Porn is of epidemic proportions these days. With the easy availability, more people than ever are addicted. Sadly, it’s no longer just a man’s issue.
According to Covenant Eyes:
- 28,258 users watch porn every second.
- One in every five internet searches are for pornography.
- 88% of scenes in porn films contain acts of physical aggression while 49% contain verbal aggression
- One in five youth pastors and one in seven senior pastors use porn on a regular basis
- 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women admit to watching porn at least monthly
- 68% of divorce cases involved one party meeting a new lover over the internet
- 70% of wives of sex addicts could be diagnosed with PTSD
Maybe you, like many, don’t see that pornography is a problem. Many (including Christians) believe they can use pornography to help their sex life.
One of my primary problems with this way of thinking is that scripture tells us to flee every type of sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). I don’t know how you can classify pornography as anything other than sexual immorality.
But let’s take it a step further. What kind of impact does pornography have on one’s life?
Covenant Eyes states prolonged exposure to porn leads to diminished trust, belief that promiscuity is natural, and a sack of attraction to family and child-raising. Furthermore, compulsive pornography users suffer erectile difficulties more often than non-porn users.
Another issue that is frequently attributed to porn use is the objectification of women. Studies show that prolonged porn use can cause men to view women more as objects to be used for self-gratification than as humans to be treasured.
All of these statistics are one thing. But how do you know if your spouse has a porn problem? Chances are, he or she isn’t going to just tell you (unless God has really convicted him/her and he/she truly desires healing).
When I got married at the age of 22, I was very naïve. I had lived a very sheltered life, mostly in the bubble of my Christian home and Christian friends. To be honest, I still have to have jokes and innuendos explained to me on a regular basis. I can honestly say I had no idea what was normal for married life.
It wasn’t until after I was divorced that I was talking with a pastor friend. I was telling him about my husband’s affair and our subsequent divorce. He encouraged me to read Every Young Man’s Battle with my boys because it was highly likely my ex-husband had a porn problem. As I read this life-changing book, so many things in my marriage suddenly made sense.
I had always been an object to be used for my husband’s gratification rather than a gift from God to be treasured.
This desire for self-gratification was in every area of life, not just the bedroom. My only job in our marriage was to meet my husband’s wants and needs. It was never about a partnership or helping one another. Even as I write this blog post, I am propped up in bed recovering from spinal surgery AND suffering with the flu. My sweet, loving husband insists on taking care of me, bringing me chicken noodle soup and insisting I do absolutely nothing. He takes such good care of me…completely unlike my first marriage where I would be cooking and cleaning and generally expected to care for his wants and needs regardless of my physical condition. No joking. I remember being six months pregnant with my third child while fighting both a stomach bug and bronchitis. I asked my then-husband to please go get the kids some lunch from McDonald’s or something. They were hungry and too young to care for themselves. After asking multiple times and waiting well over an hour, I finally gave up and made them some hot dogs. My life was worth nothing except making his life easier.
So how do you know if your spouse has a porn problem? I asked this very question on Facebook recently. My friends did not disappoint—which sadly means so many of us have experienced the effects of porn in our lives. This list is far from complete, but it can certainly give you some ideas of what to look for.
Anger issues. These issues could stem from watching violence or simply from objectification. It could relate to the shame they carry or the frustration from wanting to be different. Or, it could be a result of blaming the spouse for preventing him/her from having the time for more pornography.
Staying up later to “work” after hours. Or getting up early. Many porn-addicted spouses refuse to go to bed with their husband/wife. They stay up in the office. Alone. They are always “working” at odd hours.
Refusing to share passwords with you. They lock doors and use passwords. They might be so kind as to get you your own computer, but protect theirs at all costs. They shut down screens when you walk into the room.
My ex-husband once used the line he was working on something special for me and begged me not to look at his computer and ruin the surprise. He was working on porn…and an affair.
Nothing you do is ever good enough. This can be in general and most definitely in the bedroom (more on this one later). They might pick fights with you so he/she has a reason to be upset with you and avoid intimacy. Everything you do is criticized, done wrong. It can go back to that objectification.
Lack of meaningful conversations and intimate moments. It’s so much easier to get your sexual gratification from a computer than it is to build intimacy with another human. Why expend all that energy when you can gratify yourself?
Asking you to do demeaning things in the bedroom. This might vary from asking for new positions or toys. He might suddenly want to add violence in the bedroom. If you refuse, he might tell you it’s like making love to a dead person or say other degrading things to you or about you.
Lack of interest in sex with you. Many women commented their porn-addicted husbands lost interest in sex with them. Nothing they did could elicit a response from them. They were far more interested in the being alone with a computer screen in the bathroom.
Erectile dysfunction. Yes, it is true. Pornography leads to erectile dysfunction. Porn causes the man to need more and more to experience arousal. An ordinary intimate encounter between husband and wife simply won’t elicit the arousal necessary to perform a sexual act.
Does any of this sound like verbal, mental, or emotional abuse? I’d say abuse often goes hand-in-hand with pornography.
If your spouse is exhibiting any of the above behaviors, start digging a little deeper. Look for signs that pornography might be a problem. Seek the help of a professional counselor. Pray and confront. Find a support group to help you through this difficult time. Know that even if your marriage doesn’t survive pornography, God will not let you down. He will be faithful to put you back together and on your feet again (1 Peter 5:10).
There’s one other sign your spouse might have a porn problem:
Absolutely nothing. Sadly, there are times when there are no indications of a porn problem. They treat you well. They talk about how much they hate porn. They live Godly lives. They enjoy serving you, pleasing you. They want intimacy. Yet, their lives are steeped in pornography. Many of these men/women will eventually confess and seek the help they need. They will tire of fighting their demons. They will desire healing and intimacy. These are the ones who desperately need our love, grace, and support. These are the ones who will overcome and take your marriage to a deeper level.
(Statistics taken from https://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/)
Are you looking for some help overcoming damage inflicted by a porn-addicted spouse? Call me for some life coaching!