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How Porn Ruins Sex Drive

Last Updated: February 13, 2019

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

Repeatedly viewing pornography can have a discernible effect on sex drive. When we train our minds on virtual sexuality, it is easy to lose interest in the real thing with our wives.

Research shows how porn ruins sex drive:

  • French neuroscientist Serge Stoleru reports on how overexposure to erotic stimuli exhausted the sexual responses of healthy young men.
  • Dr. Dolf Zillmann reports about how prolonged exposure to pornography leads to cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners, and the belief that marriage is sexually confining.
  • Sociologist Jill Manning reports on how pornography consumption is associated with decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction.
  • According to Media, Children, and the Family: Social Scientific, Psychodynamic, and Clinical Perspectives, sexual arousal diminishes with repeated exposure to pornographic scenes.

Our brains are naturally attracted to novelty: it is what drives the learning process. Pornography, especially Internet pornography, is a veritably endless landscape of sexual novelty. How can one woman compete with thousands of eager virtual playmates?

Porn is also easy. It requires nothing of us but an Internet connection. We don’t need to pursue romance. We don’t need to serve anyone else.

Rob Jackson explains, “Once porn is downloaded into our mental hard drive through the portals of the senses, it works like a computer virus, corrupting our thoughts about sexuality. The contaminated files include our thoughts about being male or female, what we believe about our sexuality, how we plan to behave sexually, and whether we have the capacity to remain faithful in marriage.”

Dr. Mary Anne Layden states, “Having spent so much time in unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid and cyberspace, they seem to find it difficult to have sex with a real human being.

Don’t let pixels on a screen steal the blessing of intimacy with the one you love. If you can’t pull yourself away from the porn, get help for your addiction.

  • Comments on: How Porn Ruins Sex Drive
    1. bondChristian on

      Excellent point about wives never being able to compete with virtual playmates. That’s so true. I hear a lot of advice about training yourself to appreciate your wife sexually over playmates, but that’s all about denial. Wives can never compete straight up sexually. It’s only when we first appreciate them through their (and our) relationship with God that we are able to see past the purely sexual. Then we really do appreciate our wives sexually more.

      In short, we can’t focus on fixing the sexual… because we lose every time that way.

      -Marshall Jones Jr.

      Reply
    2. Freedom Begins Here on

      Powerful message that pornography can affect us and shut down the desire to be one with our partner.

      Reply
      • Jessica on

        When I discovered my husband had been watching for about 9 months on a regular, probably daily basis I was hurt and shocked and then angry. Its been a month w/o his viewing and I find myself still having severe thoughts of inadequacy. Im an attractive woman and have always prided myself with my hair and makeup…but now physically I dont measure up. We have both worked hard to reconnect and I feel as if im working a double-shift trying to be what I feel he needs and wants. IM EXHAUSTED…it’s been several days w/o sex or intimacy and im feeling scared already that we’re slipping. Our lives are complicated to say the least and now I have a new worry to add to the mile high pile thay was already there. I love him with all my heart. How can I stop the vicious cycle from repeating in my head andcin my heart?

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        HI Jessica,

        It’s great that you and your husband are working on reconnecting, but I’m curious about a couple things:
        1. What is your husband doing to keep from looking at porn and how is he reassuring you so that you can rebuild your trust in him?
        2. Have you spoken to him about your insecurities? If so, what does he tell you?

    3. Brian Gardner on

      Great post, Luke. It’s time for the “Men who don’t look at porn have better sex” T-shirts.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        @Brian – Wow. Marvelous marketing idea. Maybe CE can get into the apparel business as well.

    4. JCE on

      Rob Jackson hit the nail on the head when he said it corrupts “our thoughts about sexuality” and “what we believe about our sexuality.” Porn lead to bisexual porn, which lead to gay porn and had the same effects on my thoughts of my sexuality when I was in highschool. Thankfully God showed me His grace and mercy, convicted me and showed me His love and how he shows His love through the campanionship in how He ordained it to bem between man and woman. Porn can have a stronghold on anyone who watches it, even if it’s only once.

      Reply
    5. Rob on

      I had no concept of my ex-wife’s struggle with trying to compete with the images of women she found I’d been viewing online. Much like the husband in the video, I’d compartmentalized the porn-surfing part of my sexual life: to me it didn’t have anything to do with replacing my relationship with her. I had not even entertained having sex with another flesh-and-blood woman. In her mind this struggle ate away at her self-image and her sexuality like a cancer. I did not grasp that my porn addiction was an infidelity every bit as hurtful and real to her as if I was having an affair until I’d damaged our relationship beyond the point of repair. I suspect many porn-addicted men are as blind to the destruction their addiction sows as I was.
      Wake Up and ask God to transform your heart before any more damage is done! Attend a recovery ministry, get an accountability partner, join a safe 12-step program and reveal your heart to your sponsor. It’s hard work, but forgiveness and healing can be yours through the sacrifice of God’s only Son on Calvary’s Cross.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        @Rob – Your comment reminds me of something Mark Gaither wrote on our blog a while back: “Is Porn the Same As Adultery?” I thought his insights into the hearts and minds of women was refreshing and powerful.

        Thanks for sharing some of your story with us!

