Porn: When It Helps & When It Hurts

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Internet Porn
Some couples use it to sex up a relationship. For others, it spells the end.

While Kate's husband was willing to work on changing his behavior, other men refuse to even recognize that they have a problem. Though her husband has always claimed he isn't into porn, six months ago, twenty-five-year-old Amy, a newlywed from Lee's Summit, MO, walked in on him "relieving some stress," as she puts it, while looking at an adult website. He is an IT professional, so at first she believed his explanation that he needed to look at porn as part of a work project involving retrieving licensing agreements.

What he didn't know was that Amy had the password to his computer; when she checked his internet history, she found that he was looking at porn every day, downloading movies and pictures from at least ten different websites. In addition, she says, he had 300 to 400 movies on one of his drives.

"Personally I didn't have a problem with porn, but he has always told me he's not interested in it," she explains. "But there have been multiple times he's been ‘relieving stress,' so I know that's not the case. I would just like an honest answer, but so far have been unable to get it. I want to trust him, but I don't. Right now, I wish the porn would just disappear—I can't stand it."

Maltz's work with sex addicts has led her to adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward porn. "I do not think that using porn as a sexual outlet is ever benign," she says. "You don't know when you can cross over from casual curiosity to dependency. That switch can happen very quickly, and then it can be very difficult to go back. And trying to quit can be as hard as getting off hard drugs."

Below, signs your partner might have a problem, according to Maltz's book, The Porn Trap:

-Possessing porn materials or accessing porn sites on the web
-Unaccounted absences or time
-Excessive or late night computer use
-Social and emotional withdrawal
-Changes in bedtime rituals
-Lying and secretive behavior
-Defensiveness when questioned about porn use

*Names have been changed.

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