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My boyfriend still has sex tapes he made with exes- am I overreacting?

(26 Posts)
user1478518843 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:02:49

Hello Mumsnet,

I’m not a mum, but I’m having a relationship problem and I thought this might be a good place to get some other people’s (women’s) opinions, and possibly some advice. I'm too embarrassed to tell my friends.

Sorry this is long- but I think the background info is relevant because maybe I'm being far more sensitive than I should be.

Here it goes- please be gentle.

My partner and I have been together for a few years, and living together for a year. We’ve talked about our future together, marriage, how many kids, even had light hearted discussions about baby names, etc. We're at the age where we don't have a huge amount of time to have children if we want them, so we want to start trying in a year.

So, he’s out, I’m at home. He has an album on his computer and he’s going to be away with work for a few days (with his laptop) so in case I want to listen to it while he’s away I decide to transfer the files onto my computer. The files are too big to email and too big for my memory stick, so, without asking (I know I shouldn’t have done this), I get his portable hard drive out of the drawer and plug it in.

The hard drive is too full to copy the album. I know he’s got TV shows and films on it because we’ve watched stuff from it before so I click on the videos folder thinking I’ll put some of the files on his computer to create space for the album, and then put all the films back when I’m done transferring the album.

So, I click on the folder to shift some of the files but I’ve got the wrong folder (I notice there’s another folder called TV shows, I’ve clicked on my videos)- it contains nude photos and video files of at least three ex-girlfriends (I didn’t watch them but the thumbnail images are clear enough to make it obvious what they are).

I knew that my partner had made sex tapes with other partners, this doesn’t bother me (I know he’s had other sexual partners, whether or not a video camera was also present doesn’t really change much), but I, perhaps naively, assumed that he didn’t still have them.

It has made me feel very insecure about how I compare to his exes- why is he keeping them? (And also a little bit weirdly, why doesn’t he want to do this sort of things with me?) Insecurity is something that I deal with every so often (also one of his exes- one who appears in some of the stuff on the hard drive, has recently reconnected with him on Facebook. My boyfriend has quite a strict policy of not being friends with people on Facebook unless they would hang out in real life, so I was a little put out when he accepted her friend request but I didn’t say anything because it seemed petty and jealous.)

I feel I should add in here that my partner is a lot more experienced than I am- he has had more relationships and sexual partners than me. We haven’t ever explicitly discussed this, but I was with my boyfriend from school until I was in my mid-twenties- I had vaginismus and although we had what I would describe as a fairly active sex life, this didn’t include vaginal sex (hands and oral instead).

I was terrified that other people wouldn’t be as understanding as my ex was about the lack of sex so I didn’t really date after our break up for several years. I then had a short relationship with someone who turned out to be fairly horrible- dumping me by text with the sign off that I’m frigid. Although I am now able to have vaginal sex with my partner, and we have (I thought) a good sex life, I do feel like I’ve not really got much to compare this to. I know he’s been more adventurous with other people, and although I’ve said I’m open to trying stuff, he’s always said he’s fine with how things are.

Aside from feeling insecure about how attractive my partner finds me and how much he enjoys our relationship it has also make me feel a little bit weird about him- in my mind it’s a bit ‘off’ to keep explicit material after a break up, let alone when you’re with someone else. But maybe this isn’t the common etiquette?

So, do I tell him I found them? Am I overreacting, either about feeling upset or creeped out?

Short version-

my boyfriend (who I live with and have discussed marriage and kids with) still has sex tapes he made with several ex-girlfriends. I feel both hurt that he still has them since he has said that he sees his future with me, and that it’s kind of creepy to keep tapes after a break up- I thought consent for you to have the tape is within the context of the relationship. He doesn’t know I know. What should I do?

Bluntness100 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:06:41

Maybe he's forgotten he has them?

user1478518843 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:09:32

There's more than one girl in the same folder- so he must have knowingly kept sex tapes of exes- at least at some point

rosegold33 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:12:24

Delete or copy then to a USB taking them off the hard drive and see if he notices!

