A friend of mine (who knows damn well how to wind me up) sent me a link to a forum on which they were discussing the question “Is watching porn cheating?” to which the answer any sane human being would give is very obviously ‘no.’ On the thread women (and some men who are recovering porn addicts) argue that perhaps it is, and that it certainly feels like it is when a lady accidentally stumbles across her boyfriend’s internet history.
After a brief Google around the subject I discovered that rather than being a mockable minority, the people who believe porn is cheating are not only serious, but worryingly numerous.
I’m presumably preaching to the choir here, but I’d like someone to disagree with me so I can form my argument more fully than I have in this post, which essentially consists of me going “What the ACTUAL MENTAL FUCK ARE YOU ON ABOUT” over and over again.
My boyfriend watches porn and it’s like he’s fucking someone else
No. It’s not at all like he’s fucking someone else because it’s just some pictures on a fucking screen. You’re no more cheating when you watch porn than you’re a vampire when you read Twilight, or a member of the Secret Seven when you crack out the childhood Enid Blyton books.
You sometimes put yourself in the place of people acting in scenes in order to enhance your enjoyment of the material, but that does not mean you are actually there. It doesn’t even mean that were these people performing a live show right in your living room and getting their awesome porny juices all over your sofa, you would join in.
But it’s cheating in the mind, right?
No. Because what you’re describing there is a thought crime. If watching porn is cheating then writing slashfic is a form of rape.
I think this comes from female (and it is usually female – I’d like to see how men react to the idea that their girl watching porn is ‘cheating’) worries about not being adequate, and their partner being sexually interested in other people and things. It’s ‘cheating’ because he’s getting off to something that isn’t you, and that taps into a fairly primitive female jealousy about boys leaving their girlfriends for younger/prettier/thinner/more-willing-to-do-anal models.
Well, it probably sucks for these girls to hear this but he is interested in other people. Sexually. No matter how stunning or sexually adventurous you are, you are not the only thing that makes your man’s dick hard. Nice though you might think that would be, it’s not practical, nor even desirable. Many of his best moves have probably come from things he’s seen while doing some one-handed browsing during an idle moment.
But what he watches is so disgusting and degrading
No, seriously, stop it – you’re killing me.
It’s so much easier to demonise men for the porn they watch because men tend to require more visual stimulation than women do to get off. In short – you can watch theirs too whereas yours is probably locked away inside your head. Saying that their fantasies are ‘degrading’ and ‘disgusting’ is really easy to do when your own fantasies aren’t exposed for all to see, at the click of a mouse on the 3 a.m. section of your Chrome history.
SECRET ALERT: Women’s fantasies can be disgusting and degrading too.
While John’s beating one out to a video of someone getting beaten on YouPorn, Jane might be having just as much fun imagining biting into her partner’s abdomen until she draws blood and he whimpers and comes into her red and ready lips. Or thinking about her old Geordie history teacher reaching into her open shirt while she finishes off her homework, squeezing her nipples and calling her a ‘good girl’ then dragging her to the front of class to finish the rest while sitting on his lap. Ahem.
I’ve never been as degraded, humiliated, used and spat upon as I am in my own fantasies. It’s extremely lucky for me that most exist only in my head and not on an easily accessible hard drive.
Porn and sexual fantasy is by its nature degrading because the people in it are there for one purpose – to get you off. Even if you’re rubbing one out to the thought of your ex (who you’re still hopelessly in love with, and have a deep and abiding respect for) touching you up until his cock throbs, at the moment you’re fantasising you don’t give a fuck if he’s real or unreal, alive or dead – all you care is that his fictional dick is hard and his fictional fingers are fumbling at your fictional crotch through your pretty, fictional, soaking wet knickers.
But it’s a violation – it just feels disgusting
Porn is disgusting. Your fantasies are disgusting. But that’s OK. We can wallow in gallons of misery and shame during frantic solo sessions and no one gets hurt – our relationships don’t get a fucking look in. You imagine some things in private that you wouldn’t dream of in real life, because it’s unreal – and the unreality of it is what allows you to abandon yourself.
Your wanking is your wanking – it has little to do with your partner or your ex-partners or the guy who delivers you pizza – it has everything to do with the things you think inside your head, or the things that happen inside your head when you’re watching the teeny screen people frig each other off for your delectation.
Wanking (whether to porn or to your own imagined depravity) is usually a solo sport – it wouldn’t work if we allowed others to scrutinise it properly.
If we start giving that the ‘cheating’ label to our personal fantasy life then monogamy is not just dead but hung, drawn, quartered, burned, then fired out into space to make sure it’s gone forever.
If wanking is cheating then no one is faithful.
For Valentine’s Day I want a blow job.
