Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Brain, Your Marriage and Your Sex Life

by | Apr 6, 2020 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 70 comments

Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Marriage, Brain and Sex Life

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The side effects of porn are devastating.

Pornography is ravaging marriages. In our culture porn is treated as if it’s harmless, but it’s not. Porn will wreck the arousal process in your brain and end up wrecking your sex life in marriage.

I receive emails everyday from women who are desperate to fix their marriages, but they don’t know what to do. They married men who never seem to want sex. Or their husbands are never satisfied. Or their husbands call them boring or unattractive. And the root of many of these problems is porn.

Here’s the really devastating part: Because so much of what porn does to you happens chemically in the brain, the porn use doesn’t have to be going on NOW to have these effects. A boy who grew up on porn in his teens, and then managed to stop watching it in his twenties (with occasional relapses) will still suffer from many of these things.

The good news: There is healing! You can rebuild those chemical pathways to arousal. But first we have to understand 10 ways that porn affects the brain, and thus wrecks many couples’ sex lives.

Because I get so many questions about this, and because we’re all stuck inside for the foreseeable future and porn use apparently is on the rise, I thought I would dedicate the month of April to a series on pornography. So let’s start with this one, that I actually ran a few years ago, but I thought I’d update to launch our series:

The Top 10 Negative Side Effects of Porn on Your Sex Life

And remember–women use porn, too! While some of these apply just to men, many of them apply to both genders.

1. Porn Addiction Means You Can’t Get Aroused by “Just” Your Spouse

Do you remember reading about Pavlov and his dog in Psychology? Pavlov would give the dog a nice juicy steak, but right before he did he would ring a bell. He conditioned the dog to associate ringing the bell with getting great food. Eventually Pavlov took the food away, but kept ringing the bell. The dog kept salivating at the bell, even though there was no steak, because the dog associated the bell with the food.

The same thing happens when we see porn. Porn stimulates the arousal centers in the brain. When it’s accompanied by orgasm (sexual release through masturbation), then a chemical reaction happens and hormones are released. In effect, our brains start to associate arousal with an image, an idea, or a video, rather than a person.

When you don’t watch porn and keep sex in a committed relationship, then all of those chemicals and hormones are released for the first time when you’re with your spouse, and it causes you to bond intensely (and sexually) to your spouse. But when you spend a ton of time teaching your brain to associate arousal and release with pornography, your brain doesn’t associate arousal and release with a person anymore.

Either you have to fantasize about the porn, and get those images in your brain, or you have to watch porn first. Often people can “complete the act”, but it’s not intense for them the way porn is. You’ve rewired your brain, and now you’re salivating at the wrong thing.

2. Porn Addiction Wrecks Your Libido

It’s only natural, then, that many people who use porn in the past, or who use porn in the present, have virtually no libido when it comes to making love to their spouse. The spouse is not what turns them on, and so the natural drive that we have for sex is transferred somewhere else. I get so many emails from young women in their twenties who say, “my husband and I were both virgins when we married, and I thought he’d want sex all the time. But after our honeymoon sex went to maybe twice a month, and that’s only if I pressure him. He says he just isn’t interested.” With so many men growing up on porn, this is just to be expected.

So much of what porn does to you happens chemically in the brain, the porn use doesn’t have to be going on NOW to have these effects.

3. Porn Addiction Makes You Sexually Lazy

In porn, everyone is turned on all the time. You don’t have to make any effort to arouse someone; it’s automatic. There is no foreplay in porn. And so if your spouse isn’t aroused  you start to think that it’s somehow their fault. There’s no expectation that we will have to “woo” someone or be affectionate and help jumpstart that arousal process. It’s almost as if we approach sex as two different beings and we’re just using each other, rather than thinking of each other. And thus we never learn how to please the other or become a good lover because we’re always thinking that the other is somehow “frigid”. Pornography teaches you that sex is about getting my needs met; it isn’t about meeting someone else’s needs or experiencing something wonderful together.

4. Porn Addiction Turns “Making Love” into a Foreign Concept

Those arousal centers and pleasure centers in our brain are supposed to associate sex with physical pleasure and a real sense of intimacy. But the intimacy doesn’t happen with porn, and so the pleasure is all that registers. Thus, porn makes sex all about the body, and not about intimacy. In fact, the idea of being intimate isn’t even sexy anymore; anonymous is what’s sexy. We may call “having sex” “making love”, but in reality they aren’t necessarily the same thing. Someone who has used porn extensively often has a difficult time experiencing any intimacy during sex, because those arousal and pleasure centers zero in only on the body. And that’s another negative effect of porn: porn users often need to objectify or degrade their partner in order to achieve pleasure, the exact opposite of intimacy.

