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Topics - Emerald Blue

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Video on Gaslighting
« on: October 12, 2017, 03:20:33 AM »
This is a talk by a woman who experienced gaslighting in childhood from her mother. It’s still worth watching. It’s only 12 minutes long.

https://youtu.be/v4P2Qwh1QCU

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This issue is a recurring one I read of/hear about over and over. I've only ever read of one account where a partner stated that her husband's porn addiction had no impact on her self esteem in this respect, but that's not usually the case. We're also supposed to be reassured by the old "it's not personal" platitude but that doesn't really provide much solace for the majority of partners, so I'm trying to figure out how this issue is experienced by partners and what helps us to overcome it. So, as much as a recovering addict might explain that their behaviour wasn't "personal", our feelings would also suggest that recovering a healthy body image isn't dependent on someone giving us their approval. You could say that our recovery isn't "personal" either — in a mirror/opposite sort of way.

Here are a few thoughts and experiences of my own:

-  Recovering a more positive body image came from self acceptance
-  My negative feelings about my body were a reflection of my dwindling self esteem
-  My lack of self esteem in my relationship came from the emotional distance
-  My husband had lost all interest in having sex with me as his addiction progressed, and his lack of interest felt like a personal judgement, especially when I knew he had a regular date with porn
-  Those negative beliefs were internalised and I began to confuse feelings with facts
-  Regardless of what my reflection looked like, I only saw an image of a woman that "nobody wanted"
-  Negative self image is a self perpetuating downward spiral fuelled by the habit of thinking negatively

On recovery:
-  Recovery requires a lot more that compliments
-  Recovery comes out of self compassion and self care
-  No one "makes" us recover
-  Self esteem comes from taking the decision to treat ourselves better
-  We are entitled to eat well, to wear nice clothes, to manicures or bubble baths or whatever we need to help us feel good about being who we are
-  We are entitled to health care and dental appointments
-  We are free to seek counselling, therapy and/or emotional support, as needed
-  Our sexuality is an innate part of our being. We don't need permission to own it.
-  Our sexual recovery is as much a part of our individual recovery as it is part of our relationship's recovery
-  We are free to explore and experiment with our sexuality. Remember, we are not porn
addicts (or sex addicts). Oftentimes a partner needs to reawaken her sexual desires, which is the opposite of compulsion/addiction/habitual sexual behaviours
-  We are entitled to sexual pleasure, which is as much a bodily experience as an emotional one

I'm not saying I know it all or that I have recovered from the quite devastating effect of my partner's porn addiction on my body image. I feel like I'm only just beginning to make sense of it. My question throughout has been "if I was not in this relationship (with a porn addict), how would I feel about myself?"  Once you break away from wanting "approval" it becomes about how you feel about yourself and steeling yourself against all the fickleness of "novelty" or being "hot" or "sexy", and all the garbage that comes with the porn territory.

Please share your thoughts and experiences. It would be good to know about the impact porn addiction has had on how we saw ourselves and how we may have recovered or at least found better and healthier perspectives.




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To assess whether your partner is a porn/sex addict, Paula Hall, author of Sex Addiction: The Partner's Perspective, suggests that your partner answers the following questions.  If your partner can answer yes to five or more of these questions, he may well have an addiction to porn or sex.

1. Does your sexual behaviour have a negative impact on other areas of your life such as relationships, work, finances, health, and professional status?

2.  Does your sexual behaviour contradictory personal values and potentially limit your goals in life?

3. Have you tried to limit your sexual behaviour stop it altogether, but failed?

4. Are you more tempted to engage in sexual behaviour when you're experiencing difficult feelings such as stress, anxiety, anger, depression or sadness?

5. Are you secretive about your sexual behaviours and fearful of being discovered?

6. Do you feel dependent on your sexual behaviour and struggle to feel fulfilled with any alternative?

7. Have you noticed that you need more and more stimuli or risk in order to achieve the same level of arousal and excitement? 

8. Do you find yourself struggling to concentrate on other areas of your life because of thoughts and feelings about your sexual behaviour?

9. Have you ever thought that there might be more you can do with your life if you weren't so are you sexual pursuits?

10. Do you feel as if your sexual behaviour is out of your control?

11. Do you currently, or have you in the past, struggled with any other addictions, compulsive behaviours are eating disorders, such as drug or alcohol addiction, compulsive gambling, gaming, work or exercise, or collecting?

12. Has anyone in your family currently or in the past, struggled with any addictions, compulsive behaviours were eating disorders such as those listed above?

Bearing in mind that Paula Hall is a sex addiction therapist who deals with the entire spectrum of sexual behaviours, most of us here are partners of porn addicts who have never progressed to full blown sexual addiction. Paula Hall considers porn addiction to be a subset of sexual addiction so it's equally valid to ask these questions in the context of porn use.

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https://youtu.be/iHLUBtReFLg

This is the interview with Alison, ex partner of a sex/porn addict who is launching her radio show Butterfly Nation this weekend.

I'm always wary of speaking of sex addiction as being the same as porn addiction, because they're usually not. As I understand it, the overwhelming majority of porn addicts are not sex addicts, but we still experience a similar sense of relationship betrayal.


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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Podcast: Porn Free Radio ep. 111
« on: August 04, 2017, 10:55:41 AM »
http://pornfreeradio.com/111-the-top-3-lies-partners-believe-with-hope-ray/

This episode deals with a few of the myths that partners sometimes get caught up in.

