Normal Sex after Porn Addiction - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

My husband is a recovering porn addict, is and has been in therapy for a year and has been clean for a year. He has always told me has has NO triggers, etc and we would fight about this all the time. His therapist would tell me it wasn't important for me to know his triggers.

So the other day I sent him a text while I was at work. It wasn't a bad one but it was a bit racy. So that night we fought over something totally different but that came out in the argument. He said "Do you think that was smart of you to send me something like that when you aren't home with me?" So that weighed on me heavily as now I realized that was a trigger. Today we were arguing a bit and I got up to shower to get away. He came to the shower and started talking and I told him that I was really concerned about the text and the text comment. I told him that it concerned me that I could not be sexual with him now as it triggered him and that he couldn't tell the difference between sex with his wife and porn "sex." He said all this time I talked to him about his triggers and now he realizes this may be one. He said he can't talk about it or think about it.

I feel completely cheated and heartbroken. This is something that I was always concerned about. Normal sex will trigger the porn addiction.

Has anyone here dealt with this?


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post #2 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 07:07 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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I told him that it concerned me that I could not be sexual with him now as it triggered him and that he couldn't tell the difference between sex with his wife and porn "sex."
I find THIS to be rather problematic, and perhaps a area of where your self esteem has likely been scarred by your husband's past use of porn. THIS notion of yours that your husband can't tell the difference between you and porn, and that perhaps he is just using you as an alternate means of satisfying his addiction...

Porn = solo experience
Wife = Partnered experience
Addiction = ???

...what is it about "porn" that you husband was addicted to? Was is "sex?" Ummm, no it was likely that he has "compulsive habits" that he struggles to control. He likely needs a means to self sooth, and porn/masturbation was likely his favorite way to calm himself down when he had an anxiety attack.

You sent you husband a text that gave him an "anxiety attack" which in turn triggered his compulsive behavior patterns to calm himself down.

What part about anxiety and your husband's need to calm himself down, will benefit from you accusing him as if he is using you the same as porn? Is he doing that? YES, he needs you to calm himself down! Does he need sex for that? NO, it is not about sex, it is about having someone there with him to help calm an anxiety attack.

I could be completely wrong, but this is me thinking candidly.

For the record I do not think there is a problem with porn, as long as there is no compulsive behaviors associated with it that are destructive and prevent one from working and taking care of themselves and those that depend upon them. Some people can handle it in moderation and some people can not.

One thing that will make it bad is shaming a person for struggling with it. Shame does all kinds of horrible things to one's sexuality. Much like shaming someone for being overweight and eating unhealthy. You first have to love and accept yourself just the way you are, THEN work on making healthier choices in life.

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post #3 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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I find THIS to be rather problematic, and perhaps a area of where your self esteem has likely been scarred by your husband's past use of porn. THIS notion of yours that your husband can't tell the difference between you and porn, and that perhaps he is just using you as an alternate means of satisfying his addiction...



Porn = solo experience

Wife = Partnered experience

Addiction = ???



...what is it about "porn" that you husband was addicted to? Was is "sex?" Ummm, no it was likely that he has "compulsive habits" that he struggles to control. He likely needs a means to self sooth, and porn/masturbation was likely his favorite way to calm himself down when he had an anxiety attack.



You sent you husband a text that gave him an "anxiety attack" which in turn triggered his compulsive behavior patterns to calm himself down.



What part about anxiety and your husband's need to calm himself down, will benefit from you accusing him as if he is using you the same as porn? Is he doing that? YES, he needs you to calm himself down! Does he need sex for that? NO, it is not about sex, it is about having someone there with him to help calm an anxiety attack.



I could be completely wrong, but this is me thinking candidly.



For the record I do not think there is a problem with porn, as long as there is no compulsive behaviors associated with it that are destructive and prevent one from working and taking care of themselves and those that depend upon them. Some people can handle it in moderation and some people can not.



One thing that will make it bad is shaming a person for struggling with it. Shame does all kinds of horrible things to one's sexuality. Much like shaming someone for being overweight and eating unhealthy. You first have to love and accept yourself just the way you are, THEN work on making healthier choices in life.



Badsanta


I didn't accuse him of using me, but I did say that it concerned me he couldn't separate the two. By me sending him that text, that triggered him to want to watch porn. How can I ever have a normal, healthy sex life with him if anything I do or say may trigger him? For example, I can't wear lingerie, no sexy talk, etc. I was cheated for 2 years and now once again I am being cheated.

Porn is not acceptable in my marriage. We are both Catholic and he knows if he wants to stay in the marriage, the porn must never be a part of it again.

I just don't know how to deal with our sex life and his triggers.


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post #4 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 09:47 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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We are both Catholic and he knows if he wants to stay in the marriage, the porn must never be a part of it again.

