The Truth about Porn and Relationships

Dr. Bill Cloke on how to recognize and treat porn addiction before it destroys your relationship.

Janet and Ben came in for couple’s therapy because she had caught him watching internet porn. He was looking at “Cheerleaders Gone Wild”: videos featuring girls who are barely 18 years old. To her it was a betrayal and tantamount to watching child porn. Ben for his part was unrepentant, describing it as his curiosity and nothing more. He claimed he was only doing it because she was withholding sex from him. Her trust was shattered and he was angry.

After the births of their three children, Janet was understandably exhausted. They had argued about the children and along with Ben’s career stress they had become estranged. But instead of talking about it they both went into their own worlds. Ben became career driven and withdrew into the privacy of his porn while Janet became Super Mom. Herein lies one of the thorny issues about porn: easy accessibility.

Online sex stimulates the production of dopamine, which interestingly enough is the addiction maker in the brain, but also is what makes men monogamous. So the very thing that creates a homebody can intensify the need for excitement through porn.

At this point I set about researching the consequences of porn addiction on marriage and families. It was an interesting ride and was much more serious than I initially realized. The internal effects seem to be very powerful and the parts of the male brain that porn gains access to are unconscious and rather insidious. Let me say as well that with porn—like any other addictive substance—the difficulty lies in how much one uses it and the extent that it shuts down sexual activity with one’s mate. Couples who participate in porn together can experience some excitement but it is rarely interesting for women. For those who participate in secret and to the degree that it constitutes an addiction, porn use is the primary issue in their relationships. The manner and intensity of one’s involvement in porn is relative to the degree of damage it can possibly cause in the sex life in a marriage.

Some of the conclusions I came to were these: The internet provides not only photos and videos but online relationships that involve specific sexual proclivities. Porn is a highly elastic business. Entrepreneurs produce media catering to every variety of sexual interest that exists in men’s brains. Online sex stimulates the production of dopamine, which interestingly enough is the addiction maker in the brain, but also is what makes men monogamous. So the very thing that creates a homebody can intensify the need for excitement through porn. Also, continued porn use tends to increase, and the need for new stimulation and the desire to find more intense stimulation leads to more provocative porn sites. Porn users can find more and more progressively exciting images until they find themselves immersed in a fantasy world that makes the real world pale in comparative intensity.

Porn is ultimately isolating. Its use is a turning away from one’s partner and toward a hyper exciting new experience that stimulates the production of dopamine, which both heightens stimulation and creates addiction. Some men begin to prefer online sexual relationships to real ones. The once attractive wife can become mundane and uninteresting. In contrast there is a constant parade of new women in a milieu that is designed to make men’s brains turn cartwheels in excitatory intensity. Porn use is further reinforced by orgasm. Look out Pavlov: online porn beckons and the sexual bell rings.

Some signs that someone may have an addiction to porn are:

  • Increasing porn use despite negative consequences
  • Denial of the problem
  • Irritability toward spouse regarding internet porn
  • Using porn to escape from relationship issues
  • Lying to others about the importance of cybersex
  • Engaging in illegal acts
  • Preoccupation with internet sex
  • Loss of intimacy with one’s mate. (Carnes 2001).

There are vast differences between how men and women view—or don’t view—porn. The vast majority of women tend to be more focused on the emotional aspects of sexuality like connection and love. Men tend to respond more strongly to the visual aspects of sexuality, such as being more easily stimulated by physical beauty. Men respond to physical variety, which is the mainstay of internet porn.

Because men are more focused on the physical than the emotional aspect of sex, men are more likely to think of cybersex as a safe way to be stimulated—no touch, no foul—while women see the experience as an act of infidelity. When the excitement of online sex exceeds that of a porn user’s real, live partner, the relationship is in trouble.

The use of internet porn is frequently a symptom of larger relationship issues that has have not been worked through. In the case of Janet and Ben there were many issues that had lain dormant in their relationship. They both failed to bring up the matters that bothered them and instead turned away from each other in different ways. As their distance increased, so did Ben’s interest in cybersex. Once Janet discovered the porn it only intensified her anger and resentment toward him, until they were no longer able to sustain their relationship. They were both responsible for waiting way too long to address their differences, but in the end porn extended the emotional and sexual divide beyond their reach.

Because cybersex affects relationships between mates, it also affects entire families and causes a myriad of internal issues. Wives feel unwanted, unable to compete with online images, degraded, stupid or weak. They may see their partner as a bad partner, selfish and like they are “living a lie.” Husbands are up late viewing images, become more moody, neglect the family, spouse, job and friends. They become distant and care less about the feelings of their wives and children. When it comes to addiction, secrecy and overuse are the culprits. If children discover their father’s porn use there is a tremendous loss of trust and respect. In relationships with our partners, the more things we don’t talk about, the more they will affect the overall sense of intimacy.

So how do couples work through this issue? First off, suspend the use or overuse of internet porn. Second, find the stimulation with your partner. If she is your go-to person for sex then it behooves both of you to do some ground work to create a satisfying sex life. Clear away the dead wood in your relationship. Don’t run from your problems: face them and work them out. Find things to do together that you both consider play, or fun activities. If all else fails, get some therapy.

In the most profound sense, a loving relationship will always trump mere stimulation. The challenge is to create a loving and connected relationship that stimulates sexuality. Be willing to get to a place where you can be alone with your partner, where the world goes away and you can be sexually close. The work of building the sexual relationship you want with your partner is worth the effort, because in the end, cruise control is a sweeter ride than going two hundred miles an hour on the drag strip of internet porn.

 

Read more on Sex & Relationships.

Conceptual photo of a young man addicted to the internet courtesy of Shutterstock

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Bill Cloke

Dr. Bill Cloke has worked with individuals and couples’ for 30 years. He received a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California and holds a Ph.D. in psychology from California Graduate Institute. A frequent talk-radio and tv psychologist, he is also a contributor to PsychologyToday.com, Care2.com and other popular websites and has lectured at UCLA. Bill Cloke lives with his wife in Los Angeles. Bill's book Happy Together has won the Nautilus and Benjamin Franklin Silver Awards for 2012. To learn more about Bill Cloke, and for more resources on creating healthy, happy relationships, visit his website.

Comments

  1. The internal effects seem to be very powerful and the parts of the male brain that porn gains access to are unconscious and rather insidious.
    What parts of the male brain are affected by constantly being shunned and turned down by the partner?

    Porn is ultimately isolating. Its use is a turning away from one’s partner (…)
    And what if the partner has already turned away first?

    Some men begin to prefer online sexual relationships to real ones.
    And some men prefer an online sexual relationships to no real one at all.

    The once attractive wife can become mundane and uninteresting.
    And porn or no porn, the still attractive wife can become uninterested and unattainable.

    In contrast there is a constant parade of new women in a milieu that is designed to make men’s brains turn cartwheels in excitatory intensity. Porn use is further reinforced by orgasm. Look out Pavlov: online porn beckons and the sexual bell rings.
    Yes, because we all know that men and their sex drive is nothing but dogs to be kept on short leash, least they become unruleable, right

    • It sounds like you’re arguing that if a person has a partner who has already turned away, spurned, and become uninterested and unattainable to the point that the relationship is ‘no real one at all,’ that’s a justification for using porn for sexual gratification.

      But what I’m reading in Dr Cloke’s article would seem to say that porn use in such a situation is a symptom of the larger problems at work in the relationship, not a solution for them. I think it would call for a deeper look at the relationship and deeper work on fixing the breakdown between partners – or ending the relationship, if that’s what it comes to.

      It also sounds like you’ve been hurt. If so, I’m sorry to hear that.

      I don’t think Dr. Cloke was saying that men’s sex drives are dogs that need to be kept on a short leash. I can see how the Pavlov’s Dog analogy could rub the wrong way, but as it is, certain stimuli do in fact produce certain effects in the brain. And male and female brains are (–most likely, I’m not a neurologist –) affected differently by different stimuli. No study is going to be perfect and represent every possible reaction an individual male or female brain could have to porn, but it’s worth noting the patterns.

      • Random_Stranger says:

        “It sounds like you’re arguing that if a person has a partner who has already turned away, spurned, and become uninterested and unattainable to the point that the relationship is ‘no real one at all,’ that’s a justification for using porn for sexual gratification.”

        Well yeah.

        I don’t get it. A husband and wife’s sexual relationship grows cold causing sexual frustration in both partners. Husband finds porn and is content; wife finds husband’s porn and gets more frustrated. At that point, do you get rid of the porn or the wife?

      • @KKZ:
        First. Thanks for answering.

        It sounds like you’re arguing that if a person has a partner who has already turned away, spurned, and become uninterested and unattainable to the point that the relationship is ‘no real one at all,’ that’s a justification for using porn for sexual gratification.
        Well, no. The specific “no real one at all” comment was pointing more to people not being in a relationship at all. But I see your point that it could also be about people in sexless relationships.

        And yes, I agree with you that porn use is often a symptom of larger problems at work in the relationship. However, as porn is often a symptom and a result of problems, I don’t agree with the arguments that the porn is always the cause of those problems, and nor should it be treated that way.
        A breakdown between partners takes two people with a functional communication to resolve. It won’t work with just one trying.

