Opinions Please

Addiction, wrong expectations, habitual masturbation ...
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Dandelion_lawn
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Opinions Please

Postby Dandelion_lawn » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:27 pm

Maybe this should have been attached to my original thread, but it's kind of a new topic I think. I discovered this summer that my dh has been an occasional porn user. He estimates once or twice a month, but doesn't feel that he is an addict. He quit all porn when I found out about it and he realized how hurt I was. Counselling isn't an option at this time, so I'm working through podcasts, Internet articles and books and feel that I'm healing, even though the process isn't a quick one. I don't want to overreact or put unnecessary restrictions on dh that are fuelled more by my lingering pain than by necessity.
I had asked him to stop mb, since I thought it was important that he get out of the habit of all that sexual bonding with images and aim all his sexual energy at us together. He stopped for awhile, but has begun again occasionally. His porn didn't ever cause him to lose sexual interest in me and we have always and continue to ml every day or two, so is this even necessary? On one hand, it seems like a weird invasion of his privacy to request him to stop again, on the other hand, I'd feel more comfortable not wondering what was going through his mind while mb. Opinions on this topic please.
The other topic is that since quitting porn, his drinking has increased. It makes me wonder if it was an addiction that is now just changing directions. It might just be a response to the stress he's under from seeing me still hurting. It might just be unrelated. I don't want to make him feel like all I do is criticize him at a time where he's already feeling like he's let me down. Should we wait to deal with this other topic and deal with one problem at a time? I'd like opinions on this too.
I'm also curious on opinions on the reasons for using porn in the first place. I read a lot that says it's always a sign of dealing with emotional pain. I think dh has a lot of issues with attachment, expressing emotions, fearing conflict, as well as being generally easily addicted to things, but in a case like his where the porn use was quite controlled, can't it just be porn for the sake of porn? Just the fun of enjoying nakedness and sex with nothing else. Like cheesecake. I like cheesecake and eat it occasionally, and even though I'm sure it increases my happiness chemicals, that's not really the reason I eat it...I just enjoy it.
So please give me all the opinions and or resources that you have. I'm interested in them all.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Drob » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:03 pm

I'm much like your DH, I've used porn in the past during times of weakness. I can't speak for him but in my case I was trying to satisfy my desires my DW refused to. Talk to him, ask him if he wants something more from you and don't be judgmental if you are he will never open up. Just my opinion

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby tjw » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:20 pm

I thought it was important that he get out of the habit of all that sexual bonding with images and aim all his sexual energy at us together.


I agree that this is important, indeed, for your marriage. This is the exact promise we make in the ceremony, that we will "forsake all others". There's no room for anyone else, image or real, in your marriage, only you and your husband.

I can clearly understand mb when someone has an unavailable spouse. However, I would never give assent to including porn in the process. And, when someone has an available spouse, I don't think mb is appropriate. Sexual experiences should be shared between husband and wife and no one else.

JMO.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby ShaunTheSalvo » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:35 pm

Hi Dandelion_lawn,
I write from the perspective of a 45 year old man, married for 15 years, and a recovering porn addict myself.

You are absolutely within your rights to tell him to stop using porn, because it is sin, plain and simple.
Concerning mb, you are also definitely within your rights to tell him to stop. 1 Cor 7 plainly states a husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. As a married couple, you are no longer two but one flesh. You mentioned that you are ml'ing very frequently, so there should be no need for further physical release on his part.
Maybe have a conversation with him (keep the mood friendly and comfortable) about why he still feels the need to mb. Hopefully he can come clean about it and tell you exactly why he does it.
Porn images bond themselves to the user's mind, and it can be very difficult to reverse that. I don't want to get too technical/scientific, but there is a neurotransmitter called epinephrine that is apparently chiefly responsible for the bonding of such memories in the brain. If that is the case, it may be more of a subconscious drive from his porn use rather than a deliberate decision that is leading him to mb.
Concerning his drinking, that is very sad to hear. I don't know about whether you should deal with the two topics one at a time, but there is no denying that drinking could be potentially harmful to his health. My wife and I stopped drinking completely after we became Christians 10 years ago, and we haven't touched a drop since then. The Bible doesn't forbid drinking for Christians altogether, but it does say that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and as such should be kept pure and undefiled. There are many Christians who drink small amounts of alcohol, and this is not forbidden in Scripture, but drunkenness is a sin. Your DH may certainly be replacing the porn addiction with alcohol, replacing the high he got from porn use with the high alcohol gives.
I'd soak the whole thing in prayer and give it all to God. Ask for His leading and direction, and most of all, let Him bring the changes in your husband. When I gave up alcohol, it was sudden, and it was very easy - God just took away the desire to drink completely, and I've never looked back. No withdrawal or temptation since. And it wasn't the result of someone telling me to stop - God took care of it entirely on His own.
Hope this helps - praying for you guys.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby SeekingChange » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:42 pm

