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Pornography: your questions answered
 We get lots of posts about pornography and masturbation. Many of you are worried about what it means if your partner uses pornography, or if masturbation might be reason you’re not getting as much sex as you might like. We’ve had a look at the science behind pornography and the effects it can have on your relationship, and we’ve answered some of your questions below. Is pornography bad for my relationship? This depends on your opinion of it. If you have a problem with pornography in general, then it’s unlikely you’re going to be OK with your partner watching it. This can have a negative impact on your relationship [1]. One way pornography can affect your relationship quality is by diminishing your self-esteem. If you aren’t happy about the idea of your partner using pornography, it can make you feel like you don’t matter in the relationship, or that you aren’t good enough. If you don’t mind pornography, or if your self-esteem is very robust, then it’s less likely to have a negative impact on your relationship [2]. Can pornography reduce sexual desire? Watching pornography doesn’t seem to reduce sexual desire. According to one study, pornography doesn’t take away your sexual urges, so it’s unlikely that this would be the reason a partner seems less interested in sex [3]. For more ideas on why sex might be off the table, check out our tips on being in a sexless relationship. Can we watch pornography together? Several studies have shown that couples who watch pornography together can experience improvements in their sex lives [3] [4]. As a shared activity, it can encourage you to talk about sex, creating a more open atmosphere for you to discuss your sexual desires and fantasies. While it’s important to remember that pornography doesn’t always present a realistic picture of sex, it can sometimes be a springboard for talking about what you like and don’t like [5]. How can we use pornography to talk about our relationship? Be open and honest about pornography. If you like using it, talk to your partner about why. If you don’t like it, let your partner know where you stand. These might not be the easiest conversations to start, but they can have a positive effect on your relationship by allowing you to learn more about each other. This can improve your sex life and may help make your general communication easier – couples who find a way to talk about their sexual desires in this way can even strengthen their relationship quality overall [6]. You may find that starting a dialogue around this helps you to be more open to experimentation, with a more varied and satisfying sex life. You can learn about each other’s likes and dislikes and talk about how happy you both are with the level of intimacy in your relationship [6]. Can’t I just use pornography alone? Yes, you can. However, it’s worth being aware that using pornography alone can lead to a decrease in sexual communication between you and your partner [6]. When sexual activity becomes secretive, sexual communication can too. Is there such a thing as ethical pornography? This is a tricky one, and a good question to ask yourself. While looking at pornography can be a healthy activity within your relationship, it’s important to think about where it comes from. You may not have considered whether the performers were paid for their work or even whether they have consented to do everything you’re seeing. It’s not always easy to find ethical material, or to know the background of the things you do find. One place to start might be the Toronto International Porn Festival, which has strict guidelines around its submission policy and encourages a diversity of sexual interests. It’s up to you and your partner to decide what you think is acceptable but, if you’re unsure about the ethics of a particular piece, the best advice is don’t watch it.   References [1] Maas, M. K., et al. (2018). A Dyadic Approach to Pornography Use and Relationship Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Couples: The Role of Pornography Acceptance and Anxious Attachment. The Journal of Sex Research, 55(6). 772–782. [2] Stewart, D., & Szymanski, N. (2012). Young Adult Women’s Reports of Their Male Romantic Partner’s Pornography Use as a Correlate of Their Self-Esteem, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction. Sex Roles, 67(5), 257-271. [3] Brown, C., Carroll, C., Yorgason, J., Busby, S., Willoughby, J., & Larson, B. (2017). A Common-Fate Analysis of Pornography Acceptance, Use, and Sexual Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Married Couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 575-584. [4] Maddox, A., Rhoades, M., & Markman, G. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. [5] Daneback, K., Træen, B., & Månsson, S. (2009). Use of Pornography in a Random Sample of Norwegian Heterosexual Couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38(5), 746-753. [6] Kohut, T., Balzarini, R., Fisher, W., Campbell, L., Impett, E., & Muise, A. (2018). Pornography’s associations with open sexual communication and relationship closeness vary as a function of dyadic patterns of pornography use within heterosexual relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(4), 655-676.
