TL;DR: It’s completely normal to feel uneasy about your partner’s porn habit. Don’t assume he finds you unattractive. Open a conversation about porn’s role in your relationship. Look at intent and remember that sexuality happens on a spectrum.
The following is based on a true story and names have been changed.
Claire and Kevin had been together for a few years when Claire’s job started getting incredibly stressful. She’d come home in the evening wiped out like a tired surfer and emotionally drained like a droopy-eyed political campaign volunteer. She’d crash early.
Kevin would still have enough bandwidth to get frisky and intimate like a bonobo, but Claire’s early slumber often left him masturbating in another room. He’d go to bed a while later.
Claire didn’t know about Kevin’s b’ness and stumbled upon an open porn tab on his laptop browser one weekend while trying to hook up the device to a TV screen. It was like entering her bathroom one morning to find a little goblin taking a shit on her toilet.
She was confused, slowly registering what she had just seen and what that could mean. She also wasn’t stupid and thought a conversation was in order.
“So, I was hooking up your laptop to the big screen, and guess what I discovered?” she asked him later that day.
When that sentence hit his earballs, his face went from calm to embarrassed like a teenager caught with his pants down.
If your partner’s porn habit makes you feel uneasy, and you want some results-driven input from a certified relationship coach, then read on.
First, it’s completely normal to feel uneasy about the whole thing, sort of like accidentally walking in on your parents having sex when you’re a youngling. The lack of communication and the plethora of unanswered questions about your partner’s porn habit might send your mind to a horror show (that is, thinking the worst about the situation). Does he think I’m unattractive? Is he cheating on me? Am I underperforming in the sack?
It’s perfectly normal to wonder what this means for your relationship. But let’s throw aside any kind of judgment and open a conversation with your partner, given that the problem is based on incomplete communication.
In other words, chances are that horror show is just that—a horror show. It’s not real. Your brain is often making up shit like the creative factory it is. Examine the origin of your feelings. Is it an insecurity? Did an ex-boyfriend wrong you in the past? Get real with yourself; give yourself permission to explore that uncomfortable territory.
Next, sexuality happens on a spectrum, just like virtually everything else in life. One of you might need inspiration to get off, kind of like how a horse sometimes needs a slap in the ass to get going. One of you might not be around to help the other get off, so porn is your last stop, like cocaine when coffee isn’t working (kidding).
And as we all know, it’s okay to be attracted to other people (including people who have sex for entertainment purposes) while being in love with your main squeeze. It’s sort of like admiring your friend’s Ferrari while still loving your Prius. In other words, look at intent.
Finally, if this situation warrants a conversation about values, then it could be an opportunity to assess porn’s role in your relationship. How much is it harming more than helping (like that Ferrari’s effect on the environment)? If there might be a larger issue at hand (such as a porn addiction), then it would need to be addressed, pronto. There’s no need to waste your one life on someone with whom you might not be compatible or who might be slowly destroying the weave of your relationship.
This article goes into great depth about addressing porn’s role in your relationship.
So, what happened to Claire and Kevin? Kevin assured Claire that porn plays a minor role in his life, like an extra in a movie. As their relationship grew stronger, he started watching less of it. Maybe once in a while it’ll be their slap on the horse’s ass when they’re trying to get it on, but these days, it’s an afterthought.
If the time is right and you (or your partner) have developed a habit that’s putting your relationship at risk like an endangered bonobo (see third paragraph), then fill out the easy form at the bottom of this page and I’ll get in touch ASAP.