How does porn use harm a marriage?

Jay Dee

How does porn use harm a marriage?

Aug 17, 2013

In 2012, I wrote a post called What Is Christian Porn? because it was a phrase I was seeing pop up here and there and I thought it was a ridiculous oxymoron.  Since then, people looking for “Christian Porn” accounts for 2% of my total traffic!

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Porn Use Harms MarriageIn 2012, I wrote a post called What Is Christian Porn? because it was a phrase I was seeing pop up here and there and I thought it was a ridiculous oxymoron.  Since then, people looking for “Christian Porn” accounts for 2% of my total traffic!  I was floored when I started seeing just how many people are looking for this.  How did this become acceptable?  Lately I’ve found out there is a Christian Porn movement!  Yep, there is an actual group of Christians trying to reclaim porn (like we ever had it).  This is astounding to me.  How could this happen?

The only conclusion I’ve could come up with is that we are telling people porn is bad, porn is wrong but failing to discuss it in an intelligent manner.  We don’t bother explaining why it’s wrong, why it’s bad for you, how it can harm your marriage (future or present).  Because of this, we have a lot of people saying “well, I’m not hurting anyone”, and off they go, looking for porn.  So, how can porn be harmful?

Porn use increases the chance of extramarital sex

There was a study done in March of 2012 called Internet pornography exposure and risky sexual behavior among adult males in the United States, in it they found that users of internet pornography are more likely to:

  • Have sex with multiple partners
  • Pay or be paid to have sex
  • Have extramarital affairs

I found reference to a follow up study (but couldn’t find it) that showed the link as one way (casual sex did not predict porn use), showing porn use is a predictor of these behaviors.

The prevalent theory is that our brain learns scripts from porn.  In porn there is a lot of casual sex, disregard for societal rules, and there is an expression of pleasurable activity.  Our brain responds by thinking “to get that kind of pleasure, I need to follow those behaviors”.

Of course, everyone says “oh, that won’t affect me”, but, not everyone is right.

Porn use changes your sexual preferences

One study shows that college men who watch porn once a week have a greater desire for:

  • Dirty talk
  • Being dominated
  • Using sex toys
  • Partners who shaved their pubic areas

They also participated in threesomes more often.

Now, except for the threesomes point, the rest aren’t really an issue, I don’t think.  The real issue is that porn rewrites your brain.  It will follow the behaviors seen in porn and want to replicate them.

Porn use binding to someone other than your partner

When you orgasm, there is a release of oxytocin.  This hormone has an effect that emotionally bonds you to your partner.  But, when you are viewing porn, your partner is the computer or the actress on the screen.  The point is, your brain is being wired to be turned on and connected to someone who isn’t your spouse, and that’s dangerous.  Ideally, you want your brain to be turned on by your spouse and only your spouse.

Porn use is cheating

There is a study in the 2011 Archives of Sexual Behavior that states that 36% of women feel that porn use is equivalent to cheating.  Well, whether you agree or not, the perception of your spouse matters more to what the fallout in your relationship is going to be like.  Imagine all the detrimental effects of having an affair, without actually having an affair.  Thank you porn.

Porn use causes self-esteem issues for the spouse

In that same study, 40% of women (only 10% of men) said they would view porn use as a sign of sexual dissatisfaction.  Of course, the immediate thought is that there is something wrong with the spouse if they are dissatisfied.  Because of today’s societal views, the immediate reaction is that wives feel their husband is not happy with the wife’s body.  Typically, this is not the case, but the thought is still there, damaging the relationship.

Porn use raises the bar for sexual excitement

In porn, there is so much going on, it’s exciting, and there’s gymnast quality sex going on, with actor quality sounds, and perfect lighting and sheets and the setup is literally written by a talented writer.  When you get used to this being the setup for sex, real life may not be enough to provoke the internal response needed.  Users of porn often find their testosterone levels drop in response to regular sex, because that fantasy of excitement can’t be matched in real life, it’s not intended to be.  Lower testosterone means more erectile problems and orgasm issues.

Porn use alters your expectations

Porn actors are willing to do anything and everything to get their partner to orgasm.  They’re paid to!  If you are watching porn on a regular basis, it can change your expectations of your partner.  You start thinking that not only should they enjoy anal sex, but they should  be begging for it.  Not only should they orgasm from sex every time, they should be abandoning the dishes and having sex in the kitchen just because you walked in the door.  They should immediately forget all the responsibilities of life and cater to your sexual desires regardless of time, circumstance or setting, because in porn, people have sex at the drop of a hat, in buses and trains, in schools, offices, kitchens, backyards, churches, whatever.

Also, in porn, every move the actor makes turns their partner on and progresses their partner towards orgasm.  In real life, this doesn’t happen every time.  One day X will work, the next day it will feel wrong, and Y will work, the next day X and Y are dead turn offs and Z works, and the next day, sorry, but XYZ are off the table and nothing is working.  Oh, and then you have a baby and XYZ drive you up the wall and you need to find a new set of letters for your sexual repertoire.

Porn use changes your focus

Sex is, and should be, foremost, about pleasing your partner.  But, watching porn is all about pleasing yourself.  It is feeding and rewarding a selfish activity.

Porn use can replace intimacy

In some cases, porn begins to replace intimacy.  As the porn gets easier to consume, the real relationships in your life (with your spouse, your kids), become harder by comparison.  Soon you begin avoiding real relationships and replacing them with porn to fulfill that need for acceptance, thereby distancing yourself, damaging your relationship and further attaching to porn, continuing the cycle.  Sex researchers know that porn is more about looking for intimacy than about looking for sex.

A 2011 British study came to the conclusion that porn users may need intimacy more than non-porn users.  This may mean that porn is linked to a need to form a connection with someone, and failing to do so.

