Life and Love

Relationships and marriage: How porn helped my relationship

Neil Mota Author: Elle Canada Credits: Neil Mota

Life and Love

Relationships and marriage: How porn helped my relationship

I came of age in porn star Jenna Jameson's heyday, when the Internet was climaxing to billions of X-rated dollars. But I was utterly oblivious-lying on my pink duvet rereading the racy bits in a drugstore novel.

I was prone to excessive romanticism. I grew versed in feminist literature. By my late 20s, I had decided that pornography was at best tacky and at worst misleading and degrading.

Consequently, I watched next to none. I didn't think that made me a prude. In fact, I thought of myself as sexually liberal. I waxed myself into aviation-inspired contours for casual encounters. I used four-letter words in conversation, often by accident in front of small children. I leaped naked into lakes whenever there was a full moon.

I'd been with a girl in university. I slept with Robbie (my future fiancé) on our first date, which wasn't a date but a Montreal bar hookup that lasted over six months without labels. Three years later, I followed him to L.A. We moved in together. He proposed.

Shortly after, Robbie was offered a job as the cinematographer for a reality-TV show. He called me late one night from a noisy shoot he was working on to tell me the exciting news.

"It's called Wet Dreams?" I said.

"No, Webdreams!" he yelled. "It's about Internet porn stars."

"What about them?" I asked.

"Everything," he said. "I'll be filming them onset, but I have to angle away from erections and penetration." He wanted to know how I felt about it. I was home alone in a cozy, unsightly nightgown- suddenly I wasn't feeling quite so cozy.

Despite my reservations, I encouraged him to accept the position. He's just filming reality TV, not actual porn, I told myself. I also made a vow that I'd be nonchalant when he came home from his first day on-set. That didn't happen. Instead, I felt guarded and suspicious. I wanted to know who, what, where and how in journalistic specificity.

Keep reading to learn how porn began influencing their relationship on the next page...

relationships-marriage-and-porn-.jpgHe described his day filming a steamy gonzo scene-unscripted group sex at a three-star hotel in the San Fernando Valley. The director's assistant, a busty Latina and aspiring XXX star, had spontaneously jumped into the action and the guys liked her better than their intended partner.

"That's messed up," I said.

"She hadn't been tested for STDs," added Robbie. "The director fired her after filming the scene."

"But he let her do it in the first place?" I asked.

"Yeah, it wasn't cool."

Despite my ethical qualms about the situation, I had other, more inane and subtly accusatory questions: "Was she hot? Did you get turned on? Even though you knew the subtext?"

Yes, she was hot. Yes, witnessing raw sex, regardless of the subtext, turned him on. "You seem really uncomfortable," said Robbie rather gently. "Do you want me to quit?"

"No!" I answered. "I'm fine, promise." I once again made a silent commitment to mask my discomfort. I had never discussed pornography with past boyfriends, but Robbie had always been refreshingly candid with me. We had even watched some together, although I never sought it out on my own.

Pre-Webdreams, I would have said we were 100-percent honest with each other about porn. I later learned that he'd glossed over how much he consumed. I, too, had withheld how it could turn me on one instant and offend me the next. I'd concealed my jealousy of his online sexual life. Secretly I thought: Why does he need two worlds? I questioned whether I was fulfilling him.

The job on Webdreams was a perfect launching point to probe for unanswered questions. "Where were you filming today?" I asked him one evening over Coronas on our lawn.

"At Naughty America," he said.

"Oh, yeah," I replied as I plucked course blades of grass. "Were the girls hot?" I pretended my question wasn't a loaded gun.

"Yeah, that's the job description." Robbie was adept at shameless disclosure.

"Anyone in particular?" I continued.

"Eva Angelina is very sexy."

My competitive spirit kicked in. I spent the following weeks psychotically Googling her. I noted her copious teal eyeshadow while scrutinizing her aptitude for simultaneous penetrations. As if this information were a superhighway to knowing his true desires. Down the proverbial XXX rabbit hole I fell.

Read about some of the negative emotional impact porn can have a on a relationship on the next page...relationships-marriage-and-porn-.jpgI had no idea how oblivious I had been to the average male fantasy. Skinny-dipping? Getting it on with a girl-just one at a time? Meanwhile, Robbie was off filming Eva with five other girls!

One evening, seven months into the filming of the show, Robbie announced that the production was flying him to the Dominican Republic at the end of the week. "Wow, that's nice. What for?" He was to film a lesbian fetish star named Maxine X, whose husband filmed and directed her. "And they'll be recruiting new talent at local strip clubs," he added.

"Strippers aren't necessarily porn stars. Isn't it manipulative to offer them money to make the leap to sex?" I asked.

"I hadn't thought of that," he replied. "The show's angle is non-judgmental."

"Well, don't go thinking for yourself!" I screamed. I was furious. Robbie's lack of analysis about the production, and porn in general, was becoming a fracture between us. I continually maintained that I was worried about porn stars. Were they wilfully pursuing these careers? Were their rights respected? Were we exploiting them?

These broader questions-though valid to ask of any human industry- were easier to address than my personal discomfort. I felt jealous of, and excluded from, a world tailored for men that set expectations to which I didn't measure up. Porn stars were svelte, lithe, insatiable, uninhibited and up for absolutely anything anytime. So if porn represented all men's desires, and, more important, my man's, then I wasn't nearly enough. But I couldn't reveal that fear-what urban, liberal, 21st century woman would?

Instead, I remained infuriated by Robbie's unfazed attitude toward the Dominican scenario. Why couldn't I be blissfully blasé? I flew out the door into the blinding L.A. sunshine and slapped down the palm-tree-lined street in my flip-flops. I landed on a girlfriend's doorstep in tears.

"I hate this situation," I blubbered. She poured me a whisky. "I have felt like a paranoid lunatic for months, and I feel totally ridiculous about it."

"Seriously?" she said. "I'm jealous when my guy checks out girls on the street. I wouldn't be okay with him having Robbie's job."

Did Emily and Robbie reconcile their differences? Find out on the next page...relationships-marriage-and-porn-.jpgI thought about heading to a bar for some male attention to bolster my ego (an old, unsavoury habit), but then I thought the better of it and curled up on her couch for what turned out to be 10 hours of sleep. When I got home, Robbie was angry that I'd stormed out. We both apologized without actual reconciliation. He left on his trip. I steeped in my anger at home.

He called the first night and told me about the day he had spent scouting a location at an all-inclusive sex resort-all the food, booze and prostitution money can buy. The next day, he told me about how he had been in a strip club interviewing 20 teenage girls interested in getting into the X-rated biz. In the end, they didn't shoot a scene because the porn-star couple fought, the talent fell through for a lack of valid ID and the production was cancelled.

Once he was back at home and I was face to face with my sun-kissed fiancé, I decided it was time to come clean with the decision I had made: "I don't want you to do this job anymore," I said, prepared to do battle for my position.

"Okay," he said calmly and without pause. There was a month of production left, but he'd tell them to find someone else. "You can ask me not to do something," he added. "We're in this together."

For me, this was a novel concept- asking your partner for what you want. His unflinching acceptance of what, in my mind, was a needy and old-fashioned request was the catalyst that propelled me to come clean with myself: I had issues with porn. My admission was a start, but our ongoing, honest communication about the topic is what ultimately alleviated my feelings of comparison and insecurity.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Webdreams premiered on the night of our wedding-rehearsal dinner. The show's porn-star cast, the crew and significant others were invited. Robbie declined our invite to the launch party. We were otherwise engaged.

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Relationships and marriage: How porn helped my relationship