Sex in San Diego: To porn or not to porn

by on April 5, 2012 · 11 comments

in Culture, Health, Sex in San Diego

Sex in San Diego, a column appearing every Thursday here at The OB Rag, explores topics related to sex in America’s Finest City. In this week’s installment, two of our contributors share their thoughts on porn.

He said:

I’m a man in my 30s who enjoys porn. In contrast, most women I know seem to have no interest in porn.

Accordingly, I’m intrigued by how porn tends to be compelling to men but unappealing to women. Maybe it’s because, for men, so much of sex is about the physical details. Whereas for women, so much of sex is not about the physical details.

But porn does excite women — and it doesn’t matter what kind of porn. Studies show that straight men are turned on by straight porn, gay people by gay porn, and straight women by both straight porn and gay porn. (The marvelous book Sex at Dawn describes how researchers have confirmed this by hooking people’s genitals up to monitors and then showing them porn. Seriously.)

Research also suggests men who ejaculate daily — a group that includes lots of porn fans — are 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer and 50% less likely to develop heart disease. So porn could save your life! (For more info on this research, you are again referred to Sex at Dawn.)

To me, porn is to men as gossip magazines are to women. Both porn and gossip mags are widely viewed as “guilty pleasures,” as both porn and gossip mags offer an escape into fantasy.

So fretting about porn is like fretting about gossip mags. “Why would anyone want to look at that? That’s a waste of time. That’s not good for you. That’s embarrassing. That’s disgusting. You should be ashamed of that!”

I don’t think porn is a threat to a relationship any more than gossip mags are a threat to a relationship. Sure, some people develop an obsession with porn. The same is probably true of gossip mags. Is either grounds for break-up? Depends on the couple. There are no hard and fast rules.

Some people think their partners spend too much time looking at porn. But if porn wasn’t available, what else might partners turn to? Will they spend more time in church?

She said:

As I look back on the nearly seven years I’ve spent with my wonderful husband, I wonder what has allowed us to make it this far. Sure, there’s the open communication, amazing compatibility, willingness to seek therapy and vacation destressors, among others.

But there’s one thing I’ve often overlooked when it comes to doling out credit: Pornography.

I can’t say that I’ve never felt threatened by porn, but it was a fleeting insecurity—mostly because my husband and I have talked at length about it. He has also never shown any disinterest in me after surfing the web, nor has he asked me to do anything unmentionable as a result of his online philanthropy. It’s actually helped ease some sexual tension at times when I haven’t been in the mood.

And I, too, watch porn. I feel like it’s considered a strange activity for a woman, but there are times when it hits the spot ? I do mean that literally.

People only hear the phrase “Wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am,” but I think that’s because we haven’t come up with anything equally catchy that rhymes with Sir. The fact of the matter is that there have been plenty of days over the past seven years when watching a good clip and getting that specific release was all I wanted. Sometimes it’s nice to be selfish and not have to think about what the man wants, or how long it’ll take. Sometimes there are a million chores to do and that is one of them ? albeit a more enjoyable one. Sometimes there are no reasons for it.

The only time I’ve ever been frustrated by the affects of porn is when my husband and I have allowed it to take the romance out of the sex we share with each other.

In my opinion, actual sex between two people over a number of years requires foreplay. And no, I’m not saying that because I’ve all of the sudden gone mushy on everyone. Foreplay helps set the mood and, more importantly, gets the necessary juices flowing. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that it takes more than a nanosecond to get wet.

But romantic, slow-and-soft porn doesn’t sell as much as the alternative and I can understand that. That’s why it was important to revisit the basics with my partner, and reinforce what works or doesn’t ? from both points of view.

I wonder what other peoples’ opinion are on the matter? I invite you to share below in the comments. You don’t have to offer specifics, or make it uber personal if you don’t want to. And, as long as you don’t have an avatar connected to your OB Rag account email address, you can type in whatever “name” you want and you’ll remain anonymous.

In general, do you think porn is a blessing or a curse?

Would you be OK with your partner watching it?

Do you think porn affects a relationship positively or negatively?

Do you know anyone who has gone through a breakup because of a porn addiction?


