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Your Call: My Husband and I Can’t Compromise on Porn

Fri, Feb 4, 2011

Advice, Dear Em & Lo, Your Call

photo by TheNaughtyAmerican.com

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

I have a problem with my husband watching porn. He knows I dislike it; I even gave him and alternative once, me or the porn. I thought he chose me. I have sadly realized that he has been watching it and I don’t know for how long now. We don’t have problems with sex other than we don’t get any time to ourselves because of life; i.e. kids, work, tired, whatever.

I grew up with porn in the home and grew up thinking it is disgusting. I have tried to watch it with him, it does nothing for me, and I find it grotesque. I feel that if a man is happy at home, then he doesn’t need to cheat or watch porn. If I am not satisfying him in bed then he needs to tell me, not watch porn. I feel that porn in one sense is a form of cheating. Who is he thinking about when we are having sex, me or the girlfriend, me or the porn?

I don’t know what to do. If he is going to continue to watch porn, I have no desire to have sex with my husband anymore and he knows this and does it anyways. I don’t know what to do. To check his computer for the porn, would only verify that he is watching it, and in the same it violate his privacy, but on the other hand, I can’t just confront him about it because I am afraid he is going to lie to me because he knows I won’t have sex with him anymore.

Lately I have even turned him down because I suspect his porn problem. He has changed in how we have sex that makes me suspect this. I can’t bring myself to have sex with him again until I know. Then I will wonder if he is lying to me. So what do I do?

– Porn Ultimatum

What should P.U. do?

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58 Responses to “Your Call: My Husband and I Can’t Compromise on Porn”

  1. Johnny Says:

    Settle down sister. You’re making this a WAY bigger deal than it needs to be. Porn is not cheating. It just isn’t.

    Are you really going stop having sex with your husband – maybe even leave him, breaking up your family – because he likes a little alone time on the computer?

    If you were asking him to meet you half-way, make some reasonable compromise, I could understand. I could also understand if he had a major porn problem, which doesn’t sound like the case. But a total ban on porn, or else!? He’s a grown man and you’re his wife, not his mom!

    You can think it’s gross, you can reasonably ask him for discretion and to keep the porn-wanking to a minimum, and to learn to clear the history. But that’s all you can reasonably ask. Demanding anything more is control-freakery and drama-queenery.

    And it breeds white lies. You can go on and on about how wrong white lies are, or you can be a pragmatist about it: he thinks you’re being unreasonable about this, and while he doesn’t think he should have to go along with it, he doesn’t want to take a stand that could bust up his marriage either. Plus, logical discussions and honesty don’t work when one party (in this case you) refuses to be moderate about it. You’ve cornered him here. Not the most honorable way to handle it, but what do you expect?

    Here’s something you may not have thought of: maybe it’s not your sex life your husband is unhappy with. Maybe it’s resentment at having a bossy, insecure wife, which no doubt affects other areas of the marriage. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t seem to care that much whether you stay or go. Maybe he’d rather be single than have a wife who makes her point by denying him sex. Perhaps you – all people, not just you – should take a good long look in the mirror before making a hard-and-fast decision that your partner is the one with the problem.

    Food for thought.

  2. Dannie Says:

    Okay, “me or the porn” is not, by any means, an “alternative.” It’s an ultimatum, and a ridiculous one at that. While I can understand that you desire respect for your preferences, consider also that he might like some respect for his. You say you don’t get much time together? Maybe porn is his way of -not- cheating. Unless the porn is absolutely awful (ie, incest, children, bestiality…), I see little cause for your alarm. Do you masturbate? Do you think about sex when you’re masturbating? Do you consider that cheating? It’s the same thing. And, chances are, if he wants to have sex with you on a regular basis, it’s -you- he wants to have sex with, not the porn girls. I mean, look at it this way: if he was watching porn in the years before he met you, and before he married you–and yet, he married you, he loves you and desires you. Period. Stopping sex with him and threatening to leave is not going to do any good; it’s just going to make him feel controlled, which is -not- what you want him associating with you. You said you watched porn with him. Kudos for the effort, but it does nothing for you. So, learn from it: what in the porn is he responding to? Could you perhaps find a way to bring that into the bedroom? If you don’t have to see it, or see him watching it, and it’s not interfering with your sex life or your relationship (in any way that you yourself aren’t instigating), then it can be dealt with. I’m giving you an ultimatum: your husband, whom you love dearly, or no one and no porn. Think about it.

  3. Johnny Says:

    ^ Yeah, seriously, about the lady masturbation – if porn is cheating, then a vibrator is repeatedly cuckolding your man with the pool boy!

  4. hannah Says:

    Here’s how I see it… Porn can be ridiculous, disgusting, or outright misogynistic. It makes me feel awful as a woman and I really don’t feel comfortable that men get off on that stuff. The issue, in my opinion, is that porn is just made to appeal to the sensibilities of 12 year old boys. It’s not romantic or passionate, and usually the sex that is portrayed seems very unlikely to be pleasurable to a woman. But I think a lot of men grow up with this, and they don’t get as good as we do at using their imagination and visualizing things in their heads. So I think for a lot of men, their fantasy life is often very wrapped up with porn.

    So asking him to just stop it isn’t really going to work, since he probably is just not as good as you are at thinking up steamy scenes in his head. He never had to learn to do that, since he’s probably been watching porn his whole life. I agree with you that that’s really bad, but since there was very little female friendly porn available to us growing up, we just learned to deal without it.

