Thursday, February 01, 2007
My exhusband had what I guess you could call a "porn addiction".
He'd come home after work and immediately hop online and start clicking through his vast collection of saved pictures. It was the routine. After supper he'd get back online again until about midnight, most nights.
I was in charge of curating his collection, sorting it by theme and date and any number of other criteria, and finding new and interesting additions to the collection. that was a daily job for me.
Over the seven years I was in charge of the porn collection, I saw a lot of porn. 7 years x 365 days x however-many-websites it took to find something new each day...I can't even do the math accurately.
but I observed some things, maybe some of them relevant.
I observed that for all the actual porn out there in the internet, there's at least half again as many sites that will happily take your money and give you no porn at all in return.
I observed that there's at least as much retouching, modifying, "enhancing", and straight-up fake-ass photoshop shenanigans going on as there is actual photographic documentation of various types of people engaged in various types of sexual activity.
I observed that it's easy to make a consensual scene look horrific, and just as easy to make documentary evidence of felony sex offenses look totally innocent.
I observed that while some of this sexual material really spoke to me, and some of it left me just sort of neutral, some of it made me feel dead inside, and I grieved passionately for the souls of the mothers, sisters and daughters so obviously deeply damaged and irreparably harmed.
So I had to make this weird judgment call as to whether I considered the picture to be "okay". and it was a judgment call based on... on what? on nothing. on how it made me feel. based solely on an arbitrary non-scientific little fee-fee.
dead inside? not "okay". neutral or intrigued? "okay".
Not all of the deadening, damaging stuff was naked fucking, or hardcore BDSM-style "scenes". That was the weird thing. And not all the naked fucking and hardcore BDSM fell into the "deadening, damaging" category. Some of the fully-clothed, non-tied-up, non-violently-penetrated, sometimes not-even-penetrated-at-all pictures left me a weeping, trembling wreck, wracked with guilt and sympathy and anguish for the poor woman in the picture. Conversely, some of the "gonzo-esque" stuff seemed "okay", even, dare I say it, kind of intriguing.
Some of it, although apparently a far far far cry from safe or sane or normal, looked like a legitimate documentation of consensual and non-dangerously-deviant human sexuality.
and some of it looked just-plain-WRONG.
When I told him that some of it made me feel dead inside, to his credit he said "I don't care. you're too sensitive."
When I said to him "hey, that's someone's daughter or mom or sister!" he said "I don't care. they should have been more careful, the sluts."
When I said to him "that does not look consensual," he said "I don't care."
and he'd continue on. he'd masturbate some more, on and on into the night. After a while it became more boring that traumatic.
Nonetheless, I remain somewhat ambivalent on the subject.
I hate him, but I don't hate porn.
The fact that he looked at porn didn't so much bother me. The fact that he completely did not care whether the people in the pictures were consenting - that did bother me. The fact that he made it a way of life, all day every day - that did bother me. The fact that his porn problem was MY porn problem - that bothered me too.
Even so, I am still laboring under the delusion that there's an effective way to stop trafficking and exploitation and coercion which does not limit the full range of healthy (or at least non-harmful) human sexual expression.
I don't know. any thoughts?
First of all, you are amazing for being able to see the difference between pictures, especially across the genre spectrum. I'm impressed. Not many people could do that. I'm not sure I could.
AS for " the delusion that there's an effective way to stop trafficking and exploitation and coercion which does not limit the full range of healthy (or at least non-harmful) human sexual expression."
I don't think that will ever happen. As long as there is human evil, there will be human exploitation. As long as there are humans, there will be human evil. Not all sexual expression is evil (I am definitely not saying that it is), but much that is evil is expressed sexually because of the power that is displayed.
As an individual, or as a (relatively) small collective, you(we)can fight the exploitation demon on our own turf, in our own small ways. I do it by raising my boys to respect the autonomy of women. I can't do much for the global trafficking, but I can do that little bit. You have things you can do. Like any other evil, if you try to bite the whole thing you'll choke, but you can nibble on your personal corner.
