How Pornography Hurts Intimacy In a Marriage

Hurts Intimacy Porn AdobeStock_60116343 copyJames Bryden writes, “Love does not die easily. It is a living thing. It thrives in the face of all life’s hazards, save one —neglect.” And when you get involved with pornography it causes you to neglect your sexual life with your spouse. Pornography hurts intimacy in marriages and kills out true love.

Brian was in his early twenties when he came to my (Bill’s) office to talk alone. He was angry because I had told his wife, Kaye, that pornography should not be in a part of their sexual experience with one another. Brian has always been an independent thinker and did not like getting such bold advice from someone he didn’t know very well.

Intent on Winning

Brian was obviously uncomfortable, but he was intent on winning me over to his point of view. After very little small talk he blurted out, “So what’s the big deal with looking at pictures of naked women? Didn’t God create the human body? And isn’t the body beautiful?” “Yes, God did create the human body,” I replied, trying to disarm Brian’s assumptions. “And yes, the human body is beautiful. But Brian, do you need to use pornography in order to lose your wife?”

Brian was apparently stunned by the directness of this question as he began thinking out loud, “No, my wife and I have a good sex life and we would have a good sex life whether we watched X-rated movies or not.” “Does your wife want to watch pornography?” I continued. “No,” Brian said hesitantly. “Most women say that pornography makes them feel used,” I responded. “And men who are honest with themselves say that pornography controls them. A marriage cannot last a lifetime when you feel manipulated and your wife feels exploited.”

Doesn’t Have to be Boring

“Come on, Bill, how can you think that lifelong marriage works anymore? Do you honestly believe that a man can be satisfied with only one woman? You can’t really expect that! It would be so boring!” “Well, it doesn’t have to be.” I responded. “My wife and I have a very satisfying relationship and our sex life continues to get better.” “Yeah, but you’ve never done the things I’ve done. You haven’t seen the things I’ve seen. You live a very sheltered life so it doesn’t take much to give you a thrill!”

Brian sat thinking to himself. I could almost read his mind. How could this man truly believe that sex with only one woman could be as good as all the sexual experiences he had had? How could I expect him to change?

Brian tired to explain away the nagging dissatisfaction of his own life as he told the story of his quest for the sexual fulfillment he believed was his right. He bragged about the women he had “conquered” as a young man. He touted his venture into soft pornography, then hard pornography, and justified his daily addiction to pornographic material by pointing out that all “real” men did the same.

“Do you think I’m a real man?” I asked him. “Well, yes, I think you’re a godly man and I respect you.” Brian didn’t want to offend his pastor but he really didn’t think that a religious man understood sex. “I don’t look at pornography. By your definition I am not a real man,” I continued, much to Brian’s discomfort.

Vulnerable

Brian’s half-hearted retaliation exposed the vulnerability he was beginning to feel, “You are not supposed to look at pornography. You’re a pastor!” “Am I not a man because I am a pastor?” At this point Brian realized he was trying to cover up his own pain by discrediting his pastor. His pent-up emotions broke loose as he told of the haunting pictures in his head, from childhood years. He saw his father, mother and other women engaging in sexual activity. Brian took time to listen to himself for the first time in his life.

“Why does my dad have to be a pervert? Why did I have to get a dad who would do those things to my mom? And why did my mom let those things happen? What’s wrong with me that I have to have these parents?”

Brian’s flood of emotions laid bare the source of his personal involvement in the sexual revolution. He didn’t respect his dad because his dad had abused his mom. He didn’t respect his mom because she had allowed herself to be abused. His response was to abuse his own sexuality so that he fit into the family. It was too painful to say his mom and dad were wrong.

In utter frustration he told me that he didn’t know how to relate to women without being sexually involved. He avoided all contact with women that wouldn’t lead to sex. Brian exclaimed, “After all I have experienced, I don’t think I can look at the woman I married with respect —as if she is a real person. I’m afraid I will only look at her as a sex object. But, do you really think I can change?”

Trying to Fill the Void

For children of the sexual revolution who want to have a lasting marriage relationship, the pornography issue is explosive. This generation has been bombarded with graphic sexual entertainment and flooded with opportunities to indulge every sexual imagination. Many boast of their newfound freedom and brag about their guilt-free lifestyle. Tragically, though, a rising number in the post-sexual revolution generation have found that being thrust into sexual experiments outside of marriage has threatened their ability to build a lasting marital relationship.

The pornography issue became a crisis for Brian when he met Kaye. He honestly loved Kay but was afraid he would be too sexually restless to build a lasting marriage. Despite his fears Brian and Kaye got married. For the first few months, Brian thought his struggle was over as he and Kaye seemed to be sexually compatible.

In time though, the thrill began to deteriorate as the allure of new experiences demanded Brian’s attention. To fill the void, Brian started bringing home movies that depicted couples engaging in various sexual activities. He convinced his wife to watch these movies with him and then try to perform the acts they viewed.

For Brian the excitement returned. He felt like new life had been breathed into their sex life. He couldn’t understand why Kaye had grown colder toward him. Kaye didn’t understand why Brian needed these movies. “Am I not exciting enough for you,” she asked. She wished Brian would love her just for herself, rather than for her body. But she was afraid she’d lose him if she refused to participate. She really loved Brian, but she was repulsed by the things he asked her to do.

The Empty Well for Men Hurts Intimacy

This struggle for Brian and Kaye existed because pornography is an empty well. The well is empty for men because it can never satisfy. Men are easily aroused by visual images; that makes them targets of pornography. Initially, the graphic nature of pornography attracts the aggressive nature of men and makes them think that a need is being met.

In an environment of constant sexual stimulation, this aggressive nature cries out for more graphic displays and can even turn to a darker side —sexual violence. The more frequently a man watches pornography, the more graphic and violent the pornography must become to produce the same level of arousal.

Brian, like most men, didn’t think he would become violent, but if he continued to depend on pornography to help bring excitement to his marriage relationship, he was guaranteeing his own dissatisfaction. At first, it would seem as if the entertainment was working. But if he continued, he would find the level of absurdity and violence had to increase to reach the previous level of sexual pleasure.