Yep, today I would like a nice, hard, deep-throating blow job. The sloppy kind – dribble and spit and choking – that ends with you coming violently all over my face until your spunk dribbles down my chin and I can use the excess to draw a heart shape on the bedsheets.
And I want to give you flowers. A beautiful, big, hay-fever-inducing bouquet of them. Roses, tulips, lilies, anything frothy and soft and romantic. All tied up with a big fat pink ribbon that you can put in your hair afterwards or keep in a special memories box to remind you of the day when girlonthenet displayed some vague semblance of emotion. An expensive bouquet, too, so your Mum knows I’m a good financial bet for your future.
I don’t usually give much of a shit about casual sexism in couples – if two people, within a loving committed relationship, choose to conform to old-fashioned gender roles then I’m not one to stop them.
My problem comes when every single goddamn article or advert decides that we should all be doing the same thing. Usually we question this sexist dickery – we raise a wry smile at the dude in the cleaning products advert who’s crap at wiping the kitchen surfaces, or the woman who uses the expensive beauty product because it’s imperative that women defy the laws of physics by refusing to visibly age. We question it. We laugh at them.
And yet on Valentine’s Day for some reason our questioning attitude is hurled out of the window. Sexist? Aw, it’s just romantic. It’s just how couples are.
He should be panicking the day before.
She should be getting excited.
He should be saving his pennies.
She should be dropping hints about roses, chocolates, her favourite restaurant.
The racier, cheekier brands will lace their adverts with hints of euphemism. Maybe, just maybe, if you buy your girlfriend something grotesquely pink and painfully expensive she might just suck your cock. You lucky bastard.
A quick note about gays
It’s worth noting that I am not immune from presumptive twattery myself – I frequently write as if I’m talking about boy/girl couplings. This is deliberate – it’s because apart from the odd squirm with a ladyfriend or two, that’s mostly what I know.
But that’s not to say that we should automatically exclude what happens to be a fairly sizeable portion of the population from enjoying these couple-centred celebrations. Whether you love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is for everyone. And insisting on prescribing Valentine’s Day behaviour like only heterosexual couples exist gives a skewed and laughably ancient view of the world.
Gender roles and Valentine’s Day
Where was I? Ah yes – we’re not all 1950s chocolate-box dream couples.
It shouldn’t need to be said, to be honest, but I’m going to say it anyway, because some narrow-minded cardboard-cut-out cunts still think I should be crossing my fingers in the hope that someone gives me chocolates. I like chocolates, I do. I have also gone a bit melty inside on the very few occasions when boys have bought me flowers. Likewise I enjoy champagne, Lego and being wanked off by a boy while I watch porn I’ve nicked from the internet.
But some people still think that the sign of a successful relationship is one where the guy does all the work. Where he feels compelled to spend money making his woman feel special, and that if he jumps through these specially-defined hoops then maybe she’ll repay him by giving him sexual favours that she wouldn’t have given otherwise because she’s that fucking feminine that she must keep her sexuality under wraps so as to avoid breaking a fingernail or displaying some semblance of human frailty or something.
Women don’t just want chocolate, and men don’t just want sex.
Perhaps she wants a fucking Scalectrix. Perhaps he wants a nice long bubble bath and a box of chocolates. Perhaps both of them just want to fuck in an alleyway then head to a late-night bondage bar.
Perhaps – just perhaps – all your roses and cards and adverts and irritating 1950’s Goodwife bullshit can fuck off back to the ad agency that spawned them, because neither of the members of our fictitious happy couple give a flying tossfuck about romance at all.
Love is like being tied to a rock that you also sort of want to have sex with.
It’s like being repeatedly punched in the face, but by something quite nice, like a pillow or a bowl of trifle.
Despite all of my best efforts not to fall into this pitiful trap, I am in love with a boy.
Being in love changes people
Love seems to make my friends do odd things, like deliberately go on tedious, all-inclusive holidays. Like buying joint-owned kitchen equipment and cooking things with butternut squash in.
Likewise love makes me do weird things, like spout inexplicable platitudes about his possessions. Like cancel an evening’s drinking so I can stay in on a Saturday night with his big arms wrapped around me. Like writing a blog which – let’s be honest – you couldn’t crack one off to if you tried.
Love makes me think more about a boy than about things that matter – like my career.
It makes me lazy. All I ever want to do is sit with him, on him, by him, until my bills go unpaid and my washing up starts to evolve new breeds of bacteria. Until the sun goes down and the world is destroyed and everything I’ve worked for crumbles to dust.
I love love
Don’t get me wrong – there are up sides. He is, as you’d expect, especially spectacular. Of all the boys who have stamped their footprints into my ice-cold heart, his are some of the very few that I want to put my own feet in and go “Ooh, look, big. GIGGLE.”
He’s beautiful when he lights cigarettes, when he’s biting my nipples or bringing me coffee. He’s funny and fun and good and gentle and filthy and kind and calm. He makes me relax and he makes me laugh and he fucks me like it’s the end of the world.
