Porn and Your Husband

Porn and Your Husband Ebook Cover

Did you catch your husband watching porn? Learn the answers to common questions, tips to productive conversations, steps to setting boundaries, and how to determine the next steps for your marriage.

74 thoughts on “Is Porn the Same as Adultery?

  1. In every sex addiction recovery group I’ve been in there always seems to be one or two guys who never seem to be able to stop looking a pornography. Often they have stopped other behavior like going to strip clubs or seeing other women, but they can’t seem to let go of pornography. I think part of that reason may be because they don’t see it as all that serious. This article does a good job of helping men to see that there really is no difference in a partner’s eyes between stepping out with another woman and indulging in pornography.

  2. Everything you said described to a T what my wife was feeling before we got married when I was still entangled in the snares of porn. Thank God, I’ve broken free from the chains that held me and we have a much more intimate relationship now.

  3. Thank you for saying (with a man’s words) the very thing I need my husband to hear. We just had this discussion yesterday, when I discovered he was searching out porn and even live women on the internet (though I don’t believe he actually contacted any). I said it was cheating, and he laughed it off, saying that was a ridiculous comparison. To me, it truly is cheating, but I couldn’t verbalize why or how. Thank you, so much, for your help.

  4. EyesWideOpen,

    Stand firmly on what you know to be true. While perspectives are inherently subjective, your perspective is no less real or valid. If your husband won’t take your concerns seriously, I recommend stronger action.

    I offer practical suggestions in the article, “My Husband Is Having an Affair with Pornography, What Should I Do.

    As an mentor of mine once said, “Stupid should hurt.” Perhaps it’s time for destructive behavior to hurt!

  5. This guy is comparing the act of looking to the act of touching. Why not take this a step further and say, shouldn’t it be wrong for a woman or man to check out an attractive member of the opposite sex in public? Should the mere THOUGHT of something sexual regarding another person besides your significant other be looked down on? No… these are perfectly natural thoughts, and to feel a sense of guilt for having them is ridiculous.

    Case and point: there is a difference between acting and thinking. A HUGE difference…and the fact that this guy is making the comparison and so many people are agreeing with him is a bit unsettling.
    Looking at porn and having sex with another woman besides your wife are not even close…not even in the same ballpark.
    Insanity.

    • @Brian – I don’t believe Mark’s point is that lusting and acting out are identical acts, but that they are both emotionally perceived as unfaithfulness by many wives. I think if you read the article more closely you’ll see that very clearly. I also don’t think that being attracted to someone and lusting are the same thing, and I don’t think Mark is linking these two things together at all.

    • Christ makes this comparison literally. As it is written, do not commit adultery, I tell you that if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    • There is a big difference. Admiring
      beauty as it passes by while you move threw life is one thing. You can not control that. Seeking it out for your own enjoyment is a intentional action. An intentional act to have sexual thoughts with another person aside from your spouse is adultry.

  6. Brian and Luke,

    Luke is correct. The point of the article is to help men appreciate the perspective of women by analogy. I deal with the theological and real differences between viewing pornography and outright adultery in my article, “Is Pornography Grounds for Divorce.”

    The fact is, viewing porn and adultery are not the same. Nevertheless, the pain porn causes wives on a relational and emotional level is just as deep. As men, we can either appreciate this basic fact, or we can adopt a narcissistic stance that says, “You’re simply overreacting, and that’s you’re problem.”

    If we genuinely love our wives, however, we will care enough to spare them undue pain, even if we have trouble understanding it.

    • If you believe lusting after and viewing another women naked, while being fornicated with another man, you are in denial. The brain is a never ending computer that fills up with the data we put into it. I have seen many people divorce because of porn. The wife or husband, in my experience, are okay with the porn the entire marriage. It’s the fact that porn perverts the marriage and if a man or woman is weak enough to give in to there every sexual whim virtually, they will inevitably cheat. The mind is always wanting more and better. The next extreme high! The wife that was okay with the porn eventually is tired of the neglect and lack of sex. She then seeks an intimate relationship and that, my friend, is the end of the marriage. Porn is the gateway desire to engage in a future affair.
      That being said, if a man were to control these urges and only cave into them on occasion, while always being fully committed to his wife, then maybe it could work.
      In the general population this could never happen.
      The natural man is an enemy of god. You must fully commit yourself to him.

      Christ makes this comparison literally. As it is written, do not commit adultery, I tell you that if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.<<<<this says it all!
      Always at the very least try to do better! And, never ever give up!

  7. I just found this, and thank you for articulating what I haven’t been able to get through to my husband. I’m going to print this for him to read, and I’m hoping it will help.

    I want to respond to what Brian said. Yes, there is a difference between porn and physical adultery. I think very few people disagree with that. But to compare it to “checking out” a hot girl/guy, there is a difference. If a really gorgeous woman walks by and my husband notices, that is natural and normal – I’m likely to look if a really good-looking guy walks by. But that is a chance happening, and not something we actively sought out. A man looking at porn does so deliberately with the intent of finding sexual images and getting a sexual satisfaction from someone other than his partner.

    If a man accidentally walked in on a couple having sex, and it aroused him, I wouldn’t fault him that – it’s a natural response. But if he seeks it out, it’s a different thing altogether.

  8. Judy,

    The difference between how men and women view this issue is significant. Strange as it may seem to women, most men would say that viewing pornography has little or nothing to do with sex. Remember, men tend to view sex through the lens of physical contact. No touching = no sex.

    Be prepared to be misunderstood. And I would caution you to avoid the hope that this article will turn on the lights for him. Habitual pornography viewing is a symptom of sex addiction, which is driven by selfishness. Because self-interest (narcissism) fuels the addict’s behavior, he will rationalize, twist, or ignore any perspective that threatens to separate him from his “drug.” His ability to empathize with your pain and then allow your suffering to become a motivation to change will depend largely upon the severity of his addiction.

    Here is helpful tool to discern how trapped your husband has become: “Confronting Sexual Impurity Intelligently.”

    If he will not take definitive steps to addressing his hurtful behavior, you may have to provide some additional incentive. I explain how in the article, I offer practical suggestions in the article, “My Husband Is Having an Affair with Pornography, What Should I Do.”

    I’m sorry you must deal with this terrible issue in your marriage. You undoubtedly feel very betrayed. Your protector has become the source of your greatest pain. No one should have to pay such a high price for intimacy.

    I pray the Holy Spirit will crush him under the weight of His conviction, and that you will gain a husband who earnestly pursues Christ and passionately craves only you.

    • I am a wife of a recovering porn addict . I am responding to what Brian and Mark were saying about porn being the same as adultery and that men view sex through the lens of physical contact. You said that perfectly Mark : MEN, not Jesus. This may not be a place for theological discussion, but after 2 of the most painful years of my life I cannot be silent. Jesus words in Matt. 5:27-32 are the clearest explanation, “”so you said you should not commit adultery, well I say to you , don”t even look; and if you do look to lust then you already did commit adultery, in your heart. And if your eye or your hands cause you to offend yourself- get rid of them ! Better to go through all of life without them then be sent to hell forever.” Pretty strong words I know. But if HE said it we need to examine exactly what he meant. The ”to lust” is usually the part most men like to mince about; excusing with “well I wasn”t sleeping with her in my mind” … and the millisecond of time between “noticing ” a beautiful looking person and being triggered to lust is an ongoing issue for many. The goals of a safe, intimate Christ honoring marriage may help some to look honestly at where are their eyes resting, and why. To search our own hearts without the Words of God as our light is a waste of time. Prov. 4:23-27,5:1-4 Talks about keeping our hearts diligently for every issue of life is from your heart.So may I ask you to clarify that even though MEN see porn and physical adultery as not the same, how does Christ see it? I am thankful to read a man grasp some of the pain of betrayal. Even though your probably right to tell Judy not to be too hopeful that handing this to her husband will help much; articles and books and counselors and God alll add up. One tiny step at a time. Thank you for your comforting understanding. For a betrayed spouse to feel understood is a piece of healing. This has been a battle for my husband for over 25 years, only 2 have I known about it.Books like yours have been a help in educating both of us.

