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June 10th, 2008 · 14 Comments

Via To the People, I find a Fox News “sexpert” detailing the signs your partner may have a porn problem. This bit seemed rather striking:

Many people are completely in the dark that their partner likes porn, much less has a serious relationship with it. Ignorant as to any issue, they trust their lover unconditionally. They assume their partner understands that using porn, at least beyond a magazine like Playboy, is the equivalent of having an actual affair. This ignorance, combined with the great lengths to which a porn enthusiast will go to hide erotica, can leave a partner in the dark for months or even years.

This is tossed off as though it ought to be obvious¬† to the ordinary reader. It strikes me as obviously insane. I can think of any number of valid concerns one might have about what sort of porn one’s partner is consuming, or the extent of it. But the proposition that one of them is any similarity between porn viewing and “having an actual affair” would not have occured to me. Is this view held by any significant number of sane people?

Tags: Nannyism · Sexual Politics



14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amber // Jun 10, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Sane people? No. A surprising number, though, do subscribe to the idea that porn = cheating. I assume this rests on an equivalence between physical cheating and emotional cheating. The idea may be that a serious porn consumer spends a significant amount of time fantasizing about sex with other women (and for fans of a particular model or actress, of sex with a specific other woman) and that this is similar to the mental processes in an actual affair.

    Many people (mostly women, by the survey data) would rather have their partner have a meaningless one night stand than a non-physical but passionate love affair.

  • 2 alex2374 // Jun 10, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Porn is NOT the equivalent of having an affair. If it were there’d be a lot less affairs. Or for that matter, relationships.

  • 3 Anonymous Coward // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    “Is this view held by any significant number of sane people?”

    I can’t imagine it is… At a guess I’d say at least 90% of the women I know are vehemently against porn, for a variety of reasons, but I have yet to hear that viewing it is the same as cheating.

    I do have to admit that I’ve heard women say that they wouldn’t knowingly choose to be with a man that was heavily into porn, though.

  • 4 Franklin Harris // Jun 10, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Well, I believe this view was endorsed by President Carter, who admitted having “lusted in his heart.”

    Oh, wait. Sane people. Never mind.

  • 5 Fin Fang Foom // Jun 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I wonder why Playboy is not considered “cheating.” I wouldn’t think its overall mildness would make much of a difference to the “sexpert” [ugh]. It makes even less sense if she means “using” as something different from “reading.”

  • 6 Hannah // Jun 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

    The people in the media nowadays spouting this insanity make me so angry. They actually make me more angry than the people who say that masturbating will make you go to hell.

    An affair is justification for a divorce or breakup. It’s not something to joke about. It’s serious. It’s not just emotionally damaging. It also spreads disease.

    Porn on the other hand is awesome. It’s something to be enjoyed either by yourself or with your partner. Like a good book, movie, meal, drink, game, walk on the beach, or picnic in the park.

    And I’m pretty sure a lot of people agree with me, women included.

    And to think my husband calls me crazy (albeit for different reasons).

  • 7 Charles // Jun 11, 2008 at 3:07 am

    Evangelical Christians believe that lust = adultery since Jesus said some nonsense equating the two. (Matt 5:28) Who knows how many of them really believe this, but still.

  • 8 The Bad Idea Blog // Jun 19, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    In Defense of Pornography, In Revulsion of Jesus’ Redefinition of Adultery, In Minor Defense of Douthat…

    Here’s how it starts:
    A Fox News sexpert declares that many spouses view “using porn, at least beyond a magazine like Playboy, [as] the equivalent of having an actual affair.”
    Reason journalist Julian Sanchez can’t quite wrap …

  • 9 Bad // Jun 19, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Lots of sane people think porn is cheating. If you don’t believe me, ask Dan Savage. Porn as cheating is really all about implicit emotional and physical boundaries that couples have.

    Oh, and Julian, your little comment has inspired quite a lot of discussion.

  • 10 Barnabe Googe // Jun 20, 2008 at 11:30 am

    No offense to the women in this thread, but they really have no idea about the pathological relationship between men and internet porn.

  • 11 Barnabe Googe // Jun 20, 2008 at 11:31 am

    And, btw, whether porn is equivalent to having an affair or not is kind of a straw man. Porn is a relationship killer. just read the divorce dockets.

  • 12 Tony // Jun 20, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    If viewing porn is the equivalent of having an affair, then masturbating while thinking of anyone other than your partner must also be the equivalent of having an affair. To me it seems unrealistic, unnatural, and downright unAmerican to expect someone to police their private fantasies when they are alone in privacy.

  • 13 Bad // Jun 20, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Note that the FoxNews sexpert doesn’t take a stand on whether it’s equivalent. She says that many women feel it’s equivalent. That’s a very very different question, and it’s a little harder to argue that someone shouldn’t FEEL it’s as bad, even if we all agree that objective, it’s not as bad. They can feel however they want. And considering their feelings is relevant.

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