Debbie Does Dallas & Marries the Man of Her Dreams: On RomComs & Porn

Occasionally, I overhear something that’s obviously not meant to be overheard. Sometimes, curiosity gets the best of me. Sometimes good taste wins. Sometimes I get no choice in the matter because the conversation, (aka: argument), takes place at such a volume that it engulfs a twelve-block radius. The following is one of those conversations.

The combatants were a couple – early twenties and obviously past the relationship’s first blush. According to what I, and the rest of Starbucks, overheard, she was “pissed” and “revolted” that she had caught him watching porn. She felt that it was a betrayal of the relationship (her emphasis, not mine) that he should get off on fantasies of other women.

This went on for quite a while. Then the boyfriend countered with what I considered to be a very valid point.

“What’s so wrong about my watching porn when you watch The Notebook on loop so you can drool over Ryan Gosling?”

This rhetorical sally is what really got my attention. Suffice it to say, the young woman received it with far less enthusiasm than I did.

Now, I’d like to leave the couple where they are for a moment, and focus on the boyfriend’s question. What, really, is the difference between his porn and her Ryan Gosling fix? Adjusting for the terms the girlfriend asserted when she called pornography a betrayal of their relationship, there isn’t much of one. Here’s why: The issue at the heart of the boyfriend’s question isn’t betrayal or even sex. Rather, it’s intimacy.

I don’t believe that there’s anything inherently wrong with watching porn (or romantic comedies for that matter). As long as a person doesn’t allow media to subsume real life, both are perfectly acceptable forms of entertainment. Unless porn or Rom Coms (yes, I know that The Notebook isn’t, strictly speaking, a romantic comedy, but I’m working with what I’ve got), become a vehicle through which a person rejects reality for a romantic or sexual fantasy, no harm is done. No matter how good the entertainment is, ultimately, it’s just a collection of experiences projected for the view’s proxy enjoyment. Real life has to win.

This is an important point because the issue, as I mentioned, has little do with morality or betrayal, (though I know many disagree), but with intimacy. The real question is, are you fostering intimacy with real people, or are you engaging in solo fantasies of intimacy?

In this, porn and romantic comedies pose a similar challenge. Porn sells the representation of sexual intimacy while Rom Coms sell the portrayal of emotional and romantic intimacy. Both present intimacy as entertainment which, in and of itself, is perfectly fine. Watching porn or Rom Coms, (or anything else for that matter), only becomes a betrayal when it begins to interfere with real life, when the viewer eschews real sex, real dates or real conversations, for fantasies in media.

Now, to go back the unhappy couple. The woman felt betrayed by her boyfriend’s use of porn, so much so that she felt justified in engaging him in a public fight. Now, had his porn become a habit, or were he rejecting her sexually, there might be a legitimate problem. But thanks to lowered inhibitions on the part of both parties, I and everyone else, found out that they had sex fairly frequently, (“isn’t once a day enough for you?”), and that porn was an occasional indulgence for him, (“Christ! I haven’t watched porn in a month.”) Granted, one has to take both participants at their word, but for all intents and purposes, it didn’t sound like he was glued to a screen. It was her shock at the discovery, after all, that prompted the fight.

She, on the other hand, acknowledged that she did watch The Notebook “a lot”, but that it was only because “he sucked.” So. At this point, we have a guy who watches porn on occasion while still having sex with his girlfriend, and we have a girlfriend who unfavorably compares her boyfriend / relationship to a romantic movie. By the terms of intimacy I outlined above, she is far more in the wrong. However, proving this would be an uphill battle of heroic proportions. Why? Because romantic comedies are romance and porn is sex.

This guy was caught watching other people, other women, performing sexual acts, presumably with the purpose of getting aroused. He, by his girlfriend’s analysis, was engaging in a sexual behavior without her – thus, her feelings of betrayal.