I just don't know how to deal with our sex life and his triggers.
The Catholic Church also teaches that masturbation is a sin.

Many people closely associate porn and masturbation as one and the same because it is a solo experience. Even if adult materials (books and video) were to be intended for educational use, once combined with masturbation they become sinful because of the users sinful intent.

Is THIS what is forbidden in your marriage?
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post #5 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

Yes. Porn and masturbation.


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post #6 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 07:47 AM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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Yes. Porn and masturbation.
My wife is Catholic and shared your same struggle early in our marriage. She strongly objected to porn, and was also against masturbation. She thought the idea of masturbation was something that was perhaps understandable during teenage years for men to prevent themselves from engaging in premarital sex, but that once married and as an adult there should no longer be any use for it.

I on the other hand shared many of her views that porn was the same as prostitution or watching prostitutes working, and that it had a wealth of other problematic issues it could cause. Some instances of porn are the result of human sex trafficking and criminal extortion by violent gangs. Not all porn is that way though, but there is enough of that out there that it should make even the most liberal person's stomach turn that content such as that easily gets mixed in with all the rest.

At the same time in my marriage, I also agreed with my wife that there were many aspects of masturbation that are problematic in marriage. Particularly if one lies about it or feels ashamed. So I stopped lying to my wife about any of my habits and opened up to her. This lead to many discussions and debates that took place over many years. Here is where we are today.

I view masturbation as healthy. In that one can not share themselves sexually with a spouse unless you first know yourself. I prefer not to use porn, but instead enjoy fantasizing about my own wife. She now has the confidence to enjoy nurturing these fantasies. If we are going to have sex, she prefer that I not masturbate for a day or two ahead of time in order to cultivate sexual energy for her as she enjoys feeling me extremely aroused when we are together. She however does not have the same drive as me, and needs some space after sex (few days) before I initiate again, so during this time she does not mind me exploring my own fantasies of her.

My wife does not enjoy masturbation and views it as something that is more problematic than beneficial. She prefers that sexuality is something reserved only for a spouse to explore and discover. She has little to no guidance on what things excite her, but she enjoys me exploring in our relationship and the two of us making those discoveries together.

While we don't exactly agree with each other's views on masturbation, we have grown to accept each other views over the years and understand how to be respectful towards each other.

I would encourage you to address porn and masturbation as completely separate topics with your husband. Place much more emphasis on porn as the problem and try to tackle that one first. Then if you have different views on masturbation, tackle that problem second as a separate issue. If you both agree that porn has no place in your marriage, that should be easy to accomplish. If you both think masturbation has no place in your marriage, you may find yourself struggling to define what is OK and not OK in your marriage. What is important is to have very open channels of communication, be patient, and accept the fact that no one is perfect.

From a religious perspective I think god designed us all to be imperfect, because that is what teaches us what love is truly all about.

Hope that helps,
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post #7 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

We spoke more last night and he explained what he meant when he told me about sending the text. He said he is trying to be clean, really clean and for him that means no talk of it (I'm assuming sex) with anyone. That concerns me because like I said, he should be able to be sexual with me without being triggered to have porn triggers. I just don't want to feel like I have to cut off my limbs in order for him to survive. I know that sounds mean but those are my true feelings. There is a book my therapist suggested but it would take both of us working on sex and he pretty much avoids any talk of it.


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post #8 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 12:31 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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We spoke more last night and he explained what he meant when he told me about sending the text. He said he is trying to be clean, really clean and for him that means no talk of it (I'm assuming sex) with anyone. That concerns me because like I said, he should be able to be sexual with me without being triggered to have porn triggers. I just don't want to feel like I have to cut off my limbs in order for him to survive. I know that sounds mean but those are my true feelings. There is a book my therapist suggested but it would take both of us working on sex and he pretty much avoids any talk of it.


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I'm not a porn addict - or at least I don't think that I am - but I wonder if this is more of a temporary means to help ensure that he remains porn free. IDK, if he's been clean for 1 year, maybe that is not long enough of a time for him to feel like he is out of the woods with this. It sounds like he's still fighting a serious internal struggle with himself and that his temptation to use porn again is still pretty high. Maybe open and honest dialogue about his temptations with you can help speed his recovery - especially if you can be there to help him. I would think that whenever he's thinking about porn, he should be trying to change the thoughts back to you.
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post #9 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 02:17 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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We spoke more last night and he explained what he meant when he told me about sending the text. He said he is trying to be clean, really clean and for him that means no talk of it (I'm assuming sex) with anyone. That concerns me because like I said, he should be able to be sexual with me without being triggered to have porn triggers. I just don't want to feel like I have to cut off my limbs in order for him to survive. I know that sounds mean but those are my true feelings. There is a book my therapist suggested but it would take both of us working on sex and he pretty much avoids any talk of it.