  2. Nick, mostly says:

    In the article the terms “porn” and “cybersex” appear to be used interchangeably. I’m wondering if a distinction was made between various types of pornography consumption, from watching of clips to interactive “cam girls” and so-called “cyber-affairs.” Was Ben engaged in an “online relationship” or was this discovery more of an aside and not germane to their particular case?
    Also, the question of what constitutes an infidelity deserves more treatment. What happens when two partners disagree on what is and isn’t an infidelity? To what degree should we expect to give up our personal sexual expression because we enter into a relationship?
    Finally, the issue Ben raised about Janet “withholding” sex doesn’t appear to have been addressed at all, nor the power dynamic that ensues if Janet is allowed to unilaterally decide what constitutes infidelity for their relationship. If Janet can say, “no sex for you, and masturbating to porn is cheating” that clearly invites problems. An explanation of how that dynamic was addressed would have been enlightening.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Of the things that people need to discuss regularly throughout their monogamous relationships, porn usage is up toward the top in my mind.

      The thing is, many women feel betrayed by porn use, and many men feel that their porn use is 100% separate from their partner. Neither is right, neither is wrong. It’s like anything else in marriage that needs to be discussed and mutually determined what’s acceptable to the couple and what isn’t. She needs to understand that her not having sex with him is going to have consequences, and he needs to understand that him watching porn probably won’t help them grow closer, unless they’re watching together something they decided upon together.

      To me, it sounds like the ages of these girls was problematic to his wife maybe even more than the porn itself. To her, him fantasizing about girls that are depicted as high school kids is probably really disturbing, and if he watched something that didn’t have an underage element to it she may not be affected.

      It’d be great if Dr Cloke did a piece about sexless marriages… It’s such a tough subject.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I think this is a very reasonable approach.

        Holy smoke, I was also glad and amazed to see a woman (and a wife!) write the following clause:

        “She needs to understand that her not having sex with him is going to have consequences,….”

        That makes total sense to me. I don’t think I have ever seen a woman write or heard a woman say anything like that before. It’s rare enough for a man to express that so clearly. This is something society really needs to look at and hasn’t much accepted yet. I can’t imagine a mother today saying this to her daughter, no matter how true it is. Does anyone talk about this before they get married?

        It usually takes more than one person to ruin a sex life. It certainly takes more than one person to ruin a relationship. This doesn’t mean the damage is caused by both people equally, but usually both people have played some part. No one is to blame for “driving a man to porn,” but his partner’s behavior may have some role in the larger story of their relationship.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          It’s complicated, because I don’t think anyone should *ever* feel obligated to have sex, and certainly not forced to—even if the only reason they feel forced is the fear that their partner will cheat. And in saying “there are consequences” I don’t mean “if you don’t have sex with him regularly he’s justified to cheat.” I mean that there will be consequences of many flavors – be it a lack of intimacy in the marriage, increased porn usage, resentment, estrangement…

          And you’re right, it takes two for a relationship to be destroyed, and both partners need to be responsible for making it better. For women, it’s hard to understand that a man who isn’t getting sex often feels deeply unloved, undesirable, and disconnected. For many women, having a great conversation and hanging out watching TV together can connect them. I don’t know why there’s this difference, but we need to understand that even if what our partner needs is different from what we need, it is still legitimate and important. Without that understanding, marriages will (and do) fail.

          There has to be a middle-ground with sex in marriages where one partner has little to no desire. I think women fear if they engage in any sort of sex play or intimate touch with their husband, he’ll expect PIV sex, and she may not be willing to go there. And we all know how sad and estranging that can be. She feels bad, he’s frustrated… So her response is to not to any of it, to completely retreat for fear of disappointing or frustrating him further. But that doesn’t help anything.

          That’s where the need for a conversation and mutual compromise comes into play—from both sides. She’s gotta be willing to reach out to her comfort level, knowing that he may end up frustrated. And he’s gotta be willing to accept the amount of intimate touch and sexuality she’s willing to share at that time and try to be compassionate and keep his need for PIV sex to himself—to be in the moment and enjoy the intimacy they’re sharing.

          If people can do that, I swear, it works miracles. But it’s about letting go of expectations.

          • wellokaythen says:

            Absolutely, I don’t think “consequences” means “license to do whatever he wants,” either. I agree, there needs to be compromise and understanding on both sides. And, I don’t think people should be forced or compelled or guilted into having sex. I didn’t mean for my language to sound like “consequence” was the same as “punishment.”

            Even though to some women it looks like men will keep coming back over and over again looking for sex no matter what, or that men’s libido is unphased by anything, men can feel rejection really deeply. Shutting him down again and again when he tries to initiate sex does have an effect on him emotionally. (Well, maybe not every single man, but a whole lot do.) This may sound whiney, but a man can feel a strange sense of betrayal when he discovers that this partner that he’s had a wonderful sex life with now is a new person who won’t have sex with him at all. Maybe “betrayal” is too strong a word – more like a “bait and switch” feeling.

            If he’s often in the mood for sex when she isn’t, then it’s perfectly fair for him to request a new strategy – what are some things we could do that would increase the likelihood of you being in the mood for sex? No promises, no guarantees, no expectations of automatic horniness, just reduce the number of things on the “makes we not want sex” list and increase the number of things on the “helps me get in the mood for sex.” He has to do it in a way that doesn’t put huge pressure on her, but it is fair to ask her to take some responsibility for her own availability.

            (Hell, even just starting the conversation about what makes someone more in the mood might start the mood right there, and you never make it to the end of the list….)

            I think one of the most common problems is that people just give up on their own libidos without being mindful or thoughtful or even practical about it. Sure, the sex drive naturally declines sometimes, but maybe sometimes there are things people can do to boost it back a little. Sometimes the libido slips and falls to its death, but sometimes it’s pushed….

            And it’s important to note that there are plenty of hetero relationships where the woman wants sex more often than the man does. Same guidelines apply there, too. She has the right to ask him to try to figure out ways to improve his libido.

            If there’s a growing asymmetry in sex drives, that’s something that BOTH people have some responsibility to address. It shouldn’t just automatically fall on the higher-drived person to accept it silently.

          • For women, it’s hard to understand that a man who isn’t getting sex often feels deeply unloved, undesirable, and disconnected. [Emphasis added.]

            I agree a whole lot with the part in bold. I suspect the part about women finding it hard to understand is also pretty true generally, but my own experience might be causing me to underestimate women’s capacity for that kind of sexual empathy.

            That’s where the need for a conversation and mutual compromise comes into play—from both sides. She’s gotta be willing to reach out to her comfort level, knowing that he may end up frustrated. And he’s gotta be willing to accept the amount of intimate touch and sexuality she’s willing to share at that time and try to be compassionate and keep his need for PIV sex to himself—to be in the moment and enjoy the intimacy they’re sharing.

            In that second sentence, was that supposed to “beyond her comfort level”? Because if not, I don’t see any conversation or compromise happening in the sentences that follow the first one which wisely suggests both are needed. Her “gotta” is just doing what she’s comfortable with, which she presumably already was doing. His “gotta” is to suck it up and keep his needs to himself, because “compassionate” apparently means she gets to set the standards for what’s intimate and not, not him. And btw, masturbating to porn is one way of keeping his need for sex to himself, so be careful what you wish for.

            • I think if the situation is that alienating where such control issues are at play and individuals feel unloved and unheard then therapy is vital. Have the confrontations, actually be gut level honest, take action and deal with the issues. It’s painful as heLl but so is the alternative.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I actually didn’t say “beyond her comfort level”, I said “She’s gotta be willing to reach out to her comfort level” – thing is, there are these spiraling, snowballing feelings in many women who don’t want sex. it starts with, “I’m not feeling it” (often related to pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, or day-to-day motherhood), then he feels bad about himself or frustrated with his unmet desire, and she feels guilt for hurting and rejecting him. Then he feels guilt for pressuring her. Then everyone feels terrible and suddenly, after months (or years) of sex and physical intimacy being associated with guilt, the mere idea of him getting into bed causes stress for both. And we all know stress is the instant libido-killer. And talking about it causes defensiveness in both, too.

              I don’t think women should be pressuring themselves to have sex or even do sex acts when they’re not feeling it. However, it is the responsibility of the woman to do the work she needs to do to get to a place where she can engage in some level of physical intimacy. That work can be reaching out for help via therapy, going to her doctor for a hormone panel, or even reading 50 Shades of Grey (God help us) or some other romance novel, or watching a sexy movie like “9 1/2 Weeks” or “For Lovers Only” or whatever else won’t feel like “porn” but gets her going. Or porn, if that helps.

              I agree with Julie that if it’s at a point where both partners are that riddled with anxiety and feeling that deeply unloved, a great marriage therapist is in order, simply to facilitate the conversations that need to happen. If you bring defensiveness into a conversation about sex, there will never ever be sex.

              There’s this sense with many women that not wanting sex when their partner does isn’t their problem. And maybe it’s not. Hugo and I have been fighting about this from a feminist perspective for months. But the fact is, if the marriage falls apart, no matter what the central issue was, it’s gonna be both of their problems. And they’re both going to suffer, and the kids are going to suffer, and there’s going to be a lot of pain on all sides. If she can take some ownership over helping her libido rebound, at least she’ll know that she did her best.