As I understand it, Porn Free Radio is a faith-based project but you don't need to share their faith to listen, and I wasn't aware that anything to do with faith was mentioned in this podcast. I mention this just in case people are put off.

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https://raestorybook.com/2017/03/08/pornography/

An interesting article, a little bit different from the usual take on porn's toxic influences on relationships, and the partners of porn users in particular.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Live call-in show for partners
« on: July 28, 2017, 10:40:23 AM »
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thebutterflynation

The first show is on 5 August at 3pm Eastern Central Time.

I discovered this through listening to an interview with Alison, an ex partner of a sex addict, on the most recent podcast at The Mindful Habit, which is a resource for porn and sex addicts. The details are on her website at https://www.thebutterflyhabit.com/#/thebutterflynatiojn/

I don't live in the US and my search for Eastern Central Time comes up with either Eastern Time or Central Time, so I don't really know what time that is where I am (GMT +1) but I'm
hoping that I can listen online. It's good to know there is more support and information for partners, and more partners and ex partners are telling it like it is.

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http://theinstituteforsexualhealth.com/thirteen-dimensions-of-sex-addiction-induced-trauma-sait-among-partners-and-spouses-impacted-by-sex-addiction/

This article, although a bit academic and jargon-y, is actually very good at describing the various facets that we as partners will experience from discovery onwards. Although it has been written about the partners of sex addicts, I agree with Paula Hall that porn addiction is a subset of sex addiction and the experience of partner trauma is very similar.

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https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/1100949/labiaplasties-fix-camel-toe-forever/amp?client=safari

What a disturbing trend. So much of this crap is direct influence of porn on women's lives. So now we have to pretend that we don't have a vagina? These pornographic ideals about women are all about making adult women less adult, and have less visible female characteristics. Other than large breasts, of course, hence the demand for boob jobs (but that's another story).

I remember reading elsewhere on this forum about a man who started talking about the effect that women in yoga pants have on him, and if I remember correctly, possibly another man joined in with his own "me too" scenario.

I don't know about any of you here, but these days it feels absolutely horrible being a woman with all this crap permeating the culture and getting everywhere. Is there any part of a woman's body which is no longer subject to scrutiny?

And what gives men the right, what gives men permission, to scrutinise a woman's body parts, as if it's all laid out on a butcher's slab? I don't buy into this "choice" and "empowerment" crap. How many men are spending thousands of Euro/dollars/GBP on fixing their "bits"? Not many. Yet another reason why I hate porn. It is fucking tyrannical, the lengths that women are expected to go to just to be acceptable. Not beautiful, not healthy, but *acceptable* in an increasingly pornified culture.

If any men are reading this and they are guilty of doing searches on porn sites by body parts or physical characteristics then SHAME ON YOU. you played your part in creating this tyranny. I hope you are now sufficiently enlightened to call out other men when they do this sort of "body parts" scrutiny on women's bodies.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Porn addiction and sex addiction
« on: February 01, 2017, 12:33:46 PM »
I believe that porn addiction is at one end of the spectrum of behaviours which could be described as "sex addiction" behaviours. I don't believe that all porn addicts are a sex addicts though. I do actually believe that porn addiction can bring to the fore and underlying vulnerability to sex addiction, and I also believe that internet pornography can be the very first stage of sex addiction behavior.

Some people start to cross their own boundaries after using internet pornography for many years. Something triggers them. It may well be the mess they have created in their own relationship or other difficulties in their life. People are exposed to ads for webcam sex, and clicking around online searching for something new or different can end up with someone viewing escort sites, looking up strip club venues, dating and hookup apps, etc. I'm not saying that these things just appear on the computer screen innocently by themselves. There is a certain amount of deliberation involved. But something can, in some cases, trip switch to seek the new thrill.

My partner claims not to have done anything more than just porn, despite a previous history of visiting strip bars. Although I accept this, I accept it on the balance of probability and not as an absolute statement of truth. For now, he has the benefit of the doubt, and that is the best I can do. So I'm not specifically talking about personal experience here but what I have learned from delving into the topic of porn addiction and inevitably sex addiction as there is s certain degree of overlap.

We know that even on this forum some men have crossed the line from porn addiction into other ways of acting out. Statistically speaking, some partners will be living with porn addict who had gone beyond porn. The question I used to ask myself during my partner's porn addiction was what would happen when he grew bored with "just" porn? It was very true that porn eventually made him unhappy. It was true that we had lost our emotional intimacy as a consequence of his porn habit and that had created a distance between us. He had successfully concealed his strip bar visits from me in the past, so he knew that the chances of being found out acting out elsewhere were remote. By the time his porn addiction was creating unhappiness for him, I sensed an escalating distance between us. So I would say that he was more vulnerable to looking for "something else". I'm not saying he DID anything else. Just that there are stages in porn addiction. Porn addiction escalates. Sometimes into extreme genres – and he didn't like extreme genres, I know that – but it can also escalate into a new outlet, and that can be further along the continuum of sex addiction.

I'm just throwing this one out as something to think about. I'm definitely NOT saying all porn addicts are sex addicts, nor do I want to scare anyone into suspecting their partner has a full blown sex addiction. It has to be said however that technology does make it easier than ever to cross those boundaries that in the past one may never consider.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Unavailability
« on: January 26, 2017, 01:07:36 PM »
This just dawned on me today. We have all heard that our partners porn addiction was not a judgement on us. We are told "it's not personal". Eventually we reach an understanding that it's not about us.

