The Prickly Porn Pickle: Does Erotica Thrill, Chill Or Kill A Relationship?

May 30, 2007
Aditi Nadkarni

I was having a casual conversation with a colleague the other day when she startled me by mentioning how much her husband enjoyed porn.

"Excuse me?" I said hoping I hadn't heard her right. Call me a prude or maybe its the desi in me but sudden, unexpected "sex" conversations startle me into discomfort.

She looked at me a tad sheepishly and my heart immediately went out to her. I realized from her expression that she was looking for a reaction, for answers. She'd been raised in a Catholic family and her husband, well, hadn't. She simply didn't know if it was ok for him to occasionally watch porn after twelve years of marriage.

"Do you think it is, you know, not normal?" she asked biting her lip, "I am sorry I brought it up", she added looking down, red in the face.

"Please don't feel bad about asking me" I said quickly in the hopes of easing her discomfort. More importantly, I was trying to come up with a rational answer, fast.

"Don't Indian guys look at Kama Sutra and such? Isn't it kinda similar?" she asked innocently as I cringed but held my tongue.

"Umm, well, Indian guys look at porn too...I'm sure but Kama Sutra isn't porn" I managed to say, "It is more like a couple's guide to sex...positions, foreplay ideas and such."

She seemed interested and that evening she could be seen giggling like a teen at the oh-so-naughty Spencer's store, looking for the 'Kama Sutra' board game that I have recommended to many a married friend before. It is a fun distraction. Come on, who wouldn't love playing a board game where one not only can get the competetive high of a victory but might even get lucky at the end?! Win, win!

She was happy and I figured she'd gotten over the minor sex-smite. Either the Kama Sutra board game really spiked things in the bedroom or it could very well be that she just didn't mention her issues ever again.

A few days ago, a newly wed Indian couple came over for dinner. The husband had to leave a bit early, they told us, due to prior commitments. During conversation we found out that the "prior commitment" was a strip-club party with his friends. Not a bachelor party, just something he and his friends did once in a while. The wife seemed awkward when the subject was alluded to. It made me uncomfortable but they didn't seem to be too flustered about the situation. He gave her a peck on the cheek before he left and she sat with us and chatted while he was at a strip club with his friends. I wondered if he would've done the same had she planned on a girl's night out at a male strip club. For some reason it left somewhat of a vulgar taste in my mouth. Maybe it was just me. Who knows, maybe I am a prude after all!

But these few recent episodes prompted me to contemplate about the "porn" issue that seems to plague so many relationships. With the advent of internet porn, it is quite literally at one's fingertips. Westerners have always treated porn and strip clubs with casual regard, often viewing it as some form of entertainment. I find myself wondering how Indians who have moved to the US adapt to this cultural dilemma.

Some people claim that a li'l bit of harmless porn is hardly worth fussing up a storm over. Some others shake their heads, raise their eye-brows and basically declare that the relationship is done once the P-word infiltrates the bedroom. Its is equivalent to cheating they say. Then there are those who shrug and state, very practically, that they'd just rather not know. What they don't know, won't hurt them. So I am curious as to what the consensus is on this subject.

Does porn in a relationship crowd the bedroom and result in intimacy issues? Does it just add a wee bit of excitement and shouldn't really be so worrisome? Should her man's checking out the lithe, nude body of another woman, not bother a woman? What does it do to a woman's self-esteem? How would men feel, if their wife, girlfriend or partner were to get it on only after having checked out a hunky pornstar first?

Aditi Nadkarni is a cancer researcher, a film reviewer and a poet; her many occupations are an odd yet fun miscellany of creative pursuits. Visit her blog for more of her articles and artistic as well as photographic exploits.
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Anand Menon
May 30, 2007
12:51 AM

There are two aspects to this seemingly vexed question.

For that we'd have to understand what pornography really means....because porn as a stimulus to one person doesn't necessarily evoke the same feelings in quite another.....we see that quite regularly with debates on the attack on artists who paint nudes,godesses and such like.Both men and women like to watch porn....although different kinds of porn...the ones women watch have something approaching a story line...the men get down to the nitty gritty straight away.