              And absolutely, they need to discuss how/when/what type of porn she finds okay for him to use within their relationship. But it’s certainly not reasonable to expect a partner to abstain from partnered sex, and not be able to use any sort of outside stimulation. The middle-ground is always what seems to save a marriage. ;)

            • I actually didn’t say “beyond her comfort level”, I said “She’s gotta be willing to reach out to her comfort level”

              I know – I was asking if that was intentional, because it doesn’t make sense to me the way you said it. Maintaining your comfort level isn’t a stretch, so it’s hardly a show of compromise to be “willing” to do it. I still think you mean something like “expand her comfort level” or “be willing to find a new comfort level”, because I don’t see how someone can be *willingly* staying somewhere below their comfort level, and then in an act of loving compromise, reach out to attain it. With the issue of sex that’s being discussed, I presume “comfort level” would mean having as much or as little sex as she wanted, so if the problem is she’s already having as little as she wants and that’s not enough for him, I don’t see where “reaching out to her comfort level” is any kind of compromise, since she’s already there. Consequently, I found the “He’s gotta” example to put the entire burden on him, since it wasn’t about communicating or compromising, but about being “compassionate” by keeping his desires to himself and being content with whatever passes for intimacy for her…i.e. her comfort zone. All that is a far cry from working it out in therapy, which I think is a good suggestion, but I was reacting to the examples of communication and compromise as given, not to the potential value of therapy.

              And absolutely, they need to discuss how/when/what type of porn she finds okay for him to use within their relationship.

              Does this only go for sex stuff, or if he feels threatened by forms of entertainment or friends that he thinks she’s using as an emotional substitute for him, can he discuss which of those he’s okay with her using?

              But it’s certainly not reasonable to expect a partner to abstain from partnered sex, and not be able to use any sort of outside stimulation.

              It makes a pretty big difference what the “outside stimulation” is. I would imagine that a sexual affair > webcam sex > looking at porn > reading erotica > masturbation without any aids. Most people wouldn’t say a full-blown sexual affair was a reasonable (as in okay) reaction to a sex-withholding spouse, but that’s a pretty big leap from masturbating to take the edge off.

              I do think it’s interesting that whenever porn comes up as a topic, it’s almost always talked about as if porn and masturbation are the same thing. (Not your comment, Joanna, but this kind of discussion in general.) I frequently get the impression that people who take a strong anti-porn stance are actually arguing against masturbation, and phrases like “self abuse” or even “self sex” are tells. It’s plausible that easy access to porn has increased the incidence of compulsive masturbatory behavior, but it’s not like people (especially men) never masturbated before the Internet made porn ubiquitous. Many men (and women) were feeling deep shame and guilt about their masturbation habits *even without porn*. I get the impression that many women who feel betrayed by porn would feel just as betrayed by “catching” their man masturbating in the pre-porn age.

            • “Does this only go for sex stuff, or if he feels threatened by forms of entertainment or friends that he thinks she’s using as an emotional substitute for him, can he discuss which of those he’s okay with her using?”

              If this is happening, as I said in my earlier email, then they should seek support and actually deal with the issues at hand instead of picking one thing (her avoiding sex, him avoiding emotion) to turn into a pushmepullu dynamic.

              In a healthy relationship I’d think there’d be all levels of intimacy (from platonic touch to sexual touch to talking and emotional sharing) and also the trust in each other to say, “not tonight, I need to not connect in that way”

              No one’s body should be demanded of, but nor should anyone withhold it for manipulative purposes. No one’s mental and emotional presence should be demanded but neither should anyone withhold it for manipulative purposes. Sometimes a partner is indeed unavailable. I have to be able to deal with that. But if it becomes a pattern over time, or if things are becoming increasingly uneven (he’ll cuddle but not make love…or even nonsexually…she’ll pay all the bills each month and balance the books but she won’t go out on dates) then it should actually be addressed. Not hinted at, not begged for, not tricked into, but discussed.

              Sex and sexuality and sensuality and intimacy are vital parts of a relationship. So too are paying bills, keeping jobs, and sharing values. If those things diverge to the point of emotional distress in the relationship, and they can’t be honestly discussed (with or without a counselor), then I suspect the partnership will always be in trouble.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Sometimes people simply aren’t compatible. Unfortunately this isn’t always realized early on in the relationship, before kids and joint bank accounts are involved.

            • Yes, I know that. Therapy though can help the couple make that realization though, and help them part ways more amicably. Well, hopefully.

            • I have no problem agreeing with all of that, because you framed it as a matter of mutual responsibility and effort, and you’re talking about more than just porn use. That’s in contrast to what I perceived as a fairly 1-sided suggestion that what “they” needed to discuss was what she found okay for him to use within their relationship. I don’t doubt your sincerity when it comes to desiring full 2-way (or however many people are involved) communication, with responsibility and accountability all around. I don’t think that model or goal is all that common in the anti-porn debate, which tends to presume male guilt pretty much no matter what. As usual, you’re saying something different from that, which I both hear and appreciate.

            • I think one issue may be the type of porn – in the example in the article, the wife was grossed out by the idea that her husband was looking at porn involving barely legal teenagers. I can see how that would be disturbing to her, especially if they had daughters reaching their teen years. Also, it probably makes her feel old and undesirable and that kills interest in sex with her husband. And when you are really grossed out by something, it’s a visceral response – I mean, she can’t really help how she’s feeling about it. I’d have trouble with this situation, I think, even though basically I have a don’t ask don’t tell policy on the subject of porn. Don’t look at it when I’m around, that’s all I ask. But if I discovered that my boyfriend’s favorite type of porn was teenagers? I mean, that would make me seriously wonder why he’s in a relationship with me, a 45 year old woman. I’d probably wonder why he doesn’t just move on to try to find a younger woman who is more to his liking and not keep wasting my time. at least that’s what would go through my head. I think that is one reason women have a bad reaction to porn, it’s like, “why are you with me, if that’s the kind of thing you are looking for?” That feeling is a serious libido killer.

            • Being turned on by something is also a pretty visceral response, but even if some of those turn-ons disgust you, the jump to “that’s what you’re looking for” seems unjustified to me. Watching porn isn’t looking for a mate. It’s a fantasy, and quite often one you’d have no interest in acting out, even if watching it turns you on. Kind of like how enjoying bank heist movies doesn’t mean you’re looking to rob a bank.

            • I just don’t get why people aren’t talking about all of it. I mean…these are long term/marriage situations we are talking about.

            • My guess is it’s because some people are terrible at talking about this stuff, which they often inherited from parents who were terrible at talking about it too. If even one person in the relationship fits that description, it’s hard to overcome.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              I just don’t get why people aren’t talking about all of it. I mean…these are long term/marriage situations we are talking about.

              Because we’re scared.

              Who wants to have that conversation? Who wants to invite all that emotional turmoil? Who wants to push the issue to its end, to the possible dissolution of the relationship?
              If we’ve had a hard week, why would we make it harder by opening up that wound? Why have a fight about the lack of sex in the relationship, the resentment that’s building, when we can watch a porn clip, get off, and find a temporary reduction in stress? And on those days when we’re not stressed, when we’re actually feeling good, why take a good day and make it bad by bringing it up? Why pick a fight about our partner’s porn usage, about how we feel it’s a betrayal? Particularly when we know they’re just going to be defensive and dredge the bay of our failings, past and present?

              It’s far easier to bury our resentments, and bury our heads in the sand. It becomes an unspoken truce. We’ll pretend we don’t watch porn, and you’ll pretend to be believe us. In return, we’ll ignore that it’s been weeks, perhaps months since we last had sex. We’ll pretend we don’t care, that we don’t feel rejected and unloved. And together we’ll present this fiction to the outside world, and people will remark that we’re such a lovely family.

            • Yes. I get that.

              And in the meantime you have a divorce rate rising, heaps and heaps of pain upon discovering how much people have been pulling away from each other, using a wide variety of distancing techniques to limit connection instead of being honest and figuring out ways to either grow the relationship or end it in a way that would honor everyone in the ending.

              I’m not much for the whole “porn addiction” theory, but what I see in that paragraph above is that perhaps we are a country of avoidance addiction. We’ll use whatever it takes to be less present for the people we’ve said we love the most.

              I get why it happens, I do. That question was born out of frustration not confusion. But the answers still frustrate me and I feel sadness about it all.

              So what, in your opinion (or anyone’s) would help create pathways to more empathy and compassion and connection (even if it ultimately means ending a relationship on mutual and honorable terms and even given the pain) rather than letting years of resentment and frustration build up to a nasty divorce (which still includes lots of pain)?

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Oh I’m quite sure you get it, Julie. I thought the question you posed was rhetorical.

              I’m fairly pessimistic about improving things. It’s a cultural problem, one where our discourse doesn’t allow for much honesty in how we talk about relationships. We seem to prefer the safety of the fiction rather than risk being shamed and become outcasts.

              It very well may change, and I applaud those such as yourself who are working hard to make that change, I just don’t expect it in my lifetime.

            • I’m actually in a relationship where I generally have a higher libido than my boyfriend, which is quite frustrating for me. So I can relate to what men go through. I have struggled a lot in the relationship with feelings of being undesirable and unattractive because in all my previous relationships, things were completely different. I’m used to the man being all over me for sex all the time. It’s hard not to think that it’s my fault or that it’s because I’m older now and not as attractive to men as I used to be. We have talked about it a lot and he always reassures me that it’s not my fault, but it is really hard to get my head around the idea that a normal man can be happy with sex only once or twice a week, which is my boyfriend’s preference. I’d be happier with 3-4 times a week. If my boyfriend was obviously using porn rather than having sex with me (which he’s not, thankfully) it would be like a slap in the face. I’m not sure the relationship would survive at that point. Luckily our sex is really awesome despite not being quite as often as I’d like, so that makes up for it.

              I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with their sexuality and it is really difficult to talk about and work through. It is easier to pull away from each other and let resentments build up.