He’s the one whose friends I’ll meet. Whose house I’ll stay at. All the other boys get fucked and moved on, but he’s the only one who gets to spend the night. He’s the one who can stroke my face without making me hiss, and he gets to call me pretty without me vomiting copiously all over his living-room floor.
I hate love
But ultimately the great stuff is desperately overshadowed by the bad. Love is a fucking bastard. It makes me irrational and needy. It tempts me into shit decisions. Problems I’d previously have stamped on become reasons to run to him for a hug. Challenges stay unchallenged, because he makes them easy to forget.
I don’t want to love him – I love me – normal me. I love the me who can tell boys to fuck off when I’m busy, who has enough motivation to pull myself together when I’m miserable and do good things when I’m not. Love can make me blind to a lot of things, but I’m not yet blind to what I could achieve if I weren’t sitting so comfortably in his arms.
How do you solve a problem like a hormonal imbalance?
For a long time my solution was to break up with guys if I thought things were getting emotional. But things have gone too far this time. I cannot decide to not be in love because I am in love, and so I am irrational.
How can I not see him when I need to see him? How can I not love him when, at just the moment I think I’ve steeled myself to tell him I’m off, he says something that makes me laugh like I’ve had a lobotomy? When just the idea of his shoes lying jumbled by the kitchen door makes me grin with possessive, deranged pride?
I love his shoes.
I am ridiculous and I love his shoes.
If you’re expecting some sort of conclusion or words of wisdom after the above torrent of out-of-character arational loved-up bullshit then you’re probably a fucking idiot. But I’ll forgive you. If you’re powerfully idiotic then you may well be in love yourself. Unfortunately for all of us there’s no known cure, but to relieve the symptoms I can thoroughly recommend wanking and gin.
When I was 14 I tried to go on the pill. I wanted it not because I was having sex, but because I was going on an activity holiday and had heard it could stop your periods. The doctor man didn’t cough up: fair enough. That beautiful green prescription slip failed to materialise.
But now? Now, thank you very much society, I am a goddamn grown-up. I have a mortgage and a job and a fucking chequebook and a special key with which I bleed the radiators. I do all the things that grown-ups do.
So why, given that society accepts I can make such adult decisions as ‘whether I fill out a self-assessment tax form’, do I have to go through what seems like a completely unnecessary rigmarole just in order to get the contraceptive pill?
How to get the contraceptive pill
I’ve been on the same pill for 10 years, more or less. The same one. I know what it does, and what side effects it may or may not have.
But in order to get it I have to perform an inexplicable dance to demonstrate that I am qualified to take it. I have to take time off work, go to the doctors, pretend I’m willing to give up smoking, let them weigh and measure me, have a brief but unnecessarily intrusive chat about my sex life, and then if I’m lucky they hand over a six-month prescription.
If I’m unlucky I get three months, because they don’t like to give out too many. The reason for this is apparently ‘medicine wastage’ – i.e. people getting pills then either selling them on or flushing them down the bog.
But these are contraceptive pills – they’re not valuable like morphine or amphetamine. As far as I know, most women don’t just sell them on for profit – we use them to prevent ourselves from getting unwantedly pregnant.
But, you know, I’m willing to accept that perhaps this is reason enough to give them out in smaller doses. It’s the need to discuss them with an actual doctor that most makes my blood boil. I have nothing against doctors, but I have a huge bee in my bonnet about visiting the doctor because I have a job. To get an appointment with my doctor I have to take time off work to go and see her. Or, at a pinch, the nurse.
To be honest, that don’t give a flying fuck who prescribes me this shit, as long as someone is there to witness the fact that I turned up. That’s all they seem to care about: that I’m there. They don’t care that I lie about giving up smoking. They don’t care that I’m overweight. They don’t care that I’ve been taking it for more than 10 years: they just care that I’m there.
And that, ladies and gentlemen-who-can’t-jizz-in-me-in-case-I-get-pregnant, is the point.
Other places to get the contraceptive pill
I went to Brook recently. The internet told me that if I went to see them they’d hook me up, without an appointment. And they would – they’d love to. They could think of nothing more that they’d like to do than fulfill my contraceptive needs. But sadly I’m 27, so no can do. 27 year olds don’t need easy access to contraceptives like under-25s do, so I’m outside of their cutoff zone.
The man in Brook was sympathetic, and gave me this advice:
“Try a family planning clinic, they’re not institutionally ageist like we are.”
So I tried a family planning clinic. Except the one near my work was bastard closed for the whole of the next day and has working hours that would suit only an unemployed insomniac, I have not yet been able to visit them.
The ranty bit
Is it any fucking wonder we have massive sexual issues in the UK? Is it any wonder young girls get pregnant? The only thing that surprises me is that women aren’t screaming any louder about the malignant idiocy of this system.
