Ask Wendy

Skin Deep

Friday, December 15, 2017
skin deep
Hello Wendy,

My partner and I have been dating for almost two years. He openly admits that he has a very strong preference for African American men, which is very common in the area where we met and now live.

About three months ago, we moved in together, so we're discovering a lot more things about one another. This morning, I discovered something that has me concerned...It was hardcore pornography featuring all African American men. I'm starting to wonder if his preference for Black men is more of a fetish. I don't know how I feel about a person who may just be interested in me because of my skin color. I have a lot more to offer!

Maybe, I'm overthinking this, but it has crossed my mind before now. For me, attraction is much deeper than skin color. I do not prefer one race over another. Also, the area where we live has many interracial couples, it's almost the norm. Maybe, this has influenced his preference. I'm not sure, just concerned.

Thank you. I look forward to your advice.

Tony M. – Brooklyn, NY

Hey Tony,

I’m curious, do you feel objectified by your mate, or do you feel like he sees you for the whole person you are? Does he treat you like a partner of substance or more like an accent throw pillow? I have a hunch that, after two years of being with you, he sees all of you. He loves you for your quirks, uniqueness, and charm. He appreciates your intellect, humor, and natural talents. And yes, he has a strong preference for how you look, and good thing, too, because your skin color isn’t something that’s going to change (nor should it).

When it comes to partnering up and even to simple attraction, we all have preferences. Most of us have a gender preference, right? Many of us have a height, size, and/or shape preference, too. This is not a bad thing. We all get to want what we want—there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes in if the relationship doesn’t go any further than skin deep. His attraction to you probably started with skin color, just like your attraction for him likely started with something about his physical appearance, but once you got past “hello, gorgeous,” there was much more to discover, wasn’t there?

You’re overthinking this, Tony. He likes you. All of you—or else you two wouldn’t be living together, you’d just be sleeping together. He also likes porn. So do a lot of us. Let him have his preferences, be glad you’re his type, and let this one go. If he starts treating you like a commodity or a stereotype to be exploited and not as a whole person, then that’s a whole other conversation.

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