And yet, she in her own way, does the exact same thing when she watches The Notebook on loop. The only difference is that she’s engaging media emotionally (though presumably, in a nod to Mr. Gosling, there’s some sexuality in there too), rather than in porn’s purely carnal capacity. Her romantic fantasy excludes her boyfriend just as much as his sexual fantasy does her, though I would argue that, if one is going to toss around words like “betrayal” hers is worse. While he had apparently formed little attachment to porn, she had formed quite an exclusive attachment to the film.

Now, both partners engaged in intimacies that excluded the other, but because, in my opinion, the intimacies involved media and not actual human beings, accusations of betrayal are academic at best, and irrational at worst. What’s more, I’d say that, in this case, what’s good for the gander is good for the goose. If she wants her boyfriend to give up porn, it’s only fair that she give up The Notebook.

If a woman wants her partner to stop watching occasional porn, she should do him the courtesy of not engaging in Rom Com fantasy. Even more to the point, I would suggest that she sit down with herself and puzzle through one or two things.

1. What function are romantic comedies serving in her life, and is she missing something real, and

2. What is it about the porn watching that makes her feel betrayed in the first place?

Insecurity? A matter of taste? Running a script? Moral righteousness? All are valid, generally speaking, though I don’t quite understand the objection on moral grounds. That aside, the point is that understanding why she objects to her boyfriend watching porn might actually reveal something important about herself – not with the aim of changing anything per se, but with the goal of better understanding herself.

The same advice could be applied to anyone, man or woman, on any hot-button issue. Puzzle through the difficult feelings – betrayal, hurt, irrational fear – and try to understand what’s triggering them. Before you start a fight in Starbucks, try to figure out what the anger is really for. It might save you some trouble some day, or rescue a potentially great relationship. And in the meantime, if you want your partner to stop watching the porn, do him the courtesy of leaving Ryan Gosling alone.

About Madeleine Mitchell

I'm a freelance writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. If I were a man living in the 19th century, I'd call myself a gentleman scholar, but since I'm a woman living in the 21st, I will call myself curious, and leave it at that.
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31 Responses to Debbie Does Dallas & Marries the Man of Her Dreams: On RomComs & Porn

  1. It shows a monumental lack of trust in their relationship that she can’t trust him to watch porn – the underlying assumption is that he’ll act on it, or want to, at any rate. But this issue with women discovering their partners watching porn – why aren’t the men open about from the start of the relationship, albeit introducing it cautiously? If they watched it together, it wouldn’t be an issue.

    • I think the sad answer to your question is because it is difficult to get a read on women in this area until you cross that line and, perhaps, change things irrevocably. And since most men *aren’t* the shallow one-track primates that occupy the “who she is dating now” portion of 90% of RomCom and thus, are looking for other things in that “complete package”.. That’s a gamble that is not necessarily worth taking as this is often “the one thing” that men find lacking in their S.O.

    • I did some a bit of research as I was drafting this post and I have to admit that I was pretty dismayed by the number of women there were railing against “their man” watching porn in various relationship forums. it was so distracting that it nearly derailed the post

      I think the trust issue is endemic. As you so aptly noted, the fact that she is in a relationship where she feels that she can’t trust him to watch porn for entertainment tells me that this is not the kind of relationship I consider to be particularly strong. But, based on my hour of depressing research, her attitude is apparently very common. EVen if they didn’t end up watching porn together, I still don’t quite see why his watching porn alone (so long as it isn’t the excess I mentioned in the post) is a bad thing or in any way reflects on her or the relationship.

      As to why he felt like he had to watch in secret, Chris Mitchell proposed something in his reply below that both rings true and makes me sad. This is based solely on the girl’s reaction when she found out. She basically displayed herself to be the kind of girlfriend that you wouldn’t share that information with. She was happy as long as she didn’t know, but as soon as she did, WWIII broke out. Testing those waters, given the unpredictability of his partner’s reaction would have been pretty daunting.