But how often have we heard, and been told, "you weren't available". Even when I found porno mags a year or so before we got online, the excuse was that I hadn't been well. Right from the beginning, that was the first excuse he gave me. I was unavailable so he had porn instead. After he could watch internet porn at home, and after d day, the excuses were: I was asleep when he had the urge so he used porn. I was working late so he used porn. I was studying in the evenings, so he used porn. I lost interest in having a sexual relationship with him, so he had porn. Always, always, always it was down to my unavailability. So, porn was his substitute for sex. According to the way he tried to account for his behavior.

Ultimately I was unavailable and I had given up on having a sexual relationship but that was because he showed very little interest, when I did make an effort he'd turn me down and eventually he couldn't function and I'd just lie there alone, feeling unhappy after failed sex, while he went off to sleep without reassuring me or anything really. I mean, there's only so much of that any woman can take. No-one is going to throw themselves into rejection and failure, especially sexual rejection as it's felt so deeply.

But today I realised, all along it was my supposed unavailability that was the catalyst. I know that like many men he didn't see how his porn use could possibly change anything. Think about it! We ALL know something is off. We almost always pick up some sort of shift or change even when we can't find a rational explanation. Of course it changes things.

I'm actually finding the realisation that he almost always found a way of excusing his porn habit because of my lack of availability to be somewhat traumatic. It's also an example of how we act and react to each other's adjustments to the escalation of the addiction and the deterioration in the relationship.

Now when I remember his "reasons" I see them as excuses. He used the times when I was out or busy or asleep or unwell as opportunities to act out and justified his behavior by saying it's because I wasn't there!

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Does it make your skin crawl?
« on: January 17, 2017, 02:19:27 PM »
One of the most distasteful aspects of my husband's porn use was the age of the women he objectified and masturbated to. Even the porn subs were women who were over 30 years younger. It creeps me out. Even when watching TV, the actresses he starts salivating over or if we're in a coffee shop or wherever, it's inappropriately young women he seems to fix his gaze upon.

When I was younger I always found the attention of older men to be way too creepy and pervy, like there was something not right going on in their heads. I mean, what for? They probably had wives and kids who were my age or older. There was no chance I'd ever go on a date with them, I mean there was no chance of a conversation in the first place. But there was this creepy looking at me that freaked me out. Later on, as a middle aged woman one day I realised "OMG, I'm married to THAT guy?"

This may seem odd but him ogling at those SI swimwear edition types of 'model' creeped me out far more than the porn. I don't know why exactly. I think it's more creepy and voyeuristic, especially when these are women over 30 years younger than him. Less than half his age. Some of the porn too but with porn it is what it says on the can. The intention is obvious. Having said that, the porn women were also significantly younger than him. In real life almost all young women of that age would run a mile or be grossed out. We all know this because I'm guessing we've all experienced it. It's ending up being married to "that" guy that's the unsettling thing.

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I know we all have different ways of experiencing the betrayal from our partner's porn use. Some say it's an infidelity and others say it's not exactly a true infidelity, but it's still a betrayal and it still hurts. I saw it as "infidelity lite" I suppose, not because it doesn't hurt (it does) but because it it doesn't have the complications of a real life affair or real life sex encounters including emotional attachment, the planning of the meet ups, the meticulous deception on their part and/or the utter naive stupidity on our part that our partner would never do such a thing, STIs, pregnancy risks, and just the sheer extent of the betrayal, because infidelity doesn't just strike out of the blue. A lot of preparation, conscious or unconscious, goes into creating the conditions where it "just happened". I mean, even a massage parlour is never just "I was curious. I just walked in. I didn't really know what went on there".

I have a big problem weighing on my mind, since before d day if I'm honest. It's the suspicion of physical infidelity. I never suspected who or when or where. Even as I'm thinking about it, I'm thinking that there may have even been more than one infidelity situation.

Some aspects of his behavior were not on my radar. I used to believe in all that BS that I would intuitively know if anything was going on but I know that is not the case. I also discovered after d day how he could lie so easily and convincingly. The result is that I know that I've only ever had a slow trickle of partial discovery and minimal disclosure. Everything else would depend on his honesty and I don't believe he ever can be honest. I've always tried to draw a line under what I know and accept that I will never know the full story.

It's really difficult living this way. Whenever I asked about his fidelity I don't think I ever had a straight answer. From nervous laughter to moral outrage, from asking me to define what unfaithful means (as if he doesn't know what the word means!) to statements protesting his moral character, I never got a straightforward denial. I don't know what but I know he did something. A few of the women here have believed their partner's version of honesty only to find out there was more - and worse - to come.

The thing is, I don't know what to do. So do I make peace with my own mind because I KNOW that I won't learn anything from him? He will insist I know "everything" but we've all heard that one before. I mean, I did – and it didn't turn out to be the case.

A lot went wrong in our relationship but I don't want to be living a lie. I'm torn. If I was to find out about something that went on, say that involved someone I was in good terms with, someone I never suspected, someone at his place of work, or whatever, then what? Even if it was a casual hookup, or "ships that pass in the night"', would the devastation be too great to deal with? Would I be kicking the hornet's nest? Would my determination to learn what was really going on drive us apart forever? Could I handle it?

