Wifey Wednesday: Why Kindles Can Wreck Your Marriage

Erotica, Kindles, and Temptation: How ereaders can wreck your #marriage! (with help to stay accountable)

Many women are tempted by erotica–just like men are tempted by porn. And that’s why today I want to warn you about how Kindles can wreck your marriage.

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all comment, or link up a marriage post below! Today I want to tackle a rather taboo subject.

Not too many decades ago, if a man wanted to see porn, he had to go to a store and purchase a Playboy. It was a deliberate act. It involved getting in your car, driving to the store, looking the clerk in the face and plopping down some money.

And so lots of people wouldn’t do it. The rate of porn use among Christian men was relatively low, in relation to the rest of the population.

Fast forward a few decades, and now the internet has made porn so easy to access that it’s become a huge temptation for many men (and for many women), and a huge roadblock in people’s marriages.

While purchasing a Playboy at a store had involved lots of tiny choices, where at any point a man could change his mind and head home, accessing it on the computer involves far fewer choices. And those choices are largely anonymous, and very quick. To go to a store takes some time–time for the Holy Spirit to convict, time for you to second guess yourself. Time for you to say no.

To click on a link on the computer takes very little time, and it’s easy to silence those voices in your head and heart because it only takes a few seconds. And so many men have been sucked in.

Women haven’t faced this to the same extent because for most of us, visual pornography is not our main weakness, as it is for men (though it is becoming a graver threat to women, too). For many of us, romance novels and soft core erotica offer far more temptation than porn, and so the internet revolution wasn’t quite as dangerous to us. Sure, erotica is more easily discovered online, but the “really good stuff”, the big novels or the high quality writing, wasn’t as accessible. And so we were able to sit back and watch our men fall prey to the internet, and wonder why they can’t get their act together and practice more self-control.

Well, it looks like we have met our match in Amazon’s Kindle (or the Nook, or whatever e-reader you have).

Because now we can do what men can do: we can access the things that tempt us the most without having to leave our homes, without having to look a clerk in the face, without having to spend a lot of time thinking about it.

We can download erotic novels and no one knows! We just enter our credit card online at Amazon, and instantly the book is on our Kindle (or iPad, or Nook, or whatever). 50 Shades of Grey is all the rage right now, earning mainstream news coverage about how women have discovered erotica.

We are now facing the same temptations that men have had to battle with for the last fifteen years, as the internet has become a staple in all workplaces and homes. They had to fight the temptation to access porn anonymously.

And now we have to fight the temptation to access erotica anonymously.

And it is vitally important that we do so.

Look, I think sharing “sexy” thoughts with one’s husband, and flirting, and playing together is all pretty great. I am not against sexual play or sexual fun at all. But when we use something outside of marriage to get aroused, we’re transferring our sexual energy from our spouse. And if you then have sex with your spouse after getting aroused some other way, it becomes increasingly difficult to “be present” when you make love. Your mind starts to focus on what you were reading, not on your husband. And that’s not really making love.

Our culture wants to turn sex into something that is completely physical. They are twisting something which is beautiful, and trying to make it exciting by focusing on the forbidden, the extreme, the hidden, rather than the relationship. And when you focus on the physical, sex loses that special element that helps us bond.

Good Girls Guide My SiteWhen I did my research for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the couples who enjoyed sex the most were also those who felt most spiritually intimate with each other. And the couples who enjoyed sex the least tended to be the ones where porn had played a large part in their lives, and they were still trying to recover from it. Porn rewires your brain so that what becomes arousing is a picture, rather than a person.

And now erotica has the same effect on women: it rewires your brain so that what is arousing is an idea or a scenario rather than your husband.

The church is rightly concerned with the intrusion of porn into our lives and our marriages, but we women need to realize that we face similar temptations, and we need to put things in place to fight against them. We’ve been talking up internet filters, and accountability software, and accountability groups for men. But what about women?

1. Share your Amazon/B&N/Chapters account with another person/another device

This one is going to be a little expensive, I grant you, but it’s important. Don’t let your family just own one Kindle that you control. Make sure there are at least two out there: maybe a teenager has one, or your husband. Then link them all onto one account, so that if anyone purchases anything, you all know about it.

In our home, my youngest daughter, my husband, myself, and my mother all share an Amazon account. Katie buys a lot of novels, and everytime I turn on my iPad, I can go to my archives and see what she has purchased, and download it myself. Believe me, if you share an Amazon account with a teenager, there is no way that you will EVER be tempted to buy erotica (let alone sharing it with your mother!).

