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Is my boyfriend looking at porn every day ok when we haven't had sex in almost three weeks?
February 15, 2011 1:31 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I have been fighting/bickering quite a bit the last couple months, but he says he has never loved anyone like he loves me. That being said, we haven't had sex for almost three weeks, and have only messed around twice in the shower. I initiated both of the shower incidents, and I've made my concern about the lack of sex known. He blames it on stress at work and being tired after work and then the gym. But, I can see that he's looked a porn almost every day for the last 10 days. Am I being sensitive by being upset by this? I feel like if he's horny enough to look at porn, why shouldn't he be saving that energy for me?

We've been together for about 15 months, with the first year of that being long distance. So, since we recently reunited I feel like we should be in the honeymoon phase again. I moved in with him for a few weeks when I first relocated and we ended up fighting a lot, mostly about him trying to micromanage my life. "What did you do today?" "Why didn't you do such and such?" etc. Admittedly, during the fighting and after I had absolutely zero sex drive, so that has kind of been my making an excuse for his lack of desire for me.

But recently we have been having some better times, and I am getting really frustrated. The first big issue we had was when we hadn't had sex for a week and we messed around in the shower. The next day he asked me if I wanted to take a shower, which is normal for us, and I said I could do such-and-such to him again (trying to be flirty). His immediate response was, "Again?!" Which hurt quite a bit, seeing as two consecutive days of handjobs didn't seem much to ask.

So, this brought up the lack of sex issue for the first time. I asked him point blank if the 10 or so pounds I had put on over the holidays made him less attracted to me, and he very reluctantly said yes. He is a model who is in amazing shape, and I am also a goodlooking guy, but this absolutely devastated me. He had brought up before, right after the holidays, that he wished I went to them gym more, which I had no issue with because I agreed and wanted to get back into my routine as well, but somehow hearing that he was less attracted to me kind of crushed me.

So, we sort of got over that fight but I have been a bit insecure since then. Which has manifested itself in things like not wanting to be naked around him as much, and me getting more upset than usual when he looks at other guys while I'm with him. Now, I look at guys too, and I have no problem with it when he is by himself at the gym or whatever, but I just felt completely inadequate when he repeatedly checked out a hot guy while I was sitting right at the table. That's a whole other issue, though.

ANYWAYS, so while working on my resume and the like on his computer, I stumbled on his porn folder, which had a similar name to the personal one I created. Well, it turns out he has QUITE the stash. Which in and of itself doesn't particularly bother me, because I look at porn too. But as I was browsing his collection, a lot of the porn was kind of rough burly guys, which I am not.

Recently, though, while making use of his collection, I could tell he had looked at porn almost every day for like the last ten days. While we weren't having sex, and he knew I was wanting it. This kind of makes me feel like he prefers porn over sex with me. Like he satisfies himself while I'm away and then that's that.

As I said, I look at porn too. I don't do it every day, but I do it, and sometimes if I think there's a chance that night that I'll get some lovin' from him, I intentionally avoid looking at any because I don't want to screw up my sex drive. I mean, he still wants to cuddle a lot and he's affectionate, but I feel like it's been foreeeever since the last time there was any spontaneity or initiative from him in our sex life.

A friend of mine staunchly believes that the porn is the problem, and that it's damaging to a relationship and I should nip it in the bud. But, I kind of feel like he's entitled to his private life, and the looking at porn every day is just a manifestation of the core problem of him being less attracted to me in general. In spite of all his affection and telling me he loves me more than anything.

What should I do? I know I am insecure. Should I be less sensitive and more aggressive? Offer to watch the porn with him (which I don't think he'd want to do)? Distance myself and hope absence makes the penis grow fonder? I just feel so rejected. I have been better about the gym and my diet the last few weeks, but I can't tell if this is a normal relationship lull or if I have real cause to be worried. I love my boyfriend, and I think we really both want this relationship to work. We have been through a lot together, and all our friends are convinced he is head over heels for me still. Help!
posted by yummywaffles to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Porn and sex are not the same, though, are they? I mean, saying "Well, he's horny enough for porn but not for sex" is kind of like saying "Well, he's hungry enough for a candy bar but not for a turkey dinner" which is a pretty normal state of being.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:34 PM on February 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


You did ask him directly whether your weight gain was unattractive to him, he responded honestly, and you feel crushed? I take it as a good sign he is still willing to be open and honest with you. What you need to do is take advantage of that and have a discussion about your sex life. If he is really stressed from work during the weekdays, then you might not get much mileage in trying to change that. But in return, he has to agree on setting a sex-date during the weekend or some other work-free time. It might not be as spontaneous but you are guaranteed to enjoy the sexy times with your boyfriend that you are currently missing out on. And the regular sex dates may inspire your boyfriend to take more initiative or realize what he's been missing out on.
posted by mlo at 1:41 PM on February 15, 2011


Have you told him what you are telling us? Communication is key to getting things worked out. If you are horny, tell him you are horny and want him to go down on you, or whatever you want him to do to you, or you want to do to him.

