Why are men hiding their porn use, anyway?

If it’s just harmless fun, why all the secrecy?

Image: Pixabay

Anything that happens between consenting adults is the standard by which we are told we must determine acceptable versus unacceptable sexual practices. But if that is the case, what to make of porn use?

In an article published at The Guardian on Sunday, Dylan Curran reminds men that, while they may have successfully hidden their “odious” search history from “other people” who might be sharing their device, by using a private browser or clearing their search history, they haven’t really deleted those records. That information is still logged by advertisers and Google, for example. While clearly Curran believes he is simply offering well-intentioned help to men who for whatever reason don’t want their wives and families to know they’re searching “Latina schoolgirl ass to mouth gangbang” in their spare time, who may not know that their supposedly harmless masturbatory habits are being tracked via the interwebs, the more interesting question is: why are these men concerned about being outed, in terms of their porn use?

To be fair, there is plenty I would like to keep private in terms of my search history. My job as a feminist writer, plus my obsession with diagnosing myself with various diseases online, leads to some pretty odd searches that would likely concern anyone with access to that history. And, sure, wanting privacy online is reasonable — most of us don’t want advertisers (or the state, for that matter) to have access to our every move, online. But when it comes to porn — a thing we are told is “harmless” and “perfectly normal” — why do men feel the need to hide it from their wives and girlfriends, in particular? Why has this secrecy been normalized alongside the “it’s just a fantasy”/”all men do it” narrative?

Marriage devotees will tell you that the relationship between a husband and wife is the most sacred of all relationships — that this is a special bond, based on special trust, honesty, commitment, and devotion. We are to believe this relationship is much more valid and important than relationships between friends and non-married couples. Now, if this is the case — that you are in a monogamous relationship with the person you supposedly value most in the world, who you are meant to be more connected to and honest with than any other human, devoted to treating that particular person with particular love, compassion, and respect, wouldn’t it follow that your porn use be an open part of that relationship? If your partner is your best friend and soul mate, why wouldn’t you share your sexual practices and desires with them? And, if you truly believe porn use is harmless and normal — a completely acceptable thing to do while you are in a marriage — why lie? Why go to extremes to hide it?

I think we all know the answer to this question: most women don’t like their husbands’ porn-use. Some tolerate it, believing they have no other choice, and some are blissfully unaware their beloved partners are watching women be choked with penises while they are asleep.

There are good reasons for women not to want their male partners to watch porn, but too-often it’s chalked up to “jealousy.” But the idea that women would be hurt, disturbed, or unhappy at discovering what their husbands are masturbating to because they legitimately believe their husbands will abandon them to run off with a porn star is laughable. It’s also incredibly insulting and dishonest.

Men’s porn use has a notable impact on the women they have sex with — it shapes their sexual behaviour (let’s be honest — it makes men really bad in bed) and their ability to maintain an erection during intercourse. It shapes the things men want their sexual partners to do in bed. It teaches men to dehumanize women. If we care so much about consent, in terms of sexual practices, shouldn’t the one and only person you are having sex with and your most intimate relationship be aware of your sexual practices, that impact her? Shouldn’t she be made aware that you are using other people in your sex life (believe it or not, the people on the other side of your laptop screen are real live human beings with real things — often painful — being done to their bodies, so that you can get off)?

Men know that what they are watching offends women because pornography is offensive to women. They know that it’s wrong to call a woman a “dirty slut” while she is being penetrated by three different men at once. They know this is not something that is physically (or psychologically) pleasurable for women. And so of course men know that if their wife discovered that spewing misogynist vitriol at a woman while she is in physical pain is something that turns them on, their wife — a woman who her husband claims to love and respect — would likely be confused, appalled, nauseous, or hurt.

And not all women of course of course. Some women love to be face-fucked, I know! I mean, gosh, who doesn’t like to be choked by a dick until they vomit! We’re so hot. You’re turning us on. Hang on to your erections. But if your defense is that women enjoy this too, then explain to me why you’re hiding this proclivity from your wife. If she was into it, she’d be watching it with you, and if she was truly just ok with it, you wouldn’t have to sneak around to watch, and then clear your search history lest you be discovered.

To be clear, I am no fan of marriage. I don’t believe it is sacred and I wish people would stop doing it. I believe love and meaningful relationships can (and should) happen outside the patriarchal institution of marriage. But people are still getting married — sometimes for practical reasons, but most-often on the basis that it is sacred and special and meaningful. If you want to make the claim that marriage is a special bond and commitment, how did we, as a society, come to the conclusion that it was ok for men to engage in private, misogynist, sexual practices, knowing that those practices would hurt, upset, and disturb their wives? We are, after all, talking about the person who is meant to be your only sexual partner and most intimate relationship…

The truth is clear: we know pornography isn’t a harmless practice that is “just a fantasy.” We know it hurts and disrespects women.

