What do I say to my mate?
Also see this 5 minute video: How long should I wait to date as I recover from porn-induced erectile dysfunction? by Noah Church
Said a friend, who discovered that her otherwise upstanding husband had begun using risky Internet pornography in his seventies:
Women need to deal with their feelings of anger, disgust and rejection. In my case, and I am certain I am not alone in this experience, it is the denial, counter-accusation and lying that fuel my fury.
Is it really that hard or impossible for a man to say to his woman something like:
- I feel sorry. I understand your feelings.
- I realize I was on the wrong path. I will stop it.
- I honor and love you, and I will contribute whatever I can to heal our relationship.
In my case, that would help to create some kind of a connection.
Also read What if my partner is a porn addict?
A therapist who works with partners writes:
Partners of sex addicts contact me saying that after years, sometimes decades, of being told by their husbands/partners that sex for them isn't physically possible, that they'll find a bottle of Viagra or Cialis stashed in back of a drawer somewhere. Initially they would suspect their partner was having an affair but, after investigating deeper, they became even more vexed by learning that their partner was using these powerful drugs for the purposes of masturbating to internet porn!
Your mate needs to understand that rebooting and rewiring your brain will take time and support. It will also take time and your support to heal her hurt feelings and restore the trust between you. We suggest
- Love You, Hate the Porn for a road map to this process by a man who has been a marriage therapist for years
- Handling Porn Addiction as a Couple (Video)
- Boyfriend Quitting Porn? 5 Tips
- "Porn-induced ED: What do I tell my girlfriend?."
Here's how one man dealt with telling his wife:
I chose to tell the wife as a way of committing further. In the past when the subject of porn would come up, I'd just tell her that I did PMO like everybody else, no big deal. So she knew, but she didn't knew about how bad my addiction was or what consequences it was producing on my brain. As she got back from work I was waiting for her with two videos loaded on youtube. I told her to come with me to the living room, prepared her a drink and told her I wanted to show her some videos. I'm always showing her funny stuff I find on the interwebs so this was not all that unusual. But she gave me the look like WTF?
The first video was The Demise of Guys (I bet you all are familiar with this videos). It's not so to the point, but is a nice introduction. She liked it but didn't get it at once. Then we went on with The Great Porn Experiment. At first she was like OMG, you've got some serious issues, so that's your dirty little secret, but as the video went on it changed to, mmmh, ok, I see, so that's why you don't care about nothing, etc...
After watching those videos the talk was 100x easier. She got it and was very supportive, we talked a lot about what I was going through and what to expect. I'm a very lucky man, as she is very understanding. She thought that I was looking at porn because she isn't attractive enough for me, but then I showed her the Coolidge effect and remembered about Hugh Grant who cheated on Liz Hurley and at last she got it.
The only thing I haven't told her is my enrollment as a fapstronaut. I've done so in order to keep a little freedom in talking to you guys.
After the talk we both felt like we were getting closer than ever. And it was an great relief to get that out of my chest, you can't imagine how great a relief it was.
Depending on the relationship you have this may vary, but it worked for me. Thank you for letting me share my story with you guys.
Another guy gave this advice:
While you should definitely disclose your situation to your partner, friends, and family... it should not be rushed.
Take it from someone who has been through it. I had to tell my girlfriend that I had been cheating on her with random cam chatting and paying for cam girls for a year. It was such a difficult thing to do and I prepared for a few weeks for the day that I told her. A few big things to remember... Disclose EVERYTHING. Write it out in the form of a letter and make sure that you have down everything you want to tell. The only thing worse than having to hear that your partner is a sex/porn addict, is having to hear more and more stories over time. Dragging it out like that is torture and is not fair to your partner.
Another thing to remember is not to be too specific. Don't talk about specific times and what exactly happened. She doesn't need to necessarily know you are addicted to anal abuse porn or that you watched beastiality videos or the specifics of a sexual encounter.
Be open to answering questions and try to be as truthful as possible. The whole reason for disclosure is so that afterwards you can begin to rebuild trust. Disclosure is going to feel good for you because you no longer have to hide your past from the people you love. I've heard it compared to trying to hold a beach ball under water. Eventually it is going to pop to the surface and it is better to do it on your terms that having it blow up in your face.
