Porn; It’s Ruining Your Marriage

Over 70% of men ages 18 to 35 view porn on the internet at least once a month. Over 60% of Christian men, and 34% of pastors struggle with it. (Christianity Today) Yet it’s rarely talked about at church, or at men’s groups. We don’t talk about it because it’s not easy to talk about, and so we talk about the game last night, or who bought a new truck. It’s easier. Doesn’t make us admit that we actually struggle with our thought lives. Well, I think it’s time to get over ourselves, and address the issue. It is ROBBING way too many marriages of the intimacy that God designed them to have, and reducing the sexual relationship to just a way to relieve a sexual urge we have.

What’s the draw to pornography in otherwise normal men/husbands? Porn doesn’t require a relationship. A man viewing porn doesn’t have to maintain a relationship or communicate with his wife to have his sexual need met. He can have that need met whenever he wants. A man never faces rejection from pornography. Porn never says “no” to a sexual request. This all sounds very attractive to a man who God designed to be drawn to the female form. But it’s a lie. And after the act is complete, it leaves the man feeling strangely UN-fulfilled, and with a lot of guilt.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been exposed to it. I admit it. I thank the Lord I’ve never been deeply into it, but I’ve seen enough of it to start to hate what it was doing to myself, and my marriage. The never-ending cycle of swearing that “I’m never going to do it again” only to fail a week later when life gets stressful, or after you’ve been turned down sexually by your wife (even if it’s for a good reason) – telling yourself that “I deserve this, because obviously my wife doesn’t care about me sexually – what was I supposed to do?”

After a while of “light viewing” it begins to take more and more of your thought life. You begin to crave the “hit” or “sexual high” you get from viewing it. Even though you hate yourself afterwards, your mind keeps telling you that you “need” it, and it doesn’t matter. But it does matter. It matters more than you realize.

I read a book called “Wired for Intimacy: How pornography Hijacks the Male Brain” during my research, and what we as men don’t realize, is that God wired a man’s brain to respond to sexual cues from his wife (watching her dress/undress, kissing, flirting, checking our her backside when she picks something up, etc.) and take those cues and turn them into desire, and then lead to pursuing her, and finally end that cycle with the release of intercourse. Then it starts all over again over the next 2 or 3 days. What PORN does is “supercharge” that response, because there is no longer that natural progression anymore. Porn goes right to the sex act, and the brain learns that it doesn’t need to go through the stages of desire/arousal/climax, it can just skip directly to arousal and quick climax. After a while of this behavior, the brain starts to develop  neuro-pathways (I know this is getting deep, but stick with me), or habits that start to make PORN the “default” way to achieve sexual gratification. Once that happens, your brain tells you that relationship/foreplay/emotional connection isn’t necessary anymore to get what you desire (sexual release). That is why men that are deep into pornography start to find “normal” sex with their wives unexciting. They have a hard time getting an erection with their wives during sex, because their brain has been trained to not see anything but the extreme (and mostly fake) portrayal of sex on the computer screen as exciting. “Normal” sex doesn’t do it anymore. Still think I’m over reacting? It’s ok, I’m not done yet.

Porn makes you become unsatisfied with your wife – Because the girls in the videos are always MORE than eager to have sex, and will do anything you search for, you start to believe that your wife should be the same way. You start asking questions like “why can’t my wife be horny all the time like they are?” or “I wish my wife would be try something like that”. This in turn leads to more dissatisfaction with your wife when you try to suggest some of the unrealistic things you’ve seen in the videos and she brushes them off.

Porn makes your sex drive be unnaturally high – If you are viewing porn regularly, and are using the excuse of “my wife just doesn’t understand or care how often I need sex”, you’re wrong. Your wife would probably be more than willing/able to meet your NORMAL sexual drive/needs (as long as your being the husband she needs by staying emotionally connected to her, listening to her, etc) if your drive wasn’t being turbocharged by pornography. No wife can ever satisfy a man’s desire fueled by porn. She will never be enough.