God made sex to actually unite us and draw us together; He even gave us a bonding hormone that’s released at orgasm so that we’d feel closer! But if that hormone is released when no one is present, it stops having its effects. Sex no longer bonds you together.

5. Porn Addiction Makes Regular Intercourse Seem Boring

An alcoholic drinks alcohol for the “buzz”. But after a while your body begins to tolerate it. To get the same buzz, you need more alcohol. And so the alcoholic begins to drink harder liquor, or drink larger quantities.

The same thing happens with porn. Because porn teaches us that sex is all about the body, and not about intimacy, then the only way to get a greater “high” or that same buzz is to watch weirder and weirder porn. I think most of us would be horrified if we saw what most porn today really is. It isn’t just pictures of naked women like there used to be in Playboy; much of it is very violent, extremely degrading, and very ugly.

“Regular” intercourse is actually not depicted that often in porn, and so quite frequently the person who watches porn starts to get a warped view of what sex really is. And often they start to want weirder and weirder things.

Now, I’m not against spicing things up, and I do think lots of things can be fun! But when we’re wanting “more” because we’ve programmed ourselves to think “the weirder the sexier”, there’s a problem.

And that’s why I recommend Covenant Eyes (affiliate links below!)

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!

​6. Porn Addiction Makes it Hard to Be Tender When You Have Sex

It’s no wonder, then, that people who use porn often  have a hard time being tender when they have sex. Sex tends to be impersonal, rushed, and “forced”. I’m absolutely not saying that all porn users rape their wives, but porn itself is often violent. There’s no foreplay. There’s no waiting to arouse someone. It’s just taking what you want.

Being tender means to be loving. It’s to give and to express affection. Because these things aren’t paired with sex in the porn users brain, tenderness and sex no longer go together.

7. Porn Addiction Trains You to Have Immediate Gratification and Have a Difficult Time Lasting Long

With porn, when you’re aroused you reach orgasm very quickly, because porn users tend to masturbate at the same time. Thus, orgasm tends to be very fast. The porn user hasn’t trained his body to draw out sex so that his spouse can get pleasure; his body is programmed to orgasm quickly. Many porn users, then, suffer from premature ejaculation.

Some porn users go to the other extreme when they start suffering from erectile dysfunction. They have a difficult time remaining “hard” enough during sex because the stimulation isn’t enough. In their case, orgasm can take an eternity, if it’s possible at all.

While both seem like polar opposites, the simple fact is that sexual dysfunction of some sort is one of the big negative effects of pornography.

God made sex to actually unite us and draw us together.

8. Porn Addiction Gives You a Warped View of what Attractive Is

Sex is supposed to bond you physically, emotionally and spiritually with your spouse. But if porn addiction has made the chemical pathways in your brain go haywire, then sex becomes only about the body. And porn shows you that only certain body types are attractive. It’s not about the whole person; it’s just a certain type of person.

If a woman gains even ten pounds, then, she’s no longer attractive, and the porn user has an honest to goodness difficult time getting aroused, because he associates only a certain body type with arousal. Porn has taught your brain that sex is only about the body, and not about the relationship, so if someone’s body isn’t exactly right, no arousal happens.

9. Porn Addiction Makes Sex Seem Like Too Much Work

All of this combines to often make sex with your spouse too much work. You’re not aroused; you find your spouse not attractive; sex is blah; and sex requires you to make an effort for your spouse, while you’re used to immediate gratification.

Thus, many people who use porn retreat into a life of masturbation. Even if the porn use stops, they often find it easier to “relieve” themselves in the shower than to have to work at sex.

10. Porn Addiction Causes Selfishness

All of this causes a spiral of selfishness where the person ignores his spouse’s needs and is focused only on getting what he wants, and getting it instantly. Often this manifests itself in other areas of the relationship as well, where the spouse becomes annoyed if they have to wait for something, or if they don’t get what they want. Porn has sold them the message: you deserve pleasure when you want it. You shouldn’t have to work to get what you want. Your needs are paramount.

It’s no wonder that shows up in other areas of your relationship.

Sex is supposed to bond you physically, emotionally and spiritually with your spouse.

People who think that porn is harmless and simply helps people “get in the mood”, or “relieves frustration”, are kidding themselves. The chemical processes in our brains are really complicated, and when you start messing with them, it’s really difficult to develop a healthy sexuality again.

However, it absolutely can be done! Later this year I’ll be working on an ebook about it, but for now, these posts may help:

Also, let’s remember: too often we tell teenagers not to use porn because it’s a sin, and they’re not supposed to lust. I think we need to start telling them these ten things. If you want amazing sex when you’re older, don’t use porn now. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for a world of hurt. Ask teenagers, “who wants amazing sex when you’re married?”, and pretty much everyone will put up their hand. Then tell them: Use porn now, and you’ll make that far less possible, without a major work of God in your life. Tell them the truth.

