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Sex After Porn – Igniting Marital Intimacy in the Wake of Pornography

Last Updated: August 5, 2021

Ashley Weis

Ashley Weis is a wife and mother who has a pain-filled past that no longer haunts her. After discovering her husband’s pornography addiction she thought she’d never heal, much less have a “good” marriage again. God has shown her that without rain, beauty never grows. Now, with a beautiful marriage and a heart that knows the radiance of hope, Ashley reaches out to other women through books about recovering from pornography.

When a husband brings porn into the marriage, he brings other women to their marriage bed. It’s stained with the images of other people. Who wants to make love on a stained bed? It has to be cleaned first. Husband and wife, together, need to wash the sheets, not obsess over whether they are clean or not, and trust that the stains have been washed away.

There isn’t a clear method or time to come together again. It’s individual for each couple. The husband has to be willing to truly clean the sheets, not just try to rub it off with some water and move on. Making love is the closest form of intimacy we can have with each other, and we shouldn’t jump right into it without falling in love again, holding hands, kissing passionately, holding each other. I know for some people it’s easier to make love and those things will fall into place, but I think sometimes we force the sex part because we feel pressured for some reason.

Sex isn’t a selfish act. This culture can make us believe that sex is about having an orgasm and being pleasured, but it’s about becoming one with your spouse, enjoying him/her, and pleasuring him/her, just like marriage. A husband shouldn’t focus on how much his wife loves him; instead, he should be loving her as Christ loves the Church. And a wife shouldn’t be focused on how much her husband loves her; she should be loving her husband with a true and selfless love.

But what if you don’t trust him? What if you fear women popping up in your head, or even worse, his? What if you feel dirty? What if he tries to make you do things you don’t want to do?

In my book, Exposed, Ally says at some point that she finally understands “the weakness of ‘if’ and the power of ‘faith.’” Sometimes our “what if’s” are true, but there are times they aren’t. We don’t really know the heart of a person, but if our husbands are trying—really trying—to win us back, if we can see his growth, his desire for purity, then who are we to use doubt as an excuse not to make love to him? Yes, he betrayed us and it’s hard to trust. And trust will take time to rebuild on so many different levels of the relationship. But we can’t use his sin as an excuse for our lack of desire to grow and change.

It’s hard to give up our insecurities of our beauty and the insecurities of his faithfulness and purity and devotion to us. But insecurities are nothing more than another word for self-centeredness. They are planted in our hearts and minds to destroy us. And if we give in to insecurities and continue looking inward and feeling sorry for ourselves, it will torture us.

I can’t tell a wife when to have sex with her husband again. That’s for her to decide. But I like to ask women this question: Are you holding back from him (when he is changing and proving his devotion to you) for selfish reasons? I don’t ever recommend people to begin making love again when the bed is still stained and the husband is still having an affair with other images. And if he is changing, I don’t recommend making love either. Why?

Because you have to desire it first. I never tell women to jump into a stained bed (or even a clean bed) when they don’t desire it. It’s not about “releasing” him so he doesn’t look at porn. It’s not about trying to fix your marriage. It’s about love. Loving each other. Becoming one. Enjoying intimacy as it was intended—for only you and your spouse.

So…how do you know when it’s finally time to make love again?

You love. When you love him and desire him enough to give him all of you…you are ready, and vice versa. But the trick is to not hold on to our insecurities, fears, and doubts in order to keep intimacy from our marriage. When George and I went through this I refused to make love to him (even after he truly changed) because I wanted to punish him. Other times I feared my thoughts or his. And still there were times I just plain listened to lies or felt too ugly to be that intimate with my husband. But eventually, I asked God to change my heart. To help me love fully, unconditionally, and through the eyes of Jesus, instead of the eyes of deception.

When my heart changed, my insecurities lessened, my doubts withered (although they were still there a tiny bit), and I stopped listening to lies. Finally, I desired to make love to my husband. I wanted to be one with him again. And we both knew when it was the right time. It wasn’t forced. Neither of us pressured the other. I didn’t make love to him in hopes that it would keep him from looking at porn again.

We made love because we purely loved each other. Simple, beautiful, and real.

I can’t say when the right time for you will be. But you’ll know. Pray for a new heart for both man and wife, and your marriage. Get the lies, doubts, stains, and insecurities out of your marriage bed, look at each other with the love you had when you put those rings on your fingers, and express that love to each other with the most beautiful form of intimacy we can share. Sex is beautiful. When pure, it actually glorifies God.

I know you can get to this point again. It’s just going to take some cleaning. Spend some time with each other cleaning your hearts, your bed, and your marriage. When you are ready…you’ll know.

  • Comments on: Sex After Porn – Igniting Marital Intimacy in the Wake of Pornography
    1. Susan on

      I understand the theory behind this, but can’t get past where the sentence says: “look at each other with the love you had when you put those rings on your fingers…”. The reason for this is that after 18 years of thinking I knew him, I found out I never really did because he has been secretly addicted to porn since before we were together. He hid it from me all these years. I am just very confused and hurt and angry. I’m so worn out that I can’t even think of what else I was going to write! I have a non-Christian counselor because there are none where we live and I don’t have anyone at church I can talk to because they would all judge us, I have already seen it happen with someone else. I just don’t know where to turn or what to do.

      Reply
      • Lynn on

        I’ve been struggling my whole marriage with my husbands desire to watch porn. It has made me hateful, I’m so tired of feeling like he’s thinking of what he watched when hes looking at me. In turn making love to my husband turns my stomach. I dont trust him, I keep searching his computer, phone, its exhausting. He tells me its only a substitute for the lack of sex that I give him, but the lack of sex comes from the sickness I feel when I think about him watching other woman. He doesn’t understand that to me its a hundred times hes enjoyed another woman and cheated on our marriage. We are starting again and I’m trying to let me guard down but its hard. I just read in another one of your posts that we shouldn’t be having sex with the fear that if we don’t he will go look at porn. THIS IS MY FEAR. I dont feel the love yet, I dont have the trust, and I dont feel like its been long enough since hes looked. (1 week) I’m looking for support and any books that are suggested that help me heal from the sickness and damage that has been brought into our marriage.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Lynn. I am so sorry for the pain you’re feeling in your marriage. Here’s what I think. Whenever I hear a man blaming other people for his pornography use, that is a man who is not yet taking responsibility for himself in a healthy way. When it’s because you don’t give him enough sex, or the right kind of sex, or when it’s because you’re too old or too fat, or when it’s because women keep taking their clothes off in front of a camera–when it’s any or all of those things, and nothing about personal choices and responsibility on the part of the user–that’s not recovery.

        One of the biggest signs of recovery and resulting trustworthiness is an ability to take responsibility for ourselves. To name our choices, to be sorry for those choices when they harm others, and to CHANGE so that we don’t keep making those same bad choices that harm ourselves and others.

        It takes MUCH longer than a week to change a long-standing pornography habit. It takes a huge change in habit, in thinking, in the ability to take responsibility for oneself. Usually it takes serious accountability, a lot of re-education, and group work on the part of the addict. Your husband might appreciate this article on the reality of recovery. And our free download, Your Brain on Porn, is a popular resource for men. Often, sexual addiction specialists recommend a period of abstinence to a couple in pornography recovery–just so you know, that’s a real clinical option that many professionals recommend.

