What Does Porn Addiction Do to a Spouse?

(The Federalist) Men often feel defensive when confronted with their porn addiction, but it’s not just their problem: It becomes a burden for their entire family — especially their hurting wives or girlfriends.

This article discusses an adult topic.

Reader discretion is advised.

I once walked in on my husband masturbating to a screen. It’s as awkward as it sounds — which is to say, after a decade of marriage, I still found myself stunned yet muttering apologies, embarrassed for both of us. He shifted, slammed his computer shut, and laughed uncomfortably as if neither of us saw what he had been doing.

I wasn’t even that angry; I didn’t yell at or belittle him. Mostly, I was hurt. An odd reaction, perhaps, but it felt painful to see him enjoy a computer image.

I wasn’t the typical “I have a headache” wife about sex. I had been a willing partner who regularly initiated. Still, even though the signs had pointed not just to occasional porn use but to a porn addiction, I didn’t want to see them, and I certainly didn’t want this kind of confirmation.

Porn Doesn’t Just Affect Men

People like to say there are two kinds of folks regarding porn: Guys who see it, even search it out on occasion, but still love their wives and have regular, committed, loving sex with them. They wouldn’t argue porn is a boon, yet neither has it appeared to adversely affect their minds or relationships.

Then there are addicts: They watch it daily, once or more. That camp of men (and occasionally women) ranges from guys who get turned on by galleries of naked selfies or videos on Pornhub, to guys who will even pay to talk to porn “stars,” secretly spending thousands of dollars to satiate their thirst.

But I’d argue there’s a third person in these scenarios: the woman in the lives of the porn addicts. We often talk about what porn does to men, how they find it, how it rewires their brains, whether or not we should ban it, and if so, how? (As the current Twitter debate shows, it’s a topic that ignites both sides.)

But what does it do to the women they love? Turns out, a lot. I know not only from firsthand experience, but since I began to identify as “wife of porn addict,” women in similar positions have come out of the woodwork (excuse the bad pun) with shared tales of humiliation and struggle.

Like any addiction, but especially with the invention of the internet, porn can find its way into a man’s mind anytime, anywhere. It meets a deadly criteria: accessible, anonymous, and initially affordable. Like other types of addictions, the earlier it occurs, the harder it is to kick. If men discover it at a young age, many are so hooked, they can’t begin to consider giving it up.

Because it’s about libido and the very personal nature of sex, men tend to get defensive about this topic, justifying their habit for various reasons. If they knew what it was doing to the women they love, however, perhaps they would be willing to change their ways.

What’s it like to be married to someone who gets his kicks from a fantasy?

To continue reading, click here.

[Editor’s Note: This article was published at The Federalist, title and image changed.]



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