unhappy middle aged couple

Both of your articles about are full of good info, but they also seemed a bit contradictory to me—it’s just the way men are to watch porn,  versus it is damaging to a couple’s sex life….so there really is no answer. Mine is not so much a question as a conclusion – open to feedback. After much studying, research, reading, having living through the turmoil of male sexual needs, infidelity, sex addiction/voyeurism, lack of understanding of the needs of women, and just plain immaturity on the part of males in my life, I feel pretty hopeless. Though I am happily married and in my third act of life, whodathunk I would still be living through these issues. Some things just get swept under the rug and you move on, though without resolve, and this takes a great toll on a betrayed partner. This is due to the fact that immature men just cannot communicate without admitting to something they either don’t want to face, or are just afraid to for fear of retaliation, cowardice, rocking the boat, etc., etc. You say they love their wives – but just need the diversion…..but the diversion is bordering on sick. Women fantasize too, and have great imagination (without the aid of the Internet) – but for men, the extent of and the availability of the most outrageous and sick kind of porn ever invented is readily available to them at the click of a button. (Not your daddy’s porn)…as you well know. The variety is endless. This happens when I am out of eye-shot. So if I have a question, it is: How in the world can women compete with this? My husband says its not a competition – but I am certain that if the situation were reversed – he would feel resentful, if not threatened, if I were preoccupied with other people’s genitalia, especially well-endowed males, on a somewhat regular basis. (In fact, he seems quite enamored with looking at the males as well). I can say this because I have had to research sites where he has been to verify my fears. In addition, the porn situation is in the aftermath of some major infidelity, so it probably would be easier to accept – if not for that. But I digress. Fast-forward – forgiveness, (without an apology mind you) – no more infidelity, but continuance of porn. I should add that this man is not lacking for a good sex life – in fact, there is much affection, normal sex and love between us. All that he lacks in reality is variety and frankly I don’t desire to imitate porn actresses – I prefer to make love to the man I love. So shoot me. Is it really that hard for a man to wean himself off of the hard core porn and voyeuristic temptation on the Internet? …..when he knows it is disrespectful, upsetting and hurtful to his wife that he says he loves. If I hear that men are visual one more time, I will scream – but I have to realize there is truth to it. I can’t even imagine disrespecting my husband by doing these things behind his back. So after 20+ years of marriage and an otherwise stable life – how can a woman relax and enjoy life with this hovering in the background. I might add – though I have sought counseling, he refuses, therefore it is just preaching to the choir without his involvement. I feel loved and wanted, just cheated and disrespected. You might wonder why I stay in a relationship with this much baggage. I know I am not alone….but it makes me sad that women have to live like this (because they love their men) and makes me upset with myself for allowing it to happen to me – especially when I never wanted to be in this kind of position in the first place….and it took me a long time to make the decision for a commitment. Seems like acceptance is the only answer. When I worry about something bad happening to him or losing him to illness or injury, this of course erases any other problems, because that is my greatest fear and almost trivializes the other issues. But it still makes life harder than it should be.

Responses

  • Michael Castleman says:

    I’m glad you feel loved and desired, and sorry you feel cheated, disrespected, and hopeless about the impact of porn on your life. Clearly, you’ve put a great deal of thought—and emotion—into this issue. You’ve already read my articles, so I doubt I can have more impact here. But here’s what I have to say:

    Porn is fantasy, a cartoon version of sex, no more realistic than the Roadrunner hitting the Wile E. Coyote over the head with a sledgehammer and the canine popping back up only momentarily dazed. Some argue that such cartoons are harmful to kids, that they incite violence. But after viewing them, kids don’t grab sledgehammers and smash people. They know that cartoons are fantasies. Unfortunately, some men don’t understand that porn is fantasy. They try too imitate it. But all-genital porn sex is bad for lovemaking. It denies the warm-up time—the kissing, cuddling, and whole-body mutual massage—that allow the genitals to work properly and pleasurably. In my view, there’s nothing wrong with fantasy, wether it’s cartoons or porn. But it’s very important for men to understand that porn is like the chase scenes in action movies—exciting and fun to watch, but not the way to drive.

    I believe in freedom of fantasy as a human right. You say women fantasize, too, without the aid of the Internet, i.e. porn. Yes women fantasize about sex and relationships, many by reading romance fiction, which is full of sexual tension and often includes fairly graphic sex and even sexual assault. Romance fiction is by far the most popular genre of fiction. Many women read it as obsessively as many men watch porn. In addition, more than half of U.S. women own vibrators, yet very few use them in partner lovemaking. So most women who own vibes use them solo, many while reading romance fiction or shortly after reading. Are they disrespecting their husbands? I don’t think so. Do you?

    You say you’ve tried to coax him into therapy but he refuses to go. I’m sorry about that. I wish he would go with you. Here’s my suggestion: See a sex therapist by yourself. Going solo allows you to vent, which may help, and the therapist may well be able to suggest coping strategies for you and possibly even ways to persuade your husband to join you in therapy. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

    You conclude by saying: Seems like acceptance is the only answer. I agree. I hope you can make peace with your loving husband’s porn consumption. I bet talking with a sex therapist would help.

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