How normal is my boyfriends naughty habit?
June 21, 2009 6:24 PM   Subscribe

How normal is my boyfriends naughty habit?

I'm going to cut down the normal relationship exposition for now, and let you know that me and my boyfriend have been dating for a year and a half now. It has been going strong, has been a pleasure and has had few issues. So, to the event:

Basically, when searching for some school documents on my boyfriends computer I came across what appeared to be an entire folder full of various airbrushed naked women. Pictures of women clothed, and then it looks like their edited naked versions along with them. Some of them, are his female friends on myspace, some of them are famous people, and some of them are cartoons. No really, cartoons. The pictures are a ridiculous blurry mess. They are silly, and disturbing creations.

I had found this sort of thing on his computer once before, when basically one of them popped up as the computers background after I did a system restore on his machine. It was awkward as hell, but he seemed to own it and because I am a person of much understanding and grace, and my boyfriend is otherwise such a total doll, after some discussion I decided not to make it a big deal.

However, this folder is just so much stranger and more disrespectful than the first incident. It includes people that he actually knows in the real world, along side of Disney characters.

I know, that in general my comfort level is whats important when deciding what I want to do. However, I am having a lot of trouble facing that. I don't know if this is something I should work through, or if it's a real problem. Honestly, the pictures hurt ... and I don't feel as inclined to be intimate with my boyfriend knowing that in his free time he edits women to look naked. I don't feel comfortable with that, like he's some sort of pervert.

I mean, all men are perverts ... thats just a fact of life, but ... this seems to take things a step outside of the norm. Doesn't it?

I don't know what to do.

I am very close to is family, and to his friends. I was accepted to school about 400 miles away from where we live now, and we (without my pressure, this was his decision) are planning on moving in together. We have tickets for Monday to go look at places, and will be staying with his friends that I've gotten close to. We've bought things for the apartment. He gives me future room plans that he's drawn onto napkins, shows me pictures of things he'd like to put in the apartment, talks about how amazing it's going to be to wake up next to each other and shows very sincere excitement about the journey and living together.

We have a good relationship, a good time ... he is attentive to me, he calls me every morning and every night. He is soooo sooo very good. Most of all, I LOVE this human being. I love him! But, these pictures ...

The pictures hurt. They obviously belong to some odd unbalanced fetish, or I don't know what. Am I over reacting here? Can I really let this dirty fetish of his destroy something that is otherwise wonderful?

I know I need to talk to him about it, and I will ... but I'm not prepared to yet. I really want to be more clear in my own mind before I approach him, otherwise I'll react too emotionally and will likely make the situation worse than it is. I don't want to do that, I want to explore it a little first and get a feel for how comfortable I am with this, and what I should do. Decide if I want to break it off with this person, which quite frankly hurts quite a bit to think about.

Thanks for providing venting space, and for helping me with the question:

What should I do? How normal is this?
posted by apoptosis to Human Relations (73 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

In my personal opinion you're hugely overreacting and this is not a big deal at all. If a friend told me that this was the dealbreaker in their otherwise-great relationship I'd probably think she was really repressed/uptight or had some other issues with sex. But my personal opinion probably shouldn't matter to your relationship. But to answer the other part of your question, I think that many many people in the world (not just men) will have something which you would find to be on par with this or worse.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:35 PM on June 21, 2009 [6 favorites]

meh. Everyone has their own buttons that they like pushed. If his are crappy photoshop jobs be thankful, as there are much worse things that one could find on another's computer.
posted by phredgreen at 6:36 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Honestly, it's not that big of a deal. Men fantasize about the women in their lives. That's just a fact. So what if he takes it one step further? Are you sure those pictures are recent? Check out the last modified date on them. Who knows, they may be ages old? My girlfriend found some of my old pornography and mistook it as current.
posted by DonSlice at 6:36 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

You are over reacting. This is not a violation of your relationship... it's a kink that he has been keeping private. And in the grand scheme of kink... it's pretty tame. Odd, but tame. Maybe it was accidental that you found them, but it was your choice to look through them once discovered. And now you have to do the work to be okay with that. If you can't be okay with it, then I guess you have to end the relationship, but this is not something you get to blame him for.
posted by kimdog at 6:38 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sit down with him and tell him "So I was snooping on your computer and found a collection of your jackoff fantasies. I could make a big crazy deal out of it but I won't because I'm not crazy enough to confuse the time you spend with your penis with the time you spend with me. So, I'm sorry that I invaded your privacy like that. I guess all I really have to say is that your photoshop skills are abysmal and I would offer to give you some pointers but I won't because involving myself in your private fantasy world of Disney characters and girls you went to school with would be about as awkward for you as giving my dad a handjob would be for me."
posted by bunnytricks at 6:38 PM on June 21, 2009 [68 favorites]

Most porn habits fall somewhere between "totally normal" [where normal just means what most people who aren't opposed to porn would consider normal] and "totally weird" [where those same people would say "eww that's really sort of weird"]. Most people also agree that just because someone finds something arousing porn-wise, that doesn't translate into wanting that thing for sex. Sometimes with fetishes [i.e. if all your boyfriend's photos were women in rubber aprons perhaps] it might. I was surprised, personally, to be noodling around on some "how to" video site and finding a "how to make women look naked using photoshop, even though they are wearing clothes" how to video. It had to do with adjusting contrasts, etc, and you could get to the point where you could see a lot of celebrities looking like they were topless. This doesn't really rate on the "what I think is hot" meter, but maybe it does for your boyfriend.

I think you need to separate what it is that really concerns you. Do you find the porn concerning? Would you find regular old porny photos of people having sex disturbing? The cartoon aspect [toon sex also pretty much in the normal realm]? The fact that it's his friends [and you may wonder whether he is attracted to them or fantasizing about them]? The fact that he's using photoshop to do this to people's photos? The fact that he's not very good at it?

It's hard to tell from your description which issue makes you feel bad, but that said, even if what he was into was 100% normal according to everyone, you could still tell him it made you uncomfortable and have a conversation about it. What he's doing, to me, doesn't seem that weird, but when you have this conversation it really just matters how you feel and how he feels. I personally would find it an odd thing to break up over, but I can understand how it might, to you, reveal that there's a whole part of him that you don't know about and that can feel weird in addition to the sex/porn parts of it.

