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This month, as we’re talking about pornography’s effects in marriage, let’s remember that men are not the only porn users.

In fact, women make up an increasingly large portion of porn users, and women deal with a lot of the same effects of porn as men do.

Recently a woman wrote in with this question:

reader question icon - When Porn Wrecks YOUR Sex Drive--Not Just Your Husband's

Reader Question

I had being struggling with a porn addiction for many years. In the past year God has given me the victory over that sin. The only problem is now I have no sex drive. I have been married almost a decade. Currently I’m expecting another child, I have purchased your Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. It’s a brilliant book and totally changed what I thought about sex. Also my husband and I are working through your 31 Days to Great Sex book as well. It has been a great eye opener, however I just can’t seem to enjoy sex.

I still have sex anyway as I know it’s important not to give up. I was having pain after the birth one of our children along with numbness, and realised I wasn’t getting aroused enough. I’ve been to a pelvic floor physio and my pelvic floor was too tight. It has started to release. But most times I still feel numb. My body has started to become more sensitive to my husbands touch but I just can’t get the past unfulfilling encounters out of my head to relax and enjoy it. I have a great faithful loving husband, who is a hands-on dad and helps with housework, etc. He also does everything well foreplay-wise and tries his best to arouse me. I’m just scared he will get bored and fed up with me not really getting into it. I’ve never experienced an orgasm with him, only on my own with porn. What can I do?? Will it just take time to retrain my brain to enjoy it again the way God intended?

First, as always, keep getting help from the pelvic floor physiotherapist

I believe, based on some of the spellings in the original letter, that this woman is not from the United States, and in Europe, Australia, and Canada, pelvic floor physiotherapists are more common than in the United States (it seems to me based on what commenters tell me and what a government’s heath system pays for) and are sought out more. So that’s wonderful. Seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist DURING pregnancy and then in the postpartum period can be so helpful.

A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you relax those muscles, deal with scar tissue if  you have it from tearing or episiotomies while giving birth, and develop more sensation. So that can be a big help, and I want to laud her for seeking out that help.

What this letter demonstrates, though, is that so often our problems are multi-faceted. So she’s dealing with porn, but she’s also dealing with physical trauma from childbirth. I wish things were much simpler, but isn’t that the way that life goes sometimes? Sigh.

Okay, now let’s deal with how porn affects a woman’s libido and arousal level.

Women, especially, can reach orgasm almost entirely through fantasy. Porn cements that.

In fact, some studies have been done showing that women can reach orgasm without physical stimulation at all, if they fantasize explicitly enough. Others can reach orgasm through fantasy, and then with only a minute of very directed physical stimulation.

The idea of thinking yourself to orgasm is not new. In the early 1970’s, the Masters and Johnson research team documented the strong connection between sexuality and thought.

The connection is particularly strong in women, says Dr. Ian Kerner, author and sex therapist. “The brain is the most powerful sex organ,” he says. Men, he adds, have a much harder time making themselves climax without any touch whatsoever, but there are documented cases in women.

CBS News

Orgasm By Thinking: Is it Medically Possible?

​Now, I am not saying that this is what this woman is doing. But here’s the thing: When you watch porn, you’re cementing this reliance on fantasy for orgasm rather than stimulation. Even if you masturbate at the same time, the arousal is tied with the image or the fantasy.

If this woman grew up doing that, then her sexual response has relied on what her mind is doing far more than on what her body is doing.

A similar thing can happen with men, and it’s often why men experience erectile dysfunction after they use a lot of porn. Now women are experiencing lack of libido and lack of orgasm, because without the fantasy or the images, arousal doesn’t happen.

The solution? Learn to be IN YOUR BODY instead of just in your mind.

Certainly that’s important to do in the bedroom, but let’s start outside of the bedroom.

1. Pay attention to what your body is feeling–all the time.

We do this when we’re pregnant. We’re so curious about feeling our baby move that we pay attention to every movement in our abdominal region to see if it’s gas or the baby. We learn what different things feel like.

But that’s often the only time that we do this. I remember reading about how most people can’t accurately figure out when they’re bloated; constipated; have heartburn; have gas. They know something doesn’t feel right, but they don’t know what it is, because they don’t pay attention. So start paying attention. And that means paying attention to what it feels like to feel well, too. Think about all the different parts of your abdominal area, and what feels tight, uncomfortable, or what feels great.

I know that doesn’t sound sexy whatsoever (and I’m not claiming it is), but just learning to get in touch with our bodies helps so much in getting ourselves aroused. Try yoga so that you learn to connect breathing with movement. Learning how to isolate different muscles, how to slow down, how to breathe–these things help with learning how to feel physically aroused, and not just mentally aroused.

2. Practice mindfulness to help you get rid of porn’s influence–and to surrender to “kingdom” principles of sex

So if the problem with getting over porn is that sex is too much in your mind, how does “mindfulness” help?

Well, mindfulness is simply the practice of noticing what is going on in the moment and paying attention.

