Tuesday 18 June 2019

Dear Mary: My boyfriend watches porn while I'm home and it makes me feel like I'm not good enough for him

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Mary O’Conor

I recently found out that my partner is watching porn while I am in the apartment. I am not too comfortable with the idea of him watching porn as it makes me feel as though I'm not good enough for him.

Maybe I'm not doing things right, or maybe it is how I look, so he needs to go elsewhere to satisfy himself.

However, I understand that porn is something that men watch and I shouldn't let it affect me, so I didn't. Until the other day when I had a look through his phone history and discovered that he was watching it on a Sunday when I was in the bedroom and he was in the living room.

This felt awful as I have never declined him intercourse because I have always had a higher libido, and so I don't understand why he didn't come to me.

I then found that he had watched it on a night when we had just had intercourse, but we then had a silly argument and he went and slept in the living room and started watching porn.

I don't understand why he had to watch it just after we had sex as he always seems satisfied when we have sex.

When I approached him about it he got very annoyed, which I understand as going through his history is an invasion of privacy. He said he didn't actually watch any but just searched it, but I saw that he had clicked on a specific video.

Once previously I found that he had been watching porn on my laptop.

We discussed it and he apologised, but he always says he doesn't really watch it. Whenever I bring it up it causes an argument.

I once satisfied myself while he was at work without using porn, and I told him about that. He said this made him feel bad about himself, but I told him he wasn't home at the time and if he had been I would have gone to him.

I need to know if I am overreacting and what I should do to feel better about both the situation and within myself.

At this point I barely want him to see my naked body as I feel embarrassed by it compared to what he must be looking at.

Answer:

I don't think you are overreacting because this has become a real problem for you. Watching porn can be a very emotive issue - some people see it as degrading for those taking part, especially the women. In fact they see it as just one step up from sex trafficking.

Other people say that the participants are getting well paid and it is their choice to do as they wish with their bodies. I am, of course, referring to adult-to-adult porn and nothing illegal.

But the main thing to remember about porn is that it is fantasy and what some people, such as yourself, can imagine in their heads, others need the written word - or as in your boyfriend's case, the internet - to access this fantasy.

You should never compare yourself to what is being portrayed in porn because it is not reality and just actors doing a job.

Lots of the females have had cosmetic surgery to enhance their bodies and it is well documented that many of the males have taken medication to enhance or prolong their erections.

From what you say your boyfriend seems to view a lot of porn. In time this may lead to an addiction but without directly speaking to him it is difficult to assess. But it will certainly contribute to him seeing the sexual act as totally focused on performance without the intimacy which is a huge part of sex in a relationship.

I realise that it is very tempting to browse through your boyfriend's online history, and apart from being the invasion of privacy that you mention, it is never going to be of benefit to you.

If he had cleared his history you would probably suspect him of having a reason for doing so.

In this instance he hadn't cleared his history, and you are aware of the turmoil you have been through since you accessed it.

So make a pact with yourself never to do it again, no matter how strongly you feel like doing it.

Instead suggest to your boyfriend that as you know he looks at porn you are asking him to limit it to times when you are not around the apartment.

If he continues to feel the need to do it while you are in another room then offer to look at it with him. He may not want you to do this but you will at least be showing him that you are accommodating him.

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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