        And for the spouse, it takes time in supportive environments to heal the pain of all that betrayal, and to learn healthy boundaries. To me, it’s absolutely critical that the spouse gets adequate support and treatment alongside the addict. Here’s an article on boundaries that you might find helpful. And here’s a post that catalogs some of our top posts for spouses. You might also like our free download for women, Hope After Porn. I would encourage you also to find a safe place to process all this pain. Personal counseling could be helpful, and groups like Celebrate Recovery, xxxChurch, S Anon, and even Al Anon are often helpful for spouses in recovery. And just the other day, a reader here mentioned Candeo as a program that’s been helpful to both her and her husband.

      • Jessica on

        I too am dealing with a husband who is addicted to porn and I am just devastated about it. I knew he watched it when we first started dating and we came to an agreement that he could watch it when we couldn’t be together. For example. We were both military, so if I was on deployment or he was gone for a few weeks here and there than porn was acceptable. But if I was home he couldn’t…and it was a happy medium. For the past three years I believed in that commitment he made and recently stated finding porn again. LOTS of it! I have confronted him and he lied, of course and told me friends out I there; which was impossible because this was thanksgiving weekend and he had no work and no friends were at our house. Well, recently (3 days ago) I found MORE porn and some he watched as early as that morning. I confronted him and he lied again and then finally admitted he watches porn. I mentally beat myself up everyday. He specifically searched for and watched this one girl. I look in the mirror and I just cry…how do I compete or even compare to that?? Especially when I have nothing hat she has! ( big boobs and butt). After I had a baby the cute body I had just disappeared. He refuses to give up porn and says he loves it and will never stop watching it. He asked for sex tonight and I said no and he said we should get a divorce. I didn’t even do anything wrong! Please help! I’m exhausted from crying and now my husband has chosen porn over me.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Jessica, I am so, so sorry. I know you didn’t do anything wrong. Your body is yours, and you always have the right to say NO to sex, especially when the relationship is in such turmoil.

        Also, it’s not your job to compete with other women and their appearances. Our bodies do wonderful and important things for us that have NOTHING to do with appearance. Porn turns women into simply a body. And we are all so much more than that.

        You are valuable and precious just as you are. If he can’t see that, it’s because he’s sucked into the lies that porn tells men–that appearance and sexual performance are everything. And that is a sad, stunted kind of life in the end. It might make him happy for the time that he’s in it, but out in the real world, it just doesn’t hold up.

        Hang onto the truth, and don’t get sucked into those lies.

        I think it’s going to be really important for you to have some support as you process your emotions, and think about what healthy boundaries will look like for you at this point. Here and here are a couple of articles to help you start thinking about boundaries. Our free download, Hope After Porn, tells the stories of several women and their boundaries in recovery.

        He has to choose to be healthy–you can’t do that for him. If he wants to work on this, he probably needs a CSAT therapist to help him through.

        But whatever your husband chooses, YOU can choose to be healthy. Find a counselor who can help you in the days ahead. Find a support group (Celebrate Recovery, Pure Desire, xxxChurch, S Anon).

        Blessings, Kay

    2. Ashley Weis on

      Hey love, your husband is still your husband even though he looked at porn. Just like I was always me even though I sinned, got angry with my husband, and kept things from him instead of telling him how I really felt. Sin does not make us any less us. We think that of our husbands because we are believing a lie that our husbands are defined by their actions. But it’s not true. Our actions just blur the reality of the true person, who is hidden Christ. As we get rid of these lies we’ll discover who we truly are. I don’t even know who I fully am yet. It’s a process every day of laying down idols and surrendering my life to Him. Your husband is still the man you married. We tend to gloss over flaws and highlight positives when we marry someone. When we discover betrayal we gloss over positives and highlight flaws … it’s time to fall in love again, but that can’t happen until you know each other again. :)

      Reply
      • Susan on

        I am working daily toward learning who I am and who we are as a couple. God has given me peace to deal with the pornography. I now know not only is he addicted to porn, but is addicted to masturbation also. I cannot wrap my mind around this addiction that he is fighting, but can wrap my mind around the fact that if God could forgive me then who am I to withhold forgiveness from the man I pledged my life to. I still hurt to the core of my being, and continue to work my way out of the pit of despair, but I am trusting in God to show us the way. Thank you for this wonderful site and all the information. It helps to know I am not alone, even though I have not seen any other mention of masterbation with the pornography issues. Do these go together so no one talks about it or what?

    3. Ashley Weis on

      Hello lovely, here is the best way to explain your husband’s addiction. He is addicted to self. We all are in more ways than we realize. Your husband’s addiction to self just manifests in the form of addiction to lust, porn, masturbation, and I’m sure a myriad of other ways. My addiction to self manifests in the form of preoccupation with appearance, wondering what people think of me, getting irritated when things don’t go my way, when my kids don’t nap and interrupt my time of rest, when the chocolate milk spills all over the floor. I get upset with these things because of my addiction to self. Your husband has an addiction to self and that makes it easy to be addicted to things like porn and lust, this culture makes it way too easy for men to form these habits and addictions, just like the culture makes it too easy for women to be concerned about their appearance to the world more than their soul’s appearance to God.

      Addictions come from our longing for God. We direct our longing for Him into things on this earth that “feel” fulfilling or pleasurable to us. What we all need is more of Him. I’m not surprised that your husband has these addictions, because I know I still have addictions to self in my heart. There are too many instances in my life where I long for something in the world more than I long for God. That’s what your husband is doing.

      I am glad that you are willing to forgive your husband. That is beautiful. Keep trusting in God, He will help you get through this. I know it’s difficult. There wasn’t a time of my life where I experienced as much darkness as I did through that time. But the light is so bright on the other end of the tunnel. I’m hoping you find that soon!

      Reply
    4. kerry smith on

      I was encouraged to read in black and white that, yes, intimacy can be restored. That yes, the day could come when I would desire to just be with him again, and that he could actually get to the point of caring about me again-care about us being together. For so many years, sex never has a feeling of safety. I’m aware he’s waiting til he can DO what (kinks) he wants TO me & hoping I won’t complain about it. I’ve always felt the blame was all mine, I wasn’t sexy enough, sex didn’t happen often enough regardless of how often or not. I’ve fought the lousy magazines hidden in always new places, for the sake of the kids. Our son was devastated the 1st time he found his dad’s porn, when we were teaching him to love and respect. Our son gave his dad a copy of “Every Man’s Battle”. I’ve listened to the denials and minimizations as I’ve found the tittie-bar receipts, it was the other guy’s idea. The porn on his phone was the fault of the guy who sent it to him. But my latest discovery on the computer, oh dear God. Beginning 7 years ago, I began to get memories of child sexual abuse, a not uncommon thing in co-addicts. The abuse I confided to him: Bingo. In spades. Not as I, an unwilling child being forced to have contact with X, but my adult confidante brother mate partner supporter, willingly and from the depths of his wanting and craving, site after site of porn depicting what I went through. His excuse: “What? I didn’t even look at those pictures; I only read a couple of the stories!” Lies and minimization. I saw what he saw how many times, and read. What a progression from the sweet Playboy shots from long ago. The thought of ever being with him again sickens me. Pray for me. I speak with a Focus on the Family counsellor today to see how I can proceed. I believe that for us to proceed together, he will have to admit there is a problem. I know it isn’t up to me to fix him or convince him or see that he works a program of some sort; I can only do that for me. But if he is unwilling–now, after 30 years of marriage, I’ve had it.