2. Have your email for your account go to your husband

If you do only have one Kindle, and it’s yours, then make sure that the email address on your account wherever you buy books is your husband’s. That way, every time you make a purchase, the receipt is sent to him.

Internet porn became a big problem for men because it was anonymous. They could access it without anyone knowing. Take away the anonymity, and it’s suddenly not nearly as big a temptation.

The best way to protect ourselves, then, is to make sure nothing is done in secret. So even if you don’t think you’d be tempted to buy erotica, I still think it’s always a good idea to expose things to the light. Just make sure others can always see your account and access what you buy. Then any possible temptation is reduced greatly.

Are there ways around these steps? Of course. There always are. But the point is that when you had to inconvenience yourself to buy porn, most men did not buy it. They only started looking at it in huge numbers when it was easy and anonymous.

So let’s make sure Kindles don’t become our porn by making sure they’re never anonymous, either.

WifeyWednesday175And spread the word! More women need to hear this, because women are not immune to these kinds of temptations, either. Please hit the share buttons below on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter!

Now it’s your turn! If you have any marriage thoughts for us, just link up a marriage post in the Linky Tools below! Please link the URL of the actual post, and not your whole blog. And then link back here so that others can read more about marriage.

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  1. I was actually advised by a professional to use erotica to help with low libido. She had really helped me deal with other issues, but she knew I struggled with dissociation. She recanted her advice when I objected to the use of erotica saying that I wanted to focus on my husband – I didn’t need more images! Staying present has turned out to be better for my libido than any outside influence ever could be. Great post!

    • Sheila says:

      Learning to stay present is so important, Mary–and often so difficult! I think we women need to stop feeding things into our brains that will inhibit the real intimacy we crave.

  2. Sheila, I want to just hug you! I was about to email you today to see if you were going to cover this topic as I know just what book/series you are talking about. I was hoping that you would talk about it because I know that you can put the thoughts into words better than I can on this subject!
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  3. Sheila,
    Thanks for this post! My Hubby & I share our Kindle account as well as our iTunes & Netflix accounts. Besides books, there are also lots of TV shows & movies that can take my focus off my Hubby & start me comparing him to unrealistic men & romantic relationships. I have enough of a problem with just life getting my attention that I don’t want to add stuff to my mind that will make it harder to focus on Hubby.
    Joyfulmomlea recently posted…The difference support makes!My Profile

  4. Thank you for this post, Sheila. I’ve heard the concept of “emotional porn” for women pooh-poohed so much but it’s REAL and it needs to be talked about. Not just “stay away from it”, but what does it look like and why we should avoid it. We’ve heard over and over again that a woman’s greatest sex organ is her MIND. Doesn’t it make sense that the enemy would go at us through that venue? Makes sense to me.
    Melissa recently posted…Little Things…My Profile

  5. Is there anything wrong with reading erotic stories together?

    • learning is fun! says:

      I’m going to make a suggestion that others may or may not agree with, and it’s based on comments made by Sheila and others about dissociation. Since the erotica you’re mentioning is still written BY someone else, ABOUT someone else, it seems to me that even though you’re reading it together, it’s still something other than your spouse that’s ‘turning you on.’ Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if you took turns writing stories TO each other, ABOUT each other, to be kept private by both of you? Thoughts, Sheila?

      • Yes, I really wouldn’t have a problem if you’re both doing it together and coming up with it together, and 1) it’s not secret; 2) it doesn’t focus on “stranger” encounters or otherwise really sinful stuff. Other than that, I think there’s a lot of freedom in marriage! And many couples would benefit from telling each other racy stories (especially if you could make them racy stories about YOU :) ).

    • I agree with what the ladies said below…I think the part that makes it wrong is what Sheila touched on in the post. That when you use something outside of your marriage to get aroused you’re transferring your sexual energy from your spouse. So the excitement isn’t really coming from your spouse but from the elicit words on a page. You may both be there, getting turned on at the same time by the same thing but its really at its core still self absorbed pornographic behavior. The thing that erotic reading does, like all porn, is it takes the focus off of the real greatness of sex – being with, giving to, and arousing ANOTHER PERSON – and makes it all about ME.
      Alecia recently posted…MT Project: Marriage is a CovenantMy Profile

  6. Love this post, mostly because it echoed my thoughts perfectly. I was giving an ereader tablet for my birthday last august & have been very careful about it’s use from the beginning. My husband doesn’t use it often, but sometimes. My kids however want to use it all the time. Now it is loaded with books and games & while some of them are of no intrest to my kids I never wanted to have anything on them that I wouldn’t want them to be exposed too.

