, everything else is good, why allow a guys use of porn destroy that? Fair enough if it is actually affecting the relationship due to overuse, choosing that over his woman, looking up disturbing things etc. But looking every so often, is that really worth splitting over? I know if my man lied to me again id be upset, but i wouldn't want to just leave because of a lie. I would rather work through it. And we talked about porn a while ago and reached an agreement so that i know he wont lie, and also that it wont reach a point where he's picking it over me or anything else i was worried about. He is perfectly happy and more then able to stick to an agreement that works well for both of us. And i trust he is, and so far he hasn't broken that trust. We compromised so i didnt have to panic and think he'd pick porn over me (which he never had) of course i went through the feelings that i wasn't good enough, of course i couldn't understand why he'd be willing to lie and hurt me over porn. But i realised that it is something he's done since long before we were together, and expecting that he would stop or change was unfair of me to ask. I love the man i met, i dont have any need or want to change him. I may not love the man he became if he tried. I wasn't willing to give up a great relationship over porn, even when he was lying (and i detest lying) Once he realised that part, he realised that for us to be happy together, or stay together, all it would take is honesty. I dont feel the need to question him about it and if i do, he doesnt lie (and yes, i do know that for a fact) I understand its personal, i dont need details. I have the knowledge that he'd prefer me and will not choose porn instead or over me. I know he doesnt wish me to hurt over it. Hence, we worked things through. A better option that leaving the man i love because he sometimes looks at porn. So why cant there be middle ground? Why is it so often just anti porn or totally for it? I was told i was lying about my own feelings because i asked a question over porn. That if i was truely ok with it i wouldn't need to ask anything. Thing is, im not lying about my feelings. I know my feelings. Much better then someone reading a question and making an assumption. I was reading an article someone had posted about retroactive porn where the aunts and uncles could nut it out, so that there weren't arguements on ppls questions, and i think perhaps there should also be one over porn. As i dont think its helpful to the poster having ppl argue on their thread just because ppl have different opinions. One person isn't right over another. Thats why its called a personal opinion...

View related questions: fiance, porn, sex life

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 April 2011):

"Since most people consider cybersex (even with someone you will never meet) cheating but porn is absolutely not cheating, is that an allusion to the idea that women in porn seem less than human?"

That's quite a philosophical question and depending on how view it, you can view it either way. To me the men and women in porn are people in their everyday lives but in that movie they're a fantasy, Robert Pattison is a real person but in Twilight he's Edward Cullen a vegetarian, effeminate, over emotional, gimp of a vampire that sparkles in the sun. Do I hold as much contempt for the actor as I do the character he portrays in that movie? No because that's just a role he's playing. I wish him every success as a person (and also that girls would shut up about him).

Just because I choose to have no emotional attachment nor give the slightest crap about the men or women in a porn I'm watching doesn't mean if I met them in real life they'd be any less of a person to me. It doesn't mean that if I sat down and actually thought about them that way that I wouldn't hope they have a good fulfilling life, but I don't do that. Do I dehumanize them somewhat? Of course. Why would I worry about their feelings or any of that nonsense, why would I attach an emotional significance to them? You do have to objectify them otherwise it defeats the purpose of watching porn, what use is a fantasy when you attach to it, that level of reality. I mean who can watch O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun films without thinking "You filthy rotten piece of murdering scum" because of what he did? I know I can't get lost in the fantasy of him being a slapstick comedy cop.

Look I'm not the kind of guy that gets off on degradation and pain, it's just not my thing. If I even get the hint that's going on in the porn I'm viewing I'll turn it off. If I was to know that the actress/actor in it was a drug addicted, abuse victim then I wouldn't watch it. But I'm not going to spend hours trying to find that out when all I want is quick wank.

Cybersex is very different because that is a real person with feelings and emotions, that's a person that is getting off on you and you with them. The mutual aspect is what makes that wrong, plus with porn there is absolutely no chance of another person getting off on you. Online interactions are as real as real life if the other person is real. Things you say on Facebook for example are real sentiments directed at real people. When you go on skype and you video chat with someone that's a real person you are talking to. A film, porn or not is not real. They may be having real sex, just like an action hero is throwing a real punch but neither have a connection. The people in that porn are acting out the sex and pleasure just like that action hero is acting out making that guys head explode with his punch.

Cybersex is real interaction and getting off on a real person who is specifically doing that for you. Porn is a premade fake, what you're looking at is not a person, it's a character in a movie, that that actress performed a long time ago.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (28 April 2011):

dirtball agony auntHaving not checked back here in quite a while, I've got some thoughts to share about your last post person12345.

To me, it's not just the women in porn that are interchangable, but the men too. Often they are nothing more than a hard cock. Is that objectification? Pretty much. Of course, I realize they are people, but the details about them just aren't interesting, and therefore aren't relevant to what I'm watching. It's what they are doing that matters. It doesn't matter what style or genre we're discussing in my view.

With regard to cybersex, the reason I find that closer to cheating than porn is it's a sexual conversation, with the intent of getting a sexual release, with someone other than your partner. In porn, you're watching paid actors having sex. You are not interacting with them (excluding webcam stuff and that's another issue entirely). It's not real time, and there's no person on the other end responding to what you type. It's not that the people in porn are objects as much as they are actors paid for their craft. They create a fantasy environment like any other movie does. At least in my opinion.

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A female reader, Calliopee Canada +, writes (24 March 2011):

Calliopee agony auntI was really happy to come across this gem of a conversation. There are alot of really good points made here. I often times feel like a huge hypocrite when it comes to porn. I watch it on occasion myself, probably more so than my boyfriend who probably only watches it once or twice a month, but it does sometimes upset me that he watches it. I understand my insecurities, and due to this I try to make as little trouble about it as possible for him.

I think the biggest thing for me, is knowing that I have an extremely over-active sex drive which he doesn't share. He's completely normal and is very satisfied with a sex life that includes sex if not every day, then almost every day. I on the other hand could have sex anytime anywhere. To be completely honest, if we had sex a couple of times a day I would probably never watch porn instead of once every couple of weeks. I'm an extremely sexual person, up for basically anything except a threesome.

There are only two things that really hurt me when I think about him watching porn. The first of these is when he is watching it. To me it would be completely unacceptable for him to watch porn with me at home, or even when he knows that I will be home in a couple of hours. That to me is saying that I'm not important enough for him to wait for the real deal. Plus, having the sex drive that I have, I feel like I'm losing out if he is doing that without me when it is a possibility for me to be getting off by getting him off!

There are times when we don't have sex, I just do things for him, and I'm the one that's asking him to do these things. I enjoy making him happy and keeping him satisfied. There are times when I just want him to sit back and relax and let me take care of it because just doing those things for him gets me off. All he has to do is be there!

The second thing that bugs me is the type of porn he's watching. For me, when I watch porn it's more about just that little quick sexual release. I just throw something on and in about a minute or two I have absolutely no trouble getting off. I'm not really thinking about either of the participants in the porno, it's just that looking at the act of sex helps me visualize and imagine better myself and my boyfriend doing these things. I'm not in any way thinking about wanting to be with either of those people, but seeing them get off is hot. Thinking about doing those things with my boyfriend really turns me on. So the thing that I worry about, like most girls, is that he's not watching it in that way. I worry that when he sees those girls he compares them to me, and I just can't live up to it. I worry that I might not be enough.

When it all comes down to it, there's definitely a middle ground. I'm a firm believer that if something like that is really truly making your partner upset and anxious and it's having an extreme effect on your relationship, you either cut it out, or maybe you guys can't make it work, but I am a huge fan of compromise.

As long as he doesn't use it when he could be having sex with me I don't see it as a huge deal. I'm a flesh and blood woman who is willing to explore all his fantasies with a very open mind, so if he's not choosing me over the porn he's just crazy anyway. I would never choose porn over him and I would expect the same to be true for him.

While it's still something that I'd rather not think about, it does come up from time to time causing me that extra little bit of anxiety, but that fades. I remind myself that it's something that I do myself and I don't love him any less or feel any less attracted to him for it. So if he's keeping me satisfied and making me feel like am attractive, what is there really to worry about?

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (7 March 2011):

person12345 agony auntHere's some food for thought:

Since most people consider cybersex (even with someone you will never meet) cheating but porn is absolutely not cheating, is that an allusion to the idea that women in porn seem less than human? I've heard people talk about how women in porn aren't real, and one poster on a different question said he can't remember them at all, they are just interchangeable body parts.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (6 March 2011):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I haven't checked back on this post for a long time. Apologies to the last two posters. I'm sorry to hear of both situations. As with everything an overuse of porn is bad . As far as i'm concerned if its used more then the couple doing stuff themselves its too much. When you live together anyway. And yes there is a time and place. I'd be mad if hubby did it when i'm home. I'm there and can satisfy him if wanted. Using porn when your partner is home is disrespectfull in my opinion.

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A female reader, Julliet Canada +, writes (1 December 2010):

Julliet agony auntI honestly have to say when I first met my boyfriend I was shocked at the many porn he had. However, it didn't bother me since I used porn to get myself off. We are in our fifth year and living together. I absolutely hate it when he watches porn and the kids are playing in the next room. I just about flip over that one. He can watch porn at certain times because as a human that's his choice the consequence is what he's got to worry about. If he can't satisfy me (everynite make me cum, or I'll shut the bathroom door and leave him out of it) then we'll have problems. Yes sometimes it's feels good to do it by yourself. There is nothing wrong with that, but some men don't seem to understand there's a time and place for everything. They think any place any time. Then if it's any place any time they should be okay with giving it you while their parents are sleeping in the next room meanwhile you're screaming fuck me harder, oh god, and Oh John (no time to say oh John Jr. or Oh John Sr.). In conclusion, not everyone is alike find out what you like and what your partner likes and if it's not compatible you're only setting yourself up for heartaches....just my opinion.

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A female reader, Catflap1 United Kingdom +, writes (24 November 2010):

I had a battle with my partner over it all for a while. He was getting divorced when we met and had not had a satisfying sexual relationship with his wife for years. He over did the porn massively and it really upset me. I think he used it to make himself feel better but it did our relationship no favours. I used to find a crispy towel by the computer (eeeeoooow) and he would make a lot of sexual comments and stare at other women while we were out. Thankfully it was a phase and he got over it. Once he stopped the porn the other things stopped as well. Honestly it was awful. He once said to a friend of mine that he wanted her to walk more slowly down our open stairs because he wanted to see her pussy. I almost died and nearly left him. That is really shocking I know. He doesn't even remember saying it. He was suicidally depressed at the time, probably a bit mad. Now he is normal and I thank God I managed to get through it with him. Now we sometimes talk about threesomes and what we would do but he will call me and tell me that it would break his heart in reality because he only wants me. I can hardly believe we got through and found a balance. If he does do porn it is not affecting our relationship, which to me means he probably doesn't do much. Before it definately did as you can see so you were right to be concerned and check this out.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (20 November 2010):

dirtball agony auntYes, I'd still do it but not very often. There are other reasons behind the behavior that don't all revolve around sexual satisfaction. It is a stress relief. I also use it to help improve sexual stamina so that I can perform better and last longer.

Really, it depends on the relationship. I've had 2 girlfriends in my life with similar sex drives to me. One told me she never wanted me to masturbate because she wanted all that saved for her. As such, I rarely did, but I didn't give it up entirely. The other one loved it. She also loved porn. She got turned on watching me masturbate. She asked me to do it for her.

I've found that I will do it no matter what. The more sexually satisfied I am, the less I will do it, but sometimes it really just feels good to not worry about anything but yourself. Even if a partner told me they only wanted to please me and that I shouldn't worry about their orgasm, I wouldn't be able to do that. So selfish orgasms I give to myself.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 November 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

haven't checked this question for a while.. Yeah threesomes most definately a bad idea... So in your opinion dirtball, if you had a gf who would satisfy you quite happily, enjoyed doing it, and wanted to do stuff every day (if not more) would you still feel the need to do something yourself? Is it something guys tend to do no matter what? (well most guys) I just dont want this once a wk thing to turn into a problem. At the moment its not, but it concerns me reading so many issues on this site that it'd become worse.. Hopefully wont..

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (2 November 2010):

dirtball agony auntHoly crap! I think we just had breakthrough time didn't we! I'm very glad that there are women like you out there. I hope to meet one of my own someday. I'm also glad it seems like you've found the source of your feelings about his porn use/masturbation. That's awesome.

FWIW, I agree with your views on the threesome route. Not good in a committed relationship. I made that mistake once and won't again. Well, I should say that it may work for certain people, but not everyone. The thrill was definitely not worth the consequence.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 October 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

well dirtball, now you know there are women like us out there. Lol. And that has touched upon the main reason porn bothered me. I gave so much, and i really honestly love getting my guy off. So when he does it himself it sometimes feels like he's taking that pleasure away from me. Which i guess is why it seemed like i wasn't good enough. The only thing sexually i have said i'd never do is a threesome. He reckons he doesnt want that anyway (something about respect and fear of losing me) So if its not that his sexual needs aren't getting met then it felt like he didnt like what we did or that he didnt want me to do it cause it wasn't good enough. Even though he says he prefers what i do or what we do together. But it sometimes seems like i dont do enough or its not good enough and thats why he does it himself as well. I know its not but thats how it seemed for a long time

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (28 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntSad, I know. Actually, I can think of one time it happened and one time it almost did. Once it happened on accident, but fortunately for me we were in a 69 and she was having one at the same time so she didn't care. Another told me she swallowed before going down, but gave me the worst head I've ever gotten. It was painful and as much as I wanted to cum I just couldn't. She wouldn't take directions either... I know, some real winners.

I think I just have bad luck in this department. I've even dated a couple of girls who flat out refused to even try. It sucks when you feel like a sex offender with your partner because you want something they won't give.

To bring things back, that's part of the reason I use porn. It's been 15 years since I've had a partner who had the same sexual appetite as me. When I take care of myself, I pressure my partner for sex less and I feel less like a sex fiend. *sigh* I need a GF like you ladies...

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 October 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

you've never had a gf allow you to finish in her mouth? :O Wow. I thought that was the norm?? Maybe thats why my guy loves it so much lol. He also prefers bj's over handjobs. But sex over both.. Mind u foreplay usually involves a bj anyway

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (28 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntGood point Gabrielle. Let me rephrase, your attitude about sex is special. As is yours Smiliek. I hope to meet a woman with similar feelings toward sex someday.

Do guys prefer a handjob or bj when getting a "release?"

This guy prefers a bj. Honestly, I prefer a good bj to sex because you can do so much more with your mouth. At the same time, I've never had a GF who was willing to let me finish in her mouth so because of that I have a tendency to not "release" when I'm getting a bj. I'm sure that could change with the right partner though.

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A male reader, alex74 United States +, writes (28 October 2010):

alex74 agony aunt@Gabrielle- I vote BJ any day. However, for release sometimes a handjob is needed to finish. That may be because of partner BJ technique or endurance though. There's just something about a woman taking you in her mouth that can't compare.

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A female reader, Gabrielle Stoker United States +, writes (28 October 2010):

Gabrielle Stoker agony aunt@dirtball Maybe I'm a manipulative psycho too. I wouldn't be too quick to say I'm not.

I'd like the guy's perspective here - when you're just looking for a 'release' and not for full-on sex, do you prefer your girls to give you a handjob or a blowjob?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 October 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

well i never turn my guy down if he wants a bj or handjob, even when he doesnt wanna do anything back. I enjoy pleasuring him.. He tells me his orgasms are better when we do stuff together then when he does it himself. But i know what you mean with holding back. He'll often (in sex) stop himself from coming a few times before letting it go. But he reckons that builds up his pleasure as well as mine. This discussion is good.. The more we've talked about the more i understand. And the less it ever seems to bother me =)

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (27 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntYou're a special girl Gabrielle, and I envy your partner. The only girl I've met who had a similar attitude to you as far as sex turned out to be a manipulative psycho. That relationship never would have lasted so long if the sex wasn't so spectacular...

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A female reader, Gabrielle Stoker United States +, writes (27 October 2010):

Gabrielle Stoker agony aunt"Kind of, but not really. Neither does a handjob. Still, I'd much prefer these activities to my hand. It's just rare (in my experience) to find a partner willing to give and not be worried about their own pleasure"

I don't know...I'd never turn down a request for a handjob I think (not from a complete stranger, I mean, but you understand). It's just not done.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (27 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntGood questions, and no you're not all alone, I keep checking in and referring people in situations similar to yours back to this thread.

Can a guy have enough sex that he doesn't need to masturbate?

Yes and no. I've found that (at least in my case) the more sexually satisfied I am, the less I feel the urge to masturbate. Still, I don't stop completely. I think it's the self gratification, as well as the release. I love sex with a partner, but sometimes it's nice to not have to worry about pleasing anyone else. It can just be some "me time." Except for with a couple of people, my orgasms are often more intense when I give them to myself. Part of the reason why is that I'm not trying to hold it back to make sure I don't orgasm too fast or anything like that.

Another reason why I continue to masturbate, even in a sexually satisfying relationship is to "train" myself to not cum quickly. It's a way for us to hopefully make ourselves better lovers to our partner.

If he's not horny, why does he still masturbate?

That's a little more difficult. I have a couple of thoughts about this as I've found myself doing this at times. It becomes routine. Say someone masturbates ever night before bed. It can be difficult for them to get to sleep if they don't do it because it's a part of their routine. Another reason is because they're addicted to the feeling. That's what I'd call a compulsive masturbator. They will try to rub one out even if they aren't even hard. Because he's bored. Boredom does weird things to people and if there is nothing better to do, why not?

Doesn't sex or a blowjob do the same thing?

Kind of, but not really. Neither does a handjob. Still, I'd much prefer these activities to my hand. It's just rare (in my experience) to find a partner willing to give and not be worried about their own pleasure. Sometimes we want to be completely selfish, and I've found that's best left to good ol' Rosy Palms. I would love to meet someone who would show me that's not the case for everyone, but until I meet her, I'll be stuck doing things this way.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 October 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Im all by myself now :( I just wonder, would a guy ever get sex etc that often that he would never feel the urge to do it himself? My fiance reckons he doesnt do it because he's horny (and we do stuff at least every day) I think thats my main confusion. If your not turned on, horny etc, why masturbate? What does it do? I get that its a release, but isn't sex or blowjobs the same release? That confuses me a tad. Dunno why i just dont get it

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (13 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntWelcome back Mia. Glad you got everything sorted out!

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (13 October 2010):

Miamine agony auntI'm here... sorry guys had a problem with a little irritating net nanny, give me some time to catch up and read what you've all been talking about.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (8 October 2010):

person12345 agony auntRandomly from a cool blog (http://www.antipornmen.org/), apparently awhile ago some guy who worked as a porn reviewer for Hustler magazine opened up about his job, and had some pretty interesting things to say:

http://dir.salon.com/story/health/sex/urge/2000/01/18/hustler/ (3 pages long)

http://www.laweekly.com/2000-04-06/news/scenes-from-my-life-in-porn/ (12 pages long)

Hustler is put out by Larry Flynt, who is about as anti-woman as it gets (at least Hugh Hefner tries to pretend he doesn't feel the same). He has some pretty beautiful lines:

“There are those who say illogic is the native tongue of anything with tits…[women] speak not from the heart but from the gash, and chances are that at least once a month your chick will stop you dead in your tracks with a masterpiece of cunt rhetoric…the one surefire way to stop those feminine lips from driving you crazy is to put something between them–like your cock, for instance.”

and

"Women are here to serve men. Look at them, they got to squat to piss. Hell, that proves it."

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (8 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntI agree. It is lazy. It also becomes harder to fantasize if you're constantly bombarding yourself with these images. The problem in my life is that I haven't found many women with comparable sex drives. Most of the women I've been with have drastically lower sex drives. I try to hold out but eventually I can't take it. It usually is a driving factor in us splitting up. In the rare instances where I've found women who had comparable sex drives I rarely felt the need to masturbate. Ahhh, it's a shame that one was a psycho, and the I made bad choices with the other. That's a whole other topic though.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (7 October 2010):

person12345 agony auntYes it is a lot faster and easier. I know, I've actually had a significant amount of experience with this too. What I'm saying is that it's just sad that it's so deeply embedded in people's sexuality that some people literally cannot tell the difference between masturbation and porn and that's not healthy. I see people completely unable to tell the difference in these posts. I know it's easier with porn, but the fact that many men (and some women) could just take an extra 5 minutes and use their imagination (you could even think about your partner, or faceless people doing whatever it is you like) and the whole problem with hurting their partner would go away is kind of sad. It also shows that the issue isn't about masturbation in most cases, it's about the porn. It's kind of like saying, meh your feelings aren't worth 5 minutes of my time. I'm fairly certain it's not just a matter of ease for most people, I'm 99% certain it's something else at least for most, based on anecdotes from men and women, plus several suverys, and interviews I've conducted. Maybe for you it is, but almost every guy I've talked to says that they aren't even horny when they do it most of the time, they just feel "compelled" to (these aren't addicts I'm talking to either) and don't know why. The more honest ones say it's because they feel like they need to fantasize about having sex with other women. Like it's not even about a sex drive, horniness, or a release, it's about this need to basically cheat on their partner in a way that she can't call him on.

There was a fascinating study done years ago where this woman dealt with people who had "super libidos" meaning they HAD to orgasm at least twice a day (men and women, but mostly men). She basically forced them go cold turkey for a month and it turned out their "libidos" were actually just ingrained habits having nothing to do with horniness. And that the feeling of needing to masturbate daily regardless of how much sex they were having was actually much stronger than it would be if they were just horny. And once they broke the habit, they all reported a much better sex life. Every single person in the study (there were several hundred). I know people should be able to masturbate whenever they want to, it's their body and all, but I don't understand why it's so difficult to wait a few hours for your partner (unless you're one of the guys who feels the need to mentally cheat, or dating someone who just doesn't want sex that much). Me and my partner wait unless it's longer than three days, and it makes everything SO much better. We make sex a much higher priority than other couples seem to and the anticipation is better. At times it's a bit of a pain, but it's totally worth it. It's the only relationship of mine that this has been the case for, and the sex is a million times better and it's obvious to me that's a major reason. It was actually his idea to do, but it really made a difference for me. It seems a little weird to me to squander all that build-up on 10 minutes of not as much fun as sex, especially on a daily or almost daily basis.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (7 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntI agree to a point. I think part of the appeal of porn with regard to masturbation is that it is easy and highly accessable. Can I masturbate without it? Sure. The thing is that it takes longer. At least for me. If I just want to make it fast, having a visual stimulus makes things much easier. It doesn't need to be porn, but having something to look at can also help direct fantasy. Heck, it could be the underwear model in the Shopko add. It's just something to use to kick things off.

Like I said below. Part of my usual method when I'm not using porn is to fantasize about past experiences. Personally, that would bother me more then someone using porn because it means they are thinking about other people who they have actually BEEN with. I'll never likely meet any of the girls I've watched in porn.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (7 October 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"For many men porn is equated with masturbation in their mind."

I honestly don't mean offense when I say this, but I hear this a lot and it's very sad to me. People have been masturbating since the beginning of our existence, and it's only recently that pornography has become the norm to use. Obviously some form of porn has always been around, but for most of human history it was not used as much as a masturbation aid, but more just as something to look at think about later or something. Furthermore it was mostly the wealthy who could afford this luxury and it most certainly wasn't an every single time I masturbate thing. Plus up until very recently, it was all inanimate. The fact that so many equate porn with masturbation, that one cannot be without the other, just shows how deeply porn has warped our sexuality and from a really young age. It's kind of like equating McDonalds with eating. I've been saying this for awhile, but nowadays the porn industry completely dictates a lot of people's sexuality from a very young age, before they even have a chance to discover it for themselves. It's just depressing to me that big businesses are defining something so individual and personal.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (7 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntHa! Just because they happen doesn't mean they need to be accepted. I see people who don't pay their taxes every day. Death is hard to cheat though.

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A female reader, eyeswideopen United States +, writes (6 October 2010):

eyeswideopen agony auntOh yeah DB? What about death and taxes? Huh?

