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Want to Work On Being a Less Angry Partner? Ditch Porn For Good.

By June 25, 2018 No Comments
This Post Was Written By J.K. Emezi, A Certified Addiction Coach With Elevated Recovery. 6 minute read.

Over the years, research has increasingly shed light on the negative effects of pornography on the consumer’s brain, their relationships, and our society. However, there is one common effect of porn on relationships that is rarely mentioned:

The connection between porn and anger.

Over the past 6 years of offering accountability to individuals struggling with a porn problem, I’ve noticed that anger is a common theme in almost all relationships where pornography is present. Often, a partner in the relationship is confused when their partner begins to express an angry response that is not proportionate to the situation that triggered it. Disproportionate anger becomes even riskier when the couple has children, since children usually haven’t developed the skills to process, in a healthy way, such extreme emotions from adults they depend on.

After working one on one with over 300 individuals struggling with porn, I’ve come up with five main reasons for anger in a relationship where porn is a problem. Of course, there may be other underlying issues facing a person which leads to anger, but when porn is added to the mix, it will only serve to escalate this emotion.

Shame

Porn consumption thrives in secrecy. For many consumers, the shame of consuming porn comes from repeatedly acting against their values. [1] Their anger, however, comes from the feeling that deep within them, they are inadequate. This becomes a belief that they are not worth loving.

Porn truly can kill love.

Living in shame and being disconnected from love generates feelings of low value and lack of control over their life. Anger is an emotion which can mask these scary, vulnerable feelings. When a consumer is angry, they feel as if they are back in control…they feel safe. The reality is that behind this illusion, this wall of anger, they still experience deep shame, loneliness, fear, and sadness.

Related: Here’s Why Those Who Struggle With Porn Aren’t Bad People

The solution to shame is to always shine a light on it. To first take responsibility by admitting that they have a problem, then reaching out to an understanding, trustworthy person or community for support.

Disappointment

Porn promises many pleasures, and highs. It promises to make a consumer feel better, improve his or her mood, satisfy your cravings, and much more. At the end of the day, however, all it really does is leave consumers unsatisfied, empty and angry. They feel cheated when they realize that over time, porn really doesn’t deliver anything it promises. [2] Worse still, they are unable to stop going back to porn despite knowing that it offers nothing of value to them. Similar to repeatedly going back to a relationship where the other partner hurt them, only to get hurt again, a consumer generates anger and resentment not just towards that person, but towards themselves for their self-destructive decision.

Related: Escape Reality: Why You Can’t Stop Thinking About Watching Porn

Healthy, intimate sexual behavior doesn’t leave a person feeling “cheated” or taken advantage of. Instead, it elevates their mood, leaves them feeling better, and deepens the intimacy between them and their partner.

Giving healthy relationships a real chance will prove to consumers that as human beings, we are capable of much more than our most basic biological instincts. The human brain is a wonderful tool which can generate infinitely more satisfaction and happiness in our lives through intimacy with one partner.

Blame

For porn consumers who have worked to maintain a positive self-image, it can be challenging to face their failures, slip-ups, and shortcomings. The prospect of divulging their dark porn secret to others might be daunting, especially if their mistakes make them feel like a disappointment or a fraud.

Unfortunately, keeping this secret to themselves only generates the very emotions they have tried to escape. In this situation, it is quite natural for the mind to seek out someone or something to lay the blame on. Anyone but themselves.

Related: Watching Porn Isn’t Just A Personal Habit, It Affects Your Partner Too

Usually, that person is the one closest to them—their partner. It’s not unusual to hear a consumer say: “If my partner was a little more open-minded,” or, “My partner isn’t sensitive enough to my needs,” or, “If only my partner wasn’t so selfish.” If their partner was also an accountability partner of sorts who was aware of their struggle, it is not uncommon to blame them for not being as “committed” to helping.

Now, since they don’t consider it their fault for slipping, they can take it out on this person to release the “pressure” of falling short of their self-image’s expectations.

At the end of the day, regardless of a partner’s good intentions, they are human. No one is perfect, and the best leaders are those who can, at the very least, admit their shortcomings to those closest to them. Instead of weakness, strength and freedom are created when a partner becomes vulnerable and gives themselves a chance to renew their commitment to serving others and avoiding porn.

