January 12, 2010

Why Does He Need To Masturbate To Porn When He Has Me?

Help!, Lessons 6 Comments

As someone who writes about sex and relationships (despite the fact that most people who read my column can generally come to the correct conclusion that I know very little about the latter) I am asked about how to deal with the private use of pornography by men quite frequently.

I’m going to be honest about this–once upon a time, it bothered me, too. I was in a relationship that I considered more than sexually adequate and one day, I walked in on my boyfriend getting off watching porn. I couldn’t understand it–was I doing something wrong? Was he lacking something? Also, WTF. I was in the next room and he couldn’t even invite me in to participate? What kind of bull is that?

I chewed him out.

And since I have had a blog since I was, like, five (total exaggeration, by the way, but close enough), I ran over to the computer and asked my humble couple hundred readers what the deal was. And that’s when I found out from several married, older women what was then the shocking truth and what I will tell you now: “honey, don’t panic. It has nothing to do with you.”

Mark Goulston, a couple’s counselor over at Psychology Today offers his take on it:

You might not like what I am going to say, but please hear me out. For women, verbally venting their frustrations is a great stress reliever. No one knows why; it just is. Well, for men, an orgasm is a great stress reliever (not to say that that isn’t also the case for women). No one knows why; it just is (Actually in an upcoming Usable Insight, you will discover that there is a reason why these work, based on recent findings in neuroscience).

There are two kinds of sex — sex with love and sex just for sex’s sake. Many husbands feel guilty about having sex just for sex’s sake with their wives, because they feel like they are using her as a thing (as opposed to making love to the person they care about).

So instead of using their wives as things, many men use pornography and masturbation (and often feel ashamed or even pathetic for doing so – one man in a couple’s session when confronted yelled in embarrassment, “Meet Hilda!” and pointed to his right hand).

I’m not advocating it or saying it’s a wonderful practice, I’m just saying it’s fairly common and not always unhealthy. Pornography and masturbation (in moderation) have probably saved more marriages than they have hurt. I think it’s pretty sad, but it’s just a fact of modern life. The trick of course is to do it in moderation rather than letting it become a full time substitution for real sex.

To give you an idea of the stress men feel, one man asked me a few months ago if I knew what the definition of a shower was. I told him I didn’t. He told me: “A shower is the place where grown men go to cry when they’re afraid they can’t keep the promise they made to their wives and children to always take care of them and don’t want their family to see how afraid they are.”

If you can show your husband that you understand the pressure and responsibilities on him, he may feel less alone and less stressed out. And if he feels less stressed out, he may not need to resort to pornography as much. Take him aside and say to him: “Nobody, including me, knows how awful the pressure from all your responsibilities makes you feel. And nobody, including me, knows that sometimes — even though you love me and our children — you wish you could be single and have nobody to worry about but you. Isn’t that true, honey? I’m sorry it’s so tough.”

From there, you may be able to start a dialog about what is worrying him and help him find positive ways of dealing with the pressures in his life.

Information from Psychology Today.

AV Flox

Your humble editrix-in-command.

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  • Fred

    This is ridiculous. Men desire the experience of sex more frequently than women do. (Not a radical or surprising assertion). So if you’re a man in a relationship you can either (a) pester her for sex all the time, creating strains in the relationship, (b) forego sex on a regular basis on occasions when you feel like it (c) masturbate from time to time. Porn is observed to help with (c), but men in long-term relationships were observed to masturbate regularly before porn was ubiquitous. Spare us the psychological arm-waving.

  • Anaiis

    Actually, what I find ridiculous, my dear, is the certainty with which you say “men desire the experience of sex more frequently than women do.”

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    I can agree with a lot of this.

  • http://twitter.com/RobertFischer Robert

    Men are very poorly trained to deal with stress in our culture. At least in my experience, you’re basically told to suck it up, confront it, or accept it and move on — even my “Here’s How to be Happy Post” is tainted with that paradigm. While that’s fine practical advice, it doesn’t do much to relieve the stress in the midst of the situation. Certainly, the idea of sitting around and talking to my guy friends to relieve stress is totally foreign to me, and I bet I’m not the only guy who is like that. So, basically, that leaves therapy, sports (playing or vicarious), orgasms, and controlled substances as the socially condoned outlets for stress.

    Although there’s something to the idea of not objectifying your wife, there’s also the matter of access: your hand doesn’t want foreplay before or cuddling after. I suspect issues of control also play into this area: while sex is a mutual experience and therefore negotiated, fantasies aren’t.

  • Davis

    Speaking only for myself, I used would often “purge” myself using porn a day or several hours before sex. I thought this greatly enhanced my “longevity” with my girlfriend, although she sometimes resented my lack of an orgasm. In my mind, I was removing the physical need part from the equation, allowing me to focus on pleasing her. I live alone with a cat now, so what the hell do I know…

  • Anaiis

    That’s really considerate, but I think the removal of the physical need in a partner and the lack of explosion of cum would totally bug me, too. But what do I know? I live alone with two orchids. ;)

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Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...