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Sexual Matters: "I recently caught my boyfriend looking at pornography."

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I recently caught my boyfriend looking at pornography. He says it's a perfectly normal thing for a grown man to do. I think it's sick. Who's right?

Women commonly feel betrayed and angry when they discover their partner's pornography collections. Some fear their men no longer find them attractive. Others view porn as degrading to women. Men are visual creatures, and many are aroused by nude pictures and sexually explicit videos. They use pornography to create fantasy during self-pleasuring, learn new sexual techniques or increase desire for sex with their partners. Your boyfriend's interest in it probably has nothing to do with how he feels about your relationship.

Communication is key. Talk to your partner openly and honestly about your feelings. Listen to him in turn and be prepared to make compromises. For instance, you might decide to allow him his private indulgences but ask him not to use porn in your presence.

Though pornography is usually harmless, your boyfriend's interest in erotica is a problem if he spends more time with his pornography than with you, he no longer treats you with love and respect, he can't get excited without the use of porn or he tries to force you to engage in activities that make you uncomfortable. In this event, seek couples counseling. If that doesn't work, give him his walking papers.

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