PODCAST: Porn and Coronavirus–How Scared Should We Be?

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 25 comments

Podcast: What Porn and Coronavirus Have in Common
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What do porn and coronavirus have in common?

We hate them both, and we want them to stop! My series on the blog in April will be on porn, and so to launch that series, I wanted to give a big picture perspective on the real problem with porn (hint: it may not be what you think!). Then I zoom through a bunch of reader questions.

First, listen in:

Main Segment: How Porn and Coronavirus Go Together

To start, let’s back up and figure out why porn is bad. Why is porn a sin? Well, there are three levels to each, and I explain how focusing only on #1 or #2 misses the point:

1. Because God says it’s a sin

2. Because God sets rules based on what’s good for us

3. Because God’s purpose is to reconcile the world with Himself, which means reclaiming the world for the kingdom of Heaven. And THAT includes agreeing with God about the nature of humanity and intimacy.

And how is porn like Coronavirus?

1. Some will have worse symptoms than others

We focus at To Love, Honor and Vacuum on the devastating effects of porn, which are real. But not all men (or women) have problems getting over porn or even have long-lasting effects. Like COVID-19, some will require ventilators, and some will be asymptomatic. So when it comes to porn, let’s treat it seriously, but let’s not be alarmist, and let’s always remember that greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world.

2. We need a zero tolerance.

If there’s even a bit of coronavirus, it will spread. We need to eradicate it.

3. We change our behaviour for the good of others.

Our teens need us to change our WiFi behaviour at home for their good.

4. Quarantining isn’t the long-term answer. We need a cure.

Staying away from porn is great and is necessary. But ultimately we need more–and that involves embracing kingdom of heaven views of sex, intimacy, and people.

Listen in and see what you think!

Reader Question #1: What if my husband wants bondage/spanking?

Here’s a letter that demonstrates what happens when someone starts seeing sex from kingdom of darkness perspective rather than from Jesus’ perspective. When sex is about power and lording over someone, we’ve lost something important!

Before we got married, my husband was a porn user.
Lately he has started asking to act out some of his fantasies.  He likes it when I submit to him, likes spanking, and is interested in bondage.  These are things I’m not comfortable with because I worry he’s just acting porn out with me, rather than sex being a mutual loving act.  (He’s always been kind and not cruel but bondage freaks me out.). I’ve brought it up with him and he has said that porn was a replacement for me, rather than me being a replacement for porn. The submission part I’m (getting) okay with.  I’m definitely an in-control person in most of life and it’s good for me to let him be in control too.| My worry is the spanking/tying up stuff. Any suggestions on how to be more okay with this?  (It’s also not something I enjoy.)
Any suggestions for alternatives?

Reader Question #2: I discovered my husband’s porn use after he died

My husband passed away very suddenly a year and a half ago. I was recently able to access his google account and came across a porn subscription and hundreds of downloaded photos among other things he clearly hid from me. I’m so angry and feel so betrayed. I’ve worked so hard processing and walking through my grief over his death and now I feel like I’m back at square one.
We were married a decade and had couple of kids together. My memories all feel clouded by this. What else did he lie about and hide from me? How do I reconcile what I know now with the man I thought I knew? How do I let this go and forgive when there can’t ever be a real resolution?

What a sad one! But here, let’s remember point 1, above. People do have different effects. Don’t judge your husband’s whole marriage through one choice that he made. Remember he made other choices, too–good ones–and those define him just as much.

Reader Question #3: It’s not just teenage boys who watch porn!

Just putting this question up to remind us as parents that girls struggle, too.

I am 16 years old. I was first introduced to pornography in the 6th grade and I honestly don’t even know how I started. I think it started with masturbation and then I eventually found porn. I hate myself for my “addiction” and no matter how many times I go to confession ( I am roman catholic) and am forgiven by God, I still come back to it. My biggest struggle is that I don’t know how I could ever tell my parents or a close friend because I know they will view me so differently.

