On Pornography

A reader writes:

It strikes me that Ross bases his argument on the assumption that the porn watching offends the non-watching partner. In that case I can understand his claim that the watching constitutes a form of adultery, though I strongly disagree. Surely it is, at most, an act of dishonesty -- one that has to be weighed against the right to privacy that persists even within the closest of relationships.

But, of course, his original assumption doesn't hold in many cases. I watch porn; so does my girlfriend. Sometimes together, sometimes alone. Individually, it's a turn-on; mutually, a happy addition to our sex lives. We're hardly unique. The key is that we both know about the other's porn-watching and heartily approve of it. There's no betrayal involved. There's friendship. And some other delightful things that also begin with F.

More broadly, Ross's stance raises the question of what constitutes an adult relationship. Images on paper or screen cannot possibly form the basis of a relationship, adult or otherwise; and without a relationship, surely there can be no adultery. More importantly, his stance would force "offending" porn-watchers to one of two conclusions: continued deception of their partner -- a sort of sexual stealing-from-the-cookie-jar -- or submission to their partner's sense of propriety -- what we used to call peer pressure. Both are infantilizing.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In