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10 Signs of Porn Addiction: Do these describe your husband?

Last Updated: April 1, 2015

Porn “addiction” is a real phenomenon today. Many men, and an increasing percentage of women, are finding themselves helpless in the face of Internet temptations. After years of porn viewing, often starting at a young age, what started as a curiosity became a pattern, which became a habit, which became a compulsion.

For many wives, this can be traumatizing finding out that their husbands are entrenched in this habit. If you suspect something about your husband, here are some telltale signs of porn addiction.

Signs of Porn Addiction

1. Your husband has lost interest in sex.

While many addicts want a high frequency of sex (see #3), as the addiction escalates, they begin to lose interest in their partner. They become desensitized to other forms of pleasure—even sexual intercourse—preferring the buzz they get from porn. Not only is their sexual energy tapped, but they begin to prefer the “safe” realm of fantasy over the “risky” real world of intimacy.

2. Your otherwise healthy husband is unable maintain an erection during sex.

It isn’t uncommon for porn addicts to experience porn-induced erectile dysfunction. While there are several medical reasons for ED, for the porn addict the problem is not in the organ, but in the brain. They have conditioned their mind to be turned on only by self-sex and porn images. It is common for addicts to blame their partners for their inability to perform.

In the book The Porn Circuit, Sam Black writes,

When preparing for real sex, the pornified brain fails to get its dopamine surge and the signal to the penis is too weak to achieve erection. But turn on an Internet device with unlimited pages of novelty, and boom, the plumbing works.

3. Your husband’s sexual tastes have changed.

On the other end of the spectrum, some men entrenched in porn want to act out their fantasies in the real world. Porn films often pair physical and verbal aggression with sex. This might mean that your husband is surprisingly demanding during sex—even getting frustrated when you don’t perform to his exact specifications. Some men show a sudden interest in “rough” sex or sexual activities you haven’t discussed and agreed to. Others will begin to show an interest in bondage, fetishes, sadomasochism, group sex, or activities that make you feel belittled and used. These are huge red flags and one of the clear signs of porn addiction.

4. Your husband spends an excessive amount of time online.

A porn user almost always has dysfunctional relationship to technology—many hours spent online alone, often at odd hours or at times when they should be spending time with their families and friends. He may demand to be left alone with his computer or become irritable if he can’t get online.

5. Your devices’ Internet histories are empty.

Check your husband’s web browsers on his phone, laptop, home computer, or tablet. If the Internet histories are constantly empty, he may be clearing his history to cover his tracks. The late psychologist Al Cooper wrote that three factors often contribute to an Internet porn addiction: affordability (most porn is cheap or free), accessibility (it can be accessed nearly anywhere), and anonymity (no one has to know what you’re doing). He called this the “Triple-A Engine.” The last factor, anonymity, is key: a man’s belief that no one knows where he is going online gives a false sense of security: “What I’m doing online is my own business, and it isn’t hurting anyone else.”

6. Your husband seems emotionally “distant” or withdrawn.

The more a man becomes entrenched in porn, the more he begins to lose interest in real world relationships, especially with his wife and children. Many men describe it as feeling “numb.”

7. Your husband seems more antisocial.

Like any addict, a porn addict will begin to revolve his life around the next buzz. This means reordering his life so that he can spend time online and away from others. Other antisocial behaviors might include a lack of remorse for his actions, aggression, outbursts of anger, frequent lying, indifference to actions that harm others, or an easy use of flattery or charm to manipulate others.

8. Your husband’s financial patterns have changed.

Are there unexplained charges on your credit card statement or bank statement? Have you noticed new credit cards opened in your husband’s name? Since there is an abundance of free porn online, addicts can indulge without paying, but often, when the addiction escalates, they resort to paying for online material or even physical items (like DVDs). Charges to these accounts may not look obviously pornographic since these companies usually work hard to ensure the anonymity of their patrons. If you husband refuses to talk about unexplained charges, this is a sign he is hiding his behavior.

9. Your husband has become secretive, evasive, or defensive.

When you walk into the room where your husband sits at the computer, does your he suddenly get nervous or make knee-jerk reactions? When you ask what he has been doing online, does he become defensive or easily irritated? When your presence suddenly threatens to invade an addict’s secret world, this can be very jarring for him, and often his nervousness will be obvious.

10. Your husband has become critical of your appearance.

Has your husband started to criticize your looks, your weight, your bust size, or your sexual performance? The more a man spends time with porn, the more his mind becomes conditioned to the novelty, variety, and convenience that porn provides. Many studies have shown that the more a man watches porn, the more he devalues the attractiveness of “average people.”

