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Porn, Strip Clubs, Imagination and Your Man

Recently, I received a letter from a reader who asked me if I thought it was a good
idea to put a “no porn” and “no strip-clubs” policy on her dating profile.

I think it’s a terrible idea.

First, because of the medium – online dating.

It’s its own ecosystem, and one in which positivity is far more attractive than
negativity. Because there are no other social signals like body language or facial
expressions, the emotion of your words get exaggerated, hanging out there in
cyberspace all on their own.

So I counsel both genders to emphasize what they love about their lives in their
profiles, what positive qualities in others they value – and in general to offer a
picture of how nice, warm, fun, enriching and loving it would be to share in your life.

Stick with positive messaging.

Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens…

Many women, frustrated by men who are over-sexual, under-empathic, rude,
demanding and offensive, tend to put up what I call “hey a**hole” profiles. That
is, profiles that sound like, “Hey a**holes, don’t write me if you are a player or a
mama’s boy or anything less than a real man!”

This kind of negativity chases away the good men as well as the mama’s boys.

So no, I say to the writer of the letter, focusing on what you “don’t” want is not a
policy I’d recommend.

If you know anything about the “13 Victories” that I show you how to evoke in your
online profiles, then you’ll understand why I might to suggest to her to take that
same desire and “flip” the emotion.

She could say something like, “I am the kind of woman who, when in a devoted
relationship, will make your life so happy and so pleasurable, you’ll look at other
men who depend on porn and strip-clubs to be as if from another species, because
you’ll be so happy at home.”

Now that’s a tasty morsel. Inspire him with the promise of a deeply devoted and
delicious sensual life at home that will leave him not only happy and fulfilled… but
exhausted.

That is a male fantasy by the way.

Listen…

I don’t think most men “like” to go to strip-clubs or watch porn.

Yes, young men want to see what’s going on out there in the big, naughty world, and
driven by a high testosterone-count, will seek to sate their sexually hungry eyes.

And, when away from their wives and girlfriends on business trips, plenty of men
will group-travel to a strip club so they can have the facsimile experience of a
younger woman offering affection, stilted and rehearsed as it may be.

(Just as many married women will read romance novels to experience a vicarious
thrill and ritualized warm fuzzies)

For men and for women, we have our ways of allowing our endorphins to be
released, which is a pleasant if temporary vacation from the bills, traffic, anxiety,
bickering, competition and frustrations of the day (not to mention shooing away
intimations of mortality).

But I think it’s fair to say that most men consider a trip to a strip club or time spent
hunkered over porn to be a kind of “failure.”

A man would rather be with a real woman, a woman who knows and adores him,
who admires and supports him. THAT is the great victory in life for most men.

In the absence of that victory, a strip club or a porn video will provide the rush of
endorphins and serotonin that makes him feel a bit better about himself for a while.

But think about it…

The route outward from a porn or strip club experience is generally a tip-toeing
from the shadows, and then a cautious re-emergence into the familiar and well-lit
world of family, colleagues and actual love.

Rarely do you see a guy put aside porn and shout, “woo hoo! I am SO proud of
myself! I LOVE my life! I am “the man”!”

There is no triumph in it.

If we, as men and women, are to support each other and help each other self-express
and evolve into more aware, considerate, loving beings, it begins with empathy.

So, here’s my dose of empathy for the day…

Its important for you to know how much men crave the presence, aroma, touch,
attention and ultimately the appreciation, of the feminine. It not only makes us
merely “feel better,” it actually gives us the energy to go on. To do. To build. To
conquer.

It gives us the mojo to do anything at all, really.

What I want you to know is that the reward for our labor is the surrender of your
smile and the lavishing of your attention (which explains why porn actresses are
instructed to look into the camera).

In fact, one of my teachers liked to observe that the modern day strip club is a
desacralized descendent of the old goddess worship temples – where men will
actually weep and cheer the ephemeral beauty that drifts out through the sinuous
movements of a woman’s body.

And, just as in days of old, men throw money as an offering of gratitude and
worship.

I want you to understand that this is real…

And that seen this way, strip clubs are less “filthy holes of sin” for sick men, and
more an outlet for men to feel in contact with and, in a temporary, staged but felt-
real way, wholeheartedly accepted by the feminine.

