Men, Women, and Understanding Pornography
Judging from the multitude of responses we have gotten from my essay about internet pornography , pornography is an issue that plagues many relationships. Most of the comments we've received are from women who feel devalued and disrespected by the fact that their husbands, boyfriends and fiancées look at internet pornography. Many of the women who have written in have expressed feeling betrayed when they discover their men have looked at pornography. They have expressed the belief that they are not attractive enough, or desirable enough, or sexy enough. Some of these female writers report that they even view some internet porn along with their partner and feel especially angry that their partner will sneak away to view porn websites in isolation. The comments express outrage, hurt, puzzlement, and confusion about what goes on with their men.
There are many noteworthy things to say about the responses we have gotten so far on this issue of pornography but three questions stand out in my mind at this moment:
1. By far, the largest number of emails have come from angry and disappointed women.
2. Men view pornography in secret and in isolation from their female partners. Why do men engage in viewing pornography both in secrete and in isolation?
3. How can we help men and women understand one another so as to better avoid the bitterness and anger that easily comes between them on this issue?
1. Understanding vs. Rage:
Clearly, many women are enraged by pornography and direct their wrath at their men. We have had several females state their intention to end their relationship with their male partner and at least one woman has asked if she should break her engagement and impending marriage over the pornography controversy.
We need to ask if this angry approach is good for either men or women over the topic of viewing internet pornography. Would it not be better to try and understand what is happening here between males and females and, through that understanding, develop better ways to cope with this problem?
Part of the reason why women are so angry about internet pornography is that it takes their men away from the family and from themselves. How can a father be engaged in fathering his children if he is locked in his office at home spending countless hours viewing porno sites on the internet? More than just viewing porn, these men are also masturbating. It goes without saying that masturbation occurs in isolation, at least under these circumstances, and the wife or partner is not involved in this solo activity. Yet, why? Why does this occur? Why do otherwise good fathers and husbands engage in this self-isolating sexual behavior when they have a willing sexual partner available? Why do so many men view porn in private and keep it secret from their wives, even from those wives who are willing partners in jointly viewing pornography as a "turn on" preceding foreplay and intercourse? Let us see if we can figure out some answers instead of engaging in condemnation.
2. Why Do Men View Pornography?
One of the reasons why men who are married, engaged to be married, or have a girl friend with whom they are sexually active, engage in the viewing of pornography in secret has to do with an emotion we recently visited called shame. As has been stated in other weblog entries on this site, shame has to do with deep feelings of self-disapproval. Shameful feelings of self condemnation can be extremely harsh, especially when it is perceived that a deeply valued belief about what is and is not socially acceptable has been violated. This is why shame is such a painful experience. The individual who feels shame engages in total self condemnation, whether other people are aware of it or not. Shame is much more powerful than guilt because feeling guilty is connected with a single act or behavior of which the person disapproves. There is no condemnation. Instead, there is awareness that some law or code has been violated in a single instance. Shame is much more global in nature than guilt. It involves a complete judgment of the entire self as negative. The experience of shame is humiliating and includes feeling a sense of disgust and mortification about the self.
Both men and women experience feelings of shame around sexual issues but for different reasons.
For women, feelings of shame often have to do with body image issues. Women compare themselves to other women and fear that they are not thin enough, shapely enough, or large breasted enough to fit the stereotypical view of what is defined as a beautiful woman.
In addition to body image issues, women struggle with what is and is not acceptable about being sexual when you are female. To this day there remains the double standard that for men it is permissible to be sexual but for women sexuality represents being immoral and sinful. Yet, once married, women are expected to be sexual and erotic for their husbands. These conflicted feelings are often less intense today, in the wake of the women's liberation movement, but they still persist.
For men, shame issues are directly related to sexual performance, and definitions of masculinity. For the male, part of sexual performance has to do with getting and maintaining an erection. This is such a visible aspect of masculinity and is so very obvious that any males who doubt their masculinity struggle with the question of whether their erection is large enough to attract and satisfy women. The man wonders if he is aroused enough. Second, he has to be able to ejaculate. The male cannot "fake" an orgasm. There is just no pretending; He either ejaculates or he does not. If he fails to ejaculate he feels less like a real man. If he fails to get and maintain an erection he feels less like a real man. If the male ejaculates before he enters the woman he feels less like a real man and if he ejaculates too soon after entering the woman and thus, deprives the woman of her orgasm, he feels like a failure. None of this is mean to imply that the men who watch pornography have these problems. It does imply that many men fear that these things could happen.
In addition to issues of performance for the male is the issue of genital size and appearance. Beginning with adolescence it is common for boys to compare penis size with one another. Some groups of boys even engage in ejaculation contests to test whose ejaculatory jet is the strongest and can reach the furthest. Some even engage in urinary contests to see whose urinary stream can reach the furthest. All of these are tests of masculinity for these adolescent men. Many boys become interested in weight lifting magazines with photos of muscular men whom they wish to emulate as a way of demonstrating their masculine prowess.
Then, there is the issue of fantasy life. According to Robert Stoller, a psychoanalyst and researcher on sexual issues and pornography, the role of pornography is to serve as the reverse of life events that occurred during childhood. Children who were abused, targets of corporal punishment at the hands of parents, or who were otherwise mistreated gain joy out of pornography by identifying themselves with the sadist in these photos and movies. In other words, they become the masters and the women become the slaves. Similarly, men who were intimidated by women as teens are able to reverse that feeling of intimidation they once felt (and still may feel) through the use of porn. Men are in complete charge and have complete power in the pornographic version of human fantasies, the complete reverse of their reality as children and the reverse of how they may feel as adult men. Therefore, they identify with doing things through viewing the pornographic material that they may be too ashamed to do with their wives in real life. This sense of embarrassment and shame about these fantasies is why so many men keep their pornographic interests secret, as one patient reported to me.
Stoller also writes about the concept that pornography has a fetishistic aspect to it. A sexual fetish involves having a sexual reaction to a non-human object or a part of a human being's body. Such an erotic arousal might occur in relation to such things as shoes, underwear, feet, etc. In my opinion, pornography can be categorized as a fetish in that images are being viewed that are not alive or do not involve interacting with an entire human being. This is part of what is referred to as the objectification of women through pornography. In other words, in the pornography, the female body is viewed as a commodity, as a thing rather as a human being.
The next big step that Stoller takes in his writing is to state that the fetish object, which is not a full human being and is not real, can be treated with cruelty and violence. The men who view pornography have no wish to harm either their wives or other women. However, they imagine harm to or at least control over a pornographic object through the fantasy world of pornography
This separation of fantasy life reversing what happened during childhood is part of what is known in Freudian psychoanalytic circles as the "Madonna-Whore Complex." This complex refers to the wish in all men that their wives are pure and innocent with regard to raising their children and interacting with friends and neighbors. The purity part of the continuum encompasses the "Madonna," or the virginal and sexually innocent girl. However, the same man wishes his wife to act like a "whore" in the bedroom, performing all the wished-for sexual acts that excite and please him.
The problem for some men is that they cannot reconcile the fact that their wives; the mothers of their children can fill the wished for sexual fantasy of the "whore." For these men, the Oedipal conflict takes over in which there is too much guilt associated with the role of "mother" to allow them to continue to see their wives as sexual partners. In other words, a split takes place in which their wife and the mother of their children can no longer be viewed as the "whore" but only as the "Madonna." This type of split includes viewing pornography in private because they do not want to admit to having such fantasies about their wives and may even believe that these wives would never approve of such erotic and "prohibited" fantasies. Therefore, the pornography must be viewed in privacy and solitude. If you doubt the power of the Oedipal conflict that boys feel in relation to their mothers, I need only point to the major fist fights and near riots that break out in high schools across America if one boy should happen to use a particular curse phrase in regard to the other boy's mother. Simply to state the term "Mother-F***er" (use your imagination to fill in the missing letters) to another boy can start a major battle between groups of adolescent boys. In the therapy office I have worked with a few men over the years that simply lose their libidinal feelings towards their wives once they become mothers.
For all of these reasons and more, many men retreat into the secret and private world of pornography and masturbation. This is even true of some men who engage in full heterosexual contact with their wives and still retreat into that secret world of masturbation. In the fantasy world of pornography there is no shame and there are no performance issues.
3. How can partners get along in the face of pornography use?
It is important that both men and women begin to understand and become sensitive to the delicate shame issues experienced by each with regard to their sexuality. Women come to believe that they are not pleasing their men and that is why their male partners turn to pornography. The root of this thinking is often related to the negative body images that women hold of themselves. Women who are heavy believe they are ugly. Women who are thin believe they are heavy and ugly. Women who are thin do not believe they are thin enough and insist they are ugly. Even today, in a world in which women are much more sexually liberated than ever before, some women fear that being sexual is immoral for a woman. As a result, they hold back from orgasm or from letting go and losing control in the orgiastic experience. They do not do this deliberately. Rather, the failure to orgasm is the result of deep and built in prohibitions.
Many men conclude that their women are not interested in sex or not in some of the ways they wish to pursue sexuality. They fear and doubt their ability to perform adequately and retreat into a world of isolation and sexual fantasy free of issues of performance and shame.
To the extent that both men and women can better understand where their partners are coming from with regard to pornography use and shame issues, they will be in a better position to start breaking down their mutual shame feelings and become closer. To the extent that partners do not make efforts to understand one another, attacks upon one another become more likely and the potential for intimacy within the all-important relationship decreases or fails entirely.
According to Stoller's research, the luckiest couples are those who can learn to abandon themselves to their sexual fantasies and strivings with one another without inhibition and anxiety. These couples can view pornography together, if they wish to, and can be free with one another without being inhibited by feelings of doubt about appearance or guilt that stems from unresolved issues of childhood. There is a normal part of foreplay when willing partners engage in pinching, biting, slapping, or spanking, and many other erotic activities in order to heighten the anticipated pleasure of intercourse. The key phrase here is "willing partners". How that phrase comes to be defined within a given couple will determine whether that couple can be open and honest with one another or not.
What are your opinions?
Editor's Note (10-18-10): We have just published a new article by Dr. Brian Thompson on Treatment for Problematic Internet Pornography Viewing. In this piece, he looks at research done by Dr. Twohig, which led to the first experimental study of treatment for pornography viewing. I encourage you to check that out for some interesting links on the research done and what the results of Dr. Twohig's study were.
Porn of one's self - Loving Fiancee now disgusted, confused and so hurt - Dec 14th 2014
I resently found out, after 17 years of being together, that he has had nude photos of himself taken by a professional photographer, to put on a free website, for no apparent reason, or so he states.
The photos that I found where with a man's hands and penis in the photos. Touching him. He states that he has never had sex with a man, I really have to question this, after the photos that I have seen. He started to deny that those were of him, but when I showed him more, he started to appologise.
I have always been very open with him and we have had a very healthy and active sexually relationship, at least that's what I thought.Watching porn and playing sexually board games was used as part of foreplay. So I was up for anything, when the kids were away, what, what was his reason for not discussing this with me?
If I leave him, I have nowhere to go, as my family have disowned me, for being involved with him, as he belongs to a different race to me. He recently asked me to leave my job and stay home and help him with the running of the family business. I still love him, we were engaged, but I have now broken off the engagement. I feel so betrayed. I don't know how long this has been going on for. I checked the dates of when the photos were taken, as they were stored on a disc. This was 5 years ago. He says that he has stopped, how do I believe and trust him again? He can not answer the question of his intentions of posting the nude photos of himself on the net. What was he wishing to accomplish by doing this.
I am an emotional reck. I have told him that it is over between us, but he begs and pleds with me to take him back. I am still living at his house, which we built together. Yes, I know I am really a stupid women for putting it in his name, but I thought that we would be married and it would be ours...
How does one handle something like this? Where does one go from here?
Female who watched porn - - Aug 16th 2014
As a female, 23 years of age, who has watched porn for the last 9 years... I can say that maybe the general population of women feel inferior to the women in porn. But in my opinion, that is just so general and not deep at all. This article went into deep feelings of men but not women. This is my experience of watching porn, and how I've grown to feel about it, and maybe this is how other woman feel too.
I started watching porn because I wasn't ashamed of myself or my sexuality, nor did I think it was weird if a woman slept around or masturbated. I got into it because porn is supposed to be THE way to masturbate. I don't judge myself based on gender. How has it shaped my views on sex? It's shaped them a lot in negative ways. I have a hard time getting off with my real partner because I'm bothered that I cannot see any views and objectify the human body. Porn has shaped my brain that during sex the goal is to achieve an orgasm and not a connection with my partner. I hate that my man watches porn because porn has shaped his brain into objectifying me. Even if he doesn't think he is, in fact he actually is. As explained in this article that men do not want to view they're woman as a wh*re, it doesn't matter... if he looks at porn, his eye is trained to look at my body parts rather than my eyes. Sure he has looked at my eyes and we\\\'ve had passionate sex... but honestly how many men hover their chest over the backs of their woman and kiss their necks while in doggy style? No they don't do that.. they lean back and stare and my ass beating against their pelvis. Sex is supposed to be a two way thing. Having passionate slower sex 50% of the time is not a compromise to having a p**sy beat down the other 50% of the time for just the mans view. Not saying that women don't enjoy bending over for their man, I'm saying that if men can objectify there women in bed, why do they need to objectify other women on the internet? Past issues or not, it's still going to get under a woman's skin. What advatange do women ever have that men don't in bed when it comes so sexual objectification? None. So that's why women get upset over porn, because men sexually objectify them in bed, yet still feel the need to look at multiple a*ses on a computer screen because one isn't enough. It's not always about women thinking they aren't good enough looks wise. What about confident women? It's about jealousy that their man is objectifying another woman.
In fact I consider it cheating... mental cheating. And it gets worse after my man has looked a porn and then decided to google the model afterwards. He just mentally fu**ed her with real visuals.. not fantasies that came from his mind.
RE: Your 2 cents - effbacon - Jul 30th 2014
You don't like sex. Sex is with a real person. You like masturbating to porn. Porn is not an expression of real sexuality. It is an artifice constructed to fulfil men's desire to avoid confronting women's real desire, real humanity and real sexuality. It is a construct to pander to man's desire to construct women's sexuality for his own gratification, to dominate and control (even when adopting a "passive" role as in BDSM porn) women and their bodies. That is not healthy. It is pathological and nothing to do with real life.
That's a signifcant broad brush. No I don't masturbate to porn - really. It only seem to further isolate me.
There are real people expressing "real sexuality" on the internet - without degradation or domination. My point is not to defend viewing sexual material. If I could successfully stop today I would - it's nothing I'm proud of or encourage others to do.
Love - See the light - Jul 28th 2014
The most powerful spiritual bond in the universe is love!
Most internet pornography depicts the most basic and often unrealistic, ridiculous version of the sexual act.There is an absolute and unarguable difference with what we have available on the internet 24/7 than what some have quoted as historical "cave wall drawings" and erotica!
Anything imaginable is now one click away. At the point of a mouse, the most graphic imagery possible can be accessed without even the need for a "starting point" or even an end narrative before the viewee can redirect to another "clip". This form of imagery and control had never been available until the internet landed in all of our households.
To claim that all men view and have used pornography at some time during their lives is probably true but not on the same way they are "viewing" it now.
