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Savvy Minds: Ask Dr. V ~ I Found My Boyfriend’s Porn Stash

Savvy Minds: Ask Dr. V ~ I Found My Boyfriend’s Porn Stash

Dear Dr V ~

I feel a bit both freaked out and grossed out by this: recently I was over at my boyfriend’s (of three months) house. Last night I got on his computer to check my email, and when I typed in the web address for my email all these porno site names came up (like when the computer does the auto-complete thing). I didn’t say anything about it, and we went out like normal. I don’t think I let on that it was bothering me, but it is. Do you think there’s something wrong with him if he uses web porn? Do you think this guy’s a freak? Should I run?

Leah

Dear Leah,

While I understand and can empathize with your revulsion at your inopportune discovery, I think your boyfriend deserves to be cut a bit of slack on this. Now, there’s a caveat to cutting him the slack, which we’ll get to in a moment, but I’d like to point out a few other things first.

This is a purely anecdotal observation, so I don’t have the hard data, but I think it would be safe to say that most men living in the Western World have at some point in their life used pornography. Yes, pornography is often degrading to women. Yes, many women have difficulty understanding how watching such a raw, mechanical depiction of sex devoid of any emotional component could be found arousing by anyone, but still, there’s an obvious desire for the product there, otherwise it wouldn’t be the obscenely lucrative business it is.  Pornography is really something that’s been with us since we first figured out as a species how to render the human form in art. Erotic statuary in the ancient temples of India, the phallic signposts of Classical Greece known as Hermes, even Neolithic fertility fetishes, all speak to representing the sexuality of human beings in a very concrete, direct way. Some people may feel more comfortable with term “erotica”, and the usually higher-brow material that dubs itself such, but ultimately the end purpose is still the same: To provide a tangible focus point for one’s sexual energies, particularly when a partner isn’t available. So, now you know your boyfriend uses pornography. And you don’t find that attractive. Which is a completely reasonable and fair way to feel. However, I’m relatively sure you wouldn’t want to be around your boyfriend when he uses the bathroom either, yet I’m equally sure you wouldn’t expect him to stop using the bathroom. It’s just an aspect of your shared humanity you both know exists, yet isn’t something you share at the moment (or ever). Perhaps you could accept his pornography and what goes, ahem, hand-in-hand with it, as an analogous situation?

Make no mistake about it; there is some absolutely revolting, degrading, even horrifying pornography out there. And the advent of the Internet has made subject matter from the most extreme and depraved ends of the human psyche as readily available as something as comparatively tame as an issue of Playboy.  If I was to be concerned about anything in your situation, it’s not so much that he’s looking at porn, but more so, what kind, and how much.

You may be able to deduce the answer to those questions without even asking him. Which brings me to the caveat I mentioned earlier: If you really feel that your boyfriend’s pornography consumption is having a negative impact on your relationship, then you should discuss it with him. Or, not sound callous, but as you’re only three months in, perhaps end the relationship before things get deeper and more complicated. But, if the only thing bothering you about this is the discovery itself; that is to say, if his behavior doesn’t trouble you, there doesn’t seem to be any odd issues related to intimacy (or anything else in the relationship), then perhaps it best to leave well enough alone. It is true that men can develop addictions to pornography that cripple not only their ability to be a functional partner in a relationship but a functioning person in everyday life. The same could be said for alcohol. Yet there is a tremendous difference between someone who has a glass of wine with dinner and a person who feels compelled to put down a bottle of vodka every day. I’m more than sure that you are intelligent and intuitive enough to discern if there is indeed a problem or if you simply found yourself in an embarrassing situation, especially one for a relatively new relationship.

Again, I can understand your discomfort at finding your boyfriend’s “stash” as it were, yet think how embarrassed he might feel if he knew you found it. It goes without saying that I consider myself a feminist, but I am also a humanist, and to that end, I think we all need to be realistic and understanding of each other’s humanity. We are all sexual beings, and there is a deep, primitive part of men that is programmed to try and spread as much of their genetic material around as possible, thus ensuring greater variety in the gene pool, and giving the species a better chance at survival. That being said, as mature, functional adults it is our responsibility to manage these primitive drives, however they manifest, in a mature, non-destructive and non-hurtful way. If using porn provides your boyfriend with a needed outlet and everything else seems fine, I’d leave well enough alone. However, if you are in any way harmed or disrespected, that is of course a game changer.

In short, leave things as they are, for now. Reflect on your own thoughts and feelings on the subject, and see how much of what’s going on are your own issues, and how much in fact is stuff going on between you two.

Then you can decide if you want to tell your boyfriend how busted he is.

With Love and Light,
Dr. V

Visit Dr. V’s Web site at www.talk2drv.com or her blog at www.findyourselfblog.com; become a fan at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-V/184750798527?v=wall

Note: All information in the Ask Dr. V column is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, please feel free to email Dr. V, or consult your doctor.

Please feel free to email Dr. V a confidential question (from you or your guy) for posting on this site at DrVenus@TheSavvyGal.com; questions may be edited for grammar and length; emails are only read by Dr. V.

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