Q&A: What Do I Do About My Husband’s Porn Problem?

Awhile ago we received an email from a wife who wanted some support in her marriage. She has been growing in her sexual relationship with her husband and has been trying new things, but all the while she didn’t realize that he was involving himself with pornography. Things seemed to improve for a while, but then he started using pornography again and doesn’t see why there is anything wrong with it. At one point they were enjoying some private erotic videotaping, but she is starting to feel bad about those times:

I am wondering. I am finding that I don’t like making these movies. I feel like he is trying to turn me into a type of porn girl. I find I am getting angry. Something about him, I don’t like. I just don’t know exactly why I don’t like it. I just feel sick. I feel like the feeling you get when you watch a porn movie. Sadly, now, I don’t know how to tell him.

This is a multi-layered problem. To begin with, most likely the photography sessions are about him trying to make you into his fantasy and not about celebrating who you already are and that is why you are feeling uncomfortable. Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some fantasy, but if he can not enjoy you without it then it has grown to an unhealthy level.

Similarly, he is viewing you now on every level through the lens of pornography. That anyone could believe that we can separate sexual images into compartments and save the porn ones just for porn and the marriage ones just for marriage is a great deception. The only way we can be free from those images and memories is that God would cleanse them from us. It requires us to come to Him in humility so if a person is still living in their sin without acknowledging it for what it truly is, you should not be convinced by any promises that their pornography doesn’t affect you or your relationship.

My recommendation is that if your husband is living in the sin of pornography you not be afraid of sounding like a “nag” by dealing with the issue. That doesn’t mean you talk about it constantly, but if something needs to be discussed, don’t be afraid to talk about it. On the other hand, I have another friend who reached a certain point that she was done talking and needed her husband to want to deal with it. The point is that she didn’t stop talking about it because she was afraid. It was because she needed to see that it was important to her husband. And while she waited for him to initiate a conversation about it, they did not have sex.

I recently wrote an article on Living with a Refuser and in it I mentioned that there are limited situations where I believe it is appropriate to withhold sex in a marriage. A spouse who is living in sexual sin falls into this category. While I don’t think a husband who occasionally gives in to temptation to look at porn should automatically be refused sex, I do think that it is appropriate to consider it when they are viewing it regularly without repentance or accountability.

These are the steps I would take if my husband had a pornography addiction that he was not dealing with.

1. PRAY PRAY PRAY. And get other trusted mentors to pray with you. Be selective about who you ask to support you, but it is reasonable to need someone to stand with you. He needs a heart change if he thinks there is nothing wrong with looking at porn. God is the only one who can change him. When God changes his heart, his behavior with follow. Ask God for wisdom. Ask God to open his eyes to see this sin as He does. And guard your heart against bitterness. Connect deeply to the heart of God and find your identity in Him.

2. Be clear with him about why it is damaging to me and our relationship. While the porn problem isn’t about you, it does most certainly affect you. He would have the problem with or without you, but the influence of pornography on his sexual relationship with you is going to cause pain and keep the two of you from experiencing all that God has for you. Tell him that, your own feelings aside, his problem keeps him from being able to receive what God has for him in his relationship with Jesus. Don’t be afraid to talk about it.

3. Tell a godly man in his life about the problem. Talk to a pastor or other godly man because your voice can not be the only voice he hears that tells him he needs to get free from this. This is not a betrayal. Your husband is the one who is not honoring his vows to you.

Note: These next steps may not work unless the man has had a heart change and wants to be free from pornography’s grasp on him. They will only be band-aid solutions until that time.

4. Require him to get into accountability relationships. He needs men who will mentor him to live with sexual integrity. These men and your husband will need to be willing to ask and answer tough questions and meet on a regular basis.

5. Have a filter installed on the computer. There are a variety of different filters you could opt to use, but one of the ones I liked the best in my brief research is Covenant Eyes. It will not only block out pornographic images on websites, but it also keeps a log of the web history which can be emailed to an accountability partner. A free filter that some people are using is K9. You might consider that one too.

So much of our culture screams at men that it is normal to look at porn. The truth is that it robs us from experiencing a more exciting sexual relationship in our marriage. It is a very common battle for Christian men to try to break free from pornography’s grasp on them. I pray that the women who read our blog who are married to such men, that today you would have greater strength, greater peace and that your husband would have a greater breakthrough. Love ya sisters!

33 Comments

  1. >I have another friend who reached a certain point that she was done talking and needed her husband to want to deal with it. The point is that she didn’t stop talking about it because she was afraid. It was because she needed to see that it was important to her husband.<

    Your friend, CS, was in a good place, and from my perspective (wife of a now-sober-porn-addict), the importance of what she did cannot be understated. I’ve been in the place where my own woundedness from my husband’s sin (and my own issues apart from his sin) kept me from talking to him except when I just couldn’t take any more…it’s not good.

    For other wives who are dealing with their husbands’ porn addictions–look to Jesus. HE is the only One Who can change your husbands’ hearts and heal your wounded spirits. Like Cinnamon Sticks said, find someone to confide in and work on the things that God brings to light in your own heart, but keep believing and holding fast to the Word and God’s design for marriage. He WILL bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6).

