My Husband is Addicted to Porn

Written by
Michael Wells

My Husband is Addicted to Porn

What Should I Do?

Written by
Michael Wells

My Husband is Addicted to Porn

What Should I Do?

Written by
Michael Wells
SERIES

This article is part of the series 

.

No items found.

This series is under development and further articles will be added soon.

QUESTION
"My husband never wants to be intimate with me. I'm not bad looking, but he gets off to watching porn instead. I am so frustrated and and hurt. He is indifferent about how it's damaging our marriage. Any advice?"

First, and most importantly, don’t take his behavior personally. No matter how personal this feels, it’s really not about you, at all.

Right now, he doesn’t understand what’s happening in his brain any better than you do. He didn’t ask for it. He doesn’t understand why he feels these compulsions. He can’t just switch them off, and he doesn’t know what to do about them.

On top of that is probably some shame, embarrassment, confusion, and probably a bit of anxiety and depression that he feels out of control.

The way things are going, he can rationally see that you're unhappy, and he feels unhappy too. His life is spinning out of control, and he predicts that it will become a car wreck soon... but there is no steering wheel to grab.

Shame means that part of him feels like he deserves whatever will happen.

And part of him doesn't care, because at this level of intensity, lust is just overwhelming. The volume of his dopamine is so loud, it simply drowns everything else out- even future consequences.

In every way that matters, he's a drug addict, and he feels just as trapped as you do.

The Power of Dopamine

It’s important that you understand what he’s going through, so let’s see if I can make this relatable for you.

Imagine... that you had an unlimited buffet of your favorite foods.

In this buffet is every favorite food you’ve ever had, prepared perfectly the way you like it most. Do you like chocolate? pizza? ice cream? tiramisu? They’re all there, and better than you’ve ever imagined, in a million variations you’ve never even heard of.

They’re all perfectly fresh, and well organized. Find something you like, and straight away you’re directed to other favorites "you should try."

You'll never get bored, because this buffet has every single possible food in the universe, and new ones are added by the minute.

This buffet tastes SO good, that you can’t stop thinking about it... even when you’re not hungry. And, this whole buffet is with you, all the time, just a click away.

Wait. Did I mention it’s free?

This is how his brain relates to porn.

How Bad is the Porn Problem?

A friend of mine works as a guidance counselor at a local mid-sized high school. She has told me that most schools of that size have one guidance counselor. Her high school has now hired 4 full time counselors- and all of them are focused on one single problem- porn addiction.

I also happen to oversee the technology for a local medical clinic, including their website and the flow of new client enquiries. They do general health, emergency services, COVID screening, sexual health, skin health, and much more. Want to know what 80% of their enquiries are, right now in the year of COVID-19? They're all about erectile dysfunction (ED), and premature ejaculation.

And they're basically all young men, who should not be facing those problems.

The porn problem is big, and deep social shame means that most people aren't talking about it, except with their doctors.

It’s thought by some researchers that porn is 10 times more addictive than cocaine, because of the way it’s delivered. The “click path” of porn means that you’re seeing more and more compelling images that keep your dopamine levels rising and rising until you just drown in it.

To paraphrase a TED talk quote from "The Great Porn Experiment"…

“Today, on the internet, in 5 minutes you can see more incredibly hot babes than your grandfather saw in his entire lifetime.”

Our brain simply isn’t designed to deal with that.

In 320 million years of evolution, our reptilian brains have never been in a situation where this level of “apparent opportunity” confronts them.

And... your husband's reptile brain can’t tell the difference between video and the real thing, because his eyes and ears are fed the same sensations. It feels too real, and that part of his brain just isn't that smart. It's why sea turtles eat plastic.

Before you decide to ditch his sorry ass, just understand that he's just being a 100% healthy male human, with all of the design flaws that we humans get to live with.

The next healthy male human you find will have those same vulnerabilities. In my view, it's far better to learn to confront the problem head-on together, than to run away from it in the hopes of escape.

What You Can Do

There's actually a lot you can do.

#1 - Study the problem

Become an expert.

Learn everything that you can about porn addiction, dopamine, and how this is affecting him. The more you know, the less you’ll resent him. To you it appears that he’s making a choice - porn instead of you...