The Feeling’s Gone

We have observed that depression is associated with prolonged exposure to pornography. Depression affects all aspects of life, including sexuality. Research has shown that “compared to healthy men, depressed men reported less frequent sexual thoughts and fantasies, less frequent sexual activity, less pleasure from their sexual activity, and less satisfaction with their sex lives.”

One man, addicted to pornography for 10 years, grieved over its effects on his life. His angst came to a turning point after seeking out a peep show where quarters allowed him to gaze at women rotating around on a platter while they masturbated. He thought: “There is no art, no beauty, and no acrobatic dancing. The woman is obviously a sex object and nothing else. The men are isolated, caged voyeurs. There is no relationship.”

Days later he took a trip down the coast, filled with natural beauty, eating at his favorite restaurants, and lodging at his favorite bed and breakfasts. As he stopped to gaze over the windswept ocean, he mused about the numbness that had taken residence in his heart: “I felt no pleasure. None. My emotional reaction was the same as if I’d been at home, yawning, reading the newspaper. All romance had been drained out, desiccated. …Was I going crazy? Would I lose every worthwhile sensation in life? Was my soul leaking away?”

The Silent Agony for Women

The well is also empty for women, because the acts depicted in pornography are stressful to women. One woman, after years of silent agony, was finally willing to admit her husband was addicted to pornography. She gave the following testimony before the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography:

He made me want to die —every time he took me to bed —and I felt he wanted to destroy who I am. His triumph over me was controlling me in bed and making me feel what he felt. He didn’t love me. There was no feeling of comfort or fulfillment, only pain, emptiness and deep loneliness.

As a couple participates in pornographic activities, their relationship inevitably suffers. The woman feels used and the man is left with the frustrating reality that he is the only one pleased with the performance. Loneliness and alienation set in and the couple finally concludes they cannot meet one another’s needs.

The Downward Spiral

Even hard-core pornography users are admitting that a spiral of alienation occurs when pornography is introduced as a partner in a relationship. One young man, who had been involved in sadomasochism and the pornography business, got married, and then had children. He says he sees nothing wrong in his addiction to erotica or in sharing some of it with his children, but his comments reveal the numbing effect it has. “I don’t think my kids are ready for it. Hard-core becomes very detached. …I guess it’s the impersonalness that I’m not sure they can deal with.”

Although he’s not willing to face it for himself, he does recognize that pornography makes a very personal expression of love impersonal. This alienation spins downward through unmet expectations, which leads to withdrawal from real sex into fantasy and masturbation. Finally the spiral leads to anger, because neither the real-life sex partner nor his own body can keep pace with his erotic fantasies.

The Road to Sexual Fulfillment

The road to fulfillment is found in a whole new well to drink from. Sex is a very special gift that has been given to married couples to enhance their adventure through life. The adventure involves a curious exploration of the multiple possibilities a couple can discover to express their sexual love for each other.

As the couple continues to grow with one another, the intimacy builds. New possibilities for romantic and sexual expression are naturally found. But lifelong sexual innovation is possible only if the couple values the relationship and continues to grow. When pornography is used, the exploration process is accelerated so that a couple engages in physical activity beyond their own personal comfort level.

The natural discovery process is assassinated by the demands on the couple to perform up to the level of the entertainment. If an intimate relationship is reduced to a performance, the inevitable result is frustration and insecurity. Sexual success in any marriage requires that the discovery of sexual fulfillment happen at the pace comfortable to the couple, not that dictated by pornography.

The Key to Sexual Success

The key to sexual success is balance. The couple should be open to the process of discovery that is inherent in any intimate relationship. When new approaches to the couple’s lovemaking are uncovered, they both must remain open to the possibilities.

A wife should have the courage to listen to her husband’s needs and pleasure choices, but she must not allow herself to be reduced to a performer on the stage of her husband’s self-seeking fantasies. It is okay to say no in the midst of an intimate relationship when a woman feels that she is being taken advantage of rather than being loved.

Kaye had tried unsuccessfully many times to discuss her dissatisfaction with Brian’s demands, so she was amazed when he approached her one day and wanted to talk about the coldness of their relationship. “What is wrong with you, Kay?” Brian asked with a bite in his words. “How come you never want to try the things I want to try?”

“I don’t think anything is wrong with me. I’m just a woman, and women don’t like pornography,” she responded, trying not to react defensively. “Well, I know some women who like pornography,” Brian added, “They think it’s fun.”

“I don’t know those women, Brian. All the women I know are threatened and turned off by watching others engage in sex. I just want to make love with you, and I want you to make love with me, not with the women on the TV.”

Wants to Be Loved

Brian was listening, so Kaye went on. She spelled out in detail how she would like to be loved by him. Brian marveled as Kaye told him the romantic things he does that she appreciates. He felt close to her as she explained where and how she liked to be touched by him. Brian was pleased as she described how special she felt when he was spontaneous in their lovemaking. He felt ashamed as Kaye told him how ordinary and degraded she felt when she was repeating what they had watched on a pornographic movie.

This conversation opened up a new dimension in their relationship. Brian felt a renewed sense of pride in their marriage. Finally, he had figured out how to make Kaye feel special. He felt a new sense of courage in his intimate relationship with Kaye, as he came to understand her needs and desires. His sense of pride as a man was boosted as he saw he could arouse his wife, rather than focusing on only fulfilling his own desires.

Now, Kaye and he had a secret. They knew how to relate in a way that nobody else knew about. Understanding these mysteries about Kaye fired up a brand new desire in Brian. Eventually, Brian found enough security with Kaye to consider destroying the pornographic material he had diligently collected since puberty.

The Tough Choice

Brian was realizing that a man who wants to have a satisfying relationship with his wife must make the tough choice not to allow pornography to infiltrate his life and compete for his affection. He, like other men, discovered that authentic men don’t need artificial devices to gain fulfillment. A billboard in Midland, Texas, that we (Jim and Sally) especially like, pictures several men (noted sports and community leaders), with the caption, “REAL MEN DON’T NEED PORN.”