It's a horrible feeling not knowing what the reality of my situation is? As I said, he could never give me a straight answer when I raised the matter. You know, why not just deny it if it didn't happen? Why the nervous laugh? Why parrot my question word for word? Why become outraged at my asking, especially after evading the question and stalling for time? I know a lie when I see one and hear one. But I can't prove anything. He knows these are matters he can only disclose and experience has taught me that he says nothing and denies everything if he can.

At the root of this is porn addiction. I believe it is the "gateway drug" for some. It puts a distance between people and there are so many opportunities that begin with an internet search. The bottom line is that I don't have any idea. Sometimes I think I'm crazy when I think this way, other times my gut tells me I'm right about something not quite adding up.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Happy Holidays
« on: December 23, 2016, 07:20:42 AM »
Wishing everyone a happy festive season X

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Chronically damaged self-confidence
« on: December 01, 2016, 07:53:40 PM »
I'm getting fed up with carrying the ton weight of the damage my partner's porn use did to my self esteem.

How I feel isn't based on anything objective or factual. It's what HIS very long term porn addiction did to how confident and assured I feel *within my relationship. If I look at the situation from another perspective, I don't think I'd have all these anxieties about my sexual confidence, my age, my appearance and all the rest. We all know that being in a relationship, when it's healthy, means that you can allow yourself to be vulnerable and feel safe in the knowledge that someone who loves you in the same way will respect that, and it is a two way process. Each can be vulnerable and each can feel secure enough to be vulnerable with each other. But after all the crap of porn addiction, the thousands of naked bodies on a screen, and choosing to masturbate to a screen in preference of intimacy, the secrecy, the lying, and ultimately the loss of emotional intimacy, well you just end up feeling worthlessness and useless and undesirable, too this, too that, not good enough etc etc.

Our recovery has been volatile at times as we've each gone through our respective pain barriers. Highs followed by lows, followed by highs, over and over. It doesn't take much to feel like shit all over again. Lately my husband has had a few issues, and somehow I feel like I'm back in the early days of recovery. I've lost my sexual confidence and I feel like an old has-been who will never be that sexy young thing she used to be. I wonder who I am, what's happened to me. I used to feel good about myself, I used to feel good about the things I did, and now I feel like I don't even know how to have an interesting conversation with anyone. I think I'm not interesting enough, not smart enough. And I just want to let go of all this negativity.

If I wasn't in a relationship with a porn addict I wouldn't have anywhere near the stress. I'm not saying I want to quit my relationship. I just want to feel better about myself and my life without the constant feelings of doubt and insecurity. I mean, when someone traded your sexuality for a cheap porn habit, how on earth does anyone ever feel comfortable about their sexuality again. This was my husband not some teenage crush that wasn't going to last. After he started using online porn he turned into someone quite cold and nasty, selfish and even agressive. Porn changed him. The vulnerablity to addiction was there, but he was never such a bastard towards me until then. Most of the time he was OK, but increasingly cold and distant. Quitting porn hasn't changed these unpleasant facets of his personality. Mostly he's perfectly decent but it's as if he perfected the art of being emotionally detached through maintaining his double life.

All I know is that I'm finding it difficult to recover from chronic loss of confidence. I've done all the right things but I just can't manage it. I've tried therapy and CBT for depression. I've done lots of confidence boosting activities, and that's all fine, but there is an aspect of living with the reality of a porn addiction that undermines my whole sense of being. I used to be strong. I'm not strong. I just want to be rid of this feeling. Just like a PA described their addiction as a burden they want to be feee of, I want to be free of the burden of the damage it has caused me. I don't have anything to quit. It's like they free themselves of their burden and we are suddenly responsible for carrying it. And it feels like a huge drain on my strength, my courage, my condifidence. I just want to be myself again.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / TED talk
« on: November 22, 2016, 01:26:56 PM »
https://youtu.be/OAK1UIb-Fio

An entertaining but informative take on different aspects of the sex industry and the inequities that feed the supply

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / He says, she says... zzz
« on: November 17, 2016, 07:26:19 PM »
I apologise in advance as I did not want to be drawn into a spat on another partner's very raw experience. I felt I had to defend myself against Malando's criticism of me so I'll say what I have to say and no more.

I take exception to these comments based on your erroneous assumptions.

Quote
I don't think you're able to take a man who claims to be quitting porn seriously. You can't see past the label. It's subtle, but your scorn is evident.

Really? How did you come to that conclusion? My partner has lived without porn for the past 16 months. Of course I take him seriously. He admits he is a porn addict. He acknowledges that it's a long term or even a lifelong commitment to staying that way. He's done a lot of looking back at his early life and the roots of his addiction, much of it off the scale when it comes to childhood trauma. And you think I don't take all of that seriously?

Quote
But you seem to think you can breeze back in and basically send me the message that this is not my place to be here, implying that I'm not supportive to partners. I don't believe that is true. I've been supportive here to all members in your absence. I am not somebody you can just label and categorise.

Breeze back in? Excuse me? This is actually a forum for partners of porn addicts, and I am a partner of a porn addict.

I'm not aware that I have labelled or categorised anyone.

If you feel you can support the partners of porn addicts then go ahead. Nobody is stopping you. If you've helped partners to deal with their situations, fine.

Quote
I could elaborate on why I have as much right to be here as you do

Nobody is disputing anybody's "right" to be here as far as I'm aware. And if I remember correctly, I have never said anything about whether porn addicts "should" be able to post here or "have the right" etc etc etc. I've actually invited some porn addicts to post here when I have read about their difficulties about whether to tell their partners especially when they are in long term committed relationships, where we can actually offer the benefit of our collective experience. I have benefited enormously from the input of those men.

