Porn

April 9, 2009

The following series about pornography was done on the Generous Husband tips over an eight day period.

Which one are you?

The good news is I am sending a full week of tips about sex – the “bad” news is they are about pornography.

I think men fall into four categories with regards to porn:

    1) Those who are not even trying to avoid it.
    2) Those who are trying/wanting to stop.
    3) Those who have won the battle.
    4) Those who made a decision not to indulge early on and have stuck to it.

Unless you are one of the very few in the last group, pornography has had some affect on your marriage – and that affect is probably greater than you realize. Statistically speaking, more than half of the men receiving this are in one of the first two groups.

Let me start by telling you my story. I want you to know where I’m coming from, and I want you to know I do not speak as one of those in the fourth group who don’t know enough about it to really understand.

My introduction to porn came in 1968, at the age of 7, when I found some Playboy and Penthouse magazines in the guest room closet.
By the age of 10, well before puberty, I was masturbating to orgasm. Porn was the primary reason I started masturbating as such a young age, and porn was a part of my masturbation from the very start.
At the age of 13 I was spending at least 30 minutes a day looking at porn. This was before VCRs or the Internet, so my source was magazines and paperback books that described the sexual “adventures” of fictitious characters in vivid, lusty detail. I swapped porn with several friends to increase what I could see. I found my porn in illegal dumping spots in the woods near my house, another fellow stole his, and one guy found a huge stash in the attic of their new home. By 13 I was into the real fringe stuff, some of which was probably illegal.
Just before my 15th birthday, at a time I was becoming serious about my Christian faith, I realized my porn use was not acceptable to God. It may sound strange this came as a revelation, but back then porn was not discussed, and it certainly was not discussed in church!
I threw away a 30 gallon trash bag of porn, and never looked at it again. And I do know it’s not so easy for most guys. I had some things going for me – first I was young and idealistic, and just knowing it was wrong with Jesus caused me to not want to have anything to do with it. Also, I was not hit in the face with porn a dozen times a day like we all are today. Sure I was tempted to go get some, but by the grace of God I never did. Of course I still had the mental effects of the porn, and that took me another ten years to rid myself of those.

Which brings us to the platypus in the green T-shirt.

Platypus in a green T-shirt??

I want to try and explain how pornography affects our minds and bodies. Stay with me, it will all come together eventually.

In a study, people who did not know the purpose of the study were shown an abstract image at the same time they were exposed to a distinctive food smell. With repeated exposures their brains became conditioned to associate the image with the smell. Eventually the sight of the abstract image caused them to hunger for the food associated with the image, even when the smell was not present. What we see, hear or smell when we are sexually aroused has a similar affect, and the affect is particularly strong when an orgasm occurs. This is how God made us, and when we limit our sexuality to our wife this is a good thing – it causes us to sexually desire her more strongly and it makes sex with her better.

Imagine for a moment most of the world’s pornographers decided to start putting all their female “models” and “actresses” in green T-shirts. And not just to start with, the T-shirt is either worn or held or in some way used in every picture or scene. After repeated exposure to this, men would start to be aroused by green T-shirts. Men would even get aroused seeing a display rack of green T-shirts. Let us further imagine these same pornographers started using the word “platypus” in all their porn. Men say platypus as they pull women’s clothing off, and women say it loudly during sex. Soon the word would have a sexual force behind it for the men watching porn.

But the affects would not stop with men being aroused by green T-shirts and the word platypus. Men would want and crave those things to be a part of their sex life. Men would buy their wives green T-shirts and beg them to wear them for sex. Men would say platypus during sex, and want their wife to do the same.

Know where I’m going here? Think about it. Next we will move from the hypothetical green shirted Australian oddity to something totally unreal.

Bambi in fantasy land …

Okay, no one says platypus, or wears green T-shirts, in porn. But porn has about as much to do with reality as a bad 60′s science fiction movie; except the special affects are better in the porn. Pornographers are experts at using camera angles, lighting, and even body make up to make things look bigger than they really are. And of course the men pop Viagra like candy, and the women use large quantities of artificial lubricants. It’s not sex, it’s a gross caricature of sex.

Admittedly my exposure to porn is somewhat dated, but I’ve heard enough to know the game is the same, only the props have changed. In the mid 70′s “the look” was breasts so large they seems likely to explode; today “the look” is piercing and tattoos in sensitive places and shaved off pubic hair. Back then oral sex was THE sex act – if you had sex with a woman and it did not include oral sex you were being cheated, you were missing out. Today the must experience, don’t let her cheat you out of it thing is anal sex.

