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Lying about porn-help!

Posted by
on Jun 21 2015 at 09:10
Member since: 21 June 2015
Relationship advice forum category advice forum category My hubby and I are newly-wed but have been together for 8 years. We are in our late 20's. A few years ago I realized that he has been watching excessive amounts of porn on a daily basis, but he had never talked to me about it (saw his computer history). I was very hurt and frustrated that he was spending so much time doing this, being unproductive, while I was very busy with work and classes. Also, our sex life was suffering. I was hurt that he was spending time with porn instead of trying to get sexy with me. He promised he would no longer watch porn after our fight, although i had not asked him to stop... Only to tell me about it and to not waste so much time, and to put more effort into our sex life. Regardless he continued to promise he would No longer watch it.

He is obviously very uncomfortable talking about porn with me. He never told me he continued to watch it but 2 weeks later I saw new porn history and found out he had lied to my face when i asked him if he had watched any porn since we had talked about it.

I was left hurt again and we fought about the same things. I, being mainly upset that he is lying to me. He agreed to tell me whenever he decides to watch porn... But never does and three years go by. Our sex life is kind of rare still. He learns about privacy settings and no longer leaves porn history on his computer. The topic comes up a couple times over the years and he denies watching it.

Tonight I come home to him watching porn. When I ask him he says no (lies to me), then when I ask where his computer is when he is naked he finally admits he was watching porn.

I am very hurt that he continues to lie to me and has been lying to me for years... What do I do? Can I trust him? Do I stay with him? It has already been years and things aren't getting better... I also found out that he has lied to me about other personal sexual facts he once told me. I'm sad and confused!!

Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 21 2015 at 17:24
Member since: 19 August 2014
I expect you are very hurt, yes.

Why did you go ahead in marrying him if you already knew he has this insulting-feeling addiction?

WHY hadn't you even asked him to stop?

He's uncomfortable TALKING about porn? He wants to try being in YOUR shoes, then, doesn't he - THEN he'd know what 'uncomfortable' is all about!

He's not uncomfortable, AGBAGB. That's just the story he's selling you to cover up for the fact he just doesn't WANT to discuss it. Because talking it through might lead to a solution or a firm agreement for him to have to adhere to. He doesn't want anything to change, berbom.

Can you trust him? Do you even need to ask this question?

Tell him the marriage is over unless he seeks professional help to put paid to this maritally non-conducive behaviuor/habit. He needs 'rehab'. But he has to be the one who wants to be fixed lest all help attempts be futile.

But who told you that little drops of poison administered regularly into your marriage tend to ever *improve* the marriage or that serious addiction ever wears off naturally?

Reply from
on Jun 21 2015 at 18:55
Member since: 21 June 2015
Thank you so much for the reply, Soulmate.

I still married him because I really do love him, and besides this porn fiasco he's a pretty great guy. But I do cherish honesty in a relationship and he can't seem to give this to me regarding sexual habits and porn.

I think I also convinced myself that all men must watch porn. Speaking to a few guy friends (who do NOt know about mine and hubby's problems) make it seem like all men watch porn and that it is normal... I dont enjoy it though and it is hurting our sex life.

I have asked him last night and a few years ago if he is addicted to porn but he denies it. I have asked him to get help and he doesn't think he needs it although I did not push it. I think I am going to tell him I would like couples counselling and for us/him to talk about this with someone but I don't know how that is going to go.

Can I get some more input on this? Please??

Reply from
on Jun 21 2015 at 22:15
Member since: 07 May 2015
Yes I think your husband is addicted to porn, but you know that already. But I read that watching porn will make you want to stop having sex, because why bother with sex when you have every fantasy in the world at the click of a button! Why don't you google and do some research yourself about it (if you haven't already I mean) and sit and show him, that it isn't just you, that there are many articles on it saying why it's not so good to be so addicted. It can lower testosterone therefore diminishing feelings of wanting to have sex for real. And the more you watch the more you want to watch and so the need to watch never really leaves. the article I just read said that some men can only perform then from watching and so that maybe the reason why you say your sex life is kind of rare. So find those articles and show him and talk to him and maybe he will realize that it would be much better to work on his relationship with his 'real' beautiful wife instead.

Hope things work out for you both

Reply from
on Jun 22 2015 at 19:15
Member since: 21 June 2015
Thank you for the reply Wintersun. It's very helpful.
Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 23 2015 at 12:30
Member since: 19 August 2014
(Excellent response, Wintersun!)

I'm now going to cover the sensitivities aspect of porn watching in married men both general and specific to you, so that you've got all the important angles covered.

"I think I also convinced myself that all men must watch porn. Speaking to a few guy friends (who do NOt know about mine and hubby's problems) make it seem like all men watch porn and that it is normal... I dont enjoy it though and it is hurting our sex life."