If both partners are stimulated by porn and use it to enhance their sex lives or whatever then it becomes a decision by two consenting adults and then the matter ends there....we have no right to regulate what people could or cannot watch.

if watching porn is an addiction ....and .... is affecting the marriage .....like any other addiction.... both couples need to sit down and have a long talk....The issue of watching porn is ultimately one of vicarious pleasure....an addiction does seem to indicate that "i get more pleasure doing these things x,y,z" rather than "spend time doing a,b,c with you"...

May 30, 2007
12:52 AM

Hahaha, Aditi, I can just imagine you sitting there :D

But I think there's a difference between checking out porn and going to a strip club. As long as it's not an addiction porn might even spice up things in the bedroom unless it's a solo activity or something :) There're lots of women who like porn too (extremely unscientific data: three out of five whom I know don't but those other two do exist).

But the strip club is a bit of a deal breaker for me personally. I can sort of accept the whole "it's a bachelor party" argument but there're plenty of places guys can hang out on a regular basis without the possibility of getting a lap dance, you know? But on the other hand, maybe she likes it that he isn't lying to her about where he's going and would maybe prefer that he went elsewhere? Who knows? Things happen. Bedrooms can be strange places.

May 30, 2007
01:20 AM

See, I think these are things that couple should talk about openly and honestly BEFORE they get married. If their views on them do not match up, it can become quite a problem.

I do not have much new to say about porn. I do not have a problem with it myself, and if my husband wants to dabble in it, he can have a go. Just like I might have a go too if I want. If it starts to make the other uncomfortable, then we would talk about it.

I also would not have an issue if my husband went OCCASIONALLY to a strip club (like 1-2 times a year). I had a worse view of them before I went to one once with a former boyfriend to see what it was all about. It's nothing. A bunch of men staring at T&A, and eventually all the T and all the A looks the same and they get bored of that, too. I do worry about the women there, how they got there, if they are alright, but that is a different topic altogether.

But I am someone that slightly different feelings about sex than a lot of people. As does my husband. We would both feel incredibly more betrayed if the other person had an emotional affair with someone else as compared to a physical one. Am I saying I want my husband to cheat, no. But I would be so much more hurt and destroyed by him becoming attached emotionally to another woman and being replaced in that way. Getting off is simply getting off.

Deepti Lamba
May 30, 2007
02:26 AM

Its the look but don't touch policy that works for most couples.

Being in a relationship does not mean we wear blinders. There is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating another person till the time it isn't done in a lecherous manner and that goes for men and women.

There are better things to do than to hang out in Strip Clubs. Men tend to have different views about Strip Clubs but I do feel that men who make habitual visits to Strip Clubs probably haven't out grown the 'frat boys' mentality.

I'm sure a whole bunch of men will protest about going to Strip Clubs being innocuous activities and say that their patronage pays for the dancers' college education (its laughable how some continue to believe that shit) but fact remains that nightclubs,jazz bars etc provide better forms of entertainment.

Watching porn 'after' 12 years of marriage? Lol, he kept her in the dark for that long? Nothing wrong with watching porn on the net but I do draw a line on cyber sex (again no way of knowing but that where trust comes in) and as small sq said becoming emotionally attached to another person.

Anand Menon
May 30, 2007
02:41 AM

Completely agree with #3...do your homework before getting married.

Alessia Brio
May 30, 2007
06:21 AM

Before I comment, allow me to admit my vested interest in the subject matter: I write erotic fiction. (I landed on this site because I have a Google News alert set up on the word "erotica.") There, now that that's out of the way, I'll say that my occupation doesn't change my opinion one bit.