Remove the Strangler

The destructive effect of sexually graphic material on a man’s life is illustrated by an example from nature:

In Mexico and the tropical zones of South America a so-called “strangler” fig grows in abundance. The fruit is not palatable except to cattle and birds. After the birds eat it, they must clean their beaks of the sticky residue. They do this by rubbing them on nearby trees. The seeds of the small fig have a natural glue which makes them adhere to the branches.

When the rainy season arrives, germination takes place. Soon tiny roots make their way down into the heart of the wood and begin to grow. Within a few years the once lovely palms have become entirely covered with the entangling vines of the parasitic growth. Unless the “strangler” figs are removed, the tree will begin to wither, dropping one frond after another until it is completely lifeless. The only way to stop the killing process of the “stranger” fig is to take a sharp knife and cut away the invader. (From: Infosearch)

Developing a Plan of Action

In the same way, pornography will take root in the heart of any man and slowly steal his ability to love only one woman for a lifetime. If porn is a part of your life, the only way to put life back into your marriage is to take drastic measures and cut away the invader. You must develop a plan of action toward sexually explicit material:

1. Decide to abstain from pornography.
2. Decide to focus only on ideas that promote your relationship with your wife.
3. Decide to avoid places that would tempt you to get involved in the downward spiral.
4. Meet regularly with 2 or 3 other men who are sympathetic to the problem and will provide compassionate accountability.
5. Get some help with Online Accountability, which can help you when you are alone with your social media devices.

These men should be made familiar with your plan to avoid contact with pornography. They should be given permission to ask questions such as, “When was the last time you viewed pornography? Are you doing the things you said you would do to build your relationship with your wife? How close are you to falling back into pornography?”

Note:

If pornography addiction has developed, special action should be pursued. We recommend talking with a trusted counselor.

A Weekend of Freedom

Brian and Kay are fortunate. Brian sensitively listened to his wife as she lovingly confronted him with her distaste for pornography. As a result of their courageous interaction, they decided their relationship was too valuable to threaten with pornography.

They planned a romantic weekend away at a hotel with one requirement —the room had to have a fireplace. They loaded the provocative collection of pornography in the trunk and headed off for their weekend of freedom.

After sharing a delightful dinner filled with candlelight and romantic conversation, they went to their room and built a warm fire. Seated on the hearth, they proceeded to place the articles of pornography in the fire. While the material burned, a new sense of freedom came over them. It was as if the unrealistic sexual demands they had placed on themselves were rising with the smoke and dissipating in the air. That night was one of the most memorable evenings of lovemaking Brian and Kaye have every experienced, and the freedom introduced to their marriage has led to many more.

You may be feeling trapped by the escalation of explicit pictures you’re carrying around in your head. You may be feeling discouraged or demoralized by the unreal performance expectations placed on you by a spouse entangled in the web of pornography. Hang in there. You can hack away the invading tentacles and take the bold step to say no to pornography and yes to each other.

Pleasure Point:

Gather all unrealistic expectation builders (pornography, explicit movies, novels and so on) and arrange for a bonfire. If a fireplace is not available, gather up all the material and shred it or smash it with a hammer so no one else will be exposed to it.

Then lay out a new white comforter or blanket as a symbol of wiping the slate clean, and enjoy your new sexual freedom together. Make love in front of the fire or at another special “new” location that says, “I release you from the ‘fantasy sex syndrome’ and I commit myself not to use pornography.”

This article comes from the book, Pure Pleasure (Making Your Marriage a Great Affair), which was written by Bill and Pam Farrel and Jim and Sally Conway, published by SALTSHAKER Books. Unfortunately, this book is no longer being published. However, their book Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle is available, which may help you in your marriage. You can also visit the Farrel’s web site at love-wise.com.

— ALSO —

The following blog, written by Sheila Wray Gregoire, points out additional points to consider on this issue in marriage:

TOP 10 EFFECTS OF PORN ON YOUR BRAIN, YOUR MARRIAGE, AND YOUR SEX LIFE

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50 responses to “How Pornography Hurts Intimacy In a Marriage

  1. (USA)  I had to write. Tonight I am so frustrated. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and he is addicted to porn. I found out that some months after marriage, he was indulging in acts with ladies over the internet. They would do the web cam thing so he can see them and they can see him. I knew something was wrong because when we would get intimate with each other, he seemed distant. It almost seemed like he was visualizing things to get an orgasm. I asked him several times if he was thinking about other ladies to get there and he denied it.

    When I found out stuff and confronted him, he came clean and I asked him if the times when I asked about him thinking about other women to have an orgasm he said yes. He confessed that he had a problem and it had nothing to do with me. But I felt so low. I felt less than a woman and unable to please him. Even our sex life started to diminish.

    We weathered the storm and got through that period with him promising to stop the porn and all that. Things were great. But lately, our sex life has been diminishing for want of a better word. We are two young people and I can count on one hand the number of times we would have sex for the month, sometimes twice. I am so frustrated and more than that, I feel inadequate as a woman. I have talked to him about it and he said that his reason for not approaching me sometimes is I am so tired and he does not want to be selfish. Then he says I am on the phone a lot too and he does not want to interrupt. I have told him that if he desires me just approach me. I feel like I am always the one making the first move. I am so angry with him. He is still doing porn. He has been open with me because we have a “no secrets” pact with each other. Just trying to support him while he kicks this addiction to porn.

    Today was the breaking point for me, I am just tired, I feel less than a woman. Why should I have to ask him about him not approaching me? Why is it that weeks will pass by and my husband will not be intimate with me? AM I THAT UNDESIRABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yet he will go look at porn and pleasure himself. Then I am here constantly asking myself what is wrong with me because it has been 3 weeks and my husband has not even made love to me. Oh and sex, is just sex. He does not make out with me. The way we were when we just got married and the way we are are two different things.

    Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a wonderful man and he treats me like a queen but our relationship is becoming devoid of sex. I do not know what to do any more. Maybe I am the one that needs help because outside of the “sex issue” he is the best husband in the whole world. Now I feel badly, that’s the thing every time I begin to express the way I begin to feel badly because I feel as though I am hurting his feelings. I JUST DUNNOOO!!! I don’t know what to do. I feel like a failure as a wife, as a woman. I feel unattractive, and this issue is just bringing back memories of when I found out what he was doing with other ladies.

    When the incident happened, I grieved for a week and then pulled it together not to be revisited because I did not want him to feel like I am throwing things in his face. Him messing around with ladies via web cam, me coming across pics that was sent to his phone, emails to a lady that he said had feelings for, telling her he can’t call her because I was asleep on his lap… yes all that is in the past but when I see how absent the intimacy is it makes me suspicious.

    He told me there is nothing to worry about and nothing to be suspicious about but this issue still exists lack of intimacy. Sometimes I feel like he is happy when I have my period that way he is free from… oh I dunno. I just have a lot to vent. Sorry if my thoughts seem so scattered. I just needed to get this off my chest and have someone listen to me. Can’t talk to anyone cause we are very private people. Please help.

    1. (USA) This is a very BIG problem for you. This issue MUST be brought to light. Your husband is addicted and he will always choose the fantasy over your intimacy until he sees his behavior for what it truly is, it’s sinful Adultery. Your marriage will die soon if you don’t bring his behavior out into the open. Just be wise on how you do this.

  2. (USA)  A couple of years ago, I found evidence on the computer that my husband was sharing our sex life with one of his old girlfriends. Everything, all email addresses, phone numbers were erased. I confronted him and told him I had been violated. He apologized (only because he got caught). I told him if he wanted to save this marriage he would have to go with me to this training program. It is like a bootcamp. They help you deal with issues in your life. Long story short, he went. Things were good for a while and I don’t believe he has been viewing anything else on the computer. Until we got smart phones. And Nooks.

    We were sitting at a restaurant one evening, and he had me look a photo up on his phone and I saw this pornographic pic in his gallery. Either he really did not know it was there or he forgot. I asked him about it right there and, of course, he denied ever putting it there. He gave an excuse. After leaving the restaurant and getting into the car, I just dropped the matter.

    Our home computer was been broken until recently and I saw where he was looking at “vanity fair”. One of the things that gets me is he wants sex all the time. He is 65 years old and I am 63. He is medically retired (with lots of health issues) and I work. He gets angry many, many times when I refuse. Even if he is not viewing porn anymore or even less, he has issues from his past.

    I hope this makes sense. I have been praying about this asking God how do I handle this, him wanting sex all the time at the least once a week. He would like to have it 3 times a week if he could. He throws it in my face if we don’t make love. Sometimes I do feel he is detached emotionally. I have even explained to him that I am a 63 year old woman and I don’t always want it. He is home all day and I work. I don’t always have the energy or the want to. I just don’t know how to handle this matter. I do hope you have some Godly advise.

  3. (USA) I really need help. I am 30 and so is my husband and we have 3 kids. We have been married for almost 9 years now. He has always been addicted to porn. It has always hurt my feelings and at times I have tried to make him stop. I don’t know why it’s like all of a sudden I feel my whole outlook on love and life are not at all what it used to be. It hurts so bad. All I do is cry all day everyday and I don’t like sex anymore (but I do still give it to him every single day). I am not ugly and I am willing to do almost anything for him and it’s not enough.

    He says he stopped but I am still scared. He still doesn’t think it’s a big deal or a problem at all and I can’t make him read any of this stuff or how porn has affected us or him and it’s killing me. What if I can’t get over it? I am so tired of hurting so bad inside. To me that just isn’t love at all. And I don’t believe in God at all so that won’t help me any. Please help me. He is my world and my entire reason for living,;all I wanted was to be his world. I love him with all my heart, and I honestly could never find another naked dude a turn on. In fact, any other man would be a turn off to me. I could go the rest of my life and never look at anyone else. Ever. It hurts so bad.

  4. (USA) There is no intimacy in, it’s just sex and he is the only one getting satisfied. Then it hurts when he etchilates as if he hasn’t had sex in months.

  5. I am 30 years old. I am a step mom. I love my family and the idea of family sticking together through thick and thin… However, Sex and nudity on television is ruining my life. I cannot watch movies with my husband because there always ends up being a nude woman. Why is this? It seems that the movies that show nudity are only for men. Can we not get the point of the movie unless the woman shows her breasts for all the men in the world to see. We tried to watch the x games on TV. I think it was NBC. Because they were featuring the female competitors sports they just had to show nude photos of the girls. Same happened watching nascar drag racing because they have female drivers, they just have to show them nude in a calendar that they feel they need to show on tv.

    It seems like if it’s a girl on the TV you can almost guarantee they will show you a peek of her naked body. We cannot watch anything without some sort of perverse imagry or language. Even shows that I think “okay this will be appropriate for us/the kids” it slaps me in the face. We try to watch the basic cable networks and it never fails. Pawn Stars has an episode where someone is trying to sell old Playboy magazines. The men on the program seem to be thrilled with this and then you have the commercials for the program where they say OH STAY TUNED FOR THE PERSON WHO BRINGS IN THE PLAYBOYS.

    WHY??? Kids watch the channel and now I have to turn it off and go cry. I tried to watch Family Feud. Who would have thought that even on this so called family program the questions would be so inappropriate for a family. One question was something like, what would a prostitute make sure to do before going to work? REALLY!!!??? Why? I seriously cannot watch anything on TV without feeling dirty and hurt.

    Why is it so accepted. Why do the TV networks feel this is okay? If it’s not the program you are watching, it’s the commercial in between with the girl in her underwear. Why? I have so many more examples it’s not even funny. I am severly devestated by this whole thing. Sometimes I feel like there is something wrong with me because I cannot just accept it and enjoy it like everyone else.