Trifleorbust Mon 07-Nov-16 12:13:30

There is a slim chance he has forgotten he has them. Tell him you found them and you want him to delete them. I would be very hurt if he insisted on keeping them. It would be a deal breaker for me.

Cricrichan Mon 07-Nov-16 12:14:06

Ugh. I agree with you op, that it's 'off'. Can you tell when it was last accessed?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 07-Nov-16 12:16:17

If you didn't watch them; have a look at when they were last accessed.

user1478518843 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:20:13

Where will it say the access date?

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Mon 07-Nov-16 12:20:53

I wouldn't be happy about this, particularly in view of them linking up on Facebook too. What you do next needs thinking about. As a side note, I personally would never let anyone make a sex tape of me. Could never be 100% sure it wouldn't end up on the internet. And once it's on there, you couldn't get it back. Maybe he has grown up a bit since he wanted to make videos, so it's more about timing than you iuswim?

mmmuffins Mon 07-Nov-16 12:25:25

I have kept naked photos of one my exes. It doesnt mean anything to me really, just part of the overall memory of the relationship.

Not sure how Id feel if DH found them and asked me to delete. Annoyed I think, it would feel a bit controlling. My past is mine to keep tokens of.

But reality is DH is confident in himself and I cant imagine he would ask me to delete.

user1478518843 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:27:07

Yes- I work in social work, and girls who've had images they shared with boyfriends spread over social media are something I see more and more of, which is maybe why I feel it's creepy to keep a video after a break up- to me consent is in the context that you are together

legotits Mon 07-Nov-16 12:27:36

Ask for them to be deleted. ( in front of you)
His reaction will tell you all you need to know.
IMO there is a world of difference between having a past, photos of exs in groups or grinning under the Eiffel tower etc, and keeping a library of pics or videos.

I wouldn't want my DP to have a catalogue of exs to browse through. He has his memories why the need for hard copy?

singleandfabulous Mon 07-Nov-16 12:32:54

It seems to be fairly common from my experience.

I'm mid-forties and my first boyfriend did this back in the 1980s/early 1990s only then it was all on VCR/Camcorder. From what I hear about men now, quite a number keep a 'collection' for private viewing of past and present girlfriends. Most are sensible to keep it on a non-networked hard drive somewhere safe and secure but others simply keep it in a 'vault' on thier phone (often disguised as an app of some kind so as not to arouse suspicion). Look on the app store for 'secret/secure folders or vaults and you'll see a lot. There seems to be some kind of male cataloguing thing going on which is sometimes competitive (some dickheads think it's cool to compare who has the best/worst pictures and videos). There are Reddit threads about it too and a lot more on the manosphere if you care to look. I sometimes lurk on those boards, pretending to be a man to get a feel for what’s going on even though I know that the average Reddit user is a wanker.

Four men I've been involved with have had a collection. I've never known any destroy material once the relationship was over. Two have asked me if I minded them having pictures of me and I said no but they were fairly innocent (think showing my back, lying in bed type pictures and nothing I wouldn’t mind friends and family seeing, but I know that some had hardcore videos - like you I accidentally found them once when I pressed play on the video an ex had left in the machine). Some people I’ve not even met have sent me unsolicited explicit videos of them with their current/ex girlfriends too.

I know what you mean about feeling insecure though. I've had my fair share of men and like the way I look and enjoy sex but I still don't like the idea of being compared to other women in this way and being part of a 'catalogue of flesh.'

If it really bothers you though then talk to him about it. As you're planning your life together you need to be honest and open about potential problems and this sounds like it could be a problem. I really doubt he’s forgotten he has them. I’m just surprised he hasn’t password protected the folder.

timelytess Mon 07-Nov-16 12:39:09

from what I hear about men now, quite a number keep a 'collection' for private viewing of past and present girlfriends
Good grief.

