Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Wife Who Wants it More

What is going on with all of these neglected wives? SUSPICIOUS IN FLORIDA wrote in to Dear Abby:

I'm pretty sure my husband is addicted to adult porn movies.
I agree with Dr. Laura that people misuse the word "addicted" in cases like this – most of the time. Anyone can get "addicted" to anything that feels good. I could claim an addiction to peppers.

We have several pornographic DVDs in the house and I can tell when they have been moved.
I have many DVDs, none of them pornographic, and they get moved around all of the time without being watched.

He denies he's watching them, so confronting him again will only make him more angry and possibly push him "underground."
Uh, so having them in the house isn’t the problem, but watching them is a problem? It's already an "underground" situation, isn't it? Sounds like there is a lack of communication going on here.

Our sex life, which used to be grand, has become almost non-existent.
Correlation does not prove causation, or even a connection. Now, perhaps what you're thinking is true – that he watches the DVDs, masturbates, and as a result of that, has no interest in making love with you. It could also be that because he is unhappy with your sex life (see this quiz), he watches these DVDs. Or, the two could have nothing to do with each other, though that possibility is slim.

Have you tried initiating? I know most women like their husbands to initiate and some women want him to initiate all of the time, but think about it from his perspective – nobody likes to be rejected, and if you have rebuffed him from time to time, that may have gotten to him. Perhaps he got the impression (mistaken, from what you say) that you weren't enjoying yourself much and he felt like you were only accommodating him out of a sense of obligation. That becomes a turn-off to some men. If a man risks rejection from his own wife, and then when he isn't rejected he gets the feeling that she is doing it as a "mercy session", and she offers little assistance to his desire to bring pleasure to her (so that he feels like failure), he may feel like what is going on is pretty much glorified masturbation, so why not save his wife the trouble and not bother her at all? I'm not saying that's what IS going on in this case – it is just one possibility. We don't know his side of the story.

Do you have any suggestions?
Yes. Complain to all of your family, friends, in-laws, and fellow church congregants about this. No, wait, that's not right. I take it you want suggestions about how to have your sex life restored? You said it used to be "grand". Think really hard about when that changed and if you can think of why, based on the timing. If the only change you can think of is the DVDs coming into the home, then it might be those. But be brutally honest with yourself. You were obviously enjoying your lovemaking, but was he? Were there things he tried to do, or requests that he made that you shot down? Did he approach you at certain times of the day, only to be rebuffed? Have you gained a significant amount of fat? Did you cut your hair?

If you can honestly rule out anything you have done (or not done, even though he wanted it), then the problem is entirely his responsibility. If you chose your husband wisely, then you should be able to get him to go to counseling by appealing to his love for you and sense of obligation as a husband.

Dear Abby responded:

Rather than accuse your husband of being a porn addict, start a discussion about what has happened to your sex life.
Hey, there's an idea.

He may need to be examined by his doctor to determine if his problem could be physical.
That's another good idea.

If that isn't the case, then marriage counseling with a licensed therapist might help.
She's batting 1000 so far.

However, it doesn't seem likely to me that a man who views only "several" adult DVDs is a porn addict. Porn addicts are usually glued to their computers at every available spare moment.
Perfect batting average. Good for Dear Abby.

Now, I know in conservative church circles these days, we're all supposed to foam at the mouth and warn her that her husband is about to beat, rape, and murder her and just about every other person on the planet because he's watching those DVDs, and that he needs to go to a treatment facility, possibly undergo an exorcism, and then beg you to take him back under the condition that he give up all electronics for the rest of his life and be followed around by an accountability partner. But I really don't see why what he's doing is any worse than a wife reading romance novels or watching soaps or romantic comedies that give an incomplete or false portrayal of certain aspects of life or cause her to covet. It is just that what he's doing has gotten more attention because it is easier to beat up on what is seen as a male problem.

As for me, I'd be happy to find some evidence (like DVDs) that my wife actually does have a libido right now. There are times these days that I have to plead with her to let me bring her to orgasm once a week. She doesn't want any more than that right now. She'd taped some stuff off of cable that she'd use from time to time before we married. She told me this after we married, and told me she'd erased the tape. We do not own any "adult" DVDs, but we have watched some soft-core stuff before on cable together - twice, I think, and have read/seen some stuff online apart from each other. I'm not justifying any of this, just being real. The bottom line is that I know from experience that husbands like me will not put time and effort into watching such stuff behind out wife's back if we're making love with our wife every time we want. This is not to say that a sexy picture won't catch our eye, because it likely will anyway. But the motivation to masturbate isn't there.

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