Let's tell it like it IS, not like all those needing excuses for poor behaviour try to tell it. All *SINGLE* men watch porn. Of course they do. Especially when there's no-one there, telling them to stop or complaining they don't like it. So good for them if they want to risk re-programming and sullyingly their poor brains like that. *However*, once you enter as a supposedly adult male into a mature, serious relationship you are supposed to behave accordingly and treat your woman with RESPECT (not just expect respect from her to you). And to understand why and how a woman needs that as much as a man in the first place is one of the very ingredients that qualifies you, the man, as relationship-worthy as would indicate the relationship has every chance of succeeding.

So if, say, she doesn't like the rank smell of your sweaty feet or that you forget to re-hang damp bathroom towels and instead leave them on the floor, then you respond to that alert by endeavouring your hardest to keep them cleaner and remembering to re-hang the towels. Same goes for when, say, if he, as front-seat passenger in her car doesn't feel comfortable with her usual road positioning style, she makes a concerted effort to modify it....Things like that. Normal Considerateness and Care. Anything, within reason, to please...anything either of you can do to always make your other half feel like the highly valuable and valued human being that you and your choices say she is.

If you're lucky enough to land yourself a woman who insists she is as okay with porn as you are (or is perhaps prepared to pretend she is, e.g., in a misguided attempt to out-do the female competition in bagging you) - GOOD FOR YOU! If not? That's the way the cookie crumbles! But, hey, at least she *does* have great boobs or a sparkling sense of wit or whatever else myriad pleasing qualities to speak of that she might not have had.

Can't have everything. Can't have every DETAIL. But what you can and should have is, *every fundament*. Including two-way respect thus consideration. Like considering and respecting your woman's dislike and discomfort with something, something you damn well could live perfectly well without and without it killing you. Because in your eyes the relationship is more important. BERBOM!

Let's turn the tables and pretend there had for centuries been amongst women a penchant that *they* refused to stop no matter the circumstances or situation, for watching films that made *men* feel seriously undermined and de-personalised on both the individual and entire gender level... Need I say any more?

I appreciate how in your case your husband's addiction obviously preceded you and was initially conducted on the sly, therefore having become too ingrained even for his fear of ever making you miserable enough to lose you capable of conquering it. I also don't doubt how, if this barrier to proper bonding between the pair of you hadn't ever existed so that by now you and he were XXX close instead of X, and only THEN had he got into porn but straight away had had to give it up for your sake, then - given it up he probably WOULD have. But this barrier DID exist, despite you yourself were denied that knowledge. That may now be an extra obstacle. Saying that, however, he would have to be VERY deeply 'infected' if when you show as you plan to that there's a way to get off it - replete with all the wisdom, support and encouragement that even the hardest addict would need for making the exercise as comfortable as possible - he were to refuse.

Knowing how much you understandably hate it in the context of your marriage (as doesn't make you some female anomaly), and assuming he loves you with all of his heart, if you find he WON'T agree to specialist counselling then you're going to have to think about what that depth of addiction means now and into the future and whether that's the type of foreseeable bugbear or actual lifestyle you could hack.

Just bear that in mind if 'newly wed' means within the annulment period. Not suggesting you should, just pointing out your options so that you're aware you're by no means helpless here and can feel less stressed.

Reply from
on Jun 25 2015 at 04:42
Member since: 25 June 2015
My advice is to leave him now while you are still young and can have a chance at a normal marriage with a normal person. I was married to a man for 15 years who was addicted to porn. He told me how he was introduced to it at a very young age. I first found a box of porn tapes before we got married, and destroyed them. He swore he would stop. He didn't. Over the years, I found more stashes of videos, magazines, photo albums of his favorite pics that he had cut out of magazines, photo albums of naked women in hotel rooms that I couldn't tell if he had downloaded and printed from the Internet or if he had taken them himself. He bought extra hard drives for his computer to store all the photos and videos from the Internet. I would wake up in the middle of the night to see and hear him watching porn in our bedroom while I slept, although he had no idea I knew what was going on. He was watching porn and masterbating instead of being with me, even though he knew I was always willing. He was sick. He will not change. The sex will always just be sex. It will never be love. Leave him and find out what real love is. I did and it was the best decision of my life!
Reply from
on Jun 25 2015 at 04:49
Member since: 25 June 2015
My only regret is that I did not leave him sooner, while I was still young enough to find love and have children. Don't wait until it's too late.
Reply from
on Jun 25 2015 at 04:51
Member since: 25 June 2015
I found love but it was too late to have children with the man I love. Don't wait! Don't make the same mistake I did!!!!
Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 25 2015 at 12:47
Member since: 19 August 2014
Although her situational outcome *could* prove different (because along with other elements, it depends on the addict and what he's made of underneath his condition), I thought those were excellent posts, X247. Nice one!
Reply from
on Jun 26 2015 at 16:48
Member since: 26 June 2015
Not to sound hostile, or dismissive, but I feel I have to offer this thread some chance at a wider perspective as I see group think written all over this. I'll also give you perspective from the male mind and from a porn addict who is in a very loving 6 year relationship. It sickens me to see that you have been advised above to leave your man of 8 years based on this, and I am very close to not posting about my own relationship problems after reading this -which have nothing to do with porn- and which is what I came to do in the first place.