      That said, if you’re in a relationship with a person, the ideal would be to know them well enough to gauge their reaction to porn or any other hot-button issue, and then introduce the topic, as you mentioned, cautiously. But what do I know? I don’t have a problem with porn and my jealousy button is broken. I’m looking at this from a bit outside the American female norm…

    • grafietje says:

      Totally agree with the last two remarks!

  2. Yes well, this all stems back to the fact that men masturbate and women take “long hot baths”. ;)

  3. I would be curious to know if she owns and operates a B.O.B. .. My guess is she does. She probably has her own “motivation” when she decides to break that out. Now, she might claim that she thinks only of her boyfriend and all that (to which I say “HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHA YOU LYING LITTLE MINX!”).. But even then, I would weigh good odds that she has things that “fire her up”, such as The Notebook and other RomCom types that portray the same type of thoroughly unrealistic scenarios porn does.

    To me, hers is worse. Well, truth be told, to ME neither is bad at all but.. Very very few men, even those who really like porn, think that it in any way mimics reality. My maid has never spontaneously stripped down for me. The pizza guy last night didn’t have a strategically placed cutout when my wife went to the door. Nuns aren’t really naughty. Ad infinitum.

    I have known a number of women, however, who watch RomComs and take a “why can’t you/he/men be more like that?” mentality. Sure, some men do that with porn too but that doesn’t typically long survive the period from sexual ‘rev up’ to denouement. There’s a reason that for “annnnd remorse!”.

    Many women, on the other hand, turn the latest RomCom into a week-long argument of the (now utterly confused) guy they are with about how he doesn’t behave like the dashing playboy who has all the wit and charm of Oscar Wilde yet is still ready to pull the old bowling ball trick the moment she wants to “feel like a woman” (near as I can tell, RomCom slang for “getting nailed”).

    But then, I’m a pig so..

    • The double-standard is really galling. Girlfriends can use vibes and gush about Bradley Cooper, but male partners are supposed to keep quiet and pretend they don’t notice Scarlett Johansen’s assets. In the end, I agree with you – I don’t see anything wrong with either form of fantasy – porn or RomComs – so long as everyone’s expectations stay rooted in reality. The fact that so many women seem to take romantic comedies as relationship how-to manuals is unsettling and, I think, pretty damn unhealthy. Not to sound like my grandmother, but moderation in all things is critical, including moderation. Having fantasies and sexual solo time is good and shouldn’t be a problem, so long as it doesn’t detract from the relationship you’re in.

      • SoYouThinkYouCanSee says:

        The fact that so many men seem to take porn as relationship how-to manuals is unsettling and, I think, pretty damn unhealthy.

  4. happycrows says:

    No pig-itude required. Even above-average relationship sites like Hooking Up Smart tend to rapidly devolve into rom-com-as-RL-standard. Whereas no male over the age of 14 confuses pornography with real life unless he’s on the Lifetime Low-Achievement Plan.

    OP is right, though — a *tiny* bit of self-awareness would have headed this whole thing off.

  5. Yep. It’s not only the rate at which RomComs have become an accepted RL stander, but the fact that they’re a standard measure at all the signals a widespread problem with expectations. But that discussions been raging for a while all over the web… including this fantastic skit from Cracked.com After Hours..

    http://www.cracked.com/video_18533_why-romantic-comedies-are-secretly-bad-you.html

  6. Yvonne says:

    Great points! We just watched Don Jon and it talks about exactly this problem. I know tons of women who despise porn and love RomComs and I have never understood that division. I happen to love both, enjoy them with and without my husband (so does he) and we are both totally ok with it. But I am the first woman he’s been with who openly admits to liking both. In my eyes, it’s all just educational :)

    • Thanks Yvonne! Ironically, half of what I read as I was researching this post mentioned Don Jon. I think I need to see it! As for liking porn, I think it means that you are not, apparently, the typical American woman. Speaking as an American woman, I don’t quite get the typical either. I think there’s definitely a place for both – there isn’t a person alive who can’t do with a little education ;)

