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

The Effects of Porn--a Must Read!

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. The effects of porn are devastating.

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. And so today, on Top 10 Tuesday, I thought I’d share:

Top Ten TuesdayThe Top 10 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 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 save yourself until marriage, 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 can’t associate arousal and release with a person anymore. Either you have to fantasize about the porn, and get those images there, 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 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.

3. Porn 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”. Sex is about getting my needs met; it isn’t about meeting someone else’s needs or experiencing something wonderful together.

4. Porn 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, sex becomes 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.

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.

Making love and having sex are not necessarily the same thing.

5. Porn 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; most 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.

6. Porn 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 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.

8. Porn 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 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.

9. Porn 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 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.

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, this post may help:

Marriage Recovery after a Pornography Addiction

Dayspring My Chains are Gone

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 almost impossible, without a major work of God in your life. Tell them the truth.

Covenant EyesAnd 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–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!

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!

UPDATE: I’ve been asked in the comments and on Facebook to provide citations, so I’ve created this infographic with a few. There’s tons more research at Fight the New Drug, and many other sites.

Top 10 Effects of Porn on Your Marriage and Sex Life: Click through for tons more information and explanations.



Comments

  1. I just wanted to add to #7 “Porn Trains You to Have Immediate Gratification and Have a Difficult Time Lasting Long”:
    The opposite is quite frequent as well. Erectile Dysfunction and Delayed Ejaculation are common symptoms of long term porn / masturbation use, and delayed ejaculation is rarely talked about as a sexual problem, though it affects a lot of people.
    Jay Dee – SexWithinMarriage.com recently posted…Birth Control Options for ChristiansMy Profile

  2. heldinhisgrip says:

    I struggle with several of these symptoms, and it’s not from porn use, but from erotic romance novels. As a teen I snuck them in the library, and as a single adult I discovered even more erotica available online as free ebooks. I got married later in life, and sex has been a struggle for me because of all the rewiring of my brain that took place as a teenager.

    • THANK YOU for saying that! That’s so true, too. Erotica can have the same effects, as I’ve written about before. It is really scary, and we need to guard our hearts (and our brains).

  3. Excellent post about the damage porn causes to the user and the marriage. One of the most interesting studies I recall (and I can’t find the reference just now) involved asking participants whether they would engage a number of actions, some of them quite violent toward another; then the participants were shown a lot of porn and the questions were re-asked. Following the porn use, participants were more likely to answer that they would engage in violent, even forceful actions against someone else. The researchers chalked it up to the objectification of people through porn imagery — it no longer seemed so awful to take what you wanted from someone if you could view them as a tool for your own ends. Very sad.

    I love what Pastor James MacDonald has often said: When God says “Don’t,” He’s saying “Don’t hurt yourself.” He knows the consequences of sin have negative ramifications for us, and we need to recognize His heart is to save us from that hurt.
    J at HotHolyHumorous recently posted…Not Quite Right Messages about SexMy Profile

  4. Thank you for this post! It was very informative and an eye opener. I caught my husband watching porn once and I felt shattered inside. My self esteem went down and I started blaming myself for not being “perfect” enough for him, but now I’ve changed my perspective on things. I shared this article with him and I hope he understands and never watches porn again. I truly believe that it does ruin one’s marriage and instead of looking forward to making love the man wants to have rough unpleasant sex. I love your blog, you are an amazing woman thank you for sharing your wise words with us. :-)

  5. I have been married for thirty years. About six weeks into my marriage, when I was a very inexperienced 22, my 29 year old husband asked me to join him in renting porn movies for the weekend. He said that it was ‘something most people did,’ that it would ‘enhance’ our sex life, and that he liked to look at porn occasionally and it was something ‘all guys did.’ So I went along with it. Over the years, the porn sessions were sporadic, usually 3-6 times a year, but after a few years, another feature was added to our sex life. About ten years into marriage, whether the porn was present or not, my husband started asking me questions about previous boyfriends and what we did, explicit questions. My past experiences had been pretty minimal, and many of them very negative, but he liked to (and alcohol helped me to do this) basically interrogate me, which stimulated him no end. I began making up lurid details and encounters, LYING, in order to entertain him. Which, in the long run, in the light of day, made him become a very jealous person, and even though I told him that I was concocting these stories for his entertainment, he began to mistrust me, and he believed everything. By day, we were the perfect Christian homeschooling family, and by night, I was a drunken whore. I felt very empty. Many times, during the porn movies, I hid my eyes and just became a sperm receptacle after the movie was over. I told my husband my feelings, many times. I told him that I thought it was wrong, that it made me feel like a prostitute, etc., etc. And over and over, he said it was good, and that it was what I should do as a loving wife.