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (6 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntNobody ever has to accept anything they don't want to. I do believe that a lot of people believe that someone may have to accept something but the truth is that it is your right as an individual to make your own choices as to what you'll accept or not. It really is that black and white.

The grey enters in when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Since no two people are exactly the same, there will always be areas where people need to compromise. I know that I've accepted things I wasn't happy about in the name of love. I've tried open relationships so my GF could have flings with other guys despite the fact that I didn't want to and it hurt me. I loved her and wanted to be happy with her. I also learned that I won't ever do that again. Porn is similar. While some people may view it as cheating, others may embrace it and want to share it with their partner. I've experienced both sides of this. It is not purely a guy thing, even though it is a pretty hefty majority of men who consume porn.

OP, remember, a guy who will turn down his willing partner for porn has a serious problem. I like porn and consume it regularly, however if I have a willing partner, I'm ready to do anything she wants. Not everyone who uses porn is oblivious to how it may affect their partner. Thats a major motivation for men to hide it. We've learned it isn't accepted by many women, and therefore think that if you don't know about it, it won't hurt you. Lies of ommission. One thing I've learned through this discussion is that these can be just as hurtful. In a lot of ways it's a no win situation for either partner.

For many men porn is equated with masturbation in their mind. By asking them to give up porn, you're asking them to stop masturbating. The two go hand in hand (pun slightly intended). It goes back to the personal nature of the act of masturbation that was discussed a while ago. Since this is something personal, it shouldn't bother you because it really doesn't have anything to do with you. It's our little personal release.

The inability to accept that porn is not a problem for some individuals will cause many women problems in future relationships. Many men watch porn fairly regularly. It has almost become a fact of life. It isn't that she needs to accept her partner uses it, but it would help her if she could come at the topic with a level head and in a spirit of compromise. Nobody likes to be told what they can and cannot do. I do believe that how the topic is approached is really important in the level of honesty she will receive. If we don't feel the need to get defensive or hide, we won't in most cases.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (6 October 2010):

person12345 agony auntI've been reading around on this site for a long time, and the amount of entitlement many of these men feel about their porn use is astounding. It's been so solidly drilled into most of them that they assume that any woman who has a problem with it is mentally ill or weird, and therefore her feelings aren't legitimate. Or that there a million other women out there who don't care about porn. Or that women are so insecure why even bother trying? I know dirtball brought up a good point, that you can't cave to everything. But this is pretty high level emotional pain some women are feeling. I've heard some women say it honestly hurts more than being cheated on. I've even pretty rarely heard a woman say she's willing to accept his porn use 100% without any qualms. I've heard numerous women say they're OK with it, until they think about it and then it hurts. But so long as they don't think about it, it's OK. Or that they're fine, other than the fact that it destroys their self-esteem, but they don't want to seem prude or controlling. Something about the idea that women should HAVE to accept this in their relationships, regardless of how it makes them feel, really bothers me. Partially because it's a woman-specific thing, even though porn is only a man's thing because that's how society tells us it is. It is his right to use, but only as much as it is also his right to sleep with anyone who consents regardless of relationship status. I just find it very sexist that a woman should have to accept anything on this magnitude of hurt just because she's a woman.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 October 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

im also still reading it.. But where is miamine?? =( Of course women feel uncomfortable talking about porn use and how it makes us feel to our partner. More often then not we are cut down and told we need to get over it and that it has nothing to do with us. Even when the guy isn't addicted and uses it only sometimes, its still something that he makes his partner feel bad about if she brings it up. In my case, he lied about it for ages and hence made me feel like it was a problem since i was getting lied to, and it shot my selfesteem (which was already low) and now that he's not lying to me, and ive accepted the use of porn sometimes etc etc, when i do feel low and bring that up it can still cause an arguement. He cant learn to try and help build my selfesteem back up because if i mention other women he gets defensive. Its like an automatic reaction. He cant seem to seperate porn, and my selfesteem issues. To me they are completely different. His lying about it didnt help, but ive always been insecure. It doesnt mean i want him to stop looking. But i do want him to stop allowing it to be an issue (since it was his lies that made it one) Difference in the emotional area of the brain perhaps? I can seperate the problem from what caused it or made it worse, but to my guy its one and the same.. Perhaps thats how it is with many guys?? They see their woman cry because she gets turned down for porn, and hide or lie about porn which makes it worse, and instead of giving her the reassurance and attention she needs (ie not pick porn over her) he does stick his head in the sand. I know id rather have an honest discussion about porn or anything else where opinions differ then be lied to. I'll accept porn in a relationship, if it isn't ever picked instead of me or used over me. And if its not lied about. Somehow guys need to learn to stop allowing it to be a taboo subject so that it can be discussed in relationships

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (5 October 2010):

dirtball agony auntI'm still reading it. :-)

I think that's because of the fact that it's viewed as "taboo." These are conversations that need to take place in a relationship. It makes the relationship stronger if both parties lay out their expectations for eachother.

Everyone, not just men, are trained to hide and ignore it. It's that dirty little secret that keeps getting swept under the rug.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (5 October 2010):

person12345 agony auntNot that anyone is reading this anymore, but I just stumbled onto a really interesting study from 1999, and I'm just going to copy and paste the abstract here. If I was doing the study I'd personally have picked a larger sample size, but from what journal she published in I'm going to guess she didn't have much funding.

Men's leisure and women's lives: the impact of pornography on women

Author: Susan M. Shaw

Abstract

The issue of pornography as a form of leisure practice has received little attention from researchers. In this study, the impact of pornography consumption on women's lives was examined. A diverse group of thirty-two women was interviewed, with discussion focusing on their individual experiences, meanings, and perceptions of pornography. The women's reactions to pornography, especially to violent pornography, were consistently negative. Pornography elicited fear reactions, had a negative effect on women's identities and on their relationships with men, and was seen to reinforce sexist attitudes among men. Despite this, many of the women felt that their opinions were not 'legitimate', and overt resistance to pornography was often muted. The findings are discussed in terms of the role of pornography in the reproduction of gender, the ideology of individualism, and the potential for resistance among women.

The thing I found interesting is that the women were in pretty much unanimous agreement that it was negative in pretty much every way, but were equally unanimous that they didn't feel comfortable talking about it with their partners.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (30 September 2010):

dirtball agony auntI think you're right person12345, there is a bit of the ostrich syndrome going on here. I have some thoughts on this question though: "If she's already insecure and that makes it worse, why wouldn't he want to make her feel better?"

This is a slippery slope. Yes, it is good to try and make her feel better, but by caving to those insecurities, you're opening yourself up to being controlled further by them. An example. I had a GF who hated me looking at other girls. It got to the point of unhealthy. If we were looking at posters together and I flipped past one with a girl on it, she would get jealous. Like I was supposed to cut my eyes out so I could never look at anyone else. Yet, she could comment about any guy she wanted and tell me how hot they were... Sometimes by caving to irrational insecurities, you reinforce the behavior. When you really have nothing to be jealous about, why the need to make someone stop doing something?

This isn't to say I don't understand your points, I'm just proposing the other side.

My brother gave me my favorite analogy for strippers that is so good I think it's worth sharing here (since they were brought up). Strippers are like plastic fruit. They are alright to look at, but really, what good are they?

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (30 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"Why should the guys happiness over rule the womans? If she's already insecure and that makes it worse, why wouldn't he want to make her feel better?"

I've been asking myself this question for a long time. Obviously it's very hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes. It's probably difficult to understand how something that feels so good to you can hurt someone else so much. Furthermore, since they were teens (maybe earlier) all they've been taught is that men look at porn. Men should look at porn. All men look at porn. And it's deeply ingrained. I do see frequently though, that even once they do understand how much it hurts, they still continue to do it. It seems to be some kind of weird idea that if they can just figure out some way to hide it better, then it's somehow fixed. When really, it isn't. It's like an ostrich sticking its head in the ground.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 September 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks very much dirtball =) i just wanted to add to miamine (slighty off topic) that its not that i wont let my fiance visit a strip club, its that to him me having male strippers is almost cheating, so he also doesnt think its fair that he has them. He reckons if his mates get them then he's leaving the party. He's not interested in them as he doesnt want me to... Anyway, back to the porn discussion haha... I still cant understand why men allow their partners to hurt over it (if they do) Why should the guys happiness over rule the womans? If she's already insecure and that makes it worse, why wouldn't he want to make her feel better?

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (29 September 2010):

dirtball agony auntOK Friends, we're opened back up. I just wanted to post a reminder to everyone to keep it civil. I haven't seen anything like that in a while, but it's still worthy of a reminder.

So, without further delay, please let the conversation continue.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (15 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"Question- those antiporn, are you also completely against strip clubs etc?"

I'm not completely against porn or strip clubs. If porn existed in a vacuum where there were no similarities between what happened in porn and what happened in the real world, there wouldn't be as big of a problem. I'm not against people watching other people have sex or what have you. It's just the way it's portrayed and how available it is. I'm not sure what to think about strip clubs, since to me it is just a diluted form of prostitution, and I'm against the idea of being able to buy anyone's body for any reason, man or woman.

"Id be mega pissed if my guy ever has strippers or goes to a topless bar or anything else like that. ... He seems to understand that, but doesnt get at all that porn is similar."

And here is where my other main problem lies, in the perception of porn by users. To attempt to say that we aren't influenced by images, especially when that image has an extreme positive reinforcement is absolutely delusional. Many users, when trying to explain to women why they like porn, try to act like nothing they see in porn has any effect on anything in real life. We know how profound an impact even just ads have on people and they way they think, and to say porn is exempt is ludicrous. Furthermore, when anyone says that they are perfectly capable of keeping reality and fantasy separate, a) what you see is perceived as some form of reality, regardless of whether or not you consciously make the distinction, you can't completely. If we could fully make that distinction, we wouldn't cry in movies, our mouths wouldn't water when we see a cheeseburger, etc... It's not a gender thing, as humans we are not naturally able to completely distinguish the two. What we see is reality in our brains. And b) it is most definitely an indication that something is wrong with what you're looking at/watching/doing if you have to even make that distinction that it's not real.

Looking at porn is a lot closer to cheating than porn users want to admit. I've had numerous porn users tell me that they do it to sleep with other women, but without actually "cheating." The idea that porn can in no way be considered cheating, and is a better alternative, and that women just have to accept it or be alone is sexist and that needs to change. Any time women are forced to put up with anything simply because it's a guy thing is ridiculous and sexist and outdated. Women used to have to put up with a mistress, and now they don't because as women we decided we'd had enough. The only reason it's continuously perpetuated as a guy thing for girls to continue to be hurt by is that we live in a society dominated by men. Porn has been shown (you can't technically prove anything scientifically, but it's as close as you can get in the science world) to not only have as large an impact on women as men, in some studies women respond MORE strongly.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (14 September 2010):

person12345 agony auntI remember you also asking about women and porn and I read something interesting in the Washington Times saying women are MORE susceptible to porn addiction than men, basically because a woman using porn is far less stigmatized than a man using porn (women who are against porn are actually heavily criticized). The funny thing is that in some survey at a major University (I can't remember which one, but I believe it was in the UK) when women rated men, their rating of them/attractiveness went down by an average of 22% if they knew they guy regularly watched porn. Here's what they (The Washington Times) said on statistics about women and porn:

"A 2006 survey released by Internet Filter Review showed that 17 percent of women said they struggled with pornography addiction and that one in three visitors to pornography sites were women. About 30 percent of Internet pornography consumers are women, according to the 2008 Internet Pornography Statistics."

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (14 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"Disagree with your statistics Person12345"

I cited them below. They are from studies and surveys, the most prominent being from the Kinsey Institute, another from the Witherspoon Institute, several from other books, all/most from academic scholarly sources. What part of my statistics do you specifically not agree with? Especially with the number of people addicted, it's fact that minimum 8% of the entire population (male and female, and that's a low number compared to many) are addicted to porn. In a survey by the Kinsey Institute over 50% of women said they felt pornography had had a negative impact on their lives. Even according to a popular generally pro-porn magazine (it was something like Glamour) 48% said they felt unattractive/unsexy/insecure due a partner's porn use, 25% said they felt like it was flat out cheating.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (14 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntDisagree with your statistics Person12345, but here is where we totally meet.... the pornography we currently have is too painful for so many people. We need better and less degrading pornography. We need more women making pornography rather than acting in it. We need a way to ensure that damaged people are not abused in the industry. There needs to be less exploitation and less degradation. All industries, manufacturing, sex, agriculture, always can do with change to be the best and stop exploiting human's or poising the planet as the seek to gain further and further profits.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (14 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"Porn will always be around."

Yes. No matter what it is, whether it's bad or good, once it's been introduced it can't ever really just go away. But look, people said the same thing about cigarettes (they even had all the same "who are you to judge?" "It doesn't hurt anyone else, leave it alone." Attitudes. Just because it will always be around, doesn't mean it can't be more regulated/less available and doesn't mean we can't change it's nature (less misogynistic/degrading) and it certainly doesn't mean we can't change how people see it (as a whole, as an idea).

It really doesn't matter what the reasons for it are, we can't argue it's harmless or ignore it when it's hurting so many people. When it hurts more than 50% of women, when it hurts close to 10% of users, when any significant number of women in the industry are hurt, when it wrecks countless relationships and marriages, when it literally changes the way many people see sexuality, we can't continue to argue it's harmless regardless of reason. Whether or not it honestly does change how men view women and sex, it effects women. It's a ripple effect, it's like secondhand smoke.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (9 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntPS: I don't like watching male strippers, I find it embarrassing. And if your embarrassed, the male strippers target you to embarrass you even more. If I ever get married, I'm hopping my girlfriends take me to Amsterdam to see a live sex show instead... lol

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (9 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntI'm from the UK, we have male strippers over here,and it's common for women to hire them or arrange a girls night out for some sexy fun. The most famous are the Chippendales, and we've a movie called "The Full Monty". Watch that, it is a very good example of what we women do over here. But male strippers are usually younger and sexier and they are more easier to touch.

Got no problem with my guy going out on a mans night out. If that includes strippping, then I'm fine by that. My guy once went the men to Amsterdam. A city in Europe where you can buy drugs and eex. Only one guy in his group was stupid enough to buy sex, and he is till teased and laughed at for this.

I would hate a guy to get into the habit of going to look at strippers alone. It's a waste of money and might tempt him into using a prostitute. But when he's out with the guys, it's difficult to say no without looking like a fool.

Of course, I'm the naughty one who will tempt my girls to follow me to the red light district to look at the sexy stuff in the windows. I usually end up having to drag them home, as they want to go in and look at everything.

Yes it's traditional to get a stripper for the bridegroom. His mates will get one, even if he does not. But over here, the girls nights are wilder and louder. The men are now tame about what they do. They hire a stripper, go dancing and that's it. Here the girls hire a bus, take over a city, and grab any man they see and French kiss him. Sometimes they go abroad, get drunk and cause all types of trouble.

In the UK, the girls decided to do what the men do, and they even frighten me. Men watch the strippers, here, sometimes the women can't wait and take off the strippers clothes themselves.

Your man can cheat anytime. If he doesn't cheat already, going out and seeing a woman take of her clothes is not going to drive him wild. In the circumstances I've described above, the sex industry is not used for arousal, but is a form of entertainment and a means to feel free and wild and wild for one night.

It's Dionysian... following the Greek God of wine, song and party. Very, very traditional. Many cultures in the past and present have always done this.

Make a deal with your partner, about what is allowed and what is not. Find yourself a girlfriend to arrange you an exciting, challenging brides night out, and you won't have time to worry about him, because you should be having a crazy time and enjoying yourself.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (9 September 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Porn will always be around. Unless everyone who makes thousands of dollars off it suddenly decide they dont want the money anymore, porn is going nowhere. Sometimes i wish the whole 'sex industry' simply didnt exist. Why should it be ok for a guy to pay for sex, or lap dances etc etc? Since when were we created just to seek out our own pleasure? I was brought up in a christian household, and while i have chosen not to continue on that path (too many rules and restrictions) i remember the bible saying to be with only one partner. Or something of those affects. While i dont agree that we can marry and only have sex with one person (the first guy i slept with was a jerk and i am glad im not married to him lol) i also dont see why its ok for men in relationships to have external sources of a sexual basis. Eg strip clubs. My fiance and i recently discussed his bucks night. Most of his mates want strippers, both the single guys and those in serious relationships. I told him if he gets strippers, i will too. Im not at all interested in havin some random guy waving bits in my face, but fair is fair. Im not keen on my guy being up close and personal with other girls either. Apprently my fiance isn't keen on me having guys there, and also doesnt want strippers himself (im wondering if he's serious tho) nonetheless, it seems a tradition that a guy must go 'play up' before the 'ball and chain' tie him down. My partner agrees that if he was going to play up, he wouldn't be in a serious relationship, let alone get married. I still dont get why guys have so much access to other women etc and girls dont. Where i live, there is a strip club that only has girls stripping, topless bars and a place where guys can pay to have sex. Nothing for girls if they wanted to see naked guys or pay one for sex. Its still all gender based. Id be happier if there was no options for that kinda thing, but again that'll never happen. Question- those antiporn, are you also completely against strip clubs etc? And those who dont mind porn, are strip clubs ok or in a different area? I find them far far worse then a porn vid. Id be mega pissed if my guy ever has strippers or goes to a topless bar or anything else like that. Our relationship would be in serious trouble. He seems to understand that, but doesnt get at all that porn is similar. It may not be viewing them in real life in front of you, but its watching ppl have sex. I can watch porn without it bothering me, but i often wonder what on earth makes ppl want to get into that industry. Apart from big dollars obviously. If i ever met someone who sold themself in any way, be it stripper or porn star, id be more likely to screw up my face and not talk to them then want to get to know them. And im a friendly person. I simply cannot respect someone who chooses to sell themselves for other ppls pleasure. They certainly dont respect themselves...

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (8 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntI worked in health before, and we fast tracked clients needing contraception as part of their work. The term was always "working women or man", and even at the lower end, the choice seemed to be prostitution and pornography gave them higher wages, more independence for less work...

If we care about people who are exploited at work, why aren't we out challenging capitalism. Why is the concern around work and lack of money so much based in consensual sex.

I don't want to limit women in any way. If some people dislike pornography because they find it explotative to workers, why aren't they out there campaigning for better wages for women in all industries. As I said, in the UK, it's the educated women and middle class women who are turning to the sex industry, not only the working class who may be starving. I find the anti-pornography movement on a whole do not engage with the fact that intelligent women are making this choice freely and with knowledge rather than being forced..

Also... problems have been found with statistics on the amount of women forced into the sex industry, both in the UK and the US... the police haven't been able to find huge amount of women trafficked into sex as the anti-porn/anti-slavery people have suggested.

I can give you the research figures on how many were claimed and how many were actually found... the shortfall numbers thousands...

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (8 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntNo I don't think your anti-sex at all, and yes, it might sound like I accuse you of that. I read your posts and you don't portray someone who is anti-sex...

However, as I said, the evidence you bring up here, lacks intellectually rigour and validity... For example..

" It's not correlation studies showing that porn is causing these problems, it's interviews and direct research and data."

Interviews, asking people who don't like pornography, or who have bad experience with it, is a form of direct experience and research. However, it is difficult to then use this and say anything about all people involved with pornography. It is clear, that people who like pornography, who act or work in the sex industry are less likely to be open to research or comfortable about having their views known.

So now we are left with a vocal (majority/minority, who knows as sex is so private and difficult to study) set of people who can show you the harm of porn through their own experiences, and a silent group of people, who are not recorded so don't appear, thus the evidence you claim through interviews and research will always be unscientific as it excludes a lot of people who are afraid to speak positively about porn.

I also have a problem about you removing BDSM from your argument.. It's an area that is hardly studied, and removing BDSM (people who like pain) but recording pornography addicts (people who abuse porn) isn't a fair analysis about porn. It's unscientific to remove area's that you feel don't help your argument. That's why BDSM, Gay pornography, people who hate sex and any representation of it must be included, if sex slaves, porn addicts and child abusers are used as evidence to back up your beliefs.

Not fair to disregard groups of people who throw doubt onto some of your arguements. But as I say, I'm still looking and researching... So far, the two research committee's I've linked had a difficult time linking pornography to harm, even though they manipulated the available witnesses with mostly anti-porn people, and also tried to ensure that the judges would be anti-porn as well, they had a hard time producing any direct link between pornography and harm...

Your right about George Bush stuff.. need to go back and investigate that and provide proper evidence rather than just speaking off the cuff... and your evidence about men thinking less of women after looking at pornography.. found the research.. 495 (or something like that) tested for that conclusion.. a very small sample base... Criticised because it couldn't show that men held these views an hour later of for the rest of their life. Yes, after 5 minutes porn could give them negative views, but not enough to say that porn is dangerous if you look at it for a lifetime, or if it has a lasting effect, or if the fact that your being researched did not interfere with the conclusions and produced the results that the researchers wanted in some way.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (6 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt“Problem with your statistics, that around this time, George W Bush targeted funds to promote abstinence and no sex in schools. The research I've seen said that this didn't encourage teens to have sex later, but it did mean those on abstinence programmes were more likely to have anal sex.”

Actually George W. Bush wasn’t even elected until 2000 and his programs took awhile to take hold and weren’t the norm in schools. Furthermore my statistic is actually from Australia, the UK, and the US and the teens said they had gotten the idea and other ideas from porn. I know you seem to think my country is full of crazy religious fundies everywhere, but most Americans are for good sex education in school. I personally am not religious and my views on the subject are not influenced in any way by religion.

As for anal rape, I said no such thing that porn caused an increase in total numbers of rapes. We have no way of truly getting the numbers and most studies only use reported rapes, which is nowhere near actual numbers of rapes (in Afghanistan there were 0 reported rapes in 2008, but I can say with near 100% certainty that there were women in Afghanistan who were raped). I’m saying that in rapes that would have occurred anyways, the women were treated differently. I’m not saying it’s definitively from porn, but when you have quite a few college age men saying they expect anal sex from women and admit it’s from porn, that explains (from the horse’s mouth) why more adults and teens are having anal sex (despite an overwhelming majority of women who’ve tried it saying they’d never do it again, mostly due to pain). And therefore is just changing the nature of the rape due to changing cultural norms. Anal rape is classified as more violent rape than vaginal.

I agree that correlation studies are usually flawed. I don’t agree with any of the ones that have been done showing the porn causes an increase or a decrease in rape.

“what you say about the MAJORITY of porn, of what porn users like is wrong.”

Just because you went browsing porn and found non-degrading porn does not suddenly change what the majority of porn users like. A lot more people than you think actually pay for porn as well. Just because you went to a few free sites that you like to use does not suddenly prove all five scholars who looked into this for sometimes up to a year (or even more) were just “mistaken.” This isn’t just my conclusion according to me, according to what I want it to be. This is the conclusion of the vast majority of scholars who have studied this topic in depth. This (that the majority of what’s out there is degrading and dehumanizing) is the conclusion even of most of the porn users (not addicts, just sort of normal average people with “normal” habits) I’ve talked to, read about, and heard from. The majority of porn that’s out there IS degrading. Just because a few popular sites don’t feature exclusively degrading material (and I’ve looked through a lot of the really popular free sites and am unsure what sites you are looking at that show little to no degrading material, as the majority I’ve seen showed either solo men and women or degrading material, even from “amateurs.”) does not mean that’s in the minority. If the majority of porn is degrading, that is the majority of what’s watched. It’s simply supply and demand. I can’t tell you how many recreational users even describe the desensitization that can occur drawing you to more and more hardcore stuff. Even the "Jake" columnist in Glamour magazine describes it like it's totally normal. I am talking mainstream, majority. I'm not talking about "well if you look really hard you CAN find this…"

Also I said I'm excluding BDSM as that to me is a specialized fetish and I am not including specialized fetishes as the norm. So if I see any aspect that would clearly fit BDSM specialty, I do not think of that as mainstream. I'm talking about the addition of some handcuffs to mainstream, I'm talking about how the NORM now is where men dominate women. Not in a fetish sense, but in the sense that now the majority of what's out there is mostly the man degrading (not a typical BDSM thing, just taking sex and making it inherently degrading, like something you do to a woman rather than with her). I'm not telling anyone they are wrong for liking S&M stuff. I don't know where you got that idea that I said that if both parties enjoy that sort of thing, they should go for it. I'm not judging that or saying it's wrong. The way mainstream porn portrays this though is not BDSM, it's where the sex or oral sex or anal sex is now almost entirely about degrading women. Not usually intended to add in some pain, just to dehumanize her and turn her into an object. Basically an object to masturbate onto or into or whatever and to abuse.

