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Ask Anyone

the naked truth

My boyfriend is kind, gentle, and a good lover. He’s a really good guy. He also can’t get enough pornography. He’s not real upfront about it, doesn’t ask me to watch it with him, doesn’t leave it around the house or embarrass me with it. Nor does he deny that he looks at it online. So he’s neither hiding it or making it part of our relationship.

But it’s a political issue with me—I think it’s violent in nature and degrades women. Still, my boyfriend’s a really good guy. What do I do?

—Polly Sigh

The Straight Perspective: It seems like you want a magic bullet here—you want your boyfriend to voluntarily decide to give up porn, and perhaps to join you in believing it to be unacceptably violent and degrading. You also want some reassurance that what turns him on isn’t the degradation and violence itself. You want to know that his habit isn’t going to get worse, and you want to feel confident that you’re not lacking whatever it is that makes him turn to pornography on the internet.

You’re not going to get any of that, not in any meaningful way, and I think you already know that. This is just one of any number of decisions you’ll have to make about your relationship with him (or anyone) in which you’ll have to weigh your beliefs against what you want.

There’s no wrong choice in the matter: Sticking to your guns is as good, and as bad, as standing by your man. What’s tough is that you can’t have it both ways: You’re not allowed to assuage your conscience by despairing of his habits while keeping him around for the good love. If you decide that he’s worth amending your politics for, you have to be honest with yourself about your choice. Sometimes your conscience is really expensive.

The Sales Guy says: It sounds like he has the situation well in hand…Bad puns aside, if it’s that disturbing a thing to you tell him it bothers you.

You also need to understand, depending on his age, it’s pretty much a mainstream recreation, not cheating. Which could be the ugly alternative, if your lobbying succeeds in curtailing his current hobby. I’d look the other way.

Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: Back when I was working in the porn industry, I used to get a lot of that. “I had no idea what you did for a living—now that I know, I think I’m gonna be sick.” That kind of thing.

Look, did you ever consider that it’s degrading to men also? Do you think it’s fun waiting around all day in silk bathrobe in the backyard of a house in the San Fernando Valley, waiting to have impersonal sex with some young women who spend most of their time working out and practicing variations of their “Oh!” faces in the mirror?

Sure, the money was great, but let’s get real. Flying up to Vegas for porn conventions where you get treated like a rock star gets mighty old. And those lucrative private parties those panthers used to throw down in Cabo San Lucas, where you’re expected to perform at the drop of a hat in front of a crowd of tanned, cheering, drunken heiresses—you think those gals aren’t violent? I should show you the scars.

But look, if your boyfriend is a good lover, and that’s one of the reasons you like him, don’t you think he might owe some of that prowess to having watched a little pornography? Why make everything political? I’ll tell you one thing: He didn’t learn those little tricks that curl your toes by watching C-SPAN all day.

Ask Anyone is local advice by and for local people. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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