About the author, Sam Black

Sam Black

Sam Black is an Internet Safety Consultant and a manager at Covenant Eyes. He joined the Covenant Eyes team in 2007 after 18 years as a journalist, serving as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines in six states. He has been married for 17 years and is a father of two.

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The Porn Circuit

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Science shows us why porn is highly addictive. Learn how our neurochemistry is easily hijacked by porn to create compulsive behaviors, and discover how the brain can be rewired to escape porn's allure.

23 thoughts on “Why Marital Sex is Better Than Porn

  1. This is so true! Never thought about the difference between exciting and satisfying. I’ve been crossing the two for a very long time which makes for a very frustrated and confused individual. I’ve recently come across this site and your blog entries. I’m very thankful. I’m praying God uses your ministry to be instrumental helping me stay the course. I’m one woman on a journey out of the stronghold of sexual sin. It’s a daily battle, sometimes hourly. I’m glad to see the truth of these issues beginning to break through gender stereotypes that have kept women silent about the raw physical aspects of their addiction and men silent about their emotional brokenness. Even though we relate differently as male and female with one another we’re more alike then we realize when it comes to matters of the heart and our need for God’s love. Thanks for your faithfulness.

    • I’m with Rodney on this one. The only reason I turn to porn is that I don’t have a real-life partner. Masturbation helps me to NOT be promiscuous with multiple partners, and I feel like I have no other option until I meet the right person. By now (at my age), I doubt if marriage will ever happen for me. All this talk about satisfaction vs. excitement has ignited frustration in me and highlights the fact that I am still single. Of course I know a real partner is better than porn. But until then, I find it hard when my body yearns for intimacy that we are wired to have.

  2. My husband and I are both in our twenties. His addiction, a secret held for over 11 years, came out about three years ago…before we were married. It’s been a rocky three years and we’re still in the season of recovery. When we got married and finally were together (we waited to have sex), we found out that he cannot keep an erection when he’s with me. Is there any hope that the men effected by this can ever have the ability to keep an erection with his wife after recovery?

    I know this hurts his pride and understandably so. He feels like this has robbed him of masculinity (his ability to be with me) and I feel it’s robbed me of femininity (even though I know this addiction isn’t about me, I feel like less of a woman for not being able to keep him aroused).

    • Yes, it is possible. The problem (most likely) is not in his penis but in his brain. While he might want to check with a physician to see if there is a physical cause, given his past with pornography it is likely his brain is wired in such a way that he has trained himself to be turned on by the pornography.

      There are some couples that benefit greatly from a period of abstinence. (I have a post about this, if you want to read it.) This period allows the circuits of the brain to rest and gives the couple an opportunity to grow in non-sexual forms of intimacy (which, for many porn addicts, is something they badly need to learn). It’s isn’t for everybody, of course, but it might do you both some good. Don’t do it without real intentionality, prayer, and support from others.

  3. I’m am really tired of reading articles about porn addiction and how bad it is. I’m going to be honest, I was one of those women who waited to have sex to get married. Well just because you waited does not promise a sexual blissful marriage. My night was awful. That memory will stay with me for the rest of my life. Sex is awful with my spouse. I hate it. Being raised in a religion when all you were taught was that sex was bad outside of marriage is damaging. I was not taught how to express and how to ask for what I want and if you did you were made to feel bad about yourself and body. I’m a woman who watches porn and I don’t care. I have talked to my husband about it but he doesn’t get it. Partly because he doesn’t understand how to communicate. But how can you when you weren’t allowed too talk about it. Religion is damaging. I use porn because I have too. It’s what’s keeping me from having an affair.

    • We will continue to write these articles about porn because it is bad. Numerous studies have shown how porn decreases sexual satisfaction, how it changes how we view each other, and how it even rewires the brain. In a lot of ways, it’s like a drug (and has even been called “more addictive than crack cocaine): it may feel good, but with increased use comes increase damage. It’s not even just a “religious issue.” Plenty of non-religious men have given up porn because it has resulted in erectile dysfunction in their physical relationships (check out this Reddit group for one rather large group of men in this situation).

      Regarding your situation, have you considered seeking help from a professional counselor? The way you’ve described your marriage, it sounds like you have more problems than simply physical discomfort during intercourse. By seeking outside help, you and your husband should be able to improve your communication and strengthen your marital bond to the point where you no longer feel like you need porn at all.

  4. Do you have a recommendation or article on this blog about how to stop thinking about sex?

    We are having a great recovery in our relationship but I can’t stop thinking about having sex with my wife. Some times it is easier than others but since we are in unlimited fasting from sex mode makes it harder for me.

