Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rented Space: Porn

Posted by Lara at 10:22 PM
[Here is the last in a trio of blog rentals. We've all got our problems, eh? Thanks for all the support you've given so far. If you've got some advice or experience to share, I know this reader would appreciate it.]

We’ve been married for 10 years and we’re in our mid-30’s. We love to hang out with each other and our sex is still good but there is one thing that I just really hate – I HATE YOU LOOKING AT PORN!

Early in our relationship I accidently stumbled upon a few sites you had visited. We chatted about it and I told you how this made me feel bad. That I feel that you don’t like either the way I look or how our sex is etc so you have to go to porn. Also my dad was a big porn viewer and he treated mom like crap so yes I associate the two. You told me you understood how I felt, you were just a pervert but you wouldn’t do it again.

I never thought of it again. Then a few years later I discovered it again. I don’t remember how I just did and again I brought it up with you. AGAIN you promised you wouldn’t do it anymore. I no longer believe you.

You are obsessed with looking at porn and now I’m obsessed with seeing if you have been looking at porn. I know how to read the History and can see what you have been viewing. You even got stupid and purchased minutes – purchased minutes – to view porn!!! Are you kidding? And you would sometimes leave your “dirty” toilet wads in the trash can. Are you not smart enough to flush them? I eventually brought both of these up and mentioned that if you were going to look at least find the free sites.

I have even mentioned multiple times that I would love to join you in viewing porn. I think that is a great way for a couple to grow together sexually. Maybe we can find something, together; that we think is interesting and try it. I finally got it out of you that you want to have no part of this. Wow! A husband who does NOT want to join his wife in watching porn? Nope, you want to view it on your own.

Well you have definitely been viewing the free stuff. I know that a lot of the sites offer different categories based on what your likes are. These I can understand: lesbian, anal and Asian. But when I see you look under the Gay category that makes me wonder a little. Granted you don’t Google for these. And when you look at the Teen category and actually Google young babes which result in teens (or adults that seem to really appear young enough to be a teen) that REALLY makes me wonder.

Sometimes you get smart and clear your History for the day and I’m unable to determine if you have been looking that day. And yes just about every day I check – I told you I’m obsessed. The rest of the day you act like everything is just fine. I mention articles I read about online, example David Duchovny and going into Sex Addicts Rehab, and how some people really disgust me, school teachers running off with 13 year olds, and hope that you would get the hint. You don’t.

I want to know: Do all men really look at porn? If you do, does your significant other know? Do you hide it? Do you tell them you don’t but you do? Or do you share it with them? And if you’re a straight man do you look at gay porn? I researched this and the forums I found said this is common, is it?

Women: Do you look at porn? By yourself or with your mate? Does your mate look at it and hide it from you? Have you done anything to successfully get them to stop?

Or do I just need to get over all this and accept that men are perverts and this is what they do?

12 comments:

flutter on 10:31 PM said...

men are visual creatures. Porn is kind of part and parcel, in my opinion. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you, it doesn't mean you don't turn him on...it's just a guy being a guy.

Lisa on 4:06 AM said...

I agree with flutter....my husband looks at porn and it doesn't bother me because I know that at the end of the day, I'm the one he goes to bed with.

Jill B on 5:50 AM said...

I'm not married, but I identify with you - I'd have a difficult time being in a relationship with someone who seems obsessed. And it seems like there is a difference between being "into" porn and being Obsessed in an every day, lots of time kind of way.
I think the fact that he's hiding it, and that you'd discussed it and he promised to stop, would make me question everything, all the time (but maybe I'm obsessive). But, I also dated a guy who was addicted to porn, and it really affected our relationship - which he admitted. Obviously the presence doesn't affect everyone, and the effects are different, but addiction is serious business.
Oi. I'm sorry, sister. This is tough.

Anonymous said...

I am on both sides of the fence with this. My hubby looks at porn and has never hidden it from me. EVER. He was very upfront when we first started dating by showing me his few playboy mags. It bothers me when I am feeling particularly bad about myself--feeling fat, ugly, etc. It doesn't when I am feeling confident.

We have watched it together and maybe we should a little more. It is part of him as as flutter said, my hubby is very visual. I also am thankful sometimes, because life is busy and I don't always have the energy or desire to be wifely.

It's tough and you have have determine why it really bothers you and find ways to make sure you are getting from him what you need to make you feel comfortable.

ALRO on 7:54 AM said...

Obsession is never good. And on that, i can see that there can be a problem.
However .. i'll chime in for the guys!
Guys like porn. We joke about porn. but typically, we don't fantasize about porn. (for us guys that don't live for porn, I mean).

But my wife is more into porn than I am. I'm a musician. I'm away friday nights and saturday nights sometimes. On the mornings after I ask, "So what did ya do last night?". My wife is very candid sometimes when she explains that she was surfin' porn, got off that night and had a great sleep.

