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I Caught My Boyfriend Looking at Porn

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Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right or moral

Katrina,

I found out my boyfriend looks at porn, like a lot, and I can’t get past it. I found out about three months ago when I needed to borrow his phone while we were on vacation. I forgot to pack my charger. I was looking something up and when I went to his browser, all these porn sites were listed in his history, really raunchy and nasty-sounding stuff. I was totally shocked.

I confronted him and we had a big fight over it. He said I was overreacting because all guys look at porn. It just creeps me out that he has it on his phone, like he can’t leave the house without looking at it. I’m not naive, I know guys like to look at that stuff, but I was so surprised to find what I found. It’s really changed my opinion of him, and he gets defensive every time I bring it up. I’m not sure how to move past this. My girlfriends think I’m overreacting too and say it’s natural for guys to look at porn because they are visual. How can my boyfriend and I move past this?  

Frustrated.

 

Dear Frustrated,

Let me ask you something. What would you do if you found out your boyfriend had a secret drug habit? Would you have continued to be in a relationship for three months after that revelation? Especially if he refused to acknowledge his drug habit was a problem and got defensive every time you wanted to talk about it? I’m going to guess, no.

But drugs and pornography aren’t the same thing, you might argue. Drugs are illegal and porn isn’t. Look, I’m going to assume you’re a smart young lady and know that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right or moral.

Pornography is as addictive as any drug. It’s soul-corrupting, demoralizing, denigrating to women and self, and can destroy a person just as ruthlessly as drugs. It destroyed my own marriage.  There is no such thing as a harmless porn habit.  

And no, not all men look at porn. It’s not a natural part of manhood and something they can’t help because they are “visual.” Your girlfriends have a warped and sexist view of men. Men most certainly can control themselves, and, in fact, are expected to. As the mother of a son I have the highest moral expectations of my boy, as you should have of the person you’ve chosen to be in a relationship with. When you allow those expectations to diminish you’re left settling for a guy who has an unapologetic porn habit.

Looking at porn is not a relationship red flag. Looking at porn is a deal breaker, or at least it should be. The same way drug use should be.

I’m not speaking from some moral high horse, science backs me up on this. There have been countless studies on the harmful effects of regular porn viewing. The Church is right on this, and always has been. Science has just caught up.     

From our own Catechism:

“2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.”

You’ve expressed your concerns and disgust to your boyfriend. He responded with defensiveness and excuses, not with contrition. If you really want to “get past” his porn habit, then you need to start by making this boyfriend a thing of your past.  

[Editor’s note: If you haven’t given real thought to this sin, take the poll — “Is the use of porn a deal-breaker?” Pray about this issue in your life.]

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.

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