So I'd try to narrow down what you're feeling to the parts that you think you need to talk to him about and try to move forward with a "this is something I'd like to talk about" vibe not a "you are a pervert and that makes me feel bad" vibe since one of the easiest ways to make someone hide an aspect of their lives from you is telling them that you think that it's shameworthy in some way. You guys are taking some big steps together in the near future, it's natural that this would make you feel twitchy, but I'd try to keep it in perspective, the guy sounds pretty terrific otherwise and that's also a big deal. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 6:38 PM on June 21, 2009 [15 favorites]

This doesn't sound that abnormal to me. It's a fairly normal thing for a man to want to see women naked, including famous people, women he knows, and Disney characters. Now, obviously this is a step beyond that, but it doesn't seem like much more than looking at porn; it's just that he's looking at porn he's created himself. If you'd be bothered by him looking at porn, then you and he should discuss that before you move on. If you wouldn't be bothered by porn, I don't see any reason to be bothered by him looking at drawings of naked women.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:40 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

We have a good relationship, a good time ... he is attentive to me, he calls me every morning and every night. He is soooo sooo very good. Most of all, I LOVE this human being. I love him! But, these pictures ...

It's certainly a strange habit, but I don't see what the big deal is. He has crazy masturbation fantasies. That's all. He's not involving you and he's really not involving the other people except for in his brain or on his computer. It was kind of stupid for him to leave them where a snooper could find them, but other than that, they're his private business.

What's the harm in putting up with this as long as he's not involving you in it? I mean, if he were a jerk to you or treated you poorly, I could see this as a straw that would break the camel's back, but as it stands he's otherwise fantastic to you.

Frankly, the "all men are perverts" line sends up a red flag for me. Sex is not perversion.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:43 PM on June 21, 2009 [10 favorites]

Many people here and elsewhere on the Internet don't like the kinds of questions you're asking. It's not uncommon for people to react strongly to someone in your situation, lashing out at you for even questioning what lies beneath his fetish. There are various reasons why responders act this way, but for many, if not most, on AskMe, there's something wrong with you, not him, for snooping/questioning/not accepting.

That said, I think you're perfectly right to wonder what causes someone to engage in this sort of behavior. There is obviously something going on here and a fetish like this very likely reflects a certain worldview. The fact that he sees women in his life as little more than objects to be turned into pornography is obviously problematic to you and perhaps rightfully so. I certainly would be unhappy if I discovered a partner systematically placed acquaintances in such positions; I'd feel it evinced a fundamental disrespect that was backed up by hours of labor. This isn't a passing fancy, this is a hobby. A hobby that turns peers into sex objects against their will.

Sure, it could be worse. Perhaps there's even some bizarre explanation that makes you feel like you're seeing this out of context. Yet if this bothers you, there's a problem and the problem isn't you. Don't ask if this is normal. Normalcy isn't the goal, there's no such thing. What is the problem is that you have discovered a hobby of his that upsets and disturbs you.

So confront him. Make it clear that what bothers you isn't the practice itself, but what it reflects. Ask him if he sees it like this. If he doesn't, maybe the two of you can talk about respectful ways to treat the men and women in your life, about objectification, about dignity.

He may retreat to the realm of privacy, to argue that it's nobody's business but his own. Indeed, he's not entirely wrong; merely making these pictures and not sharing them is certainly not hurting anyone. He might not be upset if he discovered a friend was doing this to him. That's not really the point, but it's probably how he feels.

Most important is open communication. Explain to him why this bothers you in a manner that honestly reflects your feelings and goes to the heart of the matter; not merely its reflection. There's no need to use the direct evidence to shame, it's better to talk about underlying concerns. He may not change, but if he doesn't care enough to try to understand your feelings, you've got an even larger problem.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:43 PM on June 21, 2009 [27 favorites]

Its not that big of a deal, but its not not a deal either. Honestly, if it were me, I would be bothered only by the pictures of the women he actually knows, if you're sure they're recent. Its not about guys fantasizing about women they know or about worries about cheating, but it is just kind of creepy. Ick. I just think that there's a difference between porn and people you know, but maybe that's just me. If I knew a guy friend of mine did that to a picture of me, I would be totally creeped out, and there's no real reason it should be different if its your boyfriend.

That being said, its almost certainly not a reason to freak out and reevaluate your entire otherwise good relationship. It doesn't mean he's a bad person, its probably just a fetish of sorts, which are always weird to people who aren't into that same fetish, but not everyone likes the same things. I think that you should probably talk to him about it, and just explain that it makes you uncomfortable. If he's as good a guy as it sounds like, he'll probably understand and, if not offer not to do it, maybe in talking about it you'll understand it more and not find it as odd.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 6:49 PM on June 21, 2009

I think a more important question than whether it is normal or perverse is how it affects you. He has an artistic hobby that revolves around imagining/inventing what people may look like under their clothes. When you say this hurts, is it a feeling of insecurity? Jealousy that he would be interested in how other women look naked? A sense of betrayal that there is some erotic outlet in his life that he did not share with you openly? I cannot speak for anyone else, of course, but no matter how much I love a particular specific individual, I am interested in bodies that I find beautiful.

It is up to you how big a deal this is, and what would make the situation OK if you decide it is not OK. Before approaching him, be sure you are clear headed enough to be able to explain exactly what it is about it you don't like, and what would have to change to make it no longer be something that hurt you. Does he have to get rid of all the pictures and stop making them? Does he have to explain to you why he is making them and share the hobby with you so you don't feel like he is keeping a part of his sexuality hidden from you? What if it were just a silly thing he does that he doesn't really consider sexual?

Also there is a difference, I think, between a fetish and a kink. If it is a fetish, he will not be able to get fully aroused without it, and your ethical choices are accepting it or dumping him. If it is just a kinky thing he likes, this is a much different ethical situation, with more room for negotiation or compromise.
posted by idiopath at 6:49 PM on June 21, 2009

It's fantasy. It doesn't mean that he wants you to be Snow White or your coworker. It's mostly harmless, and not necessarily the case for a DTMFA.

That being said-it's kind of weird and disrespectful to be using people that you know in real life, and I'd be even more creeped out if I knew that an acquaintance was using pictures of me to whack off. It's completely in the bounds to tell him to delete that set of photos.

But yeah, not that far out of the norm.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:51 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think this hobby is all that egregious; if he's not Photoshopping away all hours of the night to the extent that it's affecting other areas of the night then it's all pretty harmless. I can understand how you might feel a bit squicked by him doing this with pictures of women he actually knows in real life (not sure if the "MySpace friends" you mention are actual friends or not) and it would be reasonable for you to ask him not to do that. But I'd say all of this is harmless and not especially abnormal.
posted by nowonmai at 6:54 PM on June 21, 2009

allen.spaulding: "The fact that he sees women in his life as little more than objects to be turned into pornography is obviously problematic to you and perhaps rightfully so."

