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Dr Gabrielle Morrissey: Sexologist

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey has been a sexologist — sexuality educator, sex therapist and sex researcher — since 1990. She is also the author a number of successful books. ASK ME A QUESTION

My partner lies to me about his porn habits

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
My partner lies to me about his porn habits
Question: My husband and I are in a fly-in, fly-out long distance relationship. I send my husband sexually explicit porn of myself, either photos or movies and I still find he is hiding porn from me. I am very open to it and have even bought it for him. He keeps lying to me about looking it up on the web, why? When I am so open about it? It’s really putting a strain on my side of the relationship.

Answer: Anytime you are in a long distance relationship, full time or part time, some extra communication is needed to ensure you both feel connected and moving forward together in the same direction as a couple.

Relationships can hit testing times at various points including during times of stress — introducing a new baby, loss of a loved one, illness, financial difficulties, moving house or location, as well as geographic separation, to name but a few. So when your relationship is under a constant extra strain because you are not physically together much of the time, and in fact separated by both work demands and distance, you must be that much more vigilant to protect yourselves against misassumptions and miscommunication that can lead to hurt feelings and emotional disconnection.

There are many aspects of a relationship to nurture when you are separated, and the sexual side is one. It’s a vital part of a romantic relationship and in many cases sexual expression helps make a couple feel close. So when there is a communication breakdown around the expectations, perceptions and experience of sexual intimacy, it must be addressed before it has a chance to grow into a larger issue. If not dealt with, it certainly will affect the trust between you, and the sense of feeling bonded, which is critical in a long distance relationship. When the physical bonding through simply living together in a daily way isn’t there, the emotional bond you feel must be rock solid to give you a sense of security in your relationship.

There can be many reasons why a partner might lie about their sexual activities and desires, even when you are open about the issue. Porn is often used by couples to turn on together as a shared erotic activity. But porn is also used as private sexual stimulation, as an avenue to personal fantasies. Is it possible that your husband has an interest in particular types of porn that he knows you would not like, or that you have made clear you would not be turned on by? Is it possible that he might like to view some porn alone that you have not chosen for him?

It is a positive demonstration of your commitment to the relationship, and to your husband, to be realistic that his needs be met while you are geographically separated, but have you actually talked to him openly about what it is about porn that he enjoys on his own? Perhaps he just wants a great deal of variety.

He likes some of the photos and movies you make for him, but he also wants other porn and perhaps he doesn’t want to (or assume to) hurt your feelings by openly acknowledging to you that he looks at other sexual images that don’t have you in them.

Just because you are open and comfortable about it, doesn’t mean he is. He could still be feeling awkward about it and would rather keep it quiet from you.

Regardless, you will never know if you don’t ask. So if it is bothering you, start the conversation. Explain to him that it is more hurtful to you that he lies about the porn use, than the porn use itself. If he understands this, he might be better at being as open as you.

You don’t need another strain on your relationship, and your sexual chemistry together should connect you rather than pull you apart. Be honest and open, even if it’s to agree to be more private!


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