The contrast is vast and to claim different is ignorance and denial. these sites offer every voyeuristic fetish available. Nearly every single site will flash up advertisements for "local sh**s", "meet up for sex", even tags like "your wife will hate this site"! It's not harmless fun! Harmless fun harms no one . Unfortunately this is all designed to "harm" and when people are hurting (the men and the women and not just the ones at home, the ones in the industry!) it's not fun!
Wake up "people", love is the strongest bond we can forge with each other. Break that and we are merely single units, tools to be manipulated, brainwashed and commodified. This "free porn" is doing its job very well indeed. If you would expect to pay for anything in this world then surely it would be the right to see others abuse their bodies for public entertainment??Afterall what in this life is ultimately "free"? If that's not a big enough giveaway of its true purpose then I don't have a better example I could use! it's driving a wedge between your most important relationships, your most powerful allies, your loved ones.
People should take back a bit more control of their lives, we are already consumer addicts, tax slaves, materialistically motivated and work robots so why give up your sexuality to the system too! Reunite with each other, re engage, rediscover sensuality and intimacy. Stop allowing the control system to take even your most intimate self from you.
If these images are so "powerful" and so important then they will be the things that flash before your eyes in your final moments? We all know they won't be. They will have gone by then into the "nothingness", nothingness is what they are.
Love and deep connections with others are the most powerful things we can own and treasure. Take back the power, create your own "porn world" of touch and feeling and stop defending the things that will ruin your ability to "feel" and be "real".
One final word.......if your work or livelihood was taken away from you because a computer or robot could do the job and that meant that you could no longer afford food, shelter or basic living standards how would you feel?
We are allowing "the computer" to take away our loves, our lives, our freedom and power and we are letting it destroy the most powerful parts of our being. Love and our bonds we forge with each other are the most precious things We should be protecting. Don't lose them!
Hunans have "free will" But don't confuse that with "freedom", the irony with humans is that we defend the things that help to create our demise. The smoker defends their tobacco, the alcoholic protects their booze, the gambler speaks of their "next time luck" and the internet porn user claims "it's normal, everyone does it".
Don't defend things that destroy instead educate yourselves. GI outside, join the world, rediscover sex, inform yourselves on how powerful and beautiful the act can be instead of kidding yourself that internet porn is fantasy. We are all so subdued I don't even think we know what real intimate unashamed sexual fantasy is. I would like to believe it isn't dirty at all and could actually lift our souls if we would only look higher and beyond the basic "hole filling" online.
Your 2 cents - - Jul 26th 2014
You don't like sex. Sex is with a real person. You like masturbating to porn. Porn is not an expression of real sexuality. It is an artifice constructed to fulfil men's desire to avoid confronting women's real desire, real humanity and real sexuality. It is a construct to pander to man's desire to construct women's sexuality for his own gratification, to dominate and control (even when adopting a "passive" role as in BDSM porn) women and their bodies. That is not healthy. It is pathological and nothing to do with real life.
My 2 cents - - Jul 24th 2014
A few thoughts about this issue. As a male I do view pornography because ... wait for it, I like sex. It's not something I go out of my way to view or consume, because my wife would be very unhappy. She doesn't ask me about it and I wouldn't lie if she did.
As a side note, it seems violence is OK and acceptable but expressions of sexuality are frowned upon. It's odd paradox.
I've been married to the same women for 20yrs. Even though I look at other women I want to be with my wife, and I think despite the prevalence of fantasy, men want to be with real women.
for Charlie - female boomer - Jul 18th 2014
A female boomer writes:
Do you think these women "work so hard to look attractive" to please you? No, they get drawn into it for various reasons, for money. Would you like it if your wife, daughter, sister was "looking attractive" so that sad old geezers can jerk off to pictures of them? Wise up to the reality of porn production.
If your wife has problems with intercourse there is plenty of help for you as a couple or for her. If she knows about your attitude to women it may be contributing: often these things have a psychological component.
? for charlie - - Jul 18th 2014
HI CHARLIE ,
When you state that you like to look at nude women does that mean that you go to porn sites ?
If so , does your wife know what you are doing ? If she doesn't please don't hurt her , because finding this out about your husband is a marriage breaker . Please think about your actions Charlie,this is from someone who knows what the consequences are .
Confused!! - Hurt & Confused - Jul 15th 2014
So in reading this article it somewhat makes sence but im still confused as in what to do. Ive been in a relationship a little over 2 years and my boyfriend and I met online, long story short is that by all means my boyfriend is addicted to porn which I hate but he doesnt seem to care, my problem now is that I found out he's on dating sites and his exuse was he was just looking? Is that appropriate? Please help, hurt & confused.
boomers - charlie - Jul 7th 2014
no offense but your article is 7 years out of date. back then i would agree with most everything you've said, but now it's a different ball game for me and for most boomers. i'm 66 and my wife is ocassionally up for sex but due to chronic pain we rarely do it ( once or twice a year) i love to look at nude women. i find most women attractive because most women work so hard to look attractive. the 1 to 10 scale of beauty does not occur to me as it once did say 20 years ago. so why do we use such shameful terms like \\
to Valeri - Mindy - Jun 3rd 2014
Ditch him. He is either selfish and does not care whether he is hurting you, too stupid to see why, or both. His rights? What a d***head.
Either boot him out now, or just keep him for the good sex and anything else he's useful for while you find another man, but detach emotionally if you can. He is not worth it: he has no consideration for your feelings so don't worry about his.
No, they are not all like that.
Lots of hurt - Valerie - May 18th 2014
I am an attractive woman in my fifties, dating a man of the same age. We have been together about a year and have very passionate and satisfying sex six to eight times per week. My partner made a few comments about my sexual performance and compared me to a porn star. Gradually I began to realize that despite all our lovemaking, he was watching porn. I asked him about it and he explained he only did it once or twice a week and that it had nothing to do with our relationship, that it was strictly eye candy for him so that he could masturbate and relieve tension. I explained to him that I considered it to be very hurtful and a betrayal of our relationship, but he simply doesn't understand me. It isn't about me feeling insecure about my body, it's about him imagining for 15 minutes that he's having sex with someone else. It's really incredibly painful for me. He insists I'm trying to take away his rights. I'm not trying to control him, I just want him to stop hurting me. I've considered leaving him, but wonder if I will face this same issue with every man I date.
Found pictures of his penis on his cell phone. - stunned - Apr 22nd 2014
Has this happened to anyone before? My boyfriend of 6 years was showing me recent pics he took of the clouds on a beautiful day on his Iphone - and as he was swiping though showing me ( he was holding the phone) a pic of a penis flashed and then he hurriedly swiped past it only to swipe thru 3 more in the process back to back. I immediately asked what that was and he said it was nothing but joke memes and crap that friends sent him as a joke. So I let it go only knowing that I could creep into his phone. Sorry- I took the sleuth way out. But I know if I pressed the issue, he'd get hyper and defensive as is his norm.
He fell asleep. He doesn't lock his phone. I brought up the photos and there about 20 photos of his erect penis from different time periods. All erect. all perfectly cropped.
I dont know know what else to say or do. I violated his phone by looking at it while he slept. But is there some kind if machismo man thing that you want glistening private photos of your junk for personal use? is it a porn thing?
Thanks for your advice or sharing your experience in this matter.
stunned and confused.
He's been at it 13 years??? - Jacque - Mar 25th 2014
Whoa! 13 years and you have allowed yourself to tolerate that? I've been married 15 years next month and there have been waves of porn madness. Now I have one building them himself. Do you now how I've reacted to that? First, I went through denial, then, comparing myself to his fake creations and all of the rest of the porn girlies, maybe men too for all I know, I wonder sometimes... then I tried discussing it in a civil tone, he was bored and did EVERYTHING to keep me out of the bedroom then I just got pissed off and looked at what he was up to when he was at work one day.
Yep, there it was, on a nice big screen TV that he brought home and told me it was a gift for me, when in reality it was for his life size pleasure.
So I've wrapped it up. I acquired a therapist so that I can feel sorry for myself in private and announced the end of the BS. I deserve better than that! All of us do! I don'tfantasize at all, it's not real for me and I stay completely grounded as much as possible. He says I'm unique. Frankly, I'm older, not ugly though and I'm ok being alone. As long as it's real, I'm fine, I don't have to be lonely as long as I know I can be ok with myself.
I've researched this for a couple of days now to see if my reaction to this stupidity is valid. It is. I wasn't cruel, didn't even use one curse word. haha! I just have to accept that he's a moron and I am clearly not cut out for his world. He'll get bored with it when I'm gone. No, I can't just up and leave, can't afford that yet, I also won't talk about my leaving him again, I'll just DO IT.
Basically tonight, I asked him if I did anything to make him choose what he's been up to, he told me that it had nothing to do with me... well I know that, idiot. But I wanted to be sure that I was displaying any sort of signs that made him feel unattractive. He said he just likes to look at beautiful women. (That's not all he'd been doing) He immediately attempted to simplify it all, minimize it and attempt to make me believe that I was over reacting. The same story over and over.
So I am done. I have explored the laws, I have looked over a million things, all I want to do is end it. Seems there is some sort of reality that he lives in, in that place. If I cannot have an honest relationship, screw it.
If I were you, I would quietly remove myself from their insanity, when they have nothing to control, they'll wake up, but I wouldn't go back,,, ever.
my husband has no respect. - - Feb 27th 2014
I have been dealing with my husband's lies, and his additude with porn and other things, he has sex with women on the chat lines, emailing different women and what's worse is that he chats with women on his cell phone. now i have been putting up with crap for 13 years, he has no interest in me, another thing he does is take photos of his penis and sends them to diffrent women. esspecially young women, that don't over 18. I'm talking about it, and we have a beautiful daughter, and shows no respect for her. he's over in the other room being disguisting when i'm in the next room. can you give me some advice.
to Hurt and Confused - Mindy - Jan 24th 2014
I wonder if your boyfriend is ashamed of his inability to perform and is trying to see if he can get aroused by more extreme means in private without feeling he is letting you and himself down. He is probably failing to do so as it's a physical thing, not psychological. But perhaps by trying by means of porn he has become addicted in some way. Diabetes is so common and this is a well-known side effect so there must be some help out there - would he be open to seeking medical help for this problem?
It seems very selfish of him to refuse to give you pleasure though...perhaps he has just sort of detached himself sexually from you as a result of the inadequacy he feels??
to Porn - Necessity not choice - Mindy - Jan 24th 2014
Porn degrades both you and those who take part in it. If you become addicted to porn, you are as a result less likely to have a satisfying sexual relationship with any real woman you meet. You are more likely to do that if you view women as people to engage with rather than as objects to get sexual relief from.
Hurt and Confused - Hurt and Confused - Jan 20th 2014
I have caught my boyfriend a few times of looking at porn on the internet. He had promised me that he would not do it a again. He told me he was not looking at naked girls on the internet. I caught him again last night. Here's the big problem...we have not had sex in about 2 years, he's diabetic and says he has lost the initiative, which, yes, is a symptom of being a diabetic. So the reason I am so hurt is why, if he's not interested in sex then WHY is he interested in looking at these girls on the internet? I am considered attractive, I'm in good shape, (I'm a part time aerobic instructor), so I honestly don't know how I can compete with this and it is tearing me apart. He says he's sorry. Our sex life when we had it was amazing. It was the first time I had ever enjoyed it, I had hated it with my husband of 13 years. I had thought sex was a chore. I had been abused as a child and thought that was the reason until I met my boyfriend and WOW he opened my eyes until he couldn't 'perform' anymore. I've asked him to just touch me and he won't because 'it doesn't do anything for him'. He says he loves me...
to Anna - - Dec 20th 2013
Hi Anna. I just read your comment. I am lost in the same lonely dark path you seem to be on. I finally found proof of my husbands problem earlier this week. I have been lied to about this issue and he has made promises galore to me about never doing it again for as long as I have known him. When I provided him with the proof that I knew, he finally told me he was sorry and admitted he does have a problem. I am stuck now. I do suggest to you getting a counselor, I have an appointment for today and my husband has made one for next week. It is so hard to feel anything but pain and a definitive sense of betrayal. We have a son who is not even one year old yet. I am sorry to hear you have children involved too, though I am sure you wouldn't wish they were not there. My son is the only reason I don't hate myself for staying even though I have had intuition he was being dishonest and betraying me for years. My son is the greatest blessing, and I would go through this again and again if it gives me such a blessing. Good luck with everything! I hope your husband gets the help he needs and finally admits and realizes how much his issue is tearing you apart :(
But what now? - Anna - Dec 7th 2013
I've been reading quite a lot of these comments trying to figure out how to 'handle' the situation that my husband looks at porn says he's sorry and wont look again but inevitably always goes back to it at some point. Trust is gone ! He has tried to explain it like most men on this forum but it just doesnt make sense that a husband , boyfriend ,fiance witness the devastation porn causes to the women they love and then go on to do it again and again.Because they are addicted or they dont care it has to be one or the other . SO my question is as it is very obvious that porn will always be an issue, what do we do as women being treated with such dishonesty and disrespect? I am a very willing wife who isnt getting fulfilled , he is not very affectionate anyway and doesnt pretend to care about what I want as I feel he thinks he is a master at everything he puts his hand to . I'm pregnant which adds even more to my insecurities. But pregnant or not this is a problem thats not going to go away we have 2 children who will fall upon his porn at some point in the future, then what do i tell them. I think I need to call it quits as I am turning into a snooping angry scorned woman and he doesnt understand why ,even though I tell him over and over again ,maybe he doesnt love me and doesnt want the hassle of divorce because of division of assets , maybe I need to seek a counsellor to help me figure this out . Although its comforting reading these posts I'm not any closer to a clear answer ...
Porn- nescessity not choice - - Nov 30th 2013
discussion - - Apr 30th 2013
I think discussion with others on this topic is important to help bring awareness of how porn affects women. I don't think people really understand (and unfortunately don't really care). Here is a link if you'd like to participate in the debate.
Sex and abuse - xxx - Apr 23rd 2013
To those of you who only get to have sex twice a month, try asking him if he was ever sexually abused. I have only read a few of the comments on this website, so I don't know if you guys have already addressed the issue of abuse or not. I am lucky If my BF wants sex once a month. It has taken 4 years for our sex life to dwindle down to never. I know he has been abused, men have an extremely hard time accepting that the abuse has caused their intimacy issues. He has taken his sexuality elsewhere, porn, of course. This type of behavior is textbook for men who were abused.
to Lulu - Mindy - Mar 19th 2013
I agree with the others. He has the problem. It is not you nor anything you have done or not done. He is damaged, but don't let any pity you feel for him keep you in an abusive relationship. Unless he really, seriously wants to change and shows that he means it (sounds unlikely from what you write), I'd say get out of this situation. Take heart, not all men treat or view women like that, not even the ones who have fallen into the snare of pornography.
re Lulu - - Mar 19th 2013
I am so happy that realize that this guy you're with has a MAJOR problem and it is in no way you. It sounds as if you are ready to leave him, and I hope you know that anyone on this board would say that you deserve so much better. Someone who respects you. This guy is not respectful in any way. You aren't alone though. Yes, some of us are without men in our lives, but women don't need to have a man in their life to be happy. Take care of yourself and know that you matter, and that it's Ok for any of us to be single if we don't find a partner who respects us. Being true to ourselves and only associating with people who respect our emotions and needs will make us realize how good life really is.
