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.

56 thoughts on “Should Wives of Porn Users “Just Get Over It”?

  1. I actually think both of you are misunderstanding women. A wife wants to be cherished by her husband, to think that they are the most precious person in their life. That’s just the nature of women. When they hear of their husbands looking at other women, indulging in porn, etc. it’s very difficult for them to wrap their mind around the idea that thishas nothing to do with their husbands feelings for them. They just can’t accept it. It would take a lot of support from other women going through the same thing, and much time and patience before they can fully accept this. It would seem naive to think that even religious women harboring their resentment over this because of religious ideals. Religion is a small part of this. It’s about themselves as women and wives. Perhaps some of the female commenters can weigh in on this understanding.

    • Hey Steve, I was merely replying on behalf of the Christian females who had left so many comments, mostly of a spiritual nature. That was the reason for the wording of my reply. I agree, however, with everything you said.

    • I do understand that a man watching porn has nothing to do with how he feels about his wife. However, you don’t even have to be addicted before porn begins to erode a man’s views of his wife & the way he sees her body. My husband is 60 yrs old as am I, & you’re not telling me that he enjoys looking at my 60 yr old body as much as he ever did, after watching 18 to 20 yr old porn stars. I don’t believe it. If you only have your wife, you don’t compare.

  2. Luke,

    Thanks for your blog and this post in particular. I have to completely disagree with the comment that the other man posted and have to mourn to be honest with the comments that were made. I speak from experience in saying that pornography and lust erode every part of a man’s soul and men are simply fooling themselves or denying the truth to think that they can dabble in it and expect to not get burned. I have been struggling with lust, masturbation, and pornography since I was 12 years old and I’m now 31. Lust has cropped up into my life in different ways since then and was taking over my life. It wasn’t just pornography. It is the looks at other women in the office, watching R rated movies, looking at commercials on TV, the woman jogging on the side of the street, even Victoria’s Secret websites and commercials. The problem is that we as men are approaching sexual purity from a legalistic point of view, by saying that if I don’t look at porn I’m honoring God and my wife. It’s simply not so. God expects us to have “not a hint of sexual immorality” and that is a totally radical idea compared to the idea of our culture. We are also told to love our wives as Christ loved the church. I’m pretty sure that means a radical devotion to serving our wives and cherishing our wives, which leaves absolutely zero room for anything close to a hint of sexual immorality. It is possible to do this but we have to pursue holiness that comes in Christ and seek to live a life worthy of him. God has blessed me so much in this since I went to an Everyman’s Battle workshop this past July. Freedom can be found and it’s completely freedom, not just from looking at porn. As men of God, God expects us to be holy as he is holy and to treat our bodies as temples. I failed in this for 18 years of my life and am now a witness to God’s transforming power. I hope any man who reads this wakes up to the reality that looking at porn and masturbating is a dangerous as jumping into fire. It will lead and progress into greater sin and can lead into adultery and total destruction. You’re a fool if you think you can handle it. Wake up!

    • Right on, Jon. I agree with him as far as addiction goes: not every man gets hooked as deeply as some do. But as for the overall thrust of his comment, I disagree entirely. Women loved to be cherished by their husbands.

    • Thank you. Thank you for saying this. As a woman it gets harder and harder to believe that a man can be faithful. It almost seems like as women we have to tell ourselves that all men cheat in some way and we have to accept it. But I don’t want to believe that. So thank you for saying what you said.

  3. “Just get over it” is what I used to say when I was in my addiction and in denial of my problem.

    Maybe there are women out there who enjoy pornography, but from my vast research, these same women are just as broken as the men who become addicted to porn.

    Whether or not you believe in the addiction, the facts remain that just watching porn releases powerful chemicals in the brain, rewiring the brain. A person with addictive tendencies will become addicted quicker than one that does not. Over time, the intense pornography will warp the arousal template and yes, men will begin to fantizise about other women while being sexually “unintimate” with their wives.

    The bottom line, pornography is about intensity, not intimacy. Building real intimacy is based on being truthful and working on the spiritual intimacy and emotional intimacy before any physical intimacy.

    • Exactly. I sometimes think talk of “addiction” might actually distract people from the overarching issues. What if I asked, “Is it okay for me to emotionally abuse my wife every now and then? As long as I’m not addicted to it, is there a problem with that?” That’s a silly question. Of course it’s wrong. By making “addiction” the criteria for whether porn use is right or wrong, we miss the fact that any use of porn robs something from us and our spouse.

  4. As a struggling wife of a husband who is a frequent user of porn, I have for years tried to convince myself it didn’t matter. It matters. God calls the union between man and woman to be pure and lust after other women has no place in the unity of marriage. After confronting, pleading, supporting, and encouraging my husband to seek help as a Christian man, he still has not done so. He insists he can break this habbit through prayer on his own. I disagree. He doesn’t want to tell anyone else or have an accountability partner nor will he seek counseling. I have moved out to separate myself from the situation until he decides what is important in his life. Me or ideas of other women in his mind. I finally have accepted the truth that his issue has nothing to do with me, personally. It existed before we met and I just didn’t know about it until after we were married. I love him and only want him to be well and whole with God.

    • I thought I could beat the habit on my own and tried for 18 years. I finally realized that I could not do it myself. It took a while, but I found a group.

      Sadly there are still too few groups out there to deal specifically with sexual addiction. I travel over an hour to attend. However, there are other resources and support that can be found.