    There’s a group on Yahoo’s boards called Written on His Hand, which is a safe place for Christ-following women who have been wounded by their husbands’ sexual sin and/or addiction. You’ll find no judgment there, but healing and understanding. I pray it’s a benefit to you or someone you know.

    Thank you for the awesome post, CS! :)

  2. Thanks for this very helpful post (and for many of the posts on this blog). It is so important for husbands and wives to talk about these issues in our sex saturated culture. Great advice here!

    Thanks also for researching options on filtering and Internet accountability. Covenant Eyes website scoring system is unique and something that is constantly being updated. Its also the only accountability software that gives complete accountability (i.e. every website is accounted for and scored).

    I’d love to hear the Christian Nymphos response to some of our blog posts about the effects of pornography on marriage:

    1. Husbands Who Watch Porn: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/03/11/husbands-who-watch-porn-what-are-their-wives-saying/

    2. Husbands Who Watch Porn Part 2: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/04/08/husbands-who-watch-porn-part-2-wives-you-are-not-alone/

    3. Music for the Porn Addict’s Soul: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/03/26/music-for-the-porn-addicts-soul/

    Thanks again!
    Luke Gilkerson
    Internet Community Manager
    Covenant Eyes

  3. Those are some wonderful links with really good information on them for both men and women. I would recommend the first two links to wives of porn addicted husbands out there. The third link is a very powerful one. How true that it is somebody’s daughter. I encourage any of you out there who are hurting because of a spouse’s porn use or are struggling because of your own porn use to read it. Thanks for the links Luke.

  4. A brief history before my comments- I had a porn/prostitution problem before marriage, that Jesus gave me some major freedom from and my wife knew about. I have briefly slipped into porn during our marriage but it hasn’t been a long term problem. My wife and I were separated for 16 months and then by God’s grace reconciled. We have been married 22 years.

    Some comments about your steps if I had a porn additiction.

    1. Knowing that my wife was praying for me would be huge.
    2.I think that I would be moved if my wife shared about why it was hurting her and the relationship, as long as she didn’t attack me, call me names, spew anger and hatred, etc.
    3.Tell a godly man about his problem. I would feel very betrayed, especially if she hadn’t warned me ahead of time. I think I would understand more if she told me that she was going to tell someone. If I was blindsided, I would more likely increase my use of porn and withdraw.
    4. Require him to get into accountability relatioships. I have been in male accountablility relationships and at titmes they have increased my shame and temptation. If I was required by my wife to ge in them I would feel very demasculated and probably more tempted to act out.
    5.Have a filter installed on his computer. I would again feel very demasculated and more tempted to find ways around the filter or move onto magazines, other computers, or other women.

    I can tell you from the experience of being separated for 16 months, and my wife refusing sex for that time- that sexual temptations went through the roof, and I did not have an active porn problem at that time. I came very close to slipping up big time, I shudder to think what would have happened if I had had a porn problem or what would happen if I developed one and my wife refused me sex.

    Some things to consider before you start refusing sex. Obviously pray and be very sure. If your husband is still making love to you, even if he is involved in porn- which is not right- are you really willing to risk.

    a. Your husband and father of your children getting an STD and dying.
    b. Your husband and father of your children having another child to provide for out of wedlock.
    c.Your husband and father of your children- getting emotionally attached to antoher woman and leaving you.
    d. Your husband and father of your children- going into a promiscuous lifestyle, walkng farther from God, and spiraling down.

    Yes, those are choices he makes, and he will pay consequences, but being married to him, or even if you divorce him, you will pay some major conequences also. Are you willing to live with the idea that your refusal may push him over the edge?

    Maybe this is unique to me, but often the temptaiton to immoral sex outlets, is more tied to anger than to sexual desire. If I am extremely angry, especially at my wife, and can not seem to get it dealt with in a healthy manner, or my attempts are rebuffed, temptaion goes throught the roof.

  5. I am not sure why this issue has gotten me so inspired to write, hope I am not too long winded. I am trying to give you one man’s view on this tremendously painful subject.

    In this post I am going to try sharing a different way than my last one.

    If I had a porn problem here is what I wish my wife would do.

    1.Pray for me like she never has before and let me hear it.

    2.Tell, me lovingly, and calmly how she feels, without cynciism, sarcasm, judgement, name calling, etc. Reaffirm to me how much she loves and respects me for the positive traits she sees.

    3.Reaffirm her commitment to me- and that the addiction and the Devil are the enemy, and that I am not the enemy.

    4. Ask me to tell her about my honest thoughts, feelings, and desires, and truly listen without condemnation, judgement, etc.

    5.Continue to recieve my sexual advances and to enthusiastically participate as much as possible in sexual activities that are not clearly immorral, or that don’t totally violater her own boundaries.

    6. Aggressively intiatte sex with me.

    7. Really do a major study of sexuality by reading things like Chrstian Nymphos, TMB, books, etc. and become the best lover she can be.

    8.Ask me if I am willing to abstain from sex and fast and pray with her. If I say no, then fast for us and continue the sex.

