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Setting boundaries crucial to healthy porn viewing

My partner views a lot of porn and it makes me uncomfortable. He doesn’t try to hide it from me, and it’s not hardcore or anything, so should I be weirded-out by it? I read that it’s normal. Should I be concerned?

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By Yours Truly (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: February 4, 2015

When it comes to your partner’s porn habits, your comfort level depends on communication. (Image: static/ flcikr)

My partner views a lot of porn and it makes me uncomfortable. He doesn’t try to hide it from me, and it’s not hardcore or anything, so should I be weirded-out by it? I read that it’s normal. Should I be concerned?

—Porn Doesn’t Please

Dear PDP,

Porn is a complicated issue for many couples. Some enjoy it together — they use it to learn new positions or how to use various toys. Other couples see looking at porn as plain-old cheating and abstain. There is no right or wrong answer as long as both people agree on something together and follow through with said agreement.

If you’re uncomfortable, talk it through. Opening the communication lines is so important in a healthy relationship, and developing the skills with your partner to work through potential conflict is vital. The reason you are feeling weird right now is because you and your partner have not set any boundaries. Your partner clearly doesn’t hide it from you, which is good. Cheating, in my books, is doing something you wouldn’t do if your partner was present. He thinks it’s normal — which it is. There isn’t anything wrong with looking at porn, to a certain extent.

But it means he thinks you’re good with it (and probably thinks you watch porn as well). While you shouldn’t be concerned, there should be a conversation between you. Ask yourself why you are uncomfortable before bringing it up.

Looking at porn can mean a lot of things. Is he in contact with other women through chat cams? There is a big difference between looking at a picture and actually having an interaction with a person. If you aren’t okay with that,  set boundaries with him.

Are you concerned about the ethics of porn? There are a lot of issues with the industry; women are  exploited and abused not only within the industry but in everyday life because of objectification. If men are innundated with the message that women are tools for men’s sexual pleasure, it allows them to dehumanize girls and women, leading to things like domestic violence and other forms of sexism. If this is a concern, try what I call “ethical porn” sites. These sites treat women like actual human beings. Here is a great one to start: makelovenotporn.com.

Some couples set boundries in terms of length of viewing. As long as it isn’t over-the-top and cutting into his time with you, it shouldn’t be a problem. Some guys look at porn every time they masturbate, and men on average masturbate three to four times a week, according to Men’s Fitness.

One thing to remember is that porn isn’t intimate. What you and your partner do together is intimate. Your partner isn’t in love — he’s just getting off. There’s a huge difference between a screen and your in-the-flesh lover.

When you bring it up, be serious but not accusatory. Tell him why you’re uncomfortable. Talk it through, lay some boundaries if you’d like and you’re sure to feel better about it.

Next week with Yours Truly:

I just moved in with a friend of mine and he keeps inviting his girlfriend over. She basically lives with us now. I don’t mind her, but it makes things a little crowded. How do I let them know this isn’t working for me without making things awkward?

– Perpetual Third Wheel

Did you have a similar experience you’d like to share? Want to contribute with your own advice? Feel free to write in with your own say and be published alongside my advice in the next issue of The Cascade.    

Send in your questions, scenarios, or responses to peerpleasure@ufvcascade.ca

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