As for Sasha Grey, I've seen her interviewed a few times. I don't think she's lying or that she "doesn't know her own head," maybe she does like what she's doing. I'm sure some people in porn do like what they're doing. I know she's started moving away from porn now and into Hollywood now that she's famous, but that doesn't mean she dislikes doing porn. I already stated that I'm well-aware there are plenty of people who are in porn because they actually like it. However, most of the women I've talked to who like doing porn admit many of the other women they encounter in the business are not there by choice and hate what they do. Quite a few are there because they have an expensive drug habit and flipping burgers just isn't going to support that habit. Even women who enjoy doing porn admit that most women in porn have been sexually abused. If some people WANT to be in the sex industry, they should be able to. However, that is not the case for many women who are there. Sure they're almost all there by "choice" but it's not really a choice when one option is to starve to death/end up on the streets or sell yourself and have a house. Sure you can argue the people who work at a fast food restaurant are there by the same lack of choice, but their job doesn't involve having every orifice penetrated and agreeing to sex even when they just don't feel like it. Yes, Sasha Grey may enjoy her job (she seems happy and enthusiastic to me). But do you think the porn industry is going to fast-track someone who doesn't like their job to fame? Also the ones who enjoy their job are more likely to be emotionally stable and financially stable than the ones who aren't there by force or by lack of other options or what have you. The ones who don't want to be there (who seem to be in the majority from everyone I've heard from in the industry regardless of whether they like or dislike their job) aren't going to be heard as loudly. They probably don't have as good of access to the media (internet etc…). I emailed back and forth with one woman who loved her job in porn, but she was fighting to get the women who were forced there in one way or another heard due to that very thing. Just as using Linda Lovelace as the only example is a bad one, so is only using Sasha Grey. Yes, she makes $180,000 per year. Do you think that's normal? Hardly. That there is an existence of a market to buy and sell women's bodies (it's not very common for men to run out of options and wind up stripping or selling themselves, but there's a huge market for women to do so) is an indication that there's something wrong. Just because it's been around for a long time, doesn't mean we should just accept it and encourage it. It's only in the past century that women have been considered real people in most places. Also prostitution is not the oldest profession, that is a myth. It is not a good thing that women who run out of money can always fall back on selling their bodies.

In Sweden, they decided to do something about getting prostitutes off the street. Rather than punishing women by making selling yourself illegal, they decriminalized prostitution and criminalized the buying of prostitutes. They offered aid (shelter, money, food) to women who came to the government asking for help in getting out. It was wildly successful, over 60% of prostitutes on the street came for help. It's not a coincidence that Sweden also happens to be considered the world's most feminist country (in that women there are equal). It's also saying something about prostitution (in that it's not a great option for money) that women would prefer living off government aid than selling themselves.

"Sorry, but because some people get addicted to pornography, dosen't make it a danger to everyone. Because some people have a difficult time in the industry, dosen't mean that everyone does. Because you think that pain and sex is wrong, dosen't mean that everyone does."

That's a new one, calling an anti-porn person anti-sex (sarcasm). I am extremely for more sex education and cheaper and more widely available contraceptives. I am also all for masturbation (I honestly think the world would be better if more people did it). And yes, I have a problem with inflicting pain on people against their will (if someone wants to be handcuffed and whipped, they can do it if they want). Since when did thinking intentionally hurting people is bad, become worse than intentionally hurting people? And I don't think BDSM is bad any more than I think a foot fetish is bad (hey anything that gets me more foot rubs, I'm game). Just to repeat since this message doesn't seem to be getting through, I'm not talking about fetish porn, I am talking the mainstream stuff. It's bad when teenagers think pubic hair on women, but not men, is gross, a money shot is the ultimate sexual pleasure/proves your manhood, and that 45% of British boys aged 12-14 either think it's OK or don't know if it's OK to hold a woman down to have sex with her. Or that 83% of college aged men think some women are just asking to get raped. And when 8% of the entire population (and rising) is addicted to porn, it's definitely entering the realm of public health hazard. It isn't a danger to everyone, but since more and more people are letting it interrupt their relationships and marriages (like I said below, in 2003 more than 50% of divorces in the US cited porn use a major factor in the divorce) and since the main people getting hurt are women, I care about it. And since the numbers are rising and we're starting to treat young teens (some as young as 9 or 10) for porn addiction we should all care. And to flip what you said around, since some people (even if only half were there by choice it would still be a pretty big problem) like doing porn, that doesn't mean everyone does (at least half, more judging from everything I've read and heard). If some people love getting paid for sex, whatever floats their boat. I don't judge that. But seeing as it's probably half and half at BEST, there's a serious problem there.

"Maybe them teen's you mentioned, don't like porn so much but see so many marriages which end in divorce...

Just because you record a phenomena, doesn't mean that porn is the cause... maybe they have more options than older folks to date and marry and have kids and stuff... lots more people recorded as gay, don't think that's porns fault either... might have something to do with changing attitudes and stopping it from being illegal like it was in the past."

I don't even know what it is that you're trying to get at here. It's not correlation studies showing that porn is causing these problems, it's interviews and direct research and data. Yeah more people are coming out as gay, that's good that society is becoming less bigoted towards diversity. Where do I say anything negative about being gay or that porn causes people to be gay?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (5 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntopps.. sorry, I talk lots.. gonna go and hit the books now, and take your ideas about further research.. thanks person12345

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (5 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntPS: Maybe them teen's you mentioned, don't like porn so much but see so many marriages which end in divorce...

Just because you record a phenomena, doesn't mean that porn is the cause... maybe they have more options than older folks to date and marry and have kids and stuff... lots more people recorded as gay, don't think that's porns fault either... might have something to do with changing attitudes and stopping it from being illegal like it was in the past.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (5 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntSorry, but because some people get addicted to pornography, dosen't make it a danger to everyone. Because some people have a difficult time in the industry, dosen't mean that everyone does. Because you think that pain and sex is wrong, dosen't mean that everyone does.

Pornography and prostitution is legal in many countries. When the USA government tried to research the question of harm and pornography they had many porn people within the industry and who had left the industry declaring that they didn't think that it should be banned. You mention two porn stars that say it's bad... one of them, a women who contradicts themselves. I can name one or two who find it liberating and stay in the industry when they are older and find themselves moving behind the camera and making films. But far more common is the woman who just gives up her job, takes her money and goes back to normal life.

I'm irritated because I just watched anti-porn people telling me what to think, whilst I was trying to listen to Sasha Grey and hear her experiences directly without people who disagree commentating.

Porn as part of the sex industry is very difficult to study. It's secret, people lie to gain fame, money or to rewrite what they are ashamed off.. but most people just don't talk about the industry at all.. they put on their video and enjoy in privacy. Or they do one job and hate it, like it, or don't mind it, and take the extra money and go pay a bill or buy something they like.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (5 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntI went to the most popular porn site, and I didn't have to dig long.. what you say about the MAJORITY of porn, of what porn users like is wrong... I wasn't lucky and just happened to find less degrading things... What is viewed, and what is enjoyed is recorded and it's not the degrading stuff you talk about at all..

This doesn't need an argument... Everyone go to Youporn right now and see what type of stuff is out there, and what is highly rated by it's users.

" From several male conducted studies, out of the top 10 most watched porn titles 9 of them feature physical or verbal violence against women."

So, studies with people who are academics, who also declare themself anti-pornography have decided that physical and verbal violence is the most popular thing. Well I'm asking you to go and look and use your own investigative skills.. Go out in the field and actually see what the people actually watch and not what research with books think.

Actually been at the porn stuff all night, and yes, I'm only looking at one site. But I think it's the most popular and biggest on the internet. It's the true mainstream.

Of course if I'm looking at ALL types of pornography, I'd find a horse or two, some women being burnt and whipped, some children screaming. But you was talking about mainstream, and what the MAJORITY of users do. That isn't what seems to be recorded at all..

And you talking about pain and degradation... again, the problem I have with this is the popularity of S&M. You may find calling women names and slapping them degrading. You may say it shows a hatred of women and blame porn for this type of sexuality. Problem is some women like this type of sex, they don't find it as painful or problematic as you.

Even on dear cupid, we got women and men who like pain and degradation. I don't know who has the authority to tell them that they are wrong. What seems hurtful to you, may be ok to somebody else..

Just finished watching an interview with Sasha Grey, an 18year old intelligent porn star who makes me very nervous. She does very extreme stuff, very extreme. I don't see any drug marks, any tears on her. Instead she seems like a very intelligent girl, who asked to enter the industry and was not encouraged at all... funny enough, it's the interviewer and the person who put up the interview that caused me problems. First the captions, that kept telling me she didn't know her own mind. The interviewer who looked down on her and couldn't believe that a woman could make the decision to have sex with many men.

The problem with saying harm is caused, is anti-pornography researchers don't like porn, so it's not strange that everything they see looks like it's wrong and dangerous.

You mention Linda Lovelace in Deepthroat, a woman notorious for changing her mind about her stance to pornography. She was in a very abusive relationship, that's not deniable. But she's recorded on film as being supportative of pornography, then she says that she was forced into the industry, then she said she was forced into the anti-pornography movement, she found god and refused to work again in the sex industry, but then later decided to do another film... (didn't take place because of her drug use)

Linda Lovelace is not a good example of the sex industry. Her testimony is flawed and contradictory. She's written books that are pro-porn and anti-porn.. Like everything else in the industry, because of the secrecy involved, it's hard to know what exactly true or a lie in her story.

Using her as an example of pornography harm, allows others to use her testimoy to point out the harm of the anti-porn feminist movement, and also to use the things she said which are pro-porn and supportive of a woman's right to explore her sexuality.

Women do porn and prostitution because it's their only option and they have no choice.. WELL WHAT THE HELL IS NEW! Of course they are doing it for the money. Sasha Grey says she got paid $150,000 per year. We got graduates who lap dance, do prostitution and porn, because they get more money than in a science lab.

Trying to stop the sex industry won't make a blind bit of difference. Prostitution is the worlds oldest profession. When you can guarantee a woman $150,000 with no qualifications doing a work on her back for a couple of days a week, then maybe you'll see less women wanting to do such things. However, porn and prostitution (which are not illegal in Britain, only solicitation is) dose guarantee a woman a lot of freedom and a lot of time to go with the enhanced wages that it is offered. When you are uneducated, hell even when your educated, if you are already sexually adventurous, that seems like easy money compared to working 60 hours in Macdonald's for minimum wage that is also taxed.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (5 September 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"As for boredom/anal, since 1995 (around when internet porn became widespread) anal sex rates among teens doubled."

Problem with your statistics, that around this time, George W Bush targeted funds to promote abstinence and no sex in schools. The research I've seen said that this didn't encourage teens to have sex later, but it did mean those on abstinence programmes were more likely to have anal sex.

Your blaming porn, but I blame sex programmes which do not properly educate.

Also about anal rape, and rape of any type. Countries like the Netherlands do have more liberal sex laws around pornography and the buying and selling of sex. Again, research doesn't show that the increased availability of pornography has increased rape, or increased rape through the anus. Indeed the sex research shows that liberalising and allowing more freedom and less censorship around drugs and sex, makes teens in such countries have lower pregnancy rates, lower incidences of rape and a lower age at which they begin to start sex or the taking of drugs.

Your statistics may be right, but the correlation dose not show cause... you have no evidence to show that porn is at fault and not the drive in America towards chastity and sex only in marriage.

America is a highly religious country, but it has worst harms from sex and drugs than countries which put less controls upon these things.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (5 September 2010):

person12345 agony auntAs for teens, it isn't a good sign when you have 15 year olds quoted in the New York Times as saying things along the lines of why would anyone bother with dating when porn's so easy? As for boredom/anal, since 1995 (around when internet porn became widespread) anal sex rates among teens doubled. As well there was a rise in anal rape.

I've been over all this how much is degrading stuff before, down below. Just because one of you has a taste for amateur or porn where women are dominating men, doesn't mean that's a majority of what's out there. And just because on one site, the female has sex with boss scenario (which plays to the fantasy of the man in charge, the boss, having sex with a subordinate) is the most popular doesn't mean that's the case everywhere. The majority of what's watched is not true amateur porn (most of what's labeled amateur is not, it's actually just produced by the large porn producers and marketed to people who want "amateur" and a lot of it has the same themes as other mainstream productions) The last "amateur" porn I saw featured a skinny woman bouncing up and down in a boob bouncing-centric position screaming her head off in a position that couldn't possibly feel particularly nice, while she wore garters and a g-string. Oh and then a good anal pounding, despite the fact that most women do not enjoy anal sex (of course many do, but the majority do not). Also as a woman, you are most likely not looking for the same kind of porn as most men. Just because your particular site lists one that you find not particularly demeaning (though the boss subordinate situation is not one that is totally clear of any sort of dominating ideals) does not mean most porn watched is what you watch. From several male conducted studies, out of the top 10 most watched porn titles 9 of them feature physical or verbal violence against women.

With trafficking, I was not talking about sex tourism related trafficking nor was I talking about countries where porn is not a common place for sex trafficked people to wind up. I am unsure what the connection between young boys being trafficked in eastern europe has to do with women being sold for porn production or why you would think one has any effect on the other. I don't know a lot about it (trafficking), but I'm in the middle of several books on the subject to learn more for my thesis.

"You're also unqualified to say that women are in porn due to 'lack of options' something which I doubt. If they were lacking options, they'd be prostitutes. Being a porn star implies you know how to act, they're not paid to perform sex, they're paid to act it. Maybe you're right though, women are constantly "mistreated" in the porn industry, but you can't actually base that on anything."

I'm not qualified and have nothing to base it on? I've been spending months researching pornography and prostitution in the US and western Europe. I've read close to a dozen books on the subject, talked to many professors in different fields, and have countless academic and popular articles, not to mention conversing with several ex-prostitutes and porn stars about the subject. Baseless indeed. What are your sources? What you actually see from porn and the prostitute dramas on HBO? They're ACTING. You can't possibly know what's going on behind the cameras. For instance, Linda Lovelace in Deepthroat was held at gunpoint during filming. I didn't say all were mistreated or there as a last resort, but a fairly large portion of them are there due to lack of options. And why would you think prostitution is so much better? There's a reason that when Sweden gave prostitutes a chance to start over a large majority of them flocked to government for help. So many get raped and beaten and treated horrifyingly bad (again, not all. Some do like their jobs). Porn is safer than prostitution and a steadier job, and I'd imagine it can pay better. Also, what exactly is it you think porn is? Prostitution is paying for sex. Porn is paying people to have sex and filming it. Therefore porn is basically prostitution on camera. Some women love their jobs as porn stars, but from most of what I've read and heard even from women who love their jobs most of it is not women who love sex and are getting paid, it's often women who have no other options or aren't there by choice. As well a vast majority of performers (including superstar Jenna Jameson) have been sexually abused as kids or teens, which is pretty well know to affect a person's sexuality negatively.

Commandodude, I'm sorry if I hit some kind of a nerve that made you want to attack me and get incredibly defensive, but we've been having a civilized discussion here and would appreciate it if you could try to get a little less emotional.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (4 September 2010):

Miamine agony aunt!Both portrayals are harmful, but in the sense that men get their ideas about how to treat women and sex and sexuality and general can be distorted." (Person)

Yep, this is the issue that concerns me.. not with adult men and women (I've no experience of men who watch pornography wanting to disrespect me), but teenagers and young adults who watch extreme pornography and think that it is the last word in women and sex.. That I feel is a real problem.

In the last year or so, all of a sudden tons of young women want to know how to do the squirting thing... or want to try anal sex because they are bored already.

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A male reader, CommandoDude United States +, writes (4 September 2010):

CommandoDude agony auntLittle sex slavery of men? Maybe in the western world, but sex slavery of young boys is just as big in the Middle East, and south east asian countries. The only difference between female and male sex trade is that only the female side ever seems to get talked about.

You're also unqualified to say that women are in porn due to 'lack of options' something which I doubt. If they were lacking options, they'd be prostitutes. Being a porn star implies you know how to act, they're not paid to perform sex, they're paid to act it. Maybe you're right though, women are constantly "mistreated" in the porn industry, but you can't actually base that on anything.

Porn is as misogynistic as the person viewing it wants it to be. There are plenty of people who prefer all kinds of portrayals of sex from maledom to femdom. The idea of yours that porn only portrays women in submissive situations is an illusion.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntWe had a whole pile of Chinese shipped illegal to Britain to work at catching sea fish... They were not in the sex trade, but they were under the same slavery conditions. They were more than mistreated, a ton of them got washed away and died. We have cases of domestic slaves (currently showing on British television) who are currently in hospital, tortured by employers... again they are not in the sex trade, but still are modern day slaves.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntSex trafficking is illegal... that is more to do with the "war on drugs" than anything else... It is a technique to frighten people when you try to tie sex trafficking and pornography together like this. If you know of somebody being forced into sex, it is your duty, and the duty of everyone else to report it.

Pornography is not illegal, but sex trafficking is. Across Europe many people are forced to work illegally. Not only in the sex industry, but also in agriculture, catering and the domestic trade. Sex trafficking is not industry specific. Slave traders deal in human flesh and sell it in whatever industry is profitable and not policed by authorities.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntCommando Dude, remember we are all trying to play nicely on this thread although we all have different views. Please don't make things personal, we are just talking and sharing ideas.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (3 September 2010):

person12345 agony auntAlso when I talk about the objectification of women, I'm not talking about how women who do porn are treated. I'm talking about portrayal. If we want to get into the people who do porn, there is fairly little sex trafficking of men. There are far more women in porn who are there due to a lack of other options or due to sex slavery than men. I think people in porn, who do porn, are frequently mistreated (though women more so than men) with both genders. There are some who like their jobs though. Their voices are typically louder, but it doesn't mean there are more of them.

Men in porn are portrayed badly too, but not in the same degrading demeaning violent way that women are. Both are portrayed in misogynistic ways in that the men are there to degrade, hurt, and humiliate the women, and the women are there to be treated like such.Both portrayals are harmful, but in the sense that men get their ideas about how to treat women and sex and sexuality and general can be distorted.

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A male reader, CommandoDude United States +, writes (3 September 2010):

CommandoDude agony auntClearly you jest correct? Person? How are men less objectified then woman? There is a LOT of camera focus on the phallus, how else could they appeal to heterosexual women if they didn't get to see a dick? There's less emphasis on the man because watching a guy get off is a put off to most men.

In anycase, I find your view of porn narrowly self imposed. Clearly you don't watch porn on a regular basis, or if you do you really seem to limit your own options. Because I can tell you there is a big market for "Femdom" porn where it is women who are in control. Not to mention gay porn that appeals to women and gay men. The word "Twink" comes to mind. So you see, your idea that men are not 'marketed' is an utter illusion, which becomes especially apparent in the fashion industry (Which does REAL marketing) where you see pictures of hansom metrosexual men with slim abs to appeal as much to teen women as female models are made to show the same sex appeal to teen men.

Also, I must insist you should direct me to the quality porn you seem to have found. As I enjoy power play aspects, as do a lot of other people, there's nothing wrong with acting out such a fantasy as using a woman in such a matter. Just as much as there's nothing wrong with Femdom. That's where SSC was invented.

Your issue is clearly not with porn, but your own self imposed view of how women are 'mistreated' in porn. Which, you should seriously be reminding yourself, is pure fantasy. Since you can't seem to make the distinction that 'dehumanizing porn' doesn't ACTUALLY dehumanize porn stars. (Which assumes all porn is into 'dehumanizing' clearly not the case)

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntAlso checked for the top viewed porn film on the same website. Woman has sex with boss. Has a story, a little bit of acting. Man and women are smiling. Women and man kiss. Woman get's oral sex. Movements are gentle. No talking, just "mmmmmm". Man and woman are both seen on camera, clothed and unclothed. No violence or degradation seen. That's what the people like viewing according to this website, not your extreme violent stuff.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 September 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"Women in porn aren't human, they are bitches, whores, cumbuckets, sluts, etc... They are also almost always covered in semen at the end. They are three holes two hands, things to be penetrated"

Again, I must ask, what type of pornography are you watching. why do you watch such offensive things if you don't like it. The porn I watch doesn't call women names, and if they do, they are usually, "baby, honey or some such general thing".. The type of pornography that calls women "bitches, whores, cumbuckets or sluts," is a very hardcore version that deals in pain and humiliation. That is very extreme stuff and not all that's on the market. The type of pornography I watch usually has people laughing when things go wrong, women are handled very tenderly, the hair is moved if it gets trapped, arms are rubbed, faces stroked. These types of movements are involuntary, they don't seemed planned, but are the result of people knowing the women they are acting with. Yes there is porn like that, but are thousands of other types.

Most porn dosen't even have talking, most porn has music and people grunting "yea.. mmmmmmm".

You miss out lesbian sex, you miss out homosexual sex, you miss out armature porn, you miss out older lady and younger man, you miss out pornography where there's a single woman masturbating alone... You miss out so much types of porn, to sell us only a stereotype of the hardcore stuff, which isn't all there is.

I've just checked in on pornography website, and yes, it's just as I thought, tons of titles right on the front page which do not fit your description. Titles include "Home video masturbation", "Cougar sex club strikes again", "Girls just want to relax" and tons more just like that.... There are all types of porn that people are watching, that's what the websites seem to suggest.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (3 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"Either men are being objectified and 'marketed' as much as women, or neither are at all. And frankly, if all you can see is said 'objectification' I think that says something about your insecurities."

This is a joke, right? It's the old, well men are objectified too, so women should stop complaining. It's kind of like a white person saying a black guy is racist too so they should stop complaining. Yes, men are objectified in porn usually as mindless animals with no thoughts other than to f*ck women. But not nearly to the extent that women are objectified in porn and not nearly as negatively. Furthermore most hetero porn doesn't highlight the men, it focuses on the woman. You barely see the man and if you do, they deliberately make him less visible. Generally in heterosexual porn the woman is far more objectified and sex is not something you do with her, it's something you do to her. Women in porn aren't human, they are bitches, whores, cumbuckets, sluts, etc... They are also almost always covered in semen at the end. They are three holes two hands, things to be penetrated. In porn men are people who do things, people with penises. In hetero porn they never (except for niche porn) end up covered in any sort of bodily fluids and aren't called names and completely dehumanized like women in porn are. The semen covering, constant anal pounding, throat f*cking, and making no effort to make sex pleasurable for her and with complete disregard for her health (frequent anal to oral or anal to vaginal and frequently no condoms) women are completely dehumanized. Women in porn are commodified and sold, men in porn are just there to sex the women and "have fun." Men in porn are not treated the same way or shown the same way as the women. You really have to have your head in the sand to not see how women are dehumanized and degraded in pretty much all porn.

There was an interesting study (I mentioned it WAY below) where a researcher has men watch non-violent porn and then had them look at pictures while she looked at brain scans. When men looked at pictures of men, the parts of their brain that identify humans lit up. When men looked at clothed (but scantily clothed, like in bikinis) women, the parts of the brain that lit up when looking at humans did not light up, only the part that identifies objects, things.