In a relationship - any relationship - shared interests strengthen the bond. Conversely, interests that are not shared have the potential to weaken that bond. Doesn't matter if those interests are stamp collecting or mountain climbing. Time spent on an interest that the other does not find appealing is time spent away from one's partner. When that time away begins to nibble at the edges of the bond, it becomes a threat to the stability of the relationship.

When porn (or strip clubs or erotic fiction) is that interest, it adds to the discord because it involves sex (and desire and intimacy): one of the core elements in romantic relationships.

The only solution is communication. If communication does not bring mutually-satisfactory resolution, then there are deeper (trust, commitment) issues to address. Porn is, then, merely the catalyst.

Anand Menon
May 30, 2007
06:44 AM

Bravo! Alessia:)....couldn't have put it better:)

May 30, 2007
07:02 AM

alessia... I agree, partially. But I think that people in a committed relationship need to understand that all their interests will NOT mesh entirely, and that it is healthy for people to have their own pursuits outside a relationship. My husband loves trekking, and that is not my thing. Should I stop him from going? Not to my mind. In my estimation, it is a chance for me to catch up with friends, do whatever *I* want to do, while he does what he loves. To me that does not detract from the relationship, it adds a healthy element and allows us both to be individuals.

I think the problem comes when someone in the relationship feels insecure. People in relationships NEED time away from each other, and should grant it to their partners to refresh and enhance themselves. The issue comes when one person wants space and the other feels needy. Otherwise, why would one care if their spouse likes stamp collecting and they do not?

The answer lies in a healthy balance. Some shared interests, something that keeps you an individual and that is *yours*.

Deepti Lamba
May 30, 2007
07:55 AM

Grabbing some tit and ass in the Champagne room hardly constitutes as an 'interest';) But if its okay with the little wife...(shrug)

May 30, 2007
10:33 AM

deepti, that was too funny.

I guess that is as deep as some guys go, yeah?

Aditi Nadkarni
May 30, 2007
10:54 AM

Wow, quite a discussion here! It always makes my day to see a healthy discussion, first thing in the morning, rather than my usual haul of "you dirty, ugly, selfish feminist....." blahs. Hehe.

My own take on the matter (which I tried very hard not to reveal in the article) is kinda similar to what Alessia Brio summed up in #6.

Over-indulgence in porn is a usually a symptom of greater initimacy or romance issues and so is over-indulgence in anything that doesn't involve the spouse especially if it is taking a chunk outta your time with your spouse and even more importantly, bothering them. Not indulgence...but over-indulgence. That should probably allow the balance between separate interests and shared interests that SS refers to (excellent point....I've always thought twas suffoctaing for couples to expect that they will do everything together at ALL times).

Like Deepti says, however, I have to agree: grabbing and eyeing T&A shouldn't really consitute as an "interest". Golf, football or trekking I can understand but strip clubs! Nah! :D If a guy uses that excuse, I have to say, nice try. Hehehe.

Amrita: I find myself agreeing with you on the difference between watching a porn film and going to a strip club. I don't know why but the latter always seemed worse to me. If a man goes to a strip club and grabs some T on another woman while the wife's home with the kids, I wanna smack him hard (and there goes Gandhis' theory about non-violence in women, ref:Deepa's article, ha).

I have to say one thing though: the whole "do your homework before you get married" thing doesn't seem to work (from my perspective). It is useful to do it but kids and marriage change the equation quite a bit, I'd think. One can't really predict what the spouse would do if faced with intimacy issues: crawl into their shell, lose their mind, go to a strip club, have an affair, who knows! No matter how much homework one does, it is tough to try and hypothesize what one would do when faced with a rough/ tricky phase in a marriage. Besides, name me one guy who'd admit to wanting to go to a strip club while courting. Now thats rare!

BTW, it might interest a few of you to know that a few days ago I carried out my own informal survey and found out that most women that I spoke to preferred erotic stories while guys preferred a porn film. Reading versus direct visual stimuli. Guess women like a lil left to the imagination :)

Anand Menon
May 30, 2007
12:07 PM

Small squirrel:re #8...Alessia said..."In a relationship - any relationship - shared interests strengthen the bond. Conversely, interests that are not shared have the potential to weaken that bond...."...i don't think she mentioned anywhere that couples have to be alike:)

Amrita and Aditi:whats the difference between watching a porn film and going to a strip club??

