Bring Your Own Porn

Shannon Oliver-O'Neil, LSWTherapist

Posted by: Shannon Oliver-O'Neil
LSWTherapist
267-428-2610

Porn can be a wonderful tool to learn more about your own desires and your partner’s turn-ons. It can provide a way to share new ideas from a distance - you and your partner can watch porn and assess how each person feels about the content before ever taking the risk of physically trying something new.  Watching porn to expand your sexual menu can be helpful if you and your partner have trouble talking about sex, or if one or both of you have trouble articulating what turns you on. If you and your partner want to expand your sexual menu, hosting an intimate “bring your own porn” night can help you kick-start those conversations. Here’s how to do it.

On your own:

Each person should find a brief (10 minutes or less) porn clip that you enjoy to share with your partner. If this is your first time ever sharing any porn with your partner, start slow: pick a clip that feels like a small to medium level of risk (i.e., looking at different positions you want to try). A higher level of risk might be: sharing a kink with a partner that they don’t yet know about. If you don’t already have preferred clip, you can look at free sites like youporn.com or redtube.com, or even look at sites that review porn and provided synopses in advance like ohjoysextoy.com.

After you’ve chosen your clip, answer the following questions on your own. This will help you talk about your clip once you and your partner are together:

  • This video caught my attention because…
  • One thing that really turns me on is _____. I think it’s hot because…
  • One thing from this video I’d like to try with you is….
  • One thing that makes me feel vulnerable about sharing this with you is…
  • Something that can help me feel safe sharing this clip with you is...

Together

Find some time when the two of you can have an uninterrupted 90 minutes or so - enough time to watch both clips and have time to process and discuss. Do not attempt to have sex during or immediately after the viewing. Keep your focus on reflecting, emotionally connecting with each other, and exploring the ways each of you approach porn and sexuality.

Share your videos. Together answer each of the following prompts, for each person:

  • Watching the clip you shared, some feelings that came up for me were….
  • I could tell you were turned on when…. One way I could tell you were turned on was….
  • Based on these videos, some things that turn me on are…
  • Based on these videos, some things that turn me off are…
  • When I saw you react in ____ way, I could tell you were turned off. What was going on for you? What were you thinking about?
  • When I’m turned off, it makes me feel ____, and makes me do _____.
  • Something I’d like to try is ______. Something I’m willing to try is ______. The conditions that would allow me to feel safe enough to try this is….
  • Something I don’t want to try is _______.
  • Something new I learned about you is….

Congratulations, you’ve created the first steps towards expanding your sexual menu as a pair! Take a minute to discuss when you might try some of the things you discussed. In the future, you may want to watch these clips again as a lead in to some sexual exploration. For now, though, the goal of this exercise is to open up conversation in a safe way, versus starting sex.

Remember that today is not the day to have sex or enact any of the things you saw. It’s a time to process the new information you learned about each other, and connect emotionally.

If you or your partner become upset during the conversation, take a time out. It’s not unusual to feel anxious, guilty, angry or hurt when learning about a new desire your partner has. If this happens to you, take some time alone to try to name the feelings that are coming up, and if you can, where they are coming from.

What if my partner is into something I feel squicky about?

Before we dive into what to do, let’s begin with a little re-frame. So your partner shared a video that left you feeling a little squicked-out. Congratulations! Your partner trusts you enough to share a piece of themselves not many people would get to see! Remember this fact as you process your own feelings about their sexual interests. They trust you with a vulnerable piece of themselves.

First, thank your partner for being vulnerable and honest with you. This sharing behavior is something that keeps relationships healthy, and should be encouraged, even if you feel uneasy with what’s being shared. Keep it simple say “honey, thanks so much for taking a risk and sharing this with me. I need some time to process this on my own, I’ll let you know when I’m ready to talk more.”

Second, find a way to do the initial processing of big feelings (anger, fear, disgust, betrayal) with someone who is not your partner. Talk to a friend, or book an appointment with a sex therapist, or journal on your own.

Third, once you understand where your reaction is coming from, set your boundaries. You are absolutely under no obligation to try things with your partner if they make you feel disgust, fear, or unsafe.

BYOPorn nights can be something you and your partner return to again and again throughout your relationship in order to expand your sexual repertoires. Internet porn is a near infinite resource, and as you and your partner age your bodies, life experiences and sexual desires will likely shift. BYOPorn nights provide an easy access point to explore sexual activities to match these shifts. Additionally, BYOPorn nights provide a lower-exposure way to share ideas and preferences before taking the risk of physically trying it out. As you become more adept at talking to your partner about sex and porn, you may be able to watch video and start experimenting all in the same session.

If you need additional help processing feelings, or setting sexual boundaries, book an appointment with a sex therapist today.