Porn and Anger: How Porn Use Stunts Emotional Growth

by | Feb 4, 2019 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 70 comments

How Porn and Anger Go Together

Porn and anger go together, because porn doesn’t just affect someone’s sex drive. Porn affects personality, too.

Last weekend I was speaking in Edmonton at the Breakforth conference on a cold, dark, freezing rain Sunday morning. The topic was “how porn wrecks intimacy and causes anger”, and despite the weather and the 8:30 start time the room was full.

Normally when I talk about porn here on the blog I talk about its effects on a husband’s sex drive. One of the things I talked about in that seminar, though, was the effect that porn has on personality–porn and anger seem to feed each other.

Here’s a question that I recently had sent into the blog:

Reader Question

I am 52, married to a man 8 years my junior. Just recently I discovered that he was viewing porn…a lot! Just recently I noticed him spending an increased amount of time on his phone, and staying up later than me (which he has never done). We always go to bed together. He forgot his phone at home last week and I looked at the history. Needless to say, I was devastated! When I asked him what was going on, he told me I was just over reacting. He even became angry at me because I was crying. I really feel like he cheated. He told me he would never look at it again. That’s not what I wanted from him. I wanted him to tell me it wasn’t about ME, and that I was still attractive to him. We haven’t been intimate since. In fact I know he has been pleasing himself rather than make love to me. He hasn’t been viewing porn since, I know because I have been checking. But he seems different, like he is bored or depressed and he always says he is tired. Please help. We have a great marriage other than this.

Isn’t that sad? So many women I know are going through this trauma of their husband’s porn use, and it is very difficult to get through, especially because the husband often reacts angrily when we question whether he’s really quitting porn or whether he really loves us.

I’ve written before about what to do if your husband uses porn, and these posts are very important. I won’t reiterate them all here, but it is vital that you deal with the porn use in a firm way, and that you not enable him to continue. He needs help, he needs to properly repent, and he needs to devote himself to recovery, or else your marriage will be stuck.

I’ve also written about how porn addiction affects women, too–and has similar effects to the ones I’m discussing today for men.

Those posts will help, but I don’t want to repeat that today. What I do want to talk about are the psychological effects, including anger and selfishness, of porn on husbands. Those effects are often still present, even when the porn use ends, because porn use changes personality.

Porn and Anger: How porn use affects personality

Porn use reinforces selfishness

When you watch porn, you masturbate. They go hand in hand (sorry for the terrible pun; but they do!). So the porn user pairs sexual response and a dopamine reaction (the pleasure chemical in the brain) with the stimulation of pornography. The images themselves reinforce selfishness (you deserve to be served and to take what you want) and then the masturbation reinforces the idea that you deserve to receive pleasure when you want it.

Drs John and Julie Gottman, who are clinical psychologists and marriage experts, wrote an open letter on porn that’s worth the read, but this is especially pertinent:

First, intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people.  But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction. Second, when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner. Thus a porn user may form the unrealistic expectation that sex will be under only one person’s control. Third, the porn user may expect that their partner will always be immediately ready for intercourse… This is unrealistic as well. Research has revealed that genital engorgement leads to a desire for sex only 10% of the time in women and 59% of the time in men. Fourth, some porn users rationalize that pornography is ok if it does not involve partnered sexual acts and instead relies only on masturbation. While this may accomplish orgasm the relationship goal of intimate connection is still confounded and ultimately lost

Porn replaces vulnerability with depersonalization

God designed sex to be about giving to one another; to be an intimate and deep knowing of one another, where you’re completely vulnerable with each other. Indeed, in Genesis 4:1, God uses the Hebrew word “to know” to denote sex–“And Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived a son…” As I explained at length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, that’s the same Hebrew word that is used in the Psalms when David says “Search me and know me…” It’s a deep longing for a completely intimate connection.

Porn, on the other hand, is not about opening up to someone. It’s about using someone, so that the other person doesn’t matter. Porn teaches you that other people are to be objectified.

Indeed, caring about people is now a complete turn off. Because porn is so impersonal, what becomes sexy is the idea of taking from a stranger. That’s also why some porn users can be very affectionate towards their wives at times, but never in the bedroom–or they don’t even want sex anymore. They have so divorced sex from affection that the two just can’t go together. This is why erectile dysfunction and low libido are major effects of porn in a porn user’s life.

Find freedom from porn!

Your marriage, and your thought life, do not need to be held captive to pornography.

There is freedom. 

Beat porn–together!

Remember, too, that they are giving their bodies positive feedback every time they depersonalize someone. Because they masturbate, then they reinforce this depersonalization constantly.

A study was done that showed pornographic images to married men (not a study we’d endorse, for obvious reasons, but we’ll still cover the results). When compared to men who did not look at porn, men who were shown a nude pornographic photo rated themselves as less in love with their wives.

Terry Crews, who is a famous actor and former NFL football player, once went to rehab due to his porn use. He described the depersonalization of pornography this way:

“My issue was, and is with pornography is that it changes the way you think about people, people become objects, people become body parts; they become things to be used rather than people to be loved.”

Porn and anger go together because porn use makes one irritable

Porn users just aren’t nice to be around. Our reader’s husband is irritable all the time. Very common. Think of a smoker who is trying to ditch a 30-year habit; they’re going to be shaking and always thinking about that cigarette they can’t have. Porn users are the same.

Even when they’re still addicted they can be quite irritable, because when they get upset or bored or stressed what they want to do is to go watch porn, but they can’t because you’re around or the kids are around or they have to work. So they go through life at this constant level of frustration, where the people they love are actually an impediment to them getting what they want. That’s why porn and anger are paired; they’re angry that they’re not getting to pursue what they need.

Combine that with porn’s message that “you deserve to be able to take what you want”, and they become very entitled and irritable, all at the same time.

A Porn Addiction Can Cause Depression

The letter writer says that her husband is withdrawn and seems bored or depressed. That’s very common when you quit porn, because you’re not getting the dopamine stimulation you used to get.

Because men typically hide their porn use, it causes a cycle of secrecy. Among men who use porn frequently by themselves, psychologists argue, rates of depression increase. Fight the New Drug, a non-profit that writes extensively on the problems with pornography, put together a really nice piece on why pornography increases loneliness that is worth the read.

