Confused and struggling with husbands masturbation


#1

I am a first time poster. It’s a long and emotional one, sorry! I have been married for over six years to my best friend and the wonderful father of my two kids (one more on the way). We committed to NFP before getting married and have been happy with our marriage and choice to follow NFP. I enjoy our sex life, I initiate sometimes and I rarely turn my husband down for sex (and if it ever happens it is when I am physically ill, sore, exhausted with a newborn, etc.) I am proud of my chastity throughout our marriage and although it is a struggle at times it has made me feel loved, cherished and very respected to practice NFP. Recently my husband has been traveling more for work and he recently returned from a ten day trip. I was tired and couldn’t wait to be reunited with my best friend and lover. He came home and was not overly affectionate or interested in me as I had expected. After some conversation he admitted he had masturbated multiple times and used internet pornography while out of town. He stated when he is out of town or while I am gone/ out of town if he gets “bored” he masturbates. He stated that pornography is not an addiction and it does not affect him at all. He continued to state that he does not do it “often”, he never replaces sex with masturbation and it’s a mindless habit that he didn’t really consider a problem. I am so hurt, confused and angry. For six years I have been chaste and struggled with fertility abstinence, postpartum abstinence and he has been ejaculating on the side for the entire marriage. When I tell him NFP is hard and sometimes I wish I could enjoy sex during my fertile time without the pregancy (I get pregnant sooo easily), he tells me NFP is the only answer and that he is morally opposed to anything else. He absolutely knows NFP and catholic chastity do not condone pornography and masturbation . . . yet he looks at me with a blank stare when I question him about his ongoing choices. I am going to see a catholic therapist this week to help me “get over it” and “move on” because after apologizing there is “nothing left for him to say”. He has been loving and affectionate since then, but now I interpret it as guilty attempts to get back to a place of harmony and trust. He says he is done with it and he never really thought of the relational/moral issues and that it will not be hard to stop. My heart is truly broken that all this while as I stay chaste and struggle with pregnancies and parenting, he has been relaxing in hotel rooms lusting after beautiful women. I cannot compete with pornography stars while six months pregnant and now I feel constantly horrible about my appearance (I’m not overweight and I keep up my appearances as much as I can while pregnant and parenting two little ones :). Is he making even a bigger fool of me by telling me he will stop? Can men stop? What does this mean about his love and affection towards me? Is it truly possible for him to love and desire me when he is seeking images of naked women out of lust?


#2

First I would say this has nothing to do with you! Keep doing the right next thing. It is possible for your husband to overcome these addictions however he will need to work at it and it will likely take time.

When I was young I discovered my Dad's "magazines" in the attic - later when I was in the workforce my boss hauled me off to a strip club on a business trip. Needless to say these 2 events put in motion years of struggling with the same issues as your husband. What finally woke me up was discovering the filth that my teenage son was viewing on the internet and a number of other events that launched my search for true spirituality (my dark night of the soul).

A wise Franciscan priest once said there are really only 2 paths in life...the path of pleasure and the path of wisdom. When we choose the path of pleasure it manifests in addictive behaviors (alchohol, sensuality, drugs, abuse, etc)...actions that by themselves never satisfy and so we get caught in the vortex of repeating the actions for short term pleasure that never becomes long term joy...psychologically, we become addicted.

By the grace of God some event (usually involving great suffering) occurs and we awaken to the futility and vanity of our current course. Then, and only then, we have the option to seek an alternate path. For me that path began with trying to figure out what it really means to be a Man (I didn't have many good examples in my life).

Since that time I have met weekly with a spiritual director (male), started a men's spirituality group, attended weekly 12 step meetings to recover from my addictions and become an avid reader of scripture and the mystics. If you want a place to start with your husband, I'd recommend a Christmas present: "From Wild Man to Wise Man", by Richard Rohr.

For you, please find yourself spiritual and emotional support outside your husband. Don't give up on him but stand firm in your faith and in so doing you will provide a light for him to follow.


#3

he needs to grow up. he is too old to be doing it. time to man up. hes not a teenager anymore. why would he be so open to admit it? thats what i dont understand.


#4

Your husbands comments on "not addicting" is in fact incorrect. You can probably do a web search and find the studies and data in which the brain scan of a person taking cocaine is almost a match for a person watching porn. The body releases endorphines which bring pleasure and which require higher doses over time with repeated exposure to the stimuli, i.e cocaine or porn.

If, as he has admitted this is not a one time occurence, he may already be addicted and like all addicts, in denial.

The church has a program for porn addiction, I cannot recall the title at the moment, but you can probably do a search and discover that as well.


#5

[quote="buddersmom, post:1, topic:221845"]
Is it truly possible for him to love and desire me when he is seeking images of naked women out of lust?

