Some of you may or may not know this, but pornography addiction has very little to do with sex. It has everything to do with needs not being properly met. It has taken me a long time of studying and understanding to truly get that this could even be possible. To be honest, it is still a concept I struggle to believe at times. But ask any psychologist or addiction specialist and they will tell you the exact same thing. This was something that actually would really make me mad when my husband would try to explain it to me. This always felt like an excuse. Sometimes it felt like he was telling me it isn’t that bad because its not about sex. I felt like he was telling me that I shouldn’t feel bad about myself because its not about sex. I would get upset because I was suppose to believe that watching people have sex or do things that would affect him in sexual ways was in no way related to me as his sexual partner. This was so frustrating at times. I think that is still all crap. Even though it may not be about sex, it still absolutely affects you as a spouse.
I want to go back to when I said that pornography addiction is actually caused by needs not being met. My husband was raised by two wonderful Latter-Day Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ until he was 9 years old. At that point, his mother threw his father out of the house and refused to let his dad see him or his other seven siblings. That’s right! SEVEN! At that point, she decided she was done parenting… after having seven children. She dated losers and would bring them home regularly. When she wasn’t bringing them home, she was staying up until 3 a.m. in the morning out at clubs. My husband knows this because he would wait up for her to make sure she was okay. My husband’s older siblings weren’t interested in being parents yet (rightly so), which meant he raised himself and tried to do the best he could for his 3 younger siblings. They also lived in poverty. Can you see where there might be large voids in his life? No parents to raise or to teach him. No close older siblings to confide in. No way to know what to believe when his mother had strictly taught of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the LDS gospel his entire childhood and then completely flipped 180 degrees on him. He suffered from depression and anxiety. He hated himself most of his teen years. His addiction started about the same time his parents divorced and he was ashamed of everything he was. Not only does he suffer from needs not being met socially by the people around him, but you cannot be a healthy person when you hate yourself and you feel no worth.
My husband’s life has changed dramatically. He has grown into a wonderful, hard-working, capable man. He has separated himself from the boy that he was who had no worth and has found joy and strength in Christ and in his family. My husband tells me all of the time that I have saved him from himself because I never tolerate him thinking that he is anything less than the incredible man that I see. However, my words and his thoughts cannot erase the terrible past he had to endure. His addiction often times does not stem from current issues in his life. Of course sometimes it does, but more often than not, he is trying to fight against the person he was and the issues he still cannot shake.
Having said all that, I want to talk about the conversation I had with him just last night. He has gone through a lot of counseling and therapy. Through all of this therapy we learned a lot about triggers in his life that can create problems and make him want to view. One of these triggers is wanting sex. I try very hard to meet every need that I can give him. Sex is a big one. I am literally the only place he can get it. For a long time, I have been stressed that he doesn’t get enough sex. I don’t have an extremely high libido (sex everyday), nor do I have a low one (less than once a week). I have never thought once in our marriage that I hold back more than he should be able to handle. However, my husband, like many of yours, could pretty much go for sex at any time. Now he would never pressure me into having sex I didn’t want to have, but I will admit that sometimes I would pretend to want to have sex so I knew that his sex drive would not be a trigger for him. I would feel so guilty if I knew that he was really interested and I said no. I was horrified that this was going to lead to him viewing, and it was going to be because of me.
As I write this, I am finding even more flaws in my thoughts. Him viewing could never be my fault. I just always wanted him to be okay, but last night I had had enough. In a nutshell, I explained to him how I am tired of feeling guilty when I don’t want sex. I believe we have sex plenty (more than the average married couple… hey, I like sex too). I continued to tell him how if I am suppose to believe that pornography addictions are not about sex then I need that to be proved. Now, if I denied him sex for weeks on end, then that could be a huge trigger and I would never recommend that you do that. However, if you and your spouse are having sex regularly and his trigger for viewing pornography was simply because he wanted to get off, then that is called “CHEATING.” In fact, even if you don’t have sex regularly then that is called cheating! I would say that its alway good to try to help your guy out and feel that closeness together and have some good sex often! But if he is getting something from somewhere else that he should only be getting from you for the wrong reason, then that is always cheating. There. I said it.
Maybe if you have this same conversation with your significant other they won’t agree with you, but my husband absolutely did. Triggers are real and its difficult. Relapses are going to happen. I can eventually handle a relapse that happens because of extreme pressure at work, or an anxiety attack. However, if the only reason is because he wanted to feel good, then I can’t jump on board with that ever. There is never an excuse for it. I will never feel guilty again for not having sex when I don’t want to. Agree or disagree? Send me your thoughts.