Healing a  Relationship

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I am very happy to share this article with you. Steve Roberts has some wonderul insights into relationship issues and he is extremely generous in allowing other websites to reproduce his articles. I might add that I fully endorse his views on this issue.

If you like what you read here you can subscribe to his free newsletter  Go to

his website http://www.whatworksforcouples.com/

          Thanks Steve from
               John B Nutting

"Pornography: Mixed Reviews"
- by Steve Roberts

© Steve Roberts - All Rights reserved

The couple walks into my office. She is obviously hurt and angry. He
has the look of angry confusion. She blurts out her discovery that
he uses pornography. She feels as though he's been cheating on her.
She feels betrayed. She finds the whole thing repulsive. How could he
do this to her?

He is ashamed on one level. On another level, it seems the most natural
thing in the world. He's always looked at bodies. He has always had
fantasies, and he can now see pictures and films just like them on the
internet. His friends do it. The guys in the locker room talk about it.
What's so wrong with it?

This situation occurs with surprising frequency. Couples are angry and
confused about what to do with it all and about what it really means.
They feel terribly hurt and misunderstood. They'd like some answers
instead of just blaming each other. So, here's some things to consider.

1. Any problem for a couple is a "team" problem. If one person hurts, the
"team" has a problem. If one person is angry, then the "team" has a
problem to resolve. It's not a competition where one wins and the other
loses. It is about the "team" winning as a whole.

The pornography issue is the same. The couple needs to find a way
that meets the needs of both people, so that the
team wins.

2. Men and women have very different training and understanding of
sexuality. Women are raised to focus much more on the relational
aspects, while men grew up learning to focus on the visual and physical
experience, often to the exclusion of relationship.

In a culture that makes use of women's bodies to advertise and sell just
about everything, women easily come to believe that they are only valued
for their physical attractiveness. Many already feel ashamed of their
bodies, believing they're supposed to be shaped like teenage boys. In
their most intimate and important relationship they so desire to be loved
and accepted for who they are, not what they look like. It comes as a
very rude surprise to realize that their man seems to be just like all the

Men, take note. When your partner's dream bubble is burst in this
fashion, you have to take action, or it is downhill from there.

As described above, men are trained to feel both guilty about
pornography, and to accept it as the norm. They see it as a simple
release mechanism, and not as cheating, betraying, or even having any
real meaning at all. They are drawn to the relationality of their women,
but often do not really understand it, let alone understand that
pornography can damage it.

3. From a functional standpoint, here's the real problem with pornography:
It seduces a man away from emotional intimacy with his partner. This
doesn't have to be the case, but it occurs so often that I tend to assume
it is happening until proven otherwise.

The seduction is one of easy avoidance. There is no relationship to take
care of or nurture. One doesn't have to live with the complaints or even
the mistaken dreams of the fantasy figures. Worse still, the images are
ever changing, ever titilating. Life at home with the same woman, the
same old positions, and the same old timing can seem rather mundane.

The problem with pornography is that men do not learn to develop the
ability to be highly stimulated by deep emotional intimacy with their one,
special partner.

A successful team helps both partners learn to be intensely intimate with
one another, and then intensely stimulated sexually. Pornagraphy offers
the stimulation while avoiding the real reward of intimate closeness in the

So, how do such couples handle this dilemma? At their best they use
it as a vehicle to move them to an ever deeper level of contact with each
other. They move past blaming and misunderstanding to acceptance of
the other's gender and training. They come up with behavior that works
for both of them and that they can both agree to and live with.

Ultimately, it can be a journey of emotional intimacy that ends up being
one huge "turn on."

- Steve Roberts is an experienced Marriage and Family
Therapist who shares tips and real life relationship secrets
from over 20 years of practice. Married 28 years to Pam,
his partner in Life and profession, he has personally
known the peaks and valleys of the couple experience.

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