Porn Use Stunts Emotional Growth

In this letter writer’s case, it’s unlikely that the porn addiction began in full force as a teenager, since at his age internet porn didn’t exist. But for many porn users today, their porn use began when they were in their early teens.

So imagine being a 14-year-old boy feeling lonely because his friends don’t understand him and girls won’t look at him. Porn gives the message: “You are powerful. You can take what you want. You deserve to be served. You deserve to be happy.” So he turns to porn instead to deal with his ugly feelings. When he gets stressed and feels like he can’t cope, he turns to porn because it makes those stressed feelings go away. When he gets bored, he turns to porn because it’s something to do.

All of these negative feelings are shoved under the surface, rather than dealt with properly, as the boy turns to porn. So he never learns to deal well with problems. In many ways, a porn addict’s emotional development stops at the point when he starts watching porn.

That’s why many 38-year-old women married to 40-year-old porn addicts feel like their husbands are only 14. You can’t talk to them about deep things. You can’t have a proper conversation about something that’s bothering you. You can’t make plans about what to do if he loses his job because he feels like it’s such an attack on him. You feel as if you’re coddling an adolescent–because you are.

How to Recover from the Porn and Anger Connection

I’ll have to write a longer post about this in the future, but most porn users will need some real counseling so that they can understand why they’re angry, understand that they have done these things to themselves, and that these things aren’t normal. Then they will need to learn some new coping patterns.

Especially if the porn use started when the boys were teenagers, they will have to learn for the first time healthy ways to handle stress, boredom, loneliness, or feelings of inadequacy. They’ll need to see the porn and anger connection. Before, whenever these feelings surfaced, instead of facing them, they hid them by turning to pornography. Now they have no coping mechanisms for dealing with them, so they react in anger. They honestly are up a creek without a paddle.

And this is the key:

 

Recovery from porn use is not just about quitting porn. It’s about developing coping mechanisms to deal with anger and stress in life. 

Yes, you need filters on your computers and devices to make porn less accessible. Yes, he needs accountability to make sure he’s not still seeking porn. A new tool we just discovered is the “emergency button” provided by nofap.com. It takes you to a motivational message, meme, video, or reddit thread to help distract and to encourage users to resist temptation.

But more than that, he needs counseling and real group therapy that addresses the underlying psychological issues and the anger that he’s dealing with. It’s not just about porn or sex or women’s bodies. It’s about his whole strategy for coping with life–it’s about him admitting that porn and anger are related in his life.

The good news is that many men come out on the other side, and get less angry, more giving, more present, more communicative. I have seen it happen in so many marriages. So seek out help. Talk to a counsellor who specializes in this, and ask the hard questions about managing stress and anger. Seek out celebrate recovery groups in your area.

And pray hard! If he understands his need to grow, and you help him battle both porn and anger, you can find victory.

What do you think? Have you seen these effects of porn in someone’s life that you know? What’s the best way to recover from both porn and anger? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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70 Comments

  1. RenewingMarriage

    Great blog, Shiela. I can tell you, as a guy that has battled with this for much of my adult life, that the anger related to porn is a real issue and sometimes it is easy to disconnect the cause (porn) from the truth. I would often associate the anger with the stress in my life. But, the truth is porn was how I dealt with the stress. The two are intertwined.

    The other connection I submit is also how closely tied shame is to all of this. Many man are fully aware that their use of porn is wrong. They feel a lot of shame and this adds to the anger and disconnect with the ones they love.

    One thing we need to understand is that a husband making promises to change in response to shame is different than one who responds out of conviction. Shame is often something that we experience and respond to as a way to get out of a hard situation. Conviction is what is required of someone who is going to get help and change for the long haul.

    Shame is a part of the consequence of sin. But, getting caught is not a reason to change. Becoming convicted and repentant is the next critical step in the process.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      YES! So true about shame. Thank you for mentioning that.

      It’s like 2 Corinthians 7:10:

      “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

      I think of worldly sorrow as something more like shame, and godly sorrow as something more like conviction. The problem is that so many porn users are so mired in shame that they can’t even start to deal with all of these other things that are associated with it, because they feel like such lousy people.

      I know a teenager who killed himself, I think, because he had gotten hooked on porn and couldn’t stop. He was so ashamed, and he didn’t reach out for help. He got into drugs instead. And this was a good kid, from an amazing Christian family, which compounded his sense of failure.

      We need to start talking about this in different terms, I think.

      Reply
      • Julie

        Hi. I have read so much info on porn. What I do not often see is info about men that have gone all the way in. They have no shame, remorse or regret, but blame wives for having a problem with their porn use. They believe the problem is that the wife is hurt, and she needs to change, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with porn. How would you respond to that?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I would say that porn is heavily implicated in sex trafficking and changes the man’s sexuality, and simply can’t be tolerated. And if he thinks it’s okay, it’s all right for her to say, “no, it’s not” and draw a firm boundary. But she has to understand that he may not agree with her and may choose the porn over her. That’s a hard realization, but it’s one that she may have to accept.

          Reply
  2. Flo

    Very interesting article. The link between porn and anger makes a lot of sense. My husband didn’t react with anger, neither while using porn/masturbation, nor while quitting them, nor after quitting them, fortunately. He instead reacted to losing his coping mechanisms by developing some isolation, closing himself in, and “mental paralysis”, for some time. Anger would have been heartbreaking.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, it does show up differently in different people. But the coping mechanism aspect is a great way to put it. I don’t think that we understand this enough–that when it becomes a coping mechanism (which it usually does) porn users then have no resources on how to handle normal life when they quit porn. We need to understand this if we’re going to get towards full healing.

      Reply
      • E

        Replace bad habits (or coping mechanisms) with good ones, not just get rid of the bad ones! Like the parable of the empty house!

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, exactly. That parable is actually so powerful. Often we get rid of the visible problem, but we don’t realize it goes deeper, and if we don’t replace the vacuum, we run into real trouble!