Some of the input of porn addicts, although well meaning, can sometimes be of very little value. Let me elaborate.

-The Dopamine 101 class. Because we often find this info before our partners do, and we pretty much have a thorough understanding of porn addiction theory. Most of us have one or two go-to books that we find useful. For me, it's Paula Hall's book for partners of porn/sex addicts.

-We know what porn is. Most of us have seen it. Many of us first saw porn at a young age. It's not something we accidentally discovered for the first time at the age of 40 or whatever and ran away screaming. We are not naive. We all know what a vagina looks like.

-We know what sex is. We've all done it. We all know what an orgasm is. We all have a sexual history. We all have sexual preferences.

-We give a lot to our partners in their journey towards recovery. We have all read extensively about why our partners were particularly vulnerable. We seek to understand them. We do most of the work of healing the relationship, certainly within the first year. It's pretty much always the partner of the addict who has to initiate a lot of the groundwork. It is very, very demanding. Our interests end up being put to one side at least for several months because we have to put so much into building the relationship. We didn't do anything to create the situation. It was all our partner's making. Fine. We do what we must to get the job done. But it's so fucking draining, and our men aren't the best equipped to support us because they don't have the necessary skills. At least not yet. We don't come here to learn about porn addiction, we need a place where we can let it all out because we don't want to to be all Mother Teresa and singing Kumbaya. We're pretty fucking drained with it all.

-The good old fashioned sexual stereotypes and assumptions. Let's start off with the old cliche of "men are visual creatures". I went to art school. I'm trained to be visually literate. Take it from me. When a man views porn, it's not about what's going on in front of their eyes, it's what's going on in their minds.
The other thing is this thing about women and weight. Jesus fucking Christ, not all women spend their lives on diets trying to lose weight. I read something about a porn relapse being compared with a woman eating a cookie. Like, OMG she's broken her diet! All hell has broken loose! No, we're not all on diets, or fat, or trying to lose weight. It's this cultural crap that we have to wade through. Men are "allowed" to look at women in this culture, women accept it as their lot that they need to fix themselves constantly in order to be looked at.

So that's an aggregate of the various 'addict' contributions that I don't consider helpful. What is helpful is hearing what addicts say to "why don't you tell your wife?" and "what led you from internet porn to webcamming?" or even "if you are attracted to your wife why don't you want to make love?"  All these are questions which porn addicts have answered or tried to. It's a long way from Dopamine 101. These are the advanced relationship issues that to me are far more worthwhile than some single guy spouting off about visual blah blah and dopamine.

Anyway, that's plenty. That's all I have to say. Take it or leave it. I'm not stopping anyone, porn addict, whoever, from saying anything. If someone is truly out of order and is acting to the detriment of partners I will refer them to the moderators. Other than that, there are plenty of opinions on this site that are way off but I live and let live.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Double standards: add yours here
« on: October 26, 2016, 10:06:25 AM »
Too often we find, it's one rule for our men, another rule for us. We see this throughout our partners porn/sex addiction.

I will give an example to begin with. I used to plan for romantic/sexy weekends at home, but these plans were inevitably derailed because he'd be on the porn sites first thing and then he'd have no interest in sex. One morning I knew he'd been up very early and using porn and I knew the chances of us having sex was zero, yet again.  During the years of his addiction I masturbated occasionally but never when he was at home, but on this one occasion I did. He must have been aware of it although I remember trying to be quiet and not make the bedsprings creak etc, but somehow he knew. When I got up, I was immediately on the receiving end of an angry outburst, along the lines of me not needing him for anything. Excuse me?! This is the man who masturbates to internet porn when I'm asleep, when I'm out, when I say I'll be late, and yes, many many times when I'm at home. Most of the times he used porn, I'd be at home.  Yes, I have walked in on him and caught him in the act, and walked in to see his dirty pile of used tissues, or frantically closing down his browser windows. And yes, I did catch the odd glimpse of what was obviously porn. But my one occasion of masturbation when he was at home – no porn or anything else required – he was so fucking angry. And boy, did he take it as a personal reflection on him. Quite obviously, he was entitled to his secret porn and masturbation sessions. I wasn't supposed to be sexual at all. Talk about double standards....

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / TED talk on sex starved marriages
« on: October 26, 2016, 08:25:34 AM »
https://youtu.be/Ep2MAx95m20
*there is no mention of porn in this talk

This is worth watching, especially from the perspective of being the partner of a porn addict.

My husband's sexually unavailability coincided with the beginning of his porn habit and eventually became so infrequent. He never initiated sex and eventually being turned down became a way of life. The crucial thing is HE NEVER MADE THE EFFORT. Never never never. Just as described in the talk, disconnection and distance happened. I felt very alone and it was even harder to bear knowing that he was interested in masturbating to images and fantasies of other women.

I always feel I have to take issue with the typical male porn addict assumption that it is the female partner's unavailability that "drives" them to use porn. That they think they've got this high sex drive, and they must satisfy their "needs". Bullshit! Porn is a selfish, self indulgent pastime. It creates a lack of ability to connect with their intimate partner and the more they do it, the more disconnected they become.

I found it interesting that the therapist giving this talk suggests that one partner should put themselves into the position of what it feels like to be the other. Now.... how many porn addicts do that?! In my experience, once my partner had a porn habit he didn't even try, and just as in the video, all the shared "together" time, the love notes, the little gifts, the compliments, it all just evaporated.