    A few years ago I had some severe stress-related health problems, and it was then that I began to see and work on that unhealthy dynamic, along with a lot of other unhealthy boundaries, etc. in our marriage. Doing things against my conscience was literally destroying me as a person. I repented, and I renounced my participation in that sin. However…to this day, my husband maintains that everything we did was part of a healthy sex life using erotica in the marriage bed, and he says that I never complained to him about it, that I expressed only satisfaction, and that by renouncing the use of porn and the way those stories brought all the other people and lies into our bedroom, that I have ‘ruined any good memory of our sex life.’ He has been punitive.

    We now exist in a sexless, loveless marriage, for the sake of our children. Every day for me is a struggle. I suspect that he uses porn and masturbates. Several times previously, he said that he felt justified in using porn and masturbating because I wouldn’t give him what he needs, though presently he denies that he uses it. We have separate bedrooms and he does not want to sleep with me, telling me that he is ‘over it’ and at a certain point (he is 60) men ‘don’t have the same needs they had when they were younger.’ He is totally unconcerned that our teenage children might be looking at porn on the internet, saying that it is an “American rite of passage.” He says he loves God but will not go to church, will not encourage his children to go to church, and does nothing to teach/lead/encourage me or the children. He will not talk about relationship issues, will not go to counseling.

    What does a wife do when the husband actually defends the use of porn as legitimate in a Christian marriage? He isn’t sorry, and he denies that his actions have caused me or our family any harm. He blames me for ruining our relationship. He has accused me of being unfaithful with multiple people. Our marriage is rotten to the core, and I am confused as to whether staying for the sake of the children is healthy at all. What they are seeing as a marriage is not anything that they should emulate.

    • Scarlett says:

      Maybe this post is too explicit and inappropriate for this blog. I am okay with it being deleted, if that is the case.

      • Scarlett,

        Not too explicit at all. Porn can steal your soul and I myself had struggles with it in my marriage. I would defend its use saying its harmless and tell my wife every man does it. Fact is, I was wrong. Every man who truly loves his wife will not participate in such actions. I wanted to stop for years as I began with pornography at a young age, probably 10-11 years old. In my twenties I wanted to stop but my wife would get so upset when I tried to speak with her about it that I would lie about looking at it and tried to stop myself. This never worked and I continued. Ultimately she brought to my attention how seriously it affected her emotionally by asking me to move out and eventually we would be divorced. Fortunately it never came to that. As she bawled and cried and angrily told me to leave I realized how deep it hurt her. I’m not an advocate for divorce or even using the threat of it as an option of recovery really. But in your situation after so many years and so much selfishness and lack of consideration for anyone but himself, perhaps your best option would be to tell him you are done and you want him out. Maybe this is the wake up call he needs. My wife wasnt so openly willing to help me stop as you seemingly would be, so I had to struggle on my own when I wanted to stop, but seeing how you have been very willing to help him and he has no desire, unfortunately that translates to having no desire for you in my opinion. If he truly loves you he will see the err of his ways like a ton of bricks hitting him.

      • Mrs. S. says:

        Scarlett …. your post makes me weep. Because I am headed down the same path. My dh wants me to be his “sperm receptical” and the pressure is immense. I hate it. I have given him all my logic, Scripture, etc.

        It started about 2yrs ago for us, he has admitted that he is simply “bored” with me. I was very very innocent when we married, and 7yrs in he admitted to looking at porn a few times a year so he can “have something to think about” while he had sex with me.

        I was shocked. Ok, that makes me seem dumb and naive. I was. I was!

        I have said yes to his demands, and many many many times NO, and occasionally been raped. It is easier to convince myself that I want to, than to be raped. I never know which direction he will go, but it gets more and more difficult to climax with “just me”. And I like to think I’m not ugly, but I can’t compete with airbrushed, squealing models 10yrs younger than me – no one can, really …..

        He isn’t gentle with my anymore. I feel like a whore. I climax even when I have no desire to, trying to please him. I try to put on a show in hopes that he won’t turn to the computer or get angry with me.

        I fear we are headed into a sexless marriage, too, which is devastating to me as I’ve always had a high drive. I LOVE sex! I would love to have it every day – and we used to – but the porn has made him dissatisfied.