    My coworkers talk about the movies they watched over the weekend. I clam up inside and want to die. My heart feels like it literally turns to stone. I can’t breathe. I panic. I want to run. I cannot watch movies that show nudity and therefore they call me a prude. I miss out on a lot of social interaction because it seems everywhere we go, there is always someone in the bunch that speaks openly about perverse things. Everyone laughs but me. I have become a hermit and I don’t know what to do. I honestly do not like the way the world has become and it’s only getting worse. My kids have seen and heard so much that they didn’t need to see or hear just from TV alone. I try to come up with an activity that doesn’t involve the television. We load into the car to go on a nice drive and to get out. BOOM on the billboard as big and noticeable as ever, an unnaturally perfect female body in victorias secret underwear poses provocitively for all the passer-bys. She is what men want.

    Why? Then I feel depressed the rest of the week because I know I will never look like her if I buy the overpriced under garments myself. Why would my husband want to see me in such attire, I look nothing like that. If that “perfect flawless body” is what catches mens attention and they enjoy seeing it so much, then that makes me chopped liver. I am not the idea of “hot” when it comes to the woman I have to compete with. SAD.

    I am so depressed over this and all porn and nudity on TV and in the media that I seriously want to curl up in a ball and die. I do not want to be touched by my husband because in my head I honestly believe he is only arroused by what he got to see that day on TV (whether he asked for it or not) and not truly arroused by me. I hate to be touched knowing that in his head he is thinking about the breasts he got to see.

    I hate myself for all of this. I hate that I feel offended and ashamed when it comes to sexual images on TV. I hate that when the grown ups get together for an occasion the topic of sex could come up, or the topic of the latest movies or shows. I cringe at the idea of getting together with another couple for a double date. Will my husband enjoy their company more because they are not awkward and unsocial like I am and they can watch TV like a mature adult and I cannot?

    I wish the TV networks would just stop showing this type of thing, but they won’t. It only gets more and more acceptable and more and more expected by the viewer. It’s to the point that I have had many breakdowns and many depressed miserable days, more so than good days. It’s never going to go away and it’s always going to haunt me. I feel there is no reason to live at times because of the fact that I cannot stop it; it’s not fair to our families.

    The thought of our great great grand mothers makes me envious. I wish I lived in a world where I didnt have to worry every single day that my husband could so easily see another naked woman with just the flick of a button. It’s sad that everyone just thinks it’s all okay and fine and dandy when I am locked in the bathroom wanting to not exist. I’m sure this is the reason for so many divorces nowadays. Why can’t the TV networks just quit being so perverted and try to be more considerate of all the millions of women and children viewers? Have some respect for the married couples that supposedly make the world more wholesome. Stop tempting our husbands/wives with lustful imagry!!! Just stop breaking up families and creating problems.

    The world today makes me sick to the point that I don’t want to be in it anymore. I know I probably need mental help coping but I know it won’t help since this problem will never go away. It won’t change a thing, only confirm that there is something wrong with me and my way of thinking and living. Then I’m the bad guy, the prude, the one who is the problem and I will be forced to try to accept it and think it’s okay. Or I could be prescribed some sort of anti depressant. Why should I have to cope with this? Why should I have to take drugs to deal with it?!!! I’m not the perverted creep putting it out there. To me, the human race seems doomed to despair and saddness. There is no more respect for anyone, just another naked or half naked girl on TV to ruin another person’s life.

    One good thing about this web page here is that I know I’m not so alone. I am not a total wierdo for feeling so disgusted all the time by TV. I’m not the only one suffering. I wish we didn’t have all these social connections with other people around the world because everyone would just mind there own business and go home to there families and no one would have to worry this much. TV and the internet really can do a lot of damage on people. I do believe that the devil runs the world and is trying to ruin us. He’s doing a good job of it on me. My days are filled with depressed ugly feelings of hatred and sadness and worry. Please God help me. Help us all. End this sinfulness, this lust, this impurity. Make it stop!

    1. In the article you make reference to “unrealistic sexual demands” and several commentors speak about not being able to meet the physical or sexual standards of the actors in pornographic films and photos. I think this totally misses the point. Pornography has nothing to do with “unrealistic sexual demands.” It has to do with sex as an act, or a tool for relieving stress, as a means on unsuccessfully attempting to meet your own sexual needs and wants and not as an expression of love for your partner, as a means of bringing pleasure, security, protection, respect, love and adoration to the person you love. The nature of healthy sex between a husband and wife is that the husband is completely focused on pleasing his wife and meeting her needs and the wife is completely focused on pleasing her husband and meeting his needs. With this mind set sex will be mutually fulfilling and there will never be the danger of disrespecting or using one another.

      Pornography is a drug that promises satisfaction but never truly delivers, because it’s impossible for it to meet your physical, spiritual, and psychological needs. Even worse, in the vain pursuit of pleasure through pornography, you must keep increasing the perversity of it in order to get any satisfaction. It’s ironic, that almost all male porn stars are impotent. They can only perform in the films if they first excite themselves through viewing porn. Most male porn stars admit that they would rather use porn and masturbation in their private life, than have sex with a real woman. Porn is much like, Satan’s tempting Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit, it promises much, but never delivers.

      I would like to warn any married men who are using pornography, that if you continue you will never gain the satisfaction you seek and you’ll be losing the paradise you already possess with your wife. If your sex life with your wife is unfulfilling, focus on meeting her needs and loving her the way she desires and there’s a good chance she will reciprocate. I believe God designed sex to enable us to take our minds off ourselves and focus our attention of our spouse, if we’re not doing that, then sex will never be fulfilling.

    2. October from the US:

      I share many, many of your sentiments. It seems like most people have the attitude that the sexual saturation (or pornification) of our media and culture is “natural.”

      I’m a stepmom also and my husband and I have a pretty close connection, but his (probably–best guess) decades-long interest in–and at times, I believe addiction to–porn places limits on our sexual experience together. It hurts and I’ve been through many of the deep despairing feelings you described. As I’ve made efforts to gently guide our sex life to be more intimate (by being more courageous and communicating, being more positive and playful, etc.), he seems to be making some efforts to let the addiction go. But it’s not 100%, not only because of what he surely thinks of as happy involuntary viewings (as in TV or movies that he didn’t know would contain sexy images), but also by pursuing the “news” stories that appear on the web when he surfs msn, yahoo, etc. Unrestrained pornographic images are everywhere, all the time. And you’re right that they’re for men. The women who accept it seem to believe that it’s somehow empowering for them to be OK about it or even into it. It’s as if they are ranked a step down from the hotties just to be OK about it all.