    Now my 10yr old daughter just purchased her own kindle fire after months of saving. It is under my account so she has access to all my books and apps and I have access to all of her’s. I also recently purchased another kindle for outdoor use & the whole family will be using it. There are some books that I don’t want the kids to read yet (Hunger Games for instance) but they know the limits, and I check up on things every couple of days.

    This is something we did almost without thinking since it is the same thing with all movies, music, and books that came into the house anyway. We don’t want to have things in the house that we feel are wrong. Although some of our books and movies may not be something that we want them to watch or read yet because of their age’s (3, 8, & 10), none of it is stuff we would be horrified to have them see. This has been a habit for us long before tablets, ereader’s came into the picture.

    • Exactly, Tonia. And I think just knowing that our kids will see it removes the temptation that many women face. And anything we can do to lessen the temptation is a good thing! (Some women, of course, aren’t tempted, but given how many millions are buying erotica this way, I really think we women have to be honest about it).

  7. The only problem I see with sharing accounts with my daughter who LOVES reading is….My husband and I have books we have read together on “What the Bible says about SEX in the marriage bed”. Needless to say I am not ashamed but it is definately not reading material for my 12yr old.

    • Yes, I can see that, T. I think as long as you’re sharing the account with your hubby, you’re okay! But it should be shared with somebody, or at least the receipt going to somebody. But yes, I wouldn’t really want my daughters reading the book I just wrote, either! :)

      • My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book together : )
        I know I’m a little off topic here but, would you happen to have any input on the EVER so popular Amish romance novels that our young ladies like to read? My daughter is 12 and just started reading some by: Shelly Shepherd Grey and of course LoveComes Softly series by: Jannette Oake is a fave of ours: ) Do you think it helps or hinders their veiwpoints in future hubby’s?

        Any moms out there that could offer suggestions for a 12yr old girls kindle would be greatly accepted and appreciated: ))

        • Anonymous Too says:

          Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen are, in my opinion, a must for any young girl. They were for my sisters and I, and I’m very grateful.

        • I think you have to know yourself (or your child) I mean, I can read romantic novels without gaining unrealistic expectations of my husband because I am happy in my marriage and he ‘matches’ the characteristics I like in my heroes (he won’t wear tight, a la Mr Darcy though haha) but when I was younger and in unhealthy relationships I devoured romance novels (and I include even Anne of green gables etc in this – fantasy is fantasy) I read fast and would read several in a day even – and on some level I was longing for something better – someone who felt that way about me, although I didn’t put two and two together then.

          I would probably till keep a dialogue open with her, regardless of whether she is reading Amish romance or something else. I am not sure how to word this – hope it makes sense :)

  8. I must confess that I am recovered/redeemed erotica junky!! As an avid reader, I would purposely choose books that dealt with sex in some form (maybe as an underlined theme or maybe the whole book focused on this.) The problem was that I became dependent on these sex scenes as a means of releasing tension.

    After being convicted by the Holy Spirit (and after a conversation with my husband), I took a step back and noticed that a huge majority of the characters I was reading about were either 1) single 2) having affairs 3) homosexual. None of these were Christian, role models. Very few, if any, of the scenes were about married couples who were having sex together — and solely with each other.

    This past year, I literally threw away about 50 books, which I paid a lot of money for, collectively. I threw them away because I felt if I gave them away or donated them, I would be contributing to someone else’s demise.

    As a result, I have been on a mission to promote sexuality in marriage. I think that people need to hear that sex within a marriage (a man and a woman) is what God intended. And as such, sex is good– great even.

    I am currently writing a series about couples are keeping the spark in their marriages. The book series is intended to be read by couples and/or married people who are looking for examples of Christian married couples who are working out there issues (sex is the underlying theme, not the over all).

    So thank you for this post, Sheila. As usual, you have brought insight to a topic that most people don’t even consider. :)

    • You’re welcome, TC! And that’s great that you’ve come so far. It is humbling when we realize that we’ve gotten sucked in, isn’t it?

