Should Marriage and Pornography Get In Bed Together?

Kama Sutra on ice.

All people in this post are amalgams of people I know, so if you think this is about you … it probably is.

My dear friend, henceforward known as Crystal, (a name I used once to great effect) called me the other night in a state of crisis.

She’d forgotten something at home and returned sooner than expected to pick it up only to find her husband of 15 years, Frank (pronounced Franc) watching an adult film on his MacBook Air.

There was a breathless pause wherein she awaited my shock and dismay.

But all I said was, “And..?”

This may be a sign of The Apocalypse, but I wasn’t shocked, dismayed, appalled, perturbed or even mystified.

It just seemed pretty ordinary. I’m going to guess that most people — I have no statistics to back this up so feel free to jump in — but most human adults have at least upon one occasion viewed for the purpose of self-and-or couple gratification the Sopornos.

Search your soul — or just your computer history — and tell me I’m wrong??

Pornography has always existed – have you seen Mayan hieroglyphs?

The ancient texts of the Kama Sutra? Just head to your local museum of art where it won’t surprise you to discover that Rome is the “birthplace of modern pornography.” And of course all roads lead there.

I was watched like a hawk by my parents when puberty hit, and even so I was exposed to my first pornographic image as a 7th grader by my friend Annabeth Lingua (admittedly not her true identity).

Annabeth was bookish, with owl-lensed glasses.

She wore her hair in a bowl cut, skirts to her knees and blouses buttoned up to the neck. She was a Good Girl. But her mother, Savannah, was a lusty divorcee …

…who sunbathed topless in the backyard while we scandalized middle-school girls treaded water, pimply and flat-chested in the swimming pool nearby.

One day when Savannah traipsed out at 4 p.m., no doubt to meet one of her liaisons in an upscale Howard Johnsons, Annabeth and I were left to our own devices.

Before five minutes had passed, we were eyeballs deep in pornographic magazines found under the master bed.

I had only recently read (in my closet with a flashlight) a purloined copy of Judy Blume’s “Forever,” from which I discovered one could kiss and copulate simultaneously.

Imagine my stupefaction that both could also be done while standing in pleather stilettos!

In 2012 we have either the good fortune or extremely bad luck of being able to access pornography in our home on televisions, computers and even on our cell phones.

Not that I’ve done that. I’ve just heard you can do that.

I’m ambivalent about pornography. It bears an unsavory sheen. Also I worry I’ll be smote from above should I use pornography for my private gratification.

That perhaps I’ll be cursed with a flesh-eating virus rendering me fingerless in recompense for my transgression.

But here is what I’ll admit in print.

Cable TV has single-handedly kept things frolicsome in my marital bed for fourteen years. Fourteen years, people. Fourteen. Years.

And Henry won’t be able to pry his wrists from my lifeless, rigamortic grip until we hit the Golden Anniversary. We’ll both be pushing 100, but it’s going to happen.

Some of my favorite aphrodisiacs include: True Blood, Spartacus, Hung (which sadly was cancelled), Girls and Game of Thrones.

Oh, sure, sure, the story lines are compelling, the dialogue whip smart, the worlds rarefied, but let’s face it, these shows are all soft porn.

Soft or hard (yes, a pun) I think pornography can help keep a marriage fresh, vital, funny and ever-evolving if it’s not used as a replacement for actual sex with your spouse.

And just as the Native Americans bless the animal that sacrificed their lives to provide them dinner, I too sometimes bless the performers who sacrificed their dignity to give me my … FADE TO BLACK.

Do you dare leave your thoughts? You can use your Porn Star pseudonym. Mine is Buffington Shelby (street I grew up on, first pet).

42 thoughts on “Should Marriage and Pornography Get In Bed Together?”

  1. Oh, our Shannon! Tackling the tough stuff. My alter ego is Ginger Landon. I haven’t taken her out for a spin yet. But thanks for some encouragement.

    Keep transgressing baby!

    (Nice photo.)

  2. this should surprise NO ONE. I find porn not only acceptable but sometimes necessary. There are different relationships in every household (sometimes more than one in each household), to think that anything is off limits or “out of the ordinary” is to be a bit behind the times.

  3. Finally!! You have written about something that I think some people are so against and they haven’t even tried it. Some people (my sister) are so outraged against porn. Yes, my relationship has gotten pretty steamy because of it. I highly recommend watching with someone, or even by yourself with toys. I think that if some people would just let themselves go and have a little fun, they would totally relax and have a much better perspective. By the way, my porn name is Olive Fi Fi. Love it!!!

  4. my porn name sucks! I grew up on North Ridge Road and my first pet’s name – I can’t remember that long ago but Poncho was the first dog we had! make a good porn name out of that… not so much

  5. Jiggles McMilfy

    I don’t have a lot of opinion on this since I say whatever floats your boat, just don’t hurt anybody (unless they want it). I just wanted a porn name.

  6. Not a fan of the stuff, but to each his own. Lol. But after 16 years with my husband (14 of them married), let’s just say we’ve figured out how to keep things fun, and we’ll leave it at that! 😉

  7. whitaker jack here…all men left “alone ” will look at porn.{another guy secret} yea i broke the guide 1st time was in a bomb shelter with 2 friends..yes i had a friend with a bomb shelter in his back yard.. it was actually on film.i thought it was gross and would never do what i saw , and realized i would never reach my full potential if i used that guy for my benchmark..i outgrew the gross part as for the other, just find a woman that loves you..LOL, my wife and i have indulged.. i see no harm if all involved are shame on my neighbors for peeking thru our fence sunday.. Love the pool on a hot day with the kids out..TMI? got carried away..

