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Dr. Phil on Porn

Last Updated: April 17, 2015

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

I recently read a brief article by Dr. Phil called “Is Internet Porn Cheating?” I’ve reprinted the article in full below:

  • It is not OK behavior. It is a perverse and ridiculous intrusion into your relationship. It is an insult, it is disloyal and it is cheating.
  • Consider how it makes your partner feel. If it makes your partner feel ugly, hurt, deceived, lied to or inadequate, then it needs to stop. If it is eroding your relationship, it’s gone too far.
  • Pornography isn’t real, it’s a fantasy. It’s makeup, beauty lenses, hair extensions, camera angles, lighting and silicone! It’s also somebody’s daughter who has taken a really, really wrong turn. She’s demeaning herself, debasing herself, humiliating herself and she’s being exploited by people who are funded by you. It is a sick, demented, twisted world. It’s not healthy, it’s not natural and it’s not normal.
  • Viewing Internet pornography or engaging in cybersex is a short step to taking cheating to the next level.
  • You need to tell your partner that viewing pornography is absolutely, unequivocally unacceptable in your relationship. Draw a line: Your partner needs to choose between the pornography or the relationship.

Ask yourself or your partner:

  • Would you do it with your partner standing right there?
  • Are you turning outside of your relationship to meet a need that should be met within the relationship? You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, so find out if you or your partner have a problem.
  • Do you justify the behavior by saying, “It’s harmless,” “Everyone does it,” or “It’s just the Internet”?
  • Does it intrude on your relationship?
  • Which is more important: pornography or your relationship?

I really appreciate Dr. Phil taking a stance like this. So many counselors and psychiatrists are trained to never say always (few counselors today will put a foot down and say that pornography and cybersex is “always” wrong). It is refreshing to read advice like this in popular media.

  • Comments on: Dr. Phil on Porn
    1. Anonymous on

      Dr. Phil is very straightforward in his article. As he always has, I believe people struggling with pornography addiction, including myself, should be confronted of the harm it is causing relationships to fail or break up. Like having an affair, pornography tends to take on a role of a third party lover in the marital relationship and take away what really belongs to the husband and the wife. I also appreciate this article and hope that it steer someone’s course to recovery from pornography addiction as it is doing in me.

      Reply
      • Harry Brad on

        Dr. Phil just started a counter movement. 99% of men have masturbated and close to that number watch porn if not at least once. Everyone does it. You cannot fix EVERYONE over and over again for each generation. It will only be a matter of time before men do Not need women for sex or procreation. When that day comes we will all leave women who not only want to control our money and our hearts. But also would try to control our very minds.

    2. Losing my loved one... on

      Okay… after finding this site, I’m really glad to know that it’s not just me who’s left dealing with this pornography issue in a relationship. I’ve been clueless on how to handle my loved ones addiction to internet porn. Our relationship has ended a few times over it and this final time is the last straw. This man is the love of my life. We have an amazing (blended) family together and a happy home life. That is, until I find this terrible heart stabbing proof on the computer. I’m just devistated. His reasoning goes from: “every man looks at porn” to “it’s completely normal” to “I haven’t had sex in a week and a man has needs” to “it’s okay, because it’s rated the #1 porn site on the internet” to “I’ve grown up around porn so it’s just normal to me”. To me, this is just unacceptable.

      True story, I grew up my entire life with a cokehead as a mother. Since “I’ve grown up around it” does that make it “normal” and “okay” for me to take cocaine?! Aboslutely not… so that’s no excuse.

      Why wreck the home, break your lovers heart and ruin your life as you know it?! It’s not worth it… just ask my ex.

      Reply
    3. Nikki on

      I am glad to read those comments, and hear a MALE opinion thats exactly similar to mine. For the past year, I’ve been lied to repeatedly over this porn. Its never been an issue in my past relationships, and finally after the 5th time, I’ve had enough. Anyone that “Claims” to love me, but cant keep his eyes away from porn sites, is NOT FOR ME. I’ve spoken and communicated with him time and time again, about how this makes me feel. I’ve been lied to over and over again, by him saying that he will not have anything to do with it again, only to find it again and again. So, I made the decision to leave. In my opinion, he says porn is “Not real” , well, my decision to leave him WAS. So, he made his choice, and I hope hes happy with it. Because I’m happier not having to worry about the next membership hes signing up to behind my back.

