Learning First Officer

Reader:  On a separate: “She wants me to lead in the relationship but she’s NOT repeat NOT going to let anyone lead that isn’t smarter, stronger, quicker and more thorough than she is.”
I can relate to this (as that woman). How do I let go and release control to someone who doesn’t meet those criteria? I WANT him to lead, but he’s not a natural alpha. Every minute of the day he is having to try to work on making the more alpha choice, and it’s exhausting for him. He doesn’t understand flirting or “game” as it were. He’s never had any “moves” Those were the things that made him marriage material. He didn’t play games, he was straight up honest–a “nice” guy who thought I was the shiznit. Now, we are reading and seeing that in order to ever make things better, he has to be totally different from how he’s been. He has to take me down off the pedestal and start playing games. He has to figure out how to flirt at age 40. I don’t think either one of us know how he is going to do that.
He’s working on upping his rank all the same, and I am trying to be more receptive to his awkward attempts at flirting.
Athol:  It’s a process and it will feel awkward at first, but if you both stick with it, you can make consistent small gains in the direction you want to go in.
Jennifer and I have had our relationship change from frequent mutual submission deadlocks to Captain and First Officer over what amounts to a five year time period. That angle started long before running into Game reading. Adding in the Game concepts came much faster, but there’s still a lot of time and effort into learning them on my end.
Trust me – if I can learn this stuff – anyone can learn this stuff. I was terrible with women for a long time, and much of what I did with Jennifer in the early days was unwittingly right through a great deal of luck. Some of what I’ve learned was simply in retrospect reverse engineering my Accidental Alpha.
Don’t get fixated on there being one right way to do this either. The correct Game technique for flirting is “Cocky and Funny” for example, but I’m honestly not the greatest at doing that. Instead my interaction style is more “Goofy and Groping”. Whatever works best for him is what he should do. It’s not about becoming a new, different person, it’s about having fun together with someone you enjoy. In time he’ll develop his own style of interaction.
The thing that YOU can do though is very simple. Any time you feel like you’re being put up on the pedestal… purposely step down off it. Find ways to let him take the lead and reward him when he does. Verbal praise and physical touch being immediate, effective and free. You don’t need to turn yourself into a mindless minion or a Stepford Wife, just consciously create opportunities where he can more easily take the lead.
Just as much as he has to learn to act like the Captain, you need to learn to act like the First Officer. So don’t worry about him doing what he needs to, and worry about you doing what you need to. It’s going to speed up the process a great deal. It will feel awkward at first, but a few months from now he’ll have genuine flashes of just being the Captain. In time the little flashes will grow longer and longer.
One day he’ll just be the the Captain.
Jennifer:  I don’t think Athol really changed all that much. He just became stronger and more confident.  And flirting in your marriage is not going to be the “hey baby, can I buy you a drink” flirting of a twenty-something looking to score…it’s the quick little kiss (or ten second kiss!), the pat on the butt, coming up behind you while you’re sitting at the computer and massaging your shoulders for a second, the arm around the shoulder and quick compliment about how you look or something you did.

Comments

  1. And another perfect example of why I look forward to Jennifer's feedback. Great advice followed by her point of view that really drives the point home.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the direct reply, and also for a little more to your backstory. We were actually just discussing if you had always been the way you are or if this is something that you also had to work on like the rest of us. I like that term, submission deadlock–apropos.

    He is quite good at "goofy and groping", but it's not working for me. This has translated into him thinking that Alpha/Game is now verbalizing in detail what he is going to do to me in the bedroom. Totally out of context, with no other lead ins, and definitely not Cocky and Funny.

    Thanks for the reminder this is a marathon not a sprint.

  3. another anonymous wife says:

    In my experience positive reinforcement works rather well: in bed (or wherever) show excitement when he behaves in dominant way that you like. Don't make pleased noises when he behaves in a way you don't like. My husband is not the most perceptive of men and it still works. Took about six months for the sex part. Tease, flirt, surprise, let him know the two of you can go into non-PC territory together. Dress to please him and let him know it's to please him.

    The key is positive reinforcement only, not negative.

    Treat him with greater respect and consideration all the time; don't sweat the small stuff (almost everything) and don't criticize him for it; don't badmouth him to your friends even as a joke, even if it's the common currency of their conversation, how clueless and laughable their men are.