Aditi Nadkarni
May 30, 2007
12:14 PM

Gosh, Anand, wish I could answer your question....I know the latter bothers me more but can't really explain why. I think it is the difference between having your spouse lust after a Hollywood star versus having them lust after a person who is more accessible, I guess :D Strip club visit is a few notches above watching porn.

May 30, 2007
12:37 PM

Anand, to me it's sort of like the difference between watching your significant other flirt at a party vs. go out on a date. it might be all very platonic but i'd still feel uncomfortable if my boyfriend/husband was out having an intimate dinner for two with another woman.

of course, the above scenario is very subjective just like going to a strip club for a certain occasion is different from going there to hang out but generally speaking that's the difference i think.

Aditi - yup erotica is more the thing. and look at all the romance novels out there - the modern variety definitely creates a space for erotica within the larger narrative.

And I'm sure the trolls will come out to play sooner or later, heh.

May 30, 2007
01:44 PM

Alessia, while your conclusion is a good one your argument is basically flawed. Interests never strengthen a bond - not past the first few years anyway. Its always shared values that strengthen it. You talk to any couples counseller and they'll tell you this misunderstanding is the primary mistake singles make when seeking partners.

And I think it affects the consumption of porn as well. If both partners knew porn was an interest but not a value - they'd look at it differently.

Pandora's box
May 30, 2007
02:22 PM

Pandora's box(a poem)

Here I am sitting in a strip club
Having several beers
Dancers taking their clothes off
To wild, drunken cheers
Strutting on stage is Pandora
She is beautiful, a real fox
She's dancing right in front of me
And I'm in love with Pandora's box
She asks if I'd like a friction dance
I say sure! That sounds really great!
She takes me to a more private place
Where I enter into a pleasurable state
She sits on my lap and starts her dirty grind
It is at this point that I must confess
Although I am having one hell of a good time
I believe I'm about to make a terrible mess
She kept grinding me and grinding me
It was one incredibly amazing friction dance
Now I must go because I am out of money
And when I get home I must wash my underpants....

May 30, 2007
08:30 PM

Here's an element I don't think anyone has mentioned yet: power. Porn and strip clubs both have a lot to do with the power and control of who gets to do the watching - and who chose to be watched (and how freely, really, did they choose that job/career). There is much about both porn and strip clubs that looks unequal to me - one being the consuming, but others are pure and simple enjoyment and equitable participation. Overall I say if adults are involved and the choices are genuinely free, then what business is it of mine, but it's really, really important to think about what you're choosing. In many ways it's not really just about you.

Also, I'm not really sure what you mean by westerners treating these things with casual regard. There are certainly some Americans who do, but it's not universal, as our increasingly vocal conservative population demonstrates. It strikes me that Americans are usually _not_ casual about anything relating to sex - in the media, anyway, it seems we often swing unhealthily between oversexualizing all sorts of images and or other aspects of cultures that have nothing to do with sex (selling hamburgers, for example, thank you to a recent Hardee's commercial) and reacting very puritanically to something that is a normal, healthy part of life. Other western nations - France or the Netherlands, for example - would be another story altogether. Then again, the very private nature of some aspects of porn and strip clubs means that it's especially ahrd to generalize to national levels.

May 30, 2007
10:30 PM

What a fun read and great title! How in the world did you come up with that!!!

I think that men who are addicted to porn have self-esteem issues. Why else would a visual distraction be a substitute for something that is SO much more gratifying?

Visiting a strip club is an odd experience for those who are in a committed relationship, I think. I went for a bachelors' party and my married friends looked guilty ALL the time. They didn't enjoy it and the groom looked like he was going to throw up when he was bought a lap-dance (either coz of too much beer or becoz his wife-to-be would find out later).