Porn makes you look at women differently – If you’ve been viewing porn for a while, your mind starts to turn women from a person designed by God, to an object to satisfy your desire. Even when you’re at work or at the grocery store, you’ll notice yourself viewing their bodies as objects. Instead of having a normal view of the opposite sex, you start wondering how each one would look nude, or if she would want to do this or that sex act.

Porn takes away the potential for an amazing sex life with your wife – Here’s the deal – God CREATED SEX, and since He put Song of Solomon in the Bible, I’m pretty sure he is more than ok with it. In fact He’s much more comfortable with it than we are at times. God loves it when a husband and wife make love, and use sex in the way that He designed it to be used! He knew as a man when He created you, that you would have these sexual desires! As men we need not apologize for this, but instead use these desires in the appropriate way – towards our wives! Pornography takes sex act, and makes it nothing more than just that – an act to relieve our physical, sexual, need. Compared to what it was meant to be: a beautiful expression of commitment, love, and passion between a husband and wife that draws them closer together, and leaves them feeling fulfilled and connected. See the difference there? Porn may bring you to orgasm, but it leaves you feeling unfulfilled and empty – searching for more.

Ok, so I want to quit, but where do I start? – Start somewhere! Don’t let fear of admitting it to your wife, or whatever it may be, stop you from turning your life around! There are a lot of great resources on this topic from several main Christian organizations like Focus on the Family, or Family Life that delve deeper into this, but here are a few key points to stopping:

  1. Pray. Ask God to forgive you and help you with this problem. Ask him to help you as you set out to rebuild your marriage, and bring back the intimacy that He designed it to have.
  2. Tell your wife you have a problem, and you’re getting help. Won’t she be hurt? Yes, but it’s better than not being able to look her in the eye. Explain to her that you want to have an amazing relationship with her, but you can’t do this until you get porn out of the picture. Tell her you are so sorry for breaking her trust. It may take her a little time to process all of it, and fully forgive and trust you again, but in time she will see that you are serious about this, and you are again putting her first, not an empty substitute.
  3. Get a web filter on your computer and give your wife the password. Why not eliminate the possibility? You no longer have to play the “will I, or will I not” game, if there isn’t even the possibility there anymore. Is it sometimes annoying when your reading a blog on sex (like this one), and your wife has to type in the password? Sure it is, but I’ll take that any day over risking the relationship with my wife.
  4.  Get a close friend to help you. Yeah, this is hard for us guys – due to our pride – but we need get over it, and find a TRUSTED friend and ask him to help keep you accountable on this. Have him check in weekly or even daily at first. Then once a month after that. This isn’t an easy addiction to break on your own. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
  5. Bounce your eyes – You have to start guarding your mind – and what is the “gateway to the mind”? Your eyes. That means you have to re-train them. They don’t get to look just anywhere anymore. That means when you go to the bank drive through, and the teller bends over in a low-cut blouse, you’re eyes “bounce” away instead of lingering. Sound boring? Maybe, but just think about how much more you’re going to appreciate the one that God gave you, when you get home tonight.

These are just a few of the ways you are going to have to change you do things. Is it going to be hard? Yes. Is the temptation ever going to go completely go away? No. Occasionally the thought still enters my mind, but with the Lord’s help, and the thought of having to look into the eyes of my beautiful wife and see the hurt cloud her eyes again, is enough to make me have all the resolve I need to never go back.

I end this post with a challenge to all husbands: For way too long we have accepted porn, checking out women at work or wherever we may be, making sexual comments, locker room talk, the list goes on – as “just what guys do”,  or “not a big deal’, when in reality we are damaging the very relationship that we pledged to protect on that day all those years ago. When we looked into the eyes of our beautiful bride and promised to cherish and keep, love and protect, and remain faithful to only her, until death do us part. I think it’s time to start taking the promises we made on that day a little more seriously than we have been. Having been from one end of the gamut to the other myself, It’s hard to put into words how fulfilling, rewarding, and out of this world amazing, the sexual relationship with your wife can be if we eliminate all the “other sources” and concentrate on the ONE SOURCE that God gave us. But yet at times we continue talking ourselves into getting our sexual “hits” off of other sources, not realizing we are sabotaging the very thing we want most – a passionate, fulfilling, fun sex life with our wives. It’s time to stop being lazy with our thought lives. It’s time to be the “one woman man” that God designed us to be. Is this challenge an easy one? Not at all. Is it worth the effort? One hundred percent of the time.