Sex is Communication by Other Means

When my sons were young, they asked why sex seemed so off-limits and made
adults act weird when it was discussed.

Smart kids.

I told them that it was an area of our life that didn’t “make sense” in the social
structures – such as school and work – where we spend most of our time.

I told them is was a “wild” and “untamed” part of us where we felt and expressed
emotions that didn’t “fit” so much in other parts of our lives.

I would have told them that sex is messy, but having expended so much energy over
the years trying to veer them away from messiness, I didn’t want to associate sex
with spilled paint, clothes on the floor or chocolate on the walls (although, now that
I read it, that sounds like it could be a pretty sexy night!)

But sex is, definitely, messy.

Because humans are messy, despite our excel spreadsheets, traffic lanes and
buttoned blouses.

To recast Clausewitz, I believe that sex is “communication by other means.”

And when our bedroom doors close, and our ordering social structures dissolve like
scaffolding turned to sand, all our raw emotions come burning through…

Fierce tenderness will express in tears and murmurings.

Old pains will be triggered and fury, regret, revenge and fear will express itself in
pounding fists and wild words, biting teeth and thrashing.

Repressed joy will express as demonic screams escaping from hidden cells.

Shadow desires will find expression in the search for exquisite pain or restraint.

It is unpredictable. It is explosive. It is dazzling and shocking.

All the colors of the human emotional rainbow will blind us in flashes of sexual
discovery and release.

Sexuality is not monochrome.

It is as varied as our full range of emotional reality. As such, sex allows us to feel
parts of ourselves that remain otherwise unfelt and simmering.

Which I celebrate, rather than excoriate.

I believe your and your partner’s sexuality should be explored with a hearty
curiosity, flavored by kindness and profound compassion, as well as by daring and
derring-do.

My sense is that the writer of the letter to me would rather that her future partner
not “need” or “want” the kind of sexual curiosity that makes porn or strip clubs
appealing.

My guess is that she has had disappointing experiences with a man around this issue
in the past, which is why it hangs as such a red flag in her vision.

But rather than pre-shackle his imagination with a “no,” how much more delicious
and promising would it be to fashion herself into a resoundingly sexy and
enthralling “yes!” For him. And for herself.

To so embrace sexuality as a fluid vehicle of our humanity’s divine secrets and dark
corners so thoroughly that he would not even want to look elsewhere – or have any
energy left over to do so…

This is the path I recommend to all players in the monogamy game, men and
women, both…

Be awesome! Be nuanced, sensitive, varied, exploratory, rigorously clear, playful,
true, fiercely honest.

And Yet And Yet…

Even if you were to make yourself the most skilled and thrilling lover who has ever
existed, your man, driven by millennia of stimulation-attraction, may still like to
look at a bit of porn now and then!

As the teacher David Deida has pointed out, and I’m rewording it here, if you offer
a man the choice between looking at a picture book of nudes – all of one woman,
even the most beautiful woman who ever existed, or his one true beloved – or on
the other hand a book of lots of different women – he will almost always choose the
latter.

Porn is popular. In fact, it’s insanely popular.

On principle, I think it is repressive and unrealistic to “demand” that a man not look
at porn, even when in a relationship, although you can certainly request it.

On the other hand, I think it is REQUIRED to set blazingly clear, mutually agreed
upon boundaries on actions involving other people – from simple things like what
kind of touching is appropriate all the way thorugh having affairs.

Clear agreements around the actions we take create the safety that allows intimacy
to flourish.

But I don’t believe that in intimacy, one should police another person’s imagination,
erotic or otherwise.

That said, there remains lots of porn that makes so many women rightfully queasy,
and I believe that men need to be sensitive to this.

For example, most porn is generally made by men for men who are not having sex
- so there is a lot of anger being acted out in those scenarios. What feels titillating
to men will often seem terrifying to women on a visceral level, often calling up
memories of abuse or experience of deep unsafety.

Second, in porn, the pleasure of the woman is almost always subordinate to the
visual completion of the man. And the connection that so many women crave from
men – tenderness, communication, eye-contact, intimacy, protectiveness, care -
is missing from most of porn’s sexual interaction, and tends to debase the whole
experience. Women find it difficult enough for men to slow down and smell the
roses (to say nothing of feeling the stems), without a kind of sexuality that dismisses
their needs and desires filling the brains of their guy.