Also calling women insecure as a way to brush them off and mark them as "unreasonable" and make their opinions suddenly not matter. That's like saying, "I know I slept with your sister, but you're just angry. You should work on your anger, it's not my problem if something like that makes you angry." Women are under an immense amount of pressure to be attractive and to compete sexually. It's not exactly a giant leap to say that it will add to that pressure if their partner is getting off to these other women with bigger boobs and more sculpted bodies, especially seeing how many times I've heard guys flat out admit that when they think about it, porn does raise their expectations of women both in bed, and with appearances. Yes you've identified an emotion, insecure. Good for you. Now instead of trying to brush off people's opinions by calling them insecure, why not address it? I wasn't aware that having insecurities due to a partner being attracted to other women made my opinions not count.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntKaty Did and Miss Golightly (original poster) wonderful, wonderful posts... you both bring to the table so many issues, it's hard to tackle them all... wonderful discussion, I am very much enjoying this post.

Katy Did, you seem to take a feminist stance (I maybe wrong) Did you know that there are feminist who celebrate and enjoy pornography. The movement isn't only filled by anti-porn feminist, their are tons of pro-porn feminist who believe that pornography has helped women to celebrate their sexuality where before women who liked sex were seen as evil and wrong. The guy is right though, your concentrating on the women in pornography, but you are ignoring the men who get far less money and are rejected more often if they cannot perform.

This is a problem I feel with the pornography issues. It's sexist to only examine women industry and ignore the men who do the same thing to earn money. If women are being "objectified", then what about the porn men with their big dicks that are always ready to fuck. Why aren't they also "objectified?" It's also sexist to argue that men have a problem because they like pornography, this ignores the large amount of women who like pornography too.

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A male reader, CommandoDude United States +, writes (3 September 2010):

CommandoDude agony auntThe idea that women are objectified in porn (Or fashion) is silly. And beyond that, it's completely absurd how people take this as evidence women are unequal to men or something.

It's like they forget that the men of the porn industry even exist. How are they not 'objectified' if women are?

Either men are being objectified and 'marketed' as much as women, or neither are at all. And frankly, if all you can see is said 'objectification' I think that says something about your insecurities.

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A female reader, _Katy_Did_ United States +, writes (3 September 2010):

_Katy_Did_ agony auntMy main issue with porn(since I obviously have an issue)is not that fact that my boyfriend is looking at the other women. I know that sounds crazy, right? As Q said, porn DOES objectify women. Speaking of insecurities, I believe that the fact that porn objectifies women IS my insecurity. I always feel this need to be equal to men. Not better, just equal and I still feel as though I am not. Not because I am afraid to be or don't want to be, but that they may see me as lesser. I don't believe all men are this way, but I am talked down to a lot at work, primarily by men. Not in a direct way. It's more like they are treating me as though I'm stupid. They call me pet names, which I HATE. I struggle with the idea that women aren't taken as seriously in the work place or anywhere in the public eye. I feel that women in the work place who are strong authority figures become "bitches" to their employees, where as a man would simply be seen as the boss. All of these ideas may be wrong. I am just so afraid of being walked over by men that it kills me to see this happening in porn. I must over come this insecurity. I know I am not weak. I know I am not lesser. And there isn't much I can do to change the view points of others.

Thanks for letting me know I am still welcome:) And sorry again for my rude remarks.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 September 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Q i do believe you have touched on something we haven't talked about much, the insecurites some women face about their guy watching porn. I have come to realise something recently, its not porn videos that my fiance watches that feed my insecurities. I know he doesnt find porn actresses attractive at all, and when he watches clips he has told me that he thinks of me/us doing what he's watching. I always thought he was just lying about that, until i watched some myself. I wasn't interested in what the guy looked like or how big his penis was, i was watching the sex act and thinking how much i enjoyed that position with my man, or how another looked interesting to try. Within minutes of the video ending, i couldn't remember what they looked like or hardly even what they did. I might remember something we hadn't tried to a point of trying it, but thats about as good as it got. And i realised if thats the case for me, why would it be different for him? Why would he be checking out the women when i wasn't interested in the guys? Etc etc. And so i stopped being so bothered by the porn videos. What feeds my insecurites is that he saves pictures of women that he thinks are hot. Usually with boobs out, sometimes completely naked. None of which look like me. Most have big boobs, even if they're fake, and i have fairly small ones (about 12c in aus size) yet he is horrified at the thought of me getting fake ones. I dont get that, he likes looking at them on everyone else, why not me? Anyway, i asked recently why he has so many pics of other women, and he doesnt know. He once said to me that he loves my boobs, but he just likes boobs in general as a reason. He also has a fair number of photos of me, but only a third of what he has of others. I explained that its those pictures that make me feel threatened as those women are the ones he finds hot etc. He said exactly what i thought he'd say, that i have no reason to feel threatened as in his eyes im the most beautiful girl in the world. (he says that nearly every day) I pointed out to him that tho he might say that, his actions show me otherwise. He then offered to delete the folder of photos since he didnt want me thinkin he'd rather them then me. I said no, but asked if it would be a fair compromise that he have more pictures of me then others. He happily agreed. This only happened last night, but he reckons he'll delete some photos he doesnt want etc and take more of me. Fair deal to me, it makes me feel like he means what he says, but he can still perve on internet bimbos lol. Sorry for the story, just trying to give an example of the insecurites etc. I find in interesting that some women are more insecure thinking that their guy would rather them look like porn actresses, when it seems guys really dont find them attractive. I could worry that my partner wants me to look like a hot chick he sees on the street, or in the zoo mag he buys each wk, or the internet bimbos he saves pictures of. And there are times i do think that. But he always tells me that im beautiful or gorgeous, and ive never once heard him describe any other chick as anything other then 'hot' or 'alright'. Never anything more. So i tend to believe that he does prefer me (and im aware this could be as im the 'whole package' personality etc) but when ive said that he disagrees and reckons by looks alone im still better. Beats me why he thinks that, rose coloured glasses i guess. I compare myself to others and come up short all the time, but thats me not him i guess.. Hmmm. I think part of the porn problem truely does lie with our own insecurites..

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (2 September 2010):

dirtball agony auntKaty, I didn't realize you were the anon poster. However, I never said you don't belong here, just the negativity you were expressing.

I was pushing for contributions, not attacks. Please do contribute.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (2 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntYou get more than just a free jail pass.. you get thanks and admiration for coming back and showing your face and being willing to stand by your views. I know this subject is hard, and it's more easy to stay anonymous. But I'm so happy that you've come back and declared who you are and are willing to stand proud.

lol.. your expressing yourself too, but we are trying to stay away from the negativity, even though this subject brings pain to many people.

Thanks for posting and don't feel sad, read more, think more and try to find a way to cope with this pornography thing, which will bring you some peace and comfort.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 September 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Its all good katy... This thread was designed for us to all air our opinions, rather then argue on posters questions who need help. A way to learn more and understand more sides then just our own personal opinions. Hang around and give us yours, just no attacking genders or individuals k? :)

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A female reader, _Katy_Did_ United States +, writes (2 September 2010):

_Katy_Did_ agony auntHey man, I've already appoligized. What I said wasn't fair and was more out of hurt and personal issues of my own. I know it's not cool. And I will gladly leave this board if that would make everyone feel more comfortable.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (2 September 2010):

dirtball agony auntAnon poster, where your argument about men fails is your statement about their actions. Actions and thoughts are two very different things. Just because we may fantasize about something, that doesn't mean we will, or even we want to in reality, do those things.

Your negativity does not belong in this discussion. If you want to contribute, please do so in the spirit that we've taken this whole time, that being a positive approach with facts, personal experience, suggested solutions, and not singling people out for personal attacks.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (1 September 2010):

person12345 agony auntAnd when I say all people, I just mean people in the US UK and parts of western Europe as that's really the only place reliable data are available.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (1 September 2010):

person12345 agony aunt"it's 85% of people who use porn.."

Well actually it's approximately 70% of men and 30% of women who use porn, which means around half of all people.

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A female reader, _Katy_Did_ United States +, writes (1 September 2010):

_Katy_Did_ agony auntI guess you're right. There isn't anything I can do about it, so what's the point in being so caught up about it? I suppose I'll just have to learn to deal with it, as disturbing as it is. And I would rather not have to cut myself off from the human race, although I'm sure it has been done.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (1 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntBut reader anon, now you want to police people's thoughts, and that is very difficult and it's also dangerous. People think all kinds of things, not only men, but women too. It's a good thing we can't read minds, otherwise we'd find out the your best girlfriend wants to have sex with you, the teacher you had dreams of being a bank robber, your mother always wanted to have a penis and be a man, and your daughter's friend thinks your breath smells....

People have tons of dreams, desires, day dreams, wicked thoughts and ponderings. For you to be frightened and upset by the idea of what people are thinking means that you really can't get on with other human beings at all. The amount of thoughts we have in a second is truly amazing. They flit by so quickly we don't even acknowledge them all. The thing is, there is a big difference between what people think and what they do. Yes, that person in the queue behind you is thinking of bending you over and fucking you. But then the next second he's thinking about if he likes chocolate or strawberry best, then he's thinking of his wedding day and then he's thinking he's the man on the moon.

Take up some meditation. They call this the monkey mind and all human beings are like this, even you.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (1 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntNope, that's still wrong isn't it.. it's 85% of people who use porn.. sigh..

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 September 2010):

This isn't the first post or first time I have heard something like this. And truly, I don't want to look at men this way. But it is MEN who keep making these generalizations. And the more it is said from the mouths of men themselves, the more likely I am to believe it.

I appoligize for my lashing out. It isn't fair of me to say "all men are apes". But honestly, it's very discouraging for me to find that most men claim they are this way and that all other men are also this way. What man can I trust then if my own father would then lie under this category? In a world where men already rein(sad, but very true despite what anyone tells you)what comfort can I find if the people who are basically in control can't even control their actions enough to stop hurting those who care about them?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (1 September 2010):

Miamine agony auntMmmm.. anon, this was set up to be a positive post where people can express themselves. I'm really sorry you feel that way about somebody else.

Person 12345, I can see where I went wrong. No good at sums you see. From what you are saying, 85% of people can watch porn happily and safely.

Sorry again for my confusion.

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A female reader, Gabrielle Stoker United States +, writes (1 September 2010):

Gabrielle Stoker agony aunt@Anonymous, Generalizations are generally abominable. If you are going to change your feeling towards men based on a post out here with no factual backing, you're doing yourself a huge disservice.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 September 2010):

"Let me just clarify my last post, when we guys masturbate and we're not using porn. Then we're thinking of someone we know and usually that's not you. It could be your mother, your sister, a girl we saw in the shop or a star on TV. That's how our mind works, we're not always going to be thinking of our girlfriend when we're alone and if we watch porn then we get see a fantasy and absorb ourselves in that."

Wow. My faith in men has gone down so much because of what you said. I'm sorry, but if this is true, that ALL men are like this, then my view on men is not a very good one. I really hope you're just pulling this out of your ass. It's honestly very difficult to know that I'm possibly living in a world where all of the men I've ever loved or trusted all have the same sick and twisted core. For God's sake, do none of you have any self control or remorse? All of you so driven by one thing in life that you will stomp all over the women who love you so that you can get to that one thing? You're a bunch of fucking apes.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (1 September 2010):

person12345 agony auntI said that you don't need any sort of "warning" traits like an addictive personality or family history or what have you to become addicted. Anyone can become addicted and no one is in any kind of a low-risk category. Some people may have a slight pre-disposition to it, but there is no way anyone can know who those people are and absolutely anyone who can get to it can become addicted.

With women, they are rarely talked about because they are in the minority. However, with every study I've seen and with most anecdotal evidence, women aren't exempt in any way from any negative effects. Women who view porn also reported significantly lower rates of satisfaction with relationships, sex, and their partner's attractiveness than women who did not view. Counselors are also seeing largely increasing numbers of women who are addicted as women who watch goes up.

As for alcohol, yes it is more addictive. I didn't say 15% of the whole population, 15% of users. That's somewhat lower. As well, higher addictiveness does not equal higher harms. I don't think anyone could argue that alcohol addiction isn't a much bigger threat to health and families than porn addiction. It also tends to affect more distant relatives and friends and family than porn addiction. Though a higher percentage of porn users are addicted than alcohol users who are addicted, I didn't say porn is more harmful than alcohol. You can see the same sort of dependence and needs to porn as to people who use alcohol and drugs.

Also as for whether the people on here are addicted, it's hard to say from online. Though really, once you get into people lying to cover their habits you could argue they're already on their way. In reality porn addiction usually applies to people who have become engrossed enough in porn they no longer can carry on a relationship with a live person.

"From what I can see, your one in four people who are so called "addicted" have a very simple solution.. they find a woman who doesn't have porn issues and then the problem is solved... Not much of an addiction if it can be solved so easily."

This is not even slightly true. They are truly unable to have a sexual relationship with anyone no matter what. Also it's not one in four. It's around 15% (average of several studies and reports I've read) and it's 15% of users, not 15% of the population. They cannot have sex or masturbate without porn. It just doesn't work. They can't get the stimulation they need. If they can have sex, they have to think of porn to get off or even get aroused otherwise it cannot work.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

The times it makes me feel bad are days when i feel insecure in myself, 'not pretty enough' so to speak. There are times when i get cranky about it for no reason too. My fiance doesnt understand why some days i'll bring it up and be mad about it, even if he hasn't looked at anything. And other days when he has looked it doesnt bother me. Ive realised sometimes i bring it up to fight over as 'punishment' because he used to lie and hurt me over it. I have realised this, but i need to stop doing that. I feel terrible that i haven't let go of a past hurt yet. But its getting better. Most of the time it simply doesnt bother me. I know he's never chosen it over me. And he hasn't lied to me over it in a long time. I do know im worried that he will, or that the use would increase, or he'd become addicted or any of those bad things ive read about, but logically i really dont think it'd happen. He's looked since he was a teen and we're now 23, his use (from what he's told me) is less now then in years before. Whether he was single or in a relationship. I know all the logical answers about why he does it. Sometimes i simply have an issue with it. Im sure i'll be told that im not ok with it, but i know i am (most days) my overreactions stem from my own low self esteem. He tells me im the most beautiful girl in the world pretty much every day, its just that i dont believe it myself. I know he doesnt find porn actresses attractive at all. I think its partly jealousy on my part too. Why should he want to or need to look at other naked women. Yet he wont go to a strip club or anything unless im with him as he views that as too close to cheating. Its also a lack of understanding. I only started watching porn and doing stuff myself in this relationship. (because it was a suggestion to see how he would view it) it helped me understand his point of view. But i prefer doing stuff with him. As he does with me. He rarely does anything himself, and fairly often he'll still want me a few hours after anyway. I know it shouldn't bother me at all, but like i said i think its partly punishment, partly my own insecurites and self esteem issues (which ive had for years) and partly the irrational fear that he'd become addicted or pick it over me etc.... Sorry if that rambled a bit, just writing as i thought about it

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (30 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntHey, original poster, miss Golightly. I got a question for you. You've tried very hard to change your attitude and solve the problem of porn in your relationship.

But still sometimes it makes you feel bad. Can I ask why?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I think the word addiction is very much thrown around with porn use. It seems if your man isn't willing to stop using porn for you, then he's addicted. Regardless if he's used it for years before hand and never chooses it over her.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (29 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntOne last question?

Apart from no discussion about masturbation addiction.. what prevents women from getting addicted to porn... a low number of women look at pornography, but by your statistics, one in four of them must have problems with addictions... why are women and pornography addiction never discussed?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (29 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntFrom what I can see, your one in four people who are so called "addicted" have a very simple solution.. they find a woman who doesn't have porn issues and then the problem is solved... Not much of an addiction if it can be solved so easily.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (29 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntI'll put it this way, a higher percentage of porn users are addicted to porn than the percentage of alcohol users who are addicted to alcohol, but we still warn people that they could develop a dependence on alcohol and warn people about it's harms.

Again this seems strange. Why do a larger number of people get addicted to pornography than to booze. Pornography has a substitute, sex with a real live girl. There is no substitute to alcohol, you either get addicted or you don't.

I've worked with alcoholic addicts.. I've seen people without teeth, bed ridden and unable to speak properly. What are the consequences of pornography addiction, do they end up having liver problems and dying before their time.

Again, I ask you... you claim that 15-20% of people are addicted to pornography. How many people are addicted to masturbation. And what controls are put into the research, how are the intellectuals sure that the person is not addicted to masturbation or sex?

Alcohol addiction or gambling addiction has chemical outcomes which the doctors can record. Alcohol addiction or gambling addiction can get bad enough to cause health problems and shorten life.

What kind of problems do your 1 person in 4 have... do they loose all their money, do they end up in hospital due to liver damage or hypertension. Are they at risk from heart attacks and early death?... how much does pornography addiction cause problems to their ability to live a normal life and stay healthy?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (28 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"15-20 of addicts do get addictive!!!!!!!".. that seems very high to me... but your probably going by the questionnaires that are on the web... addicted includes people continuing pornography even though their partner dislikes it.... I did one of these questionnaires and found out that I was mentally sick (addictive personality) Looking at the methodology of the questionnaire, I don't know anyone within my family or friends who could actually beat it... These questionnaires make the whole world sick if they have any interest in sex at all...

15-20% of people addicted, don't you realise that such high numbers bring your classification into disrepute. Addiction is a very serious matter.. you don't find 15-20% of gamblers or people who drink become a problem. I dispute your statistics.. 15-20% of a population, means that 1 in 4 have problems... 1 in 4 people who drink don't become alcoholic.. your statistics are so alarming that they sound like they come from someone who is anti-porn.

On Dear Cupid, I have noticed several people who like to shout about "pornography addiction" as soon as somebody has a problem.. They don't actually engage with the issues, and neglect to take on board certain factors which mean that porn is the symptom and not the cause..

Your statement is alarming, and I'd like statistics and evidence to see for myself if you have the time... One in four people who look at pornography become addicted... but again I ask, why don't one in four people who masturbate have similar problems? I believe there is something wrong with either your research material or the use you bend it to.

One in four people, out of a world of 6 billion or so... that's a lot of hospital places needed... addiction is a serious mental disease which needs treatment because it interferes with normal life.

Again, I'm very worried about your tendency to try to make the whole world sick and having mental problems.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (28 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntWell porn IS addictive and between 15-20% of users do get addicted. Sure not everyone gets addicted, but it is addictive. It's not like we gloss over how addictive cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol are because not everyone gets addicted.

"but surely before you stated something about needing to have some chemicals and the right disposition to have an addictive nature..."

No I said that's not true. There's no way of knowing that you will or won't get addicted. Yes if you already know you have an "addictive personality" like you've been addicted to something before, then you're at a higher risk. As well if someone in your immediate family has a porn addiction, you're at a higher risk. But not having those things doesn't put you in a low-risk category. Most people addicted to it aren't in some kind of special high risk category. Most of them have no idea that they'll become addicted and there's nothing in their genes, personality, or family history that would warn them. I'll put it this way, a higher percentage of porn users are addicted to porn than the percentage of alcohol users who are addicted to alcohol, but we still warn people that they could develop a dependence on alcohol and warn people about it's harms.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (26 August 2010):

dirtball agony aunt"Why is it you don't talk about 'masturbation addicts'"

LOL Mia, a masturbation addict will eventually be unable to even view porn since they'll go blind and have super hairy palms.

Don't you love those old wive's tales?

I also have problems with the whole _____ addiction stuff. It is overly used and is a cop out. People need to take responsibility for their actions. Are addictions real? Yes, in some cases. I just don't like how EVERYTHING is now addictive. "I'm addicted to chocolate." "I'm addicted to American Idol." "I'm addicted to grapefruit." Where is the freakin line drawn anymore?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (26 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"We need to make sure when people are young, they learn that porn is a) addictive"

But this is where me and you disagree.... it sounds like you think that everyone who looks at porn must have an addiction problem... but surely before you stated something about needing to have some chemicals and the right disposition to have an addictive nature...

IS ADDICTIVE? Surely that should be "CAN BE ADDICTIVE". People can take a drink (works on pleasure neurons in brain, just like porn/masturbation does) without being alcoholics... For your sentence to make any sense you would also have to argue that masturbation is addictive as well. According to your theory of addiction, it's the orgasm and the constant arousal of pleasure that creates the addict.

To argue that porn must be addictive does your argument no good. The harm of addiction to porn should also be the same harm that you could get through masturbation. Why is it you don't talk about "masturbation addicts"

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (26 August 2010):

dirtball agony aunt"As for Dirtball's theory about masturbation is dirty, I think porn would actually lessen especially in how degrading it is if masturbation wasn't thought of as hidden and dirty."

I agree. When we're hiding something already, it becomes easier to indulge our "dark" fantasies. Since some of that is so readily available, it can definitely be tempting to watch.

I also agree that masturbation and healthy sexual practices should be taught in sexual education. I remember when Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was practically crucified in the 1990's for suggesting this very thing. It's so sad to me that in a country that was founded on the separation of church and state that the church still has so much influence over it's policies. That again is a different conversation though.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (25 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntSorry for not responding. Today is my last day of packing.

Yes I agree with Gabrielle, in the past few years, maybe 5-10 since I was in high school, porn has changed. I remember being a teen looking at the stuff with friends a few times, and it seemed somewhat different. It was pretty easy to find just sex and some blowjobs. I don't remember ever coming across anal unless I was looking for it, and a money shot was still in the realm of "totally gross." We'd still find naked women and people masturbating as common material. I don't recall them being called names and such very often, though I don't remember audio (we were hiding in a friend's basement with a "contraband" laptop).

The surprising thing about the industry is how organized they (well most) are. They are very in touch with their market actually. I just finished this fascinating book on the economics of porn politics and they function like any other multi-billion dollar industry. They have swank offices in expensive fancy business districts. They have accountants, office assistants, secretaries, etc... It's just a business. Most of it has little to do with filming and actors and everything to do with marketing/supply and knowing their audience.

As for Dirtball's theory about masturbation is dirty, I think porn would actually lessen especially in how degrading it is if masturbation wasn't thought of as hidden and dirty. Look, everyone does it and if they don't, they should. It feels great. It makes you live longer. It may even help prevent cancer. I think porn is like the cigarettes of this era. We need education on it and to teach healthy masturbation habits (why is that so glossed over in sex ed? I didn't even know the clitoris had a function until I looked it up). We need to make sure when people are young, they learn that porn is a) addictive, b) extremely unrealistic and can raise their expectations about sex and women's bodies to an unattainable standard, thus making their sex lives unsatisfying, and c) can be harmful to relationships especially when viewed in secret.

People fought tooth and nail against the people who said cigarettes were bad, using the exact same arguments many pro-porn "activists" use (it's usually men in these groups, which has some creepy paternalistic implications as well). Cigarettes are only harmful to me, butt out of my private life. What I do in my own time is no one else's business. Also my favorite, who are you to judge? Then people fought, got their message out that cigarettes are harmful to users, harmful to people around users, and cigarettes are now stigmatized. Some people still use cigarettes, but far fewer and they mostly know the risks.

OP, I'm still trying to figure out a good response. I'm not ignoring you, I just don't know what to say yet about the lying. It's all coming out wrong... As for what I'd do? I've made my position on this so abundantly clear to my partner that were he to watch porn, he's be going against what we'd agreed on when we got into a relationship (it's sort of like a contract, this is acceptable to me, this isn't) that it would be almost making a mockery of my intelligence and status as an equal and respectable human being. He would get no second chances, he would be gone. If he does look he's amazingly good at hiding it and would have to have the sex drive of a 13 year old who just found the lube to keep up with me. :)

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A female reader, Gabrielle Stoker United States +, writes (25 August 2010):

Gabrielle Stoker agony aunt@dirtball.

I haven't been to the specific sites you mentioned, but yes, I do know what you mean in terms of the language used getting more and more degrading. Seven years ago I remember the terms used stopped at 'whore' and 'slut' with the occassional 'filthy' or 'dirty'. It was something that was less than ideal but nothing that I found I could not deal with. These days it's more 'cumbucket' and 'ass destruction' which does come across as a lot more degrading.

As I said though, there is a major flaw in the porn business model, i.e. it is not as well co-related with market needs as most consumer goods industries. I wonder if producers also suffer from 'porn fatigue' which pushes them to do increasingly extreme things, regardless of whether their audience is asking for it or not. I remember a guy who actually said he still watched old porn simply because the new stuff had nothing for him, and I wonder if that's not fairly common.

