couple in bed having problems and crisis

Two years ago, I accidentally discovered my husband’s porn addiction and my life has never been the same since. It brought tremendous amount of pain and anger. Before that discovery we were having sex 5 or 6 times a year, 80% of the time he would reject me. We’ve been married for 8 years, the first couple of years were better in terms of sex, more like twice a month. I just thought he didn’t have the same sex drive as me and I’ve eccepted it, because he’s an amazing man and has so many qualities I’ve been looking for in a man. This is my second marriage. He is in his early fifties and I’m in my early forties right now, I take care of myself, open minded in bed, sexy lingerie etc., and been told many times that I’m a beautiful woman. In my first marriage, we stopped having sex for our last year together because I didn’t want to have sex with him (different issues), and I know that he turned to porn because of it, which is completely understandable. That’s why it was such a shock to me to find out that my current husband chose porn and jerking off over having sex with me most of the time because I’m always willing and almost always initiate sex, and never have headaches. I was deeply hurt and confused. We didn’t have any issues in our marriage and there is not even a comparison to my first marriage. He told me that he’s never had a woman like me before and that he’s so lucky to have me as a wife. Before my discovery half of the time when we were having sex he would lose his erection and I never made him feel bad about it. Maybe that’s why he would choose porn because there was no shame of losing erection and not satisfying his woman. I wish he talked to me about it before I found it out for myself. But when I realized that all those times when he rejected me, it’s because he already satisfied himself, just devastated me. He was watching porn every day apparently. It took me few months to confront him, I let him know how rejection made me feel and that choosing porn and jerking off over having sex with me wasn’t okay. After that things got better. We started having sex every week. I know he takes medication for erection, he doesn’t know that I know and I’m not planning to tell him that. I know he still watches porn, I know it’s impossible for him to stop and I’m not asking him because it’s not realistic, I just want this pain to go away every time I know what he’s been up to. I’ve done so much research, I even consulted with different sex therapists. I’m working hard every day to accept this situation, to be okay with it, to not bother me so much. I just want to go back to that happy place before my discovery. I know he’s changed, I know he realized how much he’s hurt me, he is doing his best, I know it’s very hard to get rid off his porn addiction, which he’s never admitted it was a problem for him or maybe he really feels that it’s not a problem…) and I’m trying really hard to be understanding and accepting of this situation. I can’t really talk to him about it because he doesn’t know that I know what he’s up to and it will create a huge fight and distrust on his part. It’s been two years and I can say that I’ve done a good progress with my feelings, I don’t cry everyday and I don’t feel disgusted with him every time he watches porn. I love this man and want to save this marriage. I really hope you can give me advice on how to ignore his addiction, how to understand him better and how to become happy again.

Responses

  • Michael Castleman says:

    You sound like a very generous, loving, accepting, level-headed woman.

    I don’t know if I can offer anything to help you cope, or if what I say will resonate for you or infuriate you. But here it is:

    The myth is that “good” men don’t watch porn unless they are single or their partners have withdrawn sexually from them, and that men who watch porn are “bad,” and if they view it frequently are “addicted.” Actually, virtually ALL men watch porn. A Canadian researcher wanted to compare the sexual attitudes of men who either watched or didn’t watch it. He couldn’t find a single man who hadn’t. Not one. Even before the Internet, virtually all men saw porn, maybe not as much as today because it wasn’t just a tap away on phones, but believe me, your grandfathers, father, uncles, brothers, and all male friends have seen it. In 1964 in a Supreme Court case on porn, Justice Potter Stewart famously said, “I can’t define porn, but I know it when I see it.” So a Supreme Court justice was familiar with porn. Of course he was. He was a man. If you consider your husband “addicted,” it’s easy to view him as sick/bad/weird and fine with hurting your feelings. I suggest you reframe your thinking. He’s not addicted. He’s just doing what virtually all men do.

    Why do coupled men watch porn? Many women believe men shouldn’t have to, that the women should meet all of their sexual needs. Other women believe men watch because their partners have lost sexual interest in them. Possibly, but a good deal of research shows that coupled men who watch porn (that is, virtually all coupled men) love their spouses and don’t want to hurt them. So why do they view it? Usually for stress relief. Both men and women feel stressed. They deal with it by exercising, talking with friends, meditating, yoga, gardening, and other ways—and by masturbating. Both genders self-sexn for stress relief, but men do it considerably more. Masturbation to orgasm requires sexual fantasies. Men’s own fantasies get stale. So they turn to porn, which supplies zillions for free.

    In addition, you say your husband is in his early 50s. That’s the time of life when erections begin to fade. For many men, this feels unnerving. That extra stress pushes them to masturbate even more for stress relief—and appear “addicted” to many women. What do older men find when they stroke? That they can get it up easier and keep it up better solo than with partners. So they stroke not just for stress relief, but also to reassure themselves that they can still function sexually at the time of life when their sexuality becomes a big question mark.

    It’s much easier to raise erections solo than with a partner, even a partner the man adores and is head-over-heels in love with. Self-sexing is easier than partner sex. You have only yourself to please and you get immediate feedback from your own body about what keeps you highly aroused. As wonderful as partner sex can be, it takes more effort. You have to negotiate a frequency and repertoire, learn what pleases and displeases your parter, reveal what pleases and displeases you, and negotiate inevitable differences. In other words, partner sex takes work. Now, in my view, spouses have a responsibility to negotiate a sexual frequency both people can live with. But many couples don’t do this, and as a result, festering desire differences develop—like in your marriage. In such cases, the high-desire partner feels sexually frustrated. If that person discovers that the lower desire spouse is viewing lots of porn, she can feel as deeply wounded as you feel.

    Single or coupled, in my opinion, everyone has the right masturbate. In fact, the best research shows that coupled people self-sex as much as singles do, often more. Solo sex is NOT cheating on one’s spouse. Why give up apple pie once you’ve tasted blueberry? Today, more than half of adult American women own vibrators and only a small fraction use their toys in partner sex. The large majority of women use their vibrators exclusively for solo play. Like men, plenty of vibrator-using women self-sex with visual aids. Around 25% of the porn audience is women. They use porn as men do. Many other women masturbate after reading steamy romance fiction. Are they cheating on their husbands or disrespecting them? No. They’re simply exercising their right to masturbate—in a way that enhances the experience.

    I feel for you. It’s no fun knowing that he’s refusing your advances and then going off to take care of himself solo. Here’s what sex therapists would suggest: Negotiate a partner sex frequency, and then mark sex dates on your calendars. That way, you get regular partner sex—probably not as much as you’d really like, but enough to live with more or less comfortably. And he can watch porn at other times.

    You have a desire difference exacerbated by porn. I think negotiating your desire difference might well help with both issues. For more, read my low-cost e-article How Sex Therapists Recommend Resolving Desire Differences. It carries a money-back guarantee through PayPal so it’s risk-free.

    I wish your and your husband a sexual renaissance.

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