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Unwilling threesome
August 31, 2012 11:16 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend has been sneaking porn into bed to secretly look at while having sex with me (pictures on cell phone while behind me). He has been doing this for a year. How do I deal with my resulting body issues and how do we repair intimacy?

I am a 27 year old woman. He is a 39 year old man. We are living together and otherwise our relationship is incredibly loving and we are committed to working through this issue. I found out about two weeks ago (during sex, I finally reached around and grabbed his cell phone). We have only been intimate once since, and it was.. fraught with terrible insecurity for me.

I don't mind porn as long as it doesn't effect our sex life. However, I am dealing with some residual anger and shame. I have always had body insecurity issues and this really piqued it. I feel like he was using my body to masturbate into and I would like sex to be between the two of us and not about using me as a sex toy for his pleasure. I feel like my body is not good enough for him to be aroused by. I'm trying not to dwell on these thoughts but I feel very violated by what he (non-consensually) did.

I feel a flash of shame and a very physical reaction (that feeling in the pit of my stomach) when I see have seen objectified women in the last two weeks (such as cheerleaders, etc). I feel a little resentment towards my boyfriend for being the privileged sex in a misogynist culture. He is listening to my thoughts, but it is hard to know that he will always have one-up on me in this way.

Some of the things we have considered to get over this: Taking a porn break to clear his mind; having less sex so it is fun for both of us when it happens; not watching sexually exploitative media for a while and focusing on going to the gym/making music/other projects for a while.

What are some concrete steps that I can do to help me feel like I am fine the way I am? How can I enjoy sex again without feeling inferior to porn?
What are some steps that he can do to help him be in the moment when we are having sex?
posted by cakebatter to Human Relations (94 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
How can I enjoy sex again without feeling inferior to porn?

You are a person with a personality and a history and a real life. Porn is a collection of visual images that depict people having sexual activity, but that doesn't explore personalities and histories and real lives (either those of the performers themselves, or those of fictional characters they might portray). For most people, having sex with a person they know is infinitely hotter than watching images of strangers getting it on.

This isn't about you. This is about your boyfriend's involving you in his kink non-consensually. (Not that I think porn is kink per se, but secretly watching porn during sex without telling your partner seems like kink to me, and one that's creepy because non-consensual.)

So. You are right to be angry with your boyfriend. You have nothing to be angry with yourself or your body about.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:25 AM on August 31, 2012 [38 favorites]


We trust others' judgments about us and believe those judgments as truth. All our life we look to other people to tell us how desirable we are, how "good enough" we are, how successful, handsome, brilliant, kind, confident we are. Every day we gather evidence. And when we gather enough evidence from others, we create our self image from that evidence.

But guess what?

Your self image has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else thinks of you. Start looking in the mirror every day and noticing your beauty. Tell yourself how sexy you look. Look at your hair in the mirror. Is it gorgeous? Look at your eyelashes. Are they long and pretty? What about your skin? What about your smile? What about the softness of your body? The curves? There is pure beauty, if you are willing to look at it.

Take time alone and masturbate and arouse yourself without porn or other distraction. Feel how wonderful it feels to touch yourself, to love yourself to full pleasure.

When you can take control of the little voice in your head telling you you are not quite beautiful enough and LAUGH at that voice and realize that's a little LIAR in your head, you then can learn to change the words the voice uses. You can train that little voice to start saying different things. And slowly but surely that little voice won't be your worst critic any longer - he/she will be your best, most loving, caring, amazing, unconditional friend.

Do it.
posted by Falwless at 11:25 AM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


How can I enjoy sex again without feeling inferior to porn?

In a way, it might help to consider the (unfortunate) "masturbating into me" image over the "preferring me to porn" image. That way, you're not *inferior* to porn, you're different, and he needs to start considering the time spent with you in bed as time when the both of you make love (or whatever term you prefer) to/with one another *the whole time* and not just taking turns at getting off. I dislike getting into "guys are like *this* and women are like *this*" social psychology bullshit, but I can tell you that many, many of the men and women I know have pretty vast gaps in what they consider to be the psychological relationship between sex and masturbation. Specifically, many men will see them as two completely distinct activities that just so happen to involve the same outcome (orgasm) and have the ability to distinguish between the two and make sure that one doesn't get in the way of the other (i.e. too much masturbating can, for certain dudes, ruin their sex lives.)

Clearly, he's lost the distinction in a not-so-good way. So you two need to work together to great a gulf in his life between "masturbation" and "sex," where the latter is not an activity wholly centered on his orgasm, but rather a whole *menagerie* of fun, sexy things that *by happenstance* involve his penis. Meanwhile, masturbation becomes the event that's all about his penis and his orgasm and his responsibility that it doesn't get in the way of your sex life, in the same way that a responsible habit with a libido-dropping drug doesn't. The porn break is a great idea.
posted by A god with hooves, a god with horns at 11:27 AM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry, my first paragraph was meant to say "Feeling inferior to porn, though I understand where it comes from, is as illogical as feeling that your delicious steak dinner is inferior to a picture of a steak."

If your boyfriend is in a place where actual sex with his girlfriend doesn't get him off as much as sneaking porn while fucking her does, he might see a therapist who specializes in sexuality issues.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:27 AM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


What was his reaction to your discovery? What did he say when you told him about how it made you feel to know that he was making you feel like an object to satisfy his excitement over the porn? Did he explain to you why he was doing what he was doing? Those are important factors to how you can take steps toward resolving this issue.

If taking a break from porn helps, then that's easy, but what causes him to go to porn in the first place? What makes him take porn to bed? Those are things he has to work through as well. Just making him not watch porn isn't going to solve the problem.

The question of what steps he can take to help him be in the moment is a question you should ask him. Ask him what would excite him and then think about if they are things you are comfortable doing. When you both come to an agreement on what would be fun in the bedroom for you two, you will enjoy sex again. You will have found a way to excite him and he will have found a way to be excited by you.
posted by Yellow at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I think you should -- wait.

He touched his cell phone during sex with you. He was looking at his cell phone during sex. It's unclear the way you write it; did you know he was holding his phone during previous encounters, before the time you saw it was porn?