This is not a fact. The fact is: we don't know what is going on in his head, and you need to discuss this with him if you feel it's necessary.
posted by TypographicalError at 6:55 PM on June 21, 2009 [20 favorites]

When you talk to him about it, be sure to apologize for snooping on his computer. In my book, invading someone's privacy is a bigger dealbreaker than drawing lame naked cartoons.

As for the pics? At least he's not drawing guro.
posted by aquafortis at 6:57 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

That was worded more strongly than I intended. If you read what I wrote throughout the response, you can see I tried to hedge and be open; this part was kludgy. It probably should have read "You are obvious upset by what you perceive as a tendency to see women in his life as objects to be turned into pornography."

But let's not let a little charitable reading get in the way of shaming the poster (this is not directed at you TypographicalError).
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:59 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Unbalanced fetish? More like a juvenile humor. It's the computer equivalent of drawing boobs on some old picture. He was probably just bored.
posted by delmoi at 7:00 PM on June 21, 2009

Basically, when searching for some school documents on my boyfriends computer I came across what appeared to be an entire folder full of various airbrushed naked women.

If you were snooping around on his computer, you owe your boyfriend an apology. A relationship is no excuse to violate his privacy. You knew he liked pictures of naked people and so you could have brought it up then.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:03 PM on June 21, 2009 [4 favorites]

Many people here and elsewhere on the Internet don't like the kinds of questions you're asking.

Actually, I think people are reacting more to the kinds of statements you're making—things like "all men are perverts ... thats just a fact of life" is little more than offensive (and wrong) stereotyping.
posted by grouse at 7:10 PM on June 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

Naughty, dirty, perverted, fetish: These are words you use to describe a guy who seems to be doing nothing more than practicing drawing.

Yes. You are severely overreacting.
posted by sageleaf at 7:12 PM on June 21, 2009 [5 favorites]

Could he be taking a class in Photoshop? An illustration class?

Nude study is so common that's it's cliché. Go ahead. Name 10 movies with a naked model sitting in an art class, noob artist is trying to paint/draw model, noob gets exposed or someone finds his drawings, sitcom ensues, all for naught but a noob taking an art class!

Maybe he's making a hilarious Flash movie with all of his friends naked that will be so funny he'll be famous (think Jib Jab) for ages and people will ask about it on AskMe ten years from now?

Maybe these are not even his? Maybe a friend of his sent them and he liked them so much, he just kept them.

Maybe there's a whole group of people he knows that create these and send them to each other for kicks?

Maybe he found them all on 4chan? Usenet? Mininova? thePirateBay?

Maybe every single person that's in that folder has seen the work and just loved it, just laughed themselves to pieces.

Maybe he's doing what a previous poster said and just following a tutorial to learn x, y, and z in Photoshop.

Maybe, maybe, maybe...

Remember what David Foster Wallace said in his Kenyon College speech: that Hummer that just cut you off on the road, the one that burns 10x the fuel your car does, maybe it was rushing a kid to the hospital and had nothing to do with you.

Maybe, maybe, maybe...

There are hundreds of possibilities and none of them mean anything until you have facts.

We used to do just this sort of thing at work all the time, and everyone just loved them. We'd also create fake stories about the Photoshop subjects and email them Reply All as hilarious skits to be enjoyed by all. It was a blast! Maybe that's what he's doing, emailing them to friends with funny stories?

Maybe, maybe, maybe...

And now for my favorite line from Nero Wolfe:

"She made the soup herself, you owe her nothing!" Or in your case, "You made the soup yourself, he owes you nothing."

And 10 will get you 50 that his porn collection is much, much more interesting...!
posted by foooooogasm at 7:18 PM on June 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

The fact that he sees women in his life as little more than objects to be turned into pornography is obviously problematic to you and perhaps rightfully so.

WTF? Clearly this isn't the case because otherwise they seem to have a very healthy relationship. If the guy only thought women were sexual objects, I doubt she'd be raving over him as much as she has.

I see women as sexual objects but I also see them as fully-fledged human beings who deserve respect and who are not much different to me. Flip-flopping between these standpoints in context is not cause for alarm. I've seen enough women going ga-ga over male strippers to know that women are perfectly capable of both modes of operation too without thinking they see men universally as "little more than objects."

In this case, the guy has been keeping it in context - in private on his personal computer. It sounds like, however, he should learn a bit about encryption and not letting his girlfriend stumble across his stash. My wife knows fully well that I have porn on my computer but she'd never find it in a million years.
posted by wackybrit at 7:24 PM on June 21, 2009 [4 favorites]

It was awkward as hell, but he seemed to own it and because I am a person of much understanding and grace, and my boyfriend is otherwise such a total doll, after some discussion I decided not to make it a big deal.

As jessamyn suggests, you can change your mind about this, but the fact that you didn't make it a big deal then means the impetus is on you to start the conversation now. Apologize for snooping, be honest about why / if your feelings have changed, and come to a mutual and clear understanding of what the new norms are. AskMe can't tell you what "normal" is, and even if we could, "normal" doesn't matter much when push comes to shove, it matters what the two of you decide is acceptable behavior for each other.

At the very least, your unwillingness to make this a big deal the first time means he hasn't knowingly harmed you. If you absolutely put your foot down against his drawings, and he tells you he'll stop but doesn't, you'd have a stronger case for leaving the relationship.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:29 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

all men are perverts ... thats just a fact of life

Man here. I largely agree with this statement. The conditions in which our sexuality evolved differ so greatly from the realities of modern, western life that the clash between the two can't help but produce a huge range of bizarre sexual affectations. Almost everyone in our society feels insecurity and shame about their sexual behaviors, and it's unrealistic to expect some phony puritanical form of "normality" to emerge from this twisted psychological trap. Feel fortunate that you found a relatively benign mutation.
posted by martens at 7:30 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

They obviously belong to some odd unbalanced fetish

No. The sooner you move past generalizations like this, the better.
posted by limeonaire at 7:33 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

A few thoughts.

First, every time an question arrives on Ask Metafilter about porn that a girlfriend found on a boyfriend’s computer, it’s always because they were looking for some form of innocuous document they would be perfectly justified to be looking for. I have never once seen an Ask Metafilter question about this topic in which the questioner says, “Yeah, so, I was violating my boyfriend’s privacy by opening up folders on their computer because I was curious about what secrets he might be keeping from me.”

And I’m sure, just like every other one of these questioners, you weren’t doing that, either.

Second, porn is not something it takes much understanding and grace to accept, nor is it something for which it is necessary to be a total doll to be mitigated.

Third, all men are not perverts. To say so reveals a casual negative blanket assumption about male sexuality, an assumption that may underlie some of the difficulties you’re having at the moment.