      Reply
    5. Sama on

      It seems that a large part of every entry here screams my name. Over about 10 years, I have found evidence of his viewing naked women 4 times. I threw out the “statistic” that for every 1 time someone gets caught doing something wrong (speeding, shoplifting, etc.) there are 10 more that you got away with. Not very comforting. Each time I discovered evidence, he produced and promises and apologies. I forgave him. After a period of grief and “don’t touch me” each time, we resumed sex. We always had a very active and fulfilling sex life and I was not only devastated each time, but very confused. This time is so much worse for me. All I can keep thinking is “I’m just done”. The thought of intimacy with him sickens me. When I get panicked about the future, I find comfort in the possibility of separate bedrooms (we haven’t slept together for the 4 nights since I found the latest evidence.) I appreciate that there are women who are willing to take the time to share their greatest wounds for my benefit. I am praying that the hardness in my heart will soften, but I find myself justifying it because I feel that no one but me will protect my heart. We both share the love language of physical touch and I just know that I cannot live out the rest of my life without intimate physical touch, but right now, it feels really feasible and like a good, safe option. Any words of advice is appreciated or any scriptures that you found helpful. I feel so alone because there isn’t anyone that I want to discuss this with. I told him that I was not going to protect his feelings in this “journey” and that we should tell each other our thoughts, etc. for insight. I am feeling convicted about being kind to one another, as most of the thoughts I have are surely very hurtful for him – like “Sexually, you have proven to me that you don’t need me and I do not want you.” That has to hurt but it is so true now. I’m rambling. Thanks for caring about this with me. You are in my prayers as your ministry to those like me can save me from a life of bitterness and self bashing.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Sama,

        First, thanks for sharing some of your story with us. I can’t imagine how difficult this experience has been for you.

        While I can’t offer any advice from personal experience, I can offer the advice of someone who has been there. One woman who has written for us several times, Cindy Beall, has also written a book entitled Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken. Her story is a bit different in that her husband didn’t just view pornography, but got wrapped up in cyber chat, and eventually physical affairs. It was heartbreaking when he confessed to everything.

        She writes:

        “For a season after Chris’ confession, we weren’t intimate. How could we be? That was the last thing I could even think about. This lasted for weeks, but for some couples it lasts for months. The images were in my head almost constantly in the early days even when we were intimate. But eventually I began to combat those images and replace them with the truth. I had to follow the apostle Paul’s example and ‘take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5), and then I said a verse out loud that helped take my mind off those thoughts. Then I prayed and asked God to continue to renew my mind by removing those images.

        “Sometimes I did that 30 times a day, or so I felt. The more I did it, the less I needed to. I was performing major mental gymnastics. It’s hard work, but it will help if you don’t give up. Focus on getting through today, and before you know it, you’ll have endured a year of todays—and you’ll be stronger for it.”

        If you’re interested, you can read her chapter in one of our e-books, Hope After Porn, or you can watch this interview with her and Chris.

        As a final thought, please remember that expressions of love and tenderness are very difficult when there is no trust. Continue to allow him to rebuild that trust, and if he is not rebuilding it, communicate to him what rebuilt trust looks like to you.

        Wishing you all the best!

    6. Sama on

      Thanks so much. How I appreciate the verse she gives and how appropriate for me now. I felt like I made great strides last night as I told him that I was going to “fake it till I make it”, explaining that as much as I wanted to just be alone and be pitiful and pull myself together, I would end up just wallowing in it and becoming even more alone. I needed to be in situations with him that were normal (like going to the store together, etc.) so that I could remember all the things about him that I love and give him the chance to prove himself. When we prayed together last night, we held hands. That is not creepy to me, but the thought of any greater intimacy still is. I need to pray 2 Corinithians 10:5 and own it. How I thank God this morning for your website and your contributors. May God’s blessings just be all over and around each of you.

      Reply
    7. Marissa Ruehs on

      My heart has been wrecked, once again… for the second time, after learning of my husband’s ongoing addiction. The first time I realized it was a problem almost broke me, but trust was restored and intimacy was present…. I just learned of his relapse two nights ago. I almost kicked him out. My hope has been shattered for our future. I feel devastated, betrayed and exhausted by this other woman called Porn. As much as this article has been a blessing to read, I am still wondering if we will heal and if trust will be restored… All things do work together for those who love the Lord…. He is all I have.

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    8. Sarah on

      I would like to share that there is HOPE Ladies! My husband and I have had great victories in this area. Not something that I could have said when we were in the thick of it! I knew about my husbands lust, porn, and master bastion addiction before we we’re even dating. I signed up for it! The up side was that we did our best to be as honest and open as possible. I knew that my husband already had enough shame on his own, that he did not need more from me. I began to understand that the enemy wanted my marriage. The damage doesn’t need to be any greater than I give it power. I encourage you to be honest, stand firm, be bold, and don’t give up! Love him anyway! If not you, than who? He has hurt you in some of the greatest ways but if he could stop with “self will” he would have already done it. He deserves to be loved and prayed over. We can also pray for our husbands to have willingness to be delivered in this area and to respect our boundaries. One of the greatest thing’s I could have ever done. I pray that the shame will not rob us of our joy! My husband truly gave it to The Lord and the truth is, that he probably wasn’t willing to give up something that had had so much power through out his life before. The out come has been amazing!

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Thank you, Sarah, for breathing some fresh life into a conversation that can tend to be so discouraging! There is hope.

      • Nat on

        Thank you …. This means a lot.

    9. rhianne on

      Hi, I was wondering if there are some exercises you might recomend to reignighting the desire for eachother. My husband and I have been married 2 years and have always had issues with our sex life. He doesnt want me and has no desire to engage in sexual acts with me at all and it seems to always have been this way except the very beginning which then was lust. I have always loonged so much to just be wanted by him and feel like he does so I’ve never really shut myself off from him but he just doesn’t ask or try and when he does it is for me because he can see I’m upset. My husband has been addicted to porn since he was young .we have had MANY problems in our marriage and every one we overcame there has always still been something more in the way. about 3 days ago after talking to a close family friend (father figure of mine who also went through a porn addiction) he finally admitted it to me, deep down I knew but just was never for sure and was still pretty shocked. Because of this addiction he was sexting another woman and and we have also been through him being deployed we have gotten over these humps and now this. I was ok with dealing with it surprisingly, crushed because of how much work we will need to finally be a happy loving and intimate family but still hopeful and willing to do whatever it takes we have worked through so much together I just can’t see it go to waste.I love him dearly and believe in him, he wants to change I am trying to find a therapist for us but traveling is difficult and we live in a small town so there aren’t really any who specialize in this kind of thing close. I will find someone and we are going no matter what… but I am struggling with the idea of a happy sex life because we have never had one and I worry if it is possible if he ever could want me… I am not a thin woman and have had 2 children and breast fed both I am stretch marked Nd my breast are no longer what they should be at just 22 so its even more difficult to think he would find me attractive naked. I am currently not having sex with him because I not sure about what is helpful and isn’t he hasn’t attempted and I don’t expect him to but I guess I just wonder if it could be a possiblity that we one day could have the sex life I have always dreamed of having with him and if so what steps should I take or things could I do to help it happen? I really don’t think sitting around waiting will help.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Thanks for sharing your story with us. I know it is a hard thing to talk about.

        First, I would have your husband read through some of our free e-books and materials. They might help him get to the bottom of his lack of sexual desire. Researchers note that men who are into porn tend to have sexual problems in marriage, and your experience is not at all uncommon. He needs help getting to the bottom of his addiction, and a little education about the nature of porn addiction could go a lot way for him. I recommend a book like The Porn Circuit.