    • I am so glad to see this post and all of these responses. I have really struggled with my reading habits in a way I never did before I got a kindle. I have always had my own amazon account, but just today I switched it over to my husband’s because I just need more accountability. I don’t want to have to deal with unnecessary temptation. Also, I know everyone’s situation and struggle is different, but I have decided that even Christian romance is bad for me. The problem is not the books themselves but that that’s where it starts. First I read a Christian romance novel, then I look for something a little more exciting, and pretty soon I am reading books that are nothing less than written porn. I’ve also found that this pattern of behavior erodes my relationship with God, making me ashamed to come before him, driving me away from the prayer I need to keep my focus on God and on my husband. I was so excited to see this post, since there seems to be a lot of equivocating about whether erotic fiction is really as bad as porn, as well as very little support for those who struggle with it.

  9. This is a great post! I actually had to stop myself from reading even clean Christian Romance novels because they made me fall in love with their men instead of my own. It’s so important to be careful about what goes into our minds!
    Heather recently posted…Mr. Monday ~ RespectMy Profile

  10. Rebeca says:

    I’m a novelist who includes romance in her writing, I work in the publishing industry, and I am an avid reader of novels of many genres. I am also a survivor of sex abuse who spent the past two years working through the scars that came from such. And, more importantly than any of that, I’m the wife of an incredible man of God who, every day, redeems this broken woman a bit more.

    He sent me the link to your article because, just last night, I read him passages from an e-novel I’d just finished that had explicit sex scenes. I didn’t know it had that content when I downloaded it. I chose to purchase it because it’s a popular download right now and I stay up on trends so I can perform well in my job. By the time I hit the first sex scene in the story, though, I was clear that these characters were created by someone who had to be intimately familiar with the kind of abuse I suffered. So, I kept reading.

    And my marriage is better for it.

    I agree with the notion that hiding ANY sexual behavior from our spouses is wrong. Sex is for bringing us together, for enriching our relationship. However, my sexual identity wasn’t whole when I met and married my fantastic husband. For the first five years of our marriage, I never initiated a kiss. You can imagine what else he had to deal with. In reading that story yesterday, I found another way to open the door of conversation with my husband. To explain more about the things I struggle with and let him join me in dealing with it. I read him passages and told him about the truth I found in them, about how similar they were to what I knew. He and I connected intimately because I was letting him into my broken places by using the characters from that story.

    I was told once that 90% of Jesus’ words were used to tell story. I haven’t checked to know if that’s true, but the idea behind the claim is valid – stories are powerful mechanisms for sharing truth. They allow us to let our guard down and experience. We are free there to consider the reality with which we are being presented and apply that to our own lives. That’s why Jesus spoke in parable. It works to teach. It works to transmit Truth.

    Now, the story I read didn’t present as “good” sexual behavior that my faith doesn’t condone (homosexuality, affairs, etc.). Had the sex scene been such, I’d have probably closed the book because I’ve already considered those scenarios and dismissed them as inappropriate to put into my mind if I’m going to be a Christian. No, this book had one character bringing the other OUT of harmful sinful behavior. But to show it, the author shared sex scenes and the emotion that happens therein.

    I just wanted to put the thought out there that throwing the baby out with the bathwater is something we do a lot of in the church. It’s harder to know when something is useful and when it isn’t. Easier to say, “Just don’t do any of that. It’s all evil.” It sometimes isn’t, though. Sometimes, it’s right to sit down with the tax collector and talk. Sometimes, God confounds us in what He uses to bring us Truth. I can tell you that, for two years, He grew me and healed me in ways I’d have never foreseen and I have no doubt whatsoever it was all Him. I learned a lot about Him and His love in that process. And one of the other lessons I took away was to always leave room for Him to use the unexpected – the things we dismiss outright – to love us into a closer relationship with Him.

    • Sheila says:

      I would actually agree, Rebeca, because I think that each of us needs to understand what are our weaknesses. I was speaking specifically about erotica, a story written for no other purpose than to arouse, and that’s different than a novel that may have a sex scene in it or two. I think a romance novel which is mostly just sex is dangerous; I think a sweeping, epic novel that includes some sex (or even a rape scene to advance the plot, for instance) isn’t necessarily wrong. I don’t want to paint too broad a brush here. I just think we have to be careful. If you are reading things which are causing you to fantasize about someone other than your husband, or to get aroused without your husband, and then dissociating during sex, that’s wrong and very dangerous and undermines intimacy. If you’re just reading a story that may contain a scene or two, and that’s not the main point, and it’s not a stumbling block for you, then I can see that being okay.

      But you can’t make a blanket statement in either direction. For some people, even a little is too much. Others this really isn’t a temptation. So you just have to be aware of what your own temptations are, and keep the lines of communication open with your husband so that nothing is done in secret. And then keep making sure that the bedroom is truly just for the two of you!

