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  1. #1

    Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    Hey guys,

    Hopefully you can help me make sense of this.

    I'm in a happy, long-term relationship. Best either one of us has ever been in, actually. Great sex, great humour, great love, appreciation, affection and great communication. We are open and honest about everything. Except for one thing: porn.

    That is to say, I'm quite open about watching it and make no effort hiding that fact from my boyfriend. No need for that anyway, since he's totally fine with me doing so and watches it himself too sometimes, he says. Thing is, though, that it's the only subject that he doesn't really want to discuss with me. It's been like that since the beginning of our relationship. At moments I've found that frustrating, because to me it seems just plain silly to veto a subject that I have no qualms with. I only see plus sides to being open about the porn we watch: you get to know each other better, bring you closer, and it can even spice up your sex life if you can sometimes enjoy it together. I'd love to see him get hard on something But he says it's kind of like his diary: private and none of my business.

    One has to respect that, right? Well, even though I don't agree that boyfriends need to be so secretive about it, I've always respected his outlook on the matter. Up until recently. About a week ago we got into this great talk about some hot porn we both saw on the internet. He was really open about being into this "totally hot" porn star, which I thought was great! And it also got me really horny... so I asked him if he could show me the guy. He somewhat reluctantly did. We looked at the guys blog for about 60 seconds (which I loved) and then my boyfriend closed it down again. I asked him if he didn't want to show me more, or that maybe I could show him some stuff. He wasn't in the mood, he said. And so I said that I had the feeling that he was simply uncomfortable with sharing this type of thing. He admitted to that.

    We got into a conversation about it. Although it wasn't a fight, we really butted heads. He could simply not get me to understand why he felt the need to be so secretive about porn. His position was still that it's something totally private, mine being that yes, one can treat it that way, but more strongly felt that being open about it could only have positive effects. And after all these years I was also getting to feel a bit insulted. I'm his partner for crying out loud! That you don't share this stuff with your parents, OK. But c'mon, it's me! Well, we tried to understand one another, but couldn't agree. But there was one thing he said that really got to me and that I now hope he'd never said to me. He said that he was afraid that I would get insecure if I knew what I was watching.

    We both agreed that porn is just porn and doesn't necessary reflect what or whom you're attracted to in daily life. It's like a fantasy. We both agree on that. But after our conversation last week, that comment of his has been going through my mind: why the hell would he think I'd get insecure? And here's the thing I hope you can help me understand: all of a sudden the whole subject HAS gotten me insecure! Before, I viewed the subject as something we just hadn't gotten around to seeing eye to eye about yet. But now I feel like he's hiding something from me. It's totally weird. Before, I was really OK with him watching porn but never sharing it with me, but now it almost feels like he's cheating on me. Like I've gone from looking at it like he was simply keeping something TO HIMSELF (for being ashamed) to looking at it like that he's keeping FROM ME. Really weird! And also deeply frustrating.

    I've tried to talk to him about the way I've started to feel, but he is getting annoyed by me bringing the subject of " porn" up too often now. Maybe he's right. But I don't really understand why I've started to feel so differently about it and why I am all of a sudden - after many years no less! - no longer comfortable with the idea of him watching porn.

    Can you help me make sense of this?
    Last edited by Miller85; March 4th, 2013 at 03:34 AM.

  2. #2
    I'm now a grandfather! JUB Moderator Seasoned's Avatar
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    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    Here's my take on it. He's getting off on something that is impossible to duplicate with you, or he associates porn with secrecy the way he did in adolescence when living with his parents, or he's addicted to it. He's made it clear it's none of your business and you're puzzled, curious and perhaps hurt and scared. Since none of us has control of anyone other than ourselves you'll need to learn to let it go unless it affects your relationship. At that time couple's counseling would be one alternative.

    If things have been going smoothly don't let this drive you nuts.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."--Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
    Porn Star Brian Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    Well, my partner and I have had a similar oddity, but it's not about porn. Okay, I get very annoyed if he looks over my shoulder while I am looking over a site like this one or reading news articles. I don't know why, but I really can't help myself. However, for the longest time, we would clash over it. He had this paranoid sense that I was sending e-mails to someone I was having an affair with. The real problem is that I cannot read or type if someone else is looking at what I am typing or reading. Seriously, my brain freezes up, and I can't make out written English.

    When it hit a crescendo, he once blew me out after I had stepped outside to have a telephone conversation with my father without telling him who I was on the phone with...before I even had a chance to show him the log of recent calls to prove to him he was mistaken. It wasn't even an unusual behavior for me. I just get distracted if I am typing or on the phone with somebody, and I assume that I am going to distract others around me.

    So I got to where, when he would walk in and say, "oh, you are on something," I would tell him, "no, you are going to turn right around and come here to see what I am doing." And this went on for a while. I can't really tell whether that helped or not.