        Second, I do recommend you find a good therapist who has some experience in this area, especially when it comes to helping hurting wives. My friend, Ella Hutchinson, who counsels women in this area recommends women read the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means. This will educate you about how your husband’s sex-addiction has induced trauma in your life. Feel free to ask therapists if they are familiar with the book and ask them if they would be willing to read it.

        I am so sorry this has been a constant theme in your marriage. As you look for professional help, surround yourself with family members and good friends who can support both of you. He needs male friends around him who can help him to take stock of his life and challenge him to be intimate with you. You need friends around you who can affirm you at this time. I don’t know any woman who feels happy with her body, but rest assured, it is not your body that needs to change. It is his perceptions of beauty that needs to be retrained.

    10. Nat on

      My husband and I have only been together for just over a year. Each time I discovered he had slid backwards and was watching porn again, it was after a lengthy period of him telling me he was fine. Not to mention minimal sex for 20-something’s.
      here we are again. Only recently having talked through a lot of this with our pastors, getting prayer and counsel…. But here we are, third night in a row where he’s strongly implied that going to bed for the night would involve a bit of fun. … And having it put off till the next day.
      In the case of tonight he rejected me completely, with what I felt was an excuse. I’ve heard that porn can physically require a brain to feel aroused to images on a screen …. So I feel like he may just be scared that he won’t be aroused…
      But what if he’s back into porn? How can I work through this with him again without making him feel like a child? I don’t want to be horrible that the next time he slips up, he won’t talk to me. It’s been difficult enough for him in the past to come clean about it.
      And what about me? I walked into this marriage a virgin with all these fairy tale ideals of sex. Obviously I’ve had to adjust to reality but even that doesn’t mean only having sex when he’s ready does it?? Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed because I’m “in the mood” more often than he… And I think I’ve only rejected sex once… Because I was exhausted and so was he…. Any time he’s ready I jump at the chance. But it just feels like everything has to be his choice. He’s not abusive in bed … He’s really loving BUT when it comes to WHEN to have sex… It’s like it’s completely his choice and like control.

      We normally end up arguing if he doesn’t want to have sex and I explain that it upsets me. … Pretty unhealthy.
      Take sex out, we have an amazing marriage. But when you include it in the picture … It’s like all the monsoon arguments begin with it.

      I want to be supportive but I want him to “man-up” and honour me,

      I guess I just wanted to share. I know how fresh it feels to hear someone else knows what you’re going through.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        One thing that would be really helpful for your husband is to open up to you about why he believes he’s not “in the mood.” I’m curious: What does he say about that? Does he say he’s just tired? Then tell him you want to start earlier in the evening. Nearly any excuse he gives can be counteracted with a practical solution.

        If the problem is physical brought on by too much porn (which can happen), then he needs to learn that reversal of this problem is possible. Just as sure as he wired his brain the wrong way with porn, he can wire it the right way through sex with you. (One of our e-books talks a lot about this.)

        If I were your husband’s friend and he were open with me about this, here’s what I might tell him, man-to-man: “Hey man, your wife wants to have sex with you. Do you know how many men wish they had your problem? Praise God that you have a wife like this. Plus, God says not to deny your wife pleasure in bed (1 Corinthians 7:3). So go up to your wife and say, ‘Honey, I want to get into the habit of having a healthy sex life. I’m not sure what the mental block is, but I know the only way to get over it is to practice. Let’s work at making love each night (or most night, anyway). Let’s focus on romance, intimacy, and time together. If I can’t “perform,” so be it. We will find creative ways to please each other. I don’t need the pressure to perform, but I want to work at being a good lover.’ There might be some nights that don’t lead to passionate sex as much as they are about talking together, praying together, reading together, kissing, whatever. Don’t feel the pressure. Just give ample time to be together and get rid of the distractions.”

    11. Rian on

      I just found out two days ago that my husband has been looking at porn for the last 6 months of our 1 1/2 year marriage. I have been pregnant twice since we have been married so our sex life hasn’t been super fulfilling. I asked him about is two nights ago and he lied sayi g he’d never look at porn, then I showed him his browsing history.

      I feel so hurt, angry, ugly and sad. I can’t look at him without my heart ripping. I can’t touch him without thinking he is imagining women who dont have stretch marks. He has said he was sorry but hasn’t asked for forgiveness.

      We are starting counseling this week but I still feel so surprised that he did that to me. I wasn’t enough for him so he looked at other women. He says he loves me and I’m the most beautiful woman in the world but how can he think that and look at other women?

      How can I help him when I can’t even see us ever having sex again?

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Rian,

        Getting past the thought of him fantasizing about other women is, perhaps, one of the toughest things for a woman to do after she’s caught her husband with porn. This is something I believe your counselor should address with you.

        That said, keep in mind that trust is not granted. It is earned. This is something that will be your husband’s battle: he must win your trust. I would communicate with him what trusting him again will involve. Certainly he shouldn’t be looking at porn anymore, but what else? This is something you counselor should talk to you about: how to rebuild a sense of intimacy in your marriage that communicates how he feels about you.

        Speaking as a man, men see many facets of a person when it comes to beauty. Your husband knows aspects of who you are, inside and out, that no one else knows, and these are among the many reasons he finds you beautiful. He must fight the lies that pornography feeds him about what a true standard of beauty is. In the same way, you should fight those lies in your own mind: those women are not the standard of beauty.

    12. Leslie on

      I found out a week and a half ago that my husband has been addicted to porn for 8 years of our 9 year marriage. The two most difficult pieces of this for me are 1. I made it very clear when we were dating that porn and masturbation were two habits I would not tolerate. My dad looks at porn and eventually led to him divorcing my mom. A previous boyfriend was addicted to it. I had scars from it that caused me to be extremely direct in letting my husband know this was an area I could not handle to face with him. 2. The lies. Since I had so much hurt from my past, I asked my husband how he was doing throughout the years. He adamantly lied to me. Not only did he lie, he made me feel bad for asking. We had very firm boundaries laid out- looking away at bad commercials, if seeing an attractive woman at the beach- obviously knowing he couldn’t control noticing her, but not giving her any looks, etc. All of it hurt when I found out. The porn was a complete shocker. I feel like he has been having an affair on me because of the lies and denial. How did he lie to me again and again, while also telling me how much he loved me? We set up Wednesday nights to be our night to put the kids to bed, eat dinner and go through various marriage books. Long, good conversations. Sometime this topic was addressed and he denied any impurity in his life. He made me think he was seeking the Lord, seeking accountability from friends, seeking to honor me. I am so confused because I did feel so safe with him and now feel extremely terrified of him. On one hand I think I know him and on the other I feel like he is just a liar who has delighted in evil our entire marriage. Over the years, this has shown up in very good friends’ lives who have opened up to us about it. Again, my husband stood up to it with integrity, saying it was wrong, to get out of it, etc. I am married to a perfectionist who has believed he hasn’t had a problem until now. I don’t know if I can get through this with him.

      Reply
      • Lisa Eldred on

        Hi Leslie,

        I’m sorry to hear you had to go through this! I recommend reading Porn and Your Husband to get an idea of some next steps for your marriage.

        You describe your husband as “addicted.” I want you to remember that word as you and your husband work toward recovery. Porn has created a need for itself in your husband’s brain. He will go through withdrawals, and he will occasionally fail. It’s possible that he lied to you about his porn use because he is ashamed of his actions and wanted to protect you. He might also have felt that since it was his struggle, it was his problem to solve as well.