Aditi, i dunno if other guys would agree with me but I think visiting a strip club and lusting after a person who is right there in front of you does kinda amount to cheating. Guys say that its just about sex and nothing else when they are indulging in strip clubs etc but that ability to dissociate one's thoughts so completely from the committment and focusing entirely on the sex itself is troublesome. Don't they feel guilty I wonder? If they don't then thats even more scary.

I felt sorry fro your friend who had to wait at your home while her husband made that strip-club visit. That is just wrong.

Aditi Nadkarni
May 30, 2007
11:01 PM

#17 Beth: You bring up a very interesting point! The issue of control is very important when it comes to strip clubs especially. The idea of a man sitting and watching, as a woman disrobes is sensual usually, but when the guys is paying for the show, it skews the equation towards the "control" factor that you speak of.

Now, coming to the "Westerners have treated strip clubs and porn as entertainment" statement that I make: Usually I am VERY careful about making such statements. In fact I avoid generalizations but the fact remains that "strip-clubs" are largely a Western concept, I will however not deny that Eastern nations have their own forms of burlesque/ erotic performances. In the United States, strip dancers come under the category of 'independent contractors'. In Eastern nations there is a lot of social stigma associated with such performances and they are equated to prostitutes. If one were to try and release a song that said "I'm In Love With A Stripper", it would be promptly censored. There are no male strip clubs that I know of. Here, popular TV shows (Friends, Seinfeld etc), movies, songs on the radios portray strippers as people who pursue this line of work like one would pursue any profession. Maybe it is misrepresentation but that is what the West is perceived based on. In India, I think one would hear an audible gasp if a guy mentioned a "dance bar" visit. I don't mean to say that it is completely passable in the US but compared to the East, the West is more tolerant both legally and socially towards the idea of strip clubs. I agree that such generalizations can be misleading and speak only in the context of cultural acceptability in this post.

Mohnish: I agree with your perspective on the whole "lack of guilt" issue. That does worry me as well.

May 31, 2007
12:19 AM

Monish... I do not agree that looking at someone, clothed or unclothed, and having a fantasy about them is tantamount to cheating. I mean, OK, strip clubs are kinda seedy environments... but whether that person is in front of you, on a screen or in a magazine, if you are not physically or emotionally involved with them, how is it cheating? It could be indicative of other problems, either with you or a relationship, but it's not cheating.

Personally, I know my husband will not stop finding other women attractive, just as I have not stopped noticing other men. I am sure he has seen some cute thing at some point and wondered what she looks like naked. Do I care? not so much. He loves me, and we have a healthy relationship. Just because he is married does not mean he stops noticing the rest of the world.

What is wrong about the mentioned strip club scenario is not that the guy was going, but that the guy was going when he KNEW it made the wife uncomfortable.

Aditi... as for a "western" perspective to strip clubs.... well... I think it's a question of things being moew out in the open there, not necessarily more accepted. Here in India, those things exist, as do porn movies, etc but when men go they don't talk about it except maybe to their male friends. In the US, these places exist, and they are pretty stigmatized. But they are still marginalized places. Not too many guys would date a stripper, and you certainly cannot bring a stripper home to mom. So in that way, no, it's not "acceptable". And for the most part they are equated with prostitution in the west as well.

I know that TV, movies and music would have you believe differently (esp if you watch music videos) but those media are never a really good representation about how most people live within a given culture. :)

Aditi Nadkarni
May 31, 2007
12:38 AM

SS: Bringing a stripper home to mom, LOL...that would NOT go well! Hehe.

