What is my role? My husband is addicted to pornography…

I have been married for 5 years.  3 months ago I discovered my husband was looking at pornography.  He finally admitted he has been addicted to pornography since he was a teenager, but as it became more accessible (through internet, smart phones, etc…) the problem increased. 
I obviously had a hard time with this discovery but reached a point where I felt I was able to forgive him.  He has been “clean” since my discovery, but from everything I’ve read there will most likely be relapses.  Our sex life has never been great.  I’ve always felt like it was very “mechanical” and “passionless”.  Understanding the effects pornography can have on intimacy, I now understand how this played into our poor sex life. 
Since discovering his addiction, a new problem has emerged in our sex life… I panic.  I’m not exactly sure why I panic, but I think it might be when I sense he is getting aroused.  As soon as I sense he is getting aroused, even if we are just kissing, my brain completely disengages and I panic.  I understand that it is okay for a wife to arouse her husband, but I have a hard time differentiating from the arousal he would get from viewing porn, to the arousal he gets from me.  I feel like I am no different from the porn he would view and the idea of having sex makes me feel sick.  I have caught myself purposely showering when he isn’t home because I am afraid if he sees me naked that he will become aroused and want to have sex, and in my mind that is the same as him viewing pornography and getting aroused and then wanting to masturbate.  I understand that bonding chemicals are created through intimacy and orgasm and it is obviously better for him to be bonding with me, than with pornography, but I still feel uncomfortable.
Things got to a point where I was having a panic attack (yes, I have a history of anxiety) that would end in tears any time we were remotely intimate because I would feel bad for being a “bad wife” and not wanting to have sex with him.  I know it is his responsibility to get his addiction under control, but I feel like if I don’t have sex with him that he will be more likely to have a relapse, so I pressure myself.  A few weeks ago I finally instituted “Monday Sex”.  I know that on Monday’s we are going to have sex before we go to bed and I have all day to talk myself into it.  In my mind I can then feel like he is getting a somewhat regular “release” and won’t be as likely to relapse and then don’t feel as bad (“as” being the keyword) during the week when we don’t have sex. 
Trust is obviously another issue.  I feel like everything he does or says is done in order to have sex with me.  I figure that he was getting regular stimulation and arousal through pornography and an orgasm through masturbation, and so he must be missing that.  I feel like he is trying to figure out a “legal” way to get the same stimulation and orgasm with me.  He assures me that his actions aren’t preconceived and he isn’t plotting and planning, but if something he does or says leads to us having sex he is obviously okay with that.  I feel like he would only want to kiss me or cuddle with me if he thought it would lead to sex, otherwise he wouldn’t be interested.  And then if we do kiss or cuddle I feel bad that he is aroused and then feel pressured to have sex with him, so I just avoid all intimacy. 
I’ve done google searches for hours trying to find information on other wives that have a hard time having sex with their husbands after they discover the addiction.  I can’t find anything about this.  It makes me feel like I’m the only one with a problem, and maybe my issues go deeper. 
My questions are, 1)- Is it “normal”, or at least somewhat common for wives to be reluctant to have sex with their husbands after the discovery of pornography addiction? If so, does this issue resolve itself in time, or is there something I’m supposed to be doing? 2)- I’m not sure why I panic.  Do you have any other ideas why I panic other than the mental conflict about arousal and feeling manipulated?  and 3)- How much pressure is healthy for me to be putting on myself to have sex with him?  Do I need to “grin and bear it” every time he wants to have sex?  I want to help him overcome his addiction and want him to feel loved and supported.  At the same time I can’t ignore my own needs and concerns. You speak very well to the delicate balancing act many couples are trying to navigate as they deal with the disclosure of pornography usage within their marriage.  Hurt, confusion, and meaning attached to the behavior are all complicated things to sort out.  Here are some basic thoughts:

  • Finding out your spouse has acted in a way that betrays the trust and understanding of what it means to be faithful to your sexual relationship can be devastating.  In fact many spouses who find out about hidden pornography usage experience similar feelings as to those going through infidelity.  So, yes, your feelings are normal and you are both going to need to make room for your grief.
  • Your feelings specifically around not wanting to be intimate with him sexually are also normal.  You are feeling betrayed – in a way that attacks your sense of sensuality from a personal, cultural, and religious perspective.
  • It sounds like you are willing to forgive your husband and be part of the team approach needed between couples to figure out what role pornography is playing and why.  At the same time, forgiveness is a process.  You may intellectually feel like you understand these issues, and that his pornography use does not have to do with you – but it may take time for your heart to follow your brain.  More than likely you have your own stigmas and biases as to how you perceive pornography that also need to be worked through. And trust just takes time to reinstate.
  • The words which are impeding for both of you to get what you want out of a mutually healthy sexual relationship are: pressure, fear, anxiety, panic, etc.  These feelings are not compatible with sexual abandon and safety.  The best place to start is with the acknowledgement, normalization and communication of these feelings with one another.  It’s OK to currently find yourselves in this situation.  You won’t stay here as you move forward together.
  • If I was working with you I would want to have more clarity on how you guys define “addiction.”  Sometimes this label can be useful and other times it is more shaming and inappropriately used.  The visual stimulation pornography offers is effective in getting most adults aroused – there is some research to suggest that men are even more visually stimulated than women.  And since sexual drive is biological and cyclic – it is not surprising that pornography becomes a repetitive behavior.  I would also want to know how you define pornography versus erotica.
  • If your husband truly has an addiction or impulse problem (meaning it would be diagnosable), then you can see this as a journey to “sobriety” you can take with him and come out at the other end closer than ever before.  It is through facing our weaknesses together that an entirely different type of marital intimacy can be reached.  Secrecy, shame and fear feed compulsion and addiction.  So at least this is out in the open now – that’s a great first step for both of you.
  • I’m glad you say “I can’t ignore my needs.”  It will be important for you to be open in expressing your needs to your husband throughout your sexual life together.  I would not encourage you to put pressure on yourself to have sex with him.  Give yourself time to heal.  If you want to be close to him, be close to him.  If you don’t, don’t.  As trust and openness increases – your desire to be intimate will return on its own timeline – and genuinely so instead of artificially.
  • A pornography problem is not something you are going to be able to fix for your husband.  It is not your job to give him enough sex so he won’t look at porn.  It is not your job to lose or gain weight so you can compete with porn.  Pornography is not about real sex.  It is not about real intimacy. Pornography use is stimulating and often a coping mechanism.  It can serve as your common enemy – instead of turning on each other. What you can offer your husband as his “helpmeet” is a compassionate, loving and respectful approach to his sexual development, anxieties, and understanding of how he views himself through a sexual lens.
  • Often secret pornography usage is a sign of sexual immaturity or an immaturity in our ability to be as vulnerable as it takes to be truly intimate with another person.  And we tend to be somewhat sexually immature in our LDS culture – it remains a taboo topic with a lot of mysticism and not enough access to relevant or helpful information.  So I’m not surprised that your sex life has been somewhat lackluster up until now.  You’re not alone!  Sexual maturity comes when we are able to redefine a successful sexual encounter as more than just intercourse, ejaculation and/or orgasm.  It comes when we are able to communicate our needs and respect our partner’s needs.  It comes with the ability to withstand an understandable rejection, to reject respectfully and to compromise when libidos differ significantly.  There are many types of sex one can have with one’s spouse which don’t leave one feeling they need to do something they don’t want to be doing.  Attaining sexual maturity can be a fun and exciting venture you can both look forward to.
  • Pigeonholing your husband into the “he only wants sex” label is dangerous.  The most common side effect of doing this – is the rejection of all other types of physical intimacy, in fear it will lead to actual sex.  This is why it is important to have a repertoire of “sexual tools” you can both use to take the pressure off of the actual sexual encounter.  Once you can say something like “I’m not in the mood to have intercourse tonight but I would be comfortable with watching you self-stimulate,” then it gives you both freedom and a sense of even being closer together.  And in the meantime you can enjoy and ask for touch you enjoy such as cuddling, holding hands, a back rub, etc.
  • Many women I work with who have found out about their husband’s pornography use report feeling fear around becoming pornography themselves in the minds of their husbands (i.e. what are they thinking about while having sex with me?).  I talk often about not letting pornography steal your inner sexual diva; your sultriness; your sexiness; your playfulness; your inner tigress; your fantasies; etc.  As your husband hopefully moves from the secrecy of pornography usage to learning how to embrace the intimacy potential within your relationship – the goal would be for both of you to move towards a more rich, communicative and honest sex that has room for both “naughty” and “nice.”  Sex that has room for nuance and exploration – not held hostage by the pornography industry.  Don’t give porn this power!  If you’re talking to each other during sex you won’t have to wonder what either of you are thinking.
  • Go see a good sex/marital therapist to help you both through this process and unearth any possible underlying issues for either of you.  A good therapist, whether LDS or not, should help you both feel comfortable and treat your religious values with respect. AASECT or AAMFT are good places to find a qualified therapist near you.
  • As far as reading material: I recommend The Porn Trap by Wendy Maltz.  I also recommend her website.
  • I would encourage you to talk to your doctor about the fact you are having panic attacks.  Medication may be part of helping you through this time and he/she would be able to assess for that.  Also, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook has a good chapter on dealing with panic attacks.