Despite the fact liberalism has told us we mustn’t “shame” anyone for anything ever, sometimes we feel shame for good reason. I feel shame, for example, if I behave badly toward someone I care about. I don’t believe that sense of shame is necessarily bad. If I act badly or in a way I am not proud of, I perhaps should feel ashamed. If I didn’t, that would be a problem, as it would imply I felt my every action was “good” or acceptable, no matter what. Perhaps men should listen and pay attention to the shame they feel around their porn-use. That shame is telling them an important truth.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • mail_turtle

    Only a sadist or a psychopath would enjoy seeing someone choke on a penis until they vomit. Men who like this type of porn aren’t loving and caring and need to hide their porn use to maintain the illusion of being nice.

  • Abi Tiki

    Brava, Meghan.

  • Jake

    Women may be getting married on the basis that it is sacred and special and meaningful, but I don’t think that men generally approach marriage this way. For many men, marriage is still seen as ownership of a woman or a reward for good behavior. Selling marriage as a sacred bond between two individuals was never about actual relationships. It was about making marriage palatable to a modern society that recognizes that ownership of other human beings looks bad. Institutionalized marriage is still about ownership. The reason men lie about their porn use is that it is unacceptable in the context of a marriage (or other committed relationship) built on mutual respect, devotion, trust, and commitment. If men viewed women as equal, institutionalized marriage wouldn’t be necessary. Their relationships with women would have all those things that makes marriage special. The underlying belief in our patriarchal culture is that marriage still represents ownership and entitlement. Men should feel shame for the ways they act entitled to women’s love, devotion, emotional labor and their bodies. If we actually listened to our shame instead of cowering from it, we could actually make some real progress. Thank you for your article Meghan!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Totally. People who don’t feel guilt or shame are narcissists and sociopaths… Empathetic people who care about others feel bad when they fuck up, hurt others, or do bad things…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks Thom!

  • Robert Gonzalez

    Yeah, I don’t see much openly expressed shame in it anymore. We have Fifty Shades of Grey, after all.

  • Unree

    Sounds like the point of the essay whooshed over your head.

    • Dave

      I don’t think so! The article was about how men should be showing respect to their spouses by being honest about their sexual escapades. Me and my wife are polyamarous as well and it’s really important we tell eachover about who we have had sex with. You need trust!

      • LittleGreen

        You’ve missed the part Meghan mentions about how awful the content of porn is & how it should feel shameful to watch because you are watching women being degraded & hurt. How do you know that woman has consented to the acts she is doing? How do you know she’s not doing it for fear of being beaten up by her pimp later? how do you know she’s with it and not drugged to her eyeballs? how do you know she’s not in pain? How do you know she’s not faking it? How do you know the woman got paid? How do you know she consented for it to be filmed? How do you know she wasn’t groomed from a child via child sex abuse to do these scenes? Unless you are filming your own partner with their consent or viewing your friends who you know well, you just don’t know. Do you not read the despicable & disrespectful way she is described in the title of the clip? Do you not see the men calling her names and being cruel to her? And research reveals these situations above are so likely that over half of what you have already seen contained at least one of these unfortunate situations.

        • Dave

          I’m not a fan of violent porn like that! Me and my wife mainly like watching couples intimate blogs, erotica, sex stories and stuff like that. We even managed to hook up to a couple whose sex blog we followed!

        • Dave

          I’m sorry I tried to reply but the comment disappeared!

      • marv

        But watching porn degrades those women in porn, contributing to their and other women’s sex class subjugation. If the women in porn are of color then it is racist as well.

        Marriage is conservative patriarchy. Porn is liberal patriarchy. You are a hybrid.

        • Dave

          I’m not into watching people being degraded! Good, wholesome sex for me.

      • ann

        srry but i dont get why polyamarous people even consider themselves in a “relationship”. You’ve committed to nothing, you’re just fucking around and having one night stands, that’s all.

        • Dave

          Haha! It’s hard to explain sometimes, especially to our parents!

    • Kiwipally

      There’s always some bloke that comes here and writes notes about his boner.

  • lk

    Years ago, I was on a website and WOC posted a comment about how she was seeing this Caucasian guy and he showed her his porn collection and most of it had titles like: Black ghetto bitches 9, young black hoes and etc…She commented that after she saw his porn, she didnt want to date him anymore.

    Do you know the majority response to her comment?

    Most people criticized her for judging him and said we shouldn’t judge people on the kind of porn they watch.

    This was long before I knew anything about radical feminism or had really read anything that was critical of porn. I was really surprised that nobody seemed to understand why she would not continue dating a guy who was obviously aroused by the abuse/hurling of racial slurs towards black women.

    Pornography and BDSM really seem invested in this idea that racism, verbal insults and violence against women are sexy/empowering.

    There is literally no reason to watch pornography….there are lots of other ways to get sexually aroused, excited and that does not involve watching violence against women.

  • lk

    ….I’m patiently waiting for people to start commenting about how feminist porn can be, how empowering it is, how we are all evil-sex negative prudes.

    I cant wrap my mind around people defending porn and bdsm as being good for women (let alone good for men).

    I sometimes wonder what the world would look like without the pornography industry…

  • ann

    The truth. Feminist porn does not exist. Porn is never feminist.