You've already started, by recognizing that some of it is *bad* and *wrong*.
well, yeah - I mean, I'm not completely depraved, contrary to what may be popular opinion.
I'm just wicked conflicted.
I am a strong voice for healthy sexual expression, even where such expression might look weird or painful or harmful or humiliating or simply not "normal".
and if it's okay to do, why is it not okay to take a picture of, or write about, or otherwise exchange information about?
But I can't seem to come out for the good stuff without appearing like I come out for the bad stuff, or am blissfully ignorant.
keeps me up nights.
And I am afraid I am with her 100% on this issue. I've seen a lot o porn in my day too, and you're right, even I see stuff that I think "that is NOT right"...and yeah, even I get bothered by it. RT is also right in we can't save the world, but we can try and help a little bit, which I think we all do in our own way...and that's a good thing.
just a thought.
Mark my words, this attempt at exploring yourself will result in more potent attacks against you by the radfem community that already thinks your too soft.
what's the worst that could happen, that hasn't already happened a hundred times already?
I speak my truth. they're entitled to speak theirs. even here.
I've never been much of a hardliner. I'm such a fencesitter I have a white picket jammed permanently up my ass. not new news.
let them come. or let them quote. or let them "privately" ridicule. that won't change my experience.
this is the place for ammunition, after all. whatev.
I'm not a lawsuit kind of girl. but, you know, bring it...they can have 10% of all my abundant wealth and riches and ... hey, get your hands off my sewing machine...
As for the rest of it--I'm honestly sort of confused about what you're asking.
I am still laboring under the delusion that there's an effective way to stop trafficking and exploitation and coercion which does not limit the full range of healthy (or at least non-harmful) human sexual expression.
First, "trafficking and exploitation and coercion" are not exactly "healthy human sexual expression."
Second, "trafficking and exploitation and coercion" happen outside of sexual contexts every damned day--and if we don't think that we are working towards a world where those three things, sex-related or not, can be severely curtailed or eliminated, then really, what's the point of being "liberal" or "feminist?"
So... I think I'm misunderstanding?
I'm anti-trafficking but not anti-porn.
I'm anti-nonconsensual-sex but not anti-porn.
it seems to me like the minute I say "I, Heidi, am not anti-porn", it becomes very easy to reply "You, Heidi, are for trafficking and rape."
and maybe wanting a world where there's all kinds of nekkid pictures (and related material) but no kind of coercion/exploitation/human evil is too much to ask. hence "laboring under the delusion".
Well sure, anyone can draw whatever conclusion they wish. I can say "I'm Christian" then you can say "You're anti woman/free expression/beer on Sunday"
You can't control anyone elses conclusions, and the minute you try you might as well get yourself sized for a canvas coat, because you *will* make yourself stark raving if you do.
If you find a few people who's opinions you share, and who can support you and whom you can support as well, surround yourself with them, and the mess from other quarters will be easier to cope with.
Well, it's always seemed like a pretty simple, straightforward concept to me, but the longer I'm around and the more people I talk to, I'm realizing that apparently there's something really HARD about that idea, for a lot of people.
What I don't understand is WHY it's such a hard concept to grasp.
I understand if you don't want to answer this question (totally respect it if you don't), but why were you the one in charge of finding him new porn?
If you find a few people who's opinions you share, and who can support you and whom you can support as well, surround yourself with them, and the mess from other quarters will be easier to cope with.
Wise words, those.
amber: i don't get it either. Especially in the light of--and correct me if i'm wrong, AP, but, it seems to me that it's quite possible that dick ex could've decided to convert to some sort of faith which demanded he burn all his porn; burned all his porn; and -still- remained a completely abusive asshole.
"correlation is not causation." if there even is a clear correlation here.
"it seems to me like the minute I say "I, Heidi, am not anti-porn", it becomes very easy to reply "You, Heidi, are for trafficking and rape."
every minute? Hell, I get it every 15 seconds or so!
