Indecent Exposure: Is My Husband Addicted To Porn?

 

IS IT OK TO WATCH PORN IN A RELATIONSHIP?

 

When it comes to porn, people are all over the map regarding how they feel about it. Some see it as a fun way to spice up a relationship, while others see it as a precursor to violence against women. While there is some evidence to suggest that people who watch porn are less happy than those who don’t, I really don’t want to approach this topic with any judgment at all. Instead, I’d like to help you learn how to talk know if your husband is addicted to porn and about the issue of porn openly with your partner. That way, if he or she does have an addiction to it, at least they will be more likely to open up to you about it.

 

Also, just a caveat before we really get started – I’ll be using the word “husband” and “he” a lot when discussing this topic because men tend to be the main users of porn and there tend to be more women than men searching for help on understanding their partner’s porn usage. However, I’m very aware that women watch and enjoy porn and also develop addictions to porn. So, if you are someone reading this article because you worry your wife or girlfriend might have a porn problem, please just switch out he for she or husband for wife. This is not just something that affects men by any means!

 

WHY MEN IN RELATIONSHIPS WATCH PORN

 

While it might be easy to assume that all men watch porn and that the reason is that they are obsessed with sex, neither of these things are true. Many men choose not to watch porn, especially if they realize it’s leading to them getting less enjoyment from sex with real live partners. Many men in their 20’s and 30’s who have been watching porn since 11-12 years old are now experiencing sexual dysfunctions as a result. They are finding it difficult to get turned on by real-life experiences because they have become so desensitized by porn. However, many men do still watch porn while in a relationship, even if their partners are ready and willing for sex.

 

Some men watch porn because it is always available and because there is a huge variety to choose from. For some, it can feel like a way to have variety while still being faithful to their wives or girlfriends. Others use porn as a way to disconnect from the real world and disappear into a fantasy for a little while.

 

 

Others have intimacy issues and use porn to solve them. Men who are afraid of letting their true sexual desires and fantasies be seen by their partners might feel safer using porn to satisfy those wishes, especially if they have a fetish. Men who have trouble connecting to women, in general, might find it safer to seek sexual gratification from porn rather than risk getting rejected by a real, live woman.

 

Finally, some men prefer to see their wives as perfect angels who should not be dirtied with their sexual urges. The Madonna-Whore Complex affects men who see women as either saintly or slutty and nothing in between. This is a deeply rooted issue which requires psychological help, as is sex or porn addiction.

 

IS IT BAD TO WATCH PORN IN A RELATIONSHIP?

Before we look further into whether your partner has an addiction to porn, we first need to sort out how you feel about it. Some people are fine with their partners watching porn, some actually prefer it, and others can’t stand the idea of it. It’s truly a personal decision, but it is important that you know why you feel the way that you do about it.

 

Some people don’t like the idea of their partners watching porn because they feel that the women in the videos are being degraded, or because they feel that porn videos portray too much violence toward women. Many also point out that porn does not portray real sex because women are not usually turned on after just seconds of foreplay and they also do not orgasm as easily as most women in porn are portrayed to. Of course, these are valid concerns, but there is also a lot of debate around whether fantasy scenarios are really bad for women, or if it’s actually a matter of us not being able to stomach the idea that women can be sexual too.

 

 

For some though, the objection to porn isn’t about societal values or what’s right for women. It’s simply about insecurity in your relationship. If you feel that your husband can only get turned on by a woman that isn’t you or is comparing you to porn stars, you aren’t going to feel good about it. Maybe you will start to feel that your breasts are too small or your butt is too flat, or that you aren’t flexible or sexual enough. You might compare yourself to the women in the videos and decide that you could never be that confident or sexy.

 

It’s SO important that you be honest with yourself here. If this is the reason that you don’t like porn, then it’s important to communicate that vulnerability to your partner so he knows where you are coming from and it’s also really important to work on your self-esteem. You will never feel good about yourself if you’re comparing yourself to an airbrushed porn star who is pretending. You are a real person with real feelings and unique traits (and real flaws), all of which make you totally sexy! But the sexiest thing a woman can wear is confidence. Your partner having a fantasy that turns him on does not have to detract from your desirability…assuming the fantasy is not causing him to have unrealistic expectations around sex and be less turned on by the real thing with you.

