Porn Again

22 Feb

Dear LetterBalm: Why do men need porn? In separate incidents, I’ve caught my husband and my 18-year-old son checking online porn. In all other ways, they are terrific people. I’m trying not to make a big deal about this – it was particularly embarrassing to discover my son – but I can’t help feeling somewhat of a failure as a wife and mother. Women don’t need to look at naked men so much, so what’s the story here? And, what do I say to my husband?

–Still in Shock

The porn question rears its ugly head again. (Sorry. Even though this line has been used a million times, Ms. L.B. couldn’t resist.) Porn-watching has to do with the ability of perfectly average and normal men to fantasize … a lot. And, if it means anything to you, many men can look at porn without it harming their marriages. Has he stopped talking or having sex with you? If his conduct hasn’t changed markedly for better or worse, why don’t you use this opportunity to get some general and specific insights into a subject that is troubling you? If you have reasons to suspect a more serious change in behavior, consult a therapist. Otherwise, sit down with your husband and have an informational talk about his reasons for checking out porn. Who knows? His reasons may surprise you, and the two of you may end up having a bang-up conversation. Here’s a suggestion: 

Honey, can we talk about the incident when I found you looking at porn? I confess that I know little about why porn is so fascinating to guys, and because it’s so alien to me, this troubles me. Can you help me? I’m not judging you or criticizing or anything, I’m just curious to know why you do it. I understand that it may not have anything to do with me and our marriage. It simply mystifies me why guys love it so much.

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