I'm really not sure what my porn feelings "boil down to." I hated it for a while -- but this was largely a direct result from That Fuckhead I dated in highschool. He was a shitheel/rapist/sociopath who liked porn and as those years with him are unfortunately burned into my brain, I find I have hard time thinking of porn as just porn.
I think, for me, if a type of porn makes me feel creepy after I've seen it, best to leave it alone.
My General Rule of Thumb has always been what happens between 100%consentual adults is no one's business.
Other General Rule of Thumb: No ANIMALS!
first,I did it because he asked me to.
then I did it because he told me to.
then I did it because if I didn't it caused problems.
mostly I did it because I was easily intimidated and immature and weak and so forth.
"honey, are you sure you really need more porn? I mean, you have stuff you haven't even looked at yet..."
"oh, what - you got a problem with porn now?"
(thinking...no, YOU have a problem with porn)
"no, it's just...well...I'm not sure I can look for stuff for you and get dinner ready when you want it..."
"look - why are you being so uncooperative? do you need me to adjust your attitude?"
"well, no, but..."
"can't you just do what you're told?"
"it's just hard to do two things at once, is all..."
"well when you get off your lazy ass it's amazing what you can accomplish."
(thinking - oh, "lazy ass", is it? well let me tell you something, mister...)
"you know some of those pictures are pretty creepy...and I'm not sure it's healthy to spend all day every day with the porn anyway..."
"do I have to tell you twice?"
(thinking - woah, okay, went too far...yikes)
I did not often challenge him, to my shame.
Needless to say, I'm glad he is an ex.
I don't know whether it's a delusion to try and envisage a world where we can have a full range of sexual expression without exploitation and coercion: I'd like to think we can, but then I'm an idealist. I just think you've gotta set your aims high, you know, like we know - really - that we're probably never going to make poverty history, but it doesn't mean we can't aim for that as an ideal. I also like to think that most people aren't naturally arseholes, that we could build a world where everyone's respectful of each other, but most people would shake their head sadly at me for that.
I see what you and Amber are saying about porn being a symptom not the root problem: this guy and probably many other guys are disrespectful arseholes (can I say that? I just did, sorry if it offends)in the first place. But I still maintain that mainstream porn teaches a hatred of - or at least a disdain towards - women and therefore is also a part of the problem. Of course not every porn user reacts in the same way to it, not all are affected by it, but I do think it is a factor in changing or creating certain behaviours in some male users, such as the tendency to disregard a female partner's feelings. This is what I see when I read those search terms I posted on my blog.
or does it reinforce a tendency that's already there?
is it a case of life imitating art imitating life imitating art imitating life imitating art imitating life imitating art imitating...?
which came first - a sort of documentary evidence of people fucking, or an exploitive, dehumanizing, socially-poisonous idea made visual?
I understand if one wants to argue that it isn't any -less- influential. Or that it can be more overtly (explicitly) hateful (i am taking your word for it; it's not been my experience of porn, but my knowledge of mainstream hetporn isn't extensive, and also some things might not push my buttons as personally as others).
i just keep wondering: does it make sense to focus so heavily and exclusively on -porn?- What if it were just one more aspect of the sexist media?
I am of course talking about the effects of the -imagery- on the watchers; concerns about how nonregulated stuff is actually -made-, the possible exploitation of the actors, is i think a separate and to me much more serious concern.
oh, no, please. carry on. call my exhusband a disrespectful asshole all you like. I do.
he, of all people in the world, is exempt from my guidelines on civility.
not all men, just him. he's a unique special snowflake whom I melt with the fire of my hate at least three times a day, whether I need it or not...
so, yeah, feel free.
someone on some thread somewhere (and I say that with serious embarrassment because I can't remember either the thread or the commenter) likened pornography to propaganda.
and, I was thinking, huh. that's very interesting and I had not looked at it that way before.
propaganda REALLY WORKS when it's done right.
it got me thinking, that's for sure. I wish I could remember the thread and the commenter so I could properly credit hir.
