Q: I need some marriage advice. My husband has been with me for 8 years. He had/has a masturbation and porn problem and he would watch or follow other women. He admitted this 2 years ago and since then he stopped and he said he felt relieved because he felt bad about it but it’s a battle everyday all day.
He said that he loves me and does not want to lose me but he is afraid he can’t change what works for him and he spent years trying to get the arousal from me. He holds me, kisses, etc, but for sex he has to have images to stay aroused to do me. He couldn't hold out he said, he was sexually frustrated and had an affair.
Can you give me marriage advice? Can this be a stem from the porn he's been watching since 8 to 29? Can it work for him to get aroused by me? He is afraid that he can never want me in that way, but is too selfish to let me go because he knows he loves me, and is guilty about using images to be with me. Should I accept a husband not attracted to his wife? -- Tameka J.
A: Sexual attraction is a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The answer to the question “What are men attracted to?” has a lot to do with what they have taught their brains to be attracted to.
Yes, what he finds arousing has been heavily influenced by his porn use. Most men do not understand, and greatly underestimate, the effects looking at porn has on their brain. Because of your husband’s porn use, his brain has learned to need repetitive stimulation from multiple sexual images to become aroused. And it has been learning this for more than 20 years!
The good news is that this can change. Yes, he can learn to become aroused by you. What his brain has learned to be aroused by can be unlearned and replaced with a desire for you. You don’t have to accept a husband not attracted to wife.
Here’s some specific marriage advice: Go to marriage counseling together and work on your relationship. The right professional counselor can help him learn to train his brain to become attracted to you again.
-- Kurt Smith, Marriage Counselor