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My husband says he feels 'inadequate'

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#1 Kay M

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:40 PM

Hi Everyone,
I'm hoping you guys can help me...my husband and I have been married about 5 years, and our sex life has been ok til lately. I found out he's been looking at porn (photos of nude women, not the hard core stuff) online, and we've been having 'talks' about this. He tells me that he's always felt like the size of his penis was inadequate, from the time he was a teenager. He had never shared this with me before. As far as my experience goes, the size of his penis is normal, I think.
My libido has been pretty low lately, due to stress and probably hormones (menopause?) We've been intimate about once a week for awhile now. He says he feels like I don't want him anymore physically, and he thinks that's why he started looking at the nude women online. That doesn't make sense to me, maybe some of you men out there could help me understand it better? My husband and I have tried talking about it, I told him it hurts me when he feels the need to look at photos like that of other women. I've tried to explain my lack of libido to him, and tried to make him understand that it's not his fault.
This isn't the type of thing I feel comfortable talking to my family or friends about...that would devastate my husband.
(Not that I won't consider any of you friends...hope you know what I mean)
Thanks for being there,

#2 DDD

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:44 PM

Hi Kay,
I'm in a similar situation with my husband, and I'm still trying to make sense of things. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I need to accept the fact that men and women just see these things differently, and try to find a way to live with that. Not easy for me, but I'm trying.
I don't have any great advice, just wanted you to know that you're not the only one who feels the way you do.
Hang in there!

#3 windcuffer

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:56 PM


Sorry about how hurt you must be feeling right now. I think many men are probably insecure about the size of their penisis though in general I think most men are about average - it's not really something that I have much information on.

As far as looking at other women on the internet, I can understand your being hurt. However the images are purely that - images that provide artificial stimulation. It does not mean that he would rather be with them than you. Porn is a means to an end, a fantasy world, that has no place in reality. I think maybe men are wired to admire women, but again this does not mean he would rather be with them.

I'm not sure if this ramble has been of any help, but I hope it has.

Most importantly don't blame yourself.

Very best wishes


#4 Mediahikthya

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 04:32 AM


I don't think that anyone here is insulted by your implication that we're not friends. I think that is why we are all here, because this is nuetral territory. We risk less when we open ourselves up because these strangers only know what you tell us and if it ever gets to scary or hard you just disapear. It is often theraputic writing, but it goes somewhere.

My response may come accross a little blunt or snarky, and I hope it doesn't but I don't know how else to talk about it. Also I'm feeling a bit snarky right now and focusing on someone else's issues for a little while is letting me escape from my current familial ones.

When I first got together with my husband I shared your view of porn, I was hurt that he felt the need to look at other women. Ultimatly I thought that I was being compared to them and would be found lacking. A lot of talk, thought and soul searching later I feel very different.

I would pose the theory that you are dealing with three seperate issues here not one. They all relate to sex and insecurities, but they are ultimatly seperate.

Your lack of libido is clearly causing you discomfort, and perhaps your husband as well. His desire to look at naked women probably has nothing to do with you or your sex life.

Your husbands insecurities about his size is a common problem among men, and doesn't have anything to do with his fantasy life or your sex life. I think that he is willing to share with you is a pretty good indication of trust in your relationship.

Personally I have the highest level of libido in my relationship, and that often leaves me wanting a lot more then is available. I think that it is unusually high and I know that I could probably take medication for it but it's such a part of me that I wouldn't know how to function without it. Since I could not always rely on my husband to meet my needs I finally had to turn to other options. I didn't find erotic pictures particularly useful but I discovered the world of erotic literature and learned how to take care of myself. Life got a lot easier for me, although I still have plenty of issues to work through.

I eventually came to realize that there was nothing different in my reading of erotic books and my husband looking at erotic pictures. The books were a fantasy, a release from the real world and a release from my own needs. They didn't impact how I felt about him, I didn't compare him to the fictional characters in the book or want him any less.

Windcuffer is right on the mark, it is a fantasy world. It's not signifigantly different from watching action adventure movies and enjoying the exploits of the heroic character. You enjoy watching the hero, perhaps even imagine being the hero or being with the hero in his adventures. But then the credits roll and you go home having spent an enjoyable amount of time in a fantasy world.

I would also point out that the hurt and possible insecure feelings you have about the porn are similar to the hurt and insecure feelings he has about his own body. If you offer him assurances you need to understand that until he accepts his own body and is secure in himself there is little that you can say that will make a difference. So in the same way that he needs to accept your love, acceptance and satisfaction with his body you need to accept his love and acceptance of your body.

I hope this helps, please feel free to refute, tell me I don't know anything or ask me more questions. I've been down this road and I don't know the answers but I know what it looks like.

#5 Mediahikthya

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 04:45 AM

Another thought, you may want to give some serious thought as to WHY it is bothering you not just THAT it is bothering you.

Are you bothered about the porn because you are supposed to be? Is it coming from culture / training / religion?
If so then you need to look at why that is and wether or not you actually agree with it and why. Operate from logic not training.

Are you bothered because of what it might say about you or how he feels about you?
Learn that these are your feelings and he's not really doing anything wrong, and explore how you can feel better about yourself.

Are you bothered because you see it as an aspect of being unfaithful?
THen you need to have a discussion about your relationship, boundaries and the rules.

You may have a different reason of your own but the above are some of the most common ones.

You also need to establish your goal in this conflict.
Do you want him to stop looking at porn? or
Do you want him to stop wanting to look at porn?

The first may be accomplished but the second is unlikely.

#6 e.j.f.

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 11:59 PM

Hi Kay,

I'll echo the sentiments of the other posters - your husband looking at porn doesn't necessarily mean that he's devaluing you. I understand why you might think that though, and why it might feel very awkward to learn that he is.

Your husband is trying to have an orgasm - not look at porn. The porn is secondary, it's the orgasm that's the goal. You've explained the lower libido to him and he's decided to give you space by working out his own needs on his own. Some people like imagination, some like toys, and some like fiction. Some people like porn.

I've been on both ends of this situation. Keep telling him that he's not the cause of your lower libido. Barring depressed periods in my life when it stays low, my libido fluctuates - I think that's normal for people! And he should be able to keep telling you that naked women aren't going to replace you. Remeber that you offer so much more to a husband than orgasms! Keep talking about it like this so you keep connected on the issue - you obviously have a good level of trust if he can tell you about his size insecurity. Badness can happen if you let it go into limbo - speaking for myself in that same situation, when it's not talked about, my mind will run absolutely crazy.

Finally - you shouldn't feel pressure to change your sex life to a level that you can't handle. If once a week (or whatever) is the boundary that you can handle, then stick to that. Don't feel guilty about that! If you don't keep where you're comfortable, you'll feel far worse. And really - once a week isn't so bad! He's doing a lot better than me :)

#7 Kay M

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:30 AM

Thanks so much for your replies...
My husband and I are doing ok...it's just so tough for me to know that he's looking at other women like that when I'm already not feeling too great about myself. I'm not sure most men really do understand how women (or at least, some women) feel in that situation. I'm frustrated with myself when it comes to my libido, and the doctors I've seen just want to put me on artificial hormones. There has to be a better way...I haven't found it yet, but I'm not giving up. I do love my husband and I want to please him, but I feel like I'm not succeeding in doing that.
At least we can talk about it, and he I know he tries to understand and would never intentionally hurt me.
I'm so glad I've found BTB and all of you...thanks again for being there!