So I'll try to sum this up so it doesn't go on for pages (ugh!). My husband was sexually abused from ages 10-16 by a group of men led by his adoptive father. The difference is that he was forced to have sex (among other things) with other kids his own age. All girls except one boy who was transgendered (an issue he is still trying to resolve because he loved "her" too and this really messes with him). The group total (of kids) was about 15 people and for the last few years of this abuse, they were forced to have sex orgies as a large group for the most part (with the girls being given drugs -- ecstasy mostly). The adults got involved some, and when it was only 2 kids at a time (my H and one of the girls) closer to the beginning it got pretty violent for a while.

My H struggles with feeling like a rapist for his interactions with the girls and a deep hatred for the men in control, and the fact that over the course of 6 years he fell deeply in love with these other kids. Over the years (and right after it all came out in the open) several people committed suicide and he never tried to maintain a relationship with any of them after it was over, even though he describes the loss of the girls as having multiple spouses die on you at the same time. Same level of grief. He definitely associates sex with manipulation and pain and control and his pleasure during sexual situations with causing someone else pain. Needless to say this has caused MANY problems between the two of us with him constantly rejecting my advances over the years.

Ok here's the thing: in the last year or so, he has "practiced" (for lack of a better term) masturbating as a way to explore himself sexually and to try to turn the negative associations of being sexually aroused into something positive and safe. I get all of this, but the thing is that the amount of porn he looks at/watches just really gets to me after a while. It's like, every SINGLE day I'm finding "used" shirts and zillions of naked pictures on the computer. He'll do this almost 7 days a week but never seems to be that interested in having sex with me. We've never been celibate (although we've never had a booming sex life either). It just seems like he's looking at all this stuff and masturbating like crazy and I'm not noticing any improvements from it.

It hurts me and adds to my feelings of rejection that he looks at so many different women all the time and doesn't seem to get so aroused by me. That he can masturbate 6 days a week but not have sex with me once. If I try to (gently and respectfully) bring it up that it bothers me, I get met with hostility and him telling me that it's "normal" and that he's just doing it to try to help, and then I wind up feeling like a total asshole which makes me mad b/c *I'm* the one who's feeling were hurt in the first place.

Can anyone explain to me more thoroughly WHY looking at porn helps? In any other relationship, the girl would be justified to be mad, but I don't get to be. And I don't want to be. I want to be supportive and to not care that he's doing it. I want to be what he needs, but I can't find a way to NOT be hurt by his actions. PLEASE PLEASE someone tell me something that will give me peace about this so I can see it from his point of view! Why does he need to think about *other* women instead of me to get better?

Along the same lines, he told me last year that he felt like he wanted to explore being sexual with other women besides just me. He felt that he was polyamorous and I've always wanted to explore having a relationship with women. We were pursuing someone for the both of us, but now are trying more to find our own things. I want an actual relationship, but after I suggested we look separately, he's changed his outlook to find more "flings" to have instead. He said he just wants the other experiences and he wants to learn about himself that way and bring it back to our relationship to better things with me. I understand the poly thing. REALLY. I think it's an awesome idea that I hope comes to fruition some day (a triad preferably), but this new outlook bothers me. Why does he need to have sex with other women in order to be ABLE to have uninhibited sex with me?

I didn't want this to be this long, but also didn't want to make two separate posts with most of the same info. I will be ETERNALLY grateful to anyone who can help me with either of these topics. I desperately want to do the best thing I can for him and understand and give him what he needs. I wouldn't feel hurt or mad if I could just understand the thought process better. Thanks in advance!!!