Sex After Porn – Igniting Marital Intimacy in the Wake of Pornography

When a husband brings porn into the marriage, he brings other women to their marriage bed. It’s stained with the images of other people. Who wants to make love on a stained bed? It has to be cleaned first. Husband and wife, together, need to wash the sheets, not obsess over whether they are clean or not, and trust that the stains have been washed away.

There isn’t a clear method or time to come together again. It’s individual for each couple. The husband has to be willing to truly clean the sheets, not just try to rub it off with some water and move on. Making love is the closest form of intimacy we can have with each other, and we shouldn’t jump right into it without falling in love again, holding hands, kissing passionately, holding each other. I know for some people it’s easier to make love and those things will fall into place, but I think sometimes we force the sex part because we feel pressured for some reason.

Sex isn’t a selfish act. This culture can make us believe that sex is about having an orgasm and being pleasured, but it’s about becoming one with your spouse, enjoying him/her, and pleasuring him/her, just like marriage. A husband shouldn’t focus on how much his wife loves him; instead, he should be loving her as Christ loves the Church. And a wife shouldn’t be focused on how much her husband loves her; she should be loving her husband with a true and selfless love.

But what if you don’t trust him? What if you fear women popping up in your head, or even worse, his? What if you feel dirty? What if he tries to make you do things you don’t want to do?

In my book, Exposed, Ally says at some point that she finally understands “the weakness of ‘if’ and the power of ‘faith.’” Sometimes our “what if’s” are true, but there are times they aren’t. We don’t really know the heart of a person, but if our husbands are trying—really trying—to win us back, if we can see his growth, his desire for purity, then who are we to use doubt as an excuse not to make love to him? Yes, he betrayed us and it’s hard to trust. And trust will take time to rebuild on so many different levels of the relationship. But we can’t use his sin as an excuse for our lack of desire to grow and change.

It’s hard to give up our insecurities of our beauty and the insecurities of his faithfulness and purity and devotion to us. But insecurities are nothing more than another word for self-centeredness. They are planted in our hearts and minds to destroy us. And if we give in to insecurities and continue looking inward and feeling sorry for ourselves, it will torture us.

I can’t tell a wife when to have sex with her husband again. That’s for her to decide. But I like to ask women this question: Are you holding back from him (when he is changing and proving his devotion to you) for selfish reasons? I don’t ever recommend people to begin making love again when the bed is still stained and the husband is still having an affair with other images. And if he is changing, I don’t recommend making love either. Why?

Because you have to desire it first. I never tell women to jump into a stained bed (or even a clean bed) when they don’t desire it. It’s not about “releasing” him so he doesn’t look at porn. It’s not about trying to fix your marriage. It’s about love. Loving each other. Becoming one. Enjoying intimacy as it was intended—for only you and your spouse.

So…how do you know when it’s finally time to make love again?

You love. When you love him and desire him enough to give him all of you…you are ready, and vice versa. But the trick is to not hold on to our insecurities, fears, and doubts in order to keep intimacy from our marriage. When George and I went through this I refused to make love to him (even after he truly changed) because I wanted to punish him. Other times I feared my thoughts or his. And still there were times I just plain listened to lies or felt too ugly to be that intimate with my husband. But eventually, I asked God to change my heart. To help me love fully, unconditionally, and through the eyes of Jesus, instead of the eyes of deception.

When my heart changed, my insecurities lessened, my doubts withered (although they were still there a tiny bit), and I stopped listening to lies. Finally, I desired to make love to my husband. I wanted to be one with him again. And we both knew when it was the right time. It wasn’t forced. Neither of us pressured the other. I didn’t make love to him in hopes that it would keep him from looking at porn again.

We made love because we purely loved each other. Simple, beautiful, and real.

I can’t say when the right time for you will be. But you’ll know. Pray for a new heart for both man and wife, and your marriage. Get the lies, doubts, stains, and insecurities out of your marriage bed, look at each other with the love you had when you put those rings on your fingers, and express that love to each other with the most beautiful form of intimacy we can share. Sex is beautiful. When pure, it actually glorifies God.

I know you can get to this point again. It’s just going to take some cleaning. Spend some time with each other cleaning your hearts, your bed, and your marriage. When you are ready…you’ll know.