how to deal with his trash stash


Is porn cheating? (In a way, yeah)
Is it disrespectful to your partner? (Kinda think so)
Is it perfectly normal, a healthy way of having needs met? (Yup, that’s true, too)

Guess what? It’s not really what matters. Here’s what does: how you two deal with it.

What matters most: 
1) How you confront your feelings (most likely fear is at play)
2) How you communicate those feelings + fears

First you need to get to why? Your own why. Literally sit down with a piece of paper and write how you’re feeling or even what’s going through your head followed by a why?, and you’ll often see what’s really going on. Let’s play.

Holy snowballs! No way. You hot steamy turd of a liar, I think I’m going to vomit a ball of tar. Why? Because you said you weren’t into porn. Why? Maybe you said that because to you being “really into porn” means something else, or maybe you said it because you assumed I’d be offended. Why? Because I’ve never come out and told you how I felt about it. Why? Because it’s private… and maybe that’s why you haven’t told me about it.

Still, it makes me feel like a fat nasty cafeteria lady seeing women with buoyant globes and nipples the size of nickles. Why? Because I’ll never look like that. Why? Because my parents and their parents have suckass genes. And I wasn’t born with an airbrush. But really why? Because I fear I’m not enough, enough for him, good enough, pretty enough, sexy enough, adventurous enough. Why are you afraid of that? Because then he’ll reject me, leave me—Why can’t I be his fantasy?!
Because he has you. And he chose you.

Wouldn’t it be worse if you’d discovered 200+ pictures of his ex? If these were women he actually knew? Women posing for him? Of course (that actually happened to me), and it made me run to the toilet with the ‘rhea. Why? Because we’re all vulnerable, we’re all afraid of loss, of rejection, because it doesn’t feel good.

I offer your self-esteem this tasty nibble: “Show me a beautiful woman, and I’ll show you a man who’s tired of banging her.”

That is to say, those women in those photos have boyfriends, husbands, even, and no matter how beautiful she is, he likely has his own trash stash. However gorgeous you are, cellulite-free, skin tanned and smooth, stomach tight, he’ll still fantasize about “other,” about “different” about “a piece of strange.” It’s obviously not personal and has nothing to do with your body. 

Can you discuss that you stumbled upon his 200+ photos—and there may be videos on that laptop of his, too, a subscription to paid sites—without accusations, without even a hint of judgment or blame, simply expressing how you feel, and why you feel the way you do? Ideally this is the state of mind you want to be in when you approach the subject. Then, after sharing, you need to be ready to listen, really listen, to how he feels, and why he feels the way he does. This is true of anything.

Chinese Proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

The problem (porn in this case) is the fish. How you solve it, communicate it, come upon a resolution is the fishing for a lifetime.

That said, oh, lady, have I been there
It started in high school. I didn’t like that my boyfriend read “guy magazines” with evocative pictures, not porn, but magazines like Maxim.

I would literally flip through his magazines and tear out anything alluring, anyone I didn’t want him to see. Because I was jealous. Because it made me feel like shit that he’d choose—seek out, even—to look at images of other women. It felt disrespectful.

He could just forget about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. If he wanted to read it, he’d have to do so at the grocery store checkout. At Barnes & Noble. And I’d better not find out about it. Because to me it was a form of cheating.

My stance on cheating: doing anything you wouldn’t normally do in front of your partner—no, pooping doesn’t count. Would he really flip through a magazine of mostly naked women with me sitting there? I think he wanted to keep his balls, so no, never. But if he did it without me there, it was a form, however mild, of cheating. It was also a form of control. And here’s what I’ve learned about that: people do what they want to do. They might lie about it, might swear on their unborn children, might make promises, say everything right to allay your fears, but the simple truth is, if someone wants to cheat, wants to watch porn, wants to FILL IN THE BLANK, they’ll find a way to do it.