Distancing yourself is the same as being passive aggressive and doesn't really work. It's also playing a game, which doesn't work either.

Just come out and tell him what you want.
posted by TheBones at 1:43 PM on February 15, 2011


Oh and by sex-dates, I don't mean to imply he HAS to have sex with you, it should be more of a scheduled time to get sexy, fool around with each other, etc etc, with sex not necessarily being the end goal but hopefully so.
posted by mlo at 1:47 PM on February 15, 2011


You may be fighting less recently, but he probably has unresolved issues from when you were fighting. He needs to talk them through with you (without triggering more fights) and things will likely get better.
posted by rocket88 at 1:47 PM on February 15, 2011


Porn and sex can occupy two different spaces, as others have mentioned.

Feeling horny and feeling sexy can also occupy two different spaces. Enjoying your own company and engaging in shenanigans with another person require greatly different levels of energy and emotional engagement.

He may be tired. He may not feel sexy himself.

You should talk to him more about why you haven't had sex. But keep the above items in mind. It's not "you had time for porn but not for me," but rather "why haven't we been having sex?"
posted by MonsieurBon at 2:13 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm reading a lot here between the lines that seems really important but maybe you aren't seeing it? It looks like:

You just moved, possibly moving into your boyfriend's established place. It may be the first time you've lived together.

You are out of work.

Since the move, you quit going to the gym, and maybe other daily routine stuff. You gained ten pounds over the holidays.

All of these are big deals and might mean you, he, or both of you are either feeling uprooted or just really unhappy. Gaining 2-3 pounds a week (?) over the holidays either means you made huge changes in your daily habits or otherwise might point to a health problem.

I think porn has nothing to do with any of this, and you need to let that go - step back and evaluate what's going on in your life and your boyfriend's life. I don't think anything you wrote above really describes the problem you need to solve.

I think the friend of yours (who is sure porn is the problem) is not seeing things clearly. He/she probably wants to help you feel better and thinks placing blame on your boyfriend is the way to do that. I understand, but I don't think that's really being very helpful. Going on, I suggest being careful to consider his/her advice in this light.
posted by fritley at 2:15 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


You've been together for 15 months, but 12 of those months you weren't living together? Sorry, that doesn't mean you've been together for 15 months.

I don't see these 3 new months as the honeymoon phase but rather the reality phase. Long distance and near distance relationships are SO not the same thing; being alone with the pleasant fantasy of seeing your honey on the weekend is totally different from seeing the person every day and getting used to their annoying habits. It sounds like you're just trying to get used to living together, and it's possible that he (or perhaps you) feels that the fantasy is better than the reality.
posted by Melismata at 2:23 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That first sentence should have read "weren't living near each other?"
posted by Melismata at 2:26 PM on February 15, 2011


First off, stop asking your friends about what your boyfriend is doing.

Secondly, talk to your boyfriend about this! Open communication is key. And if he says the porn is not a big deal, be prepared to believe him. Porn is, as has already been mentioned, like fast food, and sex is the three-course dinner. Having time for porn and having time for sex are very different places.

I do understand feeling hurt when you open yourself up and ask someone, "Is my weight a problem?" and that person says, basically, "Yes, it is." Doesn't matter if it is only ten pounds, that is going to sting. Personally, I think that if just 10 pounds makes that much of a difference, this could be a real issue for both of you in the future.

You have to decide if you want to lose that weight for yourself, not for him. None of this, "I've been good about working out!" You shouldn't feel like you have to earn his love. It should be more, "I'm in a healthier place now, and I feel good about me."

Let's say you do lose the weight, and you still have problems. You aren't sexual as often as you like, he's looking at porn, you guys start fighting again. It might not have been the weight, or just the weight, all along. What happens then?

TALK.TO.HIM!
posted by misha at 2:49 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


just wanted to say something about him trying to 'micromanage' your life. I find the questions that he asks to be very open and generally interested in your life.

My partner and I ask each other "what did you do today?" even "What did you have for lunch?" all the time. It doesn't mean that we're trying to manage each other's lives, but rather interested in each other.
posted by p1nkdaisy at 3:42 PM on February 15, 2011


if you did just move near or in with eachother, he might be feeling a little... cornered. He had this great routine, lots of spare personal time and a relationship where he could talk to you when he wanted and not talk to you when he wanted (long distance relationships are like that). Seriously, he might just need space and to see that you are taking care of yourself and managing your life.

Maybe the weight gain is a symptom of you not having other, larger shit together... I don't know but it's worth thinking about.

Can you support yourself? Can you hold down a job, do you have hobbies he's not involved in, do you have your own group of friends seperate from his? Do you have clear goals independent of your relationship with him?

