Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Porn Flakes

Recently, my husband forwarded me an article from WebMD called, "Why Men Like Porn” (I guess in case I wasn’t sure?). It was brief, bland, and just barely informative enough to warrant publication, and the gist of the thing was pretty much what you'd expect it to be on that type of site: Yes, it's normal; no, it doesn't mean he doesn't love you, and hey, maybe you should loosen up a bit and try watching it with him. Blah, blah, blah...

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded girl. My husband and I frequently watch "adult" movies together (although, I think I have a separate rant somewhere about why this is labeled "adult" entertainment when the majority of its viewers are completely juvenile, but I digress...), and, for the most part, I've been of the mindset that I don't mind where my man gets his appetite, as long as he eats at home (there is one caveat to this, which I will not discuss here, thankyouverymuch). I'm not prissy and I'm not a prude—I know that porn does have its redeeming qualities (it’s the shoes, ladies…it’s the shoes…) and I understand the importance of every guy's "me time."

What I don't care for (cos you knew it was coming...) are all the articles such as this one and all the so-called "experts" and society in general telling me to be okay with it. And more specifically, why I should be okay with it. And it’s not that I’m not, but I do have my opinions—specifically that it is the lazy-person’s arousal tool and the ultimate killer of fantasy. And I think this article—in it’s merciful brevity and half-assed attempts to be quirky and amusing—ignores entirely the opposing side of this issue. Because for every "Kate" whose acceptance and sharing of her husband's activities ultimately strengthened their relationship (now THAT'S a "chick flick!"), there are dozens of women who know that "Tom" and "Dr. Stambaugh" just aren't getting the rest of the point.

So yes, I will take it upon myself to play devil's advocate (no, not the Keanu Reeves movie--sorry, Heather) and fill in the missing side of this argument. Call it a long-overdue Top 5 list, if you will. Call it:

Why Women Don't Like the Fact that Men Like Porn*

5) It sets up a completely idealized and unrealistic self-image for us. While the article suggests that men aren't watching porn because they find the girls more attractive than their wives (a point that it suspiciously unsupported in this article...gee, I wonder why...), any woman who's ever struggled with self-esteem issues knows that does not matter. You might not be comparing us to porn stars--but we ARE. We can't help it--they're everywhere: on reality TV, in videos, on fitness DVDs...and they make us feel inadequate and ordinary. In the bedroom, with the person we've chosen to share our lives with, is the LAST place we should ever be made to feel insecure.

4) We have no real, solid equivalent. Porn is a guy thing. That's that. Guy/girl porn? For straight guys. Girl/girl porn? Also for straight guys. Guy/guy porn? Um...hello? Not for straight girls, but for gay guys. Women have no way to retaliate on the same level. Sure, we can go out with a bunch of our friends and watch male strippers or have lingerie or toy parties (I'm thinking February, D--let's talk...), but let's be serious--if it's something we'd invite our moms to or joke around about with our friends or talk about at work, then it's NOT the same thing. And besides, guys will condescendingly think it's cute. And probably use the time we're away to watch porn.

3) Sometimes, it's just not that exciting. Let's face it, porn isn't exactly the most intellectually stimulating cinematic genre there is. And yes, men may be "hardwired for easy arousal” (which, the author suggests, is a “
propagation-of-the-species thing”), but not all women are. We tend to like things that are a little more cerebral (call it a “making-sure-the-species-isn’t-completely-brain-dead” thing), and random body parts bouncing around on a screen aren't necessarily going to do for us what they do for you.

And, admit it…anyone who’s watched porn for any significant amount of time has got to own up to the fact that it gets a little tedious after awhile. I mean, once you get past the different combinations of partners, acts, and outfits, you’re pretty much in for the same formulaic ride heading for the same sticky, predictable solution.

2) Sometimes, YOU'RE not that exciting. Frequently, guys, when you get in this situation, you just go about it the wrong way. Plopping your girlfriend or wife or significant other down in front of a dirty movie, thinking she'll be ready when you are, just isn't going to do it. You need to involve her in the arousal, which will most likely involve you having to actually acknowledge her presence. Possibly talk to her. But please!...make sure that once you do get her interested and get started, you're not paying more attention to what's on the screen than what's live in front of you (or underneath you or on top of you or whatever). Because if watching a drooling zombie spacing out and staring at the TV was enough to do it for us, we'd be turned on beyond belief every Sunday during football season.

1) It’s an ego thing. There was a time, guys, when WE were your porn stars. When you used to fantasize about US that way. Now, you're taking every opportunity to skulk off to your computer the moment you think we're not looking (and we are), to watch random women you'll--admittedly!--never get to have, usually while we're either doing something around the house or with the kids, or while we're in bed alone, waiting for you. It's a crushing blow to the ego, guys, when we're no longer all you need to get excited. And we just don’t like being replaced.

The article suggests that we ladies pick out what we like and watch it with you, but what if we like is to not watch porn? Then we're back to us not being supportive and having to do things without you. And that's not exactly fair, is it? Because I'm willing to bet that there's no article out there suggesting that you go shoe-shopping with us.

Anyway...your thoughts, please?


*(PLEASE NOTE: I understand that some women are just morally opposed to porn as a whole [and I’d like to think that the women in that category are with men whose views match their own…and if they aren’t, there’s obviously a bigger issue for them to deal with], so these points won’t necessarily apply at all.)