I do not mean to say any of these looks or activities are inherently wrong. But like the green T-shirts in my example, the constant exposure to these looks and acts affects a man. He starts to want his wife to look a way she does not want to look, and to do things she is not interested in doing. The man starts to feel neglected and cheated because his wife won’t engage in some act he has seen repeatedly in porn. She could be willing to have sex with him twice a day, but if she won’t do those things he has come to see as important, he is upset and unsatisfied. The false reality of porn is invading his marriage bed; it’s hurting his wife, and destroying their sex life.

Wanting her to shave or to try anal sex is only the tip of the iceberg – the real damage to his mind, and to their sex life, is deeper and less obvious. 

Are any real women like that?

Yesterday I discussed some of the unreality of porn. Today I want to look at some subtler, and therefore more damaging lies porn tells about women.

In porn most women are ready and eager for sex 24/7. In fact, most of them are so eager they will have sex with anyone, or anything they can get their hands on. And the women who are not “always on” can be made ready and willing with a few dirty words and 30 seconds of fondling.

The women of porn orgasm easily, quickly, and often. Even in the most bizarre, contorted intercourse positions, they orgasm over and over, without any foreplay required. If there is foreplay, they orgasm at least once during that.

The women of porn like sex hard and rough. A slap on the butt that will hurt for hours is a turn on, so is having a nipple almost pulled off. Sex that will leave marks is fun, and prolonged intercourse that would leave a real woman raw is how they like it.

And of course, the women of porn make sure you know when they orgasm. They wake the neighbours and threaten to buck the man off of the bed.

I could give numerous other examples of how the “women of porn” have no similarity to real women, but I’ll do just one more. I’ve saved the worst, the most destructive, for last. The women of porn have no need for a relationship with their sex partner. Anyone, any time, any place, relationship unnecessary. The women of porn don’t need to feel loved or cherished in order to feel sexual, they do not need romance in order to want sex, they do not need a committed relationship in order to want, much less have, an orgasm. For the women of porn sex is an entity unto it’s self, and the rest of their lives don’t intrude into their sex lives.

Are there any real women who are like that? Is your wife like that?

Time for the big question.

I’ve spent four days laying the foundation for this question: How has your exposure to porn altered your sexual desires and expectations?

Please don’t think you can ignore the question if you no longer view porn. I gave it up at age 15, but I found some of its influence was still with me when I married at 24. Just like those folks I discussed who got hungry for a certain food when they saw a certain abstract image, if you have viewed porn you have been affected.

Have you asked your wife to shave her pubic hair? Were you upset when she said no? Did you think she was being uptight for not wanting you to ejaculate on her face, or did you not believe she was telling the truth when she said anal sex was not enjoyable for her? Do you get mad she won’t scream when she orgasms, or are you frustrated she won’t even try to have more than one orgasm? Have you ever “surprised her” with a sex toy or extreme lingerie or tried to sneak a finger in her anus because you knew she would say no if you asked, but thought she might like it if she tried it?

Are you unhappy with a sex life which should satisfy you? Do you feel sexually cheated, but can’t give a good reason for feeling like that? Has your frustration pushed your wife away? Or has your pushiness forced her away? Has she said in exasperation “No matter what I do you will never be satisfied” or “Why can’t we just have normal sex for once?”

If your desires, attitudes, and expectations have been coloured by porn, you are hurting your wife and cheating both of you out of what God wants you to have sexually. Pray about it, be brutally honest with yourself.

The other thing

We can’t talk about pornography without discussing masturbation.

After a great deal of study and prayer I am convinced masturbation, in and of itself, is not inherently sinful. I mention this only because some of you know my stand on this and I don’t want to confuse anyone; however, it’s not relevant to our current discussion. If you are married, it now belongs to her, not you (1 Cor 7:4) and you have no business playing with it on your own!

While some guys who vent their porn-inspired lust on their wife (how nice for the wife) the majority of men with a serious porn habit are also masturbating – some guys more than once a day. Porn is intentionally designed to get a guy to masturbate – if he has an orgasm while watching a video or viewing a web site, it greatly increases the chances he will come back.

