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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Putting up with porn: Just deal with it

Published: April 9, 2010
Section: Opinions

Recently the subject of porn has come up in many of my discussions without provocation. Whether talking with friends at school, family friends at the Seder or new acquaintances at dinner parties, porn seems to be on everybody’s mind.

As women, we both expect to find and dread finding porn on our boyfriends’ Internet browser histories, DVR lists and DVD collections.

Some of that fear comes from wondering just what our men are watching–do they like bondage, Asian women, lesbians, large boobs, or group sex?

What if we not only don’t fulfill their fantasies, but never could? As a white woman with a small chest, how could I fit someone’s desire for a large -breasted Asian woman?

What if the scenarios we come across disgust us?

I should not generalize, but because women are often less visual than men, much of the concept of porn is lost on us.

A good sex scene in a book or movie can definitely get us in the mood, and may even get some women off, but the truth is a lot of what our men are watching is not sexually enticing to most women.

A friend recently pointed out to me though, that while sex is supposed to be “sexy” for men, the point of porn is simply excitement and ejaculation. So while a man could watch something that conceptually turns him on, and allows him to reach orgasm, it may not be something he would every want to experience in his own sexual life.

Women on the other hand are looking for “sexy” in porn as well, because getting off is difficult if you’re simultaneously being turned off.

There is porn geared towards women. I’ve never seen any of it, but I’ve heard it contains stronger plots lines, and attractive men and women (which guy porn certainly does not guarantee).

It allows women to feel as though they’re watching a movie, just one with a lot more explicit sex.

Of course, the double standard about masturbation, that makes it normal for men and abnormal for women, may add to the discomfort many women feel about porn.

Because the purpose of porn is simply about sexual release, and it is more acceptable now, but still not openly, for women to masturbate, porn is simply not purpose-built for women. Until female masturbation is universally acceptable in our society, it will never be acceptable for women to enjoy, or admit to watching pornography.

For men however, in most groups in our society, masturbation is considered normal, or even expected.

Among each other, men may admit to masturbating multiple times a day, simply to get by, whether or not they are in relationships.

There is also porn for couples. Intended to create a sexy, sexual atmosphere in the bedroom, it can be used to introduce a new move, or maybe the entire sexual situation (back) into a relationship.

Sex therapists suggest that couples who are comfortable with each other, but whose sex lives may have diminished over time, should introduce porn as a tool in the bedroom, much like handcuffs, lube, or a vibrator might be introduced, to change things up a little.

But how can we reconcile the differences between what men and women want from porn? The next time I catch my boyfriend watching porn, how can I be more interested, rather than turned off, by what he’s been watching?

Or is there no way to change the automatic reaction we, as women, feel in response to our men’s choices for erotic entertainment?

It seems obvious to me that there will always be a discrepancy between what we think is sexy, and what men do.

That’s why there is “girl hot” and “guy hot” even among the people we know.

Just because women think another woman is beautiful, it does not mean that men will agree.

These inherent differences are the very ones that affect our views of pornography.

As women, we may simply have to accept that pornography is a part of many men’s sexual lives. It may have nothing to do with their desire for how we should look or behave in the bedroom. We have two choices, accept, and furthermore embrace their porn habits, or reject it and pretend it’s not happening.

But the truth is that porn is here to stay, and is a prevalent part of our society. It can only be in our best interest to accept it.