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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Trying to accept that my boyfriend watches porn

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Author Topic: Trying to accept that my boyfriend watches porn
summerglow930
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I'm sorry this is so long but I really need guidance and wanted to make sure all the information was there so I can really get some help.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 7 months and we are very in love. We are perfect for one another and both intend on spending the rest of our lives together. That being said, if I am going to spend the rest of my life with him, which I would love to, I need help accepting the fact that once in awhile he watches porn. Here is our situation and how this all began: My boyfriend and I don't live together, but we might as well because I am at his house every second that he is there except for when he goes to work or when he is out with his friends. However, occasionally before he goes to work he'll ask me to leave a few hours early because he needs to "do some things around the house" clean, laundry etc. Now usually this wouldn't be weird except he doesn't always say this, in fact there have been plenty of times that he doesn't want me to leave and just cleans and does laundry while I'm right there. Thats why I started to think that maybe he was up to something else. So, I know it was wrong, but I was curious and decided to look at this internet history and sure enough there were porn sites. Now, I know watching porn and masturbating is normal. Also, there wasn't a ton of porn, so I know he doesn't do it all the time and it doesn't interfere at all with our sex life because we still have great sex almost every day. I have also come to understand by reading that there is a difference between having sex and masterbating and that every normal human needs both types of releases. I myself masterbate almost daily and sometimes enjoy watching porn too, so i'm not mad at him for it. If I can't be there for him because of my own reasons and he's horny than it's fine he can masterbate all he wants and it doesnt bother me, but the real problem is that I'm guessing he's also doing it when he asks me to leave so he can "clean" and if thats the reason he wants me to leave than that kind of makes it seem like he's choosing the porn over having sex with me. I like to masterbate too but if I was feeling that horny when he was around I would no doubt choose him before tricking him into leaving so I could get off to porn. I know he loves me and that the girls he watches online are no threat to me but it still bothers me and as similar as we are with our porn and getting off habits, I would always choose him first. Now, I don't want to invade on his privacy and personal sexuality and I definitely don't want to embarrass him about finding this out, because I know that it would. I'm really not looking for someone to tell me that I need to have a conversation with him because I don't need to compromise, and I don't feel it's fair of me to ask him to stop since I do it myself and it's normal, all I need is an outside person to help me get past this on my own so it doesn't start causing a problem in our relationship because he isn't doing anything wrong, the problem is in my head. I know it's most likely just me being paranoid and overreacting. I'm sure he isnt choosing it over me purposefully, but as much as I tell myself that I can't seem to REALLY believe it. I know that it shouldn't bother me but I need some thoughtful words and guidance to help me finally get to the point where it really doesn't bother me. I just can't seem to find the right words in my head to tell myself so I'm hoping someone else will have the right ones for me.

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mma
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Hi summerglow930, I can't give you magic words that'll make the feelings go away, but I am learning that when there is something that objectively I know is OK but I can't seem to REALLY believe it, it's OK for me to tell my emotions that they're not in charge right now and I get to go into rational mode.

What I'm practicing right now is I have a mental checklist. When I get overwhelmed by the unrealistic emotions, I pull out my checklist and resolve to live by that until my emotions calm down. So in the situation you described I might have thought something like:

Private solo sexual life is normal: CHECK
No threat to me/our relationship: CHECK
Doesn't interfere with our sex life: CHECK
Problem in my head: CHECK

And I know you didn't ask this, but it's something I hope someone else has some insight about: Why do we look at the internet history when we know we wouldn't want someone who supposedly trusts us snooping around checking up on us?

Also, this just struck me. We don't like feeling used. Sometimes we want a physical release but we're not looking for the exchange of interpersonal sexual energy or don't have the interest/energy to invest in partnered sexual activity. It wouldn't be right to try to use our partner to get that release, would it? That's when it would make sense to excuse yourself for some private time.

The porn is bound to be the equivalent of putting music on when you take a bath or shower. You're taking the bath to meet your own needs (though it benefits us all, sure!), not do something mutual with your partner, and the music just helps set the mood.

You each might like to crank up the tunes and sing all goofy when you're by yourself, but if you're bathing together, maybe having the music on and singing at the top of your lungs would be a distraction that you wouldn't like.

Of course, that's all easy for me to say right now. I'm not feeling all twisted up about this right now. But I do empathize with you.

