Q: My fiancé and I have used porn as a way of enhancing our sex life for several months and I enjoy doing that with him. I know some won’t agree, but it’s felt very intimate and I know our sex life feels hotter with some cinematic inspiration at times.
Recently we were having a conversation about our fantasies and I shared that I would love to experiment with exhibitionism. So, my fiancé got me a good webcam and encouraged me to try out being a "camgirl." When I didn’t respond to that with an enthusiastic yes he was disappointed and put off. He
thought it was a good way to combining our porn exploration and my fantasy. I thought it seemed like he was wanting to virtually pimp me out. Discussing a fantasy and acting it out are two different things. Now I wish I hadn’t said that and I’m wondering if I can trust him with other fantasies I might have. How can I get him to understand that my fantasy was just that, a fantasy?
A: This is a great example of how one person’s fantasy can vary slightly from another person’s fantasy, and how many conflicts can arise when these differences aren’t communicated beforehand.
Your fiancé wants to expand on exhibitionism in a very public way, and you do not. There are couples who excitedly and joyfully explore the world of online exhibitionism, but it’s not for everyone. (Chaturbate is a site full of such couples.)
I applaud you and your partner for drawing inspiration from erotic visual media: that’s what it’s for. Porn is entertainment that is created to be entertaining and there is lots of behind-the-scenes work that goes into a scene you might flip through on PornHub.
Porn maven Bonnie Rotten once told me that she undergoes a blood draw and full STI screening every fourteen days when she’s filming. And most entertainers undergo hygiene and arousal preparation well before they start filming, and all participating performers have agreed what they are doing in this scene and are getting paid. Being a sex worker is a lot of work, and most folks don’t just flip open a webcam and immerse themselves in that work.
A "Camgirl" is a worker who tries to earn money while keeping online company with folks. Webcam is often used for the purpose of arousal, but webcam performers do all kinds of things to keep their audience entertained: tease, talk, masturbate, sing, balance plates on their head—seriously—it’s work. Webcam is a method of communication that many people use primarily for income, and there are still taxes, technology snafus, and stalkers that workers often contend with.
(If you want a horror movie that shines a light on this industry, check out "Cam", a film written by a former cam-girl who exposes the confusing misogyny that infects consensual adult work.)
"Pimping" means he would be taking your earned cam money, or forcing your sexual activity on there, which sounds horrific, I agree.
You said it yourself: discussing a fantasy and acting out a fantasy are two different things—sometimes I fantasize about having a threesome with my boyfriend and the new gal at work, but trying to act this out would be stressful and awkward IRL—so I’m happy to recognize that some fantasies are best left intangible.
So, how do you rebuild trust in each other?
- Be more clear about your needs as you discover them, and don’t resent each other because you had different ideas about what would be fun.
- I find it rare when two different people are sexually aroused by all of the same things—don’t expect your partner to read your mind, and don’t shame them for sharing.
As you and your fiancé move forward in your relationship and in your fantasy building, practice asking each other when a hot topic comes up; "Is this something we actually want to Do? Or is it more fun to Imagine instead?"
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