      Also, for a Christian man caught up in the web of lust and pornography, shame is a great factor, and the feeling that I should be able to “just do a little more” in my own spiritual life to “beat this thing”

    • My husband has been addicted to porn for the past 6 months. We haven’t even reached our two year mark, we have a couple months. We just had a child together as well. Porn has taken over his life and I have told him calmly how this affects me and how it affects us and he said it is not something he can stop doing. He also said he is not addicted. but watches it 24/7. So I am afraid to give an ultimatum and give us a break. I’m afraid he won’t stop and that he will begin hiding and lying to me about it. I am proud of you for standing your ground. I am learning to stand on my ground but so scared to. I feel lost and not sure what to do other than to turn to God and keep praying. I know that when men go down this path they become extremely desensitized and end up with porn induced ED which he has now but is in disbelief. I know it is not me, but this is not what I want in a marriage either. I chose him because he didn’t watch porn or go to strip clubs. I want to stop being intimate with him, because it seems to be only me and he can’t stay hard. I am pulling away, this is not the marriage I signed up for. I will fight because I don’t believe in divorce, but fighting this battle is beginning to take it’s toll on me.

  5. I’m certainly not condoning the use of pornography or excusing it in any way. However, the discussions so far have overlooked one very important factor.–the wife who has broken off all forms of intimacy with her husband. She took a vow as well as he did, and when that happened, they were BOTH saying “I will be the one who will satisfy you in every way.” Too often, however, that “every way” somehow eventually excludes sexual intimacy. The man really loves his wife, and would NEVER have a physical affair, but his needs are too strong to ignore. SHE ignores them, but HE cannot. I see the women complaining that their husbands no longer engage in sexual intimacy with them because they are involved in pornography–I just thought it important to look at the situation from the other side: the man whose wife has already frozen him out BEFORE he turned to pornography.

    • Great point, Paul. It feels like a vicious circle: He gives into porn, she feels hurt, she withholds sex or finds herself emotionally stunted and unable to be aroused, he feels the strain of the relationship, he returns to porn to relieve his tension and anxiety, and the process starts all over again.

      I think there are a number of issues here.

      First, each person should account for their own sins. To stop striving for marital intimacy is sinful, unless someone has been abandoned by their spouse. Both men and women need to be active in removing whatever barriers exist for intimacy. Let each person account for his or her sins alone.

      Second, a woman who has been scarred by her husband’s virtual infidelity needs the grace of his patience. If he found out that his wife had just committed adultery, he probably wouldn’t be “in the mood” either. The golden rule is central here: how would he want to be treated if the situation was reversed? He should extend that same grace to his wife.

      Third, women should be careful to distinguish between withholding sex as an act of vengeance and deliberate separation in order to repair shattered trust and shattered emotions. The two can look very similar, but one is longing for a renewed sense of trust and intimacy while the other is malicious. Vengeance is never the answer. However, there is something to be said for a period of sexual separation so both husband and wife can be devoted to prayer and realigning their hearts with truth (1 Corinthians 7:5).

      Often men can get very frustrated with their wives when days or weeks have gone by without sex. I think of the Song of Solomon where the lover comes to his wife’s door in the early morning hours looking to lay down with her, and she turns him away with an excuse. He responds in love, coating the nob of the door with liquid myrrh, what was then a romantic gesture (Song 4:4-5). This is what prompts her heart to long for him again. Yes, a woman can sin against her husband in odious ways, and yes, she will be held accountable for these sins. But men must also learn to be the initiators of romance.

    • I totally agree that we are to both do our part in our marriage. The Bible states that. Men would like you to believe they turned to pornography because of what their wife did or did not do for them in their marriage.

      Look at my story. When we first got married I would have liked sex daily, my husband only wanted it a couple of times a week. After a year he was down to once a week and the rest of the time he rejected my desires. I got over it and once a week became good enough. It was years later that I found out he had been hiding a porn addiction all that time. He wasn’t interested in me, though he claimed he loved me and I satisfied him sexually. He was a porn addict.

      And.. there is no such thing as a casual porn watcher, like a casual drinker. If you are using porn, you are cheating on your wife. PERIOD.

      Have you ever thought of things from the wife’s perspective? Think about how hard it is for me to be sexually intimate with a man she knows is thinking of other women to satisfy him.

    • What came first, the husband’s porn or the frigid wife debate? In my case, the porn came first. For 25 yrs, my husband & I took turns being the initiator for sex & the other never said no. And then one day….WHAM! What happened? I had to get a home computer for my work & with that came curiosity on my husband’s part I guess. Well, suddenly I was the only one initiating & he began refusing more & more. Since we were getting older, I figured his testosterone level was dropping. Stupid me! And then, one night I caught him in the act of self-pleasuring to a naked, very young lady on the computer screen. At first, I laughed it off. But as our intimacy together continued to plunge & cease entirely, it became much more serious to me. Not only was my husband not interested in being with me, due to so many available, much younger screen ladies, but he also had porn ED at its finest. He couldn’t do it with me to save his soul. To make a long story short, this battle went on for 5 years. He stopped 2 yrs ago. The ED has gotten better, but he still can’t function about half the time now. Before he quit porn he couldn’t function with me at all. Viagra, Cialis, etc didn’t work because it is not a penis problem; it is a brain problem. He conditioned & changed his brain into thinking that an internet screen meant sex, instead of his wife. So, there we are. What came first the husband’s porn or the frigid wife? Well, I was never a frigid wife, so the porn came first. I missed my husband terribly. I still do. I miss the man he used to be before he turned himself into an impotent, virtual porn unit.