        He knows it hurts me, but deep down, he doesn’t feel it’s really wrong, either.

        Sometimes I have hope that God is at work. He read the Bible in 90 days this year, and it was like a 3mo honeymoon!!! But after that, it was all over. Now he is pushing me for either porn or anal, and I have tried and tried and it hurts. I have bled for a week + afterwards. But given the choice, I wish I worked. But in a year or two, the novelty will wear off and he’ll want something new.

        I try so hard not to hate my life. God help me, we have 5 small children together and I have no where to go …..

  6. “My chains are free. I’ve been set free..” People need to clearly know the hope they have in Christ. He died on the cross to not only save us from our sins but to free us from them. We are new creatures in Christ with the power of the risen Lord living inside of us. There is hope for porn users. They need to begin believing it, knowing who they are in Christ, and walking in the freedom He has provided. They need to be transformed by the renewing of their mind with God’s Truth by spending a lot of time meditating upon God’s Word and His many promises to us. There is NO sin that He can not deliver us from!
    Lori Alexander recently posted…Keeper At Home ~ A Horrible Expression?My Profile

  7. So what do you do when you meet with a pastor and he says what’s wrong with him…husband…watching it? Really I thought they were too teach it is wrong

    • Not to be flippant, but you get a new church! If your pastor doesn’t think porn is wrong, your pastor is not walking properly with God, and you won’t be getting good teaching there. Or you go to the elders and make it known that this is what your pastor is saying. That’s a really dangerous thing, and I’m so, so sorry that that was the response you were given!

  8. blessedxs8 says:

    Thank you for this article! My husband and I have been together for almost 17 years together 16 years married. My husband grew up around porn as a teen. His former step dad watched hard core porn openly not hiding it at all. Thankfully over the last 17 years my husband has never bought any porn but has come acrossed it at work a few (about maybe 5) times. Instead of fleeing when he comes acrossed it he will peek to see if it has changed at all since the last time he has seen it. Almost all of the times he has picked it up I have found it. And it has devastated me. He says he’s actually glad I find it because he feel really bad and shameful about it. Last May I found it the last time and our marriage was almost done. It opened his eyes wide open to the pain this last time that it caused me. And does not want to lose his family over it. He is very remorseful. He says he does not think about it in between times of coming acrossed it and it’s not a temptation to buy it etc. But the few times he was faced with it has made a poor choose to grab it instead of flee. He has made a promise to me that the next time he comes acrossed it he will immediately call me. I am praying he will and believe he will. But your fb page and blog has been instrumental in me not leaving this last time. Also I really hate that we even went through all this this past year but so much good has come from it. We used to intimately kiss maybe once a year. And we didnt say I love you to eachother except maybe a coupke times a year. Not that neither of us didn’t wanted it, but that we were waiting for the other to initiate it. Since last May we now hard eachother very tightly, kiss everyday, and say I love you all day long. Oh and our sex life is way more intimidate! We actually kiss now during! ;) but I am very grateful to the ministry God has laid on your heart. It has helped us tremendously! I especially liked today article at the end about the grace part. And if your husband came acrossed it as a teen. It helps me all the more to want to fight for our marriage and help my husband in anyway I can! Thank you :)

  9. blessedxs8 says:

    Opps *couple and hug* were spelt wrong! ;)

  10. Do you have evidence you can cite for each of these assertions?

    Your brain can’t associate arousal and release with a person anymore after watching porn?
    People who watch porn aren’t turned on by their spouses?
    If you masturbate, the hormones released during orgasm stop having a bonding effect during sex?
    People who watch porn find regular sex boring?
    People who watch porn find it difficult to be gentle/tender during sex?
    Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction?
    Selfishness in relationships?

    These are all neurobiological, physiological, and psychological claims that seem easily testable, so I’m wondering if you know of studies that examine them. It may seem like I’m trying to refute your claims, but I’m really just interested in what has been verified as true. I’m very skeptical of these kinds of claims without sources to back them up. Honestly, I would be surprised if all of this was true, because it’s FAR from my experience. But if I saw the data, I could at least admit that my experience isn’t the norm and agree that porn on the whole is bad for society. I’m guessing you probably won’t publish my comment though, because it suggests another point of view here.

