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How Pornography Affects Wives

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If you are reading this page, you’re probably married or considering marriage.  It’s important to understand how pornography use affects women and marriage, so read on!

We all know that using pornography is a mortal sin.  For single men viewing pornography is the same as fornication.  For married men, it’s the same as adultery.

Many married men try to deny that viewing pornography is adultery by claiming they are not having a “real affair.”  They are just “viewing images on a computer screen.”  This is a weak attempt to justify pornography use.  The fact is that whether she is a real person, or an image on a screen, sharing your sexuality with someone other than your wife is adultery.

God designed sex to be shared between a husband and a wife.  It is a wonderful expression of the great love between a couple that is both unitive and procreative.  Thus, sexuality is a gift that should reserved for marriage.  It is also a reflection of the love of the trinity.  To use our sexuality in any way other than God intended is an insult to God and to our wives.

We know that pornography can be highly addictive for men.  Thus, as the addiction develops and progresses, it consumes their lives.  Addicted men end up neglecting their wives and families.  Their whole focus is on feeding their addiction.

Pornography addiction can have a devastating effect on a couple’s sex life.  It distorts a man’s idea of healthy sexuality.  Because the women in porn never say “no,” and appear to enjoy many forms of deviant sex, a man may believe that this is what normal, healthy sex is.  A husband might even try to bring pornography into the bedroom in order to “spice up” their sex life.  Women may go along with this to please their husbands, but the reality is that they despise it.  Pornography rarely helps a couple’s sex life.  Instead, women are often coerced into performing sexual acts that they find repulsive, such as oral sex and anal sex.

As a man becomes conditioned to be sexually aroused by the women in porn, the desire for his wife and his ability to perform sexually with her often decreases.   He will prefer masturbating to pornographic images to having sex with his wife.

Pornography use affects marriages both financially and legally.  Many men incur large amounts of debt because of their addiction.  They spend thousands of dollars on pornography, which hurts their ability to provide for their families.  Pornography use has also damaged the careers of men who view it at work.  Some men have even been arrested for viewing child porn.

Men need to understand how wives are affected by pornography use.  Most women are deeply hurt when they discover their husbands are viewing pornography.  They see it as serious as an extramarital affair and feel deeply betrayed by their husbands.  They claim they no longer really know their husbands because they have a dark secret life.  Because wives see pornography use as adultery, their trust in their husbands is also deeply wounded.  They lose respect for their husbands and no longer see them as good role models for their children.  They may also feel like fools for ever trusting their husbands.

Pornography use also damages a woman’s self-esteem and body image.  Most of the women in pornography are between the ages of 18 and 25.  Many of these women are a size 0 and have had multiple cosmetic surgeries.  Thus, they appear as “perfect women.”  When a wife, who is on her 30s, has had a few children, and is a size 12 sees this, she is devastated.  She may believe that her husband sees her as ugly and undesirable because he would rather be with the women in porn than with her.

Many women are so hurt by their husband’s pornography use that they actually experience symptoms of severe trauma: anger, depression, anxiety, insomnia, uncontrollable crying, and flashbacks to when they first discovered their husband’s porn.  Other women may tolerate or even support their husband’s pornography use because of codependency.   For these women, individual therapy is needed for their own healing.

Some men have difficulty understanding why their wives react so intensely to their pornography use.  This is because men and women view marriage very differently.  Men have the ability to compartmentalize their lives.  They view pornography as one small area of their lives.  While they know viewing it is wrong, they justify it by looking at all the other areas of their life where they excel.  This makes pornography use seem not so bad.  Women, however, generally don’t compartmentalize things.  Because of this, their husband’s pornography use affects every area of their lives.  Even though a husband might be a good provider, be active in his kids’ lives and take his wife out on regular dates, in her eyes, his pornography use taints everything.

For many couples, pornography use has led to marital separation and/or divorce.  For some women the pain of betrayal is so great that they cannot remain in the marriage.  For others, their husband’s refusal to get help for their addiction has led to divorce.  According to the American Association of Marriage Attorneys, pornography use plays a significant role in over 50% of all divorces.

For married couples that have been affected by pornography use, marital therapy is often needed to heal the deep pain, sadness, betrayal and broken trust. This is in addition to individual therapy for the husband to overcome his pornography addiction and for the wife to heal from trauma or codependency.

Overall, men need to realize how deeply pornography use hurts women.  As leaders, providers and protectors, we need to respect and uphold our wedding vows.  We need to protect our wives from the devastation of pornography use.   We need to avoid anything that would lead us into mortal sin and hurt the ones we love.  When we embrace authentic manhood, we strive to live virtuous lives and avoid all vice.  This helps us to be the men that God has created us to be.

If your pornography use has hurt your marriage, and you are ready to get help, click here for more information.