    But at the same time, he should be sensitive to the fact that it makes you really uncomfortable. I think it would be really helpful for you to define exactly what it is that bothers you; is it that it feels unfaithful to you, that the bodies portrayed are not realistic, that the sex is portrayed in a violent way or a way that is unlikely to be pleasurable for a woman… Then, you can try to work out together what sorts of porn he could consume that might be less threatening to you. If I were you, I think I’d try to take some initiative and order some female-friendly porn. Do some research online and see what is available. Then give him some as a surprise and watch it together! That way, you don’t have to feel like it is unfaithful to you, since it’s something you can do together. And maybe when he can share it with you, his need to watch the stuff that makes you uncomfortable will diminish. At the very least, you’re showing that you’re trying to compromise, so maybe he will be willing to really listen to your concerns too.

  5. tnyangel Says:

    Porn was introduced to me in a bad way and I made it something sinister in my head as a young adult. I can’t become excited by watching porn. But I am human and I masterbate and I know there’s a whole highlights reel of our best sex running in my head while I do it. There, I said it!

    I made the leep to understanding he needs a visual to get excited without me. I know I can’t be everywhere all the time and he explained to me he seriously just wants a quick release sometimes. I don’t believe in any way that I am cheated on, but I didn’t go all “I said NO” about it. I just didn’t understand and was uncomfortable. We talked. I said, I didn’t want to see it or know about it really.

    Flash forward 15 years and when he comes to me and says “Baby I saw this move I wanted to try…” I practically jump out of my skin I’m so happy that he watches stupid, ugly porn! He brings the parts he wants to physically try to our bed/garage/car/rooftop/lounge chair… God I love that man. Anyways the porn isn’t his beloved.

  6. matbo Says:

    I think you have the right to deny him porn and if he loves you he would stop watching. Help him out, buy him some books(with out pictures but with sex scenes) if you don’t like that he looks at other women.
    If you don’t like the roughness of porn or are morally opposed try directing him to tantrachair.com under “films”. This is sweeter sex on screen – and since I showed it to my boyfriend he actually prefers this to traditional porn.

    Don’t give him any ultimatums, don’t leave him, but really honestly have a conversation about why you despise his porn habits so much.

    I asked my boyfriend not to look at porn for a while and he complied. While he took a break from porn I started wrapping my head around it, figuring out why it bothering me, reading up on why people watch it. I took a porn break myself I watched porn again. And slowly I came to accept porn. When my healing was done I told him he was allowed to watch porn again (it was only fair since I was doing it!)

    I will always view porn as a bit of cheating, like flirting just a tad too much with the guy in the bar, but I decided to open my relationship up just a smidge – and you know what? Didn’t change a thing.

  7. Emily Says:

    There are a lot of issues here, so let’s take them one by one.

    1) Your disgust of porn: As a woman who watches porn, I do not understand why you think that it’s cheating. As other commenters have said, it’s just like masturbating, but watching the scene instead of imagining it. I do understand being turned off by it, as most straight (and lesbian) porn is made specifically for the straight male gaze, and is therefore not erotic to a straight female. “hannah” suggested finding female-friendly porn to watch with your husband, which is a great idea. I’d like to suggest finding websites (like xtube) where couples upload videos of themselves and their partners. There’s no cheesy music, no unrealistic bodies, no coercion, no female degradation, just people having sex with each other. That might help your disgust a bit.

    2) Your expectation that he stop watching porn: This is unrealistic. It just is. Nearly all men (and some women!) watch porn. Why? Because they like to watch people having sex. This isn’t cheating. Is it cheating when he watches a movie with a sex scene in it? No, of course not. Would you consider him kissing someone else cheating? Yes? Well, what if the couple sitting across from him on the subway is making out? Now he just watched someone else kissing, is that cheating? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. So why is it that watching porn counts as cheating, even though he’s not actually engaging in any kind of behavior with another person?

    Men watch porn. This has nothing to do with how happy they are in their relationship, it’s just a masturbation aid. In fact, a Canadian researcher tried to conduct a study about how porn affects the way men view women, but he couldn’t find enough men who don’t watch porn to make a control group*. Seriously. So stop viewing your husband’s porn habit as somehow indicative of his feelings on your relationship. That being said…

    3) His feelings on your relationship: If he wasn’t unhappy before, he is now. How would you like it if he told you that you can masturbate, but you’re not allowed to create scenes in your head while you do it because what if you’re thinking about that when you have sex with him? By demanding this of him, you’re being incredibly controlling and manipulative. By telling him that he’s not allowed to watch porn because YOU don’t like it, you’re telling him that your preferences are more important than his. I’m sure that makes him feel less like an equal or like he’s a valuable part of this relationship.

    4) YOUR feelings on your relationship: Are you sure that you want to stay in this relationship? It seems to me like you’re doing everything in your power to break it up. You make an unrealistic demand, then get upset when he doesn’t meet the terms of your demand, then tell him that you’ll stop having sex with him if he doesn’t meet your terms, then you STOP HAVING SEX WITH HIM ANYWAY despite lack of proof. Do you want to have sex (and a loving, happy relationship) with your husband? Because if you keep this up, a) he will leave you because of your emotional abuse and lack of trust, sex, and communication skills (you’re afraid to talk about it so you just assume he’s done it? Really?) b) since you’re already withholding sex anyway, he’ll watch porn because of his lack of sexual satisfaction, which you will inevitably find out about, and you’ll stop having sex with him completely, or c) you will succeed at beating him into submission, causing him to be unhappy and resentful.

    None of these seem to be very good outcomes, so I suggest you calm down about the porn. You can even create a don’t ask don’t tell kind of relationship where he pretends not to watch porn (and is discreet and clears the history), and you pretend not to know. But if you want to stay in this relationship, you have to let this battle go.