Keep your head up, Lulu... - Earthbound - Mar 19th 2013
It is so hard to deal with at first, because you blame yourself, and it is easy to lose your sense of self-worth. It is not you doing it. The problem was there before you. Find yourself esteem, and do what it takes to make yourself whole. He's not whole, which is why he has the addiction. You need to remove yourself from an unhealthy situation and make your life as healthy as possible.
ADDICTED TO PORN - LULU - Mar 17th 2013
I can SO relate to SO many of the comments made both by men and women here. And I have also found a tremendous amount of relief in knowing that I am NOT ALONE in this.
My partner and I have been together 3 years... he's addicted to sex, 8, 9, 10 and so much more times a day is NOT enough for him. Im 10 years older than him. I could cope in the beginning but lately I am so turned off and repulsed by his need for porn that our sex life is obviously suffering.
I knew he watched porn, but what I didn't know is that he belongs to chat sites, has online sex, MEETS random hook up internet people for sex!!!!!!
I found messages on his phone and found him on a granny site looking at desperate women for sex. His is NOT just a sexy girl type ... he wants ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, from teens to grannies, fat, thin WHATEVER and he's very ROUGH, I caught him watching sexually 'abused' teens etc.
Now this has broken my world! I could cope with regular light porn but not this. He recently (and he denies it, but there are so many signs he IS doing it) started acting in porn videos because he's showering twice a day, is disappearing for HOURS on end during the day, is constantly on his phone, and so much else, AND THE WORST IS he talks to me like Im a whore... oh give it to me and all the other sex talk one hears on porn videos etc.
He has compartementalised me --- as in he doesn't see me as a whole person anymore, he doesn't hug me but when he puts its hands on me its only on my private parts and I often have to say, hello Im a person, there's a whole body here, with a mind and a soul etc Im not just a pu**y.
I am 50 years old, with a young soul and can handle plenty, but this has destroyed my trust/faith in so much, I am utterly betrayed. I want to leave but I can't, Im financially strapped and he knows it.
He's verbally, emotionally, physically abusive... its like he HATES me for NOT being a whore! Yet when we fight he calls me all the rude names under the sun that are used for whores.
What worries me is picking up a disease or STD, Im a cancer survivor from cervical cancer (x3), those things need to stay away from me!
I have asked him over and over WHY does he need this, if I could JUST understand I could put it into perspective and see a bigger picture. Before reading this I though I wasn't enough. After reading it I realise and acknowledge that he has a problem... and its NOT mine,
As Im righting this I am realising that I now choose to walk away from it regardless of the consequences.
In MY opinion I can't agree to it just being because it was because they were abused etc. They KNOW right from wrong. They are ADULTS. They KNOW their behaviour is causing women pain... and they CHOOSE to carry on instead of going to see someone professional.
They LOVE the sex, they LOVE the secrecy and they LOVE the women they look at and how they make them feel... beginning and end of it, the men crave it because it dehumanises women as a whole to them and they can just be whoever they are or want to be, without any marital, behavioural whatever issues, they can just get their satisfaction the way THEY want it, as long as THEY are happy its all they care about.
And SO much of it is POWER... the knowledge that they just wave R100 bill around and that women will dance for them, have sex with them whenever, however they want! Because of them having paid for it they basically OWN that woman for that time and she will be a willing partner to do ANYTHING shes paid for.
I have HAD it with men and porn :-( and the women who ACT in the videos and post nude pics of themselves and go on chat sites etc... well you can KNOCK me down with a feather, but this world is EXTREMELY sick because WITHOUT them doing this our men wouldn't be hankering after them.
It DOES take TWO to tango and this is NOT MY TYPE OF DANCE. It repulses me to the extent that I could just slit my wrists because whats the point, with the technology and all the rest of it out there, WHERE will one find a man who is relatively normal and doesn't get caught in this trap.
Re sex and porn mixed up - Mindy - Mar 10th 2013
Addiction is a loaded word but there is plenty of evidence that men can get hooked on the hyper-stimulation that porn provides to the brain, so that real life seems pale by comparison. It sounds as though he does love you, so the first thing is to try to get him to acknowledge it is a problem for you - tell him how it makes you feel - and your relationship. He might not want to admit that it is something he is not really in control of. There is plenty of help and support out there when/if (?) he decides he needs it, although I personally would steer clear of the US religious anti-porn sites. Don't be bought off by the b***s*** men spout sometimes about it being natural to "need" porn/variety, that it does not affect your relationship, but try not to condemn him (very, very difficult). My partner, once he decided to give up, was actually pleased to rediscover intimacy and a sexual experience that was not just visual and mechanical, but then we are older and he had not grown up with the idea that real sex should be like porn.
I think it 's very difficult for you not to try to imitate what happens in porn if that is what he thinks sex is. I don't know how to respond to that. It can widen your repertoire but so much of it is degrading and you have to feel comfortable and confident (again, difficult) with anything you do.
when its his preference - - Mar 7th 2013
My bf of 5 yrs has sex n porn mixed up. It would seem that porn is his staple. He has no interest in sex and never really has. I think its because hes grown up with porn. Porn is his first and foremost partner. He denys it. Obviously. But I trul feel he is broken when he doesnt feel like having sex but porn is always on the table for him. I asked him to cut back on his porn and for the last few years hes said its only about once or twice a week. He still cant bring himself to have sex with me more then twice a.month. i usually initiate. Ive tried to make it interesting and fu ...but often I just feel like crap after for only trying to immitate the porn he watches. We care abiut eachother deeply but he simply cant succeed at stopping his porn habit even for a few months. I would think that might help. But he does it anyway n wil lie about it. I havent brought anything up to hi. For the last yr or so n the same practicaly sexless relationship we have continues. Is he addicted?
Yes! - Deb - Feb 25th 2013
Absolutely - we are definitely agreeing! They say the fish are affected and I'm trying my best to stay away from those nasty endocrine disrupters:)
I think I will look for that book you mentioned. I've always admired Greer for her strength of character and thought and recognised that she is one of the very few 'old school' femininsts that we have left. But that's a whole other topic...
Response to Deb - Mindy - Feb 24th 2013
We are probably agreeing! Not sure this is the right forum for a discussion of the construction of women's sexuality by men, but women have, it seems, always been categorised (objectified) by men as whore-temptress / mother / virgin and I think the current emphasis on sexual availability is just another facet of that (See the head article to this forum).
I suspect you are right that we are reaping the health consequences of not being physiologically designed for a life of chemical contraception and/or childlessness, but we live a very unnatural existence anyway in terms of diet, exercise and exposure to all sorts of things from the man-made environment. It is suggested that excreted contraceptive chemicals disrupt the endocrine systems of other organisms too. Non-chemical contraception is probably the answer.
Rummaging through my bookshelves today with a view to clearing them out I came across Germaine Greer's Sex and Destiny, published in 1984. Perhaps I should re-read it as if I remember it discusses these very topics.
To Mindy - Deb - Feb 20th 2013
I absolutely agree with most of what you've said Mindy. I didn't mean to give the impression that I think all women should be walking about like cave-mamas in barefeet! My own personal opinion is that contraception introduces an unnatural dimension to a woman's hormonal/physiological balance. And I also worry about the much longer term effects of constant contraceptive use in women from generation to generation. For example, some studies have shown that women taking the pill choose different types of men than women not taking it (arguably choosing men who are not the best types of father figures because of how their hormones are affected with long-term usage). There are also other studies showing some evidence of the effects of high levels of oestrogen on child development, and so on. But this is really a different issue (and I'm sure science will reveal much more in future as contraception is still a relatively new intervention into reproduction).
My point was really to point out to Maxi how the modern day view of women as abject sex objects has been facilitated somewhat by the normalisation of contraception. Of course that's just my opinion. I do think, though, that the use of contraception is so normalised these days that to not take it is to be abnormal. In the same way that to choose abstinence until one finds one’s Mr Right (dream, dream, dream) is also considered abnormal. But I'm convinced that a lot of casual sexual encounters would not take place if the 'natural' fear of pregnancy was present. Of course, that didn't stop men (or women) from having casual encounters in the past when contraception was not ubiquitous. But then I think casual sex/porn has never been so blatant and widespread as it is today and normalisation of contraception has gone some way to facilitate this kind of relationshipless sexual encounter.
Of course I totally agree that not all women are able to conceive for various reasons and I didn’t mean to imply the opposite. Some women can’t, some men can’t make it happen. Some just don’t want to (like me at the moment!). I think, though, that generally, if society stopped portraying women as super-sonic sex machines in order to sell products of some kind and instead had strong representations of women as responsible life-producers, then some of the damage caused by porn could be reduced.
Lastly, and you could say, contradictorily, I think it has actually been a good thing that contraception has freed women up, because sadly I think women needed something to set them free. In an ideal world, everybody would find love and men would take care of their children and treat their women with respect and vice versa. But this is not the world we live in. Women do need contraception and I’m absolutely glad we have that choice. It’s essential. But I just think that the sexualisation and dehumanisation of women revealed in some way in Maxi’s comment highlights a need for young men in particular to, in some way, see women as other than receptacles for their ‘needs’.
Deb - re your comments on Maxi - Mindy - Feb 14th 2013
Deb, I agree with you in your last paragraph absolutely in your deploring Maxi’s view of women merely as objects to gratify a biological urge. I wonder how his view of women was shaped – is it that the constant availability of highly sexualised imagery has led him to regard women like this, has use of porn caused him to be unable to obtain sexual satisfaction in an encounter with a real person? Most normal people want some kind of human encounter, some intimacy, even in a casual fling – it seems pathological to regard women as alien creatures who are somehow out to suck something out of a man, and very sad.
But I am not sure what point you are making with your observations about contraception. The “natural state” of women is to spend from age 15 to 45 pregnant or breastfeeding, having perhaps 10 or 15 children, most of whom would not reach adulthood, with the alternative of sexual abstinence - for which we are not really designed, then dying in the late forties. To liberate women, and men, from the fear of pregnancy, which happened about 50 years ago with the pill, is a good thing. There are many sexual relationships that are successful and fulfilling (mine included, and many homosexual ones), where the question of motherhood has never arisen. Biologically yes, reproduction is of course what sex is for, but as you imply with your acceptance of the need for intimacy we are more than that. If you take your biological reductionism to its logical conclusion you will accept the conventional wisdom that women are programmed to be clingy creatures inhabiting a universe of motherhood who need a man to look after them for security while they spawn yet another child and conversely that men are anxious to propagate their genes by impregnating as many women as possible with minimal care for the consequences.
It is perfectly possible to have a world – and it exists in many places - where women are respected as sexual beings, not simply as potential mothers. Are women who are infertile, don’t want children, who are beyond childbearing age, who can’t or don’t want to inhabit this glorious world of motherhood, not entitled to a sexual relationship?
The problem with sexual liberation arising from contraception is not that it happened, but that misogyny did not go away and instead took another form: women’s bodies became just another commodity to be consumed in a society obsessed with instant gratification, youth and appearance. Do you think really women are treated better in societies that do not have contraception available, or where it is proscribed for cultural or religious reasons?
I pose the analogy of porn = junk sex to junk food: we don’t want to go back to a time when food was scarce and people starved, but now we inhabit a world of the wrong sort of food where we don’t value it, we abuse it, fetishise it, we consume bad stuff to excess because it gives us a buzz, we lose the knowledge of how to appreciate it, and someone makes a heap of money out of it.
I agree - Earthbound - Feb 14th 2013
I agree with Deb completely. The post sounded very angry about women and sex. It is our body. Saying that you should just be able to walk outside, choose a woman, and have sex with them belittles our say in the matter. Life is not an open-air strip club. We aren't just vaginas that walk around waiting for a man to "choose" ours as their receptacle for the moment. I was offended that you made it sound as if a woman should just be sex all the time or risk her man just saying "whatever" and going for an easier option. Life is not like that, especially when you add in work, kids, etc. It's a bit hard to sneak away to have a tryst when you have small children (as I do) where even using the bathroom by yourself is impossible. I say good luck in your continual use of porn by yourself, because from your attitude, I gather there are a plethora of issues that a woman with you would not want to wade through.
Response to Maxi - Deb - Feb 14th 2013
I couldn't let your comment pass without responding. I find your attitude about women deeply worrying because you seem to think that all women should be sexually available at your slightest whim. You talk about young women as being enlightened because they now 'understand' this and are more 'available' than those with what you seem to believe is an outdated attitude.
Firstly, very young women (I'd say under 25) have been brought up largely believing that taking contraceptive pills or injections of some sort is entirely normal. It's now almost like a rite of passage. Many older women believe this too but don't tend to associate contraception with free sex the way young women do these days. There are also other women of all ages who do not believe in using contraception because of the unnatural effects it has on the female body. Your view of women is obviously gained from porn and that presents women disconnected from any reproductive capacity - purely sexual objects. In my opinion, the acceptance and availability of widespread contraceptive useage has unfortunately added to the idea of women as purely sex objects because contraception removes the fear or even thought of pregnancy in both men and women.
The point is that your view of sexual 'availability' does not consider the natural state of women as bearers of children. Your view of sexual 'availability' is based on your narrow-minded idea of women as sexual objects to release your rather primitive sexual needs instead of a potential mother of your child. I'd say this itself is a symptom of a mind brainwashed by porn.
It's known to be a frequent porn fantasy that men are able to quickly facilitate a woman to become sexually available, but this is not real life and leads to a warped view of sex and relationships.
The truth is that you cannot have sex without some form of relationship or significant impression/experience (no matter how short lived), unless your encounter is purely contractual - hence the market for prostitutes. I think it would be sensible to consider women in a more respectful fashion than you currently do or you may find you are never able to form a healthy sexual relationship with anyone. If you want to have sex with a woman (besides a payment to a prostitute) I'm afraid you will have to grow up and realise that you do not get anything for nothing in this life and that sex is about intimacy, love and respect for another person. It's not solely about releasing a primitive sexual act on your part and never will be just about that in a healthy relationship.
If Women Were More Sexually Open - Maxi - Feb 10th 2013
Look, I like porn a lot but if I could simply go out my door and easily find a woman to have sex with without having to pay for it or enter into a relationship which I am not interested in doing right now then I would never look at porn again. As long as women, acting the age-old game of sexual gatekeeper and demanding some kind of emotional or monetary payment for sex, make it so hard just to get some kind of quick and easy sexual release then men will continue to use and enjoy porn. Already younger women, those who have not known a world without freely available internet porn, understand this and are changing their sexual attitudes and are becoming more like men when it comes to recreational sex. We see this in the new "hookup culture" we are now seeing. They know that they have to change their attitudes toward sexual availability (although many young women never did have that old attitude and so just did what came naturally) in order to compete with more sexual choices men now have. People will still enter into long term relationships. But for those who simply want sexual release by way of skin to skin contact with another and are foiled by having to jump through numerous hoops women demand, in the end simply masturbate to porn instead.
re Sign - Kim - - Sep 19th 2012
I signed as well. Thanks for posting about it. I think that it will take men encouraging other men to consider the negative effects of pornography for any changes to happen. Unfortunately, in my experience, women can't convince men that it hurts them. We come off as controlling, insecure or all the other things we've talked about. But if men tell other men that it could be hurtful, then there is a better chance for change. That idea adds salt to my wound, but I guess it's just the way it goes. It's like we don't have valid feelings. A man has to approve it as a valid in order for feelings to really be valid.
re-Do it please - mary - Sep 19th 2012
I have signed and I found the number of men signing the "Take The Bare Boobs Out Of The Sun" petition very encouraging. The second favourite reason given for signing is from a man "This is the 21st century. We don't need an easy route into pornography for our kids. How are women meant to be taken seriously in the workplace when this is how they are seen? It's degrading to them and suggestive of their availability to men, and could be contributing to sexual assaults and matrimonial rape. Real men (and women) find real partners, not paper substitutes."
