July 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
Between pop-up ads, risque tabloids, celeb gossip sites and spam email, sometimes it seems like online porn is everywhere. One thing’s for sure: If you’re looking for x-rated content on the web, you won’t have a problem finding it. The accessibility and (relative) discretion of viewing the content raises tons of issues for couples like 29-year-old Mia, a stay-at-home-mom, and her 30-year-old realtor husband, Carson. (Read the full story here.)
Mia’s Turn This isn’t the first time she’s caught her husband looking at online porn. She discovered his habit three years ago, they had a huge blowout and he promised to stop – but clearly he hasn’t. He also blames her for it, saying he wouldn’t need the sites if they had sex more often, which infuriates her. It’s his problem, not hers! They have a 4-month-old son and she’s so tired all she wants to do in bed is sleep. He’s also a huge flirt, hugging and chatting up other women, and it drives her crazy. Carson’s father used to make lewd comments about women in front of Carson’s mother and no one made an issue of it. Mia’s own parents were proper and buttoned-up, so her father-in-law’s behavior and her husband’s porn habits totally appall her. She feels as betrayed as if he physically cheated.
Carson’s Turn He feels completely sexually rejected by his wife. He hates fighting about it or upsetting her, so he does what he needs to do in his private time. Looking at online porn is just a physical thing – he doesn’t have a steady “partner” he chats with so there’s no relationship – and he feels he has no other choice since his wife shuts him down all the time. He’d never have an affair and thinks she should be happy he’s not running around with someone else. He understands his flirting makes her uncomfortable but doesn’t see the harm since he’d never actually cheat; it’s innocent. And though he’s embarrassed by his dad’s sexist comments, too, he still thinks Mia should ignore them.
The Counselor’s Turn Just as an affair can indicate that a marriage needs a wake-up call, so can a habit like Carson’s. They were both uncomfortable talking about sex, for different reasons, so they never discussed their unhappiness. Carson’s viewing tastes tended towards standard sexual situations, so his interest in porn was pretty normal. Mia had to understand that his porn-watching didn’t mean anything about her – that she was unattractive or that he didn’t love her – but she also had to accept that her constant rejection of his advances helped in part to drive him away. Men equate sex and love, and if he felt desired and wanted, the counselor thought he’d stop looking elsewhere. Mia also withheld sex to get back at him for flirting and for when he ignored her valid concerns about his behavior. Carson first needed to limit his flirtations with other women, which he succeeded in doing once he realized how much it hurt his wife. Once she saw the improvement, Mia began to accept his advances more and learned to gently decline when she’s not in the mood. As for the porn, Carson quit the habit cold-turkey, and since their sex life has improved he hasn’t felt the need to use it anyway.