Discussing Past Porn/Lust as a Way to Understand Desires?

    Looking for some advice from the group. My wife and I have a good marriage and I would say a pretty good sex life overall. No major issues, but not a lot of variety, either. One of the areas she’s always struggled in is expressing her desires or interests.  I think there’s two reasons – first, because she doesn’t think about sex as often. Secondly, she doesn’t like the vulnerability of talking about it. An example – when we’ve done discussion questions in the past, she answered many of them with “I don’t know” and “haven’t thought about it.” Obviously, I don’t press her much and we have a very supportive Marriage, so I don’t think it’s in any way related to anything I’ve done that she “doesn’t trust me.”

     

    During our marriage, she’s had a few struggles with porn, nothing consistent, but just times of boredom, etc.  We’re pretty open in confessing to each other, which is good. So, as an example, of her not communicating her desires, she told me once that she doesn’t masturbate, and “never really has.” When I pressed her about it a little, and mentioned “even in the past when you’ve watched porn” she got a grumpy face (knowing that she had to admit that she had) and said “I don’t like where this conversation is going.”

     

    So, recently, a thought popped in my brain that maybe understanding what she’s viewed in the past will give me insights to what turns her on. So similar to the conversation above, a question when we’re discussing desires like “well, what have you watched in the past when you viewed porn?”  

     

    However, neither of us believe porn is permissible, and I’m not sure if bringing up that would, for starters, lead to any discoveries. Or secondly, put her in a head space that she would want to even discuss (see above example once again .). And I’m not even sure desire and what we view in lust/porn are even correlated. 

     

    So – my question is do you all think it a good idea to discuss porn/lust of the past to better understand sexual desires of your spouse? (And more importantly – does anyone think such a discussion would be sinful?)

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    14 Answer(s)

      My DH and I have discussed our watching porn to better understand what we both want. We went years with telling each other “I need to tell you that I watched porn.” but it was “confessional” instead of trying to understand why or what each of us were missing (or what we were afraid to discuss that we wanted). We’d both tell each other and look down without actually discussing why or what we watched. After I had an emotional/physical affair, we are asking more questions and giving deeper answers to one another. I believe that conversation is absolutely necessary.

      The sin is not the desire but the acting on something that is not of the Lord or helpful to the relationship, including watching porn. (I believe watching pornography is a sin, desiring things is not.)

      We now have daily conversations about what we desire and what arouses us. I used to be angry about him watching porn even though I was doing it, too. Our marriage is better because of our honesty and the accountability we now have in place.

      Queen bed Answered on January 10, 2021.
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        If it was a wife asking this question, I would heavily discourage this idea.  Women tend to have more issues with personalizing issues involved with viewing porn and struggle moving past it, not all women, but I have seen this tendency.  With a husband asking it, it may be more dependent on how you are.  Is there anything you might find out that will cause you to have an insecurity that will cause doubts and fears in you?  If it was of things that are clearly out of bounds, how are you on taking your thoughts captive?  Would you be tempted to walk down a path to fulfill sinful desires, if you know your wife has those desires?

        In general, I do think knowing what one looks at and why  will give you an insight on what some desires are…. but the truth is, fantasies often point to much deeper roots than just a “sexual desire”.  For example, forced fantasies often aren’t truly about the desire to be taken by force, it could be rooted in wanting to be noticed, desired and chosen.  It could be around not wanting to be “responsible” for sexual choices.  Often men who have a desire to see their wife with another man, it’s about desiring to see true sexual desire and enjoyment in their wife.  One husband once basically shared, “If I knew my wife had sexual desire, then I would have a hope that it could happen with me, in our marriage.”

        To talk about something like this, will be dependent on your wife.  There are some who are ashamed of their sin and struggle, and they want to stay as far from it as possible, it’s their way of “taking their thoughts captive” and how they are trying to find victory over it, which makes bringing it up and making it the center of attention, something that could be resisted and backfire.

        Under the stars Answered on January 10, 2021.

        I agree!

        on January 10, 2021.
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          This is a tough question, and I think what others have alluded to about it being individualized is certainly true. I do know that in the secular world, it is often encouraged for the man and woman to watch porn together to help understand each other. Obviously, I do not condone that, but I think it’s worthwhile to try to understand why that is often suggested. Personally, I think it’s because fantasies are an intimate part of us that are difficult to share directly, and discussing it in this context makes it less direct.