Masturbation does not fulfil all the sexual urges God gave us as men, but it does drain off our strong physical drive. Did you know God gave you a strong drive for a reason? He wants you to have a lot of sex with your wife! God created us to need sex for a variety of things, including a healthy marriage, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. When you masturbate you reduce the push to have sex with your wife. This reduces the amount of sex you have with her, which in turn hurts the health of your marriage as well as the health of both you and your wife. If you’re married, masturbation is like only eating junk food each time you feel hunger. It takes the hunger away, but it does not give you what and need, and you have not done what God intended the drive to cause you to do.

I know many of you struggle because your wife is not as interested in sex as you are. I understand taking care of it in the shower is easier, and safer, than risking rejection. I also know masturbation is the wrong way to deal with the situation. When a man starts masturbating it inevitably results in less and less sex with his wife. It’s usually gradual, but it happens, and that is a very bad thing. Masturbation can also become a habit a man won’t give up. Many women start to want more sex as they pass the mid thirties (there are hormonal reasons for this, along with less stress from child raising). A growing number of these women are finding their husband is unwilling to have more sex. There are many reasons for this, but masturbation is a major factor. How sad! A man looking for a temporary fix ultimately cheats himself, and his wife, out of what he really wants.

We also need to realize many women do not see masturbation as a minor issue. Most are deeply hurt and offended when they discover their husband is doing it, and some even see it as a form of adultery. Throw in porn, and some women will start talking about divorce. When a woman finds out her husband is engaged in porn and/or masturbation it hurts her deeply, and does significant harm to the couple’s marriage.

What to do about it

But what to do? First let me suggest you not hang the word “addict” around your neck. Depending on how you define addiction, porn qualifies, but the word too often is used to relieve someone of responsibility or say they are powerless. Let me ask you – if your wife said “The next time you use porn I will divorce you” and you knew she meant it – do you think you could stop “cold turkey”? If so then the issue is about how motivated you are to stop! That is what the proceeding is about. It is my prayer some who thought their porn use was “no big deal” now see it for the problem it is. I also pray those who already knew porn was a problem have become motivated to do something about it.

The first thing to do is to pray and commit yourself to ending your porn use. Next, get rid of every bit of porn you have, as well as how you get it. Don’t save a few pictures in a hidden folder on your hard drive, don’t “forget” to throw out a video you have stashed some place, and don’t save a few porn site URLs. Get rid of everything! Clear your e-mail addresses and your browser history and destroy any links back.

Next you need to make changes to reduce your temptations. If your drive to work takes you by the X-rated video store you shop, find another way to drive. Move the computer to a place where you can’t hide, and choose not to be on it when you are alone. Change whatever you need to change. When I gave up porn it cost me my best friend, the best friend I’d had up to that point. But it was worth it. Also be aware of things that cause you to go after porn – if you use porn to deal with stress or anger, find better ways of dealing with those things. If watching certain shows cause you to want to view porn, then stop watching them. If going to the park for lunch and looking at the women walking by causes you temptation, find some place else to eat.

Now it’s time to confess to your wife. You have sinned against her, and you can’t repent or seek her forgiveness, without confessing. Yes, she will be mad – and she has good reason to be. It’s going to hurt her, maybe deeply, and it’s going to strain your marriage; sin hurts people and relationships. I know some will not confess, claiming they don’t want to hurt their wife, or fearing she might leave them, but confessing and working to rebuild is the right thing to do – so be a man and do it!

Beyond being the right thing to do, telling your wife significantly improves your chances of freeing yourself for good. In part this is because being willing to confess is a sign a man is serious (if a guy isn’t serious, he is NOT going to tell his wife). Additionally your wife can be a help to you. Ask her to regularly ask you how your doing. Knowing SHE will be asking you can really help when you are tempted. A further reason to talk to your wife is so she will understand if you experience sexual changes as you remove yourself from porn. If you have been masturbating a lot your drive may go up. You could also have a short term problem with rapid ejaculation. On the other hand, if porn has been adding to your sex drive you may feel a decrease in desire., Some men have erection problems, others have difficulty ejaculating. Your wife may suddenly seem sexually boring, or you may get upset about sex for no explainable reason.

I’m all for getting help with ending a porn habit, but be careful. In a recent survey more than half of all self-described “Evangelical pastors” admitted to an ongoing problem with porn – and the situation with the men in the pews is no better. The last thing you want is a case of the blind leading the blind. There are a number of good Internet resources for this, I’ll plug a few. 