      • I’m somewhat confused about what you think the purpose of a sex scene in a romance novel is? I’ve always had the understanding that it was meant to arouse the reader–even in many cases rape scenes are meant to arouse since “supposedly” many women fantacize rape.

        I feel that romance novels with explicit descriptions of sex are porn for women. Visual porn for men would be no less porn if it was just one to two pictures in a magazine filled with woodworking articles. Likewise porn for women is no less porn if it is just “a novel that may have a sex scene or two.”

        I think that romance novels that skip the sex scenes may be harmful to marriages because they invariably set up an unattainable vision of masculinity. Of course almost all fictional reading is an unattainable version of reality, but I think there is a seduction in the romance novels where women are much more prone to compare their husbands (and find them coming up lacking) to the gorgeous single pastor in the Christian romance novel wooing the single Christian woman than there is a tendency to compare guys to The Hardy Boys.
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  11. I’m glad you wrote this. I used to struggle with reading romance novels, and most of the time they were “clean,” meaning, no sex. But there is still that temptation to then visualize myself in the romantic scenes and take them further. I’ve since seen my problem in reading romance and now very rarely read it. But I know it is an issue for many women, and many may not even realize that it is a problem. To thank you for bringing this up.
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  12. dare i share..i will. i really wanted to read that series, but i’ve decided that i won’t. i’m an avid reader – i read everything, and yes sometimes you’d be amazed at what convicts. i’m curious about the storyline, and i want to know what all the fuss is about.
    but really why i’m not reading the series is because i’ve decided i dont need to fill my head with scenes from the book and then work on getting them out. there was another popular author who went by the name of Zane and i made the mistake of reading one of her books…so many thoughts went through my mind that had nothing to do with sex but more to do with the author’s motivation. erotica is not for me.

    it’s not about the kindle per se, but the subject matter of what you read.
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    • Sheila says:

      Yes, I’d agree, Nylse. The only difference is that the Kindle allows women to do with erotica what the internet allowed men to do with porn–read it in secret. And so we may be tempted to read stuff we would never in a million years buy from an actual store.

      I think you made a good decision! And that’s the real rub, isn’t it? Once those images are in our heads, they’re awfully hard to get out.

  13. My husband in my first marriage was addicted to porn. I myself, loved the good “smut” novel. The love, the romance, the love making. It had me wanting someone like that. I never went outside the marriage, I never even took this to our bed. However, it had me longing for a man like those novels. Interestingly my then husband never could be that man, he could never measure up. Much like I could never measure up to his “porn” woman. I haven’t thought about those books in years and when I read this post it reminded me….
    I haven’t read those in years….

  14. I quit reading popular secular fiction, period. I have a Kindle and I limit myself to Christian fiction, classics, and the occasional well researched “cozy” novel. It was not only the sex, but also the violence and language. The Bible says basically “garbage in, garbage out”. I try to ask myself what Jesus would think sitting next to me. This goes for books, magazines, TV, and movies. Needless to say, I make different choices now.

  15. Sheila,
    I recently have started reading some of your posts and subscribe to your blog. I would love to read your book sometime as well but so far have not obtained it. I really enjoyed this post though. I find it so true. I wanted to say that even as a young unmarried woman I started to realize what books were doing to my thinking. I love Christian fiction, always have and always will; however, I realized that as a young woman searching for love that even those books read too much and consuming me could give me a wrong impression on what a man was to be in my life. I had to limit my reading of even good Christian fiction. I’ve since married one amazing man and we have two kids and the third is coming any day now and I recently joined a book club with some friends of mine. I was enjoying the chance to read through some more popular fiction when I was once again convicted because of sex scenes in books. I realized that reading them was not edifying me or my walk with Christ or my relationship with my husband. So…I appreciate your post because I think that too often even as Christians we think we can disassociate ourselves from what is going on because we are reading it not viewing it. Thanks!

  16. Thanks so much for posting this! I have a Kindle app on my phone and, being cheap and frugal, I really only download free books. Here lately, I’ve been convicted about the content of some of the books, to the point that I now stop reading and delete them.
    I found your blog recently, and I have enjoyed reading it. As soon as I can, I am going to purchase your book.