Article | pornography, masturbation
“My boyfriend lied about his special friend”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Sorry, it’s long! I am 37, separated with no kids and my boyfriend is 31, separated, with two kids from his ex-wife and his first born from a relation he had prior to meeting his ex-wife. We started dating nine months ago… First two weeks were like a fairy tale then he had to leave for work (he works offshore on four weeks rotation). We kept in contact when he was away, and video called each other every day. He came back and we went for a short holiday together, it was when he said I love you first (after just seven weeks). We seemed to be so intertwined with each other. We gave a lot of attention to each other, missed each other etc… It was such a lovely period where we were both falling in love with each other like crazy. He seemed very happy and according to him, the happiest he’s been as he finally found an understanding, beautiful woman who he can be open with. Before we met, after he separated from his wife (he separated seven months before he actually met me, and it was from her side, she stopped loving him, and he was totally devastated) he started going out with his sister (40) and her best friend (48) who is also a family friend. This woman and my bf had built a certain bond between them and they became ‘special friends’. I knew about her and the first time I actually met her during a family wedding, two months into dating, I immediately felt/realised she liked him from the way she greeted me, which was a ‘hi’ and she turned away. When I asked him about it he said that she does have a soft spot for him, but they are just friends. I accepted it and It stopped there. I never told him not to message her or anything… she was just a female friend and he seemed to be head over heals in love with me. Roll on five months from the beginning of our relationship and he went for a guys’ night out with his boy-friends. At a point, in the beginning of the night, he sent me a selfie of him with his two boy-friends, on a table at this particular lounge/restaurant drinking Rose wine. The following day I asked him how the night has been and he briefly explained the night; at a point just mentioned they bumped into his sister and her friend. Five days later I see a picture on FB of his sister with her friend, dining at the same place as him, having rose wine as well, possibly on the same table. I asked him about it and there is where all the lies came coming out. At first he told me they bumped into them and decided to dine with them and later he said that he found out last minute his sister was going out to the same place so decided to join them. (1. please note that this is a busy restaurant and it’s not easy to go and get a table for 5 without reservation, 2. If he had planned to have a guys’ night out, I don’t think it’s on for him to do last minute changes and meet his girl-friends together with his mates) Then, even the details of the night were getting different from what he had briefly explained. I couldn’t believe him and was thinking that he deliberately hid from me since there was this ‘special’ friend of his. He kept on insisting that they are just friends and nothing ever happened between them. Two weeks later he ‘confessed’ after I told him to tell me the truth, that they had agreed upon this night only a day before and he did not tell me because 1. I had other plans anyway, 2. They were planning to go clubbing (just the boys) after they’re done from this lounge. I decided to believe him but my instinct knew there was something I don’t know. When I asked why he didn’t tell me immediately that they met them and dined on the same table and he even sent a picture misleading me, he told me that his ex-wife was very jealous and not understanding and he would hide to her in order not to create any arguments. So, his first reaction was that of hiding, even though there was nothing. After that night, I met this woman twice. First time during a family picnic where she tried to make a fool out of me, being rude to me and ignoring me etc etc.. I spoke to him about it and he got the excuse that she’s like that with everyone especially until she gets to know a person. Then I met her again on his mum’s birthday dinner, we were only five of us on a table and again she totally shut me out. Especially since these incidents happened, I wasn’t happy, I was getting more and more anxious, feeling that there is/was something I really need to know. I asked him to tell me what there is/was between them several times and he always insisted there’s nothing but they’re just good friends. At one point he told me she finds him very hot, another time he told me that they had mutually agreed that they cannot possibly be with each other, at other times he tells me that he isn’t even attracted to her. I couldn’t believe him, I was hearing too many contradictions and lies. For the past 3 months, whenever her name comes up, I used to ask him about her, hear ‘lies’ and get anxious. He couldn’t keep up with my anxiety because it was because of him. He was telling me that there is nothing else that I don’t know and to please stop talking about her as there really is nothing, that this is getting out of hand and that he had nothing else to say or do about her to reassure me. I tried to shut up as much as I could, even though my anxiety was killing me. I wasn’t trusting him. I didn’t want to push him away, nagging about the same thing, but then I couldn’t hold it any longer. Last week I was really anxious and after a conversation about her, I asked him to show me her chats! At first he did not want to, he told me that if he does so, he’s going to resent me, then he told me that by doing so he would go down the same road he was with his wife, and finally he told me ‘ok, I’ll show them to you, but not now, when you are calm because now you will interpret everything wrong.’ He then tried using his mobile, telling me that he’s just scrolling and didn’t want me near him. I knew he was trying to delete messages… At a point I snatched it from his hand and I found out very playful conversations, not every day, but with sexual innuendos. He sent him her selfies and he sent her his pictures including shirtless pics with his abs showing. He told her stuff like, ‘sexy and a naughty devil’s icon’ after one of the selfies. Or once she said something after he sent her a shirtless pics and then he went ‘and I haven’t even touched you’. Or she sends him ‘missing you’ or ‘thinking of you’ or she sends him loads of hearts and kisses and stuff. These mainly happened during the first 3 months of us together. One day, two months into our dating, she texted him in the morning ‘thanks for the surprise’ to which he answered ‘that was my plan, dear. I just landed in…. ’ He was on his way to work and I had just dropped him off at the airport and he had just left me a loving card on my bedside table before he left – when I asked him about it, he couldn’t even remember what the surprise was. It was also very clear there were some messages deleted but he kept on denying this. They also had a video chat on one particular night, when he was off-shore and he was feeling down. I also found out on the messages that they had agreed on that night out, a good 3 weeks in advance! I was mad and furious… I grabbed my bags and left! To be fair, these messages had stopped 3-4 months ago, when this thing of his night out happened and I was suspecting there’s something. Since then, there were only a couple of normal messages (one liners with no hearts and kisses). He is now trying to explain that there was absolutely nothing between them and that is just the way they talk and joke with each other. He told me that he had stopped everything the minute he thought he was going to lose me and he never told me the whole truth because he didn’t want to hurt me or lose me. He was afraid to tell me to go out with them because he knew how she is and wanted us (me and her) to get to know each other before we all go out together. He’s begging me to stay, telling me that he never cheated on me and that he loves me. That he never meant to hurt me and that he’s utterly sorry for what happened and for how he made me feel. He is not eating and sleeping. I told him I need to move on but deep down I don’t know what I should do. What is worrying me the most, is not the kind of relationship they had, even though those were not appropriate messages at all, but the fact that no matter how many times I asked him, no matter how bad with anxiety he used to see me, he never came clean about her. He lied and lied and was never vulnerable enough to come clean. If he did, I would have probably been mad for a short while, tried to understand and appreciate the fact that he’s owning up to his mistakes and perhaps I could see a real man in front of me. But now all I’m seeing is someone who was hiding from me and lying to me! These last three months, he stayed home because the company stopped all contracts and will resume work again in a month. He spent ALL evenings with me, including weekends – it was his decision not to go out with friends at night. We used to sleep together every night, either at his house or at my house. Sometimes he also drove me to work. We were inseparable. We loved being with each other. We did everything together. When he had his kids, once a week, we used to take all 3 of them out to nice places and spaces suitable for them, I loved them and they loved me. He loved that fact and told me plenty of times that I’m much of a better parent then their own mothers. He mentioned several times that he had never received such love and care from his gf and her family. Even though I was trying to build my trust back in him after that incident, I loved him with all my heart and so did my family. Our sex was great and he seemed very happy with me. He used the flaunt me with everyone and tell them I’m the apple of his eye. He told me that I’m now his life and that he won’t live without me. I am now so confused! What shall I do? Shall I forget and go back with him or shall I just move on? He promised me he wouldn’t talk to her anymore, even if it means he opt out of family do’s, because of her. But I’m scared. I’m scared he’d lie to me again if something else is to happen – not just with this woman. Also, I’m thinking that if there really was nothing, what he was doing was to get attention from another woman, which I don’t like, especially considering it was done during the first months, when we were falling in love with each other and when he was telling me the most beautiful of words. I think this is a huge sign of immaturity or that he’s a perv. I’m so confused… I don't think I should consider going back with him. Will I be able to ever trust him again??