              I’m a gardener, and I think you have to think of your relationships like a plant you are growing. It needs to be tended. You need to check it every day. How is doing? if it doesn’t look well, something is wrong. People are always amazed at my houseplants and how healthy they are. “I always kill my houseplants” they say. I tell them that they have to check the plant every day. Feel the soil. Notice if the plant has new growth or not. If it is not growing, figure out why it’s unhappy. Too wet? Too dry? Not enough light? Too much direct sun? Needs repotting? You can’t just buy a plant, leave it on a shelf and dump water on it once and awhile, and think it will survive. People say “oh that’s too much work! I don’t want to stick my finger in dirt! I don’t want to move it where the light is better, I bought it for that shelf!” I shrug and tell them they should be a fake plant then.

              Anyway, people treat relationships the same way and no wonder they die.

            • @Sarah

              “…but it is really hard to get my head around the idea that a normal man can be happy with sex only once or twice a week, which is my boyfriend’s preference.”

              I sympathize and it’s reassuring to hear that it’s not always the man stuck with the higher side of a libido mismatch, but from what I’ve experienced, read, and heard, it’s fairly common for that sentiment to change after motherhood to it being hard to wrap her head around the idea that a normal father would still be in the mood for sex at least once or twice a week (more if “normal” is assumed to be 3-4 times a week or more). I believe what you’re saying about your libido relative to your boyfriend’s right now, but after ten years and a couple if kids, I’m guessing yours would diminish substantially while his wouldn’t change much. For you to experience the stereotypical sex-starved husband scenario, you’d have to keep wanting sex 3-4 times a week even after marriage and kids, while his desire dropped off to once a month or less, plus birthdays, Christmas, and Mother’s Day. In that situation, “only” once or twice a week sounds amazing.

              That’s not your context, though, so I really do sympathize with what you’re sharing. “Not enough” sucks no matter what, regardless of what your current reference point is.

            • I don’t have kids but actually my libido has diminished a bit as I’ve gotten older. I used to want sex every day, which now seems exhausting. Maybe other women start at a lower baseline. I don’t know, sometimes I think I’m just an oddball or a weirdo for a woman. I used to feel a lot of shame about my sex drive — I thought it was too strong, unfeminine, even bizarre. I thought women weren’t supposed to like sex. That’s what I heard growing up. I thought Inwas supposed to want candles and romance and holding hands. I wasn’t supposed to be the one asking for a good hard f@ck! What’s wrong with me? :-) I still hate it when my boyfriend says things to me like “you’re not like most women!” even though he means it as a compliment, it makes me feel like a freak. Like I shouldn’t like sex so much. Every time I read an article about women having low libidos or sexless marriages or never wanting sex, there is a part of me that feels ashamed and weird.

              I’m just saying this to make a point that women get drowned in negative messages about our sexuality. I grew up in the 1970’s and ’80’s when many adults really were trying to provide healthier messages about sex. We had a really comprehensive sex education class for girls my freshman year in HS taught by a feminist ex-hippie softball coach. My mom had a copy of “Our Bodies Ourselves.” Even so, no one ever told me that it was okay to like sex. The message I got was that lots and lots of men would pressure me for sex, and possibly date rape me if I wasn’t careful, because men, you know, are generally sex crazed maniacs, and that if I was stupid I might get pregnant or catch an STD. I was supposed to be smart, responsible, and careful about sex, learn to say “NO!” and only have sex when I was “ready” whatever that meant. These were all great messages, but kind of the underlying subtext was that men wanted sex and I wasn’t supposed to. The only girls who wanted sex were the slutty girls who were dumb and let boys “take advantage” of them. Those girls end up pregnant, with herpes, and discarded like a used Kleenex.

              With all these messages in our heads, I think it can be difficult for women to really be in touch with their own libidos and to have a healthy relationship with their own sexuality. I know there are hormonal changes, physical changes and so on that can also play a big role, definitely, but I think focusing on that part of it makes it seem inevitable that women will have low libidos and even may make some women feel unconsciously that they are “supposed” to have a low libido or they are “weird.”. As I mentioned, I’m aware of thoughts like that going through my head sometimes.

            • FlyingKal says:

              @Julie Gillis:
              So what, in your opinion (or anyone’s) would help create pathways to more empathy and compassion and connection (even if it ultimately means ending a relationship on mutual and honorable terms and even given the pain) rather than letting years of resentment and frustration build up to a nasty divorce (which still includes lots of pain)?

              It takes time, trust, and patience.
              Unfortunately, we live in a culture that for a long time has promoted self-interest, superficiality, instant gratification and quick-fixes.

              So. I’m not very optimistic…

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Yes, I think that communication about what is acceptable to one another in life and in general (not just porn) is necessary. As far as the hierarchy of “badness” goes, it should be discussed. I know a marriage where the husband says that if there was no penis or vagina involved, it wasn’t cheating – for both of them. Other marriages demand much more conservative boundaries. And as far as non-sex things go, yeah, that should be discussed, too. For instance, Ivan just got a motorcycle. I’m not a fan. He had one when I first got pregnant and then recently he got some cash from selling something else and wanted to buy an old Harley to fix up. I am fine with that, but we had to talk about when/where driving it would be okay because he’s got a family to think about and it’s pretty dangerous.

              Ivan’s not a fan of me running alone in Topanga State Park, which I love to do, because of how isolated it is (mountain lions, falling off cliffs, rapists, cannibals, Martians, falling into a crevice and having a rock land on my arm and having to slowly hack it off, you know, that stuff). So I don’t do it any more.

              We both know those things are reasonable requests, so we compromise on those things. Before we were together, he rode his Harley everywhere in the stupidest most pointless helmet, and I ran alone in the evening in many rapist-infested mountains. Now we have to consider one another.

              That’s my whole message and despite being persnickety (!) I know you get that. Married people have to consider one another all the time and perhaps be a little uncomfortable and force themselves to do better and be better in most ways, including sex and porn.

            • Fair enough. And Ivan’s right about you having to slowly hack your arm off after falling into a crevice. I saw it happen in a movie.

            • wellokaythen says:

              I wonder if there are any brain experts or relationship experts out there sounding the alarm about the danger that motorcycles pose to our relationships.

              Here is an unprecedented technology that is changing our brains in ways that our Stone Age ancestors never had to deal with. This isn’t your great grandfather’s bicycle. This is way more extreme, totally inhuman, with a more intense high. How many more marriages have to be destroyed by this insidious creation before we do something about it? How many more families are going to be ruined before men take responsibility for their behavior? When are we going to open our eyes to this epidemic?

              [It's not sarcasm, it's satire.]

            • wellokaythen says:

              “However, it is the responsibility of the woman to do the work she needs to do to get to a place where she can engage in some level of physical intimacy. ”

              and

              “If she can take some ownership over helping her libido rebound, at least she’ll know that she did her best.”

              Eminently sensible. If only every approach to marital sex issues could be like this, we’d save a lot of agro. (And, yeah, same goes for cases in which a wife is frustrated by her husband’s lack of libido.)

      • Nick, mostly says:

        Of the things that people need to discuss regularly throughout their monogamous relationships, porn usage is up toward the top in my mind.

        There are so very many things, including monogamy itself. I recall a survey recently (unfortunately I couldn’t find it to link here) that found couples didn’t even agree on whether or not they were in a monogamous relationship.

        The thing is, many women feel betrayed by porn use, and many men feel that their porn use is 100% separate from their partner. Neither is right, neither is wrong. It’s like anything else in marriage that needs to be discussed and mutually determined what’s acceptable to the couple and what isn’t. She needs to understand that her not having sex with him is going to have consequences, and he needs to understand that him watching porn probably won’t help them grow closer, unless they’re watching together something they decided upon together.

        Watching porn isn’t necessarily meant to help them grow closer. The real test should be whether it causes them to grow further apart. If, for example, a spouse chooses porn over their partner, or has expectations about how sex should be based on what they’ve seen in porn, then those behaviors are clearly detrimental to the relationship. On the other hand, if porn helps “take the edge off,” particularly in relationships where there is a large libido mismatch, porn may indirectly strengthen the relationship by reducing stress and forestalling resentment. In that latter case, the detrimental affect porn might have is based not on behaviors, but on attitudes and beliefs about the role of porn.

        If either person has strong beliefs about pornography it is incumbent upon that person to make those beliefs clear. Given all the research it is unreasonable to simply expect that men don’t watch pornography, so if porn use is a deal-breaker it’s important to bring it up.

      • Exactly. But using porn also has it’s consequences. As in brain damage, relationship damage, objectify another human being. Sex is about two people. Self sex is only one. Sex is about loving someone else, not yourself. Although we are animals with a sex drive, we are also human beings with a brain to use and not abuse. Pornography is just wrong on so many levels.

        • Masturbation isn’t self abuse. It’s a healthy practice. Like Dr. Cloke says in his article, you can get addicted to the easy stimulation of porn, but the same is also true of the easy stimulations of gambling, gin, or chocolate cake. We’re supposed to take risks, have sex, and even seek altered states. It’s when we keep pressing that pleasure button in denial of all other experiences that we turn away from life and into addiction.

        • Nick, mostly says:

          So many assertions, so little supporting evidence.
          Pornography may be wrong to you on so many levels, but that’s about your values and preferences.
          But to claim that it leads to “brain damage” is beyond the pale. I won’t even ask for supporting evidence for that assertion because I’m quite sure there isn’t any.

        • truth or consequences? says:

          Speaking of brain damage… what have you been watching lately?

        • Hooray for generalizations about porn. Porn can be addictive to some, but not everyone. There’s some things wrong with porn but for many it is a medium they use for masturbation and remains quite healthy for them.

  3. A marriage is supposed to be two people merged as one. If one feels porn is infidelity – then it is. BUT, what happened to the communication here. Why was this not discussed? Ben keeping secrets – first big mistake. Janet “withholding” sex? Why was this not discussed. “withholding” is a sure sign that something is already wrong in the relationship. Why would Ben think more self-sex was the answer?

