Reader question: My girlfriend watches lesbian porn.

The tale as old as time.

A woman sitting on a bed with a laptop
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Reader question: My girlfriend and I have been together for about 4 years and everything is generally really good with us. I’m not afraid to talk honestly with her and we’re good at communicating on most things.

But I have one nagging concern. I’m a straight man and she’s bisexual, which is something she has been open about with me since the beginning. We’re monogamous and have discussed that we both prefer to keep it that way, as we would both be uncomfortable with the other person doing things separately or having group sex. But I can’t help but feel like I’m keeping her from living her full life.

We talked about what porn we watch the other night and she revealed that she only watches lesbian porn. I don’t mind that she watches porn — I do too. But I’m worried that she feels like she’s missing out on something or that I’m not enough. Am I being unrealistic about us being monogamous? Should I encourage her to try to hook up with a woman?

Ah, yes. The tale as old as time.

Mathematically, it makes sense this dynamic comes up so often. Bisexuals comprise the majority of the lesbian/bisexual/gay population — more than gays and lesbians combined. Meanwhile, women are more likely to identify as bisexual, pansexual, heteroflexible or otherwise sexually fluid than men — you can thank a mix of biology and patriarchy for that.

So that means there are a lot of bisexual women and a lot of straight dudes in the world. Between living in a society that assumes heterosexuality, the delightful challenge that is femme on femme flirting, and the issue that some lesbians won’t date bisexual women — it’s statistically a lot easier for bisexual women to end up dating straight men.

Yet, for its prevalence, bisexual women in relationships with straight men are less likely to be out than if they’re dating women or a bisexual man.

Why is that? It could be that they fear the stigma of biphobia — including assumptions that they’re going through a phase, are incapable of fidelity or simply don’t know their own orientation. It could be that straight men (perhaps inadvertently) invalidate their partners’ bi identities, by failing to recognize how their queerness exists outside of the relationship or by acting as if sexual interactions with other women somehow “don’t count.”

Bisexual women who date men often report the same kind of struggles: of having their queerness questioned, of having their attraction to men questioned, of feeling out of place in both straight and gay spaces. To many monosexuals (people who only date/are attracted to one gender), there’s apparently something fundamentally incomprehensible about the idea of being legitimately into to a variety of genders. This dubiousness seems to be especially true if the bi woman hasn’t dated or slept with [insert arbitrary number of] women.

My advice would be to remind you of the first thing you said: that this is a good relationship in which you communicate openly and honestly. You feel like the two of you can share deeply personal things and she’s been clear to you that she’s bi from the jump. So: believe her. Believe her when she says she’s bi; believe her when she says she prefers monogamy.

The situation may well change. People grow and evolve, and circumstances shift. Maybe down the line shit will be different. If she’s secretly harboring desires for experiences and relationships outside your dyad, that’s on her to realize and express. The only thing you can do is be the understanding, calm and supportive person who makes it easy and safe to be honest.

As for her porn habits, that’s also not a huge surprise. Lesbian porn has dominated the industry for years — for people of all stripes — including straight women! There is a litany of reasons for this popularity. Our culture has conditioned us all to sexualize women’s bodies, and lesbian porn is more likely to emphasize sensuality and clitoral stimulation. It’s also (somewhat) less likely to be all about penetration and domination — which can be turn offs for some. Queer porn — especially the stuff made by and for women — often focuses more on pleasure and showcases a wider variety of bodies.

As I pointed out in this 2018 piece on lesbian porn, the genre tends to not have a lot of men in it. That may appeal to straight men who don’t want to see male bodies or compare penis sizes, and it could make some women more comfortable to remove the power dynamics of gender.

That doesn’t mean she’s not attracted to men or that you’re not enough. It just means she prefers lesbian porn. So just enjoy your honest and comfortable relationship with this lovely bisexual woman, and good luck!

 

Have a question for Dr. Timaree? Send an email to asktimaree@philadelphiaweekly.com.

  • Timaree Schmit Headshot

    Timaree Schmit is basically an episode of Adam Ruins Everything, but in the shape of a person. She has a PhD in Human Sexuality Education and years of experience in community organizing, performance art, and finding the extra weird pockets of Philly.

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