    • It breaks my heart and makes me just crazy that good marriages get thrashed by the fake pleasure of porn. I’m so sorry for the loss you’ve suffered. It sounds like your husband has taken some steps toward better health, but you’re still in a lot of pain. I’m wondering if you’ve ever had support for yourself, either in a group or in therapy? Or if you’ve had the opportunity to talk this through with your husband at all? I like to recommend the American Association of Christian Counselors as a place to look for a counselor locally.

      I think marriages can definitely be repaired after a porn habit. It’s work, but it can definitely be done. If he’s porn-free at this point, that’s huge, and I think your marriage could definitely be on the road to healing, if that’s what you’d like to see happen. I wonder if you saw this article a few weeks back? I’ve been trying to write some more blogs for women who are in long-term recovery with their husbands. That article includes a link to a previous article on that topic as well. I’m trying to facilitate some conversation about how to get into real healing, once you’re past the crisis. You might also appreciate our free download, Hope After Porn.

      Let me know what you think of those resources. Blessings, Kay

  6. You make some very good points, but I’m afraid you missed the point that I was trying to make. I am not talking about a man whose wife refuses sex with him BECAUSE he is into pornography, but a wife who refuses sex over several years, THEN he turns to pornography. I am not saying this makes it right, but it just seemed to me that this was an aspect of the discussion that was not being covered. Since the husband would never consider having a physical affair, yet his wife is cold and indifferent to his physical needs, he feels that he has nowhere to turn. Pornography is certainly not the answer, but he feels that he has no other outlet.

    When a couple pledges to be faithful to each other, they are saying to one another (among many oher things, of course) “YOU are the one person I will turn to; and I will be the one you turn to for sexual satisfaction and fulfillment.” When one partner decides, for whatever reason, that sex is no longer important to him or her, they are BREAKING the original covenant they made with each other. If one of the couple turns to someone else, or even to pornography, then we naturally say that unfaithfulness has occurred.

    BUT I believe it is equally as true to say that unfaithfulness has occurred when one of the couple breaks that early promise to be the ONLY ONE who meets those needs.

    In many cases, the wife will say to her husband, “Why is it ALWAYS about sex with you?” And he wonders, “Why is it NEVER about sex with you?”

    Hopefully this has clarified my earlier point, and opened up further discussion on this whole subject.

  7. Sue…I feel for you like I do for my wife. Your husband needs to find an SA meeting. They have saved my life and my marriage. He will find there men just like him. He will discover he is not alone. He will discover a brotherhood and a connection with people and God that will see him through this addiction.

    Paul…I used to think like you do and I was wrong. Any recovering sex addict will have come to realize that sex is absolutely optional. Sex is not owed to either partner. Sex is only one form of intimacy and isn’t required for a happy, healthy and intensely intimate relationship. Until a man figures this out, he and his marriage will never be complete.

  8. I wanted to respond to Sue. My husband and I were in the same situation with him thinking he could do it on his own for years and not wanting to tell anyone else. The ministry he finally consented to was phone counseling through Doug Weiss’s ministry (sexaddict.com). Maybe it was the privacy of it being on the phone or the convenience, who knows, but it has helped. He is now part of a men’s accountability call (moderated by a therapist from the ministry) every Monday night with guys from all over the country. He never misses a call and it has brought him such freedom! This was definitely a turning point for him, so I wanted to share it with you :). Much love and prayers to you!!

  9. To approach this from a different angle, I’m going to avoid debating whether or not wives have a right to be jealous when their husbands view pornography. As I considered the original comment, I felt like scripture shined some light on the subject for me. I think that the fundamental problem with the objection to—abstaining from pornography in order to appease jealous wives—is that wives should not be the foundational motivation that compels us to give up pornography; God should be. 1 Thes. 4:3-8 says, “It is [God’s] will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is [holy] and honorable, not in passionate lust like unbelievers, who do not know God…” Holiness is a standard [God] sets up for us, and it is not measured by our wives or any other human being, but by God. Listen to where Jesus lays the standard: “You have heard that is was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 1 Thes. goes on to say “that in this matter no one should take advantage of a brother or sister.” The reality is, the actresses and models in pornography [are] real women. By viewing pornography we take advantage of their vulnerability and their slavery to their own insecurity and sin. The trap of selling their bodies exists only because we are willing to indulge our appetites on their weakness. I’m not suggesting that they are innocent, just that we are certainly not innocent either. Pornography is powerful precisely because we know that it is not [just] a picture. That’s why it is so easy to participate in what we see. Our minds and bodies require [some] reality as the basis for our fantasies. 1 Thes. continues: “The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a [holy] life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being” (it’s not about rejecting our wives) “but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” King David understood that our sin is a trespass against God, not man. That is why after he had sex with another man’s wife and then had that man killed, he prayed to God, “Against You, and You alone have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” In the end, we live accountable to God alone. David went on to confess, “so that You are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge.” This explains [why] David’s sin was against God alone. God is the only one righteous enough to point the finger. His perfection is why He is “justified when He speaks.” If we base our motivation to pursue holiness on anyone else’s righteousness, at some point we can use their faults as an excuse for our own sin. They do not have the right to demand that we be holy (still, the humble man can accept rebuke from another sinful and imperfect person and repent). But God can tell us to be holy because He [is] holy. Therefore, no man can ever excuse himself before God by pointing the finger back at his wife or anyone else. We stand before God and God alone. We don’t even need to bring wives into the picture because they do not form the basis for our pursuit of holiness; God does.

    • Great thoughts, Ben. Certainly both the horizontal (human relationships) and vertical (God relationship) are impacted by our sins. The two greatest commandments should be kept together and seen in light of each other.

