7 Questions Wives of Porn Addicts Often Ask

Sexual addiction, an umbrella term which includes pornography addiction, is likely the most harmful addiction when it comes to marriages. The reasons for this are numerous and include the shame associated with this addiction for both the addict and the spouse, the sense of betrayal, and stereotypes linked to the addiction.

7 Questions Wives of Porn Addicts Often Ask

I specialize in counseling wives of sex addicts, and I often see women who haven’t told anyone about their husband’s addiction, sometimes for months or even years. The lack of support available to spouses, and often inaccurate information being put out about partners of sexual addicts, can cause a wife to suffer additional trauma and feel like she is partially responsible for her husband’s behavior.

Since this is a “process addiction,” versus a chemical addiction, it is so hard for wives to understand. This lack of understanding can cause numerous misconceptions to be held as truths and can postpone healing.

#1: How can my husband love me and look at porn when he knows it hurts me?

It is possible for your husband to love you, even though he is looking at pornography. In fact, the two are completely unrelated. Men are better than women at compartmentalization. A man’s brain can be compared to a waffle. There are many different compartments so that he can divide his life up into separate components that don’t touch each other. His marriage and family can be in one compartment, his job in another…you get the point. This is a benefit when a man is fighting in a war and able to focus on the task at hand without worrying about his family back home. But it also makes a man able to look at pornography without thinking about how it may hurt you or his marriage. Women’s brains are more like spaghetti where everything is connected. We are more likely to be worrying about our kids when we are at work and thinking about work when we are at home.

When a man becomes addicted to pornography, it can become a perceived need rather than a choice for him until he becomes willing to reach out for help. His use of porn causes a release of the same chemicals involved when a drug is ingested. At the height of his addiction, nothing, not even the risk of losing his job or his marriage, is enough to stop him. This explains how a politician or celebrity can make such risky, career-destroying moves without stopping to consider the consequences.

Later I will discuss the kinds of consequences that can catapult an addict into reality.

#2: Why does my husband prefer porn and masturbation to sex with me?

Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and author of the acclaimed book, The Brain That Changes Itself, studied porn addicts. He stated,

They reported increasing difficulty in being turned on by their actual sexual partners, spouses, or girlfriends, though they still considered them objectively attractive. When I asked if this phenomenon had any relationship to viewing pornography, they answered that it initially helped them get more excited during sex but over time had the opposite effect.

Your husband had this addiction, or the proclivity toward it, before he ever met you, regardless of what he says. In spite of what you think or even what he might have said, nothing you could do could be enough to sexually satisfy your porn addicted spouse. Pornography presents an unrealistic reality that damages a person’s brain. They become engrossed in this fantasy world where they don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone but themselves and no emotional connection is required.

While a porn addict desperately craves love and intimacy (something he is probably unaware of), he seeks it out in the exact place that will cause him to become less and less able to experience it. As I hear sexual addicts talk about their past, it becomes apparent why they are so uncomfortable with the idea of intimacy. This topic is beyond our scope here, but it is important for a wife to be aware that there is a reason her husband became addicted to porn, and that reason is not her.


Read Part 2 answering these four questions:

Question #3: Why am I not enough if I am sexually available to him?

Question #4: He says he looks at porn because I don’t have sex with him enough, am not pretty enough, am too fat, etc. What can I do?

Question #5: My husband says all men do it. Am I making too big a deal out of this?

Question #6: My husband refuses to get help or admit this is a problem. How can I make him stop? What are the risks if he doesn’t stop?