    Anyway, what really resolved it was simply that it passed. It just simply passed. The neurosis ran its course and died of old age, and he no longer even has so much as a thought about it. Therefore, I would tell anybody that the main antibiotic for a problem like yours is simply time, time and more time.

    Now, although I have never been on the other side, I noticed that one thing my partner did to cope with his side of it was that he tried to make light of it. He started saying sort of jokingly, "okay, get on there and talk with your many lovers," and I would shout back at him, "oh, no you don't. Now, you are going to stand right there, like a good, little boy, well I type this e-mail to my accounting instructor." and he would try to refuse, and I would say, "no, you get your ass back in here, you cantankerous gnome. I'm going to slay this beast dead if it's the last thing I do, damn it." But we had a sense of humor about it.

    Oh, but we always adopt a comical falsetto when we do stuff like that. I think that might be important to why it didn't turn into actual fights. We try to use a falsetto to act out our role-play. I guess that's what you could call what we do, role-play.

    I hope you can get some good advice for dealing with this. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    It sounds like he has a hang up about porn and is unwilling to share it with you or talk about it. I think you risk causing a problem between you if you continue to pressure him about it. All you can do is to let him know it's something you want to share with him. If he won't then you need to drop it. He does have a right to his privacy.

    When you say it makes you feel like he could be hiding someone, what do you think it could be?
    Everyone wants to be heard. No one wants to listen.

  5. #5
    nerd of prey hylas's Avatar
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    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    i think a lot like your boyfriend. i dont share my porn with anybody, i think its really personal.


    heres a number of reasons why i dont want to share my porn. your boyfriend obviously has his own reasons, but maybe it still helps you to understand him a little.

    - im a little embarassed about how much of it i have

    - im a little embarassed about how cliché my taste in men is.

    - im a little embarassed about how obsessively i cathegorize it (i have an slight ocd side, which i allow to run rampant with my porn... its like an "outlet" for the part of me.)

    - im a little scared that someone might look at some of my kinkier stuff and... i dont know... misinterpret it, or not understand it. i dont even have any desires that ar all that "out there"... no scat or pedo or anything like that. but as long as your fantasies (which is all porn is) are just with you, youre in control of them. but as soon as you share them, you lose control. you cant know or control how the other person will interpert them or react to them. its out of your hands, and thats scary.

    - and yeah, the guy im currently dating is cute, but not quite as attractive as the average porn model on my harddrive... i dont know what he would make of that.


    ultimately, i just think its really personal, and nobodys business. its not really that i feel i have to hide anything, its more that i feel i have the right to my privacy, and i dont have to open up to anybody more than i feel comfortable with.

    i dont understand why youre pushing so hard on this subject. i would be annoyed as hell if i were him. why cause trouble, why not just respect his boundries, even if they seem a little silly to you... its not like this causes any actual problems in your relationship, right? aside the ones youre causing by being so pushy, that is.
    Last edited by hylas; March 4th, 2013 at 02:18 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    Thanks for your responses guys.

    I had been typing a lengthy response for over an hour , when a sudden backspace misfire brought me to the previous page and made my reply which I was nearly done with disappear... This is just to vent my frustration. I'll get back to you later.

  7. #7

    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    Attempt two.

    Thanks again for your responses. Although none of you really answered my question (which was to get more insight in why I had a change of attitude towards my boyfriend being secretive about watching porn, going from finding it silly to all of a sudden being insecure about it) I do appreciate your insights.

    I guess I should have made it clearer in my original post that I was looking for some insight into what you could say the ‘psychology’ behind my change in attitude. I’ve figured that out now, but before I get to that, let me first say that I think all of you are right in pointing out that I may cause a problem by being too pushy about the subject. And so I have decided to drop it. It’s not worth it, especially considering we’re an amazing couple that really does not have any major issues. So why create one?

    The three options mentioned by Seasoned (thanks!) will help me clarify what I believe was going on. I always assumed my boyfriend “associates porn with secrecy the way he did in adolescence when living with his parents.” I do not believe he’s addicted to it, nor do I believe he’s getting off on something that is impossible to duplicate with me. But for a moment there I did. I now realise that it was him telling me that he was afraid that I would get insecure if I knew what he was watching which put everything in a perspective I hadn’t considered before. All of a sudden I was wondering: is he hiding something from me? You see, he’s cheated on me once before in the past and that thought just triggered a fear response. If he was getting off on something I couldn’t provide, maybe he’ll go out and get it somewhere else! But after thinking it through, I reject that option. It was a one-time mistake on his part that we’ve really worked out and my fear of repetition was just a Pavlov response.