  7. Wordwytch says:

    This speaks to a number of things… lack of communication, lack of trust and insecurity. All three of those can build to the point where something like watching porn or Rom Coms, ignite a situation into a fight. Both types of media portray situations that are unobtainable, but scream to the average person as “This is the way it is suppose to be!!!” (sigh)

    There was a news segment on Huffington Live talking about all the women who now feel that they must shave or wax every bit of hair off, because the women in porn films do. That there is a whole generation that thinks a hairy crotch is gross, because they see nothing but hairless in porn. To compound this stupidity, women are now having labiaplasty because they don’t look like porn stars.

    I would venture that insecurity is the main factor with viewing porn. “I’m not good/pretty/sexy enough…” and all that. Add to it the fear of communicating, and boom.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m bi and poly. I also watch porn and rom coms… Funny part is that I watch porn for story ideas. :) Especially if I am trying to describe a scene, and know I don’t have it right in some way. As for rom coms… escapism while I knit. :) Wolf watches them too. It doesn’t matter.

    • I think you got to the heart of it with insecurity, Wordwytch. All those feelings of jealousy and betrayal really seem to be rooted in insecurity, which is just a shame. Not only does the person torture themselves with the emotional fall-out from feeling insecure and (often) angry and jealous, but they torture their partners too. And unfortunately, as you pointed out, a lot of that insecurity comes from trying to meet standards that are inherently based in fantasy. When the line between fantasy and reality gets blurred, especially where expectations and self-image are concerned, you get one hell of a mess. I don’t know, I think there’s just something really cozy about sharing time with your partner and watching something together, whether its a RomCom or porn or Die Hard. It’s the shared down time together that fosters intimacy especially when you knit (my fella and I knit too, though we’ve gotten kind of rusty recently – too much work ;) ).

      • happycrow says:

        Not a jealous bone in my body, as my gal can vouch – but as she can also vouch, I’m not even slightly immune to getting brutally played, either. 99.44% of both porn and romcom leave me feeling like I need to wash my forebrain, but where “Capital-B Betrayal” ™ dun-dun-dun is concerned, it would seem that one of the hallmarks of a relationship that’s actually working would be an assumption of good intentions on the part of your S.O. — because if you *don’t* have such an assumption, why the HELL be with that person? You can’t even *develop* trust if your gut assumption about this person is “dumbass who makes shitty choices.” The duellists in that spectacular overheard fight seems to fail miserably on that count.

      • You hit that nail square on the head, happycrow.

      • Wordwytch says:

        Of all the stupidities foisted upon humans, that of the “perfect X” formula for relationships is by far the most heinous. Whether it is perfect bodies, mindsets or situations… grrr…And it gets us in so many ways.
        As for the rest… There is something delightful in curling up with a partner and just relaxing. :) It recharges that part of us that needs quiet, yet touch. And for all that Wolf is a tough bastard, we love watching Princess Bride or Firefly. Have to admit that we laugh more during porn than the romcoms. :) As for knitting… I love making socks, and Wolf loves the socks I make him.

      • I had a lovely, cogent response to your lovely, cogent comment all lined up, and then I read that you knit socks. I’m afraid of socks – even easy socks where you don’t have to turn a heel. It’s a mental block. I’ll happily crank out cables, but show me a sock and my brain says “no”. My fella laughs at me for this. One day, I need to slay that beast – the socks, not my fella ;)

      • Wordwytch says:

        ROFLOL! And I don’t “get” cables! Socks are truly easy once you understand that you only knit on 2 needles at a time. If you ever want an easy pattern, holler.

      • I will! Thanks Wordwytch, you’re the best!

  8. Sj says:

    I’m I the only one who just doesn’t get your argument?