    Yes, I know all of this would be very hard to do if your husband is addicted to porn,but if my wife did it for me, I think I would feel very loved, ashamed of my behavior, and really willing to try to change, which might include accountability groups, filters, etc.

    One thing that I have noticed is that when my wife and I haven’t had sex for a few days, especially if the stress in our relationship is elevated,then my desire for more exotic sexual activities and temptation to seek them outside of marriage increases. When we get back on a regular schedule of sex,even if it isn’t all exotic, but she pours her heart into things she is comfortable with, and pushes her boundaries a litle, then my temptation for other things go down.

    I tell myself I would rather have a real live woman in bed with me, ie. my wife, than pixels on a page.

  6. Thank you for your comments Tractor.

    It is clear from your post that you are a godly man who dealt with your problem and worked through it with the Lord. Not all men are like that. Some women here are married to men who have no remorse for their porn addiction. They may have some guilt, but they are not making any effort to work on it with the Lord. The woman who wrote in is living with such a man.

    My reasoning for saying that I would tell another godly man about the problem is because I believe that a wife should not be carrying this problem by herself. Another godly brother will have as much influence. Sin is sin and pornography or not, I believe it is appropriate for a wife to need others to support her when her husband is living in sin. I was careful to point out that it isn`t something she needs to tell everyone about, but she will need support.

    Regarding abstaining from sex, I do think that it is appropriate to *consider* it when you have done all you can to try to reach out to him and he is continuing to not deal with it. Prior to that, I believe that a wife needs to be the best lover she can and meet every sexual need he has. Clearly, being a Christian Nympho, I am in complete support of a wife giving herself freely to intimacy and passion so that her husband has a rich sex life.

    Again, I thank you for you comments. They are always welcome.

  7. “Some things to consider before you start refusing sex. Obviously pray and be very sure. If your husband is still making love to you, even if he is involved in porn- which is not right- are you really willing to risk.

    a. Your husband and father of your children getting an STD and dying.
    b. Your husband and father of your children having another child to provide for out of wedlock.
    c.Your husband and father of your children- getting emotionally attached to antoher woman and leaving you.
    d. Your husband and father of your children- going into a promiscuous lifestyle, walkng farther from God, and spiraling down.

    Yes, those are choices he makes, and he will pay consequences, but being married to him, or even if you divorce him, you will pay some major conequences also. Are you willing to live with the idea that your refusal may push him over the edge?“

    I agree that a wife needs to pray about it before she takes this action.

    1. If a wife does not refuse sex and her husband goes to prostitutes SHE may get an STD. That may happen well before refusing begins.
    2. Again, this is possible well before the refusing begins.
    3. Any man who is involved with pornography is already emotionally involved with other women. It isn`t just physical. He connects to all those women when he lusts after them.
    4. The man is already living in great sin and him spiraling further is the result of his sin, not his wifes attempt to help him by refusing sex if the Lord is in it. In the case of my friend who refused while she waited for her husband to want to deal with it, it did in fact bring him to the place of humbly repenting and talking to her about the problem and them finding solutions.

    Refusal may not push him over the edge. It may bring him to his knees. I believe that it is appropriate for a wife to pray about and consider it.

  8. Dear Cinnamonsticks,

    Thanks for allowming me to share, and for your comments and perspective. BTW- I did look through a couple of the articles that were mentioned, and found some helpful insights.

    This whole porn thing is so heart wrenching on all sides, and becoming more and more prevalent in our society.

  9. Tractor, you said the following:
    “If I had a porn problem here is what I wish my wife would do.
    1.Pray for me like she never has before and let me hear it.
    2.Tell, me lovingly, and calmly how she feels, without cynciism, sarcasm, judgement, name calling, etc. Reaffirm to me how much she loves and respects me for the positive traits she sees.
    3.Reaffirm her commitment to me- and that the addiction and the Devil are the enemy, and that I am not the enemy.
    4. Ask me to tell her about my honest thoughts, feelings, and desires, and truly listen without condemnation, judgement, etc.
    5.Continue to receive my sexual advances and to enthusiastically participate as much as possible in sexual activities that are not clearly immoral, or that don’t totally violater her own boundaries.
    6. Aggressively initiate sex with me.
    7. Really do a major study of sexuality by reading things like Chrstian Nymphos, TMB, books, etc. and become the best lover she can be.
    8.Ask me if I am willing to abstain from sex and fast and pray with her. If I say no, then fast for us and continue the sex.”

    I hear what you are saying and for the most part I understand. However, the problem that I have with this list is that it is all about what the porn addict wants/needs from his wife. It reads as if she should do all of the above in order to be the nice caring wife that the porn addicted husband needs. While that is all fine and good, it leaves me to wonder, what exactly should she be able to expect from him? I mean, you say….

    ” but if my wife did it for me, I think I would feel very loved, ashamed of my behavior, and really willing to try to change, which might include accountability groups, filters, etc.”

