My Husband Has PIED: What Do I Do?

my husband has porn induced erectile dysfunction_ what do i do?

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction Is Crushing Marriages

In a recent survey sent to over 70,000 Covenant Eyes friends, we asked for their input about what types of questions they wanted answered related to porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED). We were surprised at the number of responses we received from wives, many that went like this:

Question: What’s the one thing you want to see addressed in a book about PIED?

Answer: “[Please tell] the truth about the way it makes a wife feel when being intimate with her husband.”

Answer: “What this is doing not only to men with their problems, but also what it’s doing to their wives. I agreed to stay with my husband through this, and it’s been hell for both of us! I can’t live with this!”

Answer: “Porn interferes with natural sexual feelings. The guilt and shame caused my husband to not be able to perform. Even red-hot marital sex can’t compete with porn, cause that’s what he was getting. Be sure to tell other women that it isn’t her fault that he chooses porn over her.”

This is just a sample of the gut-wrenching responses we received from women who are in the midst of the fall-out from a porn-addicted husband. Covenant Eyes has written extensively about ways women can protect themselves during his recovery. Because, let’s be honest, even though everyone sees it as his recovery, it’s also very much your recovery.

Disclaimer: This blog does not provide a diagnosis or treatment of any type and is not a substitute for psychiatric advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional for treatment.

Whenever a husband is looking at porn, there are typically a number of questions that go through the mind of his wife. A few might include:

  • I’m right here. Why does he keep looking at porn?
  • Why does he prefer porn over sex with me?
  • How can he watch porn and say he loves me?
  • Why am I not enough?
  • Is this my fault?
  • Is this it for our marriage?

This blog post is not going to answer all of these, but we’ve written an e-book that does called Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives. In this blog post, we want to provide actionable, practical steps wives can take if they suspect their husband suffers from porn-induced ED.

What Specific Steps Can a Wife Take During Her Husband’s PIED Recovery?

I asked our Covenant Eyes friend and frequent blog contributor Kay Bruner to offer some advice to a wife who is struggling to find her way while her husband is dealing with porn-induced erectile dysfunction:

  1. Think about your boundaries. What do you like, want, and need in the relationship? Does this relationship meet your needs as a whole person: mind, soul, spirit, and body? If not, what needs are left unmet? Have you been compromising your boundaries in the relationship, doing things that you don’t like or want? Doing things that cause you harm? If so, why? What would your healthiest, happiest, best relationship-life look like?
  2. Process your emotions. Research says that when you’re working through a difficult issue, journaling 20 minutes per day is a great tool for emotional processing. Notice throughout the day how you are feeling: sad, mad, scared, happy? Set aside time each day to identify one emotion you’d like to process, and free-write about that for 20 minutes.
  3. Care for your physical body. Eating healthy and exercising regularly are great for your physical self-care. Best exercise the research says you can do for your emotional self in recovery?  YOGA. Find a restorative yoga class, or look around YouTube for practices that address anxiety, trauma, or heart-break.
  4. Educate yourself on what makes healthy, successful relationships work. Understand that emotional trust is the basis for a healthy relationship, and learn what it takes to build that trust, so you’ll know if it’s happening or not in your relationship. Read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman. Invite your significant other to read the book with you; there are many discussion questions included.
  5. Find community. Find a therapist, just for you. Find a trauma-informed support group. Use the online resources at Bloom for Women. You are NOT alone!
  6. Remember that you are NOT your significant other’s sex toy. He has to work on his own recovery and solve this problem for himself. Stay in your own lane with healthy boundaries, good self-care, and plenty of support.
  7. Tell yourself the truth. Be wise about recovery, and don’t re-engage sexually until YOU are ready.

We are grateful for Kay’s wise words. If you are married to someone who suffers from porn-induced ED, we hope that they are a salve to your wounded heart.

Learn More About Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

We’ve created a PIED Recovery Challenge to help your husband reboot from his porn use, and we hope the articles below will also help you both understand the issue more.