Advice

Miss Information: How can I get over my boyfriend’s huge library of porn?

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Miss Information is off this week. She’ll be back next week with an all-new column. Until then, check out this "Worst Online Date Ever" anecdote from reader Chip about a vegetarian with a seemingly unwarranted beef with her suitor. 

Let’s call the girl "Jessica." I email with her for a few days, then we trade phone numbers. I say, let’s meet up Saturday night. She agrees. I say, "How would you feel about a Brazilian steakhouse in Midtown? They bring you pretty much every kind of meat on the planet until you physically restrain them…"

She agrees, and we meet up that Saturday evening. She piles up at the salad bar, and declines every meat brought to the table. After dinner (which, by the by, set me back about $170, with drinks, dessert, etc.), we’re walking down the street toward the subway. She’s very quiet, she didn’t eat much at all, so I ask her if she’s okay. She turns to me, and says, rather angrily, "I’m really annoyed at you." I don’t know why, so I ask.

She says, "You took me to a steakhouse. Obviously, you didn’t care to find out that I’m a vegetarian." I say, hang on, I suggested a STEAKHOUSE, and told you, they bring you all different kinds of meats. That, right there, would have been your cue to tell me no, that you’re a vegetarian, but you didn’t say anything about it!

She said, "You didn’t ask, so I didn’t feel like you even cared to find out."

I replied, "I think asking if you were okay with a steakhouse qualifies as inquiring about your feelings toward the consumption of meat."

She disagreed, said I should have asked, specifically, if she was a meat-eater or not, then ended the discussion with, "Well, I hope it was expensive. Good bye."

Chip is the winner of a free copy of Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Field Guide to Guys, Erin’s first (but hopefully not last) book.

Dear Miss Information,

I’m a cheater. I’ve been blissfully married for eight years and have cheated about half a dozen times. I’m constantly on the prowl for more. Not in a sleazy way, either. I court them just like anyone. It’s not a one-night kind of thing.

I guess I’m writing because I’m conflicted. I really, truly love my wife, but I seem to have a deep biological need to be "the man" for more than just her. I treat these women like goddesses, and I’ve been fortunate that I’ve chosen women who are discreet. When I read stories about these sixty-year-old men who finally get outed as having two families, I feel jealous. If polygamy were legal, I’d have at least three wives. Am I okay? Is this natural? I feel like a frickin’ ape. Be honest. Be ruthless. I can take it. I just need an outside opinion. I have never confided any of this to my friends. NOBODY knows. — Cheater Cheater Pumpkin-Eater

Dear Cheater Cheater,

You’re a cheater. Fine. Cheat away. But don’t pull that "Oh, but it’s biological and evolutionary and I can’t help it ’cause I’m just an ape who needs to spread his seed" crap with me. You know what else apes do? They throw shit at people. Because human beings have evolved (or intelligent design-ized, if you’re not into the whole Darwin thing), shit-throwing is no longer an acceptable standard of behavior. The same goes for fucking everything that moves without considering other people’s feelings.

If you envy those guys with two families, move to Utah and join a religious sect. If the pace out West is a little too slow for a swingin’ guy like you, why not do the right thing and tell your wife you want an open relationship? If she doesn’t go for it, find someone who will. There’s so much more I could go off about here, starting with the women you "treat like goddesses." Last time I checked, most goddesses don’t have to be "discreet," which is really just a euphemism for shitty and sneaky. They’re strutting hand-in-hand with their beau, not tucked away in the back booth of some restaurant worrying whether someone’s wife is going to show up any second.

Dear Miss Information, 

I am in a truly wonderful relationship with someone I know I’ll spend the rest of my life with. The problem: He has a large amount of porn on our shared computer. It’s not anything over the top, just normal run-of-the-mill videos of naked girls, but it hurts me like a knife to the heart. He keeps the contents password protected. I feel like he’s not sharing a part of his life. I would love to watch this stuff with him; I see it as chance to get a window into what other things he would like from me sexually — what he’d like me to look like, dress like, act out. But when I mention this (or, more frequently, cry about how it is taking a chunk of my self-esteem and flushing it down the toilet), I get a wall of silence in response. He will never allow me access to this section of the computer. Never.

He tells me it has nothing to do with me. He says I am gorgeous, that he is incredibly turned on by me, and I believe him. Still, the porn bothers me. I want to know what he gets from watching this stuff and seeing pictures of other girls. I know I should just let it go and not make a big deal of this, but I just don’t know how to go about it. —  SM 

Dear SM, 

Porn isn’t for sharing. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Porn is for sharing, but it should be shared freely, not under a state of psychological duress. You can’t demand access to a personal, psychologically loaded possession and expect a cheerful handover. 

The intentions are noble, but let’s face it: there’s no way you’re going to feel good about everything that’s in that folder. I’m sure you’ll find some of it’s titillating, but the anime girls pushing mollusks up their vaginas you might regard as really fucked up. 

But it’s his fucked up. Not yours. Just because he enjoys looking at it doesn’t mean he wants to introduce it into his reality. Sure, there may be certain scenarios he’s interested in actually carrying out. But he’d rather approach it on his own terms, when he’s ready, than be prodded into it by a partner. 

Your boyfriend is a human and will occasionally have sexual thoughts that don’t involve you. I don’t know what else to say but sorry. That’s the way the boner bounces. No doubt that makes you a little freaked and jealous, and baby girl, I’m with you. Years ago I gave my ex endless grief about his porn collection. Crying jags, accusations, threats. I’d tell him I was okay with everything, then change my mind seconds later. 

I found the best way to deal with all this was to just give up. Adopt an attitude of, "Fuck it. I don’t care anymore," and stop letting it dominate your thoughts. Can’t do that? Fine, fake it. Trying is better than not trying. Keep reminding yourself that thinking about this shit is fruitless and boring. Eventually you’ll get to the point where it doesn’t bother you as much. You may even go the route I did and start a dirty library of your own. (Just in case you’re curious, I have some crazy clips of gay dudes self-fellating, but sadly, no mollusks). 

Your boyfriend’s not entirely off the hook here. It’s selfish of him to refuse to watch porn with you. Not everyone’s comfortable with it, but he owes it to you to at least try. Create a new folder on your desktop, one that contains smut the two of you searched out together. Make a deal: you will stop bugging him about his smut cache if he agrees to be an enthusiastic participant in this new venture. 

Ultimately, fearing this stuff is about as sensible as fearing killer bunny rabbits or the boogeyman. He’s not in love with these porn stars, he’s never going to meet these porn stars and he doesn’t think about these porn stars when he’s not watching them. You’re the one doing that, not him. Perhaps your guy should be jealous of you instead?

Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.