With food, for instance, how often do we shovel stuff down without really paying attention? Think of the difference between shoving a spoonful of something in your mouth while standing over the microwave versus sitting at a table, picking up a fork, taking a forkful, and chewing slowly. You notice what you’re eating. You notice the sensations and the taste.

We spend our lives trying to do 13 things at once. Mindfulness encourages you to try one, and to live in that moment. To silence the other voices in your head, and simply to pay attention.

As you practice mindfulness feeling the warm shower in the morning, chewing your food, brushing your hair, stretching, reading the Bible, singing a song–you learn to live not in the future or the past but the present. You learn to pay attention to all of your senses. All of these are the skills that you need to teach your body how to become aroused by what is actually happening rather than by what you are thinking.


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Part of practicing mindfulness is living out 2 Corinthians 10:5–and taking every thought captive. It’s staying in the moment with your thoughts, rather than letting your thoughts run away from you. And when we deliberately choose what to focus on, then we can reframe sex and make it align with what God wants, too. 

So when you’re with your husband, think of what you love about him. Let yourself stay present with him. And you may find that sex is even more intense than when you allowed your mind to wander to a fantasy! That’s the way that God intended it to be–about relationship. And it is intense when we focus on it like that.

3. Learn to do Kegel Exercises

As you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, you certainly help prepare for delivery and the postpartum period, but studies have found that you also often enhance sexual feeling. A good primer on how to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by doing kegels (learning to squeeze the vaginal muscles) can be found here.

I’d also point people to the Perifit that we talked about last month!

4. Practice being sensual with each other

Move on from mindfulness to taking time to deliberately feel. When your watching a movie, stroke each other’s hair, or each other’s hands. Give foot massages. Give back massages. Be sensual.

Sensual doesn’t mean it’s necessarily sexual–it doesn’t necessarily arouse. But it does mean that you’re paying attention to arousing each other’s senses, especially, but not only, the sense of touch. This helps anchor you in what your body is feeling.

5. Move on to arousal due to touch rather than due to pornographic fantasies

And now we finally get to turn to sex!

(By the way, these things don’t have to be done in order, where you perfect one before you move on to the next. They can all be done together. It’s not like you have to get perfect at mindfulness or at Kegels before you can try this step, but they’re all important).

Sex is going to take a lot more time when you’re trying to get aroused and reach orgasm through physical sensations rather than through fantasy or through porn. Fantasizing speeds things up, but it also wrecks intimacy. You’re not really “there”;  you’re using your partner like a sex toy as you imagine something else.

But your brain can be used to help ground you in your body, too. It can help you feel aroused by helping you focus on what your body is feeling, but it’s a different route than porn. It may take longer. It may be frustrating. But it’s so much more fulfilling and intimate and personal!

So take your time. Start with something sensual, like a massage. Touch him and see the effect he has on you. Allow him to touch you in all different ways, and please speak up when it doesn’t feel like much. Move his hand (or whatever) to where you need it. Give him some direction. Even show him how you like to be touched, or hold his hand while you show him what to do. Remember that most women reach orgasm through a way other than intercourse. Let’s work at reaching orgasm that way first before you worry too much about whether or not you can reach orgasm during intercourse.

Find freedom from porn!

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

There is freedom. 

Beat porn–together!

6. And here’s the hard part: Tell your husband.

You need him on your side. If you’ve been used to having sex relatively quickly because you don’t spend the time to get aroused the way you need to, then he needs to know that you need more and that something is different. That may be a difficult conversation to have. No guy wants to know that his wife has been fantasizing about someone other than him. You’ll need to give him time to be angry and hurt; time to let this sink in and time to process it. You’ll have to show him that you’re sorry, and show that you’re trustworthy, and that you don’t want to use porn again and that you’re taking steps to stop (like using Covenant Eyes and getting an accountability partner). You need to rebuild trust.

But you also need him involved, because you both are going to have to learn how your body works and responds (and it can! It really can!). If you’re struggling, take a look at our 24 Spicy Dares, where the dares for him to do for her are focused on learning how to make her feel aroused. Show that you can find things sexy and spicy without any porn or a third party whatsoever.

I have so much more to say, and I feel like I’m only scratching the surface. Continue reading this series, because we’ll be talking about recovery from porn later in the month, and there’s a powerful sermon segment I’ll invite you to watch which will add another dimension to this. So this conversation is not over. But for now, recognize that you were created for arousal. It may not be happening now because you may have short-circuited your arousal process. But you can relearn it all. Take the time. Break the hold that porn has on you and learn real intimacy. It’s so much better.

Porn is Wrecking my Sex Life 1 - When Porn Wrecks YOUR Sex Drive--Not Just Your Husband's

What do you think? Has porn ever hurt your ability to feel aroused? Let’s talk in the comments!

SheilaSidebarAboutMe - When Porn Wrecks YOUR Sex Drive--Not Just Your Husband's Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 27 years and happily married for 22! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature "Girl Talk" about sex and marriage. And she's written 8 books. About sex and marriage. See a theme here? Plus she knits. Even in line at the grocery store.
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