      Reply
      • Emma on

        Am having the same problem with my partner he was searching for milfs in local area and loads of porn on his phone as well and he said he wouldn’t do it again and I went on his phone agin and he’s been doing it again so I left him al I got of him is because he wanted to I think it a crap excuse of him searching for women and watching porn

    4. Anonymous on

      I’m glad that nikki brought up a good point. a man who loves his porn more than his wife is better off being left to himself. the worse thing about it is that time is of the essence, and when a man spends most of his time on porn, less time will he give his wife, which is the very thing that a woman wants from a man–time. porn is likened unto a person when time is spent on her. the excited, though, comes when a man engages in a self-gratification habit, which perpetuates the addictive disadvantage. what i mean by disadvantage is when a man goes again and again to porn because it is not an advantage, not satisfying as in a real relationship between a man and a woman, a wife and a husband. nikki’s boyfriend should find himself an accountability partner and be determined to obtaining his recovery. like a drug addict or an alcoholic, there has to be a willingness to get himself out of the addiction the same way he got in the first place, that is, say NO to pornography constantly. before he would find it easy to get on porn because he had already said YES to it. now, he has to practice daily how to say NO to it at its onset. he has to remember that it is a daily thing along with the help of the accountability partner to lift him up whenever his arms are waning. believe me, this is how i’ve been set free from the danger of this silent addiction every man seems to have.

      Reply
    5. Rebekah on

      I did not truly realize how prevalent the addiction to porn is in this world. My husband has been indulging since he was 12 or 13. When he became and adult he found it easier to create fantasies in his mind with pictures and movies and then masturbate. He lusts with his eyes constantly. Wherever he goes he is on the hunt to gratify his eyes. He finds it more fulfilling to do this and less work than actually having a relationship with me.

      I am so hurt, angry, and disgusted and so extremely shocked that people who call themselves Christians could indulge in such a perverted thing. I want to love my husband, I want to satisfy his ‘need and wants’ any where any time, even with three small children. I have never denied myself to him, but he often denies himself to me. He seems to get more enjoyment from the fantasy.

      I am not claiming to be perfect. I have many things that I am dealing with. Mostly I am in the process of losing weight. This makes my husbands addiction undermine my self esteem even more. I know that I need to bring my life into balance to truly honor the Lord. So I understand the power that an addiction can have, but I also know from experience that it is possible and necessary to say ‘No’ to ourselves!!!

      We truly do need to take an offensive position as a church, redeemed by Jesus Christ. We must not sit back and do nothing, we need to act, we must speak out!

      Reply
    6. Annonymous on

      Dr. Phil has an interesting opinion and advice for someone who employs a makeup artist who spent eleven years in the porn industry. “Get real” “straight shooter”, and get lost while you’re at it.

      Reply
    7. Anonymous on

      Guys, if you’re struggling with this, especially when it is easily accessed by a click away and it’s gotten to a point where it’s out of control (believe me, I’ve been there!), first you have to confess that you are an addict. You see, just because I’m free from it doesn’t mean that I am stripped of the reality that I am a porn addict. You can disagree with my use of the present term “am” instead of “was”, but it lends a truth that I was an addict and I would continue to be an addict if I won’t confess that I am. I’ve learned this from my accountability partner and it made all the difference. Everyday is a new day to me because I know I had a personal problem and I openly confess it to be a part of my recovery process. Hope this gives help to men out there struggling in this area. Don’t feel insecure about disclosing it to someone you can trust. Your recovery is a hand reach only when you take a step of confessing it. It made all the difference to me! This is all biblical. If you can’t find anyone around you, just reach out to the brothers on the net like here in this site: covenanteye.com. They are more than happy to help you. From a man to a man, you can do this in Jesus Christ…

      God bless…

      Reply
    8. chris paul on

      “He finds it more fulfilling to do this and less work than actually having a relationship with me. ” Sounds like its your fault.

      Reply
      • Grace on

        You sound like you are an idiot.

      • KIM on

        You sound like aneducated moron. Let me guess, you also think rape victims ‘ask for it.’