And make sure that in your house everyone–girls, boys, women, and men–are protected from temptation. I’m a big supporter of Covenant Eyes. No, we can’t rely on it alone, and yes, we need a work in the heart. But if we need to reduce the temptation so that God has time to work, I think that’s worth doing. Covenant Eyes sends emails to people of your choice to tell you when someone has accessed an inappropriate site. If kids know their parents will get an email if they try to find porn, or if men and women know their accountability partners will get emails, they’ll be less likely to surf inappropriate stuff.

Show Grace

One last word–if your spouse is actively fighting a porn addiction, and doing all the right things–getting accountability; embracing truth; being transparent–then please show grace to those who have been ravaged by porn. Especially if the associations in the brain happened when they were young, these people often want to change the most, but it seems really helpless. Rather than pointing the finger in blame, join together to fight the problem together! If your spouse refuses to address the problem, though, then please read this on 4 things you must do if your husband uses porn.

Porn is serious. It wrecks people’s sex lives, it makes people selfish, and it ultimately wrecks marriages. Let’s spread the word, and fight against it!

What do you think? Has porn impacted your marriage? What have been the effects of porn for you? Let’s talk in the comments!


Other Posts Coming in Our Effects of Porn Series:

  • The Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Marriage, Your Brain, and Your Sex Life (this one!)
  • Defeating Porn: Are We Creating Panic? (April 13)
  • Defeating Porn: What Should Recovery Look Like? (April 20)
  • Defeating Porn: A Look Ahead to the Next Generation (April 27)

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. Recovering from betrayal

    I have one thing to ask that you consider. At the end you suggest that the couple fight porn together and that there be grace for the one who was ravaged by porn. This sounds lovely. However, it may not be possible. In fact, I would say that most of the time it is not possible. Because those spouses who are ravaged by porn are often using all manner of deception and destructive behaviors to hide their use and even blame the betrayal victim. I can’t seem to find the percentage at the moment, but I recall that it is higher than 70% of those spouses seeking treatment and recovery from repetitive porn use are doing so because their spouse caught them and insisted they seek help to end the use. The spouse that has learned of the pattern of porn use is betrayed and traumatized. That spouse is a victim of abuse simply by chronic porn use. You don’t ask a victim of abuse to help the abuser to stop abusing. I direct you to Andy Bauman, Marsha Means, Betrayal Trauma Recovery for more about betrayal trauma.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s very true. I’ll go in and add a caveat–if the person is trying to fight the porn. Our reaction really needs to be based on whether the person is actively trying to get over it and embracing accountability and truth, or whether they are still giving excuses.

      Reply
    • Deborah

      That’s the truth. I’ve been dealing with this for years now. I don’t even know if he’s using porn anymore, to my knowledge he’s not because he has no device that I know of. However he can still get dvds and material to make himself happy. He claims constantly he loves me and is attracted to me but his sex drive is gone. We used to be so happy and had a wonderful sex life for years. I still want sex… he says he can’t do it. He had extensive blood work done 3 weeks ago because he’s insisting it’s a medical issue not disinterest in me. I’m so traumatized by this mans betrayal and lies and I still have angry moments and it’s been 7 years since discovery. I’m attractive and I’m good shape but no porn star. I feel sad, angry and dehumanized by my husband. And I have 0 trust in him and I still think he’s looking at something and probably masturbating. There’s nothing left for me. No Golden years no sex no man I can trust. I’m aging and sad and in the middle of a pandemic and no sex or intimacy. I’m in disbelief that this is my life. He robbed me of my marriage.

      Reply
      • Lori St Croix

        Men are so selfish! Porn is killing people – connections– our world is screwed!!!
        Lstc

        Reply
  2. Ina

    What Recovering from Betrayal said is absolutely true and I don’t want this to be seen as taking away from that. I just wanted to share a positive testimony that does show the opposite.
    My husband was the twelve year old Christian boy who found porn and then struggled for his teen years. He hated it, felt deep shame but couldn’t stop. He found accountability, got help and was a year free before going out with me.
    I expected him to want sex all the time when we got married and felt extremely unlovable when he didn’t have a high drive. A few months in he relapsed. He confessed soon after, sincerely repented, emraced transparency and made it clear to me that he was serious about this. Healing from betrayal has taken time (even reading this post gave me some ptsd response) but now I can say that I trust my husband repeatedly. From the moment of confession I began praying for a sexual restoration in our marriage. It was been a journey (and is not over by any means) but:
    My husband now has a higher drive (not extremely high, but normal for his very relaxed personality type)
    I know I am beautiful in my husband’s eyes despite the fact that three babies have not been kind to my weight or body.
    I know that if I am pain, my husband’s desire is for us to stop because we together are more important than him feeling good.
    I still pray restoration over our intimacy specifically over me learning to feel pleasure, but I pray so with hope because I can look back and see the Lord’s work in this area in our lives. May this encourage someone.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s lovely, Ina! And thank you for writing that, because I think it’s important for people to know that you CAN get over this. God can work in people’s lives; we can put this behind us. I have known so, so many couples who have recovered from this.
      Unfortunately and tragically, many guys (and many women, too) choose porn over marriage. God has given us free will, and sometimes people choose badly. But many couples do recover, and that’s important to keep in mind.

