Internet Pornography - Do You Know What to Do About It?


Internet pornography requires no emotional connection and is a problem for many relationships.

Internet Pornography makes it so easily accessible.  In the old days, not that long ago, a person had to go to the "private" section of a magaznie or video store and discreetly check out the "sexy photos" or the "sexy videos."  It required making a special trip to the magazine or video store and another trip back to return any loaned videos.  Some men had large collections of pornographic magazines and many also chose to purchase their videos.  When a partner inadvertently discovered his "porno collection" it would often create arguments, emotional pain and may have led to a breakup.

But unlike pornographic magazines, photos and videos, internet pornography is easy to access, easy to conceal, and anonymous. It requires no emotional connection, no obligation or commitment, no pressure to perform, and no need to deal with the real world. The images of beautiful young men and women, engaged in increasingly more varied and kinky sexual activities, creates new synapses in the brain leading to new sexual arousal patterns that quickly become new habit patterns. Emotional and sexual energy is withdrawn from one's partner and the whole idea of intimacy and child rearing loses its value.

Just the act of watching pornography is not a problem unless someone has strong religious or moral convictions.  In fact, many couples watch "sexy" videos to spark excitement and arousal in their relationships.

However, there are some warning signs.  Notice if your spouse or partner:

  • spends hours at the computer that interfere with your time together
  • shows lack of concern about your relationship or marriage
  • stops sharing regular activities or holiday celebrations with you
  • changes sleep patterns dramatically, staying up later or getting up earlier
  • shows little desire or interest in having sex with you, despite your overtures
  • denies the extent of the internet activity and usage
  • has been increasingly more irritable with you

Maybe you are the one watching videos.  Seek counseling if you find you are:

  • having difficulty resisting the urge to log on to your computer frequently
  • spending excessive amounts of time in live chat rooms talking about sexuality
  • using the internet to make sexual connections
  • masturbating or using the online fantasy for later masturbation
  • lying to your intimate partner, spouse or family
  • feeling less interest and desire for your partner or spouse
  • losing interest in activities you used to share with your partner or spouse
  • feeling shame, guilt or embarrassment about your internet use

Can a strong pornography habit be overcome and partner intimacy restored?

Here's what you can do if your partner has a internet porn habit:

  • First, do not blame yourself. Yes, you may have helped to create some of the relationship conflict that your partner is feeling, but your partner could have used those conflicts as a stepping stone toward greater intimacy with you through deeper communication.
  • Gather as much information as you can about internet pornography, what it is, what it is not, and possible effects upon intimate relationships. The internet is a wonderful resource for such information.
  • Talk to your partner about your concerns.
  • Find someone you can confide in to help you understand the effect this behavior is having upon your own self esteem.
  • Encourage your partner to seek help through individual counseling, group therapy, a local sexual addicts anonymous program. If your partner is willing, encourage him or her to join you in joint sessions of both marriage counseling and sex therapy.
  • Whether your partner refuses or actually attends some therapy sessions with you, it would be beneficial for you to seek private counseling for yourself to talk about the effect this behavior is having upon you, your children, or anyone else in your life.

What if You are the one habitually watching internet pornography?

  • Think about what is stressing you in your life and how you have been handling things.
  • Speak to a friend, family member or a member of the clergy.
  • Attempt to discontinue any online relationships in the same way that you would break up with a regular partner.
  • Speak to your partner or spouse about what you have been thinking, feeling and doing.
  • Seek a qualified therapist or a local sex addiction support group.
  • Stay away from your computer, if possible, as you explore new activities for yourself alone and some you can share with your partner or spouse. If necessary, move your computer into a central place in your home so that you can no longer secretly indulge in your fantasies and compulsive habits.

For those individuals who enjoy an occasional glimpse at online pornography or for those couples who willingly choose to view pornography together to enhance their sexual arousal and stimulation as a couple, perhaps this is a truly harmless activity. However, although many people can drink alcohol socially and some people can smoke cigarettes or marijuana only occasionally, many others become alcoholics or potheads and find they are unable to control and limit their usage of these substances.

The internet is a miraculous invention offering access to information, business, products and people from around the world. Internet pornography, however, has become an increasingly powerful "drug" capable of creating tremendous highs leading to potential loss of everything one might value in one's life.

Only you truly know whether surfing the internet has become a habit that is interfering with you and your partner enjoying true intimacy in a relationship.  Only you can decide if you or your partner's "habit" has become unmanageable and is interfering with work, friendships and your lifestyle.

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