Why Can’t Men Refrain from Looking at Photos of Sexy Women and Fantasizing?

I read your article about why men look at other women and tried to get my pass around it. I understand the hale cavemen instinct, but what I don ’ thyroxine understand is the adult option to refrain or give in to enticement. I find it impossible to get my head around the concept that it is o for men to be mentally unfaithful while in a love relationship when it is so hurtful for women to do the same.

I have asked my boyfriend of 3 and a half years: if I got off on another man while having sex with him, would it bother him. I’ve also asked him whether looking at sexy photos of other men and fantasizing about those other men would bother him, and he said yes, it would to both questions.  I wonder why it bothers men when women do it, but they feel quite justified to do it themselves with little or no conscience?    Being devoted to a person is a choice. The level of that devotion is variable and sometimes unacceptable.

I am completely devoted to my boyfriend, but he occasionally looks at pictures of other women, and of course, I know that he gets off on those other women. Yet he proclaims to be 100% devoted to me and tells me often how much he loves me and holds me tight like he really does love me.  

When I know that he’s been looking at pictures of other women, I just feel like I’ve been betrayed and his “love” is just a lie – how can he love me if he is being mentally unfaithful?  When I know he’s been getting off on other women, I feel like I’m not worth his interest – like I’m not good enough. There is no way in the world I can compete physically with those women in the pictures he gets off on.  

I am quite desperate to get my head around exactly what it is that drives a man to give in to the same desires that I myself deliberately avoid for the sake of devotion.  Why do men (generally) make the conscious choice NOT to focus on one woman??

There are times my libido is so high, and my partner does not feel like being intimate. I do not turn to pictures of other sexier men and fantasize I’m having sex with them, nor do I go out and find a man who will satisfy me.  Every time men go ‘window shopping’ then look at their real-life partner – gee, what an absolute letdown that must be.  I can’t Photoshop myself to match what my partner looks at.  I am not ugly. I have a reasonable body, yet each time I know he’s been doing it, I do feel incredibly ugly, and it is a massive blow to my self-esteem

If I let myself do what he occasionally does, I know damn well I will start wanting to be with other men, and I will start thinking of other men when I’m having sex with my partner. So, to avoid that, I choose not to look if I notice someone sexy when I’m out. I look away, and I think of my boyfriend deliberately after, to bring my focus back into the man I love. What is so hard about doing that? It simply comes down to a choice.  From a man’s point of view, how unrealistic is it of me to expect the same level of fidelity and devotion?

Thank you,

Bel

Dear Bel,

I appreciate your long, thoughtful email outlining your feelings. Since it’s clear that you and I are working off two completely different definitions of infidelity, I hope you can appreciate my attempt to engage with your question. Unless I can bridge our gap, I’m afraid my reply will remain unsatisfying, since it challenges rather than validates your original assertion. Let’s start with a quote from you:

“I find it impossible to get my head around the concept that it is okay for men to be mentally unfaithful while in a loving relationship when it is so hurtful for women to do the same.”

There are two premises in here that I’d like to challenge:

a) That it is okay for men to look at women but hurtful for women to look at men.

Maybe that’s what your boyfriend thinks, but I’ve never said that, nor have I implied that. Thus, your question essentially asks me to defend something I don’t believe — that there should be double standards for men and women. There should not.

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last calendar month, I went to the Father/Daughter dance at my daughter ’ second elementary school. I couldn ’ triiodothyronine help but objectively observe that there were a LOT of REALLY cunning, well-groomed men at the event. My wife — who was selling tickets up front — wholeheartedly agreed .
If she had brought the lapp thing up beginning, should I have been upset ? I don ’ thymine think so. My wife has eyes. It was luminary how many blistering guys were in attendance. We have been happily married for 10 years, and we were going home together. Why would I get bent out of condition at that ?
now, you may think this international relations and security network ’ t a identical tell model, but it is .
In a healthy relationship with two impregnable adults, instances like this wear ’ triiodothyronine cross-file. When my wife tells me a history of sleeping with some guy in France in her 30s, it doesn ’ thymine register. When she tells me she got hit on by a younger homo at a bachelor girl party, it doesn ’ thyroxine register. I know there have been other attractive men in the past. I know there are early men who are more visually appealing ( grandiloquent, younger, fitter, etc. ) wherever we go .
But I ’ m the ridicule she married. I already won .
so why would I spend any time driving myself crazy because my wife placid finds other men attractive and is flattered when they find her attractive ?
b) You call looking at someone else of the opposite sex “mentally unfaithful.”
well, if that ’ s your working definition, it ’ sulfur going to be following to impossible for me to convince you that looking at attractive people is both normal and benign .

It ’ south going to be next to impossible for me to convince you that looking at attractive people is both convention and benign .