      Reply
      • Arek

        When I turned to Jesus and stopped being sinfully. I could easily stop smoking or taking class A drugs, but quitting porn was most difficult. Without help of my lord I wouldn’t make it. Now almost 4 years clean. And will never relapse because I am saved. Certainty of this is key to salvation. When certain you will never fall back.

        Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Thank you for running this series and continuing to bring up this issue that remains, unbelievably, controversial.
    Would you consider including in this series some information on the performers for those who may be single, not-Christian, not against premarital sex or not invested in monogamy?
    There’s a perception that most porn is voyeurism of consenting adults, and a real minimization of how much trafficking, exploitation, and illegal abuse it includes and drives. Even if you look at the very few who are otherwise healthy, financially stable, and consenting at the start – what happens to them long term?
    Not to minimize others’ experience, but I would rather my spouse had an affair with a person rather than an addiction to porn. Both are a betrayal of a spouse, but one is depraved.
    Every time you cover this someone comes up in the comments justifying use and minimizing damage, and since you focus on marriage i think they are sometimes successful in encouraging people that it’s only “really bad” if there is a spouse in the picture.
    Thanks for your consideration.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Really good point! We actually do have a post planned on how porn fuels sex trafficking. It’s not on Mondays (really almost all posts this month have something to do with porn, but on Mondays I’m building a specific case on how to recover from porn and look forward). But I will be dealing with that for sure.

      Reply
    • Matilda

      Some of the content on Pornhub for instance is inhumane. (I’ve never watched it but follow organisations that fight it and describe videos and blur out pics, but you can still see the outline of what’s going on. It horrifies me) Women chained, children raped, trafficking. Comments that encourage women and underage girls being hurt and brutalised in every way) How any Christian man could ever want to watch this let alone justify it, is a mystery to me. It scares me.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I just hope that the lawsuit against Pornhub actually gets some teeth and that it does some damage!

        Reply
  4. Arwen

    Sheila, one of the BEST descriptive word i have seen to describe porn addicts is, PornSick. I saw that word in a reddit group i’m in and thought, wow, pornsick is exactly what they are. Perfect terminology to use for those have become sick on it. Great article!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That is a great word! Absolutely. And when you look at brain chemistry, you can really see it.

      Reply
      • Greg

        One other word for describing porn over actual sex is “pornsexual”. This is a term used in therapy. The sex we had was very vanilla and my wife loved it, I just went along with it. I prefer porn because what the actors do on screen I’ll never do in reality.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Greg, I’m going to be blunt. What the “actors” do on screen is very often rape. Porn fuels sex trafficking. Many of the women in porn were sexually abused as children, and are suffering sexual trauma. Much of porn is violent. Consent is often nonexistent. Just look at the uproar over Pornhub and the lawsuits going on right now.
          So you’re saying that you prefer to masturbate to many women being raped? And you think that’s a good thing?

          Reply
          • Greg

            Well for the record the porn I view isn’t violent or weird and the actors sign a waiver and are paid very well. That being said I know about the abuse, the drugs and the alcohol. Also porn relaxes me allowing me to concentrate on tasks st hand.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            You are fueling an industry that promotes sex trafficking. You can pretty it up all you want, but that is the truth. And with so much drug use and sexual trauma in people’s backgrounds, waivers mean very little.
            You are ejaculating to someone other than your wife. When you do this, you ruin your chances at real intimacy with your wife.
            Perhaps the problem is not that your wife likes “vanilla” sex. Have you considered that perhaps the problem is that you have trained your brain to respond in a certain way to certain stimuli, and so you have lost the ability that you once had to become sexually aroused just be intimacy and relationship? And in the process you’ve lost something precious? Your wife doesn’t sound like the problem here.