We let our partner know up front what those deal-breakers are, and why they are deal-breakers for us—and sometimes, there’s just no rational explanation, and that’s okay. You know what? None of us is perfect, and if you have a hang-up about something, if it’s your line in the sand, make it count. Pick your battles. For me, it’s strip clubs and trips to Vegas. “Because no good can come of it,” my Father admits to me, of the “all boys” Vegas trips.

Phil and I agreed that he would never, for the rest of his life (as long as I’m alive + married to him) go to a strip club, and he’d leave anywhere if strippers showed up. It is my line in the sand. And yes, I’ve been to a strip club. I don’t want the love of my life in a sexually charged atmosphere without me. I don’t care if the guys are just there to have a steak dinner. It is off limits. Completely. I don’t need to do the whole, “Well, how would you feel if” because there is no equivalent to strip clubs, though my friends and I tried to come up with one. And one could rationalize all they want, that it’s a scam, that it’s all about money, that they’re all gross, but I don’t give a pastie.



  1. My question is this: What do you promise to never do? What do you give him in exchange? If he promises not to go to strip clubs, do you promise to not buy 200$+ shoes? Do you promise not to go to Lia Sophia parties?

    I’m not being bitchy, I’m honestly curious. Because this whole porn talk has really put all the pressure on the man to change. It’s his stash, it’s his lies, it’s his deal. What do women do that is the equivalent to men? And don’t tell me “nothing” or that we give up so much already in the role of wife and mother. What is the trade off for porn?

    1. Hmmm. Just a thought, but maybe if men have to give up some idealized sexual “cheating” by not watching porn, strippers, etc. than women should give up idealized “romantic cheating” by watching heartthrobs in chick flicks? I’m sure there are men who feel inadequate due to the perfect love stories and heartthrobs in those movies.

      What do you say ladies? No more chick flicks. It’s cheating on your man to fantasize about anyone else. And makes him feel inadequate.

      1. Now this is what I’m talking about. What is the female equivalent and how fair is it of them to ask of us?

  2. Great, insightful answer Stephanie. I really enjoyed your thoughts, and I must say you’ve given a fair shake to both sides of the issue. Thanks!

    And Jeneria – to try and answer your questions, I think you’re connecting the wrong dots. A couple can agree to an exchange of complete fidelity for complete fidelity. He doesn’t look at pictures of other naked women, you don’t act inappropriately with other men.

    If we’re talking about $200+ shoes, we’re now in the financial department. You don’t buy crazy shoes, he doesn’t go buy the latest gadget (with consulting each other first).

    But to exchange sexual compromises for financial compromises is kind of an apples and oranges thing. The fact that you get to go buy $400 shoes isn’t going to compensate for the way his porn stash if affecting your sexual intimacy together.
    Why is the standard of complete fidelity with another person (as hard as that might be) not something worth working towards?

    Why is asking your man to stay inside of your marriage/relationship with all of his sexual expression considered so cruel?

    1. I’m honestly asking for other people’s thoughts. And I was just throwing out some exchanges. Porn can cost money so the shoe exchange is apt, I think.

  3. I’m always a little baffled by the whole porn= cheating thing. I have my own stash. Most everyone I’ve been with had a stash. It’s not a big deal. It’s naked pictures/ videos of people. It’s never bothered me in the slightest, except for the one guy who had what I would call a full-on addiction and couldn’t “function” without it.

    And as for strippers, I generally think if more women had been to strip clubs, they’d be much less freaked out. No stripper wants to sleep with your man. No matter how hot. She wants to take off her uncomfortable shoes and stop having sleazeballs hit on her and trying to flirt for dollar bills. My roommate after college was a stripper. Trust me. They do not want your man. No matter how attractive or rich he is.

    In my opinion, a lot of women I meet have resistance to these things because they learned that “nice girls don’t”. But men do. Period. Even very religious, very Republican men (as every scandal attests to). But they say they don’t, so that you don’t freak out.

    Seriously ladies, let it go. Be cool about it. It’s sex. And sexy. And can be fun.