Finally, and maybe worst of all – and everyone should consider that impact of this –
too much porn destroys the authentic intimate contact between people, because it
becomes the filter through which sex is so commonly experienced.

The viewer turns into a consumer and actual intimacy can come to be experienced
as yet another consumer event, a mirror of what has been consumed online. (Years
ago, Walker Percy among others explored this problem of the loss of authenticity
of experience across the board because of the ubiquity of consumer images, so the
problem is not limited to sex, but that’s another and longer discussion).

IN SUM

Human sexuality offers a varied and fascinating lens into what it means to be
human. Over the last couple of years, new studies such as “A Billion Wicked
Thoughts” have revealed, with massive amounts of data analyzed, what people
actually seek when they log on to look at sexually oriented sites. The book “Sex
at Dawn” shows how monogamy is not only not the human norm historically, but
rather an anomaly.

Because there is so much fear of the “messiness” of sexuality, this boisterous bull in
the china shop of civil society, we are still learning the basics.

So as we progress along this journey of self-discovery, I want to offer some food for
thought, that I offer as a springboard for your discussions with each other on porn
and strip-clubs and erotica…

1. Yes, men are more visual than women when it comes to sexuality. But
remember, just because he watches it, doesn’t mean he wants to do it. So if he
wants to see something kinky online, don’t think that he about to break out a
spanking new set of hoists and pulleys. Similarly, men watch Mixed Martial
Arts to “feel” their warrior hormones and armchair-strategize their imagined
victories. But they’re not going to put on the tight shorts and climb into the
cage with a bruiser. It’s vicarious pleasure, but it is real pleasure.

2. If a man looks at erotica, porn or goes to a strip club, it does not necessarily
mean he doesn’t love you or that he doesn’t respect women or that he is
dishonoring you. Masculine sexuality is pre-programmed to be allured to

variety and to youth. If he wants to look at videos to temporarily feel his
inner virility, it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t
find you attractive. Women often remind men that actions speak louder than
words. Well, it’s especially true here. If he doesn’t take action on his normal
sexual feelings by having an affair or keeping a mistress, but likes to look
from time to time, no artillery need be fired from your camp.

3. As Jung said, that which gets repressed, will be expressed. Repressive
sexuality is far more dangerous than expressive sexuality as “honor killings”
in some Muslim countries and the shattered inner lives of countless Catholic
boys will testify.

I find that the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism, wherein every human
experience is a “yes” that can be raised to the sacred and nothing is pushed
away, offers an evolved and more humane approach to the “messy” parts
of our psyche. It accepts all instincts and tries to institute practices not to
repress them down, but to raise them up in service the good of all beings.

I believe that freedom is a supreme value, when one person’s freedom doesn’t
directly physically harm another, and individual’s freedom should be allowed by
others to flourish.

Freedom is neither pure nor purely good. It carries dangers and will often leave
feelings hurt and the status-quo threatened.

But it is far more dangerous – as well as a waste of the human experience – to
strangle other people’s freedom.

Within the context of intimacy, clear, mutually-agreed upon boundaries on actions
actually promotes a whole new realm of freedom.

So to the letter writer who inspired this response, and to women in general, I would
recommend that rather than telling men what they can’t do when they are on their
own, instead, advocate for yourself what you desire and be compassionately curious
about what they desire.

If he says he likes to look at what we used to call “naked ladies” back in the innocent
old days, gently find out why, and try to stay empathic to whatever needs or tastes
he may have. It’s not a rejection of you, and its not a predecessor of his taking
action. Again, remember, men also like to watch war movies, but it doesn’t mean
your guy’s gonna screen “Saving Private Ryan,” then don a helmet and go look
for “Krauts” to bayonet down at the local Wal-mart.

All cultural forms, including erotica and porn, give us all a chance to feel and accept
parts of ourselves that we normally don’t.

It is messy? Sure!

But as any theater-goer will attest, so is Shakespeare.

As any art lover will tell you, so is Picasso.

As any pundit will tell you, so is politics.

As any therapist will tell you, so is the human heart and all its hurts.

People are messy.