If he is struggling, or if he has stumbled, does he have a safe place he can go to share and find support? I definetly could see the drinking being another form to "numb" or "hide from" emotional/internal issues. I could also see him trying to numb guilt from feeling like a failure. He could be feeling like he has to carry your burden when he can't even handle his own and he could be feeling crushed by it.

Is there a possibility that every other day isn't enough? I know that when my husband wasn't dealing with low T, that was below what he wanted/needed.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Dandelion_lawn » Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:39 pm

I am slightly higher drive and more adventurous than dh is, and I'd be very open to more frequently, so I don't think it's a need for him. He has said that he just feels like it sometimes and it is quicker and easier. (Although I'd also be fine with a quickie, and I loooove to watch him mb) Recently, he has used pictures of me/us to mb. I feel like it shouldn't be a huge deal as long as he still wants to ml with me and I worry that it's a bit controlling of me and not my business, but I still just don't like it. Especially when he's had this whole separate sex life with porn. I want to be his only sexual release.
My dh doesn't have anyone to go to with this. He tried talking with his closest friend, but his friend just said, "why are you telling me this?" We have no pastor right now and counsellors in our small, remote area are pretty horrible. He and I have pretty good communication. He wouldn't like to tell me if he was struggling, or had slipped, but I think he would feel comfortable enough with me to do it. He says that he hasn't been tempted even slightly to look at any porn or pics and truly feels that he wasn't addicted, he just kind of enjoyed it.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby tjw » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:24 am

He says that he hasn't been tempted even slightly to look at any porn or pics and truly feels that he wasn't addicted, he just kind of enjoyed it.


I think he's telling you the truth. Replacing the porn with you is perhaps all that is needed.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby bigloop » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:50 am

Drob wrote:I'm much like your DH, I've used porn in the past during times of weakness. I can't speak for him but in my case I was trying to satisfy my desires my DW refused to. Talk to him, ask him if he wants something more from you and don't be judgmental if you are he will never open up. Just my opinion


This will likely be difficult for you to execute properly, but it is a good place to try to start.

Porn can be like cheesecake, but I'd compare it more to cocaine. The edge you ride between casual usage and addiction is razor sharp. And casual usage in itself is not advised or safe. Yes, most men gravitate to the naked female form, period. At some point in our lives we just wanted to see a naked female and it can drive you out of your mind. A married man must learn to control this. Some do better than others. I've heard some men say 'I only want to see my wife naked." I seriously question their deepest sincerity in that statement. I say that to myself all the time in effort to control myself - positive mental reinforcement of the desired feeling. And do not think a man's draw to the female figure is a negative judgement of his wife's figure. It's the draw to the novel, the new, the different - even the less attractive. This draw to female form was put there by God for good reasons. Sin distorts it. The draw to the " novel and different" hopefully should decrease with time and effort on task and grow intimately wrapped into his love for his wife - and yes it can be affected positively or negatively by a wife's general sexual attitude toward him and her actions therein. It's a team effort. It's why you start to hear from even the most devoted spouses that their sex life has become stale and boring....it takes effort to avoid this.

