Ask Girly Juice: Help! My Partner Hates That I Watch Porn!

Anonymous asked: I have a problem… I watch porn from time to time and I enjoy it, but it makes my girlfriend really uncomfortable. She says it makes her feel like she’s not good enough. What can I do?

This is a really common problem, and I think it stems mostly from the cultural narrative that tells women we’re only valuable for our appearance and our sexuality. A woman who’s internalized that line of thinking is obviously going to believe that she’s essentially useless if porn is in the picture – because porn provides something sexy to look at, which our culture tells us is a woman’s purpose.

But as you know, women are almost always worth so much more than that to their partners. No one really wants to be in a relationship with a video or a picture. You can’t cuddle with on-screen porn stars, or exchange sentiments of love. Hell, you can’t even feel a porn star’s touch. It’s a completely different and separate experience from actually being with someone; the two fulfill different and separate sets of needs.

A common suggestion for people whose partners are distrustful of porn is that the two of you should watch porn together. I can see many ways this could backfire, though. Some women genuinely find porn distressing to watch, which is an issue best solved with a therapist and not a porn marathon.

She may be in need of validation, and that’s perfectly okay. Make sure you’re telling her often enough just how great she is – how sexy you think she is, how much you enjoy the sex you have with her, how beautiful her body is, and so on. Work to counteract her insecurities.

Ask her if there’s anything you can do to make her feel more loved, appreciated, and attractive. (Aside from “stop watching porn.”)

Take a long, hard look at your porn habits and make sure you’re using it healthily. Neglecting your partner for porn isn’t cool, but I’m sure you know that already. There is a line at which healthy porn consumption turns into unhealthy addiction, but most people don’t get to that point.

Finally – and I know this might be hard to contemplate – it may be that the two of you are just not compatible in this way. No one is obligated to settle for someone whose needs, desires, and dealbreakers conflict with their own. She may be able to find a partner who genuinely doesn’t watch porn, and you certainly will be able to find a partner who doesn’t mind that you watch porn or even thinks of it as a good thing. If this issue is important enough to both of you, it might be worth examining the overall worth of your relationship.

Sorry. I know that sucks. Unfortunately, though, some people are just chronically insecure and believe that the only solution is for other people to stop doing whatever triggers those feelings in them – when the real solution is for them to work on their own insecurity, something these folks are often unwilling to do.

I wish you the best of luck in this sticky situation!

Bonus reading:

“My Boyfriend is Always Watching Porn and It Makes Me Uncomfortable!”

Dan Savage on insecure girlfriends of porn-watching boyfriends (and again)