      My husband tries to hide it from me, but by now I’m hypersensitive to it and vigilant. I know exactly what images he likes to view the best and spot women who fit that “look” in public usually before him, then watch him notice, thinking he’s inconspicuous about it.

      But that’s all beside my main purpose. I wanted to share with you that I have hope for me and my husband and maybe you can, too. I am the leader of our sexual intimacy and I accept that now. I’m immune to the effects of outside effects like porn; he was raised under its influence and fights just to only take a few minor tastes of it each week (aside from the daily, involuntary bombardment I mentioned before). He responds to my generosity, trust, and enthusiasm in the bedroom and over time I have come to see his desire for ME increase. For the real me, I mean. Of course he objectifies my body at times, but I think he would even if our media and culture were not pornified. I believe that’s a natural sexual response for a man. Therefore, I work hard to accept that as part of the ritual of natural lovemaking and to avoid poisoning the act / moment with thoughts that give it evil meaning. That detracts from my mission, which is to make my marriage the best I can make it. Be the best wife I can be. I’m here, I married this guy, and I cannot leave without disrupting a family that needs our cohesiveness. I must make it the best I can, so when it comes to sex with my husband, I have to leave our societal ills outside of our bedroom. The more I do so, the more he does as well.

      Best wishes to you…

    3. Only the Spirit of God can deliver that kind of conviction. You have righteous eyes!!! In 2013, when you posted this my eyes were not yet opened. We had cable but crossed over to Netflix… Worse yet! Initially, we felt like we were in control of what we viewed but like you said indecency inevitably rears it’s face. I’ve since cancelled my subscription. It’s ALL corrupt but the enemy likes us to believe that we can still enjoy it, just skip the “especially” bad parts. I liken it to digging in the trash hoping to find treasure. Treasures, treasures, hmmm… Reminds me of Proverbs 2:4 and Matthew 6:21.

      Unfortunately way too many of us treasure entertainment and being entertained and so the demand will be met in order for the appetite to be satisfied as well as the producers financial gain. The Holy Ghost convicted me too, and like you, the life I know now has become a lonely one as it’s becoming harder to find anyone who is not under the spell of this stuff. And their conversations are full of it! I am talking about those that profess Christ and others that (even at one time) seemed to be strong in the Lord…

      Pray, Pray, and Pray some more October!!! Sin is RAGING and its enough to make ANY child of God go mad! …but you are NOT alone! God is revealing this to others. Sadly my husband is blinded and allured by this garbage. We’ve talked about it and about 6 months after I deleted my file on the family account my husband closed the Netflix account altogether.

      Unfortunately, he would later open a new account in secret as well as a new email account to support it. I thought this was strange because I didn’t feel he had to hide it from me. I would soon learn he was watching all of these filthy Marvel series/movies and he would be annoyed if I happened to walk in on him watching them. He claims he can’t watch the stuff with me around because I judge it too harshly. I think he’s more afraid of how I may question his discernment or insensitivity to ungodliness, even if I never say so.

      Shortly after, he put locks on all of his devices; what’s with this paranoia? Over time it became too exhausting to try to reach him. I’ve all but given up. I love him but this thing CAN’T destroy us both. I love God and if it means losing my husband, family or friendships… Well surely I can be no better than Job. It’s clearly outside of my control. I will continue to pray for him and us and others suffering and I encourage you to do the same, for there is still hope.

      By the way, you put me in the mind of Lot in 2 Peter 2:7 and that’s a good thing, because God will come to your rescue! God bless you.

  6. I get angry at my husband for watching pornography because I feel that I’m used. When I catch him watching it and jocking his penis I feel no intimacy at all. I want advice.

  7. This is a headache to Christiandom, this has to be curbed or dealt with as soon as possible. The advice and prayer, together with self-control will do …thanks.

  8. Hi. I’m addicted to porn. I just might have lost the greatest woman in the world because of it. I’ve known her for over 18 years now. We went out for a brief time when we were younger then she moved away. I lost track of her a few times throughout the years. We’ve been talking for a couple years then she decided to move back to the area. We started seeing each other shortly after that.

    I was hiding the fact that I was watching porn online and going to chat sights to look at pictures and watch them on video. She figured it out and I lied and tried to hide it. She told me how she felt about it and I just kept doing it. I love this woman and I’m trying very, very hard to stop. I can’t say I haven’t gotten online and looked at any type of pornography for over a month now. I’ve been about 80% better at not watching anything remotely like that on the television as well. I really want to be the man that she deserves. I know that she’s a lot more important to me than porn can ever be.

    1. Michael, Congratulations on your progress. I know from experience what you’re going through and I know that if you don’t break this evil hold on your life you will most likely lose this woman who is so important to you. Please don’t lie to her anymore. She is more likely to stay with you and help you if you are honest. As long as you keep your sin in the “light” you are more likely to defeat it. You also need to get into an accountability/recovery group. Google “Celebrate Recovery” to see if they have any meetings in your area. They have a great program to help anyone with addictions – even porn. You can also arm yourself with software that blocks porn from your computer and provide accountability. One we highly recommend is called Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com). We also have a lot of articles and other recommended resources on our web site to help you. Blessings in your battle, Michael! I know you can be victorious like me. ~Steve wright, Marriage Missions International

  9. My husband is a porn addict. He told one lie after another till it came to the point that he couldn’t keep up with the lies. My husband blamed the porn on his wife. Anytime we would go anywhere he would stare at other women even after telling him how it made me feel. He seems to be only concerned about his wants and doesn’t care about his wife feeling or how he hurt her by his action and lies.