          Reply
  3. Sleepy

    Thank you for this post! This is what I think Christians miss so much. Yes this is a horrible sin and it should be condemned but it goes deeper than just lusting after naked women. I didn’t realize this until I was almost burned out at work and met a therapist for the first time in my life. In therapy I realized that porn had been my coping mechanism during my whole life. There is more there I think too because I was obsessed with sex before porn and as a young kid so I suspect something happened to me that I refuse to remember but still anxiety and stress has been the biggest reasons for my addiction. When I realized this so much has changed. I still struggle and I still have to meet a therapist but it’s easier to battle when you know why you feel tempted. Before I just blamed myself for being a horrible monster, and I understand everyone who thinks that and those thoughts are still there at times, but now I try to focus on the source. Focus on why I suddenly want porn which often seems to be anxiety, stress, insecurities, boredom and etc. I am still on my path of freedome but this changed things so much. I have tried for so long to fight this, praying, fasting , confessing to others but it wasn’t until I realized that there was so much more than me just being a horrible ainner(which I off course am) that things started to change. I have a long way to go yet even if things are so much better but if it wasn’t because I learned this I don’t think I would have been here. The sad thing is that I learned this with secular therapists. I think the Christian community sometimes misses this. I think it can be because we only blame our flesh and don’t want anything to become an excuse for sin. That’s how I felt. The only reason for my sin had to be a horrible person and I don’t mean that we shouldn’t show people what horrible things they are doing but I think we as Christians need to see further than just saying you are a bad person, specially when the person wants to change. If I hadn’t understood that it was my anxiety, my insecurities , my lack of feeling loved by my father then I don’t think I would have gotten where I am. I think this aspect needs to be brought up more in the Christian community without excusing the sin or the person of course.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      SUCH a helpful comment, Sleepy. Thank you. I really appreciated this, too:

      “Before I just blamed myself for being a horrible monster, and I understand everyone who thinks that and those thoughts are still there at times, but now I try to focus on the source.”

      I do think we make porn too much into a “it’s a terrible sin and you need to stop” and ignore all the rest that goes into it, especially when the porn starts at such a young age. Phil in another comment was talking about age 8. How can you hold an 8-year-old boy responsible for getting hooked on something like that? It’s just so very, very sad. I hope that we can become a safe place for people who want to quit and get over the whole thing–not just the porn, but the emotional issues that porn masked as well.

      Reply
    • Lindsey

      Broken people break others. It is very helpful for everyone to step back, remember the child inside that is hurting, and try to acknowledge them. Jesus died to save sinners, and He came to heal the broken. They are inexorably linked. May we all have more compassion for the hurt and brokenness of others.

      Reply
  4. Phil

    Ofcourse I have something to say on this Sheila. First: thank you. Second: I wanted to share a quick story that re-enforces what you wrote. My wife married an 8 year old. My anger had started with the death of my father and abondonment issues. So being shown sex at age 8 and then porn (not internet) never allowed me to process that. Then add the anger from everyday life compounded on top of that. Beleive me its a crap ton of anger to deal with. I beleive the internet made me crash sooner. It was exteme inner selfishness that although not directly caused by me ultimately I am responsible for. I made a choice regardless of my outside influences and lack of parental intervention, I knew it was wrong to begin with at age 8. I just didnt know what to do with it. Then I continued to ignore that instinct until I was 30. This is a tough pill to swallow for an 8 year old kid to take reaponsibiltiy for at age 30. However it is true. I am still effected by those choices that went unchecked for 22 years. The good news is after 15 years of recovery although I am still effected, I am less disturbed by those effects as I continue to do the next right thing. I want to tell everyone here that while I am doing well I still struggle with it sometimes. Example: I have taken in Christian reading like this blog or others like it about sex and call it healthy when really its an escape at 3am because I cant sleep. Thats how deep the wounds run. We call it cunning and baffling in the 12 step rooms. I want to also share that I realy like the ermgency button idea. This past December I was down sick and that is a trigger for me. I picked up my phone and typed in you tube with potentially not good intentions and recent searches and recomended videos came up. A christian video was recommended to me and it was like the emergency button concpet and I chose to shut down my phone and try to go back to sleep. Also, in fact I am struggling today. Crappy night of sleep and issues that I compounded this morning with my wife make for a slimy day when you have my past. I also wanted to just say that I really like what is happening around here. I feel like I see a shift in what and how others are sharing. Maybe it is just me….either way I am glad to be walking with you all. Please pray for me today. I appreciate.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Phil, I have said a prayer for you and will continue to do so! Thank you for sharing your story. It really does matter.

      And I’m glad you think the emergency button is a good one. We thought so, too, when Joanna found it and told me about it. It’s just a really hard thing to battle, and it goes so deep, but the battle is worth it.

      Hang in there, Phil.

      Reply
    • Sarah O

      Praying for you Phil. It really is a hard thing to grapple with and Sheila did a great job of pointing out the emotional component that is usually the hook more than lust.

      Don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but it might be a great day to get outside and get some fresh air if you can.

      Hang tough and remember you’re not on your own in the fight.

      Reply
    • Phil

      Thanks all for your support and prayers. I have been on the phone working through my stuff which was rather large in my head but as it turns out has a simple solution. I wish I could share it with you but its just not appropriate. It is sunny and almost 70 F where I am. Lost my sweatshirt hours ago. You bet Im gonna take it in – now more so deliberately. Thanks

      Reply
  5. Sarah O

    Great article Sheila! I would say porn and general negativity keep company. For some it comes out as anger, for others depression or boredom or just low level irritability. Maybe it might even be easier to say porn and peace are mutually exclusive. That has definitely been my observation.

    Can you recommend a good resource for guys on coping with emotions? I feel like the last several generations have had a stoic culture of “real men don’t have feelings” helping to create the vacuum that porn is currently exploiting. If you’re a sixteen-year-old dude who is sad – what options do you get exactly?

    I really do feel for these guys. It’s a very sharp hook.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m thinking about your comment, Sarah, and I don’t know what to recommend! I will say that what my sons-in-law really appreciate are just close guy friendships with other guys. And getting to know people in couples. The more you get to know people who are healthy, the easier it is to talk about your own issues. But it’s finding those people and then investing in friendships that takes time, and it’s never easy to see who are quality people. But I do know that my sons-in-law (and my husband) have really benefited more than anything else from strong guy friendships.