    • Nick, mostly says:

      A marriage is supposed to be two people merged as one. If one feels porn is infidelity – then it is.

      Would you agree that if Ben feels romance novels is infidelity, then it is? Good for the goose and all…
      And why do you think a marriage is supposed to be “two people merged as one?” Where does that idea come from?

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        If a guy thinks romance novels count as infidelity, then that needs to be discussed too. There are many shades of grey (wow, that wasn’t even on purpose!) in this discussion because of the wide range of sexual morality between people. Hence my earlier statement that ALL of this needs to be discussed early and often.

        • Nick, mostly says:

          I agree, Joanna. Dan seemed to be suggesting that if the wife unilaterally decided that porn use = infidelity then that was valid, binding even. I would say that if you take that view of relationships, that spousal fiat is law, then it should be available to both partners. Hence if he decides that reading 50 Shades of Grey = infidelity, then it is.

          But who would want to be in a relationship dictated by fiat rather than based in collaboration and trust?

          • Nick,
            I agree with your statement that if husband thinks “50 Shades of Grey” = infidelity, then it is. Each person gets to decide what infidelity means to them. There is a very wide range of meaning. But in marriage, each should respect the other’s opinion and NOT go behind their back and do what they want to do anyway. That is deception and IMO another form of lying.

            And, you nailed it about a relationship should be based in collaboration and trust. But the trust was broken by the porn, the lying, the deceiving. And I am not saying that in this (the article) situation that Ben is solely at fault. He’s not. There was a break down in “collaboration and trust”. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

            • Nick, mostly says:

              Who says they’re wrongs? That’s my whole contention.
              When I think of cheating, for example, I have a simple definition: doing X when you’ve agreed not to do X. This definition makes space for the ability to cheat in monogamous and non-monogamous relationships alike.
              I feel the same way about fidelity. Infidelity isn’t doing whatever your partner unilaterally decides constitutes infidelity. It’s violating the agreement you have made between you. An assumption that he won’t look at porn isn’t the same as an agreement.

    • “If one feels porn is infidelity – then it is”

      I cannot agree with this statement. The feelings of one partner do not trump those of the other. That makes for a very unbalanced, and unhealthy, relationship. Besides, believing that porn is equivalent to infidelity is an initial emotional reaction. One that facts, reason, and some discussion can change.

      • When speaking regarding this article, this couple was married. In marriage, you make a vow, a promise, a contract. So in marriage – if one believes porn is infidelity – then it is. “Ben” know what he doing (watching porn) was wrong – hence the secrecy, the shame one his part. He was not faithful to his wife with his heart, mind, or body. He was in the wrong. Was she wrong to “withhold” sex? What was her reasoning on this? It is not reasonable to withhold sex for no reason. The article never said what the reason was.. As I said, it sounds like they were having relational problems long before the “withholding and/or porn” started. Their problems started with lack of communication. It appears that they both lacked respect for the others “feelings” and emotions. Fact – he chose pornography over his wife. Reason – he did not respect her opinion on the subject of sex. He saw sex as a self-sport. Discussion – sadly, there was none. Fact – she chose to withdraw from him. Reason – she did not respect his opinion on the subject of sex. She saw sex as expression of love. Discussion – again, sadly, there was none.

        It boils down to respecting each other and honoring the marriage vows.

        • It doesn’t sound like such a clear fact that “Ben” chose porn over his wife. He says that his wife was withholding sex (it sounds like she was exhausted by raising three small children, too), and so he turned to porn. The couple should have discussed what they consider the terms of their vows of fidelity, along with other aspects of their sexuality, but it’s not a given that either masturbating alone or doing it with porn is cheating on your spouse.

        • @Dan:
          Was she wrong to “withhold” sex? What was her reasoning on this? It is not reasonable to withhold sex for no reason. The article never said what the reason was..

          That is one of the main problems with this subject, isn’t it?
          You can’t have a discussion or an argument “in good faith” about this, because most anyone, like in this article, will believe that any woman “withholding” sex must by default have a perfectly good reason for it that is far beyond any discussion. Hence everything must always start at the “man being in the wrong” position.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I respectfully disagree with the idea that a committed relationship means that two people fuse into one. I think the healthiest, most sustainable kind of relationship still makes room for people to be distinct individuals, even while they’re part of a single team. Letting your partner’s feelings completely dictate everything you say or do is not a healthy relationship, in my mind, whether the dictating partner is male or female. Never doing anything that might possibly upset your partner is not a recipe for an adult relationship, not to me anyway.

      I had to search high and low, but I did find one part of the article that suggested it wasn’t all the husband’s fault, before falling back on blaming a thing instead of a person:

      “They were both responsible for waiting way too long to address their differences, but in the end porn extended the emotional and sexual divide beyond their reach.”

      There is such a thing as porn addiction, and it can be a huge challenge for someone who has it. I’m not really disputing that. But, what I noticed is that “his relationship” or “his family” is just this thing that seems to have obvious, incontrovertible, non-negotiable demands, instead of seeing his wife as a person also. In this article, when looks at porn, he’s making a choice, but when his wife gets mad at him for it, he’s hurting his relationship. His wife is not “his relationship” but is part of his relationship. HE is also part of his relationship. Funny how when the topic of porn comes up he is no longer on the steering committee for his own marriage.

      Is there any room here anywhere for the possibility that she may be over-reacting because of her own internal issues? Is there a chance that she may need to adapt to his desires as much as he needs to adapt to her feelings?

      (And, I’m just accepting for the sake of argument that monogamous, companionate, sex-based marriage is actually an institution needing to be saved. I’m ignoring for the moment the possibility that what is really screwed up today is our whole concept of marriage.)

  4. The good doctor states that “The vast majorty of Women tend to be more focused on the emotional aspects of sexuality like connection and love.” 2 word answer, ‘Magic Mike’.

  5. This is the same old porn-male-female diatribe. Yawn. Female and in my last relationship I was the person who wanted to watch porn more then my male partner. I’ve heard 2 out of 3 people searching for porn online are women or something close to that. The problem isn’t the porn-although largely what porn people have access to is crap. The problem described as above has to with the people in the relationships capacity to be honest about their feeling and needs, stress, dealing with control, intimacy and personal expression.

    This also takes the tone that men aren’t responsible, the porn is. Which is the old view of what it means, in my opinion to be a good man.

    • I’ve heard 2 out of 3 people searching for porn online are women or something close to that.
      i had read that for visual ppornn, around a third of viewers are women

  6. Monogamy does not create a homebody. It’s true that couples tend to become more attuned to each other than other people (that’s how couples establish a life together and a happy, loving family, if they choose to raise children). However, past the initial infatuation phase of a relationship, couples need to interact with the outside world. If someone is using monogamy to avoid the outside world, then they have a completely different set issues, besides porn addiction.

  7. Thank you, Dr. Cloke, for writing on this subject. Had I not experienced it, I would have never known that this increasingly common condition existed. My former husband admitted to having a porn addiction, not too long before he destroyed his computers and took his life. I don’t believe that all personality types are necessarily prone to this addiction, but it seems more men are becoming conditioned to online porn at earlier ages and problems are showing up with them not being able to have satisfactory sex with live women. What my husband presented to me as ED, I later realized, was likely the result of compulsive masturbation that he admitted began in puberty. I drew a correlation with his need for a certain physical stimulation during masturbation, but only much later read about and understood the brain/body connection/addiction. I knew he had a certain fetish and I accepted, on the surface, his proclivities. In time, it turned to a situation of decreased intimacy, not of my choosing. But, most women in this situation cannot help but sense that their partner prefers women in pictures over a real relationship and react to it. That said, my husband was a person of integrity and upstanding character, but I believe the shame he associated with this addiction drove him to self-destruction over time. I still grieve the loss of a fine person. The fallout for me personally is that when I try to develop a relationship, if he has a problem with ED, I am questioning whether it is physical, mental, or porn-related. It is a touchy subject. I love sex, maybe more so now because I appreciate what it can be. One more comment, to the poster that mentioned “Magic Mike.” Most self-aware women, I believe, are not interested in that stuff. But, in the seeming age of disconnect between men and women, I do think that some women are drawn to it for the same reasons men like porn – there is no emotional risk. It is a temporary thrill that in the end, amounts to nothing.

  8. Random_Stranger says:

    You know…the 21st century has seen a pernicious tendency to reduce our social and relationship problems to how far male brain chemistry deviates from a presumably more normative female brain chemistry. In doing so, we tend to reduce men to base creatures primarily responsive to their lower body needs while leaving the humanity of women fully intact (and sometime elevating). The whole analysis is dangerously reminiscent of the racial eugenics of the prior century. This approach is highly susceptible to relative bias, and needs to stop.

    For fun and illustration, we could use “gender eugenics” to re-frame the problem. We could say something like “Visual stimuli, such as porn, is less effective for women due to the female brain’s relative underdevelopment of the visual cortex. Further compounding the issue, the enlarged xyz section of the female brain makes it more difficult for women to separate external stimuli from stimuli essential to maintaining arousal and sexual engagement essential to a healthy relationship. If you believe you may be suffering from these symptoms, you should share your concerns with your partner or consider therapy”

    Totally offensive?…yea, it is.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing, too. Glad to see I’m not going crazy all by myself…..

      No doubt there are clinics being organized right now that will offer electroshock therapy to rid men of their deviant love of online porn. Perhaps we can bring back the days of the home-visit lobotomist? Maybe some court-ordered lobotomies as a condition of child visitation for the dads divorced because of porn use?