        As you both work to repair your marriage, please DO NOT keep his struggles secret to just the two of you. I’m not saying to tell everyone you know, but you should find someone you both trust as an impartial third party (your pastor, an older gentleman in your church, or your father-in-law, for example). It may be worth hiring a professional counselor. Have this person hold your husband accountable for his Internet use. This person will help your husband break his addiction without feeling personally betrayed when he inevitably looks at porn again.

        At the same time, you should find another woman for your own recovery. She will be able to help you work to forgive him (which does NOT mean accepting a continuance of his porn use) and rebuild your marriage.

    13. rhianne on

      I have a new concern … I have posted my info above and the response was great thank you, I did take your advice my husband is currently reading the porn circuit he is on chapter 4 I have read it and went back to reread a few parts even and have also read porn and your husband and our first appt with a counselor is in 6 days. Ok now to my concern, tonight he tried to come on to me and I turned him down, I didn’t really push him away or make him feel bad we were cuddling and I continued to cuddle, he got mad we didn’t argue but I did try to explain that I just don’t know if we should, because if he has thoughts of porn while we are having sex it could set him back not to mention it is hard for me to without wondering if he is and it is depressing to be so confused about it,I also said that I just thought it would help us gain true intimacy without sex if we just focused on eachother without it I want to please my husband and I also worry that he might turn to porn if I don’t… it has been 15 days since we have had sex and only 8 since he confessed to having an addiction. He works third just left and went unhappy

      Reply
      • Lisa Eldred on

        Hmm, that’s a tough situation. You may want to ask your counselor about it. A good plan until then is to talk to your husband about your disagreement and your reasons for turning him down, and then decide together whether you want to have sex, and if not, for how long. The Porn Circuit recommends a 90-day detox, including sex, so you might make that a baseline (or even just the baseline of no sex until you’ve talked to the counselor). If you choose not to have sex, once you’ve hit the date you set, then have another conversation with him and determine whether you’re ready for sex again, or whether you want to hold off for a bit longer.

    14. Ryan on

      I am a husband who failed his wife. I first began looking at pornography with late night cinemax movies at age 11. Then by age 14 I had access to a computer with the internet. By age 17 I had a computer in my room. In my adult life, I have had a rollercoaster ride of porn usage, and abstainence, typically coinciding with new relationships by eventually falling back into usage when the relationship became stale.

      When my wife, who was then my girlfriend became pregnant, I left the state to look for a job. When I was in my hometown again, I fell back into old habits, and began using internet pornography. When I finally moved my wife up to live with me again, she almost immediately discovered the evidence of my usage on my computer. She was devastated. I promised not to use pornography again and intended to follow through, but when she couldn’t forgive me and our love life suffered, I fell back into usage.

      Pressured to hiding my usage and feeling as though I was always being watched, I grew desperate. I let my wife nap while I gave the baby some cheerios and put her in front of the TV, leaving me to my laptop at the dining room table. My wife came out of the bedroom to discover me masturbating to internet pornography in the same room that my toddler was watching sesame street. I have never been so ashamed.

      We have stayed married and worked very hard, began going to church and I have struggled ever since that day to become a different, better and less selfish person. However, the challenges of intimacy and forgiveness are proving too hard for my wife, and the challenges of patience are wearing on me. I often find myself pressuring her into intimacy which I realize has ruined the experience for her. I am desperate to repair our marriage, but after 4 years of abstaining from internet porn usage, and two children later my wife still has not forgiven me. I will never forgive myself if our marriage and family falls apart.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Ryan,

        I am so sorry pornography has wrecked havoc on your marriage like this. It is good that you are willing to acknowledge your guilt in all of this. That’s a big first step. It is also good that you are striving for a marriage of real intimacy and a pure thought-life.

        It sounds to me that you would both benefit from some counseling with a trusted mentor. Here’s how you might approach your wife: “On different occasions you have caught me looking at pornography. You know how terrible I feel about this. I don’t want us to always be stuck in the past, with you or I focusing on my faults and mistakes. I want to have eyes for only you. I want our marriage to grow in intimacy and care for each other. Five years from now I want to be able to look back on this time and say that we’ve gotten much closer, but I know that means we have to make deliberate effort.

        “I would love to go to someone to talk about our marriage. I feel no shame in saying this: I am willing to do anything I can to be a better husband, and if that means getting good advice and counseling, I will do it. I want to do this with you.”

        If she says no, just let her know that you want to get help for yourself anyway, find someone to mentor you so you can be a better husband, better father, better lover, and more pure in thought and mind. As Christians, we don’t grow in a vacuum: we only grow when we are in community with other people who know our hurts, pains, fears, temptations, and sins, and when we can get wise counsel from those people. There is no shame at all in getting help.

    15. Sara on

      So my name isn’t really Sara. But I’m staying anonymous to protect my husband. My husband battled porn for years before we got married, and he had overcome. But this week, one single ad came up, and he started looking again. I checked his browser history and those horrible images will probably be burned in my mind forever. I feel so hurt and betrayed. :( I wish I could rewind and erase all of this, but I can’t. I’ve forgiven him and am trying so hard every day to get through and survive. I’m afraid to have sex again, and I’m afraid of withholding because I don’t want him to go back to those images. How do I trust him again? How do I get past all this devastation? I feel afraid and hopeless. :(

      Reply
      • Lisa Eldred on

        First things first: remember, his porn problems have nothing to do with you. Pornography is an addictive activity, and he got hooked on it long before he ever met you. Think of a recovering alcoholic: even if they’ve stayed dry and sober for years, they may never be able to walk into a liquor store or bar without significantly struggling, and often failing. Even if he’s not looking for porn intentionally, it’s entirely too easy to stumble across it online via ads on other sites, as you mentioned here.

        I’m not trying to justify his failure, or say you should simply forgive and forget. I am, however, trying to help you empathize with his position, so that you can be better equipped to help him in his struggles.

        One practical step you can take is to read Porn and Your Husband, which will give you some ideas for setting boundaries in your marriage.

        I also strongly recommend installing Internet Accountability software on all the computers, smartphones, and tablets he uses, if you haven’t done so already. Make sure he knows you’re doing it. The idea is not that you’re trying to spy on him; the idea is that if he knows someone will see where he goes online, then he’ll be less likely to click. He should also pick a trusted male friend to receive his Reports. This friend will be able to talk to him when he’s struggling with temptation without reacting out of personal hurt, as you would likely (understandably) do.

    16. Samantha on

      I wish to thank you for the above information. I am still struggling to let go of my insecurities and feel beautiful in his eyes. We tried to increase the tempo a bit the other night in a bid to return to the sex life we had before I discovered his porn viewing. I was extremely uncomfortable to begin with and we found it difficult to find a happy medium between “taking things slowly” and “enjoying sex (as opposed to making love)”. I am not religious these days, but found your comments regarding not being intimate with my partner for selfish reasons and your comments about praying for a change in heart very thought provoking. I realised that I was indeed holding out these days more for selfish reasons rather than initial disgust etc. I was raised a Catholic and despite my protests against organised religion, I really have found this site comforting and helpful. I wish to thank all who have contributed to this site for firstly understanding why I have been feeling the way I have, but for also providing me with the resources to get by and move forward with my partner.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        You’re welcome, Samantha. I wish you and your husband all the best.

