SECTIONS
What would you like to know?
Share this Story
/

Porn addiction is real — how to handle it with your sig-o

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

What to do when your partner is addicted to porn and your sex life is suffering

Watching porn in and of itself is not a problem that needs addressing. While it may be irksome to catch your boyfriend or girlfriend checking out porn on their computer, it's a perfectly normal, healthy diversion. However, if diversion turns into obsession, then it might be time to have a talk.

According to several therapists, the overuse of porn is affecting more couples today than ever before. If you Google anything that could be construed as porn-related, a list of sites a mile long comes up, most of which you might never have dreamed would have a following. While solo sexual exploration is totally acceptable, the age of internet binging has led more and more people to fall down a porn hole that can easily turn into an addiction.

When you think about how easy it is to get addicted to your smartphone and social media, it makes perfect sense how someone could get addicted to online porn. However, just like how phone addiction can have a negative effect on your personal life, so can porn addiction. It may start to lower the addict's sex drive, because he/she's spending all their sexual energy masturbating. This means your sex life could take a serious dive, and that can lead to frustration and resentment.

North York-based couples’ and sex therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk told Chatelaine, “What kind of happens is there’s this preoccupation, in a way, with self. It’s harder to become a ‘we,’ and it reinforces the ‘I’ nature." This focus on the self may also be an indication that something else is wrong, either mentally (like depression or anxiety), or with your relationship. Regardless of the reason, if you feel like excessive use of porn has come between you, it's time to talk it out and work on a solution.

1. Decide what your personal views are on porn

Remember, you and your partner may have totally different ideas on what's an acceptable amount of porn-watching time. Dr. Kevin B. Skinner, author of Porn Addiction: The Essential Tools for Recovery, says, "Each individual has a different attitude toward their sexual behavior and viewing pornography. Some feel that their sexual behavior is out of control while others don't see their behaviors as a problem."

Before even broaching the subject, make sure you know your limits, and why you feel those limits are important.

2. Don't be accusatory

The worst thing you can do is come out screaming. The conversation may feel a bit awkward at first, but the best way to keep that feeling to a minimum is to keep things very observational. Any excessive blame will immediately put your partner on the defensive, and the conversation will turn into an argument.

3. Ask him what it is about porn he/she likes

Again, try and keep personal judgment to a minimum here. You want to get him/her to open up about why he/she's turning to porn and not you for solace. According to Dr. Skinner, most porn addicts experience less overall life satisfaction because of an emotional issue. Perhaps things have gotten bad a work, or he/she has a family problem from the past that he/she's not comfortable talking about yet. Whatever the reason, letting him/her know you're there to talk supportively may be just the thing they needed to open up.

4. Talk about making it a thing you do together

If he/she's mainly watching porn solo, perhaps making it more of a group activity would help take the focus off of the "I" and make it more about the "we." "Porn can actually help foster emotional and sexual intimacy," says Colorado psychologist David Schnarch, author of Resurrecting Sex: Solving Sexual Problems and Revolutionizing Your Relationship. If he/she's open to it, this could seriously improve your sex life, as it's a fun, sexy activity you do together rather than a shameful thing she/he keeps private.

5. Help break the pattern gently

According to Boulder, Colorado, psychoanalyst Dr. Kristi Pikiewicz, compulsive porn use is a way of protecting oneself by keeping things "stable" for all intents and purposes. That's why it's of utmost importance to be open and supportive if and when your partner decides to start breaking the cycle.

6. If all else fails, suggest therapy

If you feel like you really can't get through to him/her, suggest the two of you try couples therapy to help facilitate change. There are even therapists that specialize in porn addiction, if he/she'd be more comfortable seeking help on his/her own. The one thing the therapists on this site reiterate over and over again is not to blame yourself for your partner's addiction. It may affect you, but you are not the reason for it, and the sooner you can come to terms with that, the sooner the two of you can move forward.

Comments
Follow Us

SheKnows Media ‐ Beauty and Style

Hot
New in Love
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!