    It's odd that you can make a man more dominant and more of a leader training him using the same principles that you can train a child or an animal with. But many of us women have unknowingly trained our men to be more "beta" because they're nice guys and fear our sharp tongues, which goes into the whole s— test downward spiral.

    Now – can you really respect a man's dominance and leadership if you trained him to it? Yes, because that potential is almost certainly there in him – you wake it up, or re-wake it, and he's going to eventually own it and run with it. Which can have its dangers, but that's another story. Even before he gets all the way there, he's going to be reaching you on the instinctual and non-rational, non-verbal level and you will respond to him – it will be real.

    Start with sex, it's simplest. Leadership in other areas is more complicated – a marathon as you describe, and it can't get done with non-verbal cues alone – some discussion is necessary and some conscious acceptance on both your parts. But the sex helps a lot since he already feels like a leader there. And at least you'll have that part of your marriage right.

  4. *cough*

    another anonymous wife has just articulated that old saw, "Behind every great man, there's a great woman."

    With an attitude like that, it's no bloody wonder.

  5. Ian Ironwood says:

    Those who are running the MAP for the first time and just getting used to the idea of confidence are going to run into this sort of thing. There's always the lingering self-doubt and lifetime of Beta training to overcome before you can really feel the part of the Captain.

    But there are ways to mitigate it, too. Some dislike the term "fake it 'till you make it" as a disingenuous method of finding their Alpha, because they feel "lame" acting the part without feeling it yet. They're waiting for a negative response and the shit-storm of resistance to their assertiveness that they've always expected, and that undermines their presentation.

    It's important to remember that you are "Acting like the Captain", with the emphasis on "act". Acting is not disingenuous, it's not deceitful, it's presentation. When you are "acting" a role, then a certain amount of presentation is expected. If you fail to meet that expectation, then you undermine the authority with which you lead.

    Try to think of it this way: you know that people, all people, your wife included, react automatically to certain social cues, even from you. Therefore, when you go around acting like the Captain, she'll just naturally tend to treat you like the Captain, as long as her expectation of your presentation is met. She might even be willing to meet you half way, at first, if she's aware you're running the MAP. But even if she isn't, and you're working Game into your marriage, then just a subtle change in presentation can yield impressive responses.

    When you're Captain, you're in command, and you need to have a solid sense of that. You might be wrong, but you should never be uncertain. And when you're in command, you are on a de facto stage. How you present yourself is just as important as what you say.

    It's funny, Mrs. Ironwood pointed out something to me in this vein last night: she figured out one of my verbal tells and brought it to my attention. Essentially, she knows I'm serious about something if I say No twice at the beginning of a sentence. The first 'no', she says, is almost hesitant and apologetic, but the second one is more forceful, as if I've made up my mind and I'm not going to back down. That's her cue that what I'm saying is my last word on the subject, and further discussion bumps us to "relationship discussion" mode. Better, it makes me sound decisive, and that's a tingle. It's part of my presentation that I'm aware of now, and you can bet I'll be more conscious how I employ it.

  6. Oh my. This is what bugged me when we were at the mall. I haye malls. Never go there. Now I remember why… As I was checking out, Mr. Stud was standing behind me. I felt weird enough wielding the wallet. But then the clerk looked at him, shoving the bag at him, and said, "I assume you'll be taking this." My jaw hit the floor. Mr. Stud is so very alpha and we are so very Captain/First Officer that I couldn't even respond. I shoved the card back in my wallet and grabbed the bag from Mr. Stud, who had actually taken the bag. While I would have expected a smart, "I'm sure she's quite capable of handling her own purchases," I did admire the chivalry.

    Society and malls be damned, we know what works for us.

  7. I have several observations. First of all I (we) have read a multitude of books on relationships from very respected authors, many of whom have earned doctorates, and I am learning more from MMSLP and this blog than most anything I have read. Today's post in particular has been extremely helpful, in part because it shares a bit of Athol's journey. I tend to be "goofy and groping" also…nice to know I am not alone.

    Jennifer, again, thank you for your extremely helpful comments!!