    17. Derek on

      There’s nothing that can be written. Nothing that can be said that hasn’t already been said. It’s all there, all the comfort we need, the reassurance we need, the advice we need and the support we need. But still the pain rages on. This issue touches everything. It’s so evil and it’s so devastating and it so touches every part of our world. It’s like a living black web that’s invisible until you see it, and once you begin to see it, you realize its tentacles reach between everything. Every person, every family, every marriage, every relationship. It’s heartbreaking. It makes me angry. It makes me angry because Satan knows. It makes me angrier because it’s part of his plan. If he only knew the torment that awaits him for this. If he only knew that it will all be in vain, that God will save those He will save and rescue those He will rescue and redeem those He will redeem. I just wish this terrible thing called porn wasn’t a part of that for so many people.

      It’s a sin just like any other sin. And yet there’s something different about it. Something that makes it powerful and far-reaching. It’s a part of something so intimate to who we are, our sexuality. The aim in all war is to attack the enemy at their base camp. All generals strive for this but often in war little battles around the edges are all that’s possible, but all that’s necessary to defeat the enemy. But this… this issue represents complete, total infiltration into the very base and heart of man, of our lives. It’s horrible. It’s that part of the movie where you feel all hope is lost, where that terrible event takes place which you foresaw but didn’t want to acknowledge because if it happened, it would mean that unbounded, unrestrained evil has taken hold of anything and everything. It is the forming of Sauron’s army, it’s the death of Aslan, it’s the moment you find out that Voldemort has split his soul into who knows how many pieces and evil is all but undefeatable and good has all but lost.

      And yet in all these cases there is hope. There is always hope. I am convinced that the tiniest thread of hope is more powerful than all the forces of evil combined. All it takes is a single thread still holding on, and hope can grow into faith which can grow into trust which can grow into love, and during this process something called transformation takes place, in which God takes the most hopeless of situations and works with the most helpless of people to produce the most glorious testament to His power and display of His love.

      I truly believe this. Never give up. Good has not lost. God has not lost. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Love hopes all things. Thank you, Derek.

    18. Brit on

      My husband and I had our fourth anniversary a month ago. 2 weeks ago I found porn on his phone.
      I became oversensitive to everything since my ex boyfriend told me he had an issue with porn and masterbation when I was 18.
      Before I even started my relationship to my now husband I asked him about it.
      He was honest and told me he had been struggling since he was 12 but always felt so terrible that he wanted it to stop. He’d even hinted it to his ex hoping she would help him without success.
      We prayed together and I truly believe that he never wanted that again. He knew the shame and despair that came with it all to well.
      He was clean for 3 and a half years before he fell into it again.
      Once I caught him 2 weeks ago we both broke down.
      He told me he had been looking for 2 years, half our marriage.
      It’s so hard not to put some blame on myself. I knew of his temptations yet agreed to him getting a smartphone (he always asked me before making big purchases) after I said no so many times in in fear of this very thing I finally gave my consent with the agreement that if I ever caught him doing anything ing inappropriate on there I was going to throw his phone out.
      He only had it for 5 or 6 months before it happened. My daughter was just 6 months and I was feeling the worst about myself with my hated c-section scar and all the stretch marks. Not to mention the extra weight that now hung off my once flat tummy. It’s so hard to feel beautiful after knowing that.
      He’s lied so many times. I’ve asked, we’ve both talked about it. He would talk about when he was “young and stupid” when referring to porn.
      I told him all about the changes I saw in him but didn’t know why. I talked about how sometimes I noticed he would look at me but not really notice me when was trying to turn him on. He is shorter tempered than the patient gentle man I married. Even or kids get less attention than my young siblings did before this started again. I would ask him to do something as simple as sit outside in the sun with me just to be with him and he would turn me down. Intimacy was stained but I thought that part of it was just losing the “honeymoon stage”. I didn’t realize how wrong that was.
      I too like many in here an struggling with images with him and someone else. To the point where I feel our marriage bed is defiled and won’t sleep in it with him until we get a new one. Every time I touch it I feel dirty and start seeing images of the naked women he was with in it . Financially I don’t think we will be able to afford one for 6 months or so. We have been sleeping on our pullout couch.
      I didn’t do the research before about sex and porn. I thought I could help by taking his mind off and putting it on me the first week. I felt sick every time though. I struggled through my pain and tried not to show it because of my determination to do anything to help him just want me.
      Finally I broke down and told him that I was having Sex but not making love. He felt terrible about that as well.
      He’s a good man. He just fell. He never wanted to hurt me but couldn’t stop himself. He felt like he was using me all over after never wanting to do that again. He wants me to feel comfortable.
      I feel so hurt. This is harder than losing my first child. At least he was by my side and understood for that.
      I miss my best friend. There is so much I have missed. I feel like the last 2 years were waisted.

      We are getting more help this time. We want permanent healing not temporary.
      I know he’ll struggle with temptation for the rest of his life. I know temptation is not a sin but I can’t help but feel hurt that other naked women are his weak point. That he’ll always find it alluring. How do I get past this hurt? It’s not a sin but even that is painful to me.

      Also, is it smart to wait 90 days before Sex after stopping porn? Does it somehow help? I downloaded one of your help books you mentioned above and haven’t read it yet but I’m willing to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get him out for good.
      Are there always relapses or can he be relapse free? I keep searching for stories where they were able to quit cold turkey and never go back but I haven’t had any luck. I can’t go through this again. It kills me inside.
      Although he feels a weight lifted off of him and genuinely wants to never go back I still feel all that weight and sorrow for losing something so valuable.
      We were both virgins before we got married. Porn makes me feel used. I missed out on him just as much as he missed out on me.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Brit,

        A lot of women feel they are somehow to blame because they aren’t _________ enough to turn on their man. Resist this lie. Some of the most stunning women in the world (by whatever subjective cultural standard you use) are married to porn addicts. Why? Because porn is naturally a selfish act, something that teaches me to treat sex as something on-tap and made-to-order. There are no real women that can compare to this because real sex forces a man to think about another person’s desires and needs, not just his own.

        Keep in mind, the reason why your husband is sexually drawn to the female form is because God created him that way. It is not sinful for him to have a sex drive, or for him to think that women, generally speaking, are attractive. What matters is what he does with this drive in his heart and his mind. Does he walk around in the world, bump into attractive women and pray, “Yes, she’s pretty, God. Thank you for making women beautiful and for making me to be attracted to women, so now help me direct my desires toward one woman, the woman you gave me.” As he learned to bounce his eyes and thoughts away from other women to think about you, his habits of mind will change and over time you will again become his standard of beauty.

        The 90 days of abstinence can be a help, but I would only do it under the guidance of a counselor. You can read more about that here.

        Can a man quit cold turkey the first time around? It is possible, and I know some men who have. But there are two goals both of you need to keep in mind: (1) what will help to prevent relapse, and (2) how we will both choose to react to a relapse if it happens. I recommend you both read this article about kicking a porn habit.

    19. callie on

      I’ve been married for almost 6 years and my husband has been looking at pornography the entire time. He’s almost always been completely honest about it and told me without me asking. He’s always repentant. He goes through longer stretches (around 50 days being his max) without looking at pornography because he does want to change; but then he also has periods of looking at it several times a week. He has talked to a couple counselors, read books, fasted, etc.

      I have always eventually started making love with him again, whether it be a couple days or a couple weeks later. I guess my question is: is it foolish for me to keep on trying to trust him and to keep on giving myself to him? What advice do you have for someone who is trying rebuild trust with their husband (who does want to change) but who continually turns to these images of other women? What does it look like for him to be trying to rebuild my trust? Any wisdom you have would be appreciated.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Callie,

        Great questions. I’m very sorry to hear about this situation you’re in. I know it must be exhausting having to deal with his continued falls into sin.