          • Anonymous

            And less than two hours after my comment, here it is – the porn is not that bad argument. Mostly performers are well-paid consenting adults. If not for the spouse it would be no big deal.
            First off, the damage you are doing to the spouse IS horrible. Even if you have not been discovered, you are training yourself to love her less, lie to her more, have sex with her less, resent her and find her naive and boring…”vanilla”. You are depriving her every day of the marriage and life she could have had, and tricking her into a half-assed marriage that she would never have consented to. It’s selfish and horrible.
            Then there’s the damage you are doing to yourself, which Sheila covered.
            Finally, there’s the performers. How do you know the actors sign a waiver and are paid well? Do you KNOW that?
            Are you CERTAIN you have never accidentally watched underage/child porn, a drugged person, a person who did not consent to the video being shared, a coerced person, or an actual rape you thought was “acting”?
            What are you risking all these bodies and souls for? An orgasm?
            Go masturbate in the bathroom for the rest of your life if you must, use your own imagination to create “things you would never do”, but stop the porn. There is no good that comes from it and no good excuse for using it.

          • Jane Eyre

            “What are you risking all these bodies and souls for? An orgasm? ”
            Exactly.
            I also had this same question through my 20s and 30s when men would be complete a-holes about sex. It was like – you would hurt me emotionally, take something away from my future husband, risk a pregnancy that would bring a child into this world, because… it’s more fun to ejaculate inside a woman than outside one?
            Back to porn: Susannah Breslin has a very gripping piece about the porn industry, called “They shoot stars… don’t they?” It’s terrible in what it portrays.

    • Greg

      The proper terminology is Pornsexual. Yes it is a real term.

      Reply
  5. Nathan

    Greg, even if we put aside for the moment the situation of the actors and the industry, watching the porn itself is affecting you in a negative way. Your brain is being rewired and you’re (unconsciously perhaps) losing respect for real women.
    Have you tried asking your wife to go beyond “vanilla”? Have you discussed your needs with each other? While nobody should be forced into acts they don’t want, I would encourage people to try new things as long as they aren’t harmful

    Reply
    • Chris

      Nathan, I think “Greg” is trolling Sheila.

      Reply
  6. Brokenhearted

    Almost three years ago, I learned that my husband had become addicted to pornography at twelve years old and had hidden it from me for eight years of marriage. He had told me of other troubles in his past, but the porn he always kept secret. Then the porn escalated to virtual adultery and eventually hook ups with women. He was caught with a woman, confessed to me and yet STILL tried to keep the porn a secret.
    Porn and sexual addiction change a person. My husband had become unrecognizable and continued to lie and deceive and was very, very angry at being caught. My husband has told me that he has hit rock bottom twice in his life. The first was when he had to tell me he had been caught with another woman and the second was when we separated (after a year of lying in counseling) and he had to live alone in an empty apartment, unable to see his wife and kids.
    Porn is DEVASTATING. There is nothing safe or harmless about it. My husband finally realized that when he lost everything. If it weren’t for Jesus, my marriage would have ended there, but my husband finally listened to God when he was all alone and he threw out his porn collection and has been in Celebrate Recovery ever since.
    As the wife of a recovering porn/sex addict, I am riddled with betrayal trauma and struggle every day not to give in to the fear that my husband is deceiving me again. As much as I want to fight for my marriage, it is a very hard and painful journey and I could not do it without Jesus. My heart grieves for the twelve year old boy who didn’t know the devastation that he was choosing when his friend introduced him to pornography so many years ago. My husband received his eighteen month chip recently and I am so thankful that he chose to do the hard work of recovery and be set free in Jesus.
    We have four children and we will do everything to help them know that porn is a poison that they don’t ever even want to consider drinking. Porn was going to take my marriage, break up my family, and destroy my husband. But Jesus….but Jesus!

    Reply
    • Greg

      That’s horrible and I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m hoping it will heal in time.

      Reply
  7. Greg

    I understand what you’re saying and I’m putting zero blame on my wife, she’s a really good mom. As for the porn, for me it’s a novelty that never gets old. I was never big on intimacy or tenderness but we’ve been together for 23 years. Fyi I do like your show.

    Reply
    • Anonymous for now

      So Greg,
      I just have a question for you. Does your wife know? Does she know that you watch? Have you ever thought about how she feels about it? She is more than just a mom. She is a woman who took vows.
      Have you ever thought what your lack of intimacy has done to her? Has it occurred to you that maybe your desire for novelty has caused wounds that she has to work to keep hidden? If she knows she will always know that deep down she was never enough for the person who promised to stay true to her before God? Has it occurred to you that your tool for concentration damages the person you promised to love and protect? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe your sex life is vanilla because YOU are a bad sexual partner? Has it occurred to you that because of your habit If you were to pass away tomorrow there is a much higher chance that she will never want to remarry because of the trust you broke? She would never be able to fully open herself up to a man again? Has it ever occurred to you that as your children age and become adults if she knows about your porn and has strong friends and a job there is a good chance she will leave you? How would you feel is she had an emotional affair with a man who was actually good at tenderness and intimacy. She wouldn’t ask for a divorce because you’re a good husband but that other man really helps her concentrate and be content with having to live with you. That would be okay right?

