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Porn Addiction Problems: Effects on Marriage (Infographic)

Last Updated: February 16, 2015

Luke Gilkerson

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

A survey taken among divorce lawyers found that 56% of divorce cases involve at least one party having an “obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”

The more we know about the effects of pornography on the brain, this shouldn’t surprise us. Neuroscientists have shown us the chemicals and neurotransmitters that are activated when a man views pornography, leading to a neurochemical imbalance in the brain, a decrease of sexual satisfaction in marriage, and even impotence.

Aside from this, obsessive porn use isn’t an isolated problem. It is often something shrouded in shame and secrecy, raising many emotionally difficult questions for wives.

Learn more about the problems of porn addiction. This infographic was created by Winston Allen.

Internet Porn & It's Effects on Marriage

See more infographics on Flickr.

Read more statistics about pornography at covenanteyes.com/pornstats.

Protect yourself from pornography online. Go to covenanteyes.com/personal.

  • Comments on: Porn Addiction Problems: Effects on Marriage (Infographic)
    1. Well on

      I think you need to Google” “Men are dropping out of society” and start reading. Feminism has had a devastating effect on relationships. Women just aren’t worth it anymore. That is really what is going on. Men are tired. Very tired. This is all going to get much worse. Women only view a man for what he can do for her. Men are wising up. No man wants to marry a woman who is going to complain constantly, want some fantasy life, who gets fat, and is never satisfied. Porn is much better to look at and you can turn it off. You cant send a woman home and her lifetime of demands. Then when things go bad, you dont have to give her most of the possessions you worked your life for.

      Let women have what they want. They have never been more miserable than they are now. Feminism rules! But here is the really funny part. Women have used sex to get what they want since the beginning of time. They manipulate through sex. From the girl who makes you wait until marriage to the one who screws you all the time so you marry her. It is all manipulation through sex. It is very ironic that the tool they use the most is what is taking men away from them.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        So, I’m not sure what this has to do with the infographic, but I’ll see if I can reply.

        As far as feminism devastating relationships, I think it might be better to identify the brand of feminism you’re talking about. There have been many waves of feminism over the years and much variety in those waves. The term “feminism” is pretty plastic. So, what exactly are you talking about?

        To say “women” aren’t worth it anymore is over-reaching. Since I am married to a wonderful woman, I take personal offense if you mean that universally. Not all women view a man for what he can do for her, complain constantly, desire a fantasy life, and is never satisfied. While that might describe a specific kind of woman, I know many, many women who are nothing like that.

        (And the whole “gets fat” comment is out of line and irrelevant. People—men and women—gain weight for all kinds of reasons, some within their control and some beyond their control. Plus, I fail to see why that would matter. If you’re merely talking about a woman who “let’s herself go” because she has no sense of dignity, that is more of a function of her attitude, not her weight.)

    2. LJC on

      This is such a sad graph, all of them. It addresses “obsessive” use of pornography or addiction. How much use of pornography is considered an addiction – once a day, once a week, once a month? I discovered that my husband looks at it (haven’t addressed it with him) but only does it occasionally. I’m not justifying it. Believe me, it hurt me deeply. His usage ranges from 6 weeks on up to a couple of months between sessions. Would this be classified as addiction? Just curious.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        In this particular study, “obsessive” would be defined more by the divorce lawyers who observed these cases, most likely based on actual claims from spouses. So “obsessive” would be a subjective assessment on the part of the partner observing the activity.

        A recent study showed that about 55% of married American men view porn at least once a month. Over a quarter of married men view porn at least several times a week.

        Addiction isn’t measured merely by frequency of use but about a “pathological” pursuit of something: a loss of impulse control when cravings strike, even when negative consequences are predicted. Along with this, porn addiction, as it is typically defined, is marked by needing more or riskier porn over a longer period to get the same high and symptoms of withdrawal when stepping away from porn.

    3. Sandy on

      I don’t think occasional porn use vs addiction even matters when it comes to its affect on marriage. LJC commented above that her husband’s occasonal porn use hurt her deeply. When a wife is available to her husband and he chooses to gratify himself with porn instead of her, there is going to be a huge amount of hurt experienced by the wife whether he is a porn addict or an occasional user. And, if a wife asks her occasional user husband to stop viewing porn and he does not, what’s his excuse? We might be able to drum up a miniscule amount of sympathy for a porn addict who wants to stop but is struggling. But for a husband who is an occasional user and not addicted, how can he justify continuing to use pornography when his wife explains that it hurts her and requests him to stop?