Porn is naturally arousing and peaks people’s curiosity.  It doesn’t have to have more power than that.  My main concern within the LDS culture has to do with us giving it much more power than it deserves.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03397861817336193206 Strong Man

    The detail feelings of this commenter are helpful, as is your response."If I was working with you I would want to have more clarity on how you guys define "addiction." "–Agreed–we don't know much about the actual behaviors here."Pigeonholing your husband into the "he only wants sex" label is dangerous."–Yes. I wonder if part of the struggle for this and many women, is not just the discovery of porn, but also the discovery of how frequently and strongly a man desires sex. She forgets that there is nothing wrong with actual intimacy with a wife–and that she has a very important role to play in that area. "My main concern within the LDS culture has to do with us giving it much more power than it deserves. "Absolutely. I would be very interested in your thoughts on ways in which our culture actually gives porn more power that it deserves? Is it through constant fear of exposure to any kind of immodesty and repression of any kind of arousal, we create more harm for ourselves than we solve? Is it through telling young men to avoid all masturbation, as a "sin next to murder," that we're creating a much bigger battle than we need to create?

  • Bradley

    "My main concern within the LDS culture has to do with us giving it much more power than it deserves."I'd like to hear more on this too. I, and others, have experienced porn use completely disappear as soon as we allow ourselves to believe that the LDS cultural perspective on all things sex is warped, especially when it comes to proper sexual outlets.

  • Anonymous

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10430384794341843960 Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT

    I very much appreciate when people post comments that disagree with my answers – I feel challenge is important to the process of discussion and learning. Unfortunately, if these challenges are posted in a way that are disrespectful to the original poster or contain foul language I do not publish them. This policy goes back to my initial intent of having this site be a safe place for all who choose to visit. And this blog program does not let me edit comments. So we lose the entire comment – much of which is usually useful – because of certain delivery methods. I would ask those commenting to please do so tastefully and respectfully so I can approve all comments that come in. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Your reply Natasha was beautiful in indicating the potential for intimacy and all that it requires. I think for a lot of people this is revolutionary,and I'd love what you've said here to be more widely available. Have you thought of publishing Natasha-whilst I understand the reach of the internet,I'd love to give your book as a gift to others!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10430384794341843960 Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT

    Thank you anon 2/19.Stay tuned about a book. I'm working on hopefully getting something underway.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06708043606759633116 The Marriage Dr

    A word of warning to the writer of this letter. Often, women who discover their husbands are addicted to porn unknowingly take on a "blamer and shamer" role. In other words, they unknowingly blame and shame their husband for looking at porn. This is understandable. Wives feel hurt when their husbands look at porn and as a society we consequence bad behavior so it's a natural thing to blame and shame those who have done bad things. This will ultimately do no good for you or your marriage and it will likely contribute to a relapse on his part. By continuing to blame and shame him regarding pornography, it will make it difficult for him to talk to you about it and will only enforce the cycle of secrecy. Instead, take an honest sincere approach and talk about his pornography be supportive and constructive when you talk about it. It's hard and you may need help (from a bishop or therapist) to help you but you can do it. Which will ultimately bring your marriage closer together

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the above marriage Dr, however, never do so to the point that you sacrifice your own needs and wants. Yes, your husband needs help, but so do you.I too am a wife who's husband is a recovering porn addict. Your feelings were very similar to mine. I just want you to know that you are not alone. Even when you are sitting in church, surrounded by many people who don't have a clue what is going on, you are not alone!