    9. Julian on

      I’m not going to make the argument that porn industries don’t run shady or immoral businesses. Yes, a lot of pornography takes advantage of young girls ( how many people can safely say that at age 18 you were in the best state of mind to make a decision?) To that I do believe that there needs to be regulations, certainly .According to forbes magazine, porn totaled roughly $2.6 billion to $3.9 billion in 2001. That is a lot of money, and that was in 2001. Imagine now (if anyone can supply an up to date statistic go for it), to that end it clearly seems to be an industry that has enough money to keep it’s practices shady. Now i’m a pretty young man, I don’t have a ton of life experience relatively speaking (21 years old, senior year of college) but I have a decent background in psychology and evolutionary theory (Psych and interdisciplinary human biology (integrated anthropology and bio psychology) double major). I’ve learned quite a bit on the nature of man as social beings, how we think about ourselves in the world especially when comparing ourselves to others. With that in mind I would like to maybe offer my input on this tragedy of an opinion that Dr. Phil would call a solution, or relationship advice. People tend to blame others for “internal factors” (e.g. for this example- for someone who masturbates frequently you would blame them for being unthoughtful, lacking of empathy, or a barrage of other thoughts that could come to mind for someone trying to look at the other in the relationship as having the problem) but in reality PEOPLE WANT TO TAKE CREDIT FOR SUCCESS, BUT BLAME OTHERS FOR FAILURE, many studies have replicated this finding (campbell and sedikides,1999) also known as a self serving bias.

      Dr. Phil takes this logic to the next level, makes you believe that in targeting your love one your doing the right thing. In reality there are so many external factors that go into what causes addiction and I assure you they don’t start in the mind of your love one. Our society is so bent on sexuality as being such a terrible thing, this causes people to feel ashamed to express sexual feelings, you know what happens when you have pent up feelings and drives? I am referring to anything really stress, anger, sadness. They all can result in unhealthy ways to alleviate the pain. So lets see, I can bet that most people would find it to be alright for their spouse to be into action movies “guy stuff”, and video games (being a man and knowing a lot of men, I can vouch for the fact that a lot of men enjoy these things and that it is societally acceptable). That stuff involves KILLING, and VIOLENCE ,not always, but MOST of the time, and this is alright? How can sex, which is a natural biological imperative that is HEALTHY so stigmatized here? Clearly we as a people are living in an age where population is at an all time high and stimulation is everywhere,give people a break. Don’t listen to what windbags throw around like it’s common knowledge and tell you just want you want to hear.
      According to an article in USATODAY a man who was going to go on the show was given a disclaimer saying that his advice that his advice is “not real medical, psychological advice”

      http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2004-03-17-dr-phil_x.htm

      I’m not saying that porn can’t be a bad thing, or an addiction. I am saying however that there are FAR better people to take advice on this matter from, not from someone who requires people to sign a form saying his advice is basically bullsh%t and then portraying it on television like it should be carved in stone and dipped in gold.

      Reply
    10. Openyoureyes on

      I can’t say I’ve ever met another guy who doesn’t watch porn (in or out of a relationship). I would be willing to bet that even Dr. Phil strums his filthies to porn occasionally. But he has to keep up appearances to make the $$$ (don’t be so naive as to think he NEVER goes against his real beliefs in order to gain followers – middle aged conservative women). From a man’s perspective porn is most commonly visual stimulation, and that’s it. No drive to actually run away with the stars of their films. It is still a taboo, and it’s no wonder why most men secretly watch porn (just look at all the angry “ex” wives here). I can understand that from a women’s perspective it may seem disrespectful, but men simply do it to selfishly get their rocks off. If it is truly taking away from your relationship in terms of serious addiction, your partner paying less attention to you (physically or emotionally), conflicts with strict religious beliefs, or it is affecting your children, then it can’t be stood for. But if it’s an occasional thing you should try to consider it a guilty pleasure, much like watching trashy reality television, or reading a lusty romantic novel. Men have a neediness in their loins that most women cannot constantly satisfy – (we are talking quantity, not quality).

      Reply
    11. bill blaxby on

      my wife has no problem with me watching porn. i watch it daily only to masturbate, because she doesnt have the time to always have sex with me every day and i respect that. i am not an addict. dr. phil is only pandering to an unintelligent audience and telling them what they want to hear. i am quite certain dr. phil has no clue what good sex even is. why would i follow sex advice from someone who doesnt have a good sex life themselves?