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summerglow930
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Thank you very much, you definitely helped. Before I was kind of feeling like I might not be enough for him sexually anymore, because the times that he seemingly "excuses" himself to masterbate we've usually just had sex MOMENTS before. But thinking about that whole not wanting to be used thing is clearing that up for me. I mean, he is a guy so maybe he needs a lot more sex than he figures I would want and he doesnt want to "use me" and ask me to sacrifice most my day going at it, so he takes care of it himself. My mind is definitely a little more at ease.

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mma
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Remember one of the big stories around here is how sexual desire and response varies from person to person and waxes and wanes throughout a single person's life. [Big Grin] Probably not a "guy thing." There will probably be times in your life that you too will find yourself suddenly remembering you need to dash home and give the dog a bath!*

*Make sure you actually HAVE a dog before using this pretense! [Wink]

[ 06-26-2010, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: mma ]

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summerglow930
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Yes you're right, it really isn't just a guy thing and like I said, I think him are actually quite similar when it comes to our own private sexuality which is why I really wanted to try and get past this. After all, I don't want to hold something against someone when I do the same thing myself. I wouldn't want him to look at me differently if he found out I enjoy indulging in some alone time once in awhile. And I guess thinking of it from my perspective helps too. I do it probably just as much as him, and I sometimes watch porn too but that doesn't change the way I feel about him, how much I'm attracted to him or how I feel when him and I are together romantically. It's something I do with myself, the fantasies in my head are simply just fantasies and they're completely disconnected from him and our relationship, so I'm sure the same goes for him.

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summerglow930
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Thanks again, I knew this was just something I needed to work out for myself but sometimes when I try and straighten things out in my head they just get more confusing. It truly helps a lot to talk to someone else about it and hear other opinions, this is exactly what I needed.

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mma
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You're so welcome! Namaste! [Smile]

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Laura Rose
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Hi! I came across this post and it would be amazing if you still checked in with this website. I have been googling around forever looking for someone with a similar situation to mine and yours seems like an exact fit. If you are still on here and would like to offer some advice to me or an update to this situation that would be amazing. I am currently struggling with this myself. Same situation! Its like I watch it myself and I feel like such a hypocrite and when I am not with him and I know he's home alone I feel like I torture myself thinking about what he is doing alone. Please get back to me if you are still on here. Thanks so much!
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Heather
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mma or summerglow930 haven't been around for a while, Laura, but any of us are happy to talk with you.

I'd also be glad to give you some links to get started with with some advice and information around these issues, if you'd like some quick places to get started.

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Laura Rose
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Oh that would be so awesome. Thank you so much. I have anxiety disorder as it is and it seems this is the last lingering thing that I just want to be rid of. I am not looking for people to tell me that watching porn is wrong. No matter what I know he is not going to stop and I don't see myself stopping either. I am just having issues coming to terms with specific things he watches. Like when he watches other women masturbate. This makes me feel like he is fantasizing being with them. With me, when I watch it I never fantasize about being with the men in the video. He tells me that it is all visual and he does not picture himself with them because it takes up too much imagination. He said he is detached from it and he does it out of boredom when I'm not home. I know I do the same. I feel like I'm just worrying over nothing at this point. I agree with what was said above. ... Our sex life is not affected, he is not a porn addict and this is all in my head. I am a worry wart and I just need to relax.
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Heather
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We don't tend to talk about these things as universal rights or wrongs, because not everyone has the same values. Our aim with something like this would be to help you clarify however you feel, then determine what you think you want and need for yourself.

A partner or person watching porn is fantasizing in one way or another: it is fantasy material. As well, it's actually pretty rare through a person's whole sex life for them not to have sexual fantasies that either don't include partners or that aren't just about partners.

So, I get that he said he's not fantasizing with them to you, but since it sounds like that's your issue with this -- about someone fantasizing having themselves in the picture -- maybe we can talk about why you think that bothers you so much? For instance, do you have the idea or ideal that even in our heads -- not with our bodies -- a person can only be or think of being sexual with one partner and that only that is okay or acceptable? If you recognize that's actually very, very unusual (and you know so even just for yourself, since you have your own sexual interest in watching porn), and maybe even accept it's probably not likely with whoever your partners will be in your life, can I ask how that makes you feel?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Laura Rose
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That is the thing. When I watch it I never picture myself with the men in that porn. I just find pleasure in watching just the "act" of sex I guess. But to answer your question, yes I do not like the feeling that he could possibly be fantasizing himself with those women. I hate that thought with a passion. If I were to know for a fact that he is only watching it in the same way that I do then I would not worry one bit about it at all.
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Heather
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Let me try this this way: whether you picture yourself IN the videos or photos or not, you're in the picture: you're there, watching, and thus, taking some kind of active part in all of what's going on. Without you there, watching...well, you're not watching porn, it's not happening in that moment. And if you say you take pleasure in watching sexual acts, that is you being in that picture, the picture of someone enjoying that kind of voyeurism. Do you get what I mean?

