What I Learned About My Boyfriend When He Walked Into A Porn Shop

I could tell that David liked me. It was the way he stopped me in the hallway at school to ask me how I was, how I really was. The time he called to invite me to stop by his place for tea and a movie. And now the way he held out his umbrella for me as we walked in the rain to a movie in Greenwich Village. My pink and orange polka-dotted rainboots hit a hidden puddle, and I remember feeling a kind of giddy feeling as the water splashed us both.

Amber and David when they were dating.
Amber and David when they were dating.

It wasn’t really a date—a few friends of ours were with us and David hadn’t yet made his feelings clear. We were all paying for our own tickets, but when David reached for his wallet he realized he didn’t have any cash on him, and so I offered to pay for his ticket, and he promised to pay me back.

Later that night we were walking the streets, discussing the film and enjoying the sights and sounds of New York night life when David saw a hanging red sign that advertised an ATM.

“Let me go in and get you the money I owe you,” he said.

My friends and I took one look at the store and hesitated. It was a porn shop, with rows and rows of adult magazines and DVDs. David, on the other hand, didn’t seem to notice and walked right in.

Now mind you, David grew up Amish. He wasn’t the kind of guy to frequent sex shops or look at porn. In fact, as a teenager (at the height of all those turbulent hormones) he had decided that he didn’t want to look at porn because he didn’t want his expectations about sex to be shaped by photo-shopped images and videos that too often centered around manipulation and control. He didn’t want to see women as objects. When he did eventually find a woman that he loved, he wanted sex with her to be about attraction to her as a whole person—heart and mind as well as her body—rather than experiencing sex as an impersonal attraction to boobs and butts and bare legs. Loving a person was far more interesting and exciting and sexy than loving just part of a person, he decided.

But at the time I didn’t know all of that about David and his reasons for not looking at porn. I just knew that he looked really out of place in that store as he fumbled with the ATM and tried to get the twelve bucks that he needed to pay me back. By the time he came out the door, my friends and I were laughing good-naturedly at the whole scene. David still didn’t realize what kind of store he had been in. He’d been so focused on the ATM that he had walked right by the shelves of porn without even noticing.

Source: FightTheNewDrug.org
Source: FightTheNewDrug.org

Shortly after that night, David and I started dating. And it was obvious that though he hadn’t noticed all the magazine covers that night, he certainly was noticing me. He played me songs and left romantic voicemails while I was at work. He wrote poetry and read it to me one night on the beach. He told me sincerely that I was more beautiful to him than any Victoria’s Secret model. The first time we held hands it was electrifying because we had a deep attraction to who the other person actually was. We could kiss and cuddle for hours and it would feel like only minutes had passed because we were just so crazy in love.

I’ve always felt that part of the passion and romance of our relationship was because all of David’s sexual energy was and is directed towards our relationship instead of being spent on porn. As the organization Fight the New Drug puts it, “Porn kills love.” Studies show that watching porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex in real life, among other things. Because of this I don’t like the advice that couples should watch porn together—sex is best when I’m present with the actual person I’m having sex with. It feels fake and lonely if I’m thinking about another person or another fantasy.

Porn addiction is real—and a struggle personal to me for many reasons—and so I do not want to cast judgment. But I am thankful that I married a man who didn’t listen to all the cultural messages around him and instead walked in and out of a porn shop with nothing in hand but some money from the ATM.

Amber

Amber lives in Ohio with her husband, David, and their three sons. She and David are currently writing a book about young adults’ stories of forming relationships and families.Amber is part of iBiL because she was moved by the stories of her peers, and believes that we as a generation can come together to create stronger marriages and families for the next generation.
Amber

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