I love porn, my partner doesn’t, and that’s OK

Navigating differing sexual interests during lockdown can be tricky, but it all comes down to honesty in the end.

My partner and I have lived together for 4 years so you’d think there wasn’t much more to learn about each other. Household chores, snoring, finances, the Game of Thrones final season, we’ve navigated it all. We even have polyamory down, dedicating specific time to other partners while maintaining a good balance and constant communication.

One thing that has come to light while fully locked down together however, is just how much porn I consume.

Now, the fact that I liked porn was never a secret and it has never negatively affected our sex life. I enjoy porn but he’s never been bothered about it (preferring to pour his energies into dating or happening upon hot scenes in mainstream movies). The amount of porn I consumed, was however, undisclosed.

Before lockdown I worked from home a few days a week, while he’d be in the office. I’d work a normal 9–5 and then I’d have a window of a few hours before he came home, time I now realise was my cherished porn time. I’d settle in with a cup of tea and the latest AdultTime movie or Four Chambers film or Holly Randall project. Half the time I wouldn’t even masturbate, I’d just enjoy the crazy plots and beautiful people.

I pay for everything I watch. I don’t say this to be superior (and anyway this wasn’t always the case). I say this because I’ve found that once you #PayForYourPorn the quality rockets up, you can watch full fantastic movies with great production value, you can find and fund passion projects from your favourite creators and performers. Plus paying for it helps maintain ethical standards (as explained here by performer Jiz Lee). I’ve spent years happily consuming porn during alone time, without fear of judgement.

But then came the pandemic, and the lockdown. There is no alone time any more. My partner and I are fortunate to be solvent, healthy, and holed up together in a small urban flat. It’s sometimes stressful (what isn’t these days) but we’re making it work. The thing is, what I do to relieve tension has been, up until now, a private thing. I can no longer be alone with my porn.

At first, I hid how much porn I consumed. I’d say I was going to the bedroom to watch a silly movie that he wouldn’t be interested in. I’d go for walks to listen to GirlOnTheNet’s audio porn. I’d trawl porn Twitter while he was out of the room to catch up on the latest projects. But it felt weird having a secret pastime when we were essentially on top of each other.

So, I came clean, laid it out — how much I watch, why I enjoyed it, how this was likely to increase now that I don’t have other outlets. And I explained that I felt my porn time was separate from our IRL sex life. It’s my hobby- like baking or sewing or obscure French movies.

I was expecting an adverse reaction to this revelation — modern society teaches us that liking porn is shameful, especially if you’re not a man. Instead I got acceptance. As long as it doesn’t detract from our relationship, he said, I could do what I liked — anything that relieves anxiety right now can only be a good thing. Just because it’s sex-based doesn’t mean it has to be shared.

I realise I’m lucky to have such open communication around things like this. I’ve spoken to friends of all genders and they were slightly horrified at the prospect of talking about their porn consumption with a partner. Despite being an enormous industry that so many people engage with, we still don’t talk about it.

As the lockdown wears on, it feels like porn consumption is something best discussed sooner rather than later. I’m so relieved I don’t have to hide anything. He has his Xbox, I have my OnlyFans subscriptions. He laughs when I get excited about a new Owen Gray or Savannah Solo scene, and I yell encouragingly when he kills a big alien in Gears of War. I ramble on about porn stars the same way you would about celebrities, he tells me about the new graphic novel he’s reading. I indulge his interests, he indulges mine.

Nothing is ideal right now, and it’s my hope that everyone finds the thing that brings them a bit of peace from the terrifying noise. And if that’s porn, make sure you pay for it if you can.

R.T.Collins is a kink, porn and sexual wellness writer based in London. Follow them on Medium, on Twitter @DiscoWrites, or get in touch at rtcollinswrites@gmail.com.

Aka DiscoWrites. Writer and sex educator based in London. rtcollinswrites@gmail.com. @DiscoWrites.

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