[Two Pronged] My husband picks porn over me


‘These actions were always done in secret, mostly when I’m already asleep or out of the house at work, all throughout our marriage’

Published 6:23 PM, September 23, 2018

Updated 6:23 PM, September 23, 2018

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,

Prior to our marriage, my BF (now husband) were together for 7 years – we did not have sex until marriage because I made a decision to abstain from actual sex until marriage.

I’ve known ever since that my boyfriend has loved watching porn (Japanese in particular) since his high school days. He has hundreds or even thousands of sex videos in VCDs, DVDs, PC, etc and I thought it was just normal for any guy to do that. He was an only child and his parents just let him be. He resorted to watching porn to curb boredom at home which turned into a daily or intense nightly activity.

Twice, I caught him saving photos of women from massage parlors on his PC and listing names of women on a notebook. I’ve confronted him about it then but he always came clean saying he never went to any of those (although he was tempted) or he was just bored that’s why he saved and listed those things.

When we have sex, he can’t perform in bed due to erectile dysfunction, which I’ve researched is a consequence of porn addiction.

Sex became less than twice a year activity over the next 5 years. We fought about it, he’d try but days after that, it would be a forgotten issue once again. I wore costumes like the girls he watches, but he said it doesn’t suit me. He also admitted he has no sexual desire for me.

In order to control his attempts to download or watch porn on the internet, we didn’t subscribe to an internet plan at home. His thousands of porno materials were also left in our old house so he doesn’t have quick access to those. I’ve tried to control the situation by restraining him from these materials.

However, he still finds a way to pleasure himself by downloading sex video clips on his cellphone through streaming and torrent. Not only that, he also collect and already spent half a million in anime/scale figures of sexy Japanese women and hid those bold/arousing looking figures from me, as I caught him holding one on those figures while he was in the toilet, only having to find out he already hid hundreds – those that he secretly bought online or during trips abroad.

Almost every night, he needs to browse on those Facebook pages posting and selling these arousing figures. Several times, I also caught him watching sexually alluring video clips from near-human images in Playstation games. There were also stash of magazines featuring Japanese women in the toilet. He also managed to secretly stash some DVDs into our house. I even discovered saved clips on his USB, Youtube history, Facebook history, Google search history, name it – I’ve caught it in the past 2 years and just last week.

These actions were always done in secret, mostly when I’m already asleep or out of the house at work, all throughout our marriage. I also can’t help but think he’s engaging in “extra service” while having his twice a month massage at some massage parlor.

Only God knows what he is actually doing while I’m not around.

Due to burst of anger, I tend to physically abuse him by slapping him and wrecking his porno materials each time I catch him. I deleted his browsing history, confiscated his figures, threw away his porno stuff, Playstation CD, but he always finds new ways to pleasure himself, buying replacements for those things.

Call me paranoid but what’s a wife like me to do?

Please help.

Frustrated Wife

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Dear Frustrated Wife (FW),

Thank you for your email.

You say that you discovered that your husband (let’s call him Al) had a liking for pornography when he was just your boyfriend but you went ahead and married him despite this, thinking it was just normal. And because you did not have sex before the marriage, it was only after Al became your husband that you found out about his erectile dysfunction, which you ascribe to his porn addiction (a diagnosis that you seem to have made relying on “Dr Google”).

Given this history, it seems as though you have been somewhat cavalier in your approach to marriage. With your eyes wide open, you chose as a husband a man who is a major porn fanatic and who does not desist even when you call him out. That he has continued his fondness for porn post marriage and that it should be having a detrimental effect on your life as a couple should scarcely come as a surprise.

As for his erectile dysfunction, you imply that because of your decision to abstain from “actual” sex until marriage any problem in this area was hidden from you until it was too late. Does this mean that your embargo on sex was so all encompassing that you did not even touch him during the seven years before you got married?

I admire people who for reasons of faith embrace abstinence. However the phrase caveat emptor does spring to mind and if it turns out that the goods are ‘defective’ I just hope that that same faith will sustain them as they grapple with the outcome.

Having said that, the fact is that both a dependence on porn and erectile dysfunction can often be treated and if you can persuade Al to go for treatment, there can be hope for a happy outcome. If however he is resistant, then you will have to consider alternatives such as leaving him.

All the best,

JAF Baer


Dear Frustrated Wife (FW):

Thank you very much for your letter. And also for having chosen the accurate description when you signed yourself off as a frustrated wife.

Even a cursory search on google will show you innumerable articles on addiction and how to deal with it. The article I found most helpful is this one because it encapsulates what is most pertinent to your problem, FW.

It defines frustration as “an emotion that occurs in situations where a person is blocked from reaching a desired outcome (in your case, getting your husband to stop his obsession with virtual or fetishistic-like sex).

“Frustration is not necessarily bad since it can be a useful indicator of the problems in a person’s life and, as a result, it can act as a motivator to change (BUT this is only when the person, you in this case, FW, stops because you realize your behavior and strong emotions get you nowhere.)

“However, when it results in anger, irritability, stress, resentment, depression, or a spiral downward where we have a feeling of resignation or giving up, frustration can be destructive” – which is what is happening to you right now, when you “physically abuse him by slapping him and wrecking his porno materials each time I caught him. I deleted his browsing history, confiscated his figures, threw away his porno stuff, Playstation CD”

As you can see, dear FW, it is only you getting frustrated, not he; only you want him to stop, he seems to have no plans to do so. You cannot change anyone who, like Al your husband, doesn’t see an issue in his actions.

You asked us: “what’s a wife like me to do?”

Speaking NOT as a therapist but as a mere behavior analyst, I see two major options:

A paradigm shift so that his behavior no longer upsets you; in other words this is the way he is and you just go with the flow. In other words, should you realize the reason he’s taking so long in the bathroom is because he has one of these “bold/arousing sexy Japanese women” with him, you might say to yourself: “Oh. Goodness. I hope he remembered to wipe the wall of any semen stains. They can get crusty otherwise.”

And when you see his latest purchase of CDs, you simply remind him to make sure his mom does not see his latest BDSM when you invite her over for dinner to see a video of your latest trip to Siargao.

You accept that he sees you not as a wife, but a policeman or his mother who he has to continually hide his stash from. Sometimes he is lucky, and sometimes he isn’t, but he never stops replenishing his stock. His only effort seems to involve hiding from you, rather than trying to change. And by accepting this interpretation, you say “enough is enough” and leave him.

Sure, you can console yourself with sayings like: “One day you’re going to wake up and notice you should have tried. (Because, you see) I was worth the fight.”

But what if he never wakes up feeling this way? And what if he always prefers his fetish of porn and/or arousing figures instead of you as his main source of sexual pleasure and release?

I know, our answers are not necessarily the ones you want to read, but I am hoping that, with the right (albeit, painful) choice, you can move on from being a person who doesn’t want to change to someone who does, starting, perhaps, with yourself.

Good luck,

MG Holmes

– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email [email protected] with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

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