I have gotten to know, in a cyber way, the founder of Be Broken Ministries. Jonathan is a great and dedicated guy, and he has a fresh approach to an old issue. I highly recommend his book “Understanding Shame“.

I have heard many good things about Setting Captives Free, and several of the men on this list have contacted me this week to say it has really helped them. Their Pure Freedom Course is excellent. SCF also helps women who are involved in porn – if you and your wife have been viewing porn together and both need help, this is a great place to get it.

Some other good resources are the free accountability software from XXXChurch.com, and the tools at Content Watch, including a free scan for of your computer, and various pay tools to remove porn and prevent you from getting to it again.

And what about this computer you are using? It’s a great tool, but it is also a major problem for anyone trying to escape porn. Two big problem areas are pop-ups and e-mail. I use the the free Google Toolbar, which includes a pop-up stopper. E-mail is a bigger problem. Filters and spam block services don’t really do the job – some stuff you don’t want gets through, while some you do want does not. The only real way to cut off all porn from your in-box is to use a white list service. The service offered by Spam Rival will do this for you (unless you are on AOL), and at $15.00 a year it’s affordable.

Follow ups

This last week of posts has brought me more feed back than any previous month of posts. Several points should be addressed here. 

What about “soft porn” – sexual images not in the category many would call porn. In days gone by teen age boys would use the lingerie section of the Sears and Roebuck catalog or pictures of naked natives from National Geographic as porn. Lust, other than lust for one’s wife, is sin. Jesus said it is like adultery in your heart. Each of us has a different level of what we can ignore and what causes us to lust, but need to avoid what causes us to lust. I also think the sex one sees in movies rated R, PG-13 and even PG can be a problem. There is not as much nudity as with porn, but the wrong attitudes and desires and many of the other unreal aspects I talked about are there. Is a man who thinks women don’t need foreplay because of R rated movies any better off than a man who thinks this because of porn?

I know some of you have a dug yourself into a hole by not being honest with your wife about your sexual needs. You told her you wanted/needed less than you really did out of fear she would think you were being selfish or saying you were over sexed. Our society has called the sex drive God gave men wrong, and many of us fear exposing what is really there. Increasingly men are questioning their normal, God given sex drive, thinking there is something wrong with them. How very sad this is! God made you to have a strong drive, a much stronger drive than your wife, and He called it good. It is not unreasonable or selfish for a man to desire sex as much as everyday. It’s natural for a man to feel frustrated, and even angry, when sex occurs significantly less often than he wants. You are responsible for your actions and how you deal with your sex drive, but you are not “to blame” for your strong drive. God does not want you to apologize for your drive, down play it, or ignore it. Do not call what God made bad, and don’t let your wife think it’s bad. You need to be honest, and you need to educate your wife. Ask her to forgive you if you have lied or mislead her, and work to help her understand how God made you.

I was asked if it’s wrong for a man to masturbate if his wife refuses him sex. First I think we need to be clear about what is refusing and what is not. Your wife is responsible for taking care of your sexual needs, but she has to have a clear understanding of what those needs are in order to do her part. Don’t assume she knows; she is a woman and she can’t know how you feel, what you want, or how you think. If you hint you want sex and your wife does not make herself available, she is not refusing. If you ask her if she wants to have sex and she says no, she is not refusing. If you come to bed after her and she is asleep, or almost asleep, she is not refusing. If you ask to have sex and she says no, then she is refusing. If this happens regularly you need to sit down with her and tell her it hurts you emotionally and causes you to struggle with temptation. If she still won’t meet your sexual needs, then and only then can you really say your wife is refusing you.

If your wife is sinfully unwilling to meet your sexual needs, I do not think you do sin by OCCASIONALLY masturbating to deal with the physical part of the pressure. Of course any use of porn or sexual thoughts about a woman other than your wife is sin, no matter what you are doing. I realize there are some who will strongly disagree with me on this. I respect that, but without a Biblical text to support it I can’t tie this burden onto any man.

29 comments
Jackson
Jackson

more info. still have sex too, but wife often recommends masturbation and is usually there. sometimes naked, etc.

Jackson
Jackson

just curious your thoughts if wife encourages husband to masturbate and helps the process sometimes, sometimes not.

Rob
Rob

SMG - also be sure allow yourself to feel good about your victories so far! The pull is strong and we might feel bad about ever giving in, but it's a big deal to be on top of the habit right now! There's nothing easy about it.