    • Thank you Ben. Well said!! This is encouraging to see men standing for purity. I haven’t seen it so I was really doubting its existence (men striving for purity and faithfulness).

  10. I should add that we obviously should bring our wives into the picture, and we should care how they feel. But I am trying to get to the very heart of the matter.

  11. Thank you so much for this blog and the posts related to “wives of porn addicts.”

    My husband and I have been together for over 10 years. At the beginning of our marriage, he confessed that porn was a struggle for him and that he was seeking accountability through Internet monitoring and a friend to offer support. He later joined a small group and helped counsel other men who were struggling.

    I have never “caught” him in the act or noticed any signs of infidelity in over 5 years, but just last week, when I asked him about it, he admitted that it’s gotten better but it’s still a problem for him. I was shocked–assuming that he had gained victory over this sin several years ago (even if the temptation is still an issue). We now have kids, are in ministry together and have an altogether happy and holy marriage. Because I felt so far removed from “that part of our life” and we seemed to be so close, I am all the more devastated he has been unfaithful to me all these years and never sought more help. He says he’s sorry but asserts that he can’t promise it won’t happen again. I don’t know if I can live through it and again, but I want our marriage to thrive.

    He’s disappointed that I’m focusing on the betrayal rather than the progress he’s made, that it’s less frequent than before and feels stronger in that area. I’m having trouble connecting with him. I want to cling to him, not push him away.

    We’re attempting to heal together but he seems so ashamed and defeated. I’m just broken over it. We’re trying to go to a counselor about it but have not gotten a call back from the people we’ve tried to reach. So, this blog is a lifeline to me right now as we wait to get help. Thank you again for the support and encouragement. I wonder if you could offer any specific advice for us.

    • Elizabeth,

      I would love to chat with you personally. I feel like we are in a similar boat. I have been married to my husband for 15 years, 9 of which he has been lying. A few years into our marriage he asked if I would watch pornography with him. I said yes to appease him (because I thought seeing what he was interested in would be better than having him hide it from me) but I couldn’t handle it so told him I wanted no part of it so we got rid of it. He never mentioned it again so I assumed he had things under control. 7 years into our marriage I found a bag full of porn videos in his truck and was devastated that he had been lying to me all those years. At that time he also confessed he had been attending strip clubs. He didn’t want to get outside help, no accountability partner nor was I allowed to talk to anyone what our marriage because he was ashamed. He wanted me to keep him accountable. That worked for a while but then he became resentful that I was asking him how he was doing, throwing in my face that I hadn’t forgiven him if I was asking and that I didn’t trust him or I wouldn’t have to ask. This last weekend I confronted him again because I felt deep in my soul he was hiding something from me. After blaming me and telling me all our marriage problems stemmed from me he confessed that he had been buying porn on the road for the last four years.

      Again, I am crushed. He doesn’t understand my angry. He has had four years to process. I have had only a few days. I am not allowed to talk to anyone. If he knew I was typing this I would be in huge trouble.. it is like a huge betrayal to him that I would share our personal marriage troubles with someone. Yet, all the crap he has brought into our marriage, I’m just supposed to forgive that and leave it behind me. I told him he had to get help this time. I don’t want to be his ‘accountability’ partner. He lies to me. He needs to talk to someone he can’t lye to!

      We too are Christians and to outside eyes he looks like a completely upright man. No one would be the wiser!

  12. Thanks for creating this blog post! I’m a wife of a porn addict and love him so much, but really need help! I’m seeking advice or encouragement on what I should do to help him and help myself. He’s the best husband I could ever ask for and has a close relationship with God and with me and with our children. He’s not like most men I’ve met or heard of when it comes to pretty much everything. He doesn’t cuss, drink beer, watch football, or hard core porn, doesn’t flirt with other women, at least as far as I know of. He has looked at porn, gallery pics of naked women exposing themselves. He’s had this problem since he was 10 and caught his father looking at porn and has been interested and addicted ever since and is 26 now. I first walked in on him pleasuring himself to it when I was engaged to him. It happened several more times and he promised that he wouldn’t do it anymore and we prayed together for help to beat this. He told me he was able to quit for a year, I’m not so sure it was quite that long, more like 6 months. We have an awesome sex life and I’m the most beautiful girl he has ever seen.
    However, I began to catch him looking at it again or finding it accidentally left on the history or on the computer. We’ve been dealing with this struggle hard for the past year now and especially lately, it seems like I’m finding new things that he’s been doing behind my back. I found more porn, dirty things he used, and he has an iphone and I found porn on that too. He had a program that would auto delete history from the computer and iphone. I confronted him about that and he was sorry and said he was struggling and doing better but has relapses. He agreed to be transparent with me when it comes to the computer, however, he said the phone has a chip or something in it that won’t keep history on. I looked at his phone and selected the show browsing history option and it worked for several days, but then history suddenly disappeared again. So I’d look something up again and see it in history and later the next day would check and it would be gone. Do you think he’s looking and then deleting? He claims he isn’t and we’ve talked about it being ok to be open and honest from now on because I won’t flip out as long as he doesn’t hide things from me because he wants my help. But the phone is a problem. I saw him look up an old friend’s facebook photo of her posing, fully clothed, but posing like a stripper standing next to a poll. He didn’t look at her other family photos or photos of her face but clicked on that pic. That made me uncomfortable, but I didn’t see him having personal conversations with her and she lives a state away. Also I found that when we watch netflix together at night, after I dose off he would still keep watching several more hours and I’d find him looking up erotic themed movies. We talked about that too and that time he said I was freaking out and it’s okay. They had good story lines he said, but then confessed it made his problem worse. He is different than most men, and because of that thinks he can’t take advise from other guys who were addicted to porn or to church counselors because they wouldn’t be like him or at his level of spiritual understanding or respect for women. But he knows this physically, emotionally and mentally beats me down because I can’t stand it. It hurts too much. I try to listen and be understanding and helpful and offered that he talk to another guy, but he wants to keep it secret and work with me and with God, praying in the moment he’s tempted. I don’t believe that will free him of his addiction. He always tells me I’m perfectly beautiful and it has nothing to do with me and I know he has had this problem a long time. He wants to change, but I don’t think he’s completely made up his mind. I leave for work in the evenings and know he’s been watching porn while I’ve been away even though I gave him pics of myself to do his thing to help him. I want to help him but can’t when he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing his issue with anyone outside our marriage that could really help with accountability and support. He feels that there would be a condemning attitude towards him and is so ashamed of his behavior. Thank you for all your posts on here! It helps me to look at them. Please any advice about how to talk to him about covenant eyes for our internet usage and not dealing with this by himself anymore would be much much appreciated! I used to have ptsd and now have it full blown over this because I really truly love him and he loves me the same way, but has been unable to stop his addiction. Please help! Thanks!

