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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I just found out that my husband is interested in pornography on the Internet. I was shocked and disgusted; then I lost respect for him. It has affected our sex life. Is my husband's behavior healthy?

Answer

There are two parts to this question: one has to do with whether pornography is healthy and the other has to do with the nature of the sexual relationship between you and your husband.

Is pornography healthy? Porn is neither healthy or unhealthy. It is simply erotic, sexually explicit material that some people find sexually arousing. Some people use it as a form of stimulation when they do not have a sexual outlet or fear sexual intercourse because of disease. Others use it as an adjunct to sexual play with their mate.

Just as with any other activity, the "unhealthy" aspects are not in the stimulus but in the manner in which the stimulus is used. Alcohol, for example, is not unhealthy in and of itself. However, compulsive use of alcohol is unhealthy. The same is true for pornography; if compulsively pursued in lieu of available, safe sex, there may be a problem. If your husband prefers cybersex to normal sex with you, there may be a problem in need of professional help. It may be that your husband is not finding the sexual relationship satisfying and rather than talking about it, he seeks satisfaction elsewhere.

Assuming that you are having regular sexual relations with your husband, and he enjoys cyber-porn, he may be simply adding spice to what he experiences as dull or ordinary sex. It might be helpful to talk about this with him and see whether you can spice up your bedroom activities. Some couples have found pornography a fun and exciting adjunct to their sexual repertoire. It may be that you and your husband have different attitudes about sex that could be discussed.

You can read the articles entitled, Sexuality and Sex Therapy and Making Your Marriage Work , in our magazine.

3/5/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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