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Q: Dear Laurie,
Okay, here is the deal. My boyfriend and I have been living together for two years. We get along really great and don't fight too often. The thing is, when we do fight it is usually about the same thing every time: his obsession with porn. When we first met he had a subscription to Playboy, which at the time, I didn't have a problem with. But after a while I found out that he also subscribes to a bunch of internet porn sites, spending about $100/month to cover it. I confronted him about it, telling him it made me a little uncomfortable. Also, I don't really understand the need for all of this when he has me here all the time.
We have a great sex life....and he tells me all the time he thinks I am sexy. So why all this porn? I don't get it. We eventually made a compromise.no Internet porn....but we could keep the Playboy. That worked great for a while...until one day I came home from work early to find him in the middle of the room...naked surrounded my TONS of magazines. Not just Playboy...all of the not-so-tasteful ones I don't even want to know the names of. Needless to say I was a little shocked and upset. He says that he can't control himself. It is almost like an addiction.
So, what I am asking is...is there really such an addiction? Or is he just trying to pull one over on me. If there is...can he do something for it? Or does all this really mean that he isn't satisfied with the way I look and our sex life and has to find it somewhere else?
A: Dear Worried:
Yup, it's you--all you, all the time. I'm quite sure if you just looked a little more like Julia Ormond (just rented Legends of the Fall so I've got Julia, Brad, and bad-boy love on the brain) or say, Andie McDowell those porn mags would instantly be replaced by Field & Stream. And if only you had one little clue about how to please a man in the bedroom those $100 internet porn site bills would automatically convert to church tithes.
How ridiculous does all that sound? Stop your bawling and read on. I am trying to make a point here and it is this: that Porn King boyfriend has a BIG BIG problem/addiction--call it what you will--and you're blaming yourself for it. OY VAYSMEER--I can't stand it! He's CLEARLY got the problem and you're trying to take credit for it. If only you were that powerful. If only it were that easy.
Sex is an integral part of a healthy adult male/female relationship (duh). It is not everything, no, but it helps smooth out those rough inter-relational edges. It's the glue that can help keep a couple together when everything outside the bedroom isn't hunky dory. It can be an intimate way of connecting when words are either not enough or not available. Sometimes it's a celebration. Sometimes it an itch satisfier. Whatever it is it's usually done with both parties present and, in your case, sounds like your partner calls in sick-o a lot.
You really think P.K. might be trying to pull one over on you? Think about it, you wrote that "one day I came home from work early to find him in the middle of the room...naked surrounded my TONS of magazines. Not just Playboy...all of the not-so-tasteful ones I don't even want to know the names of." Oh my god, how embarrassing is that? Sounds like a scene from a bad made-for-TV movie (or a really demented ABC after-school special). No sexually healthy person humiliates himself like that. Whatever he is pulling, let's just say, in this case, it ain't over or on you.
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a sexual addiction (and I'd wager $1,000,000,000 your man friend has it). There's a program, modeled after 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous called Sexaholics Anonymous to help with recovery. Once again I reach for my handy-dandy world wide web: http://www.sa.org/b000english/b010sa.html; (615) 331-6230. Please note that I do not endorse or support or whatever the legal blah blah is that tells you I'm not responsible for anything that happens should you use this as a starting point to gather information about your boyfriend's compulsion. But use it nonetheless.
The Short Answer: The fact that this is a recurring theme in your relationship dance tells me--and now I'm telling you--that it's not getting resolved or better or worked through or adequately conveyed or all of the above. "Boyfriend", I say, "enough with the porn-of-the-month club already", you know!? You say everything else is "great" but I know you're lying through your teeth--you're questioning your physical beauty and sexual prowess because of him for crying out loud. His shenanigans are taking a toll on you. Time for a little Laurie spade calling: either get him to get help or get out or both but no more "let's pretend" on the is-my-boyfriend-a-porn-freak front, kay-o? (because, uh, he is).
Lovingly and Logically yours, Laurie