  13. I’m really glad you are reaching out. As a wife of a sex addict (which I found out makes me a co-sex addict), I know how hard it is to live with this secret. My husband has been addicted since he was 13 and I accidentally found out about it while he was attending seminary to be in ministry. I kept his secret for over 8 years and for the exact reasons you’ve listed above. I didn’t want him to be ostracized, there were no counselors that met his high standards, we were going to pray him through it, etc.
    It seems pretty clear in what you’ve written above that your husband is lost in shame from his addiction. This causes him to go out of his way to keep it from you and others. I really respect you for reaching out to others to help you decipher the truth rather than depending on him to set reality for you.
    Now, let me ask you two difficult questions: Do you idolize your husband? Do you look to him as your “spiritual rock”? I know I did, and even though it doesn’t sound like a bad thing, it can often times be a sign of co-dependency. Being a co-dependent (or co-sex addict) means we enable our husbands to continue in their addiction. We enable them when we don’t allow them to experience the repercussions of their choices and when we have no personal boundaries for our own lives.
    Below are ways that you can start moving toward a new way of living:
    1. Pray for God’s mercy and direction and get connected with a church body if you aren’t already.
    2. Stop keeping it in the dark! (That’s where sin grows best.) Find three spiritually mature people that love you both and are interested in the survival of your marriage and read to them what you wrote to us (parent, pastor, bible study leader) ** Do not ask for your husbands “permission” to do this, or use it as a threat to get your husband to alter his behavior. He is your brother in Christ, you’ve confronted him in love and now it’s time for reinforcements. (Matt 18:15-16)
    3. Immediately, if not sooner, find a sexual addiction christian counselor AACC.net. Not for him, for YOU! You have some very difficult decisions to make and you need someone to walk you through them. You need counseling as much as he does, but you are only able to make decisions for you. If he decides he wants to participate, great! If not, stay committed and watch how God changes you.
    4. Find a Celebrate Recovery “type” group in your area. They normally meet at local churches and have groups that are specific to co-dependency. You can also look for a program supporting co-sex addicts at saa-recovery.org. This again is for YOU! Keep this self-focused and not as a tool to manipulate or shame him into action. Trust me…this type of action doesn’t last because it’s man-made not God-made.
    5. Download Covenant Eyes on everything you have ownership of in your home. You can request that your husband do the same on his devices, but remember, these are your boundaries and he can choose to ignore them. This is where your counselor will help you with setting your consequences.

    These are real steps that will change your life, I promise you. I know that you don’t want to hurt or embarrass your husband, but he will thank you one day for taking these difficult steps. This addiction is bigger than the both of you and you will need help from the outside.

    My husband will tell you that it was like he was in a very deep well. He told me that he was in control and could climb out on his own, all the while secretly blaming his position in the well on God. Between his anger and his self-reliance there was no room for rescue. But God is the great rescuer and I pray that through this pain and suffering you will grow to know Him more intimately.

    • April, Unfortunately at this very moment I only have a minute but I could not ignore this and risk forgetting to respond later. In many areas you have been very misguided as the partner of a sex addict. Please throw out the term co-addict. Get the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. Email me when you have time.

