sex

Ask a psychologist: "My fiancé has been watching porn behind my back."

Is it ever OK to watch porn behind your partner’s back? And lie about your habits around your use?

That is the dilemma facing one woman in the UK, who took to Mumsnet to share her experience with her partner and his consistent but silent use if porn.

“So I have just found out my [partner] has lied to me over watching porn. I’m kind of upset and confused as to why he watches it? We have a healthy sex life. Although lately he has wanted to try new things in the bedroom… I’m thinking he’s getting ideas from the porn? Also it makes me feel self conscious about myself,” she wrote on the forum.

“I wear sexy lingerie for him all the time… I send sexy photos and videos when he is at work to keep it spicy. So am I not enough? I just don’t understand why he watches it? I’d understand if we never had sex, but we do every day. Am I right to be upset or is this normal for men to do?”

According to Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapist Dr Janet Hall, there are actually a few issues here. Although respective partners’ use of porn in a relationship can be healthy, the concept of deceit is one that needs to be unpacked here.

“Red Flag number one for lying about anything,” Dr Hall tells Mamamia. “Then big red flag number two for not admitting that they are watching other people have sex, when you should be the focus of their sex life.”

Dr Hall goes as far too say that if someone is having sex daily, and still finding the need to watch porn, then he may be a sex addict.

“This guy sounds like a sex addict if he is having sex with her every day and still using porn. Note that he is not just watching porn, he is masturbating as well. That’s a lot of sex!

“Research shows that frequent use of porn desensitises a user and a man may see his lady as too “vanilla” and he can lose his erectile ability when with her.”

She adds that if she was the young woman in question, she recommends that a hurt partner first writes all of their concerns in a letter.

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“This is therapeutic for them because they get all those painful thoughts and feeling out of their head and down on paper. Put a date on it and sign it. Keep a copy so if he is defensive and even angry and rips it up, you have kept your evidence!

“Then find a time when you have both eaten and have the time (maybe Sunday morning) and ask your partner to read the letter so you can discuss it.”

Image: Getty.

It's not imperative for a couple to allow the other to watch porn, Dr Jan says, but is important boundaries are clear.

"Open communication is essential in a healthy relationship. Couples need to talk about what they do and don’t want in their sex-life. So, talking about porn use is imperative early in a relationship and the boundaries need to be clear. What can be watched, how often and when and with or without a partner.

"It has to be negotiated and gets down to what is “fair and reasonable” according to each person. If one person wants to ban all porn and the other wants to use freely, the relationship will not last."

In fact, she says, if you have to 'ban' anything at all, then you are "exerting parental authority and that is not an equal relationship".

Listen: The household items that can spice up your sex life. (Post continues...)

However, there is a difference between stating boundaries and banning things, she argues.

She suggests the woman in question approaches the conversation like this: "When you watch porn I feel rejected, anxious, depressed and angry. If you continue to do it I will not stay in this relationship. If you need my help to stop I am very keen to support you. Maybe you could seek help from a therapist if you think you are addicted to porn.”

And so, perhaps the woman isn't so dramatic after all. Porn is one thing, but deceit, Dr Jan says, is another altogether.

Dr Jan Hall has a hypnotherapy MP3 to help porn obsessed folk stop their habit.

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