    • Hi Laurie,

      Great thoughts here. I have a question for you to clarify something: Do you believe Jesus meant that if a man (or woman) lusts at all (in his or her mind, not via pornography) that the spouse has God’s permission to get a divorce? I’m just trying to make sure I understand where you are coming from.

  9. Mark, I’ll tell ya what! How about you take seriously the words of Jesus when he says in the New Testament that if a man looks upon a woman with Lust in his heart he has already committed adultery. You and your stance on pornagraphy have just white-washed the detrimental effects this sin has on the heart of a woman and the man. Your advice for the woman to just remain with her husband and PRAY is ridiculous. Your advice to NOT tell anyone and keep his dirty secret and just bear it because it’s not really adultery is absolutely absurd. Since you are a MAN you can not fully understand the lasting effects this perverted behavior has on a wife, especially a Christian wife who thought she was saving herself by not marrying an “ungodly non-believer”. Pornography is WORSE then adultery with one person. The perverted man doesn’t just have his heart and mind with one other woman’s body, something a woman MIGHT seriously be able to compete with to win her husband’s heart back, but she is competing with thousands of air-brushed woman, who never say no, never talk back, never think he’s perverted. The Christian community better wake up to this DEADLY poison. It is WORSE, and has FAR more consequences then a live adulterous affair. It desensitizes the man to reality. He objectifies woman, people. Masturbating while viewing porn is said to have the same effects on a man’s brain as being addicted to “crack cocaine”. Also the effects of the porn use cause a man to become more and more deviant and more and more abusive. WAKE UP MARK. If you want to know about the effects of porn on a wife, start asking wives and women and God, not your male counterparts who are quite possibly doing porn themselves or have viewed porn over the course of their lives and haven’t never even bothered to consider the impact this has had on their own marriages, girlfriends. What a joke. Your advice is ridiculous, at best. If the man is unrepentent and professes to be a Christian or not, a much stronger stand has to be made. He will not change by just standing by him. He will not change by just praying. He will need much stronger consequences and then, even then, some men will choose the secret live of porn over their wives and family, however, if the man is a “Christian”, this may help him to turn his life back to God which is utimately what living is all about anyway.

    • I totaly agree with C. You are not a woman. The trama I have been put through over these past years have made me not want to love another guy all together it will take a very long time untill I recover from THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY!!!!! I dont measure up, Im not good enough, im ugly, unloved, not to mention the price of my self-esteem!!!

    • Totally agree with you “C”! I think it just puts all the brunt of the responsibility on the wife to keep things together, and I think Jesus was always on the side of the innocent. If a man cannot control this addiction, it is not the wife’s fault. This article just places guilt on the woman for leaving when she is an innocent party in the whole thing. I was just relaying to a single woman this morning how I knew that my husband was the one when he talked to me that morning about how he has to avert his eyes, and then I SAW him in action that afternoon when we went rafting, and he literally ran away from another female rafter who was wearing a very revealing outfit for the journey down the river. He did not look at the woman the rest of the trip down the river. My husband takes responsibility. There is a SOUL reason men look at porn. Not delighting in Jesus. If he is not willing to look deep down at his SOUL and take responsibility, then a woman can leave. I have never been on this site, but I think you mind is twisted on this issue. I have taught the Bible for 35 years so do not give me a theological argument to blame the woman for seeking a divorce. I am raw because I know a woman who is asking for a divorce as I type this, and while I would have recommended separation, she has been through a literal HELL in her marriage. It breaks my heart, and the husband has no one to blame but himself.

  10. ….Words of Jesus when he says in the New Testament that if a man looks upon a woman with Lust in his heart he has already committed adultery-

    I agree with C.

    i find it interesting that even those in Sexual Addiction accountability groups, will make them selves feel a bit better by saying.. well I didn’t have an affair, i didn’t to gay acts, etc.. . like not doing the actual act absolves them a bit more in the church world, versus someone that was caught in an affair. Just like someone can get drunk with out being a alcoholic … someone can have an affair with out being addicted to sex.- there are consequences to actions is the real point not what sex sin you were doing. there are some of us that were doing all of the above and very little repercussions, yet I know of a man who admitted he had a lustful thought about a woman at work, and his wife divorced him!! Talk about extreme !!!

    Let’s not try to sooth our conscience by having degrees of sexual sin if it’s 1x or 10x a day depending on the vehicle of choice. Sin is sin in the midst of a pure and holy God. God’s grace is there for everyone to receive is free gift, if we turn away and turn to God.

    es the bible does give rights to divorce for adultery, but few ever find healing after choosing that route, even justified. A marriage can be restored, but it’s not easy and some just don’t have that faith.

  11. I welcome comments from anyone wishing to engage in a constructive dialog. That begins by accurately representing my views, which C has not. Virtually nothing she has articulated reflects my position. In fact, much of what she accuses me of saying stands in direct contradiction to what I have written on this site, my own blog, and in my book.

    I never said a wife should keep her husband’s dirty little secret. In fact, in another article on this site, I wrote quite the opposite!

    Far from suggesting the spouse of a sex addict merely “remain with her husband and pray,” I have repeatedly and consistently encouraged a very strong stand against this sin. I merely offer an alternative to outright divorce. Instead, as an alternative to divorce, I advocate and recommend Redemptive Divorce.

    • HI I am new to this topic. I am writting because I believe i have a certain understanding of this topic. I am a christian, and a man. (just as a point of reference) I have both struggled with pornography, and my wife having an affair with my best friend. I have gone through considerable prayer, work, and accountability in regards to attaining victory over porn. I have also become very educated on affairs countless hours of research, read over 30 books, and continue to talk to people about adultery.

      Firstly, I DO NOT condone porn, it is awful, it destroys familys, and is a sin that can and will lead to death. I have always been honest about it with my wife, and continue to be held accountable by myself and others. This is..an addiction..that is not to condone it, it is still a choice.

      Adultery cannot be lumped togeather with it. When jesus said just a thought is the same, I believe he was pointing out that all sin starts in the heart, he is telling us to guard our thoughts and our hearts. He also says strong anger towards another is the same as muder. I think as resonable people it is clear thinking about hurting someone, and actting on it are NOT the same yes, both are SIN, but one is far more devestating. Lets remember Jesus will call sin anything from a white lie, to child molestation. He can and will also FORGIVE, if we repent, both the lie, and the child molestor.