Remember that this is not about you though. Your partner is going to react with extreme emotions. DON'T BLAME HER/HIM. Take what they dish out. Apologize for your past mistakes.
One HUGE thing that also helped me is showing my plan for future change. I had already gotten a therapist and had been going weekly and had a plan for how my life was going to change. If your partner can see that you are ready to change and that you want to change they will be much more likely to stay with you through this.
I told my SO 2 days ago (gf of 5 years, now fiance). She was very sad at first but then came around within 15 minutes of talking & is now supportive. She has since been reading NoFap & YBOP to help better understand.
- You will be glad you did it now vs later.
- The longer you wait, the longer you may be a "liar."
- You will feel a big weight lifted off of your shoulders.
- You will now have a buddy, your gf/bf/wife/husband, to help you along.
- This can actually make your relationship stronger & bring you closer together (fiance & I now talk about how I am doing daily & it feels great to just be open about it).
I have seen many on here disagree and say that they would never tell their significant other. I'm just here to say that I did and it was the best decision I have made in regards to PMO. To each his own.
Encourage your mate to use the resources at this site to understand that stopping porn is not necessarily a simple matter of willpower. Someone who has never been hooked cannot understand this without education. Here's what I explained to a woman who was not against porn, but couldn't understand why her partner was masturbating before and after their time together to "satisfy himself sexually":
The first thing to understand is that the porn is not satisfying him...either. For the moment, he cannot be sexually satisfied, because this is not about sex. It's an addiction. Is an obese person eating because she is hungry? Cravings are not hunger or libido. They're cravings born of low dopamine in the brain.
Internet porn is more akin to video games than it is sex. It’s all about getting constant dopamine fixes, and his most reliable source is now porn. In other words, this has nothing to do with you. His brain has changed, which leads to the inability to control use - the hallmark of all addictions. Have you watched my video series that explains all this? It should give both of you comfort to understand what's happening in the brain.
So to answer your question, "Shouldn't a happy, sex-rich, relationship make porn use unnecessary?" Absolutely not. No more than it will prevent smoking, overeating, or any other addiction. This has nothing to do with "sexual satisfaction," because an addiction is defined as the inability to experience normal satisfaction. It's likely he started long before you arrived, as most boys are now starting at ages 11-12.
I strongly disagree with your premise that "Porn should be a substitute for sex." All young boys are now rewiring their brains to hyperstimulating, constantly novel, porn in an effort to "substitute for sex," and many are finding real partners are not arousing.
Here's one man's account of explaining his porn addiction to his wife:
Yesterday, I told my wife the whole thing. It went very well. It just happened by itself, kind of. It happened to be her birthday. I know this sounds brutal. Like "Happy birthday, darling. By the way, I'm a porn addict" but it wasn't like that. And afterwards she said to me that telling her was the best birthday gift I could have given her. It started as a usual nice birthday, with gifts, hugs and kisses from me. Really nice. I then went to work and when I was back we decided to go to the movies. The one she wanted to see was "Shame".. of all movies. I had told her about that movie a while ago. That it was about sex addiction and that I wanted to watch it some time. I guess I wanted her to learn more about the subject, so that it would be easier to tell her sooner or later.
I was a bit concerned that seeing that movie might trigger a porn relapse or masturbation but I decided to take the risk, because I wanted to have a discussion about it. One possibly leading to a confession. Anyway, the movie didn't trigger a relapse. There was sex and nudity, all right but I didn't get horny. To be honest, I feel a slight urge today because of it, so it was a crazy thing to do, but it won't make me relapse. Besides, the movie made me tell everything to my wife. I'm glad I did that, so it was worth it. As for the film, I think it was good. Sad, of course, but I think they tried to present that addiction in a realistic way. I don't know what an expert would say about it... it'd be interesting to hear. I guess sex addiction and internet porn addiction are different things, but I could recognize myself in some parts of the movie. Mostly in that feeling of emptiness, numbness and isolation. And of course the porn surfing, the porn stash and so on. It was unpleasant to see but important, too, I think.