    I can’t for the life of me see how you are comparing like for like.
    Women gushing about a man in a rom com and wishing her husband was like that, is equivalent to a man gushes about scarlett and wishing his wife was more like her.

    Men getting masturbating over other women doing sexual acts on screen, is the equivalent of women masturbating over other men doing sexual acts on screen……….surely?

    Or do we think that watching a murder in a soprano episode is the same as watching a video of an actual murder carried out by the real mafia?

    There is one hell of a difference between real and acting.

    If people like porn and see nothing wrong with it, be loud and proud. Tell your partner from the begginning and let them have the choice of whether they want to be with you. They SHOULD have that choice. It’s not for you to DECIDE that there is nothing wrong with porn and therefore they should just pipe down and wind their neck in.

    Just make sure you find someone who feels the same as you. What is so hard about that?

    And if you watched Don Juan and came away with the moral of the story being that rom coms are no different than porn, then I think we watched a different film. The main actor (whose name escapes me) also directed it, and is a self confessed feminist.

    • Thanks for posting your thoughts, Sj – I appreciate it. I suspect that you may have understood what I was suggesting in the post, or that you might possibly be projecting onto arguments that aren’t there. Forgive the bullet points, but I want to make sure I address each of you statements / questions.

      1. “Men getting masturbating over other women doing sexual acts on screen, is the equivalent of women masturbating over other men doing sexual acts on screen……….surely?”

      Yes, they are equivalent. I don’t believe that I implied that they’re not. In fact, I purposely equated them b/c I feel that they are equivalent. In both cases, a person is enjoying a sexual fantasy and, potentially, masturbating to it – whether that fantasy is inspired by porn or a RomCom doesn’t matter. I also believe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong, inherently, with either one.

      2. “Or do we think that watching a murder in a soprano episode is the same as watching a video of an actual murder carried out by the real mafia?”

      I have to admit that I’m not quite sure what your point here is. If you mean that I’m implying that people can’t differentiate between reality and fantasy, I would say that a. I never assert that in my post, b. it would have been pure arrogance to have made such an assertion and c. that isn’t the point I was making. The point I was making is that people enjoy fantasies, whether it’s porn, RomComs or anything else, as a form of entertainment, (again, there is nothing wrong with that). I think it’s safe to say that most adults know the difference between real and make believe, and those who don’t have bigger issues than the movies they choose to watch.

      3. “There is one hell of a difference between real and acting.”
      Yes, there is, absolutely. But for the sake of the point I’m making in this post, that’s beside the point. Whether or not the action on screen is actually happening (as in most porn) or strictly scripted / simulated (as in mainstream film) doesn’t matter. It’s the fantasy that the action facilitates / inspires that’s the point. It’s the fantasy that the RomCom or porn spins that allows the viewer to either identify with the action, or project themselves into. Again, I’m not making a value judgement on this. All I’m saying is that that is how RomComs and porn function as entertainment.

      4. “They SHOULD have that choice. It’s not for you to DECIDE that there is nothing wrong with porn and therefore they should just pipe down and wind their neck in.”

      Absolutely. I never suggested otherwise. I believe that several related issues – those of finding compatible partners, the need for communication and the occasional need for compromise – were covered in some of the other reader comments. I don’t believe anyone asserted that the non-porn enjoyers of the world should “just pipe down and wind their neck in”. What was suggested was the need for communication early on, and that, though important, it’s sometimes difficult to do.

      And as for the original post, what I suggested was that, if such communication doesn’t exist, and a person gets surprised by one of his or her partners fantasies, that the surprised one examine their feelings of betrayal. I in no way suggested that non-porn-lovers get over it – I suggested that if a person has an issue with something their partner does, in general, that they try to understand the root of their hurt. I was careful to point out that the aim was *not* to change their own feelings but to understand and communicate them more productively with their partner. Public screaming matches are not productive.

      5. “Just make sure you find someone who feels the same as you. What is so hard about that?”