Call me a femmy, old-fashioned romantic, but I think any touching of the cell phone during intimacy whatsoever is a major infraction. Putting the thing down does not require the assiduous service of a Smoove B. I think what he has here is a phone problem, an attention-span problem, as much as a porn problem. He needs to detox for a while in general, to study up on mindfulness.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2012 [29 favorites]


Ask him what would excite him and then think about if they are things you are comfortable doing. When you both come to an agreement on what would be fun in the bedroom for you two, you will enjoy sex again. You will have found a way to excite him and he will have found a way to be excited by you.

Wait, this leaves out what she would like to be excited by, and how he can excite her.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:34 AM on August 31, 2012 [62 favorites]


Woah. I would listen to those feelings of violation and take as long as you need to and to whatever you have to in order to take care of yourself. At this point, improving your sex life is a distant second to recovering from this very real betrayal. Like, it's great that you want to come up with ideas for you both to get over this, but he should take a very proactive approach to dealing with this and you should be able to focus on your feelings of anger, violation, and mistrust.

I'm very sorry. It was not okay for him to do this.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:34 AM on August 31, 2012 [35 favorites]


In terms of repairing intimacy, I would look to him for a clear acknowledgement that what he did was disrespectful to you (sexually) and damaging to your relationship (integrity). I would listen for specifics that he really got that. I would ask him to explain to you the specific things he's going to do to repair the damage he's done, and the specific things he's going to do in the future to guarantee that this sort of thing won't happen again. Your set may be different from what I've spelled out, but I think it's reasonable for you to expect a empathetic apology, reparations for past hurts, and plans on how to avoid them in the future. Only then do I think you have any reason to feel like intimacy with this person is a safe thing to consider.

As for you and your body image, what would you be doing if you were solo/single to take care of yourself normally? Gym, massage, drinks with friends, yoga, swimming, walking, etc. Do those things, even if you're going through the motions for a while, because they're good for you anyway. Then remind yourself that this was triggered by someone you trusted doing a shitty thing, not by the way your body actually is.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:35 AM on August 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Please avoid trying to get him to make commitments to stop looking at porn for a time period. Obviously YMMV, but I learned the hard way that you're setting him up for failure, and setting yourself up for further disappointment. Your boyfriend (presumably) loves you, and might (with the best intentions) agree to conditions that are not truly sustainable for him. When you find out that he failed to follow through it will be an additional betrayal and make this last longer then it needs too.

Start by asking your boyfriend, honestly, why he was looking at the porn right then. Listen to his reasons with a calm and open mind. I'm not saying you need to be okay with it (I don't believe I would be) but listening will give you the information to work out an actual, sustainable, modification - or to realize that you can't modify the behavior. Which is also great information. Remember, you can only control yourself. If your bf won't/can't modify his behavior you get to decide whether this is a deal breaker or not.

As for repairing your self image, personally I've found reading Savage Love regularly to be good on going therapy for my reactions. It doesn't change how I feel about myself per se, but it reminds me of other ways of viewing/reacting to porn consumption which helped me not be bothered about it.
posted by dadici at 11:51 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talk to him. Talk to a therapist. Consider breaking up with the guy.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:52 AM on August 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


Whoa! This is absolutely ridiculous! You're 27, he's 39 and instead of thanking his lucky stars that someone this young, probably hot and clearly understanding and patient, is in his bed, he is SO clearly disrespecting you by looking at other women while having sex with you?!

I'd dump him. Honestly, this is disgusting, abhorrent behavior, IMO. How can he even justify what he's been doing to you for over a year? Instead of making lovemaking a time for mutual connection and love GIVING, he's using your body while fantasizing about other women. He's one immature weirdo, honestly.

I just can't believe a 39 year old is this immature. SO many women don't even want their men looking at porn! He has you, an understanding woman, who is cool with him watching porn, yet he brings it (literally) to bed with you? There is LITERALLY no excuse. OF COURSE ths is damaging, OF COURSE this is disrespectful. Just dump him and go for someone who understands that having sex with real women means LOOKING, TOUCHING, FEELING, LOVING the real woman's body, too. Not some other fantasy cheerleader.
posted by rhythm_queen at 11:52 AM on August 31, 2012 [79 favorites]


This is extremely upsetting. It's temping to consider the reasons he might have done this, and how whatever urge led to this violation could be satisfied with your consent, but I want you to put his needs aside for a bit and focus on your feelings of violation, which are completely valid and justified. Job one in mending your relationship is healing your ability to trust him.

You may find previous ask threads about infidelity helpful for brainstorming tools to help you regain your trust. For example, I think allowing you access to his phone whenever you want it is a good idea. If intimacy is happening, you get to take his phone and put it in a cabinet, or in your makeup bag, or on the other side of the room where you can keep an eye on it. If he complains that you don't trust him be like "yeah, of course I don't, you demonstrated that I can't trust you in this way. Now it's your responsibility to do whatever it takes for me to feel safe again. So give me the phone please." If you are having sex I would want to rule out positions where you can't see his face, like, indefinitely.

As for feeling insecure and overwhelmed when you see objectifying images of women, that to me is a bottomless pit of despair into which I do my best not to look. Like, the world is basically conspiring to make you feel lousy about yourself as a woman, that is a fact that no amount of self esteem can protect you from. Once you become aware of it all you can do is try not to participate in it. I mean, sometimes ads on tv make me cry because of how shitty the images of women are, and I don't want to get over that. TV is sexist. So I avoid it, and I avoid people with shitty ideas about women, and I feel better about myself when I do. Create an island around yourself where sexism can't intrude. I mean, what else can you do?
posted by milk white peacock at 11:53 AM on August 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


. I feel like he was using my body to masturbate into and I would like sex to be between the two of us and not about using me as a sex toy for his pleasure

Yeah, I would feel this way too and I would potentially never get past it. I think you need to forget your body image issues and make him focus on this. The most confident woman (or man) in the world would feel bad about this. He needs to talk to you openly about why he did this.
posted by fshgrl at 11:54 AM on August 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


Countess Elena: "Call me a femmy, old-fashioned romantic, but I think any touching of the cell phone during intimacy whatsoever is a major infraction."

I'm definitely NOT an old fashioned romantic* and I agree with this. I wouldn't stand for cell phone looking duringsex from somebody I picked up in an alley, let alone a boyfriend. Porn is obviously an issue here, but there's a lot more happening here that seems to be entirely your boyfriend's failing as a lover. You might want to consider that next time you feel bad.