  17. Glad to see Christians posting on this topic (and book series) that is so relevant! And I totally agree w/you, Sheila. We have to guard our minds, just like we expect our husbands to try to guard theirs. We don’t have to read everything that hits the best-seller list, just to say we have. Whatever we put into our minds is not easily erased–goes onto our hard-drive. If romance opens the door for lustful thoughts, don’t read it. And I can’t imagine that erotica would open ANY other door than to lustful thoughts, same as porn for men. What’s good for the gander is good for the goose!
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  18. SparrowApril says:

    Interesting you should mention this. I’ve recently run into a snag with sharing my Amazon account with my son’s Kindle Fire. When he goes into books it shows books “On the Cloud” by default instead of what is already on his device.

    I’m not very pleased that “The Good Girl’s Guide To Sex” pops up on there every time he goes into books. Amazon really needs to come up with some better options for parental controls (currently the choices are kid on own account / or unlink to your account & re-link when you want to put something on / or disable the Internet – none of those are good solutions because they prevent him from being able to use the things that we bought the FIRE for him to do.)

    The Good Girl’s Guide to Sex is a good, biblical book, but it’s not appropriate for my 13 year old son to have access to. Also I can see where some might say that makes a good opportunity to have a conversation with him, but my son is 13 and autistic… he’s not mature enough for that kind of conversation, yet.

    Just something to think about before sharing your account with a young person.

    • Sheila says:

      Yes, I can see how that’s a big problem. I’m not sure how to solve it, but perhaps if we had parental controls on Kindle devices? That way your husband, for instance, could still see your purchases, but not your kids?

  19. Even though I do almost all of my reading on my iPad (Kindle app), when I pre-ordered the “Good Girls Guide…” I ordered a hard copy. I wasn’t concerned about my husband seeing it, and my kids don’t use the Kindle app….I didn’t want it to show up on my Mother-in-Law’s Kindle Fire! We are close, but not that close! (blush!)

  20. I agree, sort of. First of all, my husband doesn’t care what I read – seriously. That being said I’m a bit more hard on myself that he would ever be. I no longer care for the latest ‘Christian’ romance and even though I’m a book reviewer and trying to stay away from books that purport to be Christian but have romance such as unweds kissing, etc. Back when I only had one Kindle I wouldn’t have used my hubby’s email simply because he never, ever checks it – he gets on maybe once every few months. Now that my 7 year old has her own Kindle, my 10 year old has a Fire and I have my K2 and Fire there really isn’t a way to hide since all our Kindles are hooked up to my email address. I don’t see it as the Kindle or any e-reader being what ruins a marriage it still falls to the woman who is reading this trash, and it doesn’t just have to be erotica of a secular nature, anything that takes away from our relationship with the Lord like Twilight, The Shack, etc can ruin our marriages by letting the most important relationship fall by the wayside.
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  21. Great tips for staying accountable to God AND our family!

  22. Great post, thanks! I just received a Kindle for my birthday, and was perusing the list of FREE Kindle e-books… i downloaded a large number under the “Romance” category that turned out to be soft-core (and some hard-core) porn. I actually read a few before I realized what I was doing. I was looking for some online support and found your blogs… great spot! I’ll be back.

  23. Help me please. My kindle was a gift from my wonderful husband, but ran into THIS EXACT PROBLEM. Now, my husbands trust in me is shot. The worst part is that I never read romance (or other) to become aroused for my husband. I enjoyed reading about the relationships, yes, even though I knew deep down they were completely unrealistic. But anything I shared with my husband was completely organic and between us, not something I’d read. But because his trust in me is gone, he doesn’t believe me. It has become a vicious cycle. And I don’t know how to break it, how to make him see that I am finished with the chapter of my life. We not only now share an amazon account, but he knows all the passwords to my accounts and emails, including work. But it doesn’t seem to be enough. This has been a few months, and i know that it takes time to find and build trust. But he is having a hard time accepting that, it is still fresh, and I’m afraid hes going to leave. I keep telling him its going to take time. I do understand this. But it is so hard. He wonders where I am and who I’m with, even at work or when I’m on call. I have never cheated (physically or mentally) and never will/would. But how do I help him see that us behind me, and in trying to make this work, if he can’t hear or believe what I’m saying? Please, if someone can help break the cycle? I’m devastated, and he’s destroyed. Thanks

    • Alissa, I’m so sorry. And trust certainly does take some time to rebuild.

      It sounds like you would both really benefit from talking to someone, maybe a counselor or a pastor or a mentor couple? Because if it’s been a few months, and you’ve been working on showing him love, then it seems as if there are other deep-seated issues that make trust difficult between both of you. I think talking to someone else is probably worth it; there really is nothing magical you can do to change how he thinks of you. But working on your friendship, demonstrating love bit by bit, and then talking to someone else would likely go a long way.

