Rebuild Your Marriage A married man who watches porn arguing with his wife.
Rebuild Your Marriage 3 minute read

Why Do Married Men Watch Porn?

Last Updated: March 6, 2023

Unfortunately, married men often watch porn. One survey found that as many as 55% of married men say they look at porn at least once a month, and over a quarter admitted to looking at it several times a week.1 Other research has implicated pornography as a major factor in more than half of divorce cases.

Perhaps you’re married to one of these men and you’re asking, “I don’t get it. I tell him how much this offends me. I tell him how much I hate it. Why doesn’t he stop—at least for my sake, if nothing else. If he loves me, why does he hurt me this way?

If that’s you, I’m so sorry. Having a spouse who watches pornography can be deeply painful and even traumatic. But you are not alone. And there is hope and help available for you. But first, here are three common reasons that your husband might be looking at porneven though he truly loves you.

(If you are a husband whose wife looks at porn, check out this article: Help! My Wife is Addicted to Porn! What Husbands Need to Know).

1. Your husband may compartmentalize his porn use.

To men, different parts of life—their work, their families, their hobbies—don’t necessarily interact in their minds. Not every man thinks this way, of course! But oftentimes men are fooled into believing that one area of their life doesn’t impact others areas.

This is blatantly false! As we’ve written in Effects of Porn: What Watching Porn Does to You and Those Around You, pornography has wide-reaching implications that go beyond the individual who chooses to watch it. Even when someone keeps their porn habit a secret, it influences their relationships and the people around them. However, your husband may need help understanding this.

2. Your husband may feel conflicted about his porn habit.

On one hand, most men truly love their wives. On the other hand, they also like what porn does for them: It makes them feel alive, young, powerful, attractive, and adequate. Your husband probably wants it both ways: He genuinely hates the fact that this thing is causing a rift between himself and you, but he doesn’t want to give up feeling alive, powerful, and so forth.

For some people, they may genuinely dislike pornography (not to mention its effects on their life), but nonetheless feel a strong desire for it. Check out this article: What Is the Difference Between “Liking” and “Wanting” Porn?

3. Porn is also very addictive.

We now know that pornography actually alters a person’s neurochemistry much like drugs or alcohol do. And just like drug addiction or alcoholism, the porn addict can feel completely trapped by his sin. Your husband may have made a series of moment-by-moment choices which turned into a habit, which led to a compulsion and has now become an addiction.

An addiction is no excuse for looking at porn. However, if he is addicted, your husband has developed a strong dependency on pornography that goes beyond just looking for pleasure. If you suspect that your husband might be addicted to pornography, check out this article, 10 Signs of Porn Addiction: Do these describe your husband?

What Should You Do Next?

It’s important to see the war going on in your husband. He needs help to overcome this, and he needs to get that help from others who have experience helping men like him. Yes, he loves you, but he also loves and is hooked on how porn makes him feel.

We have lots of free resources available that can help both you and your husband. If you’re just coming to terms with your husband’s porn use and you just don’t know what to do next, please download the free guide.

1Proven Men Porn Survey (conducted by Barna Group), located at https://www.provenmen.org/2014PornSurvey/ accessed November 14, 2022

  1. Fabulouschick

    I simply do what he does(but not really) and say oh nah I’ve already released my desires today no thank and walk away why? Because every time he’s looked at porn he don’t come my way we don’t do nothing and he don’t ask or engage in anything which is the reason why I simply tell him straight up nah I’ve already done what I needed to do for the day thanks tho and in the end he feels what I’ve felt. I am more of a love intimate type person I don’t think things out of desire because of something I need he’s more that way.

  2. New wife

    I know this is an old thread but I figured maybe someone could help me out on here. My husband and I have been married for 6 months. Before we were even married he had emotional affairs with 3 different women & confessed to looking at porn, said he would never do it again. I know it sounds crazy that I still married him but something told me I needed to, plus I still love him. He since has gone back to looking at porn but hides it from me. Does it when I’m not around and deletes all evidence (or so he thinks) of having done so. When I have tried to confront him in the past about how it hurts me he makes excuses for him needing to get his head straight or he gets defensive & tells me that I evaded his privacy. Oh and since we have been married we have had sex about once per month. I don’t refuse him he just says he’s not in the mood. I have talked to everyone I can think to talk to, done countless research, and we have (& still are) going through marriage counseling. I don’t want to leave him but I just don’t know what else to do.

