Open Question: Porn in Relationships

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Is the use of pornography in relationships harmful or helpful? Do you, or have you ever, watched porn with a partner?

Opinions on pornography and its effects are nearly as diverse as the industry itself. The most common beliefs, however, are opposing: some believe that the personal and widespread of use porn has hinder healthy and satisfying ideas of the opposite gender and intimacy. While others believe that porn is at worst a neutral industry and the natural outcome of human beings’ most intrinsic need, and at best a useful outlet for sexual expression.

But do these opinions still apply when the viewing of pornographic images and videos becomes not a solo act but a mutual endeavor? What are the possible effects of porn on a couple and their relationship?

Some couples who have viewed porn together say that it has been beneficial to their relationship — increasing intimacy, helping them to understand the others’ desires, and preventing monotony and boredom in their private life. Of course this is only one view on the issue; perhaps those who haven’t found it to be helpful are less vocal about their experiences.

My personal thoughts on the subject are that porn, like any other tool, can be helpful or harmful depending on who is using it, and their personality and tendencies. For some, the common use of porn can prove to be disastrous, while others may find ways to channel it in positive avenues in their intimate life.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Open Question: Defining the Racial Fetish

white-black-racial-fetishFetish — the term is used to describe many a situation or intimate relationship. There are various ideas on what a fetish is and who is likely to have one. Some fetishes are more controversial — or more common — than others, such as the racial fetish. But what is a racial fetish, exactly?

Narrowing it Down

A fetish is usually defined as an undue fixation or obsession with an object, person or situation.This could be anything — whatever you could think of, there is someone who has a fetish for it.

In regards to relationships, the racial fetishist makes a partner’s racial and ethnic make-up is of the utmost importance — often, the fetishist has a strong preference for people of a certain background to the exclusion of all others. The fetishist tends to have firm beliefs about a certain culture, appearance or background which places it above others in areas that are important to the person holding the fetish.

Who Has a Fetish?

While it is simple to define a racial fetish in theory, deciding how it plays out in reality and who actually has a fetish is much harder. Does having a preference for partners of a certain race make you a fetishist? Does placing any significance on your partner or potential partner’s race make you a fetishist?

In my view, a person could only be considered to have a racial fetish if the race of their partner is more important than the partner themselves. That is, if their partner could be replaced by another of the same or similar background or appearance, the partner holds biased thoughts which make them partial to their partner’s racial background, or the partner’s background becomes the main focus of the relationship so the person in most situations will refer to or include their partner’s race, whether it is significant to the matter or not.

Thus one  who prefers partners of a certain race or ethnicity is not necessarily a fetishist, any more than someone who prefers blondes or tall men. It is the importance of or motivation for the preference that makes a racial fetishist.

How do you personally identify a racial fetish and do you have experience with racial fetishes?

Open Question: What is Right and Wrong?

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When it comes to what’s right and what’s wrong, everyone has an opinion. And “opinion” might be an understatement — many people’s views on morality are held with the devotion of religious or political beliefs. To those with strict views on right and wrong, good and bad, there are just some things you don’t say or do.

My view on right and wrong is that there is no true right or wrong. Instead, what is good or bad, right or wrong, correct or incorrect, is subjective and changes with the context. For example, most would consider killing to be wrong, but what if someone were attempting to kill you or a loved one? Would killing in this context be justified, or just as wrong as in any other? Stealing is another very variable “wrong” — would stealing be less bad if you had no money and were taking food to feed your three hungry little children? On the other hand, is it always “good” to defend a loved one, even when you hurt others in the process?

But what is most interesting about morality is that often what is right to some is what fulfills their personal bias. What they like and how and who they are is right, and what differs from them is wrong. And what benefits them is good, what disadvantages them is bad. In this way, what is right and wrong becomes less about kindness and respect and more about judgment and ego.

Is this to say that I think morality is unnecessary and does more harm than good? No, judgment and criticism are a part of humanity, and quite necessary at times. However, I think that more could stand to examine their views on right and wrong, what purpose they serve, and why they hold them.

What do you consider right and wrong? Do you have strict views or do they change with context?

Open Question: Do You Believe in Karma?

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Karma is every moralist’s favorite belief — the idea that whatever you do, good or bad, comes back to you; sometimes manifold. Karma becomes a way for people to understand what happens to them, positive or negative. You get what you’ve given, you get what you deserve.

But does karma actually play out in our daily lives and how does it work? It seems that whether you consciously or unconsciously acknowledge the law of karma largely depends on how strongly you believe in kindness and justice. That is, if you believe that the world should be fair and that people should treat each other with decency.

In my mind, karma takes on a slightly different form. I don’t so much believe that every word or action is repaid with a word or action of its kind, but I think that the totality of a person’s actions will be reflected in the responses they receive from others. Most people who do what would be seen as considerate and kind tend to do these things more often than not, and those who does what would be seen as unkind and evil tend to do so more often than not. (That may sound like I’m falling prey to the Halo Effect, yet it seems to hold true of my experiences.) So what may seem like karma is simply others responding to their actions with an appropriate reaction.

How does karma work for you? Do you believe in karma, and why or why not?

Open Question: Are You Anti-Fat? And Why?

fat-phobia

As discussed in a previous article The World is Anti-Fat, anti-fat prejudice is one of the most widespread prejudices. Unlike many other prejudices anti-fat discrimination mostly goes undetected and unchallenged. In fact, in many areas, the fat phobic mentality and subsequent anti-fat prejudice is actively encouraged.