Do it please! - Thinker - Sep 18th 2012
Hi everyone, I come back to this article from time to time - can't believe it's still going! Before I comment on anything else though I would really like all the ladies (and gentlemen) to sign this petition to ban page 3 in uk newspapers. It already has thousands of votes but they still need you! pornified images everywhere is bad enough. Help rid our culture of unhealthy attitudes!
a thought - - Sep 16th 2012
aren't tendencies toward insecurity innate in all of us? I mean, go back to when you were a kid on the playground, and how hard we all took it, even little boys, when we're told by our friends that someone else is better than us in something or if we look not quite like everyone else or whatever. We go home to our parents and they say, well, you don't need them as a friend, you'll find someone else, or they might say, you want a friend who will like you the way you are. And so is it that unthinkable that a woman would feel insecure when the man in their life seeks out other women to imagine sex with, the most intimate interaction, especially when porn is not necessary for survival? It's just a fun thing for men and if it hurts the one who loves them so much and have vowed to be a devoted and loyal partner, wouldn't a man see it as not necessary to insist on? And yet, women seem to be told over and over that their lack of self-esteem when being reminded over and over my images and media and porn that we don't have big breasts, that we need products and procedures to fix us to look like what everyone is telling us is beautiful....my gosh, i can't open my internet without seeing "beautiful women" lists and photos of and ads of "ideal" women. But I just have to suck it up and get over it and that my insecurity is unwarranted and a weakness. Tell that to a little girl when she's growing up. I work with a woman with two teenage daughters and she sat them both down, and I hear of more mothers doing this, to tell them that there will always be prettier women then them and that they have to do the best that they can to ignore all the pictures of women around them and the messages they get of not being attractive and ideal and that they have to just feel good about themselves. That's a tough pill for anyone to swallow. Especially a vulnerable teenage girl. No wonder there are so many teenagers getting breast implants and now many are getting labiaplasties. All because guys want them to look like porn. i met a guy the other day who will not be with a woman unless she does brazilian waxes. I asked him why. he said it's not normal. And I asked if that was because all the women in porn have that. and he said yes. i'm glad porn can tell men that women aren't normal unless they're hairless. and yet, my neighbor has a completely hairy back and he got mad when someone made a joke about it and said that the guy was an "f-in ***" and needs to be more sensitive that that's how he was born and there's nothing wrong with him. And he hates him now. You have to be pretty darn strong to be a woman these days. young women will do what society tells them because they don't have the confidence to do what that guy did. he ended a friendship because the guy made a comment and yet women have to be blasted for insecurity and blamed for their lack of confidence when we are so exhausted from being compared every minute of the day to other women and reminded about what isn't "normal" or "right" about us. i can't take it anymore.
re Aaron - Earthbound - Sep 13th 2012
I am truly sorry, and I did not mean to throw stones. I also wasn't saying that we're settling for less. What I meant was that it is said repeatedly that porn is the "fantasy". Women are told it's not a big deal because of that. I meant that women are made to feel that they can support their men in every way, but then they continually seek out other women for gratification. It seems like a slap in the face. That's what you want, and I'm what you got. I am sorry for your relationship troubles, and every relationship is different. This issue is hard to generalize, because everyone does have different opinions. I did not used to mind the pornography. We'd even watch it together. But, once it got to the point that he was pleasing himself WAY too much, it became a problem. He was getting off on it 2-3 times a day, constantly trading pics with friends, and even looking at it when our small kids were in the same room , and I was in the next room cooking dinner. It affected every part of our life. He was becoming impotent, and we went over three months not having sex, because he was unable to perform. He was unemployed at the time, and I understand that men for some reason turn to more of this at times to recoup some kind of manliness. But, when he was looking more, I felt like he was a different person. He was uninvolved with our children, our conversations, and losing touch with real life. When I realized the extent that it had affected our relationship, I told him that what he wants to do in his life is his business. But, our relationship and family had suffered because of it, and it could not continue. If that was important to him, then he could continue his habit on his own. However, if he wanted to continue in our family and with me, then it would have to go. I don't like throwing down laws or be controlling, but things had gotten out of hand. We nearly split up because of it. But, we kept talking and trying to regain our closeness. It took awhile, but now, we honestly know much more about each other than ever before. We are free to share our fantasies with each other (except we've both agreed that neither one of us is interested in including other people) and try them. We are honest about our likes and dislikes. He has admitted that he had a problem and feels much more free without it. He says that he is much more comfortable with himself now than he ever was, because I have been so encouraging in telling him how much I enjoy his body. We have been through almost all of the major relationship killers and are stronger than ever after almost seven years. It does still bother me once in awhile, and I sometimes do wonder if I made the right decision. I have no desire to know what he thinks about when he dreams or masturbates, I just don't want to see the evidence, and due to the extent of our problems we have been through with it, it will never again be welcome in our relationship. Mary is completely right that marriage is compromise, and it is hard for you to understand what you would be willing to compromise in order to make it work with the right person. I too have friends that go to strip clubs and things like that, and it works for them. But, more often than not, I have seen their relationships in big trouble, because then the husbands feel they can lie or go whenever without their wife. I do appreciate your thoughts, and I do hope you continue to post, and I did not mean to offend you. I do hope you find the right person and end up happy. You do seem like a nice person, and I do wish the best for you.
replies - mary - Sep 13th 2012
Norma, you sound a lovely lady who has always put her husband's needs first, maybe it is about time to consider your own needs and maybe seek counselling either with or without your husband?
Aaron “if I have to be fake or lie about my tastes to maintain a long term relationship, what would I even want one for?” I agree that you shouldn't lie or fake about your tastes, but in any relationship there has to be some degree of compromise in some areas, not just sex. If in a monogamous relationship you do get tired of your partner's body for brief periods of time then it might be honest to mention it but in a tactful and positive way. e.g. if I were to become a little tired of my husband's body then it could be for several reasons, that I am tired myself, or under stress etc. and it is a sign that the relationship is in need of a little tlc (romantic meal, weekend away etc) not that I should start lusting after the man next door and then tell my husband all about it. But that is just my opinion. You may find a lady, and I hope you do, who is quite content to be told about your fantasies about undressing her best friend, but please take care that if you find her, (and I know I am generalising here) because she may well be the sort of lady who will cheat on you, as has been your experience, either to prove to herself that she is still an attractive woman or because she genuinely wants to enjoy a polygamous way of life.
Earthbound you mention in an earlier post that your sex life has improved now that your husband has stopped watching porn. This is also our experience. With hindsight I can see that our sex life deteriorated at the exact time my husband went back to buying his porn mags.
To me it seems obvious that if couples save your sexual energy for the times they make love then that sex will be much hotter than if one of them has been masturbating to porn hours earlier. If couples value their relationship and the sexual side seems to be getting stale or neglected then the best way to deal with this is to start putting effort into improving it (which may include both watching a little porn together or burlesque shows etc). My partner and I have found that it works for us to have scheduled times for sex when we make the effort to dress for the occasion during the week and this works well, with more spontaneous times at the weekend. However if the sexual side of things is becoming stale and one partner decides that they don't value the relationship any more then they need to have the honesty to end the relationship.
If some decide that monogamy is not for them, that's fine, we are all different, the important thing is to be honest with any prospective partners right at the beginning.
Disconnect - Aaron - Sep 12th 2012
Yeah, it is pretty sad that all of my commentary is hypothetical. I'm sad about it quite often, in fact. I was sad at a friend's wedding two weeks ago, sitting at a table with the groom's mother's elderly women's group when while the couple was pledging eternal matrimony the kind old lady next to me was telling me that between the 8 of them they'd had 16 weddings. That the man across the table was fidgeting and removing his wedding ring on and off while his wife of 20 years looked despondent.
I'm sad that the women I've fallen in love with in my lifetime have never felt so strongly about me. That the girlfriends I have had, and was honest and faithful to, have only cheated on me or left me for more dominant and inconsiderate men who left them single mothers in the end. That the purity and faith I had in devoted love and a truly selfless emotional bond died out in me when the realities of flawed and idealized romance crept in and drove my hope from me.
You say marriage is a bond of closeness and intimacy. Maybe someone will surprise me someday. Perhaps I will find a woman who thinks I stand out from the crowd. Maybe I'll even win the lottery. So far my life experience has not been one of people who stood by my side, took care of me, or offered any comfort when I was down outside of my family. I've always been the caretaker, and I've always had to look out for myself when I had moments of weakness. I have friends, couples, who attend burlesque shows and erotic art festivals and have stories about wild and reckless childhoods who have better intimate relationships than I've ever had while I was trying to be noble or respectable or romantic or whatever excuse I had for lying to myself about what I needed in a relationship.
You say men spend hours fantasizing while you settle for less. Why are you settling for less to begin with? If you want to settle, fine, I think that's sad too. You deserve more, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If I don't find someone who likes the way I think, or communicate, or show affection, what is the point in establishing some false bond? If I get tired of my partner's physical body for brief periods of time, it speaks nothing of her character and it doesn't mean I don't find her attractive. I love gorgonzola more than most cheese but I wouldn't want to eat it for every meal and any time I take a break I know I'll come back around.
Anyway, I'd appreciate it if you didn't throw stones. Almost everything I've said in response to you wonderful women is encouraging about you and your situations. Telling me you think I'm sad, or a failure, or unfaithful, or socially deficient, or in some way oppressing your gender is actually rather hurtful and oppressive in itself and doesn't make me want to go out and try and meet people in the first place. If I have to be fake or lie about my tastes to maintain a long term relationship, what would I even want one for? You and I might make a terrible match, but by your logic there's someone special out there for me to fall hopelessly and exclusively in love with. I'm waiting patiently, and doing the best I can with the hand I was dealt.
I almost never pay for porn. Why bother? It's free if you know where to look. I have payed for some that you gals might find interesting, though. Women of various natural shapes, colors, sizes are shown from the shoulders up. They pleasure themselves in whatever way they find most comfortable, and you get to appreciate the very subtle expressions and sounds they make while they build to orgasm. Nothing degrading, no plastic people, probably female exhibitionists performing, they get a rush from being watched and there isn't even any nudity. Turns me on something fierce to see genuine pleasure and empowered women being sexually liberal.
You think all guys who watch porn or fantasize about more than one woman are some kind of lecherous creeps. Those guys absolutely exist, and maybe you've met them or had bad experiences with them or are still in a relationship with one. Don't put me in that group, please. You've never met me, and I'm actually on your side here. You deserve to have your fantasies met, too. If that means perfect exclusivity, it exists out there but it's got to be at least as rare as me trying to find a lovely lady who appreciates my perspective on this stuff.
re Aaron - Earthbound - Sep 12th 2012
"Would it be unfair of me to consider another relationship when I know that I would not be forever content viewing a single other body for 20, 30, 40 years?"
This does sound a bit like you would be tired of your wife's body. I find it sad that your statements are all hypothetical. Marriage is about a closeness and intimacy that cannot be truly judged until you have found that person. It's a bit strange that so many men will let their wives stand by their side, take care of them, and be there for them when they are sick or down, but we are never "enough". It's okay that men spend numerous hours indulging their fantasies while we're supposed to settle with just what they got. I refuse to accept that, and I believe that much of the inequality is due to a double-standard. Porn does not encourage women to be more sexual, it encourages women to bend over and take it from men. I think we have yet to find sexual freedom, and when women begin being just as honest about it, then I think men will be just as insecure on the subject as we can be.
Fidelity - Aaron - Sep 10th 2012
My first girlfriend was a firecracker. She would occasionally get one of her female friends involved in our fun. We explored a lot of kinky ideas and fantasies. We had a semi-long distance relationship, so I spent months at a time away from her. When she cheated on me, she was quite apologetic and I was reasonable and forgiving but upset. In hindsight, I was more hurt that she didn't talk to me about the parts of the relationship that were bothering her or that she was interested in other guys. If she had been open with me, I probably would have been fine with her experimentation, especially given the distance between us.
Here's how I would see it: If my wellbeing hinged on whether or not I thought you had fantasies about any of the other men in your life, I would be preserving my ego by kidding myself about the reality of the situation. If you were repressing those thoughts to protect me, I would be ashamed that you didn't think I was strong enough to handle it. I'd much rather you had elaborate fantasies regardless of the contents and then included me in some way. That would make me feel loved in a way that hiding that part of yourself from me never could.
I know, however, that not everyone feels the same way about love. Some people value the exclusivity, safety, and discipline. Porn is probably not a good idea for those people, as it will undoubtedly encourage exactly the fantasies that you want to suppress. For example, Norma. You sound like a wonderful and giving wife, anyone should be so lucky. You ought to have confidence in your beauty and appeal, try to remember all the times people have appreciated you for that. But you signed up for the deal knowing he liked all of that kinky stuff, and you even included other men and women at times, so why does it come as a surprise that he still enjoys it? I also have to wonder if you ever did. Were you just doing it all for him, or did you have a good time too?
I guess it's just more evidence that people in long term sexual relationships need to be compatable at that level. I can understand why some women consider porn adultery. It takes sexuality outside of the married relationship, which is a scary concept for some. But if you look at how prevalent adultery and pornography are across the planet, it might be smart to consider alternatives to repression. Usually telling yourself "bad thought" and pushing it down into feigned ignorance isn't the best way to navigate any delicate issue, although perhaps some people have been raised to a degree of mental discipline that I was never encouraged to have by my family or peers.
If you can really go decades without having fantasies about anyone but your one true love, kudos to you. You seem like a very thoughtful woman. You're right, though. We'd make a terrible couple. ;)
reply to Aaron - mary - Sep 8th 2012
Thanks for you reply, my husband is ok really, having been on the verge of divorce we now communicate and get on quite well.
Aaron, when your first girlfriend cheated on you I am unclear as to whether you were upset because she was unfaithful or upset because she went behind your back? Are you are ok with a future hypothetical wife actually commiting adultery so long as she is open about it and discusses it with you?