    1. 100% agree.. I don’t understand why guys enjoy going to strip clubs, but after having been to one with my man (and knowing men since I could choose who to hang out with, and knowing what they do there) I think it’s actually kind of fun. It breeds sex, but I am a strong believer that cheating has more to do with an unhealthy relationship beforehand, than that a man just chose to go to a strip club and mess around on his perfect spouse. It’s all a very slippery slope when there is an “absolutely not” clause in a relationship. I’ve never given one, mostly because I can’t imagine having a man tell me that I am absolutely never allowed to do one thing. I’m curious to see why there is this request of no strip clubs and no Vegas.

      1. Author

        Okay, ladies. I’m rollin’ up my sleeves.

        The Wasband went to a strip club and then proceeded to date a stripper who worked there, whom he met there. Yes, dated. More than one. VIP room was the place. There, and Scores.

        And I have been to them. I’m also, I think we can all agree, hardly a prude. Um, it’s called Straight Up & Dirty for a reason. I could make a joke here, talk about how the whole time I was there, I couldn’t help it, all I could think about were the germs on those poles. And it’s a JOKE, the women who negotiate, “Well, I’m fine if you go, but you swear you won’t get a lap dance, no matter who sends you one, pays for it?”

        A woman is grinding him, her breasts in his face. She can feel him getting hard.

        Sorry, no way is that ever going to be cool with me.

        But, that’s just me. I also want to mention that there’s also a certain weight lifted when we stop holding our ground, stop drawing the lines, and just see what happens. It can be freeing to let it go. To say, “I can’t control this,” and to just trust.

        But then, there’s the part of me that thinks: it’s not about trust. It’s about inappropriate, it’s about hurt. Yes, hurt. Because I would be sickened to think of some woman, no matter how repellent she found him, grinding up against him, with her breasts in his face. How is this okay when you’re in a relationship? Seriously?

  4. I have no problem with porn. My husband and I are very, very open about things and our attitude is look all you want, just don’t touch. I think when porn becomes toxic to a relationship is when it becomes a shameful, secret stash or when it replaces intimacy with the partner. My husband has his porn, I have my vibrator and sometimes we all get together and other times we fantasize about 18 year olds. We choose to be sexual faithful to each other and that fidelity is not threatened by my looking at those hot guys on Friday Night Lights or him looking at some porn star with no gag reflex.

  5. Just want to say that I think Jeneria has an excellent point.

    I do agree with you about the strippers though Stephanie. That’s my line in the sand as well. Porn, as long as it’s not super exploitative or icky, doesn’t bother me too much. Especially since my boyfriend travels for work 2-3 nights a week and I figure he needs to have some sort of substitute.

  6. Oh, good heavens. Porn is NOT cheating. Not in any way, at all. Not even the tiniest bit. Nor is it disrespectful, unless your partner is trying to bully you into watching/viewing it with him/her, and you’ve made it clear that it isn’t your thing and you don’t want to be involved. Even if the porn your partner enjoys looking at squicks you out (as long as it isn’t illegal or unethical — I’m talking minors or animals or non-consensual anything). Now, if one’s partner is spending all of their free time getting themselves off and spending all of their available cash buying porn, _that_ is a problem. When someone is neglecting your needs or your relationship, for whatever reason, there is obviously a problem. But if you’re getting laid as often as you want to be laid, and your partner isn’t somehow dead broke due to their porn-buying habit…what is the big freaking deal? I just don’t get it. It boggles my mind that there are still women — a LOT of women, apparently — who somehow conisder masturbation and fantasizing to be somehow a betrayal of their relationship. No wonder I have so little patience for most female friendships. If someone — male or female — tried to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to masturbate or look at/read naughty stuff whenever I happened to feel like it, on my own time, that would certainly be the end of _that_ entanglement. (Also I have to take issue with your definition of cheating, Stephanie. If you’re talking about “control”…well, passive-aggressively bullying someone into giving up a harmless enjoyable pasttime — looking at pretty pictures of pretty girls in bathing suits, in your case — is a bajillion times more controlling than, say, a man who wants to privately look at some pictures of pretty girls in bathing suits occasionally. Good lord.)