(* Maybe a little femmy...ymmv)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:57 AM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


FORGET about trying to find a way to excite him. Just don't even worry about that. It wasn't YOU that was the problem. It was him. You're allowed to be angry because this ISN'T something YOU need to work on. This is something *he* needs to work on, and you don't have to help him.
posted by rhythm_queen at 11:59 AM on August 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


Just a total guess here, but I imagine your bf is terrified that he can't get and sustain an erection without porn. This is something that *totally* freaks men out. And, of course, it can become true, especially when men condition themselves to sexual excitement through porn.

If your boyfriend is interested in getting through this, I'd suggest he start with Patrick Carnes' book, In the Shadows of the Net.

Carnes writes very clearly about one of the problem with pornography is that it's a one-way relationship - the people depicted in porn are just there for the viewer, and they can be switched on and off and substituted for each other depending only on the viewer's wishes. This is very different than a real relationship, where each person has needs and desires.

I realize your question was about how *you* can heal from this. I'm giving this answer because sometimes it helps to know that this may not be about you at all - it could be about your boyfriend's addiction and/or terror about not being potent enough for you.
posted by jasper411 at 12:00 PM on August 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


This is your boyfriends problem not yours. Jasper411 wrote much more articulately what I wanted to. If he doesn't see it as a problem and doesn't want to fix it there isn't much you can do except leave. If he does see it as a problem and does want to fix it to be closer to you then you both need to negotiate something that feels good to both of you. At this point if he's not bending over backwards to try and fix the problem and to make you feel better about yourself then he is an asshole.

There is nothing wrong with people watching porn while having sex, if they both know it's happening and want to watch it. What your bf did was basically find an easier way to masturbate and keep his hands free, I would personally walk away from anyone that treated me like that, but I know some people are more forgiving than I am. For the love of God next time you have sex he better leave his damn phone in another room and spend an hour or two making you feel like the freaking Goddess you are.
posted by wwax at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


The way to heal with this is to be with someone who respects you. Maybe that could eventually be your current partner, but it isn't at the moment.

Either he has a compulsive disorder that needs to be treated by a professional, or he doesn't like you very much. Neither of those things can be fixed by anything you do.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:11 PM on August 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


What's going to make you feel better? A start would be him awknowledging as many times as possible that:

A. This was a seriously awful and cruel thing to do.
B. It has nothing to do with how he feels about you.
C. His misbehavior is not due to anything you are or have done.

That shit is skeevy and damaging. You sound so sad and compasionate- I think I would still be at the yelling phase.
posted by Blisterlips at 12:15 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


One concrete step you can take to feeling better about yourself is to DTMFA.

Seriously, this is so beyond disrespectful I'm sputtering mad. I'm also angry at you for your reaction. That somehow it's YOUR problem that your body doesn't excite your boyfriend like the image of a body in a porno on a cell phone.

I don't care how good the rest of the relationship is, you need to get out.

If your boyfriend doesn't make you feel like a magnificent queen, then why deal with him? You can feel like shit on your own, you don't need him for anything.

Why do you think you need to put up with this nonsense? Your immature boyfriend doesn't deserve a great woman like you.

DTMFA, DTMFA, DTMFA.

This is such a deal breaker, I can't believe that you paused to write this to Metafilter before you set fire to his shit on the lawn.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:19 PM on August 31, 2012 [51 favorites]


EW!

Why am I the only one who thinks this is icky and totally messed up? Suggesting to watch porn together is one thing, because that is an experience you share. Surrepititiously watching porn behind your head is, at best, so fucking tone deaf it's like a sonic boom of yuck, and at worst indicates something very negative about how he views you.

Frankly, I'd be pissed.
posted by vivid postcard at 12:20 PM on August 31, 2012 [16 favorites]


And I would DTMFA.
posted by vivid postcard at 12:21 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would ask him directly what the primary thrill is that this gives him. Does (did) he especially like getting away with "sneaking" this illicit extra stimulus into your sex life? Are their acts or scenarios being depicted that you two do not commonly do (e.g., anal, bondage, feet, female domination, teacher/student, group sex, outdoors) or people that are unlike you two (e.g., race, physical characteristics, class, age). Does he fear (or know) that he cannot get or maintain an erection or have an orgasm without the familiar visual cues of porn? [on preview, as others have suggested]

It may be that he thinks he is using the cell phone porn as a supplemental "sex toy for his pleasure," not the other way around. It does not mean that he does not adore you AND your body and find you arousing, head to toe.

But I would want this explanation to come from him. And in my opinion, it is a TERRIBLE idea to go to the gym more often as some means to "repair" this. Or to have less sex because it won't be "fun" for him as often as you do it now without the porn.

If I were in your shoes, I would take sex off the table indefinitely. Tell him that unless shows that he sincerely understands and takes full responsibility for how much he has hurt you, violated your trust, and damaged your relationship -- and unless he commits himself on his own volition to making sure that you feel loved and desired and cared for selflessly, you don't see how this relationship can continue. That may ultimately require some changes in your sex life for you both once he can discuss it from a less deceptive place, but you need to take the upper hand here.

I think the most satisfying concrete steps you can take are (1) to let him prove that he is tackling his own issues regarding sex and trust head-on (him getting therapy would be a good sign, for example) and (2) to make a practical plan for how you can leave this relationship, regardless of when or whether you intend to enact it. It is an empowering thing.

I am so sorry you are in this situation. Please let us know how you're doing.
posted by argonauta at 12:24 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is about consent. He was doing something sexual with you, without your consent, for a year!

Porn in the bedroom? if both parties are into that: Fine!
Using a cell phone during sex? if both parties are into that: Fine!

This is not about porn or phones. Just like anal sex is not the "problem" with the Surprise Anal phenomenon.

You feel rightly terrible because you have been violated. Never forgivable in my book.
posted by French Fry at 12:25 PM on August 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


DTMFA is absolutely right. Even if he changes, he's been doing this for the last YEAAAARRR girl! You don't need to accept it and "help" him. Help yourself and get out ASAP. The fact he's been doing it for this long without any thought about your feelings or the potential for you to be batshit pissed/absolutely devastated shows he's a full on poop-head. At 39, his poophead behavior is unacceptable.