Here are a couple of books that I have found most helpful in keeping control of my thought life:

Every Man’s Battle

Wired for Intimacy: “How Pornography Hijacks The Male Brain” 

  1. Wonderful. Great writing and great insight. Thanks Gerad.

    • carlaanne
    • May 27th, 2012

    Thanks for a great perspective on porn. I appreciate your honesty and to-the-point post.

    • Thanks for reading! It wasn’t an easy one to write, but it’s something that us husbands MUST get under control to have true intimacy in our marriages! Thanks again..

    • FatherOf4
    • May 27th, 2012

    I’m wondering if you have any Biblical references for the last 3 suggestions. These seem to be man-made strategies for avoiding the apparent sin (viewing pornography) but not dealing with the heart issue.

    • FatheOf4,

      Hello! Thanks for the comment! Here are the scriptures for each point that I would say support them. Hope these help!

      #4 – Proverbs 27:17(NIV)17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
      #5 – Matthew 5:27 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

      Thanks again for the comment…

        • FatherOf4
        • May 28th, 2012

        Except neither verse addresses the solution presented.
        Proverbs 27:17 does not mention or indicate accountability for any sin, nor is there any example of accountability for sin in Scripture. Close personal friendships are important, but should they be used primarily for accountability or are we promoting a secular fix to a theological problem? Regardless, accountability is only as effective as the user wants it to be (and now my reason for not sinning is not to please God, but to placate men.)
        Matthew 5:27, 28 has nothing to do with “bouncing the eyes” Aside from the fact that “bouncing the eyes” still objectifies women (Women, in this case, are still an object to be lusted after), “eye-bouncing” is rude, frustrating, and dishonoring to the image of God. A woman will either be deemed not a temptation ie not very pretty/attractive or not have eye contact. The man practicing this is now open to shame for acting as God designed, appreciating the beauty of His creation (including women). These women, like men, are created in His image and as we treat others, we treat Christ.

      • Sorry, but I don’t see your point Father of 4. I’m pretty sure that “Iron sharpens Iron” works well here because it’s referring to 2 Christians helping each with their walk. If I see my brother struggling in an area in his walk, I should help him with it, and together find a Biblical solution for the area he/I is struggling with. Are you saying that isn’t good? You can be accountable to yourself all you want, but somehow I have an easier time “talking myself into” things I shouldn’t do, than trying to talk my Christian brother who is sworn to help me, do something I shouldn’t.

        And when it says to “not lustfully look at a woman, I’m pretty sure it means to not look lustfully at a woman. Pretty cut and dry here (am I missing something?). If I give it an easy to remember title like “bounce your eyes”, what difference does it make? Now you may be super human, but It is hard for me (and evidently most other men beside yourself), to look at a woman and “appreciate her beauty” as you say – without being tempted to think of things that I shouldn’t. Like I say, you may be different. Congratulations if you are. I’m not suggesting that when you see any woman, you should turn away and run. I’m suggesting that when you see a large breasted woman in a tight low cut shirt, that you should watch where your eyes linger, and not allow your thoughts to go where they please. (2Cor 10:15 Taking every thought captive) If you don’t agree, and have somehow “arrived” at the point where this isn’t an issue for you anymore, that’s great! You should write a book for the rest of us. But until it comes out, I’m going to keep using the principles that the Bible gives us for keeping our thought lives clean, and making sure I am watching where my eyes go, so that I save my sexual desire for my beautiful wife, and not get any sexual “hits” from any other source.

