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Sex Addict That Only Acts Out With Fantasy?

Question:

Hi Dr. Schwartz,

My boyfriend of 1 year, he’s 36, I’m 33, considers porn a hobby. He is open with this, and it didn’t concern me until he lost his job and was not being productive in finding a new job or helping around the house while I was working to support us. After about a month at home, he admitted to having a porn binging problem. You should know that he battles with insomnia, moodiness and depression ever since he was a child. He witnessed his father abuse his mother up until he was 5 when his father left. His father has spread his seed to 5 women, so he was a womanizer. Anyway, the binging continued whenever I left the house, or while I was sleeping. I woke up to him masturbating to porn and he claimed insomnia and he thought it would help him sleep. I checked his laptop once and there was no “strange” porn — some pretty girls and feet.

Now, he has this great job but I notice that he takes 1 hour bathroom trips with his laptop while I’m home of course. I never know if he is simply going to the bathroom and reading NY Times, or porning. Our sex life finally improved after he got his job. I think it was an ego thing and his main sexual outlet was the porn. However, he admits that he lusts for other women but it’s never a temptation because he can play out vivid fantasies with porn. He said that without porn, he would not be able to be faithful to me.

My question is, should I be concerned? I don’t think he will cheat but the fact that he goes to porn while I’m home and willing is strange to me. He doesn’t understand why I find a problem with him “finding pleasuring in himself.” It’s scary to me that he NEEDS porn to be faithful. Do you think this is just high sex drive or an addiction?

Any help would be appreciated!

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Answer:

I expect a young people in their thirties to lust after their partner and other people. That is normal. Couples satisfy that yearning by sharing a lusty sex life with one another. He is not sharing his lusty sex life with you except sometimes.

For example, he says that he can play out his vivid fantasies with pornography. Why not with you? In fact, his pornographic life appears to be lonely and self isolating. Why he wants this is not clear especially in light of the fact that you are a willing partner. When you are home he takes his laptop into the bathroom and takes a full hour before he comes out. It’s a pretty good guess that he’s masturbating. Yet, there you are, at home and willing. It must be frustrating for you because you are left out of sex with him.

I cannot predict whether or not he will be faithful. I do wonder why you would stay around with someone who has sex in isolation. How long can you be faithful to him. It’s kind of like he is being unfaithful but with flat photos or videos on a computer. How long can you, a young woman with sexual needs of your own, tolerate this? It’s not whether he can be faithful to you but whether you want this relationship or not?

To conclude, it is normal and natural for men and women to have a high sex drive. That is why they turn to one another. In the privacy of their intimacy, couples share their fantasies with one another and even safely act some of them out.

Good luck

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