Reader Question #4: My boyfriend’s mom thinks getting married will cure his porn addiction

Here’s a question from another teen girl that makes me want to give everybody’s parents a shake:

I’m about to graduate from high school. Recently, my guy came out with his porn issue. Naturally, I was devastated, but we have been healing our relationship. Now, my parents want me to move away for 6 months. His mom is encouraging me to disregard their wishes and just stay and marry him. My friend’s mom, who is at this point the only person I trust to not have an ulterior motive in counseling me, said that it would be wiser for him to get counseling for his porn and work through some of those issues while I get counseling or my eating disorder. I told his mom that, and she told me that I just need to get married to him, and that counseling won’t help. She said that marriage is the only thing that will make him stop. I don’t know what to do with this whole mess. I’m not even an adult yet but I cannot go to my parents for many reasons. One of which is that they don’t like anyone not from our church, and are trying to keep up our family’s appearance as my father is a respected official. I don’t want to get married yet, because we’re both not ready, but I feel wrong in believing that.


Okay, that’s it for the reader questions! Listen in for all the answers, but I’d also love to hear yours!

One final thing: We know that with self-isolation, domestic violence is on the rise. I received a letter from a brave woman recently who left her abusive husband to give her and her son a better life. I read the letter in the podcast; it’s a touching one. If you are being abused, and if you’re struggling right now, please find a domestic abuse hotline in your area and reach out. You are not alone.

That’s it for our podcast-in-isolation this week! Have any opinions on those reader questions? What about how coronavirus and porn go together? Let’s talk in the comments!

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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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25 Comments

  1. Quarantine

    I agree with much here but as someone who is working and struggling to be free from a porn addiction I think one thing that we also can relate to porn and covid is quarantine. A person that is addicted to porn should be in a relationship quarantine i.e don’t be in a relationship if you are addicted to porn.
    My wife has asked me if I regret marrying her. And I don’t but I do regret getting married before dealing with my issues with porn. I didn’t get and hadn’t had teaching on the implications of porn. I thought that it would be solved. I was doing the right things. Praying, fasting and etc. but I didn’t underderstand that it was deeper than it is. It got worse once I was married due to me getting burned out emotionally and spiritually.
    Looking back I wish I would have decided not to marry. My wife about my struggles but it wasn’t as bad as it became. I wish I would have have treated it as we treat covid19. I should have stayed away from all kind of relationships until I was at least free for 2 years.
    No one taught me that. No one said that because this subject isn’t touched much in my country or church and I sadly didn’t know this blog existed. I should have stayed away. I should have gone to therapy for all the things I was dealing with but growing up in a religious home therapy was seen as something bad. I should only “rely on Gods word” and whole that is true therapy is really important.
    More churches should preach that to single people. If porn is something you struggle with don’t get into a relationship or marriage until you have dealt with it.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s a great one! Thank you. Yes, you should put yourself in relationship quarantine until it’s dealt with. I like that!

      Reply
      • Doug

        I absolutely disagree with that.
        There have been studies done on rats where ine is isolated, and given a choice between pure water and a narcotic laced water. In isolation they choose the drugged water. When they are then placed in community, then they choose the pure water.
        What is true for rats is equally true for humans. Isolation is never the right answer to addiction of any kind, and is all too often the source of it.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Doug, single people can beat addictions. And you should NEVER get married when you are still an addict. It’s not fair to the person you’re marrying.
          Doesn’t mean you’re alone or in isolation. You can have great community around you (and you should). But you certainly don’t need to be married until you have shown that you can be faithful and that you will not bring such a burden into that marriage.

          Reply
        • Quarantine

          As Sheila says. Not being married doesn’t mean to be alone. You can still have and should have friends but a person that struggles with porn shouldn’t be in a relationship. The church must talk about that more.
          I have had that discussion with others and they yak about Gods grace and etc. but this isn’t about Gods grace. Yes God forgives but that doesn’t mean that a person should be in a relationship or marriage because God can take it that the process can be hard and take time but another person shouldn’t have to suffer for that.
          Getting married with my struggles with porn is one thing I will always regret.
          I have talked to my wife twice about divorce because I don’t think she deserve this. She got really angry because I mentioned divorce and still brings it up.
          I have made progress since then but still struggle. If she ends up leaving me, which I wouldn’t object to at all , I will not get in a relationship or anything. I understand now that my heart is sick and until that is fixed I can’t or shouldn’t be in a relationship.
          I understand that it can be tough as a young person to hear that. I don’t know if I would have understood that when I was younger but I think it’s time that the church take about it. At least two years porn free and then you can start thinking about getting into a relationship. That’s something the church should teach. It will save a lot of marriages.