    Brian, thank you for your reply, but I feel the situation with your ex is not really comparable to mine. I don’t really recognize myself in any of the behaviours of your ex. I do not need to know who my boyfriend’s on the phone with, I don’t feel the need to look over his shoulder (which I would also get annoyed with if somebody did that with me, and rightly so), who he’s in mail contact with, where he’s at and with whom, etc. I think that this whole porn thing is a more ‘locally confined’ issue between my boyfriend and me.

    Hylas, your reasons for keeping your porn habits to yourself are very recognizable. I have two or three good friends with whom I can be totally open and honest about porn. But the rest I think would not understand, probably misinterpret the kinkier stuff or feel ashamed talking about the subject themselves. But with those other friends it is simply not an issue. We don’t talk about it all the time, but the subject’s certainly not taboo and we feel very comfortable even showing stuff to each other if there’s something interesting about it we like to share. Which is all actually surprisingly non-sexual in a way. (Btw, a cultural difference may also play a part here. I’m from Amsterdam, Holland, and although generalizations are dangerous, on the whole I have the impression sexuality is a lot more difficult to discuss openly in America than it is here).

    It seems to me that feelings of shame are predicated on (a fear of) rejection and misunderstanding. Trust and open-mindedness are really the antidote to shame. In my view, keeping your porn habits a secret from your lover means that you either (a) fear that you will be rejected for what you’re watching or (b) he will feel rejected by it. Now, you are all right in pointing out that everybody has a right to privacy. But when you unreflectingly let a habit of secrecy keep you from discovering that with some people (or someone) there really is nothing to be ashamed of -- well that just seems to me to be the bigger shame.
    Last edited by Miller85; March 7th, 2013 at 07:43 AM.

  8. #8
    PerScientiam AdJustitiam bankside's Avatar
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    Re: Porn! Partner has tabood the subject

    As a rule, I don't accept the idea of privacy in a sexual relationship. Once either of you is allowed to have an orgasm on or in another human being, I have pretty much no patience for "That's too personal!!!!" Give me a break.

    Maybe the only exception would be not snooping into christmas or birthday presents so as not to ruin the delight to be had from giving someone a present. And also staying silent in family discussions between him and his brothers and sisters about parental care decisions at the nursing home. Even then, it's not that I have no "right" to know or to speak up; I am "eligible" to know what's going on, it's just not my place to intrude on my fiancé's relationship with his parents. I will give my opinion only if asked for or if it is painfully obvious that I can answer a question, and then I feel like I'm walking on eggshells and I always check to make sure I haven't been overbearing.

    But your salary, your sexual history, your career plans, your thoughts on growing old and dying, your religion, your whatever…it's all open book time.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to sexuality, openness between two men in a relationship is critical. My guy used to be shy about his porn habits, and I couldn't accept it. I don't care if he jacks off to porn while I'm out of the house or in the other room. But if I walk in and there he is, it's a total turn-off for him to close the screen and act like I'm his auntie barging into his teenaged bedroom and catching him by surprise.

    So I actually have rules. Or conditions I suppose. It's not very trendy because it sounds "judgemental" or something, so if I had to be all modern and morally relative about it I'd say "These are just like..my personal boundaries…and they're like…totally my own limits and I acknowledge that, and I'd never impose them on someone but I'd just recognise the limits of my own boundaries that would come between us…or something…"

    Anyway, the rules are:
    • Jack off to porn without shame. If I walk into the room, invite me to join in. If you act sheepish about doing something I find sexy to do and to see you do, I will be offended.
    • Most of your sex life has to involve me. If you jack off every day but only touch me every two weeks, I'd feel like roommates instead of a couple, and there would be no point. If you want your time with me to involve watching porn, great. You don't have to ask my permission or wait for me to show up, as long as 51% of our sexy time is shared.
    • Porn is not "cheating" or treason or whatever. I also find it inspiring to know what turns you on and to try out some of the things we see. I also know that we are not obliged to try all the things we're curious about. I also know it is fun to imagine doing things with him and to him in a stadium full of porn stars that we reserve the right to never ever actually do in the real world.

    That's the list of my rules. Since I believe in a shared sex life with my guy, and since they affect him, that means they are subject to negotiation between us, but I'm happy to say neither of us really has to compromise: we both agree that is pretty sensible. He opened up a bit, and it's much better.

    The next one is not really a rule in the same negotiated way, this really is my private ethical decision and commitment and there is no person on earth who could move me from it:
    If you enjoy looking at bestiality, we're done. I get the dog when you move out. If I find out you have a pet at any point in the future, I'll report it. And if you make a point of looking at child abuse, don't bother writing from jail, which would be my very first call.

    Anyway, this seems to mean something different to your boyfriend than it does to you. He's not doing any favours if he thinks he's protecting your fragile ego. The best way to make someone's ego fragile is to tell him you're carefully protecting it. I'm not sure where he's at but he needs to change a bit I think.
    Last edited by bankside; March 7th, 2013 at 02:52 PM.
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