    • Thanks for your comment April! Since I last wrote on this blog, we’ve been doing better. I have been able to control myself and keep calm when discussing his past or possible present porn use. I can’t always keep my anger in, but I do for the most part. I’ve decided that from now on, if we have a discussion about this or things I’ve found, if I feel like I’m losing it, I will tell him we need to take a break and finish this discussion at a time when I can. I don’t know if I’m a co-sex addict. I believe my issues are more along the lines of PTSD. However, both are not good, so either way, it’s not where I wanna be. I’m currently seeking help for myself and counseling from a trusted Christian friend who understands and deals with this sort of thing all the time. I might need additional help, but I don’t know yet. Some days I do better than others. I’m working on trusting God with my husband’s addictions and not trying to police him myself. I’ve been physically sick over this too for quite some time. I’m doing better now, but I don’t know if I can keep bearing this weight. He swears he’s been good for a month or a month 1/2, but there are several times when I feel he has slipped and lied about it. It could be every time I leave for all I know, but he says he looks at pics of me then or thinks about me. However, he said that when I was at work last night and first said he waited for me to get home and didn’t do anything. However, when I got home, the door to our bedroom was shut, and he was in the bathroom and there was a towel he tends to use for things like this still lying on the bed. It was used, just a little. I confronted him on that and he said he didn’t do anything, he just blew his nose on it and it smells the same. Then he admitted to using it but not finishing and deciding to wait for me. Then he thought about me when he was using it. Then he said a little might have escaped before he stopped using the towel. Then this morning he said that since he was trying to be honest, he wanted to tell me in case I looked at his netflix and saw his recent watched movies, he watched a certain movie that I saw a bit of with him before and asked him to turn off. he said he was tired and just wanted to watch it. This is while I was still gone. He said he stopped it before it got to the dirty scene. So I watched it to see what he was talking about and he stopped it after it showed some women of a certain nature…and yes it did get worse after the point he stopped it at, but it already had shown them and this was the only area of the whole movie that had sex scenes in it. Very graphic. He said he just wanted to watch the movie and new some of it was really disturbing so he skipped around through it. So the story continues to change and he didn’t start it from the beginning and stopped when it got nasty. He has seen this movie several times and knows where the nasty scenes are and they are all at the beginning where he lasted watched. His story doesn’t add up and combined with what he did last night with the door shut and the towel that was used a little bit, I don’t think he didn’t do anything, waited for me, or thought about me when he used the towel. I think he meant to watch that “soldier movie” for another reason, the movie is terribly disturbing by the way, so no good reason, and I think he betrayed me and lied to me again about what he did and even his honesty. What do you think? He said some parts of the movie were actually really good, but the movie is full of murder, that’s what it’s about. A soldier killing innocent people and their families and complete with graphic sex scenes at the beginning. Not my idea of a good or interesting movie. Just disturbing. So what do you think? Maybe he is still lying to me and has not even been thinking of me when he admits to doing things. I discussed seeking help. He doesn’t want to. He doesn’t even want me to. I discussed putting covanent eyes on every device and at first he had such a problem with being “watched” but then finally agreed. I didn’t put it on though, because I believe in God’s demonstration of love by giving all of us free choice or the power to choose and make our own decisions whatever the consequence. So I talked to him about that and told him the choice is up to him, I won’t spy on him, or police him, but do ask that he be completely open and honest with me and be accountable by keeping history on all devices and not hiding things. So far for almost a month he’s been more open, but sometimes has hidden things or looked at other seemingly harmless celebrity bikini photos or article about bras or this movie. He plays on WoW online and goes to their chatrooms a lot, but I can’t find what he said or who he talked to specifically or what about because it doesn’t keep message logs. So I don’t know if he talks about the game or about other things and he has always had male characters but recently added a female one and yes she looks skimpy. Said he just got tired of having only male characters. I don’t know what to think about that. He said ha knows what choices he has to make and knows what the consequences will be, but I swear he’s still not changing. Or he is trying but every now and then caving in. I don’t even know if what he’s told me for the past month has been true. I kinda doubt it after last night. Like I said, still working on my trust issues with Jesus, and I can’t trust my husband right now. Trying not to retaliate, but that’s my temptation at this point because I’ve quite doing everything he wanted me to quite doing, which involved using substances to cope with pain. I stopped and have been relying on God. Now I feel tempted to get attention from other guys or just going out to dance or get massages since he doesn’t give me real massages anymore or any except ever now and then when I’ve begged him because I’m sore. I’m trying to not sink to that level but don’t know how to feel anymore because this is so brutal to me. I love him so deeply and knows he loves me back very deeply, but is stuck in his own selfish addictions or desires. I guess just let me know what you think about this and offer any other suggestions. Thanks!

  14. I must address the comment that a wife should ‘just get over it’. That is the mentality that is just as hurtful and disrespectful as the actual use of porn. If a wife cares at all about her husband and her marriage there is no way to accept that in the relationship. Sometimes I have to wonder about some men’s intelligence. And as far as if it were reversed, again, if the husband cares at all about his wife and his marriage ABSOLUTELY he would be hurt and upset. Whether the man is addicted or not there is still nothing good about porn in a marriage, it always detracts from the relationship and if the man IS addicted it will not stop with just watching or normal sex. As a wife of a previous porn addict I am still struggling with issues a year after the fact. Any little argument escalates into a rerun of what I saw my husband saying and doing and all the hurt and anger comes rushing back. It’s going to end a wonderful once of a lifetime passionate love if we don’t get it together. And you know why? Because he thinks I should just ‘get over it’.

  15. I don’t think my husband will go for being accountable. He’s a liar! I shut down all of the computers, except for my laptop years ago. He now uses a small tablet. The size of your hand. Last time I caught him with it was Thanksgiving night around 9:30pm. I was like “Really!!! You couldn’t wait until Friday?! Thanks for ruining Thanksgiving for me!” I’m was numb and sick until I found this site and one other christian website. I had him read “How a Wife feels About Porn” and he was humbled and said he was going to change, but I doubt if he will. I’m wondering if it’s worth it or is it time to move on. I’m tired of him always having me in turmoil. I need peace.

  16. I am married for 9years but the nineyears were painfully because I did not know what was going on till he confessed to me.he used to watch maids bathing,he could peep thru the bathroom window,he would go to massage palours ,road strippers ,masturbate,&playboy videos.he would keep naked women pictures in his phone.i felt betrayed &taken to b a fool struggled to move on I felt less of a woman &i feel I need to rise up above everything&rediscover myself.this affected my performance@work because I could not concertrate well.but I hv discoverd some receipts of the palour&videos I think he is nt yet decided so I feel I shld move on but please advise how can I move on

    • I am struggling right now with the idea of staying with my husband. It’s been 5 months since I found gay porn on my husbands phone. It’s not the first time and there’s been regular porn as well. He also had an affair which had started before we even got married. We’ve only been married 4 1/2 years. Right now I’m angry and hurt because he has not made an effort to get real help, he has only told a couple of people (one of which was a pastor) who did nothing about it and he didn’t even explain the full severity of it. What should I do? We are going through counseling right now because we recently got into an argument and the cops were called (on me) and that has really put a strain on our marriage. So on top of the fact that I don’t see godly sorrow for anything that he has ever done and that he’s not getting help for his problem, I feel that my marriage is over. What should I do? I truly don’t want a divorce, but I can’t take the mental/emotional distress of my marriage much longer.