          Zelda has never expressed interest in what types of porn I watched. She doesn’t watch porn, nor does she masturbate, so I can’t really ask this question in that regard. However, she has read an extensive amount of erotica/romance novels. I’ve asked about it, and I’ve never gotten an answer I could understand. I did watch the first three seasons of Outlander with her, although I suppose that’s pretty much softcore porn, and I didn’t understand the appeal. That’s also her favorite book series, and I read roughly the first 1/3 of the first book, hoping to gain some insight. I still don’t understand the appeal, but reading the book has been very bad for my confidence. This is what @SC was warning about, and I think it’s a legit warning. That book (which I may finish eventually) makes it clear just how short I fall from what Zelda’s (or other women’s) ideal is. In that story, there is the “winner” guy and the “loser”…I’m certainly closer to the “loser”, but he’s still superior to me in pretty much every way! When asked about this, she laughs and says she knows the men are impossibly good and that it’s just fiction. From what I can tell, what’s really desirable in her mind is the attraction the female lead has to the male lead, and that just makes me feel worse…I’ll never be able to instill anything like that into my wife! Is that what she really wants, to have some sort of intense, insatiable, desire for a man? No happening with me.

          Summary–your line of thought has merit, but tread carefully. Some damage may not be undoable.

          -Scott

          Under the stars Answered on January 10, 2021.

          I think what you shared is why it’s important for someone to realize there’s something much deeper than a “sexual desire” a fantasy is often pointing to.    I would guess that if Zelda, and/or you, were willing to dig deeper into what the fantasy truly is, you would see a deeper need/desire that you likely COULD fulfill.

          Here’s an example, often times lead male characters are an “alpha” male type….there are multiple things that could be attractive about that.  For me personally, being protected is a huge deal to me as a Type 6.  The “hero” type is almost always a protector and defender…. even a “beta” male (which is more my husband’s personality) can do things to be that protector and defender, and that would fulfill that need/desire within me.

          on January 10, 2021.
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            Just another point of view:

            An example outside of the bedroom that shares this same response of “I don’t know” & “I haven’t thought about it.” is when a friend asked what I wanted them to bring back from a country they were going to visit. I didn’t know because I had never been there, I had no idea what the options were & hadn’t ever stopped to think about it. I would have had to do some research to be able to give a solid answer.

            The same goes for different things in my MB. I don’t know what my options are & haven’t done research to start thinking about it either.

            When challenged, I have gotten defensive and wanted to ask “How am I supposed to know if I haven’t experienced it or seen an example?” Things don’t randomly pop into my head while going about my day. If I don’t watch porn & stay away from erotic novels where am I supposed to get info from? How can I oil the wheels when I don’t have a clue to go from?  (The boards are now useful for research.)

            So I have started saying that I’m willing to try most everything at least once with the understanding that if it’s really bad/painful/etc that we leave it behind.

            Queen bed Answered on January 11, 2021.

            @Beccaloo, your example was a good  one and makes a lot of sense.  I have a feeling that my DW being the intellectual one who researches everything (I know she has not or would not visit porn ) “knows” about some of the stuff I’d like to try in our marriage bed.  I just don’t know how to move the needle for having her at least  try it once as you suggested.  Good thoughts.  Thanks for sharing.  Definitely helps to have a female perspective.  I’m a lucky man who has a marriage with frequent scheduled sex.  I would just be up to having a bit more variety and adventure, that’s all.  I am pondering all the advice I am being given to see if I want to take the risk, and that is where I am at today.

            on January 11, 2021.

            In the past I do remember my DH asking me to just trust him for a min before making any decision. I’m assuming he was testing out something that was in his head that he didn’t know if it would work in real life or not. I also have been known to just ask if it’s ok if I play for a min, it doesn’t usually lead to anything useful, but I have tried whatever & can move on. I make my kids take 2 thank you bites when they’re given new foods. They’ve already decided they don’t like it before the first bite, so it sometimes takes a second one to change their minds. You could remind her that trying new things isn’t always bad. 🙂 Good luck & I’d say go for it. You give her daily massages, she can give a little too.

            on January 11, 2021.

            And gonna paint her toenails soon, LOL!!!

            on January 11, 2021.

            I am your CHEERLEADER on that one!! 🙂

            on January 11, 2021.