          Reply
    • Doug

      There is a difference between postponing a marriage and putting yourself in quarantine.
      There is absolutely no reason to avoid a romantic relationship as long as a few common sense rules are followed, the first being 2 way honesty between the pair, the second being a willingness to postpone and the third is that while it can be a romantic relationship, if you aren’t married then it absolutely shouldn’t be a sexual relationship, addiction or not.
      I never implied that simgle people can’t beat addictions, but loneliness can absolutely feed into them.
      Also, setting any sort of timeline like 2 years is just wishful thinking. You can be clean for years and relapse. I don’t know of any research body that would point to any length of time and say it is the right length. Some may recover in a short time, and others may never recover at all. It is impossible to tell if someone will relapse or when.
      I’m fine with common sense precautions, but they need to be tailored and not some arbritary set of rules “just because there should be some”.
      I have heard some people propose a time of sexual fasting as a “necessary” step towards resetting your sexuality, and to be honest, it sounds suspiciously like quarantine to me. I know that if it were imposed on me it would have seriously challenged my resolve.

      Reply
  2. Kya

    On turning off the Wifi at night: we have decided in our house NOT to have wifi. (We also don’t have smartphones, but that’s a whole different discussion.) My husband has never struggled with porn, and our daughter is a toddler, so we did this for several reasons, but one of them is that using the internet in private is risky. There is just so much garbage out there. So to use the internet in our apartment, you have to be plugged into the ethernet cord, which is at the dining room table, in the middle of everything. It adds accountability, not just for the risky things, but for the stupid things (like scrolling on Facebook for far too long). It would be a drastic move for a lot of people, but it is possible, and not even terribly inconvenient, to live this way.

    Reply
  3. Laura

    I was looking forward to reading your answer to the first question, but I don’t see any response…?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You’ve got to listen to the podcast, Laura! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Sarah

    I think an unfinished post might have gotten posted?
    There’s no other links to check out under the first question, and the section under “some will get sicker than others” looks like incomplete notes. I haven’t listened to the episode yet so maybe missed something, but just wanted to mention it.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I did see that! Sorry! We’re moving Rebecca and Connor into their new house today and it got away from me!
      I think everybody thought that someone else had fixed the post. 🙂 And we’ve been moving all day. But they’re almost all set in their new house–and it’s just around the corner from us!

      Reply
      • Peacefulwidow

        I’m a widow too and emphasize with that woman. Sadly, this happens more often than you think it would in Christian circles. I even know a widow who discovered her husband betrayed her on the funeral. I was blessed with an incredible, godly husband who told me everything about his porn addiction when things got serious and even warned me that marriage will not cure this. He did everything he could to bring his sin to death and God gave him victory. He struggled with being tempted throughout our whole marriage (which sadly only lasted 3,5 years) but he never went back to porn. He hated sin so much that he would rather wake me up in the middle of the night asking me to pray with him when he was tempted than to slip up. Oh how grateful I am that this man was mine and for the example he was to many young men. A few weeks ago we would have celebrated his 5 year anniversary of freedom from porn. I knew he had a journal from his earlier counseling sessions as an 18 year old where he wrote down everything he watched, how long, etc. Nothing shocked me because he already told me everything. I threw that paper in the fire and my heart was flooded with thankfulness that now he’s free forever and will never struggle again. I miss him terribly and so does our toddler but I’m so grateful for the man he was and that he’s enjoying Jesus right now.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, wow, what a story! I’m so sorry that you lost your husband, and that your child lost a father. So very, very sorry. I can’t imagine the pain. I’m glad, though, that you have such a great perspective on this and that God has granted you that peace. May the peace grow, especially in these trying times!

          Reply
  5. Lindsey

    I get what you said to the first reader, and I think you’re right to counseling her as you did – she was NOT comfortable and should not be pressured. However, I’ve got some questions:
    What if both people are ok with the whole “power” dynamic (and both orgasm)? What if they both enjoy a role play that includes some “power play”? I’m not talking about something that causes physical damage (whips, etc), but what about just enjoying the submission/dominance aspect? What if the relationship is otherwise totally collaborative and healthy – does the power dynamic in the bedroom still reflect unhealthy views? Is it possible that submission and dominance can also be a dramatized reflection of masculine and feminine traits and that’s why the partners find it sexually arousing?
    I just feel like the issue is more gray (no book reference pun intended), than black and white.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I don’t know, Lindsey. I think some of that may be hardwired into us, but I’d just caution against it getting too far beyond anything playful. I think for some there’s that element of getting to finally give up control, which can be intoxicating (and then that can be linked to arousal), and as along as it’s not all the time. And I think it depends on what’s going on in the rest of your relationship. Just be wise!

