Sure, your S.O.'s porn-watching habits are pretty status quo. But sometimes there are gray areas to his sexual healing that leave you feeling weird. Like when he gets jiggy with your fave moisturizer without approaching you for sex first. (Seriously, you were like, right there.) You know his occasional need to fly solo is probably no biggie, but what gives?
He Just Wants to Get His Rocks Off
One of the main reasons a guy will go the porn-over-partner route: It's a no-muss, no-fuss way to get the job done. "Women tend to need more communication, romance, and/or foreplay," says board-certified clinical sexologist Debra Laino Ph.D. "Meanwhile, your guy just wants to get off."
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He Doesn’t Think You Want to Bang
It's also possible that he might be using porn as a way to bridge the gap between your sexual desires and his, says Carol Queen, Ph.D., staff sexologist for Good Vibrations. For example, if his sex drive is hella strong and yours isn't quite as ravenous, he might turn to porn as an alternative to being rejected.
He’s Got a Secret Fetish
He might also enjoy something kinky that he's uncomfortable sharing, so he sticks to fantasizing about it through porn. "Sometimes a person doesn't want to risk letting their partner know what turns them on, so they avoid the issue by avoiding sex," says Queen.
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You Just Had a Fight
Of course, other relationship stressors—say, a recent spat—can play out as avoidance, too. It's possible a fight might trigger him to turn to porn as an outlet for temporary comfort, says Queen. It distracts him from his problems, doesn't involve negotiation, and provides him with a super-efficient way to ease the tension.
Is It a Problem?
These porn-viewing rituals aren't cause for alarm. (Hey, sometimes you just get the urge.) The problem comes when his side gig becomes habit. "[Always] choosing pornography over sex with a partner means there's something radically wrong," says Laino. "Either a looming compulsion with porn, a poor relationship, or a host of possible other issues." If your guy is hiding his porn habits, lying about them, or your sex life has taken a nosedive, it may be time for a heart-to-heart.
Why Porn Isn’t the Real Issue
If you do think that porn is becoming a problem, try to remember that watching X-rated flicks is just an outlet he's using to cope with the real matter.
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To head off the problem, try to make an effort to reconnect and initiate sex when you want it, says Queen. You can also try to be more open about your sexual fetishes and encourage him to do the same. Try watching porn together to learn more about what turns you both on. If porn-watching stays his priority after all of that, you may have some decisions to make, says Queen, She recommends seeing a couple's counselor to get to the core of the problem.