Breast Cancer and Porno advice please

RodentSeptember 11, 2009

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last July. I ended up losing both breasts. During the times my husband and I had to drive 2 hours away to see the doctors for reconstruction, My husband noticed an adult store. After one of the check ups and there were alot of them. My husband stopped at the store and came out with 2 dvd's. Now keep in mind I am depressed and I take pills for it. But who wouldn't be after going through a year of chemo and surgeries. I did tell my husband I did not feel like having sex with him because I knew he was looking at the movies, I know my body is not "normal" anymore, but knowing he is watching the movies and then wanting to have sex with me after he watches them makes me feel even worse. The girls in the movies are "normal", physically I am not. He told me he would not watch them anymore knowing how I felt. I have came home from work several times and I have noticed that the dvd player will be on in bedroom when it is turned off before I leave for work. I know he is wacthing them and he will ask for sex later. How do I deal with even having the thought that he watched the girls with "normal" breasts then wanting to have sex with me afterwards. How do I tell im I'm not in the mood knowing he's been watching them? Any advice please

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amyfiddler

This may or may not be comforting, but most of the time men don't turn to porn for lack of attraction to their wives - most of the time it is a coping mechanism for other issues.

Has he expressed concern about your illness? Fears of death? Sadness? Worry? Chemo can take a toll on your sex drive, most likely that shows up in the relationship and he might has feelings about losing some connection there - I'm sure he's experiencing a lot of frightening emotions, as have you. Often, people (men and women) have a hard time knowing how to deal with this stuff.

It is no doubt hurtful that he does this, and leaves you feeling less attractive - but most likely that is not his issue, that is yours. Still, doesn't make it less painful, I know. There are a lot of counselors out there who specialize in porn in marriage. I recommend you google it in your area and find someone to help you through this painful time. No doubt the two of you have been through a lot together.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 8:45PM
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asolo

Since you've focused entirely on the sexual, may I assume the rest of your marriage is OK? Assuming it is, I think you may be be over-reacting.

Before saying more, I'd like to know what kind of "porno" DVD's you're talking about. The range is vast. Are we talking bouncing bikinis or dungeon lust? Some people think Cosmopolitan magazine is porn. Some draw the line at anything R-rated in the theatre. I'm not giving my own opinion but I don't know what to think about what you've asked because I don't know where you and DH are coming from in that regard. Can you tell us?

My first thought is that your husband has gone through this with you. He's had his life involuntarily altered, too. You'll both be needing to settle in again. There's, doubtless, enough sadness and disappointment to go around.

My second thought is that there's always fantasy within sex anyway. Ask yourself -- or any woman you know -- whether or not they've ever had their sexual experience with their DH or SO amplified one night by virtue of seeing a romantic movie first. Common as nails.

I don't know where your situation fits in, but unless your DH is renting BDSM or stuff you've never seen before I'm not concerned yet. Can you tell us more?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 12:33AM
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amyfiddler

Asolo,
Respectfully, it does't matter if it is a 1920s Sears catalogue or if it is a Raunch Fest. Point is, she has had her breasts removed, she feels unattractive, and her husband looks at bodies that are "perfect" to get in the mood to have sex with her, and it makes her feel less than. Bottom line, period. She feels unattractive and disregarded, and she needs to be heard and validated for her experience. Her husband could survive without porn, so to her it feels like a choice to hurt her or not to hurt her, and he chooses something hurtful.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 12:28PM
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asolo

I guess we're likely to disagree about this. I don't know what her husband is doing, yet, or what he's doing it with. I don't know his intentions or how he's fitting it in, only that the wife is upset about it in principal. I suspect she may have been even without the breast removal/reconstruction as many women would be. Don't know that either.

Those "perfect" bodies are all around all the time. Always have been. On the street and on every magazine cover at every checkout stand we pass by and in a huge proportion of TV programs and commercials. They are ubiquitous. The "porno" DVD's may be a benign attempt at revving things up or an insidious detour into unwelcome kinkiness. That's why I'm interested in their type. I think it matters every bit as much as the perceived slight over their use in any context.

I know she's upset and has every right to be in her circumstance. Surely there are emergent sensitivities that were likely not foremost earlier. However, I have little doubt this period has also been upsetting for the husband and I'm unconvinced that he's "chosen" to hurt her in any way. He could just as likely be trying to help...although she obviously doesn't think so. I would need to know more -- and I think you would, too -- to have a clear opinion about it.

From what OP has posted, I don't see any "bottom line, period" to it at this point. I'm wondering if there may be more to it. Don't know enough. Certainly not enough to praise or condemn.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:03PM
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amyfiddler

Hold on - I just re read the op, and there is a question in there. It is simply, how do I tell my husband I'm not in the mood after he's watched porno?

You mentioned in your post that you've told him already that the porno kills your mood. he told you he wouldn't watch them, and now you discover that secretly he is watching the porno - so you have two issues - that he watches the porn (a control issue) and that there is a secret elephant in the room (betrayal) -

You ask how do you tell him? You just sit him down without emotion, outside of the situation, and say, I have noticed xyz happening. When that happens, I think xyz (ie that you "need" to be turned on before having sex with me) and I feel xzy (one word. ie, hurt, isolated, unattractive, whatever YOU feel). If you fall into "You are doing this thing and it's wrong" then you'll get nowhere. Your job is to elicit caring from him, and your best bet is to do so not from an attack stance but from opening up.

Your biggest issue is not the porn, it is the lack of communication. Things are not all out on the table, and there is probably a bit of blame floating around the house -

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 2:41PM
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asolo

Without any more info than has been provided so far, I think "control" and "betrayal" are overly strong characterizations of the issues brought forward.