[/quote]

I'm trying to learn about Catholicism and have just discovered that everything but abstinence is prohibited. Anyway, whatever a man's vice, it seldom is proof that he doesn't love his wife.


#6

[quote="buddersmom, post:1, topic:221845"]
Is he making even a bigger fool of me by telling me he will stop? Can men stop?

[/quote]

I don’t think he is making a fool of you. It sounds like a genuine commitment that he intends to stop. It is hard for many men to stop and a constant struggle, but making the commitment to work towards avoiding this sin is a very important step for any man. That commitment in itself is a sign of respect to you, even if stopping proves more difficult than he hopes. And arguably to talk openly about it with you is a great sign of respect and remorse.

[quote="buddersmom, post:1, topic:221845"]
What does this mean about his love and affection towards me? Is it truly possible for him to love and desire me when he is seeking images of naked women out of lust?

[/quote]

I doubt it means anything. Masturbation is a “mindless habit” as your husband described, and the occasion for sin is exacerbated by boredom (as well as anxiety/stress at times). Being out of town and stuck in a hotel room is certainly a difficult situation for a man struggling with this. I know when I have struggled with this, being out of town is hard. And then at home it’s things like being up late at night, while everyone is in bed, and watching late night TV…plenty of images to tempt the most chaste of men. If I can convince myself to get away from the TV, it gets so much easier. A good book is a great defense against masturbation.

I know you feel hurt, and I certainly don’t want to condone or excuse his sin, but please try to understand that for many catholic men, masturbation is an ongoing problem/struggle, not a deliberate lifestyle choice. As Jesus said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. When I have failed and committed this particular sin, it has never been because my love and affection for my wife has lessened. The sin itself is disrespectful towards her, but I never seek to do it because I don’t find her attractive or because I feel disconnected from her. Actually, during the abstinence phases of NFP, my attraction towards my wife makes this sin even harder to avoid; I know this is perverse, but shows how complicated the psychology behind it is. Your husband no doubt tries to avoid the sin, feels immediate remorse once he has committed it, and hates the fact that he did it – which is a very different reality from what you may be imagining.

Best wishes and prayers for the both of you as you work towards overcoming this vice.


#7

[quote="mjs1987, post:3, topic:221845"]
. why would he be so open to admit it? thats what i dont understand.

[/quote]

Maybe he was feeling guilty after all by mb he was committing adultry,( seeking sexual pleasure outside of the marital embrace)


#8

Viewing pornography and masturbation are both morally disordered actions. If your husband is having difficulty recognizing these sins, you can point him in the direction of the Catechism and pray for him. However, this is no where near the sin of entering an emotional and sexual affair with a woman nor hiring a prostitute while you’re away. Masturbation is a very common sin that people fall into at a young age unless they are taught not to do it at a young age. If their parents teach them that nothing is wrong with it at a young age, then the habit will develop. Moreover, the secular society considers masturbation to be ordinary and for masturbation addiction to be something that occurs such frequency that it begins more directly interferring with life in a severely drastic way. Secular society however believes that masturbation from time to time or when missing one’s spouse is purely ordinary behavior and that it would be unnatural to try to surpress the urge. As such, you have to understand that if he’s saying he’s not addicted but is saying that he doesn’t think its wrong, he’s just saying that he considers his behavior normal.

He’s just explaining that since he satisfied his sexual urge himself, his urge was depleted. He should acknowledge that it does effect him in that respect, but all he’s meaning that it doesn’t effect him in the extreeme way it effects people who are addicted to it according to secular society’s standards.

He has been loving and affectionate since then, but now I interpret it as guilty attempts to get back to a place of harmony and trust. He says he is done with it and he never really thought of the relational/moral issues and that it will not be hard to stop. My heart is truly broken that all this while as I stay chaste and struggle with pregnancies and parenting, he has been relaxing in hotel rooms lusting after beautiful women. I cannot compete with pornography stars while six months pregnant and now I feel constantly horrible about my appearance (I’m not overweight and I keep up my appearances as much as I can while pregnant and parenting two little ones :). Is he making even a bigger fool of me by telling me he will stop? Can men stop? What does this mean about his love and affection towards me? Is it truly possible for him to love and desire me when he is seeking images of naked women out of lust?

In all liklihood, if its a deep seated habit, its going to be a big challenge for him to stop. However, its very important to be supportive of his efforts to avoid this stuff, and when he tells you how much you mean to him, believe him. Do not throw “well if that were true, than why do you do this?” This is only going to distance him from you and encourage him to be resentful of you which will discourage him from stopping. If the resentment grows, this could become a larger problem for him.

