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**Author’s Note: This was really difficult to write but I’ve found through talking about it that other wives have experienced the same thing. I want to create a first step towards healing from this because it is so disruptive in a marriage. My husband has also given me permission to reveal our own struggles as a married couple.**
This is a touchy topic, trust me I know. I’ve been putting this post off for a while. So much that I think it is actually going to turn into a 2-part series of information because I keep learning so much about its affect on a marriage.
First off, don’t feel guilty or embarrassed if you are reading this. It is a topic everyone wonders about and many people talk about.
My point of this post is to share with you what I have learned about pornography and marriage. And it isn’t pretty 🙁
Just stick with me on this, read to the end, and let it all sink in. That is all I ask!
Before I found a true relationship with God through the devotional Wife After God that I read earlier this fall, I was in an unhealthy routine. My husband had just recently deployed and I dealt with my loneliness of my husband being gone by overeating right before bed and watching Sex and the City reruns over and over. Every. Night.
I was aware at the complete lack of morality in the show and I’d often shake my head at some episodes, but I’d continue right on watching them.
I had absolutely no idea that watching things like simple “romance” movies can actually negatively impact my marriage, though!
I know, I know, just stay with me here. You’re probably thinking I’m overreacting and being childish because sex scenes are everywhere and porn is everywhere, it’s impossible to hide from it, and it’s “normal” to watch it. Men and women watch it all the time. And you’re right about most of that – except no matter how common these things are in our culture, it doesn’t make it normal, healthy, or justified. *
This stuff is EVERYWHERE! It’s in every movie, every magazine, every book, and every advertisement out there. You name it, it’s probably there.
You are probably thinking how can something like a “harmless” TV show affect my marriage, especially something as subtle as Sex and the City?
First, let me ask you this, have you ever watched that show? It’s not subtle at all. There are some seriously explicit scenes in that show. I never watched that show until this past fall. I’m thankful I never watched that when I was younger because it definitely would’ve had a significant impact on my idea of sex.
Second, this book I’m reading No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage really opened my eyes to things that were already occurring in my life, but I never thought twice about.
Your sexual relationship is designed to have only two people involved – you and your husband.
It is supposed to be more than physical.
It’s an emotional, spiritual, AND physical experience.
This is how God designed it. As an incredibly special way for YOU to bond with your husband.
This is God’s Truth. And it’s a beautiful truth!
Violating this has consequences, one of which could definitely be destruction in marriage. God creates rules for a reason – because He knows that is how things work the absolute best way they can and those ways create the most joy in our lives here on earth.
I’m not saying these things to make anyone feel guilty. I am guilty, too, as I’ve mentioned above. I’m just as guilty as the next person for watching romantic movies that always involve sex scenes.
I simply want to make you AWARE!
I want to spread the word about what I have learned and let you know this is something that could truly be hurting your marriage, and you may not even realize it.
That it is something that could be preventing you from having that true intimacy with your husband that your heart and soul crave.
I had no idea when I was watching The Notebook sex scene in college for the first time (9 years ago, by the way) that that scene would be ingrained into my mind forever and would eventually creep into mine and my husband’s bedroom and reveal its self on my marriage bed.
When you are in bed with your spouse, it is supposed to be just you and just your spouse – mentally, emotionally, physically.
When that happens, when you two completely and totally give yourselves to each other, the intimacy that God desires you two to experience unfolds and you truly become one.
Don’t let anything from the outside get in the way of that!
Now, if you’re thinking well, I have too many years of this damage done to my mind and my heart, how do I even begin to fix this?
Ask God to heal you! He honors requests like that! He wants nothing more than for you to experience sex with your husband the way He intended you to.
Luke 1:37 says:
…for nothing will be impossible for God.
And Mark 11:24 says:
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
These things you watch or read about whether light pornography or hardcore pornography become stuck in your head whether you’d like to admit it or not. I hate to admit that I’ve had images from movies I’ve watched almost 10 years ago pop up in my mind while making love to my husband. That is such an embarrassing and humiliating thing. I am supposed to be completely with my husband in that moment, ONLY him. And the fact that being exposed to simple movies that appear harmless, some I’m even unaware of the content, will throw images into my mind is beyond frustrating.
Satan will twist something as beautiful and as good as sex into a way to hurt others. Pornography is one of these ways.
In the book Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband , also by Jennifer Smith, her husband and her BOTH struggled with pornography and it greatly affected their marriage!
Everyone is exposed in one way or another. Dr. Slattery lists some seriously upsetting statistics on pornography:
In 2005, 77 percent of prime-time programming featured sexual content.*
A study conducted in 2007 concluded that 87 percent of men aged 18 to 26 viewed pornography “in the past year” with nearly half viewing “in the past week.”*
According to a source in 1994, 91 percent of men raised in Christian homes reported having been exposed to porn.*
In Dr. Juli Slattery’s book No More Headaches, which I highly recommend and talked about in another post on sexual intimacy, she mentions three things that follow when any kind of pornography is viewed (whether it be the husband or the wife).
Unfortunately, like many wives out there, I have caught my husband viewing pornography before. I was devastated. But the more I look into it, the more I notice how often this happens in marriages. I truly feel like sharing our own struggles as a married couple will help others begin to find healing from the same issues in their own marriages. After finding my husband watching pornography, I found myself not wanting to have sex with him in the past because I didn’t know if his mind was truly with me and only with me in that moment. I didn’t know if he wanted to be with me or to be with me because of looking at someone else. I felt the need to protect myself while being intimate with my own husband – how sad is that? Unfortunately that is one of the horrible effects of the use of pornography in marriage.
The need for increased stimulation
Pornography prevents you from enjoying the marital sex God designed for you. It can cause a husband to ask his wife (or a wife to ask her husband) to engage in sexual behavior that the other is not comfortable with. This would turn into a never ending cycle if the addiction would progress. This is NOT how God created sex in a marriage! He designed it for love to be experienced, for emotional and spiritual fulfillment. When sex is used out of context with what God created it for, it prevents us from experiencing the true, beautiful goodness behind it.
Feelings of rejection and inadequacy
When I caught my husband watching pornography, I instantly felt like I wasn’t good enough for him. I remember instantly retreating to our room and crying thinking what is wrong with me that he needed to look at other women? Why am I not enough? You can’t compete with the Victoria’s Secret models who are airbrushed, starving, and surgically altered. It’s impossible. And women fantasize, too. Dr. Slattery mentions in No More Headaches that they tend to fantasize less about physical attributes and more about the man’s personality or the ability to provide.* You and your husband can’t compete with fantasies – fantasies will leave you both feeling inadequate in your marriage and it shatters trust. By entertaining fantasies you eliminate the possibility of being content with your spouse alone.*
Dr. Slattery said it best in this quote:
God isn’t a killjoy who wants to make sex boring; He’s a guardian of the purity of your oneness and pleasure.
I love this quote from her. People think that sex has nothing to do with God so if you invite Him into your marriage or into your intimacy with your husband, that there is no possible way to have fun in bed with your spouse then. This is so far from the truth!
Now that you’ve heard the effects of pornography on marriage, stay tuned for my Pornography & Marriage: Is it really that bad? (Part 2) post which will talk about how to find healing from it in your marriage! 🙂
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Any questions, comments, or concerns are greatly appreciated! I know this is a personal topic so if you wouldn’t want to comment publicly, you’re welcome to personally message me on this page.
Resources used in this post:
*No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Juli Slattery