    • I’ve read so many books and studies on it lately I don’t know where to start! Google “sexual attention deficit disorder” and Ian Kerner (who is a secular researcher) who has been doing a ton of research on this. The book Pornified goes into all of it, although it’s a few years old now and ahead of its time. The best website with all the science would be Your Brain on Porn which has a TON of links to scientific studies, and deals especially with the problems of arousal, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, etc.

      Michele Weiner Davis, in her book The Sex Starved Wife, talks at length about how the #1 reason that men no longer want sex is that they’re using porn, and how this relates to ED and premature ejaculation as well.

      Dr. Oz has a four-part video series on it here.

      Covenant Eyes also has some ebooks you can download with the scientific studies laid out–browse down to the bottom of this page for their report on Your Brain on Porn. But that’s a Christian resource (all the other ones were not) and you may not give it as much credence.

      Hope that helps!

  11. purplecandy says:

    I know you already talked about that in some of your older posts, but will you write a top ten ways to get over porn ? whether it is an addiction or just the memory of things seen without wanting to see them ?

    I’ve always found porn degrading, but reading your post I get so angry at the fact that it is out there everywhere and nothing’s done to prevent it from reaching our homes. I lived in some countries where *lots* of websites were not accessible (except for some hackers or something) due to their political stances, but here in the west, it seems impossible to purely and simply block all of those porn websites ? I long for our politicians to take strong actions, if they believe porn has to be a “right” for some, let it be only in those sex shops that we can choose not to enter… I really hate the idea that through my internet connection, I potentially let all of this enter my home…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Is the Pavlov’s dog comparison really accurate? In that experiment the researcher removed the steak (sex) but continued to ring the bell (porn) and when the bell rang the dog was “aroused”. I don’t believe the experiment said that the steak was no longer satisfying or “arousing” without the bell. The experiment showed that a stimulus, followed closely by a reward, would generate the reward response as soon as the stimulus was provided. If we rang a bell, and then allowed someone to have satisfying sex, the person would eventually become aroused at the bell. Nothing in the experiment suggested that the reward stopped becoming rewarding simply because it was preceded by a stimulus.

    This doesn’t say that some of what you have listed as your top ten or wrong, but the comparison to that research makes little sense.

    • Anonymous, you’re right. When I was typing it I knew the analogy wasn’t perfect–after all, the dog would still salivate to the steak. But I used it because I knew most people were familiar with Pavlov’s dog and so would understand that you could “train your brain” to be aroused to something other than what you were supposed to get aroused with. But you are right–the analogy does fall apart after that!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Fair enough! Thanks for the acknowledgement.

  14. Thank you for talking about this on your blog, Sheila. When I read it I resolved to speak with my teenage daughters about it on our next mother/daughters time together, which was yesterday.

    After some initial embarrassment on their parts, they both admitted to seeing it and sometimes watching it through various chatroom type websites they access and we were able to have a frank discussion about the dangers of porn and how it can affect their future relationships. They just thought it was normal – “all” their friends watch it which I found very sad.

    The only exposure to porn that I have had is through a magazine a friend bought for me because she thought I should be “educated” in what penises look like when I was 18 and very naïve (I was too embarrassed to do more than look at the first page), and a film my ex-husband made me watch because he thought it would help my libido (it didn’t). I used to struggle a bit with erotica – again introduced by my ex – but after finding your blog when my friend shared a link on FB to your blog about 50 Shades a few years ago I realised that that was also unacceptable and I have not read any since and I’m pleased to say it has not been necessary with my new (and so different) husband.

    I find it so sad that my daughters and so many of their friends (bear in mind they are only 16 and 14) have seen explicit porn – including some really sick stuff from what they were describing.

    We were also able to have a conversation about being in a loving and trusting relationship where you can ask for things and your partner can ask for things but that both should be able to say no without any repercussions.

    They are both young but to my pain, neither of them “do God” as they put it and don’t see a problem with having sex outside of marriage. In fact, my eldest did have sex with her last boyfriend (after they’d been together for 6 months) but this conversation did help us talk a bit more openly about that and it sounds like it wasn’t a very satisfactory experience for her (it was the first time for both of them) so I’m hoping that she will take it more seriously with her new boyfriend.

    So, the long and the short of this is – thanks Sheila. I find your blog so helpful and have pointed quite a few of my friends in your direction.

    • Hi Liz,

      It sounds like that must have been a really emotional discussion–but such a needed one! Way to go for addressing something that’s really uncomfortable to talk about, but so important.