And we are each stumbling our way toward self-understanding.

And if that means that a man slips into a strip club now and then to contemplate the
wonders and the glory of the female form, or the suburban mother hurries her kids
off to school so she can dive into the shadowy anterooms of “Shades of Gray” before
putting on her pants suit for another day at work, rock on.

Let’s turn it all into raw material for our self-evolution, our sexual self-expression
and our deeper understanding of ourselves and each other.

With reverence,

Adam

26 Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    I briefly dated a guy who turned out to be not the right guy for me, but it was interesting to learn about his point of view. His upbringing and family life were very different from mine (I had a very sheltered, almost “Father Knows Best” kind of childhood). He told me that his uncle was a manager in a strip club, sometimes set him up on dates with girls who worked there, and he was also in the military and whenever one of his buddies was dumped or cheated on by a wife or girlfriend, they’d take him out to a strip club to try to cheer him up. He told me many times that he doesn’t actually like strip clubs because he “doesn’t like to be teased.” He told me he dated the strippers because his uncle set him up, and that actually most of the girls who work in those clubs are “more intellectual than you would think” (I guess many of them are putting themselves through college that way).

    Strip clubs are not cheap. The strippers spend most of the time trying to get the guys to buy lots of expensive drinks. Tips are not cheap either. Guys who are frugal will most likely stay away from those places. Guys who frequent those places are most likely not good money managers. Seek a guy who is not afraid to use coupons when he takes you out on a date (Clark Howard often tells on his radio show how he used coupons when he was dating his wife, and she married him anyway! good catch, I’d have to say…). Seek a man who watches every penny he spends, and you’ve got a guy who most likely wouldn’t go near a strip club. It’s just a money-sucking waste of time to him. It’s sort of an indirect way to screen out the regular strip-club guys, without saying anything negative.

    Case in point: I don’t often follow celebrity news, but when Kristen Stewart cheated on Rob Pattinson, I couldn’t help myself. Rob appears to be a pretty thrifty guy. He didn’t hire his own publicist, apparently, because he didn’t want to spend the money. He also appears to be extremely faithful to Kristen, even though she didn’t actually return the favor. I know that not all frugal men are as good-looking as Robert Pattinson, but they are likely to be more loyal than the spendthrift thrill-seeker types.

    • victoria says:

      I totally agree with the comment from Lynn about seeking a frugal guy. Frugal men usually will have a view to the future, instead of seeking the thrill of instant gratification (be it through cheating on their girlfriend, going to strip clubs, or over-spending in general). One of my past boyfriends turned out to be a thrill seeker and over-spender. Initially this man was fun to be with, because he never worried about money (although he should have). He was fun loving, always willing to go out for dinner, play expensive rounds of golf, and go on last minute vacations. Later I found his inability to turn down invitations annoying. I also found out he had maxed out several credit cards, and was cheating on me. All because he was a thrill seeker who simply couldn’t say “no” to a thrill. This is not the kind of guy I could trust, or plan a future with, and I ended the relationship.

    • AdamGilad says:

      What’s the old saying — women marry first for fun and second for money. Something like that. But hey, that’s kind of how we develop along the lifeline. We developed as a species to take care of short term needs – and civilization, such as it is, is an experiment to see if we can balance that well-entrenched instinct with long term vision.

      Honestly – the jury is WAY still out on that one.

  2. Christina says:

    Adam, you have such a way of expression with words……….when I first heard you, through CD’s I had purchased of Christian Carter’s dating insights, I instinctively knew that your material would ‘bridge the communication gap’ between men and women! As a woman who writes and communicates well – and finds that, for me, this is a vital component to have in any relationship I’ve entered – your writing touches the heart, and emotions, of a woman so profoundly………….and yours is a rare gift in a man. Much of what you have explained here now makes perfect sense to me – because I have heard it in a way that reached MY emotions as a woman………..this, I truly believe, is the communication dilemma that most women feel with the men in their lives. Like most women, I have often felt and thought that my man shouldn’t ‘need’ any other source of pleasure when he has me; yet to understand the male wiring and emotional circuitry that makes men THEM is vital to understanding why they act and think as they do! Thank you, Adam, for reminding us that as women, we are to be the positive force in our man’s life, and that by being our unique feminine selves, we are naturally drawing a man to us and giving him that ‘win-win’ victory he truly craves ~

    • AdamGilad says:

      I bow in gratitude to your beautiful and thoughtful comments. When I write, as I often do, that “what is there really to do in this world but increase love?” – I mean it.