I might've rambled in that whole #19 middle para but that is what I was kinda getting at...the more "out in the open" situation. I mentioned the misrepresentation by media aspect and the whole issue of Eastern nations having their own means of erotic entertainment. Porn of course is universal :D

Just to give you an example of the point I was trying to make: The city where I live in Ohio is very small and still has 5 strip joints and countless adult shops. The crowd is very conservative (as most of the Mid-west is) but on Friday nights it is very common to hear guys (even the married ones) make mentions of a visit to the strip club. People don't seem very bothered or outraged. Now maybe I'm being presumptious, naive, I dunno, but even though Bombay is very metropolitan there aren't any nudie bars that I have seen (maybe as you say they aren't out in the open) and god forbid if a guy mentions a visit to a dance bar, he is labelled unchaste or indecent.

I don't agree with that mentality at all and personally prefer things to be out in the open but the fact remains that it is comparatively more taboo in India than it is here.

May 31, 2007
12:49 AM

Aditi.., I know what you mean. It's also a generational thing, cause i doubt those guys would tell their moms they did that! LOL. It's also a class issue, where the working class might openly visit those grimy little bookshops with the peep shows, etc. but the white collar dudes will only go to higher end strip clubs (just as nasty, in my opinion) for "special occasions"), watch porn in their hotel room when they are on business trips, or call an escort service. (I have just made some big generalizations... I know)

I think strip clubs must exist in Bombay. If you can find rampant child prostitution, it's hard to believe that there are not underground strip joints. They busted up a ring of them in Pondi, so you figure Mumbai must have a bunch! Probably they are rub my the mob and no one talks about them in the open, tho.

May 31, 2007
01:32 AM

Beth, Aditi, SS - there's one more issue: economics. Dee mentioned the whole "I'm putting her through college" rationale that some people bring up and while that IS funny, it's also true that stripping is often a financial decision. which kind of relates back to the power issue. Who owns it, who does it, who gets to watch it.

As for Indians and strip clubs - the ones I know were young guys who definitely saw the US as the land of sex. Not all of them but enough so that it was noticed by the international student admins who made it a point to mention that MTV wasn't a comprehensive representation of the United States.

What I remember most of that talk during orientation is that it really offended a friend of mine who thought it sort of racist for the lady to assume they were all sex addicts - and the very next day he told me all about the strip club he'd been to and how great it was and how he couldnt wait to go back :)

I think for a lot of them it was a rite of passage and a few got really hooked on it for whatever reason. And in a weird way, it's the midwest that really attracts this crowd or so it seems to me. NYC has far more to offer but I know extremely few people who take up its offer than out in Michigan (where the above incident took place) where I knew dozens of guys who'd been at least once.

May 31, 2007
02:24 AM

My husband n I met in India n we had an arranged marriage. He never went to dance bars or anything. When we come here to the US he started visiting strip clubs because his friends went. On Friday nights or over weekends or when we went to atlantic city etc he went to a strip clubs and sometimes I was stuck with his frenz' wives. I am not used to it and it makes me very upset really. He is not having sex with them nor is he emotionally attached to them like SS said but it is a matter of how we wer raised. If it feels wrong it feels wrong. I put on some weight fel unattractive.His going to the strip bar does not help. I have told him it makes me uncomfortable but he says its a social thing and all his friends do it. So I just adjust now to avoid fights. But it is unfair. I like life in the US overall but I feel that if we were in India he might've thought a lot before making even ocassional vsits to a dance bar like Aditi says. Good article and important issue for couples in general.

May 31, 2007
03:00 AM


sounds like you guys have a lot of issues going on at once. I will say up front that I really believe that if it had not been this issue, it would have been something else. (I do not mean that as meanly as it sounds)

I say that because of this... your husband continues to disrespect you by doing something that obviously makes you uncomfortable and upset. That is not a good sign.

But you also have to gain some confidence. Your husband's callous actions should not cause you to neglect yourself and lose self worth. Your image of yourself should not be so tightly bound to your husband. I know that is easier said than done, but clearly this man has respect issues...

You need to have a discussion with him and try to make him understand that what he is doing is hurting you. You should think very hard beforehand about how you want to word this. If you simply forbid him, he will not listen. If you nag, he will not listen. You must tell him in whatever way he will understand as an individual. You said yourself you are simply adjusting in order to avoid a fight, but this will not help you. In the end, you will end up miserable and the marriage will suffer.