  8. I am pretty surprised that your friend was surprised and outraged that her husband watches porn. There are some people who do get addicted and do use it as a replacement for sex or an unrealistic benchmark for their spouse. That, is bad. My porn name (using the childhood street name, childhood pet method we all know and love) is Pumpkin Thicket.

  9. Okay, this is how I’m spending my lunch break–trying to come up with a porn name for Jeannine. How about Nori Poncho? Poncho Nori? Ridgie Poncho? Ridge…rigid…rigged…rigger…richer…Clearly I’m not hitting it. Anyone? Come on Shannon. You’re clever.

  10. LOVE the post… and really LOVE the comment thread!!

    I’m all about keeping the fires burning and the passion alive in long-term committed relationships… and I’m not going to “yuck anyone’s yum,” especially since my YUM is well written hot hot hot romantic erotica (!).

    Almost 27 wild and crazy, bumpy years with the same darling man… and whether it’s True Blood, Debby Does Dallas, or Take Me Now, This is What Dreams Are Made Of… if it’s working to deepen the love, deepen the connection, and deepen the OH MY & SIGH… I say hooray.

    Ande Lyons
    aka: Amber Honey 😉

    PS: I agree… the ice dancers are hot! <3

  11. My brother’s “X” called it off with him because she had snooped on his computer’s history and discovered he had looked at porn. Hahahhahaha. How ridiculous.

  12. Hmmm…yeah…Porn… I have seen some in my lifetime. Though I find erotica more arousing. It promotes much more use of the imagination and allows yourself to visualize it in your own way. There is some really good writing out there that goes further for me. You should be able to find stories to fit anybody’s fetish or interest.

    As for the porn, I have used the current crop as an example to my kids that it is a two edged sword. I am talking exploitation. I explain that in a lot of those pieces the women are not there because they wants to be. They are not all making a decision to make tens of thousands of dollars posing for Playboy. Some of them are paid in drugs or worse abused. It is something that should be considered when talking to your kids or even watching some yourself.

    1. Hi John — yes. There’s certainly a seamy underside to the porn business. I’m sure there are a lot of casualties which is why I’m ambivalent and prefer the HBO fare.

  13. I’m ambivalent too. Traditional porn is usually from the man’s point of view, for his pleasure (although the male actors are not as highly paid as the women), and the business can be sketchy.

    I think I prefer erotica, things more focused on a woman’s sexuality. I am also convinced that as long as there’s nudity and sex the guys will be just fine with it.

  14. I’ll rain on the parade here — I’m a big porn-hater. There was a time I felt neutral about it, but over the years I’ve come across too many people — in my past work as a counselor and my own personal life — with addictions or near-addictions to porn and it has ruined their ability to have healthy sex lives and loving relationships/marriages. Of course, there are exceptions as well as degrees; people are affected differently by things and we don’t have the same bio-chemistries. But as a general rule, porn seems to be a slow poison.

    The industry itself is also full of exploitation — it’s practically impossible to know what you’re supporting — at its very best, you’re objectifying someone else for personal pleasure; at its worst, you’re perpetuating abuse of women and human trafficking.

    When it comes to soft porn or erotica, the lines are grayer… I don’t know any of the shows you cite above except Game of Thrones, which I enjoy, though some of the sex scenes annoy me because they’re so formulaic and are clearly thrown in to titillate rather than forward the story so it feels phony.

    So, no porn star name for me. Or maybe it should be Debbie Downer. 🙂

    1. Hi Zoe — I wrote this as a light-hearted piece that would poke fun at marriage and also our own conflicting emotions about sexuality and porn. There are all different kinds of pornography, some where performers are exploited and damaged, some that are in the grey area you talk about. You’re just reminding all of us not to look at both sides of the conversation and I appreciate that.

  15. Hans Coco here…I could not agree with your posting more!!! In fact, my husband and I, when we first met (ah, those romantic years when spending the rest of your life together is embraced in a feathery sheen of romance) talked about the importance of keeping sex alive when you’re older. Whether it’s soft porn…whips and chains…or blindfolded sex with all-you-can-eat cherry pie on the side…who cares???? As long as you and your partner are happy, enjoying and there’s no harm done to humans or animals in the process (apart from welts on bottom from said whips)? Kudos to you for bringing this up!

  16. I could do the pet thing, or I could use my actual porn credited name, Beverly Wood. Yes, I’ve *worked* on porn sets as a P.A. and sometimes an extra (never actually as talent).

    Like law- and sausage-making, porn is something you really DON’T want to see being made. However, the people in the industry work really hard (take that any way you like) and besides spicing up a relationship, make a lot of lonely men a little happier, if only for a few minutes. Many people have misconceptions about the adult industry and product – there are many films with an actual storyline, costumes and location, that are specifically geared to the couples market.

    If it works for you, go for it! If it makes you uncomfortable, stay away. If you’re curious, go for the soft core versions. Two sentimental favorites I can recommend (they’re older flicks, as adult entertainment goes) are Swingin’ in the Rain and Throbbin’ Hood.

  17. 4Alex (street name + pet name)

    I thought every, I mean, EVERY MAN, watched porn. I showed both my husband and son, once old enough, how to private browse so my little one wouldn’t accidentally click on history and be traumatized or enlightened. I am all for it. Pornstars gotta eat right?

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