      And when I can be a part of that – it makes me happy.

      Pass it forward!

  3. chaiah says:

    i see nothing wrong with men watching porn.The man with whom i have a friendship type of relationship (nothing serious) with sex, masturbates frequently daily and uses porn to do it. I know men often are thinking or fantasizing about other women from porn, or threesomes etc during sex with the women they love when they are close to orgasm(maybe before,too). But meantime they are in bed with the one they care about, and will continue to love. It does not offend me. But why does a man want to watch porn sometimes just before they have sex with one they care about? is she not a turn on for him?
    Some people say sex is better after watching porn together. Can this not happen without watching it together? Like with dirty texting and flirting?

    • AdamGilad says:

      Two quick responses. Some people like to watch erotica or porn before sex bc it starts the juices flowing. Literally. All the delicious pleasure hormones and and pheromones huff into the bloodstream.

      Kind of like outsourced foreplay. :)

      And I know some men – usually younger men, like to “bang one out” before a date or sex because it slows down their eager horses.

  4. Amy says:

    I’ve read from a number of various sources, that virtually every man (except for maybe a few Amish guys in rural Pennsylvania) watch porn to some degree, and most have been to a strip club or two…or three! The big difference among men, is the guys who admit they look at porn, and those who deny it. And women watch porn too, apparently in pretty big numbers. As long as it doesn’t become an addiction, or take the place of a real sex life, I think it is mostly harmless and can even enhance a couple’s sex life. Requiring a guy to not watch porn nor go to strip clubs will probably reduce your dating pool to pretty much zero.

    • Jenny says:

      Thank goodness for people like Adam..who can help us women understand men. It makes me feel like I’m not going crazy trying to figure out why my BF does the things he does. And not smother him II can take a deep breath and relax…knowing I have to be confident and just be myself…because that’s why we are together… Nobody’s perfect

  5. Sandra says:

    Adam,

    Bravo!! Nicely worded and delicately handled this issue of porn, strip clubs, etc.

    I am now an older woman who truly understands that men and women are different and it is our responsibility in this human species to try and understand each other. I didn’t know or truly understood this whole dynamic until after I was divorced and left wondering what was my role in part of the failure of the marriage.

    Like many women who at a young age got married and had children I felt that my life and my husband’s life were beyond sex and that the family life was to be now at the forefront. I didn’t understand how important it was for us as a couple to hold each other and allow each other to express the love they felt in their hearts in a physical intimate way. My loss, his loss as we both grew apart and after the kids were older and his 3 affairs and my broken trust we divorced.

    I understand that men must express their love to their partners physically! If women were truly honest with themselves then they would agree to how much they need the physical intimacy in love, hugs, kisses and holding hands. It’s not just for procreation.

    Our society (perhaps religious teachings??) as you’ve said, Adam wants to separate or ignore this need from our relationships because it doesn’t fit and it’s messy to talk about!

    Let’s be real and honest with ourselves. We are highly social creatures who need physical touch to function and live healthy lives.

    As a older woman looking for a new start again to having a special loving relationship, physical intimacy and expression is at the top of my list for being most wanted in the characteristics of a man I need in my life!

    • AdamGilad says:

      Have you seen those experiments with baby monkeys who were denied touch with their mothers. Heart-breaking. Yes! We all need touch and affection so much more than we get.

      We live in an Atomized (instead of an Adam-ized) society where cousins, aunties, grannies, uncles, cousins are far away or in separate homes. As a species, we have ALWAYS lived in larger clan units where we could cuddle with and groom and feed and care for each other.

      We are starved for loving touch.

      My friends Ried Mihalko and Michael Ellsberg actually poplularized something called “Cuddle Parties” which are non-sexual – look it up in your area – maybe someone is hosting one!

  6. Denise says:

    What about women who look at porn? People like you and Michael Fiore always talk about men who look at porn. Do you guys really think that men are the only ones who are turned on by visual stimuli?