Fourth, when it comes to fetishes, there’s two issues. There’s the question of a fetish’s existence, and the question of a fetish being “worn on someone’s sleeve,” displayed openly. It sounds as if this fetish was never willingly made accessible to you by your boyfriend. You tell us you discovered this as a result of a system restore and as a result of looking for school papers. Your boyfriend was good enough to not dissemble to you, apparently, when you first confronted him about this.

Do you have a right to ask your partner not to expose you to this fetish? Sure. That’s a matter of having the inherent human right to consent to or decline sexual interaction.

But he didn’t expose you to this fetish of his. You exposed yourself to it each time, from how you’ve related this to us. Do you have a right to ask your partner not to have this fetish at all? No. You don’t.

How do I feel about the fetish itself, myself? Feed in the name of any real-life celebrity and the phrase “fan fiction” and you’re going to find a great deal of disturbingly explicit sexual stories, most certainly authored without that celebrity's consent. Our “pop” culture is so oversexed that it in fact relies upon men having sexual fantasies about what various women around them (celebrities and otherwise) would look like naked – because, by fantasizing so, they internally conflate whatever product is being sold with that desire.

For example, I’m sure G4 isn’t exactly displeased at Olivia Munn's appearance in this month’s Playboy, and I’m sure G4’s marketing department could give you figures in a few months as to exactly how much that will have boosted their ratings.

Your boyfriend is merely translating that society-amped element of male sexuality (“what does that woman look like underneath her clothes?” “how about that one?”) into a permanent visual real-life component. Now, I’ll admit, that introduces a slight element of ick for me, for were that image to become public, it could conceivably be construed as something sexual the photo subject themselves did ... and that would essentially be a sexual violation of that person yet done without their consent. That possibility introduces some ick to the equation.

At the same time, it’s an act of imagination that, as far as I can tell from what you've told us, was never meant to cross anyone’s eyes but his own. I think of the 16th century idiom “a cat may look at a king” ... a motto I’ve always taken as ruling that one has the right to a relatively sacrosanct, inviolable space beneath their hair and behind their eyes. The fact that it is his imagination and something he (according to what you have told us thus far) has never actively sought to show to anyone, including you ... well, that walks it back from the ick-brink at least somewhat for me.
posted by WCityMike at 7:40 PM on June 21, 2009 [16 favorites]

"The fact that he sees women in his life as little more than objects to be turned into pornography is obviously problematic to you and perhaps rightfully so."

This is ridiculous and reactionary. You have no idea how else he sees anyone based on one small aspect.

So I'm nthing those that say it seems pretty harmless. At worst it's a bit juvenile: it reminds me of what every kid used to doodle in grade school and giggle about. But on the scale of "things to be concerned about", this barely registers for me.

If he starts drawing people with their heads cut off, be concerned.
posted by rokusan at 7:41 PM on June 21, 2009

Best answer: My knee jerk reaction was to say that yes, you are overreacting, but then I realized if I were in your shoes, I think I'd also be bothered by the pictures of his female friends. Yes, that would come from a place of insecurity and jealousy and all the ugly little emotions we want to be able to rise above, but it would still bug. Not even because I'd suspect infidelity, there's just something uncomfortable about having concrete evidence that he is fantasizing (or has fantasized in the past) about his friends, who you both know. Do I think your boyfriend is a depraved pervert or this is even a somewhat alarming fetish? No, not at all, but I can understand why your feelings would be hurt.

It's worth a discussion, but if everything really is as wonderful as it sounds, and this is just an issue of fantasizing versus real life intimacy with people who are not you, then I hope you can move past it. You might be able to get to a rational place of why this should be fine, well before you can get there emotionally. A large part of this is because you care about him and are deeply invested in your relationship, and that's okay. In fact, that's why talking it out and trying to let it go is a worthwhile endeavor.

Also, I have to give you credit for trying to understand the situation and your own feelings about it instead of just flying off the handle. It would be very easy to have just been overwhelmed by your uncertainty and concern, and approach him with judgment and anger. It probably wouldn't have accomplished much and left you both feeling even worse, but that hasn't necessarily prevented arguments between couples before. Good luck to both of you!
posted by katemcd at 7:50 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

It sounds more like a hobby than a real fetish but if I am wrong it still does not sound that bad.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:55 PM on June 21, 2009

This is gross. Seriously. Imagine your best friend (female) tells you she found out some guy has been photoshopping her head onto naked female bodies. Could anyone fail to be creeped out by that? Your boyfriend is that guy. Do not move in with him until you've discussed this.

There is a vast difference between making naked pictures of celebs or disney characters and people he knows in real life.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:00 PM on June 21, 2009 [8 favorites]

I have to disagree with everyone who says you are overreacting. It is disgusting and seriously disturbing that your boyfriend is altering photos of women he knows to make them look naked.

Since this is clearly a big problem for you (as it would be for me!), I recommend that you are confront him. The problem will never be solved if you do not discuss it. However, try not to let your emotions carry you away when you do discuss it. Maybe he does have some relatively reasonable explanation for this creepy behavior, as unlikely as that seems. You have to give him the benefit of the doubt to begin with. It sounds like he is serious about this relationship so maybe he will want to make it work.

Otherwise, if I were in your situation, I would probably consider that a deal breaker.
posted by Lobster Garden at 8:16 PM on June 21, 2009

Nthing that the squicky part of the photoshopping is the people he knows. That would be a dealbreaker for me because of my personal issues, although it might not be for anyone else.

In your shoes, I would woman up and tell him what happened, with copious apologies for violating his privacy, and discuss how you feel about it with a view to each of you regaining trust in the other. If knowing that he has this folder is turning you off sex, you need to clear it up with him. Also, you two need to work out how to handle future privacy issues. If you have reason to be on his computer, either he needs to hide his porn better or you need to know where not to look.
posted by immlass at 8:28 PM on June 21, 2009

I have to disagree with everyone who says you are overreacting. It is disgusting and seriously disturbing that your boyfriend is altering photos of women he knows to make them look naked.

A bunch of people have said this. I don't think it is a fair representation of things. He's not photoshopping his coworkers or real friends, he's doing it to his "female friends on myspace". As in, people he probably doesn't actually know and isn't actually friends with. That's not the same thing at all.

OP: I think you're really overreacting, that this is really weak sauce as a porn habit goes, and that if everything else in your relationship is as good as you say it is you'd be pretty dang foolish to cause a big dustup over something so boringly vanilla.
posted by Justinian at 8:31 PM on June 21, 2009

Taking a slightly different perspective: if one of my male friends was making weird naked Photoshop mash-ups of me I would be seriously weirded out. I would never, ever talk to him again and we would not be friends anymore. If I found out his SO knew about it we would not be friends anymore either. That would not be OK to me. Naked mash-ups of cartoons or celebrities, however, would not bother me.