      I’m sorry that your older daughter made that decision, but I really think that this can be used for good in her life, and in her younger sister’s life. Just keep talking–that’s the way to keep real truth getting through to them. I’ll pray that they start to see how much God loves them and what He wants for them, too.

      • Thank you so much for your prayers Sheila, they are much appreciated. A big area needing prayer is my daughters’ friendship group. She has fallen out with the worst girl, who was her best friend but was pressurising her into sex having lost her own virginity at 14, but is still hanging around with a group who love tattoos, body piercings, smoking and drinking energy drinks and alcohol when they can get it. She is quite sensible and assures me she will never start smoking but she is very taken with the idea of multiple piercings and tattoos which I am really not keen on!

        • Wow, that’s tough. One bit of advice that I once heard that I really agree with is this: often when our kids start acting up we focus on the SYMPTOMS: the tattoos, the piercings, the language, the sex, the drinking, etc. That tends to lead to major conflict and isn’t always that productive. Instead we need to focus on the heart issues. Is it really pure rebellion, or is it a search for purpose, for meaning, for love? Often kids just want belonging and meaning–for their lives to mean something. If that’s the case, then focusing on that need, rather than the symptoms, and talking about that need, can help a whole lot more. Hope that makes sense!

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            THERE IS A GREAT BOOK CALLED
            ‘BEYOND GENDER ROLES’
            AND MANY OTHER GREAT BOOKS ON WOMENS ISSUES IN THE CHURCH.
            I FIND THAT
            if one person always give in, she becomes enabling, and essentially a child in the relationship.
            AS A CHRSTIAN STEPHENS MINISTRY COUNSELOR, I SEE MANY WOMEN WHO HAVE LEARNED TO JUST NOT HAVE A VOICE ANY MORE, AND TO ENABLE BAD BEHAVIOR BY PASSIVITY.
            WOMEN LOSE THEIR VOICE.
            it often translates to codependency.

            JD

  15. I really need some help here and don’t know what to do. Almost 2 years ago it all hit the fan here and long story short in ONE afternoon I found out that my 20 year marriage was all a lie. Weird things went on over the years but there was always a reason or I was told this or that and some things I did just over look, you know I picked and chose my battles. I found out that my husband has been doing porn and fantasizing about other woman and masturbating while we only had SEX once a month if I was lucky. And I was always a willing participant, I never withheld from him. He had told me one time he didn’t need porn and he didn’t look at other woman that I was all he needed but it was a lie. He was always to tired from work or stressed because of a bill or something. When we did have sex it was like it was a chore. No passion, just him doing his business and then rolling over. He tells me that since moving out almost two years ago that he has not done any porn or masturbation that he was just able to quit without any therapy with it so he says he doesn’t have a problem any more.

    I then found out November 2012 that my husband has Antisocial (sociopath), borderline and narcissistic traits. but he only had a partial evaluation based on limited information. And about 12 counselors think he also has adult high functioning aspergers.

    We have been separated for almost two years and he has not been to a therapist more that a few times, as soon as they say something he doesn’t like he stops going. We have been to several marriage counselors and as soon as they say this is not fixable he calls another. He has even been told that he should never be in a relationship with anyone. There has been 26 counselors total in 18 months and thousands of dollars wasted that we don’t have, he even filed for bankruptcy after he moved out. I went to marriage counseling when he wanted at first was because I wanted this to work but now it is because I feel I need to believed, but part of me still wants it to work. I don’t know how to deal with all this. it will always be there.

    I went to therapy but therapy got me no where. YA, ya I know I deserve better and deserve to be treated better but how do you get over the fact that the last 20 years were all lies and you have children with someone that never really loved you and your whole life, hopes and dreams are gone and move on? I know now it was all lies but I am having a real hard time letting go. I can’t divorce him for several reasons while our kids are under 18. And that is also a problem how do you love someone and think they are your sole mate one day and the walk away the next. My therapist just kept telling me to get out and meet new people but I can’t do that in this small town we live in, everyone here knows us. This is all making me nuts I have paid my therapist money I don’t have and am just as confused today as the first time I went. I live with my 12 year old twins and they are all the human contact I have. I have no friends anymore or family. I don’t live in an area where I can just go for a walk to see people either. 5 years ago he bought a house in the middle of no where. Town is 25 miles from my house. I think now he did this on purpose to me. I feel like I am in jail. I need help but no one understands his conditions around here

    I know at this point I will never have what I wanted out of life. I can’t really start over. I never wanted my children to be from a broken home. I can’t start over with anyone else. I’m 46, 5 children total, 2 at home, no work history – he wanted me to be a stay at home mom, health issues. My therapist said it will take at least 10 years to get over this. (56yrs old) are you kidding me and I am suppose to have hope.