Yep, pretty much.
And also - not just the sexist media, but the sexist society in which we live.
This is what I mean when I say misogynistic porn is a symptom. As feminists I'm sure we all understand that nothing exists in a vacuum. The things we as humans produced are going to be influenced by the society and culture in which we live, for better or for worse. Some people recognize that and make a conscious effort to do something beyond the status quo. (Which is why there is porn out there that isn't misogynistic.) Some don't.
Er... now I feel like I'm not really explaining my meaning very well. I hope this is at least partially clear.
I mean, I feel like, with Abusive Ex, he was an asshole, but it wasn't porn that made him that way.
yeah - he was an asshole about most of the rest of human experience too.
one of the things I liked about him, at first, was that he had a college degree and a decent job in a highly technical field. Most of my previous partners had experienced much difficulty in the job world, and I was most impressed that he was well educated and steadily employed.
"he has a good job and a good education. he can't possibly be a bad guy."
how wrong I was.
but, for what it's worth:
my first husband, and subsequent male partner, were not interested in porn. neither of them were politically particularly anti-porn, they just weren't interested.
but, you know, they had other character flaws which contributed to intolerably abusive behavior.
just as abusive in spirit if not in degree (physically, emotionally, etc.), but nothing "pornified" (so to speak - am I using that word correctly?) about it.
and, while i understand that some people find it more unavoidable than i apparently do, porn that is, for whatever reason, all the same: i'm a lot more inclined to call o i dunno Fox News or even images used in beer ads "propaganda," on account of even if i don't look at those magazines or videos or even the teevee, it is pretty impossible to avoid a six-foot screaming technicolor SERIES! OF! ADS!!! staring me in the face every time i go to ride the subway. know what i mean?
First can I say that I am really glad that this husband is now an ex.
I really had a good think about your question because I've been there, not being able to vocalise why something bothers me and draw a clear distinction between 'similar but different' things.
First I want to look at the relationship between the pornographic image and the viewer. I think the clue is partly in the question. Look at how your ex defined the women in the pictures. As sluts. First they are objectified by porn into nothing but the the sexual element of a human being. But your ex does not seem to recognize that there might be anything else to the woman, even when you try to explain this. So the woman in the picture is nothing but her sexual parts. But the disturbing thing about it is that she is not merely the catalyst for his sexual desire, but she is clearly also the object of his disrespect, for 'choosing' to reveal herself sexually to him. It is this that makes porn disturbing to me. With our sexual parts available without any other 'humanising' context, we become an object of contempt to men, not simply desire. I doubt the particular images that you deem OK/not OK were viewed differently by him on this point: he probably thought all the women were sluts. As, I imagine, do pretty much all men when they view this stuff, the 'OK' images included. It is this attitude that offends me so much. Perhaps the images that disturb you the most are those in which a woman's demeaned status is most explicit, even if it is just in the expression in their eyes.
I think it's also important to note who is in control of the photos. These are not just photos in a woman's private photo album that she can control by showing only to people she chooses; they are on the internet for anybody to see, out of her control. If a woman for her own pleasure puts a naked photo of herself on the net then perhaps it is OK (though I would still the motivation that led her to do it). But if her slimeball partner put it up without her permission then that is a violation of trust and privacy. Which leads me to my second point.
We have to look at the process by which the pictures were created. The vast majority of pornographic pictures on the internet and elsewhere are the product of an exploitative industry, even criminal where it involves trafficking and coercion. This is the element of pornography which most people tend to ignore. They treat porn as though it never involved a real human being in its manufacture, and focus solely on the viewer's sexual response to the picture and say it's natural to be turned on by a naked woman therefore it's healthy.
But porn is created by using real people and furthermore I doubt they are women who happily chose it as a career option, who said to themselves: hmmm, law, medicine, biochemistry or porn? I chooose porn! Most women go into it out of financial necessity; and then there are those who are trafficked and coerced, as you mention. And let's think about the distinction between child and adult porn: I bet a large proportion are the same individuals a few horrific years later. If the adult women in porn didn't enter the industry after college, I'm pretty sure the child porn victims aren't heading off to medical school.