After the movie we started a discussion about it. I guess my strong interest in the subject made her wonder a bit, so at some point she asked me whether I had had had any experiences with such an addiction in the past. And then I just told her the whole thing. Everything. Also about yourbrainonporn.com. What I have learned about the addiction and so on. I also recommended her to watch that six-part series (which she did today). It took us several hours to talk all this over of course, but it was a good, calm discussion.
She always thinks before she speaks and she knows a lot about psychology, so she didn't get angry. Of course it was a shock to her but she has had a rough life and is a very strong person. She has got no illusions about anything but she is able to enjoy life a lot anyway, which I admire her for. Anyway, instead of getting emotional, she asked me a lot of questions about everything and I answered them all honestly. I must have said "I'm sorry" a million times that evening, and I meant it, but she didn't even want me to apologize or anything, because she understood. She even said she's proud of me because I told her and because I decided to get out of this. Which makes me very lucky, I know. I told her I wasn't worried that she might not understand but that she might lose her respect for me. She said she won't. My own self-respect is somewhere in the garbage because of all this. I feel like a selfish asshole who has got a wonderful wife that I don't deserve. Pardon my french. I know, addiction is something you slip into without being aware of it, but at the end of the day I have that guilty feeling.
She was a bit angry about those "phases when I just didn't feel like sex". Because in truth I was watching porn and masturbating a lot in those heavy phases. I just couldn't have real sex. It was hard for her not to have sex for several weeks and she was frustrated over my lying to her. And it was a lie, no doubt about it. But my head was a mess at that time. I was addicted and I didn't fully understand it. And I couldn't talk about it. I told her this. Not as a justification but it was just what was going on. Anyway she felt relieved after the discussion because many things suddenly made sense to her. I am relieved, too, because finally there's nothing to conceal anymore and that gives me even more motivation for my reboot. Like I said, I feel guilty about having screwed up in the past but it feels great to do the right thing now.
As far as sex is concerned, she knows that it might be better not to have any for a while in order to make it easier to recover. She treats me with a lot of affection and says we'll do whatever it takes to help me get rid of the addiction. I know it would be hard for her without sex for such a long time and I'm not sure it's necessary. I guess we'll just give it a very careful try sooner or later and see what happens.
This man got a pleasant surprise:
(Day 37) Shortly after joining quitting and after asking around a bit, I decided I needed to go on this journey by myself. I just thought that if she knew what I had been doing for our entire relationship and marriage, that she would just flip out.
I don't know how it happened so coincidentally but about a week ago (I was about 1 month into nofap) during an otherwise fun conversation where we were talking about our childhoods she asked me point blank whether or not I still masturbate. She has asked me before and I flat out lied and told her "no". I also told her "no" this time which was true for once, but she followed up with, asking if I've done it since we've been married. I decided to confess. I told her yes and basically that I had been doing it the whole time, up until about a month previous to the conversation.
I was expecting her to flip out. Instead she kind of felt bad, like she hadn't done enough to keep me satisfied. She became very affectionate and fun things happened that night. We had follow on conversations where she told me that the lying hurt her feelings but that she understood that I lied because she made it so apparent how she felt about the whole thing. I think I did hurt her feelings a little, but all said and done it was quite liberating and we are closer for it.
She is very happy that I have decided to quit, and that I did it for her. I'm so glad she found out this way, and that I had already been working on it.
Women want to understand what's going on, and it can really relieve their minds:
I eat healthy, exercise regularly and absolutely love sex! Over a year ago, the sex with my boyfriend dropped off dramatically. We went from 3-5 times a week to once or twice a month at best. The passion from him is completely gone. I have to initiate and he definitely struggles to get hard then keep it up. I spent lots of money on lingerie and sexy clothes. Didn't push him on it for fear of making it worse.
He admits to watching internet porn occasionally. I checked his computer history, and he is viewing porn several times a day every day. I know it is bad to snoop, but
I was desperate. He denies watching that much porn and refuses to discuss the issue.