    I have tried to let him be around me but he just wants to act like nothing has happened. He tells me that I need to get help to get over what he has done so I will forget about it.

    20 years together he has never given me a birthday party yet he gets one every year. He has never taken me out to dinner alone. he has never done anything for our anniversary.when I lost over 25 pounds going from 150 to under 125 (baby weight) he never said I looked good. He would rather be at work than home alone with me. He won’t take a day off of work and spend it alone with me, he has the luxury to do this but doesn’t, then he tells me he will loose his job if he takes a day off. I know for a fact this will not happen. he has had this job for almost 30 years. He found a job that no one really cares enough to see what he does. But he will take off work for something he wants to go do. Man I am rambling on, I will stop. Can anyone shed some light on this for me, please

    • Oh Tina, I can’t help you really but I felt I had to reply with a virtual (((hug))) and to let you know that you will be in my prayers.

      God bless. x

    • I hear you tina. I have had similar experiences.
      I believe in NOW IN
      MUTUAL SUBMISSION,
      MUTUAL RESPECT
      MUTUAL LOVE
      if one person always give in, she becomes enabling, and essentially a child in the relationship.
      I am praying for you..
      love yourself and keep praying.
      you are worth more than that.
      JD

  16. anonymous2 says:

    Mike,

    I have a few questions for you. My boyfriend is in a similar situation as you were, and I don’t know what to do. :,( Are you still following this blog?

  17. Katherine says:
  18. losinghope says:

    After just 3 years of marriage I am losing all hope because of my husbands porn habits. It started early on in our marriage even though I was promised before our vows that he was not “into that” and that I was “more than enough to satisfy” him. After a positive conversation he agreed to stop and that was that. Fast forward through two very difficult pregnancies, a painful back injury and financial problems and stress, and many fights about porn, and here we are. I have always had a very strong libido. If it were up to me we would make love passionately and in creative ways every day, sometimes more (as we did at first), staying connected and excited with each other constantly. I keep myself up and work on being sexy, including working hard to lose my pregnancy weight, flirting, wearing sexy outfits, etc, but its never enough. The porn has led to him needing different. This first came in the form of wanting me to be pleased by another man. This was appalling to me. It literally scared me and made me physically ill. But after months of fighting and begging and coercion, afraid to lose my husband and father of my child I agreed to fulfill his fantasy. That was the first piece of my soul I gave away. Since then I have done things I never thought I would and I hate myself. He has now admitted he thinks he is bisexual and cannot become aroused or get off unless I am telling him a fantasy about him with another man or he is watching porn during sex. It has come to the point where I don’t even want him to touch me. He doesn’t talk to me, connect with me, listen to me, hold me. He just gets horny and wants sex and then ignores me after. We went from having the best sex of my life and his to me being repulsed by him. I have no idea what to do. He lies and says he will quit porn but I know he has no intention and now just blames me for not “putting out”. I am lost. Is there any hope?

    • I am so sorry you’re going through this, and totally understand your turmoil.

      Let me offer some thoughts here. It seems as if what you’ve been doing so far is “enabling” him. I absolutely know that was not your intention, and you just wanted to find that “sexy” side of your marriage again, but you gave in to fantasies that he had and you’re letting him pull the strings, consenting to doing things you know are wrong and that you hate.

      The more you do this, the more he will watch porn and the more he will ask you to do even more bizarre things.

      Your husband may not even be bisexual; when men get into a porn habit, “regular” sex is no longer enough, and so they turn to new things. It’s the “newness” that becomes sexy. So perhaps he’s feeding bisexual fantasies not because he’s bisexual at heart but because the porn has affected his arousal process so that it’s something new and extreme that he wants.

      Your marriage will not get better while he is watching porn and while he is asking you to do horrible things. He is cheating.

      I think you need to draw a line and say, “no more”. Often giving people a stark choice jolts them. But he will not get better with you just begging him or giving in to him. He has to understand what he’s doing and how he’s jeopardizing the marriage.

      I’m sorry it’s so hard for you. I pray that you’ll find someone to talk to who can guide you through this and help you set appropriate boundaries with him.