    *Source: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2009/12/02/Study-stymied-by-lack-of-porn-newbies/UPI-40171259794963/

  8. Charlie W Says:

    Stop!!! Stop already!!!! He doesn’t have a problem because he watches porn!!! But you might have a problem because of the way you are over-reacting!!! Porn is not cheating — plain and simple. So let’s get that off the table right away. And you say he watches porn and still wants to have sex with you? So what’s the problem? You say you gave him an “alternative” but what you really gave him was an ultimatum. How did you expect him to react to an ultimatum? I would suspect the same way you would react to an ultimatum. What if he said “well I’m not having sex with you as long as you don’t let me watch porn” sound ridiculous, doesn’t it. So does your ultimatum.

    This cries out for a CONVERSATION.

    You obviously have some serious issues related to porn. You said it yourself : “I grew up with porn in the home and grew up thinking it is disgusting. I have tried to watch it with him, it does nothing for me, and I find it grotesque.”

    Okay, so you think it’s grotesque, and he finds it stimulating. Find some common ground with ultimatums.

    The porn only appears to be hurting your ego. Your husband apparently is still turned on by you and wanting to have sex with you.

    Explore your inner feelings more closely. I have a feeling this situation really isn’t about your husband’s normal desire for porn but because of a much larger, much different issue. Good luck.

  9. Adam Says:

    As a very happily married man of like 10 years here, I’d like to say, If this were him writing in, I’d suggest he leave you. I also disagree with many things said so far. You should definitely take a look at the link at the bottom of Emily’s post.

    First off if you want him to stop watching porn, you are wrong. If you want to tell him what kind of porn to watch, you are wrong. If you tell him or get him to agree to stop watching porn he’s either going to resent you and lie or resent you and leave eventually.

    Men watch porn for many reasons. Sometimes I watch porn just so I can “get off” quickly. Sometimes so I can build up material for the ol’ spank bank. Sometimes it’s to “reasearch” material for future sex with my wife. Sometimes its to find porn FOR my wife, sometimes its to find porn we’d both be interested in. Sometimes its to see something disgustingly filthy that for some reason I still find sexy. And many more reasons. None have EVER been because I wanted to “cheat” or “leave” or “replace” the person I am with.

    Here’s a question for you, my wife could come CLOSE to getting me to stop watching porn if she put out enough. But are you willing to do that? She’s not. Almost no woman is. My wife would have to be willing to drop trou and put out a quickie a MINIMUM of 3-5 times a day. I don’t blame her that she’s not, and she doesn’t blame me for jerking it. Frankly I don’t blame her for “clicking the mouse” whenever she feels like it either. We have a lovely healthy relationship because of this.

    I really don’t like the sound of people assuming they know what kind of sex would be “pleasurable” to anybody other than themselves, and sometimes not even that. I know women that find pleasure in being branded and cut with razor blades, not much porn has that in it. You can not assume what people like or dislike; Rule 34 man, rule 34*. Sometimes people watch porn to get a bit of what they like that their significant other doesn’t. What if he gets turned on by shitting on a girls chest and shes WAY not into that, but watching a bit of porn about it is enough for him. She certainly shouldn’t be expected to participate, but she also should have NO say in what turns him on, and vice versa.

    I feel that if you want to dictate terms about someone elses needs and desires, you have a big problem. You need to fix yourself and you shoulnd’t DEMAND that others change themselves while you do. And if you can’t accept them as they are, you need to find someone you can accept or learn to be alone.

    * Rule 34 –http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Rule%2034

  10. Jenna Says:

    Jesus people! Why is everyone being so rough on this lady? Everyone has different opinions about porn and there are a lot of women who feel very insecure/unattractive when their significant other looks at porn. I think that she is overreacting but you don’t just get to jump on her and start calling her crazy. People have different kinds of hang ups and in a marriage you have to be able to respect these and maybe figure out where they come from. It sounds like she has some scarring from her past in that realm if she is not even able to sleep with her husband now. Men are so jaded in regards to the content of porn that they have lost touch with how base and disrespectful most of it is. Maybe if they viewed it from the perspective of the one who is the objectified in every film they would understand why many women bristle at it.

  11. Jenn Says:

    I gotta be honest, the way you’re going about this is horribly wrong. First off, you need to analyses why you dislike porn. “It’s disgusting”, is not a reason. Do you disagree with it on a gender level? Do you find it exploitive? Do you just find the activities they do unrealistic? Are you a little insecure and need a little romantic reassurance that he still wants you? Then when you figure it out, for god sake *talk* with your husband, don’t lecture to him. Explain how it makes you feel and then decide *together* what the best solution for the situation is.

  12. JenH Says:

    I used to have issues with my husband looking at porn, and he had issues with wanting to look at it too much. It really came down to some seriously deeper issues with us, and I think that’s what’s going on in your case. You both need to examine why you are acting the way you are. Why are you disgusted by it? Why do you not trust his feelings for you? Is he at the point that he’d rather look at porn than have sex with you? Why?

    I tried the same ultimatum you issued, and it’s not as simple as that. You need to examine and see if there’s anything you can be doing to help your sex life. For us, we got counseling for our emotional issues, talked those through, and then dealt with the actual reason why porn was attractive to him.

