3 Ways Porn Affects Your Sex Life

I have four kids. A daughter and three boys. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve said things that you never thought you’d have to say as a grown, mature adult. Let me give you an example.

One of my children was recently running around the living room naked, singing a song and pretending that his boy part was a musical instrument.

“No, your penis is not a guitar.”

“But dad, it’s my rockstar penis!”

“No, no it’s not.”

I’d love to go back and ask the Chris who was walking up the aisle, freshly married, if he ever thought that he would someday have a conversation with his young son about using his penis as a guitar.

Nope.

I’m also guessing that you could have asked that same newlywed Chris if he would someday want to write a blog post about how pornography impacts your sex life.

Nope.

So, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to share some general observations about porn and what it does behind the closed bedroom door. Raw details. Gleaned both from being a former porn watcher and also from reading an endless number of personal testimonies from men (and their spouses) who were hopelessly addicted to porn for decades.

Yes, I used to watch porn. Yes, it’s an issue that still haunts me. My porn shadows might be dimmed by the light of recovery and accountability, but they are often very stubborn stains that contaminate neuro-pathways for decades (I’m still waiting for the complete fade).

Here we go.

Porn makes you want an orgasm more than her.

There’s often a deeper, emotional reason why people watch porn (i.e., abuse, neglect, anger, etc.), but as far as the brain is concerned, you watch porn in order to masturbate and get to orgasm. Porn doesn’t make you a better husband. It doesn’t get you promoted at work. Porn doesn’t enhance your parenting. For many, it’s used to fire up your neurology, give you an erection, and help you orgasm.

The amazing human brain is an organ of great efficiency. It desires the least amount of resistance in order to achieve the greatest amount of satisfaction. If you teach your “plastic” brain that pornography is the risk-free, always available, constant novelty way to reach orgasm, then chances are it’s going to learn to desire that over her.

Porn becomes the path of least resistance.

For all of its complexity, the brain operates under a very simple principle. Whatever you feed your precious brain is what it learns to love. And if I’m constantly teaching my brain that porn is an easy orgasm, then I’m going to develop a dehumanized view of my wife – seeing her simply as a means to an end.

If I can be so blunt – porn causes you to see just a hole instead of a soul. Neurologically, you’re masturbating inside of your wife.

This is far from the “mingling of souls” experience that God-honoring sex is capable of. The mysterious math of 1 and 1 that equals 1 referred to in Genesis when Scripture tells us that the two became one flesh.

I’ve read stories about couples who use porn to spice things up in the bedroom. If that’s you, careful. If your desire is to spice up the bedroom, while also ensuring total satisfaction with your wife, then why not buy something that actually intends to show couples how to experiment in the bedroom, tastefully, with different positions, like Kama Sutra. Or any number of Christian bloggers who write about the topic.

In other words, if you’re honest, you’re not using porn to spice up the bedroom. You’re using the porn to spice up your dopamine reward system by watching someone else have sex. It’s selfish. The porn you’re watching has zero desire to actually teach you anything about sex, intimacy, or your wife.

A quick self-assessment:

  • If you’re in the “spice it up” category, have you ever watched porn outside of the bedroom without your spouse’s knowledge?
  • Do you need to have sex for a really long time in order to almost talk yourself into an orgasm?
  • Have you ever struggled to orgasm during sex unless you envision something from your favorite porn?

A yes answer to any of these questions is a red flag that porn is taking over. Which is a perfect segue into the next section on PIED.

Porn makes your penis limp.

Yeah, I went there.

Three years ago, I spent several months studying a fairly new phenomenon called porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED). And now, three years later, my social media feed is inundated with ad after ad from ‘hip” erectile dysfunction pill distribution companies.

Listen – it’s not normal for otherwise young, healthy men to be NOT be aroused by a beautiful, naked woman. And don’t give me this bologna about “performance anxiety” – don’t kid yourself. Quit watching porn for 90 days and try again. If it still doesn’t work, then we can talk about what else (other than porn) might be going on. Otherwise, the pills on Facebook are only masking the real problem.

Here’s some of my 2017 research:

In 2002, a meta-analysis of 23 erectile dysfunction studies from Europe, the USA, Asia, and Australia reported consistent ED rates of 2% in men under 40 (except for the preceding study).