      Adultery the physical sexual and emotional act is the most horendous thing a person can go thru…worst than rape..and yes I have been raped. Statistics are pretty clear that as many woman as men committ adultery. What isnt commonly known, is that the great majority of woman also look at porn. Let me clarify; woman have this secret, fantasy/daydream life, if i were to ask a woman if she EVER had thoughts of another man or woman while she was making love to her husband, maybe not sexual, maybe, but of another man or woman adoring he , caresing her etc, and they were being honest…the answer would be YES. i HAVE DONE ALLOTT of research on this issue, and just like porn for men, more and more woman are starting to come forward and talk about it. Jesus gives grounds for divorce for adultery, AND HE HATES DIVORCE!, tHAT BEING SAID I believe it is because the pain is so much, very few people can let go of the soul ripping pain, I beleive if he would still prefer we not divorce, even after adultery. The ripping of the soul tie, is something I wish on no man or woman, though statistics indicate that even among christians, there is a 70% chance the wife or husband will at some point commit adultery in their marriage.
      Yes porn hurts spouces, and the female version too, those little daydreams, as adultery starts in the heart. Yes porn is SIN, yes it is a big deal, the amount of time i spent crying and screaming to Jesus to free me from it, and the shame. BUT NO it is not what we would call adultery!!! My wife could daydream her little heart out (I dont mean that!) for a long time and yes it hurts, because those thought of adoration are for me!!! But, the physical act of her being with another man…….the destroyer of ones soul!!!! THE PAIN THAT adultery causes, let me just say is way worse. Once again Jesus stating that all sins of the mind are the same as the real thing. is him speaking to us as spiritually mature (something very few of us will attain before being with him forever) so that we dont judge one another, so we are all free from judgement in order to bring them into the light and get heaed, something that in many christian circles, would be suicide. He is saying sin starts in heart. It is in my opinion absurd to believe he was saying, lust in the heart, is the SAME as real physical soul ripping adultery. If that were the case every man and woman christian or otherwise would have a case for divorce, because all humans have lustful thought, daydreams, etc This wasnt a very well put togeather dialog, but appreciate all the different views on this issue.

  12. Mark, I enjoyed reading your article. I agree with most of what you wrote. But what is a wife to do when her husband says he would actually be “turned on” by her allowing the other men to fondle her as if she enjoys it. I am in a situation where my husband has vastly different views on sex than I do- I see it as a precious thing to share between a husband and wife and he sees it as recreation. I don’t want to get divorced over this- we have 3 children- and he has said he will put these feelings aside in order to preserve our marriage- but do you think we can agree to disagree on such a huge level?

  13. Hi, Poppy

    I would go even further to say that your husband’s views on sex are not merely different, but deviant. This is not just a disagreement over issues of preference. “I like chocolate; she likes vanilla.”

    Your husband’s “feelings” stem from something much deeper and much darker than I think either of you realize. These urges do not simply go away and, more often than not, become unmanageable.

    If he hasn’t already acted out sexually, he undoubtedly will. Unless…

    The key here is to address the issue before it becomes a tragedy for your marriage and your family. I highly recommend you and he seek help for him. He needs a qualified, Christian therapist to help him discover the source of his dysfunctional appetite and to engage the Holy Spirit in addressing it.

    The short, bottom-line answer to your question: No. You cannot agree to disagree. Your marriage is in danger, and you must seek help.

    Here is a link to an article that includes contacts to practical helps: http://wp.me/pryqj-47.

    I recommend you and your husband focus on the resources associated with “Level 3: Ritualized Impurity,” even if his activities don’t necessarily match.

    Poppy, he will probably resist. He will accuse you of overreacting. He might even try to convince you that YOU are the “crazy one.” Remain strong in your convictions and discuss this with a Christian counselor who will help you keep your sanity. Trust me, situations like this can be come a crazy-maker.

    Stand firmly on what you know to be the truth.

  14. Mark,

    I want to thank you for your article. My wife was comparing the physical act of cheating with porn. I was confused and could not see things her way. I knew what Jesus said about looking at a woman to lust after her. However I couldn’t grasp why she was so upset. Your article helped me to see her side and I can empathize with her a lot more. Thanks again.

  15. Thank you for writing and having the courage to be so transparent. Many men who read this article either dismiss it or want to engage in a theological debate, which of course, strongly suggests they have missed the point! They use their own experience as the final authority.

    Demonstrating the classic trait of the narcissist (an inability to empathize or relate to experiences that do not directly impact oneself), they dismiss the pain women feel simply because these men have not experienced it themselves.

    By the way, it probably comes an no surprise that many porn addicts struggle with narcissism.

    Your wife will experience profound healing if you express this kind of empathy for her pain. If you haven’t already, let me encourage you to give her this gift.

    Thanks again for writing.

  16. Wow! Please don’t hate me for my justifications. If your wife has allowed others to fondle her in front of you and has allowed others to use her in front of you and betrayed you calling you racist when you try to call her interracially promiscuous and lied to you about additional incidences and by the time you squeeze the truth out of her she has now bore your children and obviously repeated and committed adultery. then you seek refuge in begging for the truth just like the article claims a woman has a right to, but I guess I’m greedy because not only did I want her inner truths and mind but I still wanted her sexual loyalty offering her forgiveness if she could just be honest and faithful and tell the other guys and women who supported (justified)her while doing these things, that they are unwelcome and sworn enemies for the part they played in disrespecting her family and her husband, but while being lied to my heart was hurt and i would say mean things accusing her of continuing to lie(which she was) and not being sorry and not having any compassion therefore not deserving the bare minimum respect that she herself was unwilling to give, fast forward after many separations i find solace in porn as a tool to keep me from adulterously taking care of the needs that she is only willing to stop by once a week and perform but with many children and the fear that a real divorce will hurt them more than me. i don’t know what else to do, she belittles me all the time with the standard porn argument , that i do see has Merritt, but if she is not willing to take care of me go to counseling,, produce a single christian male witness for her denials, is porn ever a positive tool? or should I just divorce/dismiss her because she has been maritally unfaithful and has a hardened heart?(and teach my sons and daughters that her specific actions are the only reason daddy divorced our family unit-no christian should teach their children that we divorced because we didn’t get along, as whoever was quoting Jesus up there knows that there are only 2 reasons god permits divorce, and any other story to our kids teaches them wrong and makes me a liar which is the only sinner God doesn’t love”god hates the liar” which if i were going to do that I may as well watch porn and press her to do the deviant things with her husband that she did on her own with others-and yes yes yes i have tried to ask her to get help but as you can probably ascertain she blames me, and the circle of disrespect and weekly sex any yearning for more repeats itself. She has brought out the worst in me as a man and as a father. I am an attractive guy who lost my mojo 18yrs ago when this started and only feel good while engaging her in deviant sex, because after all she perused it with other men, as she was before we even got together 18yrs ago, so why should i be denied any desires? but make no mistake anything I want or ask her to do is always met with unwillingness and criticism and being called a hypocrite. I messed up my life and life for my 5 kids not running at the extreme danger sign of interracial promiscuity, shame on me for falling for her and her friends insinuating i was a racist when all those racist guys were disrespectful to me even if she allowed herself to be disrespected i should have weathered the hate jeers by her racist friends and beat the tar out of those guys as i easily could have but did not …that’s where this former ncaa hwt wrestler lost his mojo i got punked and my wife is dishonest and she has made me now dishonest, i separated although we live close and I see my kids almost daily and coach their teams. i see her unwillingness to please me as a sign that she is not and never was sorry and that she is not and never was willing to do anything for her husband, I don’t really know if i wan’t her to be deviant really just want to know she would for me but am always met with that defiant attitude that i find very common specifically in interacilly promiscuous women. HELP! all my deviant requests are also given to her as options for her to help me get over her continual adulterous disrespect and public humiliation i have endured. ps i would stop watching porn in a ny milisecond to be the sexual apple of her eye that she would slap the others away for. sorry for the run on and lack of basic grammer just venting to a random post i came across

  17. I really enjoyed this article and mostly agree as does my husband, who finally a year ago, understood my assertion that his behavior constituted an infidelity in our marriage and was tantamount to adultery. We have been working hard on our marriage and this issue in the last year and I am very glad to finally find my feelings articulated in an accurate and insightful way. I do take issue with what Mark wrote on July 29, 2009 in a response, (“The fact is, viewing porn and adultery are not the same. Nevertheless, the pain porn causes wives on a relational and emotional level is just as deep.”) but rather than focus on different interpretations of what constitutes adultery, I would jsut say that I think his insight into the emotional damage women feel is spot on and I am grateful for this contribution. And I will say to those of you who are struggling with this and dismissing your partner’s views, please put away your pride and listen. Porn is wrecking marriages and destroying families and lives. It’s not worth it.