It’s more accurate to say, he feels like he’s not being given a choice, and he lacks the understanding and skills to fight his own reptile-brain instincts.

On a lot of levels, he’s a victim here too, just like a drug addict. The reptile brain has 320 million years of evolution behind it. Modern human behavior is only about 50,000 years old. Which do you think has the advantage?

Whether he joins you in your study or not, start reading books on porn addiction. Watch TED talks on porn addiction and recovery. Join online forums or classes, research and learn as much as you can.

No different than you'd study any other condition, like diabetes, autism, or Alzheimer's, if they affected your family. The more you know, the easier it will be to confront this problem.

#2 - Whatever you do, don’t shame, judge, or punish him

Seek a counselor if you need to, to deal with your own emotions about this - but this is essential to understand, so I’m saying it again.

It's entirely natural for you to feel anger, resentment, rejection, and a whole host of other negative emotions about him and this situation. However, if you judge him, shame him, and become angry with him, you’ll just end up pushing him away.

If that happens, then you will find it far more difficult to help him navigate his way through this, and back to you. Don't sabotage your own best efforts to reclaim your partner's sex drive.

Remember that you’re dealing with a drug addict here. He’s exhausted, and his rational mind is looking for any excuse to follow through on what his emotional mind is dragging him towards.

He wants an excuse to look at porn. A "justification" where it seems OK, where he had no other choices because "well, my wife doesn't want me in bed anymore..."

Your husband isn’t your enemy, the porn is, and he needs to know that you see things that way. Again, same as a drug addict. Otherwise, his brain will just use your anger as an excuse to withdraw further “oh well, she hates me now…”

Try not to give him those extra reasons, by pushing him away. Your goal is to take those reasons away, and create something more attractive that's far better than porn.

#3 - Learn to give him what porn can’t

You have a lot of advantages here, let's talk about how to use them.

Real love, compassion, appreciation, and deeply connected sex are FAR more enjoyable than fake porn.

In the brain, there are three very powerful chemicals that underpin all of our relationship drives;

  1. Dopamine - governs sexual desire. This is in the reptile brain, and can be described as the feeling of Lust. This is what porn hits, hard. So does alcohol, sugar, gambling, fast food, junk food, video games, cocaine, nicotine, caffeine… our modern world is not kind to our dopamine systems.
  2. Serotonin - governs the desire to be in social groups, and to be accepted by others. This is in the mammal brain, and is the feeling if being Liked, Accepted, and Approved-of.
  3. Oxytocin - governs pair-bonding, as in parent-child relationships, and romantic partners. It’s primarily about creating security by keeping the most important people close. It’s a mammal-brain neurotransmitter, and creates the feeling of Loving, and being Loved.
When you feel dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin together at the same time, about the same person, I describe that as "the soulmate effect."
It's so intense, you feel as though nothing else in life really matters.

This is important because when it comes to dopamine by itself, porn can hijack it better than you or any human possibly can.

No matter how hot you are, how sexually available you make yourself, and how skilled you are in bed, you can't compete with the infinite unbounded space that PornHub presents. This is due to the Coolidge Effect, which is the drive ( emphasized among males ) to seek sexual variety.

Your advantage here is that porn can only trigger dopamine.

It will never ( I seriously hope ) be able to give your partner serotonin, or oxytocin. His brain craves those, too, so give him what porn can’t -

  • deep love, emotional connection, and caring
  • committed friendship, understanding, and encouragement to be his best
  • real sexual desire, and deep sexual appreciation for him, rather than fake
  • deep sexual connection that combines physical and emotional

Make him feel deeply needed...

“That video doesn’t need you… but I sure DO...”

#4 - Work to reconnect emotionally, and sexually

Some practical things you can try.

Have regular romantic getaways together

Take vacations away together, where you can reconnect. Go camping if you need to. No wifi. No internet. No phones. Just the two of you.

These trips should be away from your city, due to another aspect of evolutionary psychology called the Doorway Effect.

Explore your own body, together

Consider exploring ways to connect his interest and curiosity about sex back to you, by exploring sex together, as passionately you might pursue a favorite hobby.