From what I see here, it's almost always the porn addict who is responsible for the sexless marriage. Eventually the partners give up trying because the message is "I want porn. I'm not that bothered about you."


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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / I can't see what's so great about it
« on: October 20, 2016, 08:37:52 AM »
PLEASE NOTE: this is not a cue for male porn addicts to jump in and explain why they watch it or explain dopamine theories of addiction and reward, so please let US speak before wading in and giving us the PMO 101 class.

I don't get the appeal of porn. I have no sexual interest in women's bodies. Show me a picture of naked woman and I'd say "so what?" It's not that interesting. Of the porn videos I have seen, I cannot see how any woman can derive any physical pleasure from those positions commonly featured. What I do see is is how the shot is constructed for the camera. There is no consideration given to woman's sexual pleasure obviously, because that's not what she's there for. She is there to be paid to perform sex acts which are recorded, distributed and sold. She's a prop for someone else's profit.

What is also apparent to me is the disassociation that I can see in the eyes of the women. They aren't "enjoying" it. They are following someone else's directions, acting out a cliched repertoire of poses, positions and choreographed sex acts. Without payment they wouldn't be there but it's the pornographer who is going to make the real money by distributing and selling the the edited recordings. What I see are women paid to perform like monkeys for someone else's profit. It's not in the least bit "sexy" at all.


21
Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Do we ever get over it?
« on: October 04, 2016, 07:03:49 PM »
Do we ever truly recover from the damage done to us? My partner's PA planted such a negative self-image in my mind that I don't believe I can ever properly overcome those feelings.

If I was unattached I know I would probably feel better about accepting myself as I am and I would have a far more positive body image. I spent my early adult life never doubting myself in this respect.  It's not even as if growing older has changed me that much either.  I eat well, I don't drink very much, don't smoke, and try and take care of myself. I care more about my health on the inside than what I look like on the outside, and I'm more interested in reading and being open to ideas and experiences than obsessing over celebrities and fashion. I know that I'm doing the "right" things. In theory, I should be more confident about being myself. I know porn is garbage, it's not remotely "sexy" as far as I'm concerned, and I wouldn't change places with any of the performers. So why do I feel like shit?

I had the misfortune of seeing some of what my husband watched and I guess I was struck by the consistent themes that I find a bit difficult, like the fetishisation of huge breasts, which I truly cannot understand. Yesterday I was reading online some accounts by young women who say they have been made to feel completely inadequate because they have small breasts, sometimes by boyfriends suggesting they get enlargements, and others who keep their bras on during sex because they are self conscious about not being big enough. Then you get men coming along with their clumsy replies and it's like "small or large, I like them all" and "I prefer big ones but small ones aren't a deal breaker" – attitudes like that make me sick. And then you get the sensible people who say "if that's the kind of guy you're with you should kick him to the curb and find someone who appreciates you as you are".

When my husband was using porn he ended up never even touching my breasts. So you can imagine my shock when I saw all this big and XXL tit porn with all the tit ****ing – something he never hinted that he was interested in or turned on by – yet this was my husband's choice in porn, a man who never even touched my breasts. So how do I feel after that? It's not even as if I'm flat-chested or anything.

I wonder if I actually married one of those guys who would have thought "I prefer big tits but small ones aren't a deal breaker". It's such a fucking awful thought because I wouldn't let one of those idiot creeps anywhere near me if I had the slightest inkling that they thought that about me. Quite honestly, a man who thinks like that has no right to touch me and would never have the privilege.

But it's not as if I'm a young girl and I'm dating some guy I could dump when I realise he's an asshole. If you realise one day that you might have actually married someone who thought (or thinks) like that, it's quite sickening. It doesn't make sense to break up a relationship for this reason but I still feel wretched.

It's not just the breast size issue either. There's the age of the women in porn, no more than girls really. There's something unethical about a man getting off to someone decades younger than he is which I find quite creepy. And that's quite an unpleasant realisation too.

I don't want to go through life believing myself as substandard. I know that I don't actually believe that, it's being in a relationship with a recovering porn addict and all the garbage he was associating "pleasure" with, it's so fucking nauseating. When I look back all those years ago, when I believed we had great sex and that he found my body such a turn on, now I think I was just some poor delusional fool. He looks back and he sees how he trashed something beautiful and precious – the delicate intimacy and sensuality that he stupidly took for granted, because whatever he was looking for, wherever he tried to find it, he never found a better experience. I know that. But the worst of it was this disregard and disrespect towards my body, and as my body was something I shared with him and nobody else, for him to seek out something more his "type" is utter disrespect, to the extent that he ended up not even touching my breasts during lovemaking. For men to say that their porn behavior is not any reflection on their partner, I can't agree with that at all, and it's something I feel I can't get over.

22
I have sometimes wondered whether there is a case for a private section where partners can freely express issues arising from their partners porn addiction which may be very personal in nature, especially at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable, yet hold back because their words will be made public. I have always felt that we need a safe space where we can be free to express how we feel, and the recent bad feeling created on the partners section has highlighted the fact that anyone can come on here to provoke and goad people who may be going through a particularly difficult time in their relationships and in their lives.