    • Kay Bruner

      Oh, I am so sorry.

      I always recommend separate counseling for a situation like this. This is his problem, not yours. Yes, it impacts the relationship, but unless he deals with his problem, there’s nothing you can do as a couple to make things right. He needs a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) for himself, immediately, if he is going to make progress.

      You, meanwhile, need help for the trauma that is caused by his actions. The online resources at Bloom for Women are really excellent.

      You have every right to decide if this marriage is the right place for you, given his previous history. Here, here, and here are some good articles on boundaries to consider.

      Peace to you,
      Kay

  3. Bravo Annie! Ladies NEED to know that waiting out their husbands “I’m trying” CAN be done by separating sexually. Once the devil in the bedroom has been discovered, ALL BETS ARE OFF. We do NOT help our husbands to continue sexually with then as if nothing serious has happened.

    I also have the upstairs bedroom…my husband has the one downstairs where the computer is haha! I do not care…it is now between him and God, as I am OUT of that picture until I see a broken man who confesses and repents WITHOUT prompting by me. THIS is what we women should be strong enough to do while waiting to see what choices our husbands will make and STICK to. I will never go back to playing any part of the haram in his mind.

  4. Annie

    Dear Sisters in Anguish,
    Two Years After D-Day and — to a degree — I am still broken, torn, lonely, hurting — give me a betrayed wife verb or adjective and I have felt or still feel it. I

    As stated above, boundaries are very essential for more reasons than even the Cloud and Townsend book express.

    Many husbands, like mine, take the next step once addicted to porn and that is prostitutes. I was so naive — we were lovers and best friends and THE go-to couple for happily ever after! I never thought he would betray me. But he did.

    Like his use of porn, first he would go to prostitute sites for the fantasy masturbation, then he made it a reality. When this happens, the Word of God tells us they become “one” with them in body and spirit and that is dangerous is so many more ways than you can imagine. Aside from bringing home a disease that caused me to have constant yeast infections after sex with him and eventually a hysterectomy, throughout this time he was blaming me for the physical issues. (He claims he never even associated it with his activities) Eventually, our two daughters were drawn into behaviors of sexual immorality. It shocked both of us, but of corse H saw no connection. Our son in medical school was put on probation and in counseling for sexual harassment, but of corse H saw no connection. I was wondering why my “Christian” family was falling apart. Prayers for our family were not being answered and I couldn’t understand why. Now I do — 1 Peter 4:7 “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

    Then I found out about his 7 years of betrayals, confirmed by the two polygraphs, the horror of his actions began a fire within me. I could imagine the prostitutes, I knew their names and started obsessing over their beauty compared to my 58 year old self. I began to feel the resentment of their lives and the bitterness of what they were doing — the constant selling of their bodies for the reassurance that men still desired them…knowing someday they would not. I began to see that my spirit was carrying the same anger, bitterness, and sense of hopelessness. I was old, I was rejected. My H even told me that 75% of the women he viewed were younger, prettier, and skinnier than me. He reinforced all of the anguish I was feeling — this was 18 months after his discovery!

    After a prayer retreat, I began looking at the I Corinthians 5:16 “Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her?” and suddenly I realized that I was no longer his wife. He had many wives. He went to our pastor who had never even considered such a thing. It sounded like wacko theology — until he began to research God’s word and see the horrible consequences brought upon men who were adulterers. When my H was having a sexual relationship with me, he was joining me to the circle of harlots. He met with church elders and verbally divorced himself from the women he committed adultery with.
    I finally began to understand the prayer:
    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    So I drew a boundary. I renovated the master suite where I hide when I come home from work. He sleeps downstairs. He still makes many promises he doesn’t keep and seems to be waiting me out. But I must understand that I am not responsible. He has a choice. He could honor the woman who once gave him her heart or he can continue to honor himself. At this time, he choses the latter.
    It is a choice — and ladies, be strong. Draw your boundary lines and somehow, prayerfully keep the walls from erecting themselves.

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