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Last cry for help. Husband & I incompatible in attitude to sex

Community Member

Married 29 years. Both Christian upbringing. No sex before marriage.

I was naive, especially when I was young & loved my husband. I could never believe he could hurt me. 5 years into our marriage, I saw he was looking at porn. I was devastated. Same issue resurfaced 2 more times over next 15 years. It’s to the point where we agree we both have a diff view on what's right & wrong. I classify porn as cheating &he thinks having a look is ok. In our arguing he says looking at women is enjoyable, just as looking at men is pleasurable for a woman (I did enjoy watching Magic Mike) & it doesn't mean he loves me less. We compromised 7 years ago, porn is not allowed & he can look at anything else long as it doesn't cross the line we made. This was a fair compromise &he has kept his end of the bargain, but Ive not been unable to recover from the damage he did in the past. We cant watch a movie together if nude/semi clad female, is on screen. We cant see sexy women walk by. These things just make me so angry that I know my husband is "enjoying" looking & feeding his desire to look at things that fuel his sexual thoughts.

Like most men, he's a very sexual person with a high sex drive & wants orgasms often. He is very unselfish in the bedroom & takes even more pleasure than I do, about seeing me satisfied every time. I don't have the same drive & wouldn't miss it if we stopped but I have come to enjoy & want it more over the last 15 years. But every time we get to a good place, something happens.He says we need to be on the same page when it comes to enjoying all things sexual. He thinks I should enjoy the topic of sex more, so we won't fight so much about everyday sexual things. He calls me conservative & heavily blames our upbringing for the way I think about sex.

I am still a believer in Christ but he has become sceptical over the years. Even though he betrayed me by looking at porn, he is very loyal & has never physically cheated on me. We’re both proud that we’ve only had ourselves as sexual partners.

I have deep issues in me that have been caused by his actions & now this problem has invaded every other part of our lives to the point that we now have a sexless marriage. He can't believe that I haven't pleasured myself in months & can't understand it's not important to me like it is to him. We went to a counselor and it didn't solve much as we disagree on the topic.
I don’t want divorce but we’re so far apart on this topic I feel we are unable to reconcile

27 Replies 27

Community Member

Hi JennyA's,

Most guys look at porn, if they say they don’t they lying lol.

I think it’s good your husband is honest about it though and I also understand if it makes you angry you both should be able to have a civil conversation and work through it.

And some reassurance, most men’s sex drive declines with age due to reduced testosterone.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Just to be clear.... it's ok for you to watch a movie about male strippers, but it's not ok for him to watch a movie with semi-dressed women? Because he looked at porn three times over twenty years? Classing this as "betrayal" seems to be a bit of an over-reaction.

Men tend to be more aroused by visual imagery, and women more by emotional stimuli. For example, many women have enjoyed the "50 Shades" books, which many would consider pornographic. This seems to be a double-standard.

I understand your hurt feelings, but I understand his position as well. Think of it like this - does it really matter where he gets his appetite, as long as he comes home for dinner?

Community Member

Hey Jenna,

You are not alone in your position. For me it was the girl at checkout of shop, or a mum at school etc. who would flirt and wink with him. Gosh I am standing right beside my husband. He didn’t mind this attention, but at same time he couldn’t understand why this would upset me.
It is just hurtful. Guess it made me feel less.

Which of course makes any intimacy difficult.

The fact he acknowledges his behaviour and you discuss it, is awesome.

It sounds you are both great in communication in regards to your current issue. If 1st Counsellor didn’t work, maybe try a different one. Having this 3rd party perspective may benefit you both.

Kind Regards


Community Member

Hi Jenny

I can’t provide a solution to the impasse. I wouldn’t give up on counselling even though your first experience achieved nothing. Sometimes finding the right counsellor fir you is all it takes to find a breakthrough. I respect your religious values, having myself grown up in a strict 1950s Catholic family environment.

However, it may pay off for you to consider a few points. You say you have close to a 30 year marriage to a man who loves you, has never physically cheated and is unselfish in the bedroom. Yet he has “betrayed” you by looking at porn 3 times in thirty years and you cannot get passed it. Many people reading your story Jenny might be thinking how fortunate you have been to have had such a happy and long marriage.

I’m not trying to minimise the hurt you felt when he looked at porn but I’m just trying to put it into perspective in the world wide scheme of life.