      Nothing, ideally speaking. I would suggest the same thing.

      6. “And if you watched Don Juan and came away with the moral of the story being that rom coms are no different than porn, then I think we watched a different film. The main actor (whose name escapes me) also directed it, and is a self confessed feminist.”

      As I stated in my response to someone else’s comment, I haven’t seen Don Jon yet, which is why I didn’t mention it in the original post. As a result, I don’t have enough understanding to assert a moral to that particular story. That said, according to interviews (the film was mentioned repeatedly in recent discussions about RomComs and porn) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is a proclaimed feminist, was interested in exploring the relationship of men and women to sex and how it would play out in a particular relationship. I’m intrigued and I want to see it. That said, while this issue is one taken up aggressively by feminists – many or whom watch porn and RomComs only to be reviled by their fellow feminists for enjoying “tools of the patriarchy” – I was careful *not* to introduce a feminist slant to this post. There’s too much to say on how feminist rhetoric engages sex, media and gender relations. Far better to devote a separate post, or series of posts, to that very interesting subject.

      Thanks again for your thoughts. I hope I addressed them all. If not, please feel free to email me so we can continue the discussion at more length.

      Best,

      Madeleine

  9. Sj says:

    Thanks for the reply Madeleine.

    I think I may use your bullet point idea as a way to make my points, as your replies seem to suggest that I didn’t explain myself very well.

    1. I suggested that an actual killing on a video was different to watching a pretend killing on Sopranos, because I think comparing a woman fantasizing and masturbating about an actor/celebrity who is in a film, is not the same as watching a woman having real sex and masturbating. The equivalent would be watching the actor have real sex on a sex tape and masturbating. (Then coffee shop guy would have an actual point about them being the same, if that was the case)

    2. I feel the whole article/view point is based on these widely different scenarios and is not comparing like for like. I believe most woman (and men) would have no issue with their partner drooling and fantasizing over a crush, and would be able to see the difference between that and actually masturbating over seeing their genitalia on screen performing real sex acts. I think it is disingenuous to suggest it is the same.

    3. What one person sees as a betrayal, is different to what others see as a betrayal. You seem to be suggesting that because you see nothing wrong with it, then there is nothing wrong with it. (*projection) If you partake in online dating and specifically state you want a non smoker, only to find out 1 (or more ) year/s down the line of dating that they do in fact smoke, would that not be considered a betrayal? Is the same not to be said about porn use, if you had no idea or even asked them outright at the time? How do you know the girl in the coffee shop did not? My point being that the article seems to suggest that her feelings are not the right ones. Why is she so upset, it’s only porn, seems to me to be the rhetoric. There is no thought given to the feeling of being lied to, deceived, and outright shock at discovering something you were not privy to.
    They are her feelings and she is entitled to them. Feelings are not wrong. How she got there might be, but she feels how she feels. (perhaps displaying them in a public place is not the best idea, I agree)

    4. To suggest it is all her problem, and she needs to sort it out by questioning her reasons, smacks of little empathy of what her situation might be, and does indeed project your own feelings of confidence, security onto the situation.

    (*We all project our own personal feelings/ experiences)

    Hope this clarifies some of my original posting.

    • Thanks for the clarifications Sj. They deserve a proper response – unfortunately, given scheduling, I’m not going to be able to do that until Monday, given that I’m about to step away from the blog for a few days. If you don’t mind waiting until then, I’d be happy to more fully address your points.

      In the meantime, I’d like to ask you a question, because unless I understand your answer, we’re going to keep talking past each other.

      As per your first and second points, the entire premise of this post *is* based on my equating real sex on film (porn) with simulated sex / relationships (RomComs). While, practically speaking, they *are* different, in that one is simulated and the other is not, the reason I’m equating them for this post is because they both serve as a way to generate fantasies. That’s the way I’m using them to make my point in this post – those are the parameters for how I’m using them in this case. You are telling me that there is a fundamental difference that I’m missing – one that makes women masturbating to fantasies of Ryan Gosling in a movie more permissible, or at least different, than men masturbating to images of real women having sex.