      Reply
      • Rogue

        Even though unmarried, I still feel led to comment here because of past addiction that I’m still in recovery for. I can see both points of view with this topic. And that sort of thing was something I was into before even discovering porn, just not in a sexualized manner if that makes any sense. Pressuring about that sort of thing is obviously wrong and would be a big warning flag. Everything should be 100% mutual and loving. But in the other direction to be perfectly honest I do understand the appeal about a fantasy of wanting to be helpless in the arms of one’s lover or vice versa, not to use them but to love on them/or to be able to let go while being loved on. But it’s one of those very gray areas that needs a thorough discussion of motives and intentions. If this was such a turn off to the person I was married to, I’d let it go, because I’d rather do what makes them feel loved instead of degraded. And about playful spanking etc. It’s understood that sort of thing does release happy chemicals, but that brings back the question of motivation. Paul says whatever that is not done in faith is sin. But from what I also understand from other various christian forums I’ve lurked on there are couples who do have a healthy marital dynamic even though they are into “kinkier stuff”. This something I’ve yet to have a concrete stance on.
        But I will say, as I get further away from my past self, and imagine (not just some flitting fantasy, but to really consider the implications) what it would actually be like to be in bed with the woman I’d marry, It’s a lot harder to even consider something like that.

        Reply
        • Matilda

          Honestly I’d always take it back to what would Jesus do. If God is in the room watching his children enjoy something he created to bring them closer together, (and I’m sure this is exactly what God does sometimes because there is no evil in Him) how would you treat one another? What would you do?

          Reply
  6. Madeline

    Ugh! The one about the girl receiving pressure to marry makes me so mad!! Seriously what is the boyfriend’s mother thinking?? EVEN IF just getting married magically fixes the porn issue (which it won’t!!) she’s basically telling the girl that her own needs and well-being are irrelevant! She’s completely fine with her son entering a marriage that is NOT based on mutual love and sacrifice and respect for one another, but rather based on HIS interest alone! That’s completely contradictory to biblical marriage. Additionally, that would also set up the girl to struggle with her sex drive, because it would be SO easy to internalize the message that men want you only for your body and I can’t imagine anything less sexy than feeling like a used tissue. Obviously a marriage that started out this way could still be redeemed, but why set up a marriage like this at all? I get that this mom really wants a quick fix for her son’s issue, but it feels so short-sighted and foolish to force this!
    Okay rant over. I hope that the girl realizes it is not wrong or selfish to want more time before getting married. In fact she is being very wise in seeking out other adults who do not have ulterior motives and really considering such a major decision.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yep. That one made me mad, too. And the terrible thing is that I actually see a lot of that stuff on the internet and in some super fundamentalist groups that were associated with our homeschooling group. I always would have thought such scenarios were made up to make Christians look bad, but I keep hearing of actual people who are doing this. So very infuriating.

      Reply
    • Ina

      Yup! Honestly that alone would make me say to break up and run far away.

      Reply
      • Blessed Wife

        Absolutely! No question about that!

        Reply
      • Csab

        90% of men struggles with porn. Most of them hate it, but can’t stop. This is the reality.
        It’s possible to break up and also possible to live the entire life alone.
        When I was younger, a girl said to me that the most important is to find the right husband, no need for compromise.
        She’s 40 years old now, finally married. Everyone is laughing on her, because she made a big compromise, bigger than other girls did.
        She has learned how to love and tolerate one’s weakness.
        Will she have kids? I hope so, but after 40 it’s not sure…

        Reply
        • Matilda

          Everyone is laughing at a women because she had to wait to get married and ended up compromising… who on earth do you hang out with? Sounds terrible.

          Reply
      • Madeline

        I think it totally depends on how the guy handles it. When my now husband and I started dating some of his family was very controlling. He was in his senior year of high school so there wasn’t a lot he could do to get away from that at the time but after he graduated he stood up to them and set down some serious boundaries. We can’t control who are families are so I think its really unfair to just break up with someone because of that.
        Of course with this specific scenario there’s also the porn issue and we also don’t get ant info on how the guy is handling it. I understand more why someone would break up with a guy who struggled with porn but I wouldn’t make that my go-to advice either. It just depends on how the guy handles it.

        Reply
        • Madeline

          Any* info!

          Reply

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