What'd he say when you confronted him? What were his excuses?
posted by rhythm_queen at 12:27 PM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


In your shoes, my initial impulse would definitely be to DTMFA but if that were off the menu, it would definitely be on him to explain himself (why did you use porn while we were having sex? why didn't you tell me you wanted to do this? why did you do it behind my back?) and to reassure me, not the other way around.

I don't know how I'd make myself feel okay with it, because what he did was not okay. I would definitely not want to have sex with him until he came back to me with some answers and a lot of apologies, though.
posted by immlass at 12:27 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agreed with so many above that this would be, if not an immediate dealbreaker, than the step right before breaking the deal. I would be absolutely stunned if this happened to me. Not cool. I am also curious as to what happened after you confronted him. Was he apologetic? Did he brush it off like it wasn't a big deal?
posted by amicamentis at 12:34 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why am I the only one who thinks this is icky and totally messed up?
Huh? I don't believe you are even remotely close to being the only one who thinks this.

To go on record though in case it wasn't obvious before:

I think this guy is a complete scumbag and what he did was completely deplorable. Also, short of, "I had to do it or someone was going to kill us both" there isn't any reason that could be given that wouldn't make me think this is an absolute deal-breaker.

How could one even look at someone the same after this? Why would they want to?
posted by zephyr_words at 12:39 PM on August 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


This guy is not interested in connecting with you and clearly does not feel the need to demonstrate loving respect for you. To me, those are grounds to terminate intimacy privileges with me and my body. If I were you, I would dump him and find someone else who made me feel beautiful, adored, and worth looking at in bed.

P.S. It makes me concerned that you put up with this for a whole year. Please consider talking to a therapist to sort out why you might have tolerated this kind of behavior and how you can be proactive about getting the love and respect you need in future relationships. Please take care of yourself!
posted by anonnymoose at 1:14 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a big fan of porn, who's brought it into the bedroom CONSENSUALLY with lovers in the past.... DTMFA.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:20 PM on August 31, 2012


He said that he enjoyed the feeling that he was getting away with something, which made me feel like this is fixable because hopefully its a kink and not a bigger problem. I know that banning porn is the opposite of the solution because it makes it even more controlled and forbidden, but its hard because my knee jerk reaction is just for both of us to just STOP sex for a while and reset.

He has shown considerable remorse and wants to fix it. I want to try before leaving him. He is so wonderful and considerate in every other way, i don't want to throw it all away.

Thank you for these answer too, you guys are making me feel SO MUCH BETTER and less alone.
posted by cakebatter at 1:21 PM on August 31, 2012


Wow -- looking at porn while he's in bed with you? WTF is up with this guy? What he's doing is really odd and creepy, in my book. At the very least it underscores his total self-obsession and his lack of respect for you. This might be a relationship to walk away from. At the very least therapy should be in the guy's future.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:22 PM on August 31, 2012


Being with someone whose kink is "getting away with stuff" and keeping things from you DOES sound like a big problem, IMO. You are certainly within your rights to stop sex for awhile and reset. Why are you fighting that reaction?
posted by amicamentis at 1:28 PM on August 31, 2012 [23 favorites]


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.
posted by cakebatter at 1:29 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh? I don't believe you are even remotely close to being the only one who thinks this.

Not all of us have live preview on our phones, yo know.

I appreciate that a lot of the initial answers were measured, and inquired further into his reaction, how to communicate, and how to feel good about oneself. That said, I don't agree with them. I think he's an ass, and I'd be pissed. Obviously, people started junping in to say the same.
posted by vivid postcard at 1:29 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


He is so wonderful and considerate in every other way, i don't want to throw it all away.

then have a non-sexual relationship with him

He said that he enjoyed the feeling that he was getting away with something


I would have the opposite reaction. Don't think I'm hot? problem. Find it sexy/gratifying to lie to me (not pretend to lie or play act but really lie) ? huge huge huge problem.

I get that feeling bad about you image seems like the bigger problem, but it really isn't.
posted by French Fry at 1:30 PM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

That's... not super far from what he was doing before.
posted by amicamentis at 1:30 PM on August 31, 2012 [36 favorites]


Even if it is "just a kink," he has been indulging in it without your consent for a year (and without feeling bad enough to ask if you would mind, even). He has been using you and would continue to do so it you never said anything. He has zero respect for you, your limits, desires, feelings and wishes.

Dump The Mother Fucker Already.
posted by thrasher at 1:32 PM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


RUN. Get with someone who is really into you. That worked for me. And you are WAY TO YOUNG to be wasting your time trying to fix up some middle-aged guy with sex/respect/honesty issues.
posted by nanook at 1:32 PM on August 31, 2012 [21 favorites]


Sorry, WAY TOO YOUNG.
posted by nanook at 1:34 PM on August 31, 2012


Exactly, @amicamentis.

Honestly, if you're afraid all he'll do is look at porn and blame you, then IS he really all that considerate and sweet?

Dude, he's been doing this to you for over a year. YOU JUST found out. This is a sign of a pathetic, dishonest, not to mention insensitive man (who must have known you have body image issues--like 90% of the female population!). DUH, he's going to be remorseful! (If he didn't, I'd question his sanity) DUH he's going to say he'll try and make it better!

I have a feeling your standards for men are low. You need to raise your standards for how you've been treated.
posted by rhythm_queen at 1:35 PM on August 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


We all make mistakes - we should look for ways to keep relationships together instead of immediate rush to end them. Easy to end, hard work to keep. It takes a lot to build a relationship in the first place.

If he has shown real remorse plus the desire to fix this, that's quite a step and shows a positive character in him. I would suggest not shaming as that rarely works, and is the tool of the vindictive. Instead, express your hurt by Communicating specifically what you are feeling. For most men, porn has nothing to do with their attraction to their spouse or GF. You can be at ease on that part.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:36 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


A kink that is defined as deceiving you and feeling like he is getting away with something is a bigger relationship problem than some other kind of porn fetish, I think.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:36 PM on August 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


Enjoyed the feeling he was getting away with something?

Uh, I'm only 20, but didn't most of us get that out of our system in our teens?

You're not exactly his matronly, overly protective and prudish wife. He's using this excuse because he knows it feels better to you than to say "I can't get off to just you" or "I was using you while watching other women." OR WHATEVER ELSE his excuses are.

