My Fiancee Freaked When I Asked Her to Watch Porn With Me

Troy writes:

I’ve been dating ‘Lois’ for three years. We’re both in our late 50s and neither of us has children who live at home. Once in a while I like to watch porn (the pretty mild stuff) and I’ve asked Lois if she would like to watch some with me. She freaked out and says I’m a pervert. I only wanted to spice things up a bit but now she gives me attitude any time I want to have sex with her, making snide comments like, “Did you see that move in a porno?” What should I do?

Woman upset and man looking at computer

Dr. Chalmer answers:

Troy, I’m going to offer my thoughts on this, but I especially want to ask women readers to weigh in on this too, since some of what I have to say involves speculating about Lois’s feelings, and women’s perspectives from their own experience will be very helpful.

I’ve talked to a lot of couples, and a lot of individual women and men, about how their use (or their partner’s use) of porn has affected their relationship. The big generalization I come away with is that there’s no big generalization—in other words, I’ve heard a lot of differing experiences. I’ve heard from women who experience their male partner’s porn use as infidelity and feel betrayed, and I’ve heard from women who find porn a welcome addition to their sexual repertoire. And, of course, there are lots of types of porn. You mention watching “the pretty mild stuff,” which I’m guessing (hoping?) implies that it’s depicting consensual adult activity without violence.

From your description of Lois’s reaction to your invitation, this doesn’t sound like a philosophical objection based on her concerns about how women are treated or depicted in the porn industry. This sounds like she is personally hurt by it. Many women have told me that when their partner looks at porn, they feel they can’t compete with the images—if he’s turned on by what he’s seeing, it must mean she doesn’t measure up. That’s rarely the case from the man’s perspective, but it doesn’t feel that way to the women I’m referring to. (Again, I recognize different women have different experiences of this, and invite readers to share their own.)

What this calls for is conversation. (Okay, I’m a couples therapist—when what you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.) I’m assuming you don’t agree you’re a “pervert,” and your interest in inviting Lois to join you implies that you’d like to improve your relationship with her, not that you’re looking to find someone else. You might start there. Maybe you could tell her, “I see you’re hurt, and I’d like to understand it better. I also don’t think I’m a pervert, and I’d like to see our sex life improve. Can we talk about this?” Of course, you could suggest that a couples therapist help you have the conversation.

Readers?

2 thoughts on “My Fiancee Freaked When I Asked Her to Watch Porn With Me

  1. At the expense of sounding like a prude, for whatever reason she just doesn’t like porn and should not be made to feel devalued if she does not want to participate. Maybe they can spice up their sex life in other ways. Might she be open to sex toys? Trying different positions? Massages and rubbing without penetration? Role-playing? Going to a romantic B&B? Having sex outdoors (in nice weather, of course). Even in a different room in the house can make a difference.

  2. I think it is an age thing. And a marriage status issue. When people are younger they tend to be more open, or, if not open, women might let men push them into situations that are not always comfortable. By the time we get mature, we have stronger voices. Also there is not matrimony here. Despite what people say, there can be a higher level of trust and intimacy with the piece of paper. If Lois is still bringing it into the conversation after you have stopped, then she sounds pretty immature, or looking for a fight. Maybe use her anger to spice up your relationship, tell her that you just don’t want to hear it anymore.

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