Dad’s Pornography

Question:
 
I don’t know what to do. I’m freaking out right now. You’re the only person I can talk about this to, which I know isn’t very good, but I just need to talk to somebody.
Today I needed to Google Map directions so I logged onto my dad’s desktop, the only one in my house with a printer, and when I turned it on the first thing I saw was a porn site. I started just sort of shaking and then I checked the history and there’s a DATING site in there. There wasn’t anything except for the main homepage, but still. There was some more pornography too. 
I just don’t know what to do. I had a few suspicions — a few days ago it was very late at night and I heard him going into the computer room, and when I went in to ask him what he was doing, he had minimized the page he was on. I just denied it. 
But now I know. For sure. And it scares me. I mean, my dad is happily married and over 40 years old, and he lives with his 14 year old daughter! Don’t guys get over this before now? 
I’m just so creeped out. How will I even look at my dad? And remember, it wasn’t an invasion of privacy: I opened the computer to that page.
God, I’m just terrified. Of what? I don’t know. But I am.
Please help.
 
 
Phyllis replied:

It’s always scary and confusing when we find out something about our parents that we didn’t expect.  We need to remember, however, that each of us has private thoughts we would never share with anyone else.  Each of us has dreams, sometimes, that shock us.  Or we have sexual fantasies that excite us, but we would never want to repeat in real life.  For some people, even happily married people, looking at pornography together adds a certain oomph to their sex life, especially among older men who may need more stimulation.  One of the problems with pornography, however, is that it often demeans women, and photographs them in positions that men themselves would not want to be photographed in.  Also, it keeps upping the level of excitement necessary for pleasure, that would be difficult to replicate in real life.  The fact that your dad does it in private probably means that he has reservations about it too.  I would be more concerned with his contacting dating websites.  If this continues to haunt you, I would not approach your mom.  I would speak to your dad in private, simply by telling him how you came upon the information, that it frightens you because you wonder about the marriage, and ask his reassurance that things are OK between him and your mom.  You are not asking him to stop, you are not preaching at him, you are simply voicing your concerns about the stability of your family, but beyond that, whatever he does in private is really his business.

 

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