If you answered no to any of those questions, the problem might be bigger than just 10 pounds. If you are still living with him and dependant on him in any way (even if it's social or emotional, not just financial) , it WILL tank your relationship no matter how much you two love eachother.

Of course I agree with all the "talk to him more" that others are saying.

Also, just because you love eachother dosen't mean you're a good long term partner match. I know that totally sucks to hear, but love and partnership are different. Sometimes people just aren't in compatable places in their lives to be partners. If your first year was long distance, your relationship will be different and need adjustment when you are near eachother. If your relationship can't make those adjustments, it dosen't mean you don't really love eachother and it dosen't meant that either one of you is doing something "wrong", just that maybe you're not right for eachother right now.
posted by RampantFerret at 4:04 PM on February 15, 2011


a couple of thoughts:

1. he might be using your extra 10 pounds as an excuse because the real issue is more complicated, but he probably doesn't want to open the can of worms and figures it's an easy enough answer. it may also partially be true, but odds are good that it's not entirely true (a relationship so fragile that it can't withstand 10 pounds is unlikely to withstand 15 months).

2. he might be retreating into porn because there is zero emotional risk. he doesn't have to please or satisfy anyone.

i think you need to communicate, but i also suspect your unrelieved insecurity has caused him to think he can't please you. men like to please their partners--they like to succeed!--and a man who doesn't feel like he can succeed will usually withdraw.

you say that he showers you with affection--well, he senses your insecurity and is trying to relieve it. but he's frustrated by the fact that he can't make you feel better, so it makes HIM feel like HE's not good enough. who likes that? so he withdraws into porn (which demands nothing of him emotionally) and kind of turns him off to you. because think about it--he probably thinks he's been giving and giving this whole time, and you haven't responded, so why would he even want to try sex? porn is easier.

so talking is good, but honestly, the best thing you can do is RELAX. believe him when he says he loves you. don't pressure him for sex for a while. give him enthusiastic feedback when he is affectionate--don't be self-deprecating or make jokes like, "you don't love me anymore, do you?" let him know that he really is making you feel more secure. once he feels more empowered to please you, the sex will come.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:19 PM on February 15, 2011


Okay, I really was hoping not to be the first Incredibly Cynical Person to post an answer. But I guess I am. Please take this with a grain of salt, and don't freak out. I'm only mentioning it because it is an answer that fits the described scenario.

That answer - and I am so, so sorry to both think this and to be the one to say it out loud - is that he's cheating on you.

I'M NOT SAYING THAT HE'S CHEATING ON YOU.

I'm just saying that the scenario you've outlined is one which passes the pattern matching algorithm for "cheating partner."
posted by ErikaB at 4:45 PM on February 15, 2011


I have, in the past, gotten into a vicious cycle like this with a partner because sex with the partner was just too fucking much energy. It's not like I didn't want to really connect, but we had too much unresolved stuff that needed to get cleared first.

And I'd have just favorited a couple of the earlier comments that say roughly the same thing: figure out why you're depressed and then take the time to communicate with him, but I did want to temper ErikaB's possibility.
posted by straw at 5:09 PM on February 15, 2011


Is my boyfriend looking at porn every day ok when we haven't had sex in almost three weeks?

It's not only OK, it's completely, totally normal. Sex with a partner means you've got the focus and energy and wherewithal to be attentive and sensitive to their needs, to put themselves ahead of yourself... depending on how your day, week or month has been going, just reading that sentence might wear you out to the point of avoiding your partner altogether.

Watching porn in the manner you've described, in conjunction with on-going bickering and a heavy workload, strongly suggests that one is under a considerable amount of stress and looking for an outlet to blow off some steam. It's an easy trap to fall into, masturbation and/or porn to help one relax instead of having sex with your partner: any way you cut it, satisfying yourself is by far and away easier (not to mention less work) than satisfying someone else.

All other things being equal and good in your relationship, you could try and set aside some sexy time with no pressure on him, that is to say you do all the work and let him lie back and enjoy. See if this helps him recharge his batteries and gives him the cue that sexy time with you needn't be another chore on his "to do" list, that you just want to be held tight and enjoy some intimate boy-girl moments.