    In the end, it came down to a lack of adventurousness and putting too much pressure on ourselves to perform, (leading to lack of climax for both of us) and not even enjoying sex when we had it. After some naughty sexy picture exchanges via e-mail between us while my hubby was on a business trip, it opened a new world to me. My husband did want ME. But he didn’t want me to be shy, or unsure of my abilities to turn him on. He was missing a sense of confidence from me. He started buying me sexy lingerie and we started using it. A lot. I learned to slow down and not get so frustrated if things didn’t go perfectly, and he realized that he didn’t have to perform all the time either. We both chilled out and learned to focus on the sensation rather than trying to make the other person happy. Now he’s a very happy “wife-porn” watching hubby and our sex life is waaaaaaaay better than it has ever been because we’re more relaxed and I’m more confident in my sexuality. And he doesn’t feel the need to look at porn anymore.

    We have very busy lives too. (Parents of a medically-challenged 2 yr old) and are constantly traveling/working/etc. but we make our love and sex life a priority. It is a vital part of marriage. You have to nurture it, but you have to have fun with it too!

  13. JenH Says:

    Oh… and you know what? We went from sex 1x a month, to at least 2x a week, and now let’s just say I’m a very happy woman, and he’s a very happy man… every single time.

  14. Hoochy Mama Says:

    I’m not a kid(I’m over 50). I don’t look like Barbie (I’m pretty average and overweight). And I’ve had affairs with around 30 married men. I met them online and every one of them contacted me. (No, I’m not a hooker.) Why? In the majority of cases, their wives quit putting out. It’s that plain and simple. Some said how much they loved their wives, and they certainly didn’t want to leave them, but her demands were unreasonable, her criticism was ovewhelming, she had no interesst, etc. Trust me, telling a starving man that you will not feed him until he quits looking at McDonald’s ads is NOT going to work.

  15. Jennifer Says:

    I only have one thing to say that everyone else hasn’t pointed out yet: if you break up with this guy over porn… well, pretty much every guy out there except for the deeply religious ones watch porn. You will always have this problem with any guy.

  16. Dave W Says:

    I think if P.U. were transformed into a fly on the wall of her best friend’s bedroom, she’d say, “That’s disgusting!” and then not want to be friends any more.

    I’m joking of course, but still…

  17. Mom2three Says:

    Disagree with most of the above. If YOU have a thing against porn; that’s who you are. Sexually speaking, I think it’s dangerous to allow someone else to set YOUR limits. That goes for your husband too. If he’s too much of a perv (or seems like one) for you to enjoy sex with him anymore (or maybe the trust is gone because he lied) then you 2 will likely need to part ways.

    My

  18. misspiggy Says:

    I completely understand how P.U. feels. But just because she feels that way it doesn’t mean she is right. A lot of women need a lot of reassurance that they are the most important person in their man’s life. A lot of women fixate on one man in a way that men don’t. Men often need sexual variety; that’s perhaps the biggest difference between the sexes.

    If men are getting this variety by looking at porn, and if that porn isn’t damaging the way they view and treat others, it’s a good thing – they are actively managing their need for variety without cheating.

    To have that ‘good behaviour’ treated as cheating must be hurtful. So I think an about face is needed from PU – an apology, a conversation, a genuine sharing of what she finds so upsetting about porn – without any hint of blame. Then a compromise can be worked out, so that his need for visual variety and her need to feel like the centre of his world can both be met.

    Oh, and allow him to look at hot girls in the street without making him feel guilty – it’s all part of the same thing.

  19. Mom2three Says:

    (wasn’t done, sorry). My first husband became something of a porn addict over a number of years. It took up an increasing amount of time (research for future sex with me was one excuse, thanks for the reminder). There are a number of men who are happy to pleasure themselves all day long. And happily, there are men who like a partner and the bonding as well. My current partner likes sex with a partner! Does he look at porn, probably. But I’m comfortable with HIM. He’s not constantly hiding in the bathroom or on the computer doing “research”. We might have sex 5 times a day, usually at least once. That’s what we BOTH want. We match sexually. Don’t let anyone tell you that this, what you’re feeling now, is the best you can do. It’s just not true, and you are entitled to a sex life that you are comfortable with. That should be a mini
    Um

  20. Willow Says:

    P.U., I’m sorry that you’ve been feeling this way. It’s very hard to feel insecure, upset, and like you can’t talk with your husband about this issue. However, I’m going to stress that that’s exactly what you have to do–talk with him! He is your husband, the man you fell in love with, the man you live your life with and the man you swore to be with no matter what. You owe it to him and more importantly, you owe it to yourself to talk with him about the way you’ve been feeling.

    This is not to say that “talking with him” should not be confused with “talking TO him”. I know you are feeling very frustrated, angry, even betrayed, etc but you must respect him when you share this discussion. Be sure to use words/phrases like, “I think” and “I feel” rather than “You are” and “You do____”. Also, avoid vast generalizations like, “You ALWAYS” or “You NEVER” because this will put him on the defensive for certain, which is not what you want.

    Make a time for you both when you can have privacy and intimacy. This shouldn’t be like you’re sitting him down in an interrogation room. Tell him how you’ve been feeling about the porn he watches and, just like most people said before me, tell him EXACTLY what you don’t like about it. Don’t make generalizations. “I don’t like ______ because it makes me feel _______” is a good place to start.

    Then comes the most important part. LISTEN to what he has to say in return. Hopefully he will respond in a respectful and honest manner because (hopefully) that is how you approached him, rather than accusing him, blaming him, and demonizing something he doesn’t seem to have a problem with.

    I won’t give my personal stance on your problems because it’s not my place to say who’s right and who’s wrong. However, I am a firm believer that strong communication skills can enhance every part of your daily life–work, social, and familial.

    If you married this guy, you obviously thought that he was worth fighting for. So prove it. Get your head on straight, figure out what’s at the root of this problem, and give your marriage what it deserves: open, honest, respectful communication.