Still, as I said, I may be wrong. Maybe the world has moved to more extreme positions.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (25 August 2010):

dirtball agony aunt"But lying as a teen to your mum is surely different to lying to your partner?"

It is and it isn't. Your point is valid and the way things should work ideally. The thing is that learned behavior is difficult to change. An example. I live alone. I'm a bachelor. So, I should have no problems keeping my porn on the rack next to the rest of my DVD's. Do I? Nope. It's in a box in the closet, hidden under some other stuff being stored in there. Is it logical for me to do that? Not in the least, but I still do it.

I honestly believe that if couples talked about this instead of hiding it there would be fewer problems with it. It genuinely is the lies that cause many of the problems. It does come down to trust on both ends. Guys may not trust a girl he's with enough to have such a discussion with her right away. Porn and masturbation are very personal, and we've learned that many women don't approve of either activity. Since we don't want to scare you away, we hide it, only to make things worse when it's eventually found.

Gabrielle, if you want proof of the proliferation of degrading porn in the market, go to sites like youporn or youjizz and just look at the titles of the videos posted there. The words "humiliated," "punished," "destroyed," "gagging," and plenty of other "less than loving" words are used to describe the acts being portrayed. While it's up to the individual to choose what they watch, it really is hard to deny that there seems to be an abundance of this kind of porn out there now.

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A female reader, Gabrielle Stoker United States +, writes (25 August 2010):

Gabrielle Stoker agony auntI'm with Queue on this. As long as it doesn't interfere with international transportation...

Seriously though, I'd find lying more concerning than the porn itself. I wonder though, if men would lie if they realized their partners were OK with it. After all, most men (at least those in their mid-to-late 20's and older) are brought up thinking that

a) Mastubation is wrong

b) Women don't do it

c) Women hate porn

d) I must hide the fact that masturbate, and, by extension, that I like porn

It must be difficult to fathom a woman who is OK with the porn itself.

Also, it was interesting to read that views on 'degrading' porn. I'm not a huge consumer of porn, but apart from my differing views on what may or may not constitute 'degrading', are we sure that is really the sort of porn that is 'mainstream'.

From my brush with the industry (it was back in 2003-04, so it may not be very relevant now) I had the general impression that porn producers are not particularly in touch with their market. Unlike most consumer goods where consumer surveys etc. are undertaken, porn manufacturers function as a law unto themselves. In other words, the supply dictates the market, rather than the demand. To paraphrase Henry Ford, "You can buy any porn you like, as long as you like anal".

It's possible that the porn being made now is more violent/degrading/whatever than what was being made back then. But that may not be a fair representation of what the market really wants to see.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

That makes sense dirtball, and i understand that. But lying as a teen to your mum is surely different to lying to your partner? Most ppl (in their right minds) wouldn't have a sexual relationship with their mum, so anything sexual doesnt really need to be discussed with her. But the person you're sexually involved with, well as a serious relationship at least, should be allowed to know that there is masturbation etc. That there is another source of sexual release. I dunno, i find the two different. I hardly discuss anything sexual to my parents, or even friends, but i will talk to my partner about that kinda thing quite easily. Im sharing that part of myself with him and he with me, i believe that means i have the right to know if he'll get off without me. (So to speak) Not as a lets talk about how and when discussion, but to say that he'd use porn and masturbate sometimes, is it really so hard for a guy to admit to his gf? Better then lying and the gf finding out and then (if she's against porn) having a heart wrenching decision to make about staying or leaving. Better then hurting your loved one because of a habit thats been around since before them. It makes me wonder how to deal with our kids when we have them. How to explain how adult relationships work and everything that it involves. About the difference between porn and reality and about safe and healthy sexual habits. That may be a good 15 or so yrs away for me but it is such a big problem now, i worry how bad it will be in the future. What if 3d porn is introduced? A different kettle of fish again... And again im sorry i cant do paragraphs, i did try but when i posted my phone just joined it all together again. The one post with paragraphs was when i had access to a computer :p

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (24 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntWhy is this "ok" to lie about?

It really isn't. You are right that a relationship built around lies doesn't have a real foundation. Now, what I'm about to type, is the justification.

It's not that it's ok to lie about it, it's that men have been lying about it and hiding it our whole lives. We're told from a young age that masturbation is wrong. We often hid nudie mags under out mattress and lied to our mom about why our socks were crusty. We've been made to feel that self pleasure is bad and wrong, so it becomes even more personal because we have to hide the fact that we do it at all. While in the last 20 to 30 years, the view of masturbation by society is seeing a refreshing change, it is still something that is shunned by many people for religious reasons. Since porn and masturbation go hand in hand for most men, they almost become one and the same. It's ok to hide and lie about it because it is personal and nobody else's business. It doesn't affect anyone else in their eyes.

Here's the thing, people can justify anything and everything. We do it every day. We justify that extra cookie at lunch by saying we'll take a walk later. We justify driving too fast by saying we're going with the flow of traffic. We justify lying about porn by saying it is personal and shouldn't hurt anyone else. Just because we can justify it, or believe our own justifications, it doesn't make them right.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

"One thing I usually suggest is trying it together. Go to an adult store together and pick out something that is acceptable to both partners. If my GF was picking out my porn, even if it wasn't my favorite type, it would be even more erotic because I'd be thinking about her while watching it"

My fiance and I have sometimes watched it together... Hes more interested in me (and pretty quickly) then what we're watching lol.

He does have photos of me and videos of us etc but still likes to look at others. I guess the varity thing? I sometimes get bothered by him watching (rarely) and then feel like a hypocrite because i watch it myself! I am starting to realise that because of the hurt he did cause my by lying for a long time about it that i fear he shall just start lying again. Even though he hasnt and says over and over that he wont. Im starting to believe it but the times i think he's lying (even when not) is when we fight. So its not so much over pron, but past hurts (this would of been caused by lies over anything, it was just porn that he'd lie over)

At least i realised all this... If not i fear we would of broken up over nothing. It saddens me to think that. I chose that i want to be with him and accept this one thing that sometimes bothers me.

I do wonder, esp Person, since you are against any porn... What would you do if you ever found our your partner watched some? Even if only once. Would it be an instant dealbreaker? Or would you want to work it through?

There's still so many men who say there's no reason for their partner to leave even if they lie about porn use.(look at the most recent post about an engagement breaking up) How come so many dont understand that its often the lies more then the use that is the problem? Why should this be something that is 'ok' to lie about? A relationship isnt and cannot be built or based around lies....

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (24 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntHey so I found a book you might be interested in. Well it's not a book, but it's a report by the Witherspoon Institute where they got 54 experts together to discuss the social implications pornography. I haven't finished reading it, but it's basically a summary of a ton of studies and stuff. Very interesting stuff. It's also a nice short thing, maybe 40 pages of actual reading. Only drawback is you have to pay $5 for it. I got it on Amazon, but you can buy it elsewhere too I believe.

"The Social Costs of Pornography"

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (23 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"Actually my boyfriend hated that "eye crap" I'd wear (for different reasons) so I wore it a lot less." (personwithnumbers)

I think we are moving towards compromise.. I'm trying for no total ban, but to indulge in pornography less and to keep it away from women who find it offensive.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (23 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntBe careful when you say such things, especially if the pig is around. He tends to get very funny ideas when you say "woman, naked, ogle"

Ha, Q isn't the only one who gets crazy thoughts in his head when he hears (or reads) those words.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (23 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntIf I had a gf who would take sexy pics of herself or star in a video with me, you better believe I'd watch that above anything else in my collection. The problem is that, like with just about anything, the same thing can get boring if repeated enough. You have to keep it fresh. Change it up. That's part of the appeal of porn. I can find people acting out whatever fantasy I feel like indulging that given day. It both satiates and stimulates, which is part of why people have trouble stopping. Your immediate urges are pacified, but in the search for what you're looking for, something else may be sparked.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (23 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"But I think a lot of the problem is that men don't just want the visual, there's some kind of feeling of entitlement to ogle lots of other naked women."

Be careful when you say such things, especially if the pig is around. He tends to get very funny ideas when you say "woman, naked, ogle"

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (23 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntYes "aunt out of hiding and now moving" it's that middle group that is the problem... and yes their needs should be met as well..

Fair compromise for me is, he's allowed to look at porn outside the house and he tries to reduce his usage, she does more sex, and more exciting sex, and maybe gives him pictures of her to look at instead... that's movement enough for me to say that's a fairer compromise than giving him a blow job that she hates...

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (23 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntMia I was saying it IS controlling. Definitely is. I was just saying asking people to do anything from not cheating, to taking out the garbage is also controlling. A relationship is just about deciding what kind of control you'll agree to. I'd find it disturbing if anyone demanded I do anything at all. Including what to wear, including not to look at porn. I would never tell another woman it was OK to demand the man not look at porn. You can't make someone do something. The problem is that if we paired everyone off, even if all the men who don't like porn paired off with women who don't either and all women who are OK with porn were paired with men who watch, we'd have about a third of the population extremely dissatisfied with their relationships due to this. We need to have something other than, all men do it, deal with it for that third of the population. Like I've said it would seem a fair compromise that she'd provide him some pictures/videos of herself/them if he'd stop. If it really was all about the visual, then that should be fine so long as there was some variety. But I think a lot of the problem is that men don't just want the visual, there's some kind of feeling of entitlement to ogle lots of other naked women. From all my anecdotal evidence it seems to extend beyond just a visual for masturbation for most men. Like with almost everything, I think there needs to be a lot more education for everyone. I think it there was more information the divide would close a little and the animosity would lessen.

I've never actually heard of men feeling tortured until they want to die due to the fact that their girlfriend has a nice smile. As well, being attractive is not something the woman can control, not something she can choose to stop being. Watching porn is a choice. An activity he or she can actively stop. This is more of an issue not because it affects only women (a man actually just posted yesterday about his wife being addicted to porn), it's because it affects half of all women, and about a third of all men. That means it affects almost half the population. That's why it needs to be addressed further than now. And that's why it requires this attention.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (23 August 2010):

dirtball agony aunt"sorry to drag it back, but im still at a loss as to what to say to women who post on here who cannot accept their partners porn use, but love him and do not wish to leave the rship. If he wont stop (even if he only does it sometimes) what should they do?"

Ultimately they have to each decide what is most important to themselves. We don't always like everything about our partner, but if we love them enough, we can accept the things we don't like. If a compromise has been reached, but that still isn't good enough for one party, then it isn't an acceptible compromise, but going further in one direction or the other may not be fair either.

I know it is cliche, but the answer lies within the individual. How important to them is their stance on this issue? Is there a way for them to help themselves understand the other's side? Have they tried?

Sometimes we can love someone but still not be compatible with them. A relationship shouldn't be about pain. When the pain outweighs the pleasure, the relationship has become unhealthy.

Often, the more we love someone, the more we are hurt by the little things they do that we see as hurting us, often it is a respect issue. That's because "if they loved us, they wouldn't hurt us over something so minor." What is minor to one, may be major to the other. In a situation like that, a compromise may be impossible and therefore the relationship will not work.

One thing I usually suggest is trying it together. Go to an adult store together and pick out something that is acceptable to both partners. If my GF was picking out my porn, even if it wasn't my favorite type, it would be even more erotic because I'd be thinking about her while watching it. Of course, maybe that's just my warped perspective of the world.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

sorry to drag it back, but im still at a loss as to what to say to women who post on here who cannot accept their partners porn use, but love him and do not wish to leave the rship. If he wont stop (even if he only does it sometimes) what should they do? What can happen so both parties can be happy? I just dont know what to say sometimes.... Also if i dressed skanky i could understand my guy asking me not to. But if i just attracted guys attention without wanting or trying to and he was insecure, i would wonder why. Id compromise if it was something that could be compromised over. Why leave a good relationship over a small issue...

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (23 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"I just think it's different with the porn thing from make-up, from going out with the guys, from whatever because it hurts her deep down at her core and while in a relationship, it seems like you should just want to do everything you possibly can to avoid that."

Again funny statement, have you not read the posts with guys with jealousy issues who are hurt and tortured until they want to die, just because their girlfriend has a nice smile, or talks to a man in the street.

Oh I forgot.. it's different, porn is not the same as this. Why, because pornography hurts women and not men. Seems to me it's only different because women's pain is important and man's pain can be ignored. The only equivalent to looking at pornography (according to what you say) is having penetrative sex or oral sex with someone. Funny though, porn viewing and masturbation is usually done alone, the girls on the video and the magazine can't see what the man is doing.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (23 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntYour missing the point... Asking a man to never look at pornography even in private is controlling..

Asking a woman to stop wearing make-up and dress like her grandmother is controlling.

Both are based on the other persons insecurities. I'm surprised you don't see anything wrong with a man telling you what to wear out on the street. I'd find it disturbing if a man wanted to dress me and hide my beauty. :)

In this world of compromise, men and women both get locked away because of the other partners jealousies. On Dear Cupid, we have plenty of posts from women with controlling partners who tell them what to wear, who to talk to and what to do with their time. That's the same comparison as a woman dictating about pornography.

Looking at pornography on your own is not the same as getting a blow job from a woman who is tired and hates it. For you a burka is religious and sounds strange, but I'm from Europe, we have many women dressed all in black around my area. It's normal dress around here.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (23 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntIf men should give up porn to prove their love, should women also stop wearing make up and wear a head to foot black Burka (the black tent dress that some Muslim women wear) to stop other men from noticing them.

Actually my boyfriend hated that "eye crap" I'd wear (for different reasons) so I wore it a lot less. Not really consciously honestly, but I want him happy. The difference in these two is that male attention is not her doing. She is attracting male attention simply by being attractive. If she was dressing in a way to get other men's attention on purpose, like in a way to flirt with them, then yes it's absolutely a fair trade to ask her to stop flirting. Make-up is a bit different from porn in that it's not the make-up that is bothersome or hurtful, it's the fact that she attracts male attention. The male attention is not a choice. So I don't really know, it's really hard to say if it's a fair trade-off since the two things are really, really different. I'd say a more relevant and better trade-off would be that she'd agree to have sex or give blowjobs more when she's not in the mood, or provide pictures and videos of herself to masturbate to. As for the burka, since it's religious and kind of a way for a man to show ownership, it's totally different. A burka is a symbol of repression. I mean when you talk about any of this stuff, you're talking about control. Asking your partner not to sleep with other women is controlling. Everything you do is a little controlling. It's hard to find the right level. I just think it's different with the porn thing from make-up, from going out with the guys, from whatever because it hurts her deep down at her core and while in a relationship, it seems like you should just want to do everything you possibly can to avoid that.

OP I wouldn't lose sleep over it or anything. If the porn use is currently not an issue, so long as you don't notice any escalation and it doesn't bother you that he uses, the odds are in your favor it won't develop into an addiction. While addicts don't necessarily have addictive personalities to start with and none of them start out compulsive, it's all about just making sure to nip it in the bud if it escalates. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry. Just make sure you keep an eye on it and not let it get out of hand. It's impossible to say who's going to get addicted.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (22 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Interesting thought mia. I dont wear makeup anyway but if my fiance was upset that i was attracting other guys attention id certainly wonder why it was a problem. It doesnt mean id run off with some guy giving me a look... Good perspective point, woman sometimes think their guy would rather the porn women and hence its a similar insecurity. Not only in the relationship itself but with the individual. I have some questions also, stemming from the interesting info from anon (person??) Should i be concerned that my partners occasional porn use will one day turn into an issue? That'll he'd become addicted or start picking it over me or need to view stuff that is bad etc? Or can i rest easy knowing he doesnt have an addictive personality (once a smoker, one day decided he didnt want to be, gave up cold turkey and hasn't touched one since) and since he was happy to make an agreement with me that he'd never choose porn over me etc etc. Can porn itself cause an issue with anyone and everyone or are there ppl who can watch it occasionally without ever becoming addicted or having a problem in relationships because of it?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (22 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntWhere is everybody... bohoooo.... I'm all alone now...

Anyway, I got a question.. I lifted it from an anonymous lady who answered a question on porn.. I thought it was interesting, so I'll post it here...

"What if he turned around saying that he doesn't like you wearing make-up or nice clothes because it attracts the attention of other guys and that makes him feel bad... would you do that for him?"

If men should give up porn to prove their love, should women also stop wearing make up and wear a head to foot black Burka (the black tent dress that some Muslim women wear) to stop other men from noticing them.

Would you see this as a fair compromise... and if why not..

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (22 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntOK.. I understand now, thanks to wikipedia..GGW indeed..

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (22 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntWhat's GGW.. please translate for British readers...

And I should have guessed it was you... lol.. I could see your beliefs through your opinions, but you have been totally respectful towards us people with different points of view... Now that's the kind of compromise we need. I hope likewise, my posts have become more sympathetic to women who suffer from living with sex addicts, due to the information you present on this board...

But perhaps not...

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (22 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntYes I heard GGW has actually had a profoundly negative impact on many of the women who participated as well (shocking, I know *sarcasm*). Some have apparently been so humiliated by the experience that they drop out of school. Obviously some probably liked it, I don't want to speak for all of them, but regardless the GGW DVDs are the opposite of empowering. "Look what we'll do for a hat!" Like I said, I'm really frightened for what some of these younger kids are going to be like as boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, etc... Gail Dines once said we are living in a giant social experiment in regards to this but judging by all the very young girls (like prepubescent) wearing booty shorts that say Delicious and Sexy on the butt, I don't think this is going in a good direction.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (22 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntI should add, thank you for identifying yourself!

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (22 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntSorry person 12345... I was writing my response at the same time.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (22 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntAnon, she says you're hiding because you haven't signed up and given us a user name to call you.

As for the prevalence in today's society... I blame "girls gone wild." My mom had an argument with one of my brother's girlfriends once because she thought ggw was women's liberation!?! Fuggin kids. Just more proof why stricter controls need to be out there. And to think, there is a whole generation of kids out there who have seen these commercials their whole lives. It really is just normal to them.

Anyway, my rant for the night. Sorry op for not answering your question.

(Sent from my mobile. Paragraphs are still possible. ;-P)

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (22 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntAunt in hiding? Well, I guess don't much like that. I am, well me, I just didn't want to be forever associated with being super anti-porn on this site since that's not the stance I intend to take when giving advice. But if you insist...

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (22 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntNo dear, your aunt in hiding, and yes your arguments are very good indeed.. thank you very much for sharing.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (22 August 2010):

Haha I'm hiding, I am in the process of moving in with my wonderful boyfriend. Busy, busy... I don't know if you're referring to me, but I didn't think you were making fun of me or being sarcastic. I've enjoyed answering your questions as you seem interested rather than aggressive. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the articles. If you would like I can post the titles of some more I found interesting as there is quite a bit of quite frankly, badly researched crap to sift through as well.

I'm glad to hear unplanned pregnancy rates are going down in Europe. Yeah our abstinence only education in the US is absurd (probably to blame as well) and doing no one a favor. Telling hormone crazed kids not to have sex is like telling a lion not to eat that live bleeding goat in his cage and instead go for a salad. I wish they'd also teach kids about healthy masturbation habits, since even in good programs it's usually excluded. I think there's a healthy kind of porn as well, just not what's mostly out there. I mean we tell them basically the opposite of the world tells them. All the media shows everyone having sex, and tons of it, so naturally they want in. But we give them no information other, "sex is bad. Abstain abstain!" So they turn to porn and I mean they see all these money shots and this anal sex, (and lack of condoms) and it's definitely affecting them. I heard some teenagers talking about how if their girlfriend doesn't wax everything off, it's too gross to even try to have sex. Or I also heard several teens waxing poetic about how much better porn was than dating. What happens to that generation when they have to start really dating and getting married? I wouldn't want to be a teen girl about to have sex for the first time now.

To AskOlderSister, the Human Genome Project is what my dad works on. Small world. Anyways, "One other thing to consider with teens, is their brains are still growing, making chemical connections."

Yes, this a really big one. There are these things called mirror neurons (their existence is a little controversial, but their mechanism is not if that makes any sense) present that can make them believe that what they are seeing is completely real. So they see the porn and they believe they are living it/it is actually happening to them. These are present in adults, but much more so in children/teens. Basically the teens are much less able to separate what they are seeing from reality. I also have to point out that if we as adults feel a need to separate fantasy from reality in porn, it's a signal something might be amiss.

"Are some women worried about this, do they hate pornography because they believe that it's experience is more intense, and is this worry warranted?"

No, it's mostly only the people who spend hours at a time doing this (addicts really). They say they spend hours being incredibly aroused all the time masturbating and ejaculating several times and the whole experience is just a real toll on the senses and can actually create a more intense experience. I've also heard from heavy recreational users that while the actual sex is more fun and intense, they have stronger orgasms from porn/masturbation a lot of the time.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntI did promise to answer you questions, and no I didn't forget, but the research from Miss anon aunt who is hiding, has been compelling and interesting..

Now I see you thought I was making fun off you.. no, pure misunderstanding on your part. When I said lets get back to real life, I was talking about stopping talking about books and research and dealing with the real problems that women like you suffer.. no offence was meant... I just see real life and books as two different area's of life...

Now back to your questions.. Yes, brilliant, so sorry we neglected to answer them, because they are important to all people who are in romantic or sexual relationships.

1. Does a porn addict still love their partner or is their porn addiction a sign that they no longer love them (or think that they are not loved)?

As you can see from the discussion, porn addiction is something to do with chemicals in the brain. If you have an addiction you become too sick to carry out normal relatioships. It's nothing to do with love or attraction. Addiction means he is only aware of pornography and nothing else.. That's if he is truely addicted.

2.Does a truly loving and healthy relationship still require the use of porn to make the sex part more interesting?

Nope, relationships with pornography can be loving and healthy, relationships without pornography can be loving and healthy.. it's more like ice-cream, some like vanilla, some like chocolate, and a few are addicted to food and overeat and become obese and put their life at risk.

3. Could the use of porn on the part of one or both indicate problems with the relationship (emotional or otherwise)?

Yes and No.. many millions of women and men use pornography or erotic literature with no problems at all. Millions of women read romantic fiction, but that dosen't mean they lack romance in their life, they just like the story. However, pornography (or other pleasures) can mask problems people have in life. Drinking coffee sometimes is fine, but it's not fine if you get headaches and agressive when your without it. Some people use pornography to sleep when they really should get better sleeping habits. Some people use porngraphy because they are left unsatisfied by an infrequent or borring sex life. Some people use pornography for stress relief when they have money problems, or problems at work. People use pornography for different reasons, that's why it's always best not to generalise but talk about individual circumstances.

4.Here's a contraversial one - is pure sex without love, more like using porn as opposed to "making love"?

Not controversial at all... pure sex without love is like using pornography or solo masterbation.. you just get hugged and kissed so get human contact, but the feeling is about the same as porn.... that's why it's easy for us pro-porn people to say it means nothing.. it's pure sex, without love and with no body contact with someone else.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"Thanks Miamine for your sarcasm "but this brings us back to real life and Miss Golightly's original post." Perhaps if you had a relationship on the rocks after 14 years due to porn, you might be a bit less nasty and a bit more empathic. On the otherhand, perhaps not." (Lucyloos)

Sigh.. you are rude and ill mannered, you judge me very harshly.. no scarsm was meant at all, I regret that you are so sensetive...

Exactly what I said is what I meant... The original poster, who I decided to name Miss Golightly (due to her wish to bring harmony, rather than insults and bad manners) has requested further down that we stick to the point and not go off and talk about addictions and scholar research and articles...

In case you missed it, I will repost her request again. It's because of people like you, who attack and become rude that she started this post in the first place. We have been discussing this issue in a very friendly and warm manner, looking for a way to help people who have problems. You are the first rude person who has come here.. please read the question title and the original post, this is not the place for you to come and insult people who have different views from yours.