    There are some that might take offense at this:

    "It's odd that you can make a man more dominant and more of a leader training him using the same principles that you can train a child or an animal with. But many of us women have unknowingly trained our men to be more "beta" because they're nice guys and fear our sharp tongues, which goes into the whole s— test downward spiral."

    These comments are spot on. I once read an article entitled "What Shamu Taught Ne About a Happy Marriage". It was about how to "train" a husband. Here is a quote:

    "The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband."

    So there you have it…but I suspect it works both ways.

    The only thing left to say is..WHERE WAS ATHOL 30 YEARS AGO!!! LOL

  8. "He didn't play games, he was straight up honest–a "nice" guy who thought I was the shiznit. Now, we are reading and seeing that in order to ever make things better, he has to be totally different from how he's been."

    If your idea of totally different means "he has to start playing games and be less honest" then I think your marriage could be in serious trouble. Honesty and directness are not antithetical to Alpha behavior. As opposed to encouraging him to being "totally different from how he's been", maybe you should look for ways to encourage him to use the traits of honesty and directness in ways that are more of a turn on. Being more playful and flirtatious, learning to pick up and lay down social queues, and displaying leadership abilities are things that will actually make his honesty and directness shine and will help him in areas outside of the marriage. Learning to be more of a manipulative liar will ultimately not be good for his life or yours.

    I know that is not exactly what you were saying, but I think you should be very careful of what types of behavior you criticize and reward, lest you end up with exactly what you were asking for, but not what you wanted.

  9. confused first officer says:

    "Just as much as he has to learn to act like the Captain, you need to learn to act like the First Officer. So don't worry about him doing what he needs to, and worry about you doing what you need to."

    I agree with this point, except how can I do that when I have a husband who's only part-time doing the MAP? He's definitely trying to "sprint" it, where he works on things for awhile, gets tired of it, and then quits for months at a time.

    I try to encourage and enjoy him as Captain while he's doing it, but it's frustrating when he suddenly decides to stop being Captain…and something falls through the cracks. Not a big deal most of the time, but sometimes it's something important.

    Maybe I'm reading wrong, but I thought that the man is supposed to be Captain all the time…not just when he feels like it?

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is an important post because so many men have pointed out that they can become exhausted from having to constantly shoulder the responsibilty to lead, be alpha, game etc etc.

    When the wife decides that she can meet him half way and help with the process then she is really being the 1st officer. The captain has the first officer for his number 1 support. If the burden is all on the captian to maintain everything then what is the purpose of the first officer.

    Women need to understand that they are a big part of creating the right dynamic for a mutually great relationship. I beleive the woman can push the relationship along in the right direction and make the captains job much easier.

  11. Ian Ironwood says:

    Guys, if you're having a hard time shouldering the responsibilities as Captain, reframe the challenge.

    It's not a matter of all the work you have to do.

    It's a matter of all the work that needs to be done. Quit putting yourself in the equation, and focus on the task in front of you. Make a decision. Stick with it. Move on. Don't equivocate, don't ponder, don't waffle. Just get the damn job done. If you constantly reframe your challenges to remove your own possibility for failure or fatigue and focus on the goal alone, it gets easier, trust me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    One of the things my wife does that makes a big difference are displays of submission. Simple things like putting her arm in mine and leaning her head on my shoulder while we are walking, snuggling up to me, offering to make me something to eat. She doesn't always do these things because they come naturally to her or because of pure Alpha/Leadership from me. Sometimes she does it because she knows it gives me confidence and makes me feel more Alpha, which is something she likes. So yes, woman can help this along with great effectiveness of they are willing.

  13. Anon 11:41 – ooh, yes! I never realized these things would give my man the boost he needs. I just thoroughly enjoy melting into him when we walk. And I offer to make him a meal simply because I love him and want to do stuff for him. Makes me feel all squishy and in love with him. Guess I'm happily game-able. ;) And loving every second of it!