I will try to draw an analogy. In the same way that I think eating meat is 'natural' for a human being, I am nonetheless a vegetarian because I am appalled by the cruelty of the meat industry. To me, women in the porn industry are the sexual equivalent of the battery chicken. But at least nobody despises the chicken and blames it for its fate.
Maye some photos look less harmful than others but for me what it really boils down to is whether the woman had any choice about being in porn, and the disturbing fact that so many men despise her for being in it.
Actually, that very statement applies to two of my friends. One of 'em might even be here soon to tell you so herself. The other doesn't bother trying to explain herself anymore to people who might not want to hear her.
Sure, they may be the minority. But they do exist. It's important to remember that, rather than painting all women in porn with one brush (rather it's as "sluts" or as "victims").
(Raises hand) Ayep. Law or porn? Hum, porn..right here.
For the potential monitors and all..I will say upfront by NO means do all women in porn end up their by choice, and some of those who do chose to do it may have sketchy reasons for doing so, but some do choose to do it...all rational like and everything.
Yeah, on that media thing...I was watching Sin City today. Love me that movie, but I noted something...a whole lot of female victim charcters being saved by the menz...and the hard ass defend their own territory kick butt and take names women- the prostitutes. I can dig that...
Anyway, some men (like AP's ex) are just ASSHOLES. Porn is a symptom of their issue, and chances are, this guy thought all women, not just the porn ones, were sluts deep down. Men who hate and beat women hate and beat women, and it does not matter if the woman is a doctor, a housewife and mother, or a porn chick. All female, all hated.
See, but my concern is: how does this get any better by continuing to stigmatize porn & sex work. If it's such an awful awful thing, -categorically,- no matter -what- any given woman says, i.e. she -can't- like it, then, how does this encourage people to -stop- seeing the women who still are in it as "degraded."
i mean, to me the desire to believe that the woman -isn't- enjoying it is truly fucked up; but that is a legacy of our Puritan heritage. and is, i believe, actually in the minority, albeit no doubt a substantial one.
but a lot of men, even in my limited contact with hetpron and its enthusiasts, they -like- the fantasy that the woman -is- enjoying it. That's -why- they're watching it. "Oh, you're so hot. Oh, I love it when you do this to me. Oh, I love your male body bits and everything that comes from them; it's not disgusting or icky, it TURNS ME ON."
Now, one can certainly make a case that the insistence that a woman -must- like thus and so because say-hey! i saw it on the Internets/in a movie onc't! is deeply problematic, and, yup, objectifying, yadda.
but. the problem -there- istm is the dogged insistence of the man in question in
1) not being able or willing to distinguish fantasy from reality
2) not being able or willing to hear what he doesn't want to hear. i.e. "no."
THAT is a MAJOR problem; that attitude may be reflected in any number of pr0n flicks, sure, and a man watching such flicks may well use it, along with the acts viewed therein, as justification for whatever he's demanding;
however, the ROOT problem is STILL -not- that movie; it is the guy's -entitlement-, it is what he has been taught by a lifetime of parental and societal messages -across the boards- that getting what he wants from a woman is his right and proper due (even or especially if he's not entitled to much else, he should "at least" get -that,- goddamit) it is his lack of empathy, it is his, well? generally being an asshole.
and, i really don't see how focusing on the porn, porn, PORN really helps to address that problem. and while I get the concerns about exploitation as well as sexist imagery, once again, my concern is that relentless focus on the porn itself aids and abets the reactionary forces who would be all too happy to ban the pr0n and still be even -more- repressive, sexist, teaching of male entitlement, etc., than even the current climate. And, once again, doesn't really address the heart of the problem, either personal or political.
so no, i don't think "it's all good," lazy handwave, free market excuses everything, yadda; on the other hand...well, that.
There are a number of ways to go about addressing this; i don't find abolition personally attractive.