Porn and Your Husband: Free E-BookIn the book Porn and Your Husband, it states,

Pornography rewires the brain, training him to desire the hormonal rush from porn instead of sex with you. The chemical vasopressin, which is released during the sexual act, bonds the man to his sexual partner. With repeated pornography use, he is bonding himself to images on a screen. Given that many men were exposed to pornography during childhood, he may have chemically bonded with the women of pornography long before you entered the picture…

In simple terms, you’re “not enough” because his repeated porn use has vastly accelerated his tolerance for these chemical rushes, far beyond the levels of monogamous sex with you. In particular, pornography has trained him to be turned on by variety, which no single woman can provide. It also explains why he may have turned to harder porn or acted out through an affair—he’s looking for the rush that you, through no fault of your own, can never provide.

DOWNLOAD “PORN AND YOUR HUSBAND”

Getting Help

If you discover your husband has a problem, it is important that both you and him get the help you need. Read more about this in the following articles:

Photo credit: neutronboy

  1. Amanda Zavitz

    I’ve caught my husband 6-9 times in are 6 years together involved in watching porn without me. We’ve always had a boundary or so I thought we did that it was okay to watch it together but not alone. I’ve caught him watching it on a lot of different occasions threw are relationship. I just had are second child and I’m not feeling great about my body and looks right now as it is. So the other day my husband gets a call and I puck up his phone. Now I don’t know what came over me cause I usually never even think about looking threw his phone. But he’s had a code that I don’t know on it here lately so my curiosity gets the better of me and I find myself going to his pictures. There is two downloaded pornos in his video vault and a blonde women in a thong in his pictures. Also I notice a blonde model and a stripper that he’s recently added to his Facebook. I got mad and confronted him about it but he always makes me feel like I’m crazy and have no right to be upset and that I’m being childish by thinking he’s not attracted to me because he looks at porn and other girls. What do I do? I love my husband but I hate this feeling of not feeling like I’m good enough for him anymore. Or like he’s bored of me. What do I do to get are relationship back on track? Today he asked me if I wanted to watch porn and I said no and he said I was being childish and that he thought I wasbgrown up enough to handle watching porn with him. Does my husband have an addiction to porn do you think?

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey Amanda. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re in right now.

      Well, whether he’s an addict or not, it looks like you’ve asked him to respect your requests, and he’s refused. That’s really hard and sad.

      I think the next step is for you to think about your own boundaries in this relationship. Here’s an article that talks more about boundaries. And here’s a link to the book, Boundaries in Marriage, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

      It’s important to remember that boundaries can’t control the other person; they are simply your own decisions about how you will respond to the situation. You can only have boundaries for you.

      Have you read our free download, Hope After Porn? You might appreciate that, as several women talk about the boundaries they created around recovery in their relationships.

      Have a look at those things, and let me know if you have more questions. Blessings, Kay

    • I caught my husband looking at gay porn.

    • Have you spoken with him about it? What has he said to you?

  2. kaye

    I just found porn on My husbands phine, he said it was a “one time thing” but then he also blamed me by saying “I made him choose between me and porn” am I wrong to think he has a addiction that he is just not willing to admit? He deletes Internet history which I know is a bad sign.. he also lies all the time about pointless things,. And before he admitted to watching it he tried to act like I was crazy and that he never has looked at it in our relationship.. I just have this bad feeling that he is continuing to lie about it and I don’t know how riser to catch him… he uses Google chrome so I can’t restore the Internet history.. I don’t know what wiser to do other then download a spy software to his phone and our computer. But that will show up on our bank statement and he will know it’s there. ..?? Any advice for me?

    • Kay Bruner

      I think you are right to be concerned. There are lots of flashing red lights here, for sure. You may or may not be able to catch him in the act, and I’m not sure it’s important to do that. I think you already know, by this other behavior you’re seeing, that he is not being honest with you. Unfortunately, that leaves you with difficult choices to make.

      You might appreciate reading through our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women talk about the choices they made in recovery.

      Also, Boundaries in Marriage is an excellent book to read through as you think about how you want to handle this issue in your marriage.

  3. kenny

    I caught my husband admitting to being addicted to porn…we agreed to block all sites with any nudity on hisphone for a few weeks and this was a month ago that the block was over..he says hes cured…but I just dont bbelieve him… am I wrong to think that

    • Kay Bruner

      Ummmm, no. You’re not wrong. “Cured” is not a word I’d used after a month. I think you can be in recovery, be managing it well–but “cured”?

      Addiction experts I’ve read say that 5 years is a good benchmark. That’s five years of working a plan of accountability, new habits, group therapy, self-education, etc. There will probably be relapses along the way, but the addict should learn how to get back up and do the right thing all over again, and take responsibility for himself, until the relapses become less frequent and the temptation is not so overwhelming.