  • Joy

    I have also found myself on this unexpected journey with my husband. What about the times I find myself wondering if he has relapsed? Would it do more harm than good to confront him and ask him? Is this more about my insecurities and lack of trust, than him? If he hasn’t relapsed, I wouldn’t want to bring it all up again, especially if he has repented and moved on. But I also would want to know that he has relapsed, if he has, so that I could do my best to help him.
    I hope this made sense.

  • Edward

    I hear the word “addiction” in LDS culture all the time but does the current, or soon-to-be revised version of the DSM even see porn use as a mental disorder or impairment unless it is so pervasive that it might fit maybe 1 or 2% of the men and women who use porn? We can in any conservative religion see porn as bad or immoral but I really hesitate to give it a psychological label when practically no people involved in determining psychological disorders see it that way.

  • Melanie

    Natasha,
    I have been scouring the internet to find an answer to my question….My boyfriend just admitted to being addicted to porn, he is in meetings and recovering (3weeks)..I think it a good idea to abstain from sex, but we’re unclear on kissing and being too close, so close I can feel him getting aroused…what exactly should we be or not be doing at this point?? He says his brain has to re-boot, and i’m afraid that won’t happen if he keeps coming on to me so heavily???? Thank-you for your time……

  • April

    I am not one to really give any advice on any of this as my marriage is only 4 months into this healing process of an impulse/porn addiction but I have been married for 20+ years and am willing to stay connected with him as I do love him. I think Melanie that porn addiction and sexual relations with your significant other are two completely different things and should be kept separate. So don’t go there mentally. Porn does release certain brain chemicals per the research that we have done and your boy friend is correct that his brain does need re-booting. I think that we all need/want to be close to our partners and sex can help with that as long as ALL of it is honest. I get what Joy is saying. It is hard to ask the questions of how it is going and have you had any relapses. My husband has had a few. It is tough. This is going to be a life-long road. My questions now are- should all porn be off limits as a couple ( our therapists says if it works for us then that is all that matters but I wonder) and what about other avenues of strip clubs, Vegas shows, etc? I want to give him things that he and I enjoy but am not willing to do these things if they are not mentally healthy for him. Any feedback is welcomed.

  • Barbranne Herrera

    Portrait of Our Marriage, by Martha Emms is out now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!
    How does a wife compete with pornography? Some will call her a wimp, others will say she’s a woman in love trying to hold her family together. Will porn consume her marriage and change the man she loves? You decide, it will all be worth the read. Can one book make you smile, think, touch your heart, turn you on, see different sides, break your heart & twist your insides up? My book can!
    This is not a story about the famous. It is not about hype, fame, or fortune, no headlines or big custody lawsuits. It is a woman’s story that you don’t want to miss. Fun, erotic, compelling, and so real you may find it shocking. The truth is never easy if it compromises what you hold dear. A love, marriage and family, the romance will seduce you. The story could be yours.
    Portrait of Our Marriage is a fictional memoir. It is erotic, there are very descriptive sex scenes, adult real life romance. The story is about porn addiction from a wife’s point of view. It is over 2 years worth of work. May I add that the sex scenes are not just thrown in there for sex they are part of their relationship and marriage. I believe the issue of porn addiction is very important and more prevalent than people realize. It is also very easy to find information about this issue for men but very little info is out there for or from women dealing with their husbands addiction. The book is not a recommendation of how one should handle the issue but it does show one woman’s journey. My book is so much more than just the sex it is The Story.

  • Steve

    I don’t know if the woman who asked the question still sees these comments, but I’d like to share a couple thoughts from the other side of the fence.

    My wife recently found out about my secretive viewings and I very much appreciate hearing the perspective of another female who has been hurt. I sense a lot of the same emotion in my wife but, we are not even past the stage of whether she’ll leave me or not. The thought of “Monday Sex” is dream I could only hope for right now. (honestly, it’s a dream I would have loved years ago too.)

