Style Sex & Relationships

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Dear Mary: I'm stuck in sexless marriage with a husband hooked on celebrity porn

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Mary O’Conor

Q. We are a couple who have been married for six years with two small children.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I have always loved my husband with my heart and soul and he me. We've had a number of stresses over the years but got through them all. While he has a huge ability to love, and be loved, he has always had enormous difficulties identifying and processing his emotions. I've tried my best to support him through this, but at times in the past few months he has been a closed shop.

We had a very happy sex life in the early years. I am ashamed to say that in the past year we have had sex once only. We kiss, hold hands, flirt and lie together when sleeping, but there has been zero intimacy as such. I hold my hands up in that I've had minimal interest in engaging in sex but I've broached the subject with my husband and queried why as a man he doesn't seem to need sex as often as I presumed a man should. He has always said that's just the way he is.

Many years ago I discovered he had been looking up female celebrities on the net. This made me feel insecure and he promised to stop, although some months later there was a similar episode. About two years ago I discovered he had watched hardcore heterosexual porn on a Sunday afternoon when I was out. He apologised and again we moved on. However, yesterday my world came tumbling down. While starting work he sent his usual morning text wishing me luck for the day and telling me he loved me. Immediately after that I received, by mistake, an extremely graphic text that referred to what he wanted himself and another man to do to a particular female celeb. He confessed that for some weeks he has had a Twitter account where he and two men tweet what they want to do sexually to various female celebrities. He became involved in this Twitter account having again searched for hardcore heterosexual porn.

We are now in crisis and I am utterly heartbroken. He immediately cancelled the Twitter account. Initially, he told me, as it was on social media, he felt it wasn't real. However, he has been in regular contact with two men over a period of weeks for sexual pleasure. So that constitutes a form of cheating to me. I also worry that had he not been caught out he would have pursued this, got in contact with more men and possibly even progressed to meeting these men should the opportunity have arisen in time. He vehemently denies this and said he had been meaning to stop. We stayed up most of the night talking things through. He is devastated at the possibility of losing me and at the pain he's causing me. I'm so uncertain about everything right now but I do know I still love him and at the moment I don't feel I should walk away from what was before such a loving marriage.

Mary replies: What a horrible shock for you to open that text. It seems to me that as your husband got more and more involved in the world of fantasy, he lost sight of the reality that if you found out it would be hugely detrimental to your marriage. He thought of it all as purely fantasy, whereas for you it was quite real that he took sexual pleasure in discussing with other men what they would do with whatever celebrity was the focus of their attention. This was all taking place to a background of no sexual activity between the two of you - although your love for each other was declared in all sorts of ways - and a busy working household with small children.

I don't know quite how this Twitter account operated, and what the sexual part was, although there probably was masturbation involved. This, however, does not mean that your husband has homosexual tendencies - the celebrities were female. While he didn't feel he was cheating, you felt that he was, and so have been left incredibly hurt and feeling devastated. That is what you will have to deal with and that is enough. I think you should seek counselling as you will have an unbiased person helping you sort out your feelings. However, it would be infinitely better if both of you could attend. You need to hear what it was that caused him to look for thrills on the internet. Even six sessions would be extremely beneficial.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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