    • AdamGilad says:

      Hi Denise – sure, plenty of women enjoy visual stimuli (that’s why I go to the gym and I HATE the gym)!

      Most studies, show, however, that men respond more to visual and women more to verbal stimuli – in the erotic as well as in most realms. Your language and emotional brain centers are not only better connected but more developed. For a fascinating read – check out Pease, “Why Men Don’t Talk and Women Can’t Read Maps.”

  7. Cynthia says:

    Adam, your article really hit home with me and I think you were right on the money, I’ll bet this women does indeed have some past issues with porn. Why do I know? Because it was a huge issue in my 17 year marriage and as my marriage started to break down, my ex was spending more and more time in the basement, watching porn and visiting the bathroom.

    I too was one of those women that believed men are more visual, that they need that extra eye candy time. what the heck, he’s not cheating, right? I was confident that since I was the real McCoy and not some image on a screen, he would always come to bed and be with me but over the years, he started to chose porn more often than not.

    I knew what was happening, I asked him to come to bed with me, to be with me but if he did it was only a temporary thing and he would fall back into his nightly routine.

    Over time, this shaved away at my confidence as his collection grew to terabytes of pictures and movies and I started to believe I wasn’t good enough.

    Sure, I get we need to understand the male mind and his needs but we can be too accommodating as well. Where was his consideration for my feelings?

    It’s taken me a few years to gain back my confidence since we’ve divorced. Granted, it’s a shaky thing thou. I’ve dated the odd guy, had couple of sexual experinces and I’ve got to say porn has affected more men than we care to admit.

    In the two experiences I’ve had, I could tell these men had watched a lot of porn. They’ve forgotten that this is not how women want to be treated. They’ve become desensitized to how to make love.

    I dunno, maybe it was just a fluke thing and these guys were just players but I haven’t been dating since. Guess, it still hurts. I keep my profile hidden.

    I am very interested in finding out if other women have noticed how porn is affecting men?

    • AdamGilad says:

      Beautifully said. Love my pagans! And yes, lust is there to be raised into worship and gratitude. I hope we get there as a species!

    • AdamGilad says:

      Yes, I can feel how awful that must have been. It is DEFINITELY one of the many dangers of porn – unrealistic expectations and down the rabbit hole of fantasy. In an ideal world, any partner would take the fantasy, the physical beauty, the imagination of any kind of sexuality felt during the day – and bring it home and transmute it into worship of the sexual essence flowing through their beloved.

      That’s the IDEAL.

      And I think the path here is (#1 minimize immersion in porn and erotica – it’s more like a spice than a meal, if anything) = ad then to take the energy – rather than the details – into the passion of intimacy with your lover(s).

      No easy solutions.

      Only useful pathways.

  8. Anna says:

    A resounding YES! to your words and to your wording (always, always so beautiful!). As a pagan with a pole in my living room, I say bring the strip club home and make it sacred again! It is amazing exercise and puts me back in touch with the Goddess that is within me. As for porn, in moderation, I agree that it serves as a stimulus for the imagination and is a lovely way for a couple to explore… or for a man or woman to get turned on in private and then bring that turn-on to their partner. However, if a woman is threatened by that world, then I think it would be appropriate to have an open discussion with a man about it fairly early in the relationship. And, of course, anyone who is excessive in his/her consumption of porn is not living fully, not available to you–something that becomes obvious very much sooner rather than later and in many ways. Blog on, dear Adam!!

  9. Kelli says:

    Thank You Adam,
    You are so inspiring and make it so easy for me to love men for being men and understand and appreciate them as they are. Kind of gives me the courage to fully explore passion and sexuality and sensuality so that he’ll be so fully satisfied he won’t have the disire or energy to want anything else.

    • AdamGilad says:

      Thank you Kelli. So much of the world’s problems would be solved if we could FEEL each other’s reality before judging – whether in the bedroom or across national borders. It’s an ongoing process and always will be.

  10. Although, we obviously agree with you, the question is – how do we deal with the emotional impact that porn has in the lives of women?
    I have worked with clients that were devastated by the fact that they are waiting in the bed alone, while a husband is enjoying porn.
    Others have supported their man and enjoyed porn together.