BUT - what your husband must realize is that porn is mostly overblown, male oriented, fantastical lies designed to ultimately get his money. It is not designed to be pain therapy or happy juice and certainly not a married sex guide. Understanding this fact along with the obvious spiritual, sinful aspectof lusting after one not his wife is key in his ultimate goal of avoiding it altogether. The best way I've found is to understand what it does to you and your marriage and learn to hate it.

Don't allow yourself to start feeling that your husband must not love you because he looks at porn, or mastubates (a whole different issue to be addressed separately.) I know absolute porn addicts that "love" their wives deeply, the emotion is there - they just fail at exhibiting that through their actions and leave their wives feeling unloved. (Kinda resembles gatekeeping and refusing...hmmmm) They are at the mercy of an addiction - like heroin in basic chemistry - and don't understand their own feelings and actions. But like any addiction, it is ultimately a choice. The addict must pick up the drink and put it to their lips. They may not believe they have a choice, but the choice is always there. They need help seeing it and help choosing it and help continuing to take it and help understanding the benefit. But it doesn't sound like your husband is addicted to porn. It does sound like, as you have already noted, he could be prone to dependency. So this does point to the need to look into what things are stressing him and causing him to feel like he needs some kind of crutch. Ultimately he needs better tools for dealing with such things. Recognition first, then positive actions. This same approach will help the drinking as well. And yes, when someone is stressed or anxious or dealing with some kind of pain, removing one self soother only causes the increase of another.

As far as simple masturbation - it can also be an escape mechanism, like alcohol or whatever. So addressing the things spoken of above could solve that issue as well - if it is one. Since your husband's mastubation is of a sexual nature, then you should be able to choose whether or not you have a say in the matter because sexuality is a marriage issue. Masturbation for simple release is not addressed specifically in biblical scripture. So you both need to discuss how that is looked at in your household - both ways! One possible way to look at it is to say if your husband wants the ability to M for release then you should have the same freedom. If he doesn't like that idea, then it is fair for you to ask him not to as well. Odds are you aren't together 100% of the time so there will be times when the urge arises and the other is not there. There is nothing wrong with deciding neither of you will act alone on that urge, as long as it is also decided that you will act together ASAP and as often as you can when you are together. So here is where you will likely have to make many more concessions than him, because I figure he is the higher drive spouse. If you decide to ask him not to M, then you should also agree to be sexual with him often. You say now it is every couple days at least, and that is good. Does it need to be more? It's possible. It could need to be daily, even more often at times. How do you feel about that? How does he? How will you both handle it? I have found often husbands M or act out with porn out of frustration of "knowing" their wife is not interested in sex with him. Is that a problem in your household? Remember, perception is reality. That is one of the biggest draws in much porn - a female who is highly involved and interested in sex and is apparently deriving much pleasure from the man's effort. That feeling is very addictive.

Men do feel actual physical pressure for sexual release under normal circumstances. This is physiological and psychological pressure. The pressure grows with time between ejaculations. You have to go a looooong time without for this to start to subside, and that is not what supposed to be happening in a marriage. So if you make the decision that he is not to masturbate, then you must do so realizing up that you are now his only outlet from an urge he has to deal with on a regular basis that often arises with no instigation of his own. He just "needs it" sometimes and there is nothing wrong with this need - it's God given. How much of this is he willing to control? How much are you willing to help with? There needs to be some real specific discussion on these questions. If you want some suggestions, I'm sure there are many here willing to share how they handle it, but ultimately it is a question that you and your husband need to work out for the best of your marriage on the whole. Personally, I think it should be fairly easy for most men to accept a once a day at the most for the normal expectations. If a husband demands more than that then it may be that he is just being selfish and unreasonable. That doesn't mean PIV every day. In fact being creative from time to time can be a great thing here. An occasional "extra romp" or the occasional skip day should not be a problem for either of you either. And he needs to be considering your needs and wants as well. You need to insist upon that, just as he should expect your attention to his needs/wants. It's a two sided understanding. If such reasonable discussions or understanding is difficult for either of you, then seriously consider why and address that first.