  10. I don’t really remember how I got here. I know it was something to do with porn, not important. I understand this is a Christian website, and that the majority of peoples stories (sadly) all apply to the article in some form or another, but I found it a tad overly conservative. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly willing to acknowledge the very real nature of porn addiction and how it can destroy a relationship or marriage. On the other hand, I disagree somewhat that watching or the influence of porn is inherently bad for a relationship. Some women do in fact enjoy watching porn with their partner. There’s also different levels of sexual adventurism or curiosity, not all women are vanilla.

    As far as masturbating (both parties) alone to porn, that should come down to a mutual decision. It may not be an issue or it may be seen as emotional cheating, from either spouses perspective. However, I don’t believe it’s healthy if porn becomes a substitute for actual physical intimacy. There’s also many different types of porn, and I think the distinction is as important as comparing The Little Mermaid to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. By that I mean that porn can range from sensual and romantic to things like hardcore, BDSM, and much worse. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that it wasn’t the former in Brian’s case. Personally, I don’t care where you land on the spectrum, but both parties need to be honest and communicate their feelings in a safe, positive way.

    I found it appalling just how emotionally disconnected the couples in the article are. Brian certainly has his issues from his past, but that’s no excuse for being so oblivious to your spouses emotional needs. Now in Kaye’s case she really isn’t giving Brian any credit by thinking voicing her discomfort could cause her to lose him, not to mention that’s one relationship you would need to get out of, if that were actually true. Then there’s the woman who felt like she wanted to die every time she had sex with her husband. That is absolutely disturbing and is basically ongoing sexual abuse in my book. There’s clearly a huge gap in communication there, but that’s just the beginning of their problems I would imagine.

    Now, to all of the stories below, I’m deeply saddened to hear those things. Nearly all of those relationships sound very unhealthy to me. Most of the comments are quite old and I don’t feel myself qualified enough to give advice, but I wish everyone the best. God bless.

    1. Anonymous, Cindy and I appreciate your empathy and compassion for those in this section. You also made some compelling arguments on your thoughts and opinions. And you are right – we are actually VERY conservative because we come at these issues from a Biblical perspective – hence being a Christian web site. But you will also find secular research cited on our site that shows the damaging effects of pornography to our brain, in general. Studies have found that pornography is even more addictive than cocaine. It rewires (programs) the brain so that it makes it nearly impossible to have a normal sexual relationship with your spouse. I, myself, can attest to this as I was hooked from my very first exposure to porn when I was 12 years old. As an adolescent it was about all I could think of and desired. As I got into my late teens and early twenties I told myself that once I got married I could get unhooked because my wife would satisfy my sexual “needs.” I was wrong. It tainted my view of my wife and other women. I saw them as objects; and it nearly destroyed our marriage.

      Fortunately, God showed me what I needed to do to get unhooked and as I began to reprogram my brain the urges began to get less and less until I was finally free. Now, I know I am still a “recovering” sex addict and I could backslide so I have to keep my guard up at all times. I don’t ever want to give the devil a foothold in my life again and drag me back into the pit of the hell of porn addiction.

      We know that some couples bring pornography into their bedroom and claim it’s “good.” But we believe the reality is they can never have the kind of sex God designed by allowing this. It is an abomination to Him (yes, this is a VERY conservative view). It is the same as inviting another person into their bed. As Jesus said even looking at a woman with lust is the same as adultery. If you were to sit in on a sexual addiction recovery group of men (and women) and ask them to tell you one good thing pornography did in their lives all you’d get is blank stares.

      You’re a very thoughtful man and I think you would want to see the research for yourself at http://www.yourbrainonporn.com. If you’d like to see another web site from a Christian perspective that deals almost exclusively with this issue go to http://www.puredesire.org. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anonymous. We pray that whatever you’re looking for God will direct your path. ~Steve Wright, Marriage Missions International

  11. My husband told me years ago that porn and masturbation was ten times better than sex with me. He never held back his feelings and said I was a horrible bed partner. I asked should I be like those women on internet porn, his answer was it would be nice once in a while making bedtime interesting and special. Also he said going to bed with me is like sharing the bed with a corpse. I tried to change but I couldn’t.

    He told me many years ago he was more interested in going on with his life in the basement, and that’s what he did. We just share our house with very little interaction between us. We come and go on our own schedules. It has been a lonely life for me.

    1. Hi Amanda, I am very sorry to hear this from you – a wife clearly dedicated to her husband. I hope you appreciate that no woman can compete with the fantasies of a porn addiction. You seem to be a person of extraordinary strength. I certainly hope you do not blame yourself or think less of yourself for this. You seem resigned to be this lonely life. Can you truly say that you have tried really everything? No stone left unturned?? You deserve far better Amanda. WP (Work in Progress)

  12. Hi, my husband does not desire me and never sleeps with me. Even when I go to him he refuses, as such I started to watch soft porn to satisfy myself but I am a Christian and I didn’t want to go to hell, as far as my marriage is concerned it’s finished. I want to separate and move closer to God. Please help me get out of this addiction, am so much ashamed of myself and have no one to talk to.

    1. I am so sorry Pris, I hope you have been delivered by now. But if not, go to the Father and ask Him for deliverance. I like to do it this way…Admit my Sin, Admit my inability to rescue myself, ask for forgiveness. Recognize the patterns that lead up to my sinning and change them. I pray for your peace.

  13. My husband and I were friends for about 4 years before we got married. In those times, we would constantly pray for each other and he would choose a time for us to be together and be married someday. Then when the recession hit America, he got laid off so he tried teaching in Korea. After about a year, he communicated with me as he was contemplating if he should live in Thailand or here in the Philippines. Since I am here he opted just to meet me. When we were together, we were both burning in passion, so he decided that we should not continue on sinning and just be married.

    We both tried to go to different churches and no pastor would marry and just bless us, we had to go through counseling, which he didn’t have the time to do so because his visa was expiring as tourist visa. I told him he shouldn’t marry me but go home but would constantly tell me that there is nothing waiting for him there when he goes home and plus we were the best of friends, why prolong the agony. One thing that also pushed him is we thought I was pregnant, but 2 days before our marriage, I got my period and I didn’t tell Kieran because at that time I just wanted to get married and Kieran was soo sweet and caring to me and I felt he could really be a great dad. I guess I just didn’t want to ruin the moment without thinking about how he would feel.