    • @Janie – Thanks for your response. I think what Mark is saying is that physical adultery and looking at pornography are distinct sins. One involves sexual intercourse or emotional involvement with someone who is not your spouse. The other involves wrapping your lust around pornographic mediums. Of course, both are very damaging to a marriage and both stem from the same heart of lust, even if the physical actions differ.

  18. Luke–Again, some of this is just semantics and I think differing interpretations of adultery are inconsequential to the resulting damage (as you and Mark point out), but some men use this “not really adultery” argument to rationalize, justify and minimize their behavior and I don’t see giving that latitude to be a help to those that still need to “win on a technicality”. And the whole act is, in fact, physical in nature since most men masturbate while viewing. I’m not sure why it seems so important to distinguish that physical adultery is intercourse with a non-spouse and using porn to achieve the same release is another kind of sin (as you put it). I’m not trying to be argumentative but I think it is unhelpful to even make a distinction.

    And too, please know that my views are not just speculative; obviously I have dealt with this issue in my own marriage and I have recently seen close friends’ marriages end over pornography use and unending rationalizations by the users that they are not committing “real adultery”. Call it what you will but if it looks like a duck………….

    • @Janie – I completely agree with you that porn “isn’t technically adultery” is most often, perhaps exclusively, used as a rationalization.

    • I recognize that this is not the average thought here but I want to add my two cents from Janie thoughts.

      Janie you say that men use “not adultery” as an excuse to rationalize this sin. I agree that we all rationalize our sin, however, I do not think we help ourselves but calling something what it isn’t. Porn is not adultery. What it is is emotionally damaging, relationship destroying, and life destructive. It does destroy marriages but it does not do so because it is adultery. It does so because it destroys trust and intimacy. Jesus said “whoever lusts after a woman has committed adultery IN HIS HEART”. If it were the same as adultery, taken to its farthest extent all men have lusted and all men have adulterated their marriages and all men are divorce-able. I don’t know how to respond to the woman who seem to be looking for a way out of a marriage, by this I do not mean you but some other posts, that God has put them in. Leaving would be justified sin, also.

      Janie, If adultery is the duck, then that is not pornography. And we shouldn’t call it so. You do not need to magnify the sin of pornography for it to be a serious sin.

  19. My wife and I have the same issue and are on the brink of divorce because of my porn viewing. She showed me this site so that I can understand exactly how she feels. This article has enlightened me on the subject, I couldnt understand how she could say viewing porn was cheating, now I do. I have one question for you though, when u are a man that provides for his family, treats his wife very well, does whatever she asks of him, besides having to be a stay at home mom, she does and buys pretty much whatever she wants. I cant remember the last time I told her no on anything, also I try my best to make her day as easy as possible. My porn viewing is a result of our cold sexual relationship, but she gets upset when I try to talk to her about it. I no longer feel like I can talk to her about it. I ask her what am I supposed to do when she refuses to please me sexually. Her response is usually I need to be with another woman cause she not doing more than what she already does. What am I supposed to do, I love her I dont want to be with anyone else. I hate the fact that im a married man that has to resort to porn its embarassing. I will never leave her over sex, but I knoe she will leave me over porn.

  20. Hi De,

    I’m gratified to know the article helped you understand the issue of pornography from a woman’s point of view. There’s no way, of course, we as men can completely comprehend their experience, but having the ability to empathize will help your relationship immensely. I have some practical suggestions to offer that will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the future of your marriage.

    Some of this will be hard to hear, but bear with me. It gets better in the end.

    First, let me affirm the hurt you feel because of your wife’s lack of sexual response. In the same way men struggle to understand the emotional impact of pornography on a woman, women rarely understand the emotional component of male sexuality. One of the most profoundly helpful books available on the inner lives of men is For Women Only, by Shauti Feldhahn. My wife and I do a fair amount of premarital counseling and we use this and her companion book, For Men Only, as a resource. I highly recommend you read For Men Only as a means of understanding your wife better. Then, as your relationship heals, consider reading both books together as a fun way to facilitate communication and mutual understanding. I don’t recommend this, however, until your marriage has had some time to heal.

    In For Women Only, Feldhahn states,

    Lack of sex is as emotionally serious to him as, say, his sudden silence would be to you. it is just as wounding to him, just as much as a legitimate grievance—and just as dangerous to your marriage . . . . In a very deep way, your man often feels isolated and burdened by secret feelings of inadequacy. Making love with you assures him that you find him desirable, salves a deep sense of loneliness, and gives him the strength and well-being necessary to face the world with confidence. . . . As the most basic level, your man wants to be wanted. . . . The survey showed that even if they were getting all the sex they wanted, three out of four men would still feel empty if their wife wasn’t both engaged and satisfied. . . . If your sexual desire gives your husband a sense of well-being and confidence, you can understand why an ongoing perception that you don’t desire him would translate into a nagging lack of confidence, withdrawal, and depression.

    The feelings you experience because of your wife’s neglect are both powerful and legitimate. They, in no small way, contribute to your desire for porn. But let me caution you! If you’re like many men, Feldhahn’s words will resonate so deeply, you will be tempted to put this book under your wife’s nose so she will finally understand you. I urge you to hold that desire in check . . . for now. If you try to communicate your needs now, it will backfire. Instead, follow the course of action I will describe and, in due time, as you demonstrate your desire to understand her before asking to be understood, she will become more receptive to hearing your wounded heart.

    Stay with me, okay?

    You have a legitimate grievance with your wife. She is wounding you deeply with her lack of sexual response. However, you are responding to this ongoing hurt improperly in two specific ways. First, you now turn to pornography to meet the emotional needs your wife should be meeting. This is likely the result of what I call “marital polarization.” Somewhere, in the beginning of your relationship, she may have neglected your needs and you turned to porn, which turned her off, leading to her further withdrawal, which fueled your desire for more porn, and so on. Or, just as likely, you took the cheap route to self fulfillment via porn rather than trust her to meet your needs, which started this ugly chain of events, leading to extreme polarization.

    It’s not important who initiated the polarization that keeps you two apart. The point is, you are now polarized and your repeated sinning with porn only makes things worse.

    A second improper response I observe: you’re looking for your wife to take the lead in solving this problem. You undoubtedly think that her sudden reversal in sexual response will ease your desire for porn, thus making the habit easier to kick. That’s a subtle delusion on two counts. First, your desire for porn is not something external; it is internal. Your wife’s neglect may have triggered something, but the source of this problem is yours and only you can deal with it. Second, you are allowing her neglect to become your excuse to seek sinful shortcuts in satisfying your sexual-emotional needs.

