Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Do Men Forgive Sexual Betrayal as Readily as Women Seem to - Plus Effects of Porn on Relationships

This week's Real Love Show asked the question whether men forgive sexual betrayal as easily as women seem to.  I say "seem to" because this cannot be easy. This came about because Lord Jeffrey Archer is back in the news as he promotes his latest book.  The journalist wondered whether he would have stood by Mary if she had humiliated him in the way that he had done her over the years with various sexual indiscretions including using prostitutes.

I remember talking with friends about forgiving your spouse if they betrayed you sexually with someone else. One guy told the story of a couple where the wife was so in love with her husband and so wanting to please him and make him happy, that she had given him permission if he ever met someone he really liked, to sleep with her.  Just so long as he didn't do it in front of her. Apparently the husband was so grateful and appreciative that he said he doubted he would ever do such a thing as he had such a wonderful wife. A young lady sitting in the group said, wow wasn't that amazing and  she supposed it must work the other way round so that if she liked another man her husband would turn a blind eye.  Well, I nearly collapsed at this one especially when I saw the guy's face who was telling the story.  He seemed so completely shocked and taken aback and took some time to recover.  I'm quite sure no such reciprocal agreement existed!

I am concerned that a woman would think it okay to give her husband permission to sleep with other women. Is there an element of insecurity that tells her its going to happen anyway so just allow it? What are her expectations of marriage?  Some women feel that although he cheats, so long as he comes back to them each time,  its okay.  I can never align myself to this thinking.  If a man isn't man enough to stay faithful and commit to one woman and one family then he just doesn't need to get married. He is not ready. When he is ready, then step up.  Why on earth would you make vows to be faithful to one person "so long as you both shall live" and then sleep with all and sundry?

It seems to me that the humiliation is the same whether it is the wife or the husband that is betrayed and if you can forgive, it will take time to heal, although things will never be the same.  Some people say they become stronger.   No doubt due to the work involved in putting the marriage back together again. Although I would question if there really is a marriage where there is persistent adultery over the years.

Are those vows really being taken seriously?  It is up to the couple to decide. I understand if either party falls from grace once but to do so repeatedly is "having a laugh" or you have a serious underlying problem.  If if turns out to be a such a problem, it needs to be sought out and dealt with. A Counsellor or Relationship Coach is worth their weight in gold here.  A marriage is a serious investment and any help needed should be taken.  Living with a partner who is persistently adulterous is neither good for the spouse or any children who grow up witnessing this. Its bad for the marriage as it eats away at its very fabric which includes trust, honour and respect. It is bad for the spouse whose self-esteem and self-worth is attacked every time. It is bad for the children as it teaches young boys to have no respect for women or indeed the institution of marriage and it teaches young girls not to trust men.

The Show also looked at porn and its effects on a marriage.  I would have a problem if my husband found it necessary to ogle naked women in magazines or felt he simply had to watch explicit movies, porn or otherwise. Why would you want to fill your mind with such images? I am quite sure if I started reading magazines full of naked pictures of men he would not be impressed. A healthy marriage doesn't require porn. All it requires is two people who are into each other. When you started out, you didn't need external stimuli, just being with each other was enough.

Speaking to guys who use porn, they all tell me one thing, that regular sex becomes boring.  Well, its no surprise if you are going to fill your head with all kinds of kinky images and feel you have to reproduce that. One guy told me he had to spice this up after a while by bringing in threesomes, no surprise the third person would be another girl, not another man. I wonder how he would feel if she suggested a threesome but recommended another man! I am pretty sure his ego would have something to say!

With society being so sexualised you have to set the boundaries to what you will have infiltrate your marriage.  You have to protect your relationship.  You have to protect your marriage.  Everything does NOT go.

Sex does not have to become boring  It becomes boring if you are boring.

Sex is an important part of any marriage and it always requires that you work on it. Which means working on the relationship in general.

We also touched upon the high rate of sexual immorality in today's church.  Perhaps there is a connection to the high level of porn addiction with people in the church.  Both men and women.  Both pulpit and pew. It would be difficult to practice christian principles as in no sex before marriage, or no adultery, if you are taking in the influences of porn,  and allowing it has be said in some cases perverse images to fill your spirit and mind. If you take it in, its got to have an outlet.

I remember somebody giving me a porn magazine when I was around  15. I saw the first couple pages as they flicked it open and I just turned my back. Insulted! Why would this man, who should know better, give this magazine to me? What did he take me for? The image that I saw however fleetingly was not of a beautiful woman but a woman who was being exploited.  In conversations I have had with men over the years, some say if a woman wants to be a prostitute or a stripper or wants to pose naked, its empowering, its making her money and the men are the idiots for paying for it.  And there was nothing wrong with it.  I asked them all the same question, if it was their mother doing it to provide bread for the table, or their daughter doing it to make ends meet, is that okay? Is there anything wrong with this picture?  I have never had a positive answer yet. Why is this?

Don't we all know inherently whether something is good or not?

+Stephan Labossiere was with us on the show and gave great tips on how to detox from porn addiction.  Including ways to wean yourself off, getting your partner to help you when it comes to online porn and setting up systems that prevent you accessing them, and more.

A blog dedicated to dealing sexual addiction coming next.

Patricia Benjamin
Life & Relationship Coach
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