Given how uncomfortable a woman can feel when she suspects a porn problem and her husband or boyfriend denies it and tries to dismiss her concerns, it comes as no surprise that many women in this situa­tion take steps to try and find out what is really going on. Some women repeatedly ask their partner questions about changes in his behavior and then challenge any answers that don’t make sense. Other women tell their partner how unhappy they feel in the relationship, in hopes of kindling protective instincts and motivating their partner to be more forthcoming with honest information. Still others plead with their part­ner to let them in and tell them what is really going on. It’s not uncom­mon for many women at this stage to initiate relationship and marital counseling in hopes that a counselor will be able to help expose the truth.

Due to their overwhelming distress, some women become more assertive and start looking for evidence. A few months after she moved in with her boyfriend, Darlene, a twenty-eight-year-old computer technician, began to worry that her boyfriend had gone back to his pre-relationship porn habits. She said, “He started acting strange. After we made love he’d act sleepy and say he needed to nap. I’d offer to sleep with him, but he’d just smile, give me a kiss, and say he was fine being alone. The napping thing happened several times over a few weeks and I became suspicious. The next day I checked the logs on his computer. Sure enough during the times he said he was napping it showed he’d been visiting porn sites. I was pissed and confronted him about it.”

Like many women who similarly snoop around looking for evidence of porn use, Darlene was desperately seeking a way to deal with the internal conflict and distress she felt. She didn’t like that she was not being fully honest with her boyfriend about what she was doing, yet ra­tionalized her behavior as better than remaining in the dark about what was going on. And, even though she felt the relief of having her instincts validated, she was very upset when she actually discovered her boyfriend was, in fact, involved with porn.