I am dismayed at the sexism and misogyny directed at women who speak out online about issues that affect women, particularly women who campaign about rape, reproductive rights, sexual harassment, women who have formerly been prostituted who now speak out against sex trafficking, domestic violence survivors, and so on. The abuse directed at women who campaign for the legal and human rights of women and girls is nothing short of hatred. Some of these women receive death threats and threats of rape and violence. Not all comments and threats are so extreme, but we can still see plenty of comments around the internet perpetuating rape myths (she was drunk/she wore the wrong clothes/he was falsely accused etc) or seeing women as objects to be used and discarded.

Obviously this forum is a place where we can give and receive support as partners of porn addicts but you don't need to look very far to see women in our situation being told that it's "normal" for men to use porn and (yes, here comes those myths!) that it's up to us to dress like a porn star, give our man the porn star experience, and if we can't it's because we're old/fat/ugly/religious/prudes so suck it up and leave the guy alone with his porn, and no wonder, being married to the likes of us, etc etc. Not very helpful, is it?

If you add in our collective histories, some of us have lived through a lot of shit which also informs our opinion of pornography – some of our real life experiences ain't pretty. When we have to face up
to the reality of our relationship being blighted by porn, we also have to come to terms with our own histories of objectification, as well as a range of other cascading emotions and memories being stirred up. What if our partner was getting off on a genre of porn that we experienced in our own lives as an abuse or violation? For example.

I know that partners hold back from saying too much precisely because they feel uncomfortable about being too public. I'm all in favour of having an open forum and I also welcome the input of recovering addicts who are in relationships, but after the way this section was derailed recently, and some of the opinions stated, I'm not so sure about posting on here about sensitive issues.  I read the same old crap that you can find elsewhere online, even if it was a diluted version. Nevertheless it wasn't pleasant and although the person probably had a lot of issues and needs help, it's not the kind of attitude that is helpful to the women here who are dealing with a partner addicted to porn, and all the issues that go with it. ANYONE can sign up and say whatever, and I feel that there is the potential for too much upset.

I don't want see vulnerable women held up as objects of ridicule. I don't want to see the online misogyny that goes on elsewhere creeping in here. I believe that women should have the option to make private posts for this reason.

23
This is to let the board admin and other members know that some of us are sick of the crap that has been posted here by someone who is neither a partner of a (recovering) porn addict nor is in a relationship at all. So WTF are they doing here?

There is too much offensive crap that is going unmoderated. FFS, "rape porn" exists as a "outlet" for "potential rapists" that somehow keeps the streets safe for women? WTF?

So, we are "incapable of rational thought"? Really? And we "can't even decide if [our partners] deserve [our] precious forgiveness"? Then there's the "echo chamber" comments, and all that shit. I'm so fucking bored, I can't be bothered to trawl through this verbal tsunami of misogynist shit from some sick little fuck the who admits to having watched violence against women as entertainment, a rape apologist who takes the view that a lot of reported rapes are false accusations. Jesus fucking Christ! This guy has got away with fucking murder on this forum.

The board moderators/owners have OK'd this shit and let it stand. As much as I have appreciated this resource, I'm losing respect because of the way this blatant sexist misogyny is allowed to stand.

I'm so fucking bored with it. This is supposed to be a supportive community specifically for partners of porn addicts, and all this shit which is not supportive whatsoever is allowed to go unchallenged and unmoderated by the owners/admin. I couldn't give a toss about this forum any more. I care deeply for the women in recovery and also for the men who seek to heal their relationships and have made a valuable contribution to the partners section – thanks guys, you know who you are. :)

This is not a positive and supportive environment for partners. To board admin should be ashamed of allowing it to sink to this low. I'm out. I'm done here.

24
It seems to be a universal experience that the female partners of male porn addicts feel bad about themselves in some way. We don't feel "good enough". I feel that the porn addiction/habit itself is something itself creates increasing levels of dissatisfaction even with the porn. I certainly felt that my partner was dissatisfied with me.

It's taken me a long time to be able to look in the mirror and feel OK about what I see. But I still feel like shit when I think of my husband and his porn preference for very large breasts. I was always a slim girl and I have a smaller than average bustline. I was always perfectly happy about my breasts. I'm not flat chested by any means either. I've never felt thought "I wish I was bigger" and it's not as if anyone was complaining either. Before porn killed off our sex life he wasn't even touching my breasts, and before he reached that point I'd actually have to physically put my hand on his and direct him just to get 5 seconds as a courtesy. Looking back, he never paid my breasts much attention and his eventual ignoring completely probably paralleled the progression of his porn addiction. At the time I believed that breasts weren't his thing. Then I found what he'd been watching and it was all large, very large and oversized breasts. I won't go into details but there were videos of various acts involving large oversized breasts. Yet he wouldn't even touch mine.

Of course it has created issues for me. But here's the thing. I don't feel bad about my own size and shape. I did before, especially after discovering those videos. The reason I felt bad was because this was what he sought out, and not only that, he was getting off to stuff that we never did. Considering how he hardly touched me there, he certainly never expressed an interest in doing any of those things with me.

I like the physical sensations that I can experience from my breasts and when I look back I even think of the physical pleasure that I was denied because I'd only get a 5 seconds courtesy call. He found me lacking. Whether it's a porn induced fetish, I'm really not so sure about. I reckon the porn just served up more and more of the shit he wanted to indulge in. But now I feel quite weird about him touching me. He paid more attention to my breasts after d day after I told him about his very obvious lack of interest. He made the effort but I think he's paying less attention now. So, here I am, back to that feeling that he'd rather he could get his hands and whatever else of his onto a pair of big melons like he sought out in porn.