    • Drop him unless God tells u otherwise. Life is 2 short 4 all of this drama. Only remorse my 1st husband had was getting busted. We were married 16yrs! He didn’t care how I felt until I told him I wanted a divorce. By the time he took notice, I was moving out and buying MY OWN HOME. Best decision I’ve ever made. Good luck. I’m praying 4 u.

  17. It hasn’t really been discussed with our counselors. We will be going to a marriage seminar in a week and I’m hoping it will be discussed more there. He also finally sat down with a couple of men who I really trust today and discussed it. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed about this because I feel like I’m at a breaking point and have been more often than not in our marriage. Every time, though, God keeps pressing on my heart that I need to keep this marriage together. I’ve also had a couple of friends who were praying for us tell me that they believe that our marriage will be more incredible than I could ever imagine if I keep pressing on. It’s just incredibly difficult and I find myself doubting God constantly. I guess I would really like to know what would be the best way to help and encourage my husband through this. Thank you so much for the prayers. I need an incredible amount of strength to get through this.

    • I pray that continued meetings with these men are helpful to him, that the marriage seminar will speak to both of you exactly where you are at, and that your counselor addresses these issues head on. You are doing so much already to help your husband. Continue to pray for him and be an encouragement, but also find the help you need for yourself: friends and mentors who can listen to you and encourage you through all of this.

  18. Me and my husband have been married for almost 9 yrs now. I discovered his porn habit on Valentines Day in 2007. He always says he wants to make our marriage work but doesn’t seem to put much work into it. We have spoken to various pastors in our church and keep getting passed from one pastor to another. Two nights ago I discovered that he was looking up porn sites on Face Book as well as looking up women in our town on Face Book that are virtually naked. He says its because I’m not giving him enough sex, but he doesnt seem to see how often he rejects me because he’s tired or not feeling well. All this is disturbing enough, but several of the sites he visits are “barely legal” or “hot teens”. He is step father to my 2 girls who are 14 and 12. This really has me concerned. I am so tired of the hurt involved with this. I am tired of crying over him and my kids don’t need to see me crying. I love him very much. If I didn’t I would not have tried to make it work all these years. But I can not erase the images from my mind of what I keep finding. I can never compare to those women. I want to be everything to him and for him. But I am tired of hurting and have told him that right now I am one foot out the door. I don’t want apologies. I want to see him take action on his own to show that he wants this marriage to work. Even as I write the tears are falling. As a woman it is hard to separate the fact that his looking at those images doesn’t affect his love for me. In my mind, if you truly love someone, you would not want to hurt them in any way. Especially if it’s something that hurts and affects your partner so deeply.

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for commenting and sharing some of your story.

      What your husband is doing is terrible. It is so hard to deal with something like this for as long as you have been dealing with it.

      His excuse that you aren’t giving him enough sex is, quite frankly, pretty lame. He’s a Christian, right? The fact remains that he is called by God to maintain purity in his eyes, actions, and thoughts even if he wasn’t having sex. What are single Christians expected to do? Practice self-control and, if they desire to do so, seek to be married. What are married men expected to do? Pursue romance with their wives and, when the opportunity for sex isn’t there, practice self-control.

      What do these pastors at your church say? What has their advice been? Have they given him any action steps he needs to take?

  19. I’ve been reading all the comments on here and I must say, it makes me feel really stupid. My husband and I have been married for over 38 years. He just confessed approx 1yr ago that he has been addicted to porn and started looking at it when he was 13. I never
    had a clue! Our marriage was far from perfect but I didn’t have any idea he was doing anything like that. He had talked to our pastor a nd I have talked to our pastor’s wife. He says he isn’t doing it anymore, but I’ve really struggled and am struggling with trust issues. He doesn’t want me to tell anyone else, but I feel like I’m carrying around a deep, dark secret. I feel like he isn’t being completely honest with everyone else. He wants everyone else to cont to think our marriage is “great”. Everyone thinks he’s such a saint including our 3 grown children. I don’t think their opinion of him would change all that much except maybe cause them to respect him even more for the courage it would take to “confess” something like that. I want our marriage to last “til death us do part”. I’m just having a hard time knowing how to deal with the wide range of emotions and feelings. Married 37 years without knowing? How is that possible? He did tell me that he “always was a master at deceit”, which makes it even harder for me to trust him now.

    • When somebody wants to conceal something, they can. It’s so frightening! And it just turns your world upside down. I hear you. But it doesn’t mean you’re stupid! It just means he wanted to hide this from you, and he did.

      I don’t know if you’ve found Hope After Porn, which is a free download. It’s four women telling their stories, talking about the choices they made toward recovery. I think it might help you feel a lot less stupid–so many of us have been through it. And, there’s hope. There is.

      As far as struggling with trust issues? Yes! Of course you are! We trust people when they are trustworthy, and we know they are trustworthy when they behave in trustworthy ways over time. Your husband hasn’t been trustworthy. That’s just the real trust issue: it’s him, not being trustworthy. He can be trustworthy, but things have to change big-time. I think there are two different kinds of trustworthiness in situations like this.