 

If insecurity is an issue for you, take an inventory of where else this shows up for you. Is it strictly related to your relationship, or are you having a hard time loving yourself and your body in other situations as well? So many women are dissatisfied with their bodies, it’s almost become normal to find fault with the way that we look. In fact, diet culture spends millions of dollars to make sure we know that skinny is sexy. It’s also become normal for women to talk about and bond over these feelings of insecurity. How many times have you sat in disgust with a girlfriend about your jiggly thighs or your flabby stomach laughing at yourselves? Women need to stop putting ourselves down like this! To change the way you feel about yourself and your body at ANY size, it takes intentional effort to override the consistent messaging we get from society and advertisements about the way we are supposed to look.

 

I THINK MY HUSBAND IS ADDICTED TO PORN. HOW CAN I TELL FOR SURE?

 

Like many other addictive behaviors, watching porn is more likely to be a problem for the relationship, and the person, if it’s done in secret. Secretive behavior or just flat out lying about porn when being asked directly about use is one of the warning signs that might mean that your partner is addicted. At the very least, trying to hide or lie about his porn watching indicates he may be ashamed of what he is doing or he thinks that you will be upset with him for doing it.

 

Now, I realize there is a stigma about sex, masturbation, and porn in our society and it’s not exactly a normal topic for everyday conversation. Thus, even if someone is not addicted, they are likely to keep their use private when in the act and probably won’t bring it up for general conversation at the dinner table. What I’m talking about is if you ask about porn use and your partner flat out lies or downplays their use…then we are getting into possibly sketchy waters.

HUSBAND NOT INTERESTED IN SEX

 

Alright, now that you’ve hopefully started to understand more about your own feelings about porn, whatever they may be, let’s talk about some signs that your husband might have an addiction to or be overusing porn:

  • Closing his web browser every time you enter the room.
  • Staying up late on the computer by himself.
  • Being more emotionally distant.
  • Nit-picking at your appearance.
  • Making comments that objectify women.
  • Being less interested in sex.
  • Acting strangely during sex (being uncharacteristically rough or demeaning).
  • Having trouble getting aroused or erect without watching porn or fantasizing about something.
  • Promising not to watch porn anymore but doing it anyway.
  • Telling lies about his porn use.
  • Continuing to use porn despite negative consequences.
  • Needing to watch more aggressive or hardcore types of porn to get the same level of arousal over time.

 

If any of these behaviors sound familiar, your husband could be using porn in an unhealthy way and I would recommend asking him to go to a therapist that specializes in sex addiction to be assessed. If it turns out he is addicted, know this: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOUR VALUE OR YOUR WORTH. Addiction is a disease and it is not really about sex or porn or how turned on he is or is not by you. Porn addiction develops as a way to self-soothe and numb out from uncomfortable feelings, just like any other addiction.

 

The only difference is that with porn or sex addiction, it is so much easier to feel like you are not enough as a result of your husband’s addiction. When someone is an alcoholic, you’re not likely to compare yourself and your attractiveness to a bottle of alcohol. However, when the addiction is to sex or porn, it’s so easy to get caught up in comparisons. Know that it is normal to be affected by this disease and it’s normal to go through a very difficult time while he heals. Also, know that you have choices about whether or not to stay in this relationship.

 

HOW TO HELP HUSBAND WITH PORN ADDICTION

 

The first step is to go to a therapist specializing in sex addiction to be assessed and determine if the use really is problematic. If it is a problem, then begins the real work of sorting through both partner’s feelings about this issue. These discussions can become emotional quickly, so you will definitely want to seek the help of a qualified therapist to assist you.

 

In therapy, you will learn to:

  • Share how your partner’s watching porn makes you feel.
  • Find out what your partner is getting out of watching porn.
  • Communicate effectively about challenging feelings.
  • Rebuild trust.
  • Self-soothe in healthy ways.
  • Set healthy boundaries with each other.
  • Handle insecurities that arise.
  • Address any lack of intimacy in your relationship that could be contributing to or a result of this issue.

 

In short, you will get your sanity back! Having said that, recovering from any addiction is a long and challenging process for the addict and everyone involved with him or her and should really be done with professional help.