    It’s vitally important to understand your role in this relationship. You, as the man, are the leader. You, as the man, are the initiator and she is the responder. This has to happen in life before it can happen in the bedroom. I’m talking about your role as leader and your responsibility as the initiator as the spiritual, emotional, and functional man of the house. Only after you fulfill those roles can there be any hope of response from your wife sexually. That’s not to say if you do fulfill your manly leadership role well outside of the bedroom that she will necessarily respond sexually. My point is this: Your wife may, in fact, have some significant sexual issues of her own, but—this is vital to understand—those issues will remain hidden or obscured if you continue to mask them with your own dysfunctional behavior. In other words, as unfair as it may seem, you, as the leader, must work on your issues first. You must lead her toward better relational health by pursuing your own healing, for your own sake, without any expectation that she will do the same. (I outline some helpful principles and practical steps in my blog article, “What to Do When She’s Ready to Walk Out”.)

    That might feel like bad news. It doesn’t seem fair that you have to be the one to seek healing for your sexual dysfunction when it feels like she shares equal responsibility for perpetuating the problem. Your feelings of shame and inadequacy—the emotional fallout of porn use—undoubtedly leave you feeling hopeless, incapable of turning this thing around. But let me assure you, her seeking leadership from you is a very good thing. The ball is your court. Her looking to you for leadership gives you a large say in where your marriage goes from here. If she has sexual issues that need to be addressed, it’s up to you to lead by example as you get help for your own issues.

    Here is what I recommend, step by step:

    First, repent.

    Begin by reading these three practical articles to discover how you can offer your wife healing and hope.
    How to Recover from a Fall
    “‘I’ll Change, I promise: Six Signs of Genuine Repentance”
    Ten Characteristics of a Great Apology

    Your wife not only deserves your complete, unreserved repentance, she will find it easier to soften her heart and follow your leadership.

    Second, take complete responsibility for your own healing.

    In “How to Recover from a Fall”, you will repent before the Lord first, then to the people you have harmed. Similarly, you must begin with prayer asking God for His supernatural healing and for wisdom as you seek ways to take part in your own recovery. “Confronting Sexual Impurity Intelligently” is a helpful tool to get you started. In addition to the guidance available through Covenant Eyes, this simple assessment tool includes links to helpful resources. Assess yourself with the input of your wife and choose the appropriate plan of action.

    Third, seek support for your recovery outside the home.

    Your wife can be your cheerleader, but she must not become your accountability or your recovery support. You must be accountable to her in the sense of remaining completely transparent, but she must not bear the responsibility of accountability and support for your recovery. She needs to see you lead. That helps her rebuild trust and respect for you. For accountability and support, find a Celebrate Recovery group in your area and begin attending.

    The fact that you are “on the brink of divorce” suggests you have not gone beyond the point of no return. There is hope for you, and your wife, and your marriage. But only if you take your eyes off of her, resist the urge to blame-shift or seek help from her, set aside any feelings of selfishness or entitlement, and lead. If you lead, your wife will most likely respond positively. And as her wounds heal, her trust and respect for you grows, she will either respond in the bedroom or discover she has work of her own to do. You focus on leading, let the Lord be responsible for changing her heart.

  21. Hi, thanks for the article. I found it really good, and the illustration wife allowing touching really hit home with me. About a year into my recovery, I had a dream that my wife and I had a big fight and she was very angry with me. When I went back to look for her couldn’t find her. I asked someone where she was and they said that a guy had come up to her and groped her, and then she got in the car with him and went back to his place. I was so shocked and confused over how she could go home with a guy she didn’t know who was so creepy that he would grope her in public, that I woke myself up with crying and yelling her name.
    It really made me think that I had done the same thing to her in my mind THOUSANDS of times by looking at porn.
    We have had a rocky road, but by God’s grace we are still together and I am coming up on two years of recovery (although just this morning I found a magazine on the side of the road and saw some of it as I picked it up to put it in the trash – Yech) I hate those images and what porn has done in my life. My prayer is that God be glorified in all my thoughts and actions. Praise Him who is able to redeem us from the pit of destruction!!!

  22. BD,

    I am SO glad you are continuing with your recovery. Each day pure is a victory for your wife and home. Many men fall; heroes get up. Thanks for being an example to other men, and for being your woman’s hero.

    As I click “Post Comment,” I give thanks to God for you and I pray His strength will continue to fill you.

  23. The moral of the story is to marry a gal who likes porn too. No one should have to put up with these self-centered insecure romanticists.

  24. Mark, thanks for your article which addresses one of the most difficult disputes between my wife and I since she uncovered my secret (>40yrs) porn habit/addiction.
    To me the anonymity and privacy of porn versus the relational involvement of adultery made a huge difference, and I had not felt or intended to “cheat” on her. After many discussions with her I was beginning to understand her position, and your article has helped to crystalise those thoughts.
    Working with HeLP has made conffont my own delusional thought processes to justify my escape into pornworld. Satan has much to answer for, but never suppreses our free will to choose, just places cunning and attractive traps to switch me/us from the narrow upward path to the wide and easy downward track ! Please pray for me as I continue to try to find the way back.

  25. This trail has been useful for me. I am a married male (my wife is one of the most amazing human beings I could have ever met) and have struggled with issues of purity since I was 11 years old and am now almost 50. It feels to me that anyone who is personally committed to following scriptural guidance for their lives should take seriously the instructions we find there even if it is hard work.

    I have never blamed my wife for my weakness in these areas and I have also never allowed myself to convince myself that porn is “okay”–even still, I have struggled.

    One of the most difficult aspects for me intellectually however has been to minimize my struggle with porn by suggesting it is not really a sin against my wife, but rather has been a sin between myself and God. I have not intellectually understood how it has made her feel and the extent to which it offends her core sense of need and desire for security in our relationship.

    The above trail has been very helpful to me in seeing and feeling the offence I cause my wife when she finds examples of my interaction with porn. I pray that this can help me in my journey to find freedom in Christ from porn.

    I very much appreciate people such as Mark who are called to work with men (as a man) and help us change the way we think about this matter which I pray will help us change the way I behave in this area.

    I pray that all men who are committed to the Creator’s princples for our lives can find freedom and help build strong marraiges and families and teach their children to do the same.

  26. I would like to point out that not everyone has religious faith to fall back on and that probably makes dealing with the loss of your husband you love to porn that much harder. However Mark, what you have said in your blog is spot on. My husband has stopped using porn now but, still didn’t really understand why it had destroyed our marriage / my love for him. He read what you have written here and now, I think he does.

    However, I am not sure that any man can recover from being obsessed with porn. Even if they control their behavior and resist the temptation to use it again, I believe that temptation will always be there, deep down.

    In terms of an analogy, I see porn very much as a “mistress”. Certainly, my husband became obsessed with porn – in effect, he “fell in love” with it. He once told me “porn means everything to me” – and of course, at the time, I meant nothing.

    But, if he had had an affair with a woman, and had decided to end it because he had chosen me, that woman would have probably found someone else and disappeared from his life. However, his porn mistress is always there, waiting in the wings for her chance to pounce again, and take him again. His porn mistress will never be more than a few clicks away, for the rest of his life.

    So, although your thoughts on this were really helpful and explained a lot, I am not sure knowing all of this, after the event, really helps that much, in terms of saving a marriage / relationship. Once a porn addict, always a porn addict. How do you rebuild love and trust, when you know all of this?

    • @lucy – Yes and no. I know there are mottos thrown around in other addict-circles: “once an addict, always an addict,” or “one drink away from a drunk.” These experimentally speaking are quite true. Addicts enjoy freedom but it is a fragile freedom.