    That doesn’t sound very convincing. You THINK you would feel ashamed and it MIGHT cause you to look for accountability groups or use filters. So even if the wife does all of the above, you still have the porn addict that isn’t really committing to anything. This doesn’t seem fair to me. If you have a long list of things that you would want from your wife, then as that wife, I would in turn want to see your list of things that YOU are going to do to change your behavior. I would want specific steps and actions that you are going to do to prove to me that you are truly actively working to overcome this addiction. I’m just saying, that as a woman, that list would be very hard to do if I did not have any real signs that my husband was turning from his sin. I don’t think that this should be layed at the wife’s feet. Instead of focusing on the expectations of the wife, who is already hurting and feeling betrayed, I think that there should be a list of things for the addict to do.

    But if I saw that my husband was indeed repenting, and reaching out for help with his addiction or problem, then yes, I could certainly see doing everything on that list. Like i said earlier, I do see your point, and for the most part I agree with you, but I had to add in the rest of my thoughts here as well.

  10. This discussion really tapped something in me and got me to thinking all week.

    CinnamonSticks-I was making the assumption based on the original post that if this scenario unfolded my wife would find out about the pornagraphy before anytihing with anyone esle.

    Cumingirl- When I made my long list what I was trying to say was if I was obviously spiraling into porn, if my wife did those things I mentioned, it might wake me up. Yes it would be very hard for a wife to do, and it is not fair- but sometimes for marriage to survive one party has to hang on and go the extra mile until the other one gets it- then everything comes back into balance.

    By God’s grace I was able to hang on and keep pursuing our marriage for months when my wife made all indications that she was going to divorce me and she was for a long time absolutely unwilling to work on our marriage.

    I am sorry that I don’t expess myself better and more succintly, that is one of my huge frustrations in life. Thank you both so much for your kind, thoughtful, repsectful responses- that means so much to me.

  11. ok. here’s my problem.My dh has viewed porn recently. When I approached him about it he did not take responsibility but instead blamed his mother for how she treated him(and it wasn’t sexually either).He never apologized to me. I do not have very much respect for him because of it(and other issues as well) and it’s like a downward spiral. I don’t feel loved,he doesn’t feel respected. How can I get over my feeling violated and give him the respect he wants when I feel he doesn’t deserve it?! I want to and I try but I catch myself saying smart or degrading things because it’s in my heart.I don’t trust him.I check his site history to check up on him because he’s not honest with me.When it’s been cleared,I wonder what he’s been looking at that he doesn’t want me to see. Help!

  12. You really are not alone in this, sweet tea! So many women are trying to work through this exact same issue and it’s really tough. One thing that I wanted to mention is that respecting your husband doesn’t equal ignoring or learning to handle a sin issue in his life. There are respectful ways to approach him about this. I think in situations like this, writing out your thoughts can help you express yourself more clearly. Tell him that rather than blaming someone else for his problem, you need for him to own it for himself. Most men are exposed to pornography in their teen years. If they all shifted 100% of the blame to the one who initially introduced them, they couldn’t get free. Tell your husband what you need from him and do some research ahead of time of resources that are available to him. The problem may be that even thought he has a roller coast of lust and guilt, he may not yet really want to be free.

    We’re here whenever you need to talk about this.

  13. Thanks,cs,for your ideas and caring words. You know the thing that makes this so tough for me is that I am the one who’s got the high sex drive.I want it more than him! So if anyone had the right to be viewing porn it would be me,because I often feel sexually frustrated.For him to do it just adds insult to injury! Can you please clarify what you meant by”respecting him doesn’t equal ignoring or learning to handle a sin issue”? I can’t quite get my head around that one :) I don’t ignore his sin issues.He knows how I feel about it.I have learned to handle it somewhat by learning to keep my mouth shut(as in I don’t go accusing him every time his site history is cleared).But inside my thoughts are whirling around like clothes in a dryer! and sometimes they come out when I just can’t take it anymore.The disrespect is always about something else but I know the underlying cause is his sin.I do try very hard to be kind and submissive.I want to have that absolute respect even if he has sin in his life! How do I do it?! I want to change my attitude towards him and stop trying to change him or his failures.

  14. Couple things:
    1. I just meant that sometimes we can think that we have to be agreeable and pleasant in order to show respect and that isn’t necessarily the case. I wanted to be sure that you had the freedom to express pain and sorrow and anger even while showing him respect. Make sense? For example, imo, a respectful way to show respect and honor to a husband with a porn problem is to sit down with him and clearly express how his actions are effecting me and what I want from him instead. Internalizing those things causes resentment to build, and going off on him without any self control is inappropriate as well. So I guess the question you need to answer (for yourself, not for me) is what does “absolute respect” look like. Does it mean you can not show anger or disappointment? Does it mean you don’t communicate that you expect more from his behavior as your husband?
    2. It’s very interesting what you say about him having a low sex drive and being the one with the porn issue. I have a friend who’s husband is in recovery from a porn addiction and while he was viewing it, his drive was really low and they had some sexual issues between them, but now that he is not viewing it his drive is much higher towards her and he is pursuing her a lot more. The sexual issue they were having has improved too.

