September 17, 2014

ACTION: “Dear Abby” Pushes Porn Use

Yesterday, Jeanne Phillips, the advice columnist behind Dear Abby, encouraged a wife to view porn with her controlling husband, despite how uncomfortable it makes her. Here is the exchange in full:

DEAR ABBY: I am a full-time mother of three young children and have been married for nine years. Since the beginning, my husband has pushed to have things “his way.” He struggles with his temper and has yelled at me over little things.

We have met with a counselor and were showing improvement in our marriage — or so I thought — until he started pushing me to watch explicit sex DVDs and read sex books. I feel very uncomfortable doing this. He claims he wants us to watch them for “educational reasons.” He seems obsessed with the idea that we have to get the most out of life now because we are getting older.

I know we have some big issues to overcome and plan to continue seeing our counselor, but do you have any advice? — STRUGGLING IN THE SOUTH

DEAR STRUGGLING: I’m all for getting the most out of life regardless of how old a person is. And I’m pleased that you and your husband are talking to a licensed therapist, because it may help to save your marriage.

Many couples watch “explicit” sex DVDs together because it improves their sex lives. Depending upon the content of the ones your husband is watching, it could add spice to your sex life. But because it is making you uncomfortable, this is something that should be discussed with your therapist so you won’t feel coerced into anything you can’t handle.

Clearly, this is bad advice on several levels.

First, this shows a distinct lack of understanding of what porn use does to a marriage. Here are just a partial list of effects that research has shown porn has on marriages and relationships:

  1. Rating their partners as less attractive
  2. Being less satisfied with their partners sexual performance
  3. Greater desire for sex without emotional involvement
  4. Trying to get partners to act out scenes from pornographic films
  5. Going to prostitutes
  6. More likely to have an affair
  7. Using more sexual terms to describe women
  8. Believing that you don’t need to restrict pornography from children
  9. Engaging in more behavioral aggression
  10. Engaging in marital rape

This couple will undoubtedly be participating in #4 on that list, especially as the husband wants his wife to use porn for “educational reasons.” Yet, as Dr. Ana Bridges in her research demonstrated, nearly 80% of the scenes in the most popular porn videos depict violence — and it is mostly male on female violence.  Such sexual abuse does not improve a couple’s sex life or their marriage.

Porn also creates the illusion that these violent, degrading sex acts are normal and everyone’s doing it. Little does the viewer know that most couples don’t engage in these activities. This woman’s husband will be asking her to perform acts he thinks he’s the only one missing out on.

Second, Phillips advises this poor woman to act against her better judgement and give in to the demands of her husband, knowing instinctively porn is bad for marriage.

Please contact Ms. Phillips and let her know this is bad advice. She has put this woman and anyone reading this column at risk should they follow her counsel.

Fill out the contact form on her website to give Dear Abby some advice.

You can also write to her at this address:

Dear Abby
P.O. Box 69440
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Further Reading