"But for someone who truely cant stand it, but loves the guy she's with and he uses it, what can she do? Like the most recent question on here (simply cannot accept it) she doesnt want to leave him, but being with her is hurting her. He wont stop, be that addiction or just not willing to change himself for her, so she either leaves or gets hurt.. Thats what this post is about." (Original poster anon, named Miss Golightly by me for simplicity)

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A female reader, LucyLoos United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Thanks Miamine for your sarcasm "but this brings us back to real life and Miss Golightly's original post." Perhaps if you had a relationship on the rocks after 14 years due to porn, you might be a bit less nasty and a bit more empathic. On the otherhand, perhaps not.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntCouldn't agree more. There's been a rise in unplanned teen pregnancy recently and this has been cited as a possible reason (obviously no one really knows).

In the UK (and I think across Europe) there has been a drop in unplanned teenage pregnancies.. If your talking about America, we think that your rise is caused for your recent efforts to promote celibacy and no sex to teenagers, whereas we in Britian are promoting younger sex education and making contraception easier for them to access.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntWe are all totally agreed that pornography is not for children, and our efforts should be (anti-porn and pro-porn) to put in controls to make it harder for them to access it.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"In terms of sex versus porn addiction, porn is much riskier than sex in terms of addiction I can't say why for sure it is so much riskier, but some think it's because in some users it's actually a much more intense experience than sex alone."

Sigh.. you left me with a lot of reading to do.. but this brings us back to real life and Miss Golightly's original post.

My Question for all...

"Are some women worried about this, do they hate pornography because they believe that it's experience is more intense, and is this worry warranted?"

For me I'd say it's the opposite, sex with a partner is more intense and pornography provides a quick simple release.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntYippie.. a true scholar.. thank you for the references and links...

Miamine goes off to read interesting research... :)

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

"Miamine, speaking of disturbing facts about porn affecting our youth. They never wear condoms in porn either. That's disturbing since it's casual sex and all."

Couldn't agree more. There's been a rise in unplanned teen pregnancy recently and this has been cited as a possible reason (obviously no one really knows).

People who become anti-pornography don't suddenly decide they hate it out of thin air and most of us aren't religious (I'm not) or aren't using religion as our jumping off point. It was actually this site that triggered my interest in the subject, in how some people who were pro-porn seemed so incredibly angry at people who were anti-porn and it seemed like a very strange situation. This was maybe a year ago. Before that I had barely put any thought into porn at all and couldn't care less if my partner used it. But now that I've done a lot of research I have definitely come to the conclusion that it is generally harmful enough that something needs to be done. What I think is that there needs to be some kind of regulation on the internet (not banning, just keep it away from kids more mostly). Mostly I think there needs to be education. A lot of it. No one really talks about it in any educational way and I think most people don't know a lot about it's possible harms.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

"One more thing.. if more and more porn users are using degrading pornography, then where does the whole amateur scene come from.. From what I can see, the amateur scene is fairly new and has gone from few users (and producers) to millions overnight..."

Truly amateur porn is actually not as much as you might think. A lot of the "amateur" stuff is actually huge industries trying to mimic the amateur ones and they still include a lot of really degrading ideas and acts. They're very good at this whole faking amateurs thing, you sometimes really can't tell. Even more surprising is how much a lot of the amateur stuff tries to mimic the mainstream stuff in terms of the acts. Like it's still much harder to find just two people just having sex than it is to find anal, the kind of girl bouncing up and down screaming while in some kind of hideously uncomfortable position, money shots, etc... Even in "amateur."

"You also say that women have changed their sexuality through porn, and say that they don't expect to have orgasms before they are older.. but isn't that wrong... before the women's movement of the 1970's women didn't expect to have orgasms at all... hasn't the women's movement, free love, the visiblity of sexuality and pornography, actually encouraged women to have sex and enjoy orgasms.."

Yes, it did. Key word did. The women's movement used to be a wonderful thing. And yes, they did used to have to lie back and think of England. Then women suddenly were like, hey you know what this is bs. We deserve to like sex too! And they managed to spread word and make this huge movement happen. It was amazing. Now suddenly people no longer want to label themselves feminists (some survey on several colleges found that fewer than 20% of women called themselves feminists and far fewer men did) and we're experiencing a regression. You know there was the explosion of third-wave feminism, now we're in kind of a fourth wave, which seems to be bringing the standard way back. Lucky for our generation most of us know we should be having orgasms. But now some young women are under the impression than an orgasm is nothing more than some kind of perk if the guy is really nice or something they shouldn't expect out of a relationship. People are still masturbating, but ideas about who should be receiving pleasure are getting warped among young people (men and women alike).

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

As for the study, you're not giving the researchers nearly enough credit. They put a lot of effort into ruling those things out. They don't live in a bubble and they've done this a lot before. This was done over time and they controlled for the possibility. I will link you to the study so I don't say something totally off about it.

Thanks Dirtball, you're right about the correlation not leading to causation. There are a lot of studies that pretty clearly show that, particularly with increases and decreases in rape with porn and they just seem completely faulty. Like linking adult stores to increases in rape is a little nuts, likewise saying the internet decreases rape is equally nuts.

"PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL SATISFACTION AMONG YOUNG WOMEN AND MEN: HOW TO CONCEPTUALIZE AND MEASURE POSSIBLE ASSOCIATIONS" done by: Aleksandar Štulhofer et al.

I don't really feel like looking up all the studies (they're scattered all over my computer and written down in weird places) but google scholar and pubmed are good places to go looking if you're interested. The one by Bryant et al on lack of empathy due to porn is a fascinating one.

OK other leading people, Catherine MacKinnon, Susan Brownmiller, very famous ones. I'm leaving out Andrea Dworkin, as she is controversial due to her anger following being a prostitute and raped by doctors, but she had some very interesting things to say. Yes they do all identify as anti-porn, because after doing research they all decided it was harmful. You can be a leading researcher and have opinions. They developed their opinions after doing research. Now you'd mostly call them activists, but they conducted a lot of important research as well. Jensen is radical in the sense that he's "strange" for a christian, not that he's a bible-beater. He was an atheist for a good portion of his life and he has never used religion as an argument for anything in his published works (he never talks about god, jesus, sins, lust, etc). The other name for radical christianity is Christian atheism. His religious affiliation is of no importance to his research as he was not raised believing porn was a sin and he does not use it as a reason porn is a negative influence.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

Wow when I logged back in there were like 10 more answers, so excuse me if I miss something, I'm just practicing for my thesis defense and have to have a real life in there somewhere.

For the isolated gene, this is actually not true. My dad is actually one of many biologists leading the search for the addiction gene. They have identified/mapped then entire human genome, however they have no clue what it all does. They have isolated one set of genes that code for nicotine addiction, but beyond that they have no idea. They are near sure the genes exist, but they have no idea which sets of genes code for what kinds of addictions and what combinations cause what. Addiction is extremely complicated. Furthermore, they know that not having the genes that code for a certain kind of addiction doesn't make you immune to developing an addiction. So even if you lack the gene set that "causes" nicotine addiction, you can still become addicted to nicotine. It's more like a pre-disposition than anything else, in that those people will become addicted much more easily. It's a little like their ability to test for BRCA1 and 2 for breast cancer. It doesn't mean you WILL get breast cancer if you have them, but it also doesn't mean you won't get breast cancer if you don't have them. There is some thought that there is a something called an "addictive personality" but there is absolutely no connection between sex addiction and drug addiction. As well, we have no idea how prevalent the gene could be. 80% of the population could code for porn addiction. We have no way of knowing as of now. They have actually done some pretty interesting studies on identical twins about this stuff, it's fascinating. Again you can find it all on pubmed. Basically the conclusion is, we don't know enough about the genes or biology to even speculate anything about how people will react in the real world and who's at more risk and nearly everyone can become addicted.

"And then there's the danger of getting addicted to anything on earth..."

You can only really become addicted to something that triggers a release of chemicals in your brain. So you're not becoming addicted to sports, your addicted to endorphin release, but it's not what you'd call a large risk. You couldn't become addicted to anything and everything and most things you'd have to try really, really hard. In terms of sex versus porn addiction, porn is much riskier than sex in terms of addiction I can't say why for sure it is so much riskier, but some think it's because in some users it's actually a much more intense experience than sex alone.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntYea.. the lack of condoms bothered me.. until I researched more.. the industry are very, very big on STD tests.. if your not clean you don't work...I think they are tested every 6months and often in the middle of shoots.

One sex worker with an STD can bring down the whole industry. They got badly affected in the 1980's and now sexual testing is mandatory.

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A male reader, Pazush Israel +, writes (21 August 2010):

Pazush agony auntHi,

i choose to disagree with you oldersister.

Who determines what is necessary for good sex life and whats not?

do you eat pizza? whys that? its not necessary... but it taste good.

also i dont agree with the addiction farce youve written.

addictions designs who we are so many times.

were all addicted to one or more of our cellphone/hair/nails/tv/internet or whatever. this is not an ON/OFF situation.

there are lots of levels of 'addiction'

and more importent is to use the term Priorities insted of addiction.

porn is fine, sometimes it comes with side effects.

so does pizza.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntFrom Wikipedia..

Robert Jensen.. As a strong pro-feminist, Jensen has focused much of his work on the radical feminist critique of pornography and of masculinity. He also has written about white privilege and institutionalized racism. Jensen identifies as a Radical Christian.

Gail Dines ...She is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture - an international movement against pornography.

I looked up your leading experts in the field.. but since they declare themselves as anti-pornography then how can their research be untainted by their views..

Looking at evidence to get rid of pornography is very different from taking a neutral view and just trying to understand it and it's effects.. I'm suspect about research where someone has already made up their mind and then seeks the evidence to back this up...

There are also feminists who exists who are pro pornography and are suspicious of the Christian feminists who seek to control human sexuality. I guess I fall into this category, however I'm listening to the pain and problems that have been brought up on Dear Cupid and find my views are changing in very subtle ways. The question of pornography making a man unable to have sex has becoming worrying, likewise the need of the young to practice pornographic acts leads them to extremes and they rush through sex like it's going out of fashion in a couple of months.. that is disturbing.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntMiamine hides whips and chains so not to offend Askoldersis... Miamine takes dictionary out, to look up long words like dopperme... (cheap way of getting education)

Will be back to answer Lucyloo's as soon as I process this intelligent stuff...

"Dopymines are stuff in body and that stuff makes stuff happen".. easy..

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntSorry, I don't mean to minimise the true pain that sex addiction causes.. but I'm also very weary of the "fear mongering"... making people afraid of sex will have very destructive effects..

As to what the woman who hates porn but loves the man can do.. unfortunately there are only a few choices.

1. She may be lucky enough to convince him to give up pornography..

2. Her hate for pornography may be so much, that she will have to leave the man she loves if he continues to look at it.

3. She might be able to understand his interest in pornography and it will no longer bother her.

4. She continues to argue about the issue, the relationship becomes toxic and the eventually break up.

5. The man and woman find a working compromise, whereby he may not give up, and she may continue to dislike it, but they find a solution that makes neither of them happy, but makes neither of them too sad..

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (21 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntI'm going to step out of the porn discussion for a second and address the Neuroscience issue (as this was one of my primary collegiate areas of study).

What you see activating in the brain of an addict during a scan is their dopamine centers. Dopamine is the primary pleasure neurotransmitter in the brain. There are receptors for it on approximately 90% of your neurons. If you receive pleasure from something, dopamine is involved.

What makes an addict different from everyone else?

Really, biologically nothing. People can be addicted to anything, speaking from a biochemical level. That's why there are other criteria to consider before a clinical diagnosis of addiction can be made. The person needs to choose the stimulus over other things that could give them pleasure. They also build a tolerance to the stimulus. Tolerance defined here as an increased amount needed to achieve the same arousal. With addiction your neurons actually change. The receptors develop caps on the inside of the neuron. This is why it takes more of said stimulus to achieve the same arousal.

My personal view is that "addiction " has become used way to widely. That is for a different discussion though.

Anon, you've done a good job answering the questions posed to you. One thing that was stressed very strongly in my own psychological research was to be very careful of test bias in drawing conclusions. You cited statistics. I'm very curious as to their source as well as their methodology. This isn't to say they are inaccurate, it is an academic curiosity.

Also, always remember, correlation does not equal causation.

Since a true controlled test is impossible to conduct due to ethical constraints, there will likely never be a real answer to many of the questions posed here. We simply will never know.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled discussion ...

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A female reader, LucyLoos United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

First, I would like to thank all of you taking part in this discussion for discussing all of this so openly. Once I had come to terms with my husband's porn addiction, I think I did need to know and understand more about porn. I know you might find this surprising but, prior to this, I knew very little about it. It has certainly been an education.

In "real life", there was no one I could discuss this with and so, reading all your comments, getting all these different perspectives on porn and porn usage has been really helpful for me. I hope it will help me to be able to achieve a more balanced reaction to porn than I might have had otherwise.

However, there is one thing that I have noticed. There has been very little mention of love. I would very much like to know what you think. Here are my questions.

Does a porn addict still love their partner or is their porn addiction a sign that they no longer love them (or think that they are not loved)?

Does a truly loving and healthy relationship still require the use of porn to make the sex part more interesting?

Could the use of porn on the part of one or both indicate problems with the relationship (emotional or otherwise)?

Here's a contraversial one - is pure sex without love, more like using porn as opposed to "making love"?

These are just some of the questions that I am grappling with, because, in the case of myself and my husband, I think we did have issues around love - due to our experiences when we were young and growing up.

But, everyone's life experiences are different and that is why I would really appreciate knowing what the rest of you think about this.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I think i agree with older sister on the addiction and what porn is viewed most often. My fiance prefers watching blowjobs. Just standard. Not with chicks tied up, or gagging and crying, nothing horrid. Just a girl sucking a penis. I know he sometimes watches 2 girls doing the same thing. I have never seen anything that i'd class as humiliating or degrading. Not that i see everything he watches, but that hasn't changed in 2yrs. He loves me giving him bjs too, and he doesnt want to 'cum all over me' however i dont really care if he does. Its only a bit of mess. Not every guy who views porn takes it to such extremes as others. I dont believe everyone who watches will become addicted, or need to look up worse and worse stuff to get off. I think some (if not most?) will look at sexual acts they would do with their partners as it is more realistic. My partner has never expressed a dissatisfation with what we do or that i dont cater to any part of his sexual appetite. We have tried some new things that one of us may have watched, some were pretty ordinary for both of us honestly. He doesnt like anal much, either watching or doing it. What he views is what he likes. Hence if his use increased or he started looking at stuff that disturbed me, id bring it up with him. But i cant see that happening somehow... I think there are guys (and girls) who can watch simple porn (everyday actions) without it affecting their sex lives or their views on their partner or their life. Bear in mind too, if women in porn flat out refused to do the degrading things you're talking about, it wouldn't be there to be watched. Those in porn make the choice to be. Why i have no idea. Im not angry my guy uses porn and wont be unless it becomes a problem. But for someone who truely cant stand it, but loves the guy she's with and he uses it, what can she do? Like the most recent question on here (simply cannot accept it) she doesnt want to leave him, but being with her is hurting her. He wont stop, be that addiction or just not willing to change himself for her, so she either leaves or gets hurt.. Thats what this post is about.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntOne more thing.. if more and more porn users are using degrading pornography, then where does the whole amateur scene come from.. From what I can see, the amateur scene is fairly new and has gone from few users (and producers) to millions overnight...

Wouldn't the increase in degrading pornography mean that the amateur porn scene would find it hard to find users. What you are suggesting means that the amateur scene would stay small as it doesn't provide the addictive type of "degrading" pornography that the market wants.

You also say that women have changed their sexuality through porn, and say that they don't expect to have orgasms before they are older.. but isn't that wrong... before the women's movement of the 1970's women didn't expect to have orgasms at all... hasn't the women's movement, free love, the visiblity of sexuality and pornography, actually encouraged women to have sex and enjoy orgasms..

From what I understand, the common view before the 1970's, was to lie back and think of England, women aren't supposed to enjoy sex, and only bad girls expect to be pleased in bed. Didn't women marry for financial gain and placed no consideration upon whether they would find sexual fulfilment?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntIt's because of this that the new DSM manual is removing the word addiction, because it has been so generalised it can no longer be used to explain clinical malfunctioning that needs treatment and help.

If we can all be addicted to anything, that means the whole world has gone mad.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntFrom what you say, if we remove the pornography, we are all still in danger from addiction to orgasm.... makes one want to stop sex altogether..

And then there's the danger of getting addicted to anything on earth... yes there is also sports addiction.. I have heard of this.. people keep exercising beyond what is safe and it ends to damage to bones and dramatic weight loss...

mmmmm... since we humans are prone to addiction, maybe we should all hide in cupboards and never come out.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

OlderSister,

You're right about addictions. It's not shown yet that it's genetic, it's only a theory right now. But it's looking pretty plausible. You're definitely right though, some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. But porn does affect the brain in ways other than addiction, and while it doesn't effect everyone, it effects far more people than addiction does as numerous studies show. The most relevant to this discussion showed that even small amounts of porn use caused men to be significantly less satisfied with their partner's attractiveness, sexual curiosity, sexual abilities, and sex drive. At the same time exposure to pornography did not affect them in other non-sexual parts of their life. I can't remember off the top of my head who did the study, but you can find it on pubmed.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

"'If most men look at degrading porn, and it affects their brain. What happens to the women who watch pornography, do they begin to hate themselves?'"

Don't worry, I love answering questions. Helps me get ready to defend my thesis too.

Actually, some women to some extent do. Not in the sense that they hate themselves, but more in the sense that some get this notion that they should be hurt, that they don't deserve pleasure from sex, and they deserve the be treated like crap. They've actually become so cultured by the porn, that they stop seeing themselves as sexual beings themselves. In a way, they feel as women it is their duty to act like sex dolls and give anything they want to their man. Obviously this is a small subset of women, but it's not hard to see how porn has changed our generation's view of sex. It's somewhat expected among teens for women to just not have orgasms until they're older so the women just aim to please the man without thought to their own pleasure. Young women are also being pressured into trying things that make them uncomfortable or would actually cause them pain, such as anal sex or cum shots to the face. Anal sex among heterosexual couples was actually pretty uncommon before the rise of porn. But recent studies show that among teens rates of anal sex have more than doubled. As well, anal rape has become far more common. By that last comment I don't mean to say porn is causing rape, I just mean it's changing what men who choose to rape want to do to women when they rape them.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

"1. You believe that watching porn affects the brain in some way. If your watching degrading pornography for study, how is it effecting your sexuality?

2. Is your study of degrading pornography not changing your view about the world, men and sex in some way. After all, what we look at (you say) changes our world view. Might not the study of pornography be giving you a negative view of how men treat women and what they think of them?"

1. I don't watch a lot of it in full or on a regular basis and I'm definitely not masturbating to it, which is a lot of the conditioning and such. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't affecting my sexuality or at least affecting me in an emotional sense. For instance it makes me more paranoid than average about what my partner is looking at, as well it makes me wonder if one of my professors or a male police officer or anyone has been looking at something like Gag Factor the night before talking to me and wondering how it might change his views of me.

2. Yes I think it is a little. I try not to let it, since really nothing has changed since I became interested in the subject. But it has made me hyper-aware of small things and comments I wouldn't have noticed. I genuinely don't have a more negative of men in particular, if I did I wouldn't still be with my male partner. It's just made me more hyper-aware, that's all. For instance my friend had to go to some kind of rehab for porn addiction and I thought it was just gross, pervy, and showed a lack of restraint before. But now I realize people with addictions to porn genuinely can't help themselves.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

"1. How do you know MOST men watch degrading porn?

2. What type of porn do you classify as degrading?"

1. From surveys conducted by universities on random groups, from interviews with users, and definitely from looking up sales and finding out what the most popular "purchases" are, etc... Robert Jensen, Gail Dines, etc (the leading experts/researchers in the field)... have all concluded the same thing from all the information available (including just looking around the internet).

2. I think I answered that below, sorry if it's a little jumbled and weird sounding, I wrote it in a hurry. I suppose some might disagree, with what I wrote is degrading, but I think there's a reason most women don't watch the same things as their male partners.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

I would happily answer questions (I will answer them in separate responses so it's not totally overwhelming). I'm trying not to sound angry over this, and I hope I don't come across that way, as I am actually not emotionally involved with this in terms of a partner who uses or something of the sort.

I'm not entirely sure I understand your question, but I will try to answer. When I was referring to the cocaine, I was actually referring to a study done awhile back that basically looked at people's brains while they had orgasms to see what was happening on a chemical scale. It turns out an orgasm caused things in the brain to "light up" similar to cocaine use. Yes, it is entirely possible to become addicted, and people do. People become addicted to everything you say (except the sports) such as porn, masturbation, and most definitely sex. It is estimated now that the percentage of porn users who are addicted is between 15-20% of users (and approximately 70% of men are users and approximately 30% of women are users). Sex addiction has been around for a long time, as people claim they literally cannot control their urge and use it to justify cheating. There is actually sex rehab for those people. As for the sports, it's entirely possible that someone could condition their brain to become aroused by sports and somehow become addicted I suppose, but I don't think it's a common phenomenon. I would assume if you conditioned your brain like a pavlovian response you could condition yourself to become aroused by nearly anything. If you masturbate staring at and thinking about a ball of yarn and orgasm while staring and thinking about it, you could conceivably condition yourself to be aroused at the thought of a ball of yarn. An orgasm really is the single most powerful mental conditioning reward there is.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntSorry, sorry, sorry.. last question I promise...

"If most men look at degrading porn, and it affects their brain. What happens to the women who watch pornography, do they begin to hate themselves?"

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntSorry one more questions anon...

1. You believe that watching porn affects the brain in some way. If your watching degrading pornography for study, how is it effecting your sexuality?

2. Is your study of degrading pornography not changing your view about the world, men and sex in some way. After all, what we look at (you say) changes our world view. Might not the study of pornography be giving you a negative view of how men treat women and what they think of them?

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"Just because of the existence of other kinds of non-degrading porn does not mean most porn that most men watch isn't degrading."

1. How do you know MOST men watch degrading porn?

2. What type of porn do you classify as degrading?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

Also I'd like to point out that just because you don't watch it doesn't mean most other guys don't either. It's supply and demand. If the majority of men didn't want to see women degraded, the porn industry would produce something to reflect that. The consumer drives the market. It most men didn't want their porn to refer to women as whores and sluts and bitches then most porn wouldn't refer to them that way. The majority of male porn users want to see women degraded.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

Actually Dirtball, I'm not overly generalizing. I've spoken to numerous other experts and researchers, read numerous books, read so many studies it makes my head spin, spoken to probably close to 50 recreational porn users, spoken with men who choose not to include it, spoken with numerous ex-addicts, spoken to even more women who fall to both sides of liking, watching, and disliking porn. Trust me, I do know what I'm talking about.