      Reply
    • Sleepy

      I was thinking about what you wrote and this is a tough question. Where does a sixteen year old guy turn too when different emotions come? Is he even aware that his lust after porn can be triggered by these emotions? I know I didn’t. All I knew was that I was an awful sinner. The self-loathing becomes pretty strong(at least amongst those who want to be free). As I wrote in a comment further up I didn’t understand that my lust for porn partially was fueled by different emotions. I didn’t understand that I was struggling with anxiety which partly is because I had an emotional abusive dad. All I could see was that there was something spiritually wrong with me and nothing else. It didn’t get better that I had a dad that didn’t believe in emotional wounds and healing of those wounds. I grew up learning that therapy was bad so I never even tried it. So I never dealt with what I felt. I just kept it inside. And these things follow you all the way into adulthood. When I started working at my job My addiction got worse. It wasn’t all about the job but my job was a big reason. I spent whole nights working and watching porn. Some of my best work that raised my salary and was praised by others was done while watching porn. It’s sad but I didn’t get it. A huge reason to why I was watching porn was because I was feeling anxious. I was feeling scared. A feeling that i have carried with my since my childhood and never had the chance to deal with. I didn’t understand that as a child so porn became my comfort. And this really started to show now that I am an adult. Simple tasks at work have me anxiety and the way I dealt with that was to watch porn and masturbate once I had done that I could work better. That’s why now that I have worked hard on stopping things are a bit more difficult at work. I don’t like working at nights anymore. I don’t get as much done and I can’t expect a salary but every time I just think about work and nights I feel that desire rise because of my anxiety. The first months at work after I had taken the decision to get free from porn I had an anxiety attack at work and the desire to watch porn was so strong but now that I had dealt with some things in therapy I understood that it was that and could say no. But it’s still a battle. It’s so easy to go back to find comfort in porn when life gets messy And that shows that porn can stop people from growing emotionally which I struggle with in certain areas.
      So imagine then a 16 year old or much younger guy who doesn’t know how he feels and needs to deal with all what it means to be young. I think as Sheila says a good community with people who are healthy helps. But also some form of therapy. It would be good with Christian therapy. But also more churches helping guys expressing them self. Helping them see that it’s not wrong to cry. That it’s ok to feel like they feel and help them find different ways to cope with this. I think it’s important to point out how horrible this sin is but if we only do that and miss other causes then we don’t give youths the chance to deal with those causes. Specially when it comes to different emotions.

      Reply
      • Sarah o

        Thank you for your comment Sleepy, and I’m so sorry you’ve had to face this fight. There is a two-front battle on porn, the first is fighting the perception that there’s nothing wrong with it, and the second is actually dealing with why it’s a temptation and how exactly to stop. Sometimes people in the second group hear the messages meant for the first group and it creates shame instead of motivation – it sounds like that was definitely true in your case.

        As awful as the exploitation of the people on camera, is the exploitation of the viewers. It is not an accident that most addicts were exposed young – they are actually the target audience. If started young and sexuality is built around porn, the industry wins a lifelong customer. It is deliberate. It absolutely sickens me. It is robbing CHILDREN of heir ability to have deep, meaningful, intimate and loving relationships – for profit. It’s hard to remember when viewers defend their usage, but they are definitely victims too. For people who are exposed young, it’s important for you to remember that you didn’t get caught up in it because “you’re bad”. You got caught up in it because it is designed to catch you. So lay down shame at the cross, and then work on building your defenses. Sounds like you, Sheep, are doing exactly that.

        Reply
        • Sarah o

          *Sleepy, not Sheep….

          Reply
    • Anastasia

      A really great book I’ve heard is helping men emotionally heal is ‘Cry Like A Man’ by Jason Wilson. I’ve only heard great reviews!!

      Reply
  6. Laurie Frederick

    I feel so helpless! My husband has struggled with a porn addiction but I didn’t know until 6 years into our marriage. Even then I didn’t understand it’s effects. Here we are 10 years later and nothing has changed. He doesn’t want me intimately and he’s so closed off. When he’s not using porn then it’s something else: video games, spending money, food (either gorging or denying himself). 4 years ago, I turned over our finances to him for various reasons, including my health issues. I had worked so hard to keep us debt free and have a good savings cushion. It wasn’t easy with his need for things! I thought giving him the responsibility would help him. BUT I just found out that we’re in the hole so bad that our only option is bankruptcy! It took less than 4 yrs! And, we have nothing to show for it! I would constantly check in with him but he was never honest! Almost 17yrs of marriage and he has lied to me about one thing or another the WHOLE time! He won’t get help either. He goes for a couple weeks then says it’s not working. It’s EXTREMELY hard to find a counselor that understands the effects of pron and doesn’t try to place blame on the wife! I think I hate men!
    Sorry, vent over now

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Laurie, I’m so sorry. Your husband definitely sounds like he has an addictive personality, where he never learned to deal with negative emotions, and so he has to hide them in other things. That’s also why he’s turned away from intimacy as well. It sounds like what you need is to set up some very firm boundaries, because he’s not getting better if he’s also put you into bankruptcy and can’t take responsibility. I’m so sorry, but many women have found that when they put real boundaries in place, and allow their husbands to reap what they sow, the husbands finally get the wake up call they need and address their issues. Again, I’m so sorry.

      Reply
      • Laurie Frederick

        Can you elaborate? Or better yet do you have a post about setting boundaries?

        Reply
    • Jay Pyatt

      Laurie,
      I just read your comment and wanted you to know that I help guys based on my 38 year relationship with porn. Many of them do what your husband is doing “continual soothing” through food, spending, isolation, masturbation, and a whole gamut of activities including worrying about stuff.
      There is help for both of you. You will have to start setting some clear boundaries and consequences for violating them. This might trigger the anger Sheila is talking about.
      You don’t have to go through this alone either. My wife works with the women from a trauma perspective helping you feel safe to move forward.

      Reply
    • M. Lynn

      “Married but Lonely” by David Clarke is worth every penny. Following the steps was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it saved my marriage. Step by step church discipline is appropriate when your spouse is unrepentant.

      Reply
  7. Monica

    Thank you for this article! It was very validating for my experience as a wife of a porn addict. My husband was exposed at a very young age. He’s doing better but continues to struggle occasionally. I always know when he’s slipped even without checking his phone because of the way he treats us. When he had no accountability and he was really deep in the sin, he was a miserable person to be around. He was so angry and constantly irritable, I felt like I had to tip toe around him constantly. He’s a different man when he’s clean. Thank you for helping me understand why!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! It may be helpful to talk to him about these things, too, because he may not even be aware of it.