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Is he OK with you being sensual and playful as long as you are there WITH him, or do you fear that will trigger him to want porn as well?

If your husband struggles to communicate about sex with you, you may find it helpful to engage in a conversation about what things he needs to calm/cool down in the event he get aroused, and what are things you can do to help him with that aside from sex. And try to help discover acts of love that help with this as opposed to the proverbial cold shower.

Porn for those with a compulsive habit towards it is something that is "extremely stimulating," "distracting" and "rewarding." So with that in mind, what things could you help provide for your husband that are "extremely stimulating," "distracting" and "rewarding" that will make him feel loved and closer to you in the event he finds himself in a moment of needing your help?

A fun example may be to buy him a remote control helicopter (some cost as little as $20) and attach a card to it with some words of encouragement for him. Have this set aside and for him to only plan to use it in a moment of crisis to help.

Another example may be an expensive set of headphones and a premium subscription to an online music service, such as Spotify or something. Let him use that as often as he wants. You can even make playlists for him so that he thinks about you and feels loved.

You can also talk to him about trying to redirect any anxiety into doing something constructive, such as hiking, biking, or any form of exercise.

The point is to help plan for his next moment of weakness as if it will happen, and have a variety of ways to help him cope and to help him feel that you love him and care about him. If you can find ways to do this that are also "fun" for him, then you are hitting a home run.

Switching gears...

Now if you want to be playful with him and cultivate some sexual energy with him that will permeate throughout the day and make everything flirtatious, you will need to be sure and minimize anything that may cause him anxiety. An example may be to schedule sex so that he knows exactly when it will happen, and ask him if he can enjoy being playful and sensual with you ahead of time.

Generally speaking his sexuality should respond well to the two of you being playful, but you may have to set in place a few guidelines of how to go about that. In my opinion you have to be really careful about sexual anxiety.

Some examples of things that may cause your husband sexual anxiety:

• You struggle to climax when he wants to please you.
• He wants to explore A, B, C, & D, but you limit him to only A or B.
• He has a fantasy that he is ashamed about and struggles to suppress it.
• He fears his sexual behavior will be destructive in your marriage.
• He fears an unplanned pregnancy (This can be an issue for Catholics using the timing method)
• He fears that he will be aroused when you are unavailable.
• This list could go on and on.

My point is, there are MANY things that can create sexual anxiety even with normal sexual behavior. Try to work out what those things are with your husband, and work with him on them. The more you can get him to communicate the better.

Another thing to try and do is explain to him that if he feels ashamed about his desires for any reason, that you will not judge him for talking about those things with you. He should not struggle with those things alone, and what is important to you is that he only demonstrate that he loves and cares about your marriage in a way to prevents from acting on temptations. Explain that all men are tempted, and try to explain to him that you will not judge him solely on a temptation, but only for his struggle to try and make healthy decisions for your marriage.

Hope that helps,
Badsanta

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post #10 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 02:43 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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Today we were arguing a bit and I got up to shower to get away. He came to the shower and started talking and I told him that I was really concerned about the text and the text comment. I told him that it concerned me that I could not be sexual with him now as it triggered him and that he couldn't tell the difference between sex with his wife and porn "sex." He said all this time I talked to him about his triggers and now he realizes this may be one. He said he can't talk about it or think about it.
It's interesting that he wants no talk or suggestiveness of sex, however, he found it ok to come into the bathroom while you were in the shower. What would he have done if you step out of the shower?

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post #11 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

I am going into my therapy session right now but will respond when I get home.


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post #12 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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It's interesting that he wants no talk or suggestiveness of sex, however, he found it ok to come into the bathroom while you were in the shower. What would he have done if you step out of the shower?


He just opened the door to talk to me but please remember I am not a porn star with a plastic body doing freaky things in the shower. After the porn discovery, I always turn away from him and hide my breasts. I don't allow him to look at me naked as I am not comfortable with it now.


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post #13 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 07:45 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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I don't allow him to look at me naked as I am not comfortable with it now.
Is it that you do not allow him to look at you nude outside of a sexual context out of fear that it may trigger him, or do you not even feel comfortable with him looking at you even during intimacy?

I've read a instance of one wife that did not have problems with her husband using porn so long as it was something that was not hidden. In this case her confidence was shattered because she feared that when her husband looked at her that he was fantasizing about her as if she was a porn star. She has to close her eyes and look away. When she would open her eyes and find him ogling her during sex it would be very disturbing to her. If you feel that same way, then you are not alone.

The question becomes how do you work with your husband towards something that can resemble a normal sex life again?

In my opinion I think a therapist would recommend spending time together in the nude more often until it becomes something that is more relaxed and normal. The easiest time to start with this might be just after sex during the male refractory period while your husband temporarily is unable to become aroused again. If you can keep him awake that is!