    1. Author

      I don’t believe that porn is cheating in my particular case because Phil and I are pretty open with each other. And he would feel comfortable looking at it with me there, and I’d feel comfortable with it, so it’s not cheating. It’s healthy in our case. And I’d much rather he be into porn than into staying out late. In the privacy of his own home, no strangers, no stds, no “what if,” and certainly no in your face lap dance action. So, personally, we have no problems there.

      And I agree with you–it doesn’t matter if your partner finds your particular tastes to be hideously grotesque and disturbing. There are 31 flavors for a reason. So long as you’re not pressured into doing something you REALLY REALLY never want to do, I think any form of fantasy, imagination, viewing, is a safe way to get certain needs met (needs meaning, something strange, different, new, your thing).

      As for ripping out the pages of his magazines IN HIGH SCHOOL, uh, that was my point. It was completely controlling. And you can’t, no matter how hard you want to, control anyone. It doesn’t work. All it really does is draw a line, where sides are taken, and you’re pitted against each other, push pull. However…

      We all have certain things that are deal-breakers. Phil knew about my strip club objections long before we were married. And how. Man were there talks. Discussions. Tears. Sides. I was sick to my stomach every time I heard a friend of his got engaged… knowing a bachelor party was coming.

      I believe he understands that I’m not trying to control him. He chooses not to put me through that kind of torture. He chooses to care about and respect my feelings with regard to this issue, knowing how strongly I feel. But, yeah, if goes there, all bets are off. It’s a deal-breaker.

      1. I’ve been to several strip clubs over the years and have come to the conclusion that they’re expensive, boring and occasionally amusing… with the law of diminishing returns swiftly pushing them into the yecch zone. Obviously, many men have a very different take on the subject, but most of the men I know also don’t view them with familarity. It’s a one-off/bachelor party/Vegas thing. A guy who treats Spearmint Rhino like his personal Starbucks? Very very different creature.

        You definitely had a beyond-rotten experience with strip clubs. But I’d suggest that it was the guy who was beyond rotten.

  7. Uhhh…I can answer that. Buying shoes ain’t gonna make my man feel like I’m cheating on him. Unless we’re talking financial cheating, but I don’t think we are…

    I’ve had this conversation before. The problem is, there’s really nothing that’s comparable to a porn stash. Best I’ve come up with? Blatant flirting. If you were openly flirting with another man in front of yours (or at a party you were attending, but he was in another room), hinting at sexual fantasies, I think that’d probably piss him off and make him feel like he wasn’t good enough. Bonus points if the dude-in-question just happens to be naked or in some state of undress.

    The root of this is all about inadequacy.

    If you’re making your partner feel like they’re inadequate and not the sole receiver of your sexual attraction, it’s messed up. That’s what porn does to a lot of women. I know some women enjoy porn, and enjoy watching it with their men–and these are the women who people make examples of for why ALL of us should accept it. But you know what, that just isn’t true.

    Stephanie…thank you. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I have a strict no strip club/stripper policy as well. For me, it’s easy to understand: if my husband went to a restaurant/night club/party and had a woman dance for him/on him while she was naked I’d dump his ass in a second, because that’s straight-up cheating. The exchange of money doesn’t change how I feel about it. I’m glad I’m not alone.

    1. Author

      “if my husband went to a restaurant/night club/party and had a woman dance for him/on him while she was naked I’d dump his ass in a second, because that’s straight-up cheating. The exchange of money doesn’t change how I feel about it.”

      EXACTLY! I don’t care what convention says. “Boys will be boys” is turd talk.

