Relationships

Porn addicts

Author: Canadian Living

Relationships

Porn addicts

Q: I knew that my boyfriend sometimes looked at magazines and videos and would surf the net for pornographic sites when we first got together. I thought it was just something that guys do but I know that I really don't like it when I feel that I have to compete with the women in his fantasies. No one can look that good 24 hours a day! I'm quickly losing respect for him and for myself. What should I do?

A: Men are turned on visually. They enjoy looking at the female form. A woman might notice her partner admiring an attractive woman. This behaviour is normal and in no way detracts from his feelings for his partner. Some men enjoy looking at pictures of nude women in magazines or online or may watch pornographic videos. This can range from recreational use that can be entertaining or even educational to addictive behaviour that becomes a way to escape from problems or to relieve distressed feelings such as helplessness, depression, anxiety or shame. It can also be a fetish with sexual gratification coming from focusing on an object rather than through a relationship with another person.

Women have varying reactions to this behaviour. Some women are very accepting and do not find it offensive. Other women object to their partner using material that objectifies women. Still others experience considerable distress over their partner's use of pornography. To them it is a kind of infidelity: damaging to their relationship, their own self-esteem and their view of their partner.

Emotional availability
The more heavily immersed the man is in pornography, the more distressing it is to the woman in his life. During the time he is online he is not emotionally available to her.

As women become more committed in a relationship, they expect their partner to turn more toward them and are more likely to think there is something wrong with a partner who is so focused on pornography.

You have not said much about your partner's use of these pictures.

Is he spending so much time on the Internet that you feel he is taking time away from the relationship? Is he self-pleasuring as he looks at these pictures? Does he approach you sexually? Is he available to you emotionally and sexually as much as you would like him to be? Is his use of pornography adding to your relationship or taking away from it? What does it mean to you that he looks at these images? What is the meaning of collecting and looking at these pictures to him? How does he respond when you express your concern?

In healthy relationships couples are able to discuss difficult issues like this openly and honestly.

If you and your partner are not able to have this conversation it would be good to talk to a therapist about this issue as a couple or, if he will not go with you, on your own.
 

Wendy Trainor, is a registered marriage and family therapist and approved supervisor, a registered social worker and a registered sex therapist. To learn more about sexual issues, visit www.bestco.info

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