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#424548 - 02/07/13 02:27 AM PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :(
LoveMyMan Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 5
So I'll try to sum this up so it doesn't go on for pages (ugh!). My husband was sexually abused from ages 10-16 by a group of men led by his adoptive father. The difference is that he was forced to have sex (among other things) with other kids his own age. All girls except one boy who was transgendered (an issue he is still trying to resolve because he loved "her" too and this really messes with him). The group total (of kids) was about 15 people and for the last few years of this abuse, they were forced to have sex orgies as a large group for the most part (with the girls being given drugs -- ecstasy mostly). The adults got involved some, and when it was only 2 kids at a time (my H and one of the girls) closer to the beginning it got pretty violent for a while.

My H struggles with feeling like a rapist for his interactions with the girls and a deep hatred for the men in control, and the fact that over the course of 6 years he fell deeply in love with these other kids. Over the years (and right after it all came out in the open) several people committed suicide and he never tried to maintain a relationship with any of them after it was over, even though he describes the loss of the girls as having multiple spouses die on you at the same time. Same level of grief. He definitely associates sex with manipulation and pain and control and his pleasure during sexual situations with causing someone else pain. Needless to say this has caused MANY problems between the two of us with him constantly rejecting my advances over the years.

Ok here's the thing: in the last year or so, he has "practiced" (for lack of a better term) masturbating as a way to explore himself sexually and to try to turn the negative associations of being sexually aroused into something positive and safe. I get all of this, but the thing is that the amount of porn he looks at/watches just really gets to me after a while. It's like, every SINGLE day I'm finding "used" shirts and zillions of naked pictures on the computer. He'll do this almost 7 days a week but never seems to be that interested in having sex with me. We've never been celibate (although we've never had a booming sex life either). It just seems like he's looking at all this stuff and masturbating like crazy and I'm not noticing any improvements from it.

It hurts me and adds to my feelings of rejection that he looks at so many different women all the time and doesn't seem to get so aroused by me. That he can masturbate 6 days a week but not have sex with me once. If I try to (gently and respectfully) bring it up that it bothers me, I get met with hostility and him telling me that it's "normal" and that he's just doing it to try to help, and then I wind up feeling like a total asshole which makes me mad b/c *I'm* the one who's feeling were hurt in the first place.

Can anyone explain to me more thoroughly WHY looking at porn helps? In any other relationship, the girl would be justified to be mad, but I don't get to be. And I don't want to be. I want to be supportive and to not care that he's doing it. I want to be what he needs, but I can't find a way to NOT be hurt by his actions. PLEASE PLEASE someone tell me something that will give me peace about this so I can see it from his point of view! Why does he need to think about *other* women instead of me to get better?

Along the same lines, he told me last year that he felt like he wanted to explore being sexual with other women besides just me. He felt that he was polyamorous and I've always wanted to explore having a relationship with women. We were pursuing someone for the both of us, but now are trying more to find our own things. I want an actual relationship, but after I suggested we look separately, he's changed his outlook to find more "flings" to have instead. He said he just wants the other experiences and he wants to learn about himself that way and bring it back to our relationship to better things with me. I understand the poly thing. REALLY. I think it's an awesome idea that I hope comes to fruition some day (a triad preferably), but this new outlook bothers me. Why does he need to have sex with other women in order to be ABLE to have uninhibited sex with me?

I didn't want this to be this long, but also didn't want to make two separate posts with most of the same info. I will be ETERNALLY grateful to anyone who can help me with either of these topics. I desperately want to do the best thing I can for him and understand and give him what he needs. I wouldn't feel hurt or mad if I could just understand the thought process better. Thanks in advance!!!

#424552 - 02/07/13 03:14 AM Re: PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :( [Re: LoveMyMan]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
Hello LoveMyMan,

Take hope, you have found a place that has these answers in the experiences of survivors, professionals and supporters.

Abuse is not sex. Sexual activity is not intimacy in a relationship. A relationship IS abuse in the throes of surviving. We are taught in school, with healthy adults and in our friends stories about their parents what is a "normal" relationship. We are also controlled and abused, assaulted, coerced violently or subtly with threats, promises or a mixture of both.

What he is trying to find he needs to find by himself. Recovery teaches us that male survivors will find their own answers. What he needs is firm boundaries. "You will not go this far", "I cannot do that", "this hurts me". Boundaries can be the difference in continued support, rescuing or isolation. This is for you, not him, not now anyway. What you are willing to do, NOT be talked into beyond your comfort is what you need to STOP at, and go no farther.

