Porn Isn’t A Problem?

And He Said Porn Was Not a Problem?

Porn Addiction Problem

The impact regular porn use had on my self-esteem and the health of my marriage.

My stomach dropped as I read another opinion piece in defense of pornography. It warned regular pornography usage by male partners should be expected, and it excused secret-keeping. Upset female partners were characterized as prudish and a snoop if they looked for evidence.

Personal Experience

My late husband and I agreed pornography had no place in the privacy of our bedroom. After his death, I revisited the issue when I began to online date.

I still remember the look on my second husband’s face when I broached the subject.

“No,” he said, “I don’t have a porn habit.”

His face declared otherwise, but I hoped he was telling the truth.

I still remember the sexy lingerie I’d bought for the first night of our honeymoon.

As I stood in the bathroom and tugged on the white spaghetti-strapped bit of lace, I heard the sound of the television click on from the other room. Not worried, I sauntered out, half-naked, and stood in front of the screen. Striking a pose with a come-hither smile, I said, “What do you think?”

“Do you mind if I finish this program first?” my husband asked.

I nodded, feeling disappointed. In embarrassment, I tugged at the hem of the lingerie and wished it covered more of my upper thigh.

“Come up here,” he said and patted the spot on the bed beside him. I crawled next to him, mollified by the invitation, and laid my head on his bare chest.

I awoke with a start. The sound of the television still played in the background. It was then that I noticed my husband had his phone out and seemed preoccupied. Curious, I feigned I was still asleep and moved so I had a better view of his phone screen.

At first, all I could make out were the colors of flesh tone. It was then I saw the hues twist and move in a familiar rhythmic pattern. I froze as a cold sensation of shock jolted through me.

He’s watching a porn video!

It was if I’d been stabbed.

No… Had he opted out of having sex to watch porn of a much younger woman? How stupid of me for trying to look pretty in this tiny negligee.

There was no way my fifty-plus-year-old body would compare with the gentle curves of the twenty-something-year-old on his screen.

Online Porn Statistics

According to Robert Weiss, Ph.D., LCSW, in his article, The Prevalence of Porn, a recent study reported,

  • 12 percent of all Internet websites are pornographic.
  • 25 percent of all online search engine requests are related to sex. That’s about 68 million requests per day.
  • 35 percent of all Internet downloads are pornographic.
  • 40 million Americans are regular visitors (in their own estimation) to porn sites.
  • 70 percent of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month.
  • The average age of first exposure to Internet porn is 11.
  • The largest consumer group of Internet porn is men aged 35 to 49.”

Based on these statistics, it’s apparent pornography is here to stay. Although some may consider it an innocent pastime, it was anything but that for me.

Impact on my Relationship

I thought I’d been lucky to find love a second time. He seemed the perfect match. We shared similar hobbies, future goals, religious beliefs, and even level of sex drive.

That fateful honeymoon night, however, was the beginning of the end. His addiction to pornography had profound effects, both on me and on the relationship.

Research supports my experience. A study of college couples found regular porn use associated with decreased sexual satisfaction, more frequent reports of negative communication between partners, and poorer relationship adjustment.

Another study had similar findings. Regular porn use was predictive of relationship instability with higher rates of infidelity. Although researchers of both studies admitted the reasons for these negative correlations were unclear and most likely complicated, the outcomes were startling.

Change in Interest

My sex life changed. His interest in me dried up, despite my hints, requests, and pleas. How many times in one day would there be the energy to ejaculate? If he’d already masturbated to porn, why would he want to have sex with me later?

Gone were the intimate experiences of love-making I had known with my first husband. Now sex felt staged and I was posed and moved about like a doll. Loving words during it were rare, and he described it as play.

He carried his phone with him everywhere, even to the bathroom. I knew he spent stolen moments masturbating to images of other women. He claimed he loved me as I was — overweight and middle-aged — but his browser history begged to differ, filled with links to videos and photos of much younger females.

Porn and Intimacy

For me, making love is more than a biological drive, it’s an expression of self. Of when I long to be seen and known by another.

My husband’s preference for pornography over making love cut deep. The very person I’d trusted the most had passed me over for image of someone else. One more time, I wasn’t enough. Not desirable enough, not pretty enough, and not sexy enough.

How could I compete? Porn never argued, always looked great, and offered lots of variety. It made him feel like he was the king of the hill and never asked him to take out the trash.

Atmosphere of Secrecy

Our marriage began to feel like a grown-up version of the children’s song, “Hokey-Pokey.” My husband never put his whole self in. He compartmentalized, omitted details, and outright lied to keep his usage secret.

Intimacy cannot thrive in a secret-keeping relationship. It requires safety, vulnerability, and transparency to grow. Terry Gaspard, in the HuffPost, writes, “While trust is an essential element of an intimate relationship, it can be easily broken and hard to repair. When your partner withholds important information from you regardless of their reasons, it’s normal to feel betrayed.”

A Challenge

Frankly, whenever I read or hear the message that women need to get over men’s porn use, I feel admonished — as if I’m the problem instead of the guys’ habit.

Could this be a form of cultural gaslighting? Might the finger pointing be in the wrong direction?

After working hard for two years to save my marriage, I’m divorced. There were a lot of issues, but my ex-husband’s secret use of porn played a role.

Maybe the problem with porn isn’t the frequency of usage, perhaps it’s our avoidance of an honest discussion. Women meltdown at its discovery; men apologize, only to get better at hiding it.

What if we got brutally honest?

Women, if it’s a deal-breaker? Say it and mean it. Be sure to follow through the next time you catch him.

Men, own it if you use it. Be prepared to accept the consequences along with the benefits of this practice.


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