Porn, or Being a Cowardly Dishonest Douchebag

So the internet is all in a kerfluffle about Hugo Schwyzer’s recent piece on how almost all men participate in the sex industry, and almost all lie about it too. But that’s not really the content of this post. I’m done with the porn debate, honestly. This post is not about whether or not porn is good or bad. This post is about lying and then arguing in bad faith.

What the subsequent fallout around Schwyzer’s article told me is this: some people think that porn is so important to them, such an intrinsic part of their sexuality, that they are willing to lie about it. What this indicates is that there’s a metric fuckton of people out there that are self-aggrandizing shitbags. Here’s why:

If you enter into a relationship, you agree typically to abide by previously settled guidelines. According to the popular American set up of the traditional relationship, this typically constitutes not expending sexual energy with other people. It also includes not being dishonest. For a lot of women, using porn, buying the services of an escort, or going to strip clubs counts as cheating, since their partner is expressing their sexuality in a way that does not involve them. Whether or not this is “Victorian” or “sex negative” is not the point. The point is that if you do not think that using porn, a prostitute, or strippers to get off (notice that these are all real people, not sex toys, erotic literature, or lurid fantasies) constitutes cheating, you should probably say as much to your partner.

If you haven’t and just take it for granted, that’s fine. I understand how that happens. In fact, many commenters in Schwyzer’s thread seem to think that porn isn’t cheating, and thus, their use of it doesn’t need to be explained. But what that doesn’t explain is why anyone would then lie about it, then, if it was just some silly misunderstanding.

I submit that it’s not. Most American men know full well that unless a woman explicitly says so, she probably thinks that any use of a real person to get off other than her is cheating. I also assert that American men don’t lie about it because they’re afraid women will “jump down their throat” and turn into banshees or cannibalistic she-demons of the netherworld. They lie because they want to have their cake and eat it too. They want a relationship that implies monogamy, but they don’t want to actually adhere to that implication. They want to place their sexual “needs” (however they define them) over their partner’s right to consent to the actual, rather than fictional, parameters of their relationship.

In fact, they’re behaving exactly like extremely petulant and malicious children who really don’t want to justify their behavior with anyone, but want to retain the ability to censure and question the behaviors of other people.

Know what that is? That’s manifest horseshit. If you honestly think that porn, hiring escorts, or going to strip clubs is your right, and that someone is wrong and full of Puritanical bullshit to deny you the ability to do so, then why are you dating them in the first place? Know what I do with people I don’t agree with on the fundamental aspects of what constitutes a relationship or infidelity? I don’t date them. Know what I do with people whose positions on what I do or like to do to get off I object to in a very visceral way? I don’t date them.

This isn’t fucking rocket science.

You know, if I started a relationship with someone, and told them, “don’t ever eat an apple if you’re dating me. In fact, I think eating apples is completely abhorrent and disrespects me and/or our relationship, so if you do it, I will have a problem with it,” I expect them not to eat goddamn apples while they’re dating me. If they know what I think about eating apples, think my opinions about them is completely and utterly asinine and a violation of their “rights” and self-expression, and then eat apples anyway and lie to me, they are being fucking cowards. And liars. And violating the terms of our relationship.

You know, human sexuality is way more complicated than apples. I get it. My opinions on porn, buying sex, and going to strip clubs has nothing to do with what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that if someone holds a position about the very bedrock of your relationship that you highly object to, you don’t tell them as much, and then you go out and do it anyway knowing that they object to it, then you’re a cowardly lying sack of shit. Even if it’s something as utterly benign as eating apples. You want to have a relationship, but you don’t want the other person to have any say in what that relationship entails. In fact, you disrespect your relationship and that person so much that you will allow it to be built on lies and malicious deception. You want all the perks of a relationship without doing any of the work, without being accountable to the person that you have an obligation to be accountable to, since, you know, they’re goddamned equal human beings. Not only that, they are equal human beings you supposedly care about.

In conclusion, men who use sex services, lie about it, and know that their S.O. doesn’t want them to use it are absolute filth of the worst kind. Not because they use sex services. But because they have the audacity to enter into a relationship on false premises, and then pretend as if they don’t understand why anyone would be so angry when their deceptions and lies are uncovered.

Posted on July 22, 2011, in Feminism, Liberal Dudez, Penis Brain, Porn Nation. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m not sure I can agree that there is a default assumption that all women in monogamous relationships object to their partner consuming porn (or frequenting strip clubs, etc) unless specified otherwise. I’m a married woman, and I’m friends with quite a few women who are in relationships with varying degrees of monogamy, and the idea that people in monogamous relationships ought not consume porn because it would constitute a sort of cheating is honestly one I’ve never run across IRL. Of course, there are people who do feel that way, but I’m not sure the attitude is so widespread that it should be a default assumption.

    That being said, I’m in wholehearted agreement with everything else you said here. If you can’t deal with someone’s expectations for a relationship, don’t be in a relationship with them. Sneaking around and then lying about it is a really shitty way to behave.

    • Perhaps I come from a more conservative background than most, or because I primarily have relationships with women, my assumptions on what is expected by heterosexual “monogamy” are too informed by media representations and not enough by actual heterosexual relationships. Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspectives.

      From what I do gather from the absolute shitstorm following the Newsweek article and the various replies, it seems pornography is a very contentious issue for a lot of people in heterosexual monogamous relationships. So perhaps if one wasn’t to assume that viewing pornography or other transactions in the sex industry were de facto cheating, I gather that’s is probably still wise to share expectations of what constitutes monogamy with your partner in an honest and open fashion, and not conceal or lie about certain practices.

      Part of what really struck me as odd is that a lot of men were so incredibly offended by the idea that they should abstain from pornography if the woman they are in a relationship with thinks his use of it constitutes cheating or is otherwise offensive. If they really thought about it as so normal as to be something that is irrational to attempt to curtail, why hide it? It’s like they lie about it out of their own disapproval and shame about it, but then blame that disapproval and shame on women.

      As usual, I think porn mirrors most gendered sexuality issues: women are responsible for curtailing, critiquing, and approving of male sexuality, which cannot be controlled by men themselves. Any issues men have with their own sexuality must have been caused by women. Since nobody seems ready to discuss women who use porn (and there’s a lot of them!) it’s like when talking about porn, most people assume that women have no sexuality whatsoever, and their own contact with sexuality is in reaction to the uncontainable sexuality of men.

      It’s all a bunch of rubbish.

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