    I wish you luck.

  21. Jack Jones Says:

    As a vegetarian, I find meat dishes disgusting. But my husband sometimes eats out at a well-know burger joint. My cooking should be enough for him. I’ve told him it’s either my cooking, or he eats out for good.

  22. BradMillersHero Says:

    While I personally don’t believe porn to be bad, I don’t think that there’s any reason to judge this woman because she does.

    She obviously believes very strongly about it, and yet her husband still can’t respect her beliefs enough to give it up?

    If my boyfriend was a vegetarian for moral reasons, I wouldn’t eat steak in front of him. If he was a Christian, I wouldn’t worship Satan in front of him. Its because I have the common courtesy to respect my partner’s wishes.

    If this guy can’t just fap to his own thoughts (like most of us), he has some kind of problem with porn. Either that or he has a problem with not being able to respect his wife.

  23. rachel Says:

    i dont honestly think this problem is with porn. if you are willing to leave him over this than u shouldnt b together to begin with. Im sure he didnt just wake up one day after u were married and say im gonna watch porn today. some people watch porn some people dont thats one of thoes conversations u have while dating. communicating with your partner is so important especially about sexual practice. sex is a big part of a relationship u should b on the same page and if u are not then really whats the point? if u are not happy with this part of your relationship it can affect the rest of it. u need to ask yourself(and him) what else am i not happy with is it worth being unhappy about.

  24. SS Says:

    Porn is a visual aid, like a sex toy, not a substitute wife. As the saying goes, 95% of men look at porn, and the other 5% lie about not looking at porn. This is NOT an issue, and you shouldn’t make it one. You absolutely do not have the right, even as his wife, to tell him what he is allowed to be turned on by. If you don’t like porn, don’t watch it. If you don’t want to know about him watching porn, ask him to be discreet, watch it when you aren’t home, etc. As much as we love our spouses or significant others, most people would like to be able to look at other people naked from time to time. This is all he’s doing, it’s really no different from the woman who reads romance novels about studly Scotsmen. As a woman who has been married for 24 years, I can tell you, it would be a huge mistake to make this an issue. Save your fights for something that really matters.

  25. matbo Says:

    Porn is not food. One can survive without it. If he truly loves her he’d be able to give it up for her. Really.
    That said I encourage the writer to work out her issues with porn so that she may see it as non-threatening and allow her husband to watch it, but I really think he should make an effort to stop or limit his viewing if it makes her that uncomfortable. I do not condone giving sexual ultimatums, but he should prefer sex with his wife over porn.
    Though, in my experience, the best policy is “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

  26. Kevin Says:

    Mrs. Ultimatum, please read to the end of this for me. Do i look at porn? Yes, on occasion. However I prefer my Wife whenever possible but that’s not always the case. She found porn on a laptop I had. She wasn’t upset about it because she realizes we have differing sex drives. I have never stepped out on her and she knows this and respects me for it.

    Going back to the porn, when all is said an done I prefer my wife every single time. One day it hit me and I asked her, “would you pose for some pictures for me, naked?” To my surprise she said yes. With the usual “buts”, keep it off the net, no one else gets to see it and No means No. Of course I said yes and i meant and kept it.

    We started in the bedroom with sexy poses and lingerie. We’ve since moved outdoors to private parks and hotels. We go shopping for new clothes for her every time. We make a day of it.

    It’s my responsibility to do any grooming that I want done. So I shave her if I want that. We shoot some pictures, I take to lunch, More picture someplace sexy and then we go home or to the hotel and have great sex.

    Is it perfect? Not always but we’ve never had a bad time doing it since we respect each others needs and boundaries.

    All of this said, this requires a crazy amount of trust from the “model” in this scenario. Which I credit and love my wife for. But it creates an intense bonding because she said she didn’t like something I was looking at AND provided me with a viable alternative to use. One that I am more than satisfied with.

    Trust me, it can being incredibly erotic to have your picture taken naked and empowering to see how you look. I would forget about any negative aspects of your body for at lest one time and try it. Believe me, he likes the way you look more than you think. If there is something you just have to hide, experiment, try being coy and flirty in the pictures. You might even love it.

    One more important thing, SECURITY! I keep the pictures on a separate flash drive that is not on the computer. Even if the computer was stolen she’d never be in danger of being exposed as the loving wife she is.

    I hope this helps.

  27. Mary P. Utana Says:

    Have you thought of a convent?

  28. R Says:

    There are decent and not religious men out there that don’t watch porn.
    Nobody forced him to marry her right? Didn’t he sign the papers himself? Didn’t he commit to his wife, to be with her and only her? His choice. Now he has to deal with it… if she doesn’t feel ok about it, he should totally quit.
    By the way, he won’t die without porn. I assume he is a healthy guy who can control himself, not someone that puts desires over everything else. Maybe their relationship gets even better after he quits. She married him, she loves him, and she wants him to get off seeing/thinking about HER body, not any porn star out there. It’s all about respect.

  29. Johnny Says:

    If it were the husband writing in with this problem, saying, “my wife is hitting me with ultimatums over a little porno”, I’d tell him the following:

    I’ve been hit with various ultimatums over the years. The best way to make them stop, and to get your way in the end, is to steadfastly pick the other option. If you strap your balls on and stick to your guns, it’s practially guaranteed to go something like this:

    Wife: It’s me or the porn.

    Husband: ok, I pick the porn.

    Wife: So you love porn more than you love me, you sick pervert!?

    Husband: No, I love you more, but you’re twisting my arm and I won’t have that. I’m a grown man here. I don’t want to be with a woman who thinks she can bully my boner.