(And no, I'm not suggesting that this become the new norm in your relationship, just a band-aid for right now since you're clearly having an easier time starting your motor than he is!)
posted by braemar at 6:51 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


enjoy some intimate boy-girl moments

Sorry, meant to say boy-boy moments!
posted by braemar at 7:08 PM on February 15, 2011


It's OKAY to have turbulence after moving from a LDR to a more "conventional" one. I can't speak much to the porn and sex issues, except to say that they sound like manifestations of deeper transitional problems, rather than giant red flags on their own.
Like you, I was the one moving into my boyfriend's space after being away for several months (not his actual place, although I camped there for a couple weeks after I got back). Like you, I developed a mountain of insecurities about my body (had I changed too much?), my initial lack of employment, my desire to spend lots of time with him (too much?), etc. I realize now that I was afraid I was intruding on his life and was maybe unwelcome, and every perceived rejection and slight from him compounded that feeling.
So, please first know that you are both getting used to a new relationship reality and boundaries, and that this is going to create friction as you try to figure out where you each belong in each others' lives. Give yourself (and him) some time and space to adjust to your new life together, but keep lines of communication way open through the process. Try to work together to set up a routine. Go on dates, and slowly rediscover what makes you guys a couple that stayed together long distance for all that time.
Believe him when he says he loves you, and accept his affection. Let those things overcome your insecurities. Check in with him without any preconceived ideas of what you'd like to hear, and ask him to do the same.
You guys can get through this. My boyfriend and I certainly did, but I still really wish someone had told me we would.
posted by swingbraid at 8:28 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if he's cheating, but I semi-cynically am thinking that he's getting over being sexually interested in you. Sorry. It could just be that the ten pounds are a massive turnoff to him (to which I kind of think, "dude, it's ten pounds, don't be so effing finicky," but then again I'm not a gay model guy) right now, which is both good and bad news. Good in that technically you could do something about it, bad in that dating someone that finicky doesn't seem to bode well for him being more than a fair weather boyfriend. If he's losing interest after 10 pounds, will anything else turn him off too?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:25 PM on February 15, 2011


Yeah, I dislike being one of those Cynical Answerers too, but I agree with ErikaB and jenfullmoon, this isn't really "totally normal" (well, it may be NORMAL as in a widespread problem, but it isn't a sign of a healthy or ideal relationship). Leaving aside the incredibly tiresome and never-ending PORN IS BAD PORN IS GOOD PORN RAAAAAAAAAAAA argument, I think your partner probably is indeed less attracted to you. I'm sorry. That's got to hurt.

Now, as to what you can do about it. You can wait it out and hope he develops interest in you again. Fluctuations in intimacy are not uncommon in serious LTRs. In the meantime, however, you've got to be strong, because any sign of insecurity or neediness will not only be a huge turn off to hiim and a step towards further bed death, it won't help your peace of mind either. You'll feel humiliated if you keep up the routine of always being the one to be sexy and cheerfully brush off rejection time and again.

So, as per my usual recommendation in similar scenarios, take care of you, and really do it. It's going to be really, really hard to tear your mind away from fretting over this and from wanting to beg and plead with him. I sympathize. But focus on you for now. Get a job. Go to the gym. Hell, look at more porn yourself, or even flirt around a little bit, to give you a boost of confidence. Ignore him and his libido problems. I think you'll find that if you can get to the place where you feel so confident that you're like, "Meh, his loss!" then he might come around and make advances...or at least you'll feel better.

Good luck.
posted by Nixy at 11:31 PM on February 15, 2011


Eh, I wouldn't worry about the porn. Masturbation, for me, is a totally different thing from sex. Sure, ideally they both result in orgasm, but masturbation is a quick-and-easy way to relax or scratch the itch, and sex is an interaction. Sometimes I want to have sex with my husband, and no amount of masturbation will really fix that. Sometimes the idea of taking the time and emotional energy for partner sex is totally unappealing, and I just want to get off as quickly as possible and move on with my day.

In this case, it sounds like you guys do have a problem, but the porn/masturbation is approximately 1/2 of a symptom, and not the cause. (The other half of the symptom is no sex.) I don't know what to recommend apart from talking about it and trying to work on what comes up, because I am not you guys. I can also say that I go through phases sometimes of not wanting to sleep with my husband all that much, even though I find him *very* attractive. Point is, I wouldn't be worried about this aspect of it. I think the difficulty is coming from somewhere else. And only communication can determine what the root cause is.
posted by Because at 9:47 PM on February 16, 2011


You cannot fix your partner. You can ony change yourself.

Being insecure often has the effect of moving the focus from you to what other people think. Change the focus back, and look at how you can improve yourself and drop whatever changes you want him to make.

Fix the 10 pounds instead of the partners opinion of them: get in shape, no matter how, get in even better shape than before the holiday. And get a job, no matter what or how. It sounds like he doesn't like you standing still and wants you to be gain lost ground and to be moving forward all the time.

btw, "long distance" and then "living together" are not the same relationship. It's two different relationships that just happend to be with the same guy.

"What did you do today?" doesn't sound like micromanagement – it is a question most couples ask each other.
posted by flif at 11:58 AM on February 19, 2011


This is temporary. Every relationship has ups and downs. be patient. If you act too sensitive at this time, it will piss off your bf. Chill...it will be alright after sometime.
posted by kirang at 9:18 AM on February 23, 2011


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