      However, you do not have to live always thinking his “mistress” is waiting in the wings for him. Porn is ubiquitous, but i am a living testimony of how a many can distance himself from porn. Even when the temptation arises, men can learn to fight it and have a totally different attitude toward it. A man can learn what it means to hate his addiction. No matter how alluring it can be, men can change. I have spoken to countless men who have.

  27. Mark,
    While I appreciate most of your comments – I think you still don’t quite understand that pornography IS adultery. Make no mistake about it – it IS. Adultery of the heart – because the porn user loved it, planed for it, choose it, made “a date” to watch it, got theirselves “ready” to watch it. Adultery of the mind – because the user made the CHOICE from free will. because they reasoned over it “will I get caught? if I do what will say? will she be mad at me?” Adultery of the BODY – yes the body, the user put all his sexual energy into porn and NOT his spouse. He purposely DID it. If a husband masturbates while watching (physically with his own eyes by his own choice) his wife undress, then no, that’s not adultery, because that’s his WIFE. If a husband masturbates or even becomes sexually arroused while watching (remember – physically watching with own eyes by HIS OWN CHOICE) any woman, be her alive or on a monitor, tv, movie screen, he is committing ADULTERY because that’s NOT his wife. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. It is adultery – of the heart, of the mind, and of the body.

  28. I agree that pornography IS adultery. When Jesus said that he who looks upon a woman and lusts after her has committed adultery in his heart, He gave no exception, He did not categorize it into a column of something LESS adulterous than other adulterous acts. He said it is adultery, so it is. Period. But some men want to set it apart as something less harmful. My husband feels the sama way…it’s not the same as an affair…and that’s exactly the reasoning he uses to continue viewing it.

    I did not know my husband had a long time problem with porn before I married him. I caught him about 2 years into our marriage. He has routinely told me that he doesn’t do porn anymore, and not long after his denial, I find more evidence of his betrayals. After seven years with him, it has literally destroyed my trust, and therefore my desire to be near him. I am left with two options: to set standards, to draw a line and insist that he seeks help (we are now separated and I will not reconcile until I see genuine contrition and a desire to seek counseling) . . . or to settle and pursue some kind of “relationship” that leaves me feeling like than the porn star, dehumanized, devalued. The wife can feel like she is there to do no more than to play out for him what he has been viewing and fantasizing about. The latter is not an option for me.

    I agree with some of the ladies here who have expressed their frustration . . . can a healthy, passionate, truly intimate relationship REALLY happen when porn is so readily available and men (even many Christian men) view it as harmless? It is disheartening and discouraging, to say the least, to Christian women who desire real intimacy. I’m not saying that all men are this way, but everywhere I look it seems to be a problem…and the numbers continue to increase.

    I, too, am of the opinion that without true repentance, a man cannot recover from this addiction….and as long as he justifies it in some way, as long as he does not think it is truly adultery — or is not adultery on the same level as an actual physical affair — he will never change because he cannot repent of what he is not honest with himself about. And because porn is covered in a blanket of deception, saying they’re sorry isn’t enough. I don’t trust that anymore.

    There are bigger problems attached to pornography. With some men (not all), because the gradual redefinition of sex/women in the regular viewing of porn causes men to see women as sex objects, this translates to their own bedroom and how they treat their own wives. Because the wife is increasingly objectified, she is seen less and less as a PERSON, and many times abuse (verbal and physical) begin to surface in the relationship. An overall disrepect for women begins to take place and his wife is often the target of his disdain for women in general.

    For women, it feeds our already fragile insecurities with regard to our body images in heaping portions. It used to make me jealous, to think about the women he was viewing, like I wasn’t enough, no matter how thin I was, how much I fixed myself up. But eventually, after so many disappointments and so much lost trust, I drifted away — and I suppose it has a lot to do with protecting my heart from anymore hurt, anger, resentment, etc…and I am no longer jealous or even feel betrayed. Right or wrong, I have emotionally “left him”. Our marriage could be lost altogether because of this issue and the resulting abuse, which I feel stemmed (in his case) from porn.

    I wish that more men would rise up and battle this. It would make us women feel there is some hope…that it’s not an evil that men in general are succombing to as a result of white-washing or justifying what it really is. So often I hear men say, “We are men! We are visual! We can’t help it! It’s okay! My wife knows and she’s okay with it! She watches it with me!”

    Does she think she has a choice? Deep down, I don’t think she is okay with it. We are simply not constructed that way. Even porn stars, if they would be honest, would tell you what they do leaves them feeling empty and devalued. Why do they do it? It’s a shame that women feel they have to follow this path OR be alone or unwanted. The pressure to mimic the women in porn movies is not what we wives really want, but we have no less allowed the porn star to redefine for us how we need to look and what we do so that we can compete with what our men are viewing. But we have to remember, WE are the standard. They are not!

    • What he said is that a man committed adultery “in his heart.” Still not the same as committing the act. Good lord if we were judged everytime anyone of us committed a sin in our heart, look out. It’s ridiculous to claim adultery and viewing naked images are the same. Even if they are equal sins, they are not the same thing.

  29. RONNIE: I understand your situation, but I think people can be so caught up in the letter of the law that they lose sight of the fact that they are **PRACTICING** a lifestyle of adultery through pornography, affairs, etc, so as to avoid one instance of adultery (divorce), and in my opinion, that is a more dangerous place to be. In your situation you would be completely justified to move on!

    If I may, I would like to touch on the subject of divorce/remarriage because our thinking on this subject does ultimately play a role in the justified use of pornography with many married men….so bear with me. There is a point! :)

    While I do not approve of the recent breakdown of the family unit and I firmly believe that we should do everything possible to uphold our marital vows, we have to remember that divorce, is in fact, the only form of adultery or sin in general which God gave some exceptions. Probably because it involves TWO people who must be mutually committed, and also because we are all very much sexual beings and created by God to be such — nothing wrong with that in and of itself and so God has given us marriage as an outlet for that. There are times marriages fail, but I don’t feel that God would not permit us to remarry so that we end up struggling with sexual sin the rest of our lives. The Bible says it is better to marry than to burn (with lust). Nor does He want us to struggle with sexual sin within marriage.

    If we are not married, it is a clear sin to act out sexually in any way, shape or form, even though we are no less sexual beings than those who are married, and even though we struggle with all of the same desires. It is pretty straightforward, biblically, for the unmarried folk. But for some reason, once you throw a spouse in the picture, things aren’t so straightforward and there are exceptions to God’s rules. Not the case! Some feel they are doing something righteous by remaining married and using pornography as a way to keep from having an affair on their wife. They feel that some forms of alternate sexual gratification are permissible within marriage so long as they don’t divorce…there is justification in it because his wife is “cold” or distant. Was there justification to act out sexually, outside of God’s will, BEFORE you married?? God says NO — and He means it, whether you are married or not!

    And are you really doing your wife a favor? If you don’t apply yourself to healing and focus your attention in the right areas, on your wife, you are robbing yourself and her of a meaningful, godly, intimate relationship. And if your spouse is already gone and shows no signs of returning, as with Ronnie’s wife . . . then who are you trying to impress by not divorcing? Are you not habitually sinning anyway? Does that glorify God?