So it may not affect you but it is a violation of his friendships and at the very least shows he has a big problem understanding and respecting other people and the concept of friendship. Leaving them on his desktop in a non-password protected folder where people can find them also shows a singular lack of common sense.
posted by fshgrl at 8:36 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

They are unusual, and in that sense not "normal." But they are a lot like a whole range of bog-standard normal behaviors, like ordinary sexual fantasy or pornography. As such, I don't think they say anything particularly disturbing about this guy. He's found an unusual outlet for utterly usual impulses. You should probably not be radically adjusting your views about your relationship.
posted by grobstein at 8:38 PM on June 21, 2009

Justinian, I think he is photoshopping his coworkers or real friends. The OP says:

However, this folder is just so much stranger and more disrespectful than the first incident. It includes people that he actually knows in the real world
posted by selfmedicating at 8:42 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

He gives me future room plans that he's drawn onto napkins, shows me pictures of things he'd like to put in the apartment

He communicates with you using casual drawings of his own creation, and photos other people have taken. He's obviously a visually-oriented guy, and probably takes pleasure in making these little pieces of (perverted) art.

Would you feel better if he painted nudes on a canvas? Would it be more legitimate? Photoshop is this century's canvas. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. In fact, I'd let him know that you found them, that you don't understand it, but since it's something he enjoys you support him doing it...then kiss him on the head, and show him one you did of HIM.
posted by davejay at 8:44 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think it's not as weird or uncommon as you think it is. For one thing, I think it's a huge presumption to assume he's masturbating to these images. Or even aroused by them. The skill of being able to make someone clothed look naked can be useful for uploading to all kinds of dark corners of the internet. Naked cartoon characters are also immensely popular. If you wanted to practice such a skill, would you not pick something a little salacious to keep it interesting?

I have been known to photoshop pictures of people I know in weird ways just to practice my photoshop skills. Then again, I know a fellow who likes to photoshop photos of genitals onto people's faces. It takes all kinds. He may just wonder what people look like naked. That isn't that weird. While some have pointed out that there could be an objectification issue going on, because he's only photoshopping pictures of women he knows, I would ask whether it would be more or less troubling if it were men he knows instead?

If you are really interested, just please talk to him about it. Going around thinking he is a pervert is not helpful. Hell, going around thinking *all* men are perverts is not helpful. If you think that by digitally manipulating images of women he knows he is somehow by extension cheating on you, you are going to have to discuss it and ask to set that boundary with him.

And don't snoop anymore. It's creepy.
posted by SassHat at 8:49 PM on June 21, 2009

The OP also says: Some of them, are his female friends on myspace, some of them are famous people, and some of them are cartoons.

I'm not sure the OP isn't considering "myspace friends" as "people he actually knows" which is dubious.

But, hey, either way I think it's extremely mild as these things go.
posted by Justinian at 8:49 PM on June 21, 2009

I had found this sort of thing on his computer once before, when basically one of them popped up as the computers background after I did a system restore on his machine. It was awkward as hell, but he seemed to own it and because I am a person of much understanding and grace, and my boyfriend is otherwise such a total doll, after some discussion I decided not to make it a big deal.

So, what did he say during this discussion? What did YOU say? It's not clear from your description, but it sounds like things weren't really discussed, he just sorta kinda admitted to doing it and you decided not to make a big deal out of it. Did he say that wouldn't do it again? Did you ask him? Did you feel as hurt about it then as you do now?

Also, what's his relationship with his female myspace friends? Close, known each other for years, just buddies from some other forum or ex-girlfriends? Is it just his myspace female friends he's doodling? Do you know? Why does he do this?

The questions are being asked because it's almost pointless to wonder if this is normal. What is normal? If Metafilter defines this behavior as normal, would you really be ok with it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:49 PM on June 21, 2009

Taking a slightly different perspective: if one of my male friends was making weird naked Photoshop mash-ups of me I would be seriously weirded out.

I think what you mean here is that if you found out one of your male friends was making naked Photoshop mashups of you you'd be weirded out. Because, I mean, what circumstances would lead to you discovering such a thing that weren't really weird? However if they were making nude Photoshops of you and you didn't find out, you'd clearly be just fine, as you wouldn't know. But the thing is, your male friends might as well be making naked Photoshops of you for the amount of times they've probably thought about you naked. They just don't make that fact public because they are well-adjusted people. The OPs boyfriend isn't sharing these images with anyone, and I don't see much reason to believe his relationships with his female friends are much different from any male's. It's not perversion -- sexually active/aware people will sometimes think about/want to look at people of their preferred gender naked. That is the way of things.

At least he's not into hardcore taters.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:23 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

"...a guy who seems to be doing nothing more than practicing drawing."

My initial reaction, too. Muses often fall outside the sanctioned path.
posted by bz at 9:24 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

That's what you get for snooping on the dude's computer.

The guy has a kink, which he hasn't wanted to share with you.

You can either learn to deal with it, talk to him about it in the hopes that in doing so you'll come to be more comfortable with it, or you can dismiss him as "too weird" for your Puritanical tastes and move on.

If the last option is the course you choose, then the guy is better off without you anyway...
posted by wfrgms at 9:36 PM on June 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

I did not read any of the replies intentionally to share my gut feeling. I totally understand how this pastime of his would make you feel uneasy, but don't let it be a dealbreaker just yet.

Maybe your feelings are a warning sign that you're not ready to make this big move with your boyfriend? Or you're generally uneasy about the big life change and your mind has latched on to this very odd revelation? Who knows.

But if this is his only quirk, I wouldn't worry, unless something is telling you all is not right with Mr. Right.

Here comes the old Metafilter standby, but after reading all these responses and you still feel uneasy, please make an appointment or two with a counselor or therapist who can help you unpack your feelings in real time, face-to-face. If you're in college now your school will have services. Your insurance company will recommend someone in your area in your plan.

Good luck. If it is any consolation, I've dated guys with way weirder erotic hobbies and it didn't affect the quality of our relationship.

FWIW, I never answer relationship questions. Yours jumped out at me for some reason. Maybe because of my past with weird-erotic-habit guys. As long as I didn't have to participate and as long as it didn't hurt others, I really never gave those weird erotic habits a second thought.
posted by vincele at 9:44 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mr. Tristeza here:

First, you should know that this is a thing - there are web sites where men trade pictures of celebrity women whom they have "undressed" using Photoshop filters. They trade techniques and kind of even compete. I have no idea how, but I just happened to run into this on the Internet.