Some married guy
Some married guy

I have Xwatch from XXX.Church and haven't viewed porn from my home computer. That however, doesn't make the desire go away, nor does it solve the self condemnation that comes with the desire (regardless if acted upon). What has helped is 1) an internal investigation as to what God - given need/desire which I'm trying to satisfy via porn use (ie. frustration with the wife may leave me feeling disrespected - the women in porn always 'respect' me and are eager to fulfill my desires.) 2) is a viewpoint from MyChainsAreGone.org

2k
2k

i am not married but i had a serious problem with masturbation but God freed me a few months ago and i am super grateful to Him. I also started masturbating long before my teens into my twenties so you can imagine how free and grateful to God i feel to be free from that disgusting habit. How i know that i am free is i am not afraid that i will fall back into it(the bible says that perfect love casts out fear) That addiction to masturbation was making almost leading me to a serious addiction to porn and lustful thoughts so God did a lot of good work in my life in freeing me and for this i give him all the glory. While i am in my mid twenties and i think still a long way off from getting married, i think that porn and masturbation has negatively affected how i think of sex and really killed my self worth, self confidence to the point that i cannot see myself getting married to a good godly woman. This is because i dont feel like i deserve anything as good as a christian woman for a wife. My self worth is in the gutter and i hope that God will finish the good work that He started in me so that if God gives me a wife, she will not have to pay for my past mistakes an our marriage will not be strained by my past. I found this site through Christian nymphos and i thank God that there are people still standing for righteousness in sexual matters in a world so perverted. God bless you and your marriages... There is something i need to ask you guys.... While i was masturbating a lot and watching porn, i never slept with anyone. QUESTION IS, AM I STILL A VIRGIN?(am a young man if that helps)

OneSurvivor
OneSurvivor

As the former wife of a porn addict/masturbator, I have to say that what you are writing is spot on. As a survivor, I brought my own issues into the marriage. Of all the struggles in our marriage...the alcohol, drugs, brokenness, etc., I would have to say that the porn was the biggest factor. All those things you wrote about what a wife experiences...I experienced. I was constantly in competition with his fantasy lover. He kept trying to get me to be something/someone I was not. I believe it was the single most destructive thing in our marriage.

reddietofly
reddietofly

X3watch from XXXchurch.com has been very helpful to me in dealing with porn. The program is free and allows you to put in two email addresses for accountability. I put my wife's email address as one. Periodically, she gets a report of any website I have visited that might be questionable. In the beginning, it was a constant battle for me. I thought that I could just turn off the program and be free from accountability. One of the best things about the program is that it informs your accountability partner if you turn off the program for any reason. Also, I thank God that my wife is loving, understanding, and gracious. This does not mean that she has not been devastated when i have messed up. But, she is patient and has every reason to want me to defeat this. Pray is an intricate part of breaking this bondage as well. Paul, you have some great content here. I really appreciate it.

Guy
Guy

@pafamilyguy - I too, unfortunately have had experience with internet pornography sites in a unhealthy manner years & years ago. Yeah, I used to justify why I would and could go to these sites (hey - I'm an adult, I'm not breaking any law, I'm in control, or any other warped excuse or reason that Guru mentioned above...) but this behavior only led to serious lacking of real love - real intimacy - and, eventually, a divorce with my then wife. The growing shame and guilt from this addiction and its results had helped block God and His healing grace out of my heart and my life. Thankfully, in time, I found Christ (again) through a local ministry that is focused on these issues that are ever present to men like us, every day. As for defining sin - a couple years ago, a good friend of mine (Senior pastor/director of Native American ministries) came by my home in Vancouver, WA for a visit (he was in the area and was thinking of me and my family). He and I discussed much about our lives since the last time I saw him. After a couple hours of some deep and intimate discussions, he had to leave for other commitments - but as he did, he left me with an unforgettable message - "...Guy, please promise me that you won't try to understand sin. To understand it is a battle in futility..." and so, I did promise him that I wouldn't. This ties in well with what the apostle Paul said about Human Nature... “I do not understand my own actions because I do not do what I want to. But I do the very thing that I hate. … I can will what is right but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good that I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who does it but the sin that dwells within me. … Wretched person that I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death, from this life of sin? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” - Romans 7. This, I believe is very accurate in its description of our human nature and thus the necessity of our reliance in Christ and on our fellow Christian men who can share in our struggles. So, pafamilyguy, as a man who has lost his share of battles with sexual addiction, but has won many as well (thanks to Him!), my thoughts and prayers are with you. Remember well that He died for us, long before we even knew of the sins we would do. He loves us more, now, then when we were at birth. Shame and guilt are powerful forces that the evil one uses to cloud our own thoughts and feelings. They are insidious tools that block out God's Grace in our hearts and prevent real healing. When temptations come, pray for his light to shine in your heart, pray for your desires to be in His light. And if you fail, don't beat yourself up over it with shame and guilt. Admit that you messed up and that you so want him in your heart. Your actions and behavior of having Christ in your heart (and in your daily living) will be testimony to your family and loved ones that you are changing for Him. I do not want to be a pessimist here, but there's no guarantee that your wife will stay around. She can leave you at any time. However, you can choose to be the best man for God that you can be. And, in doing so, you are also becoming the best husband you can be as well! You can't control her (you never could!), but you can direct your own actions and behaviors to be set in the path of Christ. Pafamilyguy - If you would like to further this discussion more privately, feel free to email me at {gralstin@gmail.com} In His light, Guy