My strongest suggestion is to take a deep breathe, and *get real* about this. Just because you don't like a certain behavior of your partner's is no grounds to panic and jump to 'cut and run' thoughts because you can't figure out how to solve a problem at the current time. If you think watching porn is a violation of trust, how about the deep sacred trust between man and women to help each other with problems and addictions and not to jump to 'cut and run' as an easier way out? That's a one size-fits-all solution to heartbreak and disaster every time. Your man has a sex addiction which millions of men suffer from - personally, I can't stop, I've been unable to stop since the age of 13! Does that mean I can never genuinely appreciate a woman now, guess I shouldn't bother because I'm a bit perverted?

I count myself extremely lucky that my fiancee does not see it as a problem at all, let alone as cheating: if she did see it as cheating I would be in trouble. The fact is in any case - it is not cheating! It is fantasizing and masturbation and I worry for people who don't discern a difference between cheating and masturbating. I don't think you have to be overly sophisticated to perceive that there are different levels of offense, a slap is not the same as a gunshot to the head, and jumping to leaving your partner because he can't stop masturbating is a perversely unproportional response. If most women thought porn was cheating and something to think about leaving their men over, this society wound grind to a screeching halt and America (to name one country) would go extinct within two generations!

How about seeing it in terms of helping someone with a sex addiction, therapy, counselling, support? I don't even think that watching porn should be seen as a significant betrayal, but if you have to see it as a betrayal based on your value system and notion of things, a cutting and running response is barely an appropriate reaction in an 8 week relationship, let alone an 8 year relationship!

Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 26 2015 at 19:06
Member since: 19 August 2014

a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in AN IRRATIONAL AND DYSFUNCTIONAL DECISION-MAKING outcome.

1. There is nothing irrational and dysfunctional about responding to the kind of habitual or systematic, by-whatever-degree maritally-antisocial behaviour that for healthier, higher-standard-ed individuals represents a dealbreaker by simply advising one such helpless-feeling victim that she in fact is NOT helpless nor has to sit there believing that she has no choice other than to take it. Particularly not when what those choices might include have been pointed out to her.

X247 may at present be understandably too over-the-moon about her 'automatic upgrade' to believe that such a long-running, deep-laying, unhealthy status quo is even worth the time and effort to try to fix, but she is one individual, as well entitled to her opinion. Wintersun and I both recommended or allowed for the OP wanting to attempt to fix, just not to go as far as to try to flog a dead horse (IF that's what it proves to be). So how anyone can conclude that the advice to do nothing but leave him was a group one is beyond me.

Plus, if the OP, as she says, finds the rest of the relationship the rest of the time more than worth her while then not even anyone advising her to whack him over the bonce with a catering-size frying-pan could have any effect, no matter how persuasive-sounding their argument. So credit AGBAGB with a bit of intelligence and initiative, can't you?

By all means state your own, subjective perspective but please refrain from arguing Ad Hominem and tarring with one, over-broad brush to discredit other opinion or you immediately weaken your own argument as well as reveal over-defensiveness. You wouldn't win a marrow competition by trying to stamp on the other entrants' marrows or you'd just disqualify yourself as well as demonstrate your sense of feeling threatened. You do that by making your own entry superior.

In my opinion, you haven't. For starters, your claim that leaving a man on discovering his having a hard addiction of *anything* relationship-detrimental would, after 8 piddly weeks, be an inappropriate response, is downright risible. You owe a person NOTHING after 8 short weeks. Whether you 'owe' him anything after 8 *years* rather depends on its quality during that whole time, I and most sensible people would say.

What about what he owes HER? After all, this is about an issue that goes far deeper than mere 'dislike'.

"If you think watching porn is a violation of trust, how about the deep sacred trust between man and women to help each other with problems and addictions and not to jump to 'cut and run' as an easier way out?"

Yes, what ABOUT his side of that deep and sacred two-way trust as should compel him to allow her to help him? Where is it? Evidence says, NOWHERE. Evidence says, total resistance on that score. So what are you saying - that it's one rule for him in terms of what HE can expect from her and another entirely for what she can expect from him?