Ask the community | someone else, emotional affair
“Why doesn't my husband want me?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been married for 12 years. My husband and I are happy, we do not have a perfect marriage but who does? From the start of our marriage we never had much of a sex life, even as newly weds. We would average maybe four times a month on a good month. He is not very affectionate toward me either. I had never felt attractive in my marriage, I am always the one who initiated sex and most of the time I got turned down. He does not kiss me and never performed oral sex for me at all, but expects it from me every time and sometimes just that for him and nothing at all for me. Later I found out he was watching porn A LOT. This broke my heart, because he never wanted me. About nine years and two sweet daughters later I found out that he was cheating - it was a one night thing. He swore that it meant nothing, in order for me to stay I demanded he tell me eVerything. I also found the other woman and talked to her about it. The stories matched up - apparently the plan was to cheat with her but he could not get an erection despite her best efforts. I asked him if he had kissed her (which he never kisses me) and he had - not only that but because he couldn't perform he gave her oral sex! He never does this for me! Well of course i was very upset and left him. He was devastated and apologised and said he would be a better husband and do all those things for me blah blah blah. So for my children and the fact that I love him we worked it out. He has done much better - he still will not kiss me but he will occasionally do oral. And he is more affectionate and I can honestly see that he is trying more than he ever has. Our sex life was great, 5-6 times a week and much more passion than ever before. But for the past two weeks he has not touched me, despite my attempts. When I asked him about it he said he was just in a down spiral (I forgot to mention he has cycling bi-polar disorder) and that his sex drive decreases when he has a down phase, so i tried to understand and be supportive, but I checked his phone last night and his history was absolutely full of porn! So his sex drive is decreased but he can watch porn and not want to have sex with me? I do not understand this and it makes me feel disgusting! I even offered for us to watch together but he did not want to do that. My body has changed a lot since having our children, and he knows how insecure I am about it. He says my body has nothing to do with it it's just his bipolor decreasing his libido. But i don't know about that seems like if libido was decreased it would be decreased for everything not just your wife, and be perfectly fine for porn. Can anyone help me understand this?
Ask the community | pornography, masturbation, sexless
“Recent widow, now involved in an affair”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband died eight months ago after a two-year fight with cancer. He was my life, my heart, my love. People at work were and continue to be supportive. My best friend, male, has been there every step of the way. I admire him for his loyalty to his wife and kids, and how he treats his family. One day while he was comforting me, he kissed me. I kissed him back and it was all I could think of for the entire weekend. We did kiss off and on, got handsy with each other, and had oral sex...all at work. We did send some racy pictures of ourselves to each other on Snapchat, and flirted via text. He would tell me that his family will always come first and I would not hear from him on nights and weekends (other than the snaps.). He thanked me once for not making his life complicated. He mentioned his guilt several times, worried that I would resent him one day. I told him that I was aware what we were doing. He is very busy with his family, yet would say he would come by to help with equipment, mowing, pool care, etc, but would never show up. I trust this man with all my heart that he doesn't want to hurt me. He would come in on Monday mornings and whisper in my ear that he missed me. He would pull me in for kisses and hugs. Oral sex, but not to completion, was an almost daily event. He finally orgasmed, and the next day the entire mood changed. He blamed his upset stomach for not being romantic...this lasted days. When I finally asked him about it, he said that he felt guilty, that I needed to have patience. I admit that I did pull out of the tricks I have for making him want me more. I want him to want me more, knowing that he will never leave his wife. He is truly one of my best friends who has helped me (even before we were romantically involved) with the grief of my husband's death. I see him every day at work, his office faces mine. I can't imagine working without him by my side. I am trying to act like everything is OK when at work, but it isn't. How could I have two totally different yet totally painful heart breaks in such a short time?