pafamilyguy
pafamilyguy

Guys, could really use a Christian brother prayer support right now - did use porn far more regularly 5-6 years ago, ever since has been once every 2-3 weeks for a very short time, knowing it was wrong and feeling stupid all along the way (like mentioned above, not the really gross stuff, but movie screen grabs from mainstream movies - tried to tell myself less of issue). Haven't touched it in months, finally stopping myself before I get there. Small victory, I know, but confessed to wife and she is not happy, especially since she found out about the habit last time. could be really, really bad, feeling (as I did before, lonely, not real confident) That in itself is probably what caused it last time - not feeling good about myself, knowing marriage was not good - even worse now, of course - trying to climb back up but having tough time doing so. Please say a prayer when you get a chance. Thanks.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Guy - I think we are in agreement on this. I think masturbation should only occur when the wife is unavailable, unable, or unwilling. I also think that unless she is likely to do something crazy about it, it should no be done without her being aware of it.

Guy
Guy

Hello GH - a very honest and open discussion indeed! Although I am in fair agreement with about 98% of the discussion, I must humbly disagree with one key area - masturbation. I too have had a long and thoughtful (and prayerful) reflection on this subject. Here's what I believe: If the husband views masturbation as a way of building a stronger, more honorable, more intimate and loving relationship with his wife, then the act of masturbation may be ok. However, if the act of his masturbation does not directly (or indirectly) honor and love his wife (...or, Honor and Love Christ) and thus only satisfies his own physiological/sexual needs/desires/needs... it is indeed not healthy. Just my own feelings here as I've also had some life experience with these struggles. I believe this is also relative to your discussion thread - "Die To Self and Live For Your Marriage". Also - I want to extend an "Amen" to Jim - These struggles are indeed life long and will only cease when we cease to exist. Christ set an example for us to follow, however, even Christ Himself was tempted, just as we are and will continue to be... And for Guru Hafook - you're in my prayers man :-). Thanks again for the open and honest forum to discuss a very real and troublesome issue for both single and married men alike.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Guru Hafook - It does not seem you are interested in a discussion, but I do want to address a couple of your points. I have no desire to define sin. Neither is it necessary, as God's Word has already done this. As to legalism, I do not disagree with you. Legalism never destroys. It keeps some "safe" for a time, but many end up with a bigger fall because of that. You said "Porn is good, healthy and exciting for those who are free and it is not addictive for those who are balanced." And how many folks are in that group? It's not the majority, not even close! Even if you were right, how do folks know if they qualify? By definition those who are out of balance don't have a clear understanding of themselves! Besides, porn is a very poor substitute for a truly deep, intimate sex life with one you love. Those who discover what love and sex can be have no use for porn, it's a cheap and bland substitute for the real pleasure and excitement they have found. It is interesting that the "world" had started to see the danger of porn. I'm talking about the right wingers, or ultra feminists - I'm talking about men and women who would call themselves liberals or progressive, and who enjoy sex (most in non-married and even non-m0nogomous sex lives). What these folks are seeing is that porn is destroying the ability of folks to have good, real sex. Young men who grow up on porn have a warped idea of sex that no woman wants, and no woman enjoys.