I'm not generalizing. Just because you prefer webcams and amateur (I assume, maybe wrongly, you didn't say so) does not mean that is what most men watch. Most men do not watch feature films with cheesy plots and bad acting, most men do not watch true amateur porn, most men watch sometimes violent and extremely degrading humiliating porn. I also take back what I said about paid webcams (different from the kind where you chat with other people with the same intentions as you). You're buying someone to make them do whatever you want. That is prostitution. It's still not what porn experts call "mainstream." I think when I say mainstream you assume I mean easy access, which I don't. 11 year olds (the average age of first exposure) have no problem finding rape porn or BDSM or just "normal" porn. Everything is easy access now. When I say mainstream, what I mean is what most people watch and look for, what is the most common kind of porn. And the most common kind of porn is degrading humiliating porn. Maybe we have different views of what constitutes degrading, but when people think what's out there isn't degrading, that's a problem. It is degrading, as women are mostly called whores, cumbuckets, fuckdolls, sluts, etc... Women are three holes and two hands, not human. Unlike in common porn most women don't like to "give" oral until they cry and gag, and most women don't enjoy anal sex so rigorous that it leaves them sore, as most anal centric sites advertise. A very popular one is to trick someone into sex and then shove her out of a moving van naked sometimes into a lake, something into a garbage can, sometimes they just trick her and run away leaving her humiliated. Most mainstream porn ends with the man somehow covering her in his semen and there is mainstream porn that features her being gang banged, and it's pretty common to have her drink multiple men's semen. It's very common to have her lick his penis after it's covered in feces from her butt or someone else's. Last I checked making someone eat fecal matter was not a way to show any kind of respect. This is now considered mainstream and there's something extremely wrong with that. Women in a lot of porn are not treated as humans. Porn almost always consists of both anal and oral, usually more than vaginal and usually the woman is in an extremely uncomfortable position being treated like a masturbation sleeve. Even rape porn is now infiltrating the mainstream category. Even the most vanilla non-amateur porn you can find pretty much always features anal and a money shot. Also, the "amateur" porn most people think is really couples is frequently still the multi-billion dollar porn industry. Porn makers are even getting a little shocked at the increasing levels of violence that users now routinely want. There's something wrong with the fact that the most commonly watched porn is like that. Men should not be getting aroused by women being treated like that, but there is an enormous market for it. Most men nowadays, are in fact aroused by watching women be humiliated and degraded. It's not about watching naked women or sex anymore.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

female anon, i have a question for you... You say that an orgasm has a similar effect to cocaine, are you refering that it can become addictive? If thats the case, why say someone could become addicted to porn or watching certain sorts of it because they orgasm over it? If they're having sex on a regular basis and orgasming then too, wouldn't that also become addictive? And i would think for most guys having sex would feel better... Just wondering

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (21 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntMy point is that "normal, mainstream porn" can be all the things I listed. It's all out there for anyone with internet access. Even in your "expert" opinion you have to see you're over generalizing. Also, just because something is out there, it doesn't mean that's what everyone chooses to watch.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

I excluded BDSM and fetish porn. I'm talking what you'd call "normal" mainstream porn, not BDSM. Just because of the existence of other kinds of non-degrading porn does not mean most porn that most men watch isn't degrading. Most of the men I've talked to claimed to not show interest in the degrading sort of porn and I think they genuinely think they aren't interested, but frequently the main stuff they watch is in fact very degrading. Most porn watched is very degrading, most is watched by men. You could even almost call paying someone on webcam degrading, as it's basically just prostitution on camera (I give you money, I have bought you) but that's not what I'm lumping in with the mainstream stuff. As for the interviews at the end, like I said, I am in no way qualified to comment on the experience of every adult performer. But I am qualified to say that most of the "interviews" are just as much acting as the scene is. Like I said, I'm not commenting on the experiences of the women in porn, I'm commenting on why there's an enormous market for porn that degrades and humiliates women. Am I an expert/where do I get my knowledge? I am working on a thesis on the subject. I have spent hours upon hours upon hours researching, analyzing, interviewing, etc... I would say I can safely call myself an expert on the subject.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (20 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntI'm with Tisha. There is every kind of porn out there under the sun.

You've got the ones where they are actors with lines and are playing out a scenario. Heck, I just saw a XXX parody of "That 70's Show." It was hardly degrading. It was funnier than anything.

There are the non-bdsm domination ones as well. I can definitely understand where people would take offense to this. It can be very degrading. However, if you actually see the whole thing, where they interview the girl, you'll see that she knows exactly what she's there for. It is pretty rare that the girls are duped into anything they aren't a willing participant in. At least from what I've seen.

There's lesbian porn, which also varies in its levels of extreme. Because it's woman on woman, does that change your views? It doesn't matter because it's not going anywhere.

There's gay porn. Again, with varying levels of extremity.

There's amature porn. Real couples taping themselves having real sex. I like this a lot of the time. You can tell by what you hear from them that they are enjoying it. A real orgasm is much better than the fake moaning you hear in the studio porn.

There is webcam porn. Much of this is a girl who will masturbate for paying viewers. Oh the humanity!

There is BDSM porn. It can be female dom, male dom, machine sex. It doesn't matter. The key is willing participation.

Ultimately the thing is that in most of what's out there, the people you're watching are willing participants in the activity. Since it isn't wrong for them to do it, it shouldn't be wrong for someone to choose to watch it if they are a legal adult.

Does porn warp people's views of sex and sexuality?

That's an age old question. Some think yes, others no. I tend to land somewhere in between. It's funny, because you do develop a level of desensitization to porn. However, it doesn't mean that it has to be more extreme to get you off, just different. It could all depend on your mood that day too.

How about we all agree that people as a whole are just pretty fucked up on many levels. This is just one of the levels. Nobody will ever reach a concensus because nobody is wrong about what they believe. Personal beliefs are just that, personal. The goal is to find someone who shares enough of those beliefs that you can get along together.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (20 August 2010):

Tisha-1 agony aunt"It is the main theme in hetero porn nowadays for the man to be degrading to the woman."

Um, does this mean that you've been watching loads of hetero porn? And could you be more specific about what 'degrading' means to you?

"I'm saying I do in fact think it's very unhealthy for men to be encouraged to get off on dominating (not in the sense of BDSM), degrading, and hurting women, which is what most men get off to."

My sense is that most men get off to scenes of oral, vaginal or anal sex, not injuring women. I'm really curious as to where your intimate knowledge of porn comes from?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

"To say that millions of people are "unhealthy" because they have different desires to you, seems very unkind and judgemental."

It is the main theme in hetero porn nowadays for the man to be degrading to the woman. I am not talking about BDSM, I am talking about what we'd call normal average porn. I'm not judging them for having some kind of fetish, like a foot fetish or being a furry or something. I'm saying I do in fact think it's very unhealthy for men to be encouraged to get off on dominating (not in the sense of BDSM), degrading, and hurting women, which is what most men get off to. There's something very wrong with that. I'm not trying to make commentary on the women in porn as I have no idea what's going on behind cameras. Maybe she is one of the very rare women who does enjoy being treated violently and degraded. I'm trying to say that there's something wrong in society if there's an incredibly high demand for that kind of porn and it shouldn't be encouraged that men become aroused to women's pain and suffering. By all means have fetishes, but to excuse this because it's fantasy is a cop-out. If this was in a movie the level of sexism would either be treated as an incredibly hard to watch social commentary or completely exiled as being a crime against women. But as fantasy, it's encouraged. That cannot be healthy to men's views of women. Like I said, there's no way it can have no effects whatsoever. That would again, be like saying ads have no effect on people. Especially with the addition of an orgasm, which has similar effects to cocaine.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (20 August 2010):

Miamine agony aunt"So let me ask you, if as a woman she finds it degrading to women, but you find it arousing, is that a good thing to be aroused by degrading women? You think it's healthy?" (anon)

I'll bite, and this is a difficult one.. Healthy is the same as normal. What do you class as normal and healthy sex?

There is a large S&M scene and it's enjoyed by both women and men. There are thousands of men and women who enjoy humiliation and rough sex. This is especially true if you read romance and erotica. Most of the sex involved isn't cuddly and loving. There was a big thing a couple of years ago for vampires. Not the most loving thing.

I get confused when people talk about "healthy" and "normal". It makes me think of "vanilla sex", lights off, penetration only and very little foreplay. This demand for "normal, healthy sex" is one of the things that encourages the sex industry. People like all types of sex, and faced with a partner who demands "normal and healthy", they are left using porn and fantasy to get their needs met.

Read "My secret garden" by Nancy Friday, this book is old, but has hundreds of stories by women which includes rape, humiliation amongst other things.

I registered on skype as Mistress Mia... I wanted to sound ladylike... AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! Big mistake, hundreds of men came along and ask me to whip them and make them me slave... I had to come off skype, when women started asking me to do hurtful things to them...

It broke my heart. I got talking to a couple of guys, explained that I couldn't hurt them, it's not my style. They seemed so lonely. They wanted to give a special woman everything, money, marriage, they wanted to clean house and be her slave, but they had so much trouble finding a willing partner.

Most people in pornography are working and paid to do what they do. People that watch pornography choose to look at certain things... To say that millions of people are "unhealthy" because they have different desires to you, seems very unkind and judgemental.

In sex people lie all the time.. they have to, because they meet people who accuse them of being "sick" for liking certain things.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

I would like to add something, I realize my post painted only men in a negative light. I only referred to men because the post mainly asked about men and because it's primarily a problem with men. I've heard of hypocritical women too who use but have problems when their partner's use. I think we need to stop with the gender divide on this as it's not a gender issue. Porn is not a "guy thing." It's a self-control thing.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (20 August 2010):

dirtball agony auntWow, this thread really exploded didn't it.

First. To LucyLoos. I was the responder who discussed my sex drive. I find it admirable that you've been able to enhance yours to meet your husband's needs. That's excellent. My first choice is always discussion with my GF. I let her know about my high sex drive. I also try and do the romantic things that will get them in the mood. I love that game. My first choice is ALWAYS my partner. That being said, I've had partners who simply WILL NOT meet somewhere in the middle. My last GF was that way. She'd say "no" and that was it. There was no playful way to change her mind. I tried discussing how she was making me feel and guess what, she didn't care. That's part of why we are no longer dating. But guess what, in the 3 years we dated, porn never even came up. Not once. I kept it private, and when we were together, she was my number one priority. Funny, I never felt like I was hers though. Anyway, that's a discussion for a different topic.

I find it hilarious that someone suggested that we reveal that we use porn right off the bat. I think that conversation would be great. "Hi, I'm dirtball, I think you're cool. Would you like to go out some time? By the way, I like porn, I hope that doesn't bother you." Get real. I'm with the others here. If porn is a problem to you, then it is your responsibility to bring it up. The same could be said for smoking, drinking, drugs, or gambling. Really any "bad" habit that you don't like someone you're involved with to be doing.

For me, porn has never been a problem. I actually didn't start watching porn until I had a girlfriend who was really into it. We'd watch it together and have crazy sex. After we broke up, it was a way to rub one out rather quickly. Since that time, that's all it's been. A way to add some quick stimulation to my masturbation.

Can I masturbate without porn? Sure. I can fantasize, just like anyone else. Personally, my fantasies usually involve sexual exploits from my past. I think back on that girl, how she made me feel, what we did together. Honestly, I think that would disturb most women more than some random people fucking on a screen. I could tell you very intimate details about the girls I've fantasized about because I was in a real relationship with them. They are very real. I am likely to not even remember the hair color of the girl in the video I just watched. To me, it's healthier not to be thinking about these other real girls when I'm in a committed relationship. Then the feelings I may still have lurking in my subconscious don't have a chance of creeping back.

Mia, your posts were a pleasure. Way to get at the heart of this discussion, as well as sharing the post from Kaede.

Really, everyone has their hangups. Some are worse for people than others. If porn is your hangup, then you have every right in a relationship to state that you don't like it and if someone wants to be with you, then you will not approve of its use. You also have a right to be hurt by lies that revolve around it. At the same time, your partner has the right to say that they have no intention of changing their habits. If you respect personal freedom, then that's how it has to be.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

Men frequently claim to separate fantasy from reality. Two things. One, isn't admitting that you have to separate the two proof that there's something wrong? Yes. It is. Cerberus even said his girlfriend doesn't like the same stuff because it's too dominating/degrading for her. So let me ask you, if as a woman she finds it degrading to women, but you find it arousing, is that a good thing to be aroused by degrading women? You think it's healthy? And two, to say that visual images don't influence how you think would be totally delusional. That would be like saying advertising doesn't affect what people want and buy (which it does, even among REALLY strong-willed people). Then couple that with an orgasm, it's like making someone watch a McDonalds commercial while giving them cocaine. But of course, don't forget, porn and reality are separate, right? What applies to everything else in the real in terms of psychology, doesn't apply to porn because it's in a separate compartment. Every couple I've talked to who gave up porn for one reason or another, even if it was the guy dragging his feet doing it so he doesn't get dumped, in every single case of people I've talked to or read about or anything, sex improves for both people dramatically, especially for the guy in most cases.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

Catflap:

I've known several women who were actually dumped for occasional porn use (always by men who used porn themselves), as well I have heard with some frequency of men getting EXTREMELY upset with their partner's porn use, all the while not seeing any problem with their own. I've heard with almost as much frequency guys flat out admitting they love porn, wouldn't stop for a girlfriend, but would hate it and dump a girl for her use, because she's a girl. I've rarely (maybe once?) heard a guy talking about it on here, but on the rest of the web it's not that uncommon. The number of women who watch is still pretty low (the 1 in 3 is actually a little overly generous) but as the numbers rise, men are taking offense almost as readily as women, if not more so.

My take on why the hypocrisy is that some men (not all, I don't wish to generalize) have the thought that women and men think about sex totally differently to the point that women can't watch porn as "harmlessly" as they do. I think they genuinely interpret it as something more serious than when women do it. Yes, men and women are socialized to think differently about sex, but there isn't much innate desire and brain wiring that's different for this. Obviously there's some, but women are in fact just as visually stimulated. Women do, in fact, innately have just as high of sex drives as men. Women don't innately take a more emotional approach to sex, just as men don't innately emotionally detach more than women. Men and women, not so different innately. There are boatloads of science to back this up, not to mention my anecdotal evidence from observing people shows so as well. Men who never were drawn into "boy's club" type situations aren't as into porn and are less likely to agree with the statement that men and women think about sex differently. The men I know who are into porn, the more they use it, the more likely they are to agree that men and women are innately extremely different in how they think about sex, and generally the more into porn the guy is, the more likely he was to have had a lot of sex partners or refer to them as conquests. Isn't the fact that generally men are convinced that women view and think about sex and relationships differently because of biology a clue that there's a problem?

Most porn users I've actually talked to say they tell their girlfriends porn is for use when horny, but tell me they don't really know why they do it but it sure isn't because they're horny. I've heard women on here say their boyfriends tell them the same thing. I've heard men say it on here as well. So usually it seems porn isn't to satisfy horniness rather something else.

Two quotes from other webpages (I can't remember where I got them, but they irked me enough to write them down) so you can hear it from the horse's mouth:

"Men like porn, women do not. Women that say they love it scare me!"

"i love watchin porn, but think its a private thing, and would not want my girlfriend watching it."

Yes, I know I'm going to get reamed for my response because I *gasp* dared to say that men and women aren't different, which would rip the whole let me be I'm a man excuse apart, but frankly I don't care. I actually am an expert in this field, I'm considering writing a book on the subject. I've interviewed quite a few people (men and women) on the subject, spoken to experts ranging from psychologists to researchers, and read countless scientific papers and popular articles and books and I've definitely read a lot about evolutionary psychology.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

Catflap, I'd say there are men that have been adversely effected by their girlfriends porn use, but in my mind the number would be smaller as porn was and still is a male dominated industry.

My girlfriend loves porn, even more than I do, for me it loses it's appeal once I climax and I prefer to get that done quick when alone. But she can lie there for ages watching it and masturbating. She likes girl on girl because it's more sensual, regular man on woman porn she finds too degrading on the woman. The men in it are always too domineering as it is pretty much made to please men.

One her ex boyfriends was quite taken aback by this in the beginning, he suspected that she might be lesbian but after a little while he got it. For guys it's easier for us to understand why women would use porn, seeing as we use it ourselves.

As you said we're more worried about exes being better than us in bed. While women want to be the prettiest girl a guy has ever had or gotten off to, the girl that he has loved the most and turned him on like no other. Men want to be best a girl has ever had, be the guy with best penis they've had, the best at giving head etc. For us that's very important, that's why penis size is such an issue with men because we know a certain size does feel better than other sizes. Too big and it's painful, too small and they don't feel anything. Each woman has a perfect size that fills them, creating greater overall sensation but that also allows for freedom of motion.

For guys that's our greatest sexual insecurity the worst idea in the world to us is that an ex was better than us or had a nicer penis.

Fantasy guys in porn videos and pictures are not a threat because we know they'll never have real sex with them. Guys would be more prone to jealousy of real life sex partners, we can separate porn from reality in that way. Well most of us can anyway.

It's all down to the individual.

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A female reader, Catflap1 United Kingdom +, writes (20 August 2010):

THe only other thing I wonder about...is how men would feel if it were the other way around. Are there any men out there who had girlfriends who were heavily into porn and did it make them feel insecure; not well enough endowed etc?

Once I told my partner that my ex hub had an emormous penis (which actually was too big and I didn’t like) and he was really horrified. He still hasn’t got over it. I explained that this is how porn makes women feel and he couldn’t quite connect the fact that they had a similar effect.

It is a fundamental issue in relationships and you are right, communication and honesty is the key. I feel better about it now but it took ages and I think that is because I once had a boyfriend who used porn but also slipped into the conversation that he had paid for sex when he was married..that freaked me out so ....bye bye and gimmee a test quick!

My ex husband on the other hand thought the idea of paying for sex repulsive but occasionally used porn. Because he had a strong moral boundary there I was more comfortable with the occasional viewing.

I don’t like the way the porn dollies are done up like barbies and hairless like little girls, it gives me the creeps. Yet people younger than me find this the norm so I must just be old.

The sex industry is another arena in which women can be easily subjugated in a way that does not seem to impact on men and as we know there is a lot of coercion and people trafficking involved to fee the new appetite for internet porn (as well as prostitution).

Then again, I sometimes wonder which poor child in an Indian workhouse might have made my cheap blouse. You could go mad if you knew about everyone who suffered to provide your comforts I guess. The fact that everyone is thinking about this is perhaps a very good sign in itself.

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A female reader, LucyLoos United Kingdom +, writes (20 August 2010):

A P.S. to my previous post. Something no one has mentioned but, this is an issue for women. What about if your partner get's horny and you have just got your period? The first time this happened, after I found out about the porn, I was really quite worried that my husband would get the urge to use it again. After all, the women they look at when they are using porn don't get periods, do they? However, the first few days, I get quite poorly and he was so busy looking after me, that it wasn't an issue. After that, I would have been quite happy to have sex but, it was him that didn't want to and wanted to wait until it was over. When it was, he said that it was even more fun because he had made himself wait - he used the term "delayed gratification".

I know this issue is not something that would usually be discussed but, if we are all going to be open and honest with each other, about all this other stuff, then this is a fact of life that we all have to deal with, until it stops happening, when we are older.

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A female reader, LucyLoos United Kingdom +, writes (20 August 2010):

I have read what everyone has been saying since the first post. I am still OK with the basic premise - if both partners in a couple are comfortable with some porn usage, then it's OK. However, for the previous reasons stated I personally am not.

However, having read Catflaps's comments, I realised that I had not mentioned what has happened since I found out about the porn. The relationship between myself and my husband has become much more open and honest. Even now, he won't tell me that he is completely over his porn addiction, even though he knows I would like this to be the case. Sex is fantastic - neither of us need to indulge in fantasies or anything else because we are having a great time together, better than any time during our relationship (15 years).

I know many of you will not like what I am about to say but, I think that sometimes, using porn can be an attempt to compensate for a sexual relationship that is not really working as well as it could. One of the male responders said that his sex drive always seemed to be greater than that of his partners - and that is why he used porn. That is exactly what my husband used to say about me but, he doesn't say it anymore.

We are definitely more adventurous than we were and I am more open minded. To begin with, I worried that I was just trying to "replace the porn" but, now I just realise, that as a result of all the trauma in our relationship, I have actually changed.

I am still not saying that porn is always "a bad thing" for everyone. But, I would suggest that, where people feel they need it, they should examine carefully their relationship with their partner and see if that could not be improved, rather than just relying on porn to make up for it's inadequacies.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (20 August 2010):

Men have retroactive jealousy about real life. Women have porn jealousy about inanimate images. Both irrational, both natural, and both painful.

When it comes to men's problem, women say men are the ones being too immature and need to change.

And when it comes to women's problem . . . women say men are the ones being too immature and need to change again.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Wow this has turned into a very interesting discussion :) again i am sorry that i cannot paragraph what i write, the only access to net i have is my mobile... I know it makes reading hard and i am sorry for that. @miamine, the only reason i stayed anon was i have seen this topic get very heated, and didnt want to be in the firing line so to speak. But it seems this is going well, so my profile name is smiliek :) @12345, i realise that what i read here is not real world as such. However my experience with porn in general and relationships was very limited before this one. My only other partner that i lived with was, well a bit of a nutcase. Aside from that, he had next to no sex drive and no way to access porn. The only thing he had were ralph mags which he sometimes bought. Funny enough he'd hide those. So it was a shock to me when i realised my fiance (at that stage bf) used porn. And he did lie from the start. I do understand why now, but to start with i was hurt, confused, felt like i wasn't good enough. Etc. He'd keep lying about it which i simply didnt understand. I always thought that since he lied about porn which is really insignificant, what else would he lie about. He since explained that it was because he thought it was no big deal and also none of my business so he'd lie. He also thought that it'd be worse if he told the truth about it. Once the lying stopped, the majority of my issue stopped. Yes i do sometimes still have a slight concern about it, but it tends to be few and far between. And like i said, usually when im hormonally stupid anyway. My fiance and i can talk about and around porn, it is only if i ask personal questions about his use that he gets to a point of not wanting to talk about it and it starts to upset him. Only because it is personal, none of my business, and really a pointless discussion. He has given me his honest view on it all, and i chose to accept that he does it and allow myself to let go of the past hurts. It took a while, and does sometimes still crop up, but generally all is ok. I have been to the extreme view that i wasn't good enough etc, i classed him as addicted because he wouldn't just stopped, i almost left him just because he'd look at porn every so often. But i then realised id be throwing away an excellent relationship over a minor issue. Its not cheating (to me) I know it doesnt affect us at all. And i trust that wont change. I know he wont cheat, get lap dances etc as he didnt like that when he was single or in past relationships (we were friends before being together) he was willing to compromise so i could accept it so that showed me that i am more important then porn to him. I realise not everyone is as lucky and that is saddening. Whats happened to the world that has made some men more interested in pictures and videos then a real woman they can touch? Anyway, im glad i posted this. Hope the discussion continues :) Its rather interesting to me to hear so many different opinions and problems

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntNon-compromise is also good.. you have standards, you set them and you keep to them.. But I'm an atheist.. I declare this on my first date.. I don't think it's the job of the religious to tell me that they like God.. If I don't like something, it's MY RESPONSIBILITY to make that clear, not to get upset with someone else for forgetting to tell me something important.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntExactly Cerbus.... I'm not a porn lover, actually I watch it very rarely.. my problem is that I LOVE ROMANCE AND EROTIC NOVELS... I love the millionaire prince that dates the secretary and then they have sex on the floor.. like many women, words are hotter than pictures..

I'm frightened that if you ban pornography (visual) you'll ban me sexy books as well... :)

Women's porn has more words, but it arouses just like the visual stuff. I would hate men to get upset because they are not a rich millionaire alpha man and take me books away...

It's all just fantasy.. lol

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

Miamine, I don't want to compromise. This is the whole premise of my argument - I don't have to compromise because I wouldn't normally get with a guy in the first place if he watched it. If it's nothing to be ashamed of, then why shouldn't the man tell a girl on their first date that he likes it.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

Touché Miamine, I was generalizing a hell of a lot. You make some excellent points both for and against.

The truth is, the only place I've ever heard of a girl being anti-porn is on this site. I've never had an anti-porn girlfriend and the issue of porn has never come up as a bad one in any of my relationships or discussions with women but it also has never had a negative effect on any of them either.

Frankly at the end of the day, I feel bad for people that have let porn ruin their relationships, both men and women.

At the end of this discussion I'm just glad it's never happened to me.

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntHi, I just want to add this answer given by one of our aunts.. (Kaede) I hope she doesn't mind.. but this is very close to how I think, and is one of the best answers to a pornography problem that I have ever read. Because I have used pornography, I think this is probably how men that use it feel, because this is how me and millions of women porn users actually feel.

Some of you hate pornography, well that is your right. Noone should force you to stay in a relationship when someone does something that you feel is hurtful. However, you don't watch pornography, and therefore the things you imagine the porn user thinks and feels are very unrealistic and totally off base. Most porn users are not addicted, do not compare you to porn stars, and don't mention it because most sexually activities in societies are usually done in private..

PS: Some of you have partners that do have problems with pornography and use it excessively, or find that it leads them into adultery, avoiding sex with you, or looking at illegal or immoral porn. These people have problems. But in societies that allow the drinking of alcohol or gambling, we have alcoholics and gambling addicts.. Doesn't mean that gambling or alcohol is wrong, just that some people have problems but the majority do not.

