I came across this article by Ella Hutchinson, a Certified Clinical Sexual Addiction Specialist from Comfort Christian Counseling. She has a beautiful response to an author who feels that having a husband who watches porn is not a big deal, in fact, the wife should be watching too. The sad and scary fact is that porn addiction is a big deal and it is destroying intimacy in our marriages today. A silent addiction that no one wants to admit to or seek help for.
So Ella Hutchinson is my guest author today as I share her response.
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor as well as a Certified Clinical Sexual Addiction Specialist, living and working in Houston, TX. I am writing you in response to your article on Elite Daily, titled, “It’s Not a Big Deal Your Man Watches Porn, It’s a Bigger Deal That You Don’t.”
Initially, based on my personal and professional history, I was angered by your words. But once I had time to mull it over, I am simply profoundly saddened by your naivety.
But more than that, although I realize Elite Daily is small time journalism and likely won’t reach many people, it scares me that this is, as is Elite’s motto, “The voice of generation-Y.” The largest group of people your words will reach are the most vulnerable and the most likely to be damaged by them, college aged and young adults. I don’t fault you for your words. You are too young to know better and life hasn’t yet taught you how very wrong you are. I hope you will hear me out as I attempt to convey why the innocent perspective you shared concerns me so much.
While I can’t say I was ever as “open-minded” as your article suggests, at your age I didn’t see any significant harm in pornography. Overall, it wasn’t something I spent time thinking about. But there were a few occasions in my early twenties when I watched porn with my husband (my idea), thinking it would spice up our sex life. And it seemed to work at the time. It wasn’t until just shy of our ninth wedding anniversary that I learned my husband (who is more than okay with me sharing this information about him) not only had a secret porn addiction, but that the porn addiction had progressed to a full blown sexual addiction that involved several sexual encounters outside of our marriage.
I won’t go into the details here because they aren’t relevant. But I will share that the trauma of this discovery was earth shattering, painful beyond words. After my husband and I spent a couple years picking up the pieces of our broken marriage, with the help of some wonderful professionals and lay people, I turned my attention to other women going through what I went through.
I had quickly learned that I was far from alone. While I initially had doubted that this could possibly be a real addiction and suspected my husband might just be using that as an excuse, several things convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that porn addiction and sex addiction are very real and very devastating to both the addict and the partner.
I don’t want to waste your time with statistics. You can find them out there. The numbers you share are nothing short of silly, as I doubt a study conducted by a lingerie retailer is valid, much less representative of the general population.
You and I do agree on one thing though, that stats about who watches porn are wrong and people are “shying away from admitting to watching porn.” However, many are also shying away from admitting the devastating effect it is having on them. Others just haven’t realized it yet. Your friend who said porn is simply “a means to an end” is inadvertently admitting the damage that has already been caused.
Your friend continues to say that, “Guys can’t just press a little button on their genitals to get off. It requires some effort. Porn facilitates that.” Um, say what? I don’t even know how to respond to this because what your friend says can’t happen, absolutely can happen. Surely, you’ve heard the joke about how a guy can just rub against a tree in order to have an orgasm. Sure, that’s an exaggeration, but the point is usually true. Any man under the age of say, 40, who needs more than a little stimulation to reach orgasm either has a legitimate medical condition or has serious brain damage from compulsive porn use.
In your article you say that, “Watching porn with your partner can make your subsequent real-life session filled with much more passion.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth, although at first this may seem to be the case. Watching porn with your partner makes you nothing more than “a means to an end.”You become an object. You are confusing the concept of passion, or intensity, with intimacy. And don’t try to claim you are okay with that. When you have sex with your partner, you want him to be having sex with you, thinking about you, turned on by you. But by encouraging and participating in his porn use you are helping facilitate the damage occurring in his, and possibly your, brain which will eventually cause sex without porn (or fantasy about porn) to become boring and maybe even impossible.
You further make my point about the dangers of porn when you say, “Real-life sex with someone else involves effort, intimacy, some layer of emotional connection and an element of performance.” Is this a complaint? When did this become a problem? Our porn saturated society is prohibiting you from recognizing how ludicrous this statement sounds. Your quote here describes what sex should be! Instead, people are becoming more and more self-centered and lazy about sex.
When did men start seeing “real-life sex with someone else” as just too much work? Answer: When they started watching porn.
Since I said I wouldn’t throw a bunch of stats at you (although if you want them just let me know), I’ll share my real-life experience with countless hurting women. Woman, some of whom used to think just as you do, come to me devastated that their partner no longer desires sex with them. Yet he watches porn and masturbates daily or has chronic affairs even though she is at home available and willing. These are often young, fit, sensual, beautiful women, but they can no longer arouse their husband or partner. Even more women e-mail me daily with this kind of problem. Other women have husbands who need them to parade around in humiliating costumes or perform degrading acts in order to be turned on. And the most common, but perhaps the saddest of all, woman tell me they have sex with their husband but that he isn’t really there. Sex has become robotic and detached no matter what she does to try to get his attention. The common denominator? These men all compulsively watch porn.
This is real life, Alexia. This is what porn, as harmless as you may believe it to be, leads to. I see it every single day. Chances are you’ll eventually see it too. But right now, what you are doing by writing articles like this is contributing to the problem. What a great platform you have to reach young people and make a difference! And this is the topic you choose to address? Young women reading your words who are experiencing what I am describing here are likely to wonder if only they had been more open-minded about porn then maybe their man wouldn’t have strayed. Or maybe he would still desire her. They are wondering if they become more open-minded about these things if they can get him to come back to her. And when it doesn’t work she’ll blame herself. Men reading your article have received the validation they need to ignore their nagging wife or girlfriend and now have a great tool in their arsenal to throw in her face when she tries to convey how hurt she is. I can hear it now, “Why can you be more like the woman who wrote this article. She gets it.” This breaks my heart.
The most compelling piece of evidence against your argument: When men start to recognize this problem and reach out for help, things start to change. It doesn’t happen overnight, but as they rid their lives of porn and learn other tools to help heal their minds, their desire for healthy sex with their wife begins to return. I have seen this happen.
Alexia, before you write your next article for Elite Daily or anyone else for that matter, please consider the impact your words will have on others. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss this further. You, or anyone else reading this can reach me through one of my websites, wifeofasexaddict.com orcomfortchristiancounseling.com.