Some women regard our partner viewing internet porn as a kind of unfaithfulness, which is why we get so upset about it, but for some reason men seem to have great trouble understanding this. I actually happen to be one of these women, but what would really cause me to hesitate to enter a relationship with you is the following statement “I've never cheated, and I never will, but even if you put the most incomprehensibly stunning woman on the planet in front of me I'd still imagine her friend sooner or later”. I think most of us find others sexually attractive, but when we have made a decision to marry then it is good sense not to encourage these images which enter the mind. It is perfectly normal to have these images, but out of respect for my husband I can honestly say that I have never consciously imagined myself in a sexual situation with any of the very good looking men I have worked with throughout my married life. It is one thing for a thought to enter unbidden into your mind, quite another to allow yourself to encourage daydreams along these lines. If I ever did weaken and imagine sexual thoughts of his best friend then maybe it would be honest to tell my husband all about them, but I would consider to do so to be an act of cruelty as his wellbeing means more to me than a few minutes sexual arousal imaging his friend. I suppose a lot depends on your definition of faithfulness, you need to both agree on where to draw the line “if you approach infidelity as a continuum of betrayal rather than an either/or proposition, then the Internet era has ratcheted the experience of pornography much closer to adultery than I suspect most porn users would like to admit” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/10/is-pornography-adultery/306989/
Husbands desire to find other women attractive seeking the beauty I have no longer.. - norma - Sep 8th 2012
I am 51 and have more of a question than an observation..have read the doctors comments and ppl comments but can not find an answer,,I have engaged in every way possible from the start with my husband sexually..He has looked at pornography during his childhood. I perform every sexual act that he has wanted, his fantasies and my own....Rape, 3 ways with guys (he is not gay) women for his pleasure. I have cheated and he has been told this..Other men find me very skilled in oral and tight, teaching them many things..I am open and do not hold back showing pleasure, as I have the the willingness to be their whore...I have at times even been paid. I used to be considered beautiful by many men. Now and even when we were young I would catch him with the need to stare and look at other naked women..my breasts used to be small so I though this was the issue..I have never considered myself beautiful but everyman and woman I have ever known says it. This is not to be conceited in any way bc I have never thought so..I was an ugly duckling,molested and have had many of my own problems that give me insecurities. So my question is thus..why has he always had the need to have other womens bodies excite him? I felt so ugly the first time it drove me to commit adultry..and even though I have stopped he has not,,Why is this happening when I have given him every dream he has ever asked for and we both have been so intimate and turned on by each other for 34 years now,,why is there a need to see other naked women?
Understanding - Aaron - Sep 7th 2012
If the question is whether or not people 'need' porn, I'm in strict agreement. Nothing about it is mandatory for survival. I could drop it like a bad habit, if I thought it was a bad habit. I also don't need to eat the occasional pulled pork sandwich with swiss and aoili. There's nothing about it that's a superior nutritional option, and the meat may violate some ethical considerations depending on the treatment of the livestock. I happen to think it's a wonderful culinary delight, and I don't eat them often enough to negatively impact my health. I do feel guilty sometimes indulging in my food hobby, because there is no shortage of information trying to tell me I'm terrible for not being a vegan marathon runner. Almost as bad as women's body image media, although admittedly you gals take the cake. I thought this was "Men, Women, and Understanding Pornography" so I'm trying to offer an alternative perspective for the purpose of understanding, rather than answer some absolute question as to the legitimacy of it.
I do want to clarify something. I never said I would get bored of my hypothetical wife's body. I even re-read my posts to be certain. I said I would find things to appreciate about someone else, too. True, I am insecure about how attractive I am at times. Doesn't everyone suffer that on occasion? If my wife were expressing those concerns, I would want to do everything in my power to reassure her without being untrue to myself in the process. If she needed to hear that I never wanted to see another nude woman to feel comfortable with herself, I would feel like she was asking me to lie for the sake of her low self-esteem. Like asking how your dress looks, it's a lose/lose. I'm either only saying it because you asked, or giving you an answer you don't want to hear. The real answer to that question is simple, anyway: You are beautiful with or without the dress. (Heck, even better without. ;) Ultimately, self-esteem comes from within. Mine, too. I want someone who loves to be with me because of who I am completely, not because of how I present myself or the pleasures I suppress for her sake.
If some men prefer porn to their partner, that's indicative of a larger problem. If some men are not empathizing and considering the perspective of their partner, that's also an issue. If your sex life suffers because your husband is using porn 'instead' of spending time with you, his priorities are screwy and he may feel guilty about expressing his sexuality with you or he may just be a selfish jerk. Too much of any thing, especially an indulgent thing, is still too much.
In my case, six years alone is also absolutely an indicator that I have things to work out. I socialize a lot, in fact. I have a ton of male and female friends and meet new people through mutual acquaintances or dance classes. But I don't start relationships, because I'm not assertive, I'm scared of getting hurt again emotionally, and men have to instigate in our culture or we're invisible. That's a slightly different thing than having misdirected sexual interest. The crushes I've had have been based on caring friendships first. I have no doubt that I would be way more motivated if I wasn't using porn: I'd be motivated to get laid or be frustrated trying. Seems to me what you're all asking for is something more personal and mutually sensitive, which is more my style. The world already has too many guys who are just trying to get in your pants to feed a hunger, and I don't believe in the objectification of women. Your guy is watching the wrong 'kind' of porn to get good ideas, I'd be happy to recommend some that I bet you'd find more appealing.
I think 'true love' is about finding someone who shares similar needs, whether that is passion, security, variety, exclusivity, or some combination. Who can tolerate your wants, and understands them even if they can't all be met. Your husbands who have double standards and private lives are not meeting those relatively simple requirements. I can understand why you're upset, but work it out with them or find new ones. Porn itself is not exclusively to blame.
I've seen that psychologist's talk. I'm not a fan. Men are in decline no more than women are in some absurd position of superiority. We're closer to equality than we ever have been, which is a good thing and hopefully getting better for both genders on certain fronts. People define success in different ways, which is also a good thing. There are 7 billion of us, and if we all wanted to be wealthy doctors and lawyers we'd have a lot of failures. Academia and wealth are not the only measures of a quality human, most people contribute in a small way.
Love and marriage - Earthbound - Sep 7th 2012
True love (not the fairy tale kind) is about trust, security, and partnership. Each partner had the right to feel their partner can go out, and, yes, perhaps find other people attractive, but it ends there. Both partners have the right to feel secure that their partner desires them and there is little that can come between them. Both partners also have the right to feel another is helping them through life, children, and everyday things. Marriage is not always some romantic comedy or stupid television show. There are ups and downs. All too often, it seems that men prefer pornography over their partner, and that seems to be what sparks the anger. I am just amazed that so many men are callous about it. Aaron mentioned his own insecurities with his body, but then said he (if EVER married) would be bored with his wife's body, but she should feel secure with herself? This makes no sense. I think men have trouble realizing empathy. My husband was watching web cam sites, porn, etc. He said it would not bother him if I did the same. I set up a dating profile on a few, put up a few pics (nothing extreme), and let him believe that I would be pleasuring myself and seeing others pleasure themselves. He was furious, insecure, and nearly sick. But, it truly took me saying I was going to just do the SAME as he was for him to see my point of view. Since then, we have eliminated porn from our sex and have actually tried out much more sex. I completely disagree that men get "ideas" from porn. When he was looking at a lot of porn, he would generally want to roughly "give it to me" (SOOOO exciting.......snore). Now, we have actually been able to be more honest about what turns us on, and the sex has been HOTTER than ever. No, I don't expect him to NEVER find another woman attractive, but, just like you, I have a right to feel secure with my partner. I did not feel secure with my partner when our sex life was suffering (not my choice), because he was choosing instead to go online all the time. This seems to be happening more and more, and I have noticed quite a bit more the subject being discussed. Aaron, you really should watch this link. This psychologist discusses how boys and men are succeeding less and less in life. They are also developing a truly social awkwardness that is harming their ability to seek out the opposite sex. Six years is a long time to be alone, and perhaps (no offense meant here, your comments seem to be well thought out and not trying to offend) if you were trying to socialize a bit more instead of looking at the computer, you may feel more of a need to get out. In the past, the need for sexual expression drove people to pair up. Today, boys and men just stay in the house with their computer for company.
re Aaron - - Sep 6th 2012
I did not say it but I meant in my scenario that what benefits I would be receiving are the same benefits my man would be receiving as well; high self-esteem, knowing he is completely loved and supported; knowing that we can work together to achieve his dreams and to find ways for him to do the things he wants to do as well, travel, do hobbies with his friends. It is mutual respect of each other. Sexuality is the one thing that you and a spouse can share with just each other and no one else. Everything else is open for anyone, friends, family. But if you can keep one thing for each other, it reinforces a deeper support for each other. Just my opinion.
re Aaron - - Sep 6th 2012
No one is saying on this site that people can't be attracted to more than one person. The issue is whether people NEED to seek out materials containing images and videos of women (or men) to consume for sexuality. Just look around and you can be satisfied. Why do you have to obtain porn? I'm hearing the answer to that is just because you can and because you want to. It's not that it is a vital part of life, even though many or acting as though it is like a life source, but it's just that it's fun and available and feeds a craving. Of course you will look around and see attractive people, but do you HAVE to seek it out in a private forum for reasons other than just because it's fun when you know that the person who has been there for you through thick and thin feels bad about themselves because of it? You can feel that that is a more enjoyable life than one who doesn't do that. But let me share with you the beauty and ecstasy of my scenario. Just as you enjoy spending time and loving and craving your wife while spending time craving and imagining sex with other women. I, like I think most people, can do more for the world when I feel accepted and loved and so I want to spend my time on this earth being in a relationship where we TRULY have each other's backs at all time, are not distracted from each other's needs, wants or legacies, can have fun, our own friends and hobbies too!, and most importantly a mutual respect. I have seen in my life where men who view porn, and there are studies to support this, develop a lack of respect for women because of their portrayals as items to consume. I have too many places I want to visit, cultures to learn about, work to do and so forth to spend a portion of my time just consuming images of people. I want to turn to one person for the most intimate, crazy, kinky, whatever type of sex we both want because we're totally there for each other, and then fill my time with all the other things life is full of. If I have to do it without a relationship because I can't find someone on the same page, it's a loss for those who have rejected a love that is 100% loyal, sincere and completely dependable. And according to you, I guess I miss out on sexual variety, but for me, that's just not as interesting as the other things I get to experience in my scenario. It represents a fuller life and most importantly, I won't lose my self-esteem and in fact, my esteem will be graciously enhanced so that I can do even more for others. Which is another question. If you really really love someone, compromise, as you said is inevitable, and if something you do truly affects your lover's self-esteem and feelings of worth, isn't that worth compromising? Also, as you said, you would want your woman to do the same things you do, look at porn, chat with attractive men if they want to, but I wonder if you've ever really had a woman do that to you that you trusted and how you felt about it. If the woman you had your previous relationships really did look at porn and flirt with men would you really and truly be ok with that? Have you been in a relationship where that has been the case? And when she is disrespectful to you on issues outside of sexuality, does it make these those actions harder to handle? We all can hurt each other not maliciously. We say hurtful things or get irritated with each other and then you throw the act of porn and flirting in there, why wouldn't the person always turn to someone else then when things get a little difficult and then cause the two of you to slowly grow more and more distant?
Re: Mary, Anon - Aaron - Sep 6th 2012
Sounds to me like your husband is a selfish, sexist tool. Possibly also not very well endowed, the way you mention it. Find someone who can walk the talk and finds ways to help you feel beautiful and cared for. Or, alternatively, come to terms with the things about your husband you do admire (For example, he cares about his son's well being.) and tell him you deserve all of the same liberties he has in the sexual arena. If he doesn't like it, maybe he can find a country more suited to his male dominant double standards.
I do think, ultimately, that being true to yourself is the important part. Comprimise is also vital to long term relationships. Knowing where to draw the line can be tricky. I enjoy variety in my life in food, drink, entertainment, work and sex. Not everyone is the same way, and I'm sure there are men who would have fewer and more manageable impulses if that kind of sensuality is less important to you. I'm certain the women who need that sense of security to feel comfortable will find it. I personally find my fantasy world more interesting than your safe one.
I have my work cut out for me trying to find someone who trusts me when I tell them how much I care about them, but also understands that I will be attracted to more people than one in my lifetime for various reasons. I've never cheated, and I never will, but even if you put the most incomprehensibly stunning woman on the planet in front of me I'd still imagine her friend sooner or later. Probably sooner. Even if I never say a word and nothing ever comes of it, I promise that it will happen and there's nothing I can do about it. If I just told her what she wanted to hear to feel special, it would be a lie that would haunt us both after 10 years of marriage when she found me looking at porn privately which seems to happen all too often anyway.
Expectations? - Aaron - mary - Sep 6th 2012
Following on from my last post, as a little experiment, I asked my husband what he would say if our son asked his advice because his fiancee (not a citizen of this country) had told him that his body wasn't sufficient and she wanted to regularly look at lots of good looking well-endowed naked men as a supplement to married life?
My husband instantly and without thinking retorted that he should tell her to get back to her own country. So I conclude from this that he thinks it was ok for me to live with this behaviour but our son shouldn't have to - double standards or what!
re Aaron - - Sep 6th 2012
Many women, including myself, understand that we may very well be alone (not in a relationship) for the rest of our lives because of our belief on this issue. Maybe I will find a man who feels the same, but I know that I need to be happy in life alone for in case I don't. But I'd rather lose a great guy and be true to myself. And you must also do what you have to do. If you find someone on the same page with this as you, that's great. But given my experience, I know that I won't be happy feeling knowing my significant other views porn. Right or wrong, feelings are feelings and it just makes me feel unloved and unwanted and as though it's being done just for the sake of variety, and I don't want variety in my relationship. So if I can't have one, so be it. Just be honest and open and give her the choice to decide if she wants that in her life as she should be with you.
Shared Standards - Aaron - Sep 6th 2012
Mary, thanks for your thoughts. I agree that honesty and good communication is integral to a lasting relationship. Trust is basically the deciding factor, because if you no longer feel you can share your genuine affections and concerns you've lost all of the support a partner is intended to supply.
Having said that, I don't believe in double standards. Say I met a woman I fell in love with, who had a similar sense of humor, life goals, demeanor, spirituality, or some other truly bonding personality trait that made me comfortable sharing myself and my time with her without shame. If she told me she would never physically desire another man, I would think she was lying to me or to herself to preserve some expectation that my sense of self worth or masculinity couldn't handle the blow or that perhaps she was lost in the flutter of early romance.
Now, I am quite insecure from time to time. I'm decent looking, but there are a ton of cool, fun, attractive guys out there that I'll never hold a candle to on one or more points. If I marry this woman, someday she's going to be angry at me because she had a stressful week at work and I've been preoccupied and busy taking care of the kids. If she goes out for a drink with friends and ends up chatting with Mr. Charisma for a few hours, I want her to come home and get her groove on to some pictures online and there's no reason she should feel guilty about that.
Next week, she's calm, I'm calm, we go to bed and she tells me about this neat trick she found. Or a fantasy she had. Because I want my partner to be loved completely, even when times get tough. OnceI was cheated on and she never said a word about what I could have done to improve the situation for her, and she was mired in guilt and begged me to come back, but the trust was gone and I was deeply hurt. One crush told me flatly that I would never be as charismatic as her ex, and that she only got close to me out of pity. If I did not try to understand those perspectives, I would be doing those women who I cared for a great disservice, and I am a stronger person now for considering where I could improve myself.