    I really have hope for your situation and will be lifting the two of you in prayer. Effectively communicating with one another will go a LONG way in him getting free. He needs to feel that it is safe to be honest with you and he needs to allow you to be honest as well.

  15. ok. that makes sense to me…and I can see where I do have the tendency to be hard on myself for not agreeing with him 100% and then thinking that I ‘m not respecting him.Although with this case I did do the right thing by telling him how it made me feel. Thanks so much for your input.It means the world to me to get some sound advice on a subject I didn’t want to tell anyone we know about.I love this website and am learning so much(while getting some neat ideas;)! God bless.

  16. Sweet tea…..I talked a little about my husband’s porn addiction in the “refuser” post. I don’t really have anything to add to the conversation, the ladies on this blog are very wise and level-headed. Just know that you are not alone, and remember that God can do ANYTHING!!! My husband and I would go for sometimes two months without being together, and at the time , it really just about killed me. And it took a few years (I’d say 5 years, maybe 6…) before I could confidently say that he was totally free from that bondage. I hope that isn’t discouraging to you, and of course just because it took my husband five years doesn’t mean it will for every man! It just depends on how much they are committed to getting it out of their lives, and it so happened that when I found out about it, my husband was not that committed! One day we were making love, and I burst into tears in the middle of it, just because I knew that I loved him so much, and I just felt like he wasn’t giving me all of him, you know? That was one thing that really struck him. I know we both read “Every Man’s Battle” a few times each, he went to Christian counseling…I mean, I got mad many, many times, and when I knew it happened I stood my ground. He needed to know I was not ok with it, that it wasn’t just gonna happen and everything would be normal and good. But at the same time, I tried very hard to never talk about leaving, (not that it didn’t occur to me in the worst moments!), and make sure that he knew that I loved him with all my heart, and that as his “helpmeet” I would do my part to help him get through it, for both of us. If he messed up and was honest with me about it, I tried to be understanding and forgiving. And for my sanity I tried to remind myself that it really didn’t mean he loved me less, or that I was unattractive! (That was a tough one, I still sometimes-not often, because God heals-have issues with pursuing sex because of the feelings of rejection I used to suffer.) I don’t know what it was that finally did it for him, I know accountability was a big part of it. And I think another big thing was that after a few years he started to realize how blessed he was, and started to really appreciate my love for him, and my willingness to stick by him and actively help him as best I could. Anyway, now I know that he is a different person, and our marriage is 1000% better! We are closer than we have ever been. (By the way, WHEN you and your husband do come out on the other side of this, make sure to still keep the dialogue open…ie: “How’re you doing? Have you had any struggles lately?” Not accusing, just honestly asking, giving him a chance to be honest with you, so you can talk and pray together and nip anything in the bud that might be giving him a struggle. I’m sorry to blab on and on forever about me and my relationship, I just wanted you to know you aren’t alone, and that if you keep praying , keep loving, keep trying, you will get the victory! And your marriage WILL be stronger for it, and your husband will call you blessed!! I will pray for you both.

    P.S. I do highly recommend the book “Every Man’s Battle” for both of you to read, and “Every Heart Restored” for you. And Convenant Eyes is a great program to have. Like one of the ladies above said, (I forgot who, sorry!), it’s a filter, and it also takes every site visited on your computer, and sends it to an accountability partner (probably you) in an e-mail once a week. It doesn’t mean a lack of trust, it’s just a way of protecting your husband, and you, from temptation. (And if you have children, it protects them from scary pop-ups!) We only pay about $10 a month for it, and it is worth every penny.

  17. while porn seems to be prevelant in our culture, do u think its because us men lack in other areas or is it so powerful because in christian circles especially conservative ones we were not to discuss it and recognize sex for what God intended it to be.

  18. I believe there are a lot of reasons that porn is so prevalent. Because of it’s highly addictive nature, it doesn’t take long for it to become a problem for people. It is common for people to see their first pornographic image before they are even in high school. Then they have a life long struggle with it because they get a physical addiction to it. It damages a soul as much as drug addiction damages the body. And it is still viewed as such a shameful sin so who does a young man or woman turn to if it becomes a problem for them. Who would understand?

  19. Praise God! I’ve been “clean” from this stuff for 120 days (4 months) as of today!
    http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com is another good site. They focus on feasting on the word and fixing the heart, not just masking the symptoms.

  20. Men, I’m a recovering porn addict, and I can tell you that your wife has nothing to do with it. The best book to understand why you believe the devil’s lies is “The Search for Significance” by Robert S. McGee. “Why you do the things you do” by Clinton and Sibcy is also good (I’m disordered BTW). For me it was believing the lie that I had to perform to certain standards in order to be worthy of love.

    The bottom line is YOUR SELF WORTH IS WHAT GOD SAYS IT IS. And since he sent his Son to die for us on the cross, then I’d say our worth is PRICELESS. It’s going to take you several months in recovery to start to get this. Get into a men-only Christian 12-step program and find an accountability partner. Ask your pastor or a counselor to refer you to someone near step 12. Unfortunately most pastors don’t get this addiction; thankfully a large local church has a great recovery group.