Porn and masturbation release dopamine into the body. Dopamine is among the strongest chemicals found in the body and create a need for it, especially among child sexual abuse survivors who have come to know this chemical before their cognitive abilities can reason on it's effects within. It is a drug, one that is "hooked" and withdrawn, but the survivor is the only one who can finally find that release. Please see the link in my signature line about HUGS over porn below.

A survivor will masturbate and have flings, hook ups and casual sex, because that creates dopamine, it gives him a fix, a release from the controls of the abuse, a quick "upper" to overcome destructive thoughts and feelings. He cannot have sex with you, because he may feel he is abusing you, as he once did to others in his mind. He did not of course, he is innocent, but he is trapped in surviving.

That is enough for now, dear supporter. Please read the link, please follow the link and read the thoughts of other survivors about porn, please find a support group like CODA, Co Dependents Anonymous to find your boundaries should you need them.

Keep posting, reply to the shares and advice here, keep seeking relief for you and your survivor,

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#424580 - 02/07/13 08:41 AM Re: PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :( [Re: LoveMyMan]
confusion4life Offline

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
looking at porn does NOT help, its just that he is addicted to porn. read on addiction to porn. in fact there are a lot of survivors who say porn and masturbation fight their depressions. well they dont. they just find a really good reason not to give up their fantasy world.
your husband is fantasizing. these fantasies are a result of the horrible abuse he had to go thru.
if you want to be in one boat with him, ask him to be honest about his fantasy world. what really really is inside his mind.
he doenst have sex with you, because he is dissociative, cant stay real and has slipped into the fantasy world. the porn addiction is just one result of that.
you need to ask him to become honest with you. thats very important. he is hiding a lot of mind cinema in front of you.
he can have full control in his fantasy, but not when he has sex with you. that dosent mean you should forget yourself and let him control you, that wont work as well. he needed the fantasy world when he was small, now he has it because he feels safe in it.
his whole sexualization is sick and his body was tortured and he cant take it that he doesnt have full control. so you are not interesting for him sexually. you do stuff like e.g. touching him and he gets numb because he doesnt feel safe. and funny enough, he knows he makes you unhappy with it, but he really protects you in a sick way.
your husband basically sexualizes each and every part of his life, his days and nights. and he doenst just masturbate since one year. he just decided to tell you this one year back because you probably said something like: at least try to masturbate, maybe then our sex life also comes back. he has masturbated and fantasized since he was a kid and it never stopped. get him to at least be honest to you, because you are kept in clouds on one side but made co-dependent on the other. be careful, this is traumatizing also for yourself.

wish you really all the best!
everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

#424652 - 02/08/13 02:41 AM Re: PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :( [Re: LoveMyMan]
LoveMyMan Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 5
Thank you all for the feedback. Sam, I'm reading the links you gave me over and over and your post as well. Really trying to internalize a lot of it and get what I can from it.

Anyone else have any thoughts? I'm really not trying to hate on the porn watching or get him to quit. He's even used the phrase recently that it's really frustrating for him when I bring the topic up because a lot of the time he has to force himself to start looking at it anyway, and feeling guilty about me on top of everything just makes it worse. He said that masturbating is something that's embarrassing and difficult for him and he's just trying to explore on his own so he can feel more comfortable in his own skin. I truly believe him. I've read plenty of stories of other survivors who say similar things and I wholeheartedly believe them. I know he's just trying to get more comfortable with his own body and sexuality.

I guess my fundamental question is a difference between men and women in general. When I masturbate, I'm thinking about him, nobody at all, or maybe Johnny Depp (lol). I don't use porn or random people to drive the process. I guess I don't understand the thought process behind needing to look at so many people all the time and why he can't just look at pictures of me (believe me, he's got access to plenty of them!) or make up something in his head.

Is it because guys really are SO much more visual than girls? He looks at pictures WAY more than movies, so the sound and "action" don't even seem to be as important as the still images. Is it because of the anonymity of people he doesn't know? Is it the high of someone different every day?

See but then to relate it back to "trying to feel more comfortable with his own sexuality" is it a control thing? He can see their pictures and think whatever he wants and stop and start it as he wants? He can walk away without anyone getting hurt or mad? In the movies he would see something that he really wasn't controlling either, so maybe that makes the pictures better?

To clarify, we *do* have sex, it's just a lot more rare than I want it to be. Sometimes we'll have sex twice in the same week. Usually we'll go 2 weeks or more in between. This is still a major improvement from several years ago, but it's frustrating because I'm such a sexual person. If it were up to me, we'd be doing it damn near every day!

#424659 - 02/08/13 04:16 AM Re: PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :( [Re: LoveMyMan]
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
Yeah, I can see where he is coming from. I'm a female survivor, and I have used porn for this purpose and I can imagine a man might as well.