    BTW, Ronnie — sorry to get off subject for a sec, but…interracial adultery?? Adultery is not more wrong between two of a different race than two people of the same race. So, I wonder, why the distinction? I can see why her friends might perceive you to be racist, though I sincerely hope that is not the case. My dad is a pastor and very “old school” this way, so I was raised with that line of thinking…but the truth is God formed all living creatures to reproduce “according to their own kinds”. If a different race wasn’t our “own kind”, it wouldn’t be possible for us to interracially reproduce. Every race of human being IS our own kind. We have the SAME mother and father (Adam and Eve)….just different amounts of melanin in the skin, and MAYBE a few cultural differences…but that’s all it is. :) And if you’re referring to being “unequally yoked”, that has to do with believers being unequally yoked with unbelievers…has nothing to do with race.

  30. Wow…. This honestly could not have been written more perfectly! All the times I’ve tried describing why I’m experiencing so much pain and heartache upon discovering his addiction to porn- and I never seem to be able to explain adequately. Wow. I think just having my husband read this article will bring some essence of peace to my heart… Feeling as though I am unable to communicate this properly to him is so distressing! I’m thankful to have stumbled upon this.

  31. I have read ” For women only” and was shocked. It confirms all the negative stereotypes of men I have ever heard. The fact that the author quotes it so much is scary. That book basically tells women that if they boost their man’s ego, put out, do whatever they can to stay hot, your relationship will be great. It basically says all men care about is sex, work success, and a having a woman on their arm that makes their guy pals jealous. Porn encourages this mindset as well.

    While I appreciate the effort of the author to educate men on how women feel, I suspect it won’t do much good until men realize they don’t have the right to objectify and use women- whether in person via an affair or via online harems.

    I think this post points out how men and women can compliment each other with their ways of attaching and bonding, the mental and physical can work together as long as we don’t ignore that nen and women often have elements of both- it isn’t either/ or.

    • I thought that book was pure trash. All men do NOT think like that. All the men interviewed may be lying – because society is teaching that men are only about sex – so all men lie about it.

      In my group of friends – we want a partner, a companion, a best friend. Actually, looks don’t matter. It’s attitude that counts.

  32. I have sat down with this crap FOREVER!! it has been a staple in my life for quite sometime. Everyone says they started or are pushed into this at an early age well I had my hand pulled in that direction (porn) young. For some odd reason i couldn’t find the motivation to stop. It was a daily ordeal that was basically hurdling out of control. An avalanche that was taken with me with it. I was one of those to damn blind and stupid to realize that what i was doing was damaging the way my wife viewed me and how this was affecting our relationship even though we had fights (arguments) about it. She would point out that if i had to hide i was committing a crime against US. I didn’t take that to consideration. All i thought about was the end. i didn’t consider the fact that by doing something that comes off as far off and harmless (which it is not by any means, its like tossing grenades into your life and waiting for them to randomly go off). You take the secure woman even they are vulnerable. I love my wife and am a stubborn idiot it took more than one falling out for me to realize that what i was doing it wasn’t that it was selfish it wasn’t reading the article even though she sent me the link it was the fact that it dawned on me i was killing US. If you respect your wife, realize this she don’t have to be your wife. If she brings this your your front door then she wants to be. I wish i could take away all the hurt i caused her but all i can do is ride out the storm and hope at the end i still have a marriage and a mate. It does hurt them. It does cause damage. I was slow and i regret being so blind even though she laid it out for me.

  33. If it’s not adultery, at the least it’s walking a fine line and i feel can increase the chance of infidelity. I think it’s adultery if it reaps the same results as adultery and puts a wedge between two people, especially if the addict doesn’t care to try and work on the problem or see it as wrong.

  34. First off what Laurie said was right on and I didnt see a response from Mark. She is right when making sure that you judge what you do by what Jesus says and not by your own perspective about the issue. I also see that Mark you said that pornography has nothing to do with sex alot of the times well what does it have to do with? Is it a mind connection? I thought that is what the woman sought after. Or is it a visual or physical thing? Most often does not a physical connection happen during viewing pornography? Masturbation! So watching fornicators have sex and having orgies you fantasize and become aroused by what you see and using TOUCH sinning against you own body which provides a physical outlet. That takes away from physical intimacy with the wife because you got satisfaction elsewhere. Either way it is a sin whether sinning against yourself or your wife. 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Also this scripture here Mark 9:47-And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. Even if pornography does not involve masturbation you are totally violating and disrespecting the union of sex within marriage only! You are searching out sexual immorality a bunch of people fornicating desiring something that is clearly a sin and becoming sexually aroused by it coveting that which is unholy and a disgrace in Gods eyes! You are lowering your standards. So now what place do you have to tell a couple not to have sex before marriage because you will be fornication? Well if watching it is ok why are the ones that participate in it not ok to do it? You might as well approve the act since you watch it harmlessly?

    • I completely agree here, but what you described is still different than adultery. You’ve made the argument on how viewing pornography can lead to the ultimate betrayal of adultery.

  35. From a Christian perspective, let’s go a bit deeper: 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 speaks of the temptation to sexual immorality if either the husband or the wife withholds sex from their partner. Withholding sex must be a contributing factor in men viewing porn. Surely the withholding of sex is as much a sin as the viewing of porn.
    Dinkum downunderwriter David

    • Withholding sex for the sake of withholding sex is sinful, yes. And yes, watching porn is sinful. We are each responsible for our own sins.

      But we should be careful to qualify things. When someone sins against you, thus tempting you to sin in response, they are responsible for sinning, but they are not responsible for your sin. Men and women start out life single. Many men and women live as single people with no sexual partner for years. When a married person is not having sex with their spouse, they are probably more tempted to find a sexual outlet elsewhere, but then they need to use the same spiritual resources available to the single person. To fail to do this is sinful. To place blame on the spouse is also sinful. Each person should account for their own sins in this.

  36. I dated and married my wife while viewing pornography and hiding it from her . About a year into our marriage I decided to confess to her and started working on dealing with the sin and the pain it caused her . Jesus said that lusting is the same as adultery , I believe he also said that being angry is like murder. I think that you can find plenty of proof in the Bible that pornography
    y is wrong without quoting that scripture . I think its wrong to say ” Jesus says lusting is the same as adultery and Jesus says divorce is acceptable in the case of adultery , therefore I have the right to divorce ” I think that if a wife want to use these scriptures this way she should be prepared to be accused of murder. I am aware how detestable porn is and I am aware that most women who have been hurt by their husbands in this way will think I am evil for saying what I just said.

    • I think your point is well-taken.

      I, for one, do not think that porn use alone is grounds for divorce. I have a hard time drawing a biblical line between using porn and lusting in ones own mind. If porn is grounds for divorce, then is mental lust grounds as well? If so, every wife on the planet has grounds for divorce, and I don’t think this was Jesus’ intent. His intent in Matthew 5:27-30 is not to talk about grounds for divorce, but grounds for damnation.

      That being said, porn-viewing can easily lead to a condition of the heart and relationship that is grounds for divorce. If a man is unrepentantly looking at porn, receiving no counsel, stomping on his wife’s emotions, and becoming more and more inward, and then if she (with the help of the body of Christ) establishes boundaries in their marriage and he blows over those boundaries, putting more and more distance between himself and his wife, this can amount to abandonment (1 Corinthians 7). Of course, another scenario can play out where the man gets entrenched in porn addiction and begins to interact with other women online and offline to slake his lust. This, again, could lead to grounds for divorce (Matthew 19).

      Everything I just said should be understood in the light of some important truths: (1) that porn is a deplorable sin that men should be ashamed of and wives should be offended by, (2) porn use (and all lust) is a form of unfaithfulness, (3) just because a man thinks his wife has no grounds for divorce does not mean she has no grounds for boundaries and discipline in the home, and (4) having grounds for divorce is not the same as getting divorced (many women have grounds and never get divorced).