"If most women thought porn was...something to think about leaving their men over, this society wound grind to a screeching halt and America (to name one country) would go extinct within two generations!"

Well, GOOD!...on two counts! Because if they did then maybe, just maybe, society would finally face the PROVEN fact, i.e. REALITY, of just how insidiously, long-reach-harmful porn can be in the wrong supplier or end-user hands and place it under appropriately tighter controls instead of continuing to stick its head in the sand and cling to the *very* outdated idea that it's just a bit of harmless fun blah-blah. And if pre- and pubescent boys (and girls) were taught that getting into it in the first place was wholly likely to render any or all of them by whatever degrees deprived via ineligibility of a normal, happy, long-lasting relationship of optimum health - life's naturally most major perk - then, get into it in the first place they in all likelihood *wouldn't*.

Despite this forum always welcomes wide and diverse opinions, I think you'll find the majority are based on good old-fashioned common sense, etc.

Reply from
on Jun 26 2015 at 23:13
Member since: 26 June 2015
To Soulmate:

There is no ad-hominem in porn addicts reply. You should familiarize yourself with what an ad-hominem attack actually is before you so casually throw it out there. Secondly, as the fiancee of someone who watches porn, I can safely say that it has literally no effect on our relations unless you allow it to. If anything, it can be used to improve your sexual relationship, to get ideas for new positions, techniques, and so on. The only thing I see a problem with here is the lying, which is probably a defensive mechanism because he is scared that you may leave him. That tells you something. If he didn't actually care about you, then he probably wouldn't bother lying, because there would be no need to try and impress you. It's natural for people to fantasize, some people do this visually, others mentally. All these people that are pretending they've never had a fantasy before are LYING. Whether it's something on a computer screen, or in their minds, everyone does this. It is an empirically validated fact that this is part of normal human sexuality. The real important thing here is that he is loyal to you. He chooses you, and no one else. If that's the case, and he makes you happy- you can tell him that the lying is unacceptable and that you want him to be more active with you sexually, which seems from your post to be the real complaint- which you believe pornography is the cause of. Explore why the sexual relations between you are suffering, there may be more beneath the surface than you are aware of. If you really want to spice things up and aren't afraid to take some risks, try watching a video with him and re-enacting it, and I'll bet you money he'll be so thrilled he won't be able to wait to go to bed with you.

Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 27 2015 at 02:41
Member since: 19 August 2014
You sure you're his girlfriend and not his mother?

THAT RIGHT THERE is argumentum ad hominem (and counter to your implication, I don't nor ever have had a deficit of educated or knowledgeable use of English language and comprehension, thank-you). It ignores the debate topic itself or speaker's statement content(s) whilst instead drawing attention and calling into question or suspicion the speaker's character, state of mind or motives.

...As, similarly, did this: "I feel I have to offer this thread some chance at a wider perspective ***as I see group think written all over this***". A transparent attempt to undermine the efficacy of ALL prior advice by insinuating that each individual poster wrote theirs out of a certain, tacit need for mutual pack complicity and approval when, as I have since shown, each set of opinions in actual fact varied sufficiently in their angle of approach for that not to be the case.

For your information, there IS no 'group' on here; we all post all the time as independently-thinking individuals with and because there is no member-to-member email function.

...And this: "before you so casually throw it out there". NOTHING I do or say is ever done casually, thank-you very much, and you had ZERO basis for casting that slur on my integrity and diligence. I wasn't made forum moderator because of my stunning good looks, you know.

But back to the thread issue and the context in which it sits:

1. "I can safely say that it has literally no effect on our relations unless you allow it to."

Oh, so a spouse or fiancee has to make a concerted effort NOT to allow it to? Well, then, thank-you for so succinctly proving my point, so glad your fiance called for back-up.

2. "If he didn't actually care about you, then he probably wouldn't bother lying,"

Oh, good grief - are you even listening to yourself? Plus the Original Poster's husband evidently didn't ever make MUCH of an effort to lie about it or hide it from her, did he, so what would you say THAT indicates about his wanting to impress her and show her how much he cares?

3. FINE, if a man wants to fantasise. But when his fantasy has for too long been spilling over into reality and eroding the quality of the relationship and trust levels - be that quality about their sex-life or whatever specific - AND HIS PARTNER, ALONG WITH THE MAJORITY OF WIVES OUT THERE, *CAN'T* STOMACH IT TO THE POINT OF *CAN'T* LIVE WITH IT, then she has every right after having had more than a gut-full to ask him to effectively choose between his habit or his marriage. It's not like the OP is saying it slightly irks her - read her posts again. So if YOU like it or happen to find some use for it - GOOD FOR YOU. But it is NOT good for her. Not least because he is NOT loyal to her: regardless of the fact these porn actresses are not in the room with him or interacting with him on a mutual basis or in real time, he partakes of the sex act with them and BECAUSE he does, fails to want to do so WITH HER.

