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Love Letters

Love Letters: Will He Ever Stop Watching Porn?

As I mentioned yesterday, Sony set up a screening of the movie "Sex Tape" for Love Letters readers. It's tonight, which is good because it's hot out. I haven't seen the film, but it was made around Boston so it should be fun to watch. You can print out a ticket and come.


Q:

Hello Meredith,

I am in my 20s and have been dating a wonderful gentleman for six months now. He travels a lot for work and lives an hour away. From the start, I told him distance is not an issue to me. I do believe time apart is healthy.

Our issue is porn. I am Christian. I am not in church every Sunday, but my morals and beliefs are strong. I am in no way jealous of the women in porn -- I am very comfortable with my body and who I am. That being said, porn is degrading. It's disrespectful to me as a providing woman. Sex is something so scared and passionate to me that I only want to share anything to do with that with him.

My words to him were, "I am not asking you to stop watching it. I am saying I choose to want a man who does not need it. Same way you CHOOSE to watch it." It wasn't an ultimatum in my eyes. I have now caught him with it three times.

I care about him very much. I will say besides the porn issue, everything is great. I have met his family. I was even pulled aside and was told that they have never seen him this way.

Our last blowout was when I found it for the third time. Again, no one is forcing him to be with me. He will find a woman who's OK with it, and I will find a man who couldn't care less about it. Ever since, he volunteered to go to church with me. (When we first started dating he said that is one thing he would never do.)

I basically just need to know, do you think it's possible to stop? Could he really give it up for good? I know men physically have an overactive sex drive, but canít he share that with me? I know this could be something great, but I also know this is something I can never accept.

– Torn

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A: First thing to know: Men don't always have an overactive sex drive. Our commenters will tell you that's a myth. And watching porn isn't always about needing sex with another person. Masturbation is its own special thing.

If your boyfriend was simply enjoying himself without porn -- and just thinking about various images and people -- would you mind? Are you opposed to him having any sexual experiences without you in the room? It's important to know where you draw the line.

Really, you put it quite nicely. You said, "I am not asking you to stop watching it. I am saying I choose to want a man who does not need it." If thatís the case, this guy isn't for you. He will continue to watch porn -- or at the very least, he'll want to. It's something he likes to do on occasion. You might want to ask him why.

When I get letters from people who suspect that their partners have a porn addiction, I worry. When they describe porn as being violent, I am deeply concerned. But when a letter writer says that their partner occasionally looks at a video of naked people enjoying each other's company, I'm not very upset.

But if you can't live with it and consider his pornographic interests to be at odds with your morals and religion, you have to do what's best for you. You know your own boundaries. Find out why he likes it and what it means to him, and then decide whether you can live with it.

Readers? Will he ever stop looking? Why can't he stop and simply share his drive with her? Is this a big deal?

– Meredith