  37. I would like to add that I think that men who are engaged in pornography do need to be convinced that there behavior is adulterous . I also think that going around accusing men of something that they have not done is not going to get anyone anywhere. After learning of my struggle with pornography my wife got tested for AIDS because she was sure that I probably had affairs and visited prostitutes as well and she was also very suspicious that I was a child molester . I believe that God can work all things together for my good , but in general I don’t see how it is productive to accuse a man of things he hasn’t done in order to get him love you better.

    • Your wife’s fear was not necessarily irrational. You may have felt accused in the process, but your actions led to a whole-sale distrusting of your character and actions. This is the distrust that men like you and I earn through our porn use, and it is justified.

      That said, these things get pretty messy pretty quick when a couple has no help. The wife needs help sorting through her own turbulent emotions (that are natural, given the circumstance she is in), and the man needs help learning how to rebuild trust and overcoming his slavery to lust. If the man feels unreasonable accused, then it is best for him to sit his feeling of injustice and let the Lord be his defender. A mediator (like a trained pastor or counselor) can help a couple work through these difficult questions.

    • Mark, I think you need to consider what a spouse’s use of porn does to the relationship in the marriage. All of us, male or female, marry for basically the same reason; to live their lives with someone special and to be special to that person. We don’t marry someone who we feel disregards our feelings. No one would marry someone who discounts or degrades them. The continued use of porn, especially once the viewer is aware of the pain it causes, proves a lack of empathy and love in the viewer toward their spouse. If you truly love someone, you would not want that person to be harmed by anything, much less by something you are doing.
      So it really doesn’t matter whether you think porn is adultery or not, if your spouse thinks it is…that’s it, end of story, it’s adultery. Your love for your spouse would tell you how important he/she is to you, so end of argument. Why are you having this discussion anyway? Your spouse’s trust, respect, and adoration of you is what is going to make the rest of your life worthwhile. So why argue about something he/she finds so disgusting? Is the idea of life without porn so horrible that it is worth arguing about? If so, you need to re-examine your definition of love and marriage.
      Your mate has been made to feel humiliated by your actions. Isn’t that reason enough to accept that his/her feels are genuine and worthy of your consideration?
      Your mate’s fears are rational. What level of disrespect must a marriage partner have to disregard the pain caused by this behavior? The fear of a spouse’s disrespect IS rational and justified. How can you expect someone to live with someone who has already shown such indifference toward you?

  38. I have never told my wife that I thought porn was no big deal or tried to justify that I should be allowed to keep doing it . At this point I have not seen porn in five months , I know “big deal you worthless pile of garbage” But I am committed to staying away from it and Ive had a little success Bonnie , are you telling me that I am worthless and my wife should divorce me? ( she says she might) should she hit me if she feels like it? (she does) Is she justified in treating however she wants indefiniteley . Is she no longer subject to God because I am such a loser.

    • Hi Mark,

      It should be made clear here that no person’s sins justify the sins of another. Sin is sin is sin. Just as a man cannot use his wife’s apparent frigidity as an excuse to look at porn, a woman cannot use her husband’s porn viewing as as excuse to mistreat him.

      What have you done to try to rebuild trust?

  39. I have been seeing a pastor for counseling for 7 months or so I have been seeing a professional christian counselor for two months because my wife was not satisfied with the pastor . I have been very open and honest and have confessed my sins to a lot of people , maybe too many people . I try hard to be loving and patient and I keep pirsuing my wife everyday even when she is hostile toward me . I should add that I went to a topless bar once about a year ago . That adds a lot to the level of pain that I have caused her .

    • Sounds like you’re making some great strides.

      I highly recommend you and your wife watch these free videos by Brad Hambrick, a Christian counselor who talks at length about porn addiction (for both the addict and the spouse). These videos have helped thousands of people walk into health and healing. The ones for you are called “False Love.” The ones for your wife are called “True Betrayal.” Excellent videos.

  40. Thank you for this article, it explains well what some men may see as irrational! It clearly shows there is a different way of bonding and of weakening or breaking that bond. Sometimes I read how confused a man is that his wife rejects him or ‘goes cold’ when he has been visually arousing himself over another woman. It doesn’t matter whether her reaction makes sense to him, many women cannot make sense of their husband’s reactions to things either but will at least try to make sense of them. I hear men often say ‘but that’s how I’m wired, I can’t help being drawn to the female form’ so it would make sense for them to be the first to understand that wife is also ‘wired’ to respond in the way the article describes. She is not ‘being over sensitive’ or a control freak, she feels insecure because she is ‘wired’ that way, it is her instinct and if she feels that way in response to his desires her only defence is to shut down emotionally from him.

    I think a problem for wives is that her husband’s instinct causes him pleasure and he has to pull away from it, but his first response is pleasure (then maybe followed by guilt or shame dependent on his moral beliefs). Whereas for wives their instinctive response to this is only pain with no element of pleasure like the male experiences. So she is at a disadvantage to her emotional health compared to her husband.

    This I believe puts men at great risk because she will need to relieve that pain somehow as there is no pleasure attached to it like for the male experience (which is why he returns to it). She will shut down emotionally and physically from him (bond weakening or breaking) or may start have wandering eyes herself which is not the same as a male wandering eye (for sexual appreciation / lust) as she would be looking for a replacement for what she lost, her bond.

    So important to take care of what you have! To nurture and protect it! For her response is as natural as a man’s instinct to indulge sexually. One is a response to the other. She cannot give him the sex he needs if she feels the way she does, especially if she has been already attempting to meet his sexual needs. Think about it, if she instinctively perceives him as preferring others (remember the subconscious does not differentiate image from real – that is one reason why men become addicted to the sexual experience of these images) she will instinctively protect herself from potential vulnerability (ie. pregnancy) and therefore shut her husband out sexually. Very primal behaviour, just as men argue their wiring is primal hers is also. If the wife feels the bond is breaking due to her husbands attention going elsewhere he needs to repair the bond through managing his instinct and hopefully her response will change in time for it is an instinctive response to his behaviour.

    I really feel we live in a man’s world. Sexually explicit scantily clad seductive women / images are constantly bombarding men, women and children. The only ones deriving pleasure from these images are men, I’m sure men don’t want to go shopping, drive or watch tv ads with only half naked seductive bedroom eyed male model images looking at him (no female images anywhere!) unless he’s homosexual. We women don’t want to see seductive female images staring at us all day either if we’re not homosexual. It’s not pleasurable for us, it’s threatening, most especially when our husbands are ‘wired’ to consume them. So men, please understand a female’s instinct is not the same as a males. Unfortunately husbands can make it so much worse leaving women little else but to shut down or they can help stop the cycle altogether. Just some thoughts.

    • Thanks for sharing, M. We do live in a “man’s world” in many ways, and media caters to it. Even when media is trying to sell to women, it is often trying to sell women on a man’s version of perfection. It is sad, really.

  41. Although I don’t like porn, this article troubles me. First, exaggerating gender differences puts people in boxes- there’s no “mystery of womanhood” and woman’s needs can’t be “reduced to a single word.” Both men and women are complex, but not different species.
    Second, your hypothetical example story about a woman being leered at and groped is a distressing and unequal comparison to a man looking at porn. He was looking for porn; she was not consenting to harassment. I’ve been groped in public before. I didn’t invite it, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. But your story was supposed to make us sympathetic to husbands, because the wife had failed to protect his property (her body)?
    I’m sure you didn’t intend your story to be interpreted that way, but please consider it.

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