  9. Jean Brandt says:

    Two articles on porn, though in different contexts, that I have been following in the last two days. I don’t think porn is morally wrong, but it can entrench someone in isolation. It can also be part of a couple’s adventures in fantasy, enriching their erotic connection. The main thing is that the partners respect each other. Intimacy is hard work, but in the long run far more rewarding than temporary thrills of solitary fantasy.

  10. Still there says:

    “But instead of talking about it they both went into their own worlds. Ben became career driven and withdrew into the privacy of his porn while Janet became Super Mom. Herein lies one of the thorny issues about porn: easy accessibility.”

    Herein lies one of the thorny issues about Super Mom, easy approval. She’s applauded for being one and doesn’t need to make any excuses for not being his lover. Neglecting your husband has consequences. Shocking!

    Men like variety? And excitement? Must be porn’s fault!

    Feeling like I’ve been bait and switched into an utterly unsatisfying sex life couldn’t possibly explain any of the behaviors he attributes to porn. I just need to find more stimulation from a disinterested spouse who thinks it’s enough to let me do all the work in bed once in a while. But it’s ok! She’s a woman. I need to cut back and only get off when she’s in the mood.

  11. To an extent, I don’t have a problem if my SO watches porn. While 98% of porn is not my cup of tea, I do enjoy erotic stories to get me going and stuff, so I understand how people sometimes need a little more variety. I can occasionally tolerate watching porn with my SO, but sometimes browsing through the stuff can completely turn me off if I find something just gross.

    The thing is, though, I’ve been reading erotic stories for several years to help my masturbating, and I wonder if reading those stories has increased my expectations for what sex should feel like. I DO have a very hard time reaching orgasm.

    As for his porn watching, of course, it has to be in moderation. If he watched in place of doing more important things, then there’d be a problem. I’d take issue if he prefers to watch porn over sleeping with me. Now if I’m not in the mood or if he’s just horny during some time of the day, I really wouldn’t mind. Context and moderation are really important in this subject.

    As for online sexual relationships, that’s a big no-no. Porn is pretty impersonal, and it’s mostly naked actors having sex, so in my opinion it’s different than an online relationship.

  12. I’d be curious to know if online porn “addiction” presents different symptoms than overindulgence in online gaming or online shopping.

  13. An article that I disagree with almost in toto.
    Also very inaccurate, where porn and cybersex are used as if they were the same thing (they aren’t) and where no difference is made between watching porn and being addicted to porn. All the symptoms he describes (lost of interest in real life, incapacity to relate to family, late night on the computer with effect on job etc) are the ones of a serious addiction, but then the conclusion is that no men in a relationship should ever watch porn? What if they were never addicted in the first place, just enjoying it?
    The research presented is dated 2001, which is basically the stone age for a research on internet based behaviour. Nowadays, I dont know a single guy who doesn’t watch porn. So are they all supposed to stop the minute they start a relationship? Or only when they move in together? Or only when they marry? And does that include masturbation too? Because to me watching porn (and yes, I’m a girl by the way) its just a laziest way to masturbate without having to come up with my own fantasies if I’m tired.. So it says much more about the way i masturbate than about the way I interact with a partner. And I suppose it’s the same for loads of guys. In fact, the article never says that he started watching porn when things went bad, but only that the wife found out then. Chances are, he was watching porn all along.

  14. One thing these kind of stories say to me is that couples really need to make time and space for their sexual relationship even after they have children. I don’t have kids myself but I have dpent years listening to friends talk about their relationships. I think sometimes it’s hard for women to think of themselves as sexual beings after they become mothers. They get too caught up in being “Super Mom” – nurturing, wholesome, maternal. They don’t feel like hot, carefree, sexy young chicks anymore. They feel a cognitive dissonance. They feel too many demands physically and emotionally. Trends like extended breast feeding and co-sleeping only make things worse. I have a friend who was breastfeeding for like 9 solid years (3 children 3 years apart). My sister and her husband slept in ine bed with all their kids and pets for like 8 years. They hardly ever had sex, according to my sister.

    None of these trends are necessarily bad but they can make adult needs subordinate to the child’s needs 100% of the time. From this perspective, for some women I think, sex seems selfish.

    I think parents need to feel more okay about being adults and allocating some time and energy to their own needs, sexuality included.

    • Sounds about right. I’m sure any generalization will be met with protests about exceptions, but while the situation you describe sounds common enough to almost be a cliché, I’ve hardly ever heard examples where the loss of libido after having kids occurred in men while the mother’s kept purring along full-steam. In other words, I see it as a pretty gendered problem, and a counterexample to claims that women’s sex drives are just as strong and consistent as men’s. I don’t think it’s an intentional thing or under conscious control, but diminished libido after kids seems as feminine a problem to me as PMS.

    • @Sarah:
      Very well said. Thank you! :-)

  15. Joanna said: “For women, it’s hard to understand that a man who isn’t getting sex often feels deeply unloved, undesirable, and disconnected. For many women, having a great conversation and hanging out watching TV together can connect them. I don’t know why there’s this difference, but we need to understand that even if what our partner needs is different from what we need, it is still legitimate and important. Without that understanding, marriages will (and do) fail.”

    Joanna, I strongly agree with this. It was a new discovery for me to learn that men can actually feel unloved and rejected if they don’t get sex often. It wasn’t something I naturally understood. I only learned of this through conversations with men and a lot of questioning where they would reveal such things in not so many words. I also think that in return it’s hard for men sometimes to understand that a woman can feel rejected sometimes when he seeks out visual images of other women having sex. Especially if he is interested in things she simply isn’t. That can also feel like a form of rejection for some women. And I think a lot of guys don’t get that.

    I also thing that sometimes after having kids, women feel less attractive as it is. They know they are getting older and they see the differences in their bodies and they don’t feel very sexy or lovable compared to all the images out there of really beautiful women. So this might drive a woman further away from sex and her own sexuality because she simply doesn’t feel anymore like a very sexually desirable woman.

    • I want to add that women always want to feel sexy and desired to have sex, but many of them dont realize that men also want to feel sexy and desired. If a man feel that they always the one who initiate sex, they need to beg and compromise to have sex, than he feel that his woman are simply not into it. If my partner are not really into it while having sex, i rather watch porn.

      Really, how many women say “youre hot, youre sexy” to their men? How many women initiate sex instead of thinking initiating is the man job? Only a few.

      I know my gf sometimes initiating , only want to give me a pity sex. I know shes not desire me that time , shes just do it like a duty to makes me keep love her. So i reject her. I prefer masturbating to porn than pity sex.

  16. While I wish you acknowledged more of what I was saying about the way women can also feel rejected, I understand your points.

    There is a lot of pressure in our culture for women to be the object of desire John. Which is why women are used more often to sell products and why women are often the object focused on visually in porn. So I think a lot of women see men that gravitate toward mediums that is about making the woman the object of sexuality, that it’s easy to forget that men also want to be seen as sexy and desirable.

    I can’t speak for your partner but I do know that I’ve had sex with my boyfriends when I wasn’t 100% up for it. Sometimes it was for fear that if I didn’t, he would find something else to be mroe entertained and intriqued by. It’s intimdating sometimes the things men have access to that can make a woman feel entirely excluded or on her own little island by herself while he very well may be on the next island over knee deep in internet babes. Other times I had sex when I didn’t feel like it was because it was an act of love where I wanted to meet his needs at the time even over my own. Sometimes just the touching and cuddling and kissing that leads to sex, even if I don’t finish myself, is a lot of fun too because I get a chance to feel close to him.

    The good thing about your gf is that she wants you to keep loving her. The bad thing is that you think her intentions and energies are misplaced and it doesn’t please you. I am sure your rejection hurts her. She might even know you reject her then go look at porn. Which may be why she doesn’t sincerely intiate more because of both the rejection of her advances and the porn. While some guys might not understand or believe it, porn does and can make a woman feel rejected for everything she is as herself.

  17. Let me say as well that with porn—like any other addictive substance—the difficulty lies in how much one uses it and the extent that it shuts down sexual activity with one’s mate. Couples who participate in porn together can experience some excitement but it is rarely interesting for women. For those who participate in secret and to the degree that it constitutes an addiction, porn use is the primary issue in their relationships

    If their participation is the primary issue in their relationships, then it can hardly be a secret, right?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Yes, if it is affecting the relationship—the partner doesn’t have to know what the reason is in order to know that there is a problem.

      If someone were having an affair and then retreating form his/her family because of the affair, the family wouldn’t have to know there was an affair in order to know there was a problem. Happens with drugs all the time, people think “something’s wrong here”

  18. Well, once again men are left holding the morality sexual bag when it comes to porn. Women, straight and lesbians, enjoy porn.Jenna Jamison, perhaps the most well known and paid porn star in the world, sells a plastic molding of her vagina online;talk about vagina monologue. Straight women, many of them married, go to watch hunky young guys at strip shows, a common occurrence,but are hardly ever mentioned in this morality context. Because of these obvious biases, it’s hard to take this kind of discussion seriously. Women depend on men sexually objectifying them,they crave the attention or haven’t you noticed that ,even in these difficult times, sales of Victoria Secret have increased double digits. Well respected sexual researchers Dr. Buss and Dr. Cindy Meston of Texas University have determined that women have sex for over 200 reasons. Among them; to get a better job, get a better grade,for revenge, and so on.Yet men and men alone are charged with turning sex into a commodity.Some of the biggest purveyors of sex this country has ever known have been madams.We treat women as if they are puritanical and they clearly are not. Imagine if a man complained about his girlfriend or wife going to a strip club or ogling the actor Dwayne Johnson or throwing her panties on stage at a rock star;he’d be told to man up and stop being so insecure.Just yesterday, in class, an attractive woman in my study group, wearing a shirt that purposely exposed her cleavage, moved to sit down in a chair directly below me.I was standing over the table our group was sitting. In order to see the table, I couldn’t avoid seeing her cleavage. i MOVED. I’ve even been called gay by some women when I didn’t respond to these veiled advances.These games allow women to give the woman to play without being held accountable and not deal with the pain of possible rejection. I guess man are much better suited to deal with rejection.