      Reply
      • Greg

        It’s funny you say this because I’ve thought of these scenarios and I’m ok with that. If she had an affair I would be ok with that because I’m not one to be jealous. If she wanted a divorce I would give her one.

        Reply
    • Ina

      I’m flabbergasted. Lack of intimacy and tenderness is the antithesis of a passionate, exciting sex life. They are the very things that build passion in a woman. I’m sorry, but you get out what you put in and good sex takes work. The fact that you chose to take the shortcut and go to porn is heartbreaking.

      Reply
      • Greg

        I understand what you’re saying and you’re correct but in my case intimacy and tenderness take away from the experience.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Out of curiosity, if you don’t like to have sexual with your wife, are not interested in intimacy or tenderness, and are not pursuing mutuality, why you are following this blog and what do you hope to get out of it?

          Reply
          • Greg

            Just some other aspects of sex that I may not have thought of or experienced.

        • Madeline

          This tells me that 100% you are the bad lover in the relationship.

          Reply
          • Greg

            In what aspect of the word lover do you mean?

      • Greg

        Ina, I’m just gonna say it, how does being with the same woman for 24 years equal good, exciting sex? I love pizza but eating pizza day after day becomes monotonous and vice versa.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Greg, then you’re doing it wrong. And I think if you could see sex as flowing out of real intimacy and connection, boring is the last thing that it would feel.

          Reply
          • Greg

            I don’t think I can do that.

    • Anonymous

      Fine. You have no qualms. Be 100% honest with your wife then. Let her know she’s a great mom, but that you’ve never enjoyed sex with her. Let her know you have been watching, are watching, and will continue to watch porn and no longer want to have sex with her. Let her know that you aren’t interested In tenderness or intimacy with her. Let her know that it’s far more important for you to relax and be able to focus on the task at hand, and the only way you can do that is with porn that may or may not be trafficking- but by golly it sure is novel!
      Set that expectation for the remainder of your married life and let her make an honest choice about how she wants to live.

      Reply
      • Greg

        My wife is under a considerable amount of stress from work and I would never pressure her into sex. We haven’t done anything in 3 years and I’m ok with that and so is she since she’s not up for it due to stress.
        As for child porn, never ever have I viewed that or any type of rape or abuse, that’s not what I enjoy.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Strike out – you missed every point.
          Point 1: whether or not you deliberately seek it out, there is no way to know for sure that you didn’t mistakenly perpetuate abuse if you are watching porn.
          Point 2: If you and your wife are not having sex that is a total side issue. The point is you ARE watching porn and will keep doing it. She’s your wife and the mother of your children, the least you can do is be honest with her about that. And no time is going to be better or best for you to come clean.
          Point 3: you are weighing Your personal/individual/momentary enjoyment, orgasm, relaxation and ability to focus against your wife’s heart and the thousands of people suffering suffering repeated sexual violence and injury. You are calmly saying that it’s ok with you if your wife, family unit and loads of other humans are destroyed as long as you are entertained.

          Reply
          • Matilda

            Excellent comments. Anonymous.

  8. Nathan

    > > I was never big on intimacy or tenderness
    This statement concerns me a bit. These are two things that you never have to worry about with porn

    Reply
  9. Nathan

    Also, the word “novelty” that you used to describe porn is concerning. It’s not just some harmless fun side thing that people do. It really does alter the way we look at things, and maybe most of the time people don’t even realize that.

    Reply
  10. Nathan

    > > in my case intimacy and tenderness take away from the experience.
    This is another red flag, and an indication that porn is affecting you

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, this is very, very common. Intimacy and tenderness are a turn off, because the more personal that sex is, the less “sexy” it is. That’s because you’ve trained your brain to react to sex as only a physical thing, with power dynamics, rather than an intimate thing. This is a sickness. It isn’t a good thing at all. And this can be broken, but it takes quitting porn to do it.

      Reply
      • Greg

        Thank you for your time Sheila, all comments here will be considered. Stay safe.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Thank you, Greg. I pray that you will find the real intimacy you were made for, and what you’re really longing for, rather than settling for a cheap substitute. And I pray that your marriage can be healed and restored. Thank you for being part of this conversation, and for listening graciously. Truly. And stay healthy, too!