  19. I totally agree that porn is addictive. I was addicted too it since 12 years old. Pretty much masturbated every day. It gave me a warped view of what love was, how a woman was suppose to be and act. Never had girlfriend growing up and met my wife when I was 23. Never had sex with anyone, never knew what do expect, only what i had seen. I guess I was “disappointed” in how “boring” it was. Now being 41 having been married for 17 years to my beloved wife, sex is fun if it happens. (my wife has many medical issues) You don’t have to go out your way to try to impress your spouse. You take your time and just enjoy whatever you want to do. I always had problem with Premature Ejaculation. I read could be from being overstimulated from masturbating every day. That itself is as addicting as porn its very hard to not do it. But I am also on two different kinds of blood pressure meds, one a beta blocker. Which has caused a bit of a problem to attain and maintain (ED). But as for porn I’m not addicted to it any longer. But occasionally catch myself getting a desire for it. Kind of like smokers get when they quit smoking. But I don’t allow it to control my life as it did. If it happens I tell my wife and we talk about it and we pray. No arguing, no harsh words. Never keep anything from your spouse. Always be up front and honest. If you have a problem talk about it and solve it together. Share your fantasies. And enjoy each other. But porn really have no room in a good home.
    Thanks

  20. I stumbled across this website this morning and I am so happy that I did. I actually caught my husband (of only 11 months) looking at porn this morning before he left for work, when he came in to tell me bye I told him that I didn’t think what he was looking at was very appropriate. He played the I don’t know know what you’re talking about, acting dumb spill. I said I am not dumb and went and laid back down. He came in to our room and said what? Looking at porn? I said yes, he said well I have to please myself some way since you aren’t hardly ever in the mood and he didn’t think anything was wrong by it. I told him that looking at porn is not being faithful in our marriage and I cannot and will not compete with that, he said I’m not asking you too. I said I know but doing that would make me. I told him that him lusting after other women and fantisizing about them is being unfaithful. It will destroy a marriage.
    Let me give a little background on why he says this about me not pleasing him. I am 5 months pregnant and I have little to no desire to have sex because it hurts but I know there are other ways to please him and to help him please himself but he isn’t open with me about this. We have had problems with this in the past as well as him cheating on me and each time he apologizes,stops looking at it, or so I think and everything’s fine until the next time. It hurts so bad because I feel as though I’m not good enough, and I hate that I can’t give him the desires of his heart. With him struggling with this time and time again I just can’t see him wanting to change and be the Godly husband and soon to be dad that he needs to be. I can not worry and deal with the stress from this problem in our marriage. It’s not healthy for me or for our baby. I want to give up so bad but I remember why I have held on for so long.. We have been through so much and we have made it through all of the obstacles that life has thrown at us and I know this is another one we can overcome but he has to have to want to get over this issue..

  21. It took me several months to figure out what the problem in my relationship was really about. I had relationships in the past in which my SO used porn, and even watched with them at times. For me it always seemed phony and tho many of the actors were attractive I had a much better sex life than anything I ever watched. My orgasms were real and I enjoyed his inside me.
    Doc over in that my new guy was a habitual porn viewer, enjoyed cross dressing, was most turned on by shemale sex, and my sex life became nonexistent, I asked him the question. “Are you gay?”
    He admitted that he had been confused by that at one time in his life, tried to have a gay relationship, but did nothing for him. Felt completely wrong.
    After seeking information because I loved much about him, and trying to find acceptance for what I could not understand, I came across the website, Your Brain on Porn, and saw the true answer to everything that I couldn’t understand. I recently gave him an ultimatum. I refuse to share my lover with the thousands of people he shares intimacy with instead of me. In my mind he is a cheat. I am no longer interested in his attempts to pacify me sexually and finish the job with others on the screen. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but I am done with this joke of a relationship. Sadly, he does love me alot and there is much about him I really love, but this is a deal breaker for me. He has lost many relationships over this. He says he is going to end this behavior in order to save our relationship. He has admitted to me that all his fetishes have been about his need fir stranger and kinkier sex in order to orgasm. I am now seeking advice on how I should behave toward him and how to hold him accountable to his promise. I’m struggling with the fact that I should not have to watch over a grown adult in this manner. I’m really angry, and feel no real compassion toward this right now. Only feel betrayal and that I’ve wasted my time on a lying, cheating, sneeky loser.
    Will I ever be able to find trust in Him again? Is this worth fighting for? I don’t want to waste any more of my life on the hope of something real and honest from him. If he really wants this, would he not have figured this out by now, and saved the relationships he has lost in the past?