  14. Here's one effective Captain move that I've found to work really well. When we married, I was a better cook than my wife(which is not to say I was much of a cook). Over the years, she has become an excellent cook, and I am really the only one in her life who knows how much time and effort she has invested into her cooking skills, and how proud she is of the results. So often I will call her mid-day and put in a request for dinner. Captain move. But I will also purposefully put in a request for something I know she doesn't have the ingredients at home to make. Sort of a jerkish Alpha move. Then when she objects, I take away her objection by telling her everything she needs to make the dish will be sitting on the kitchen counter by 6PM. Alpha Captain Move. Then I make it happen by going to the grocery store and getting the ingredients for her. This is a Beta move on my part, and one that is strategically designed to make taking orders about what to cook for dinner more bearable for my wife. This is followed by another Beta move where I repeatedly mention how great dinner was for the rest of the evening.

    I don't know what it is, but something about this blend of Alpha/Captain/Beta that involves me leading but also having to be involved in the process… it ends up with great sex almost every single time. It almost feels like cheating to get that on top of an excellent home cooked meal.

  15. I think that one of the important reasons that women need to "train" men is because they can't/won't "tell" them.

    My wife feels that I should "just know" and has told me so on many occasions. I'm running some Beta game and spending quality time with the boys, cleaning up dinner, picking up some stuff at the store, and fixing a major appliance. She gets mad and gives me some shaming language because I didn't get the kids to put away their backpacks.

    At that point, it goes alpha. I remain calm and cool. I explain that shaming language (always, never, stupid, just like your father) won't be tolerated. I make sure to tell her I love her. I stay on point. I reject 3 or 4 verbal jabs designed to make me lose my cool or sulk.

    Husbands must train wives that nagging, screeching, crying, etc. won't get them what they want. Reasonable requests in reasonable tones will.

    Wives must equally train husbands as to what they want. When wives lose the tools screechtardom, they have to resort to positive reinforcement or fail to adapt.

    Blowjobs are the ultimate bucket of shad.

  16. tools "OF" screechtardom

  17. Anonymous says:

    Once the screechtard stops, you two can also talk. Some people actually get very far that way.

    Also, I send emails. Just a hint of something, and just drop it. It's never discussed. If he feels it needs to be discussed, he brings it up. Puts me on edge sometimes, wondering *if* he'll bring it up, but if we go a day and no discussion, my suggestion has been assimilated and either implemented or not. So much lower stress than risking being a screechtard.

  18. "it's frustrating when he suddenly decides to stop being Captain…and something falls through the cracks. Not a big deal most of the time, but sometimes it's something important."

    I find that frustrating, too, and it's hard when that happens to squash my desire to jump in and take care of it, all while rolling my eyes at him and saying, "Can't you do anything right?"

    What I have found to be effective when this happens is to defer to him by giving the decision back. "How do you want to handle this? What can I do to help you fix it?"

    If I take charge of cleaning up after his mess I start feeling resentful, and he feels guilty and then resents feeling guilty. Letting him be in charge of fixing his own problem helps avoid that scenario. I'm there to help him if he assigns some part of the clean-up to me, but I defer to his leadership. (I handle most of our big problems like this, regardless of where they come from. When he got laid off several years ago the first thing I said to him was, "What's our plan?" He thanked me afterward for responding that way. I had, unknowingly, given him more support in that sentence than any amount of expressions of sympathy could have given him.)

    Something else I work to keep in mind. He's human. So am I – and there are plenty of times when I've been the one to mess up badly. He's nice enough to cut me some slack when I've screwed up, and I am careful to remind myself to do the same for him.

  19. I can tell you from going through hell and back over the past year that it takes two to tango! My wife was checked out and I was a betazoid to the max. I had no clue how to lead. Between Athol and Dr. Glover and many other blogs and books you start to take baby steps and then gain confidence and not second guess yourself. My anxiety level about any little decision I made paralyzed me and now my anxiety levels are waaay lower. My wife who has been described by two therapists as having a strong masculine streak did eventually soften up and let me make the decisions and like Dr. Glover says "set the tone and take the lead". But she has to want to do it and she may never let you lead and that will wreck things.

  20. Anonymous says:

    "I agree with this point, except how can I do that when I have a husband who's only part-time doing the MAP? He's definitely trying to "sprint" it, where he works on things for awhile, gets tired of it, and then quits for months at a time."

    I'm still learning how to be a captain & find I sometimes fall back into old behaviors. While my Mrs would say, "I shouldn't need reminders," they're definitely helpful, and the more practice I get, the less I'll need them.