4. Nobody here denied or lied about the tendency of sexual human beings to fantasise (which definition means, STAYS IN ONES HEAD), so that point and your claim that anyone is lying is wholly immaterial. In fact, yours and your fiance's whole input is immaterial in this instance because this is not a thread regarding the perceived pros and cons of porn generally. (In fact, if you want to talk about empirical data then I suggest you get yourself up-to-date on the latest findings regarding how subliminally and insidiously it affects mental processes including in long-term relationships).

The thread is about how this woman's husband's all-round behaviour in this respect has for years been eroding trust and intimacy, and it is THAT which sets the entire context including the vein of any replies. This thread could be about JELLY..her hating the taste and sight of it and her husband literally forcing it into her life by letting her walk in on him slathered in the stuff. It's the fact her husband won't or can't (same thing) stop doing something he knows full well is increasingly harming his wife's equilibrium and their marriage as a whole (ergo, his too).

5. "try watching a video with him and re-enacting it, and I'll bet you money he'll be so thrilled he won't be able to wait to go to bed with you."

'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em', eh? Oh, absolutely. And were his addiction to Heroin, you could join him in THAT too! That'd no doubt make him-him-HIM feel better as well.

6. Last but definitely not least, I, Soulmate, am not the original poster and problem-holder. Mr Soulmate and I don't use it nor ever have, either individually or together. We have zero need for it [click-click-wink!]. So I would politely suggest you do your research next time before you knee-jerk dive in.

But thanks anyway for the (sort-of) debate.

PS: If you still don't agree with the opinions expressed on this thread within the contextual confines provided by the OP or this, my defence of them, then we will now just have to agree to disagree. Any more back-and-forth, clearly pointless debating will only muddy the poor OP's thread to a degree that would surpass what's reasonable, which is something I'm not permitted to allow, meaning I would have to delete every post from your fiance's down (which would be a real shame).

Reply from
on Jun 27 2015 at 03:05
Member since: 26 June 2015
That rather windy reply still doesn't show that there was any use of an ad-hominem attack. "You sure you're his girlfriend and not his mother?" is an ad-hominem attack. It does not constitute a valid argument or refute any point, hence why ad-hominem is a logical fallacy. I never said you are not proficient with the English language (this is your addition), but that does not mean that you always use it correctly, and you have not demonstrated that ad-hominem was used. It doesn't matter if you're a moderator or the president of the United States, that doesn't make your arguments valid. Using reason, and logic to form an argument is not an ad-hominem, sorry to say. You didn't mind wielding that as a stick, so I don't mind calling you out on it either.

So to stay on point, we are not talking about heroin, we are talking about pornography. If there is something I have said which is factually incorrect, I would ask that you take some time to tell me what precisely it was and I will completely and unreservedly apologize for spreading misinformation.

The real issue here is that this woman has come to your forum for help saving her relationship, not sabotaging it further. Since none of us presumably are psychologists, we do our best with the anecdotal evidence we have. All relationships take work and maintenance, that is a fact of life. I wish her the best and hope she does what is right for her and her husband.

Reply from
on Jun 27 2015 at 03:08
Member since: 26 June 2015
I should also add that if your reasoning was strong, you wouldn't need to use censorship of opinions which don't agree with your own. So go ahead.
Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 27 2015 at 04:10
Member since: 19 August 2014
This really is my last post on the matter:

If I needed to misuse the delete function to censor opinions for the purposes of point-scoring, I'd have done it straight after your fiance had posted or certainly once you had. Plus, if you were paying attention and have no plans to give up your day job, I said deletion would be of everything from your fiance's post down, which means, MY OWN ARGUMENTS INCLUDED.

Presume, assume and extrapolate from those par-baked entities all you like. Defend a lifestyle choice you claim needs no defending to begin with all you like. But, given that you've already made your position perfectly clear, don't do it on this thread when the OP didn't ask for anyone to persuade her of the 'pros' of pornography. Prove that your above well-wishing for the OP isn't just puff, in other words.

Can you do that? Because from the fact of your deliberately going against my perfectly sound warning not to persist, I am fast coming to the conclusion that you'd actually *prefer* me to delete those arguments of which you claim to be so confidently proud. Let's see if you can prove me wrong on that score at least, starting now.