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Anna Daniels April 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

The response to wham, bam, thank you ma’am? Stir her fur, Sir.


avatar Annie April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

That is so not OK. Lol!


avatar goBallistic April 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

Too bad this wasn’t more about healthy sexual relations, as I enjoyed the article from that perspective. I applaud and uphold honesty, self-awareness and the courage to discuss the hard subjects. But all porn is part of an industry, growing unabated by the internet. I’ve witnessed porn shoots, though that was the era of “The Happy Hooker” (she wasn’t). It took me awhile to be able to see details that expose a really, really dark side, including human trafficking, disappearances, young girls on milk cartons. You know? Of course the authors feel the same about “that kind of thing”. A long time ago, watching a movie with a wolf featured as a character, I said, “beautiful animal!” Looking at my sister’s horrified expression, who works with animals, including wolves, she pointed out the signs indicating the animal was both sick and afraid. Handlers also use drugs to sedate the animals, especially for “action scenes” which cause undesired on-screen reactions. Very tightly controlled. Compared to documentary footage on wolves, I can now see she was probably correct. Not all wolves in movies are sick and afraid. True. But my sisters’ comments opened my eyes, and I thank her for helping me become more self-aware, honest, and having the courage to present “this other side”. For porn, you may see signs of drug use, torture and fear. Odd shaped bruises and rounded scars unusually located on the body and slightly out of camera view, at least for #1 and #2 angles. Dilated pupils amid the bright lights, or red watery eyes and half-closed lids. I used to watch porn until these things hit me in the gut with a dose of reality.

Many things could have made that wolf look ill and afraid to our eyes, but I can’t close my eyes anymore. These days I even have a hard time visiting the zoo.


avatar markowitz April 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

yup I think you’re right: the problem with porn isn’t for the viewers, it’s for the performers. some are OK i suppose, but seems like at least some are being victimized.

sometimes football seems similar… young men sacrificing their bodies for small chance at riches. and even many who make it rich still have financial troubles… 3 out of 4 NFL retirees go bankrupt. are they victims too?

hey what about the don’t-know-any-better teens and twentysomethings recruited into the military?


avatar missanon April 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

Well for me, porn has made me realize how selfish my boyfriend is. When we first started dating, the subject sort of came up as a joke. I asked him to show me his dirty mags and as we sat together and looked at them I would poke fun at certain individuals. (“that chicks nipples are crooked.” “that chicks ass is dimply”)It was all kind of a joke to me. It wasn’t a problem then, but as our sexual relationship began to intensify ( around that point we were EXTREMELY hot and heavy and we were having sex everyday) I grew more and more curious about his porn watching. I came to learn, that despite me giving him everything he wanted (in bed) anytime he wanted (EVERYDAY) he was still downloading and watching porn on the daily. When I confronted him about it, I let him know that it bothered me, and he told me he would give it a rest (big mistake on his part). So when i found out that he didn’t give it rest AT ALL, of course it drove me crazy. In part somewhat due to my insecurities (“am I not good enough for him?”) To me, it was a dealbreaker, but for some reason, I stuck around with him.
At that point, I was still madly in love with him. Every other aspect of our relationship was perfect. So I decided to comprimise. We agreed to only watch porn together. But of course, that didn’t last long at all. At this point, anyone with a right mind would be done with him, but yet I stayed. For the wrong reasons of course.
My mother lost our home and when it came to the point where I had to decided where to go, the best choice for me financially was to move in with him (especially because me and my mother dont have the best relationship. Another reason why I yearned to feel loved by someone…ANYONE.) After a few months of me living with him, the shit hit the fan. He wasn’t very good at hiding the fact that he was jerkin it while I was gone and at this point I was still giving him what he wanted, when he wanted it. We would fight about it a lot. I would cry myself to sleep, wondering what I could do to get him to stop. I would go crazy, ripping my hair out, wondering why he still watched porn by himself, when he knew it hurt me so badly. It was clear that he was addicted to it. I felt like I had no where to go, so for the sake of my living situation, I gave up. Never talked about it, but I still thought about it all the time. It got to the point where I would try to do anything to not give him a chance to be alone. I didn’t look for a job, I stayed home all day and when I went out, I made sure I was back before he got home. I was devastated every time I got home to find out he had been home for hours. I even went as far as to have sex with him multiple times everyday, hoping I had drained him and he wouldn’t feel the need to watch it. I was crazy. I still cant believe I put myself through that.
But, the craziest thing….. he got me pregnant. I wish I had the heart to just get an abortion and leave him, but at that time, staying home all day made me financially crippled so even if I did have the heart, I didn’t have the money. After he found out I was pregnant, he seemed to cool down on it to not make me upset. But that didnt last long either. I couldn’t understand how porn could have such a pull on such a normal (seeming) person. At that point, I began to make arragements for me to move out. I wanted to just leave and never look back, and I did for a few months. He would try to contact me and I would ignore him. I finally had to bite the bullet, for my daughter.
When having a conversation about where we would go from there, we had a heartfelt conversation about why he didn’t want to stop. I learned he had been exposed to porn at a very young age (around ten years old) He had a very hard childhood. He never met his father and his mother was a drug addict, so he bounced from house to house, and never really got the love and attention a young man needed. At school, he was labeled “troubled” and in a meeting with the school counselor, she told him that masturbating might help. So of course, he took that as “knock yourself out, go crazy” and indeed he did. For years. I think that even if I was 100% secure with myself, knowing that your boyfriend is crazy about porn is troubling.
Right now, I continue to try to have a good relationship with him, for our little one. But this relationship really did a number on my self esteem. I really look at every man in the same light. They are just a bunch of sex crazed a**holes. So I’ve come to a conclusion, almost all men are going to watch porn, no matter how beautiful his partner is, so if you can’t beat them, join them. But honestly all that had gotten me is total disinterest in pleasing him now. I grown to not care anymore, because I cant waste my time worrying about what he does anymore .