      Reply
    • Flo

      Yes, the transformation is so visible! Makes him so much more patient, calm, empathetic, open.

      Reply
  8. Dana

    There is also the effects of what they are watching. Porn does not show healthy relationships. So far as I know, my husband gave up pornography when he became a Christian, but I don’t have access to his laptop and he knows more than most how to clear a history and get around the controls he installed.

    The porn he watched was not just about the visual or the sexual. He called it “soft porn” because their weren’t really graphic sex scenes like in x rated films, but when I looked it up, it disturbed me more than anything I know of in Playboy. It was about bondage and servitude and this girl who was learning to be a willing object for anyone.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, that’s very true. The things depicted in porn usually feed narcissism, aggression, and selfishness. It is very scary what’s out there.

      Reply
  9. Kate

    Great post Sheila. As a female who was addicted to porn before blocking it (covenant eyes) 2 years ago, i used as a comping mechanism for my emotional needs. Being raised by an abusive mother, every time the present reminded me of the past, i would watch porn and the emotions would disappear…but only for a moment before they resurfaced again another time. I knew this was not the best way to deal with my past. I had been going to counseling for 10 years, to heal from my traumatic past. But i just refused to give up porn, till 2 years ago. Once i learned how to truly cope with my emotions, using a more healthier approach instead of masturbation, i feel so much better, and i’m no longer scared to be vulnerable. I don’t hide from Christ like i used to. I’m willing to let him in and know the deepest part of my heart. And i’m ready to allow my future husband the same too. Porn is deceptive and destructive. It can only give you temporary pleasure/healing. We need to drink from the well of life where we’ll never thirst again.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Amen! Thank you for sharing your story, too. It’s so important to know that this is not just a male problem.

      Reply
  10. John Yates

    Very good article. For me the key sentence is “So imagine being a 14-year-old boy feeling lonely because his friends don’t understand him and girls won’t look at him.” That was why I turned to porn as a teenager – I felt undesired. I was insanely jealous of my sisters, who were no better looking than me but got a lot more attention from the opposite sex because that’s what females enjoy – more attention from the opposite sex. I so strongly feel that if boys got as much sexual attention as girls get, porn would be much less of an epidemic.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi John! Thanks for commenting, but I’m not sure your solution would really solve anything. First, just as many girls feel undesired as boys do. Don’t think that girls get sexual attention. Maybe your sisters did, but many, many girls are ignored. And in the junior high/early high school days, often the girls are more the sexual aggressors these days than the boys. The danger in saying that “if only girls would have looked at me then I wouldn’t have turned to porn” is that this is the justification that many predators eventually make. It’s what the guy who mowed down 12 people in Toronto with his van said. Girls would never look at him.

      The problem is not that teens can’t get attention from the opposite sex. It’s that we just feel disconnected in general. Even boys who get a lot of sexual attention still turn to porn; there’s no real correlation.

      I think that it’s a common response to feeling lonely, but it’s also a common response to feeling stressed or anything else.

      Reply
      • John Yates

        I think you’re right – the girls may be more the sexual aggressors in the 7th-9th grade period. I realize that this feeling of being ignored isn’t the only reason boys turn to porn more than girls do. The main reasons would be that boys are more visually stimulated than girls are, and that porn is more catered to boys’ fantasies than girls’.

        I wouldn’t agree though that saying “if only girls would have looked at me then I wouldn’t have turned to porn” makes a guy more prone to becoming an incel, any more than saying “if my dad had played with me more as a kid, I wouldn’t have turned into a psychopath killer”. The main problem with incels like the guy who killed those people in Toronto is that they are willing to kill. Many of us have experienced loneliness pain, but luckily very few of us have so damaged a conscience that we would do something so heinous as take innocent life.

        Reply
        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          John, it’s not about a direct causal link. But it is indicative of a habit of casting the blame for one’s own actions on others. And that is never healthy. When someone becomes drawn into watching pornography, it is their responsibility and theirs alone. And if you’re having thoughts like putting the blame for sexual sin or porn addiction on women, that is not healthy. And the fact that those boys think the same thing shouldn’t lead you to rationalize it away, but to instead say, “Hey, maybe I should work on why I think like that and nip it in the bud.” That’s the difference between people who find healing and people who become bitter.

          Not all people in incel chat groups kill people, either. But all of them spout that kind of mentality: women not paying attention to me are to blame for my sins and problems. We are in control of what we think, but if we’re not careful often how we think controls who we become. It obviously doesn’t always lead somewhere truly evil, of course. But it can lead somewhere that is unhealthy, broken, and deceptive. So let’s be honest here and acknowledge that the idea that girls not paying attention to boys makes them turn into porn addicts is false, and instead tell these boys to take responsibility for their own actions.

          Reply
          • John Yates

            Rebecca, I don’t believe in sin. I believe in evil though. (Another discussion.) You make the same assumption a lot of women make – that I’m blaming women for men watching porn. I don’t blame women. I blame two things (other than men themselves): society and evolution. Because of evolution (or I know you might say God), boys are sexually visually stimulated. And porn is made for males. So when a boy is ignored, as many are (and ignored more than girls, I believe), porn is something which gives a boy an all-important sense of feeling wanted, feeling physically desired.

    • Phil

      John – if you would take responsibility you would understand this conversation much better. It starts with looking at self first. Blaming everything else will get you know where. If you want to talk you can email me at f u n p h i l l e d 38 at yahoo. Best wishes to you John

      Reply
  11. Jen Grice

    Thank you for this!!! I have a 15-year-old who is struggling after watching his father give in to his temptations (porn, seducing women, adultery) for the last 15 years. I have to be the voice of reason and teach something different than is being witnessed on a weekly basis. I’m looking into these resources – realizing internet blocks are not enough. Just trying to save another boy, before it’s too late, from becoming this type of man who ruins his family – repeating the generational curses.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Jen, so tough! I appreciate everything you’re doing (I follow you on Twitter ,too!). And you can do this. I think just being open with him and explaining the dangers is so key. Kids appreciate it when parents level with them and talk to them like they’re grownups. If he’s old enough to be tempted by porn, he’s old enough to talk openly about the effects of it!