It doesn't bother me at all. If anything, I get excited by it, and by that evening, we're looking at what she was looking at .. and we have a great time in bed that night.

Porn isn't a bad thing if it's used properly. All morality debates aside, it can be a great aid to spur your love life on.

My wife and I are both very well adjusted people who understand that we are not Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie here. We are very trusting of one another and see porn for what it is ...

Sometimes it's FRICKEN HILARIOUS in how stupid it is.. and sometimes, you can get some really good porn that can set you both off into a great night of love-making. IN the end. once it's off.. it's off, and we go about our lives.

I don't surf porn every chance i get.. in fact it's rarely that i do it - and when i do, my wife is usually there with me wondering what i'm looking at and she's quick to give her opinon on how badly fake the boobs are -- or how ugly or hairy the guy is... we make it a thing for both of us. Even when I'm not there while she's 'getting off on it" she saves it for me to watch (if i'm so inclined to do so) with her.

But like I said at the begginning.. Obsessing over porn isn't good. I had a friend that did .. he spent way too much money on it - it ruined his marriage .. and it alienated him from his children.

Porn can be fun if you let it. I find that by embracing my wife's desire for it (and it's not frequent, let me add that), she's alot more open about it .. No secrets -- that's our motto.

It works for us. That's really what my message is to you; and that it's far more common than you might think, and having a healthy libido is a good thing. I don't believe for a minute that your husband is trying to replace you. At least .. if it was me, that wouldn't be my motivation (speaking as a guy)

I hope my honest insight serves you well.

ALRO on 8:01 AM said...

I'd like to add as well, that men aren't perverts. I think the generalizaton is a little harsh.
Remember, women do have Fantasia Parties where they buy sex toys and celebrate their sexuality... men don't! Does that make women perverts too for buying vibrators and lotions and sexy undies?

They're all sexual aids - and porn can be one too.

Just something to think about - I'm not trying to be harsh.. i'm trying to be fair and give us all something to think about.

I stand to be debate, and corrected at any time .. i'm not saying i'm right and others are wrong .. I really really want to be clear on that.

Anonymous said...

I admit to having a problem with my husband viewing porn too. I know it is just a thing guys do, but the way it makes me feel just isn't worth it. When we first met he was pretty open about it and I was very open about my thoughts on it as well. As far as I know, he doesn't seek it out (although I don't check his computer). For some reason I actually trust him. He occasionally mentions wanting to watch it, but I haven't given in yet. The closest we get is watching the late night Cinemax shows every once in a while.

My ex-husband had a problem with porn on the computer and after repeated requests to stop (and promising he did stop) I still found it on the computer over and over again. I won't say it was THE cause of our divorce, but the lack of trust I had in him after that definitely was.

Anonymous said...

I recommend reading Dan Savage's advice column.

Graham on 10:12 AM said...

Porn/masturbation and actual sex with a loving, committed partner are two very different things. At one sort of goal(orgasm)-oriented level, they may seem similar, but they involve very different physical, mental, and emotional experiences. One doesn't replace the other (and that goes both ways) though I would ordinarily expect the amount of porn to decrease for most guys when there's a partner consistently available. In most cases, I would also say that looking at porn does not make a guy a pervert, except in more extreme cases involving, say, pedophilia.

That said, I know that logically arguing for it won't be very helpful in dealing with your emotional reaction to it. (I mean that in a non-judgemental way.) So you and your husband still need to come to a better arrangement.

Personally, I would guess that the porn per-se is not the biggest issue here. I'm more concerned about:

(1) Him calling himself a pervert for it. That's either low-self esteem or embarrassment on his part, or else trying to placate you by putting himself down.

(2) Saying he'll stop and then not. If going cold turkey isn't a viable option (and I think it may be extreme) something else should be done. Talk it out to the point where you aren't upset and he isn't embarrassed. Or just get separate accounts on the computer and agree to a don't-ask-don't-tell policy. Or something.

(3) You (possibly) obsessing over this to the point of making it a bigger issue than it is. I'm not in a position to judge, but given that you say the rest of the relationship is still good, he's apologized, and you have past issues with your dad on this matter, it seems like you might want to let yourself relax about it more. I realize that may take some work, though, if these are feelings that are ingrained since childhood, so I'm not trying to trivialize it.