I'm sorry I had to remove your original comment, but I found the photograph that linked to your name to be a little too disturbing for my blog. I have some under-18 readers, and some folks access this site from their jobs, so I exercised a little protective discretion and deleted your original comment.
(For what it's worth, I just don't understand fake-ass photoshop chicanery, as demonstrated by the photo you linked to. Seriously, isn't real life weird enough?)
However, the text of your comment follows, in its embarrassing entirety - not one word has been omitted:
"why were you the one in charge of finding him new porn?"
Because she obviously has very low mate value and is lucky to even be able to get a man, much less keep one for long.
Oh, I am luckier than you know to have found a husband who loves me. It's truly god's grace that we met, and have been together and just stupid junior-high-school swoony lovestruck over each other ever since.
so yeah, lucky. that's me.
Anyhow, any chance you could UL this 7-year porn collection onto a file-sharing site for us? Be a shame for all that hard work to go to waste! Kthnx! =)
when I left my ex, I left that all behind. Don't know what he did with it. sorry, all lost to the ages.
"all women, not just the porn ones, were sluts deep down"
True, and if your dick is long enough to reach this deep down, you will find this to be true.
you're entitled to your opinion, delusional and asinine as it may be. Unfortunately, it's been my experience that no matter how reasonably and rationally I try to explain it to people like you, you remain pigheaded and obnoxiously juvenile.
on second thought, calling you "pigheaded" may be an insult to pigs.
I have a feeling you chose to comment here just to see if you could get people riled up.
We're pretty underwhelmed.
compared with what we're used to around here, you hardly register on our radar.
Please, feel free to comment any time you have something less moronic to contribute. in the meantime, you should probably sit still and be quiet because the grownups are talking.
I do have an issue with this line, though:
AP said, "I did not often challenge him, to my shame."
There's no shame in survival. There's no shame in doing whatever it takes to get through each day and keeping an eye out for safe openings to sneak through a bit at a time until we're safely on the other side of the door. Getting sucked into abusive crap can happen to anyone. Finding the way out carefully is the path of the wise and courageous.
This having been said: the friends I have who have been married to porn addicts like your ex said the porn addiction was bad for the relationship, distorted the guys' perspectives on many things, etc.
Perhaps the key word there is addiction more than it is porn?
well, I think it is, but I'm not an expert.
in your friends' marriages, was everything totally fine before porn, and then all of a sudden the wheels came off the wagon?
In fact, it is a valuable skill, although it's unfortunate how we learn to develop it. It takes enormous effort to survive abuse and you had what it took. Be proud of that and give your younger self slack for those times you weren't perfect, OK?
I haven't looked at porn and don't know a lot of people who do, so I can't contribute much there.
I do work in advertising, I don't see much distinction between pro-consumer product imagery and porn. Same techniques, same skills, same desired result: profit.
I would love if my printing skills were used to create only beautiful art and wisdom. But that doesn't pay the bills.
So what would porn be like if skillful people were able to express themselves well? Pretty cool, I expect. I presume some of that exists, I'm just not aware of it.
Basically, my point is to take your sentence and apply it to All human expression, not sexual:
"I am still laboring under the delusion that there's an effective way to stop trafficking and exploitation and coercion which does not limit the full range of healthy (or at least non-harmful) human ... expression."
I share your delusion!
No. That's the thing. Both, I would have recommended against at the beginning. The porn thing was one of the stages in the worsening of the situation. One got divorced but because of physical violence. The other seems to have made a 'porn at the office only' rule, but that guy is still weird in additional ways. They both do claim it exacerbated the problem, though, because these guys came to prefer porn over sex with an actual person.
My theoretical mind says, it's got to be a symptom not a cause, or at least it has to be developing in tandem with a bunch of other weirdnesses. But these two women say the porn was *pedagogical* - it inculcated and encouraged certain attitudes.