  • ann

    I can relate sadly. I live in a country that is very tolerant towards the sex industry, where prostitution is legal and glorified, and where kids as young as 14 openly discuss porn and sex (not healthy sex, but abusive bullshit they learned from porn). They all think they’re free spirits. Even some women, while in reality, they’re most likely looking for validation.

  • Kiwipally

    Yep, was going to write this and saw your comment. It appears to have gone from being hidden to being boasted about. 🙁

  • calabasa

    “Violated” might be a better word here, as it can mean all kinds of violations. “Rape” is very specific.

    Of course, if you have been raped, and this felt the same or worse than that, that’s your experience. If you haven’t been and don’t understand what it actually feels like and are using this term, I’d rethink that.

    I would far have preferred to discover a partner’s secret porn stash (which would have made sense of his preferences and increasingly sexually abusive behavior) than be raped by him, which I was, and which deeply scarred and traumatized me for years and is still affecting my physical and mental health years later.

    I understand what you mean but prefer that we use the word highly specific word “rape” to actually mean what it says–the serious sexual crime of physically forcing sex on somebody/forcibly sexually penetrating another’s body against her (or his) will.

  • ptittle

    I wanted to click the upvote ten times for your “Porn is fucking disgusting, it’s repulsive, it does not belong in any civilized society, and we know it.” Yes. Exactly.

  • ptittle

    You know, at first I was going to say yes, we should broadcast loud and clear and often that porn makes men really bad in bed!!

    But then I realized, they won’t care. They don’t care. Does porn cause men to become bad lovers (not concerned about women’s pleasure/women period) or do bad lovers (men who aren’t concerned about …) watch porn?

    • Meghan Murphy

      I think men don’t believe that porn makes them bad in bed…

  • Can’tUnseeIt

    I’m not sorry. People who use porn are already dead and just clutter on the earth. Shame? I guess it is easier to carry around your shame than it is to raise yourself from the walking dead. I have no mercy, no empathy, no ability to minimize these cretins or to polish these turds. Their ire and hatred towards women inspires my own.

  • Maeve

    Excellent work Meghan! Such an important thing to be highlighting, and you write it so damn well. I just wrote a personal piece about female sexuality and pleasure. https://psiloveyou.xyz/a-world-where-women-are-turned-on-a-case-for-female-pleasure-b1c6157f08bf
    I mention the ills of pornography, but mostly wanted to point to other ways to be sexual because I think people are really getting mind fucked about sexuality. I also hoped to encourage solo sex as an important part of pleasure, especially as feminists. A free online women’s conference on sexuality was really inspiring for me.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Maeve!

    • Jani

      Very interesting article, thank you. I can relate to your experiences. Having come of age before internet pornography defined sexuality in such negative and unhealthy ways, I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to experience sex as a mutually pleasurable and, at times, a transcendental experience. My own sexual pleasure was an integral part of the experience but I had to be in a positive emotional space too. Pornography played no role in life whatsover and most guys only ever saw the occasional magazine with static images of nude women. I think those guys knew these were just photographs, no more, no less. Today many men conflate internet pornography with sex. They can’t draw that distinction. The effects of porn use in preference to real life relationships result in a lack of empathy and emotional connection, a view of sex as being something that a woman “gives” to a man, an an expectation of acting out porn scenes where the female partner essentially performs. Eventually a man will lose erectile function because he’s conditioned to respond to cues on a screen and not a human body. I can’t see what is “sex positive” about any of that.

      But as women and feninists, I ask – how many times do we have to reinvent the wheel? From the 70s and into the 80s there were workshops and books for “pre orgasmic” women precisely because men were not aware of female sexual pleasure and orgasm. Many women were tolerating sex without much enjoyment because they were disconnected from their own body’s capacity for pleasure. Now we appear to have lost so much of that progress. Women aren’t having more orgasms during partnered sex. Lots of women are faking (acting out porn scenes to please the guy). Women are more concerned with what they look like during the act – which seemed crazy to me when I first learned of that. It’s like we’re going to go back a few decades and reconnect with the teachings of those women who sought to promote female sexual pleasure. I’m just so stunned that all this work has just vanished from public consciousness.

      As women, I feel that we need to take back our sexuality from porn culture and define it (once again) on our own terms — and that will be individual to all of us. I always used to think that people who needed props to have sex, whether it’s dressing up games or whatever, were actually creating a barrier between themselves and their partner, as if they were incapable of connection and needed a ritual to do so. In porn culture, disconnection is the norm. What’s worrying is that the disconnection isn’t only a lack of emotional connection between two people but a disconnection of the emotions and the body.

      • ptittle

        A few years from now, young women won’t know what a clitoris is.

  • Jani

    I can’t go anywhere near Reddit. You see these bros talking about women in terms of their cup size (which isn’t quite the way bra sizing works but WTF? they’re morons anyway) and they don’t seem to be able to distinguish porn viewed on a screen from sex with another living human being. It’s like they expect the role of women is to please them and cater to their every whim. I think I’m going to start describing men in terms of their waist size and the size of their man boobs, maybe throw in the odd inside leg measurement and categorise them as V-shaped/no moobs, going to seed, or beer bellied. I could speculate about the size and cleanliness of their dicks too.

