At the other extreme, a woman may respond by trying to compete with porn. She may believe that by acting like a porn star she can once again be the object of her partner’s sexual desires. It can also be an uncon­scious way of addressing her feelings of sexual inadequacy and rejection. Some women go to great lengths to change their physical appearance in attempts to compete with porn stars and models. They dye their hair, get breast implants, shave or wax their genitals, put on long fake fin­gernails, undergo liposuction, constantly diet, and more. They may also force themselves to have sex more frequently, and try to act more like a porn star in bed. In an effort to please her partner, a woman may submit to sexual activities she is not really comfortable with, such as rough sex, fantasy role-playing, and certain sexual activities that are emotionally humiliating or physically painful.

While some porn users may be happy with these changes in their part­ner, the partners themselves often start to feel worse about themselves over time, especially if they are doing things that violate their values. And at some point, almost every woman realizes she can’t physically measure up to the young, shapely, air-brushed, carefully choreographed women in porn. Twenty-five-year-old Sara said, “I can’t compete with porn stars who act like whatever gives the man pleasure drives them wild as well—even if guys are choking them. In porn, women never complain or request the guy do anything different. Helping the guy have a good orgasm is enough for her.” Megan told us, “I tried to please my husband by acting like one of those porn girls, but it made me feel like a whore. I want sex between us to be special, not a performance.” Carol, a writer, adds, “When I dressed up like my boyfriend wanted me to, I never knew who he was loving. Was it me or the warm-blooded version of his porn fantasy that I’d become?”