    I am also struggling with the addiction label. Yes, it has been going on, and off, for 20+ years. Yes, I viewed it despite knowing it would hurt her, and my children. Yes, I knew that it would hurt me. I did it anyway. That part fits with addiction. However, for me, it was not so much of a compulsory force driving me as it was more of a poor application of logic to solve a problem.

    Something which may, or may not, be unique to me is that it was not about the fantasy. I never wanted my wife to do what the women in porn did. I’ve never wanted her to look like or act like them. I always enjoyed what few encounters we had together and did not bring porn into my mind when I was with her. That’s not to say there weren’t passing thoughts. Just that there was never a prevailing thought.

    I know that she now struggles with feeling like she was a prostitute all these years. I know that she hides her nakedness from me, the same way this woman described. It hurts me to see her so confused by what she recently learned. I wish that I could explain it to her, but obviously, I am the last person to whom she’ll listen right now. She also recently expressed that I only told her she was beautiful when I wanted sex. I certainly hope that wasn’t true and I don’t believe it was. However, it’s not the kind of comment one can disprove on the spot. What I do know, for me, is that I would thoroughly enjoy sex on a daily basis but, I’m okay with it on a weekly basis too. I only began to complain when it dropped to monthly and didn’t get frustrated until it dropped to semi annual. Enjoying sex does not make me a sex fiend and viewing porn didn’t either.

    Clearly a couple hundred words on a website are not enough to truly gauge what any woman’s, or her husband’s, experiences are. However, I think it helps to know that men and women perceive porn differently and I hope that sharing my story will help give some women the strength to step back and realize that their husband may not be as bad as her initial shock and emotions may suggest.

    I also wanted to share an idea for possible intimacy/trust exercise. Instead of scheduling “Monday Sex”, schedule “cuddling only” sessions. He will likely still get aroused but, that needn’t be where to get concerned. Be extremely clear as to what will and won’t be permitted, in terms of touch and undress, before you begin. The, and stick to the rules. Even if she starts to think she’d be okay going further, it’s more important to build a sense that he respects her enough to abide by the rules. Abiding by that rule can be an indicator that he’ll abide by the no more porn rule too.

    • disapointment

      i am so impressed by your honesty.

  • Completely lost

    I’ve been with my husband for 16 years, we have always had a great, amazing, interesting sex life I mean there’s very few things we’ve not tried and he knows that because of my trust in him and my love for him there’s nothing I’m not willing to do… Recently as in the last 6 months porn has gotten outta hand crazy to the point it’s day in and day out on his phone and he lies and hides it… I’ve done everything to try to make my self better for him I’ve lost so much weight I weigh 150 and I don’t know what to do.. It leaves me to think that because of our sex history it has nothing more to do then there’s something wrong with me and I don’t know what to do

  • http://diaryofasparrow.blogspot.com/ Hope Sparrow

    I am an LDS wife of a recoverying porn addict. Here’s my story and how I am finding healing…
    http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/2013/02/14/healing-for-the-afflicted-spouse/
    There are many of us LDS women who are struggling with our husband’s addiction, but we’re finding hope and healing through Christ and the 12 Steps Addiction recovery program.
    I appreciate what has been shared here. Thank you for the resources and information. I will be sharing it with the women on the Hope and Healing LDS Forum. I want to extend an invitation to any women out there struggling with their husband’s porn addiction to come join us on the Forum. It’s a private place to share your story, get support from other LDS wives like you, and become educated about pornography addiction.
    http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/forum-for-wives/

    • http://hallryan@me.com karen

      Sorry it does not help, it is not confidential and others use it to gossip and make the woman feel even worse. The LDS does a lot of service and A lot of good but when it comes to this topic they only cause more pain and confusion sorry. Other religions are much better at helping with this problem. I think the intentions are good but there is a compassionate chip missing.

  • http://Letstryagain2.blogspot.com Letsy

    I could have written the original post – so no you aren’t alone. My advise would be to be true to yourself, I spent years doing what you are describing, believing is as helping him to not act out, only to find out after all my “sacrificing” he was still viewing porn all the time. Now I am working the 12 steps and trying to find healing from all my years of “sacrificing”. I say sacrificing because I was having sex when I didn’t want to, and ways I didn’t want to because I thought if he was happy he would stop slipping. He never went more then 2 days without a release , and even with it being that often with me he still chose to view porn.