    2. Author

      Oh, and as for what’s the equivalent of a strip clubs for women:

      Put a group of eligible men in a room. Not just any men: savvy, handsome, smart, successful men who make us laugh. They pursue us and touch the dip in our lower back as we walk a room. They lightly touch our elbow and hold a stare longer. They like watching. They’re well-read and drip-feed us interesting trivia, then they say that thing. The thing that makes us hold our breath a little. The thing we’ll repeat to friends only to hear them sing, “Get out! You’re soooo lucky.” They feed us our favorite foods and lean in to smell our hair and bite our necks. They know how to take control. There’s nothing passive or wimpass about them. They make us feel beautiful and brilliant. They are possibility. They want our numbers and will call. Want to hear the worst part? They mean it. They are your worst nightmare the way bachelor parties in Vegas hotel rooms are ours. That would be even. Welcome to Manhattan on a good night.

  8. what if your husband sat next to a knock ou tin first class, and she talked his ear off all the way to Dubai.

    if the woman lying next to him on a beach chair, was topless, tanned and perfect, and asked to borrow his lighter..

    the teen at the McDonald’s drive thru was a spitting image of Megan Fox

    give it up, hope for the best, and fuck off already.

    nice to be back…

    1. omg, i love it! it’s the truth of the matter. temptation is everywhere, probably least of all in a strip club.

  9. Helen, I think those are all completely different situations from going to a stripper, because A: the SO didn’t seek out those experiences specifically with the intent to be sexually titillated, and B: there is no exchange of money involved, i.e. a literal tit for tat where the woman in exchange for his money now owes the man some sort of sexual titillation, and C: these kind of “accidental” titillations are just an unavoidable (and to some extent, pleasurable) part of life. No one is to blame as long as nothing is acted upon, and there are no misunderstandings. No harm no foul.

    All in all, it’s apples and oranges.

    Also, I am surprised no one has brought up the fact that most men, no matter how smart they are otherwise, have a tiny portion of their brain that thinks the strippers are actually into them. It’s the whole male ego thing where they can ignore the fact that the hot woman who’s giving you coy looks is only doing it for the dollar bills you tuck into her G-string. I think it gives guys an overblown sense of their own appeal, and can be dangerous.

    Besides, why tempt them with “look but don’t touch?” It’s like telling a kid he can look at the candy but not eat it. It will just make him resentful of the fact he can’t eat it.

    Lastly, I think that while there are many sex workers who come from positive experiences and don’t feel that what they’re doing is degrading, the majority of them are being degraded and exploited, and I just wouldn’t want a man I loved to feed into that system.

  10. If you think he – a non-homosexual guy – would “NEVER” go to a strip club, I got some great ocean front properties in Nebraska I want you to look at.

    You yourself even wrote “people do what they want to do” and guess what? Guys go to strip clubs b/c that’s what they want to do. At least normal heterosexual ones. Sometimes it’s just male bonding. Sometimes it’s bachelor party. Sometimes it’s b/c you want to look at something new naked. Sometimes it’s b/c you wanna get hard for $20 lap dance. Sometimes it’s b/c you wanna get BJ for $50.

    I guess that’s your dealbreaker but for any normal guy you are drawing a line that’s just gonna fail miserably like the maginot line. I think if you are drawing the line anything prior to the $50 BJ and maybe $20 lap dance – and I would argue the lap dance would be stretching it – you are just waiting for “when” your line in the sand will be erased not “if”

    1. I feel sorry for any woman dumb enough to fall for your line of rational. I’m sure you’re dating some real winners – then again, that’s probably why you’re still paying for lap dances and blow jobs.

      The best of the best women worth committing to already provide that and more, but don’t waste their time on guys like you.

      1. Well, if you want to stick your head in the sand, that’s your prerogative. But if you just pick some random non-single dudes off the street or – if you want to be more personal – your bf/husband’s been with you more than a year, I would say odds are on my favour way better than even money that he had a lap dance at strip club while “in relationship” unless he’s like 70 years old.

        And it’s really nothing to do with what you – gf/wife – already provide and more etc. BJ, ok that is kinda pushing the limit from the guy’s part, but in a 1 year interval, a normal guy is gonna end up at a strip club whether it is buddy’s bachelor party or just b/c one of the single guy wanted to go there after playing a round of golf or whatever. And once there, getting $20 lap dance is kinda par for the course.