      I’ve said a prayer for your marriage!

  24. Sheila,
    Thanks for the quick reply and prayers! We’ve spoken with elders and deacons from church, as well as seeing a faith-based marriage counselor (since sept) every couple if weeks. My husband has also recently starting seeing someone on his own. I thought we had made progress, the counselor even mentioned we may be done with her for the time being; now all of a sudden it’s like a tidal wave took him over. Thanks for trying to help, I know there is no magic to bring back trust. I just can’t seem to break the cycle we’re stick in


    • I’m sorry, but there’s no easy answer to that one. There’s no problem with having a preference for romantic movies. Lots of women do! And if they can watch them with their husbands and both snuggle and feel good about it I don’t see the issue. If she’s watching them on her own and it’s making her dissatisfied then there is a problem. Romance in and of itself isn’t wrong; Song of Solomon, after all, is a romance. Romantic stories are age old and are in the Bible. It’s when they become an unrealistic standard that they become a problem. It’s really a similar matter to romance novels which I addressed here.

  26. Thanks for posting this. I found this page by googling how I felt about a book my girlfriend is reading. I’m not comfortable with it. I’m uncomfortable because so many avenues of doubt come into mind when I think of it, as well as that feeling that even if it did spruce things up in the bedroom, I’d feel like a more minor player in it. Questions like, why does this book have such an effect on her when before when it was just me, it wasn’t like this? Makes me sad or hurt or like its not me she’s interested in, just using me as a stand in for fantasies of some other character or man whom, at heart, I don’t resemble. I think of it a lot like a woman looking at porn. I admit as a man I’ve looked at it but I’ve stopped because I’m in a relationship with a woman that I love and I’d never want her to feel like my desire for her is second to anyone else, imaginary or otherwise, I’d never want to even introduce a hint of doubt that she’s the only one I love and therefore the only one I’m satisfied exploring sexuality with.

    So many guys are against it, but have troubles figuring out why or how to explain it so Im glad this is here, it really helps get at the core of their discomfort.

  27. Vivian Thiele says:

    This was very well written. I want to express another area of books that many Christian wives find acceptable but can wreck havoc on the marriage and that is Christian fiction Romance. It can easily lead to frustration because many husbands are not as “spiritual” or strong leaders like they are in the books. Its not wrong to read these books, but we do have to take care not to be trying to compare our husbands to those we read about in the books. We have to remember that those books are just characters created! I love my Kindle and appreciate that there are free books out there for me to get, but I have to also remember that God’s Word is what is really important to fill my head with!

  28. While I definitely agree with the premise that reading erotica in marriage is wrong, and that a Kindle/Nook is a easier way to access such material, it’s not right to blame the Kindle solely for ruining marriages. The responsibility lies with the reader/user of the device.

  29. Wow, it’s staggering to me how much info there is on the internet about this problem. I’ve been dealing with it as a husband for the past few years. The one click purchase on kindle is my wife’s best friend. I would have to agree with what Steve said above. I feel so inadequate as a husband and the couple times we’ve spoken about it, in her mind, there’s nothing wrong with reading and it’s her way to “relax”. Well that relaxing is more like an addiction like I’ve never seen.
    It’s about to destroy our marriage in fact because I can’t live up to these joker characters which I’ve told her and again she claims our issues have nothing to do with that (which is pure untruth).
    Thanks for this great post.

    • Will, I would tend to agree with you that perhaps many women/wives feel that reading theses types of books are harmless. And I would also agree that wives are simply deceiving themselves much the way that we men deceive ourselves into thinking that watching porn is harmless.

      My story starts back in 2011. I noticed that my wife was doing a lot of reading on her iPhone. At the time, I was aware that she was reading various romance novel type of books. As we approached the holidays, my son and I chipped in to buy her a Kindle for Christmas. It was odd because she would not use the Kindle as much as she was her iPhone. It was not until December of 2012 that I learned that she went from reading romance novels downloaded from Amazon or B&N, to reading soft core books to then reading hard core erotics which included group sex, BDSM, etc. Unfortunately, it did not stop there. She began watching pornography to in my opinion, satisfy the visual aspect of what she was reading.

