Relationships

Help! Our therapist suggested porn to save our marriage!

Katrina Fernandez "fixes it for you" with advice on seeking counseling that isn't at odds with your faith

Katrina,

This is deeply personal and hard to write but I really need some advice on this. My husband and I have been married 12 years and we aren’t as affectionate as we used to be. We used to snuggle on the couch, hold hands, and hug each other. I miss that affection. We’ve grown so physically distant and also don’t have sex regularly. We can go months without intimacy. He would like more sex and I would just like more affection. I was really worried about our marriage for a while so when he agreed to go to counseling I was ecstatic.

Now to make matters worse the counselor that my brother-in-law suggested told us that to improve our sex life we should incorporate porn into our lovemaking. I’m no prude but even I know that our problem is bigger than just having more exciting sex. When I told the therapist that she said an unwillingness to explore alternative methods of sexual enhancement was a leading cause of divorce. So now my husband is willing to give her advice a try and I’m the bad guy because it looks like I don’t want to take our therapist’s advice to fix our marriage.

Name Withheld

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Dear Wife,

What if I told you the best way to save your marriage and your sex life was to incorporate drug use into your lovemaking? You would think I was totally insane and ill-equipped to give advice, and rightly so. When a therapist tells her clients to use pornography to fix their marital problems, that therapist shows a tremendous ignorance of the habit-forming and spiritually degenerative effects of porn.  

I am appalled that your therapist, someone who should have her client’s best interests in mind, would blame you and try to guilt you into something you obviously are uncomfortable with.  

My immediate advice to you is to seek another form of counsel without further hesitation. Contact your local diocese and ask to speak to someone in Catholic Charities. Make inquiries to see if they can recommend a Catholic therapist or counselor. Call your local parish or write to your priest and ask him for recommendations. Do some internet searches for a local Catholic therapist. It is imperative, for the sake of your marriage, that you seek good and holy therapy that doesn’t put you at direct odds with your faith.

You are right to feel uncomfortable by your therapist’s advice. You are even more right to recognize her contempt for your discomfort as a major red flag. Talk to your husband and express your desire to seek another opinion. I understand he may be hesitant because he likes the suggestions your therapist is providing, but explain to him that anything she suggests that makes you feel uncomfortable, compromised, and unsafe is not going to improve your marriage. Appeal to his duty as your husband and ask him to protect you from what she is asking you to do. Then arm yourself with facts and statistics about how harmful pornography is to protect yourself and your husband. Too many people try to normalize pornography because of how common and accessible it’s become.

I cannot tell you enough how harmful and destructive pornography is. I watched it consume my ex-husband and destroy my own marriage. I watched his addiction grow more feverish as he needed more and more exposure to pornography in order to become satisfied. He squandered money we didn’t have on his addiction and eventually explored his sexual perversions outside our marriage because internet pornography was no longer thrilling enough. His “habit” even cost him several jobs.

It was just like watching a heroin addict. He insisted what he was doing was normal and legal and that I was the one that needed to lighten up and be more open, adventurous, and exciting. It was my fault for being unwilling to “spice things up” that our marriage was suffering. It was my fault that he had to “resort” to porn. He was never culpable for his own actions. Just as with a drug addict, there was loss of money and employment, shifting of responsibility, blame, justifications, and rationalization.

Pornography had the exact opposite effect on our intimacy that your therapist is suggesting. It didn’t makes us grow in affection for each other and enhance our love lives. It destroyed it. Pornography built a wall between my ex-husband and me that shut us off from making any real connections. It reduced our lovemaking to gratification only, not the bonding of husband and wife.          

I lived in fear that his online activity would throw him into the deep web of child pornography and other illegal internet activities. His infidelity and perversions repulsed me. I didn’t trust him to be alone with our son. Our divorce came shortly after I came home from the grocery store one afternoon to find him looking at pornography on the computer while our infant son slept in a bouncing seat right next to him. That was the final straw.

Does that sound like the marriage you want? Does that sounds like a situation any responsible therapist would want and encourage their client to find themselves in? You and your husband deserves a hundred times better than that.

The truth is, suggesting you incorporate porn into your love life is the laziest advice a marriage counselor can give. It may make things appear to be more exciting temporarily but, you are correct, it never addresses or improves  the underlying issues the marriage is suffering from. It’s like a doctor prescribing a pill for the symptoms of a disease but refusing to run the necessary test to actually diagnose and cure the disease. Every pill comes with its own sets of side effects and porn is no exception.     

Protect your husband and protect yourself as well. It’s not just men who can become addicted to pornography. Women have been growing in that statistic as well and falling victim. I beg you to do whatever you can and employ whatever means necessary to prevent the invitation of pornography into your home. Fight this battle for your marriage with knowledge, moral fortitude, and exhaustive prayer.

           

sexygirl

Katrina Fernandez

Katrina Fernandez  has a PhD in being single, and a master’s in single parenting with a concentration in Catholic guilt. She’s been writing about these and other life-survival topics for more than a decade. Submit all questions to katrinafixesitforyou@gmail.com