Hello, this is my first post on this new website. When it comes to my writing there are two things that I've had on my mind recently: how to reach a wider audience and how to make a little extra money off it. This seems like the perfect place to try and address both of those issues. I write about a lot of things but I mostly enjoy writing about sexuality, politics, relationships, economics, health, and fitness. For the last few months I've been accepting anonymous questions from my Facebook friends and I have really enjoyed answering them. If you are interested in reading my previous questions and responses, or in submitting your own you can check out my personal webpage (www.peterneiger.com/ask-me-anything/). I respond to all questions and will answer privately if you prefer.
Oh... and I'm not really sure which section to put this in. I guess NSFW because it discusses sex and stuff. I haven't seen any "community standards" or anything like that and the current categories don't really fit.
Now, on to this week's question....
"Here's hoping you can help me. I recently found out my SO watches porn. Years ago we tried watching it together, it didn't work out, and I assumed he didn't continue to watch on his own. We never discussed it was off limits, but I admit finding out he watches it feels like cheating. I feel betrayed and honestly kind of worthless. Is this an overreaction on my part? I told him it felt like cheating and he asked me if I would like him to stop. I don't know if that is fair to ask."
This isn't an overreaction on your part. Your feelings are legitimate, but you two definitely need to sit down and talk about this. You two had a serious miscommunication when watching porn failed. You assumed he wouldn't watch it because you didn't like watching it with him and he (probably) assumed that there was nothing going back to his default (watching porn alone).
There are at least two things that you two need to really dive into and dissect in order to move forward. First, why is he watching porn. There is nothing inherintly wrong with porn. Lots of people watch it, both in relationships and outside of them. Porn (like video games, food, exercise, work, etc) is only problematic if it is causing problems within someone's life. So, is the porn causing problems? Are your needs for sexual satisfaction, intimacy, or anything else not being met because your significant other is watching porn?
Or is this something that doesn't directly affect you? Many people (myself included) have a "sex drive" and an "orgasm drive". I get horny enough to orgasm daily but I don't necessarily want to have sex daily. Orgasms aren't only about intimacy and bonding within the relationship, sometimes it is just about feeling pleasure and getting off. I actually think it is important for people to spend time alone with their bodies in a sexual way where they can explore and experiment in a self-centered way.
I think you two should also discuss why you feel betrayed and worthless because of this. Is it jealousy? Do you feel like your body belongs to him and his body belongs to you and any mental deviation from that is a betrayal? Are you worried that he is getting excited by things that you won't or can't do? Are you concerned that he is bored with your sex life? Clearly, I don't know the answer to these questions but you two should probably explore them out in order to more forward.
Now, I think it is probably a bad move to ask him to stop. I think that will likely go one of two ways. He will either keep watching porn but get better at hiding it or won't tell you (you don't disclose how you discovered that he watches porn), or he will actually stop but eventually get kind of resentful.
This should be an opportunity to get any other assumptions you have out on the table. Porn has probably been a part of his life since he was a teenager and the expectation he went into the relationship with was that it was okay, and you went in with a different assumption. Are there any other assumptions you are making? How do you define cheating? Where do you see the relationship going long term? Etc.
Lastly, I would encourage you to try porn together again. There is a lot of porn out there by true amateurs and feminist producers that is likely more enjoyable for you than whatever you two tried to watch together (I clearly made a shit-ton of assumptions in that sentence). The cold, hard truth is that nearly all relationships get to the point where both partners desire some variety for sexual satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction is VERY important. So, you need to ask yourself what type of variety you will be comfortable with... new partners, pornography, BDSM, role-playing, new positions, dirty talk, etc... and how will you safely explore those things in a way where you will both have your emotional and sexual needs met.