  • Adam King

    People hide their porn use for the same reason they don’t have sex in public. Abrahamic religions teach that sex is dirty and our modern concept of privacy demands that you keep dirty things private.

    • Meghan Murphy

      But your porn use is happening in your own, claimed to be inextricable from masturbation. Do men lie to their female partners about the fact that they masturbate?? No man has ever lied to me about masturbation — why would he? Yet men HAVE lied to me about porn use.

      • Kiwipally

        Adam (maybe that’s why he keeps on, and on, and on about Abrahamic religions) is an incredibly boring, ahistorical one-trick pony. I salute you, Meghan, on not being bored to death reading his regurgitated “points” over and over again.

    • Deborah

      Privacy does not apply to your own home and with your sexual partner. Please stop feigning stupidity. Having sex in public is considered indecent, just like public defecation. Please stop making everything about society thinking “sex is dirty”. That argument doesn’t hold up in an age when privacy no longer exists, i.e. social media, “rate my boobs”, public cameras, recorded phone calls, revenge porn, etc.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Men’s sexual fantasies are not ‘frowned upon’. Men’s sexual fantasies are the basis for all heterosexual sex.

  • lk

    I think much of porn (and the “sexwork” industry) is about putting women back in their place.

    I think a lot of guys (even if they don’t want to admit it) want women to be underneath their thumb, their property, subservient to them and etc.

    Soooo much of porn is about showing women as just things for men to abuse and use and degrade, it features women doing things that most men would NEVER want a woman to do to them.

    I think the same is true of men who go to prostitutes, erotic massage parlors and etc…they are getting off on the fact that a woman is beneath them…because if she was equal to you, had the power you do, the money you do, the freedom you do..she would not be having unwated sex with strange men for money.

  • lk

    IKR! I remember thinking good for her for getting far away from him…

    ..But so many people were like…why did you stop seeing him? Its no big deal! You could have missed out on a great guy….

    LOL, nope! Great guys don’t spend their time masturbating to violent racist pornography.

  • Deborah

    “Women have their own soft-core pornography..”
    Do they have have their HARD core, because that’s what constitutes 90% of men’s usage.

    “…while for women it’s called “empowerment” and “liberation” and “exploring her sexuality”.”
    Maybe because most men, up until the Kinsey report of the 1960’s didn’t even think women COULD have an orgasm! In fact, most women of a certain age, had never masterbated even once in their lives due to social conditioning. The saves themselves until marriage, never understood their own bodies, and their husbands didn’t give a flying fuck about their pleasure. G-spots, multiple orgasms, lack of vaginal orgasms: all unknown to men and society up until the last mid-century.

    Get a clue.

  • lk

    “I think that’s part of the reason why so many women are giving their stamp of approval: they can’t even fucking tell the different anymore, and they still have this idea that men are worth pleasing.”

    I honestly think that on some level women who defend pornography/bdsm and etc…know that its sexist, violent and (sometimes) racist. These women must realize that violence has no place in an intimate relationship, that men who need to watch porn to feel sexually satisfied are not healthy.

    …But there is sooo much pressure on women now to be “open-minded, sexually-liberated”and so on that we cave..we participate in sexually degrading, not pleasurable and sometimes dangerous sex..I feel like we are constantly being hit over the head with the message that violent sex/relationships with pornography==exciting fun relationships.

    You know what I find exciting and fun? A man who respects me and wants to have mutually satisfying sex that is free of violence and sex. A man who can have an orgasm without needing to watch a woman being hurt…I guess that makes me closed-minded and sexually repressed.

    “He tried to choke me with the back of his forearm during sex by pinning me to the mattress with it against my windpipe. That was the first time I’d ever felt scared during sex.”

    He sounds awful.This whole idea that dangerous, painful activities like choking should be part of sex is freaking ridiculous.

  • Melanie

    My family’s environment only became stable when I left my ex partner and became a single parent.

    If your ‘sexuality’ involves the degradation, humiliation, exploitation, injury, assault or rape of women in an unethical and often criminal industry you should be frowned upon. Pornography is not a sexual fantasy. It’s not words written on a page. It’s the sexual exploitation of real people.

  • TwinMamaManly

    Dude…..are you actually comparing a book to the filming of violent, degrading, unwanted, painful sexual abuse?

  • TwinMamaManly

    I listened to a podcast this morning by a former female police officer (Narelle Fraser on Australian True Crime) and she described one case where a mother brought her 17 year old daughter to the station to report being raped. He perpetrator was her own, full-blood 18 year old brother, who lived in the house with them as a family unit, but had been, unbeknownst to them, binged on porn all night and then gone into sister’s bedroom and raped her. She tried to fight him off and run away, but he caught her in the hallway and raped her there. So, yeah, porn translates to violence IRL. You’re denying reality if you say otherwise.

  • FierceMild

    Gigglesnort

  • Dave

    Not the porn I watch I can assure you. I’m a big fan of amateur couples blogs,erotic art and sex stories and they have none of the things you listed, at least the ones I follow!

  • Dave

    Haha! You should ask my wife. She gives me a 10/10 and she has sex with others a fair amount! She may be biased though!

