This is our truth, tell us yours
You may have seen this whorephobic piece of garbage in the guardian today, where any claims Frostrop makes about sex work are thrown into severe doubt by the lies she made about how google works. Here is, in my humble opinion, the reply that should have been written, if you dont have an anti sex work drum to bang,
The dilemma I am 17 years old and I broke up with my boyfriend a few days ago because I noticed on his laptop that he looked up a lot of porn. He told me he was addicted to it. This broke my heart. It made me feel like I was being cheated on because he was looking at all the other girls on the porn sites and getting turned on by them. When I broke up with him for this, he acted like he didn’t care, and now I feel very insecure. Do you have any advice?
Firstly huge sympathy on the break up, you must be hurting right now, and looking for a reason why, including blaming yourself. I hope the pain is bearable and you have people around you for support and simply to listen. I remember my first break up, I listened to “I’m not in love” over and over again, the tears streaming, believing I would never love again.
First things first, porn addiction does not exist, its an excuse people use when they get caught, as your boyfriend was. He probably sensed your disapproval and was embarrassed. Using the idea of addiction, by which people mean they had no choice, to excuse behaviour is often seen as an easy way out. I think we need to look at why you felt cheated on, many people would, relationships come in all shapes and sizes and at 17 you are still finding out what your boundaries are and how you work best with others, sexually and emotionally.
Porn can portray a very unrealistic body image, in a world loaded with pictures of “perfect” women and men it can lead us to believe we are inferior if we are not size 8, waxed, buffed, 8 inches and 38 DD. Looking at those women, comparing them to yourself, it may well have hit your sense of self and made you feel insecure. The thing is that porn is fantasy, it is an aid to masturbation, like closing your eyes and remembering a favouite moment, or reading the dirty bits from fifty shades of grey. Some people say boys masturbate more than girls, I dont think its that simple, some people have higher sex drives than others, regardless of gender. It may be that your boyfriend wanted to masturbate more than you, masturbation doesn’t mean you were not having good sex when you had it together, its not a judgement on you, as its a very different sex act. Many women I know with very satisfactory sex lives still take themselves away for some alone time, and I am sure some men do the same.
So, whilst of course it is natural to think, why am I not enough, that’s not how masturbation works, its a personal, private act that reflects on you in no way. It may feel like he was cheating to look at other women, but they were simply a stimulation to the imagination.
There is of course another aspect to viewing porn that may have made you uncomfortable. It is not uncommon for partners to pressure someone into a sex act they do not feel OK about by saying “Well X did it” where X can be Katie down the pub, or Stoya. Being pressured to perform any sex act is wrong, exploration is a wonderful thing, but must be a full, free, informed choice. Simply because one person did something is no argument for you having to do it. On the other hand you may have seen things that stimulated your imagination, and this disturbs you. Young women are fed purity myths about what is acceptable, and being turned on by porn, or imagining doing the things on screen are not part of that myth. That’s OK too, at 17 there are a lot of things you are still discovering about yourself.
You say he seemed unconcerned when you broke up with him. This worries me slightly. Did you break up with him wanting some grand gesture, some proof of his love? Relationships are not like the movies, there is no boy meets girl, looses girl, gets girl easy narrative. Either the porn was a hard limit for you, in which case you did exactly the right thing, or you expected him to change his behaviour to please you. Believe me, no relationship works on the basis of if you really loved me blackmail, so again you did exactly the right thing breaking up.
If you would like to learn more about sex and relationships I would recommend the excellent Bish.com site.
Good luck for the future, does it make me sound really old to say the pain stops eventually?