      So, my question is this – could you quantify for me, in concrete terms, *why* the fantasies generated by one are fundamentally different than the fantasies generated by the other? I suspect the answer to this is going to inform how I address your other points..

      As to my not displaying empathy for the young woman, this may sound cold, but I don’t display empathy for her because I don’t feel empathy for her. Or rather, I feel empathy, but not *sympathy*. We’ve all been betrayed in some way or another, and while I wouldn’t feel betrayed under the same circumstances, she did and she has every right to that feeling. What I’m not sympathizing with (and this is what, I suspect, your picking up on), is the manner in which she *responded* to those feelings that she very much entitled to. If the boyfriend were the one who went off half-cocked in a Starbucks, he’d be the one under my microscope, because that’s where the reaction and the feelings of betrayal would have originated. It’s that reaction and those feelings that I’m looking at. Because they originated with her, she’s the focus of the piece.

      She launched a public attack because she was angry. She chose to have that argument in public rather than discuss it in private. Given that, I don’t feel obligated to coddle her her behavior in print. Instead, I suggest that she slow down and try to understand these feelings and *then* advocate for herself. In short, while I do empathize with her feelings, I do not in any way sympathize with her response to them.

      All right, before I go farther down the garden path, I’ll leave it there. Feel free to respond any time, and I’ll get back to you with my own thoughts at the beginning of the week. In the meantime, thanks for engaging the topic here :)

  10. Sj says:

    Madeleine.

    Trying to formulate my views on paper, is proving far too difficult and lengthy! ;-)

    But I will try.

    (Please note, that sometimes I use the word you, to mean the Royal you, not you as an individual)

    “So, my question is this – could you quantify for me, in concrete terms, *why* the fantasies generated by one are fundamentally different than the fantasies generated by the other? I suspect the answer to this is going to inform how I address your other points.”

    I have given this some thought, and I see a very reductionist argument. You are peeling away all the layers to ask me what is the difference between fantasies generated by one form of media, and ones generated by another. The answer is there isn’t a difference- in the paradigms that you have given me. They are both a form of media that generate fantasies. Agreed.

    But to me you can get most people to agree with the most awful arguments using this form of questioning.

    Forgive me for this brutal analogy which may be a trigger for some, but it may help prove my point. ****trigger warning*****

    I could use the same argument for what is the difference between a woman being orally raped and one who is vaginally raped. Both have been raped to generate an orgasm, does it matter, which orifice is used? For the purposes of generating an orgasm, the answer would be no, wouldn’t it?

    But I would suggest it does matter, based on something you seem to be missing. The concept of individuals perception of severity, peoples personal experiences, personal interpretations of the situation,etc. And I think in order to see this, you would need a degree of insightfulness and empathy, beyond your own personal views.

    You suggest yourself in your comments, that the vast majority of American women seem to feel differently. That it is depressing that they don’t see it your way. Perhaps they find it depressing that you don’t see it their way?

    I’m was trying very hard not to descend into my own personal view of porn and just address what I thought was a case of arguing apples are oranges, but seeing as you asked…….

    I find the two concepts completely different for many many different reasons. Briefly though, I think most women do not put their hands down their pants when watching rom coms. I would hazard a guess, that most actors are almost always completely fully clothed, and their whole purpose in the film is not to be objectified for the sake of a orgasm.

    You argue that it is worse for the women to fantasize about actors in rom coms because;

    “While he had apparently formed little attachment to porn, she had formed quite an exclusive attachment to the film.”