I wish you the best of luck.

May 31, 2007
09:38 AM

Hey Guys,

Chill out. Everyone knows one's limits.

Its the libertarian era and everyone has a choice. So, why should there be moral policing for men or women?

Women need not go to strip clubs. Given a chance, many in India may get ready to strip in the street or in the malls. At present, they are just afraid of radical conservatives (like Bajrang Dal).

There are Indian women, who enjoy sex in park benches in bright day light in front of all others. Thats certainly very healthy according to Indian liberal left. So, whats wrong if some Indian men go to strip clubs in West?

Some "feminists" are have suddenly started feeling unfomfortable as men are gaining due to reduction in moral policing.

I must tell, the Indian men must be so pissed off with their wives that they are heading to all these places.

Many feminists fail to realise that many Indian men have lost hope of love, understanding, support or care from a wife. According to them, the only thing a wife provides them is sex (togetherness is rarely a priority for men).

When wife and marriage is all about sex for these Indian men, they wont mind taking all these diversions. Women can always keep drawing lines and enforce them on men in a dogmatic manner, but men can always find better ways in today's complex world.

Men, unlike women follow simple, but robust methods towards achieveing their goals and interests. They are extremely focused as well.

It is upto Indian women to ponder what men really want (apart from sex). How many women (excluding hopeless feminists) ever even bother to ask that question?

When the "Give and Take" equations get against men, they display all kinds of behaviours.

May 31, 2007
10:28 AM

Can I recommend an interesting book that might give you a sense of what goes on in men's minds re: porn and strippers, as well as what strippers are thinking? It's a new book BACHELOR PARTY CONFIDENTIAL: A Real-Life Peek Behind The Closed-Door Tradition by David Boyer. It's filled with interesting, insightful stories and opinions on bachelor parties and marriage from real men and women. Check it out HERE

May 31, 2007
11:37 AM

Siffer #26:

Indian men would like to note that Siffer #26 speaks only for himself and not for us. We have the confidence to not feel threatened by the fact that a woman is independent. We don't view women as sexual objects and just because Siffer's own life was made miserable by the woman he married, doesn't mean he gets to speak on behalf of all Indian men. He does however reserve the right to sob in a corner by himself.

Siffer, this discussion is for people who plan to be in relationships or are in one....so you should leave. Whether you go to a strip joint or watch porn shouldn't matter to anyone. After all what can a lonely woman-hater do with his spare time? We understand.

May 31, 2007
11:42 AM

mohnish... you rock. you are a true Indian man. We applaud you. We love you. God(s) bless you.

Deepti Lamba
May 31, 2007
12:10 PM

Subconsciously we are always evaluating the opposite sex as sex objects. Its biological, the only difference is whether we give in to the attraction or not.

Anand Menon
May 31, 2007
12:46 PM

Aditi: re #21 i don't think that city in Ohio is conservative...it sounds quite liberal:))..

Anyway...these bible thumping conservatives have always publicly professed piety and privately practiced prurience....so the terms conservative or liberal don't really matter.

May 31, 2007
11:16 PM

SS Thank you for the advice. Believe it or not, I actually showed my husband this article and he din know that my comment was the one in here but I think he felt bad and asked me if I felt the same way. He apologized and said hewill stop if it makes me uncomfortable. Guess Im luckier than most women but the one thing Id like to add is that comment 26 is very offensive to women and men both. First of all siffer speaks as if he reprsents all men and second he forgets that even if sex is supposed to be a part of man woman relationship viewing the opposite sex solely as a sexual object is like disrespecting their other assets.

Aditi Nadkarni: I want to thank you for this article and for raising an issue that people dont like to discuss. I have posted many queries to other websites asking for advice but having my hubby read this article made him realize how big of an issue this could be. When he read that "self-esteem" part he turned to me and asked me if I felt that way. I feel better now.Thank you.