ETA: disregard the high drive part as I didn't read your latest post before I replied. With that information, one thing you may need to explore is the pressure he may be feeling from you about sex. As you said P & M is almost always "easier", and there is no pressure to perform and the woman is always "satisfied." As I said, that feeling is very addictive....

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Dandelion_lawn » Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:06 pm

I guess my worry now, after finding out about my dh's years of porn is that he'll really miss the variety and be bored with me. I feel like after all the years of feeding his God-given desire for variety and enjoying other female forms, that just one woman, no matter what my attributes, can't compete. Im not saying that I don't think I'm enough...rather I think that he won't think I'm enough. I'm struggling in my relationship with God. I don't know why He made men so that they still desire every female they see even when they are firmly bonded in love and having all their needs met, yet he created women to want to be their husband's one and only.
I'm fortunate. My dh is warm and sweet and adoring. He's so sad that he's hurt me and he's doing all that he can to help me. This porn betrayal is just so so sad for me.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby tjw » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:20 pm

he created women to want to be their husband's one and only


It's possible for a man to think other women are pretty or attractive, yet not want to be with them sexually nor have fantasies of them. God made ALL
men capable of accomplishing His ideal and it is simply the choices of the specific man or woman whether he/she CHOOSES to follow Christ as his/her chief good.

I'm not saying this can be accomplished quickly nor easily. The man/woman must submit to the Lord on a daily basis and recognize that God's way is the best way.

Nor am I "pointing the accusing finger", nor saying that I'm perfect at this. Even at 64, I have to take heed to guard my heart and mind against things which intervene in my marriage, my business, my life, and my christian witness. It is "every Man's Battle" (which is a christian book title dealing with pornography and porn addiction).

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby bigloop » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:26 pm

Addressing boredom should be every spouses worry - or better yet not a worry, but a goal - that's a more positive way to look at it. I don't even like to use the word concern here. Goal is the word.

Don't get caught in the trap of trying to live up to the false visions of porn. That's a no-winner. It would be like a policeman trying to live up to the standard of Jack Reacher.... Wrong goal. Instead concentrate on being the best you can be and don't be afraid to stretch yourself - metaphorically speaking. You're more than enough for him. I'll tell you a secret - most men, if faced with a woman like the one they fantasize about in porn, would not know how and could not handle it. It'd be like a video gamer getting into real combat. Likely he'd just cower in the corner. And the fantasy will always outreach reality as long as he is willing to feed the fantasy. But given time, the fantasy can and will starve and he will be starving for you instead. Just encourage him to keep himself clean and keep doing what you do. Help him identify and slay his demons and it will get better. While you're at it, identify some of your own and illicit his help with them. Nothing endears someone to you more than asking them to help you. People generally want to help people.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby sunny-dee » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:34 pm

I don't know why He made men so that they still desire every female they see even when they are firmly bonded in love and having all their needs met, yet he created women to want to be their husband's one and only.


I am not saying this as a firm doctrinal statement, but ... the whole "your desire will be for your husband" thing was actually part of God's curse on Eve after the Fall. Just a fun little thing to ponder.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby poetess » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:06 pm

Sunny-dee, this ^^^ is heartily debated by theologians. Most would not say it's a curse, from what I read. Some see it as a negative statement (but not a curse), and some see the "desire" as positive, but the "rule over" as being often done unlovingly. I think it's fair to say that a woman's desire for her husband can be a sad thing, but can be a great blessing if she has a good husband, and Scripture does not call the desire bad.
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Re: Opinions Please

Postby sunny-dee » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:32 pm

Oh, I am very sure there is a much more complicated and deeper theological discussion than I know of! :)

I think it's a curse along the lines of the apocryphal Chinese curses -- may you live in interesting times, may you come to the attention of important people, may you find what you look for. In some situations, that desire for your husband is a blessing; in some, very much a curse. Sort of like the curse for men, eating by the sweat of their brow -- I think there were parts of our lives which were unalloyed joys pre-Fall, and now they are not.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Medic » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:04 am

Dandelion_lawn wrote:in a case like his where the porn use was quite controlled, can't it just be porn for the sake of porn? Just the fun of enjoying nakedness and sex with nothing else. Like cheesecake. I like cheesecake and eat it occasionally, and even though I'm sure it increases my happiness chemicals, that's not really the reason I eat it...I just enjoy it.


