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Double Exposure   by Martin Downs, M.P.H., and Victoria Zdrok, Ph.D.

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The Doctor is in: Penthouse Pet and Ph.D. holder, Dr. Z



Relationships may be more complicated than ever, but the eternal truth is, sex is - and should be - good. In order to help you get the most out of your sex life, you need advice from experts on both sides of the bed: Martin Downs, M.P.H., and Penthouse Pet Victoria Zdrok, Ph.D.



Q:
I recently asked my boyfriend if we could watch porn together. I thought it would be hot, but the question made him really uncomfortable. He told me it doesn’t work that way for him, that the whole point of porn is so he can imagine himself having sex with other women, and that it defeats its purpose if I’m there. I’m not one of those women who thinks that using porn is a form of cheating - I know it serves a physiological need - but his reluctance to share this part of his life (or even humor me just once) has me puzzled. Does he need a stronger nudge, or should I leave this alone?



Martin Downs says: I think it’s awesome that you want to watch porn with him. But everyone deserves privacy.

Porn serves many needs. Sometimes, it’s an easy aid to masturbation. Maybe you think it would be nice to rub one out, but you’re not aroused yet. Rather than take the time to get worked up using your imagination, you look at some porn and you’re on the fast track.

I agree that watching porn isn’t cheating. It’s a way to feed the need for sexual expansion while staying comfortably monogamous–to have your cake and eat it, too. But for some porn dogs, it’s all about multiplicity. Porn gives them the ability to see thousands of different people fucking without the hassle of setting up thousands of sexual encounters in real life. For others, it’s mostly about filling a gap. For example, a guy might be happily married to a woman who doesn’t share his fondness for anal sex, so he watches anal porn to compensate. In some cases it allows people to flirt with edgy sex–things they might not enjoy doing for real, but are fun to see on-screen.

There are also differences in how men relate to porn while they’re watching it. Some get fully absorbed in fantasy, imagining how his own dick would feel in that pussy. Others are more voyeuristic; they’re aroused by the visual stimuli, but don’t project themselves into the scene.

In any case, porn preferences are personal and private. Letting someone else in on your porn life can feel too close for comfort, especially if it’s someone with whom you’re intimate in every other way.

That’s not to say that couples shouldn’t go there. Many do, and it can be rewarding. Your boyfriend may indeed need only a little nudge to get past his inhibition. You might try setting up an incident where he “accidentally” walks in on you diddling yourself to a video. Invite him to stay and join in. I think he would be hard put to refuse.

But handle this with care. Porn can tickle your insecurities as well as your fancy. For example, if he wanted to watch Scale Bustin’ Babes, would you accept it without question, or would you demand to know if he thinks you’re fat? And if you were to swoon over a porn dude’s gigantic schlong, might he lose confidence in his adequacy?

When you watch porn with company, differences are likely to arise over what cranks your motor or grosses you out. You might be annoyed to hear, “Oh, yeah, that’s hot,” when you’re thinking yuck. And it’s embarrassing to have a raging boner when someone else is saying, “Eww, that’s so wrong!”

Weigh the potential upside against the risks of opening the door on your boyfriend’s private domain of porn, and if it seems worth it, go ahead and nudge. If not, let him continue to enjoy his “gentleman’s time.”



Victoria Zdrok says: For many people, porn is a way to get lost in fantasy and engage in masturbation. That experience is best served as a solitary dish. That’s why it’s called autoeroticism or self-love. It doesn’t mean your boyfriend doesn’t love you or is not into you. It’s just that, once in a while, he might feel like screwing some unreal sex object, like your typical porn star, without having to worry about what you think about the nasty acts he’s watching and enjoying.

In a typical porn video, there is minimal foreplay (which is probably not the way you would like it),
the actresses all have multiple screaming orgasms (which are often faked), and the guys last forever (which your boyfriend only dreams of doing). That’s why such sex scenes should be left to fantasy.

I wouldn’t push him to share that experience with you. After all, relationships are not about totally submerging our individuality. It’s okay to leave some portion of our sexuality unshared, particularly our fantasies. Some days I, too, just feel like getting off by myself, whether triggered by porn or my own fantasies, without anyone watching or participating or assisting me. It’s quicker, easier, and, well, cleaner.

If you still want to use porn as a way of spicing up sex with your boyfriend, I’m on the same page as Martin: Get your own porn and let him walk in on you watching it. He may be unable to resist joining in.