  • Completely lost

    So how do you handle it when your aware it’s a problem but it’s not acknowledged by him? How do you deal with the feelings of being incompetent even after giving him everything sexually possible he’s ever wanted or asked for and porn just now becoming a problem?? How do you come back from that? I love him more then anything but I don’t know what more I could do or give him

  • http://hopeandhealinglds.com Hope and Healing admin

    karen,
    If you were referring to the Hope and Healing forum, if you feel so inclined, I would welcome feedback about why the forum made you feel worse. hopeandhealinglds a/ gmail.

    If you were speaking generally about how misunderstandings and shaming in religious cultures can sometimes add to the problem, you would be right. But please know that doctrinally speaking, the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are full of mercy and hope and compassion because Jesus Christ and HIS mercy and love and compassion are at the center of our doctrine. The culture may not always reflect that, but that is the doctrinal truth.

    That said, sometimes people confuse the high standards of chastity (including not looking on people to lust) with a lack of compassion, and that is unfortunate. True intimacy is fostered when love is the driving force, not lust. Even non-religious programs such as Sexaholics Anonymous recognize this truth. Healthy sexuality is a process, as Natasha points out, but there is a lot of misconception in the world about what healthy sexuality really is.

  • http://hopeandhealinglds.com Michelle

    p.s. I tend to disagree with Natasha that there is a significant distinction between erotica and pornography — not only because of how both tend to feed lust and can be addictive but also because of the impact the industry that *creates* the material has on our society. In my view (and in the view of many others such as Porn Harms, Pink Cross, and other organizations) the whole industry is a machine that ultimately harms women and children (and men, too), perpetuates the sex slavery problem (even in the good ol’ USA), distorts truth about true intimacy, and traps too many in addictions and compulsions.

    I would also point people to ASAM’s exploration of sex/lust/pornography addiction. (e.g., http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/search/node/asam) The DSM may not recognize pornography use as an addictive behavior, but specialists in the field of addiction medicine do. Besides, either way, at some point, whether addiction or compulsion, it’s important to realize the harm of pornography use and lust-as-driver-and-drug in relationships. To me it’s about championing freedom and soul- and mind- and heart-level healing, not wanting to increase shame.

    As such I totally and completely agree with Natasha that we ought not use shame as a driver for healing (and for some the word ‘addiction’ can trigger feelings of shame), but neither should we minimize the fact that sexual drives and behavior are connected to the same pleasure centers of the brain that are affected by drug use and abuse. Too many people use sex to fill a hole in their lives, rather than share a fullness from their healthy selves.

    I think some of the best descriptions of true intimacy come from those who have walked the path of addiction recovery and talk about the difference in their relationships once lust is not the driving force behind sex — once sex is not used as a drug. Rowboatandmarbles.org is a good example of one such personal experience kind of site. He uses personal experience to engage the discussion that gets beyond whether porn use itself is a problem and explores more of the heart of where we often miss the mark in religious dialogue and in discussions about healthy intimacy and recovery from addictive/compulsive sexual behaviors.