      Reply
    • Sarah O

      Get “The Whole Story” for boys and then write a review! 😉

      I am so sorry you’re dealing with that. I have two boys who are still very little, but I am in terror of how to guide them through the minefield of what is marketed as “normal” male sexuality. I can’t imagine how hard and scary it just be when your coparent is directly undermining your efforts.

      Praying for you and your son!

      Reply
  12. th

    This article was so spot on! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m glad!

      Reply
  13. Leslie

    Thank you for this post. My husband has been clean from porn, etc. for almost 2 years now. And this post shed some light on what he’s dealing with right now.

    He was addicted to porn for about 25 years, starting when he was a very young teenager. During that time, he dealt with some major emotional and sexual abuse that I didn’t even know the extent of until many years into our marriage. It’s a very long story how far he sank into online affairs when the porn stopped being enough, and then how God restored our marriage. But where we are now, I see that he is a teenager emotionally in many ways, even though he’s in his late 30s physically and appears emotionally strong to everyone else. And it is his own fault, but that doesn’t change the emotional struggles he’s facing now. I just pray I can show him the respect he needs and have the patience to see through the anger and bitterness that are his reactions to almost any serious conversation. I want to prove to him that I never have and never will manipulate him like the women in his teenage years did. He says he knows that, but his bitterness toward things he thinks I did in the past say otherwise. He’s trying so hard to be faithful now, and our marriage is better than it’s ever been, but every day, I’m scared it’s going to be the day I find out he’s been hiding something again. And that’s exhausting.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Leslie. I’m glad he’s on a good road, but it is such a long healing process. Do you have a good counsellor you can talk to?

      Reply
      • Leslie

        I was going to a counselor when we first started reconciling, but then, when my husband got caught messaging a couple of his “girlfriends” again (he claims he just said “hi how are you” to them, but there’s no way to know for sure) and I told my counselor about it, the counselor made me feel like I should just give up on my husband and prepare myself for the inevitable. I knew in my heart that was the wrong answer, so I stopped going to that counselor, and my husband never slipped like that, or even close, again. The counselor actually set me back emotionally a lot. I keep intending to find another counselor, but I’m overwhelmed by all the options and scared to end up with another counselor who isn’t helpful.

        Reply
  14. Brokenhearted

    My husband and I are on this long, hard road to recovery. He was exposed to porn at 12 and it grew into a hidden addiction that nearly destroyed our marriage.
    We have been in recovery for 1.5 years and things are much better now but at first he was so angry. He still struggles to open up and talk about recovery and has admitted that he shoves all negative feelings away and doesn’t deal with them. Porn definitely changes a person’s personality. My husband wasn’t even recognizable when he relapsed last year.
    I’m so glad that you mentioned joining a Celebrate Recovery group Sheila! We are experiencing so much healing since we joined our local Celebrate Recovery group in August. It’s not easy, and I struggle every day with the pain, the betrayal, and the fear that there are more secrets to be discovered. But I have given my husband, myself and our children over completely to Jesus and there is no greater Healer than Him!

    Reply
  15. Phil

    I checked out the emergency button. I like it. I am going to introduce it to the guys in my group next week. I had looked into making an app of sorts maybe 6 mos ago and I just wasnt moved because I didnt have an original idea. This is a good one – I am inspired but still coming up empty. Anyway good find Joanna! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yeah, I was excited when Joanna found that, too! I thought it sounded like an excellent idea. We should all tell our teenagers about it as well.

      Reply
      • Phil

        Just as an fyi the app does sends you to some racey language regardless if you are in religous mode or not. I tested it out and kept hitting emergency and the other buttons and occasionally you will get one pop up and or if you scroll down you will find what I am talking about. It doesnt bother me but unless they fix it, if you are going to promote this you may want to pre-warn. Personally the content does not bother me but I wouldnt have my teenage son reading some of the stuff if I was trying to prevent and or help him recover from viewing porn. Well…I wouldnt have him use it period regardless. Just my 2 cents.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s good to know! Thank you. You know, I wish there were Christian things like this, but I’m also so, so happy that even the secular world is seeing this as a problem and trying to come up with solutions, even if their solutions don’t quite work for us. I agree, don’t let your teens see objectionable things. But still glad this is out there!

          Reply
  16. Rebecca

    Once again, you’ve nailed it. This is another powerful article, which I intend to share repeatedly. 😉 This issue hits very close to home, and everything you said resonates deeply with me. I do so wish someone had told me this years ago. There might have been a chance to redeem my marriage, but at least I have the knowledge now and can share it with my kids and their spouses. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  17. Paul Coneff

    Great article! Porn, masturbation, isolation, anger and shame and depression all go together in various forms. And it is about making the other person an object…. Marriage should be giving and receiving (I know many say marriage is a “give and take” but “receiving” is better because it implies there someone is asking and communicating)… If we can help the person identify his negative thoughts behind his behavior (Jesus said that Satan is the ‘father of lies’ in Jn. 8:44 and that sinful behaviors flow out of our sinful thoughts in our hearts in Matt. 15:18-19), we can also ask Jesus where He was “made and tempted like us in all ways, suffering being tempted so He could help us, yet WITHOUT sin (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16). As a pastor and Marriage and Family Therapist, I help the person connect his story of negative thoughts with Jesus’ story of negative experiences where He was tempted like the person in a similar way. Then we turn his story and Jesus’ story into prayer…including the negative thoughts, behaviors, bonding to pornography (and the feel good from dopamine creates a bonding)..we also include Jesus’ resurrection and victory, receiving HIS forgiveness and His supernatural peace and His supernatural purity, so we thanking God that He is revealing, releasing and replacing the layers of lies behind the porn so we are “putting off the old and putting on the new.” It is still a process for God to change the patterns of thinking…and as you’ve said, he still needs to learn how to navigate negative thoughts, feelings, relationships, disappointments etc… (emotional intelligence and maturity). And he receives anchors of hope at every step of the journey because he is addressing the deeper issues…Then he can begin to have his deepest needs for relationship met in a healthy way. His wife needs healing to because his porn addiction has impacted her, just like the lady who wrote to you. She is in pain and needs to know that his porn use is not her fault – and she needs healing for her own wounds. And the app is great. I had not heard of it before so I will be sharing it as a resource… with appreciation…