  • Dave

    No violence for me! I’m just into amazing couples who film their escapades!

  • Dave

    Don’t see anything wrong with that!

  • Dave

    Not the porn I watch! All amateurs having genuine sex. I even know some of the bloggers I follow, and have had hookups!

  • Sono Gloria, ho lasciato la…

    I’m used to read your articles because they’re a lot of fun, but today I saw something really amazing:

    “it makes men really bad in bed”

    Really?
    Are you serious?

    Are men really supposed to be “good in bed”?

    I apologize in advance if this polite question offends you, it isn’t my intention, but I would really like to get an answer, because an affirmation like
    “it makes men really bad in bed”
    it’s really, really, really, weird.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Not sure what you’re asking? I mean, yes… One would hope that men are ‘good’ in bed, meaning thoughtful and considerate and not simply using women’s bodies as masturbatory tools…

    • Deborah

      Zero attention to foreplay
      Zero understanding of female sexual response
      Lack of imagination
      Lack of personalized attention given
      Lack of skill
      Bored after 10 minutes of giving head
      Focused on their own orgasm
      Routine largely limited to pounding like a jackhammer
      Wants to do the risky stuff with absolutely no understanding of how to do it safely, or if it’s even a good idea to begin with…
      Reacts offended or disinterested when you tell them what you like or want to try
      Plays deaf when you tell them what you don’t like
      Wonders why you didn’t come

      Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

      Does that answer your question?

      • M. Zoidberg

        In my experience, bored after 10 seconds of giving head (but I was still expected to give endless blowjobs).

      • kfwkfw

        Not to mention functionality issues galore.

      • shy virago

        This is brilliant!
        I love you women :0

      • ptittle

        We need to get rid of the word ‘foreplay’. It implies a subordination to the ‘real’ thing, piv.

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      OH, I see you have register- her in your profile. MRA TROLL, right here. Reported and blocked.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Squirting orgasms” are *not* real. It’s mostly just urine.

    • smackeral

      That hasn’t been my experience (just sayin’)

      • Meghan Murphy

        In porn, I mean….

  • TwinMamaManly

    Yes please tell me more how women experience good sex – BTW it’s not “squirting”, it’s female ejaculation (but thanks for pornifying it for us). I don’t need a man such as you mansplaining the difference between enjoyable and adverse women’s sexual experiences. I get the distinct impression you think we don’t know. In fact, I’ll even go so far to suggest you think we’re all just a bunch of feminazis who’ve never had good sex with a man, hence our anger and disgust with men like you…in fact, you probably all think we just need a good, hard fuck, amiright? (And to aspire to marriage for sake of the privilege of rearing our huband’s progeny).

  • TwinMamaManly

    I agree with you! This was an anecdote to support your argument. Apologies for confusion.

  • Wren

    It’s highly unlikely that what he’s saying is true despite his copious use of exclamation points.

  • kfwkfw

    Nice. Never heard that!!

  • Dave

    I just like watching genuine awesome people making love and sharing in that intimate moment! Nothing unhealthy about that!

  • Dave

    I was just commenting about the lack of trust in relationships! The rest of my comments were just replying to people asking some insightful questions about me. And I answered them!

  • Hanakai

    Pornography does not re-wire the brain. Most neuronal connections (“wiring”) are formed in the early years of life and watching porn is not known to re-wire the neuronal connections and networks.

    While porn use has similarities to substance addiction, pornography is not a substance and does not meet the criteria of addiction, one of which is physiological withdrawal. When a man stops using porn or loses access to porn, he does not sweat and tremble, develop flu-like symptoms, he does not have tremors and seizures, nor does he die. Porn use by men is not an addiction —- it is a choice, a choice to denigrate and degrade women. Calling it an addiction is a way of making excuses and shirking responsibility.

    Here is what porn use actually does to the brain. One of the chemicals in the brain is a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Dopamine is released by the neurons (brain cells) to transmit a chemical message to other neurons. Engaging in sex and watching porn cause dopamine releases in the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in feeling pleasure and reward, and its levels surge in response to anticipation and expectation of pleasure.

    When one repeatedly creates a dopaminergic surge in the brain by viewing porn, the brain becomes desensitized to the effects of dopamine. The more porn watched, the lower the activity in the brain’s reward centers; this causes the brain to need more dopamine to feel the same effects. With too much porn, the brain can get overloaded and halt production of dopamine. This may be why men go for ever more extreme & twisted porn when regular porn (and sex) no longer result in much pleasure.

    One German study found that gray matter volume in the right caudate of the striatum was smaller among frequent porn viewers. Men who watched more porn also showed less activity in another area of the striatum, known as the left putamen, which normally shows activity when one is exposed to sexual stimuli. Perhaps this is why pornhead men are horrible lovers when it comes to real sex.

    Let us not excuse the pornhead men with the “Oh poor boy so addicted, can’t help himself” sop. Porn use is a choice made by misogynists. Any decent person, make or female, sees porn for the ugliness and oppressiveness it is and wants nothing to do with it. Men who use porn are not decent men and women would do best not to allow porn men into their lives in any way.