      Now, here comes the hard part and more of the back story. At the beginning of 2012, our familiar spirits crossed paths which then crossed paths with our closest friends (another married couple). Innuendo’s of group sex began to find it’s way in our conversations. My wife said she would never be interested in actually playing it out, so it simply remained fantasy talk in our bedroom. Keep in mind, that I was completely unaware that she had been reading erotic novels and watching various types of porn without my knowledge. Several months later, the group sex act actually took place at our friends home. This happened only once. However, I found out some months later, that my wife had created a relationship with our best friends husband well before any physical contact was ever made. However, once the physical act took place, they met with each other several times before I found out.

      Here’s the kicker, all four of us were Christians at the time and heavily involved in our church. We were proof that one thing can lead to another and that it can happen to anyone. I understand that we tempted fate and opened doors that we should not have opened and believe me, the pain and suffering that has taken place over the last few years is beyond description. In fact, at work today, I had to find an empty room to simply cry and pray because the pain is still ever so present.

      As I was reading this article and the responses, my heart became heavy because the reality that so many men and women (husbands and wives) are falling pray to porn or erotic books and it is having a devastating affect on marriages across the world. I personally have struggled with sex addiction / pornography most of my life, but I am getting to a point where it is simply a turn off to me. It’s simply not worth going there. I am thankful to God that he is giving me strength in this area.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I would like some advice on this subject.

    My wife has gotten increasingly more interested in romance novels, which is where this started, and has now been into erotica more frequently lately that I have noticed. I know the way into her account even though I am not supposed to know, and have found that she has been purchasing more erotica, most of which takes place if I am gone or after I have fallen asleep, even when I am just in the other room! I have confronted her about this subject, which she completely denies to my face. When I brought proof forward, she insists that she reads these books for the romance, and if she ever does get excited, she comes and gets me, which I know to be a lie because I have caught her before and seen her hide when I enter the room. Even then she denies this.

    I have also noticed that my wife has been buying a lot of Taboo stuff, daddy/daughter, stepfather ect….Never in my life would I expect this to interest her, but it makes me wonder why and what excites her about it? I am not against this, I know everyone has fantasies and fetishes, but why would she hide it from me? Is she embarrassed? I am open to many ideas, if she would be open about it, I would play along for her benefit.

    She says she wants more romance from me, but I have done everything I can think of and still seems to fall short, I am a dedicated husband and father who contributes on every level. I have a feeling that people I have talked to are right, they say that these books build an images of a man that few can live up to. Not sure if this is accurate, but I have even asked what I could do to make it better with her, to which she responds “I should know what to do”… she has told me before, and I do it all.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] I’m linking up with Wifey Wednesday! Hop on […]

  2. […] To Love, Honor and Vacuum […]

  3. […] “Why Kindles Can Wreck Your Marriage” by Sheila Wray Gregoire @ To Love Honor and Vacuum […]

  4. […] To Love, Honor and Vacuum – Finding God After Pornography and Why Kindles Can Wreck Your Marriage […]

  5. […] wrote this article on How Kindles Can Wreck Marriages, which addresses ways to guard ourselves by uncovering secrets and staying accountable with one […]

  6. […] written some posts about the phenomenon generally, talking about how erotica & Kindles provide a temptation we need to look out for. And last weekend, in the Reader Question of the Week, I posted a question […]

  7. […] Why Kindles Can Wreck Your Marriage […]

  8. […] These novels were written to be titillating, and I really don’t think there’s a huge difference between this and porn. It’s “soft porn”, and indeed many women find themselves far more aroused by reading something like this than they would be watching porn on a computer. So women who devour novel after novel like that aren’t that much different from men who watch porn all night. I’ve written more about the dangers of erotica, too. […]

  9. […] also want to say that God does set prisoners free. He sets people free who are enslaved to porn, or erotica, or fantasy, or alcohol, or gambling. He sets people free who are enslaved to wrong self-concepts […]

  10. […] erotica novels, please take the time to read Sheila Gregoire’s post addressing this issue, Why Kindles Can Wreck Your Marriage.  Even though her post is addressed to married women, I believe a single woman can glean from what […]

  11. […] post is linked up over at 5 Minute Friday: Together and Wifey Wednesday. Go check out some of the other great “unedited” posts over […]

  12. […] OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE BLOGGERS ASSOCIATION  Commenting on “mommy porn”How Kindles Can Wreck Your Marriage by Shelia Gregoire, also see Wifey Wednesday in how to support your friends’ marriages.Porn […]

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  14. […] you buy erotica on your Kindle, it can be discovered. If you use porn, your history is never really gone. If you sign up for […]

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