    We have talked about some time having sex again bit there is no definitive date, this brings me to almost weekly me trying to make advancements which end up on disagreements and set us back two steps in our recovery.

    The only thing I can think of is figure out a way to stop thinking of sex until my wife is ready which at this time there is no specific date. I do feel guilty at times for having this desire feelings which I thought they were normal but apparently they are selfishness.

    • Hi Ronald,

      A question for you: Why are you in “unlimited fasting from sex mode”? I wrote an article about couples abstaining from sex during “detox,” but the Bible makes it clear that any sexual fasting should be done for a fixed period of time. What exactly are the terms of your “unlimited” period?

      Often when couples purpose to fast from sex, while they work through the problems surrounding pornography, there are agreed upon purposes and time limits. “During this time, we will not make any advancements toward sex, but we will however work on intimacy in many other ways: dating, cuddling, talking, dining together, other romantic gestures, etc. We will talk about the recovery process and be open with each other about stresses in in the marriage. After ______ days we will come together again and make love.” When a couple treats sexual fasting with this kind of purposefulness, everything is clearly communicated. (I also might add, drawing up these purposes with the help of a counselor can be very beneficial.)

      Your desire to have sex with your wife is as normal as the day is long. Your desire is also godly, not sinful. Yes, sex can be selfish, but only when it is done without a servant-hearted attitude. For instance, it is normal to want to eat when you are hungry, but it is sinful to let that desire overwhelm you to the point where you shove to the front of the line to get to the food first. Likewise, it is normal for you to physically desire your wife, but when you demand sex or treat her disrespectfully during sex or degrade her during sex or forget about her physical/emotional desires during sex, then you are being selfish.

      By all means, desire your wife, but knowing you are purposefully abstaining from sex to enhance intimacy and grow closer to God, choose to take this time to redirect your thoughts to God and the changes he is bringing about in your life. If you want to read more about this, I recommend you read a copy of Your Brain on Porn (which you can download for free).

  5. Hi Luke,

    We were on an unlimited fasting phase because that was the request from my wife and on my path to trying to fix the issue I agreed to the condition. Since my writing the fast ended and we are on a new phase which is simar but a lot better.

    We didn’t know how to approach the issue and we have not contacted any professional services to provide guidance other than what feels the right thing to do at the moment.

    We have long way to go but things get better by the day. I am learning a lot about my mistakes and about my wife which it is sad it had to be this way but at least we are moving forward.

  6. First off, let me say that I’ve been married for over 20 years, went thru rough patches in the marriage where we didn’t have sex for over two years, and most of the marriage, we only had sex once in somewhere between 2 and 6 months! What I learned is that not everybody has the same sexual appetite, and because of our mismatch in desires, we almost divorced a couple years ago. After that, we reconciled and have sex at least once a week, but she seems like she’s doing it for the sake of the marriage. There are some real flaws with religious thinking when it comes to premarital sex, and monogamy. In our case, I would never have married someone that doesn’t think sex is important in the marriage, but because we had 2 children early on, I stuck with her. To compensate during the dry spells, porn is the only thing that kept me able to deal with not having sex, until about ten years into our marriage, when I was sent away with the military for one year, I met a lady who I had a “torrid” affair with for maybe four months, and the sex was great, it was often, it was how marriage should have been. When returned from overseas, I went back to my wife because the children were still young. Back to our boring life. So I say, either sex outside of marriage or divorce is the answer for many, but unfortunately, the church does not accept either.And we had sex before marriage, I would have known wet were not a match! With my experience, I say to those who have sex-desire mismatch, which is really where porn comes in, to consider having an “open marriage”, wherein it is agreed upon to have sex outside the marriage.

    • Hey Sea Daddy,

      I’m so sorry to hear your marriage has been rocky. It saddens me to hear stories like this, and I hear them all too often.

      I agree that it is best not to marry someone who actually believes sex isn’t important. That would be a big red flag to me if I was counseling a couple before they got married. I would hope couples would explore these topics in conversation long before they get to the altar, but many don’t. I don’t think disobeying God about the issues of premarital sex or monogamy is the answer to the problem, as it not only disobeys God but creates more problems, but I agree any “religious” sentiment that makes sex too taboo to talk about should be done away with.

    • I turned down numerous chances to have sex before marriage, and what a colossal letdown it’s been. I now kick myself for not having taken those opportunities. Sex with my wife (who also waited) has been difficult and completely unsatisfying. We’ve been married about a year and a half, and she’s never given me an orgasm. I have to use porn on a regular basis, so that I can keep my sanity. Now I’m stuck with her for the rest of my life, and it’s so depressing that some days it feels like a physical weight on my body. I feel as though everything I was raised with was a lie.