    I find quite the opposite. At least she is viewing him as a human being with which to conduct a fantasized relationship with. He on the other hand has reduced the women to purely sexual objects that are there for the men in the porn to do sex on and help him to have a porn induced orgasm. (Completely flummoxed at how you get ‘intimacy’ from that)

    But the biggest clincher for me would be, that I could bet my house that the actor isn’t hurting, humiliated, degraded, drunk, drugged, or suffering from low self esteem.while I fantasize over all that pain.

    I find it hard to comprehend that if you read up a bit about what actually goes on in the porn industry and have some concept of the sexist, misogynist world we live in, and still can’t see what is wrong with it, beyond blaming women for being insecure, then you are uncaring- i’m all right jack- at best, and despising of women at worst.

    • Aloysius Patrick McGillicutty says:

      Hrmm… So, in essence, you find the original post to be invalid because it caromed off of an axe you have to grind, and after she refused to agree with the alternate argument that agrees with your own sacred cows, you’re creating a straw-man argument that you can use to call her uncaring and despising.

      Instead of insulting the original poster, I think it more appropriate to be thankful that she’s so patiently entertained your self-righteous bullshit. When myopic harridans such as yourself decide to urinate all over someone else’s forum, the appropriate response is to delete the posts and ban the poster. But instead of that, she has extended you a level of courtesy that you aren’t affording her. I’d hardly call her “uncaring at best”. This far in to her obviously bending over backwards to be civil to you, it’s both a singular display of your own pettiness that you would direct ad-hominem slurs at her, and an ornament to the original poster’s general goodwill & thoughtfulness that she hasn’t returned the favor.

      (invectives elided)

  11. Sj says:

    As an a side. I have no attachment to any rom com. I have no particular favorite film or actor. My favorite kinds of films are not rom coms. I hate any film that I can see the ending coming a mile off, I have no desire ever to watch ‘blockbuster’ types. I prefer arty, clever twist types (or ‘talkie bullshit’ as my husband describes them).

    I don’t watch any soap operas and in no way fantasize about how my husband should be compared to Ryan Gosling. (Who to be quite truthful I am in fact adverse to watching as I seemed to have watched 5 films in a row with him in it) Maybe I am not typical in that I have never fantasized about a famous person. Hope that helps.

  12. Sj says:

    Aloyius.

    I haven’t called Madeleine anything. I did put that I was referring to the ‘you’ as in people in general, not her specifically. Also I said that my own personal opinion is that those you look into what goes on behind the scenes and still like porn are uncaring at best. I have no idea at all, if Madeleine has done this or not, and therefore once again, I was not directing that point at her either.

    She specifically asked me to give my opinion on it, in order to aide her better in her discussion with me. I had no intention of offering it up for debate as it makes no difference to my original reason for posting. So to say I have an axe to grind is way off the mark.

    I do not believe myself to have urinated on someone else’s forum. From my viewpoint I entered into a debate. I don’t have a forum, but if I did, I would quite like people to put across their different ideas, even if I didn’t agree with them, for the chance to think about a different side and give others a chance to do the same.

    I do not for one minute think of myself as self righteous. My opinion is just that, an opinion, I do not believe it to be any more right that everyone else. I think to be truthful that people who believe others shouldn’t disagree with them are probably more deserving of the title. And in case you misinterpret me again, I mean you, not Madeleine with that comment.

    If I have offended yours or Madeleine’s sensitivities. That was never my intention.

    Madeleine. I hope you did not interpret my post as the above posted did.

    • Ok. I’m going to step in here and cut this off now. I had hoped to step away for a few days but apparently that’s not going to be possible.

      Sj, regardless of A’s comment and based entirely on your response to my question to you, I’d say we’re at an impasse. If my understanding of your comment is correct, you object to this post, essentially, because it expresses an opinion that you are either morally opposed to or simply not interested in. That’s fine. But continuing on in light of this would be a waste of time. Rather than do you the disservice of trading insults, I would advise you to consider posting elsewhere on this topic – perhaps on your own blog. I’m closing down this thread of the conversation.

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