    I’m like the USA in this respect: I won’t negotiate with a terrorist. If a woman tells me, “my way or the highway,” I’ll always pick the highway. I have a feeling that if she stares down her own ultimatum – if she’s actually confronted with the reality of busting up her family over some bullshit – she’ll back right down.

    You know – if it were the husband writing in.

  30. RJ Says:

    Here’s the thing: You are upset because you are feeling insecure. That is a perfectly normal reaction, when the person you love, is absorbing their time with someone else in a way that makes you feel less intimate.

    I understand this feeling. The truth is, you are probably thinking about the porn more than he is. With sex, men are visual. Women are emotional. Its how each gender is hardwired.

    So, what you can do with this situation, that has nothing to do with being uncertain of what your husband’s level of porn activity – is explain to him that his behavior is yielding the result of HIM being less attractive to YOU. You can also explain that it leaves you feeling questionable about how satisfied HE is with YOU. Where you are feeling vulnerable, he is probably going to also when he hears your loss of attraction. Ask him what you can do together to trust each other again. You may need to be ready to hear some things you don’t like, understand but will have to accept. He’s going to hear them too. Lay the feelings out in black and white. The core issue is not the porn. The core issue is that you have a situation between the two of you on a much more important level than porn – and that is how connected the TWO of you are or are not.

    Your husband may be angry and embarrassed that you want to discuss this. If you approach it in a non-threatening matter with true concern – that is what is going to stick in his head at the end of the discussion. And – hopefully for you – it is not just one discussion, but rather many as you build your relationship back together.

    No one likes ultimatums. Just as you are probably feeling hurt by the porn, your husband – whether he prefaces it this way – is going to feel hurt and angry by an ultimatum. That is because regardless of the end result you are going for; you’re not even allowing him the opportunity to work on giving it to you on his own accord. Besides, don’t you want him to be the one that decides how to love you? There’s no room for growth or reconnection in an “ultimatum”. Maybe take a few steps back. Realize – yes – you are hurt and angry. Also remember you have a marriage and a responsibility to foster an open honest and non-threatening environment – both of you. Talk to your husband like you would your best friend if they were hurting you. Give him a chance. You might be surprised at what you learn about him…each other.

    Before you decide to have this talk though, let yourself be angry little bit, hurt,…whatever it is – but put a limit on how much of that you are going to let consume you. Feel it, acknowledge it and then put it away so you can have a neutral discussion. Try to keep clinical. Ask open ended questions and try not to blame or accuse. Hopefully you will come to understand and respect each other a little more – in better ways than what you are both experiencing now.

    Good luck!

  31. Handyman Says:

    If your husband would rather masturbate to porn rather than have sex with you than you might have a point. Mens sexual urges are more often than womens. We need to release more than you.

    I don’t understand what your problem is with porn. When your husband is looking at porn he’s not comparing it to you. It’s just fantasy.

    There was a study that most men prefer women with curves or everyday women over wafer thin women you see on magazines and porn.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/researcher-curvy-women-like-324813.html

    So either you need to see a therapist or get over it. Men masturbate to porn.

  32. Dave W Says:

    Referring back to rachel’s response, this really is something they should have discovered while they were dating. They’re both irresponsible for failing to identify it, and then having kids on top of that. It might be difficult for either of them to just “get over it” and change. This is why I like the practice of many churches that require engaged couples to receive premarital counseling.

    P.S. My answer changes if he lied about his porn attitudes.

  33. Bef Aroni Says:

    I don’t watch porn at all i just am a chronic masturbator. I just do it, and my wife has the audacity to ask me to stop what I am doing in the bathroom so she can give birth, that was so selfish on her part. Our child wasn’t born yet. Some people don’t need porn.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve never commented on this site before, but I feel compelled to do so this time.

    None of Em & Lo’s readers know exactly what bad experiences this woman had with porn in her childhood, so no one has really has a right to tell her that she’s wrong. The best advice that was given is that she needs to engage in open, honest dialogue with her husband about this and any underlying issues, and that ultimatums have no place in a relationship. A compromise of some sort is surely the optimum outcome.

    However, I’m frankly a little appalled at some of the abrasive, judgmental comments that I’ve read. Not everyone agrees with the idea of porn, and not everyone agrees it has a place in the home. Maybe she thinks it’s disgusting because sex is an intimate act, and to her, porn seems to violate that. Telling someone flat out, “Porn is not cheating. It is not wrong. YOU are wrong,” is never an effective or welcomed way to give advice.

    There were some excellent suggestions given, but after being an avid reader of this site for awhile now, I was really disappointed in the assumptions made and forceful, snarky opinions given.

  35. Wondering Says:

    I don’t know what you were exposed to as a child, it probably wasn’t good, I don’t believe a child should be aware of porn habits of their parents. Your husband is not your father and you are not your mother. Maybe you need to talk with a professional if you have major scarring from your childhood.(Not a judgement) You don’t say that your husband is staying up late or not coming to bed because of a porn addiction. Maybe he needs professional help if that is the case.
    It sounds to me however that you are both basically normal people. Women and men are wired differently in many ways. As a man I feel the need for release far more often than my wife. We have been married for more than 30 yrs and our needs are just different. It doesn’t mean that either of us are right or wrong. My wife is still very self conscious of her body and doesn’t feel comfortable when I look at her naked. I do look at porn and it does not make me desire or appreciate my wife less in any way. I don’t expect my wife to be like a porn star any more than I believe cartoons or TV shows are real. It sounds like you do love each other, responsibilities of living: jobs, children, friends, families etc all interfere with giving each other time and attention for your relationship. If your marriage is healthy and you want it to stay that way you need to talk to your husband and find a middle ground. You can’t realistically demand no porn any more than he can demand that you get him off every time he gets an erection.

