6 Reasons Why It's Okay To Not Want Your Partner To Watch Porn When You're In A Relationship

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains nudity.) A screen to one of the few remaining peep show booths is seen at a store along 8th avenue next to Times Square on December 6, 2010 in New York City. Times Square, once a haven for prostitution and pornography, has been transformed over the years into a family friendly entertainment and shopping destination. One of the most famous peep show signs of the era, Peep -O-Rama, has been refurbished and moved to the visitor’s center run by the Times Square Alliance. Visitors can stand in genuine peep show booths to view historic articles and photographs that feature Times Square. Many critics still complain that the iconic location has been too sanitized. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Pornography is controversial. Some people are totally on board with it, and that's great for them. Some people are happy to watch it, to have their partner watch it, or even to watch it together. Again, when those are consensual, desired practices, they can be healthy and fulfilling for the people involved. But then some people aren't as comfortable with the idea of pornography, or having it exist within the confines of their relationship. That, despite popular opinion, is completely fine too. Unfortunately, however, we've somehow evolved into a society where an aversion to porn is something that makes you different and frankly, wrong. We're asked to be okay with porn, to accept it as a part of our lives and a part of other people's lives, and not to question it, even where it makes us feel uncomfortable. And if we do question it, or say outright that we don't want it to be a part of our lives, we're told that we are sexually repressed, in favor of censorship, a prude, and a whole host of other things that, for most of us, are definitively untrue. We've been working so hard to pave the way for people to feel like enjoying porn is a legitimate choice (and it is!) that we might have overcorrected, leaving people who aren't fans of skin flicks to feel like their lack of interest is an egregious, aggressive offense against sexual liberation when, most often, it's not that at all.

But here's the thing about porn within a relationship that most of us don't like: Watching and getting off to porn is a sex act. And when you're in a relationship, one of the things that you have to clearly define is what sex acts you are and aren't comfortable with. For instance, you don't just have to accept that your partner is into anal sex and immediately take it in the ass, even if that's not what you want. In a situation like that, in a healthy relationship, you talk about your desires and your limitations; Maybe you'll try a few things, and at the end of the day, if your partner respects you, they'll accept that that particular sex act makes you feel bad or unsafe, and be happy enough to live without it. Porn is no different. It's a personal choice, and it's completely okay to not feel comfortable with your partner getting off to it in their spare time. Of course, approaching the issue will require you to attempt understanding, and be reasonable, but like any other sex act, if you don't want it in your life, you don't have to feel bad about that, or pressured to accept it. Because what your partner does sexually—even when you're not there—affects you, and affects the relationship. Here are six reasons why it's okay for you to not want porn in your relationship:

1. Because it's not unreasonable for you to want your sex life to be between two people

Sex, to some people, is sacred. That shouldn't be an antiquated ideal. Obviously, there are people with different preferences, but if your idea of your sex life is something deeply personal that exists only in the purview of the two people involved, it naturally follows that having your partner get their jollies to a range of porn movies or even pictures of "Girls Gone Wild" or whatnot on Reddit is upsetting to you. That's okay! You're allowed to want a completely exclusive sex life, even if your idea of exclusivity means even images of other people aren't welcome. Remember: YOU get to define what sex means to you.

2. Because there are some shady practices involved in porn

As a woman, it's completely reasonable to feel uncomfortable by the way porn treats women. It follows that it's reasonable for you to be uncomfortable with a partner who thinks it's sexy or acceptable for a woman to get gang banged and have seven guys cum on her face while she fists herself. Moreover, there's not a lot of ways to know if porn is ethical, because there's so much available on the Internet. Not knowing the personal situations and lives of the women involved and how they came to be in porn is a perfectly acceptable worry. 

We care so much about where, for instance, the meat we eat comes from, if a cow was grass fed or not, and yet there's often not the same amount of concern for whether a woman in a porn came to be in the movie by her own free will, without force, abuse, or other troubles in her life that left her out of options, or if she's fallen on hard times, has suffered through her life, or even other, more sinister circumstances. There are more and more great sites like Make Love Not Porn popping up to address these kinds of issues for women, but for the majority of porn, the treatment of women both on film and in reality is hugely problematic for some.

3. Because it might make you feel bad about yourself

There's lots of reasons why porn might make you feel bad about yourself. It might make you feel like you're not attractive enough, or not adventurous enough in the bedroom, or give you a warped perception of what your partner wants from sex. It might make you feel like you're not fulfilling your partner, if they need porn as a substitute for sex. All these are completely human, completely normal feelings, and you should discuss them with your partner. If you can't overcome the self-esteem issues that porn might give you, it's acceptable to want to cut it out of your life. As much as not reading beauty magazines or going on crash diets might help you feel better about yourself, you need to do whatever it is that makes you feel like the best you.

4. Because it might be a sign of a bigger problem

This generally wont be the case, but there are times where your partner watching a lot of porn might be a sign of a bigger problem. Perhaps your sex life is suffering, or they have some self-esteem issues that haven't been addressed. Again, this requires discussion. But where the watching of porn is either created by, or creating issues for you and your partner, it's totally normal for you to want to remove it from the safe space of your relationship in order to try and fix things.

5. Because not everyone has to be comfortable with gratuitous sex

l already touched on this notion above: Just because there are music videos of Beyoncé grinding her vagina on everything, and Nicki Minaj basically spreading her ass open (which is totally fine and awesome for them to do, assuming they're into it, and yes, I assume that no one forces Bey or Nicki to do a goddamn thing they don't want to do), it doesn't mean you need to be on board with raunch culture. You're more than allowed to question it, and you're well within your rights to feel uncomfortable about it. It's okay to seek a demure sex life. Not everyone wants to wear skin tight dresses and show cleavage and go home and indulge in BDSM. It's obviously not wrong to want those aforementioned things, but it's not wrong to not want them either. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE OKAY WITH SEX AND OBJECTIFICATION, even if it is shoved down your throat by the media every single day. Sexual empowerment means the liberty to choose what you are comfortable with, and part of that is feeling like you have the power to say "No" to the things you don't like without shame, and without fear that you'll be deemed some kind of sexual outcast. Despite what we see on the TV, sexual empowerment is as much about having boundaries as it is about having none.

6. Because you get to choose what you want from your relationship

This is the most important reason: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE OKAY WITH ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SEX LIFE. You have to be accepting of what other people choose. I'm certainly not advocating for judgement or bigotry. Because what other people does doesn't affect you in the slightest, so you need to be happy for others to carry on with what makes them happy in their private lives. But your private life is yours, and you need to be able to ask for, without reprimand, what makes you feel good. If porn doesn't make you feel good, it doesn't make you feel good. No matter what the reason. Even if your partner tells you it's irrational. If it makes you feel bad, uncomfortable, unsafe, angry, upset, confused, absolutely anything adverse sexually, then it's okay to not want pornography to be a part of your relationship. It's just so important to be in charge of your sex and sexuality, and as well as knowing what you do want within the bounds of your relationship, knowing what you don't want.

Images: Getty Images; Giphy (6)

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