Until reading this material, I assumed I was no longer desirable. It had to somehow be my fault. Even though, I am in excellent shape was considering plastic surgery. I'm heartbroken that I have the same amount of solo sex as when I was single. I love him but lost as to a solution. At least, this gives me insight.
A fapstronaut tells his girlfriends: Day 36-Chicks dig fapstronauts.
Let me just say something--if you are doing nofap for a woman issue, know that women will think it's awesome that you're doing nofap. Every girl friend I've told about my nofap journey has been very impressed and they've supported me all the way. I don't know what the reason behind this is; I am by no means an expert on the field of women and their thoughts, but it seems to be something that women can respect! I'm thinking nofap is a sign of self control and power over yourself which is attractive? Any others want to throw in their two cents?
Besides that, today has honestly been the hardest day I've had in the past 36 days I've been doing this. The urge to just look at porn and masturbate has been very strong, and my brain kept telling me, "dude, as long as you aren't one of those crazy people who PMO like a billion times a day, you'll be fine!" But no. I'm not going to give in. Reading nofap posts and writing this has helped take my mind off of porn.
Wow, did she take it well. She restrained her emotion/disgust, sat through YBOP series with me, agreed on strategies to implement to prevent relapse, etc. It was really by my doctor's urging that I decided to tell her, and I decided not to wait because, well, the time was right.
I seriously dreaded this conversation for years before I even got married. She handled it with grace and told me she appreciated what I was doing for her.
If you're interested in how I told her, it was while lying in bed. I looked her straight in the eyes and told her I am stopping using porn and masturbating, and that it had been going on since I was 13. I then told her it was never because she wasn't good enough, or attractive enough, and did my best to verbally reassure her the problem wasn't her. I asked her for forgiveness, and she forgave me. I definitely didn't try to make any physical moves cause I wanted to give her time and space to process.
This morning we were apart due to previous commitments, but this afternoon we watched YBOP and she had her eyes opened to a lot of things. It was really good to get through all of that before having another conversation about it. We then discussed prevention measures, how I'll stay busy, k9 filter, and other things.
I can't believe how well she took it. I didn't give her unneeded details of what I'd seen or anything in the past, I just focused on the future and she did too. I have a great wife.
Telling her about my porn habit was something I NEVER EVER thought I would do. I had resolved myself to the fact that this was going to be my battle and mine alone. The reason being that several years ago it came to light that her father had been involved in a very severe, very dark sex addiction for a long time....and it broke her heart. And honestly, I did not see any reason for the most important man in her life to break it again for a much diluted, but similiar reason. I had been praying about this for a long time, to make sure that battling this myself was the apropriate thing to do....and Friday, something inside me was begging to share it with her, so I did.
Her response was unbelievable...she was unbelievably supportive and understanding. She even told me that she was happy I had shared it with her because "she felt much closer to me" that I could confide something of this magnitude in her. When I told her I was coming up on 40 days PMO and MO free, and that I was doing it for her as much as me, she got really emotional....we both got really emotional. The past three days, have been GREAT, she has been very caring and concerned, and has really been a rock I can lean on.
This has been probably the most monumental thing I have ever done for my marriage. Over the years I felt that our relationship had become very stale. I was battling a severe amount of anger, frustration, regret and resentment regarding a multitude of things that were (or were not) happening in our relationship. But the past 40 days have cleared my head in such a way that I began to see that much of the anger, resentment and regret I was feeling was not towards her, but rather towards myself for the horrible choices I have been making for the past 30 years.....and habitually viewing porn was probably one of, if not the biggest of all those choices. Blaming her was just a cop out so I didn't have to take a really long look in the mirror and ultimately take responsability for hand feeding the demons that have been eating away the core of my soul for a long time. There is absolutely NO doubt in my head that I married the right woman.
We spoke at length about how to make sure this curse doesn't snare our son, and how moving forward I can continue to remain diligent about slaying this beast for good.
This morning at breakfast she sensed a bit of somberness in my voice and said "are you ok?" I just looked at her and said "40 days"....we both smiled....good way to part ways on a Monday morning.
