In today’s video, I’m responding to a viewer who is worried about her partner viewing pornography.

How to handle retroactive jealousy and pornography?

Zachary Stockill: I recorded a video recently related to retroactive jealousy and sex. And one of the viewers of that video posted an interesting question beneath that video.

S writes…

How do you deal with your own insecurities and self-esteem when it comes to your partner watching pornographic content?

A lot of people have been asking me about porn lately. I don’t exactly know why. But I’m happy to talk about it.

So first off, I’m not one of these people who thinks that porn is totally evil. There’s a lot of people online who think that porn is very evil. However, I do think that porn in general probably does more harm than good to relationships.

I think there can be a place for some consumption of pornography in some relationships. We’re a varied and complicated species, and some couples benefit from a bit of pornography thrown in now.

retroactive jealousy and pornography

In terms of viewing pornography, while you’re dating someone in the context of a relationship is that most humans, and certainly most men are biologically wired, biologically programmed to seek out sexual novelty.

I am not saying that this gives anyone an excuse to lie and cheat and sneak around.

But if your partner looks at pornography sometimes, I don’t think it’s the end of the world because to a certain extent, men are wired to seek out that kind of stimulation in just about any relationship.

How to deal with retroactive jealousy and pornography?

Any man around my age, who grew up on the internet, has looked at pornography and I don’t think that men should be ashamed for that.

And I don’t necessarily think it presents a threat to you or your relationship, or it’s something you should spend a lot of time worrying about.

That said, my question to you would be, “Do you think that your partner’s pornography consumption is taking energy away from you, and the relationship?”

People often ask me about pornography addiction, which is a serious problem and this impacts a lot of guys, even in relationships. They find themselves, pleasuring themselves to pornography more than they’re making love with their partner. And obviously, this is a real problem, this is a serious issue.

Do you feel like you’re really getting less of your partner because they’re spending so much time-consuming pornography?

Then that is something you should talk about with your partner. In my view, there’s a big difference between looking at the odd picture of a video, and having pornography impacts your relationship in a negative way declining having sex with your partner because you’re busy watching pornography.

That’s a serious problem that plagues a lot of guys. And that is something that you should talk to your partner about.

retroactive jealousy and pornography

Pornography addiction is extremely serious. And a lot of guys struggle with this, unfortunately. But there’s a big difference between occasional consumption and actual addiction.

How to handle retroactive jealousy and pornography?

So my advice is to talk about this with your partner.

Try to get a handle on why they’re doing this, what their real intentions or motives are. And if your boyfriend or husband tells you that it’s just an occasional diversion, it’s not a big deal. Personally, I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

However, if you’re noticing a discrepancy between what he’s telling you, and what is actually happening in your relationship, then obviously that requires some more conversations, some more investigation.

Reflect on the past how long you’ve been dating and ask yourself if the frequency of sex has declined drastically.

If you’ve been dating for a while, it’s normal for it to fall off a little bit.

I would also encourage you to try to look for ways to incorporate novelty into your sex life. Novelty in the sense of new things, energy, experiences, positions, techniques, new role play.

Just realize that to a certain extent, men and women are programmed to seek out sexual novelty. Not necessarily new partners, but new feelings, new experiences, a new mood, in the bedroom and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And this is one of the main ways that you can actually stay together with one person over an extended period of time.

You don’t have to be doing drastically different all the time, but just be open to new experiences. Being open to new moods during sex and be open to novelty, realizing that both you and your partner need that on a deep level, especially if you’re gonna be with any person any one person over extended length of time.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.