        First of all, you’re dealing with a question of trust. While forgiveness should be something given freely, trust should be earned. You should base your trust on his demonstrated trustworthiness. What small and large things does he do to demonstrate to you that he is trustworthy? What actions does he do that demonstrate he is not trustworthy? He needs to know what actions help you to rebuild that trust.

        I wrote an article a while back about ways husbands can reassure their wives. You might want to read it or have him read it.

        Second, trust may or may not be related to the issue of sex. While, of course, sex is related to intimacy, and intimacy is more deeply experienced when you truly trust someone, sex can also be a building block of intimacy. If you are comfortable with it, there’s nothing wrong with having sex with him even in the midst of not trusting him completely. If, however, you find yourself uncomfortable with making love to him because your mind and heart don’t trust him, then you need to have a conversation with him about that.

        Some couples in your situation fast from sex for a planned duration of time. This isn’t something done specifically because of a loss of trust, but something done strategically to recenter your efforts and affections on other important matters. I have an article about that topic, why it is helpful for some (not all), and the right mentality to have about it (if you and your husband deem it is best for your marriage).

        Last, I would simply ask what doors are still open to him to watch porn after 6 years of marriage. How is he accessing it? What enables him to get access? If he wants to distance himself from this, what can he get rid of in his life? Often we justify keeping doors open because they seem necessary to us. “I can’t get rid of my phone! What if there is an emergency?” “I can’t download that software! What if my boss notices it?” “I can’t ask someone to be my accountability partner! What will they think when I tell them I look at porn?” When couples get creative, they can find solutions to these problems.

    20. Carly on

      This site is so wonderful and helpful! I’ve been married to my husband for 12 years but together for 16 years. I knew that he looked at porn while we were just dating but inhad no idea it was a problem for him and only knew of the occasional time he looked at it. A year after we moved in together I found a LOT of porn on the browsing history on our computer and I felt that it was way too much to be considered just a casual thing. So I confronted him with it to which he denied until he wa blue in the face. He only owned up to it when I showed him the browsing history. I don’t think he knew that I was technically inclined on computers. Honestly what hurt me the most that first time was the adamant lying about and the total dishonesty to the point that he was trying to make me feel bad for accusing him. I had noticed at the time that we weren’t having much sex anymore and we were only in our late 20’s. I was working days at that time and he was between jobs so spent a lot of time home alone. I told him it was a problem for me that he was substituting me for the porn and I didn’t want him to donut anymore because it hurt me and made me feel like garbage and totally inadequate. I forgave him and trusted that he would go along with our deal of no more porn. Well year after year an incident would pop up and yet again h would lie terribly. I really began to lose trust after each incident and felt worse as worse about myself. I couldn’t trust anything he said to me anymore. Each time he’s seem sorry and be nice to me for awhile and then sort of slack off a fall into the same situation. I had no idea there was such a thing as porn addiction. He always went through great lengths to hide it from me, hidden files, folders, folders with different names on them. I really bagan to feel that he was just so devious and couldn’t be honest with me for the life of him. Over the years this continued betrayal combined with his lack of verbal, emotional and physical affection, I lost even what seems my own identity. I started to not care about looking good for him anymore and just being withdrawn. When we did make love it was so mechanical and he seemed pretty selfish in only wanting to please himself. Long story short I began to loathe myself. A few weeks ago I caught him again because our new internet service allows me to check our router’s activity remotely. I asked him for his phone to see what he’d been up to and again the lies. He had cleaned up his browsing history. But my server told me where he had been exactly. I was so disgusted! I told him that this was IT! The last time ever and I am out of here. He came home with flowers that evening and told me he has a problem and this time really wants to fix it. He took me ojtnand for dinner and we discussed things. He told me he had the problem size stumbling on his father’s magazines as a child. I finally began to look at it from a slightly different point of view. I found your site and all the wonderful articles and ebooks and have been reading and sending them to him to read. He slept in our guest room for a few nights to read in solitude. He really has a lightbulb going off and is beginning to understand the depth of the problem ad how much he has hurt me and out marriage. He is generally such a kind and generous man, a good father, good provider and my best friend. We have internet filters on our computers and his smart phone. My question is how long will we need to carry out the filtering before he can be trusted to never do it again? How many years? I don’t ever want to have the feeling again like I have to check up on him to make sure he’s no lying to me and not going back to old habits. He is currently reading the Porn Circuit and understands that it can take at least 90 days to re-wire his brain. He doesn’t have a close man that we trust enough to be his mentor. We are in the process of looking for a group or counsellor. I’m thinking I’ll need one for me too. I have already forgiven him this time around because I love him dearly and I’ve been praying daily for both our recovery from this. But I am going to take a long time to trust again. What do I do of he allers to slack on his recovery activities or in trying to rebuild trust with me? I don’t want to be like the nag. We are trying to rebuild intimacy outside the bedroom with some success. I’m just so afraid it will just fall back into nothingness. Do I just have to let go of this fear and work with God on this?

      You might all find this crazy but on one of the nights my husband slept in the spare room, he awoke in the middle I the night to whispers that “he needed variety” that was total creepy to him and myself! I’ve been praying to cast out any evil in our lives and that sounded kind of sinister to us! Any advice on what steps to take next? He was born Catholic and I am Christian. Thanks so much for the wealth of information here!

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hello Carly,

        First, it is encouraging to hear that you and your husband are seeking help and benefiting from what we write here. I hope we can continue to encourage you!

        Second, let me encourage you to move forward with your plans. It would be great if both you and your husband sought out some help from some spiritual sensitive and experienced people. That could be individuals at a church who have experience in this area, or it could be from a counselor or group. You can always return here and leave comments as well: we are happy to help however we can.

        Third, to address your questions…

        – If your husband wants to rebuild your trust, I highly recommend he read this article I wrote here a few weeks ago. If I had a room full of porn-addicted married men, this is what I would tell them to do, step-by-step.

        – There will likely be times when he feels like he’s letting out some slack in his recovery, and this is why it is so vital that he has a group of men or a mentor or counselor that he faithfully meets with every week, regardless of how he is doing or feeling. I tell men this, “When you are at your best, plan for your worst.” I tell men, “You might feel secure and confident and in control now, but a time will come when you won’t, so prepare for that time. Put the kind of relationships and habits of honesty in your life that prepare you for that moment. When that moment comes, you will be tempted to minimize it or hide it, but those habits of honesty and openness will hold you up.” This is one reason why Internet accountability software can be a big help.

        – It sounds like you aren’t neglecting your marriage in the midst of this recovery process, and that is good. Consider doing something together as a couple to set new expectations for your marriage, such as a marriage retreat, or maybe watching these videos together about having a gospel-centered marriage and intimacy.

        – The creepy voice you heard could be a couple different things. First, we can’t rule out the idea that it was something demonic. That’s a real possibility. Get in the habit of saying, “The Lord rebuke you” (Jude 1:9) in these situations. The voice could also have been something in your husband’s own mind. Since we are all sinful, sin has a profound effect on our minds and thoughts. In either case, look at this creepy thought not just as something scary but as a window into reality. Here’s the reality: sin is real and dangerous, porn is the temptation to selfishly seek after variety and novelty despite one’s commitments, the Enemy wants to ensnare others with it, and your husband has spent years indulging it. This voice should be a welcome wake-up call that porn is not merely a harmless pastime but something that aligns people with the Devil’s purposes and can destroy relationships.