I really do not know, it is a mystery. I do not know too many straight men who are heavily into porn and are not also problematic individuals, but then I do know a lot of gay ones who are heavily into porn and also seem perfectly 'mentally healthy' (and have sex with real people too, not just with images). I do not know what to do with this observation, either.
This post directly led to my writing a post about some things I've recently learned about my current bf. Before I read this post, I was not sure I could write my post and put it up for all to see.
So thank you. I feel better just having written it out honestly and publically.
Thing is, I've seen porn that makes me want to throw things at the screen, I've seen stuff that does nothing for me but doesn't actually bother me, and I've seen stuff that definately does work for me. I get what you're saying about the "something" that squicks you out and it has nothing to do with expliciteness or lack thereof - hell, I've done enough BSDM that the sight of someone getting tied up, cropped etc doesn't bother me in the slightest. Maybe something about a person's eyes, or ther facial expression? It's hard to pin down but I know it when I see it, the look that says "I wish I wasn't doing this".
I think that's what most people really get upset by - the stuff that makes your heart ache for the people involved. And it has nothing to do with positions, kinkiness, etc. That's the stuff I wish could be gotten rid of, but how to do that without also banning the stuff that's harmless?
That's what bothers me about the anti side. They seem to think that it's all the same, and it isn't. It's kind of like saying "Most Hollywood blockbusters suck, therefore any movie made in LA must be terrible". Well, no, it's not that simple.
Also, I've met guys who use porn and are perfectly decent human beings (ie, probably 99% of all men) and then I've met guys who use porn in wierd, creepy ways, and who clearly self-select stuff that feeds their own madness. The thing is, I'm pretty sure that the madness was their before the porn was.
And about your ex, agredd with everyone else - the guy was an asshole. If he hadn't been able to use the porn to manipulate you and make you miserable, he would probably have just found something else, like making you clean the bathroom 15 times a day. An asshole is an asshole is an asshole, regardelss of the specific method he used to express his general assholishness.
well, that is my opinion.
I will even go a step further and say that blaming porn removes most of his own responsibility for being a home-grown jerk.
And about your ex, agredd with everyone else - the guy was an asshole. If he hadn't been able to use the porn to manipulate you and make you miserable, he would probably have just found something else, like making you clean the bathroom 15 times a day.
who's to say he didn't?
well, not the bathroom, and not 15 times a day.
someday I'll tell the story about how he thought the kitchen was dirty so we took it apart to clean it.
we reduced every swinging object in the kitchen to its component parts, on into the night, and I degreased and washed each one three times, on into the wee hours.
this went on for at least two weeks.
ever wonder how many bolts, nuts, screws, washers, springs, widgets, and little-plastic-thingies are in your refrigerator? your oven? your microwave?
I know. or knew.
"bed? what do you mean bed? there's work to do! you don't expect me to do this all myself, do you? you think germs care what time it is? what - are you afraid of a little soap and water? god, how could one person be so lazy...hey, get back here and scrub this! don't make me come get you! I don't know why you don't value a clean house. I value a clean house. don't I mean anything to you?..."
yeah, porn was the tip of his iceberg.
I like what you wrote about the difference between pictures that look ok, and pictures that make you feel dead inside. I agree that it doesn't correlate with how rough the "action" is, or how explicitly it's shown. I think it has something to do with whether the people being photographed are comfortable with it, or if it seems they're being pressured. (It's not quite so simple as "consenting" vs "forced" when you hear about people consenting only when they're threatened with prison or homelessness.) Of course, it's complicated by the fact that an illusion of non-consent is a selling point for some kinds of porn, and some actresses create it on purpose. At the same time, the illusion that she doesn't really hate it, she's either very eager or just a little reluctant, is a huge selling point, and a lot of porn actresses try to create that illusion. So it can be hard to tell if you're seeing the difference between levels of consent or levels of acting skill. It's disturbing.
Porn, among other bipolar and manic depressive issues, ruined my marriage. And to be totally honest, I think those issues all tie together. It's a tincture. A salve. Something they can put on their mental and emotional wounds to numb it all.
Sad sad sad.