womenwatchingporn

Men Whose Girlfriends Watch More Porn Than They Do

Even for men who date women, the insecurity that a partner’s porn use is going beyond the realm of fantasy crops up again and again

Ben, a 32-year-old lawyer based in London, found his ex’s porn habit so maddening it was part of the reason that he eventually left her. “We’d been together maybe six years at that point, and she’d sequester herself off in the bedroom and binge porn,” says Ben (a pseudonym). “Our sex life had become basically non-existent, and while I’d occasionally watch porn too, it was to nowhere near the extent that she did.” He says that while he used to take an interest in the kind of porn she watched and would even sometimes watch it with her in the early stages of their relationship, he ended up “tapping out” of their sex life altogether. “It felt like she was freezing me out, and like porn was the only thing she was really interested in,” he explains. They split after almost eight years together.

The woman who tolerates her boyfriend’s porn use or tries to limit it is a familiar social trope, but men in relationships with women sometimes feel jealous of or sidelined by porn as well. Queries like “Should I say something when my girlfriend watches porn everyday?” and “My girlfriend watches porn. Is it a problem?” surface with some regularity on Reddit and Quora. Often, because the traditional gender roles have been flipped, the concerned boyfriends receive condescending, dismissive answers“Send her my way!” is a common refrainand are both explicitly and implicitly painted as being less manly for having raised concerns at all.

Should I say something when my girlfriend watches porn everyday? from AskMen

Sometimes these boyfriends and husbands are concerned not so much by the volume of porn being watched but by the kind of porn. In particular, lesbian and threesome porn seems to be a common source of complaint. Abhinav, a 25-year-old engineer from Hyderabad, India, tells me that he finds it weird that his girlfriend of six months watches a lot of girl-on-girl porn. “I don’t watch too much porn in the first place, say once or twice a month, whereas she watches frequently, perhaps every other day,” says Abhinav, like Ben, also a pseudonym. “I don’t have a problem with her porn habit per se. But I think she’s hiding something from me, and when I indirectly tease her about [same-sex attraction], she outright denies it. I kinda feel, though, that she doesn’t trust me enough to tell me that she’s actually bi. If she were clear with me, [the porn use] wouldn’t bother me so much.”

This insecurity that a partner’s porn use is going beyond the realm of fantasy crops up again and again. On a Bodybuilding.com forum post entitled “GF watches a lot of threesome porn…something to be concerned about?,” the original poster worries that his girlfriend might rope him into an unwanted threesome. “If it’s strictly fantasy and it gets her off, I suppose that’s fineI watch some crazy porn when I’m in the mood too,” he opines. “But I worry that she may eventually want to make it more than fantasy, and I’m hoping to have something long term with this girl. I don’t think a threesome, whether MFF or MMF, would be healthy for us at all.”

Kate Sloan, a sex educator and journalist, has some advice for men worried about the porn use of their female partners. “If you’re threatened by your girlfriend’s porn consumption, you should think about whether you’d be as offended by it if this was an alternate universe and she was a dude you were dating instead,” she says. “Our cultural perceptions of ‘normal sexuality’ for women are pretty different from the ones we have for men, so women are often judged more harshly for participating in the same exact behaviors men get a free pass for.”

She adds that the standards for problematic porn consumption hold true regardless of the consumer’s gender: “If the porn someone watches is consistently messing up their lives and/or making them feel bad about themselves, it’s probably a problem worth addressing. If, however, it just brings them pleasure without seriously impacting their job, their relationships or their emotional wellbeing, it’s probably fine.”

The prevalence of porn addiction in women isn’t well-examined, but a recent study of the porn use of a cohort made up of 70 percent women found that, for the vast majority, their porn consumption didn’t cause negative outcomes. Earlier research suggests that only about 3 to 6 percent of the population suffers from sex addiction, of which compulsive porn use is a subset. As Sloan notes, behavior such as watching pornography isn’t considered addictive unless it’s paired with a lack of control (such as craving and unsuccessful attempts to reduce the behavior); impairment (e.g., a narrowing of interests or neglect of other areas of life); and risky use (including persistent intake despite an awareness of damaging psychological effects). In other words, your girlfriend using Pornhub to rub one out every night or two is unlikely to meet the clinical threshold for addiction.

Still, behavior that falls short of the addiction threshold can nonetheless cause problems in a relationship, although in most cases of men worrying about the porn use of their female partners, there seem to be other issues and insecurities at hand. For Ben, it was the sense of neglect he was feeling in his relationshiphe admits that his ex’s porn use was probably just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of problems within the relationship, and that they had fundamental incompatibilities that went beyond the bedroom. For Abhinav, it’s the sense that his girlfriend doesn’t trust him enough to be honest about her sexuality. (It’s worth noting, however, that women watching girl-on-girl porn doesn’t necessarily mean they wish to pursue same-sex relationships or sleep with women in real life, not to mention that queer people shouldn’t be expected to come out on somebody else’s clock.)

Porn is a hot-button issue — an area where, despite the lack of available evidence, people armchair diagnose their partners and friends with porn addiction and moral panics flare up about the supposed societal downfall it causes. That’s why Sloan advises men to keep a cooler head. “In the vast majority of cases, women watching porn aren’t seeking to replace a human partner and don’t prefer that erotic stimuli over human touch and intimacy,” she explains. “For many people, masturbation and its various accessories are an important part of their self-care and downtime, and denying them that — or complaining that their self-care makes you feel bad about yourself — isn’t a good look. Nor is it healthy for either the relationship or for you as individuals.”

“You probably know that whatever porn stars or other celebrities you find attractive aren’t a threat to your relationship,” she adds. “Try to extend your girlfriend that same trust.”