        I hope these thoughts are a help to you!

    21. Carly on

      I should add that the last time I caught him a few weeks ago ws about 1 month after the last time I caught him on his phone. He had promised til he was blue in the face never to do it again. When I asked him why this time, he just said he honestly doesn’t know why… We have agreed to a commitment of 100% honesty, openness, and a commitment to building trust and intimacy.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        He should seriously consider what radical steps he needs to take to shut the door to temptation. Some men get rid of their phones. Others get Internet accountability on their phones to keep the lines of communication open, avoiding the temptation to secrecy.

    22. Carly on

      Thanks so much for your help Luke! I’m going to have to dig high and low to find appropriate help in my area. I sure hope this works out for good. I try looking around for groups for both of us. Thanks again, I really appreciate the time you had taken to respond to my concerns! Blessings to you!

      Reply
    23. Anne mouse on

      My husband and I were married for three years when I found out about his pornography addiction,that he has been dealing with for close to ten years. He found a dirty magazine walking home from school one day. He didn’t know it was anything bad but liked the way he felt…he’s been struggling ever since than to stop. He’s gotten good help from our church and a support group there, but our biggest problem is the sex. Or should I say my biggest problem….I don’t like doing it all anymore. He wants to but its not satisfying in the slightest to me. As soon he orgasms he goes soft. I know I’m probably being selfish..but its been a year now and the first few months I dealt with it and told myself that our sex life would go back to normal soon, but is hasn’t. Most of the time we are good in every other aspect of our marriage but when we have sex I am just reminded of his addiction and get angry with him. Can anyone offer any advice on how to over come this?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there. Well, I hear you saying that your husband got good help, but I’m not hearing about any help for YOU. And that’s a pretty common thing, unfortunately. All the attention goes to stopping the porn habit–which needs to happen!!–but there seems to be a real lack of support for women to process through their own stuff. I think you’re seeing the results of that in your own lack of interest in sex, and the anger you’re feeling. I would say this:

        1. GO TO COUNSELING. and

        2. GO TO A GROUP: Celebrate Recovery, S Anon, Al Anon, xxxChurch. Find a safe place to process those emotions. And, your husband should be able to listen to how you’re feeling without being defensive or upset with you. Is that happening?

        3. Finally, I’d say do some work on the marriage in general. The best book I know is Dr. John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. That is the absolute premier marriage research in the world today, with the best advice about how to have a marriage that really, really works. You can also follow The Gottman Institute on facebook–they put up a lot of great content.

        Blessings, Kay

    24. Leann on

      Hi, thank you for sharing your story. My husband has taken responsibility for his addiction and has been working on not masterbating and this is extremely difficult for him. He is ea silly angered and frustrated by little things and will relieve himself to feel better. The worse part is that I have never felt connected with my husband in a sexual way. I’ve never even experienced an orgasm. I don’t know what it feels like to have sexual urges. My husband has had an addiction to pornography since he’s was 11 years old. He has been working for the last 3 years to get himself closer to God and on the right track with our marriage. I just can’t be free with him when I make love. I don’t know how, heck I don’t even know what my body likes. We’ve tried everything and my husband feels inadequate when he can’t please me, hence masterbation because he feels unfulfilled. I don’t find sex exciting. I just have sex to make my husband happy. I get frustrated with myself because I think I’ll never get to have that experience of intimacy, love, and pleasure with my husband during sex. It would also be nice to know if my vagina is alive :/

      Reply
    25. Lori on

      Hello,
      This is my first time to make a comment here, although I’ve read many articles and other’s comments for quite awhile now. My husband has been interested in porn for over 30 years, at first I watched it with him because he really wanted me to watch with him. It turned into having to watch it every time we contemplated having sex, after seeing one movie that involved a girl being tied up with two men threatening her, I told my husband never again do I want to see another film, that was over 30 years ago. Long story short, I didn’t realize my husband had a serious addiction until close to 2 years ago, but for the last 11 years or more he has had almost no attraction to me and lost all desire for me. He blamed it on his medication after a heart attack, and not being able to lose at least 20 pounds, I had no idea that he was watching porn all of these years, because he is so convincing and sounds so sincere, but he was lying. I am now 59 years old and feel that he just isn’t attracted to women in my age group. I still look very nice for my age and I’m not overweight and wear clothes that are flattering on me, I still have men look at me, but my husband has lost all sexual interest in me. I’ve always wanted to have sex with my husband and did most anything he wanted even when it was physically uncomfortable. Sorry to say but at one point in this time I had two affairs. My husband always wanted me back and I stayed with him, I thought he really wanted me, but I think he’s just needs me for emotional, financial, and family stability. He’s admitted that he has for over 30 years that he wanted to be sexual with other women. Right now, I’m physically, and emotionally tapped out, don’t have any energy to get a job and be able to move out, and he knows it. When I talk of divorce he doesn’t like it. He says after the last major confession nearly 2 years ago that he has not watched porn, but it seems to have taken it’s toll on him and he still has no desire for me. I can understand after watching mostly 20 year old women having sex and masturbating all those years why he has lost all desire for me, I will never measure up to the “fun and exciting” sex he has been used to having on the internet. Hard to believe but we both believe that Jesus is our Saviour. Well, I could go on but there’s too much more to talk about and I not normally a person that likes typing for so long. I have yet to read anything about couples in our age group that have this trouble. At my husband’s age of 62, it’s hard to believe he will fully recover from the effects of this life that he’s been living, even though he says he’s given it up almost two years ago. Thanks for this site, bye for now.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Lori,

        There absolutely are MANY couples in your age group with this same issue.

        Here’s what I would say at this point. You’ve both significantly turned away from your relationship with each other, your husband in porn and you in affairs. If the two of you want to stay in the relationship together, you’ve got to learn how to turn toward each other, and I don’t just mean sexually. You’ve got to figure out how to have a real relationship with each other that’s got solid some emotional trust as the foundation.

        The very best research out there on healthy relationships is by Dr. John Gottman. I highly recommend his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

        Peace to you, Kay

    26. Lori on

      Kay, Thank you for responding to me, I truly appreciate it. I will have to order this book!

      Reply
    27. Kay on

      Thank you so much for this! It was just what I needed.

      Reply
    28. Francisco on

      To give up Porn is hard.

      But I am doing just that. When I am in the situation, I do various things. For starters I think about my wife in the most intimate ways. Other than that, I look at YouTube for testimonies and encouragement.

      It’s working out just great. I’m able to look at my wife without guilt. My confidence is building up. I am doing more to gain her acceptance and trust. I can only kiss her on the cheek. But I at least can touch her and can put my hands on both sides of her waist when I go to work.

      I am not where I want to be. She may not sit close to me when we eat with our daughter, she is at least in the same room. I can list what’s wrong with my bad situation. But I list the good.

      Confessing my sin has started something bad and good. The bad is obvious. The good is that I am being free. I haven’t downloaded the app. I want to, but I don’t want to treat it as my net or crutch. I need to practice it without them.

      So I practice no privacy, time spent with my daughter, cook, clean, study for my future Real Estate license, jam out on my Christian and non Christian metal, and find new things to do.

      I am grateful for covenant eyes, unhooked, marriage helper, focus on the family, YouTube testimonies, Dr. John Gottman and his wife and so much more.

      They say that it takes two years to regain a marriage possibly when doing everything right and living right. I have a year and a half to go. If you are reading this, pls pray for me.

      God Bless,
      Francisco

      Reply

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