Sexually Speaking

Dear Alexis,

The guy I was dating for a while watches porn a lot and has a collection of pornographic videotapes. I didn’t think much of it at first until I got curious and played one of them, just to see what it was all about since I realized that I’ve never really watched a porn video before.

We got into a huge fight because I was so disgusted by what I saw. The video was so degrading to women and was really violent, too – at least I thought it was. I haven’t had sex with this guy yet, but if this is how he pictures sex, then I don’t want to. We broke up because of this, among other things. My friends say I was too harsh about it because “boys will be boys,” but I’m afraid that he’ll think he can treat me like the girls in the videos. Was I wrong? Do all guys do this?



Dear Pornaphobic,

Let me start by saying that about 70 percent of adult videos are rented by women and used by married couples after the kids have gone to bed. Both men and women partake in viewing pornographic material, and there is little, if any, difference in males’ and females’ sexual responses to sexually explicit materials.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University conducted a study to determine the effects of pornography on its viewers. What they found contradicted the common belief that exposure to sexually explicit materials causes people to commit sexual offenses.

They looked at convicted sex offenders and found that they had been exposed to fewer sexually explicit and sexually educational materials during their life than non-offenders. The study showed some positive effects of pornography, such as its possible educational benefit. If the information depicted by sexual acts in pornographic videos is factual, it can enlighten the ignorant. It can also be helpful in providing sexual stimulation and pleasure without potential exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Other studies show that men who rent more sexually explicit videos do not hold significantly different attitudes about feminism and rape than men with lower exposure to these videos. Negative attitudes toward women and sexual offenses are not generated by pornography, but more likely by society and culture.

Pornography is not for everyone, but you should not let your relationship end simply because your boyfriend chooses to view it. If he has not already exhibited violent or derogatory behavior toward you, it is doubtful that he is saving it for the bedroom. You would have already seen such behavior in other aspects of your relationship.

Be safe and have fun!

– Alexis

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