Reply from
on Jun 27 2015 at 04:56
Member since: 26 June 2015
You are really quite interesting to me, I'd love to have a day job getting paid to expose the bigotry of people like you. I really do wish her well and she can take or leave anyone's advice she wants as a free-thinking individual.You said that she can do one thing, I said she can do something else and use it to her advantage if she wants to. Stop threatening to delete posts because of your butthurt about being disagreed with and do it already, if I was in your position- I'd delete my embarrassing arguments too.
Reply from
on Jun 27 2015 at 07:01
Member since: 21 June 2015
Soulmate, Wintersun, x247, Porn Addict, and Porn Addict's Girlfriend. I have to thank each and every one of you for your diverse and honest replies. I was feeling very lost when all this occurred and being able to seek advice anonymously from individuals with lots of life experience has been extremely useful and supportive. I agree with most of what all of you are saying, and things are improving for me... But still need work. It'll be a long process but we're moving forward, and I have all of you to thank.

Thank you all for your contributions and I continue to welcome new thought, ideas, tips, etc. they are all great.

Reply from
on Jun 27 2015 at 07:19
Member since: 26 June 2015

The data seems to contradict virtually everything you have said. Now would be a good time to delete all the posts that disagree with you...

Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 28 2015 at 13:44
Member since: 19 August 2014
AGBAGB, that's great to hear and you're very welcome. :-) Are we allowed to know in what way(s) things have been improving?
Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jun 28 2015 at 15:12
Member since: 19 August 2014

Leaving aside the fact that the link supplied by PORN ADDICTS GIRLFRIEND (er, FIANCEE, er GIRLFRIEND, er...) failed, and how all lay periodicals and newspapers share an industry-standard tendency to desperately grab whatever by-then outdated article-snippet to use as a last-minute space-filler in the minutes before going to press - here for your further information and 'ammunition' is just one synopsis of one of the up-to-date scientific studies published in this case by JAMA Psychiatrity, an international peer-reviewed journal for clinicians, scholars, and research scientists in psychiatry, mental health, behavioral science, and allied fields:


Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption

The Brain on Porn

Simone Kühn, PhD1; Jürgen Gallinat, PhD2,3


Since pornography appeared on the Internet, the accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of consuming visual sexual stimuli have increased and attracted millions of users. Based on the assumption that pornography consumption bears resemblance with reward-seeking behavior, novelty-seeking behavior, and addictive behavior, we hypothesized alterations of the frontostriatal network in frequent users.


To determine whether frequent pornography consumption is associated with the frontostriatal network.

Design, Setting, and Participants

In a study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, 64 healthy male adults covering a wide range of pornography consumption reported hours of pornography consumption per week. Pornography consumption was associated with neural structure, task-related activation, and functional resting-state connectivity.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Gray matter volume of the brain was measured by voxel-based morphometry and resting state functional connectivity was measured on 3-T magnetic resonance imaging scans.


We found a significant negative association between reported pornography hours per week and gray matter volume in the right caudate (P < .001, corrected for multiple comparisons) as well as with functional activity during a sexual cue–reactivity paradigm in the left putamen (P < .001). Functional connectivity of the right caudate to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was negatively associated with hours of pornography consumption.

Conclusions and Relevance

The negative association of self-reported pornography consumption with the right striatum (caudate) volume, left striatum (putamen) activation during cue reactivity, and lower functional connectivity of the right caudate to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex could reflect change in neural plasticity as a consequence of an intense stimulation of the reward system, together with a lower top-down modulation of prefrontal cortical areas. Alternatively, it could be a precondition that makes pornography consumption more rewarding.

(Repeat - 'A significant negative association' and 'negatively associated with'.)


Semi-Lay explanatatory summary of above findings:

"Research has linked pornography consumption to reward centers in the brain. Neurologist Donald L. Hilton argues that "In other words, cocaine and methamphetamine can cause changes in the way the brain functions, in the way the brain behaves, works. But what about pathological gambling, what about overeating, what about sexual addictions? Can those behaviors also cause actual changes in brain chemistry, in brain function, in the size of the brain itself? The answer is overwhelmingly yes."

(Repeat - 'overwhelmingly yes'.)


Lay article expounding on above findings:

Porn Changes the Brain:

Neurons that fire together, wire together. Just like other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with dopamine. That rush of brain chemicals happening over and over again rewires the brain’s reward pathway ultimately changing the make up of the viewer’s brain. This can result in an increased appetite for porn.

Yep, you read that right. Porn physically changes your brain.

