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Do all therapists advocate for ‘healthy’ porn use?


Sammi
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Hi guys, 

My partner just recently relapsed after being porn free for 1.5 years. I’m devastated and our relationship is on the rocks. He’s never done therapy before and this was one of my boundaries for us staying together, however the more therapists I enquire about the more many of them say they advocate ‘healthy or occasional’ porn use. This is crushing me, he will hear this and it will give him the green flag to continue. Does anyone have any advice? Is this normal? 

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Hi Sammi,

many therapists and counsellors, who do not have training and experience in the field, often make unfortunate and unhelpful suggestions like this.

The reality is that a healthy, respectful, balanced and enjoyable sex life does not need porn for it to flourish and certainly it is no way to deal with any kind of compulsive or addictive behaviours. If your partner is trying to recover from his use of porn, no amount of exposure to porn will help him in any way.

I would always advocate seeking therapy with a trained professional or organisation. In the UK look for COSRT and especially ATSAC memberships

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Hi @Sammi As John D said, no, no and definitely not, this a huge boundary breaker for me. No porn at all ever! There are amazing therapists out there who are trained in sex and porn addiction, your partner needs to be in the care of someone who has experience in this and he needs to ensure that this is the field of expertise he looks for when selecting one.

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I have my own experience in this. I was seeing a counsellor this year and admitted that I watch fetish videos online, and visit profiles on social media if I have been having a bad day. I did stress that the videos were on YouTube, and the women taking part were as far as I knew, consenting and that I wasn't paying to access it. But she insisted that if it wasn't hurting anyone then it was ok, even though I am trying to stop watching them. 

I realise I might not be the best person to give advice, but that is something I have found myself. I believe she meant well, but it wasn't something I wanted to hear.

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This is all a question of control. How much control one feels one has over one's viewing habits. If porn use is forcing you to hide your fetishes from your partner(s); if it's taking time away from your kids; if it's making you late for work; if you choose it over your friends, then you've got a problem. 

I worry that fetishes and natural expressions of sexuality get quashed in this forum. There is absolutely nothing wrong in having a fetish as long as it's not hidden - tell your partner about it and discuss it. However, the role it plays in your life is the issue we have to grapple with. 

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8 hours ago, Roberto said:

This is all a question of control. How much control one feels one has over one's viewing habits. If porn use is forcing you to hide your fetishes from your partner(s); if it's taking time away from your kids; if it's making you late for work; if you choose it over your friends, then you've got a problem. 

I worry that fetishes and natural expressions of sexuality get quashed in this forum. There is absolutely nothing wrong in having a fetish as long as it's not hidden - tell your partner about it and discuss it. However, the role it plays in your life is the issue we have to grapple with. 

I totally agree, many if not most people have certain fetishes, quirks and desires but it’s like @Robertosaid, it’s about what this does to you on a day to day basis, if it is affecting your ability to do certain things effectively or affecting relationships then this is something that needs addressing by someone trained to help. 

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It's hard to find a good therapist. My husband and I did a couple therapy with a sex therapist at a quite renowned hospital and some of the stuff we heard was appalling. Eventually I walked out in the middle of a session, maybe the fourth session or so, I was lost for words. I remember I grabbed my jacket and just walked out. He had individual sessions with him and then couple sessions together which was a bad idea anyway and it was also at a time when my husband lied to the therapist and I had made him aware of that and frankly, I got the impression that the purpose of the therapy was to bring us back together sexually rather than helping my husband fight his compulsive solo behavior. Really, it made me feel like I was falsely accusing my husband of a behavior that was in fact totally normal and we were undergoing therapy in order for me to recognize that, i.e. the therapist seemed to team up with my husband to convince me that all was perfectly fine. 

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That's definitely my learning Roberto , it was not professional of the therapist to attempt couple therapy and certainly not at a stage where my partner had obviously not even come to terms with his own behavior. It was more harmful than healing and the therapist should have known that. 

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  • 1 month later...

@Denise62I'd argue that excessive, long term use of porn does the damage. But I think that porn per se gets a bad rap (understandably) on this forum. 

Genuinely curious: are there any studies which show that occasional use of porn isn't healthy for our brain and warps the reality of sex? 

I think we need to take into account that not every user of porn is an addict and that porn need not necessarily be bad. 

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My point was not in any way regarding addiction. If you read my past posts, you'll see that I've suffered as a result of being married to an addicted spouse. 

My post above referred to occasional use of porn and I was asking if there were studies regarding occasional use vs constant use. 

My fear is that porn is slighted on this forum because of people's moral beliefs or their beliefs about how they think their relationship ought to look, which neglects the known fact that many people in relationships, either with or without the partner's knowledge, occasionally use porn. 

My thesis being, if we stopped shaming all porn users en masse, maybe we'd see fewer addicts who feel the need to cover their tracks. 

I don't feel you've respected my view @Denise62and have failed to provide evidence of what you've stated is allegedly the truth. 

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  • 4 months later...
On 1/16/2024 at 9:37 PM, Roberto said:

@Denise62I'd argue that excessive, long term use of porn does the damage. But I think that porn per se gets a bad rap (understandably) on this forum. 

Genuinely curious: are there any studies which show that occasional use of porn isn't healthy for our brain and warps the reality of sex? 

I think we need to take into account that not every user of porn is an addict and that porn need not necessarily be bad. 

I’ve looked for studies but don’t seem to find anything, maybe people don’t want to be studied around the realms of their porn use. I’ve used it on occasion recently, since  giving up years ago and discovered that not only is it of not much interest to me anymore, but the questionable things that can indeed distort people’s perception of sex in reality. I’ve also noticed some morally or legally dubious categories of porn which seem to have appeared, I never remember seeing them years ago! (Clarification- I’m referring to mainstream surface web here, nothing dark or sinister)

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