Ask the community | breakups, rejection, cheating
“Haven't had sex in two months”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hello. New to the group here... We have been together, 12 years, my husband says he is very much attracted to me, and basically wants no other. Our sex life, I believe was very good. Porn, not an issue, toys, not an issue, exploring, not an issue. But for him, he has not had an interest in sex in at least two months. Yes I have mentioned it to him. Yes I have said I miss having sex with him. I am a very sexual person. We have had relationship issues in past, but i believed we were past. Apparently not enough to where it has now affected our sex life. He drives trucks and yes i am with him in truck 24/7, but i do go home every 4 weeks for a few weeks to handle appointments. No, he is not one to be a cheater or even consider cheating. I am truly his world and his true love. I just would really like us to have our sex life back. I have even gone to the point of telling him i have my vibrator with me in the showers these days and its not an issue for him where as in the past it would have been. I have lost weight. I am not a big girl, I am a medium size person. I am attractive, so far so say, yes, sexually looking. Just he has no magnetism towards me, and i remember so long ago when we first met, he had his ex-wife living with him, and they were not sexual, that is how i feel at this point. We live together, sleep side by side, and have no sexual contact. But he says he will never be without me. I so desperately want our sex life back...i am a very sexual person and need want my husband... HELP... I'm at a loss here.
Ask the community | sex, communication, sexless
“I have fantasies about someone else”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I really don't understand myself. I hate to admit it to say the truth even to myself. I consider myself a loyal person who doesn't wanna mess around. I want a relationship that works. I'm in a relationship with my first love. We're certain about our future. We're gonna build a family together. However, my mind oftentimes slips away and fantasizes other guys. I always convince myself that it is just a short-time madness, and most of the time it is. The feeling did fade away, but I feel so terrible for my boyfriend. He doesn't deserve this. We always have sweet talks like always. I love the way we are. Stupid and shitty as it is, I am fantasizing my professor. I never have until he appeared in my dream once. I've started to notice him like what the f**k. I've started to lock swift eyes on him. Weird thing is I caught him does the same shit. My mind and my head is a complete mess. I am naturally attracted to good looking guys, but as I say I don't fall in love if my mind does not think about it further. It fades, but when my mind keeps thinking and analyzing shit, it will be messed up. Like what the hell. Normally, my boyfriend and I always share every secret with each other, but this. I don't wanna hurt him cuz it'll hurt me too. I don't share my sheepish stories even with my best friend because I believe time will make everything up for me as it always does. And, another thing is we used to break up once due to some other reasons, but we were back together after a short period of time cuz we couldn't live without one another. But, during that time, I was hurt as hell, but I let myself loose to see good in other guys. Three guys were falling for me. My mind was so conflicted. I had some feelings for them too, but I know deep down I love my bf, so I didn't give them any chances. Why am I always like this? It is so unfair for my bf. I don't wanna be like this too, but I can't stop my messy head oftentimes. I just wanna release my thoughts. Keeping it to myself makes it hard on me. I would like to hear other people's stories too.
Ask the community | someone else, emotional affair
“Unrequited for 12 years”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My situation is ridiculously unusual. I am in a platonic loving partnership with a man for the past 12 years or more. No sexual contact exists between us because he has had no experiences yet plenty of rejection by girls when he was growing up. I have tried various ways to work through the the physical stuff yet simply hit a brick wall. I am immensely very attractive and very giving of my self to him in all other ways despite still having my own strong feelings for a man I knew - 12 years ago or more. This man isn't married yet in a long term relationship with a woman, he also has a strange complex relationship with his sister and likes to seduce young men to engage in sexual activities with him. He doesn't know that I know all of this yet am pretty certain his wife knows something yet way too protective of the falsehood family he appears to embrace. Whilst I haven't gone all out to let him know my feelings entirely nor to his wife, he has gone all out to let me know that he still likes me - can't say how because anyone could read my post and link stuff together. His attraction to me isn't superficial and does have history - never slept with him, yet the opportunities always there and both of us shared a meaningful, somewhat deeper human connection, his wife sort of figured out something was 'going on' yet nothing at all physical, despite him making physical gestures and comments that he wanted to make out with me. Over the past 12 years we now only bump into one another and still those feelings are mutual yet unexplored. Every time he sees me, beeps his horn at me etc.... He is locally known by a lot of people and runs a tenancy business . I love my partner wholeheartedly and never once cheated on him, yet these unexplored feelings for this other man plague my life - he is surrounded and protected by others, not because of me, yet because of other things I can't go into. I guess I am attracted to danger, who knows?
User article | someone else