    • Deborah

      “When a man stops using porn or loses access to porn, he does not sweat and tremble, develop flu-like symptoms, he does not have tremors and seizures, nor does he die.”
      That doesn’t happen to people who are addicted to gambling, yet that is an addiction…

      “Let us not excuse the pornhead men with the “Oh poor boy so addicted, can’t help himself” sop.”
      Not once did I imply that, nor would I. It doesn’t always matter what the chemical or non-chemical reason is for the behavior, if it creates a compulsion that interferes with one’s life and relationships, then it is likely an addiction. But if you’d rather stay on the side of porn use being a compulsion, rather than an addiction, I won’t dispute it. But I’ve known plenty of men who were too clueless to understand the misogynistic implications of their porn use. All they knew was that they loved it/needed it/couldn’t live without it. Your argument, while admirable, is painting the situation with one brush. The fact is, they are dozens, perhaps hundreds of articles laying claim to the dangerous and addictive nature of porn use, as well as it’s affects on the brain, which clearly, you are well aware. I never got the feeling that these articles and studies were trying to condone, excuse or beg acceptance for porn use. In fact, with all these negative findings on how dangerous porn use is, it would seem just another reason to add to the arsenal of reasons feminists have been stating for years.

  • TwinMamaManly

    There you go. You called it yourself. Porn.

    I like how you pretty much set up that account just to comment here. Thanks for going to such trouble.

    • Dave

      That’s OK! Love getting involved in the conversation!

  • Yeah, 50 Shades of Grey, if you read into the subtext of it, was appealing to women not because of the “naughty bits” (boring), but a relatable inner monologue of a woman trying to change an asshole, and eventually “winning him over” and him “changing for her”.

    Unfortunately, men think it is about the sex scenes… when the story is actually deeply worrying, but also eerily common.

    I find the 50 Shades phenomenon quite interesting – mostly because it is (quite inadvertently) a very meta exploration of internalised misogyny and unhealthy ideas of “romance”. Despite it being a shit book, it is a story that stayed with me, mostly because it was ironically and obviously unintentionally clever in that regard.

  • Jani

    Hahahahaha! “Squirting” is soooo super easy with a very full bladder and a bit of practice. This dood is the expert because, yeah, he’s seen it all in porn. So it must be real. You feel sorry for these guys because they’re just so fucking clueless.

  • Jani

    Now it’s sumner (in the northern hemisphere) I’m seeing a fair few Mr Titties out and about. Witg their bouncing man boobs and wobbling bellies, some of them should be wearing a bra. Or maybe one of those Playtex 18 hour girdles.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Do you mean that you expect men to be bad in bed, then? I mean, fair enough, considering reality, I suppose… But we should push for more…

  • Dave

    Maybe not. I’m not really a stickler for the technical names of stuff, I just think when people think videos of people having sex they think porn so that’s what I called it. I’m not sure if the people creating the content are aware of the distinction either!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I agree that there is choice, in terms of porn use. But, broadly, I think we can display addictive behaviour in all sorts of ways, not just related to substances… Shopping addiction, for example. It’s not ‘addiction’ in the same sense as a heroin addiction, for example, but I do think that people can engage in addictive behaviours outside the context of substance abuse.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It sure is. Thanks for reminding me of this one, will!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Where on earth did you get the idea I think women don’t either like sex or watch porn? Pornography is made for a male audience and the majority of viewers are indeed male, but of course I am aware that women watch too…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, my understanding of addiction, including what I’ve said below, is rooted in Mate’s work. Did you read In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts? It’s very good! He talks about his shopping addiction in it and the way it is rooted in his childhood experiences/lack of love/affection.

  • Meghan Murphy

    We don’t have a policy of only posting comments by those we agree with… We do moderate, of course, so many of the worst ones don’t make it through, but I feel it can be useful for newcomers to read the arguments.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m referencing the liberal feminist/third wave trend of refusing to critique anything a woman “likes” because that critique amounts to “shaming.”

  • acommentator

    “How is that perspective just a ‘liberal’ one? ”

    Because while many conservative men will look at porn, they also know that it is morally and socially problematic. And conservatives have no problem with the concept of shame. Quite the contrary, conservatives view shame is a perfectly appropriate emotion to feel when one has done something that one knows one should not have done.

    There is nothing conservative about the idea that people should never be shamed for their personal choices.