    • AS

      I am a recovering addict with a little more than a year of sobriety/recovery behind me. I have no problem with the label of “addict” for myself. I am sure that there is a whole spectrum of addiction behaviors, feelings, impulses, and compulsions, and I fall somewhere on each of these spectrums. It doesn’t matter to me. The label is immaterial if I am focusing on what I feel truly matters, which is my sobriety and my ability to truly connect with my wife, my kids, and others. The “addiction” (a rose by any other name…) for me is a hiding mechanism that allows me to withdraw from life, rather than connect with life and others in my life. This, for me is the problem, when I am using porn or masturbation as a coping mechanism, I don’t engage in my life, and that creates the fear, anxiety and distrust in my wife that makes her feel like she is “crazy”, since I am otherwise a normal guy. She has shared many of the emotions with me that have been described in earlier posts, and I have seen the pain that these emotions cause her. Whatever label I choose to wear, or am given, if I fail to create the safety for her in our relationship that she deserves, then I am not doing my job as her husband and partner.
      I agree with Michelle that there is no distinction for me between erotica, porn, bra ads, swimsuit editions, suggestive ads, etc. etc. etc.. All of these things feed my withdrawing behavior into the unreal, and take me out of my life with those I love. There is not a healthy way, to me, to engage in the unreal sexualization of porn, erotica, etc., without harming my spirit and causing me to lose my connection with God. When I lose that connection with God, I am then unable to connect with others in my life. Then I fail in my role as husband, father, priesthood bearer, and leader in my family.
      To me, there is not a way to dabble in anything that objectifies women or the female form, and keep the spirit with me. Whether you, or I, call myself and addict has very little to do with what I need to do to keep myself connected with others. If my pride, and the shame that comes from hiding in darkness and not allowing light into my life, causes me to take exception with a label, then I am not in recovery, and I am not doing all that I can do to create love, safety, and healing opportunities for those I love and have hurt with my behaviors, regardless of what label they take on. In other words, to me, a pile of !@$@! by any other name smells just as nasty.

  • Amp.

    This is some great information. I’m not a Mormon but I have a dear Mormon friend who is struggling in his marriage. I know very little on his situation. Our friendship began by him flirting quite vigorously with me through text. I’m single and for a long time I thought he was single too. I later found out he was married and has small children. The farthest we ever went was kissing. I really fell in love with him, but I’m not a homewrecker. He has expressed guilt for his behavior and is really struggling to do right. However, at times he still gets in touch with me and seems to crave my affection. All he has told me is ” that it’s complicated”. I don’t even think him and his wife share the same bedroom and he has said his sexual needs are not being met. Unless there is something physically wrong with his wife that prevents her from tending to him sexually, I assume he must’ve done done something to really upset her. I know he watches porn, I’m not sure how often or maybe he cheated on her and she found out. I’m praying for them. I really think he is a good person at heart. When I first met him he could’ve had an affair with me because I really liked him and had no clue he was married, but he didn’t. The few times I setup a date with him he left me hanging.
    He has told me he feels Satan is trying to destroy him. For my part I just put him and his family in my prayers and I’m definitely going to share this site with him so he doesn’t feel so alone in his struggle.

  • disapointment

    I am 28 years old and my husband is 40. Since we got married, 5 years ago , we has been struggling with his porn addiction…

    i tried everything, being nasty, sexually creative, naked and horny any time we are alone.. I told him that if i will see this stuff again, i will have to leave.. i’m physically in pain, i wake up in the middle of night upset, crying.. i feel like all the good feelings for my husband are dissolving in my pain and disappointment … i am getting more and more numb inside..

    he lies and lies in to my face, every day, holding my hand, looking in to my eyes, saying i am all he wants…
    But than he goes and look through thousand naked girls, porn videos, searching “teen girls” on ebay search cause he knows i will see porn sites searching.. why????
    why whyw whywhywhywhywhy why why why why???????????

    • http://www.pastprimitive.com Past Primitive™

      Obviously I’m not a therapist. But I would suggest that if you’re husband truly has an addiction per clinical addiction terms much of his current actions are illogically driven by an unnaturally strong chemical drive to seek out the substance he is addicted to (in this case pornography.) does that absolve him of responsibility to deal with his addiction? Of course not, but it is much different then dealing with a person who just enjoys viewing porn, and is lying to you while not being motivated by a clinical addiction.
      Of course I don’t know all the details, and would regardless hesitate to suggest anything definitive since I have only read a tiny blurb you wrote above. Addiction is an illness, that corrupts the body and mind encouraging it to stop at nothing to satiate the addiction, regardless of morality, society, religion, and personal relationships. Addictions never make healthy sense, that’s why it’s a corruption.

      Natasha I’m sure would have much better advice.

      I just hope you can remember you are not alone, and you have my prayers that you’ll be able to figure out how to navigate this difficult situation, and find some peace.

