Remember that movie with the scene of a guy watching porn- his wife comes in, he seems embarrassed, and she yells at him? Yeah, you’re right. It does sound like a lot of scenes from a lot of different movies.
Humans seem to be engaged in a common conversation centered on our sexuality, mainly expressing that those of us who are connected to it are weasels and those of us who aren’t are honorable leaders in virtue. In most of these movies, the guy assumes responsibility for his transgression and tries to win his way back into his wife’s good graces. His wife wraps herself in support of her friends who completely understand that his act is punishable. How dare he express his sexuality!
I have been waiting for years to see a new response to this wearisome scene. Maybe the man’s partner comes in and starts watching it with him, and they have a conversation about it. Maybe they discover all sorts of information about one another, fantasies, desires, talents… who knows?! Maybe they both realize that they have more in common than they thought, but were too afraid to find out. One thing’s for sure, though; nothing shuts down the possibility of exploring new territory with someone like shaming.
Some people experience fear and hurt when they imagine their partner watching porn or masturbating. They see the browser history on the computer and feel slighted. It can be hard to feel open and curious when we feel insulted. It seems easier for us to lean on defensiveness and close ourselves off.
Let’s stop and think for a minute. What is it about others’ sexuality that spurns us so much? Is there something about how it relates to our sexuality that causes us to feel insecure, unworthy, or defective? Why? And what can we do to address this?
When we slow down and allow ourselves to be curious about why someone else’s expression of their sexuality bothers us, our discomfort becomes an opportunity for connection. That’s what we want, right? We want to feel more connected to our partners. We want a felt sense of safety and acceptance. To cultivate this, we have to do our part, which means not reacting impulsively to our fear, hurt, and anger.
“But my partner watches porn with group-sex scenes. I don’t want to have group sex…” There is an endless supply of porn that caters to any fetish, curiosity, preference, and tendency imaginable. Sometimes people who watch porn want to act out what they see and sometimes they don’t. There are plenty of queer-identified people who enjoy watching straight porn, but not straight sex. Likewise, there are a lot of people who are into queer porn but aren’t into queer sex.
There are as many reasons for why we like to watch certain types of porn as there are different genres of porn. How will we learn what we want to know about our partners’ reasons if we don’t ask? The answer we get might be a delicious surprise.
Love and Be Loved,