    So to cut the long story short, we got married, he got mad after knowing that and treated me like crap over the last 4 yrs of our marriage. In addition, he found out I was not a virgin and that I had lied to him and had sex with several men before marriage. So because of this, he would check out women in front of me, touch girls legs in public transportation, flirt with other women and made me feel really awful. He is now back in America to his country and I just remember how he would verbally, emotionally abuse, and mentally abuse me and deprive me of having sex with him. After all, this really pushed me away and caused me to sleep around again with men. I had an internet affair that involved a lot of emotions with another guy but the guy just dumped me and me realizing I got what I deserved and that I should just go back to my husband but then again I feel like I don’t deserve my husband. He’s a good man even if he struggled to be with other woman and even if he would tell me I am not his ideal wife. I guess the reason why I’m writing here is to humbly ask if I should end the marriage or fight for it?

  14. My boyfriend and I are born again Christians. My boyfriend strives to glorify God in all that he does and that’s one of my favorite qualities about him though I’ve had to give up our sex life until we’re married. We both had sex with each other and previous partners so abstinence is difficult for me at this point. But I am willing to sacrifice this. Throughout our relationship I’ve found pornography on his Internet history browser. It is no secret that I check once in a while as I’ve been honest with him about it every time.

    When I confront him about it I do so in a way that is not shaming or blaming as I understand most men have a different view on pornography than women. I’ve told him that it’s difficult for me to feel good enough or attractive to him when he refuses to touch me intimately or even look at me when I try to show him I’ve been losing weight (he is uncomfortable with the idea of me gaining weight and I’ve also given up make up, which was once one of my favorite hobbies). I’ve told him that I feel cheated and ugly and hurt over it many times. He’s very quick to laugh it off or minimize it and just wants the conversation to be over. I feel like he’s not taking me seriously.

    At this point I have warned him once before that I am not okay with being in an abstinent relationship while he ogles over other naked women. I’m not okay with the lack of attention and affection knowing that he is eager to go to that effort watching other women. I threatened him with a break up, which probably wasn’t right. Its been a couple months since then. Last night I slept over and he just seemed completely uninterested, so I had the feeling he was watching porn again. Sure enough he had started again the night before.

    I work for him and at this point I feel like I can’t even scare him with the break up threat because he knows I would never do it for fear of losing my job on top of the break up. If we were to break up he would feel uncomfortable working with me everyday; he’s told me that before. So what do I do? He has a temper and I’m worried that if I bring up the topic again he will just dismiss me. (I know a lot of these behaviors are probably unhealthy. We are a couple of recovered drug addicts with 25 years between us, as I’m only 25 years old he finds me to be over dramatic often). How do I approach this… do I approach it? Or do I just leave it?

    1. Please do not, do not, do not marry each other with these problems hanging over your heads. There are red flags waving everywhere. You have multiple levels of problems here. One of them is his treating you as being “over dramatic.” This cannot work if this is going to be a father/daughter relationship with him thinking he’s the wiser, older one and you need to behave. 25 years difference is A LOT of difference between you. It will only work if you treat each other respectfully as equals –no minimizing or laughing at the other allowed. Another problem is his being your boss. That can’t work. You can’t be afraid of bringing up very viable issues because you’re afraid of being fired. He can dismiss you more ways than one. You need to find a job elsewhere. This will clear up some major complications of your love life. You and/or he may not want to face this… but it’s true. We’ve seen it happen over and over again.

      The fact that you have to change your looks for him in ways you are uncomfortable with is disturbing too. It’s not all about him. You have a voice too. Being laughed off shows he isn’t taking you seriously. If you marry, you are to be partners. Minimizing is not what you do to a partner. It’s also not sustainable over the years for you to feel “cheated and hurt and ugly.” There are no dramatics here… that is what many (most) of us women feel. He needs to respect that. Is he afraid of you being attractive and perhaps someone will notice? Whatever his reason, this is a problematic situation.

      Congratulations on being “recovered drug addicts.” That is GREAT! But please know that sometimes addicts will go from one addiction to another. That is what I’m concerned about with his pornography addiction. If he isn’t addicted, then he should be able to stop it. If he truly “strives to glorify God in all that he does” then he HAS to know that even looking at a woman with lust “has committed adultery with her” according to Jesus as recorded in Matthew 5:27-29. That is only one of many scriptures that points out that what a person looks at can be sinful. He can’t be lusting for women that are not his wife (whether visually or physically) and glorify God. That is a contradiction.

      And if he tells you that he does it so he doesn’t have sex with you… that is a line that comes straight from the pit of Hell. God never excuses our sin by substituting one for another. There isn’t a “lesser” sin. He AND you need to go into our “Pornography and Cybersex” topic. Read all you can. It’s an education you both need in order to better combat this. Read the quotes, testimonies, articles, and take advantage of the “Links and Recommended Resources.” There is one of the recommended web sites found at http://yourbrainonporn.com that shows how pornography changes the chemistry of your brain. It’s much like heroine and cocaine… actually can be more insidious in different ways. This is not something to be taken lightly. You will be marrying an addiction and it will affect every area of your married lives. Read the studies, and you will see. There are many links provided to ministries that can help you to combat this addiction. Please don’t let him minimize the damage that can be done and please don’t marry with this hanging over your heads. It would be so tragic to break free from your drug addictions, and yet allow this addiction to grow and take over.

      You both need to work on the many problems you have going on in your relationship. This is serious stuff. You CAN beat it. But it won’t happen without concerted effort, and serious intentionality. If you don’t, you will be dragging some major problems into your marriage… communication, addiction, and partnering issues that need to be worked on and lived out. We have a LOT of great tools and articles posted to help you on this web site, with some of them leading to other web sites and ministries. Please take advantage of them. I hope you will and pray for you that you will find the strength to do what you need to do.