    • Jean Brandt says:

      Thank you for the balancing perspective. I have experienced this same phenomenon; there are some modern women who get off by turning men on while knowing they are going to brush them off; its the power play. Its not just men who do it. It may have been men who started objectification, but there is a definite part of the female psyche that enjoys male attention even if they are not actually planning on having sex. As a sensitive, emotional guy, I’ve been toyed with so much it makes me insecure, despite the fact I look like a rock star. Are there women out there who can be honestly sexual, without playing games? If I turn you on, tell me. If you turn me on, I’ll tell you. If we want to explore it mutually, then let’s get the mind games out of the way. I’m not saying people should be promiscuous; just honest and natural. Let’s just enjoy each other, intimately, with no ego stuff of proving who is more desirable.

      • I don’t think there’s an easy answer there. They say the mind is the biggest sex organ, so we get rid of mind games at our own peril. I think there’s a place for both blunt honesty and less direct seduction. But in the beginning, I think we’re mostly using the latter.

        For me, honesty is sometimes comforting and a source of certainty, but often boring. Maybe even clinical. Uncertainty is somewhat uncomfortable, but provides stimulation that feeds arousal and ultimately desire.

        I’m certainly not saying, make it an ego thing of proving who’s better. But, feeling wanted is good for the ego. For me anyway, a bit of seduction is much more satisfying than either a fine dissection of character and physical traits or just a direct, “I like/love you.” A woman who can confidently be verbally sexual, talking dirty, if you will, is even better. But I get the sense you’re referring to a phase in relationships where such bluntness might risk offending a stranger.

  19. Well comment are welcome on this post…Imagine that the female isn’t witholding sex, that she is ready anytime, but the male is rarely ready. Everyday, even at work the male looks at porn, teens, many years younger than his 40 year old wife, whos kids are nearly grown. The wife finds him on “dating sites” both dating and hookup sites, looking for a discreet realtionship. All the while the wife is nearly begging the male for attention, so the male starts an argument everytime….and she still doesnt get sex(no make up sex EVER) This man and wife never french kiss, its always a peck on the cheek. Now the wife has the attention of several men that want to give her the passion shes been missing, but she still wants her husband. Will this cycle ever end or does this marriage need a judge or counselor, or just prayer? Or just go for the instant passion?

    • Go see a counselor together. Both could be at fault, maybe he was rejected over n over by her earlier and grew a resentment, maybe she’s been a real B to him before, maybe he is simply addicted to porn n real sex doesn’t interest him, maybe he’s lost love for her, maybe he’s depressed as hell, there are many possibilities and not all of them are applicable. It’s possible theyr’e both doing stuff they have no idea is hurting their partner, one example would be criticizing a partner over their worth, such as a wife who criticizes her partner by saying you don’t earn enough and putting major pressure on him. Or she could have been a great wife but simply he’s an ass, or something happened with him to lose the love n passion. He may be polygymous and monogymy is too much for him.

      By the way I’m not saying either are at fault here, I dunno their story, just giving a list of potential issues. Clearly he’s desiring something else, but the question is was he driven away by her or did he simply lose interest? Was that interest because of a problem with him or just the annoying drifting apart people can have. Love is a strange beast, some people can fall out of love, some will think they are in love n get married, some marry for the kids, some people stay in the marriage because of the kids, or it’ll cost a lot to divorce, that passion they once felt might have burned away long ago. But it’s possible to spark it back up. Sometimes people just change…

      Hence why a counselor is needed, a third party that can get the two of them talking and stop their discussion turning into an argument. I can only add suggestions or guess at potential problems, but it’s something she has to ask him.

    • Sounds like he doesn’t want to be with her but doesn’t want to leave. You could try a counselor, but a judge seems like the more likely end. Unless you don’t want to leave either. In which case… keep missing out on what you want or go for the “instant passion.”

    • Personally I’d get a divorce under those circumstances, unless my husband is willing to get marriage counseling and seriously works on the issues in the marriage, whatever they are. If the kids are grown, not much reason to stay married just for the sake of the family. Everyone deserves happiness. He’s obviously happy about something — maybe he has no physical attraction for his wife anymore. And she deserves to find someone who thiks she’s desirable.

      • Sorry, he’s obviously UNhappy

        • Actually he says he’s very happy and sexually satisfied…He has PTSD from 3 deployments, and says he looks at that the porn and other women to stop the monotiny of the marriage….but the therapist has said he doesn’t think he’s worthy of love and thinks the wife will leave or cheat…due to his childhood….. He doesnt show affection, nor does any of his brothers or sisters…his Mom left them for drugs, and left them with their alcoholic father….

          WISH THE COUNSELORS GAVE AS MUCH FEEDBACK AS THEY DO ON HERE :)

  20. Why is it ok for a woman to a use vibrator or other aids for sexual satisfaction and not ok for men to use porn for the same reason? In fact, many argue that it is preferred.

    • and what about women who watch porn too?? My gf watch porn and she likes to masturbate to it. Am i feel threatened? not a bit. I think its silly feeling jealous and threatened for porn stars. And my gf watch gay male porn, full of handsome and hot guys, but i dont care.

    • Why is it ok for a woman to a use vibrator or other aids for sexual satisfaction and not ok for men to use porn for the same reason? In fact, many argue that it is preferred.

      Not saying that either is wrong, but one involves real people while the other involves an inanimate object. It’s really difficult to compare the two. And it does all depend on the porn user as well. Some men can watch porn for visual stimulation and then never think about the woman again or even be able to recognize her if they saw her. Others get caught up in it more. If I want to use a vibrator when my partner is not available for sex, that’s one thing. If he wants to use porn when I’m not available, it’s the same thing–as long as he doesn’t see the women as real people, but masturbation tools. If he starts going to sites dedicated to some of them, comparing me to them, writing about it, hoping he meets these performers–that’s when it gets different. There’s no threat in a vibrator. A man is always preferable. And NO man’s penis vibrates and has a built in clitoral simulator. Yet, there ARE women out there who are 18.

      • FlyingKal says:

        If he wants to use porn when I’m not available, it’s the same thing–as long as he doesn’t see the women as real people, but masturbation tools. If he starts going to sites dedicated to some of them, comparing me to them, writing about it, hoping he meets these performers–that’s when it gets different.

        As pointed out already in the comments above, many people, like the author of this article, don’t seem to make that distinction between porn as a tool for masturbation, and a s a tool for infidelity.

        There’s no threat in a vibrator. A man is always preferable. And NO man’s penis vibrates and has a built in clitoral simulator. Yet, there ARE women out there who are 18.

        Well then, seems to me that if you are looking for the vibrating sensation, the man isn’t actually preferable. ;-)

      • actually, many women who too much using vibrator cannot orgasm with normal stimulation. Normal doesnt mean PIV, its oral, fingering. So how hard the man try making her orgasm with foreplay and not just penetration sex, she cant orgasm. The only way to orgasm is to bring the vibrator to bed. How do you feel if your men can only orgasm with bring porn to bed????

  21. Like most things, it’s not what you do but the way that you do it.
    Ideally, the appropriate type of porn (not beastiality, violent, child etc) can be used communally to enhance a couples sex life. Women’s and men’s brains respond to pornography in a matter of time, more time for women, but its biological. The genders are hardwired differently but libido is not a matter of greater or lesser, just very different. It’s important to gauge your partners response to real sexual activity and not try to emulate porn, because depending on what you watch the reality of it is that hurts like a mother.
    As long as both parties feel comfortable and arent competing with actors, i believe quality, respectful porn can be a great addition to sex.

    • “The genders are hardwired differently but libido is not a matter of greater or lesser, just very different.”

      You’ll have a hard time selling that line to most men. My wife sure as shit had a greater libido when I married her. If she hadn’t, wouldn’t have. If I knew then then what I do know now….

    • Porm adds to your sex life = biggest lie ever, only spoken by guys addicted to porn, been there, studies prove, big fat lie.

  22. Interesting article, very interesting comments. I would just like to add that I am unaware of any aspect of pornography that emasculates a man.

  23. Genevieve says:

    My ex would stay up really late watching porn, whilst I would be in bed ready and willing to have sex with him, but he would then come to bed very late and try to have sex with me. Obviously I was resentful that he didn’t want to be intimate with me from the start, so that’s the reason I started to withhold sex . If you put no effort into being intimate with your partner before you even get to the bedroom, you cannot expect her to feel like having sex with you when you feel like it.

    • Did you tell him any of this or just hope he’d “get the message”?

      • Genevieve says:

        I told him a couple of times..he chose to trivialise my concerns, so I stopped having sex completely and dumped his stupid ass!

        • Good for you!! If more women would stand up then maybe more men might “get it”.

        • Sorry you went through that. Some people get addicted and it’s a shame, especially when they don’t listen. There are other men n women who will look at porn even in a relationship but won’t be addicted, might be just a rare occurrence when you both can’t be together for some reason, many couples use it together even. But when a partner is being ignored and porn is the first priority it’s a hugeeee problem, it should never be first priority.