Masturbating and viewing pornography in this way can be along the lines of eating comfort food even though its not good for you. Imagine that if your husband were hassling you for being a glutton and accusing you of not caring enough to make an effort to look good for him because in his eyes you obvously care more about that pint of icecream than you do about pleasing him. Well, you’d see him as completely not recognizing the vast difference. You may acknowledge that you really should have a healthier diet and could lose a few pounds, but you feel the accusation is over the top and has no gratitude for all the ways that you do try to please him. And if you are using food for comfort and feel resentful for his lack of gratitutde, this may lead you to eating more comfort food.

So support him, pray for him, but do not over-react.


#9

[quote="tskrobacz, post:2, topic:221845"]
First I would say this has nothing to do with you! .

[/quote]

what?
And if your wife or husband cheats on you it doesn't have anything to do with you?
What if someone hits your mom and turns around and tells you: It has nothing to do with you?

Are you crazy? This woman is faithfully and chastely married to a man whose children she is bearing, and whom she loves and respects. That same man is comitting adultery and you tell her: "it has nothing to do with you".

Wherever did you get that logic?


#10

[quote="GraceDK, post:9, topic:221845"]
what?
And if your wife or husband cheats on you it doesn't have anything to do with you?
What if someone hits your mom and turns around and tells you: It has nothing to do with you?

Are you crazy? This woman is faithfully and chastely married to a man whose children she is bearing, and whom she loves and respects. That same man is comitting adultery and you tell her: "it has nothing to do with you".

Wherever did you get that logic?

[/quote]

perhaps it should be taken as ** not what you have done that he does this, not your fault he has done this**you are not to blame.


#11

[quote="GraceDK, post:9, topic:221845"]
what?
And if your wife or husband cheats on you it doesn't have anything to do with you?
What if someone hits your mom and turns around and tells you: It has nothing to do with you?

Are you crazy? This woman is faithfully and chastely married to a man whose children she is bearing, and whom she loves and respects. That same man is comitting adultery and you tell her: "it has nothing to do with you".

Wherever did you get that logic?

[/quote]

You misunderstood my point. My point was she is not the cause of her husband's behaviors..he must take ownership of his actions and address them. On the same token she should not volunteer to be a victim in this situation.


#12

[quote="buddersmom, post:1, topic:221845"]
I am going to see a catholic therapist this week to help me "get over it" and "move on" because after apologizing there is "nothing left for him to say".

[/quote]

It would also be a really good idea to speak with a priest (with your husband if possible).

[quote="buddersmom, post:1, topic:221845"]
Can men stop?

[/quote]

Yes.


#13

dear budder.. (Opening Thread)

Is it quite possible he is cheating on you with porn.. It is a no go area (in the sense that He shouldnt be doing it)... This is a Mortal sin.. doesnt matter if he's married. The marrige "act" should be between two lovers, marride people. Even then you need to refrain from disordered acts..I hate to think what he's watching to satisfy himself..

You are well within your rights to sit him down and have a "talk" with him. Tell him that Masterbating is a big "No, No"; and how it makes you feel, not forgetting the fact that its a type of cheating.. if he's a good husband he should confess up and stop. No big concern needed.

Tell him he should be Chaste while you are apart.

Your sex life will be more fullfilled and he will love you more if He stops materbating in secret. He feels guilty thats why he tells you, conscience bothering him.. rightly so...

So take hold of the situation and tell him, "You need him to stop. "

The Rosary is a good weapon to a Chaste Life, tell him to Pray more and the Mother of God will help him with his urges.

Its a problem these days because Pornography is just everywhere. Get him to put a lock on his computer I can recommend K9 Web protection, Google it. Its really good. Make the Password really hard so you wont bother even trying.!

Good luck!


#14

The following is horrible advice:

[quote="the_Assyrian, post:13, topic:221845"]
You are well within your rights to sit him down and have a "talk" with him. Tell him that Masterbating is a big "No, No"; and how it makes you feel, not forgetting the fact that its a type of cheating.. if he's a good husband he should confess up and stop. No big concern needed. ...]

Your sex life will be more fullfilled and he will love you more if He stops materbating in secret. He feels guilty thats why he tells you, conscience bothering him.. rightly so...

So take hold of the situation and tell him, "You need him to stop. " ...]

Its a problem these days because Pornography is just everywhere. Get him to put a lock on his computer I can recommend K9 Web protection, Google it. Its really good. Make the Password really hard so you wont bother even trying.

[/quote]

Praying is fine. Talking to him is fine. Issuing ultimatums is not fine. Making him feel even more guilty is not fine.

Help him. Pray for him. Do not manhandle him.


#15

[quote="tskrobacz, post:11, topic:221845"]
You misunderstood my point. My point was she is not the cause of her husband's behaviors..he must take ownership of his actions and address them. On the same token she should not volunteer to be a victim in this situation.