One of the most exciting developments in our understanding of the brain in the last two decades is the discovery of something called neuroplasticity, “neuro” meaning brain and “plasticity” meaning changeability. In other words, scientists have discovered that your brain is a lot like a never-ending game of Tetris, constantly laying down new pathways based on your experiences. [1]

To explain how it works, brain scientists have a saying: Neurons that fire together, wire together. [2]

If you’re wondering what a neuron is and why it’s on fire, here’s what that means. A neuron is a brain cell, and when brain cells get activated at the same time by something you see or hear or smell or whatever, they release chemicals that help strengthen the connection between those neurons. [3] For example, when you eat something delicious, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good. [4] Or if you hold hands with someone you care about, your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, which helps you bond with people. [5]

So if every time you went to visit your Uncle Carl he gave you a big hug and then took you out for ice cream, you’d probably start feeling pretty great about Uncle Carl, since your brain would build pathways connecting Uncle Carl with feeling happy and loved. You have these kinds of brain pathways for all sorts of things: riding a bike, eating a sandwich, and walking the dog. And when a person looks at porn, their brain creates new pathways for that, too. [6]

Just like other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with dopamine. [7] But since the brain gets overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals that comes with consistent porn use, it fights back by taking away some of its dopamine receptors [8]—which are like tiny ears on the end of a neuron that hear dopamine’s message.

With fewer receptors, even if the brain is putting off the same levels of dopamine in response to porn, the user can’t feel dopamine’s effect as much. [9] As a result, the porn they were looking at doesn’t seem as arousing or exciting, and many porn users go hunting for more porn or more hardcore porn to get the effect the old porn used to offer. [10]

As a frequent porn user’s brain acclimates to the new levels of dopamine flooding through it, regular activities that would normally set off a burst of dopamine and make the person feel happy aren’t strong enough to register much anymore, leaving the user feeling down or uneasy whenever they go for a while without looking at porn. [11] That’s one reason why pornography can be so addictive. [12] (See Porn is Addictive)

Once addiction sets in, the user has a whole new set of problems, because addiction damages the part of the brain that helps you think things through to make good choices—the brain’s limit setting system. [13] For more than 10 years, studies have shown that drug addictions can cause the brain’s frontal lobes to start shrinking. [14] While “frontal lobe” sounds really technical, basically it’s the part of the brain that controls logical problem solving and decision making. [15] But recent studies have found that it’s not just drugs that cause that kind of damage—the same problems show up with other kinds of addictions, such as overeating, Internet addictions, and sexual compulsion. [16]

And here’s the really scary part: the more porn a person looks at, the more severe the damage to their brain becomes and the more difficult it is to break free. [17] But there’s good news too: neuroplasticity works both ways. That means that the damage to the brain can be undone when someone gets away from unhealthy behaviors.

Porn Kills Love:

In real life, real love requires a real person. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection.

Pornographers pretend that what they’re selling is Love 2.0. It’s like love, they say, but easier.

You see, in real life, real love requires a real person. And a real person has thoughts and ideas and talents. Maybe they’re quirky and fun to be around; maybe they’re a great listener and always take time to hear how you’re feeling; or maybe they’re awesome at karaoke and being with them gives you the courage to get on stage too. Every person is a unique mix, and it’s that awesome blend that we fall in love with.

Of course, pornographers can’t offer any of that, so instead they capitalize on the fact that the real people that real love requires come with some complications. In real life, there’s a chance your partner will be having a bad day or a bad hair day. Maybe they’re tired or under a deadline, so they don’t have time to do exactly what you want. And they have needs of their own that need to be considered.

In porn, all of that can get edited out: any physical flaws can be quickly Photoshopped away [1]; no matter what’s happening to them, the people on screen can be made to look like they’re having a good time [2]; and no one seems to have any needs of their own, opinions, or feelings to consider [3]. Besides, if anyone fails to immediately satisfy, there’s always someone new to click to [4].

Doesn’t sound much like real life or real love does it? Here’s the thing: not only is porn a fantasy, but it also makes it harder for users to have real loving relationships [5].

Why? Because just like many other multibillion dollar industries, pornographers feed viewers completely unrealistic expectations in order to keep customers coming back [6]. Real love isn’t any more like what happens in porn than the average Marlboro smoker is like a 6’ 9” cowboy. But it works out well for pornographers since the more porn a viewer watches, the more their real relationships don’t seem exciting enough [7], which gives them a reason to turn back to porn. And the more they watch porn, the more likely they are to be indoctrinated with porn’s version of how relationships should go [8].

Since porn often portrays women as nothing more than sex objects that need to be dominated [9], it’s not surprising that porn users often start seeing real women that way as well [10]. In one study of porn’s effects, researchers broke participants up into three groups: to one they showed a high amount of pornography, one a medium amount, and the third a lower amount, and then followed with questions about what participants thought about women [11]. Results showed that the more porn a man was exposed to, the more likely he was to prefer that women be submissive and subordinate to men. Since most women in our culture are taught to expect love to be built on equality and mutual respect, seeing women as subordinate isn’t exactly a great start to lasting love. [12]

For those lucky enough to have found a special someone, using porn can take things downhill fast. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn [13]. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection [14].