  • West Williams

    PORN is so entrenched in gay male “culture” that I went from Gay-Straight Alliance-founding teenage activist, through to “Queer theory” college graduate and LGBT social service provider as an adult, to eventually feeling so disgusted and demoralized by the blatant saturation of porn- and it’s direct cultural impact on every facet of relating to other gay men ie dating/sex/friendship/work relationships, I stopped identifying as gay (politically), disowned the queer ideology and my “radical queer” networks, and basically expect the absolute worst from my “own people”. THANK GODDESS I escaped with a healthy sense of shame before spiraling out into meth/bdsm/masculinity worship like generations past and unfortunately my own and upcoming generations who never had a chance at healthy sexual imprinting and expression.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for your comment! Helped me to realise I’m not so crazy or over-reacting. You’re exactly right, it is like that blank stare that we’ve seen when guys ogle women or in strip clubs (unfortunately I worked in one for a while too). It just makes you realise the connection is gone from the interaction, and you have been reduced to an object. Which made me then wonder if he really didn’t use porn, like he claimed not to. I know he used to get very defensive about porn, even though he claimed not to use. And when I asked him if he did, he got very defensive. I don’t think he is a liar, but I think maybe when pushed into a corner he would lie, because he is very much a people pleaser. Which I also found difficult, because he was very passive. Whilst I don’t want a guy to abuse me or argue for the sale of arguing, I do want someone who isn’t afraid to challenge me and speak their mind (as long as they’re willing to listen to me), so that I know where they really stand on issues that are important to me.
    He also didn’t realise a lot of the time when he was staring at women’s body parts… And he would say he wasn’t, but I could see he was. I know we all check out sometimes, and stare into space and accidentally find ourselves looking at something or someone. But it was too often with him, and never at men. I think the objectification of women was too engrained in him.

  • Hanakai

    I was just reading in a medical article that 72% of women report pain during anal sex. That should be a sign that Nature intended that anatomical structure for output, not input.

    Porn fails to reveal the numerous and severe medical consequences that can and do result from anal penetration. Note that women porn performers can only act for 3 to 6 months before their anal and rectal tissues and muscles are too damaged to continue. Many young women who go along with the contemporary porn pressure for anal are going to find themselves purchasing adult diapers in their future — older people have enough gastrointestinal tract problems without those caused by anal penetration and tissue damage.

    And what does it say about a male that he wants to stick his penis into an orifice for the elimination of feces??? Normal people seek to avoid direct contact with feces. Coprophilia is a pathology.

  • will

    “people actually believe that men are “evil” for looking at pornography”

    You are misquoting. This is not a statement or argument from the article.

    ” you just used that its it’s only males who watch pornography, or that women don’t like having sex.”

    Again – not a statement or argument that appears in the essay.

    “Two or more conseual adults having sexual intercourse on camera is fine.”

    Nobody has argued differently.

    You are either unable to read, unable to think or just dishonest. Either way, you are just taking up space making up irrelevant bullshit to argue against. That’s called a Straw argument and it is worthless.

  • Deborah

    “There were moments when I was younger where I felt some arousal and gratification to be seen as “up to the standards of porn”, and that feeling was largely linked to my deep belief that I was ugly and had no value.”

    Me, too. I know exactly what they are referring to as “empowering”. But they are fools to fall for it, given how fleeting and superficial, this “power” is….and that it’s not actually power in any real sense of the word. Low self-worth reveals itself, and attempts to pacify itself, in many ways.

  • Meghan Murphy

    This is not a productive way to respond to comments.

  • Hanakai

    Why are you watching porn and contributing to the perpetuation of rape culture and sex trafficking? And why are you staying with a man who sees women as porn objects? Your eyes need a lot more opening, you sound like a typical Porn Culture millennial.

  • TwinMamaManly

    I’m appalled it has come to this. But what do we expect if we don’t teach kids about sex and sexuality, allow unrestricted porn to uncontrollably permeate the internet and lead to pornification of our culture and the patriarchy remains in place thus failing to ensure all women and girls do not have a voice and agency and safety? This. Young males thinking sex is porn and access to female bodies are their right. And young girls enduring the predation. F**k. Think I’ll lock the door and go back to bed with the doona over my head.

  • TwinMamaManly

    Bloody freakin’ hell. At what point is all of this enough? At what point does society actually act to stop tolerating this behaviour? I wish there truly was Themyscira Island – I would relocate there with my three little girls in a heartbeat!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Right yes fair enough. Actual physical addiction to a dangerous substance is not the same as a shopping addiction. And I think your concerns about framing porn as an addiction are fair as well, though I still don’t think we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were…. It’s possible for us to understand and acknowledge compulsive behaviour without excusing it, imo….

  • Kegan Gottlob

    No it doesn’t. Over 95% of men have watched pornography and over 45% of women have, yet most of those people have never touched someone without their permission.

    • some woman

      Lol evidence?

  • Kegan Gottlob

    You actually do have a lot of good points and I appreciate that you are trying to have a civil debate. Ok, now to the point, I don’t believe women are objects. Any good person agrees that the gender should be equal and one of the argument I hear alot is that pornos makes women out to be objects just because sex doesn’t involve alot of ” personality” per se. But if thats what objectification is, every picture of a person ever is just reducing them down to a body, but that’s not what pornography is about, in most cases. I’m not defending rape or people forced into the sex trade, I’m just saying that this article from the start came from the point of view that women can’t make their own decisions, and men just don’t care about women. And I agree, we should look at the affects, but this doesn’t mean we should have prejudice over something most people don’t understand.

  • Sono Gloria, ho lasciato la…

    “The penis is not the be all and end all of sex”.
    I really agree on that, but it’s unrelated with my argument: “men must be good in bed” doesn’t carry the implication “the penis is the be all and end all of sex” but an at least equally damaging assumption: “the penis is the be the begin of a sexual relationship”.
    That creates a potential paradox: the penis is what drove the couple to begin the sexual relationship in first place, but then the penis is not the be all and end all of sex.