  36. Madamoiselle L Says:

    As for “scarring from childhood.” A lot of us have it. And….? It shouldn’t effect our relationships, as as adults we should have dealt with it.

    There are two choices when this has happened;

    1) Use the “trauma” to avoid, get rid of and disengage from every single thing you don’t care for, using “the trauma” as an excuse.

    OR

    2) Woman-Up and deal with it. No one wants to hear, (whining) “But, I FEEL….” constantly. Especially not men. And ultimatums? Ridiculous. No one responds well to that kind of emotional abuse. (Which is what she is doing. Abusing her husband emotionally and psychologically.)

    Was she scarred? What does that have to do with his desire to watch some sex on the computer or a DVD? If she chooses not to watch it with him, that is her choice.

    Does he decide that if she watches “The Bachelor” or an other stupid romantic comedy one more time, he has the right to leave HER? (Because those are degrading to men.) No, of course not.

    This woman needs to find a way to deal. Get into therapy, ignore it, realize that people have different needs, whatever it takes.

  37. Johnny Says:

    ^ I’ve missed you, Mml. L. !

    Yeah, seriously, about the trauma thing. Not that there’s any indication from the original letter that there was any actual ‘trauma’. Just sounds like she found her dads/brothers’ porn and thought it was gross and pervy.

    The trauma thing gets old fast. You have to play that card sparingly, because it devalues quickly. If you cry ‘trauma’ to get your way every time something comes up, your partner stops taking it seriously. And it seems that women who do this always do so in a context of treating someone else really unfairly (I actually don’t know any men who do this, which isn’t to say men never do; also, very few women I know actually do this. But I’ve seen it, and I’ve even dated women who do it).

  38. Black Iris Says:

    The two of you need to get into marital counseling pronto. You’re not having sex and you don’t trust him. Look for a counselor who is committed to solving problems and preserving marriages. You should also talk to them about the porn issue – you need someone who can respect your aversion for the porn without condemning your husband.

    If porn really bothers you, you shouldn’t have to get over it. A lot of porn is disgusting and most of it is aimed at guys’ tastes, not girls. You’ve tried looking at it with him, you did your part.

    Guys, porn may not be cheating, but it affects what we think of you and we need to respect you to love you.

    I suspect you have a bigger problem, though. Has your sex life and your romance gotten pushed aside by the rest of your life? Couples need to have fun not just work/kids/chores. Maybe you can forgive him for having used porn and then go forward from there.

    You also obviously have a huge trust issue the two of you are going to have to work out. It may take a while and like I said, I think you’ll need help with it.

    Finally, the two of you might want to consider looking for female-friendly porn. Maybe your husband would be willing to watch something with you that didn’t disgust you.

  39. Black Iris Says:

    @Johnny – Well, Sandra Bullock’s husband Jesse James cited trauma as the reason he cheated all over the place. So it happens.

    I don’t know anything about the writer of the letter or your old relationship, but I think it’s reasonable for a woman who was abused to ask her husband to not use porn.

  40. Black Iris Says:

    Well, I like to respond to the letter before I read the comments. I can’t believe the judgmental hostility being directed at the poor wife here.

    “You have to let me watch porn” is an ultimatum. It is not open discussion. In any case, this guy did agree and now he is lying. It is not a white lie, just a lie. They have a problem to get past before she will even want to have sex with him.

    Johnny where is the hostility coming from that makes you suggest she must be a terrible wife just because she doesn’t want her husband to watch porn?

    “Men like porn, you have to accept it” is not some absolute ultimatum from God. Men were jerking off for thousands of years before photos of naked women were invented. The Internet makes it hard to control yourself by avoiding porn, but porn really isn’t necessary. And what if I said, “women are disgusted by porn, you have to give it up to have a relationship.” We’d just be stuck.

    The problem here is two people who love each other and have gotten stuck in a battle that could break them apart. She finds porn disgusting – that’s a normal reaction. He wants to use porn – that’s also normal. He lied, she doesn’t trust him. The two of them need to work out something that will make both of them happy.

    My personal take on it – he doesn’t need to use porn. She doesn’t need to start liking it. They need help getting past what he’s done and working out a new arrangement. Maybe they can find nicer porn that she likes, maybe not. As a busy parent, I suspect that it might not be a bad idea for them to spend more time together romantically. That could be part of the problem, although no one should be calling her names over it. First they needs to start talking, preferably with a professional therapist who has a record for fixing marriages.

  41. Black Iris Says:

    @HoochyMama – Assuming you’re not a guy trying to be a wiseacre, why not tell the married guys to go back to their wives and work out their problems? No doubt their wives wish they would be more romantic or do more around the house or say they’re unhappy and go to counseling.

    If the guys seriously want to stay with their wives, they need to keep their pants zipped. Nothing breaks up a marriage like an affair. It also is a surefire way to make sure that the breakup is nasty and costs you more money.

  42. Johnny Says:

    ^ I try to avoid celebrity gossip, so I’ll have to take your word for it, Black Iris. But from what I remember, Jesse James was painted as quite the heel for that. I don’t think anyone, particularly the female tabloid-consuming public, accepted his cries of “trauma” as any kind of excuse for his behavior. Personally I think it’s kind of pathetic that Mr. Toughguy Tattood Biker Jesse James would try to work the victim angle.