Don't get me wrong. I don't feel bad about my body. I don't want to be anything other than myself. It's taken a long time to feel this way about myself again. My body image was so negative through neglect but his video stash was devastating. I know "don't take it personally" and porn-induced fetishes do happen. I don't feel negatively about my breasts, and I certainly wouldn't change places with any of the porn "actresses" he watched. I just don't feel comfortable with that knowledge. It's one of those moments when you wish you were married to a man who wasn't so brainwashed and polluted by this shit. I do feel I've earned the right to feel good about myself. Why is is so hard at times, though? You grow stronger, you feel better, but you've still got these gnawing doubts.

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Partners of Rebooters and Addicts / Reclaiming our sexuality
« on: July 11, 2016, 08:40:00 PM »
IMPORTANT: this topic is for partners of PA to share how their SO's porn addiction has affected their sexuality, and how it has been changed as a consequence. I would like to politely request that male porn addicts/users hold back on posting on this thread until we have several contributions by female partners. We welcome the perspective of men who have struggled with PA but please respect our need to be able to express ourselves freely and support each other on the partners' section of this forum.

My experience
Since facing my partner's porn addiction and his quitting porn after many, many years of habitual porn use, I have had to rediscover and redefine my own sexuality. Previously I enjoyed sex with my partner and we had no sexual difficulties until he started using porn habitually. I have never been especially interested in porn. Why would I? I enjoyed the real thing. I never wore porn clothes or played dress up games. Again, why would I? I never questioned my desirability and my preference was for the purity of the naked body. Of course it helps when you're both young and beautiful and in great shape. To be honest, I thought I was above all that porn shit, I thought I was too smart and too intelligent for it. I thought he was too. I always saw porn as something that teenage boys looked at, or dirty old men or loners. So much for the arrogance of youth. I had no idea that my partner would turn out to be a porn addict. I never thought he'd give up on having sexual relationship with me to sit in front of a screen wanking off to porn videos.

We both grew older. That's kinda hard to avoid if you're alive on this earth. No one is immune from that. Even so, we're still both good looking people and we're both still in good shape. Obviously I thought I was losing my appeal in the early days of the internet when he started logging onto the porn sites almost immediately and that was it. You'll all know what this feels like, feeling undesirable, less attractive, too old, the "wrong" shape/size. It really dents your sexual confidence. Sex was less and less frequent. He never seemed to want it although we rarely had sex. Of course I knew he was using porn but when you try to say you don't want porn intruding on your relationship and whatever you say makes no difference, it reinforces that feeling of being unwanted and undesirable. And once erectile dysfunction happens—I felt as if the message was loud and clear. Whatever sexual feelings he once had we're long gone. It took several years to get to that stage and several more years of no sex whatsoever - for me anyway, I don't even want to think about what he might have done. With my self esteem eroding away to nothing and the distance between us growing I had to call time on his porn habit.

OK, I know about porn addiction now. I don't want to talk about that on this thread because we all know what it is and the processes in the brain, etc etc. As partners WE HAVE OUR OWN PROBLEMS to deal with. So I don't want to get sidetracked by the addiction process.

What happened to me over the years? I developed a very negative self image. I lost all sexual confidence. I lost my sex drive completely. I masturbated very rarely. I once relied on the memories of our own sex life and fantasies of what it could be like, but without that relationship there could be no fantasy because the source of my fantasy became a reminder of sadness and loss. So I shut it all out of my mind. I had no interest in sex at all. I had switched off from sex completely. I would never have thought that was possible but it happened.

It's been really difficult to overcome all the emotional upsets that surface as we have tried to reestablish our sex life. It's hard to be vulnerable when you've been hurt. It's difficult to feel desire again when all thought of sex became associated with sadness. It's difficult to be touched when you believe he's imagining what he saw in porn. It was even difficult to be naked again when you believe your body was rejected. This was how it was for me. And that's not even touching on the lies and deception and the loss of trust which creates so much emotional stress in the relationship.

I also had to come to terms with his inability to resist sexualised imagery and even the way he would objectify attractive women on TV. I never had issues before. I could easily ignore some celebrity in the newspaper spilling out of her dress, but his eyes would automatically lock on. It ruined my ability to sit down and enjoy a movie, for example. I was never prudish about nudity or attractive women. I studied visual arts and fashion. Now I feel that I have to be so careful about the books or magazines that I buy because books featuring fashion and art photography can include some "risqué" photographs which I never considered particularly sexual before. I also watch documentaries on subjects I am interested in on my own because there may be some "sexy" imagery. Not porn, nothing remotely like it, and not because it's a potential trigger for him but because his PA has actually made me change my behaviour and because it has tarnished my enjoyment in subjects I was interested in before. Only this evening I was on Amazon considering buying a book by a particular designer but decided not to because his porn addiction has made me censor my own viewing material.

Even when I'm buying lingerie. OK I never wore porn costume because I thought it was sexless and artless, but at the same time certain types of lingerie and hosiery are associated with porn. Now I make a conscious effort to be "not like porn" yet at the same time allowing myself to express my femininity, regardless of whether he sees or not.

There is more to write about but I have to stop for now. I want to add to this post later. I just want to get the ball rolling on how we reclaim our sexuality. One thing I know for sure is that we do not have to be given "permission" to acknowledge and experience our sexuality, which porn addiction denied us.

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