When is it Appropriate During Sex?

Dear Neil: “My husband has an addiction to porn. At 70, he even makes things to have sex with. I told him he was ruining my sex life, but he says he doesn’t care. I think he’s a sick person.  He’s always on the make for some woman-every woman he sees he stares at, and I’ve heard him ask one if she was trying to get him excited.

I would like to know if he is beyond help, and if I should leave him. We have a nice home and enough money to keep us well off, but I can’t stand this sneaky man. He hides books and tapes all over.  Is there any help?


Dear Wisconsin: Read on: 

Dear Neil: “I recently discovered that my partner of eighteen months has been buying Penthouse. While I can understand the visual stimulation issue men seem to have, it still makes me feel inadequate, insecure, and quite frankly, disgusted. I always thought I was open minded, but this has really upset me. Why would a man in a satisfying sexual relationship with a real person want to look at pictures of other women’s genitals (and worse, masturbate and fantasize while doing so)?” 

New Zealand

Dear Wisconsin and New Zealand: We all want to be the object of our lover’s adoration. Most people want their partner’s to (figuratively) drool over them, finding them irresistibly desirable, sexy and appealing. This is precisely what disturbs women so much about men using visual aides (magazines, pictures and videos), which frequently include images of young, beautiful, well-built naked models, and which many women feel inadequate when compared against.

Some people find sex too close and intimate, so they find ways to make the experience less personal. Sex with a magazine, video or toy is intimacy at a distance, which means that it’s safer. Making love is about giving to, receiving and interacting with another person. Masturbating, for most men, is about fantasizing sex with an ideal (and usually unreachable) person.

Men tend to need a higher degree of visual stimulation around the sexual act. If a man is not highly visually stimulated by his wife or lover, perhaps there are ways to improve the situation without hurting her feelings; by buying her sexy lingerie, proposing more creative positions, or focusing on some lovely aspect to her body.

You might try bringing a feather to bed (it’s very erotic to receive a feather massage), or even a can of whipped cream that you can spray on her and then lick off.

Above all, if you’re a man, avoid doing or saying things that will hurt a woman’s feelings or injure her ego.

There are some larger questions we could ask about this subject: when is masturbation appropriate and when is it inappropriate in a committed relationship? Is it acceptable during sex to have fantasies of other people? When are graphic aides, like videos or pictures appropriate, and when are they inappropriate?

One other point. Blatantly disloyal behavior, like flirting with other people, and especially in the presence of your spouse, hurts most people. Unless you have an agreement otherwise, it is always a destructive, painful and wounding behavior. Fantasizing about a stranger who thinks you’re fabulous is one thing, but acting upon it is another. If your husband is coming on to other women, tell him how that makes you feel, and ask him to stop. If he will not such behavior, the two of you need to see a marriage therapist immediately.

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