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post #14 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 08:05 PM
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

Sex addiction/porn addiction, whatever it may be called is a complicated matter. Certainly, it is capable of destroying intimacy at its very root, and it is an unwelcome partner inside the bedroom. It does awful things to the brain of the addict, actually forms specific neural pathways, and affects neurotransmitter release, etc, AND it has an effect on the spouse, who inevitably may find his or herself dealing with issues of lack of trust and vulnerability with her partner. There is no timetable it seems for adequate recovery from sexual addiction, but it is certainly possible. I believe the average is 3-5 years, with adequate professional counsel, accountability, and staying connected with others.

I am absolutely convinced myself that this addiction is only one example of an idol, and real, lasting recovery comes from identifying it as such, and slaying it by surrendering it to God, and asking for His help to overcome it. It can be a daily struggle, and involve a concerted effort to overcome it, which, as you say, as you are going to your own counseling, also means the spouse has to be doing her own thing to get healthy, as often she is a co-addict herself, even co-dependent. Normal intimacy, healthy intimacy is impossible with pornography. It just is. Furthermore, both of you have to work on yourselves and figure out areas where you may be unhealthy in your own lives, areas where addiction has touched, or other things as well. Health for both can result in healthy intimacy.

As far as being "triggered" by a racy text or photo, I truly do not know what all of that is about. My guess is that he is NOT in a good place with his addiction, and that he is not in a good place to receive such a text, even though he may be telling you he is sober. I have dealt with such addiction for a number of years, and am in a good place currently. If non-sexual intimacy is good, beginning in the living room, if we are relating well, if there is trust, vulnerability, safety, all the ingredients for a healthy relationship, and if there is true sobriety and healing from sexual addiction on his part, and if you feel like reaching out to him with a flirtatious text, then he should be able to receive that. Sexual attraction is a big thing for me, and I am very visual. If my wife hid her body from me, I wouldn't know how to deal with that. Why would you hide your body? What is behind that? It is unusual that you would hide your body, and yet send a provocative text.
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post #15 of 65 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Normal Sex after Porn Addiction

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Sex addiction/porn addiction, whatever it may be called is a complicated matter. Certainly, it is capable of destroying intimacy at its very root, and it is an unwelcome partner inside the bedroom. It does awful things to the brain of the addict, actually forms specific neural pathways, and affects neurotransmitter release, etc, AND it has an effect on the spouse, who inevitably may find his or herself dealing with issues of lack of trust and vulnerability with her partner. There is no timetable it seems for adequate recovery from sexual addiction, but it is certainly possible. I believe the average is 3-5 years, with adequate professional counsel, accountability, and staying connected with others.



I am absolutely convinced myself that this addiction is only one example of an idol, and real, lasting recovery comes from identifying it as such, and slaying it by surrendering it to God, and asking for His help to overcome it. It can be a daily struggle, and involve a concerted effort to overcome it, which, as you say, as you are going to your own counseling, also means the spouse has to be doing her own thing to get healthy, as often she is a co-addict herself, even co-dependent. Normal intimacy, healthy intimacy is impossible with pornography. It just is. Furthermore, both of you have to work on yourselves and figure out areas where you may be unhealthy in your own lives, areas where addiction has touched, or other things as well. Health for both can result in healthy intimacy.



As far as being "triggered" by a racy text or photo, I truly do not know what all of that is about. My guess is that he is NOT in a good place with his addiction, and that he is not in a good place to receive such a text, even though he may be telling you he is sober. I have dealt with such addiction for a number of years, and am in a good place currently. If non-sexual intimacy is good, beginning in the living room, if we are relating well, if there is trust, vulnerability, safety, all the ingredients for a healthy relationship, and if there is true sobriety and healing from sexual addiction on his part, and if you feel like reaching out to him with a flirtatious text, then he should be able to receive that. Sexual attraction is a big thing for me, and I am very visual. If my wife hid her body from me, I wouldn't know how to deal with that. Why would you hide your body? What is behind that? It is unusual that you would hide your body, and yet send a provocative text.


The text was basically " hey, I'm in the mood and I really want it." Not wanting him to see me naked is totally different. I am now uncomfortable with that because in my head (and in most spouses of PA) they feel as if we cannot compare with "perfect" porn stars. I don't have fake boobs, fake butt, not 21, doubld D breasts, etc. There is no way of competing with that and it destroys you as a woman.

I believe him when he tells me he is sober. He knows that this is his last chance at the marriage because he has screwed up so many times before in other areas. It has only been a year and it is my understanding that an addiction is lifelong. With that said, I love him but seeing what I have to give up as far as my own sexuality is sometimes too much.


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