Over time, those who consistently use porn often may even lose interest in finding love altogether. Frequent porn use is associated with feeling cynical about love in general, less trust in romantic partners, and with feeling like marriage is confining [15].

Porn doesn’t do any favors for the user’s partner, either. Since so much of men’s porn is only about what the man wants while ignoring anything about what’s good for a woman or a relationship, wives and girlfriends often end up feeling like their partner doesn’t really value them. [16] Many partners of porn users end up depressed, anxious, and feeling like they can never measure up. [17]

Of course, pornographers don’t bother to mention any of this. Part of porn’s fantasy is that a person can live in both worlds—that they can create a real, loving relationship, but also bring in thousands of other sexual partners as long as those partners are kept behind a computer screen. In reality, a porn habit can take a serious toll on a person’s ability to offer someone real, unselfish, meaningful love [18]—which often means that in the end, they’re left without much more than what’s behind that computer screen. [19]


Sincerely hope that speeds up the positive forward steps you report. :-)

Reply from
on Jul 2 2015 at 14:40
Member since: 20 September 2014

I don't think this is a debate about whether porn is right or wrong. At the end of the day porn is sexual and in my opinion if you are in a committed relationship anything sexual that you participate in should be known about by your partner.

If you are your partner if they masturbate they should answer you, or if they fantasise. It IS your business as part of the relationship.

I am not saying it is impossible to sustain a relationship that features porn if both partners are into it and agree with it and don't feel threatened by it. The fact is that OP doesn't like it, does feel threatened by it and does feel it is having a hugely negative impact on her relationship.

This is not a new development - this has been going on for years after OP has gained agreement from her husband that he will stop. If he wasn't going to stop he should have been honest about it so she had all of the information about what a relationship with him would entail BEFORE she married him. So that's the biggest issue for me - he secrecy and false promises.

I understand that he may have feared losing her if he was honest about it - that's no excuse. It is the same as hiding anything - major debts, an affair, kids by a previous partner - ANYTHING. When you are committing to a relationship you have a right to know what you are committing to.

It doesn't matter whether I think porn is ok, whether Soulmate does, or Wintersun or Pornaddict and his girlfriend do. It only matters whether Abagb (is that right?) thinks it is ok as a part oofher relationship and she has already stated that it is making her unhappy.

So why is he still doing it?

1) he thinks you are unreasonable to ask him to stop? - if this is the case then he needs to be mature enough to have the discussion about it so you can choose whether you want the relationship including the porn or not. That's a right that he has denied you by being secretive.

2) He knows you are being reasonable but doesn't care. If that were the case then I would say yes get out of the relationship.

3) He genuinely meant it when he agreed to stop but he is addicted so he ends up doing it anyway. If this is the case then he needs to be honest about it and be willing to seek outside help to get over the addiction.

Having read the whole thread I am inclined to be;lieve it is number 3.

So - what can you do about it?

Well if it were me I would be saying this to him

Do you want to give up the porn?

If no - are you willing to give it up to save the relationship?

If yes to save the relationship then you need to be able to access everything to ensure this actually happens and if it doesn't happen he needs to understand that it would likely spell the end of the relationship.


Do you want to give up the porn?

If yes - then are you willing to get outside help with my support and also to accept you have an addiction?and also not to lie about it or hide it any longer.

If he says he wants to give it up but won't accept help then he is just telling you what you want to hear and the cycle will just continue.

If that the case or if he doesn't want to give it up then you have to make a decision. Accept that a relationship with him includes porn and then decide if you can live with that relationship or not

As far as I am concerned those are the options.

Hope that helps in some way and please give us an update of how it's going xxx

Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jul 2 2015 at 17:47
Member since: 19 August 2014
Excellent post, SUPER SARAH, and, good to have you back on the board! :-)
Reply from
on Jul 7 2015 at 18:01
Member since: 20 September 2014
Hey Soulmate

Thanks - yes hopefully I will be able to be more active - sorry for late reply just had another major busy week!

Reply from
SOULMATE (moderator)
on Jul 7 2015 at 19:23
Member since: 19 August 2014
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........ WHAT-EH-WHAT?

Oh, right - good stuff!

(heh-heh ;-))

Reply from
on Jul 8 2015 at 12:49
Member since: 06 July 2015
HI, just read your post, I dont think he will give up watching porn. You have to decide to either accept this behavior or be real with yourself that this behavior will always be upsetting (it would be for a lot of women) and this is something that you dont want to deal with.

Discussion closed - why not create your own thread?