Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
April 3 2003 10:45 AM

Porn Again

9_dearprudence_01

Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

Dear Prudence,

I have been married for three years, and it seems that my husband has a slight problem with porn videos. They really make me uncomfortable. I feel that our sexual relationship is fine, but it bothers me when I may come home from work and find a DVD on that he forgot to turn off by mistake. (I think he sneaks watching them because he knows that I disapprove.) He now says he only watches them to get sexual tips for when we have sex, which is hard for me to believe because I haven't noticed a significant change in how we make love. His habit makes me feel as if I'm not satisfying his sexual appetite or that something is missing. Is it usual for men to engage in this type of behavior, or is it possible that I'm facing a serious problem here?

—Asking Seriously

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Dear Ask,

It is not uncommon for some men to get hooked on porn. The habit has nothing to do with you but everything to do with him. Internet porn has become so huge that it has inadvertently fueled much technological innovation (so as to get it faster with better production values, etc.). If we regard men watching porn as a problem, then a very lot of men have this problem. You should try to have a talk—and not along the lines of, "Turn that thing off!" Try to figure out what his watching means ... is it a betrayal? Is it punishment? Is it compulsive? Why is he being indiscreet? If there's a relationship/sex problem, you need to work on that. If it turns out that nothing seems amiss, then be like the Army: "Don't ask; don't tell." But do remind him to keep the celluloid ladies out of your line of vision.

—Prudie, privately

Dear Prudence,

I can't tell you how many
Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc., episodes I've watched where mothers are always talking about how hard they work because they have kids, work, husband, chores, etc. Here is the dilemma for me. I have a child, and I am a housewife, but my life seems to be a piece of cake compared to these women. We are by NO MEANS rich, and I don't have a nanny. I am a good mother and a hard worker. I just always make sure that I have a few baby sitters lined up so that I can take care of my needs. I'm not constantly cooking and cleaning, but I do my share. So, why do I feel guilty? I almost feel as if I should be suffering in some way. I believe in my heart that I'm a better mother because I meet my needs. I really understand what women are talking about regarding spreading themselves thin, but at the same time, I believe there are choices out there. Is there something else that I'm supposed to be doing, because I sure don't feel the way the majority of women out there do? Thank you.

—Being a Mom and Having Fun

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Dear Be,

You have figured out the secret of dealing with a lot of things without slighting one for the other. That you feel guilty is unfortunate, and with luck you will learn to give yourself credit for running your life well—and in so doing ditch the second-guessing. You also might turn off the daytime shows to clear your head.

—Prudie, admiringly

Dear Prudence,

I am a law student. A professor invited the students that she mentors out for a drink. However, the law professor left without paying for anyone's drinks. I found this to be rude since she invited us and is obviously in the better financial position. What do you think?

—Law Student

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Dear Law,

It may have been thoughtlessness, or the professor may have felt the pleasure of her company vitiated any need for her to actually play host. The bar of justice, alas, is not the bar where you all met. For the future you might bear in mind the concept of "caveat invitee." And whereas this woman may be a fine mentor, "Experientia docet ..." which translates as "Experience is the best teacher."

—Prudie, learnedly

Dear Prudence,

I have been with my boyfriend for a little over two years, and he recently told me about this "condition" (that I wish not to name). I was OK with it until he started going to a chat room for people with the same "condition." Then they exchanged phone numbers and started talking on the phone. That is when I started to feel uncomfortable because one girl from the chat room lives in the same town as my boyfriend. I work on the weekends, and one day I called him from work, and he was at the girl's house. He doesn't really tell me about her ... he does tell me about his other friends from the chat room who live in different states. I am kind of scared that he will start having feelings for this girl, and since they have the same "condition" that I don't have, he might think it's easier to just get together with her instead of worrying about me catching this "condition." Am I too jealous? These people are kind of like support groups.

—Concerned

Dear Con,

Prudie has no idea whether this is herpes or head lice, but whatever condition it is, no one has any control over what another person is going to do ... whether it's to fall in love with someone new or start taking drugs. An educated guess is that trying to put the kibosh on a friendship with this girl, the one with the "condition," would not be successful. Just wait and see where things go. And if this chap does break up with you, you will know that he did not love you unconditionally.

—Prudie, patiently