***********************************************************

FROM AUNT KAEDE on post.. http://www.dearcupid.org/question/hes-watching-porn-am-i.html

"I would like to say this is MY ANSWER TO YOU rather than another 'I have the same problem'.

Ok, so I understand how you feel and my heart goes out to you. Coming to terms with the ‘porn and your boyfriend issue’ is a really hard process, but what you’ve got to understand is more about yourself than him.

Firstly, it is not a question of ‘should I let’ my boyfriend watch porn, it is something he will do anyway if it is readily available (i.e. internet on computer/phone) and if he watched it before he met you. This is regardless of whether you are in a long distance relationship, living separately or living together. He might also watch it regardless of the amount of times you’ve had sex in one day.

This could be explained ‘biologically’ as men like to do; ‘we men are biologically different from you women, it is something we need to do’, is probably not the best way to explain it. It is in our emotions and our upbringing where our differences arise, and over porn and masturbation this is no different. Something to think about is with men of the internet generation ‘porn’ and ‘masturbation’ are one and the same; porn makes masturbation more easy and exciting as it is a stimulus, particularly for men as research shows they are very visual creatures. They like something to look at and they masturbate a lot as this has been acceptable from an early age. Perhaps you could say they are more in tune with their sexual desires. This is not to say that the same does not apply to women, but in general we treat masturbation differently. For some women it is almost a dirty word that does not apply to them, we struggled talking about it to our friends when we were younger and we struggle to admit we do it when we are older, sometimes, even to ourselves. Porn then, is an even further leap for a woman, in understanding and practice, and when the one she loves is engaging in watching it, it can be really hard to come to terms with.

A lot of posts are particularly concerned with ‘he watches it when he could be having sex with me’, ‘I don’t mind him watching it when I’m out, but I think it is awful that he watches it when I’m in the house’. Masturbation for a man is different from sex, it something to relieve stress and tension and also makes him last longer when he has sex with you! There is a lot of pressure when he is having sex with you, the pressure to perform, and to make sure you are having a great time (hopefully) and he doesn’t have to think about these things when going solo, it is purely for him. Most men will tell you that having sex with their partner is much better than masturbation, and most men in their right mind would not choose to watch porn over having sex with their partner, they want to do both because they are different events! From some posts it seems that this is the problem, ‘why masturbate when you could have sex with me?’. Because sex is a lot of hard work and perhaps your boyfriend just wants instant gratification, from themselves (after all, a blow job or hand job from you might be great – but wanking is equally pleasurable in its own right, he knows exactly what feels good for himself). Him watching porn behind your back is just a way of making it more exciting.

The other issue is that he is looking at other women, which implies to you that you’re ‘not good enough’, ‘he wants something else’, ‘I can’t compete with those women’, ‘the scenarios he watches look better than the sex we are having’, etc. Your partner watching porn and what he watches IS NOT A REFLECTION ON YOU OR YOUR RELATIONSHIP. He is watching something he finds stimulating, the women on screen in front of him he will not think of after he has finished, they are idealized because it is material meant to turn someone on. It is merely something to watch to make masturbation more interesting. His fantasies are being acted out to him on screen, he does not need to imagine or think.

As I said at the beginning, your issue with your boyfriend and porn is something you have to overcome yourself. You can ask him not to watch it and he can accept this but when he gets the opportunity unfortunately he will want to watch it again and it breeds deceit and lies. I am not saying you have to accept feeling bad, I think you have to come to an agreement with porn that suits you as a couple. If finding it saved on a joint computer disturbs you, ask him not to do this, or him not setting up password protected files, you’re going to find them. It is also PERFECTLY REASONABLE to request he doesn’t watch it while you’re around, as a human, woman and partner if you find this upsetting and he is a man worth your time, he will respect your feelings and only watch it when you’re not around. Then you have to trust him. Installing spyware on the computer/phone/laptop is really sly. You are not respecting his privacy. He may live with you but you do not therefore control every aspect of his life. It is not fair. If you can’t trust him to do this then maybe you need to move on, and your lack of trust is separate from your issue with porn.

This brings me onto the fact that women want to be ‘the everything’ to their partner. Sometimes you might want to have control over your partner and them watching porn behind your back to you means you are out of control and you are not their ‘everything’. Sorry to break it to you but just because you love each other and you are in a relationship that does not mean you can dominate your partners’ lives. Women sometimes say that they want to know everything that their partner is getting up to, and relating specifically to porn; when they are watching it, and what they are watching, and perhaps this is because you have made your life revolve around your partner, up to the point where you want to know what they are masturbating to and when they are getting off. Is this really acceptable to you? Couldn’t your energy in this light be placed elsewhere and to things that BENEFIT you and don’t upset you? Your boyfriend should love you and support you, and he should do so unconditionally of some of your faults. You should do the same back and accept that porn/masturbation is a part of his life. I’m sure many of the women reading this will have various toys/fantasies/celebrities/lubricant/etc that help them get off by themselves, how would you feel if your partner turned around and said ‘stop using that dildo, it makes me feel like I am inadequate.’?

Some women have great difficulty accepting porn itself; some find it disturbing and unacceptable, and generally do not agree with it. In this case you again can assert your right as a human being not to have it inflicted upon you. Unfortunately you might be morally opposed to pornography but you cannot just inflict your views upon your partner who has probably spent many years enjoying what it has to offer. Your choices are to break up and move on and find someone with similar views as yourself or to try and come to terms with it by yourself. Perhaps try to accept that porn isn’t all bad. Porn can also stimulate you both as a couple and many couples watch it together to make their sex life different and more interesting. Ask him to involve you in porn, you may find it fun too, and he will most certainly love it. Although this seems contradictory to what I wrote earlier, many women will also admit to watching porn. Try it if you feel comfortable. I know many women of the modern age will combine it with their own masturbation. Masturbation leads to great sex, and this is no different for a man. Personally I watch all sorts of porn, have all sorts of masturbation practices, with and without my partner, and NONE of it replaces my man, nor is it better than the real thing, nor does it make the slightest difference to how much I love him.

If it is true to yourself it should be true to him as well."

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntHi Sis...lol.. and I know your not too keen on the whole porn thing, so I'm surprised we find ourselves in agreement.

Thanks anon, we got to give you a name.. lets call you miss Golightly, and I thank you for starting this thread. I think I'll hang out here and discuss the issues with pornography.

About compromise...

How can compromise be?

1. You must tell me you like pornography the first time we meet... but that's crazy, pornography and masturbation are private. Does the man also have to tell you about his fantasies about his neighbour next door. Should he also tell you about the crush he has on a movie star. This is so unrealistic. I'd find it strange if a man were to declare he watches pornography on our first date. I'd think he's a weirdo and probably trying to put me into porn films. Tu it around, should women and men also declare how much, when, and what they like to do when they masturbate.

If you are anti-pornography, you have the issue, your the one who is setting standards, your the one who wants to avoid porn loving people, so it's your DUTY, to declare your anti-pornography right from the start.

2. Person12345, again, how can a man giving up pornography be a compromise. You like porn, I don't. It's something you do in private, and it doesn't affect me, unless I start searching and checking to find out what your doing. You give up pornography because it makes me happy. But you are now without porn, you have lost something, only I have gained. This puts my happiness first, and your happiness suffers. How can it be compromise if only one person gives up something and only one persons needs are met.

3. Some women say... "if he loved me he'd give up pornography"... but doesn't that statement also go the other way. You love the guy but you want to change him... "if you loved him why don't you accept that pornography is something he likes to do and has done for a long time, and stop crying and feeling bad about something he has done long before he met you........"

If he loved you he'd give up porn, well if you loved him you would want him happy and leave him alone.

4. Cerberus, why do you assume most or all women have a problem with pornography. This is nothing to do with gender, even though some women like to argue that it is. Many millions of women watch pornography, or read erotic literature that can be more extreme, even though they don't have pictures. Millions of women just don't care enough about pornography for it to become an issue in their life. On these porn threads, most people answering are women who have been hurt by porn, men who have given up because their women cried a lot, and a few men who get fed up being labelled as a beast...

Most people aren't in the pornography argument, their men may look, their men may hide, their men may hate it, but on the whole it's not something they concentrate on, it's not something that causes problems in their life. When I bring the subject up at home, most MEN and Women look totally bored. They tell me if they are for porn or anti-porn, then they change the subject to something totally different.

Pornography on the whole seems to be the last of peoples concerns and is a private matter that is only worthy of discussion between people who study it, (me) or people who have problems with it, like some of the ladies here.

5. I'm pro-porn, have used it alone and with a partner. The few women I find that don't like it, tolerate it, if it's out of the house and not in their face. I find it strange that women try to ban a man from looking at pornography even when they are on their own or the woman is away.

6. "I thought men had evolved slightly more which is why reading some of the posts on here really upsets me." (anon)

I do wonder if some posts are more about hating men than hating pornography... why are men seen as primitive or beastly for liking something some women don't like. What has evolution got to do with liking to watch naked people have sex. Some of these post are more anti-men and anti-sex and they seem to suggest that men should become women, or become monks and loose their sex drive.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

No Cerburus, not every guy uses porn. You just think they do, you have NO PROOF of that statement and it just serves to confuse issues.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

Let me just clarify my last post, when we guys masturbate and we're not using porn. Then we're thinking of someone we know and usually that's not you. It could be your mother, your sister, a girl we saw in the shop or a star on TV. That's how our mind works, we're not always going to be thinking of our girlfriend when we're alone and if we watch porn then we get see a fantasy and absorb ourselves in that.

Otherwise we just close our eye's and imagine being with your sister. There, I said it.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

FYI: EVERY guy uses porn. So we just assume at the start of every relationship there's nothing to disclose. We just assume girls realize that we ALL use it. The guys who say they don't are liars. Really every one of us uses it, there might be minute amount of men that don't but that number is so small you're never going to meet one of those guys.

We all use porn, end of story, every guy, every single one of us. If you have problems with guys lying to you about their porn use then don't ask. Why do you need to ask in the first place when you know that ALL guys use porn? We all use it to varying degrees, and varying frequency but I can guarantee you the women that don't think they're guys use porn are the ones that get most hurt about it when they realize, yes, you got it, we all do.

That's that really, if you want to find a guy that doesn't use it good luck to you, you'll probably only ever meet liars.

Now beyond the entire debate of whether it is right or wrong, that is the reality. Some guys are more discreet than others and most of us will actually lie about it if asked by a girl that is thoroughly opposed to it. You wanna know why? Because we learn from an early age how to be discreet about masturbation, we've grown up in our family households knowing how to masturbate and hide the evidence.

Even now with the internet we're figuring out how to only delete the porn from our browser history and not the entire history as that is obvious.

The women that say they're guy has never done it, just have a guy that's an expert at being discreet about it.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

In response to "AskOlderSister" - I am NOT talking about my private masturbation practices (or my partners), we are talking about PORN. As far as I am aware, a lot of people masturbate and this is not the issue at all. And for your information, I did express my extreme dislike of porn when we met, in fact I argued vehemently with his porn loving best mate, and my partner just kept very quiet about the whole thing, so I was under the impression at that stage that he was neither for nor against. His friend, not wishing to put my bf in a compromising position, never mentioned that my bf liked it - I guess he thought that was for my bf to tell me. For some reason AskOlderSister, the anger in your post directed at me is quite bizarre. Have I touched a nerve with you? And I definitely didn't think I was "bitching, squacking, and moaning", so please try and be rational and less attacking in your response - remember, we all have different views.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

If men stopped lying about this, then we would not have an issue. Porn is an emotive issue so when meeting a new partner, if you love porn then you should let your partner know early on in the relationship. She can then walk away if she is NOT OK with it,without investing any of her time unnecessarily. The problem is, most men see it as their own little secret and it only becomes a problem when their other half discovers their little secret quite by accident. As Dirtball said "It isn't something I actively bring up, because frankly, masturbation is very personal". That is the problem Dirtball. This is why women then demand that you stop or give it up - because you never told her in the first place, and she feels hoodwinked!! It's like pretending you are one thing, then you turn out to be quite another. For example, my bf's friend is a major porn consumer. When I had a recent party and invited two work colleagues along, I had pre-warned them that he liked porn (a lot). Needless to say, the poor sod really fancied one of my friends but she didn't want to know. She knew about his porn use, didn't like it and she would not even entertain one single date with him - she was repulsed. Now then, had she not known up front (which is what normally happens) she may well have gone on a date with him, only to find out later this one issue which was difficult to compromise on. My guy watches it too, but again, i wasn't aware and now I've invested 4 years in the relationship. Had I honestly known in the first place, we would not be together now. So, we skirt around the issue trying to find a compromise because I hate it and he doesn't. Men need to be accountable and up front on this issue. Perhaps they should ask the women if they like porn (knowing that they themselves use it) and if the woman doesn't, then they don't continue the relationship. I've a feeling ultimately there will be an awful lot of single men wanking alone because they are not wanted. But they don't tell us and end up "having their cake and eating it" - that my friends is very unfair indeed.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (19 August 2010):

dirtball agony aunt"I love the man i met, i dont have any need or want to change him. I may not love the man he became if he tried."

Of your whole post (which I agree could really have used paragraphs) this is the sentence that summed up my stance on this topic. I've tried explaining that to many people, but ultimately it doesn't matter to a lot of the women hurt by porn. It hurts them, so he should stop. They're locked in.

I think you have an excellent view, and I believe that your view is shared by many more people out there. The thing is that this topic tends to bring out the extremes in people. They do often forget to help the person asking for help and continue an argument that will never end. It will never end because like Cerberus said, both sides are right. Everyone is entitled to their own views.

My simplified take is this. Porn is here to stay. Like it or hate it, that's not going to stop me using it. I see it as nothing more than a masturbation aid (I'm speaking only for myself here), and therefore it does not affect my sex life. I will ALWAYS choose sex with my GF over masturbation. It's just way more fun. I've been using porn since before I met any GF I may have going forward, and therefore it is part of who I am, and who I was when I met you. I'm willing to compromise, but only if it is a real compromise, meaning we meet somewhere in the middle. Compromise isn't demanding I change. It isn't something I actively bring up, because frankly, masturbation is very personal, but I also don't lie about it. I have a high sex drive, and most of my GF's haven't been able to keep up. It doesn't make me love them less, but I want a release when my desires aren't being met.

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A female reader, person12345 United States +, writes (19 August 2010):

person12345 agony auntBecause frequently, people who are against it view it as cheating. So to them, compromising on this is like saying OK you can have sex with other women once in awhile, so long as I don't know about it. From the other side, they are unwilling to compromise because they feel they shouldn't have to stop doing anything they like for any reason. Don't forget you, have a self-selected bias. In the real world, people are more willing to compromise. The people who come on here are here because a compromise can't be reached. Normally the problem I see is that the guy won't stop lying about it, so it's impossible to compromise if the guy says he'll do one thing, but just keeps doing it and lying. DC porn problems are not an ideal sample for the real world. So you shouldn't assume this is how it always works.

And it seems bad that you yourself say you're not 100% on it, that it still bothers you. I am honestly a little lost on why this issue is so different from everything else in the whole it bugs me why can't he stop, why does he lie, why can't he compromise, etc... Like it bugs her more than other things (like smoking, drinking, what have you) seem to bother, but this is the one thing where most people go, well leave him. He shouldn't change who he is! It's a little mind-boggling why this issue is so different from giving up other things. I mean, yes, it's true. No one should HAVE to give up something they like. But with other things it seems a lot of people would give it up, to hold onto a partner. Just not this. I have no idea why it's so different.

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A female reader, Catflap1 United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

I think the previous answer is very good. I caught my partner doing this in secret and it almost destroyed our relationship. Since he stopped the quality of our sex life has got better and we are very adventurous about fantasies. I don’t mind those because he always says straight “Well that was fun but no way in real life it would be yuck, I want you to myself”.

I am sure some people can use porn together but for me it removes imagination and although I did try it I felt empty afterwards, not warm and glowy. I think it is like drive-through sexburgers when I would prefer a nice gourmet meal I cooked myself.

I wonder where people will stop when they get over porny and about the way they look at women. Would they stretch to lap dancing or paying a prostitute on a business trip for a bit extra? I know of men like that. I prefer a man who would think it abhorrent to pay someone to pretend to want sex with you and who prefers the warmth of real loving contact.

I wonder whether those women ever manage to settle down, trust and have normal loving relationships – any of them in that industry. What is the real price to human beings and does anyone ever get honest about it? Would a man doing any of that stuff consider it a good career option for their daughters? Hypocrisy comes in there, dehumanising women into categories. It has made this generation of women feel quite under pressure to look a certain way as well. I trust that trend will move on and natural will become beautiful again so all this pressure can come off.

When my bloke was doing the stuff he would make inappropriate comments about other women or stare, now he doesn’t. I think it can have a corrosive effect and you have to be very clear as a couple what is OK and not. Tricky to navigate but once done whatever people want to do is their decision. I got a bit wide-ranging on this subject didn’t I?

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A female reader, LucyLoos United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

I found your post interesting, even though I am certainly on the other side of the fence when it comes to this. Firstly you. You and your partner both use porn occasionally. The most important thing is that you are both honest with each other about it. While that continues, and using the porn isn't hurting either of you, then don't feel guilty about it. For you it is not a problem and that's fine. I have to say, that I am probably a little envious that it can be that way for you, as it sounds like you both have a strong relationship and you are both secure in your feelings for each other.

However, it is not always like this. I found out, about 1 month ago that my husband had been using porn regularly (daily) for years. It nearly destroyed our marriage and me. It destroyed my self esteem and I still feel broken by the whole experience. I doubt very much if I will ever really recover from it. We are still together and now we are being completely open and honest with each other, which was not happening before. But, I can honestly say that I would never tolerate my husband looking at porn again. This is not because of any ethical issues but, because, having been an addict, the chance of him becoming addicted again will always exist.

In essence - I think the answer to your question is - porn isn't a problem until it becomes one. If it is comething that is carried out secretively and compulsively (very regularly) then this indicates that this is exactly what is happening.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

There are lots of reasons people can't compromise on the issue of porn, the main one being that neither viewpoint is wrong. It's down personal principles, of which people differ.

Most men don't ever compare other women to their girlfriend, whereas most women always compare themselves to other women. I find, and my girlfriend is a good example of this, that women spend a lot of time critiquing other women, finding things that make them prettier, uglier, better dressed etc. than other women, there always seems to be a competition between them. This is only in general of course, each individual woman can differ to this. This is of course a natural competition seeing as it is women that have to attract male attention seeing as it is in general the guy that has to make all the moves. So it is only normal then for a woman to want to be the prettiest girl in the place or in the eyes of their man.

Which makes for a lot of women the idea that their guy might be looking at and even getting off to a woman that they themselves judge to be prettier or have a better body as a threat. "I look nothing like those plastic bodied porn stars, how can he like me?"

So while guys can't understand the problem because we know for definite that porn stars mean absolutely nothing whatsoever to us, guys find it very difficult to understand why they matter so much to women or why they would be perceived as such as a threat, because we don't look at other guys in the same way as women look at other women.

We don't look at other guys in terms of appearance and see a threat, yeah sometimes we see guys better built than us and think I wouldn't mind looking like that but we don't have to attract female attention, we're the ones that have to do the pursuing and we're pretty much all on an equal footing as far as that is concerned.

You want an example of what I mean pick up a man and a woman's coffee table tabloid magazine. In the woman's one you'll find articles on looking good, makeup, dressing to impress guys, articles on how celebrities are dressed, articles pointing out physical flaws on celebrities, articles on losing weight, relationship issues, basically just articles on how to compete with other women. What's worse is the magazines and other media directed at women, do all this from the viewpoint of "you're not good enough until you buy our product" playing on women's natural insecurities.

Pick up a mans magazine and you'll see scantily clad women, cars, gadgets, sports, you won't find many articles telling us guys we're not good enough, stuff directed at us is mainly from the viewpoint that we're cool the way we are isn't it great being a man kind of thing.

The underlying issue is basically this: It is natural for every woman to want to be the sexiest person in their guys lives, when they see a porn star that they judge to be prettier their natural insecurity comes into play and their natural instinct for competition kicks in. Most women, even the most understanding of ones feel this way and most don't want to compromise because it's not a nice feeling. In general it's just something they can't help.

Whereas for us guys we don't have that, we've used porn for so long as an emotionless tool for quick release that we give porn only the significance of a masturbation aid. The problem for us lies in the fact that women can't switch their brains to view it this way, just like we can't switch our brains into seeing why it is a threat to women.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

When disagreeing or arguing with a woman, I always know I am on the right track when she starts calling me immature.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

female annon, i didnt say i had posted other questions on here, just that i had read them. I in fact have no other questions on this site. I realise porn can cause far more issues in relationships then mine did, but i am just pointing out that are would be ways around it. In some cases. My personal view is that it is ok, unless it does start to cause issues with our relationship. As it once did. We sorted them out. I hope your partner knows your view on porn, as if not you will be havin many issues. Thanks miamine and jesc for your views. Perhaps this will turn into the post that ppl argue on instead of ppl's questions. Lol

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

What do you want here?? You say it's not an issue but you keep posting? If you are OK with his use, as you say you are, why keep posting???? It's that dichotomy that is making people assume you are not actually OK with this, and the problem with this site is everyone has an alternative view, which just serves to confuse the poster even more. From a religous and spiritual point of view, then no, porn is NOT GOOD. I personally take this view; I don't want my guy wanking off to other women and I don't think it's healthy within a relationship. I believe for men it's a childish habit that they have from their teenage years. When I was growing up my brother use to flick through my Mum's catalogue to look at all the women in their undies!!! Only now it's more accessible via the web. Rather like magazines sending out wrong messages to women about size/shape etc, I believe porn gives men an unrealistic and unhealthy view of sex. Most will have the view that it is purely fantasy - if so, why do they then try these moves back at home, or get disappointed when their significant other doesn't "act" more like a porn star. It sets unrealistic expectations. I am thrilled your love life is not affected, but you must know through reading all the posts on here, how men CAN become detached from their other half and spend their time wanking along to porn, because it offers them the variety they crave. To be honest, I thought men had evolved slightly more which is why reading some of the posts on here really upsets me.

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A female reader, Jesc United States +, writes (19 August 2010):

Jesc agony auntHonestly. A lot of people do not see a middle ground.

It's black and white for them. But I see where you are coming from.

I think that as long as society gives itself off as it does with women looking the way they do it will always be black and white. I'm not trying to point blame but it does cause problems.

Women who suffer from the point of porn, Put a lot of thought into it. (which all of us do) Porn started to effect my relationship so I came on here for advice. A lot of people said "Leave him you can get better" I agree with you why? I love him he is great only not on this matter. That's when I put matters into my own hands.

I gave him an option. Watch it with me for a foreplay or not at all. It works for both of us.

I do not think that all women can do the same as you or those that have done this step that you have to see a middle ground. For they are hurt way more on a emotional level than anything else. Women tend to make sex(even porn) to emotional level then guys which leads to these black and white options.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

yeah i wasn't sure how to submit an article, and im using my mobile so paragraphs are rather difficult. Sorry

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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (19 August 2010):

Miamine agony auntTotally agree honeypie, it's best if people can compromise over difficulties with pornography, that really is the best way. I also agree that it is not helpful when us aunts and uncles get into big discussions on people's threads, totally forgetting to give advice or giving bad advice because we are driven to "win".

I would like a porn article too, somewhere where we can argue and not bother people who have real problems to solve.

Thanks very much for telling us what worked for you, and how you managed to solve a problem that keeps on causing others pain.

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A male reader, Western3589 United States +, writes (19 August 2010):

Western3589 agony auntI don't really see this as a question, and maybe trying paragraphs would help make reading this easier. You should probably discussed this in the forums, but I get where your coming from.

I for one wouldn't care about it either as long as it didn't develop a problem in our relationship

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

sorry, that is in fact meant to be 'retroactive jealousy' that i read an article on :)

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