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I Beg You To Give Me Your Suggestions - Saman - Aug 4th 2008

Question:

Hello

My name is Saman and 25 years old. I got married about 4 years ago but about 2 years ago I came to know that my husband is a pornography addicted. He often gets up in the middle of the night to watch porn movies. This has totally disturbed me. Whenever I catch him watching movies I lose my self esteem. Moreover he has friendly relationship with family girls so that sometimes I think they feel uncomfortable (I’m not sure if it is just a suspicion or reality).

But I’ve not been able to convince myself for separation and divorce because I love him and he is kind to me. However I don’t know if I live with him, does he quit his pornography addiction or not moreover in such a situation I don’t dare to have children with him. Please give me your suggestions.

Thank you

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Answer:

First, let me assure you that there is not need for you to "beg for our advice." That is what we are here for, at least, on the "Ask Dr. Schwartz," or on the "Ask Anne or Ask Dr. Dombeck" parts of the site. You can also do this in our Online Community. In fact, I want to encourage you to join our online community so that you can discuss this problem with others in similar situations and get their advice.

The issue of pornography seems to plague many marriages and complicate marital relationships. I do not mean that this is true of all marriages. There are those husbands and wives who do not watch any pornography and have happy and fulfilling sexual lives. Then, there are those marriages where husbands and wives watch pornography willingly and happily together. There are even those women who do not care whether their husbands watch pornography so long as they provide love, attention and affection.

Please be assured that you are not alone in complaining about your husband’s viewing pornograpy and in your finding it offensive.

The question that so very many wives ask, is, "what can I do about this?" Let me try some suggestions but please understand that, in my giving these suggestions I am NOT implying that you have failed to do these things already. In other words, you may have tried these things and they did not work.

Suggestions:

1. Getting angry and quarelling does not work. Instead, try talking to your husband about how hurt you are made to feel when he watches pornograpy. For example, let him know that you are left feeling as though you are not sexy enough for him, or that you feel jealous because you feel as though he wants to see other women.

one woman told her husband, when they were in marriage therapy with me, that "she could not understand why looking at her vagina was not enough for him and why did he have to look at other women’s vaginas on the Internet?

2. Closely related to suggestion #1 is that you feel terrible when he watches pornography.

3. Many couples fail to discuss their sexual relationsip with one another. Despite the fact that they have sex with each other there is a failure to communicate. Communication is important so that you can tell one another the types of positions, stokes and comments you enjoy and do not enjoy during foreplay and intercourse. Through talking you can come to more fully understand what each other finds pleasant as well as what you do not like.

4. Part of communicating is discussing frequency of sex. Believe it or not, it is not only husbands who complain about "lack of frequent sex." If two people are poorly matched in terms of sexual drive and desire it can become unpleasant for both. If she wants more and he says "I have a headache," that frustrates her just as the opposite.

5. See if there are compromises about how to satisfy one another. Ask him what he would like you to do sexually in order to make it more exciting for him. Of course, you must be honest with yourself and him about whether or not you want to do certain things. For instance, I had one couple where the woman wanted anal sex but he did not. It was not for him. I mention it because it works both ways and not like the stereotype of the man wanting and the woman refusing. As long as two people are in full agreement there should be not problems about how to have sex for consenting married adult people.

6. Not everything is sexual. Many times people are unhappy in their marriages not because of sexual issues but because of such problems as: cleaning the house, expenditures and money matters, handling the chilren, dividing chores, entertaining friends and even drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. Often times, these problems are expressed in the area of sexual relations because one or the other or each are too aggravated to have sex.

7. Marriage therapy with a skilled psychologist or licensed clinical social worker can help resolve these issues.

8. Finally, if all else has failed then divorce might be the correct strategy for each of you, especially if you are young and no children are involved.

Best of Luck

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