Even if that seems obtuse, know that if you haven't yet felt yourself being in the picture, or visualized yourself that way, plenty of other people do. Our experience with something sexual is often going to be different than someone else's experience. I totally get that sometimes that can feel uncomfortable in some ways, but since all of us are unlikely to wind up with our sexual twins, we'll all likely need to -- if we haven't already -- deal with processing a partner being sexually different than we are at one point or another.

So, even if this partner right now is having the exact same experience as you with porn, chances are good you two won't always, probably aren't in plenty of ways now, and that partners you may have in the future won't be. That given, I think it's more helpful to try and work those feelings out than to hope or wish or aim for a partner who miraculously experiences porn or sex the same way you do.

Do you think you can fill me in on why you "hate that thought with a passion?," the idea that this partner - or any partner? -- could be fantasizing about being with another sexual partner, whether with porn or just in their own heads? Is it about feeling jealous or insecure, wanting to be the only person a sexual partner has any desire for, worry about your own sexual performance...something else?

[ 05-15-2011, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Laura Rose
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Yes, I think it probably is insecurity but also I want to be completely "one" with him like we talk about all the time. I feel like he should not be picturing himself having sex with another women.
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Heather
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Okay.

One thing to know is that when a person really, truly, earnestly only EVER thinks about one person sexually, that's actually often an indicator of being psychologically unhealthy, rather than healthy. Not always, and I'm certainly not talking about short periods of time, like plenty of folks often experience when a sexual relationship s brand new, but often. People choosing to only be with one person sexually because they want to commit in that way is one thing: people doing so because they literally have only ever had that one person in their sexual imagination (which is unlikely anyway, for people older than children), and only ever do is something else.

I get, mind you, the romantic ideal of that: it's very present in our culture, it's just not very real and also doesn't often wind up being romantic when people are that totally singleminded in their thoughts, but instead, more often winds up being dysfunctional or even abusive.

Let me try and suggest something else that might help. Let's say your mother is in the park, and she's watching another child who, for whatever reason, just seems like a cool kid to her and she feels connected to. If she engages in a fantasy where she's also the mother of that kind, does that mean she loves you less? or doesn't want to be your mother? Or that that kind is better than you? In all those cases, probably not. She'd just be doing what most of us do often enough in life: visualizing all the possibilities, going to a fantasy place because we have active imaginations, indulging in a kind of mental vacation where, for a minute or two, our lives or selves are different, because that can tend to be enjoyable or enlightening, even when we like our lives as they are.

Here's what I'd suggest: first of all, I'd try and think more about the fact that wanting to control someone's thoughts maybe isn't so healthy, or wanting them to be exactly like you sexually. Maybe he does picture himself having sex with other people, when watching porn or otherwise. Chances are good that in time, you do, too. Neither of you ever imagining that at all would really be so rare that I think it's best to take that off the table as something you want, because it's not likely to be something you have or can have. Too, no one can change their thoughts or ideas, so whatever his are, they are what they are.

I also don't think his thoughts have to be anything other than what they are in order to feel comfortable in the way you'd like to.

That given, it might help to think about what you really think thinking about others sexually means. Again, when you're watching porn, you are, too. If you know you can do that and it's not a threat to your relationship, maybe you can kind of put that shoe on the other foot and see how it may not be on his end, too?

You might also want to maybe think about how you're thinking about being one with someone. Could, for instance, being one include accepting whatever each other's thoughts and fantasies are, just as something they are, and as something that isn't a threat at all, or a reflection on you (like you not being as sexy or good or alluring as whoever else he might also have the hots for)? What about being one as a place where you both know you have had, do have or will have fantasies in some ways about others, or attraction to others, but know you're choosing each other right now and that's meaningful? What about being "completely one" as accepting the ways you're different, maybe even sharing some of those fantasies and having them be a place of connection, not disconnection? After all, if you set this up so he feels only some of his thoughts are acceptable to you, he's not likely to share or be honest about them, which makes that something that keeps you apart, rather than brings you together.