    Remember, recovery is walking one direction, turning around, and walking the other direction. You will fall; get up and start walking again, and again, and again.

    Our recovery group is about 2/3 married and 1/3 single, and the married guys seem to struggle the worst. It was only last fall that I confessed my decade long addition to my beautiful, loving wife of 18 years who had no idea of my sin. That was a “rock your world” moment! And if you thought you felt rejection from your wife now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. With that said, it was a must on my road to recovery. Now that I was “out of the closet” I had “skin in the game”.

    Step 1 – I’m powerless to control it
    Step 2 – I need God
    Step 3 – Turn it over to God

    During my recovery process, I came to understand that I experienced sexual abuse by a female relative from the time I was 7 until 11, and the rejection I felt when she ended the relationship was so devastating I suppressed it for the next 28 years. Although that explained my drug of choice (sex/porn), it didn’t explain why I used (other than the suppressed shame for not telling anyone). It usually takes at least a year of recovery until things start to feel “normal” again–hopefully way better than your old normal. I realized I used porn because of how I felt about myself–not getting my father’s approval no matter how much I achieved, not being accepted by my wife in the physical part of our relationship, and feeling ashamed of what I experienced when I was a child (you’re 39 now Dex, stop looking at it like you’re 7). This part of recovery takes time, but it’s the most important part.

    Believe it or not, in my opinion it’s much harder to be married while going through recovery. If you’re single, then it’s just say No. When you’re married it’s not usually that simple especially if you have a CN wife. It’s more like a food addiction; you can’t just stop eating.

    After 15 weeks of no sex (my choice after the first 4 weeks) and no other physical contact except for an occasional hug (not my choice), my wife and I finally made love two weeks ago. Although it was an incredible experience, I misinterpreted it as something more–the start of a new era in our relationship. When it wasn’t, the feelings of rejection flooded in, and I regretted my decision to consent; the single guys have the advantage here.

    I ran across this website a few weeks ago while doing a Google search on a scripture passage for an adult Sunday School class I was teaching. This is a great website! It caused me to rethink the direction of our sex life. The comment cinnamonsticks made on one post I read stuck with me. She told a wife that she had to want sex for herself and not just to please her husband.

    My wife is finally starting to trust my recovery is real and that I’ve permanently changed from my old ways. I took the risky move of referring her to this website and ordering two books (Sexually Confident Wife and Sheet Music) for her to read as my 40th birthday present. I told her I wasn’t going to settle for what we’ve had over the last 18 years–I want what God intended for us no matter how long it took.

    Furthermore, until that time arrived (however long it takes) I wouldn’t be having any sex, at least for me. This morning I got called on it when I used my finger to stimulate her to orgasm without participating for my benefit. Although at the time I felt like I would die I know it’s for the best.

    It’s my goal for our marriage to be all that God intended for it to be, including our sex life. Pray we will each do our parts to fulfill God’s will for our lives. I wish more people knew how wonderful God’s provision is for sex. Thank you ladies for stepping out of the box and talking candidly about sex within Christian marriage.

  21. Just for some perspective as all men recover differently from porn addictions, I have a friend who walked with her husband out of his addiction and it didn’t take nearly a year. A great deal depends on how committed the man is to getting free from it and how helpful his wife is in the process.

    A word of caution: Be very careful about abstaining from sex long term if you are married and working on getting free from a porn addiction. I believe it is appropriate at times to abstain, but it is a last resort and not meant to be a long term situation. Also be careful about purchasing books on sexuality which will communicate to your spouse that you hope the books “fix them.” Far better to approach books like these first of all for your own benefit and then to communicate that you would love to explore them together so that you can love one another better. The whole “same team” mentality comes into play here.

  22. I apologize for the confusion. Our Christian counselor said it could take a year (or longer) for my wife to work through her feelings of betrayal and learn to trust me again. In 10 days it will be a year since I’ve “acted out” in front of the computer–praise God for giving me the strength.

    I’m thankful your friend was confident enough in herself to walk her husband out of his addiction. That hasn’t been an option for me, unfortunately. Many married men in my recovery group have a great sexual support system at home, which has aided their recovery–I’m recovering without that, but men can’t condition their recovery on their wives either.

    Anyway, I read “Sheet Music” last weekend and was encouraged (along with this website) that my wife and I can find the sexual intimacy God intended for all marriages. I’m even more encouraged in what God can do in our future.

  23. Hi Dex,
    I would be devastated if my man got into porn. I would feel I had somehow failed him. My self-esteem would hit bottom and not surface for a very long time.

    Embracing a bad body image plus a lack of sexual, self confidence can bug a woman for ages until she gets a handle on her sexuality, for her own sake. Your wife will need to want to be sexually intimate in her timing and then hopefully, she will open her eyes to see yours smiling into hers.

    Hang in there and ramp up the romancing of your bride. Just because you love her, no sex required. Discover her love language and go to school about her. Feed her spirit with affirmations and lots of loving compliments. Careful though, she may sense your motive and judge you really harshly….she judges herself that way, most likely.