It is widely accepted that streaming pornography began in 2006. For reference, Pornhub, the largest pornographic website in terms of number of videos and viewers, launched in 2007. Now that “tube” sites are the norm (sites that allow users to upload content), a 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile functioning.

Although none of the content is peer-reviewed, an analysis of questions asked on “MedHelp.org ED Forums” related to visitors with erectile dysfunction, showed that nearly 60% of visitors mentioned their age were younger than 25. “Porn” was the most prominent word used in the forum by these participants when describing their current erectile dysfunction situation.

There is hope! Covenant Eyes has written about men who did three things:

  • Eliminated porn use.
  • Most (but not all) temporarily eliminated, or drastically reduced, the frequency of orgasms.
  • Some decided to add other positive behaviors like exercise into their routines.

And, as a result, you find page after page of comments on pages like YourBrainOnPorn.com, NoFap.com, and RebootNation.com who have regained their ability to maintain an erection and have sex with a human partner.

If you’re struggling with ED, don’t just mask the issue with a pill. Ask yourself if your porn use is to blame.

Porn makes you love your wife less.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us that we can’t love both God and money. Our hearts just don’t have worship space for both.

In my experience, there’s something similar that happens with porn and your wife. Neurologically, I just don’t think we have the brain space to love them both.

Neurologically, pornography is a supernormal stimulus. This means that it fires up the brain in ways that other stimuli don’t. The brain LIGHTS UP when watching pornography. Porn doesn’t like to share space with other desires. It wants to be THE desire. Your one and only. It monopolizes synapses, attention, thoughts, EVERYTHING.

Here’s something I wrote back in 2017 when researching porn-induced erectile dysfunction:

Today’s porn, available in virtually endless amounts, can goose the reward system beyond anything sex with a real person could provide. Through continual exposure, the brain can be conditioned to prefer pornography over sex with real people.

No porn addict can look me in the eye and tell me that he is able to fully adore the beauty and uniqueness of his wife while also consuming significant amounts of pornography. His brain simply won’t allow it. There’s no room to adore both of them. It’s either porn or her.

Back in 2016, I wrote curriculum for a Catholic organization that used deep teaching from Theology of the Body. If you’re not familiar with TOB, that’s fine. At its core, it teaches that the very design of men and women point toward a divinely appointed unification of souls that occurs when intimacy if offered freely, totally, faithfully.

When Scripture refers to the marriage union as one that creates “one flesh,” it’s as if this was God’s way of talking about the lifelong bond that is cemented, celebrated, and consummated in sex.

Porn cannot do the same thing.

Consider this comment from the Covenant Eyes blog. Does this husband sound like he cares deeply for the heart of his wife? That they share a “one flesh” union?

“Years ago, I fell in love with a man who I thought loved me as a person. Now, I feel as only a sexual object to him. I do not deny him sex and do try to accommodate his requests, but IT IS NEVER ENOUGH. Is it normal to need constant sexy pictures/videos of your spouse daily? Is it normal to want to “talk dirty” daily? Is it normal for daily sex to not be enough? These were things that weren’t part of the relationship when it started and I’m not into it now. And how, knowing that your partner “isn’t enjoying it,” can you even fathom continuing it…day after day?

We have children together and I stay to keep the family together. I keep asking myself how this even happened, were there red flags and I didn’t see them? I need an emotional connection, I want to be loved as a person and not just used to fulfill sexual needs. I want sex to be a connection, not just an act.”

Dear porn addicted husband, I implore you to do whatever it takes to re-see the beauty of your wife. The unrepeatable, miraculous, unique, beauty of her. Pursue. Chase. Go after HER affections. The porn you’re watching cannot fulfill any of the promises of love, affection, and satisfaction that her heart desires.

What’s my path forward?

I realize that the journey is a lot more complicated than just, “Hey, quit watching porn!” But nothing will change unless you really want change. Men (and women) who find success from sexual addictions, like porn, often have a mix of the following things present in their lives:

  • A wingman – someone who loves them unconditionally.
  • A swarm of supporters – we all need cheerleaders.
  • Purpose – what do you stand for?
  • Spirituality – who do you believe in?
  • Accountability – keeping the issue in the light with tools and conversation.

When at least a few of these are present, your chances of recovery go WAY up. Our ebook, Hobbies & Habits might get you started.