Which brings me to the second point: the degree of specialization in male pornographic fantasies is often shocking to me, and I'm a man.

Third, OP, you're drawing conclusions about attitudes towards actual women which, yes, *seem* to follow logically - if you're a woman - but don't if you're a man. Instead of thinking about this stuff in terms of attitudes towards actual women, try considering pornography as a "masturbation drug". A man is looking for the images that stimulate a deep, non-rational part of the brain and produce the desired effect most quickly and intensely.

The images you found are, perhaps, a little unusual, but are they more or less degrading to women than the extremely common pornographic preference many men share for seeing enormous penises sticking out of young women's anuses? That pornographic preference is considered totally "normal" even though I certainly find it more than a little disgusting.

I remember one time using a good friend's computer, accidentally happening upon his digital porno stash and finding out that the above was what he was into. I wouldn't have guessed it and I was a little surprised. Did I look at him differently? Did I assume he wanted to have anal sex with everyone? No, I didn't. I wouldn't be surprised if he's never asked a woman to have anal sex and never even done it. I wouldn't be surprised if he had no interest in such images any more. Those are just the type of images that got him off at that time in his life. Okay, I snickered at him a little internally, but that's it. It's his private fantasy life and I neither have nor want any access to it.

It's important to remember that your boyfriend has and will always maintain a private fantasy life to which you have no access and to which you want no access because all it could cause is misunderstanding. But do feel free to snicker at it.

I've also come to learn that a couple men I knew got *way* into pornography as they were making the adjustment to marriages and other serious relationships. Pornography is an escape from reality (and isn't that particularly obvious in this case?) and the stress of getting into a serious relationship often pushes people to seek escapes and stress-relievers. A man making real women into hot cartoons seems pretty innocent to me. I don't want to analyze, but it seems a fairly transparent acknowledgment of a desire to maintain the adolescent relationship with women that the man in question may be leaving behind forever.

If the images were very violent and showed some sense of enjoyment on his part of involved thoughts of torture or something like that, it might be different, but then again consider these two words: Robert Mapplethorpe. Brilliant artist who created some fairly shocking images and a weird guy, but not exactly Mengele. Stephen King? He's a harmless nerd and good family man from Maine whose business includes scores of hours' detailed imagining about sadistic murder.

Where we live in our imaginations is a product of many layers of context too deep to peel away with a look inside a folder on a computer. Is there something "unbalanced" here? Indeed there is: pornography. Pornography is a world of unbalance and wretched excess that is also an unavoidable context of the life of a modern man. It is not a nice culture. It's a race to that which is lower than the lowest common denominator. Should you be disturbed about the culture of pornography? Yes. Should you be disturbed about your boyfriend? It's your choice. I can only suggest that what you've written describes to me a kind of innocent guy who is maybe under some extra stress.

It's your own affair, but honestly if you were my sister I feel confident I would say: "Worry about his stress level, fine, but put the porno drawings out of your mind. Dismiss them as an adolescent absurdity."
posted by tristeza at 10:12 PM on June 21, 2009 [7 favorites]

In his 1995* diary, published as A Year (With Swollen Appendicies), musician/producer Brian Eno (Roxy Music, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!, much of Talking Heads and U2's better work) notes that in idle moments he likes to Photoshop large asses and male genitalia onto pictures of women.

I don't know if Brian Eno is the best barometer of what's considered "normal" behavior, but he seems to be doing okay.

* This would have been shortly after the release of Photoshop 3.0. Oh that Eno -- always a trendsetter!
posted by Lazlo at 10:41 PM on June 21, 2009 [8 favorites]

I think what you mean here is that if you found out one of your male friends was making naked Photoshop mashups of you you'd be weirded out. Because, I mean, what circumstances would lead to you discovering such a thing that weren't really weird?

I can think of lots of ways I might find out. He shows his creations to one buddy, that person tells his girlfriend and she tells me. Or his SO finds them, freaks out and tells everyone. Or his lapop gets stolen and they end up on the internet.

The problem is not his impulse to imagine people naked, which is normal. The problem is that that he's making photos of people he knows that could be possibly be mistaken for real naked photos. On top of that he is leaving them where they can easily be found/ copied by anyone who has access to his computer. That is not good friend behavior.
posted by fshgrl at 12:07 AM on June 22, 2009

I think you'd have gotten very different answers if the question had just been, my boyfriend is photoshopping pictures of his female friends (again, real life? This is important) into naked pictures of them - I'm creeped out. Am I overreacting?

Because, regardless of what the rest of us find acceptable fetishes, if this is something you would dump a friend or acquantaince for if they had done this to you, and you are fully within your rights to do so, then it's grounds for you to break up.

But first, you should talk to your boyfriend about why he does it, and see if you feel comfortable with his reasons. If you do, sweet!

Do keep in mind Dan Savage's sage advice, better the known foot fetishist now, than dump him and end up with the closet necrophiliac.
But y'know? Dan doesn't know all. And sex acts are often easier to live with than fantasies oddly, because you'll either try them or not, and you'll be done with it, and you won't try and ignore your creeped out-ness because it's 'just a fantasy'.

And anyone who is bewildered by this last bit - there's some strong and disturbing fetishes out there. There are also some strong, strong no-go zones for some people.
How would you feel living with the rape fetishist, the cuckold fetishist, the pregnancy-fetishist when you don't want kids, or hey, how about a pedophile?
If you're still creeped out after giving the idea an fair shot, run long and fast, even if it seems otherwise ok.
posted by Elysum at 12:21 AM on June 22, 2009

They obviously belong to some odd unbalanced fetish, or I don't know what.

It might be odd to do the actual photoshopping, but it's not odd to visualize people you know naked. There's a natural curiosity mixed with eroticism about others' bodies. Look at Whitman -- his Leaves of Grass is just one long visual caress of everyone's body under their clothes as he imagines it, and he elevates this into a kind of religious attitude. I'm sure your boyfriend's photoshopping is no Leaves of Grass, but honestly I think it represents a very natural impulse. He might have no desire to have anything to do with them, sexually, in real life; it might be an entirely idle curiosity. Of course it might bother them to know that he's doing it, but that's why he keeps it private.

It looks creepy if you see it on a continuum with unwanted sexual advances or stalking, but he might have no actual desire to ever realize any of it. People can have totally idle fantasies. I can admire women and yet have not the slightest temptation to do anything about it -- just the same way you can enjoy overhearing someone else's conversation without desiring to join in.