      Reply
    4. MVV on

      Hi Luke, thank you for defending women in general, I found out my husband was into porn a while ago, and we just dont talk about it at all, how do you suggest I start the conversation? I want to make sure this has not gone on or that he “hasnt fallen of the wagon” We had a baby and she is now 1.5 yrs old, and before this we stopped having any intimacy, he said it might be his health but when he went to get checked out he didnt ask anything about it to the dr. I would also like to talk to him about all this, but I am not sure how.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there, great question! I think you’re just going to need to be brave and ask. I’d try something like you just said here: you know he’s struggled before, and you’re wanting to know how things are going for him. Is he getting the support he needs? Does he need more help? Also, the issue of sexual intimacy is an important one for both of you. If he is experiencing erectile dysfunction, that could be related to pornography use, or it could be a serious medical issue. Either way, it’s something that needs to be explored. Is he getting the medical care that he needs?

        You don’t have to be mean or demanding, but it’s perfectly reasonable and healthy in a marriage to know these things about your partner. In fact, one of the best indicators for whether your marriage will remain strong and healthy over the long term is whether the two of you deeply understand each other’s worlds. I know it’s hard to ask these questions, but they’re important! Be strong and courageous! Blessings, Kay

    5. Sweetz on

      I think we often miss the boat. Porn is just ONE way that the marriage is able to be defiled. LUST has many other faces. Porn is the clear evidence of a heart problem called LUST. My husband is off the porn as far as I know now days…but now he has taken to using live women customers as a substitute in his imagination/fantasies. So I suppose he has “graduated” from porn now that he is involved in an “emotional affair” with someone else?

      See, the whole issue is revealing a problem with the HEART. It does not really matter what the “method of choice” is being employed which reveals this. Even PG13 rated movies, commercials, or a trip to the grocery store become avenues to indulge the imagination and further degrade the soul.

      Ladies, if you have such a man as this, you NEED to get close to God for His guidance. This problem can be all consuming and destroy your own sweet fellowship over time. All prayers will revolve around your husband and keeping your own soul safe. You will become the “marriage police” and will be accused of being “over sensitive”. Your value and self confidence will become nothing more than seeing yourself from your husband’s eyes and judged by the sum of your body parts. This is no way to live. Soon, like me, you wont even be able to leave your house with your husband for fear that he will lust and bring his fantasy home and into your own marital bed.

      I give up.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Yes, you are absolutely right that there is WAY more to recovery and a healthy marriage than being porn-free! And there are many other things that men can use in the place of porn. Even “good” things like work and ministry can be used to fill the emotional needs.

        I think you’re right, that your whole life can become centered around porn–just like his is! Isn’t that a terrible reality! And it’s really important to reach out for help for yourself, when you find that happening. It’s totally possible to be healthy YOURSELF, even when your husband chooses not to be healthy.

        Giving up can actually be a good thing! When our efforts haven’t worked, it’s a good idea to give up on them and try something different. A counselor can really help you through that process of giving up on unworkable ideas, and finding new ways forward.

        Blessings on your journey, Kay

    6. Kit on

      Luke:
      I, too, wish to thank you for standing up for women in light of ‘Well”s comments. How tiresome it must be for you to consistently reply to these anti-women/feminism diatribes that appear so often as comments to informative articles dealing with pornography and sex addiction. It appears that trolling is common here.

      I am the wife of a sex/porn addict; married 34 years. My D-Day was 3 years ago. I was unaware of the enormity of the addiction, but did find porn occasionally throughout our marriage. It hurt me and I always tried to discuss the issue but was made to feel that I was the one with the problem, a prude, all men do it, plus various insulting comments of how I wasn’t “good enough.”

      My Discovery was devastating. Vast amounts of time and money were wasted on the addiction…. My husband now has consistently been in therapy and we are grateful customers of Covenant Eyes. Unfortunately, as my husband appears to have s l o w l y been improving, I have been diagnosed with PTSD and have various physical ailments associated with it.

      I ache for other women experiencing the devastatingly painful discovery of their husband’s /partner’s addiction and truly understand the far-reaching effects it has on them and their families. Thank you for the good work you do and please keep it up; hopefully one day society will see the light about the ravages of porn on men and women and the destruction it causes to healthy relationships.

      Reply
    7. Karen on

      After four years of intense CSAT and Christian therapy, my husband finished each step of recovery. With a great deal of time, work, and money towards therapy, I forgave him and we were strengthening a God centered marriage (or so I thought) “guarded” with Covenant Eyes and accountability partners. That was four months ago. Now he is secretly back at it again. I ask God, now what?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Oh, Karen, I am so, so sorry.

        How are you doing in the midst of all this? Do you want to continue to invest in the relationship?

        Here’s Luke Gilkerson’s article on porn and divorce, if you haven’t seen that one. We hate divorce, but sometimes it’s just a reality.

        I’m wondering, too, how the emotional connection and trust is in the relationship? I wrote about that a while back, here. There’s so much more to real recovery than “not looking at porn.” There has to be a capacity for emotional trust and connection, I think, if the relationship is going to survive.

        Do you have a good support system? I’ve just seen so many cases where all the energy and attention goes to the husband’s problems and keeping the marriage together, while the wife is almost ignored. So many women will meet the criteria for PTSD and receive almost no help. You might appreciate the website Bloom, where there are private forums and lots of resources for women.

        Peace to you, Kay

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