Lastly, spending some time thinking about why you feel insecure would probably be of benefit to you, both for your relationship and your own sexuality. Pitting ourselves in some kind of sexual competition with others -- in action or in thoughts -- after all, rarely benefits either.

Did you want me to pass on some of those links to you?

[ 05-15-2011, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Laura Rose
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I have to be honest. You are so incredibly amazing. Thank you so much for all of your advice. I would love them.
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Heather
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Aw, thanks!

Why don't I toss you some of these links, then maybe you can have a read of them, think on all this, sleep on it, and we can check in again on this in a day or two and see how you're feeling? This is a lot to process and marinate, and I suspect it'll take a bit of time to do that.

A couple of these may not seem exactly relevant on first glance, but there are some things in them I think will be for you.

Here you go:
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/porn_the_eternal_conversation_killer
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/why_does_my_boyfriend_watch_transsexual_porn
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/sexuality/pornography_strip_clubs_other_feminist_relationship_quandaries
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/managing_vulnerability_sexual_insecurity
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/my_friends_are_prettier_than_me_and_its_making_me_miserable

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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summerglow930
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Hi Laura Rose, I havn't been on here for awhile but I just got emails saying that someone was commenting on this post again. If you'd still like to talk to me about it i'd be MORE than happy. It would be so great to talk to someone about this that is going through the exact same thing. Let me know if you ever wanna talk [Smile]

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JJLV7
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Hi, I too have the same problem. Now I've only been dating my boyfriend for 4 months and I feel like he should still be REALLY excited to have a lot of sex with me, since it is so new, and he hasn't had a girlfriend for a while. We sort of had the porn talk but it didn't end well and we didn't resolve it and ended up going to bed. I know, it should have been resolved, but I feel so messed up for feeling this way that I didn't want him to think I was jealous.

I am indeed insecure. I found out my exboyfriend was addicted to porn and he was very verbally abusive so that completely shattered my confidence. I feel my new boyfriend who knows all this would try to help me fix my confidence with me because I am trying really hard. I'm going to counselling and my friends are very supportive, so I feel he shouldn't be adding to the problem. I understand he will watch porn. I don't want to stop him, but how do I tell him this bothers me, especially since he has "new" porn magazine that he just bought in November or December. I feel as if we were barely dating 2 months before he bought new porn. I just feel like I am doing something wrong and won't be able to please him. I am good looking, i think so anyways, and I'm not overweight so I feel I should be getting more attention from him, especially because I initiate sex more often than he does. He's a very sweet and good guy and says he understands I've been through a lot from my last relationship and doesn't want to pressure me but when I see him and want to jump his bones, I would think he would be more excited to try to initiate sex than go out and buy a porn magazine from a store and use that.

So over all, I don't want to feel this way and I also need a way to talk to him without sounding jealous because I looked at this porn magazine and it's so obviously airbrushed and staged, but I don't know if he realizes that. I feel I will never measure up to these girls if he finds them attractive, especially since he doesn't really say I'm pretty or that I turn him on. I'm very broken from some tragedies that happened to me in the past couple of months and from my ex, and I feel he isn't helping the problem, but possibly making it worse. I know it's not up to him to fix the problem, but I ask that he try to help me, rather than adding to my insecurity especially so early in the relationship, and especially since he says he's never felt so loved by any other girl and has never been so happy in a relationship.

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Heather
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JJLV7, the last time this conversation at this thread was going on was over sic months ago, so it's unlikely the OPs will be back, since none of them are regulars.

But I'm here now: do you want to talk about this?

If you do, I feel like it's important to start with a really clear sense of what you want and need; do you WANT to date/be intimately involved with a partner who uses pornography at this time in your life?

In other words, is this something important enough to you that you ask -- or, even if you didn't this time, and we can talk about that, given the chance again, you would ask -- about this before getting very involved and choose not to get further involved if someone does utilize porn?

If this isn't that hard a limit for you, can I ask what your expectations were around this? In other words, do you expect a partner who has porn as part of their sexuality to suddenly change that when they get involved with you or anyone else as a sexual partner?

[ 01-30-2012, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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