There is an online resource called OMGyes, which is all about female pleasure and sexual satisfaction. It’s very detailed, including videos, etc on exactly how different patterns of touch and pressure create sexual stimulation for women.

Right now, his brain is highly  focused on sexual things, he may find that fun and compelling to explore with you.

If he can learn how to drive you crazier than the women he's seeing in those videos, nothing will compare - because he's doing that, himself, in real life, to the woman he loves, who actually appreciates him.

Explore deeper, more connected sex

Foreplay. Connection exercises. All-day lovemaking. Tantric sex. Master the Kama Sutra.

Maybe get a sex or connection coach to help you explore new ways you can turn each other on intellectually, emotionally, and physically.

Consider involving porn in the bedroom

You might try other measures too.

Perhaps, you ask him to watch porn only when he's with you, and you both use it as a way to discover what each of you finds interesting, and what you are both curious about exploring together sexually.

Remember, porn use means he may struggle in bed. If he finds himself struggling to get aroused, he'll feel stressed and embarrassed, to the point that he may even become angry. This is so common, there is even a term now for it - PIED, or porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

If he's struggling with arousal, fully embrace and enjoy that time together anyway. Absolutely zero judgements, disappointment, or shame. Show him other ways to pleasure you, and explore other ways to pleasure him.

Always remember that he wants to have sex with you, it's just that the balance of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and prolactin are way out of whack, and his brain is saying... I got nothing... I need a break, please.

Your relationship, your rules.

It’s up to you to figure out what works for you, and to lead that assertively. Right now, he needs that from you. Stay within your own comfort, but seek to surprise him and show him that you offer more incredible sexual adventure and appreciation for him than any video ever can.

Create your own sexual novelty

Leverage the Coolidge Effect to your advantage. You can only be one person, but you can create sexual novelty in many, many other ways.

  • Dress-up.
  • Role-playing.
  • Creative locations.
  • Visit adult shops together and discuss together what intrigues each of you.
  • Maybe even film yourselves and watch it together.

It totally depends on you.

This is your relationship, your body, your heart, and your rules. Get fully creative, within your own boundaries of acceptability.

Resources to Help

There are a lot of TED talks on this problem now, as well as communities like r/Nofap on Reddit, and a lot of local communities that help men “reboot” to a porn-free life. I’ve not explored these but you can see this is a huge social problem now.

ted talk porn - Google Search

I refer my coaching clients to this video often, titled The Great Porn Experiment - it's one of the best I’ve seen on the topic, and it explains how porn affects us.

Try online courses that will help you understand the problem, and ways to approach conquering it. Personally I see this as one of the greatest challenges facing society today, so I created this course here-

BROJO - CM120 - Overcoming Porn & Masturbation

It's free, and you're welcome to it.

Final Thoughts

Right now you see this as a problem... but I encourage you to see this as an opportunity.

If you approach this situation with the mindset of "We're trying to fix a problem here," they you're already starting from a perspective of judgement and shame, which will work powerfully against you. His self-judgement and shame are part of the problem already- it really won't help you to create more.

Instead, approach this as...

"Together, we're trying to create something unbelievably amazing for us."
SERIES

This article is part of the series 

.

No items found.

This series is under development and further articles will be added soon.

First published on 
. Last updated on 
December 10, 2020

Table of Contents

    Addendum

      BROJO: Confidence. Clarity. Connection.

      Join BROJO - the premier international self-development community - FREE!

      • Connect with like-minded people who will support you with your goals and issues
      • Overcome people-pleasing and Nice Guy Syndrome to build strong social confidence
      • Get access to exclusive online courses to learn advanced social skills, how to master your psychology, proven career progression techniques and more
      Sweet! You are now a BROJO member.
      Check your email for details, course access, and more.
      Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again, or email me at mike@brojo.org. Thanks!

      Addendum

      Recommended Reading

      The Butterfly Effect - podcast on Audible [ not free ] which discusses the development and impact of the porn industry on society. Fascinating in particular in how

      Comparing Porn v. Crack Cocaine Addiction

      Internet Porn is Worse than Crack [ Wired ]

      Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update

      Infographic, Porn v. Cocaine Addiction

      Brain scans of porn addicts: what's wrong with this picture?