    2. I have the same feelings as Stephanie about strip clubs, and I am no prude. But would my boyfriend be ok if I *gave* a lapdance to another man? Heck no!! So why on earth would it be ok for him to get one?? And you are not going to be able to convince me that it is “normal” to pay for BJs…how ridiculous does this sound:

      “Um, honey, no prostitutes, ok?”

      “WHAT!?!?!? That is so unreasonable, you controlling prude!!!”

    3. Oh please! “Guys go to strip clubs because that’s what they want to do”??
      While this might be true for some, your trivialization is b.s.!

      Are you in earnest saying that every guy will end up losing control over his thoughts/actions to the extent where he violates an agreement with his WIFE, made out of respect for her feelings and in knowledge of prior hurt she has experienced, like in Stephanie’s case??

      Then that means that EVERY guy out there is lacking integrity and essentially just a monkey pushed around by his hormones, who can’t help himself but will eventually violate the most important relationship of his life for the cheap stale kick of a strip club??

      Sorry, but that is total crap.

      I do know from my (platonic) (male) long-time best friend that he would not even care to go to a strip club himself – been there, done that, didn’t do much for him – regardless of the fact that there is NO female in his life who might object/be hurt…

  11. I’d been thinking about this post all day and had to get out of bed to respond, it bothered me so much.

    Perhaps it’s my age or my upbringing or my friends or even just me, but porn and strip clubs are not something to sweat about. I can understand the lying or hiding or covering up of such things, but not the things themselves.

    I have been to strip clubs for a few different reasons: Stag/stagette, birthdays and just for the hell of it. To pull our chairs up to ‘pervert row’ and have a drink. (When I have gone with boys they have separated from the group to have their time gawking at the ladies and when I have gone with girl friends we sit and chat about our days/weeks and bitch about the boots/bra/chain link fence the stripper is wearing.)

    What I think should be mentioned to anyone who has an issue with it (being that you feel it is a form of cheating), perhaps you could try watching it as a couple? I’m sure no living, breathing man is going to turn down having his warm, beautiful GF/wife offer to watch and maybe even match what they are doing on the screen.

    Further more – do you consider it cheating when you day dream or fantasize about George Clooney or Bradley Cooper or Ryan Reynolds? Cause if the girls have to follow the same rules, that’s out of the question. To call porn cheating is to call an innocent day dream cheating.

    And I think what has bothered me the most about this post and its subsequent responses and conversations, is that Stephanie, you put restrictions on your current mate because your ex mate was a sleaze ball? If I ever found out someone did something like that, set up rules for me to follow based on what an ex did or didn’t do – I’d flip. If you don’t trust the man, past or present, move on.

    1. Author

      I’d like to be clear on this. For as long as I remember I’ve felt this way, and it has nothing to do with The Wasband (before he was even The Husband, before we were even together at all) having dated a stripper he met at VIP Room.

      “As long as I remember” happened probably some time in middle school. If you read Moose, you’d know I sought out anything sexual without having actual sex. I pressed two buttons on my parents’ cable box, to try to unscramble the “dirty channel,” then in eighth grade I went on a school trip to Manhattan where I bought HARDCORE porn: anal sex, women penetrated in all their holes, seriously, you name it. I didn’t buy it because I thought it was funny. I was curious, yes, but more than that, I was turned on. Just that small clip of a Playboy Bunny diving off a waterfall in her string bikini only to emerge from the water topless, with gigantic breasts, which I liked to call, tits. And I liked it. A lot.

      It was probably that experience, those moments of being turned on by large bare breasts and “hair pie,” that made me so adamant that my significant other have no part of it. I knew what it felt like to be turned on, and I didn’t want him to willingly seek out being turned on by other women when he could be with me. That’s where it began, and I admit, it’s control, wanting to control what you can, so your partner feels good only with you.