So I just had a hard conversation. I told my lady that our lack of sex life has been my fault, I'm going to quit masturbating at least for a good while, and that I'm fairly addicted and haven't really been able to stop myself from the continuous cycle. It went pretty well actually. She thanked me for making it a point to alleviate blame from her, and for being honest. She said she's for it and appreciates that I've made a plan.
Well after carrying around the baggage of being addicted to porn and masturbating almost daily I did what any man would....I told my wife about it. Crazy right?! After being married for almost 9 years I have never kept any secrets from her except for my porn addiction. Years and years of trying to give it up and failing led me to just believe it was a part of my life I would never be able to give up...Enter NOFAP!
I read an article online somewhere about the whole NoFap challenge and knew this was something I had to do. I always looked at porn as my problem but not masturbation. But no matter how many times I said "I'm not going to watch porn, I always ended up watching porn.
Once I decided to take the NoFap challenge I came home from work and told my wife everything. Told her about the porn, the masturbation, the fact that I wasn't enjoying sex as much and so on. I was ready for the worst. Sleeping on the couch for a few nights or a month or the worst her leaving me.
Her reaction? She was very grateful that I finally told her about my struggles and proud of me as well. No couch for me?! She didn't want to leave me?! Instead she feels closer to me knowing I am doing this so I can be a better husband and lead a normal life.
Last night she told me "I'm so proud of you for doing this for us, we are going to have sex everyday this week!" (sex every night may sound normal to some people but we have 2 little kids and work crazy hours so it's always a struggle to do it more than twice a week)
Not the reaction I thought I would get from her, but I'll take it!
Was away on holiday with the wife visiting another couple, a friend of hers from school and her husband. They've been together about the same amount of time as us and are having some problems, a lot of it coming from his 'extreme' tastes in the bedroom.
One of the nights we were there, I went out with the friends husband for a couple of beers and my wife stayed in with her old school chum. I talked to the guy and she talked to the woman and the topic of our respective sex lives came up.
While I was chatting to the guy, I told him I'd given up fapping because it had got to the point it was interfering with my life. I told him I'd fapped about every day since I was 14, often multiple times a day. He said he was pretty much the same but was flabbergasted when I told him I hadnt fapped in over 250 days. He assumed I was having sex every day but I told him sometimes it was 4 nights in a row, sometimes it was nothing for 4 weeks, just depends on what was happening in our lives.
We had about an hour and a bit to drive home after the weekend and I compared notes with my wife about her conversations with his wife. It seems he has some pretty extreme tastes in the bedroom, nothing too terrible or violent, just basically sounds like sex to him is the same as a porn. I'll admit to being a bit on the kinky side, no doubt due to years or PMO, but I've really just enjoyed normal sex this last year and while I enjoy the extra fun stuff, I don't feel the need to do it every time we have sex. As a result, when it doesnt happen, I'm not disappointed and when it does happen, it's great.
Talking about our couple friends, it seems he's not far off where I was a year or so ago and as we were driving, I thought now was the time to tell her I had a bit of a PMO problem and had gone on this journey.
She was really surprised and I was pretty candid with her about how much I PMO'd. She was surprised and said she assumed all guys played with themselves at some point or another but had no idea what the world of porn was like or did to guys.
We talked a lot about how it was for me to reset (How I'd basically been bipolar for about 100 days!) and when it had all happened and how much my levels of motivation had changed. This has all been going on through a particularly tough period in our lives. I never felt like a weight had been lifted, but I was glad that NoFap has allowed me the confidence in myself to discuss this sort of thing with my wife. It really was my last taboo, the one thing I never discussed with her and I feel we're a much more open couple in the last year, since I started the reset.
She has been talking to her friend about it (I said it was ok to), but there is also the issue that all of us here had to come to the decision to stop fapping in our own time.
I sent her the YBOP video and she watched it this afternoon while I was at work. I got a lovely email from her (we often email or write each other notes if we're want to express something deeply personal that does not require discussion, it may seem unusual but it works for us) to say she understands how difficult it must have been to change the behaviour and she's really supportive and will help if I ever need anything.