    Tough road to walk on but keep moving forward. You can do this thing. Will pray for you and your darling wife. I believe in marriage miracles. We live one every day in our marriage.

  24. Thanks for the encouragement Smokey. My wife read the first chapter of Sheet Music today which was a big step for her (she’s a gifted musician, so I enjoyed the irony) . Our sexual distance pre-dates any porn by many years.

    My wife was physically abused by her father for her high school years because she got sick and required constant care, wheelchair, etc. I praise God that she was healed from her physical condition (she was out of the wheelchair by the time we met our freshman year in college). I still live with the consequences of his actions, but we have both forgiven him and enjoy a restored relationship (we’re all believers).

    Your advise is sound and is what I’ve been working on this past year. She finally knows there isn’t an ulterior motive because the sex is gone, so I can’t do it for any other reason. With that said, it’s time for her to deal with her self worth, and I pray she will see herself through God’s eyes and not hers (or mine).

    The porn was 100% my fault; I stopped blaming her last year, and I have to work my recovery from where I am. With that said, the temptation is more intense without a Godly outlet for sex in our relationship (there, I said it). However, God promises never to put more before us, than he puts in us to persevere. I’m living proof that’s true.

  25. To those that struggle with porn: Sexual sin probably does more damage in our hearts, minds and ultimately physically than any other sin I can think of. The temptation for sexual sin, esp. pornography is so strong this day in time…it is literally everywhere you turn. Let’s face it, men are at a high risk for falling prey to satan’s lies via porn ’cause it is so visual. My first marriage ended due to a combination of things, but it started with porn on the internet…gay porn. It culminated with my ex succumbing to homosexuality to the extent that he had been living a double life for quite some time. You can’t play with fire and not get burned; and a fire that is fed will quickly consume you and all that you love so dearly. My ex is suffering the consequences for his choices. I pray for all those that struggle with sexual addictions. One must get help, but it starts with a contrite heart. The Lord wants us (all of us) to submit our hearts, minds and bodies to Him; to live a life free of bondage, guilt and shame and receive all the good things that God has for us. As long as we live according to our will, we lose out on basking in the Glory of HIS. The Lord healed my heart and protected me and my children. Praise God! He then brought a wonderful man into my life to marry…my H.S. sweetheart. You know, sin is sin…is just comes in different flavors,but some sins do cause some serious destruction. Remember you can do all things through HIM who strengthens you…you are not alone…Let the Lord help you to overcome porn, to heal you and save your marriage and family.

  26. The first 4 chapters of the Book of Romans are filled with both descriptions of sin and how we are saved through Grace purchased by the blood of Christ. Romans 1:24-32 speaks more specifically to the experience that I went thru in my first marriage.
    Romans 1:28 says,”and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, Gad gave them over o a depraved mind to do those things which are not proper”.
    Romans 1:29..”being filled with all unrighteousnesss, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
    30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
    31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
    32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them”.

    That being said, we have all envied, gossiped, etc. at one time or another. I am forgiven only because of what Christ did for me on the Cross. Christ’s blood forgives all sin.
    There is a difference between struggling with the flesh as Paul states…paraphrased…Why is it that I do the very thing that I don’t want to do and do not do the very thing that I know that I should do????….and diving headlong into a life of sin having as one’s goal to pursue a sinful life wallowing in it.

    These things start small…like the seemingly little meaningless flirtation or joke that one might tell another outside of their marriage…the whole thing can go up in smoke very quickly. Clearly the consequences of some sins seem worse “in this life” as compared to others…but I truly believe any SIN if let unchecked and unbridled will lead to death and destruction of the sinner first and quite possibly at least harm those that they love the most. I of all people do NOT judge anyone for their struggles…I prayed that my ex would have his Damascus Road experience and come back to his family but it never happened. I waited, praying for nearly 5 yrs….never dating anyone. When he moved in with his lover, I filed for divorce. The consequences have been HUGE. He is HIV pos., has had colon cancer, and finally turned to Meth. But God is FOREVER faithful. I am so blessed beyond measure…for the Lord had mercy on my children and me, protected us and provided me with another husband who dearly loves the Lord. My life is great…my children are healthy and happy, but there father is miserable in his life of sin.
    Forgive this lengthy “article”, but if I can help but one person out there with my experience then it has all been worth it. The Bible says that we should Flee from Sin. May we all Flee from sin and Run headlong into the arms…the Everlasting arms of God. God’s Blessings.

  27. Hey Dex,
    So excited that your wife has read some of that wonderful book. It is still my fav and I read voraciously.

    Female fess up time : I began to find myself looking at male and female models more and more last year, after my sexual awakening. What began as an interest in looking at models, from a fashion stand point, quickly became a raging desire to see more and more skin!

    This weakness freaked me out really badly until I fully embraced my huge sex drive and began to allow my mind to grow as a sexual woman. I repented before my man and stopped the thing in its tracks before I had a bigger problem. Even though I was just looking, I grabbed hold of my head and enforced discipline.

    In healing myself of a potential female porn problem, I began to focus more on my mind and meditating upon the concept of “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. I did not want to replace my husband with lust for other people so began to turn my eyes onto him. I began to fully lust over his body and speak out my desire for him. I carefully monitored what I saw as I surfed the web and did what guys say they do…turned my eyes away.