If he just imagined women naked without photoshopping, would you find that creepy? What if he just sometimes thought: hmmm, that woman has nice legs. Would you find that creepy?
posted by creasy boy at 12:39 AM on June 22, 2009

I mean, all men are perverts ... thats just a fact of life

Well, no, it's not. Sexual taste is not gender based, and people swing all kinds of ways with all kinds of frequency. Men get a really raw deal on this side of things, because women are less likely to discuss their sexual tastes.

Honestly, it sounds like you're sexually conservative, and he's got an unconventional porn stash. Neither of which is wrong. I'd probably ask him to stop photoshopping people he knew offline (MySpace girls do not count), unless he had their permission to explicitly do so, but everything else? Just a porn stash. Most people have them. Perfectly normal.
posted by saturnine at 12:58 AM on June 22, 2009

Your outrageous behavior is the issue; well, that and pathological puritan views. I am reminded of Garrison Kielor's quote "She was a good woman, in the worst sense of the word."

When you "find" something on someone's computer (i.e., when your snooping pays off), it's tainted evidence. You aren't allowed to use it in any emotional court. Really, you should put your eyes out in penance. (That might also save you from your bad habit of snooping in the future.) My bullshit detector is going super critical. "Found", indeed.

News flash: People in their natural state have no clothing on. Nudity is not dirty. Grow up.

Who doesn't imagine? It's what gives us art once our skills rise to levels above crayons and construction paper. You want a boy with no imagination? No fantasy? No creativity?

Hidden from view is a lot of the stuff that makes us individuals. If you really want to get graphic, realize that if you keep going in the direction your unfortunate mate is going, underneath the skin it gets even worse. There is all kinds of goo and fluid percolating underneath the veneer of skin that contains it all in a semi-orderly and semi-static form. AND IT STINKS and is pretty disgusting. At that level, we all look exactly the same.

Still, it's not as disgusting as seeking a solution for his 'problem' while skittering past the log stuck in your own eye.

Good people do not read other people's diaries unless invited or unless they are dead. Ever.
posted by FauxScot at 1:22 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank-you everyone for your comments and advice.

I'm sorry I included that line about men being perverts, it was quite obviously a harsh statement and relatively ignorant. I apologize to anyone that it offended.

How I ended up handling this, after much reflection, was by speaking to my boyfriend very openly and apologizing as mentioned for any invasion on his privacy. The conversation went really well, and the only thing that came up as a concern was the fact that people he knows (in case there was any confusion) in real life were involved. Female friends, past co-workers, etc. He was forthright, open and honest. It was a very good discussion, in which he talked about exploring curiosity. I really appreciate how much he owns it.

I also, showed him how to hide his files and came to an agreement with him about his computer space, as we will be sharing a desktop.

I think it's really interesting that I came across as a puritan, because, I'm actually not. My boyfriend watches porn, and I don't care. I in fact look at porn myself and was an editor of online porn for about a year. Hell, we watch porn together sometimes, whatever. It's not about porn, that I don't mind, it was more about the people in real life, and yes probably part my own honest insecurities rising up regarding. I didn't really see the edited pictures of his friends as porn, because he actually knows the girls. It felt like something very different. That, added with just how foreign it was to me, I really didn't know how to react.

It's was also about, as a couple other people very insightfully mentioned, being exposed to a side of my boyfriend for the first time that I just hadn't know before. I mean, it's one thing knowing about the fantasy, as one person mentioned, and another thing seeing it worked out in front of you.

Also, he didn't use photo shop, just paint shop pro. Which, as I told him, is actually pretty impressive.
posted by apoptosis at 1:57 AM on June 22, 2009 [6 favorites]

Am I over reacting here?


Can I really let this dirty fetish of his destroy something that is otherwise wonderful?

If you want.
posted by flabdablet at 2:26 AM on June 22, 2009

apologizing as mentioned for any invasion on his privacy

This sounds a lot like a non-apology apology. If you don't understand that you did violate his privacy, then you're probably going to deal with some other (avoidable) grievance in the future.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:32 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think you're overreacting. If I found out that a male 'friend' of mine was making such pictures of me, he wouldn't be a friend any longer. Thoughts are one thing, and we all have, deliberately cultivating certain thoughts and taking actions to concretize them into semi permanent representations is another thing. Nude art is whole different genre, for one thing because of the presence of mutual informed consent, and transparency about the nature of the relationship.

I'm glad you were able to talk about this in a way that made you feel better. I have to admit that if I wouldn't want to be friends with a man who treated me this way, it's hard to imagine wanting to be best friends/lovers/life partners with a man who doesn't see a problem treating other women this way. But it's of course your life.

Finally, the fact that it may be a masturbation drug - so? Sexuality is not separate from the rest of your life. In fact, it's a super important part of life. Men who think they're keeping it separate - IF they're right, then it's a deliberate personality split/compartmentalization that I wouldn't be very comfortable with.
posted by Salamandrous at 3:41 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


In my opinion, you did not overreact nor did you invade his privacy. When you share a computer with another person, discoveries like this are bound to happen.

Mr. Tristeza's comment really hit the mark, I think. He explained nicely the differences in the sexes' approach to porn and sexual fantasy. I cringe at I essentializing the sexes ("men do this, women do that" blather) but I am sure that reputable studies confirm a real gender divide about processing sexual fantasy.

Of course women and men have all sorts of interests and comfort levels with porn and fantasy, not everyone is the same, etc.

But given that men and women are socialized differently, it stands to reason that many women will not understand how to interpret what their guy's fantasy world, at least in my experience. And vice versa.

Whatever the case, congratulations on handling the situation so well. Your guy sounds like a keeper.
posted by vincele at 5:49 AM on June 22, 2009

To be honest, I think you really aught to pick the most embarassing thing you can think of about your sexuality and tell him about it. Just to put things on an even footing.

Or do you really want him going to bed every night thinking that you're going to tell his female friends about this if he breaks up with you? Or that, gods forbid, you're sitting in semi-silent judgement of him for it?

He didn't ask to share this with you. The least you can do is reciprocate.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:58 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Name 5 things you don't want your boyfriend to know or find out about you.

In an ideal world, how should your boyfriend behave if he found out about one?

You found out one of his 5...
posted by TheOtherGuy at 6:53 AM on June 22, 2009

I see where you are coming from. I don't know whether you are overreacting, but it is good to talk to your boyfriend about what you feel.

The main thing that would concern me is the fact that real people he knows are on there. If one was an ex of his, I would probably have a hissy-fit. (Once I deleted a folder of pictures of my boyfriend and his ex - not sure if he ever noticed.) The only other topic I would need to clear to feel ok about this is have him confirm that he is making these pictures for his own private use and not distributing them in a way that would shame the real (clothed) girls portrayed.