  24. I gew up in an unhealthy household. I have all sisters and my stepfather wa the protector of us all. When I was young, too young, I witnessed my stepfather and the neightborhood cop exchanging porn in a dark corner on our porch. I remember think “why are they hiding?” As I got older it continued. Sometimes he would forget and leave Playboy or Penthouse in the bathrm. It ruined me. How could this man, who had 4 daughters, watch and partake in these images that made me feel like I was reduced to nothing more than body parts. It ruin my life and contimues to do so today. I am now a 4o yr old woman who is destroyed by this. Some people may say its overboard but I cannot deny or erase how I feel. I wish I could When I was a teenager and Id hang around with neighborhood boys, they would pull out the hidden magazines and that feeling in my stomach came roaring back, I break out in sweat, Id wince my eys and fight back tears. I thought I had safe guarded myself the best I could as I got older, choosing men who could protect me from this awful feeling, only to find it doesnt exist.

    • Why did you in particular feel that way from the magazines they read? I’m sure they still loved you, loved women etc and I have a feeling you know this. Having your life destroyed by it is on the extreme scale of what I’ve heard in reaction to porn, I believe you, but I am curious on what exactly makes it so damaging for you? Do you think he only saw them as body parts or did he see them as sexually attractive women, realized they had minds with their bodies n respected both?

    • I can relate PJ. It just feels disrespectful to know that the men in our lives like seeing women depicted and treated and stereotyped a certain way to fit into their fantasies. Sadly, it’s even more invasive today then it was for your father. But it seems like women are just commodities to be selled, exchanged and enjoyed for male pleasure. Women aren’t worth a heck of a lot in this world. Especially to a lot of men. sometimes even men that are fathers of daughters and husbands to wives.

      • Erin said “Especially to a lot of men. sometimes even men that are fathers of daughters and husbands to wives.”

        that’s what I just can’t understand. Why fathers would do that. that’s somebody’s daughter, Would these same men encourage their own daughters to become porn stars? To let themselves be “used” as an object. I just don’t get where the degrading and objectifing of ANY human being is healthy to watch or even fantasize about. Isn’t that the defination of pervert? As a man, I for one have always thought porn to be disgusting. I’ve always been very out-spoken about it around my male friends. I also don’t get where this attitude “all men do it”. All men do NOT watch porn. In my circle of friends (about 20 males) only ONE watches porn, and he is ashamed and hides it. He knows it’s wrong. Ladies, there are some good men out there. You just have to look really hard and ask a lot of questions. And keep asking until you get the truth. If a man turns to porn because of stress, aging, anger, low self-esteem, boredom, whatever – that’s a man with a problem. He does not have mature cooping skills to deal with life’s little (or big) set backs.

        • Nick, mostly says:

          Dan, I’m trying to understand your position so please let me know if I’m wrong in my characterization.

          Why fathers would do that. that’s somebody’s daughter, Would these same men encourage their own daughters to become porn stars? To let themselves be “used” as an object.

          Do you see this as distinct from sons who become porn stars? Is there a difference between how you view Sasha Grey and James Dean? Is one used and the other the user, or are they both being used?

          I just don’t get where the degrading and objectifing of ANY human being is healthy to watch or even fantasize about. Isn’t that the defination of pervert?

          I don’t know that “pervert” is the right word. I’m guessing this is the definition you have in mind in your use of the word:

          pervertnoun |ˈpərvərt|
          a person whose sexual behavior is regarded as abnormal and unacceptable.

          I’m troubled by this word “abnormal” because it supposes we know what “normal” is. People lie about their sexual fantasies and behavior; they present an image of being “normal” while engaging in the very same behavior they condemn. Should “normal” be what people do, or what they say they do?

          I also don’t get where this attitude “all men do it”. All men do NOT watch porn. In my circle of friends (about 20 males) only ONE watches porn, and he is ashamed and hides it.

          Well, it comes from a Canadian study where they were unable to find a control group of men who didn’t watch porn. I’m sure there are men who don’t use porn, but do note you have 19 friends who self-report that they don’t watch porn. Given the problem researchers have found, that people lie to them – men and women alike – about their sexual behavior, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t one or two of the 19 that are more ashamed and hide it even better.

          Ladies, there are some good men out there. You just have to look really hard and ask a lot of questions. And keep asking until you get the truth.

          I don’t agree with the equivocation I think you are making, that “good men” and the set of men who watch porn are mutually exclusive. I think the primary characteristic of a “good man” is an honest man, one who is honest with himself and in his dealings with others. If you want a partner that doesn’t use porn, I believe a good man will be one who is honest about his porn use or non-use so you can make an informed decision.

          If a man turns to porn because of stress, aging, anger, low self-esteem, boredom, whatever – that’s a man with a problem. He does not have mature cooping skills to deal with life’s little (or big) set backs.

          Why exactly does he have a problem? Do you believe that all porn is bad, that there can be no such thing as morally acceptable porn use? If so, what is the basis for your categorical moral judgement? If not, is your judgement reserved solely for that porn that is abusive or degrading?
          What about couples that watch porn together? Is that a couple with a problem?

        • It absolutely disgusts me when people imply a good man doesn’t watch porn. Most of my friends, male and female, watch porn. They’re good people. They’re not misogynists/misandrists, they believe in equality.

          I seriously wonder if half the commenters here actually know people that look at porn or if they simply want to keep demonizing it as perverted. And in fact the majority of people in the west probably look at porn, so it’s not a perversion.

          • I thnk many good men watch porn. I think many men that love their daughters and love their wives look at porn. That doesn’t mean they are looking at things that are respectful to women. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t on some level disrespecting women. That doesn’t mean that it’s good to watch porn. Many good men do a lot of things everyday that aren’t so *good* all the time. That’s the nature of being a human being. The same can be said for women. Many good women make poor choices everyday. Many good women that love their husbands sometimes treat them in ways that seem very disrespectful to the husband. It would behoove her to listen to him and understand what makes him feel disrespected and change her behavior . If one partner is doing something that makes the other feel disrespected, that partner can have the choice to say “no” and keep doing that thing that makes their partner feel disrespected or change their behavior. I know there are things I have done that made boyfriends feel disrespected. I did my best to work on those things even though I didn’t think they were disrespectful. Men and women sometimes feel disrespected by different things.

            Just because a man loves his daughter and his wife, doesn’t mean that his porn habits are good. Just because a man watches porn, doesn’t mean anyone is saying he is “bad”. Not at all. I think many good men watch porn. I actually think that men do themselves a disservice by allowing porn into their lives like they do. I think they actually disrespect themselves in the process and their sexuality. Good men are just as capable of treating partners badly (on purpose or not on purpose) as they are in treating partners well.

            • I dont’ disagree with you on the most part, people need to be mindful of the content they watch. I’ll say there are a few I think who look at respectful n decent porn with the consent of their partner, or their partner joins in as well and that wouldn’t be degrading to women in my view. But if they’re looking at something like brazzers/bangbus which isn’t in my opinion a decent porn production, then yeah it’s pretty degrading. If they’re looking at it behind the partners back that is another problem, and if they’re allowing it into their lives as much as you say that is also another problem I think people need to deal with. There are limits to how much you can watch and enjoy, the content you look at, etc.

              But I do still think you can have people with partners n daughters that have decent porn habits but they’re the ones who have partners that give the OK and are aware of porn’s impact and don’t go overboard. Remember though there are men in porn so if it’s affecting women as much, it should also be affecting his sons, males in some porn are nothing but swinging dicks to penetrate and perform to a level that requires medication which is degrading in itself. That + how the women are treated are why I avoid most pro porn, I’ve found you can usually tell it’ll be shit because the actor and actresses skin will be tanned in a fake looking way and they’ll have body augmentations, the way their skin looks is so fake and it’s correlated with degrading n bad quality in my experience.

            • Btw, just in case you were wondering I was referring to a broad range of websites, blogs, opinion pieces, real life discussions on porn where SOME women have been pretty demonizing n quite frankly pretty damn confusing about male’s porn use. Some of the more extreme anti-porn views like those from the 70’s radfems? And I’ve even had a woman tell me that porn is rape? 2 consenting actors is rape, all porn is rape (including any porn I’ve ever made myself?). Boggles the mind.

  25. Olufunmi says:

    I’m really not in support of Pornography or anything related to it, though my spouse seem to find pleasure in staring at nude women and fantasizing. I got to find out later that he is a bit addicted to it and it breaks my heart to know that. Sometime ago, I found out he signed up to this particular dating site looking for ‘intimate online relationships’ with other women because we are both miles apart. I felt really heart broken and since then, I’ve not been able to trust him completely. I really try as much not to let it get to me, so I just pray about it, believing someday, he will come to realize how much it affects our relationship.

  26. Much thanks! It is definitely an astounding web-site.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] more at Good Men Project Share this:ShareEmailFacebookTwitterRedditPrint This entry was posted in Information: and tagged [...]

  2. [...] These are comments by FlyingKal and Dan on the post “The Truth about Porn and Relationships“. [...]

  3. [...] This is a comment by Sarah on the post “The Truth about Porn and Relationships“. [...]

  4. [...] What happens when a good guy likes porn a leeeetle too much? He probably spends a lot of time shaving his palms… (Good Men Project) [...]

  5. [...] it because she was withholding sex from him. Her trust was shattered and he was angry. Read more at http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-good-life-the-truth-about-porn-and-relationships/#kRk… Posted in Couples, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Women admin Leave a reply ← [...]

Speak Your Mind