That's what they are, you know. Excuses. He has low character. Dump him.
posted by rhythm_queen at 1:38 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


That he was doing it to get a kick out of deceiving you during sex is not a good thing. It's a very bad and dangerous thing.

It means that not only does he lie to you, he LIKES lying to you. He enjoys it. He has literally told you he gets off on it.

I've been holding back on the judgement, because you clearly love this guy. But this -- "he enjoyed the feeling that he was getting away with something" -- is the thing that makes me the most worried for you.
posted by endless_forms at 1:40 PM on August 31, 2012 [37 favorites]


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

Guy here.... If he were to do that, he'd be that much more f'd up... and he's already well and truly out there... but dontcha see... you so comprehensively do not want to be with someone if you could have the first fractionally serious thought that they might take that approach.

I hadn't seen that comment when I was ready to relate another thought.

What am I gonna say, that I've never looked at porn, that I've never ever thought of some wicked-hot cutie I'd seen earlier that day while having sex, that male friends have never related having done and thought similar things?

Nope.

But the year-long porn stuff is a whole different kettle of fish and one that's vile.
posted by ambient2 at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Please quit arguing with each other, answer the question and feel free to move on.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:50 PM on August 31, 2012


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

Then he is a jerk. I am not a fan of this old MeFi chestnut, but seriously: DTMFA.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:52 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

Oh, honey. :(

I'm so sorry that this happened to you and you're hurting. This is some very, very damaging stuff here.

You've basically been railroaded into an impossible situation - if you have sex with him while he's looking at the phone you feel bad about yourself. If you don't have sex with him, then he still wins out and you feel bad about yourself. You've voiced your opinion and you feel bad about yourself.

Life is waaaay too short to feel bad about yourself!

Personally, (and this is just ME) I'd consider this a fireable offense and would DTMFA. He really needs to work through these issues on his own before dragging a very loving, very caring and very honest and wonderful girlfriend into this. I would be totally heartbroken. I hope you make the right decision that will make YOU feel better about YOU...whatever that may be. *hugs*
posted by floweredfish at 1:59 PM on August 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


We are strangers on the internet - we can't command you to behave in a certain way. But we can draw conclusions based upon what you've shared here, and we can offer insights based upon our own experiences. That said, I want to corroborate a few things that have already been said:

1. This is not about you, this is about him.
2. It is concerning that he actively enjoys hiding things from you.
3. It is positive that he is remorseful.

Regarding #1, I'd recommend spending time around people who you know love and cherish you completely. Spend time doing things that make you feel happy, content, comfortable in your own skin.

Regarding #2, I think it's important to get to the root of this. Couples therapy can help. See if he'd consider this, and keep in mind that someone who wants to earn back your trust should be open to trying this - even if just for one session to see what it's like.

Regarding #3, what worries me most about this is that he was only remorseful when he was caught. He hid this from you for a full year. Think about how it feels to hold in a nasty secret for one whole day. One whole week. A month? When you know that the person you're hiding it from loves you, cares for you, and trusts you? This is troubling.

The place I'm speaking from is that I've stayed in bad situations longer than I should have, thinking that if I understood *why* the other person did things that hurt me, that I had to accept it as a part of the person I loved, that it was my responsibility to love them through that and to figure out how to make it hurt less. It wasn't and it isn't. But that is such a hard lesson to learn.

Chin up. I'm so sorry you're going through this.
posted by pammeke at 2:18 PM on August 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Kinks are great when they're consensual. This was not consensual.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:19 PM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


My other issue with this is that, according to what you tell us here, he actually got off on tricking you about the porn.

That's alarming to me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:25 PM on August 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


Consider that the thing he was getting away with was not including porn in sex with you, but in including you in his porn habit. It strikes me as a control thing where he takes the two things he is in charge of, his sexuality and his porn choice, then including you deceptively. I don't know if this is psychologically coherent or even reasonable, but if it was about incorporating porn into sex with you, you would have been involved in the decision process. I hope the distinction I'm trying to make is clear, my point is about the difference between including you into his personal thing, vs. including a personal thing in something you two share.
posted by rhizome at 2:33 PM on August 31, 2012


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

I have to agree that if you're having this thought about him, he's not very impressive as a man.
posted by tel3path at 2:47 PM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


Oh, honey. I don't know your boyfriend, but I will tell you that I once dated a guy who snuck around doing hurtful things to me because he got an illicit thrill out of "getting away with it." I caught him once. He tearfully apologized, and I thought he meant it. Then he did something worse. Rinse and repeat as he got closer and closer to cheating, until he finally just cheated. In other words, my catching him just meant he had to do something more egregious to get the same thrill.

I don't know if your boyfriend is similarly inclined, but if I were you, want to know whether he still feels that thrill-seeking need, and if so whether he's found healthier ways to indulge it. Because if not, it's just going to go downhill, and take your self-worth with it.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:10 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

This is not what a loving and healthy relationship feels like. Period. No, seriously, it's that simple. In a good relationship, no one is guilted into having sex over fears or threats of the other person doing something unpleasant.

Personally, the phone-porn thing seems fixable with time and communication (although in your shoes I'd want some reassurance that he hadn't been surreptitiously filming the sex); your fears about not being able to say "no" strike me as a much more serious problem and if you were a close friend I'd probably be advising you to break up with him and find someone who treats you with love and respect.
posted by Forktine at 3:36 PM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


Is it the feeling that he was getting away with something, putting one over on *you* specifically? Or just the extra-naughty transgressive aspect of the sex?

Because it's possible the two of you could, consentually, find a way to get away with something during sex. That feeling of danger and the thrill of not getting caught seems to be part of some people's joy in public/outdoor sex. Or part of the thrill of having sex in their childhood bedroom while home visiting their parents at Christmas. That sort of thing.

If it's that he likes to know he's getting away with something you don't know about / wouldn't like, then I think that's about 99 red flags of totally not okay. And is wildly skeevier than pretty much any justification I could have imagined including 'no, really, you're kinda ugly and these women are hotter than you'.

But if it's just a general feeling of getting away with something, then maybe you can partner up and experience that together.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:38 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please don't feel pressured to just jump right back into having sex with him. This is the kind of thing that could take a while for you to process and sort out with yourself. Take the time you need. He can wait till you're good and ready.
posted by hermitosis at 3:42 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


> He said that he enjoyed the feeling that he was getting away with something, which made me feel like this is fixable because hopefully its a kink and not a bigger problem.

You're saying that the best case scenario is that his 'kink' is violating your trust and tricking you into a sexual activity he knew you wouldn't enjoy or consent to.

> I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then all he will do is just look at porn and then blame me.

Firstly, he's doing a version of this already. Secondly, it might be worth taking a break from having sex with him to take time to process what he's been doing and rebuild your own relationship with your body and sexuality. How he deals with that is his problem.

I am really furious at him on your behalf. I think you should consider whether, despite his other good qualities, this might be a dealbreaker.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:50 PM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


If it's that he likes to know he's getting away with something you don't know about / wouldn't like, then I think that's about 99 red flags of totally not okay. And is wildly skeevier than pretty much any justification I could have imagined including 'no, really, you're kinda ugly and these women are hotter than you'.

Coming in to say exactly this. If the idea of sneaking something behind your back is what arouses him, that is a massive problem.

The other really important thing, is that his behavior is all about what is going on in his head, and has nothing to do with you, or your body, or your appearance. I know from painful experience that these kinds of betrayals can really do a number on one's self-esteem, but please be gentle with yourself here. It's not about you, it's about his behavior.
posted by ambrosia at 4:26 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'm not a DTMFA person, but if a friend of mine confessed this happened to her, I would be absolutely appalled, and would do everything I could to make her see how seriously degrading and weird this is. There are certain things you can't unhear, or unsee, or unexperience. This may be one of them.
posted by hermitosis at 4:33 PM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't see a benefit to cutting off sex if you're trying to heal the relationship. I think it will harm things. (If you need a break from it because it's upsetting to you, that's a different story and totally okay, but I'm talking about the suggestions that are motivated not by your needs, but by the principle of the thing, or punishment, or giving a message, etc.) You have the right to leave, but sex and intimacy, without the phone of course, will probably be a very important part of healing if that's what you both want to do.
posted by spbmp at 4:40 PM on August 31, 2012


This doesn't directly answer your question but it sort of does..,

We are living together and otherwise our relationship is incredibly loving...

In the past whenever I have seen a relationship question with a line like this or that can be summarized like this:
we are (problem) but otherwise (loving partner in some way)

the partner is usually someone whose actions, if not always the personality, garner a lot of DTMFA responses.

Just a thought. (I wish I could use a 'Reply all' button for all those other relationship questions...)
posted by xm at 5:06 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other words... this is NOT about you in any way and ALL about him.

What are some steps that he can do to help him be in the moment when we are having sex?

HE should be posting that question here, not you.

(Also, in other words, DTMFA)
posted by xm at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


You are in a bind here, where he gets to 'win' no matter what he does.

Stop having sex? More porn, your fault.
Keep having sex? Get to have sex, apparently not work through any issues, with YOU doing the research, you trying to mend what he broke wilfully and over an extended period.

Remorse is NOTHING. Nothing. It doesn't mean anything without action. And so far his actions have been to make you feel bad about yourself, and sex.

It is incredibly hard to get back from that point where you feel like a masturbation aid (and not in a 'you turn me on so much' way, in a 'may as well be a fleshlight' way). I found it impossible, once I worked out what was happening, once I worked out that my responses, my enjoyment, my engagement was secondary to what was in his head. That my consent was secondary because he wanted to orgasm; not that he raped me, but that negotiating sex became an ongoing thing and it sucks.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:14 PM on August 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm afraid if I stop having sex with him then...

It doesn't matter what follows the rest of this sentence, it is never something that should serve as a reason to have sex with someone.

He has been behaving non-consensually with you in the bedroom for a year, and if you follow this line of thought to continue to have sex with him when you don't really want to, he will be continuing to take advantage of you.

With your initial question I was thinking the porn could be one of two things: it could be about the porn, or it could be about the secrecy. If it were about the porn, the solutions might have been easier. If it's about the secrecy, there is no way you can incorporate this "kink" consensually into your sex life, and you probably can't expect that he won't continue to indulge it in whatever way he thinks he can get away with. If you really trust him and want to save this relationship, the only way forward that I can see is to take sex off the table and get him to see a therapist for a while to sort things out.

I don't think you necessarily need to ask him to take porn off the table - at least not indefinitely - because it's not about the porn. But I think you have the right to, if that helps you.
posted by lollusc at 5:42 PM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


He's a douchebag - just get rid of him.
posted by heyjude at 5:44 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


He said that he enjoyed the feeling that he was getting away with something

If this is the case, if getting away with doing something he knows he shouldn't be doing to you turns him on, I doubt this will be the last thing he tries to put over on you. This is not about the porn. The porn is a red herring.
posted by anonnymoose at 5:50 PM on August 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


Also, you really owe it to yourself to consider: what other secret things has he been getting away with?
posted by anonnymoose at 5:51 PM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


He has shown considerable remorse and wants to fix it.

"Remorseful" isn't really the way to describe it if the way you found out was when you "finally reached around and grabbed his cell phone". If he'd confessed to you - well, I'd still suspect his motives because he could've just stopped without ever subjecting you to the humiliation of letting you know he'd done this, but leave that aside - if he'd confessed to you, that might indicate that he was remorseful, whereas expressing regret only when caught suggests the opposite.

Also, he'd been using his cell phone for some unknown purpose until you "finally" found out what that was? Other people have pointed out how staggeringly rude this is.

And, he admits that the reason he did it was because he enjoys putting one over on you. I'm sorry to have to say it but you have to regard his "remorse" the same way. If this guy seems wonderful in other ways, it's probably because he's an evil joker and the seemingly good behaviour is part of the joke.[1] I wish I were joking about that, but I'm not. anonnymoose is giving you advice that you should take very, very seriously.



[1] The joke he probably thinks he's making is actually at his own expense, but he's probably too impaired to see that. IN NO WAY must you accept any shame for this; some people are really sick.
posted by tel3path at 6:15 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was serious with a guy for a long time that def. gave off the same "masturbating into me" feeling whenever we had sex (he was super into porn and an ever-expanding circle of fetishes and telling me all about how hot every other girl was and how I didn't do enough to be hot and sexy for him even though I was constantly trying), and it crippled my self-esteem for a long time (and of course I realize your situation is very different and more alarming for sure). After we broke up--not my doing and not explicitly because of this issue but I'm sure that didn't help bring us closer--I was amazed at how much better I felt about myself. It's easy to get that tunnel vision while in the relationship, that sort of "oh God, I'll do anything, just please like me and give me some sign you do more than the scraps you halfheartedly toss out here and there" emotional hostage Stockholm syndrome situation. But if you take a for real long and honest break away--really away, with a sense of finality (even if not really, it needs to feel like you can't be around him)--long enough to clear your head you may find some of that emotional turmoil and cloudiness lift, and may start to get very angry, and then protective of yourself and indignant it ever got to a point it could harm you so badly (note: not trying to blame you in any way, sorry if the wording's unclear). You really need time to clear your head and start prioritizing yourself; this guy's selfishness has possibly done a number on your self-esteem enough that you aren't thinking in a self-protecting way right now.
posted by ifjuly at 6:25 PM on August 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think you owe it to yourself to explore how this has affected you, without feeling pressure to see it from his point of view. It's possible you experienced this as trauma - it was non-consensual, a shock and not something you would have reasonably expected. I won't name that for you, but you may have experienced trauma and I think you deserve a safe space to look at how it's affected you and what you need. Therapy's a good place to do that.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 6:26 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Think carefully - is there any chance he might have secretly filmed you with his phone during sex? A smartphone records just as easily as it displays, and it was already back there...

Bonus round: if you asked him about this, would you be able to believe his answer?
posted by hermitosis at 6:37 PM on August 31, 2012 [28 favorites]


This is honestly one of the most saddening AskMe's I've ever read. I am so, so sorry. Reading your question, I feel horrified and disgusted in the pit of my stomach.

I feel a little resentment towards my boyfriend for being the privileged sex in a misogynist culture. He is listening to my thoughts, but it is hard to know that he will always have one-up on me in this way.

This is why it's extremely important for partners to be trustworthy to one another. I've often thought the same thing while I was with men who I didn't trust not to take advantage of me. But, this is sometimes why men begin to feel bitter about women and develop misogynist worldviews, too-- because their wives or girlfriends have betrayed them. Then women's "power over men" becomes a despicable force in their mind. Suddenly they begin to feel sick when they see handsome men, or demonize men who are taller or more "interesting" than them (or who resemble someone their partner betrayed them with). I agree with you that men have privileges in our society that women don't, but I think what happened is something more personal than systematic exploitation-- you were vulnerable to your boyfriend, and he betrayed you. He did it in the context of an a culture that produces sexualized images of women on a degrading scale, but t is possible that you simply resent your boyfriend for lying and using you-- and to be honest, you should. He did something absolutely terrible.

I feel like I'm not making a lot of sense right now because I'm so angry and disgusted by this person, so please, focus primarily on yourself and your needs. Think about what you need to do to feel confident and whole-- and if it's breaking up with this fucking douchebag, please please please do it. If this happened to me I would be in absolute shock, but any guy who uses porn and then "blames" it on your failure is just not worth having around, especially when, to be honest, you're in the prime of life and he is past it. (I have nothing against older guys in general, but I've been in a bad relationship with someone twice my age, and it takes a special kind of simpering jackoff to date someone ten years younger than them and exploit them in this way. As remorseful as he seems he probably gets off on you being potentially less confident and independent than him in the first place. Christ, what kind of contempt would you have to feel toward him to do something this fucking awful?)

In terms of practical advice, I would stop trying to have sex with this person for the time being. Honestly, though, I can't imagine getting past something this egregious. It would likely permanently change my opinion of them and my feeling of safety in the relationship. Good luck, cakebatter.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:58 PM on August 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


My guess, like Jadper411, is that he has conditioned himself to only be able to be aroused when watching porn. There is a TEDx talk on it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

According to the video, if he abstains completely from porn, he could re-program his brain, but it could take months.
posted by beau jackson at 7:10 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's using pornography as an addiction vehicle. It's similar, though much less respectful, to someone starting drinking as soon as they wake up each day. And hiding it. And roping you into it. And performing non-consensual sex acts. It's a giant fuck up on his part. Not yours.

Tell him to get help with his addiction, and dump him for his dishonesty, sexual misbehaviour, and undermining your self esteem.

Don't stay with people who make you feel bad.
posted by ead at 9:20 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


The fact that he did this because he enjoyed tricking you? Wow. I mean, how fast is he going to leap at the opportunity to cheat on you if it comes along? You are wasting the best years of your life on a middle-aged loser who doesn't respect you. Please dump him and find someone who deserves you.
posted by hazyjane at 2:48 AM on September 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I completely agree with the host of people saying this is not okay, with the update, and your BF is not as sensitive as you think he is. Your fears of someone being capable of doing fucked up things are generally valid.

That said: you mention insecurity issues above, and he's much older than you. Are you in this relationship because you think it's the best you can get? It is not. I say again, it is not. There is someone out there right now who will love you for exactly who you are.

They will be a lot more awesome than this guy.
posted by corb at 6:39 AM on September 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Who usually initiates the sex? Maybe he isnt horny when sex is initiated and has to use the porn to get that way ?


I find it awfull on all the people who are saying dump him or stop having sex with him. He could be hiding an actual problem.
posted by majortom1981 at 7:08 AM on September 1, 2012


I find it awfull on all the people who are saying dump him or stop having sex with him. He could be hiding an actual problem.

Late thirties is when men often start to get issues relating to erections. Maybe he needs some medical help in that department. He might be insecure about it and unwilling to open up.

BUT if he was being honest that he merely finds it arousing to "get away" with deceiving her about something, that is very unacceptable.
posted by melissam at 8:31 AM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it awfull on all the people who are saying dump him or stop having sex with him. He could be hiding an actual problem.

So she should keep having sex with him even though it's causing her crippling insecurity, and she feels continuing anger and shame toward him because of a sex-related issue? Nobody has to have sex with anyone. She has to take care of herself before she takes care of someone who lies to her about the sex they're having for over a year and tells her that he enjoys the sensation of tricking her during sex.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:07 PM on September 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


This might be an overshare, but I once dated someone in the range of 15-20 years older than me. In retrospect, the relationship was "great," we were really intimate, comfortable, he was smart and made me laugh, we talked about everything. But he 100% set the terms of our sex life-- I spent two years engaging in sex acts with him that satisfied his kink but were completely soulless and boring to me, and when I suggested the occasional foray into something I was interested in, he'd squirm out of it. Now that we're broken up, I am endlessly glad to be in a new relationship where I feel sexually valued, safe, and satisfied, and nothing could make me go back to the old relationship, no matter how good non-sex issues were.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:12 PM on September 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


The most troubling thing to me is that he claims he did it because he got a kick out of tricking you-- this seems like the worst possible answer to that question, from a relationship health standpoint. But my feeling is that maybe he's not being entirely honest with that answer, and that his response is in fact a panicked, face-saving attempt to cover up for what he feels is an even deeper shame-- not being able to perform without the porn, perhaps, or an addiction situation, as other have suggested.

So I'm not inclined to take the "I just wanted to mess around with you, har har, my bad" response at face value; it feels like a grown-up equivalent of the "Gawd! I was just kidding!"explanation that a kid might throw out in embarrassed defense of saying something really stupid. But if that is the real situation, and he did just get off on fucking with you and deceiving you into involuntary skeeviness for a YEAR, then his proposed suggestions to fix things are off target- in other words, the proposed solutions don't seem to match the acknowledged problem.

So I think that before resolving his problem, he really needs to be honest about what the problem is, whether it be a trust/power issue or a non-consensual kink/addiction/sexual dysfunction that needs to be worked out. But as everyone else said, the problem is definitely not you-- once he admits to or figures out what the problem really *is*, then you can decide whether you want to take the ride of helping him work through whatever is going on.
posted by otterpop at 12:37 PM on September 1, 2012


UGH just get out of there! Life is too short! You are TOO YOUNG to put up with this!

It has nothing to do with disapproving of porn, body issues, Dan Savage, blah blah blah openmindedness. We're talking about DECEIVING YOU DURING SEX and even admitting that the deceit angle was the draw!

Honestly, I might advise you to leave even if it was just a question of porn addiction, because it's so exhausting and demoralizing to deal with those guys and their fragile little porn-dependent erections. But - according to him -- it's not JUST that!

God, even just the "looking at his phone during sex" is a dealbreaker.

Girl. Please leave. You're 27? You know how many nice men out there in their 30s would be overjoyed to have a woman like you? And appreciate your young body and not play with their phones during sex and drag you unconsenting into their deceitful kink? Lots and lots.

In a year you will be giggling about this with your new boyfriend.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


You are unhappy with your relationship because if you do the things you need, your partner will be unhappy. And if you don't, you will be unhappy.

This is how you know the two of you shouldn't be together.
posted by zippy at 2:26 PM on September 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


WTF?! You have absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about. He has abused your trust and love horribly and I'd seriously think about moving on however "remorseful" he says he is. You deserve better.
posted by deborah at 1:09 AM on September 2, 2012


Perhaps you would be better served by dealing with your body issues and feelings separate from his behavior. You are allowing his actions to magnify your own self doubts. Realize that his particular act probably has nothing to do with what he thinks of you or your body. The negative relationship between you as your own body is the problem here. Imagine for a moment that you did not have these doubts about your own body. Now go back to the moments after you busted him. How does would this alternate you, confident in her own body deal with this act by her partner.
posted by humanfont at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2012


The negative relationship between you as your own body is the problem here. Imagine for a moment that you did not have these doubts about your own body. Now go back to the moments after you busted him. posted by humanfont

Body issues aside, he deceived her for a year and told her that he got off on that. He found deceiving her enjoyable.

How does would this alternate you, confident in her own body deal with this act by her partner.


Honestly,

Could you please explain what you meant here?
posted by futz at 3:16 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cakebatterer's specific statement was, He said that he enjoyed the feeling that he was getting away with something Getting away with something isn't the same as lying about it. If you speed in a car and the cops don't pull you over, it is different than lying about how fast you were going when the officer pulls you over. There are two possible behaviors in play here. Perhaps I'm misreading something in the thread, but I didn't read anything that suggested the boyfriend tried to bullshit his way out of the confrontation by claiming it was spam or some one time accident.

Back to the original question text:

I feel like he was using my body to masturbate into and I would like sex to be between the two of us and not about using me as a sex toy for his pleasure. I feel like my body is not good enough for him to be aroused by.

Research suggests that 98% of men and 80% of women have fantasized about having sex with someone else while having sex with a current partner. I doubt most of the men in the survey bring visual aids, but I think that the poster's expectations about sex in a long term relationship are a bit idealistic as well.

Could you please explain what you meant here?

She could just mock the ever living shit out of the dude and laugh at him for a few hours. I'm reminded of the episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza snuck a sandwich into the act. Try to suppress the automatic negative thoughts about her body image and push aside the self doubts about what this means for his perception of her. All that self doubt drama is not healthy.

Maybe what she needs is to totally dom out on him for a week or so. A little S&M with some "say my name" play. Some play where he worships her body and is at her beck and call. It might be just what she needs. YMMV.
posted by humanfont at 7:53 PM on September 2, 2012


Maybe what she needs is to totally dom out on him for a week or so. A little S&M with some "say my name" play. Some play where he worships her body and is at her beck and call. It might be just what she needs. YMMV.

That is an epic, and seemingly wilful, misreading of everything the OP has posted. What part of "...my knee jerk reaction is just for both of us to just STOP sex for a while and reset." jives with BDSM (something which doesn't appear to even be on the radar). The self-doubt is not the problem for the relationship - the betrayal, the non-consensual sexual behaviour and the sheer fucking arseholery of her partner is.

No matter how fucking confident you are, finding out your partner has been looking at porn when you fuck, and hiding it, and getting off on hiding it from you, is going to be devastating and have an affect on your sex life. One that isn't going to be fixed by you loving yourself.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:27 PM on September 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


[Stop the BDSM derail now and please answer the question that is being asked, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:36 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Update:

Dear readers, he was unwilling to address the problem while harping on me to forgive him and it slowly killed our future. I moved halfway across the country to get a fresh start (we worked together and our lives were deeply intertwined) and we broke up. The sense of relief is immense. I re-read the answers here many times.
posted by cakebatter at 9:57 AM on June 6, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm so happy that you feel relieved! Thank you for updating us, it is much appreciated.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:31 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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