It besides seems you ’ ve conflated a batch of things, which have to all be dealt with individually. here ’ s a curtly list of different forms of behaviors that may trigger you and my brief chemical reaction to each :

  • Glancing at another person — no big deal
  • Staring at another person — crude and insensitive, but not cheating
  • Hitting on another person – never
  • Imagining another person else while having sex — no big deal
  • Getting off to the image of another person while having sex — no big deal
  • Looking at sexy photos of another person — no big deal
  • Masturbating at sexy videos of another person — no big deal, in moderation
  • Taking action to meet another person in real life – never

I know I ’ molarity not the concluding arbiter of such things, but since this is my blog, I ’ thousand going to suggest that many men see things as I do .
And if you bristle because your definitions are different from mine, that ’ s all right ; my reverence is that you ’ re going to undermine a great relationship with your boyfriend if you don ’ thymine come a little close to my direction of think .
He DOES love you. He IS devoted to you. He is not running off with a Kardashian or a pornography leading or a cute girlfriend at the grocery store .
All of your feelings around this, Bel, are good that : feelings. They ’ re not facts. Nor do they outweigh your boyfriend ’ south opinions. If anything, they indicate a highly fearful worldview that is not based on most men ’ randomness realities — we can look at EVERYTHING, and it distillery means nothing. That doesn ’ triiodothyronine base he couldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be more subtle or respectful, but based on your tone, it sounds like any minor transgression is somehow an attack on you and your partnership .
In your opinion, your boyfriend looking at photos of women online is “ pure disrespect, ” which means he thinks his own girlfriend is “ not good enough, ” which makes his love for you a “ lie. ”
In reality, none of this is truthful .
so when you ask, “ Why do men (generally) make the conscious choice NOT to focus on one woman?” you are imputing some serious respect judgment on men .
First of all, he IS focused on you. You ’ re his girlfriend and the most crucial person in his animation .
adjacent, you ’ re falsely assuming that if a man started dating you, he should find no early woman attractive, nor should he acknowledge the objective truth that other women are attractive .

You ’ re falsely assuming that if a man ’ s dating you, he should find no other womanhood attractive.

In other words, you’re asking him to lie to you.
You said it yourself. You admitted you find early men sexy, which means it should be wholly natural for him to find other women sexy .
The only remainder is that you ’ ve taken the extraordinary step of looking away from aphrodisiac men to bring your concentrate back to the man you love, and you expect that if he loved you, he ’ five hundred do the same .
That ’ mho fantastic and thoughtful, but don ’ t you think that ’ s a bit…extreme ?
“ If I let myself do what he occasionally does, I know curse well I will start wanting to be with other men. ”

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truly ? Do you lack such self-denial that you can ’ thyroxine admire a cunning guy on the street and not want to throw your integral relationship away to pursue sex with a strange ?
Funny, I see attractive women every day, and it never occurs to me that I ’ five hundred be happier with anyone early than my wife. Hmm…maybe there ’ mho more to a relationship than just drawing card .
anyhow, my beloved Bel, I know you feel very deeply about this publish, but all I can do is point out that you can only change your behavior. You can ’ thyroxine change the behavior of your partner, nor an entire gender .
Which is why the most effective thing you can do is to believe your boyfriend when he says he loves you and try to get over your impression that “ looks at women = infidelity. ”
right now, your insecurity is running the show. here ’ south display A :
I can’t Photoshop myself to match what my partner looks at.  I am not ugly. I have a reasonable body, yet each time I know he’s been doing it, I do feel incredibly ugly, and it is a massive blow to my self-esteem.”
No matchless said you were surly. No one is asking you to Photoshop yourself. No one is intentionally hurting your self-esteem. You ’ re throwing this at your boyfriend ’ s feet, but it ’ s ultimately YOU who decides how to feel about yourself .
If you ’ rhenium insecure, every individual perceived slender will cause a cripple blow to your ego and a crisis of confidence in your kinship .
If you ’ ra secure, his glancing at women and looking at porn occasionally is a dead letter. not an insult. not an attack. not a sign he ’ s not attracted to you. And surely not cheating .
so what ’ sulfur it gon sodium be, Bel ?
Are you going to double down on making your give boyfriend of 3 years “ wrong ” ?
Are you going to continue to doubt his character and make him feel guilty for being normal ?
Are you going to continue to associate benign behavior with infidelity and a lack of devotion ?
If so, that ’ s your prerogative, but you ’ re basically policing his thoughts and punishing him for a crime ( infidelity ) that he didn ’ t actually commit .
Believe me when I tell you that good men can be devoted and find early women reasonably .
Believe me when I tell you that looking ( not leering, not acting out with a real-life person ) is not the equivalent of cheat on .
Believe me when I tell you that this insecurity of yours will sabotage your relationship .
once you let go of these damage beliefs, you can ultimately relax and be happy with your boyfriend. Hold onto these beliefs, and you know precisely how things are going to end .
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