    • will

      ” the penis is what drove the couple to begin the sexual relationship”

      Good heavens, you are utterly delusional.

  • will

    “But they shouldn’t be so uniformly terrible.”

    Or at the very least, they should never ever get to have sex with females while they are such selfish shitty lovers.

  • Sono Gloria, ho lasciato la…

    I hope that you feel better by venting through insults, even if it doesn’t add anything relevant to the argument.

    However you didn’t understand the concept, and it seems that you aren’t interested about understading.

    • Hierophant2

      No, sorry, I am not super interested in understanding misogynistic assholes.

    • will

      Do you think you are the first dude to come here and post a litany of incoherent gobbledegook with a crust of mansplaining (“you ladeez aren’t able to understand my superior perspective/patient explanations”)? The “insult” begins with your silly posts. Hierophant2 is accurately labelling your words and behaviour.

  • Sono Gloria, ho lasciato la…

    Rape through manipulation is actually a thing, and withholding important informations could actually be manipulation and therefore rape, in example: secret porn habits, your significant other cheating with another person, withholding important informations about health, such kind of things.

  • Otherwise known as the “oh so you think I am an asshole” manouvre.

    Woman criticises something man did

    Man spins it and conflates it with being “evil” or “an asshole”

    Woman comforts/reassures man

    Original issue goes away

    lol

    • will

      Yup.

  • sonje

    Excellent point – thanks!

  • Dylan Griffith

    Not commented in a while, but great article Meghan (not that you need my validation, ha!)!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Dylan!

  • FierceMild

    from the dude who says “most people” would like to be awakened by being raped.

    • Sono Gloria, ho lasciato la…

      There’s an huge difference between recognizing a general trend/preference in an ungendered way (“most people” being something like 60%, 70%, 80%, without references to their sex/gender) and sexist generalizations like “women are…” implying that “all women are…”

  • FierceMild

    I hope you get awakened by ‘heavy foreplay’ in a prison cell one of these days.

  • Minerva Conatus

    Did the women and girls in those “homemade, amateur” videos consent to being filmed? Did they consent to being filmed, but did not consent to having their partners put the videos up online for the world to see? Did they technically consent, but did their partners coerce them into it? It’s impossible to know.

    Also, did you know that professional pornographers make videos that look like “homemade, amateur” videos, in order to tap into that market? How do you know that the people who you’re watching are, in fact, “amateurs”?

  • Minerva Conatus

    There’s plenty of woman-hating porn on Pornhub’s front page, and plenty of woman-hating porn categories that you can browse. You know that, we know that.

    • Todd

      How would you know that, since you don’t watch porn?

  • Melanie

    The global, multibillion dollar pornography industry consists largely of wives and husbands making a bit of spare cash from home? Lol. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why do *you* think women in porn are viewed as ‘victims’?

  • Minerva Conatus

    Yes, I tend to see the person who is being choked with a penis, called filthy names, slapped, etc. as the victim. In heterosexual porn, that person is always a woman (or girl).

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    That is a man, and an MRA troll at that.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    NO KIDDING. He has register – her in his profile.

  • some woman

    You answered your own question. The difference is that conservative men at least pretend to be against porn. At least in public, they shame it. Liberals can’t even do that.

  • makhno

    Not related to the article, but what exactly is your movement’s end goal here? I’m not familiar with the feminist community online, but I’ve heard somebody call you guys TERFs before. Is your goal equality or supremacy for women? How exactly will you achieve this goal? What is the solution to trans women? Is it possible for men to redeem themselves?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Our goal is to liberate women from male supremacy.

  • Meghan Murphy

    By changing culture, society, laws, media, education, sex… By holding men accountable for their behaviour… etc

  • lyn s

    “The truth is clear: we know pornography isn’t a harmless practice that is “just a fantasy.” We know it hurts and disrespects women.” Yes. A millions times. Yes.
    This article is excellent. When I was young, there was no internet, ergo, no internet porn. Playboy and Hustler, etc. Then came videos!! And porn addictions went thru the roof. Now, of course, porn can be viewed in any way one wishes. You just need internet and/or projection, TV or otherwise and who needs a woman????
    A woman has two choices. She can shut her eyes and enjoy lousy sex or no sex with a husband or lover. Or she can leave or dump him off. Getting someone to change is either impossible or takes too long. I do not know why Mother Nature f’d women, but she did. Big time. Hopefully, w/women coming out of the woodwork because so many men cannot keep it in their pants, things might change. But porn use could become more prevalent.
    I HATE porn because it is 100% disgusting. I only had to see it once on the computer to lose all desire for my husband. What’s the point? He doesn’t *do* affection, he doesn’t *do* foreplay. Has no idea how and he doesn’t like it. He’s a touchphobe. Will allow his penis to be touched tho, but I got tired of that very quickly. He loves porn and is a hardcore addict. The grosser the better. A very kind and thoughtful guy raised in a suppressed, religious environment.