    I wouldn't wait months before giving him a helpful nudge in the right direction (positive reinforcement), especially if you start to see a reoccurring pattern.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I think timing is critical too and I'm learning that the hard way. I decided it was time to tear down the 'porn firewall' for good and sat down to have a difficult conversation about what was going to happen. (This included removing filters on my computers, us both sharing the cable TV passcode, etc. Yes, it was that bad and my fault completely, but it was time for them to go; I'm a different person now and not afraid of who I am and expressing what I want.)
    What I thought was going to be a day or so of uncomfortableness has turned into almost a week of hurt feelings and cold shoulders. She thought I was being really hurtful by just putting my foot down like that.

    …Then I checked my calendar and realized she was probably starting PMS right when we had the conversation. Waiting 2 weeks could have probably saved a lot of aggrivation for both of us.
    K_C

  22. If the Captain is exhausted, the First Officer is meant to run the ship.

    The Captain is "the Captain" 24/7. But you don't have to sit on the bridge 24/7.

    Delegate stuff to your First Officer.

    If you're a First Officer, predict your Captains needs and meet them without needing to be asked to. You are not meant to be ornamental.

  23. Backing up Athol: "predicting" doesn't mean reading his mind. . It means keeping your eyes open. Doing the obvious. Looking ahead. If he normally takes out the garbage, don' just let it sit if he's tied up with something else. Yes, offers to do specific things can go over well, too. It's the same as being proactive at wrk.

  24. Two thoughts…

    1. I've noticed this issue with many young women in my cohort – they don't want to be making all the decisions, but are conditioned into a control-freak nature that is both dysthymic and repulsive. Not to get off topic but I think the independence fetish of feminism has been a big part of this, educated women are taught to avoid interdependence and deferring to others on the thought it reflects weakness (and this is reflected in other areas like women don't network up the ladder as well as men).

    2. "My anxiety level about any little decision I made paralyzed me and now my anxiety levels are waaay lower."

    My mother is an inveterate multitasker, and I was conditioned by her to work on multiple problems at once. When I freed myself from this and focused on completing tasks before starting new ones my well-being jumped considerably. I've since blown completely through that and now really get off on checking items off of my to-do list.

    The bit of extra time it takes to do tasks in sequence instead of simultaneously is actually a myth (multitasking causes efficiency and latency to decline) and in any case is not worth the tradeoff in peace of mind.

    Even today whenever I'm solving a problem with my mom she tries to open three other issues at the same time. I've had to forcefully tell her to stop it or I'm not going to help her solve the first problem, and re-emphasize how aggravating it is.

  25. confused first officer says:

    @Badger: Thanks for the point about networking. I'd never thought of it that way, but will have to watch myself on that one.

    @Athol: What happens when it's the *Captain* who's ornamental?

    I defer all the time to get him to make a decision, but we end up in that "mutual deadlock" that you and Jennifer went through. I try asking questions to get to his preference, but he just ends up saying "I really don't care, just whatever you think is fine" and walks away.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Even though I agree with Badger about multitasking vs one task at a time studies have shown that women tend to be multitaskers more than men. Their brains actually process info differently. Men tend to put things in one box and compartment and perhaps this makes them more rational vs emotional. The female brain is actually constantly cross referencing so to speak all the time. This probably helps when raising children.doing a load of laundry, remembering something I just read I want to discuss with my husband and answering the phone all within the same five minute time frame.

    Example: my husband if asked what he is thinking will probably answer one thing whereas I seem to be thinking multiple things at once.

    Sometimes too, women have a number of things they need to run by their husband but they don't see them until the end of the day or somehow don't get a chance to talk to them so when they finally have their ear they feel they have to tell them the ongoing list of things on their mind. I hate doing that to my husband but sometimes there really are multiple things that I need to tell him and then I just let him figure out what to address first or explain what seems the most urgent.

  27. Anonymous says:

    About the guy insisting the porn wall must come down–have you figured out why your wife just might object to the porn being readily available?

    Have men absolutely no clue as to why a woman would be unhappy with this idea? Yep, some women watch it,too but would venture most don't and a lot of women have a real problem with a spouse that is heavily into it. So many reasons why.

