pam useOur life coach and agony aunt Dr Pam Spurr answers your questions every fortnight. The author of many self-help guides her latest is The Emotional Eater’s Diet for anyone who heads for comfort food in times of stress or unhappiness. More about Dr Pam below.

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Is My Husband a Porn Addict?

Dear Dr Pam,

womanI’ve been married for 12 years and I always thought we had a good, solid marriage. You know, one of those marriages that will last and that only faces  minor hiccups.

We both have good jobs, we have a happy and healthy 10-year-old and I thought we were happy.

I’ve noticed my husband change when it comes to sex. He wanted to introduce porn into the bedroom a year ago. I went along with it as an occasional special night.

Now I’ve found out he looks at it in his free time. (He told me this) How do I know he’s being completely honest? Maybe he’s looking at it all the time.

I’m sick with worry he’s addicted. Is there any way I can tell? Thank you for any help because I want to believe we still have a good marriage.

Dear “Sick with worry”,

Porn is an insidious problem for many people. It’s a slippery slope because of its easy availability. But I don’t want you to panic, especially as you describe an otherwise very good marriage. Easier said than done.

Many feel helpless in the face of the tide of porn that’s available online. So what you need to do is make time to have an honest and open discussion with him. Why not plan for your 10-year-old to go for an overnight at a friend’s house? Make sure there aren’t any other distractions, too.

Begin by telling him how much you love him, how happy you’ve always been in your marriage and you want him to feel he can be honest with you. Starting with such confidence will give him more confidence open up – if he does have a developing or established problem with porn.

What you need to discover is:

Does he secretly use porn?

Does he access it at work?

Has he spent more money on it then he intended (if he’s visiting pay websites)?

Does he feel anxious when he can’t access it?

Does he find time slips by any doesn’t realise how long he’s been on porn sites?

Is he looking for increasingly bigger thrills?

Does he feel embarrassed by his porn use?

Give him the confidence that you won’t freak out if he’s honest with you. If he has a developing problem, with you being so positive, he’ll be quite likely to open up.

However, as with any addiction, if he has a full-blown problem, the shame and embarrassment of it could lead to him lying about it. This is where your intuition comes in. If your intuition tells you he’s not being honest then you need to trust your intuition.

In that case, I’d urge you to get him to go to relationship counselling with you. You can also urge him to check out the Sex Addicts Anonymous website.

Keep the dialogue running. Don’t be pressured into viewing porn you find a turnoff. Definitely keep emphasising the good in your relationship. Get him involved in lots of family things with your child and the extended family.

By showing him the good you two share, it’ll hopefully encourage him to keep open and honest about this.

Finally, if you continue to find this very stressful please confide in a trusted friend or family member. Or potentially go for individual counselling to strengthen you.

I’m wishing you the best of luck, Pam x

Dr Pam’s brand-new book is: THE LAWS OF SISTERHOOD – The girlfriends’ guide to successful dating and finding the one is out now: http://tinyurl.com/nmmrs43

Dr Pam is also on twitter @drpamspurr  

Also visit www.drpam.co.uk