Text Size
Smaller
Bigger

Do all men get off on porn that humiliates and degrades women?

Comments (1)
answered 11:59 PM EST, Wed June 05, 2013
-- filed under: | |
anonymous anonymous
My husband watches porn that I find very degrading and disgusting. He says that all men watch this kind of stuff and he is just the only one that is not ashamed to admit it to me. I can see that this is possible. It always seems to involve humiliating the woman. Is it truly normal for all men to enjoy this? I am wondering if there is a cruel side that I do not like in my husband?

David Shannon Says...

First of all, although a lot of men do enjoy watching porn now and then, how often they watch it would range from maybe a few times a year to more than once a day. Whether that becomes a problem or not, depends on how compulsive it gets, and especially what that does to other important things in a person's life, including relationships. It is also possible to get so accustomed to porn, or even a specific type of porn, that it becomes harder to get turned on in a real life encounter, even with an attractive and very nice person, and especially if it does not involve that kind of activity. You didn't mention that as part of the problem, and it may not be relevant.

 

I do not agree with your husband that all men watch porn that degrades and humiliates women. Many men would want nothing to do with it, because they don't believe in treating a woman ... or anyone ... like that. However, some men do like pornography that depicts such things. I would not hazard a guess about how many, but I doubt that it would be a majority of men, and probably a much smaller percentage than that.

 

It is sometimes difficult to explain the specific things that turn people on, and how those interests developed. Many people become attached to various fantasies and fetishes, and they can often trace their interest back to puberty or before. Although specific fetishes sometimes relate to childhood experiences, even trauma, that is certainly not always the case. When such fantasies are very strong, it can be difficult to change or suppress them. It may be healthier to accept them, as long as they are not harming other people and creating problems in the person's life. Often people are content to keep them as fantasies, and not try to act them out. Fantasies are sometimes fragile things. Actually experiencing them may kill off the fantasy, because the reality doesn't nearly live up to the excitement that just thinking about it does.

 

There are many fetishes that seem strange to many people, but which some people really get off on. The brand new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), of the American Psychiatric Association, acknowledges that paraphilias (another word for fetishes) may be harmless or even healthy recreational pastimes. But if those fetish interests become a problem and cause distress in someone's life, then the new DSM treats them as disorders.

 

With the popularity of the "50 Shades of Gray" books, many more people have become aware of, and intrigued by, the world of BDSM, the practices, and the lifestyle. There are an almost endless variety of such "kinky" activities, and different individuals gravitate toward different ones. BDSM stands for at least six things: Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism. Each of these can be expressed in a lot of ways, and at a whole range of intensity. Dominance and submission, and some forms of sadism, might include humiliation and degradation *play*, within clearly negotiated and consensual scenes and/or relationships.

 

The kink community has high standards for communication, consent, and both awareness and minimization of risk. It is wise to check in advance on any physical problems, and also mental health issues, that might make certain activities unhealthy or even dangerous. Playing around with someone's dignity, self-image and self-worth, can potentially cause psychological damage. So even if such play is mutually wanted, negotiated and agreed upon, it is wise to tread lightly. After any kind of intense scene, the bottom partner, and sometimes the top, may need various kinds of "aftercare" to help them recover. That is considered an integral part of the scene, and both partners have a responsibility to determine what one person needs and the other provides. In other words, if you are going to break someone down, you need to stick around and pick up the pieces. That is true psychologically, as well as physically.

 

With those things in mind, we can get back to your concerns about your husband and his pornography interests. You worry that there may be a cruel side to him that you didn't know about, and probably won't like. I think it all hinges on whether his interest in this kind of porn is just a fantasy that he gets off on, but he does not intend to act out. Or whether it is something he would like to do for real. And would that be "play" with someone who clearly consents to it? Or does he imagine himself actually doing it against someone's will. That is probably worth a conversation, or two, or ten.

 

Ultimately, of course, the proof is in the pudding ... meaning how he actually treats you and others. Does he try to humiliate or degrade you, even in small ways? Does he seem to have a cruel edge when he is with you, perhaps especially in intimate and sexual moments? Does such a cruel edge show up in his interactions with others?

 

And finally, you will have to decide what you can tolerate ... be it simply enjoyable fantasy for him, or wanting to act that out with you or others, consensually or not. If this continues to be a source of friction between you, then you might consider seeing a therapist, preferably one who is kink aware, or at least well versed in sexual matters. There are also specialists in sexual addiction, although that term is controversial among mental health professionals. Compulsive sexual behaviors obviously exist, whatever they get called.

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category

Page last updated Jul 22, 2016

Call Now for
Rehab Options
Insurance Accepted
(Except Medicare)

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

Sex Addiction: Featured Experts
All Experts

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.