My man's use of porn bothers me

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Dear Sex Counselor:

How do I get over my man looking at porn when he masturbates? It makes me feel insignificant.


Dear Feeling Insignificant,

Thank you for your question.

I have a couple of questions for you to consider as you think about your partner's relationship to porn. Does he masturbate instead of having sex with you? Or is it just that you feel uncomfortable that he uses porn to speed his arousal when he masturbates? Does he use porn when having sex with you, or ask you to act out things that he sees in porn? The answers to these questions can shape your understanding of the role of porn in your partner's sexual life.

Generally, if a man (or woman) uses porn just for solo pleasure, to increase their arousal, I encourage their partner to not see it as having anything to do with her (or him). Some people like to look at porn, others like to fantasize about different people or scenarios. In the context of personal pleasure/release, it's a normal thing to do, and not something that you need to take as a personal affront.

If he starts asking you to do things he sees in porn, or compares you to porn stars, or prefers to masturbate to porn instead of making love with you, then you have the right to ask him to make some changes in this.

There are different reasons for folks to have solo sex. Sometimes it's important for a man or woman to have sex with themselves for simple pleasure, stress release, or to learn more about how they like to be aroused and touched. Often one partner has a higher need for sexual release and pleasure than the other partner, and masturbation is a great way to provide this.

Partner sex should be about sharing intimate time, being vulnerable together, and sharing pleasure as a way to cement your love for each other. If he is able to be fully present when making love with you, is attentive and interactive as a lover, and able to appreciate your body as you are, then I would suggest that things are fine between you, and his solo sexual experiences are not having any adverse effect on your coupled intimate life.

So it really depends on how he is interacting with you during your intimate time together, and whether the porn is being brought into your partner play or not. If not, I'd recommend that you work to let go of your feelings about it, with the understanding that it's just a tool to help him become aroused more quickly and easily, and not a reflection of how he feels about you or about your relationship.

Take care,

Ellen