    6. phineas on

      women causing other women problems. blame your fellow females.

      Reply
    7. WifeofFormerAddict on

      My husband has been porn free for over a year, and he still isn’t interested in me. He’s has his testosterone checked, and it’s not low. I’ve been going to the gym and working out more, grown my hair out long, worn different clothes, more makeup, etc., but he isn’t interested. And it’s not that he hates me, but it’s like he likes being in a “friendly” type of relationship. But I want romance/intimacy. I guess I figured with porn out of the way, he’d be interested in me. But clearly, he’s not. But then he doesn’t really talk to his friends much or his family. My point being that I’m not the only one he seems to push away. Could it be depression brought on by years of porn?

      Will this ever go away??

      What can I do?

      Reply
      • Jeff on

        Maybe he doesn’t want any more kids

    8. David Pacheco on

      I had no ideas that prolonged virtual reality sex may diminish ur sex drive. I have been struggling with porn now for 2 yrs I am sick of the peaks and valleys of winning and losing battles seems almost like this will always be a battle

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        @David – I’ve been there, for sure. The battle, in one sense, will always be there because of the world we live in, but God can do a great work in our hearts that strips of our bad habits and addictions and gives us fresh grace in the battle. Believe he is able to slay your sin. Please, look around our blog and see the resources here. I hope you find something that encourages you!

    9. Nicole on

      I have been with my husband for 4 years now and I have come across porn many times. I have grown up as a christian all my life and I am sure my religion has swayed my views on pornography. It has always been something I am not comfterable with. I feel hurt, abused, betrayed, sick to my stomach, taken advantage of, and ugly. I don’t know how to make my husband understand how bad it hurts me. Society has made him believe that its normal and “a guy thing”, he says “whats the problem”. I am really at a crossroads with this and am trying very hard to make our marriage work, but the porn is a huge reacering issue that is makeing me feel as though I am begining to not love him anymore. I know I do love him but my heart is growing cold. I need some advise on how to make him understand and work to overcome this. Ir seems that his love for me is not enouph to rid something that hurts me. I also do notice that his sex drive is very different with me and he does not do the very things that he watches on the pornsites with me, like trying to please me sexually rather than just getting himself off. I am confused and conflicted and need some guidence. I ask God every day to help me with this issue, but nothing has gotten better, I do realize though that mhy husband is the one that needs to want to change this for God to work on his heart, but shouldn’t there be some kind of reliefe that God gives me for my will in my own heart for this to stome distroying our marriage?

      Reply
      • David on

        It sounds like you have quite a situation in your hands this seems to be more and more common these days. You are going to have to be very clear to your self about what you believe to be a Godly way of looking at sexuality. For starters purity is highly expected of those who follow or seek to be honorable followers of jesus Christ, Even in marriage. Then eventually you will have to commit to your self that you will follow thru with what you need to do wren the time comes. After all if you do not act soon your marriage will be compromised beyond repair anyhow. Honoring marriage is something that will hugely bless you so you have to fight for it until the lord is clear to you other wise, but He also seeks to redeem things broken and lost. There is too much to say for just this response, hey a hold of me here dachr1us@yahoo.com

      • Jeff on

        People only have sex b/c it feels good. If it didn’t no one would do it. If you never got thirsty would you stop and and drink a glass of water? As soon as you can realize this and get over the crap you see on tv you will understand its a built in insurance policy by god to keep the human race going. So porn is just a short cut to pleasure. Almost all sin goes back to some form of pleasure anyway.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Yes, porn is pleasurable and it is the reason why people watch it, but how does this address Nicole’s concerns?

    10. jj on

      lols everyone got an opinion.
      porn has been around a long time. its not something new.
      however what is new is that young people have access to it. women have access to it.
      kids have access to it. and people in repressive countries have access to it.
      its not gonna change adult men in the west, because adult men have had access to it 40 years ago. bisexual, trisexual, animal, plant, fungus porn it all existed before. nothing new.

      in fact, the desire for bigger faster flashier porn is what has been driving force behind technology.
      its why servers are made, computer networks are invested in, internet exists, mobile phones are bought, digital cameras are improved, camcorders are shrinked, web developers are hired, flat screen tvs sell so well, and movies are seen. in short without porn, we would not know there are other planets outside the solar system. we would not have online stores without the heavy investment we make as a society in porn enabling technology, because that technology would be too expensive and too little invested in otherwise.

      Reply
    11. Terry on

      I think pornography in itself is not damaging to humans ( it has existed for 1000s of years) and majority of people

      have relationships with the opposite sex, , but excessive exposure to it , is, as with anything in this life is damaging. It can reduce sexual interconnection to a mere mechanical act, without feeling or anything, if people are not careful and get over stimulated that can happen. I think moderation is key, because we cannot forbid people to watch porn if they so desire ( even in repressive dictatorships like Iran or North Korea people bypass censorship and watch it) . But awareness about the fact that pornography should never be or become a replacement for being (sexually , emotionally if not mentally connected) or close to another human being (m/f) you deeply like, surely must be encouraged, and this may help reduce porn addiction. We are creatures with indulgencies and habits, but I think we are also capable of controlling and moderating our behaviour.

      Reply

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