      Reply
    12. diana on

      My husband has been looking at and downloading porn. I have asked him many times why. He said they do weird things. But, my problem is he masturbates watching them. Should I feel degraded,cheated on, and feel Idont do my part as his wife? Cause I do feel that way. He told me he would not look or download no more. He is still doing it. He has lied twice to me. How can I trust him to be faithfull in our marriage. When we do try to be together, most of the time he has trouble keeping it up. Is it porn use or his age of 43. Please any advise. Troubled marriage!!!!

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Diana. Well, the first thing I’d say is that there is no “should” about how you feel. Your feelings are your feelings. It’s really common for wives to feel exactly the way you’ve described here. As far as the erectile dysfunction goes, I’d say it probably is the porn use, unless there is some other medical condition present. ED is a very common side effect of porn use. I don’t know if you can trust him to be faithful or not. Some men only look at porn; others escalate into acting out with other women. You’ll want to think carefully about the boundaries you want to have around this issue.

        Here’s an article you could pass along to him with some ideas of how he can take responsibility for his recovery, if he is willing.

        We have lots of resources for you here, as you consider what to do next. Here’s a list of some of our best blog articles for women. You might also appreciate our free downloads, Porn and Your Husband and Hope After Porn.

        I would say, you need to get some support for yourself, as well. Personal counseling is a good option, and many women find groups really helpful as well. S Anon is a good option for spouses, and some women have also found Al Anon to be useful. Celebrate Recovery is a program many churches offer.

      • B on

        Yes, it’s cheating. Yes, you should feel pain. My husband is finally going to help himself out. BUT, he has to admit it, and want help.

    13. becky on

      Today I made the decision to leave the love of my life, his excuses were the same- it’s normal- all men do it, etc.
      When he said no one tells him he can’t watch porn, it’s harmless was the last straw. Having him get texts and emails from the sites and the pictures I found on his phone made me sick, then try and turn the tables on me- it’s my fault I went thru his phone. A very sad day.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I am so, so sorry. What a very sad day indeed.

        Even though this is so hard and sad, though, I want to commend you for your courage. And I want to thank you for coming here to share with us this step of incredible strength and bravery that you’re taking. It is so difficult to leave a relationship with someone you love. But sometimes it is just necessary to allow that other person the consequences of their choices.

        Thank you for sharing this with us.

        Praying peace and healing for you, Kay

    14. Brittney on

      Really people let’s get real here men watch porn hell some women watch porn it’s nothing but a thing and if you let porn come between you and your husband to the point of separation then you’ve been looking for an excuse to leave anyways. My husband watches porn some men have watched porn since early teens it just is your man will still love you he’ll still lay with you if he’s made his vows with you or is in good standing as a boyfriend to you an still lays with you when your ready for sex leave the porn alone y’all are using it as an excuse to get mad about when your probably the reason he doesn’t confide his needs to you probably because you always say no or I’m tired or not right now or another excuse your man wants to please you an please himself to if you say no he’ll turn to porn at least he’s not turning to a chick next door

      Reply
      • Stella on

        That is so not true…
        I had an 8 year relationship with an porn adiict who I had sex with daily and he still cheated
        Now I found myself yet in another relationship with one who jerks off with porn and hardly get any…asked if I would do myself due to low sex drive
        I think women need to wake up and not excuse this behavior like as if we are their cause for it.

    15. Brittney on

      Also I’m not for porn or against it I’m just saying you’ve probably got a bigger problem in your relationship than porn your just using that as a distraction from the real issue you don’t want to acknowledge communication is key to any relationship an trust me porn is not the issue some people can become addicted to it and it can cause problems like ED because his stimulation becomes visual not touch work around it try new things it’s not hard to work him away from porn to yourself but you have to put forth the effort for him and him vise versa for you or hell watch a porn together spice it up a bit for y’all that does get fun an this is coming from a woman who is happily married with an enthralling sex life that porn won’t ever come between thank you

      Reply
    16. DeAnna Ramirez on

      I was married to a porn addict for 40 years. It started the day we came back from our honeymoon. There was little to no sex and if he didn’t get his fix, he was too crazy to live with. I found it over and over and over again. He masturbated so much he cut off the blood flow to his penis. Pills worked at first but he ended using them for his pleasure and killed his penis altogether. I gave him time to change. He didn’t. I left. I could no longer live with someone who made me feel worthless, unloved and ugly.

      Reply

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