    I think it’s about the essence of a relationship. When we build solid relationships, based on honesty and purity, nothing is a big deal. But many relationships today are based on competition and subtle threat “I can trade you up for someone better”. That doesn’t allow us to spread our wings and fly freely.
    IMHO

    • AdamGilad says:

      That is a very important question. Porn – I really hate the word – is the shadow side of erotica. Somewhat like war is the shadow side of self-defense. That is another question to be explored. The person doing the best work on this, I think, is the founder of makelovenotporn.org. She is trying very hard to contextualize porn into a wider discussion of positive sexuality. But I have to see how she develops her mini-movement.

  11. Brenda says:

    Bravo! Well said. Agreed.

  12. Kathleen says:

    I read your article with much interest since I have been in a long distance relationship for five years. I was educated in Catholic schools so I have been fighting the guilt of enjoying sex. When I got involved with this man he broke down a lot of my sexual no’s. I watched porn with him and we discussed his visits to strip clubs, introduced me to toys and I was able to experience fantasies that I thought I would never have the guts to do.

    He says that he watches porn to learn more sexual experiences that we could do together and visiting strip clubs he swears was a place where he could actually think and work on his business plans and be left alone as long as he bought drinks and tipped the girls, and work on his business plans. He was left alone at strip clubs more so than if he went to bars. After going to the clubs it really isnt such a big deal since I saw so many women at them having lap dances which seem to excite there partners they are with. But I still dont think I like when he goes without me.

    He says he grew up with a single mom who was into women’s liberation and that when he was growing up that he realized that women needed to be sexually satisfied and that is what his focus is on. At 20 he got married to his high school sweetheart who was in an accident right before they were married and became an invalid, they still married and he stayed with her for 17 years, they were divorced but he took care of her until her recent death. They couldnt have sex because of her injuries, although he did get invloved with women later on in their marriage.

    But now, he wants me to send him sexual pictures of me when we arent together. This summer I spend three months with him before returning home.
    During that time it seemed that our sex was more porn like and missed tenderness. I felt that he had to watch porn to get excited and that the porn we watched was more and more extreme, stuff that didnt get me excited.

    I am perplexed because instead of feeling closer I felt farther away from him.

    So I am not so sure about porn, I once felt it was liberating me, now it feels that there is more I dont want to partake in.

    Perplexed on the issue.

    • I’d like to make comment in reference to several of the above comments.

      First – Adam, I love your writings and the heart that comes through. I’ve only just found you and am listening to your Eros seminar currently and SO, SO, SOOOOO loving it!!! Thank you!

      Next- when we talk of porn and explaining it, I think it’s important, as stated above, that we understand it from both the man and woman’s points of views, because it is an issue in both of our lives. There are many implications of pornography, and I will mention some.

      Most of this thread has been about “understanding the man”. What is lacking here in true discussion is how women feel about it AND the real implications it has in both relationships and society. *Most* women have two underlying emotions with their partners watching porn: 1) feeling betrayed and 2) feeling inadequate.

      Let’s start with the betrayal: there is a lot of minimizing that “it’s JUST fantasy and not action”. Watching and looking are verbs, action. Masturbation is an act. Watching/looking at porn and masturbating are actions. Therefore, yes they are acting out on it. It is on par with emotional affairs. An emotional affair is still action – in words and feelings. Many people have said that emotional affairs are just as and sometimes more devastating than sexual affairs. Porn can fall into this area.

      If it were possible for men to stand in *most* women’s shoes – don’t watch porn, they deeply want to love and connect with their partner (and have mind-blowing, soul-melting sex). Then try to imagine how it feels if their wife/partner looked at other men in porn -daily, weekly, occasionally, what have you- (as if there was much porn focused for women, which I dare say might look a lot different) and hides it (or not), and prefers to watch porn over truly connecting with the partner. Would he not also feel a sense (or more) of betrayal and of being inadequate?

      As for inadequacy feelings. I found it telling when Adam noted in response to women watching porn, “sure, plenty of women enjoy visual stimuli (that’s why I go to the gym and I HATE the gym)!” It can lead to this sense that we have to have a “better” body or look like what is on the screen in order to be appealing to our partners. For men, it can lead to not feeling attracted to their partners because they don’t look like what they repeatedly masturbate to. Women have enough body image shit to work through with public media let alone the addition of the implication of porn in their partners subconscious and how it plays out in life. These visual images (women or men) desensitize us into (albeit unconsciously) wanting those images that are consumed and have a real daily impact on our actions.

