BEVERLY HILLS—A few months ago, my friend came to me in hysterics. She was sobbing so uncontrollably, she could barely talk. She was so beside herself, I was certain someone had been hurt or killed.
After I brought her tea and had her pet my dog, she began sharing. She had just spent the night with her boyfriend of three years, the love of her life. Before retiring to his place for the night, they went out to a club on Sunset and met up with some of our mutual friends. After the club, something terrible happened. It was my job to determine exactly what.
She proceeded to tell me that the following morning, they woke up and made breakfast plans together. However, before breakfast, she had to check her email on his computer. It was during this routine internet activity that she made the horrific cyber-discovery: pornography.
Sitting on the edge of my seat, I waited patiently to learn what had so terribly upset my college educated, career minded, 26-year-old friend. As I wait for the big reveal, she looks at me, expecting a shriek of terror, or at the very least, a gasp of disbelief. Instead, she’s met with my unblinking gaze, communicating nothing more than, “okay and carry on…”
I retrace the story in my head. What did I miss?
1. She went out to a club last night with her beloved boyfriend.
2. They had a great time.
3. She spent the night at his house, a normal thing for her.
4. She woke up, and all was good until discovering her boyfriend’s pornography history.
OKAY….so WHY was she crying?
Through loads of tears, she tells me, “But he’s watching pornography without me! That is the same as cheating!”
During our talk, she explains that they often watch pornography together. Surprised, but trying not to judge, I ask, “So then why is this so upsetting? You don’t mind pornography.”
She couldn’t comprehend why I wasn’t upset for her and telling her what an awful person her boyfriend is. Trying to smoothe things over and be a supportive friend, I entered counseling mode.
“Did you talk to him about it?”
“No, I left him while he was in the shower!” “I couldn’t let him know how upset I was.”
In my head I’m thinking, “smart move,” because if I were the guy, I’d immediately break up with a girl for snooping on my computer.
Our talk eventually ends with me feeling like a bad friend, telling her that she set the precedent in their relationship and needs to support him. They are dating, they’ve had sex, they’ve watched pornography together. They’re not married, she does not control him, and she needs to let him have freedom to make his own decisions in life.
They broke-up a few days later.
This is just one example of women shaming men for watching pornography. Why is it that women feel threatened by a screen of highly paid want-to-be actors who obviously have a sexual problem? Why can’t we be happy that at least someone does the dirty job so we can enjoy the true love of our men?
I can’t tell you how many girlfriends have gotten mad at their boyfriends for viewing pornography. These are friends that have admitted to watching it in their relationship and have already consummated the relationship before marriage. When I ask why they are so upset, almost all of them say it’s a form of cheating. If he wants to include his girlfriend, is it really cheating? To me, the problem is with the girlfriend and her control issues, not the guy that should have the freedom to do as he pleases.
So why wouldn’t a guy feel shame for watching it? Why wouldn’t he lie about it? They want to view it because it’s something thrilling for them. Then, we shun and criticize them for enjoying the thrill.
Pornography is a $14 billion per-year industry. Like it or not, it’s here to stay. It’s all in how we react to those who view it. We are all free, flawed individuals. Life is too short to be judgmental of others. If a person is good, embrace that and allow them to make their own decisions based upon their character. After all, if you like the person’s character and values, you should accept their choices. That’s what defines them, not their secret internet habit.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @hazel90210. I’d love to hear your position!