    I believe females can be just as hooked on porn as men so did not fool myself in an instant that I was needing instant mind altering. My man listened to me, did not judge me and now models for me in our bedroom with absolutely knock out poses. I love it all.

    Women are told all of their lives to be prim,proper and ladylike. ‘Good girls’ can’t go anywhere where we need to go to be free, sexually. I had to force myself to be a bad girl with my husband even though I would giggle my way through our love making. My giggles were sheer nerves which of course, he saw and courteously smoothed over. He kept encouraging me to let myself go and finally, I began to truly enjoy my sex with him for the first time in our married lives.

    God bless you in your efforts, Dex. You will overcome and she will be set free by our joined prayers and faith. I am a walking sexual miracle. I have the faith to believe with you and your wife. smP

  28. i would not refuse him sex, unless of course you are just so angry or hurt that you don’t want him to touch you.

    i would not deny him sex for three reasons …

    one, in general, it is bad to link mis-behavior on his part to “no-sex”. you did not wash the dishes — no sex, you did not come home on time, no sex etc. i recommend sticking to the topic, you do not want him to look at porn.

    two, what do men do when they look at porn? basically they give themselves a sexual release. not having sex with him will give him more incentive to have sex by himself.

    three, why punish yourself? he is supposed to be keeping you sexually satisfied as well.

  29. i strongly suggest you NOT tell another man your husband looks at porn.

    as tractor7 says above, he will probably feel betrayed.

    like vegas, what happens in marriage stays in marriage. yes, you can tell a counselor or therapist or someone he agrees to, but only if he agrees.

    i predict that just telling a man without your husband’s consent will end in tears.

  30. sweat tea,

    you should respect him regardless as he is your husband and if nothing else a human being.

    i very rarely refer to the bible, but i think it is appropriate here. John 8:1-11,

    the part about “let the one without sin throw the first stone”.

    ok ok … a little harsh i admit, but really he is your husband. your marriage is on the line. always treat him with respect even through divorce. him looking at porn may be his problem, but you not treating him with respect is on you. you do not have to feel respect … but you do have to treat him with respect.

    now as for the porn, since you have let him know your feelings, either he does not think it is wrong, or he has a problem. if he has a problem he will really need professional help.

    i do want to say that i hope you can eventually feel respect for your husband too … if i was harsh it was not because i do not sympathize with your problem. especially if you do not trust him, that is definitely a problem worth praying for.

    it is just, men are genetically programmed to like to look at women. he really could be addicted much like an alcoholic.

    however, you can still choose to treat him with respect. that is a choice you make.

  31. Because of it’s highly addictive nature and the way the brain is wired, overcoming pornography is a challenging battle (harder than overcoming drugs and alcohol). We must rely on the Lord for his help, but I believe He works through inspired servants to minister and assist those struggling with this problem.

    My husband and son were both addicted to pornography and we found a wonderful online program that taught them how to overcome their addictions. The program has been put together by Christian men who are doctors and educators, in a way that people of any faith can benefit (their mission is to teach all people about the addictive nature of pornography, which unfortunately most of the world refuses to accept). I can’t say enough about what a blessing this program has been to our family!

    Here is the website:

    http://candeocan.com

    In addition to help for the addict, it features support for spouses, family members, and friends as well There are numerous podcasts, testimonials, and other information available. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!

  32. Also try the Triple X Church: http://xxxchurch.com. A couple of young ministers used to be based out here in Southern Cal-a-for-nee and developed a program to combat porn addiction. They would set up a booth at AVN, the adult entertainment convention in Las Vegas and minister to anyone interested. They also have accountability software. They’re guys who like to push the boundaries of evangelism and go out where the people and the problems are.

    This is from their website:

    The Team: Craig Gross is the founder and leader of XXXchurch.com. Working alongside Craig is an amazing group of people and organizations.

    The Board: XXXchurch is a non-profit 501 C3 organization that sits under the umbrella of Fireproof Ministries. There is a board of directors overseeing this ministry and an executive team that is made up of Rob Supan, Jake Larson, Craig Gross, Bryan Johnston, Brandon Cotter, Ryan Russell and Matt Shatto.

    The Name: XXXchurch is provocative, memorable, and it combines the seedy and the sacred. Enough said.

    The Mission: XXXchurch is here to make you think, react, and to decide where you stand on the issues of porn. We’re not here to sling mud, but to shove the envelope and try and do some good.

    The Tag Line: The “#1 Christian Porn Site” is what we are.

    The Vibe: It’s hip, relevant, irreverent, honest, fun, and designed for people just like you.

  33. Setting Captives Free has a good, biblical 60-day bible study program with mentoring/accountability online for people with various addictions, including sexual addictions and pornography. It also has a special set of lessons/mentoring, for the wives of porn addicts, so that there will be a united front on the issue, and so the wife can think biblical truth in this very hard situation.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Comments RSS

  • Click here
  • May 2008
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr   Jun »
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 900 other followers