She said she understood that it was a personal journey and why I waited over 250 days to tell her. That was great to hear, I really wanted to tell her ages ago but it just never came up.
She's now looking at the men in her life in a different way. Her brother has depression and no energy, I personally think he's got a PMO problem, but he's got to want to make the change and I've asked her not to put pressure on him if she speaks to him about it.
Upshot is that after all these years together (Nearly a decade now), we're closer than ever and I'm glad I finally told her. Apologies for the slightly broken nature of this post, I've not been here in a while (I used to come here about 4 times a day to stop from fapping, but after about 100 days, needed it less and less) and I can see the community has grown hugely.
We all have our personal journeys and I hope this has helped at least one person in some way.
TL;DR, I told my wife I stopped fapping and she was really cool about it.
I know my badge shows that I have only a 3 day streak (I looked at porn briefly earlier this week, stupid of course, see my post about the "chaser effect"). However, I actually have a couple of 100+ day noporn streaks under my belt, and I haven't PMO'd or fapped to orgasm since December 15, 2013. Stopping my PMO habit for the last 9 months has been a huge step forward for me.
The Question: Some of us fighting the PMO habit are married. I fall into that camp -- I have been married 25+ years to a great woman. Anyway, the question often comes up -- did you tell your wife? The short answer is that I did, and that it was a good choice for me and for her.
Background: Other than first night jitters, I never used to have ED or PE issues with my wife (or with the women I was with before her). Then the internet came to our house and I discovered free, unlimited, anonymous online porn. Who needed Penthouse? Who cared if my wife was tired? I could look at whoever, doing whatever, for free. Again, at times I would think that the porn was affecting our sex life, and would try to cut out the PMO, but never could for very long. I would even tell my wife what I was trying to do, but I don't think she understood exactly why I thought it was a problem (perhaps because I wasn't fully explaining it to her).
Last year I realized that my porn use had many of the hallmarks of an addiction: I couldn't or wouldn't stop it for any period of time if it was available, I would think constantly about my next fix, I was spending money and lots of time on it, I got into harder porn, and I was changing my behavior in order to set up situations where I could look at porn. This worried me. It also worried me that I couldn't stay hard very long with my wife, and I didn't like what our sex life was turning into: I'd get aroused not by her, but pretty much only if she was wearing provocative clothing (which of course was the type of clothing worn by my favorite porn "amateurs", etc.).
I went cold turkey for 17 days (longest I'd been free of PMO for years) but I had a flatline, didn't know what that was, and jerked off because for all I could see, going without porn only destroyed my sex drive! Then (while looking for new porn after the relapse) I came across Your Brain On Porn and this subreddit. What a revelation it was! I learned about PIED, the death grip, the PMO cycle, and what I thought were only my issues were things shared by lots of other guys.
Telling my wife: We have a good marriage, but even so, it wasn't easy for me to level with my wife and tell her exactly what was going on. I told her what I'd learned about PMO, and she wasn't insulted or threatened, instead she was thrilled to help. She said that she thought something was going on over the last few years, but that the pieces didn't fall into place until I explained the PMO problem in detail (but I didn't take her on a "tour" of the porn I'd used, and she didn't want to go there either). Telling her was absolutely the right thing to do for us.
Her support has been tremendous and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I think being straight with my wife has been the way to go, absolutely. But of course I cannot predict how it would be for anyone else.
Results: Our marriage is stronger than ever. Rather than hiding my habit, hiding my purchases of porn, and hiding my sexual energy from her, it's now in the open and that is freeing. I don't have to worry about her (or anyone) finding my browsing history, or porn stashes, etc. I am a better husband -- I do more housework, share tasks with her, do more things with her (rather than figuring out a way to get my porn fix). It's great because she appreciates it and reciprocates. Our sex life is the best it's been in many, many years. And there have been many other benefits.
TL/DR So should you tell your wife? I don't know how it would work for others. But I have talked with my wife about nofap and noporn and my efforts to cut out the PMO habit, and doing this with her help and support has been great for our marriage.
More detail here (expanded version of some of my post): http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/20i1vi/married_and_over_50_pmo_problem_told_my_wife_my/