The Really Big Lebowski

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Dear Dharma,

I just started to read your blog a week ago and you seem to have some great advice. I was wondering if you could perhaps help me with some advice to give to a friend of mine.

She has been with her boyfriend for many years now and completely against her boyfriend watching porn. She won’t let him do it at all, but has found out that he has been watching a little bit on occasion. I told her not to worry, most guys (and girls) watch porn and it’s just a natural thing and not to fret about it.

I’ve been with my husband for many years now and it’s not really discussed all that much. I know he watches it on occasion and I joke with him about it a little bit, playfully. I’d, of course, prefer that he didn’t watch it but I know that he loves me and it’s not an issue.

I can’t seem to get my friend on the same page because I am not sure how to give advice on this. From my point of view, I’m not completely against it and I’m not all for it either. So it’s not really strong advice I’m giving her. She is completely hurt by this.

What do I do to help her? Is occasional porn really such a terrible thing?

Helping Hand

Dear Hand,

It’s been a while now since Dharma has received a porn based question… for a bit it seemed like every other question touched on this topic!

There was one in particular that stood out in my mind that might be a good place to start.  Every Time I Look at You dealt with a couple going through something very similar.

While I don’t want to spit out the same old answer, there’s going to be some cross over for sure.

Back then I said that watching porn is perfectly normal and that women shouldn’t take it personally.  However, the flipside was that, in Dharma’s opinion (with a whole lot of stats to back it up), it could play a part in wrecking relationships, or at least creating a certain level of conflict within them.  I still maintain that both of these statements can be true without being mutually exclusive.

It’s kind of like the saying “It’s not guns that kill people, it’s people who kill people.”  So it’s not like you watch a bit of porn and boom, your marriage blows up.  It’s how the situation gets handled when you both aren’t on the same page.

And when it comes to porn, clearly this couple aren’t on the same page.

Regardless of whether or not she is being irrational, she’s hurt by something he’s doing.  It doesn’t matter what that thing is.  When one person’s behaviour in a relationship hurts the other, there’s a problem that needs to be dealt with.

What they need help with is conflict resolution, because to say specifically that he just needs to stop watching porn, or that she just needs to get over it isn’t going to be the solution.

The first thing she needs to look at is why this bothers her so much.  Does she feel threatened by it, does that kind of sexuality make her uncomfortable for a particular reason?  Because the sooner she can organically understand the sore spots that are being poked at, the sooner she can communicate them to her boyfriend.  Giving him something tangible to work with will be better than him just thinking she’s be irrational.

Perhaps they can look at how they have resolved past problems in their relationship and apply the same strategies.  Because, again, this isn’t about watching porn, it’s about working together to make sure everyone’s needs are being met.

Hope this helps, and thanks for writing in – you’re a good friend for wanting to help…

Dharma

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1 Comment

  • Anon says:

    I can understand that men have been watching porn probably since the first time they could operate a computer or sneak some Playboys from the store. I can also understand how some women who are in a relationship can view this as an insecurity. They may feel that “they aren’t good enough” so that the male now has to watch porn to get his jolly’s. Which may not be the case, but it’s a super common feeling. We women have so much to deal with already when it comes to insecure feelings. Like how the media dictates how we should look, dress, feel, and act. I don’t think men need to stop it all together and completely change who they are. They just need to make sure they are making their significant other their first priority…. not the need to go watch porn first!!

Do you agree with Dharma, or think she missed the mark on this one? Leave a Comment

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