  22. Lindsey says:

    My husband and I have been married a little over a month. I can count on 1 hand how many times we have had sex, and it isn’t because I don’t want it. He doesn’t want it. He says hes tired all the time, but I found his porn on his computer, ipod and external hard drive. He looks at it all the time according to the computer records… He is obsessed with women with big boobs, and I am the opposite. I feel really ugly and humiliated. I feel completely let down and rejected. I don’t want to be in a loveless marriage riddled with porn. This entire article describes his to a T. I was pretty innocent when we got married, and I thought I was crazy that I was feeling like I’m being hurt instead of someone making love to me. I don’t know what to do.

  23. The first step for someone with an addiction is that they first admit that they have a problem, second is to find help. There are great online resources and support groups for things like this. Find a local celebrate recovery program or read online resources such as http://www.xxxchurch.com and online support group at sites such as http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com . Porn and masturbation is an addiction and its just as bad as any drugs and alcohol.

  24. hey whats up everyone
    im a married man in my late 20s and like so many people I too am dealing with the effects of porn. we were the first generation raised with porn so readily available, the first generation where porn is acceptable and “ok” and the first generation to have such hardcore porn. when we were young many of us didn’t have any idea that we would be so hurt by what we were doing as we grew up. some of us didn’t even think what we were doing was wrong…. I come from a generation who has been lied to. a generation tricked my the enemy. luckily for me and everybody else there is nothing to big for god, because we have a really really big really really loving father and he is here to restore every single one of us all we have to do it let him.

    firstly I want to chat to the men out there, being a man I know where you guys are coming from and I am dealing with the same problems you are dealing with.
    guys something that’s so important to understand is that your wife IS NOT fighting with you, she is FIGHTING FOR YOU! we have been paired so we can help each other, and love each other through tough times and bring glory to god. guys porn is a rough situation to be in, but its important that we keep our focus. don’t be consumed with shame and guilt the enemy is trying desperately to create division in your marriage to drive a wedge between you and your wife, when we don’t have our partner we are more vunerable. yes porn is horrible, yes we feel crap for having been involved with it. but don’t keep your shame and guilt in front of you all the time, repent and see yourself as god sees you: CLEAN! he is our redeemer. focus on god, step into HIS vision for you, don’t give the enemy the foothold of shame and guilt because I promise he will use any ammunition you give him….. so don’t give him jack.
    men we are the head of our family unit, god appointed us a leaders, as a result the enemy is going to give crippling you his best shot because with you out of the picture he can get at the rest of your family! the good news is god loves marriage, he loves man and wife and he is wanting to help, all we have to do is let him! we have to spend time with him and talk to him don’t be too ashamed or to busy for god, because that’s what the enemy wants he wants us to be separated from him and separated from your wife. porn makes for sketchy sexuality, don’t let it ruin your bond with your wife emotionally you have to talk to her. please don’t retreat into yourselves, we are leaders, we are fighters and no we aren’t perfect but we are empowered!
    god adores you, your wife adores you run towards god and your family, not away. there is NOTHING we cannot have VICTORY over, the price paid at the cross saw to that!!!!

    I mainly wanted to encourage the men because I understand their struggle but heres a little something for the ladies:

    ladies firstly thank you for fighting for us! thank you for standing strong. this is a really tough thing to go through so even though I know many of you are hurting I ask that you keep the love and support flowing. I love my wife and I never stopped loving her even when I was struggling with porn…. it sounds kinda strange because why would I look at porn if I love her but just trust me its complicated. sometimes just because you feel unloved dosent mean your are. I hope all the men out there agree when I say even when we’re struggling we still love you wives. porn is not a reflection on you ladies, it is never that your are not enough, god made you there for you are enough! and don’t believe anything else because it aint the truth. porn is a perversion, and god made woman just the way she was supposed to be. wives even if your hurting you also have to try keep the bond strong with your husband, if you are feeling hurt and hes feeling ashamed then there probably isn’t much communication going on. it is both man and womans job to make sure we are united, don’t et the enemy create division. 1cor:13 is always a solid reminder of what we agreed to on our wedding day, to have and to hold to love for better and for worse. ladies stand by us and I promise one day we will thank you!!! the earth would be a dark place without our strong ladies out there!!! oh yeah and spend time in the word WITH your man, do it together!!

  25. salam sospeter says:

    100% 2ru this is what I have been experiencing ,10x for this post may GOD bless u…!

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