I expect the same respect and admiration in return. I could give up porn and my appreciation for beauty around every corner, but I would be repressing a part of myself. I would much rather find a woman who enjoys my unique beauty, physical and otherwise, and can comfortably express her own sexuality without feeling like she has to coddle me. I want to share it all with her, and I hope very much that I will meet someone who is as willing to explore as I am.
Debates like this make me scared, sometimes, that my ideal is too far removed from reality. But, you know, for as many relationships as I've seen fail in my lifetime for reasons like porn, infidelity and emotional disconnects I think it might be worth trying harder to make it work.
Case in point, your husband looked at porn while you were dating but still enjoyed time with you. Now he looks at porn behind your back. When did the expectation change? It clearly didn't mean he was unattracted to you before, so now the only concern is his secrecy. Instead of getting angry, why not bring it into the light and use it as a segway to get back to the place of passion you were in before marriage? He probably feels obligated to hide it because he doesn't want to hurt your feelings, but doesn't realize he's making it worse. Coax him to comfort, not to shame. He enjoys it because all women are beautiful, not because you aren't, and he isn't going to enjoy a naked woman any less for as long as he's a straight male. His guilt is killing his sex drive, not his porn. His mistake is in not trusting in your strength to accept him.
My humble, male opinion.
Expectations? - Aaron - mary - Sep 5th 2012
You ask if you have been tainted by porn? If giving up porn would be very difficult for you then maybe you have become addicted. As Kim says, before the internet became widely available people managed ok without it.
In my opinion you need to be completely honest right from the beginning with any prospective partners about your need to view other women's bodies because I am sure there are some women who would be ok about it, I had no problem with my husband looking at his porn mags before we were married, it was the lack of trust and the fact he was deceiving me that was the main problem when I found out he was looking at porn again years later.
Just one question, would you mind if you met a women and fell in love with her and she said she loved you dearly but would you mind if she spent time looking at well-endowed naked men as your body wasn't enough for her, and she was quite sure she would be bored of it in 10 years time?
Expectations? - Aaron - Sep 5th 2012
So, I'd like to try and identify with the women expressing hurt in these posts. Love seems to manifest differently in people, and the crux of the issue seems to be a breach of trust and feelings of insecurity. Particularly for married women, there was an understanding of exclusivity that pornography calls into question. That isn't an easy feeling.
I'm a pretty sentimental guy. I get weepy at foreign romance films. I've never had a fling, but I have had two long term romances. I have so far been completely faithful. My first girlfriend cheated on me, though, begging forgiveness and professing love each time. I cared about her deeply as a person, so I felt stuck and my self esteem diminished. I really just wish she had discussed her needs with me more carefully, so that I could work with her. I understand how awful it can be to have someone sneaking around behind your back, but I no longer fault her the desires that inspired her to act.
Countless times I've grown to love someone, usually a dear friend, only to find that the feeling is not mutual. Sometimes in an embarrassing manner. They seem to choose more rugged or macho guys. Half of the time they end up being cheated on or disrespected in the meanwhile, but it doesn't seem to be a dealbreaker. It's gotten to the point where I often don't value myself as a candidate for relationships. I've been alone for 6 years now. In our culture, a man who isn't willing to be risky and slightly assertive in relationships will be overlooked as shy and awkward. Which, realistically, I am. It seems like everyone else my age is out having casual fun, and I wonder if I'm missing something. I'm always too worried about someone getting hurt.
I'm quite kinky, and have a high sex drive, but am overly reserved because of my upbringing and the remnants of gender stereotyping. I would love to share myself deeply with someone else, but I've got the wrong personality for it. Nobody I know is clearly interested in getting to know me at that level, or I miss all the subtle signs in some kind of anxious state of obliviousness, so I watch porn now more than ever. Everything from softcore and artistic amateur stuff, which does exist, to the occasional fake highly produced romp. If I stop for a while, I'm still good with imagination alone, but I've got this incredible appreciation for the female form. It would be a shame if I was at a loss by virtue of being served a series of painful rejections and a cautious heart.
Hypothetically, I'll find a woman who can tolerate my reticence and finds me charming enough to reassure me my insecurities. She could be the most beautiful woman on the planet with a golden personality, and I tell you right now that after some time I'd find things to admire in others as well. To me, it seems more respectful and genuine to prove my devotion to her by including her in my fantasies and encourage hers. However, denying my impulse to variety completely would be more likely to stifle my libido and make me uncomfortable sharing true passion with my partner.
Tell me, ladies. Do you feel that I have been somehow tainted by porn? Would it be unfair of me to consider another relationship when I know that I would not be forever content viewing a single other body for 20, 30, 40 years? Maybe I truly am a broken man, and I should be rid of the emotion love from my life to keep from unintentionally hurting someone else by my sexuality. For the sake of hope, I prefer to imagine a woman who will accept me for all of my desires and I will accept hers and love her all the more for it. If one of her desires is to be my only desire ever in life, however, I am afraid it is not something a mortal man like me can provide and I should die alone.
re John - nameless - - Sep 4th 2012
John, if you reread my comment on trashy novels, you will see that I never said that trashy novels were not as bad as porn. I even said that maybe they were. I was simply suggesting, for the sake of analyzing the topic, that I personally see a difference between written words and images. I feel that I can connect on a completely different level with images than I can with words. With words, I'm left to a pretty limited set of images that I can create with my mind. But when I see an image or a video, I instantly have an attached reaction that has an instant effect on me. The little bit of porn, and yes, I had the luxury of coming across all of the women masturbating for the viewer that my husband had been looking at, and I had an instant reaction. For just the little I saw, I could not get those images out of my head and they came to mind even when I was intimate with my husband, that I can only imagine what he was thinking when we were intimate given the hours and hundreds of links I saw in the history, which had gone on for years. And I know that he often was not thinking of me based on comments he made about how I looked, which I know now, were direct comparisons of what he was looking at. Forgive me for feeling bad about myself because I was actually compared to what he saw, but I'm human.
a thought - Kim - - Sep 4th 2012
We weren't born needing pornography to live. Pornographic material is not on Maslow's hierarchy of needs table. Sexuality is not a bad thing. Thoughts are not controlled. But what we choose to consume is in our control. It is our choice whether or not to seek out thing that have been created by humans, such as cigarettes, greasy foods and even pornography. This is where I see a problem with the issue that men HAVE to have it. That it is just an innate biological need. Perhaps men NEED to fantasize about women they see around them, but do we HAVE to CREATE and CONSUME visual creations that don't happen naturally, that need a camera crew and a "stage" to create, that someone has to actively search for to consume? If computers had never been created, pornographic materials wouldn't be so available and people would not feel such a NEED or entitlement to it. Before that, when there were no cameras to take pornographic photos, no one went rampantly violent because they weren't looking at pornographic materials...they didn't even know it was a possibility yet. So where does the logic come from that we HAVE to have porn to exist?
to John - mary - Sep 2nd 2012
My wife spends a lot more time and money reading trashy novels than I do viewing intgernet porn. Same for her cousin and my female business partner who just today gleefully announced she was going to catch up on reading her porn novels while on her upcoming vacation.
I guess it's acceptable for women to be consumed by reading porn to the point of totally ignoring their marital responsibilities, but men viewing porn is totally aberrent behavior. The double standard never ends.
John, you do not sound happy in your married life and it appears to me that your are taking out your unhappiness on others who post on this forum, which is a little unfair. I am sorry that your wife indulges herself with trashy porn novels to the exclusion of your sex life, do you think that you should seek counselling to either improve the situation or to seek help in ending your apparently unhappy marriage?
Get Real - John - Sep 1st 2012
@ --- June 7th, what a load of crap! Every guy I know would think it was cool if his wife masturbated to porn! In fact, if you actually knew anything about porn, that is one of the predominant porn themes...women masturbating to porn. If only REAL women were that in touch with their sexuality. You really need to refrain from addressing subjects which clearly you know absolutely nothing about.
How can you... - John - Sep 1st 2012
@ nameless, I don't see much hope for you to resolve your issues with your spouse since you are so, so blind to your own dogma.
You wrote that romance novels aren't as bad as pornography, then you admit you never read a romance novel. Then you say ...at least they require imagination... and ...at least two people are represented equally... but...you never read a romance novel. Well, at least I know you're not lying...and I know you don't know anything about so-called 'romance novels'. They are shockingly graphic. Lawrence Ferlingetti's novel was banned in the entire western hemisphere for decades. When it was legalized it became most popular with young collegiate women!
Allan can argue all the government sponsored reasearch 'studies' he wants, but the real issue is the struggle for control of sexual expression within marriage.
Pornography serves as an outlet for men who have become victims of societally-sanctioned de facto neutering. Some low-T men can suppress their sexuality for a period of time, but most normal men simply can not suppress their need for guilt-less sexual variety and expression forever. Try as it might, society's attempts to crush all men's sexual expression just isn't working save for a few eunuchs here and there.
How About a Little Intellectual Honesty - John - Sep 1st 2012
Alan & (others who will not leave at least their first name), I don't see how this can be an intellectually honest discussion when the premise is fixed...porn is bad, therefore men who view porn are bad. Alan, you are an educated man. Presumably you have heard of the Hierarchy of Needs.
There is an old saying, "There are only two kinds of people, masturbators and liars." Masturbation is perfectly normal. Little girls do it. Teenagers of both genders do it. Anyone denied sexual release does it a lot. It is part of life.
The human body is beautiful AND sexy. It is perfectly normal to gaze upon it. Michaelangelo's 'David' is beautiful as is Venus de Milo. Everybody take a deep breath, try to expand your world view enough to allow your husbands to be human, and get over yourselves. GROW UP.
Let's all be really, really honest...if you can take it. You can't really expect to deprive men of the basic stuff of life then not expect them to fill that void in some manner to preserve their sanity. Wives have a responsibility to meet their husbands needs without husbands feeling they are getting piti sex or being made to feel they are over-sexe3d pigs. If you don't have a healthy appetite for sex and/or you don't feel your husband is a sexy person whom you just can't wait to get it on with, then you have no business entering into a marriage where you expect him to meet your every little whim but do without his basic human needs. Grow up. Porn affords variety without having to be unfaithful.
Variety IS the spice of life.
Porn has been with man since before there was an alphabet, organized religion, or marriage. This may come as a surprise to you, but as much as your husband loves you, you still aren't the center of the known universe. If you can't accept that, then you really have perpetrated a kind of fraud on your husband. If you honestly exected him to deny his own existence from the moment he uttered the words
Gia, You're Too Clingy - John - Sep 1st 2012
So, we've heard you're point of view that your life is just dreamy with you beibg in his face every second of every day, but frankly I'm surprised that you guys are still married. Most men 99 out of 100) would feel suffocated if they had to live abd work in the same space with their wife virtually every waking second of every day. Everyone needs a little space and a little variety (except you apparently). While you may think your possessive, needy, clingy attachment to your husband is just oh so perfect, I seriously doubt the vast, vast majority of people, men and women, would think this is really such a healthy relationship.
Mostly happy, slightly concerned wife - Gia - Aug 22nd 2012
Hi Allan, others who've tried to shed some (reasonable, respectful) light on this issue. I've gone through all the comments and have tried to gain some understanding, and will describe my own situation. I'd love to hear candid opinions, for better or worse, from the happily married/committed men here.
My husband and I have been together for 12 years, married for 5, and very close. We both work from home, something that worried me when we first got together because I thought we'd burn out fast on each other, but I've been surprised at how happy we've been and how we still, all this time later, always seem to happily choose doing stuff together vs. apart, and still get authentically excited to spend time together, despite that we do so all day to some degree. We talk openly, we're consumate sharers of almost EVERYTHING (to a degree that probably disgusts our friends), we're relaxed and goofy and geeky together and in general have a great marriage, for which I feel very lucky. And I don't mind saying, he's pretty lucky too.
Related to that, we have a great sex life. In our 12 years together the longest we've gone without it has been a little more than a week. Typically we have sex 3-5 nights a week, sometimes we're still at it twice a day. We have variety, we've even watched porn together once in a while and enjoyed that. I even write some porn on the side because it's sexy and I enjoy that, but it's something we share.
So porn itself isn't the issue, I don't have huge moral objections to it unless I'm aware of nefarious circumstances it was done under, and I don't particularly feel unwanted or unattractive as a result of him watching it – though once in a while it's made me wonder what he seems to be missing in what feels to me like a rich, frequent, even occasionally wild sex life. But most of the discomfort that happens when I've walked in on him watching it, or otherwise found out (which I admit hasn't been often, once every 4-6 months we seem to go through it) is that it's a secret thing. He'll do it privately, try to hide it, and then his first knee-jerk (pun only a little intended) is to lie about it, profusely, before eventually confessing when he realizes he's not really getting anywhere.
I really don't get this, especially since we've talked about that every time this happens and he knows how much that bothers me, knows I don't get it and wish I did. He agreed way back to share that with me, tell me when he's feeling needy (because I'm almost always here working in the other room and happy to help with that), but still, once in a while I'll find him doing that anyway, and then we both end up ashamed and hurt and all that other crap I'm really not interested in having spoil an otherwise good marriage. Now it's become more about his willingless to do that despite knowing how I feel about it than it is about the act itself. I have no idea how to take that. He can't use being ashamed about having those urges or even porn as an excuse, as those things are welcome as a shared experience, and it's often been me initiating that, so it's not about him feeling weird bringing it up. We've always been cool with it together.
So what gives? I'm not concerned about him being an addict, it happens too rarely for that, but it does concern me that when he does need to do it, he seems to need to do it badly enough to jeopardize things and hurt feelings, then lie about it. If it helps, when it happens it seems to happen midday, and he'll sneak a peek while he's working, etc. He doesn't always jerk off; his office is fairly open and he rarely shuts the door, and I can see it from other rooms and at least once I saw him pull up a site, browse through, rub his crotch a little, close it and go back to what he was doing. Not a big deal, but this will even happen if we had great sex just a few hours earlier. I don't get it.
Insights? I don't want this to ruin our marriage, but knowing that he still needs to do this privately and sneak around and be dishonest about it does a pretty good number on it every few months.
John and Everyone - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Aug 21st 2012
As I see it, this a good place for everyone to discuss their view, experiences, and feelings about pornography. However, it is important that this be done in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Even if you feel angry express yourselves in ways that are not insulting. I hope all of you agree.
re John - - Aug 20th 2012
I feel humiliated and ridiculed when I read your comment. You have not hit any nerve at all. I have never read a romance novel in my entire life. And I never will. I have never utilized any pornographic materials and never will. I have no sexual addiction of any type, and this is not a "game on" issue. This is a forum for constructive discussion about relationships and self-worth. I am not playing a game at all here. I am feeling serious sadness, depression and worthlessness and I do not feel that I can not reply to your comment. No, I have not neglected my relationship, and if you reread my entry, I said that I don't agree with romance novels either, so you are obviously remarking in a way simply to attempt to rile, be combative and not to discuss. There are women here discussing very hurt feelings. There is no intentions in my views of pornography to control men at all. This is merely many women, including myself, expressing their feelings and if you can not attempt to empathize or see an alternative view, then we will not have a discussion. You can use words like controlling and manipulative and b**** but I have not engaged in that type of demeaning and sarcastic wording toward you. Again, please reread my entry. I was simply addressing what many women have discussed about feeling very hurt by pictures and videos of women masturbating for the viewer or doing other sexually explicit acts versus the written word for discussion and consideration. If you feel that literature is just as powerful of a tool, perhaps you're right, but I have never read a word of any of those types of books. I was suggesting that at least they are probably material that describe scenarios that require imagination and at least two people are represented in the description equally. Because I find this issue very emotional for me, I will not be replying to your entries which seem ridiculing and hurtful.