    Reply
  18. Paul Coneff

    I share how we can connect the person’s story of negative thoughts with Jesus’ story of going through negative experiences/suffering so He could be tempted like us “in all points yet WITHOUT sin,” (Heb. 4:15) through “Rick’s” story in my book, “The Hidden Half of the Gospel: How HIS Suffering Can Heal Yours.” And the best book I’ve read on this so far is by Jay Stringer. It came out in 2018. Jay interviewed 3,800 men and women with unwanted sexual behaviors, going much deeper than “sin/lust management” which is really behavior modification that bypasses the heart, which means there will be no lasting peace. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=unwanted+by+jay+stringer&crid=1QSVGAI5O60VA&sprefix=Unwanted%2Caps%2C182&ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_8

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Paul, I followed that link you included out of curiosity and got the Wanted audiobook (free since I’ve been thinking of re-starting my Audible subscription anyway the past couple months). I’m currently 2 hours into the short 8 hour audiobook. What a GREAT, fascinating read!! I love his perspective too, and his writing style was easy to follow. Sheila, if you do book reviews, I’d really enjoy hearing your thoughts on it too.

      Reply
  19. BB

    My heartbreaking dilemma that I find so very discouraging is after reading the comments of those that still struggle so strongly after so many years of sobriety and what a long long process it is to heal. I discovered 2 yrs ago, my husband of 46 years had fallen into the deep, dark abyss of online porn use, chat rooms and several online girlfriends from other countries. He sent these other women money, flowers, gifts, and even ordered “remote” sex toys for a couple of girls from their “wish lists”. We live paycheck to paycheck which compounded my confusion as to why he would send money to these women.
    To get to the point, it has been a long journey but we are in a pretty good place right now. We have had some counseling together some separate, some good, some bad. Back to my concern. Because of our age I am discouraged by the fact we don’t have years and years to heal. We will be dead by then! We need a real miracle. He has not been to any type of counseling in several months and has certainly not going through a 12 step program. He is not taking any initiative to do so. He has several issues from his childhood that I believe has caused intimacy disorders, distrust, etc. He also has PTSD from Vietnam. But not as bad as the PTSD that I have from my discoveries!
    You know the saying: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. He needs to start drinking from that trough because we are running out of time! Please fellow Christians that read this please pray for that miracle…

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, BB, I’ve said a prayer for you! I’m so sorry. I’m sure much of the root of this is from Vietnam, too. He likely needs whole levels of healing. But that can happen, and God can start to heal the other parts of him, too, the older, more scarred parts. I will pray!

      Reply
  20. Kim

    This was a fascinating read. It’s an angle I hadn’t considered, but it makes so much sense! Thank you so much for this post!

    This topic is so heavy and intense. I really appreciate the ways you tackle it all head-on with wisdom and grit. No more “boys will be boys” or “every man’s (undefeatable) battle”, while encouraging and giving hope to the men – and women who are humble and struggle against it. Your voice is loud and clear and rare and I appreciate it and YOU, so much!

    I truly feel like if we could get back to the root, heart issue of viewing people as objects instead of image-bearers – we could have more hope of claiming victory! The way Jesus saw women… and men… it’s not beyond our grasp just bc He was perfect and we are sinful this side of heaven! We have the Holy Spirit and we have the eyes and mind of Christ. And we have the Word…. we can read about how Jesus treated people and try to refocus our vision, our purpose in how we love others well. I especially love how Jesus treated women who were outcasts in their society. It’s just beautiful.

    When it comes down to it – it’s not behavior management; it’s worship realignment. (I heard that in a really great sermon ab King David.) I know you believe this, and I know it’s important to give people steps to take to change habits. I’m not saying we just ignore all the resources out there to help us along the journey out of the muck! Grateful for it all and all of the energy and prayers that are poured into changing lives and hearts. We have to take real actual steps to get out of dysfunction to be healthy again, for sure.

    I just think our culture and our Christian culture has so fixiated on sex that sometimes we can’t even see people as PEOPLE. It’s a deep core heart issue. Our sexuality is only one facet. An important one for sure (and you are such a resource for that!) But, if we are only primarily seeing others as sexual beings and viewing ourselves that way, then we are missing out on so much depth and beauty in this life and if I can be so bold – missing the gospel! I know you say this in your own way….not trying to correct or add to. Just thoughts that I’ve been wrestling with until I read your articles!

    I saw in one post where you promoted Natalie Hoffman and her Flying Free Now blog and group. For those of us who grew up in conservative Christian circles, I think her insight is invaluable. Whenever there is “power over” there is objectifying of people instead of mutual love. Women are especially objectified in these environments, and that’s not the gospel or how Jesus treated any woman in his ministry on earth.

    Thank you for helping us navigate such a tough topic!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great comment, Kim! And Natalie has a guest post coming up here, too. I love what she’s doing.

      I just want to comment more on what you said here: “I just think our culture and our Christian culture has so fixiated on sex that sometimes we can’t even see people as PEOPLE.”

      Exactly. And I think it starts as teens, when youth groups start talking about how all boys are tempted, and so girls have to watch themselves. Right then, boys are taught to see girls as dangerous, and girls are taught to see themselves as needing to grow up and mature super fast so that they can stop all of these boys from sinning. We don’t see each other as people anymore.

      That’s what I was trying to get at in my post about 12 ways to help Christian men overcome lust. So many of them have to do with seeing women as people–as image bearers–instead of as objects. It really does start there!

      Reply
      • Kim

        Sheila, I somehow missed that post! Thank you so much for sharing; I feel like I finally have clarity!

        “And whatever we focus on expands. Are we focusing on the sin, or are we focusing on Christ?”

        I also really appreciated this point:

        10. Honour women for their intelligence, ideas, and creativity
        Similarly, don’t relegate women to only childcare roles or roles where they serve men. Put women on some committees and listen to their ideas. Make it normal that your church sees the whole person that God created, rather than sees her simply as an appendage for men or as an object that men may use or be tempted by.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s wonderful. I’m so glad.

