Boyfriend Watching Porn

This week’s Ask BISH is from someone asking about their boyfriend watching porn. Do all men watch porn?

My question is this. He said he rarely watches it and I found 2 instances on his phone where he has. He is a very intelligent and works for O2 and knows his way around technology…. He says he ” doesn’t remember” doing it. And can’t tell me why or where he did his acts. I have a childhood trauma from porn ” sexually abused” and he knows my thoughts and feelings on porn…..can he actually not remember or is he bullshitting me?

So I’ve answered this in a video rather than an article, but below are some notes summarising what I said.

Not everyone watches porn. It’s possible that he does only rarely watch it. Spectrum of how much people watch porn, or read porn, or listen to porn. Just as there’s a huge spectrum of sexually explicit materials. It could be that he can’t remember doing it or where he was when he did it. For some people their relationship to porn is so blase it’s like asking about the last time you watched an episode of Friends (always a bad idea).

He’s entitled to his own private sex life. We shouldn’t police what our partners do in private away from us. This is to do with his sex life, not yours. I even think that if you lived together it should be okay for you to have some ‘private time’. You can set limits about what you want to know about private time, but you shouldn’t interfere with their own private time.

Enjoying solo sex

Unless he’s given you permission to go looking through his phone, you shouldn’t be looking through his phone. It’s a sign that trust has broken down if you have gone looking for something that you know you didn’t want to find. 

Don’t give your partner your phone password

Remember that this is not something that he has shown you or made you watch. I don’t know about your experiences of abuse and porn. I know that porn is used to sexually abuse people, at a young age or an older age. It’s illegal and wrong to make someone watch something sexual that they don’t want to.

Also there is definitely abuse in the porn industry. There is also abuse and boundary crossing in TV and film around sex scenes. If your complaints about your boyfriend about watching porn is because you think that all porn is inherently abusive (which some people do think) then you should probably break up and find someone who thinks the same (many men do think this) and who don’t have any interest in porn. 

However, even with someone else, you shouldn’t be policing their fantasies, or their private sexual times.

Will I enjoy sex after being raped?

Comment below if you like. I moderate all comments before they appear, just so you know!

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I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Justin Hancock

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