Porn contains inaccurate data

This is a great video I found on YouTube.  There is nothing explicit in it, but I’m not sure you could say it’s suitable for work or children.  Oh, and if you like Nutella….look away when you see it…don’t say I didn’t warn you….

Your Turn

Did I miss anything?  Let me know in the comments below!

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14 thoughts on “How does porn use harm a marriage?”

  1. Chris says:

    I ran across that same video this afternoon. Even without addressing differences in relationship and intimacy, I thought it did a good job of illustrating the false beliefs about sex that develop through viewing porn. (I did cringe for the zucchini, though.)

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, I did the first two times…by the third time I was desensitized to it…
      I’m sure there’s a poignant point in that statement….

  2. LatterDay Marriage says:

    It also separates sex from emotional intimacy and turns it into a purely physical action/reaction event. The partner is not there for emotional bonding and commitment, only to provide and receive physical stimulation. It dehumanizes women that way turning them into objects to be used for self gratification. Picked up or discarded as is convenient.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard that. Never experienced it myself. For me, I was always searching for intimacy, though in the wrong place. My addiction was fueled by a lack of intimacy at home. So, I never disconnected the two, in fact, it maybe be a little too strongly linked for me.

      Likewise, women were not dehumanized in my view, they were more like intimacy surrogates for my wife. I would replace the women in porn for the concept of my wife, and what turned me on the most, was to see them (my wife) satisfied and enjoying sex, and wanting sex.

      But, that’s just my perspective. Thanks for sharing another!

      1. libl says:

        Jay dee, I was the same as you with my porn addiction, but for my hubby, it was (and to a point still is) all about the physical release. He treats sex as pretty much using each other to masturbate. Yes, we have PIV, but there is such mechanical disconnect and I believe much if it has to do with his porn use before marriage and his dabbling in it afterwards. But, how we react to porn depends on the person. You and I craved the intimacy missing in our marriages, thus porn didn’t make sex purely physical. Hubby has a problem with intimacy…being fully known…he puts up walls, lies, and avoids out of a fear of man. Porn is pleasure without intimacy and it manifests that way in the marriage bed. He has a hard time initiating sex, desiring sex, wanting sex, and he has a hard time making love and would rather just have sex. My heart breaks for him.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Thanks for adding your perspective libl! Yeah, that’s harder to change, especially if he doesn’t think porn is an issue.

          One option I can think of:
          Offer him a deal. You will have sex anytime, anywhere (baring medical, lawful, or REAL objection). In exchange, he is only allowed to orgasm with you present and involved.

          My hypothesis is this: Orgasm releases oxytocin, which is a bonding hormone. If he starts only having orgasms with you present and involved, he will bond to you more emotionally. With time, I believe the effects of porn can be reversed.

          He will fail and slip up at the start, almost guaranteed. Remember that he’s addicted and needs help. So long as he is attempting and making progress, keep up the deal.

  3. janna94 says:

    You said, “Porn actors are willing to do anything and everything to get their partner to orgasm. ” I personally haven’t watched much porn myself, but my guess is often times the “female partner” is not having an orgasm, but faking it. I could be wrong, but that “actress” is getting paid to play a part as well.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Sorry, that was unclear. I should have said “Porn actors make the appearance of being willing….”

      Now, how many of them actually have an orgasm? Some directors only want real orgasms, others don’t care, some of the actresses are more orgasmic than others. I have no idea what the actual statistic of how many do is. Couldn’t even make a guess.

      But, the point was that they are being paid to act in the most erotic fashion for the audience, it’s not real, and reality will never match that fantasy 100% of the time.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. libl says:

    No mention of what God thinks about it and what the Holy Spirit convicts us of?

    A problem I see among some Christians is allowing “substitute porn” in, in the way of TV or movies like Game of Thrones, erotic novels, retro pin ups, etc.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Didn’t mention it, because it wasn’t the topic. There are tons of people who will write about what the Bible says and God thinks of it. I think we all know that stuff. But, that’s a “what” answer, and I wanted a “how” answer.

      I agree, bad substitutions are a huge problem in Christianity.

  5. Caleb Suko says:

    Wow, that video was … not exactly what I expected, but the statistics were revealing. I like your points about how porn, even Christian porn if there could be such a thing is harmful.

    I think when it comes down to it porn is harmful for two reasons.
    #1 It’s not truthful and we become used to the lie.
    #2 It’s addictive and demands more

  6. Mel Caldicott says:

    This is such an important post – I’m really shocked that Christian porn exists too! You have given such useful teaching here about how destructive it can be to relationships.

    I linked here from Fellowship Fridays.

    Also i just wanted to let you know about a linkup I’m hosting called Essential Fridays at Essential Thing Devotions. It would be great if you could pop over and linkup!

    Thanks for such great post, blessings.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Hey Mel, welcome!

      Posted a link yesterday, will probably post an older one today as I’ve been on vacation and haven’t wrote a new post lately.

      Thanks for the invite! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. jeff says:

    The use of electronics in media have had unpredictable results. Just the use of this computer can cause minor problems with eyes and the brain, not to mention social media!
    I have heard all the warnings from a Biblical position. However, the web site “your brain on porn” has had a huge impact on me. Imagine not having erectile problems after giving up porn. Attention deficit problems go away. Your ability to enjoy other things like coffee, a warm breeze, fresh baked bread, etc. There are now organizations which are non Christian that are encouraging what is called no fap (no masturbation) or, no porn whatsoever! The deliberate decision to break the habit of looking at pictures of women in all manner of undressed-ness, can be a freeing thing. You break the slavery of it and you can do other things in life! I find that a simple coffee is pleasurable again. reading simple garden magazines is also interesting and I can sleep peacefully knowing that my equipment works better by NOT trying to excite myself all the time.

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