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Advice

Are my boyfriend’s secret porn habits a sign of something darker?

  • Author: Wayne and Wanda
  • Updated: January 26
  • Published January 26

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

My boyfriend and I moved in together somewhat recently and I took on the cable bill. The last few rounds it seemed higher, so I actually looked at the invoice this time and saw that three times, he ordered porn.

I'm upset for a few reasons. First off, that he would assume I would pay for that. Second, that I haven't been out of town, which means he was watching these (and presumably doing the obvious) when I was likely sleeping in the next room. Third, while one was normal enough — something about 18-year-old college girls with big boobs — the other two were what I would call more fringe. In particular, one was about some bondage stuff — "bound and gagged." Ugh. The other I won't even say, but it was frickin' weird, definitely not straight-guy missionary stuff, and involved male-on-male sex acts, or at least the title suggested that.

So I confronted him and it didn't go well. He told me I was uptight and being cheap because I wanted him to pay me back for the fees. He said I was being a prude. He said the porn helps him unwind and lots of guys watch it and are still in happy relationships. I told him my issue was with the bondage and the stuff that had men doing stuff with each other and asked if that turned him on and he totally lost it. He said he ordered all these when he was up late and drunk and he doesn't even remember what he watched.

Now I'm worried that maybe my boyfriend just isn't who I thought he was, and if he's lying about that, what else is he lying about? And despite the extensive talk, we didn't agree on any kind of resolution. Advice?

Wanda says:

Well, your boyfriend is right about one thing: a lot of people watch porn. And some of them happen to also be in happy relationships. Some of them also become too reliant on porn and let it eclipse real-life sexuality. Others use porn as an outlet to explore erotic or taboo or — I'll just say it — some really messed-up, kinky stuff.

Look, just because your boyfriend decided drunkenly to watch some weird movies doesn't mean he's gay, or into 18-year-olds, or is going to bust out the nipple clamps. But it may mean he's curious, wanting to experiment, and could be a little restless. See this as an opportunity to introduce some creative new plays into your bedroom game.

He may be into things that make you uncomfortable. That's OK. You don't have to like what he likes. You do, as his partner, have to do your part to create safe space to talk openly and not feel judged or attacked. And likewise, he has to respect your boundaries and desires.

He also needs to respect your bank account; he should totally pay you back for those videos.

Wayne says:

I'm not sure what I'm more appalled by here: this dude's lack of shame about tacking a bunch of unannounced charges onto your cable bill or the fact that he's paying to view pornography in the first place. I mean, hello – internet. Free porn and no paper trail. (So I hear.) Come on, man. Rookie move.

Unless he wants to get caught, that is. Maybe he is bored. And curious. And doesn't have the nerve to tell you or come to terms with himself. Or he might have no idea what he really wants or what he's doing and is trying to figure it all out. So, he watches porn after dark and throws a fit when you confront him – bad acting and/or big red flags.

Either way, it's important to remember: one person's freaky sex stuff is another person's Tuesday night. As long as it's legal and everyone is consenting, do your thing, as far as I'm concerned. Doesn't mean you should judge. But it also doesn't mean you have to go along with it.

I wouldn't expect clarity from him anytime soon, so now this is about what you're willing to do – continue to add $50 to your cable bill every month and try not to worry about what he's really up to when you're sleeping; take a ride down the dark-and-winding freaky freeway with him; or tell him you don't feel like you can trust him and he either cuts the cord on the porn or he finds a new couch in a new place to have his viewing sessions and whatever else it is he does when he "gets drunk."

Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at wanda@adn.com.

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