Here are responses to separate letters from a man who called himself A Self-Inflicted Wounded Husband and his wife, who called herself Trying to Heal ("Pornography Ruined Our Marriage," 9/2/2011). They said that his addiction to pornography had driven them apart and counseled other men to stay far away from it for the good of their relationships. This week's writers have a less damning view of porn.
Dear Tell All: Pornography was not the culprit per se, but her husband's addiction to it. She said that "continually seeing images of scantily dressed women in newspapers, television, Internet, etc. is making it much more difficult" for him to heal.
I presume that it is also difficult for alcoholics to see beer commercials. But beer, food, pornography, narcotics, and so on do not cause the addictions.
No matter what addiction her husband had, it would leave her feeling shocked and hurt. This is what happens in a marriage when one partner is addicted to something.
But, as with alcohol, just because something has the potential for addiction or abuse does not mean that it must lead to this outcome. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates the average for alcohol dependence at about 4%-6% for the population. Alcohol addiction is a big problem, to be sure, but if 95% of the people don't have a problem with it, we would logically conclude that the alcohol itself is not the main problem here, despite its potential for abuse.
This couple certainly have a lot of work to do, but pornography is only a part of the problem; and maybe not the main one.
Dear Tell All: Trying to Heal and A Self-Inflicted Wounded Husband might be going about this all wrong. Pornography isn't about love, it's about lust. I'm not in love with the people in porn, but they're fun to watch.
Instead of treating porn like something to be afraid of, why don't more couples watch porn together? It can add another dimension to your sex life and bring you closer together.
And sorry, Trying to Heal: You should not be shocked that your husband is masturbating to porn. It's 2011. Come on.
Lust Is Good