ShatnersWig Mon 07-Nov-16 12:39:41

Is it really "fairly common". I'm a guy. I've never made a sex tape with anyone

topaz22 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:46:37

i agree with rosegold33

years ago with my ex i once found his ex girlfriends (that he cheated on me with) phone number in his phone. i deleted it and waited to see if he noticed and asked me about it.

if he notices and asks you, you can ask why he still wants to see them now

EasterRobin Mon 07-Nov-16 12:50:48

I'd be very uncomfortable knowing that a partner was still keeping home-made porn from earlier relationships. I can't imagine his exes would be happy about this either. If they know.

I certainly wouldn't want him watching them... Or even keeping them in case he wanted to watch them in the future. Seriously? No no no no no.

This would actually be a deal breaker for me.

oftenwrong Mon 07-Nov-16 12:51:02

It's an odd one -
I'm a man and I know I have some photos and the like on my hard drive from previous relationships, I don't feel the need to view them yet I'm reluctant to delete them. It's similar to the odd letter or small item/memento I have in a drawer from previous relationships- they have no bearing on my current relationship yet by having them I have a reminder of different times in my life - even though I don't re read them.
I certainly don't share these with friends, nor do my friends show such things to me.. I just do not recognise the competitive comments this is not something that would be considered amongst my friends.
I wouldn't overthink it or worry too much.
If it's really effecting you then talk about it with him

singleandfabulous Mon 07-Nov-16 12:52:16

timelytess ShatnersWig From my own experience and from being on male dominated forums yes, I think it is fairly common. Moreso now than it used to be because of camera phones and apps. They make it so easy.

From what I gather, it's mainly younger women and teens as they don't fully appreciate the ramifications of thier actions.

I've written about this on here before but I know some men who have a Friday night down the pub and a 'best tits' or 'worst fanny pic' competition. These are men aged between 20 and 45.

MephistophelesApprentice Mon 07-Nov-16 12:59:22

I've got a few intimate pictures from previous exes. I also have other gifts they gave me through the relationship, like kitchy cuddly toys and cheap jewellery. They're important symbols of the relationships that I had with them. I wouldn't want to delete them any more than I would wish to deny those relationships ever happened. They did, and they meant a lot - the pictures are a memory of how much these people meant to me and of how much I once meant to them.

TheNaze73 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:59:50

I think the reasonable thing to do is ask him to delete them, if they're upsetting you. However, if supposing he'd found letters from an ex, would you be so willing to delete them?

user1478518843 Mon 07-Nov-16 13:06:01


We both have things from previous relationships- I don't have a problem with them. Our previous relationships are part of our lives, and it would be stupid to try and rub them out.

I feel like sex tapes are in a different category- photos of he and his exes on holiday etc. are photos of interesting things he's done before we met and nice moments in his life, sex tapes are purely about sex and the sex between them (in my mind) but I wanted to get other people's views in case I was completely off on how people view this

GrinchyMcGrincherson Mon 07-Nov-16 13:12:54

I would ask him why he has them. I would expect a bloody good answer. I'm not sure what I would do next.

I have kept naked photos of one my exes. My past is mine to keep tokens of.

I really don't understand why tokens of your past have to include naked photos and homemade porn. Lots of people have letters, tickets, normal photos, toys, gifts etc. These are all normal tokens of a relationship and none of those bother me in the slightest, they are keepsakes for your past. Explicit photos are really not in the same league to me.

I actually find it makes me uncomfortable that anyone can look back on past exes so intimately. The thought of an ex looking at photos like that of me creeps me the hell out. I think I would feel slightly violated somehow. I think it's because to me once a relationship ends I feel you should give up that intimacy. I think it's respectful to future partners also to not have that kind of stuff about. Homemade porn is made in the context of a relationship. Once that relationship is done I believe the porn should be erased for the protection and comfort of both parties.

TheNaze73 Mon 07-Nov-16 13:30:04

That was kind of my point OP. It may be unacceptable to you & I but, he may see them as no different to a love letter, or some cuddly fluff filled valentines nonsense. Everyone will be different on this

ShatnersWig Mon 07-Nov-16 15:07:40

I would see naked photos or videos of an ex as totally different to clothed photos or a gift that I might want to keep as a memory.

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