But if they aren't his ex and hes doing it just to rub one out wiht himself, its fine and normal.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:39 AM on June 22, 2009

I can think of lots of ways I might find out. He shows his creations to one buddy, that person tells his girlfriend and she tells me. Or his SO finds them, freaks out and tells everyone. Or his lapop gets stolen and they end up on the internet.

My point wasn't that there was no way you'd find out, but rather that the events leading to you finding out (i.e. sharing the images with someone who tells, his girlfriend freaking out and telling everyone) would be the weird/hurtful part, not the creation of the images. The harm to you comes from you finding out, not from the existence of the images. I don't think, as you seem to, that merely creating the images will inevitably lead to sharing them and having their subjects discover them. Everyone has dirty private things that they don't share, and that's fine.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:43 AM on June 22, 2009

I'm guessing you're about eighteen or so? When I was that age - at a time when internet porn was common - I didn't know my own sexuality and saw porn as weird and anti-feminist. A lot of it is, a lot of it is very unsexy, a lot of it is abotu as arousing as a radiator if it pushes buttons other than your own, but I didn't know this then. I was young and inexperienced enough that if I saw my boyfriend looking at porn, I wouldn't think it was normal but go around thinking What Does It Mean?

At twenty-seven, I don't know if my SO looks at porn and I'd rather not. I see it as his business. I'm confident in his feelings for me to know that if he looks at women who are physically opposite to me, then it doesn't really mean anything. I think it would make me slightly concerned if a) he was spending a lot of time making his own porn b) they were women he actually knows, who might not feel pleased to know they're forming part of his fantasies. However, my SO is thirty and not a teenage boy - it would concern me precisely because these are very teenage things to do.

You actually come across as more of an overgeneralizing and judgmental person, than a prude. Bear that in mind when pondering on your immorally obtained, piecewise insights into your boyfriend's private sexual activities.

I think this is grossly unfair. Most girls are brought up to see sex as something that isn't always enjoyable, when culturally we expect teenage boys to be whacking off at every whim.
posted by mippy at 8:58 AM on June 22, 2009

He didn't ask to share this with you. The least you can do is reciprocate.

How on earth is that fair?! She found them on accident. If he was so concerned about her finding out, he could've done a better job of hiding it. Saying that she should share something personal is ridiculous and could not possibly do anything to help the relationship.
posted by Lobster Garden at 9:51 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

She found them on accident.

It's amazing how often people find porn stashes "on accident". What, you thought the documents you were looking for were in c:\media\images\women\photoshopped? Maybe in that "chick pics" folder buried three layers deep from windows desktop? Yeah.

I don't think there's any reason for the OP to share something just to be on even terms, but I also don't think it's fair to claim the boyfriend did something wrong in not hiding the porn well enough. Come on, we all know that 99% of the time it's not an accident that someone finds their SO's porn, unless they're searching for that term paper in the bittorrent directory in a folder entitled BANGBROS11.

I still think OP is greatly overthinking this but it sounds like things worked out more or less okay. I suppose a little embarrassment won't kill the boyfriend.
posted by Justinian at 10:07 AM on June 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

Okay, I'm sorry, but if the pictures were in a folder labeled "porn" or some derivative thereof, he was asking for it.
posted by Lobster Garden at 10:17 AM on June 22, 2009

he was asking for it.

What was he asking for?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:29 AM on June 22, 2009

My gf found something semi-bizarre in our Porn folder this weekend. Had it been something I was truly into, I would have owned up and admitted the truth. Instead, I owned up and admitted the truth: I sometimes bittorrent a whole bunch of porn at a time, and when I open it later, I find it's not at all what I was expecting.

You're definitely over-reacting.

I mean, all men are perverts ... thats just a fact of life
The pictures hurt. They obviously belong to some odd unbalanced fetish, or I don't know what.

It's time to grow up. As long as they are legal, you can choose to ignore your bf's fetishes or embrace them. But if you consider them hurtful to you or unbalanced, you should move on and find someone you can respect more.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:34 PM on June 22, 2009

Undressing Scarlett Johansson with Photoshop. It's not a fetish, it's art.
posted by monospace at 1:09 PM on June 22, 2009

I don't think you are over reacting. He's fantasizing about his female friends. It's one thing to have thoughts about other people pop into one's head, but he has taken it a step further and created "art" out of his female friends.

I know I couldn't handle that. I would not be able to get it out of my head that he wasn't satisfied with me. I'm not sure if this is the way he sees things, but it's how I would see them. I have no "moral"/ethical/political problem with porn. I simply could not be with someone who had a porn collection of any kind.

...and regardless of what everyone seems to think, there are men who don't seek out porn. In your case, it seems as though your boyfriend is going way out of his way to "fantasize" about his friends. Creepy.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2009

In one of Nancy Friday's books on women's sexual fantasies, she mentions that once, her lover asked her what she thought about during sex, and she told him, and boom, he was out the door just like that. (I don't remember if she said what they were actually about.) It's one of those boundaries, like seeing your parents having sex, that shouldn't be crossed, and even if it is crossed accidentally, the boundary is still there. Hopefully, you'd still give your parents a hug even if you caught them doing the horizontal bop, and although boyfriends are in theory more replaceable than parents, it sounds like it would be a hell of a thing to break up the move-in over.

Put it this way: be glad that they're photoshopped pics, as opposed to, say, hidden-cam bathroom pics.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:20 PM on June 22, 2009

I also, showed him how to hide his files and came to an agreement with him about his computer space, as we will be sharing a desktop.

Now that's more like it. You two will be fine.
posted by davejay at 5:05 PM on June 22, 2009

Also, he didn't use photo shop, just paint shop pro. Which, as I told him, is actually pretty impressive.

Photoshop would make an excellent two-year anniversary gift. Along with some approved photos to practice with.

Kudos for the reasonable and honest conversation.
posted by pzarquon at 5:23 PM on June 22, 2009

I also showed him how to hide his files

Great idea. Glad that you were able to come to a resolution.
posted by Lobster Garden at 7:26 PM on June 22, 2009

Problem solved; yay!

But I want to add that I don't think all "found" porn is by any means "snooped" porn.

I would never go digging around in another person's stuff, computer included, because that's just not right.

I think I said somewhere before but I shared a desktop for a year with a b/f and I never went looking for porn or found any. Surely there had to be was Japan.

(Sorry, Japan, you've just got a lot of casual porn floating around yourself.)

The thing is, you can find but you can't unfind things. That opens up a world of hurt.

So let's give pornfinders the benefit of the doubt.
posted by vincele at 1:50 PM on June 24, 2009

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