      1. Practical trustworthiness: he does the work of blocking the internet, eradicating other types of pornography, changing habits that supported his behavior in the past, etc. Ongoing accountability is often a good step to take. I think he’d do well to join a group or go to counseling. The American Association of Christian Counselors has members throughout the country. I don’t know if you ran across this article here on the blog, but it’s something you could pass along to your husband with ideas. Primarily, it will be his job to do what it takes to demonstrate that he is trustworthy on a practical level. He probably won’t be 100% successful all the time, because this is a life-long behavior, and habits like that take time to change. But he should be doing the job, and getting back up to do it again when he fails. You should know what’s going on (although the level of detail is up to you), and you should feel confident that he’s working hard to be trustworthy.

      2. Emotional trustworthiness: he turns toward you emotionally. He invites your emotions, your thoughts, your need to know. He listens. He connects. He cares. He’s genuinely remorseful. He doesn’t blame you. He supports you in getting the support you need. He might even become more willing to talk to other people and be emotionally trustworthy with them. When that happens, it reinforces to you that he’s open and working and healing.

      You know what, I think you’re going to need a bunch of support in this, too. No matter what he chooses, you can make good choices for yourself. Here are some things I think can help you in this:

      1. I hope you’ll find yourself a counselor and let someone help you carry this burden. I get that he’s not ready to tell the world. But you shouldn’t have to carry around the deep, dark secret either. Counselors keep confidentiality.

      2. Educate yourself, so you understand what’s going on. I hope that what you’re reading here on the blog is helpful to you. Dig into the free downloads, even the stats pages. There’s even a free video series. There are a lot of voices, a lot of experiences here. Hopefully that helps you feel less alone.

      Know that you are God’s beloved. He has you safe, no matter what.

  20. Kay Bruner, Thank you so much for the encouragement. I just now read what you wrote. I couldn’t remember where I saw this blog. I’m not too good navigating the internet. My husband says he doesn’t look at porn anymore and doesn’t need counseling or anything. I’m not sure what to think. I have no desire for intimacy I guess mostly because I’m afraid that might make him start thinking about all those other women to which there’s no way I could begin to compare. We haven’t done anything like in so many years because of him, I guess it won’t really matter. He says he’s ready for the intimacy whenever I am but he’s not rushing me. Don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. Not sure what to do. I’ve talked to our pastor’s wife about all this but I think it would help a lot more to talk to someone who know’s what I’m going through. I just don’t know anyone like that. It has helped to be able to “talk”to you. Thank you so much for caring!

    • You are so very welcome! However you got here, I’m glad you did. It sounds to me like you have a lot more healing to do, and if you’re wanting someone to talk to, I’d suggest searching at the American Association of Christian Counselors. They’ve got counselors throughout the country. If it helped this much to chat with me, think how much it would help to talk to a real person in the same room with you! Blessings on your journey.

  21. I caught my husband been using porn and lusting over other women the day after we got married and walked down the aisle. He would turn to porn more and more especially when one of us out of town. I just don’t understand how can you be talking to me and telling me you love me while you’re looking at other women in that way. When I confront, he said Christianity was my belief not his. He said I was too pushy in my belief and how he did nothing wrong. He said it’s not like he’s going around sleeping with other people. He would just shut me off when I try to come to a resolution. He continues to lie and delete his history. Telling me I shouldn’t be checking history in the first place and just trust him. Telling me he can look at whatever he wants bc if God gave him eyes it’s meant to be used to look at whoever whatever. He constantly compares reality and me with the pornstars. I’m sorry but I dont have fake boobs and butt to meet up to that standard. He constantly contacts his ex about everyday life things even the things he shares me. All this emotional abuse is just destroying me as a person.

    • Leanne, I am so sorry for what you’re going through. It’s interesting to me to look at what’s coming out of the non-Christian research world about the effects of pornography on relationships. I saw a TED Talk a while back about it. I’ve seen stuff in Psychology Today about it. It’s not just Christians who are saying, “Wow, porn has negative impacts on relationships.” The thing you’re describing, that sense of entitlement you’re seeing, where he thinks he can just do whatever he wants, no matter how you feel? That’s a really common side effect of pornography addiction. Researchers actually can measure that! It’s a thing that happens.

      We write quite a bit about boundaries here on the blog. I wonder if you’ve seen the free download, Hope After Porn? It’s stories from four different women about how they dealt with this issue in their relationships. I know it can be so hard to decide what to do in a situation like this, and I hope those stories might help you feel less alone as you make those choices.

      I just want you to know that there is hope, there is healing. I hope you’ve got some good support around you, family and friends who can walk you through? If you’d like to find a counselor at some point, I like the American Association of Christian Counselors, because they have lots of counselors in lots of places around the country.

      Blessings
      Kay

  22. How can you turn down sex saying you’re too tired or stressed to think about that, but then go behind my back and do porn, look up sexy pictures, and nude news of celebrities. I just don’t understand.

    • Hey Leanne, I know. It’s hard to understand. I think the key is that “real sex” requires making a connection, and that can be challenging when you’re tired or stressed. On the other hand, pornography requires nothing of the viewer, and provides a hit of chemicals to the brain that–at least temporarily–gives relief from stress. That’s how we use all kinds of brain-altering substances, right? I’m not saying it’s healthy, I’m just saying that’s what happens. Of course there are a ton of other factors, which vary from person to person. Luke, our blog editor, recently put together a list of our top posts for women–maybe some of these articles will help as you sort through what all is going on with your guy.

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