June 1, 2007
12:33 AM

troubled wife... good for you and really, kudos to your husband for being aware enough to see himself and his actions and committing to making a change. now make sure that you give him positive reinforcement for that change...we all need motivation. I am glad you took that step, it seems you realize that your self-esteem was suffering and you took action! brilliant job!

take no mind of siffer... just an angry man who, unlike your husband, has no interest in change or being in a caring relationship. he's just a ranter.

June 1, 2007
12:44 AM

Great, maybe you'll change your nickname now:)

Ayush T
June 1, 2007
01:07 AM

lmao.. well said Aaman

Aditi Nadkarni
June 1, 2007
02:31 AM

Hello people, sorry for disappearing. The discussion seems to have moved along quite a bit :)

Amrita #23: You do have a point about the Midwest. I have lived in quite a few states in the US and the trends with respect to strip joints in the US seems to be a lot different than even in the more liberal CA. Economics might explain part of it now that you mention it.

Mohnish: You uphold my faith in Indian men! Not just because you chose top speak in favor of women's independence but also because you clarified that Siffer does not represent most men. Ever since I started writing on this forum I've had quite a few neighbours, university researchers etc reading this site, scouring through my articles and for some of them it is a representation of all things Indian. They were horrified by some of the responses my "My Dad, The Feminist" post received. So the chauvinistic hater blahs were doing quite a bit of damage as far as creating a twisted picture about Indian society was concerned. It had started making me nervous.

I have to agree with Deepti on the "sexual object" comment though. Sexual chemistry is always a healthy aspect of viewing the opposite sex but shouldn't be the only one and should be accompanied by a certain level of respect.

SS: Thanks for keeping some of the discussion going...the advice your gave to TroubledWife (hopefully HappyWife now:)) was something I would've suggested too.

TroubledWife: I am glad things worked out well for you. I would like to add that do not let things like that affect your self-esteem. I know it is easier said than done but you have to find things that will help boost your confidence. If you are not confident, you will always hestitate in bringing up such issues with your husband and I hate to say this but there won't always be an article about the concern you are facing in your marriage. Nonetheless, I am glad my article was useful to you.

Anand #31: The terms "conservative" and "liberal" in terms of political views and in terms of society, religion or culture are quite different, as I am now learning. So I am tempted to agree with part of your comment. I have seen quite a few contradictions since my coming to the US.

Aditi Nadkarni
June 1, 2007
02:34 AM

Correction! Amrita in the above comment I meant "strip joints in the Midwest compared to more liberal CA"

June 1, 2007
02:15 PM

* here's a very thoughtful article by Robert Jensen: http://tinyurl.com/39a8aq

* here's an article about one of his talks:

June 1, 2007
02:16 PM

[continuation from #38; i had to split my comment because i got a "too many URLs for one comment" complaint :-(]

also see http://tinyurl.com/28s6wm and http://tinyurl.com/2gjh66

Zmag.org has a lot of articles on porn, not all toeing the same lime.

June 14, 2007
12:55 PM

I feel good for troubledwife ... really thanx aditi, your article saved a relationship!!!

(#18)//What a fun read and great title! How in the world did you come up with that!!! //
Totally agree with Mohnish!!!

#6 what Alessia wrote makes sense, having shared interest kind of gives strength to the bonding in relationship, and if its watching porn, it might turn out to be educative.

About talking it before marriage, I agree to the point made by Aditi (#11), things might change after the marriage and kids. But even to start with, its hard to imagine talking about porn while meeting your to-be-spouse (i am talking about arranged marriage!!). What if the girl never watched porn and rejected the guy on that point, and what if they didn't talk about it before and she watched some of the stuff after marriage and liked it. (I am not trying to ignore the case if she didn't like it, in that case he might want to sacrifice it for her.)

My take is, watch together if you both like it, watch alone if you really feel the need but keep your partner aware of it, stop watching if it hurts your partner. Strip clubs after marriage are kind of no no for me for no specific reasons!!

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