Partner Gets in The Way

This is a big one. Since a person who frequently consumes porn has programmed them self to derive more pleasure from porn than a healthy sexual connection with their partner, every moment that they feel an urge to view porn when their partner is around becomes a problem. Their partner actually “gets in the way” of their relationship with their favorite isolated activity, which makes them frustrated.

The more often a porn-using partner’s harmful routine is disrupted, the more they direct their anger at their partner. Many partners are often confused when one moment, they were enjoying an intimate moment with their partner, and the next, their partner is expressing anger and acting as if their presence is unwelcome. [3] Of course, if there were no secrecy or shame attached to a behavior, they would be able to express their emotions in a healthy way. In this case, despite their partner’s well-meaning concern about their behavior, they aren’t ready to open up.

Related: Asking My Wife To Watch Porn With Me Actually Ruined Our Marriage

The dangerous aspect of this situation is that, while a consumer’s anger stems from their partner’s “getting in the way” of their porn habit, the damage is far from done. Repeatedly directing their anger towards someone whom they care about—a person whom they know is innocent—becomes emotionally incongruent over time. Therefore, after some time, their brain begins to find other reasons to justify their anger. Before they know it, all sorts of trivial issues become opportunities and “evidence” to become angry at their partner.

The truth is that by expressing anger towards their partner, they are not only rejecting them, but choosing to allow fantasy to dictate their emotions in the real world.

Discontentment

Porn changes the brain. Repeated exposure to pornography alters a consumer’s arousal template, changing the cues that arouse them. Unlike the largely unrealistic scenes portrayed in porn, a normal relationship isn’t as versatile, and neither is a real-world partner. Since it is impossible for a partner to simply change to keep up with a consumer’s porn induced preferences, they begin to resent the fact that they are with a person who doesn’t live up to their new, unrealistic expectations.

As crazy as it sounds, a porn-consuming partner literally becomes angry at their partner and their choice in a partner. [4] It is not uncommon for some consumers to second-guess their relationship, deluded into the belief that they didn’t pick the right partner or could somehow find a partner more “appropriate” to their altered preference.

Bottom Line: Watching Isn’t Worth It

Anger is a normal human emotion, and there are many situations where it is justified. However, like all human emotions, when expressed or prompted for the wrong reasons, it often hurts others. Before anger hurts others, anger hurts the one who generates it.

It’s helpful to remember that porn fuses the parts of the human brain which process violence and sexual arousal. Violence is often preceded by anger. Most partners never imagine themselves as violent—especially in relationships—however, as I often mention, “you become what you eat.”

Likewise, you become like what you watch.

Partners who wish to avoid anger in their relationships due to porn should be mindful of what they let into their brain, so that they never have to look at themselves in the mirror one day and wonder how they strayed so far from the partner they once aspired to be.

About the Author

J.K. Emezi is a certified addiction recovery professional specializing in sex and pornography addiction. You can find his work at Elevated Recovery and check out his Youtube Channel.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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Citations

[1] The Fix: Addicted to Porn: Compulsion, Shame and Anxiety: https://www.thefix.com/addicted-porn-compulsion-shame-anxiety
[2] Bergner, Raymond M., and Ana J. Bridges. “The significance of heavy pornography involvement for romantic partners: Research and clinical implications.” Journal of Sex &Marital Therapy 28.3 (2002): 193-206. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/009262302760328235
[3] Sex Roles: A Journal of Research: Male Partners’ Perceived Pornography Use and Women’s Relational and Psychological Health: The Roles of Trust, Attitudes, and Investment
[4] International Business Times: Internet porn leaves women feeling ‘unsatisfied’ by male sexual partners. Research suggests more women have unrealistic expectations about partners’ stamina: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/internet-porn-leaves-women-feeling-unsatisfied-by-male-sexual-partners-1633664
Other Research Referenced:
Bridges, A. J., Bergner, R. M., & Hesson-McInnis, M. (2003). Romantic partners’ use of pornography: Its significance for women. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 29, 1–14. doi:10.1080/00926230390754790.
Bradbury, T. N., Fincham, F. D., & Beach, S. R. (2000). Research on the nature and determinants of marital satisfaction: A decade in review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 964–980. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00964.x.
Cooper, A. (1998). Sexuality and the internet: Surfing into the new millennium. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 1, 187–193. doi:10.1089/cpb.1998.1.187.

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