Is porn or sex addiction the reason for your lackluster sex life?
If you have been in a relationship for awhile, you are probably past the initial stage where the chemistry is palpable and you can't keep your hands off of each other.
During that exciting time, you want to call in sick to work and ditch your friends just so that you can to be together and you start every date hoping to end up in bed together. When the relationship evolves, this titillation is replaced with the comfort of constancy and connection—and usually a decline in the passion, excitement and frequency in the bedroom.
But for some, the decline is unusually stark and troublesome. If the sex was so great in those first few months, then why has it gone flat so quickly? You may wonder, is this the way it's supposed to be? Or you may worry he is not attracted to you anymore—or that your own sexual expression is lacking. Before you tear yourself apart, consider that the problem may be beyond you.
If 3 or more of the following signs are present in your relationship, your man may be a sex or porn addict.
Sign 1: The presence of Porn
Porn has become a very common presence in the lives of men and in many relationships. It is almost unusual if men do not use pornography.
If it is out in the open that your man looks at porn online, then it is entirely possible he is indulging more than you know. Alternately, if it is not an open fact but he stays up late to work or play on the computer, works from home online or has a fascination with computers, he may be drawn to porn and is keeping that from you.
No matter where you stand on the subject of porn, don't be naïve about your man's habits, or minimize the impact porn has on a man's sexuality. It greatly impairs his ability to have sex with a real partner. If any of the following signs co-exist with the usage of porn, then don't bury your head in the sand—there is most likely a problem here.
Sign 2: Loss of Interest in Sex
Now that the initial attraction has worn off and you have returned to a state of homeostasis, it is natural for your sex life to level off.
If however, your advances don't interest him or he doesn't often initiate sex, this could indicate a problem. His apparent lack of interest in you could mean his attention and obsession lie elsewhere.
When a man watches porn and masturbates daily, his interest in a real life partner will naturally decline. Because this issue is not as simple as it seems, the need he is fulfilling with porn or anonymous sex is not the same need he would be meeting during sexual relations with you, it has just taken precedence over those needs.
Additionally, he may avoid engaging with you because of the physiological issues created by excessive masturbation or possible sex with others.
Sign 3: Decreased Quality of Sex
Realistically, not every sexual encounter with your mate is going to be stellar, earth shattering and passionate. However, if during sex your mate:
- avoids eye contact, has a hard time looking at you or keeps his eyes shut the entire time
- rushes through the experience or "finishes" quickly
- frequently loses his erection
- is unable to reach climax or seems to climax but doesn't ejaculate
- has trouble tending to your needs and is self-focused
the signs suggest he is having trouble engaging with a real partner and is struggling to get through the experience.
Men have reported that they don’t feel attracted to their real mate so they strain to hold a fantasy in their mind long enough to get through intercourse. This provokes anxiety and a sense of urgency to get the job done quickly so they don’t lose the erection and can "finish" before losing the vision they are holding in their imagination.
Often their partners are left feeling unfulfilled sexually and as if the man was preoccupied during the session. Sex with a sex addict can feel like junior high sex: immature.
Sign 4: Lack of emotional intimacy
Sex and porn addicts carry such a load of shame about their all-consuming obsessions and compulsive behavior that they create what I call the "wall of shame." If you feel as if you can only get so close to your mate before you butt up against a wall and this keeps you from feeling true intimacy and connection, it is because this wall protects his secrets and lies, his sadness, fear and shame. You will never really be able to penetrate that intricately woven defensive system.
Many people build such a wall of shame to hide their perceived deficiencies from potential mates. The process of healing and recovery can teach the addict to feel worthy of love and allow him to be truly seen.
Sign 5: Alcohol, Food, Drugs and Exercise
In most cases, porn and sex addiction are accompanied by excessive use of alcohol, food, drugs or exercise. What looks like over indulgence of substances or exercise crazed behavior is really something else for the addict:
- Distraction or escape from obsessive thoughts
- Punishment and self-abuse driven by thoughts and feelings of loathing
- Attempts to harness or channel the energy into something more "acceptable"
- Achieving a sense of control over something in their lives due to feeling out of control
6. Unexplained or unaccounted for debits from your financial accounts
There is a lot of free porn online, but most of the good stuff costs money. "Massages," escorts or wining and dining strangers costs money. If you've noticed your bank accounts taking a hit or your budget feels strained, it could be that your mate is having trouble drawing the line.
If this sounds all too familiar, then you are probably feeling afraid, anxious or even angry. Understand that this is a serious addiction with a strong hold, often caused by a developmental trauma. This problem pre-dates you so best not to take it personally.
As with any addiction, the only true chance at recovery is if the addict is ready for change. If this is the case in your relationship, it is imperative you seek the help of a sex addiction specialist who can guide you both towards understanding, healing and creating the relationship you desire.