          Reply
  11. Nathan

    > > Has it occurred to you that maybe your desire for novelty has caused wounds that she has to work to keep hidden?
    I’m not so sure that I agree with this 100%. Yes, there are some things that are dangerous or harmful and people should likely not do them. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to try something different or unusual, if both people consent, and I’d encourage people to try new things.
    On the third hand, very often women are brought up to believe that there are some things that “nice girls” don’t do, and are taught that anything beyond the most basic “vanilla” sex is wicked and sinful. Then they marry somebody who wants to be a little more adventurous and they get confused. This is another issue, though
    Greg, I’ll pray for you and your wife and hope that you can both find healing and happiness.

    Reply
    • Anonymous for now

      Hi Nathan,
      I wasn’t talking about novelty in the marriage bed. My issue was his need for novelty that he found in porn. I have no problem with pushing yourself and trying new things! It’s healthy for marriages and as long as we stay in Gods designated playground things should be enjoyed and explored.

      Reply
    • Matilda

      Always remember Nathan, that what a man might find ‘novel’ many women find humiliating and painful. Does the novel increase intimacy and trust? If not what is the point?

      Reply
  12. Nathan

    > > My issue was his need for novelty that he found in porn.
    Thanks for the clarification. I think I get the difference.

    Reply
  13. Rogue

    Some of what I’ve seen in the comments has been heartbreaking and I pray for that man and his wife.
    Porn does fuel human trafficing, which was one of the main motivators for me to stay away. And for every “well paid consentual contract” there are ten if not a hundred more that aren’t.
    I also thank God that he’s been merciful to me about the side effects and hasn’t allowed any lasting damage. I’ve been blessed with a meditative mindfulness that has helped me avoid ED or PE.
    For anyone who does struggle with that, consider setting a timer for 15-20 minutes and doing some mindful breathing exercies while erm..doing it slowly…be it with your spouse if married, or your hand if still single.

    Reply
  14. Recovery from betrayal

    The idea by a commenter that porn can be okay is so very troubling. And it highlights my first comment that the victim of the porn use is also the spouse. This podcast/transcript discusses more about the abuse of porn use. https://www.btr.org/3-reasons-why-pornography-is-an-abuse-issue/

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    A while ago I read the book “Bringing up Boys” by Dr Dobson. In it, he says that we should tell our sons that it’s ok to mastrabate as long as they don’t look at porn. Basically, he was saying that boys need the release of ejaculation and therefore it was ok. What is your opinion? Does this still re-wire the brain?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think it can become a problem if boys do it too much, because it can affect sexual function later. I don’t think we should shame kids for masturbation, though. But I also don’t think that we should encourage it. I think we should point people to other things to do when they get frustrated, and develop a game plan for times at night when they do.

      Reply
  16. Never good enough

    My husband threw the biggest fit this morning because I didn’t initiate sex the way he wanted. He told me, “I just want you to be a little slut”.. I’m a born again Christian and I take great joy in living the way. I was a permiscuous teen/young adult and I’ve worked hard to overcome that. I’m ashamed of my past and I don’t ever want to go back. I’m just sick over this. He was so angry he threw his phone 10 feet across the kitchen and knocked over the trash can. For me to clean up. We’ve been married 12 years and I’ve just never been good enough. Things were going great but the last year has been very difficult and even worse now with the pandemic going on. He recently got a medical diagnosis saying he needs to ejaculate frequently so he says his doctor says porn is necessary since intercourse 2-3x a week isn’t enough. I just can’t deal with it anymore. And after this morning, I don’t know how to feel.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry. That’s just so not okay. You know, you do not have to clean up when he makes a mess. You can ask him to clean up since he made the mess. If he does not want to, or if he becomes enraged, that’s a sign that he’s not safe for you, and you should see a licensed counselor or call an abuse hotline.
      As for the medical diagnosis, that seems very strange. It has been shown that frequent ejaculation reduces the risk of prostate cancer, but I have never heard a doctor say that therefore men should watch porn. That certainly is not the recommended treatment. I would ask to speak to the doctor and confirm that. It is okay to stick to your boundaries, and porn has so many negative side effects that no reputable doctor would recommend it. I’m sorry about this. I really am. But I would just say stick to what you know is right. If he does not like it, then he is going to have to learn to adjust.

      Reply
    • David

      The doctor that prescribed porn is an idiot.
      Any husband who has viewed porn should realize that there is nothing better than having the “real” thing with their own wife.
      She’s real, porn is fantasy. Those woman are paid to pretend they are enjoying it and many of them are on drugs to numb their mind, whereas their wife’s pleasurable responses are authentic.
      In truth, if the husband is thinking right, he would realize that his wife is way sexier than the porn star and if he wants spice, he can tell her that she is in fact sexier than a porn star.
      Actually, the wife should already know that she is more aroused and sexier than any porn star or slut and tell him as much. It might raise some eye brows, he might even be startled and not respond favorably at first, but at least she is standing her ground.
      In reality he already has a wife that has raw desires toward him and he should realized if he takes it slow and easy, that her arousal can elevate way higher toward him, than that of any “slut”.
      Quality love making can cause greater anticipation while arousal is building at a very high level for next time.
      He is lucky to have her.