RE:STELLA - - Aug 18th 2012
hi STELLA ,
Sorry life is tough for you . Hope this helps , but what you will have to learn is , you don't let the same dog bite you twice , so just stop being a wife to this man .
These men are so selfish , so look after yourself and your litte girl . I don't get all this either , and can't understand .
They will never meet them , or have real sex with them , and they are just a figment of a man's imagination . These women are masters and schooled in seduction for profit and greed , but what the men who do this don't realise, they provide a lifestyle for these women . Let him continue to making a fool of himself till the money pot runs dry , thensee who he turns to for his bread and butter . Why don't these men realise how much precious time is wasted on these fake virtual women , whilst the real women in their life disappear in the background .
My marriage has also been destroyed by porn , trust went out the window , love - down the pan , and sex well
I need someone to remind me about that . If men are supposed to have bigger brains than women , why fill the void with that ?
@ re John - John - Aug 18th 2012
So...looks like I hit a nerve! Your remarks only serve to prove my point.
If reading pornographic material causes women to neglect their men, then it is just as damaging to relationships as men's viewing pornography.
Your argument that there is a "big difference" between the two is disproved on the face of it; just as your remarks serve to prove my assertion of women's double standard when it comes to consuming pornography. Ever heard the expression "hoisted on your own pitard"?
Finally, your ardent defense of women's reading of pornography further proves that you, as are many women, are addicted to reading porn. Your tone stenches of addictive behavior.
Game, set, match.
re Stella - - Aug 17th 2012
Stella, I'm so sorry to hear that. It is so miserable to go through and it's just so hard to understand how they are willing to insist on it despite the hurt and devastating effects it has on the relationship. I guess you've already discussed it with him? And he keeps insisting. It is so sad that this has become so important to men that they want it even if it means the end of their relationship. Please know that you're not alone in how you feel about it. I don't know what to tell you. My husband left me because I had problems with it and I'm so devastated that it was more important than all that I tried to give in the relationship. I am in so much pain over the rejection, but I guess now I know I don't have to feel like i'm just one of many women he will turn to for sexual gratification. I can try to feel important and worth something again. I wish I could offer you a "solution" but it seems that the only alternatives come down to staying and accepting it or telling him that it's a "deal breaker" and seeing whether he chooses to actively and openly show that he is taking steps to stop it.
porn freak - stellaa - Aug 16th 2012
Been doing this BS with him for 12 years and am so tired of it..Good for awhile then goes back to it.Last night wanted to really kill him.Have an 11 yr old daughter and she isnt stupid..he is never going to STOP..makes me sick ..At a loss as what too do.Any help would be appreciated.
re John - - Aug 13th 2012
There is a huge difference between a romance novel, where images are solely based on imagination and pornography. I'm not justifying erotic literature either, but you have to admit that there is a major difference. Images are so much more real than literature.
re Milly - - Aug 13th 2012
Milly, I can imagine that you would feel so hurt that the man who is supposed to be committed to you in marriage is posing as a single person on dating sites! You are completely justified in how you feel. This is not "normal" in North America. I believe that anyone who marries is under the assumption that they are no longer single. I suppose unless this has been discussed beforehand that you both want some arrangement such as an open marriage. But if this is not what you want, anyone in your situation would also feel hurt and unloved and that this is not what a husband would do in a marriage. Please be open with him about how you feel and unfortunately, as some on this site have expressed, if he continues to do such things that affect your self-esteem and your feelings of safety and loyalty, your ultimatum may have to be to leave. You do not have to be with someone who does those types of things or that makes you feel so badly.
What else he wants - Milly - Aug 13th 2012
What else can I do to make my husband stop his adicction to the porno web sites and Dating web sites. I am feeling betrayed, sad and lonely.
We had a happy relationship and we were sexually satisfied too, we still are, but is hard for me to feel loved and respected in regard of his fake single profile in different dating web sites.
I always have been lovely, comprehensive, supportive, sexy anf funny. I never say no, when he want to make love.
We have a baby and he is a great father and he says that he loves me and that I am sexy and if wouldn't be bc of the dating web sites that he keeps visiting I would believe him
I have beeen giving him everything from me. If it wouldn't be bc he is black and I am white, he could be my father, he is in his early 50's and I am in my early 30's. He looks 10 years younger dough. But I do too.
What Can I do. I already told him, but he says that here in North America the majority of men use porno, but for me that many do it does not mean that is normal or that it is right.
Intimacy - - Aug 13th 2012
I feel that the intimacy in the relationship is violated. It is hard to have a true sexual relationship with your man's attention turned elsewhere. Instead of learning what your wife needs and wants, men are imagining a complete different world where all these women are willing to do exactly what he wants in order to sleep with only him (or whoever else watches and buys the same movie or magazine). It seems to make sex with a real woman with real needs and desires pale in comparison to the fake women men envision in their heads. I understand that you may feel your privacy has been violated, but when you marry a person, you agree to share your entire self. The problem comes from the fact that men tend to take to pleasing themselves too often, which detracts from the sexual relationship that should be an important part of both of your lives as a married couple. I have heard time and time again that it is no big deal. However, this is an issue that creeps up time and time again. When I told my husband I was going to set up my own web cam site, watch people as he was, and spend time doing the same things, he was horrified and sick with worry. I don't understand why it takes turning the tables for men to understand why it is bothersome. And honestly, with it out of my relationship, I have found that it has opened the doors for us both to be more open. I personally feel that every relationship is different, but men fail to understand just how much the use of pornography takes away your sense of security in the relationship, you lose self-confidence in the way you approach your husband, and because to a point, you feel your trust has been broken, it really does make you question your entire relationship.
The Big Deal - - Aug 11th 2012
lIt is a tough situation for My wife and I. I was introduced to Playboy, and Hustler magazines at a young age. Alot of the comments are very true. I am shocked that this is an issue in so many peoples lives, its almost a relief for me... Im Not Alone. Pornography is a very quick visually stimulating way to reach climax in just minutes. It is done in privacy I believe, because the first time we did it was in privacy, You never wanted to get caught doing this, especially by mom. It is private and quick. It is a problem in my relationship, My wife does not understand and thinks I am everything but a child of God. I could understand if i was turned off trueo her and was not sexually attracted to her, but this is not the case. What has bothered me so much is that I feel my privacy has been violated. Am I wrong
Pontification - John - Aug 9th 2012
When are you going to write an article about women addicted to reading porn? This is extremely common and widely known but seldom addressed with the same level of 'research'.
My wife spends a lot more time and money reading trashy novels than I do viewing intgernet porn. Same for her cousin and my female business partner who just today gleefully announced she was going to catch up on reading her porn novels while on her upcoming vacation.
I guess it's acceptable for women to be consumed by reading porn to the point of totally ignoring their marital responsibilities, but men viewing porn is totally aberrent behavior. The double standard never ends.
What really pisses me off is when a man with a degree starts agreeing with women without exploring both sides of the issue with any degree of intellectual honesty, or worse, pays lip service to the man's view all the while implying men are somehow damaged and to be pitied. And this tripe passes for scholarship?!
The Truth about porn, addendum - John - Aug 9th 2012
I forgot to mention woman's ultimate control: her inalienble right to reject her husband/boyfriend/fiance just to watch him squirm. I've heard the thrill is almost as strong as an orgasm.
If a man doesn't want sex, there's something wrong with him.
If a woman doesn't want sex it's because there's something wrong with him.
The Truth about porn.... - John - Aug 9th 2012
The reality behind women's complaints about porn is that porn competes for women's monopolistic control over men's opportunities for sexual expression.
For men, porn means: no performance anxiety, no shame manipulation (control of sex using shame), and no incessant and demeaning coaching/critiquing.
For women porn threatens their control over their man's options for sexual expression. Women control the vote, control the money, and control the p*ssy. How and when men get to have sex is entirely within the purvey of women. Women get to make ALL the decisions when it comes to sex. Control equals power.
All other arguments posted herein are bogus. You all know this to be true. Porn has been with us since before writing. There are 'pornographic' drawings on cave walls.
If your guy isn't giving you the high hard one as often as you want, try not being such a demanding bi**h. It is what it is. Just because this doesn't fit within your misandric all-men-are-sorry-worthless-pieces-of-sh!t and I'm-a-beautiful-perfect-princess-and-center-of-the-known-universe view of the world doesn't mean it isn't true.
re - Carlos and Will - - Jul 18th 2012
Thank you both for sharing. I couldn't agree more!
I cannot accept cultural norms. - Will - Jul 17th 2012
You all should read the essay "The Centerfold Syndrome" by Gary Brooks.
It is disgusting what this culture does to men. From early on boys are socialized and scared away from behaviors that are considered feminine. To avoid being chastized, boys adopt macho behaviors that only gain superficial acceptance from men and other boys who are afraid of their own human emotions and needs.
Then porn enters the picture and reinforces the unhealthy habit of seperating sex and emotion. It trains the brain to respond sexually to voyerism, and objectification. It is all part of a system that trains men to see sex as a means to gain status in the eyes of other men. It is the very same system used to oppress women. Then these men get into relationships with misconceptions about pleasing a woman, and without knowing how to form a strong and important emotional bond through sex. The lack of tenderness, sensuality, and emotional connection leaves the woman feeling alienated, isolated, and resentful. He sees this and thinks it's because he didn't "perform" good enough. Thus creating a bad cycle.
And the whole time society tells women that they need to accept pornography, that it is harmless. And she is the one with the problem if she doesn't like it. It's like society makes women drink poison and tells them it's their problem for feeling sick. You may as well slap a woman in the face and call her weak for feeling the pain.
Porn is unhealthy and is just one of the symptoms of a cultural system that overexagerates and focuses way too much on the differences between men and women. It is an ethnocentric, sexist culture that is based on the belief that women are inferior. It is a culture that uses social constructs to ensure that the greedy and aggressive stay powerful and anyone who is peaceful gets trampled on.
And the labels "whore" and "madonna" are just another mechanism used to take power away from women. NEWSFLASH: Women like sex too and there is nothing wrong with that. If a man has trouble having fun, kinky sex with his wife because it tarnishes her motherly aspects in his eyes, that problem is not hers, it is HIS for thinking sex is a dirty thing. That is another example of how hegemonic masculinity ruins the minds of men.
Porn is wrong period - Carlos - Jul 15th 2012
Did not read most of the comments. Some times we men need to hear it, porn is wrong!!!! Why? Because sometimes it is hurting us so much that we need to quit it absolutly. Takes so much to quit it absolutly that you "I" had to recured to God's help. Relapsing over and over and over... You get the idea of what it takes to 'recover'. To much shame to attend sex anonymous so roll your sleeves and get on your knees and start praying all you got. This surely helps. Man, come on, we all know how bad all this is, worst than drugs I beleived. Worst than anything. Good luck. Girls, it's not you at all, at all but it is wrong for us and it help knowing in anyway that we provoke discomfort. So much saying mostly comming from a mexican with a poor american second lenguage. How do you think I end up in here??? I start fooling my self searching for 'who sees more pornography men or women' just fooling my self to end up seeing some porn..... Did not do it and end up finding some readings about a doctor with total knowledge but missing spiritual perspective. In fact, I was seeing a catholic channel (ewtn) and they were talking about some of these over the internet. So I research myself but cant fool myself knowing all end up seeing porno getting arose trying to control and irf lucky not ejaculate pufff. Crazyyyyyyy. Not these time thank God again. I been in safe heaven for quite some time feeling much much better. It is hard to understand that God does not want you (me) to do that but it has been the only help working. Even science tells you that it is ok, it will be just a justification to keep on going. Endless topic. Good luck. feel free reply or else. Carlos email@example.com
how i understood my man and his porn - woman - Jun 14th 2012
I would like to add that most women have absolutely no idea that men have such urges to the point that they have to relieve it one way or an other and i believe thats what lead them to watch porn etc... until we happen to discover it the harsh way (that's why some women actually sussed that one out, understand the importance of sex in men's life and make the effort to have regular happy sex with their men). I believe that men get secretive because they are ashamed of not being able to resist the urge and that it will also hurt us (that's what my man told me). That's where the problem comes from, men being unable to make us understand in a sensitive way that it is a struggle to keep their embarrassing bulge at bay (it make them look weak so they struggle to discuss this unless their relationship is at risk). I think once we discover our men have to and that we get over the shock of it then its time to honestly discuss intimacy and what is acceptable or not concerning porn, so we do not feel offensed. It's difficult for us because we had to live with a man to understand such needs. I think it would be much easier if the subject was out in the open so women can be sex aware before they start a relationship,boundaries can be discussed and sex does not have to be such a taboo subject (and will stop men and women from divorcing), if a man is actively looking elsewhere, then there is a problem at home. And yes, the eternal question, why men don't talk?so men out there do explain your needs in a sincere way like we are trying to make you understand ours!to us women there is more shame in men being secretive because it makes us insecure and hurt, than actually for you to show your vulnerable side so you help us to understand, and love you more for it. To us,that's what being a loving man is!
re when enough is enough - woman - Jun 14th 2012
To answer about what to do about your man sifting through pictures and profiles of other girl you have to clearly make him understand that it is hurting your feelings so badly that you can not live like this. This is what I would do : make him understand that absolutely no women will accept it and that if he carries on he will end up ALONE in his cave to be able to do these activities.Do be patient, give him some time and go on and do what pleases you most, night out with girls etc...and/or if you feel it justified log on to playgirl .com and let him catch you looking at male pictures and specially their manhood and discuss the size, tell him that this is a great way if he wants to lose you because you can get better elsewhere and that if he does not stop you are not going to either. I know it's somewhat childish but then they might understand the hurt part of it, what you actually MEAN by feeling hurt, then it becomes a choice, living together happily or not.
how i understood my man and his porn - woman - Jun 14th 2012
I think that men have always been looking at porn and that before the internet it was porn magazines hidden under the mattress instead, if i go back further it could be erotic pictures or paintings or books (with sexual images) even erotic architectural pieces on the ceilings of some buildings (I would be surprise if it was a woman who did them!). I believe that nowadays internet poses a greater dilemna to women in the sens that there is more variety, possibilities, men can actually book an appointment online with prostitutes, if not, engage in special red curtains show and chat rooms too with women. So us women, after dealing with the shock of it, have to adapt because i don't think we can change that unless no computer is allowed in the household. However, what we can do i think is to strongly say to men what is acceptable or not, basically
re- - - Jun 8th 2012
but again, it has nothing to do with having random fantasy or natural sexual urges, it is about whether or not seeking out pornography is a biological need. people can be sexual without pornography. Use your imagination. use your spouse. Porn is not on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is not in the chemical table of elements. It's something created by people that if never thought of, wouldn't even exist. And women are just as visual as men. Studies have shown that women respond similarly, if not more rapidly, to sexual images. I am completely visual. I am a visual learner too. And I have an instant reaction to sexual images. It's not about denying or stifling sexuality, it's about playing it out in terms of intimacy when you are in a committed relationship. Without porn, you still orgasmed. So no one is denying anyone an orgasm. But thoughts are much more different than putting a person in front of you.
when is enough enough - - Jun 8th 2012
ok I have been with my boyfriend for almost six years and boy have we been through the ring a few times. He was constantly watching and downloading porn, then lying to me about it. This went on for almost four years, god only knows why I just didn't leave at the beginning, I suppose I didn't really realise the full extent of how it was going to effect me. The last time I caught him was a year and a half ago at christmas when I went to visit my parents, he had a great time for himself when I was gone, but forgot to delete the history, so I knew he was doing it again and that he had lied to me. I gave him an ultimatum which was he can't have it both well with me anyway, so he had to make a choice, so we worked through a lot of stuff and I was beginning to trust him again, but now another issue has come up, and I find it just as offensive after everything we have been through.