  43. Johnny Says:

    ^I don’t think I’m hostile, Black Iris, just a pragmatist and a realist. I think she’s being highly unreasonable about this, and I strongly doubt that this unreasonable streak just popped up now, just over this.

    If I had money on this I’d wager that she has deep-seated control issues and a love of high drama across the board… not just the porn thing.

    … but that’s just speculation. Sticking to the porn thing, I didn’t say she’s a horrible wife. But her behavior here is way out of line. Again, I bet it’s out of line all over the place, cause these things never exist in a vacuum, but hey, speculating…

  44. Amanda Says:

    So theres no problem with your sex life, it was not interfearing in your relationship until you made it interfere. The only problem is you don’t like it? That seems awefully selfish to me. My advice would be to get over it. By not giving him sex he will watch it more, may cheat or leave you.

  45. Johnny Says:

    Thank you, Amanda, for pointing that out. That’s exactly what it boils down to.

    If here were wanking himself out to porn, and not leaving enough for his wife, HE would be the problem.

    If he were getting in trouble for looking at porn on his work computer, HE would be the problem.

    If he were obsessed with porn, looking at it for hours and hours, HE would be the problem.

    If he were spending the kids’ college money on webcam girls, HE would be the problem.

    If he discreetly and moderately enjoys porn during private moments, but his wife is determined to react like it’s one of the above scenarios, SHE is the problem.

    Given the info in the letter, it sounds like this is only a problem because she’s making it one!

  46. pik Says:

    interesting… the overwhelming majority of the responses thus far agree that it’s not cheating and/or she is overreacting (i agree on both counts!) but i’d really like to know what SHE thinks after seeing that so many people feel this way. will she feel any differently about the situation, or act differently towards her husband? for her sake and that of the marriage, i hope so!
    so my only real comment, which is unbearably lame, is that i hope she has a comment. i’d love to see what she thinks.

  47. emandlo Says:

    pik, we’ll see if we can get her to weigh on! Hopefully she’s not too shy…

  48. Porn Ultimatum Says:

    Ok, I have read through almost every single post. Here’s a few things that need to be said. Now brace yourselves ladies and for all the judgemental people that responded, you kind of asked for this. 17 years ago, when I met my husband, as we grew closer everyday, he had to find out some harsh truths about me and my life. I grew up in a household where if the news wasn’t on, porn was. I was molested by my father, you know, the guy always watching the porn in my “home.” My husband knew all of this. I suffer from PTSD because of all the crap I went through as a child. My husband knew this before HE asked me to marry him. He knew how I felt about porn. Here are some facts: he managed to get me to allow us having sex to be taped. I can’t watch it. He doesn’t watch it. I have, unbelievably, a really high sex drive. I am the one that wants it 3-4 maybe even 5 times a day. He doesn’t. I do not masturbate. I can’t bring myself to do it. I have a hard time climaxing as it is, but he works wonders and I do. I CHOOSE to have sex with my husband. I have never stepped out on him. I do not do anything that he does not want me to do, and if I do and he tells me that he does not want me to do it, I make sure to remember it and never do it again. I am not a complainer, whiner, nagger, nor do I need to know where he is every minute of the day. I have the almost perfect marriage. The imperfection is he watches porn. I cook, clean, take care of all of the kids, file the taxes, secretary our company,and tend to his needs. He doesn’t have many. I do not complain about much. I have hard days, he asks, I tell him about my day, as he tells me about his day. I would leave but I am happy, he provides for me very well. I even “service him” when he wants me to without reciprocation. I do not ask much of him, we live the lifestyle we do because he wants to, I could do without half the stuff we have. I want my husband to look at me and tell me he wants me instead of staying in his office till midnight because he is watching his porn. What am I doing? Sitting in the living room falling asleep on the couch bored out of my mind. When I try to get his attention, I get “in a minute.” He knew everything thing there was to know BEFORE HE asked me to marry him. I know plenty of guys that would love to be with me without the porn. But I love my husband. Why can’t he respect me enough to give up the one thing I ask him to do?

  49. Megs Says:

    I was in a similar situation with my husband. I personally find porn to be cheating, I know that many people don’t agree with that position and that’s fine with me. I made this stance clear early on in my relationship and he allegedly stopped. My husband and I have very different sex drives (ie I want it at least five times a day and he’s a twice a weeker) so when he was turning to porn instead of me it was beyond insulting and hurtful because he knew that at any moment I would be ready to be down and dirty with him. The first time he confessed (during actual intercourse… which was pretty much the worst time to break that kind of news) I was devastated. But I forgave him and we moved on, only to have it happen again a few months later. That time I issued the ultimatum and we sought counseling in an attempt to get on the same page in terms of the ways we view sex and sexuality.

    PU, after reading your story I think you have every right to issue that ultimatum, but urge you to go to a counselor. We’re currently going to a Catholic priest (we’re not Catholic) and it has done wonders for our marriage. Honestly, if he really loved you he’d respect you. Give him a chance to make amends and if he doesn’t I’d divorce him. Constantly being rejected and not being a priority will continue to break you down until there is nothing left.

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through this challenge, you’ll be in my thoughts.

  50. Johnny Says:

    Wow – that’s a whole lot of relevant context. No doubt everyone, including me, might have responded differently had that been included in the original letter.

    Ok, here’s my revised answer. If things are truly as you say – you’re a nice, loving and attentive wife who never busts his balls, and really the only thing you’ve ever asked him to change is his porn consumption, and THAT request stems from actual sexual abuse – then yeah, your stance on this suddenly seems not so crazy.

    That said, I still think the reality of getting anyone to change anything is an uphill battle, and one that’s best avoided if possible. Good luck.


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