    By the way the sex industry is not so pristine (odd idea anyway for it) that you might be supporting the crime of sex trafficking. Any concerns?
    Is it all about how you feel about adding porn to the mix of your relationship or are her concerns of any consequece? This is where I wonder about selfishness not just running the MAP. Not convinced porn is absolutely necessary for a vital.sexual relationship and can add a negative element to the couples life. Have absolutely seen the havoc it can result in.

    I would want to know how heavily a guy was into porn,what he watched and how often if at all as part of getting to know him. Porn addiction is a serious problem. Wait till the holodeck gets going for real God help us.

  28. Anonymous says:

    About the guy insisting the porn wall must come down–have you figured out why your wife just might object to the porn being readily available?

    Have men absolutely no clue as to why a woman would be unhappy with this idea? Yep, some women watch it,too but would venture most don't and a lot of women have a real problem with a spouse that is heavily into it. So many reasons why.

    By the way the sex industry is not so pristine (odd idea anyway for it) that you might be supporting the crime of sex trafficking. Any concerns?
    Is it all about how you feel about adding porn to the mix of your relationship or are her concerns of any consequece? This is where I wonder about selfishness not just running the MAP. Not convinced porn is absolutely necessary for a vital.sexual relationship and can add a negative element to the couples life. Have absolutely seen the havoc it can result in.

    I would want to know how heavily a guy was into porn,what he watched and how often if at all as part of getting to know him. Porn addiction is a serious problem. Wait till the holodeck gets going for real God help us.

  29. Ian Ironwood says:

    @ Anon 12:28:

    Sorry, I disagree. But then I work in the industry. Allow me to rebut:

    Men do know why a woman would be unhappy with porn: it provides an alternate sexual outlet to her, and reduces her ability to control the sex life within the relationship. With the "competition" from imaginary women, a woman has higher sexual expectations to live up to, a more knowledgeable partner who may desire things outside of her comfort zone, and a medium through which to express his sexuality without her permission.

    If a man is watching porn at home, he's likely watching one of two things these days (and believe me, I spend a lot of my time examining male porn viewing habits — it's my bread and butter). The first is homemade porn shot by consenting couples in the privacy of their own homes (well over 50% of total porn viewing). The second is professionally-made porn by a reputable studio. Neither one of these areas encourages "sex trafficking" as you speak of it. And if its the suffering of the poor girls you're worried about remember that a) they are very-well compensated for their work and the vast majority enjoy it tremendously and b) there are orders of magnitude more human suffering, despair, and brutal sexual conditions for the poor women in third-world countries who slave away for less than a dollar an hour with no job security, no safety regs, and where putting out for the boss is an expected part of your job . . . all so the women of the West can enjoy fashionable clothes and shoes at affordable prices.

    So let's not talk about "sex trafficking", shall we? Pro porn doesn't do that.

    Further, you have to understand that to most men, porn is an important expression of their sexuality. Through porn they can maintain a sense of control of their own sexuality, and they can indulge in cultivating sexual variety and developing a fantasy life without straying from their relationship. To most men, porn serves the same function that romance novels, soap operas and "supernatural thrillers" serve for women.

    "Porn addiction" (which is not a real medical or psychological condition) is a handy term that wives can use when they object to their husbands trying to assert control over their own sex lives. True, sexual obsession (which is a real psychological condition) can manifest itself through over-use of porn, but this is far rarer than most women want to believe. Most men use porn responsibly as a way to augment and inform their own sexuality. Trying to take that freedom away from a man is tantamount to restricting a woman's ability to establish her place in the social hierarchy.

    The truly amazing thing about the female reluctance to accept porn is that is often used to summarily reject an otherwise good guy, because women in general can't approach the subject honestly. So you can either find a guy who says he watches porn, or you can find a guy who lies about it, but using that criteria to reject a man is just foolish.

  30. While I can't agree with Mr. Ironwood completely, he is right about how men use porn. Women don't think like men so they don't get it like men.
    Now, when I was referring to tearing down the porn firewall, I was not talking about adding porn to my life but removing my wife's control over acces to it. *Big* difference. I used to view it in secret (long story I'm not going to get into right now) but now I don't have a desire to at all thanks to a few choice posts from Athol and the book No More Mr. Nice Guy. Changed my thinking in a way that I couldn't even believe could happen and now it's time to start asserting myself and this is one of the first steps. She will never truly respect me as long as she feels she/I need those things in place.