For me, no other person involved = much much safer. I'm in control, I can go at my own pace, look at what I want, stop when I want, and don't have to worry about "performing" or feeling embarrassed or ashamed in front of someone.

It gives me freedom to explore what I like or don't like, and that is huge. It's hard to be in charge of our own sexuality when we don't even know what we like or what we want. My partner would ask me what I wanted, and I wouldn't know how to answer. When I started looking at porn, it was the first time in my life that I felt total freedom to choose what I wanted sexually. I could choose to click on some pictures and not others. At first I chose randomly but over time I started to notice that I am aroused by certain things more than others. I could take my time and pay attention to my body. I started to develop a picture of who I am as a sexual being.

I also have a lot of shame around sex and bodies on a visceral level due to my abuse, and porn has helped normalize those things, as bodies are presented so frankly and matter of factly, without shame or embarrassment. They are just bodies, it's just an act and doesn't have to be this horrible shameful damaging thing, nor does it have to be a perfect joyous union of souls, it can just be fun and natural and not a big deal. For me that message has been healing.

Also on a more serious note, it has allowed me to explore some darker feelings without judgement or embarrassment. Things that I don't necessarily want to do in real life but I can explore it safely in my head. I think this is where some people may take it too far and it can become a destructive thing, but for me it's just been a tool for exploration and not a destination. And I've started to try to incorporate some safe elements into my relationship with my partner.

I do think porn can be a tool in healing but it's going to be different for each person, and for some people it may not be healthy at all. I am only speaking for my own experience.

#424740 - 02/09/13 02:15 AM Re: PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :( [Re: LoveMyMan]
LoveMyMan Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 5
WOW mmfan!! That's just what I needed to hear smile You're echoing almost exactly what he's been saying to me over the last year or so. It helps to hear it coming in different words from different people and to see that the thought process is normal and helps.

Anyone else have a positive experience with porn helping? I think reinforcing that it's normal and helpful is just what I need.

Relating it to my second question, do you think the idea of hooking up with random people is kind of the same concept? He's always telling me how he doesn't have a "type" and that he can "find something attractive about almost anyone" because he was constantly being forced into these sexual situations with different girls. He wasn't allowed to have a "type" because he had to be with anyone they put in the same room with him and he felt obligated to help all these other girls out by trying to make them feel as safe and loved as possible despite the situation. I wonder sometimes if he fights himself on having a "type" because he'll feel that he's retroactively betraying one of them? Maybe he's trying to figure out what the hell his "type" really is and he feels that looking at porn isn't enough to answer those questions?

#424742 - 02/09/13 02:37 AM Re: PLEASE give me some insight! I hate being mad :( [Re: LoveMyMan]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
If real sex / touch triggers him with memories of abuse, it may feel safer to him to use porn. Especially if in his triggered state he might be unable to perform and fears embarrassing himself and disappointing you.

But since the situation isn't changing, it is clear the porn isn't helping.

However... him wanting to open up the relationship to other women seems to contradict that, since it's more touch / sex. Then again, lots of guys have those desires, it's just that most know well enough to keep their mouths shut! He may have voiced what is a "normal" male secret desire due to a lack of proper inhibitions / limits created by the SA.

The hundreds and hundreds of pictures thing is not specific to him... when you watch enough porn, that is explicit enough, for long enough, you start to need to see the action take place faster, with more variety. That's why one of the most popular formats in online porn recently is "compilation" vids, each an hour or more but made of hundreds of spliced together vignettes just a few seconds each. There have been articles describing this. If taken as part of an otherwise satisfying relationship, then it doesn't mean anything except that he's seen somewhat more porn than average and gotten desensitized to it. But... if he's way too "hands off" concerning you, then it's just another symptom of the underlying problem.

At the risk of sounding corny, have you tried a "date night" but with slightly more "pre-sexual" and "semi-sexual" behavior than is usually socially acceptable? Make subtle innuendo remarks, talk about what youd like to do and where, text him pictures or promises... show him that you're better and more exciting than some 2-D pixel girl. Just a suggestion - it might create a porn-ish atmosphere in his mind, if that's what he needs.

I must say that even as a hypersexual and pro-porn guy, even I think the above suggestion ought to be beneath your dignity - because it's being done out of desperation to entice him after he keeps neglecting you. He's really not treating you right but you know why. The above suggestion just might reset your presence onto his wavelength... and then hopefully lay groundwork for the relationship to get more casual, natural, and unscripted.

Sorry if it sounds dumb, it's the only thing I can think of to help.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny


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