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Is Watching Porn Okay?

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Updated May 24, 2011

Question: Is Watching Porn Okay?
"My boyfriend really likes to watch porn. I wouldn’t say he’s addicted or anything, and he wants us to watch together, but I’m not into it. We have a good sex life otherwise, and I want to figure out a way to make this okay, but some of my friends say that it’s not normal to watch porn when you’ve got a girlfriend, and even if it is, I don’t know how I can get into it."
Answer:

This is a very common question and concern. Let’s start by dispelling a major porn myth; there is absolutely nothing “unhealthy” or abnormal with watching porn in and of itself. As long as we’re talking about legal adult movies, and as long as everyone who is watching is consenting, there is nothing inherent in pornography that makes it bad. That doesn’t mean that people do use porn in unhealthy ways, watching too much of it or becoming obsessive about it. But people do this with drugs, work, even sports, and we don’t consider those things “evil” (well, some of us do I guess).

Sex therapist Marty Klein says that no one in a healthy sexual relationship would choose porn over sex with their partner. Notice the qualification of “healthy”. It doesn’t sound like this is happening in your relationship, but it’s still worth pointing out that if you feel like you’re being passed over for porn, there’s definitely a problem (although it may be more a problem with the relationship than the porn).

All that said, the way that you and your boyfriend each feel about porn, and the role that porn has in your relationship may be unsatisfactory to you, and you have a right to expect your needs to be addressed here (exactly as much as he has the right to have his needs addressed).

The first thing I want to suggest is that you talk to him about it. Without being judgmental, it would be interesting to know what he likes about porn. Is it the fantasy? Are there things he sees that he wants the two of you to try? Is it boredom or habit?

I also think you should take some time to think about your feelings around porn. Is it something you are interested in at all? If so there are some key things to know about picking movies that might help you out. If you are not interested in making porn a part of your sexual relationship, are you okay with your boyfriend still watching it sometimes? If it feels absolutely wrong to you, can you explain these reasons to him?

Sexuality is so complicated and it goes so deep, that it is unlikely we will ever share all our partners’ sexual interests. To some extent relationship is about compromise, and this may be a time when one or both of you will have to meet somewhere in the middle.

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