            Yes, I was going to say sometimes “I don’t know” is because ….they don’t know. We don’t know what we don’t know. The problem I have run into more than once is, even understanding this, when I introduce an idea and get the perfunctory “NO”, or worse yet “GROSS!” For many, many years, that has kept me from saying anything. It eventually turns you into a dog waiting around for any scraps to fall. That’s when you gotta make a big choice and make something happen, even if it seems bad at first. Luckily, my DW has started to ease out the doorway a little bit. She bought me a sleeping wedge for Christmas because I battle GERD at night and often sleep propped up on several pillows. (the wedge works pretty well BTW). But before I ever slept on it, Christmas day in fact, I gave her a ride on it from behind. Works EXCELLENTLY I can report. But just a few days later, sex was obviously about to occur and I had gone into the bathroom for a second, and when I returned, she had turned it around with the help of another pillow at her head and was laying on it. I thought to myself “wow, how did she figure out to do that?” I don’t know if she did “research” or just used her own imagination. But somehow she figured it out.

            ….and now she knows two ways…. 🙂

            on January 11, 2021.

            LBD- That is great news!! That is awesome that she tried something new, from buying it to using it in other ways! I really like being able to be the cheerleader on here. 🙂

            on January 11, 2021.
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              Lot’s of good advice already. Basically, there may be some insights gained, maybe. But there are more direct questions with better answers that should be addressed instead. Get behind it.

              Under the stars Answered on January 11, 2021.
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                I’m thinking it’s not a helpful discussion to “what turns her on”. Does it really matter? If watching a threesome turned her on, should you incorporate that into your marriage bed? As Christians, the answer is clear…no.

                The issue is not the porn and getting turned on from it. She may be embarrassed by it….it still may have some draw for her because of some rewriting that it causes.  To me the bigger issues are, what was the draw for her and when it was & what was occurring in your marriage or in her life? Maybe that’s an old life. But if it’s been while married, then what was/is missing in your marriage that created a vacuum for her and drew/draws her to porn.  You said boredom? When? From what? What was your emotional connection and intimacy like? Sexually? Then why not try some new things in place of watching porn? Again, these are questions to ask and answer.  With menopause going on right now, my wife doesn’t think about sex or the desire she had just 2-3 yrs ago but it wouldn’t lead her to watch porn, nor would many women on this website.  That’s why I believe there are bigger issues in play, other influences, other things to be concerned about and discover here.

                There are things you can do to increase variety and activities in your marriage bed. There are Christian apps to help with emotional intimacy and physical activities and intimacy. Pleasure mapping has been talked about here on numerous occasions so there’s plenty of resources. Again, the bigger issue in my opinion seems to be the communication gap between you and your wife and finding out how to bridge that gap is critical to moving forward in your marriage bed and discovering what is or has driven her to porn.

                I would encourage the two of you to incorporate some resources for discussion such as some Christian books on sexuality or maybe a better idea would be to listen to the SEXY MARRIAGE RADIO podcast once a wk and ask what jumped out at you.

                Under the stars Answered on January 10, 2021.
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                  I’m intrigued by your question, not the part about porn but the part about communication, basically the whole first paragraph.  I can relate to that.  I will be interested in other people’s answers.  I don’t think further discussion about what she views on porn is helpful at all.  It is well documented that porn is not good.  But, the question still remains:  Why won’t she discuss / communicate on a deeper level about sex?  It would be so simple if she would just answer your questions.  So, on that one, I’m passing the buck because my struggles here are similar and I am searching for answers too.  However, I know this is hard and on that note, you have an empathetic ear.

                  Fell out of ... Answered on January 10, 2021.
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                    Thanks for the answers.  I think you all make excellent points, some of which were going along with my train of thought, as well.

                    Queen bed Answered on January 10, 2021.
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                      I can relate to “I don’t know”, “never thought about it”, my wife’s standard answer for a lot of things, especially sex.

                      On the floor Answered on January 11, 2021.

                      Yeah, why is that? Mine too.  Honestly, a lot of the advice here while deep did not answer the original question of why can’t our wives just open up about sex.  That’s all I want to know and I don’t want to feel like I’m a pervert if I ask.

                      on January 11, 2021.
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                        @GG (re: to comment) I don’t see that question of “wives ppenong up about sex” AS the original question (very last paragraph of OP.) A wife’s answer is very likely an honest answer, they DON’T know, and they DON’T think about it. We learn more about what interests us, and to many wives, sex and their own sexuality holds very little interest to them….OR the vulnerability that comes with it feels too unsafe and too uncomfortable, and that feeling doesn’t interest them, or it goes even further into “something to avoid”.

                        Under the stars Answered on January 11, 2021.

                        *”OPENING up”…. grrr, crazy phone feature of NOT being able to edit. We won’t talk about how I should proofread. 😉 😀

                        on January 11, 2021.
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