Those women in the pictures with "perfect" bodies looked better than OP did before the mastectomy/reconstruction, too. They've always been there. All around. All the time. Wife is not going to be able to control husband's thoughts/fantasies over this. Quite hopeless and quite unreasonable. The world hasn't changed. OP's and husbands' world has. This can be managed...fruitfully, I believe. I very much doubt this is any kind of crisis. There is more to OP than her breasts. There are always "better breasts" available. He chose her. He's stayed with her. He's staying with her. ALL of her. I think the situation is likely worthy of working out.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 3:08PM
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amyfiddler

Asolo, I risk moving into argument mode here, but so be it - to insist a person behave a certain way qualifies for control, and to have an agreement and secretly go against the agreement is betrayal.

I too believe this is not a deal breaker, and that bottom line, the only question she had was, how do I tell my husband that this affects my sex drive. The issue is not that he looks at porn. It is the secrecy and the lack of communication between them - all very workable in my experience. There is always more to every story, and of course there is more to this one, but regardless of details what we have is a broken agreement and hurt feelings and missing info on what he's going through as the partner of a person fighting cancer.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Rodent

To answer some questions, yes I have told him how it makes me feel and he continues to watch them anyway. He did show concern when I first started chemo, no we dont talk anymore, he always says he's to busy or to tired to talk. The dvd's are both virgins giving blow jobs. About 8 months before I was diagnosed I did learn through a mutal friend and her husband that my husband was seen in town with a girl he used to work with, arms around her, being very close, when I confronted him about this he was very defensive, I'm not blind my ex cheated on me to with a very much younger girl. I have seen the signs, how can I trust him if he's going to lie to me about the dvd's? I would have to say this is also about a trust issue and yes I don't feel "whole" with my body anymore, Heck I still cry at night when I think about everything. If he has watched dvd's before, I do not know.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:00PM
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amyfiddler

Sorry for your struggles. Trust is always earned, and lies do break down trust, but trust can be built if talking resumes. All you can do is let him know that it's safe to express himself with you, even if what he has to say will be painful. Sounds like he may be avoiding you for some reason, not necessarily that he's cheating.

If it happened before, you'll be hyper sensitive to it, so it might not be the case this time around. Regardless, healthy relationships require talking and trust.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 1:00AM
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thermometer

He watches porn and then comes to you for sex. That is disrespectful no matter what. He objectifies you just like the women in those movies are objectified but considering the circumstances, I think he's being incredibly insensitive. It is nothing but wrong. It would be different if the two of you enjoyed porn together.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 12:54PM
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asolo

Ah, well then...troubles before the medical ones. I'm not too concerned about the DVD's per se, (your brief description made them appear pretty typical and mundane) but broken trust can be a tough nut. Apparently you've had that for a while anyway and this episode would certainly accentuate it.

My original focus on sex/DVD thing was an error. With this amplification, it's clear there's much more going on. You've got quite a bit of ground to cover -- and would have had even without the medical problems, I suspect. If not before, perhaps this is the time to get to work on it....if you want to.

Lack of willingness to converse/discuss is a bad sign. Is there a way to break through that? Beginning with....do you want to recover or do you want to be free?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 1:24PM
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stoneybaloney

Without going into the other issues, I will jump in on the breast reconstruction issue because I've also had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.

It's over a year later and if you're still depressed about what's occured, then it's time for you to let your doctors know that your pills aren't working. You need something more/different to get past this. I'm five months post surgery and it's still un-nerving to see the 'new me' in the mirror. I have moments of depression, but it doesn't sound like yours are mere 'moments.' I truly sympathize with you, it's not like we did anything wrong to cause breast cancer to happen (ie: continuing to smoke when one knows lung cancer is linked). We're never going to be the same as we once were. That is in the past, and what we need to be doing is focusing on the future that we THANKFULLY have, due to wonderful advances in medicine.

I would like to suggest that if you can adjust your mindset, and accept your *new normal* body, that you will be able to address your marital issues with a clearer mind.

I wish only the best for you.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 11:54AM
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asolo

In my past I've had two experiences with SO's that had breast cancer. One had a lump-ectomy (if that's the way to say it) and the other a wedge-shaped excision. I was with them pre-diagonosis, through the procedures, and afterward.

Sexually, it mattered almost not at all. Of course I had to be careful in physical handling at first, which I completely expected. That wasn't the issue. Getting through the physical healing was easy. What was hard with both women was convincing them that it didn't matter to me. Our relationships were much bigger than their boobs. However, neither of them believed that. Both got hung on the "imperfection" thing for the longest time. The period of constant questioning and reassurance seemed interminable. Huge mental problem -- for them, not me. That, too, I think is quite understandable. It would have been better for both of us if they'd believed me....but such things are very deep-seated, apparently.

In the end, we came apart for totally unrelated reasons but it was an enlightening experience. Breast damage/reconstruction is a HUGE deal for women. Causes all kinds of troublesome thoughts.

Basically saying if your husband is an untrustworthy prick, that's one thing. If the TWO of you are having trouble with the physical change, that's something else entirely.

Where it may come down in your particular case, I have no idea.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 7:47PM
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pris

My mother always told me that if you think it's true it will become true. I think a lot of what your DH thinks and feels is coming from you. My mother would tell you that if you believe you're pretty, you will be pretty and if you believe you're ugly you will be in your eyes and in the eyes of those around you that mean the most to you. So, I'm telling you to look yourself in the mirror and say "I am beautiful" over and over. Walk like you're beautiful, talk like you're beautiful and act like you're beautiful. If you believe it so will everyone around you. You've convinced yourself and your DH that this isn't so. Now you have to repair the damage because you really are the beautiful person you were before the surgery. You can do this, after all you've already done it once by convincing yourself otherwise.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 2:24PM
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