    • Heidi
    • May 27th, 2012

    I needed to read this. Thank you for sharing. This helps me to understand a little more. My husband experienced this too but…we recovered. It was a long road and one that still has me occasionally wondering even two years later and I’m sure the temptation is still there but he does work hard to avert his eyes to the best of my truly knowing. This was very painful. I know where my husband visits on the web now and I have all the passwords. As the other half here, the wifely side, I see the importance of keeping those flames fanning. Can I please add that we wives need to hear your words as husbands. We need to hear you communicate your love for us and share some of your concerns/fears/desires with us. Why? Because it builds intimacy and strengthens our desire to want you more. We don’t see you as weak. We see you as caring enough to be real with us. We women are brains and hearts when it comes to getting us to pour out our love to you men. If that side is taken care of in us…we reciprocate to your needs more.

    • Thanks for the comment Heidi! I’m so glad you and your husband have worked through this issue. It’s amazing how the marriage changes for the better if both parties are committed to support the change. Thanks again…

    • Sarah
    • June 2nd, 2012

    Here is a good reference for the accountability and the filter idea – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Even if a husband doesn’t have a problem with the internet, it is a good idea to protect the internet for the children and someday teenage boys that will be surfing and may just happen across something that starts them down that road.

    • Maverik
    • June 21st, 2012

    Great post and great advice! Regardless of what anyone says you are right on the money and you are honestly giving a testimoney. You are spiritual man so your advice does come from the Word of God. Repent of your sin, flee from temptation, and do not commit adultery, are just three biblical principles that you mentioned. So if anyone wants to know what those scriptures are then google it. So thanks for sharing your testimony because I’m sure it will help others.

    • tiff
    • March 8th, 2014

    I love to see that there are good men that are taking a stand and talking about the negative effects of porn.

    I would love to see a post from a man’s perspective of how to make things right with your wife after you have fallen. I do not think that many men really understand the effects that porn has on there loved one. I truly believe that the success rate of leaving it behind and building a great sex life would be so much higher if guys understand what it does to there wives. Why she is acting like a crazy person….checking his phone and computer logs…watching his eyes every time they are in public. I read somewhere that 80% of women in a relationship with a porn user have a clinical condition called Betrayal Trauma. It’s symptoms are VERY similar to post dramatic stress syndrome! A trigger like a sexy magazine picture or a girl at the store with the perfect cleavage…going to the beach with their spouse can take them back to all the pain of the betrayal and literally make the safety of their marriage feel threatened a dozen times a day. When a man does not understand the effects his choice has had on her he can make things worse or feel hopeless about ever moving past his mistake. Maybe if husbands understood how to help their wife heal…what she needs from him to feel safe again more couples could achieve the kind of intimacy he was looking for when be turned to porn in the first place.

    Love what you have done so far. Thanks

  2. I don’t know who to talk to. I’d like to try you. Here’s my problem. In march of 2014 I was answering email ads for houses. I came across a to. Of emails my husband of 27 years sent an received from craigslist personals columb. The words snapped my Mind they were so awful. All about wanting to have sex with these strange trashy females. I was working 12 hr days an had no clue this was going on. Our marriage is broken now an I am a mess. My soul an heart has been ripped from my body an I feel like I could die. To relieve the pain I started drinking. That worked for awhile. I don’t know if I can get back all the parts of me that he robbed me of. I need help. Thanks.

    • Mikel
    • August 17th, 2014

    thank you, as i read i found i already knew most of what you wrote but reading through your words did give me structure and guidelines i only hope it wasnt to late

      • Rhonda
      • September 18th, 2014

      I guess my husband and I are different we both like watching some porn together. I think the problem with most marriages is the lack of sex. I have been married for 22 years and I have never turned him down, I have always dressed in sexy lingerie for my husband and I make it a point to wake him up from time to time because it’s important that he knows I desire him as well. When it comes to porn it’s something that we do together from time to time. We like to try new things and I am more in love with him today then ever before. So ladies I’m here to tell you that you need to really get good in this department, keeping your husband happy in bed will keep you and your marriage the best it can be. I also have never worried about him checking another female out because I know he eats at home. Men who watch porn a lot I think is because they are married to women who never want sex or they feel their wife is just not into them.

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