Men: I ask you honestly and truly – would you put up with this? If the roles were reversed, and you had to take pills, would you put up with a situation where you had to go through this miserable rigmarole in order to fuck your lady without the use of a condom? I doubt it.
If the male pill were readily available you’d be able not just to buy it in supermarkets but to pick it up at a corner shop on the way to a fucking date. So far the only real contraceptive available to men is the condom – and you can buy that shit fucking everywhere.
I’m not saying this out of spite – if you guys had a pill I’d happily sign an e-petition to make it easy for you to access. You bloody well should be able to wander into a shop and say “Hey, shop assistant, I am a grown adult and am able to make my own contraceptive choices. Please can you sell me a pill that prevents my ladyfriend from getting up the duff?”
You should be able to do that. It should be your right, in a society that both madly loves sex and is also able to control your likelihood of procreating. You should be able to do that. And so should I.
Microgynon 30 – six month’s worth, please. And you can skip the moralising and the misery and the time off work and the queuing at the doctor’s surgery. I have to work, and I have to fuck, and you’re making these things unnecessarily incompatible.
I want you to spit in my mouth, call me a whore, come all over my face and then respect my opinions on gender politics.
Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.
Someone recently emailed me explaining that although he likes my blog, he doesn’t like the post I wrote about buttsex (in which a dude gets all sexy and dominant and forces his dick into my ass) because:
“I’m quite a big feminist these days, and that article especially just seems demeaning to you in a way that undermines feminist aims in gender relations.”
If someone can explain this to me I’ll give you a medal. In what way does my being demeaned (assuming I’ve consented to it) ‘undermine feminist aims in gender relations’?
Saying that female submission is somehow anti-feminist smacks of such patronising misogyny that I’m surprised someone had the balls to say it directly to my face (or inbox).
What undermines feminist aims far more is refusing to participate in a sexual act that both partners find arousing purely because you don’t want to hurt the poor woman taking part in it.
“Sorry, love, I’m afraid I can’t fuck you in the arse. I know you want it, and I really want it too, but I think participating in such a symbolically misogynist act would undermine the equality your sisterhood has strived for. So put your pants back on, darling.”
I don’t want to tear too much into this one individual – others have said similar things. I’ve been told before that I should be careful with what I say about submission, lest it leads people to think that I believe women deserve to be bound, gagged, humiliated and defiled. I’ve been told I shouldn’t publicly discuss my opinions on consent-play in case it induces guys to rape.
What could be more anti-feminist than censoring honesty about female desire in case it induces idiots to grab the wrong end of the stick?
Men are stupid and only think with their dicks
Fuck feminism just for a second, and let’s have a look at misandry. Do we honestly, truly believe that men are so goddamn stupid as to believe that the way they treat women in the bedroom necessarily has to be the way they treat them outside it?
Some men no doubt do see women as sexual objects, but how dare we assume they’re all the same? I have never met a man who thinks that because I submit to him in the bedroom I’ll be anything other than my usual feisty cock-stamping self in the pub. No man I know has ever assumed that because he has literally pissed all over me, he gets to metaphorically do the same when we’re not fucking.
Guys can separate their sex life from their normal life – degrading a woman in the bedroom does not inevitably lead to degrading all women outside of it. Let’s not patronise men by assuming that they are one-dimensional creatures who cannot understand the difference.
I am a filthy, intelligent, dirty, confident little slut
How is it possible for a man to accord women the same respect as he’d accord men if he also wants to mess a girl up by jizzing in her face and seeing how many fingers he can force into her gaping, willing cunt?
Well, because sex isn’t a fucking university debate, that’s why. When you shag you’re not championing a particular cause, you’re not stating your opinion on the way the world should be – you’re doing things that make your dick hard.
You can come all over my face, rub it in and make me eat it while crooning that I’m a filthy fucking slut who totally deserves it. You can squeeze my tits so hard it hurts and tell me I’ll take it because it’s what you want to do. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to do any of this in the street, a business meeting, or a situation other than the bedroom.
Likewise just because I squeeze your balls until you wince and force butt-plugs hard into your lubed-up ass it doesn’t mean that I don’t also respect your views on the economy.
You can tell me to shut the fuck up and do what you say in bed without implying that I should also do the hoovering, bear your children, earn less money than you and be denied my right to vote.
If I enjoy it and you enjoy it, let’s do it. We can discuss the philosophical ramifications over a pint in the pub afterwards. When I’ve cleaned your fucking jizz off my face.
UPDATE: the guy who wrote the email has now joined in to reply in the comments. Please check out what he says, because it’s important that I don’t just get on my own ranty platform and try to make you all think what I think. But also check it out because he’s very thoughtful and interesting, and heartfelt disagreement is one of my favourite things.