In the earlier mentioned post, I covered some reasons that I, and others, believe that people become anti-fat. The biggest of these reasons being the idea that people have control over their weight and as such they are responsible for keeping their weight under control. And they are also responsible if they fail to keep their weight in check.

Anti-fat prejudice goes unchallenged because many fail to see what is wrong with it. What is so bad about encouraging people to eat healthy, be a healthy weight, to become more disciplined and control their eating? To some, anti-fatness is not a prejudice. But the effects of anti-fat prejudice on overweight and obese people, and all people, are many. In striving to fight fat, many cultures have created new issues in its place, such as ever-increasing rates of anorexia and bulimia and decreasing self-esteem.

But I would like to make the question of what causes a nearly global anti-fat culture an open one. Why do you think people are anti-fat and/or fat-phobic? Why are you anti-fat?

Open Question: Is Revenge Ever Justified?

female-revenge

Revenge is one of those subjects that few people admit to thinking about and even fewer people admit to ever doing. Society encourages people to “take the high road” when harm is inflicted upon them by another person or people — seeking revenge is seen as childish at best, and criminal, at worst. But is there any reason a person should seek revenge, or any instance when revenge is necessary?

I believe that revenge is never truly necessary but sometimes is understandable. It is only human to want to protect oneself from harm and to use any means that is necessary to do that. Including inflicting harm upon someone who has hurt you or will hurt you. It is not essential that a person do this, but to react in vengeful ways is natural and therefore not anything to hide.

What do you think of revenge? Have you ever taken revenge and do you think it was justified? Are there any cases in life when taking revenge is warranted?

Open Question: Is Cheating Inevitable?

flirting-cheatingAre all relationships destined to eventually involve infidelity? Some say yes.

While most people dislike being cheated on, some say everyone will eventually be cheated on or cheat if they are in a relationship. According to a popular evolutionary theory humans are not meant to be monogamous — for most of our existence humans haven’t been sexually exclusive. Long-term coupling is a social phenomena, not a natural one, and puts a strain on human beings’ true natures. A strain which they ultimately find too much to bear.

In contrast to this view, there are people who form exclusive bonds, even many who will remain unpartnered even in the case of the death of their partner. If humans are not naturally monogamous, could these people be the odd ones out — the rare beings who are inclined to monogamy? Or are they simply following the order which has been placed on humans, that which says that monogamy is the only socially acceptable way of mating?

What is your opinion? Is cheating inevitable and have you ever cheated or been cheated on?

See also:

Open Question: The Single Woman Life

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Women, what would you do if you were to be single for the rest of your life? How do you manage life as a single woman?

For as long as most people can remember, to be a single woman meant to be one of the most pitied and stigmatized creatures on earth. Far from being glamorous and fun, being a perpetually single woman meant that something was wrong with you. You apparently lacked the femininity and desirability of women who found happiness in marriage and family. The word “spinster” –an older unmarried woman– carried a connotation of loneliness, despair, and exclusion that few women wished to be branded with. The terms “single” and “happy” were rarely used in the same breath.

Nowadays there is the image of the Bachelorette and the Single Woman enjoying life to the fullest. Television shows and films such as Sex and the City highlight the ups and downs of the lives of single women, showing that single women’s lives aren’t much different from the lives of everyone else, and can in fact be more exciting and interesting. Women feel less pressured to be married and have focused more on other aspects of life.

But has life for the single woman truly changed? With upwards of half of all women being unmarried in countries such as the United States and Canada and single women outnumbering single men, many women may find themselves single. How will you adjust to the single life? Do you live as a single woman?

Open Question – Cohabitation: Helpful or Harmful?

cohabitationDo you think it’s best to live separately from your partner while not married, or do you think living together can help your relationship grow?

Cohabitation is becoming more and more common, but there are still mixed opinions about whether or not living with an unmarried partner is beneficial to a relationship. Some people believe that temporary cohabitation allows two people to intimately know each other before they take the bigger step of living together permanently. They think it serves as a reality check — after living together for a time, some couples decide they can’t live together for the long-term. Other couples are strengthened by their proximity.

On the other side, some think that cohabitation spoils relationships. If you’re already living together, why get married at all? Some research shows that cohabiting couples are more likely to break up or remain unmarried.

There is also the issue of timing: some couples decide to live together before they’re ready, before they know each other well enough and are ready to share a space.

What do you think of cohabiting? Do you live with your partner or have you lived with a partner in the past?

Open Question – Is It Okay to Spy on Your Partner?

Surveys indicate that in almost half of all marriages, one partner secretly checks on their partner’s phone calls, emails, or text messages. Nearly 3 out of every 4 say they would spy on their partner if they had reason to. Women are slightly more likely to snoop on their partners than men.

Clearly many people don’t think it’s crossing the line to secretly check up on their partner. I’m not so sure that I would snoop into my partner’s personal life, but I might, depending on the circumstances. For example, if I strongly suspect a partner is cheating or that they are withholding important information. But in general I respect my partner’s privacy and think snooping should be a last measure.

How about you? Do you think it’s okay to spy on your partner? Select one response in the poll above and if you would like to, answer the following questions in the comment section:

1.Which response did you choose in the poll and why?

2. Have you ever been spied on by a partner?

3. If you have, what did you think about it? If you have not been spied on, what do you think your reaction would be to it?