          Reply
  21. Mark James

    Mark: I just stumbled upon you for the first time on Huckabee’s program today. I lead a large Christian singles group and I have often been lead by God to do a Bible study with this group on the affects of Porn on their lives. To this date I have felt inadequate to put together an effective study of scripture on this subject. We have a bi-monthly Bible study year round now for 3 years, that is well attended and we have been studying Christian singleness according to the Scriptures and I would like to include this subject in that study. What would you recommend that I use to lead such a study. Because I was blessed with a wonderful Christian wife for 35 years and God blessed us with a wonderful, I call it a love life even though it was a great sex life and a wonderful union, I always believed that it was a love life and always enjoyed her as the Christian woman that she was and she returned the love. Keeping Jesus first in our love life, God Blessed both of us. She was promoted to the Lord after 35 wonderful years together because of cancer. That was 15 years ago. I have stayed pure for those years since and have not allowed Porn or any addiction to be part of my life. The singles in this Bible study group each have their individual problems, most are divorced and have a desire to remarry, but are terrified that they will wind up with a spouse again that will leave them for another because they don’t feel secure enough to fulfill a spouse in their love life. Most of these are women who have been abused, cheated upon or have been unfulfilled in their last marriage, mostly because of improper sex with the husband. They respect me because I had a successful marriage and they think I will have the answer they are looking for, which I don’t, except through the scriptures. Any advice that you could give to help us in this endeavour would be greatly appreciated. I love each one of them and want to help them find the loving marriage I experienced. We all love Jesus as our Lord, but many are still not prepared properly to go into another marriage for various reasons and I believe sex is one of the biggest. Any advice that I can find through this forum would be greatly welcomed to help each of them. May God You all of you for any suggestions, thank you, Mark leader, “Central New England Christian Singles Ministry”.

    Reply
  22. Beth

    what advice can you give to a wife where my husband hasn’t yet ‘confessed’? He’s been caught with it and his anger is out of control. I can’t force him to confess. I just want to start the road to recovery and healing. Is my only job at this point is to pray? It’s out of my control?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Beth, if you know he’s using porn, and he’s denying it, then I would recruit some help and set up some boundaries. Talk to a couple you know, your siblings, his siblings, whoever, and have them sit down with you and him and say, “this stops now. Either you own up or we will look into next steps, because this will not go on, and you can’t keep treating her this way.”

      I know that sounds harsh, but there’s very little else you can do. I’d recommend seeing a counsellor first and praying a ton and getting your own heart right. And having a support system is so important. But this doesn’t get better, often, without him hitting rock bottom and realizing what he is doing to the family.

      Reply
      • Matt

        The Man-Kind Project has helped me immensely in understanding and relinquishing my porn usage. It is an international organization (not religiously affiliated-all faiths welcomed) that enrolls and encourages men to share with each other their deepest, most hidden emotions. It is a safe space for men to be authentic and vulnerable with themselves and to be heard and guided through those intense processes by other men, many of whom have dealt with the same or similar issues. MKP is the only outlet I know of with this level of organization and effect on a large population of men. The focus is on integrity, accountability, and showing up for ourselves in a way that helps to create a healthier and safer world. I would recommend it to any man who has the courage to look under the hood and finally deal with all those “squeeks.” You have to be 18 to enroll, but for younger men, 16-35 I believe, there is Young Warriors, MKP affiliated organization. I hope this information is helpful to any man, young or old, who wonders who or where he can turn to to access the help he needs. Our struggles are different from woman’s, and this unique platform can equip us with the tools to cope in this life, so that we may enrich our experience and the experience of our family’s in doing so.

        Reply
  23. Bonnie

    Sheila, I’m joining this conversation quite a bit later than the others, but wanted to say a heartfelt “thank you”, and thanks to God for leading me to your site. Happened upon “9 Thoughts…” at the library, and through that, your blog.
    I had never connected the dots before…my husband of 21 years has had a long-standing porn habit. He confesses his sin to me frequently, but makes no effort to prevent himself from falling again. His nature is exactly what you represented above…angry because of shame, and casting blame on everyone around him. Pray for us, that he would be open, and led to see himself, and become freed from this terrible prison that has affected our entire family.

    Reply
  24. Sean

    Hey Shiela, this blog was phenomenal. In only the amount of time it took me to read, I was able to change my mindset towards porn. While it will be much harder to change my habits, I feel so much more motivated now knowing the negative effects of porn use and why I turn to it as a coping mechanism. For me, it’s 100% been a way to deal with stress, and it’s been something I’ve been more aware of lately. You see, I have the best girlfriend you can imagine. She’s beautiful, loving, and caring. I believe we had the porn conversation about 9 months ago. It came up after my friend and I had talked about it, and this friend happens to have a girlfriend who we all double date with from time to time. Anyways, when me and him had the conversation, we decided that we would try and quit for our girlfriend’s sake. After the conversation, I don’t know if I even made it a day because I never actually talked to my girlfriend about it. I kept being secretive and selfish. My friend went about it the right way, and was able to go 4 months without it. But when we said we would stop, I was never serious about it. That sense of entitlement and selfishness that had been reinforced by using porn since literally 13 years old was so strong that I had the mindset of why should I stop? The selfishness, shame, and entitlement that goes with porn led me to try every excuse possible to continue using it. First it would be “what if she’s not putting out” or “what if I can keep it a secret” or “I can still have a sex drive if I only watch it once a day, week, etc”. Of course, these were all just lies I told myself because, like you said and what I thought perfectly encapsulated it, I am the same as a cigarette addicted person. Whenever I’m stressed or bored, that’s my coping mechanism. Recently, as in the past maybe 3 months, I’ve been more open with my girlfriend about porn, although not enough. I’m still secretive in ways and I’m deciding to put an end to it today. I’m going to talk to her about this article. I’m also going to talk to her about how I looked at pornographic images the other day, even though I was doing well before I did this (doing well as in I hadn’t watched it in about a week or month or something). I will say, I’m proud of myself for looking up this topic because I might have done something completely different with this browser if you know what I mean. Anyways, I’m just sick of having that nagging, cigarette obsessed mindset towards porn and I’m officially giving it up so that I can get my libido back. I need to be able to live shame free and please my girlfriend. God help me that I can get through this semester though because even without porn as a factor, it’s been so hard to find time between work and school to be intimate with my girlfriend. Though I will try doubly hard now after I discuss this with her. But again, thank you for this, it’s what I needed and I will refer to it in times when I need inspiration.

    Reply

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