Difference here being porn is sin. To think we can sin and "control" it is.... well at some point we cannot. I at one point thought I could "control" this area of sin. To the point even when I only looked every once in a while ("controlling" my sin) it still had devastating effects on my relationship with God, made me want more sin, and took my focus off my wife.

When I started looking I controlled when it happened. I even thought to myself "this isn't addictive why do people even get addicted to this?... that is silly" I just did it because I "enjoyed it" a little, that way of thinking led me to a lot of pain

Bottom line: Porn is sin (don't call it by any other name) and sin of any form is not something we want to invite into our life.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Medic » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:16 am

Dandelion_lawn wrote:He wouldn't like to tell me if he was struggling, or had slipped, but I think he would feel comfortable enough with me to do it. He says that he hasn't been tempted even slightly to look at any porn or pics and truly feels that he wasn't addicted, he just kind of enjoyed it.


To this point honesty is good thing. For myself if I sin in this area I will tell my wife that day, however that is about all I will say. Anything further would be very uncomfortable, cause worry, and cause more hurt than good. So while I would encourage your husband to be honest with you he will still need to feel respected in this area (ie don't ask him everyday or even every week if he is doing ok). The place of accountability (different than honesty) should be with another guy. I recently lived in an area where I had no person I could go to and this was difficult (during that time one of the members here kindly offered, while it was not in person it was still helpful).

A few suggestions He may find reading the book "Sex, God, and Men" by Douglas Weiss helpful. This book is more of a "why do I X" and it discusses why men masturbate. I found for myself focusing on stopping porn (through book or thought) was not helpful. What I really needed to do was have a more disciplined and focused relationship with God. As I put that focus on God, He begins to restore me and my character (turning from sin towards God). The point that I needed to come to (and need not to leave) is full dependence on God.

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Job29Man » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:27 am

Dandelion_lawn wrote:He has said that he just feels like it sometimes and it is quicker and easier. (Although I'd also be fine with a quickie, and I loooove to watch him mb)
"Quicker and easier" is not always good. In fact, just because we get married does not mean that suddenly we no longer need sexual self-discipline. To the contrary, we need it more. It is good for a man to have sexual tension when he is separated from his wife. It is healthy for a man to have to wait until he can ask her for sex. It is not a "right" for a man to get sexual release whenever he wants it. As others have pointed out, when he married you he transferred authority over his body to you. YOU get to determine when he gets release, not him.
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Re: Opinions Please

Postby bigloop » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:39 am

Job29Man wrote:YOU get to determine when he gets release, not him.


Uhh Job- you may wanna rethink this statement a little bit?

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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Medic » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:17 pm

Job29Man wrote: "Quicker and easier" is not always good. In fact, just because we get married does not mean that suddenly we no longer need sexual self-discipline. To the contrary, we need it more. It is good for a man to have sexual tension when he is separated from his wife. It is healthy for a man to have to wait until he can ask her for sex.


I second this. Well said Job
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Re: Opinions Please

Postby Dandelion_lawn » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:36 pm

Very recently, my dh has begun having problems keeping an erection. I already feel so emotionally fragile and my self esteem has taken such a pummelling. I don't want to make this worse for dh, but I can't help but think of how he told me that one thing he liked about porn was the super hard erection. Last night when he lost his erection, I gave him some oral until he was hard again, but then he lost it again during piv. We snuggled instead, but I just couldn't stop thinking that if he was looking at some woman on his phone, he'd probably have a super hard erection for her. I'm physically confident, I'm in better shape than I've been in years and I'm adventurous and enthusiastic in bed. I just have no confidence in dh's attraction for me after all these girls he's been looking at. He's stopped all porn five months ago though, do you think this is related? He's in his early 40's, and his drinking is increasing a bit, so I'm sure it could have a very good explanation. In my insecure state though, I just think that he's bored with me now that he doesn't have all these sexy girls to fuel his desire.


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