    • Sure. But this article is trying to stay on a specific topic. Moderation is, in my opinion, another topic altogether. If neurologically speaking, porn simply doesn’t do what real sex does, then moderation is somewhat of a moot point. Sure, people use porn in moderation all the time, just like people can be casual smokers, but this does not make casual smoking something we should endorse or claim as healthy.

  7. Nice article, with some valid data.

    But you are perpetuating christian porn myths foisted on foolish evangelicals, namely that entering marriage as a sexually naive virgin with zero prior physical experience guarantees transcendent marital sex.

    It does not.

    I will never, ever forget a conversation 35 years ago, between my grandmother and a close friend, about their early marriage experiences. They were frank in the way only old women who’ve outlived all modesty and embarrassment can be: listening to them that day pretty much burned my ears off! But the bottom line is simple: even though both of them loved their husbands deeply ’till death did them part’, their sexual experiences were pretty awful. My grandmother’s friend, who had been an Army nurse in WW1, and who had seen many naked men, nevertheless on her wedding day had no idea how children were conceived. Fortunately, her husband, though shocked, was very very patient.

    I’m old and have a happy and sexually satisfying marriage. But my wife and I are seeing more and more marital relationships in young coupled shipwreck on the rocks of unrealistic expectations on the part of both the man AND the woman.

    You’ve covered some of the issues porn can cause men.

    But young women who have formed their views about sex from ‘christian porn’ (“Love Comes Softly, etc.), with its air-brushed romance and soft focus or ‘off-camera’ sex are perhaps even more unprepared to encounter, much less enjoy, real sex.

    Janette Oke’s hyper-hygenic heroines never have to deal with sheets that have sticky wet spots, or worse, red gooey spots that don’t smell so good because a period started unexpectedly. But real women having real sex in real marriages do. And unfortunately, young women raised with these pornographically unrealistic expectations are not only running from their marriage beds in disgust and disappointment, they are staying away.

  8. My partner of 30 years was free from porn for about 2 years throughout his life. He also struggles with intimacy anorexia. We had an almost non existant sexual relationship and it caused so much heartache and emotional pain that I shut down for the last 10 years in order to survive the rejection and abandonment I experienced as a wife and I don’t want to have a sexual relationship with him again. I don’t know what is a normal healthy and intimate relationship with a man. He is in sobriety for almost 10 months and I know sometime we will have to agree on our next phase namely our physical relationship and how to move forward. I have seen a counsellor and worked on my own issues but I can’t understand how he can have a normal relationship with me after he had 4 decades of porn addiction behind him. I can’t understand how he can ever be sexual with me in a normal way after his brain patterns were changed to respond to unnatural sexual acts. I know brain patterns can change but How can a man in his fifties suddenly be sexual in his marriage after years of channeling his sexual energy to himself in masturbation and looking at vile images to be aroused. I can’t see that we would be able to have a physical relationship – so much destruction was caused by Porn. How can a man in his fifties manage to enter into a normal healthy sexual relationship with his wife for the first time after 30 years of marriage life? I am willing to be friends with my husband but the consequences of his choices are severe in his life and in our relationship. I am not sure if he would be able to forget the images he had fed upon for so long for his own satisfaction. I honor him for being willing to try to recover but I believe our “normal” will look different due to the consequences of repeated wrong choices that was made for so long.

    • Yes, I’m sure your “normal” will never be what you envisioned when you married. I wonder, how is the state of emotional trust in your relationship? I would think that emotional trust needs to be restored before you’ll be able to enter into a sexual relationship again freely and openly. For me, emotional trust means that he attends to how you feel, not just about sex, but in the small, daily moments of life. I wrote an article about this a while back. I don’t know if it will help to address some of the underlying concerns here, but give it a read and let me know what you think. Blessings, Kay

  9. I am from Asia, I met my husband on internet for 3 years, after he visited me in my hometown, I came to America married him, we almost don’t have normal sex life. He is having porn addiction for many years , maybe over a decade! Or more! When I sleep next to him , he pretends to watch normal movie, as long as I left his room, he immediately takes off all his clothes and having cam sax with different Asian women online, even when he is on his shower, he always totally naked cam chat with other Asian women! I told him he is ill he needs to see the doctor, but he never listen to me, I think we will divoce soon one day ! Because he thought he is ok, he said doctors are sammmer for money. I am very sad his brain is totally been washed by the porn!

    • I am so, so sorry. My heart just breaks for you, Abigail. I think you’re right, and he does need help. Unfortunately, it sounds like he’s not ready to get the help he needs.

      How are you doing? Do you have support from friends, family, or a support group? I can’t imagine how hard it must be, to be so far from home and to have your marriage in such a painful state.

      Peace to you, Kay

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