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Pornography in Relationships

Pornography is a controversial topic on my message board. Partners can feel rejected when they discover that their mate is viewing porn, there can be feelings of guilt associated with viewing porn, or relationship conflicts arise because of differing outlooks and attitudes. The easy availability of online pornography can lead to behavior by one mate or the other that causes difficulties in their day to day lives.

There are many different reasons why a person decides to look at visual images of sexual activity. Sometimes when a person seeks out sexual images from outside the relationship, it is that person’s way of satisfying sexual interests that don’t seem to be offered in the relationship. In some cases, the one looking outside asks for the type of stimulation and gets the door slammed in her/his face literally or figuratively. And, in other cases, the person never really asks or even reveals the slightest interest in the topic to his/her mate.

Generally, it’s important to figure out what benefit is derived from viewing pornography. Is it to avoid sex with a partner? Is it because there is no partner and you want a source of stimulation? Is it because the images offer you contact with a sexual activity that you think you cannot access any other way? Is it because you have a self-destructive mind set and are wanting to be “brought down”? Is it to make some statement to others about yourself?

Once you have an understanding of why you connect with these types of images, you can then go to the step of figuring out whether your life is negatively impacted by your involvement with it. Are you failing to keep up with work or school because of it? Are you overspending on it? Are you meeting all of life’s obligations, but not getting enough sleep because of interacting with it? Does it offend any of the beliefs that you hold as important to you?

At this point, the path to getting a hold on the use of sexual images diverges to many paths. That’s because for some, it is appropriate to either decrease or stop using the materials. But, for others there is no harm apart from guilt that using it induces in the person using it.

It’s possible that the partner who is interested in pornography has reached the limits of their ability to connect with their partner in an intimate manner. This means that the intimacy of being in a long-term committed relationship brings all the intimacy that they can handle. So, if they were to allow the intimacy that sex brings, it would be overwhelming.

If that’s the case, then I would recommend some sex therapy. That’s one of the best ways to help someone learn to handle more intimacy with one’s mate so that sex does not need to be left out.

If pornography is a concern for you or your mate, perhaps you can begin to ask yourself the questions listed above and begin a dialogue with yourself that might lead to greater mastery of yourself, greater comfort with yourself, and a reconciliation with your mate over this issue.

Related Topics: Is Pornography Addictive?, Hooked Online

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