      Reply
  17. Anonymous

    I am currently researching the correlation of ADHD and porn bc of my husbands problem. It is and interesting connection.

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    Sheila, what is your opinion of the book, “Keep Your Love On?” I was encouraging a young wife whose husband broke her trust that a good place to start is “Boundaries in Marriage.” An older man jumped in to day that she should first read “Keep Your Love On,” because the Boundaries book can be taken too far and wreck marriages. I didn’t know how to respond.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Jumped in to *say*

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Personally, I love the Boundaries in Marriage book. Yes, it could be that many that read that divorce, but that could also be because many who read it are married to abusive spouses, and they finally see that. I haven’t read the other, but I firmly stand behind Boundaries for sure!

      Reply
  19. Connie

    The timing on your release of this series is right on time for me. I have been turning a blind eye and broken heart on my husbands porn addiction for years, to the point it has affected both my mental and physical well being!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Connie! I’m glad this will help. We will be talking about recovery, too. I pray that you will get there!

      Reply
  20. James

    Porn is detrimental in more ways than 1.not just to your married life but to your personal life as well.instead of looking at porn,you could be investing that time on bettering yourself and spending valuable time with the people that you love.we won’t have them forever.and the consequence of porn far out weigh the benefit if you think about it.it can warp your mind and ruin a marriage with someone intended to be precious to you.And women are NOT objects.God didn’t give Eve to Adam just to have sex with her.that’s not love.I believe God gave Eve to Adam to be his helper,friend,companion and someone he can show his God given love to. and porn is a misrepresentation of what sex is supposed to be.those are my thoughts on it anyway.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    Please do not use my name in comments. I was married to a porn addict for 36 years, living with a porn addict left me feeling unlovable and unworthy to be alive. I was daily asking God to let me die. In April, God gave me the strength and opportunity to leave, moving 500 miles away. It will take me time, work, and energy to accept that I have the right to be happy and feel like I have worth. Moving has also taken me states away from my children and grandchildren, but God has been with me every step. It is an hourly struggle, but I no longer start the day asking God to let me die. I am part of an online support group, almost all of us have similar stories. More information and research is needed to help us. Too often we are told “boys will be boys” or feel too ashamed to tell others about what is happening. Please continue to educate others.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so, so sorry that you’ve gone through this, and I’m glad that you’re in a better place now. May you find real peace and freedom!

      Reply
  22. Gabby

    I was introduced to porn at about 12years. I’m currently 22 years and I’m still struggling. This will the first time I am opening up to anyone about it.
    I am in my final year in the university studying Electrical Engineering. Though I am a straight A student, I know I could have done better if not for this disease. Over the years, I have realized that I have lost the motivation to pursue anything. The only thing that has kept me studying hard enough is the struggle my mom has to go through to pay for my education. I no longer enjoy anything even though I am pursuing the program that I have loved from my childhood. I can barely sustain any friendship. The once young curious boy who had wild ideas he wanted to achieve is no more.
    I need help. I don’t want to continue like this.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Gabby. Thanks for opening up. That is the first step. I’d strongly recommend that you take a look at the nofap community, or join Covenant Eyes and take their 40 day challenge. There’s a lot of support there. You don’t have to do this alone, and so many people have come out on the other side. You know you don’t want this for your life, but it isn’t going to get better unless you do something about it. Please look into one of those communities. You don’t have to be alone.

      Reply
  23. Tyler

    I have been porn free for a couple of years now, but it was a problem for decades, a major problem that negatively affected every aspect of my life. As you know there are lasting physical and mental side effects once free of it. Most of them have been delt with and discarded. However premature ejaculation is a still a very real problem. My wife insist that I get it corrected without her help because the problem is mine, and I was the reason for the problem to begin with. How do I correct it without having sex, or masturbating? We have not slept in the same bed for 8 months because she does not want to “open her legs for 5 seconds”. I am desperate and am willing to give anything productive a go.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Tyler, it sounds like you should both see a sex therapist together so that she can understand the treatment for premature ejaculation. Also, if you have had this your whole life, you may want to see a physician, because it may not be porn related. We found that delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction were very related to porn, but premature ejaculation had a slightly weaker correlation. It definitely increased when porn was used, but it was also present in many men who hadn’t used porn. So porn may not be the issue here. I think it’s important to seek help from a physician and a sex therapist.

      Reply

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