  • confused

    I am 26 years old and my 36 year old husband of 11 months won’t admit to watching porn when he is alone. I have discovered through the browser history that it is around 4 times a week regardless of how much we make love. An example, we had great sex at about 6:30pm before we went out to eat last night, but I woke up at about 12:30am and discovered him masterbating in the guest bathroom in the dark to porn. He is always fully engaged in our sex life and wants it all the time. Still I can’t help but feel less desired and I wonder if it is because he won’t be open about it. I’m not a judgemental person and I don’t mind porn so why can’t he admit it to me? He lies like I’m going to think less of him. When I saw him in the bathroom I went back to bed without confronting him so he wouldn’t feel embarrassed then I had a hard day today thinking about what to do. Do I secretly monitor his web use to look for a pattern? Do I confront him? Ignore and hope its nothing? I’m not a confrontational person and have no idea how to approach this without making things uncomfortable… Guidance please :-/

    • confused

      Also, how much is too much porn where I would need to feel more concerned?

  • disqus_Numb

    I have been married 7 years and never had good sex.i married him hoping he would open up,learn to connect,put his guard down…….i have been banging my head against wall to figure out the disconnect……intimacy anorexia…..aspnergers are both self admitted after researching and going nutz trying to fix this!!! He is so disconnected during sex i feel like a blowup doll,its horrendous. Has issues with getting aroused and ive forced viagra etc….i am 43 and workout 24/7 so its not that ive let myselg go…….i recently caught the porn for the 2 nd or 3rd time and went ballistic….hes been watching me slowly die of lack of any inyimacy in any shape or form for years and could care less!!! He then admitted to going to massage parlors for happy endings and jerking off in shower daily!!! He has hit rock bottom…..he has flown to parents house to admit all to his entire family,also to my mom amd close friends.he is in a sa support group,doing the intimacy anorexia 12 step program and going to sex therpist…..desperate to fix marrige,im so shattered i kicked him out of house……..help!!!!

  • on a rollercoaster

    ok so here it goes.. my husband and I have been married for 12 yrs. He is a preacher. About a year after we were married I discovered he had a porn problem..i had gotten a magazine in the mail from the person who lived in the house before us and i the it away in the dumpster outside. I happened to look outside and saw my husband digging in the dumpster for it! I was shocked!! that was the first time I had ever seen him do anything like that. When confronted of course he lied. There have been MANY situations like that since that day. We have gone to counseling. He has admitted to it. But yet he keeps relapsing. I do not know what to do to help him any more. I have everything on lock down in my home. We will go a few months and everything will be great then all of the sudden I will notice a change in him. He will start being moody and snap as us over the smallest things and our intimate life changes as well. It is different.. i mean like he is no longer gentle it is more like something you would see or hear in porn I guess. The most recent situation happened this last Saturday morning. We were getting ready for the day and just having normal conversation and he says ” well I need to admit something to you….on Monday morning when I woke up I turned on the weather and I must have accidently pushed the wrong number because the tv went to a Pay PerView channel and I thought you had all that locked but I dont guess you did and the code I put in workd..now I didnt watch any of it cause I was running late for work but I did try to get it off the tv I even called the cable company to see if they could get it off.” …………………SO at this point I start asking questions..now you have to remember this is not our first go around with this issue. So with him sitting there I called the cable company and they confirmed that an order had been made that morning. I had them put different codes on my tv and took pay per view off completely. I went into my bathroom and shut the door and cried like a baby all of those feelings of fear and distrust were back! After I was done I walked out and sat down My husband looks at me and says you want the truth? I (in shock) manage to say yes. He says “here it goes on Monday it was raining and cold and I didnt want to go to work so I left the house and went and parked the truck in a parking lot and sat there. When I knew you had left to go to work I came back home and sat on the couch and ordered the movie.. I watched the whole thing. Then when it was time for you to come home I left and went back into the parking lot again. I also have been watching it on my phone every day for the last couple of weeks. I even went and bought ear phones so I could hear it and not just watch it. There thats the whole truth about what I have been doing.” Well needless to say I was shocked!!!!!!!!!! After some tears and some talking I am numb. I hate the fact that I feel like I am done with this! I am tired of all of this! 12 years!!!!!!!!!! At what point is enough enough?!?!?!?!??! I feel empty. I do not trust him AT ALL! BUt i will admit I am TERRIFIED of being alone! I dont know if I should stay or go. I can not live with the lies. It is driving me crazy!!!!!


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