Today we’re going to talk about a subject that’s usually considered taboo, at least in our society: pornography*. Good thing nothing is taboo at loveisrespect! Lots of people who get in touch with us have questions about porn, so if you have questions too, you’re not alone.
Pornography is actually sort of complicated and difficult to define for a lot of people, mostly because every person you meet is going to have a different definition of what it is. Some people consider romance novels pornography, others think porn can only be videos or magazines with graphic and explicit sexual material. One thing that all pornography has in common is that it’s meant to create sexual arousal or desire in the person who is consuming it. That’s a pretty broad definition that can include a lot of stuff, since everyone’s feelings about sex are different.
Is looking at or reading porn bad or wrong? Again, it depends on a person’s individual perspective. There are a lot of people who are very uncomfortable with the idea of pornography, and some who are against it in all forms. But there are some people who like it, and many use it as part of a healthy sexual relationship (with themselves and/or their partners). It really boils down to a person’s own feelings, boundaries, expectations, and personal relationships.
We talk to many people whose partners have conflicting views and feelings about porn. As with any aspect of a relationship, it’s important to discuss and understand each person’s boundaries. If you (or your partner) have a personal issue with porn, that’s totally valid, but you can’t force your partner to stop watching or reading porn just because you don’t like it, and vice versa. Ultimatums don’t really solve problems and aren’t part of a healthy relationship.
Additionally, some people may be uncomfortable with their partner watching or reading porn because it can make them feel insecure or like they “aren’t enough.” Being able to voice these insecurities can be tough, but it’s important to be willing to talk openly about your concerns and feelings, and be able to listen to your partner voice theirs.
In a healthy relationship, you and your partner should be able to respectfully talk about why porn is an issue (is it cheating? is it something else?) so that both of you can be on the same page. If it’s a big issue in your relationship, or if you aren’t able to have a respectful conversation about it, it might be a good idea to reconsider whether the relationship is right for both of you.
Like we said, this can be a pretty complicated issue for a lot of people, so if you have more questions and need someone to talk through them with you, our peer advocates are available 24/7. Just call, chat, or text!
For a more in-depth discussion about pornography, check out Looking, Lusting, and Learning: A Straightforward Look at Pornography over at Scarleteen.
*It’s important to note that there are laws about pornography that vary from state to state, and in most cases the laws say you must be 18 or older to purchase or look at what your state considers pornography. It is against federal law to create, own or distribute materials that show anything sexually explicit involving a minor (a person under the age of 18).