He has been going into girls facebook profiles and looking through all of their photos, I don't know how long this has been going on but its girls he finds attractive obviously, and its girls he doesn't know so there is no reason for him doing this. I have said this to him but its the same story as usual, he asked me was I living in a bubble or did I never see any guys that I am attracted to. Of course I do but I don't troll the internet actively seeking them out, maybe if i was out or walking down the street I may see someone but thats not the same as spending time sifting thought lots of photos of girls.
I can't deal with this anymore so I have decided to leave this time for good. He doesn't know it yet but for me there is no going back, I just want to know from any of you, would you be upset about this or am I over reacting. I know I wouldnt be as upset about it if it were not for the porn or the lies. He has taken me for granted again and its not on anymore.
how i understood my man and his porn - - Jun 7th 2012
yes, as a woman, I can masturbate without porn, women are connected to their feelings, men less so, but strongly wired visually. what I actually noticed when i masturbate and watch porn at the same time is that i anticipate more and climax very quickly (which annoys me sometimes), when i don't watch porn i can pleasure myself for longer and still climax because it happpens in my head. So yes, porn does change the experience. For men that are more visually wired, i believe that watching porn is actually an aid to get them rid of their load quicker, job done, they can do something else, it's not in the way anymore, they feel relieved. my man told me that they have a have a hard on every day, like for us ladies once a month when we are ready to conceived baby therefore feel more sexual at those times. If i consider mens nature to saw their seeds and women to procreate, i do not feel its possible for men not to watch porn. I also learnt the hard way that if men don't get regular sex with their women in a long term relationships that's where it goes wrong. they feel lonely and unloved because they don't get sex and that's when they are more likey to go down the slippery slope of watching too much porn and also run the risk to connect/engage with those women, out of loneliness (I mean by that communicating and connecting with them). I might also say that with internet and its endless infinity of possibilities, men do slip up. I believe that its when they sexually lose interest with their women/relationships, if they connect/communicate elsewhere. So yes, relationships are about choice and if the boundaries of what is acceptable or not to a woman should be made clear right from the start.However and often, women learn too late that every man watch porn to get rid of their embarrassing load, women are shocked and feels upset, men are ashamed for hurting us and we have to work hard to understand and set boundaries about what is acceptable or not to them. As for me, porn is ok, connection/communication with them is not (or I will do the same and he will lose me to it, like I will lose him if he does engage, so yes it will hurt both). When my man discovered I was using sex toys he was gutted and said that it kills lovemaking (what it actually means is that women feels less sexually disposed so men get less sex). I believe that connection to one another is the key, spending quality time together, remembering time shared together or event years ago help them to stay connected to us. They also like when we feel confident and happily get on with our own things, they do love us, they can't help their urge like we can't help to want to feel connected to them to feel loved (men feels loved when they have sex primarily, make the first move ladies, they love being desired, that's when they feel strong emotions and are wired to you the most).So women relax, you are loved, enjoy sex and your bodies, connect to your man as and when you want to by telling him how you feel, because he chose to be with you so he's not lonely in his cave.
re- - - Jun 7th 2012
but I get the main point is, is that it's really interesting that some men do get hurt or upset when the tables are turned. I think that speaks volumes that men get upset when women look at porn or fantasize about other men. What does that say about basic feelings and needs and why are they ignored when women express them? It certainly makes this issue even more complicated then. So men can dish it but can't take it?...and why?....because it hurts, doesn't it?
re- - - Jun 7th 2012
can't you masturbate without porn? porn is what seems to change things. it creates expectations and changes attitudes. if your husband was gutted about it, that's great. but doesn't that tell us all that deep down, all of us, even men, do have some hurt from this. there have been several who have said that they looked at it and their husbands were upset, so doesn't that tell us that there really is an inherent, similar reaction in all of us to this, and yet women are being forced to just accept it. we all want to orgasm and you can do whatever you want when you're single, but if you talk about it before you marry and express that you don't want porn in the marriage, then that should be honored and respected. couples should make sure they discuss it before they marry. if they're not on the same page with it, it should come out before they commit to each other.
how I understood my man and his porn - - Jun 7th 2012
At first i was angry when my man was watching porn, could not understand, then out of anger i actually bought myself some vibrating sex toys and allowed myself to watch porn. if he can watch porn and masturbate, why couldn't I? I also understood that men are wired to saw theit seeds and women to procreate (not well taught at school about relationshio though!). they have urges and can't help it!they need relief. As I was exploring myself with my sex toys, after a good few goes i must admit, I actually got it, i climaxed!its a whole different dimension, and me too, because i love my man, i do it for relief and pure pleasure, selfishly perhaps like they do, but it helped me to understand what they mean. They use porn as an aid, because they can't ask us to engage in sexual behaviour how and when they want to, they love and respect us but have to deal with their urges, they can't help it poor things, like we can't help feeling connected to the one we love, so we can feel loved!i understood about pleasure, so we have to stop feeling guilty about our own body, explore, climax a good few times like they do and u will understand. If i want cuddles, kisses, hugs, feeling connected (which is all the time) then we try and spend quality time together, have sex, feel good, simple...when my man discovered i was using vibrating sex toys he was gutted, but he understood!
re- a man - - Jun 7th 2012
My husband can have a meal, watch movies, play a game....he can do absolutely anything he wants with me OR with others, but sex is the one thing that is the most intimate thing between two people. This isn't based on some religious belief or anything like that. It is based on what I believe I want as a relationship. It's what proves to me that he can care for everyone in the same way, but when it comes to me, it is the one special thing we have between each other that no one else shares with him. Because it is the only thing I have then to feel special and unique to him. Sure, he comes to me with problems or concerns, but he does that with friends too. This is a personal, intimate experience that only the two of us share. And whether you or anyone else agrees or not. And whether he can separate sex with me and virtual sex with anyone or not. I feel that viewing porn is like him being with another woman. Because to me, orgasm is an ultimate expression of love. If he has random thoughts, as anyone does, so be it. But to seek out porn and naked women, hurts me deeply. And I am not going to be afraid to expect that anymore just because society says I'm insecure if I don't. It's what I expect for myself and my spouse. And if I can't find a man who does not view porn, which I hear you...you're saying I probably won't. Then yes, I will be single the rest of my life and I will accept that. Life is hard and marriage is hard and the only way that I think that I can trust that my spouse will be there through all the good and the bad with me, is to know that we share this one and only bond with just each other. It is special. And that's not fairy tales speaking either. It's one person wanting to bond as intimately as possible with another person. In our society, we give all of ourselves away to everyone these days. Nothing is "sacred". I don't mind if everything is given away, except for intimacy. It is the one thing we have to give to another to help us feel safe, bonded to each other, happy and to feel deep love. You may disagree, and I may be forever single, but I know how I've been treated when I've had "distracted" partners and they had no true interest in me or what I really need because they always had their eyes off the real prize. Their loss. Because I did everything I could to be the best partner I could be.
Re: A Man - A Man - Jun 6th 2012
No, no, it is not my intention to blame women for their insecurities. I've already conceded in an earlier post below that if some dude was not showing enough affection to his wife, emotionally and sexually, but had the nerve to be masturbating regularly instead, that would be wrong of him and I totally see how his wife, or any human being, man or woman, would develop feelings of insecurity. I'm just curious though how many women here have husbands who initiate sex the great majority of the time, provide enough sex, masturbate from time to time, and you're still unhappy with him masturbating? My guess would be that here aren't too many of you in that situation and that's why you have such a problem with it, understandably.
re - A Man - - Jun 5th 2012
I didn't marry my husband (now ex) thinking I'd be his favorite meal of the moment. I married someone who I wanted to be a full partner with in life...that I valued and supported his goals and life purpose and he valued and supported mine and that we both would not in any way want to jeopardize the other person's feeling of self-worth. I wanted to be his "favorite meal" all the time, as he was mine. Because sex, although some can say that sex is not always about intimacy, is intimate in the marriage partnership and if men want to be achieving orgasm with all sorts of women, then they're actions do, although you may not feel that way because you said that you feel 100% that men can desire their wives and other women, but their actions do start to undermine the relationship. I have many examples from my relationship. Instead of talking to me about things he was upset about, he masturbated to relieve stress and feel better...that was a lost opportunity for greater intimacy and support. When he was looking at women with features I don't have, how can I not feel less about myself? You honestly can't see how a woman might develop insecurities if they see their husbands looking and wanting to masturbate to pictures of women who are stereotypically "ideal"...larger breasts than any of us might have and so forth. You honestly can't see how or why we might feel a little inadequate or bad about ourselves? If you want to just blame us for being insecure, then so be it. Did you not see entries below where a woman gave her husband a photo of herself and he photoshopped her abdomen? The examples go on and on. You may say that you haven't done anything like that, but even subtle things happen that you may not be aware of that can affect a person's confidence, and it seems unfair to come back and blame women for not being on board with this.
Dr. Schwartz - - Jun 5th 2012
Dr. Schwartz, can you please comment on PTSD in women after finding porn? And what type of process it takes to get over that? I am seeing a counselor and I am understanding now that I have had PTSD symptoms that I am working through...feeling like I was not in a safe and loving home where someone "had my back", nightmares, anxiety when around attractive women or women who I know my ex would be infatuated with and other things. At the time, I didn't know these things were PTSD symptoms, but I know that I was trying to describe to my ex these feelings, but he just thought I was overreacting, but these symptoms are more real than he wanted to believe. I think other women on this site have described similar feelings. Can you please comment on this...maybe an article would be helpful too to help men understand how complex the issue of porn use really can be. Maybe just like when men start to show signs of addiction, you know porn use has become a problem. Well, maybe if they are not addicted, but their wives show signs of PTSD it is an equally serious problem. Women need help and I feel like it is getting ignored for the sake of men just satisfying a "socialized need".
re - A Man - - Jun 5th 2012
But to seek out naked women of all kinds to imagine as closely as possible the act of sex, who is there to get as intimate as possible without actual touch, is one thing and to randomly see someone in public who is clothed and who you have not examined every orifice of their body in a calculated desire to have sex with them, but to have a thought about later is a completely different thing. You have to admit that there is a difference between a calculated virtual encounter with the goal being to achieve orgasm in the desire to want to have sex with that person and to simply have thoughts based on imagination. That difference makes a huge leap in the brain and in triggering desires.
Re: a thought - A Man - Jun 5th 2012
What does it mean that a man wishes he could have sex with other women though? Sure, lots of men kind-of wish that, but not to the extent that they'd actually try to make it happen in real life. Also, I'm 100% certain it's possible for a person, man or woman, to want to have sex with other people while simultaneously desiring his/her spouse still. Just as its possible to have a favorite food but still enjoy other things sometimes. Let's just judge each other based on our actual actions rather than what we assume is in someone's thoughts.
My my opinion.. - - Jun 4th 2012
I think it would be worse to have my husband fantasize about someone who he saw in real life then to watch porn. Like previous comments from men below guys are not as emotional about sex as women are. When a guy is looking at porn they are more interested in the physical act whereas the woman is more interested in the connection/emotions that are associated. I feel safe and loved and I am not deprived in the bedroom. I honestly believe that most guys look or have looked at porn and finding someone that honestly doesn’t would be like finding a needle in the haystack. Honestly a guy is more excited that you are naked to notice a few extra lbs. My husband is a plastic surgeon and he performs several breast augmentation surgeries so he looks at boobs at work and occasionally looks at porn at home so does that mean he is some sort of perv? Anything can be addictive and just because I like to drink wine doesn’t mean that I am going to become an alcoholic and just because my husband looks at porn doesn’t mean he is going to cheat or become a porn addict.
Porn is so accessible so if a guy/husband wants to look at it he can use his phone, internet, and whatever else to see it. How do women know if their main isn’t looking at porn on the internet unless they are snooping for it? If you are looking in his phone, checking his computer, and looking in emails then I think you may have deeper issues then just porn. My husband is a great guy, great father, and provider and I would find it insulting to say because he looks at porn that he is “bad man”. Maybe I have this lax opinion because I have seen Playboys when I was younger and it wasn’t portrayed in a negative manner. My grandmother used to buy my grandfather a subscription of Playboy and they were married over 60 years and he was a great family man. I would prefer that my husband skip the porn sites and go straight to the ESPN sites but I would naïve to think that he never will look again.
thought - - Jun 4th 2012
It's one thing to have fantasies about people who you see in public and don't know and have never seen naked and it's another thing to seek out a person who is naked and fully engaged in acting out an explicit sexual encounter with the viewer and them doing what they would do if they were right there next to you. When you seek out someone else, you must like what you see and you must want that and wish that you were having sex with them. I don't want to be with someone who wishes they could have sex with a bunch of other women. It's disrespectful and does not make me feel close. When I am having a bad day or when I might have gained a few pounds or when there are daily stresses impacting our relationship, it is going to get easier and easier for a man to keep turning to the women and girls he sees in porn and think they are much better than me because they never ask for anything or are the one who he has to face life's sometimes not fun or difficult responsibilities with. Pretty soon, as addictive as porn is, it could start replacing interactions with your spouse because it's always easy to get. And if you're ok with forcing this issue while she expresses deep emotional feelings and concerns about this, then I have to wonder where the compassion and love is for the one person who joined you as a partner to help each other feel safe and loved. Just because there have been concubines, strip clubs and whatever else, doesn't mean that it's a basic "need" that survival is dependent upon. I think if any human being was in a fight for survival, only water and food and maybe shelter would be all a person would need to stay alive.
May not be Bad- - - Jun 3rd 2012
I am a married woman chiming in on this issue. I am speaking from my own personal experience in saying PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY. If you punish him for watching or looking at porn he is not going to want to be open with you. Communication is huge and if he feels like he is going to get yelled at he isn’t going to want to be open because he knows it is going to start an argument so he is going to tell you what you want to hear. Guys like looking at boobs there is no way around it if he isn’t seeing them online he is checking them out in public. Just because a guy looks at porn does not mean he is going to cheat, however if it starts to consume his world then yes a bigger issue may be transpiring and of course needs to be addressed. Yes it sucks if you are 30 and he is watching A-Cup 18 year olds (trust me I am in that boat) instead of getting pissed play out the same scenario with him. There are times where it gets on my nerves so I take time to do things for myself to make “me” feel good about myself. Take some pole dancing classes, do a Boudoir photo-shoot, or better yet let him walk in on you watching porn.