Why I asked my boyfriend to stop watching porn

By Hoe I Yune, Apr 04, 2019

L* had been dating her boyfriend for a year when she stumbled upon porn videos on his laptop. It was to become a major problem in their relationship. She shares how it made her feel, how they argued about it, and how they arrived at the resolution that they did.

*As it is a sensitive subject, L has requested to remain anonymous.

* * * *

Hi, I’d rather keep my identity a secret.

My boyfriend, let’s call him J, and I were about one year into our relationship.  I was searching for movies on his computer when I noticed a folder full of porn videos. I felt offended and burst into tears. Not knowing what was onscreen, he asked what happened and why was I crying.

Me: Why are you watching all this?

Him: The folder has been there forever. 
I can’t even remember when was the last time I accessed it!

Me: Okay. Can you delete it?

That was the end of the conversation.

But during the days that followed, I started wondering if he was resorting to porn to satisfy his needs. I thought maybe I wasn’t his ideal woman in terms of physical appearance. I kept these thoughts to myself as I was still struggling to explain my feelings around the entire issue.

Just to be clear, I would’ve been completely okay with him watching porn if he were single or it was during the very early dating stages. It’s just that being in a relationship, I believed that you should be sharing the intimate moments with your other half. To me, sex is not just physical but emotional. And when you’re committed to someone in a relationship, you should respect your other half and be more considerate.

The next incident occurred when I was trawling his history page for an old link. I noticed some adult sites and realised that contrary to what he said before, he watches porn regularly. It really got to me since we were already in a relationship and intimate - was it not enough to just have sex with me? I confronted him on the spot and cried again.

 J tried to console me, saying “it’s really not what you think.” He tried to explain that it was very normal for guys and didn’t mean anything.

I struggled to understand. I said “It’s still a choice to make. Do you really need to do it so often?”

Things escalated when I found that he didn’t delete the first folder of porn videos.

I was hurt because I thought he’d remove them right after I told him to. It reinforced my suspicion that he was watching them regularly. I asked why the hell were they still there and if they really meant so much to him. It might not have been physically cheating but I guess I considered it as him being emotionally unfaithful.

We weren’t having sex as often as before due to work commitments, which made me even more insecure. Sometimes he wouldn’t even be in the mood for sex. I kept thinking it was because he was relieving himself through these videos.

I became that “psycho” girlfriend, constantly checking his browser history to see if he was still watching these girls.

The thought of him getting turned on by pornstars really got to me and I felt hurt by that. We argued a lot. Once, I lashed out asking how would he feel if I got turned on by another guy’s dick. Wouldn’t he be uncomfortable with that? I wanted him to only be sexually attracted to me. 

After going about this back and forth for around half a year, I told him upfront that we needed to do something about this because it was affecting our overall relationship. I was growing tired of the ongoing problem and developing serious trust issues.

It was bad enough that I already had trust issues after my ex-boyfriend cheated on me with a couple of my friends.

All the issues compounded and it kept adding on - I felt uneasy as J’s friends openly commented on girls’ bodies. He’d never contribute but his friends would say things like “check out her boobs”, “woah, that girl is damn fat” or “look at her legs - damn ugly”. Sometimes I think girls get so insecure about their body image because of remarks made by guys like them. I’ve always felt degraded when they talk about these things. Women are not here to be objectified.

I told him I needed some time to think about things and recover on my own. I was so insecure about myself and didn’t know how to face him. I kept thinking “it’s me, it’s me - I’m not beautiful enough for him.”

We took a break for a bit, not even texting each other. I’d ask myself - am I overthinking? Is he right in saying that watching porn is normal? I couldn’t talk to any of my girl friends about it because I didn’t want to paint him in a bad light. I couldn’t go to my guy friends either because that felt inappropriate.

Without anyone to turn to, I was getting desperate and all I could do was try to search the Internet hoping to get some kind of answers. I found that it’s very normal for guys to masturbate at least once or twice a week and porn helps them with that. Some comments even indicated that it could become a health issue if they stop masturbating (although idk, maybe they were just trolling). Knowing that I wasn’t alone in this and that it’s a common issue that couples face, I felt a little better.

Maybe I’m especially sensitive to this because I used to be bulimic in the past.

I used to be really overweight and felt very bad about myself. Then vanity kicked in when I was a teenager and developed an interest in boys. Every day, I pushed myself to the limit working out and ate extremely healthily. I lost weight but the process was really slow.

In high school, I got close to a new classmate. She ate a lot but remained so skinny. When I asked her how she did it, she told me her secret: she was bulimic.

I went from being curious to giving it a go. After eating, I would puke in the toilet. It felt good after trying so hard to eat healthy for a year. I could wolf down three plates of fried noodles and dessert without feeling guilty, knowing it’ll all come out in the end.

It got increasingly drastic - I went from throwing up lunch to multiple meals in a day. I avoided eating out with friends because I was afraid of losing self-control and binge-eating in front of them. I preferred to contain myself within the comfort of my own home.

What made me stop was when I realised that my health was deteriorating. First, I would feel chest pains, stomach aches, and the corners of my mouth would get super dry. Then I noticed that my throat was always sore - likely from gastric reflux, and even my teeth felt sensitive. I looked pale and tired most of the time - to the point where friends would ask if I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m also anemic, which made things worse. I’d feel dizzy and have fainting spells.

I was so weak.

Realising that my body was failing, I sought help from a doctor. Recovery wasn’t easy, but I focused on going back to my healthy lifestyle and exercise. It was difficult to stop because there would always be a strong urge to binge and vomit. What really helped was being honest about my eating disorder with my then-boyfriend. He knew about it and supported me through the recovery process.

Another motivating force was being chosen as captain of my high school sports team. That made me realise that I should strive to become a role model.

I’m really into fitness now because I never want to go back to that unhealthy phase in my life. Through working out, I became fit, healthy, and my cheeks were rosy again. I looked better and felt more confident.

When I found J’s porn stash, it was as if all my insecurities came back to haunt me.

How was it that I lost all this weight yet he still wanted to look at other women? I immediately thought my body wasn’t good enough and maybe he was turned off by my cellulite and stretch marks.

 I think the Internet research helped. It made me realise that I was being too harsh on him and didn’t understand his needs.

But I was still upset that he kept this from me and felt like he couldn’t turn to me.

Realising that the only way to tackle this problem was to be open with him, I told him we should just be honest when we wanted to have sex. There was no need for porn. He took it well - I think he saw how badly it affected me and became more sensitive about the whole issue. He agreed.

Since then, things got better. J really became more transparent about things.

I was still paranoid and checking his browser history until one day, I woke up and realised how dependent my feelings and entire relationship were on this. I didn’t want my insecurities to be what controlled me. I decided to cut it out and trust him.

It also became easier for me because we started spending more time together and he became more in tune with my feelings. These days, we can talk about anything and I’m not as affected as I was before. Occasionally I tease him, asking if he prefers another girl’s body over mine. He would say not to be silly and that he loves me the way I am. 

I’m glad that I decided to talk to him about it. Otherwise today, I would still have trust issues, constantly speculating what’s on his mind. We probably wouldn’t even be together.

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