      I can liken this type of thinking to my “food jealousy,” when Phil goes to New York, tells me about these breathtaking meals, and I can’t have it. It’s not fair, but still, and don’t miss this point, I’m happy that he gets it, happy that he can enjoy it, savor it, appreciate it. I don’t begrudge his pleasure. I also don’t get offended when he wants to go out with friends (I say this because when I was very young, in my earliest relationships, I did take it personally). So it’s not that I need to be part of all his pleasures, that he can’t enjoy things on his own. But sexually, up front and in person, it hurts to think of him getting hard with a woman grinding up against him. And it’s 100% crossing a line. Someone else already said it. How would he feel if I went up to a man, took off my top, and seduced him, up close and personal? It’s cheating. Without question. Not okay.

      Do I think watching porn is cheating? No. It’s not a two-way exchange, it’s fantasy. Fantasy is awesome. Go for it. But that’s where I draw the line. And I made it perfectly clear before we got married. Steak dinners, go for it. Golf, gambling. Go. But if strippers or topless anything enter the picture, all bets are off. At that point, it wouldn’t even be about the strippers, it would be a violation of our marriage, and I wouldn’t forgive that.

  12. So if we’re not into p0rn and strip clubs, we must fantasize about celebrities all day and get off on chick flicks? Seriously people, way to generalize. And my husband is hardly 70, but he is in his mid 40s. My generalization would be that most people in a stable relationship don’t *need* strip clubs. I agree that our culture has decided that it’s fine and appropriate for bachelor/bachelorette parties, and for men to need them (because all men are visual, right)but not everyone buys into that. I have a hard time thinking of a woman who has any self respect allowing you to pay for BJs within the scope of a relationship as well.

    Maybe it’s because I’m married with girl kids who are fast approaching their tweens. Sex is a big part of a healthy relationship, but it isn’t everything. Your desire to hit a strip club and have porn on the computer…is it more important than instilling self esteem and that all women aren’t sexual objects to your children? My husband is a father at this point in his life, and his need to be a good father seems to far outweigh any needs he might have to have a constant supply of porn and go to strip clubs.

    I don’t see Stephanie’s rules as restrictions. They are part of her “deal” with her husband. I don’t hit on other men out of respect for my husband. Is he restricting me? It’s respect. Different people have different rules, and when they commit to a relationship I think they are essentially agreeing to accept those rules.

    It’s not about trust. It’s about respect. Agreeing to maintain standards to make your other happy.

    1. Why should the “desire to hit a strip club and have porn on the computer” and “instilling self esteem and that all women aren’t sexual objects to your children” be mutually exclusive? It’s not like me going to a strip club causes my or your or anyone’s daughter to be a stripper or lose self esteem. If that were the case, there would be WAY too many strippers/pornstars.

      And as to Stephanie and others who found a bf/husband who consider going to a strip club a “cheating” and agreed to not do it, good for you. All I’m saying is your bf/husbands are in the minority. Strip clubs are $5 billion industry annually which comes out to something like $100 for every single male in USA aged between 18-49. That kind of money cannot be generated through a small group of men only consisting of migets, starwars geeks who can’t get laid, and tony sopranos who own the joints.

  13. I have to add this — which has nothing to do with what one considers a betrayal, or inappropriate, or whatever, but merely another opinion about strip clubs themselves. I’ve been to a few — with guys, and with guys and other girls. I don’t find it particularly arousing, personally — primarily because I don’t like the aesthetic of the sorts of lingerie/shoes that tend to go along with the commercial viability of that kind of setting (and because I’m more interested in seeing people partially dressed, or fully dressed, than mostly or entirely naked). I do find strip clubs amusing, in concept, because our culture is so stridently heteronormative for the most part. For straight-identified men, having any hint of homoerotic anything attached to themselves is kind of considered The Worst Thing Ever…but, a group of guys going out together to look at naked chicks and get all hot and bothered and hard, all together, with their buddies, is somehow considered manly. That makes me laugh a lot.