    K_C

  31. Anonymous says:

    Am a female and have looked at pornography in several different mediums. There are certain types that I find particularly stimulating.

    That being said I found myself watching more and more of it and also began to prefer masturbation to them vs sex with my husband. Also,he cannot compare in many different ways to the men in the porn which also left me feeling dissatisfied. It eventually led me to think about finding a man outside of marriage to help me fulfill the fantasies fueled by the porn. Stopped the rationalization hamster and did not.

    I was pretty surprised at how I couldn't seem to break away from my viewing habits and what was being fueled. My choices to watch were also becoming more dark for lack of a better word. My husband is vanilla sex at best and has no interest in changing that. He is not likely to become like a porn star or look like one. Did try to bring this to the bedroom but it just didn't happen. Guess men experience that too and just shrug and go back to the computer or have an affair.

    It did start to seem unfair to compare him all the time but there it is.
    Not sure about the issue of women trying to control a man's sexuality by objecting to his porn use as Mr. Ironwood suggested. Talking to other women whose husband's use porn quite a bit they are pretty disturbed by it.
    Here is the jist of what they told me was bothering them:
    They were becoming more self conscious about their bodies compared to the women in the porn (post baby or older than the porn women), they often felt their husbands were checked out sexually and mentally during sex with them–maybe mentally still in the porn world,some felt they were now being pressured to engage in sex acts they were not comfortable with (such as anal sex,threesomes with another woman,swinging),some told me that their husband was masturbating so much to the porn that there wasn't much left for them either in sexual approach to them or even a good volume of sperm. There was sometimes carelessness on the part of the man in which open screens or popups would show up when family members including children would then use the computer.
    Generally it didn't seem to add to the marriage but cause insecurity for the wife.
    I've liked porn,gotten off to it,couldn't turn it off,and it hasn't made anything better with husband. If a man just sees it as an end in itself I get it but when you are married there is another person ,the wife,to keep in mind. Observing my female friends pain it just seemed like it was less a power play and put them in an unfavorable light and sometimes sexual pressure. If that is what the man wants to happen to his wife in addition to getting what he wants from the porn this doesn't seem very kind. Wouldn't it be better to come to a better sex life with the wife if at all possible?
    My time with porn was fun and all but it left me not sure it was the best move for a better sex life in my marriage. By the way,I find romance novels insipid and they can also start to give women a critical view of their man because their man does not act,talk or romance them like the men in the books.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I think some of the concerns are often projections women make (their ability to empathize makes projection second nature, I believe).

    "They were becoming more self conscious about their bodies compared to the women in the porn (post baby or older than the porn women), "

    I think here most married men would simply like it if their wives tried a bit (for them and not the rest of womanhood) and were not truly expecting their wife to somehow measure up to a genetic anomaly.

    "they often felt their husbands were checked out sexually and mentally during sex with them–maybe mentally still in the porn world"

    I can't speak for other men, but I never fantisized during sex even at my worst involvment with porn. It was too much of a distraction and ultimately a boner killer for me. I think women, with their ability to multi-task can do this much more easily and again project this onto their men.

    "some told me that their husband was masturbating so much to the porn that there wasn't much left for them either in sexual approach to them or even a good volume of sperm."

    I'd say this can be true quite often.

    I think though if there *is* any porn in a couple's life, it has to be a shared experience. And, things would have to already be quite healthy and vibrant.

    K_C

  33. Anonymous says:

    The plight of women in less-developed countries, while very bad, has nothing to do with the porn industry in developed countries. Very few women choose to be in porn because they see it as a lucrative career move. Young women who have few options get sucked into it, and then generally regret it. Anyone who knows anything about women and sex knows that the vast majority of women in porn aren't doing it because they enjoy having sex with strangers for other strangers to watch. It's like saying that prostitutes enjoy having sex with strange men – no, prostitutes are, for the most part, women who have run out of options. Guys, if you wouldn't want your wife, your daughters, your sisters, your nieces involved in making porn, then you know that it's really not something that's good for women. It's something that men want, and women who are broke, scared and down on their luck get pushed into making.

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