avatar Jane April 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

Thank you so much for your honesty. I’m really sorry you had that experience and that it has affected your life in such a way. Though it was already too late, I’m glad that you and your ex had the chance to talk things over. I can imagine it offered a small amount of comfort, or at least illumination, though not nearly enough.

The things we do for men. My ex and “first love” put me through the wringer. Cheating, lying and just generally behaving badly. Why I didn’t leave him, I’ll never know. Eventually, our lives just stopped intertwining – more because of him than me, as I could never find the courage to stand up for myself – and I felt an overwhelming sadness before feeling relieved. I don’t think porn was involved, but he treated me as though I alone was never enough. He would always check out other women in front of me – women that looked nothing like me – and say hurtful things about how he had a weight requirement for his girlfriends (one I barely made).

OK, I guess I just went off on a tangent since my issues didn’t involve a daily porn addiction, but I know what it’s like to be head-over-heels for an insatiable man, whether it’s sex or otherwise. It hurts and it’s something you can never truly heal and move on from. I know your daughter will appreciate your decision to let go, even if she never knows why. I’m sure having your life and sanity back has made you a better mother. I admire your strength.


avatar Chris March 6, 2013 at 12:44 am

I’m sorry to tell you you that you are the one with the “porn problem” or the problem in general. The truth is if he hadn’t looked at porn i’d be more worried. Your insecurities have caused quite a bit of problems in your relationship and i dont have to look in my crystal ball to tell you prob also in a lot more areas. I dont know if you grew up in a barn or under a rock but “people” are “horny” and they like to “jerk off” and have “sex” that is almost a universal component of human nature. Some education would help, and i dont mean all that Sally Jessie Rafael you prob watch. Cavemen jerked off to crudely drawn images by a campfire, and your dude wil prob jerk off to porn later tonight. Facts of life. Time to grow up. I do wonder what your whole deal is though……


avatar Goatskull April 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I believe a lot more women like or are at least aroused by it than they will admit.


avatar Lois April 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Isn’t porn just too romantic? Doesn’t it make the partners feel so much closer to each other? Ooooh, yuck!


avatar OB Mercy April 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

Great, honest article. I say hooray for writing it, hooray for the people that aren’t offended by it, and poo poo on the peeps that are uptight about it. Porn is fun, tittilating, can be used in a positive, healthy way and I’m all for it.


avatar Baggage April 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

Porn and vibrators can be used to tittilate in a healthy relationship. They can also be seen as a threat since they both can substitute/blocker for partner sex in a relationship. When one partner wants more sex and or intimacy and the other partner fulfills themselves without including their partner, problem. I have seen porn drive more wedges than more unity and love between people. Most of the time porn is a escape alone not growing intimacy between people, most of the time sex is a escape together which builds intimacy. Sex builds connection between people porn rarely does. Not all people want to be connected. Most of the time people don’t change either. If you and your partner are not a match on how you view sex, connection , intimacy, porn, masturbation etc. it could be a big problem that is not solveable decide if you can live with their sexual baggage and they can live with yours.


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