      It’s time we truly with full hearts and souls devour our bodies and souls as they are, and not have to appear any different than we are for the sake of others. Let our partners and ourselves truly, honestly, gut-wrenchingly appreciate and accept ourselves where we are in each moment and BE with (not the action of the verb – be) our partners. By the way, I loved the Reality Sandwich article by Alex Allman (to appear in Adam’s From Sex to Super Consciousness webinar happening now) of the action of MAKING love.

      Porn most often creates an objectification of women, which perpetuates sexism and male supremacy. Anyone SERIOUSLY interested in questioning the role porn has on individuals and society as a whole I’d suggest people like Jackson Katz (http://www.jacksonkatz.com/index.html) and Paul Kivel (http://www.paulkivel.com) – two amazing men! Until we truly dig deep and look, we will continue to be in denial. Porn also adds to layers of confusion for men and “what it means to be a man.’ Such a large vast topic!

      As for Adam’s comments: “So, here’s my dose of empathy for the day…
      Its important for you to know how much men crave the presence, aroma, touch,
      attention and ultimately the appreciation, of the feminine. It not only makes us
      merely “feel better,” it actually gives us the energy to go on. To do. To build. To
      conquer. It gives us the mojo to do anything at all, really. What I want you to know is that the reward for our labor is the surrender of your smile and the lavishing of your attention (which explains why porn actresses are instructed to look into the camera).”

      If this is TRULY how *most* men feel (and I believe it is), then why go looking and desire to look on screen (still or moving) when they actually have it in their intimate partnerships? If this is what TRULY motivates them, then they’d be seeking it directly from their partners, correct? I’d say this is EXACTLY what women want from their partners too – the divine masculine’s FULL attention, appreciation, presence and touch. I know I do! OHHH, do we DARE try to achieve that with one another?! If we can’t achieve it together, then it’s not the relationship to be in. That can be the bitter pill to swallow.

      As “Kathleen” stated above that after watching porn together with her partner their love making turned into being more like “porn” than of true intimate connective LOVE MAKING. This is a real implication of frequent use of porn. I find it interesting that Adam did not address this. I suspect in cases like hers, the man is not fully present with her but in his mind with images he’s been desensitized to. Interestingly enough, a former friend of mine once told me her boyfriend could only have sex with her with the lights out. If he actually saw her, he couldn’t do it. This is an implication of porn.

      Porn in our culture by and large is not being used as a “spice” but rather as either a regular beverage with the meal, an appetizer, or side dish, and sometimes a full-meal-deal. While Adam states that he thinks most men don’t “like” to go to strip-clubs or watch porn, I disagree. They like it, they like it – a lot. That’s why they come back to it, again and again.

      The emotional ramifications of pornography is an interesting dilemma to solve. Men “want that feminine attention, aroma, appreciation, presence, and TOUCH”, yet when they seek it from “outside sources” (from their partnerships) this builds a wall. When their partners don’t feel adequate and feel betrayed they are less likely to want to give that attention, appreciation, presence and touch to their partners. A vicious cycle ensues.

      Of course, talking about it together and watching it together is a whole different ball game, which is rarely played.

      I’ll add the caveat that this is written from a woman who love, loves, LOVES sex in all it’s luscious flavors – raw animalistic sex to soul melting divine connection and any combination and in between, with or without toys, and a HELL of a LOT of FUN!!! Yahhoo! :)

  13. And can I say, ‘Oh YAH, LOVE makelovenotporn.com” website! A must check out!

  14. Gai Weiner says:

    Adam – I’d like to see some of your material directed to men on how to understand and respond to womens needs. So far everything I’ve seen is a variation on mens needs and how women can make their lives better. I’m sure you understand that given the history of male dominance in most cultures, and despite the erudition, sensitivity and eloquence of your prose – I’m beginning to question the content bias. The material is still useful, as it is important for me to understand ways that men are different from women, and to grow in skills and compassion. But this last article especially, called out for a much more thorough examination of womens experience – which you claim to attend to elsewhere.

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