    But, really, I like the basic concept of strip clubs — if not the execution, usually — for the simple reason that we are not, as a society, ever really permitted to LOOK. To look at people, directly, without shame or fear. Oh, women are encouraged to dress/appear appealing, to project a certain level of attractiveness, or sex appeal, or whatever. But, at the same time, it’s NOT OKAY for men to openly look at them. So, I appreciate strip clubs for giving people a space in which they are allowed to openly look, when there isn’t any bullshit pretense going on of “I’m so sexy/how dare you look at me!”

  14. I read this before, when it was originally published. Having re-read it while browsing the site, I had to ask:

    Stephanie, what if Phil was ok, or even asked you to go to a strip club with him? Asked you for the lap dance instead of the stripper? If he was comfortable sharing it with you, would it still be cheating?

    1. Author

      First, no way would he be okay with taking me there, mostly because he knows what’s in my head, knows my insecurities and wouldn’t want to subject me to that. If he wanted me to get a lap dance, I’d ask him if he’d consider it cheating if I hooked up with a woman. If not, I’d consider going BI, just for the variety.

  15. A few points to make in response to the implied assertion that Stephanie was wrong to “put restrictions on your current mate because your ex mate was a sleaze ball”:

    (1) Her current husband accepted this restriction.

    (2) She isn’t restricting him from anything necessary for life or personal well-being.

    She’s giving him sex; he doesn’t NEED strip clubs for anything. WANTING to go with buddies is a different thing than needing something. He can tell them his wife has a hang-up about it, so no thanks, have fun without me…..I’ll be home making love to my wife. He can even compliment her in the process: “Why go to strip clubs to look at hamburger when I can feast upon prime rib at home?” The guys may poke fun at him for letting her tell him what to do (and he doesn’t even have to tell them it is anything but his own choice), but they’ll also be silently jealous of his satisfaction with his great sex life.

    (2) Part of loving one’s partner is giving him/her what s/he needs, even if it’s a little bit of a sacrifice sometimes.

    We all have a little baggage if we’ve survived to adulthood. Past experiences and personal temperaments affect how we see things. If her husband had some deep seated need to go to strip clubs, then they would be a bad match. Presumably, Stephanie’s husband came equipped with a little baggage of his own, and presumably, she respects any of his needs that may go beyond those of the average husband.

    My husband’s first wife cheated on him with a mutual friend. She’s now married to that “friend”. A part of loving my husband is making sure that I NEVER, ever, ever, ever give him the impression that I might possibly be getting romantically interested in another man. So, for example, I am conscious of never spending too much one-on-one time with another man at parties, even though it is always completely innocent, and I could exert my “right” to have pleasant conversation with platonic male friends, who are often my friends’ husbands. I love my husband more than I love my “right” or that conversation. Making him uncomfortable just isn’t worth it, because I love him and this is a part of supporting him. I know that I would NEVER cross the line and betray a friend or my husband. But, his ex-wife DID. If it ever came down to it, and it was a deal breaker to my husband for me to continue a friendship with another man that seemed to be getting too close—even if I was absolutely sure that neither of us viewed it as a romantic or sexual interest—the friendship with the man would be ended, as MY CHOICE, at the request of my husband.

    My first husband was an abusive alcoholic. I do not think it’s wrong to drink alcohol, nor to get outright drunk every once in awhile under safe conditions. However, when my current husband started having a nightly glass of wine or two or three, it really bothered me. This might be fine for most men. It’s not fine for a man who is married to a woman who is the ex-wife of an abusive alcoholic. Which matters more? His “right” to drink wine every night (especially since it’s been recommended as being beneficial to the heart) or allaying his wife’s fears? He has lovingly agreed to limit it to one glass of wine a night, and a little more on social occasions, and rare (but fun) intoxicated evenings TOGETHER under safe conditions.

    If either of us flipped out over rules set by the other, we would be focusing more on our own resistance to control than on LOVING our mate, as a CHOICE. Being in an intimate relationship can only work if both people allow the other to influence their behavior in some ways, and willingly make choices that support each other’s needs and wishes.

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