Community Member
I can understand how it comes across as a smallish issue to some but the "betrayal" feels real as he kept it hidden that he watched porn.
Hubby was a heavy porn user. I only caught him 3 times in 20 years but he later admitted he watched it often over the years especially during our "bad" times. He wouldn't admit to being addicted to it but definitely claims it is something he enjoys, so did it regularly.
That info all came out later. He hid it for all those years and was never sorry that he watched it, only sorry that I found it and that it hurt me.

This is where we have problems. Our differing opinions on what's right and wrong seem insurmountable. He thinks it's ok to search or click on links that may lead to things that he "enjoys". I don't think it's ok. He loves everything about females and their form and if he mentions it, I feel so hurt. I actually used to have no problem looking at nudity in a movie or joking about sex with him but because of what he did and admitting women and sex is his favourite "pastime" I can't enjoy myself with him.
The problem is now technically no longer actual porn, as he has agreed to not watch it again but he says unless we both think the same way about the topic of "sex" we will always have this issue between us. He expects me to read, learn, look at websites, buy toys, play games, joke about sex. He thinks it should be a priority in my life but we just think differently.

How can we get past this when something so important to him is hurting for me?

Sounds like a healthy sexy male to me...I don't understand your comment on "what's right and what's wrong". As long as the activity is between two consenting adults..and you both enjoy it..there is no "right and wrong". It's up to the couple to make their own rules surely.

If playing games, toys, experimenting etc is abhorrent to you...yes he has to respect your choice...but on the other hand he should then be free to obtain satisfaction in watching some porn in private. You've been married for nearly 30 years!! Of course he "kept it hidden" .. because he obviously knew you would overreact exactly as you have done!.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

I'm sorry Jenny, but it sounds like he has compromised with you (by stopping watching porn) and you have responded by withholding sex - which is possibly why he watched porn in the first place?

Compromise is a two-way street. It requires change from BOTH partners.

I respect the right to have your personal views on what is right and wrong, but I can't agree with how you've gone about expressing it. Just because you personally believe that something he is doing is "wrong" and a "betrayal" does not make it so. In my own situation, my relationship ended because my partner viewed that me spending time with my children (from a previous relationship) was "wrong" and a "betrayal". That I should automatically respect her wishes, despite my own personal wishes and beliefs.

It sounds like you have a choice to make, and it's not an easy one. If the sex issue is so important to both of you, and you are not willing to compromise (I'm basing this solely on your comments, so I am aware that there may be much more to it), it does not sound like there is much of a future for you together. Your focus seems to be that he is causing you pain - has it occurred to you that your response is hurting him too? He seems to be a very sexual person - for some people, physical intimacy is their "language of love". If you are withholding that from him, right or wrong, he will seek other outlets. Pornography is probably the least harmful outlet for him to do so, to all concerned, and if you've made it clear that is unacceptable (no judgment, though I do not agree with your stance), but you also do not want to be intimate with him, you're putting him between a rock and a hard place.

I'm sorry, but I think it is your perceptions of right and wrong that may need to be reevaluated.

Community Member

I do really appreciate your answers even though they disagree with me in parts.
It's difficult to get feelings across in a forum.

I hate porn but I do love sex usually. When we were good, we'd have sex between 4 - 6 times a week (inbetween all the fighting about it). We were both content with the quantity. But it's like I'm never enough for him. He admits he likes to look at other women (naked or not) even when we are going great. I feel like he just loves me as a sexual object even though he denies it.
He's never happy. Even if we have sex X times per week, he'll still say I'm doing it just for him and not because I want to. He expects me to enjoy the topic as much as he does. It creates pressure and it's exhausting. I find it hard to comprehend that he just does it because he can and he has a problem that I don't crave satisfaction regularly like he does. He wants me to change my attitude to sex and make it a priority in my life. Should I equally expect him to change and make it not a priority for him?

Hello JennyA.

It's great to see that you have reached out to the forum and it can be hard to show emotions in written format.
I'd like to share with you that I am a Christian or as we say, have a relationship with God.
It's never a good feeling to find out that your partner has breached on several occasions an agreed boundary and may I ask, is it more an issue of him watchin porn or that you feel he has not been honest with you, as such?
As some others have said here, it is a two way street which means that you both need to put some actions in place to meet both of your needs and expectations and so that he is inclined to be honest, open and truthful. I think once there is more transparency in your relationship, you both will bond, connect and enjoy each other a lot better. In conclusion, find out what works for both of you, be willing to make some adjustments, put in some action and enjoy each others company.

God bless you both and a prosperous life full of love.

Best of luck 🙂