One final comment: I kind of sympathize with him on the not wanting to view porn together thing. Like I said in the beginning, partner and solo activities are very different, and personally, I'd just as soon not mix them. When I have a partner there, I want to focus on her, because she always wins over images on a screen, hands-down.

jennster on 11:14 AM said...

personally, i think that you'll never be able to just "get over it" because it's something that truly bothers you. you also associate it with something negatively from your life, in regards to your parents, so the issue isn't a simple one to just "get over."

i think that you have done all the right things. you've talked to him about it. you've told him it bothers you. you've asked him to please stop. he has continuously lied to you about stopping. then you went one step further and tried to initiate yourself with the viewing- and he refused. on one hand, i understand why he might not want you there- the judgement. "why do you want to view THAT?" you know? we don't understand the males perspective on this for the most part, you know?

i would be hurt. i would be confused. and i would be angry. not sure if you are any or all of those things. and i don't know how you fix this. it's obvious (or at least it seems obvious to me) that his looking at porn is not going to stop. maybe he is addicted? maybe he has a fetish? maybe lots of things. do you guys talk to someone? is there someone to talk to about this kind of thing? does he not see it as a problem at all? does he not care that it upsets you? does he take your feelings into consideration at all, or is it all about him and his wants and needs?

i'm not sure i'm helping here. lol

i wouldn't be super concerned about the gay porn. i don't know why, but i guess i associate it with the fact that i have seen and watched lesbian porn, but i have no desire to go that route. ever. but the teen stuff?? i dunno if it's just something that is a turn on at the time, or what- but that brings out the ick factor for sure...

good luck

Ashley on 6:47 AM said...

My heart broke for you as I was reading this. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I've been in a position where I was "checking" up on my husband - but more for other reasons...And what you're describing - the sinking feeling, the worry, the heartbreak. I've been there and I can only offer you my small thoughts on this subject.

I guess I have a much different opinion than most people -- I cannot simply shrug off porn with a "guys will be guys, oh well." I think we need to expect more out of our men. And regardless of our opinions of the morality or immorality of porn - if you, as his WIFE, have an issue with him using (and/or excluding you) than DON'T MINIMIZE THAT. You can both try to be more accommodating, but do not think that it should be ALL you, and he should just continue on his path.

Personally speaking - my husband doesn't use porn, and never has liked it, actually - because he sees it unfulfilling and fake. (In high school, he went for the real thing. Which has it's own problems. Ha.) Anyway, my opinion and experience is that porn has it's own moral issues - the industry and what it does to relationships and men's expectations can all be argued.

I'll stop here, but please don't minimize, dismiss, or bottle up what you are feeling. Seek support.

Natalie on 11:51 AM said...

I agree with all the people who have said the truly big issue here seems to be the communication failure between you and your husband on this issue. I think I have only a couple points to add from my male perspective:

In answer to your question about whether all men look at porn, I think the answer is that all men look at porn at least some of the time. It does not follow from that, though, that all men approve of their looking at porn.

The gay porn question I think implicates a larger issue, which is what porn actually means. It may be true that guys are visually oriented, but that just says we tend to process our meanings through visual media. It doesn't say anything about what those meanings are.

From some of your comments it seems like you're assuming your husband approaches porn pretty literally - that he wishes what he saw on screen was what he experienced in his life. In the case of teen (or teen-looking) and gay porn, that seems to disturb you especially, and in general you seem disturbed by the implication that he wishes you looked different and/or that your sex life was different.

All of those things may be true; maybe he really does wish he was having sex with teen girls, gay men, and so on down the list. But my personal experience makes me think that's rather unlikely. I think the reasons for looking at porn are as varied as the varieties of porn itself, and some of them are a lot more disturbing than others. Some of them may even be sweet, depending on your point of view. I think that rarely is the motivation as straightforward as "I wish this is what my sex life looked like." To give a non-pornographic analogy, I enjoy it when my wife shaves her legs regularly. One might think that was because I want my wife to look like a prepubescent girl, and one might further infer that I find prepubescent girls sexually attractive, and one might even go so far as to infer that I wish I was having sex with prepubescent girls. But in fact I simply enjoy smooth feminine skin because it emphasizes, to me, the fact that my wife is female and different from me, and I take delight in those differences.

I am convinced that for the majority of men, porn is processed the same way. That's not to say that it's okay, and not all the non-intuitive meanings behind a guy's porn-watching habits will be attractive to you. But if you haven't already, I would encourage you to talk with your husband about what's really attractive to him about the porn that he watches. I imagine that a) he won't have thought about it too much, and b) he'll feel uncomfortable talking to you about a subject he knows you passionately disapprove of. I'd encourage you to make the difficult effort even so, though, for two reasons. First, it sounds to me like you're making some unwarranted assumptions about what's in your husband's heart based on the porn he looks at, and those assumptions are causing you to view your husband in a negative light (e.g., thinking of him as a "pervert"). For your own sanity, not to mention the sake of your marriage, I would encourage you to stop making assumptions and go off of what your husband actually tells you. And second, it's not clear to me that you personally do disapprove of porn (you're okay watching it with your husband and being inspired by it, apparently). But from your husband's reaction it seems to me like he thinks porn is verboten with you, and an open conversation about what it means to him might start to undo that impression. And hopefully it will also reveal some things about your husband's inner life that you will find delightful and endearing, whether or not you like this particular expression of them.

 

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