Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

(Thinkstock)
(Thinkstock)

I love porn, my boyfriend hates it. What do I do? Add to ...

Welcome to Sex Qs, a weekly column where The Globe’s Amberly McAteer seeks answers to your sex questions, talking to sexperts and regular Canadians alike. Have a question? Fire away: sexquestions@globeandmail.com (All questions will be published anonymously.)

Question:

I’m gay – and I like watching porn. The problem: my fiancé does not approve – he calls it “degrading, phony and senseless.” When I bring it up, he says porn will lead to all kinds of other “dangerous” behaviour, and our sex life should be enough, but for me it’s not. We live together, so I’m forced to be stealthy about my viewing habit – in the bathroom mostly, while he’s asleep. I’d love to stop hiding this, but I worry I’ll lose him.

More Related to this Story

Answer:

First, stop hiding in the bathroom. I’m not one to advocate changing yourself for any guy (ain’t no man who’ll get me to eat meat, or push toothpaste from the bottom of the tube), and I worry that there’s a serious deal-breaking, engagement-ending issue here, since you’re being forced into a (linoleum) corner.

What you’re telling me is your man isn’t meeting your needs, and you are literally hiding the issue, looking for lovin’ elsewhere (perhaps on the toilet with laptop in hand).

“That’s just how isolated he feels,” says Toronto psychotherapist Kimberly Moffitt, when I relay your unfortunate situation. “Honesty is always, always the best policy.”

The first step is to be upfront, she says: “He needs to simply tell his partner he’s watching porn, and that he enjoys it. That’s the first step.”

According to Moffitt, relationship conflict is the result of expectations being broken, and no matter what, your fiancé should know what’s happening. “If the partner expects he’s not watching porn, and catches him in the act – that will be real conflict. We want to avoid that.”

Let him know you don’t want porn to replace the sex you share with him: “Pornography is fine,” Morfitt says, “until someone ignores their actual sex life in favour of it. That’s when we get into problems.”

She points out that “your partner is being too judgmental,” and I agree. “Porn is a way of keeping your sexual fantasy alive.”

But then Moffitt tells me porn is acceptable only “if the other partner is out of the house, or on vacation.” Disagree: If porn is your thing, own it – if it’s in the middle of the day, in the living room – but what you’re doing right now is deceitful. You like what you like, and the man who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with should be okay with this.

You might want to leave this study open on your computer (but delete your history first): In the Journal of Sexual Medicine last month, new research has found pornography doesn’t lead to behaviours like threesomes, one-night stands and prostitution. Gert Martin Hald, lead author, told The Globe’s Wency Leung that “there has been a sort of moral panic,” but the long-believed connection doesn’t exist, he found.

If your fiancé isn’t convinced, find out why, specifically, he’s opposed to you watching porn. If it’s jealousy, reassure him. If it’s inexperience, start him off with something PG. Regardless, the longer you hide what you like, especially sexually, the worse the situation will get.

Lay your cards on the table, gently let him know your needs aren’t being met and explain to him exactly the thrills you get out of watching porn. You’d like him to join in, presumably, but you’re not going to change.

If your man can’t handle this, I worry he’s not for you. Good relationships have many compromises: You give and you take, in the bedroom and outside of it.

But to be sure my advice was sound, I consulted two of the straightest straight men I know, in a sports bar, watching playoff hockey. Ironically, in the least sexy environment possible (potentially even worse than your bathroom) I found your answer.

“Asking someone to change what they prefer sexually isn’t viable in the long term, ” says Anthony, surprisingly wise as he spits out a chicken bone. “He’s already made his choice – he’s choosing porn over the guy.”

“Right on,” says Bryan, nodding. “The heart of his issue is that they don’t line up, they’re not a good match if they don’t have the same sexual interests at a really fundamental level.”

In other words, your sexual future cannot be one of sneaking around. Step out of the bathroom, own who you are and what you like, and play on.

Have a question? Fire away: sexquestions@globeandmail.com (All questions will be published anonymously.)

Follow on Twitter: @amberlym

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular