Victim of porn addiction?

OK, this may not be the place for this but if not, just tell me and send me on my way.


I am dealing with an addicted spouse.  Alcohol is his drug of choice and despite an obvious alcoholism problem I suspect there is also a porn addiction.  We have been married for a very long time and raised a couple of now adult kids.  Around about 16 years ago, he suddenly lost all interest in sex with me.  There was absolutely no getting him to communicate about it in any way and life went on.  Suddenly about two years ago and for no apparent reason, he suddenly was interested again.


But the interest was veering in a darker direction and he suddenly had a less playful and more sadistic approach.  I went with it for a bit.  But I also discovered he had been downloading porn.  I am as adventurous as the next person and I have nothing against porn, but one video was more sadistic than the next and I found it kind of disturbing.  When I suggested that we might want to try a little something less painful sexually, he shut down and totally lost interest again.


Only recently he has started to show interest again in me.  At about the same time I literally stumbled upon an email left open on a shared computer with a notification from a porn site about one of his photos.  Right, wrong or otherwise, I did what most people would do and clicked on the link.  And I was directed to his gallery of photos. Of me.  


Photos taken as something between two married people two years ago, but at his insistence - and certainly never meant to appear anywhere online or for anyone else's eyes.  His captions are something I find reprehensible and unbelievable and the commentary by other viewers just makes me feel - I don't know what - sad, maybe.


This is a total and complete breach of trust on a scale I have never experienced. I try to make some sense of how to deal with this and I just don't know what to do.  When I say I suspect he has an addiction to porn, I guess I base that more on the escalation of the violent nature of the porn than the amount.  I don't know if that's even a valid measurement.  I think he is an honest, hard working, highly functional, smart guy.  But I just don't even know how to broach the topic of what I found and what I feel, much less fix it.

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  • Hi @calendula, thank you so much for sharing here, and yes, you are in the right place. Quite a few people have posted here about a spouse/partner abusing porn. I must say, your experience blew me away and I'm so sorry that you're dealing with such a betraying situation. It's one thing to be dealing with a porn addiction, which is very common in relationships, but to violate your privacy like this adds a whole other layer. This goes beyond a mere porn addiction and into some deeper layers of sexual deviance, it sounds like. Without diagnosing the situation too much there are definitely some behavioral issues that can/will certainly impact your relationship negatively if left unresolved (you already know this). 

    This is very much like any substance abuse problem where simply abstaining (even if he were willing to do so) won't work. And like other addictions porn can be very progressive, as your situation illustrates. So can the "deviances." Like any other drug the "effects" of one type of porn or sexual deviance can wear off sending the addict in search of more devious topics. It's super important to stress that porn addiction is very different than sexual deviance, although they're often interrelated. When fantasy starts becoming reality is often when porn addicts start getting into the most trouble. I'm not suggesting he would act out what you say he is viewing.  The act of involving you without your consent alone could have many negative repercussions on him that he's not even realizing (legal, reputation, etc.). 

    Ultimately, he needs to do the work to address the underlying issues of his behavior. But that won't happen until he both acknowledges there is a problem and commits to changing. I can only speak for what I'd do if it were my relationship and I think I would carefully broach the idea of couples counseling, preferably with someone with experienced in dealing with sexual issues. Perhaps rather than presenting it as "we're going to therapy to deal with YOUR issues" you can position it as "how would you feel about doing some work on ourselves together to strengthen our relationship and become better friends." I think it's all about approach here.

    Despite his sexual deviance you seem to hold him in high regard as an individual, and this could be a good sign that he is rational enough to know that his behavior will ultimately damage his relationship.

    Please keep us posted, and I'm sure some others will have some insights also. Keep taking care of yourself and know that somehow, somewhere, this will make you stronger.
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