[/quote]

Of course she is not the cause of her husbands impurity. I dont think you need to point that out to her.
As for "voluntering to be a victim". A person whose spouse commits adultery is a victim, and if the person in question didn't want his wife to be a victim then he should have thought about that before comitting adultery.
And it also seems that you do not realise that a husband having "impersonal" sex with a 1000 prostitutes on a screen who are willing to do even bestial things and really are totally sexobjects with out-of-proportion bodies, will by many women be experienced as even more repulsive and threatening than if their husband fell into sin one night with a coworker whom he had known for a long time and with whom he had one time normal sex.
These things are all attrocious to the VICTIM, ie. the other spouse, and very destructive to marriage and trust... but just so you know, me and many of my friends would eg. rather have a man who slept with one or two girls before marriage than being with someone who had been addicted to porn for years in his past and whose brain and memory was effected by that kind of movies.

You might not like to hear that, but maybe its time that people face that fact. Also, for young men to call themselves virgins when they have a problem with porn, is rather ridiculous. I refer to the well respected Jason Evert whose non-virgin wife talked about how sorry she would be looking into the eyes of her new husband who had waited for her....however, one detail, he didn't wait for her. He just relieved himself through pornography.

My two cents. maybe most don't like them, but I know for a fact that I speak for many women when I say this.


#16

buddersmom, if nothing else, your post has reaffirmed my thinking on the subject, reaffirmed my determination not to let my own guard slip in this regard, as well as helping me to understand things from my wife's perspective. So thank you for sharing your story.


#17

A person whose spouse commits adultery is a victim, and if the person in question didn’t want his wife to be a victim then he should have thought about that before committing adultery.

you do not realise that a husband having “impersonal” sex with a 1000 prostitutes on a screen who are willing to do even bestial things and really are totally sexobjects with out-of-proportion bodies, will by many women be experienced as even more repulsive and threatening than if their husband fell into sin one night with a coworker whom he had known for a long time and with whom he had one time normal sex.
These things are all atrocious to the VICTIM, ie. the other spouse, and very destructive to marriage and trust… but just so you know, me and many of my friends would eg. rather have a man who slept with one or two girls before marriage than being with someone who had been addicted to porn for years in his past and whose brain and memory was effected by that kind of movies.

You might not like to hear that, but maybe its time that people face that fact. Also, for young men to call themselves virgins when they have a problem with porn, is rather ridiculous. I refer to the well respected Jason Evert whose non-virgin wife talked about how sorry she would be looking into the eyes of her new husband who had waited for her…however, one detail, he didn’t wait for her. He just relieved himself through pornography.

Exactly – sex with yourself is still cheating on your spouse. Sex with yourself while viewing porn is cheating with many. It is chopping away at the base the marriage was built on and leaving only sifting sand for a foundation.

her husband is all for nfp as far as she goes but unwilling to be faithful to it if it denies him his ‘release’ – she struggles with holding off from sex, while he happily ‘takes things into his own hands’ and has ‘no struggles’ as he cheats on her. disgusting. i have no respect for men who feel fine doing this.


#18

It's interesting hearing people so stern on this topic. The fact of the matter is that just about everybody has sexual and other kinds of fantasies (I'd love to live in a mansion I design for myself, I'd love to be a concert pianist). Masturbation connects to this, and I don't see how masturbation to a fantasy translates into genuine betrayal of a spouse. One can KNOW his real situation, and also know his fantasy situation. The problems develop and multiply once one pursues fantasy rather than reality.


#19

masturbation and viewing sex are ACTIVELY pursuing fantasy and denying reality, very selfishly, very much a betrayal of your spouse. It seems that it is the men who are doing this that want to say it is no big deal and everyone is overreacting and it is the victims, the betrayed spouses, usually women, who feel great pain and betrayal by this -- well, if you are causing pain to your spouse, then it is is definitely a big deal. even if you are not married (yet, anymore, or ever) you are closing yourself off from God and a good relationship with anyone, because you are actively choosing yourself as your lovepartner. this is especially hurtful to a faithful spouse.


#20

[quote="RachelKH, post:17, topic:221845"]
she struggles with holding off from sex, while he happily 'takes things into his own hands' and has 'no struggles' as he cheats on her. disgusting. i have no respect for men who feel fine doing this.

[/quote]

Why do you presume that he does this "happily" and with "no struggles"? He was open with her about it and committing to stop. For many men it is a struggle and any priest will attest that it's one of the top sins confessed by men...men who wish they didn't do this and struggle continuously with it. It is a sin and he should stop, but don't presume he did/does it so unashemadly.


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