Husband Obsessed With Internet Porn

Reader’s Question

My husband thinks that it’s OK to look at porn on the computer ALL THE TIME! When he gets up in the morning before work he will look at the “Free Porn of the day clip”. When he gets home from work, he will work on the computer and look at porn, while the whole family is somewhere around the house. If I walk into the office he will click off of it quickly. It’s not that he is sex deprived: normally we have sex 3 to 4 times a week. We have been married for 9 years. Last night my 15-year-old son was walking by the office window and saw him looking and then came into the house and told me. His response, was…Oh, I forgot to close the curtains!!! The office faces the main street of my neighborhood! Anyone could have seen!!

And then he becomes indignant about it. I was in a rage. I have lost complete respect for the man. He thinks that this is completely normal and is very angry at our son for saying something. I’ve caught him masturbating as well in the past at the computer to porn. I’m not against watching “when the time is right”. BUT not when there are children in or around the house. There’s a time and place for everything. That’s all he wants to do…I just don’t understand.

Can you please HELP!

Psychologist’s Reply

A simple definition of “a problem” is a situation that creates social, personal, emotional, marital, etc. problems. Your husband clearly has “a problem” with his obsession with internet porn. He has lost his sense of boundaries about when, where, etc. that the behavior might be appropriate. He has also lost his respect for what his family, especially his wife, feels about the situation. More importantly, he has become obsessed to the point that he is failing to protect his marriage, his family, and now his neighborhood from his behavior. His behavior has moved far beyond normal interest, curiosity, or sexual expression.

There can be mental health reasons behind his obsession with internet porn. Under times of stress, individuals seek distractions and stress-relief. Many turn to alcohol, drugs, porn, etc. Healthy folks may develop exercise programs, seek the support of friends and family, etc. If he has been under a lot of stress lately, he may have fixated on porn as a form of stress reduction. Sadly, this is like using alcohol and drugs for stress reduction — it doesn’t work and creates more problems than it solves.

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Normally, when a partner becomes upset with our behavior, has lost respect for us, and confronts us on such behavior — the other partner recognizes that there is a significant issue present. Your husband fails to recognize this and rather than be concerned about the reaction of his 15-year-old son, he blames the son for creating a problem. His sense of entitlement to view what he wants, when he wants, is a breakaway from the concept of a team in a marriage.

I would recommend emphasizing the need for counseling — individual or marital counseling. You may also need to demand some boundaries and rules concerning his porn viewing. If he is unable to control himself, you may need to take further, more uncomfortable steps to protect yourself and the family. His behavior is highly selfish and if not brought under control, can lead to more significant issues for the family. Viewing internet porn is costly for example. That “free picture of the day” is probably costing something (typically a subscription to a service), and he may be spending family funds to support this obsession. He will need to focus on fixing his destroyed respect and reputation with you and the son, as well as finding healthy alternatives to manage any stress he may be experiencing.

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