      And I personally don’t know why sites with nudity would ever need to be unblocked? Why? That makes no sense to me at all!

  4. I think I got hooked because its what hevwants

    • Kay Bruner

      And the only way out is to decide what YOU want, then take responsibility for yourself and do the work that it takes. It’s tough, but it CAN be done! Find a group, a therapist, some safe people to hold you accountable, and start taking those steps toward health and wholeness. Blessings, Kay

  5. lee

    My husband is watching porn.I’m devastated. .he lies and tellsme he stopped.but I don’t believe him.should I divorce him..?

    • Kay Bruner

      Well, that’s a tough question that really only you can answer over time. My own personal opinion is that sometimes it’s healthy to end the marriage when there is unrepentant porn use that’s seriously impacting the relationship. A lot of other Christian thinkers would disagree with me on that, but I work with women who’ve stayed in marriages for 30 years with a porn user without improvement, and it takes a toll that I just find to be outside the realm of justice and mercy that Jesus talked about. Divorce is not something I would ever advise someone to do in the heat of the emotion of recent discovery, for sure. You might separate for a while to get some clarity for yourself, but I’d think long and hard about divorce before making that final decision.

      I would say, go to counseling FOR YOU. Don’t worry about trying to get him there. Just you go, and work through your own thoughts and emotions on this, and consider what is a healthy way forward.

      So much depends on whether your husband is willing to work on his own issues. Here’s an article you could pass along to him that describes the steps he could take toward good health.

      The thing is, we do see marriages restored after porn use. We’ve got a very popular free download all about that. My own story is that my husband decided to get himself together, and our marriage is way better today than it ever was before he had the porn habit.

      And then, we also see marriages where the husband just refuses to take responsibility for himself and his recovery. And those, sadly, do end sometimes. Every situation is as individual as the people within that situation. There’s no one easy answer for this, just a hard road of discernment and tough decisions. Let us know how we can help. Blessings, Kay

  6. Monica Croft

    I do believe my husband is addicted to porn he is showing the first stages. How do I change this before it goes to far?

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey Monica. Well, the good news is, he can change. The bad news is, YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT.

      He has to change it. He has to do the work: internet filtering, accountability, lifestyle changes, a group or therapy for himself to support his work.

      What you can do is have good boundaries. Educate yourself about what’s going on. Hope After Porn is one of our free downloads where several women talk about their experiences as spouses in recovery. And, newly released, is our free download Porn and Your Husband. There are lots of good articles here on the blog, and here’s a listing of our most popular ones for spouses.

      You need to have an open and honest conversation with your husband about what’s going on, and how you both want to move forward. Here’s an article that you can pass along to your husband. That talks about some first steps he can take.

      Most of all, I think you will need support for yourself in this situation. Many times, the focus is all on getting the husband to stop looking at porn, which needs to happen. But I often find that the recovery needs of the wife get neglected in that process. I’d encourage you to reach out to a counselor in your area who can help you walk this out in healthy ways.

      Have a look at those things and let me know what you think. Blessings, Kay

  7. J

    Glory to GOD. We saw a pastoral couple the day he came forward. They adviced re the deliverance, but since then he has not seen anyone.

  8. J

    Glory to GOD.
    I found out in January that my husband of 7 years are addicted to homosexual porn and masturbation.
    He repented, received deliverance and we started the painful road to rebuilding our marriage. Now 8 months later, there is still no sign of normalcy returning to our marriage. We have not had intercourse in 2 months. My husband is utterly unable to have an erection.
    What on earth can I do?

    • Has he spoken to a counselor about this?

    • ERIN

      i’m sorry, i know you are a christian or whatever, but if he watched homosexual porn, and is now UNABLE to get an erection for YOU, but was able to for GAY porn, i think it’s a safe bet that he is GAY….

    • Freedom Lopez

      I feel like my husband of 7 years watchs porn. He changed alot. When I dont want sex he says it fine but , for my whole time knowing him he asked and asked until I said yes. And when I ask to use his phone his says not it always starts a argument and it is always locked. Sex is different I have to pleasure him to turn him on. And he is on the internet alot. He denies it all the time and it leads to a argument. I just hope he is not watching porn. I don’t think I could live with it

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey there, Freedom. I think you already know what’s going on here, right? It’s just so hard to admit it to yourself, and to feel that pain.

      Here’s what I want you to know: you are stronger than you know. You can live with it. You can even grow through it.

      Have a look at our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women talk about their experiences in recovery.

      Blessings, Kay

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