/My boyfriend likes ‘skinny’ and ‘teen’ porn – it is destroying my confidence

My boyfriend likes ‘skinny’ and ‘teen’ porn – it is destroying my confidence

My boyfriend likes ‘skinny’ and ‘teen’ porn – it is destroying my confidence

I recently used my boyfriend’s phone and a porn video was open. His 45 searches were limited to “teen” and “skinny”, and my confidence came crashing down. He has one very specific taste, and I am not skinny, nor a teen. I can’t comprehend that I am not sufficiently attractive to my partner at the age of 27. I can become skinny if I try, but I can’t become a teen. My emotional reaction is as if he had been cheating. Why am I not enough, and how can I be enough? It takes me back to my first relationship when I was 18 and my then-boyfriend stupidly talked freely about porn. My immediate thought was: “I am not enough” and that was the start of three years of serious anorexia, then two years of bulimia. I thought he would stop watching other women when I was hot enough. Now I can’t sleep at night. Why won’t I feel good enough until he stops watching porn, which will never happen? I’d feel awful if he touches me, and I’ll feel awful until I get skinny. But I can never be a teenager.

Eating disorders can be extremely serious. You are now in a situation where a previous trauma is being reactivated and a potentially life-threatening problem could be triggered again, so act urgently. You deserve to be appreciated for who you are both mentally and physically, but also to appreciate yourself. Take immediate steps to find support and therapy to improve your body image and reduce your anxiety. You must also have an adult conversation with your partner, one that might start: “Sorry, I snooped in your phone, but I noticed that – like most men – you enjoy watching porn. Your preferred choice bothered me, though, because I was traumatised before in a similar fashion and I really need some help and reassurance …” If you do this in a non-combative tone, you will get important information from him. Ask questions that begin: “Please help me to understand …” Studies show that many people fantasise about people and situations that would never be their real-life choices, but right now your anxiety, low self-esteem and fear are telling you otherwise.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

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