fay
fay

I'm new to this site and found the link on another Christian site. First off, I'm not especially spiritual; I don't usually read Christian sites. This piece on the damaging effect of pornography was excellent. Sadly, too late for me. I left my 23 year marriage and lack of sex was a huge reason. He long ago chose porn and self gratification over me. I was a good wife, I kept myself nice, worked full time and raised our two children. I became very frustrated with the fact that he almost never approached me for sexual relations. It hurt me deeply, but even more when he told me "if you want to just let me know". As a woman that really stung. He didn't need me, I wasn't enough, and as your piece illustrates, nothing was enough anymore. I had never been a prude and rarely if ever turned him down. I enjoyed our physical relationship at one time. I think a huge part of his undoing was the way he was raised; extremely inhibited. In his childhood home sex was very taboo. Once he was away from that oppressive environment I think he just wanted to experience everything and feel like he was out from under her father's influnce. It's unfortunate; he wouldn't even admit to me he ever had an issue with it; he did. He also would never admit he preferred masturbating; he did. I hope your writing helps another couple.

Snuggle Muffin
Snuggle Muffin

Hey Paul, are you going to add the neuroscience addiction info to this series? How Pornography Drugs & Changes Your Brain

Ed
Ed

I found this blog as a link from 'The Marriage Bed'. I too was exposed to porn early in life and it has made an impact in my life and marriage. Working in the computer industry has given me the expertise to 'hide' the evidence of viewing porn online. The problem is that it is NOT hidden. Not only does the Lord know what I have been doing, I can see the effects on my sex life with my wife. The behaviors mentioned about porn trends almost perfectly mirror what I have desired in the bedroom. I have been experiencing the 'performance' problems mentioned and in part was blaming it on my wife. Thank You for this information. Please be praying for me that I will now be able to break my addiction.

Brannasr
Brannasr

Amen!!! This post is spot on!! Thank you very much GH for laying it out plainly!! It's easy to tell when someone does not sugar-coat a message from God, because it is powerful and to the point. This is the exact instruction that we Christian men need to battle this temptation that gets thrown at us daily. God Bless you Brother!!

Jim
Jim

Hello, I'm new to this site but appreciate the in-depth manner in which you present your ideas. Yes, pornography is very destructive and can pull you into a dangerous world where all the desires of your mind are met. Unfortunately, just as gasoline feeds the fire, masturbation joins up with porn to produce bad life long consequences. I say this because it is my own personal opinion that even if a man gives up pornography, it's images are permanently burned into his subconscious. And they have a way of resurfacing when you least expect it. The struggles against the flesh are life long and only end when you die and leave this world.

Moriah
Moriah

GH this is amazing. I thought I was literally the only person in the world who comprehended the devastatingly corrosive and erosive effects of porn upon sexual expectations, programmed desires, and consequent/subsequent deterioration of the sexual aspect in a couple's relationship -- as well as the addictive properties of repeated masturbation -- but you've covered all of this and more and hit the proverbial nail smack on the head. I've read several articles discussing the problem with porn and such and not one of them has delved so deep past tagging it as a form of adultery by proxy and discussing the addictive quality. God bless you for your frank and candid talk with the menfolks here. This is eye opening and powerful stuff.

Straight forward
Straight forward

Thank you from my heart. Your genius thought and experiece sharing is valuabla. May Jesus love you and bless you and your loved ones. Your post should be published in a most truted and famous news headlight. Thank you , THANK YOU!

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Annalea - Thanks for the kind words. I moved this from the old site, and have not run it as a tip, so it probably has not been seen very much. I need to do a tip pointing out the non-tip pages here.

Annalea
Annalea

GH - I can't believe that you only have two comments on this post. It is by far the BEST breakdown of the damaging effects of porn that my husband and I have ever come across! We're sharing it with the marriage ministry we're involved in ~ godsavemymarriage.com ~ and we'll be linking to it on our blog ~ yourmarriagerestored.com ~ of which you're already on our blog roll. Keep the awesome posts coming!

SAILOR73
SAILOR73

HI I want to congratulate you for your site and by helping men in all this matters. I personaly have a problem on this matter and I think this is the first time that I see some ligth in this blog .Like you I started to masturbating at very young age and it has been part of my life all the way trougth.For many reasons (mostly Jobs)I have been away from my wife and masturbation has been a replacement(a poorly one). Most the time when I am doing it I think of my wife couse I still love her and desire her so much and enjoy her company and our relationship. After twentysix years of marriage we still have our moments, but I think my sexual drive is still stronger than hers (we are 45-46). actually Rigth now I'am living away from her and we see each other every four months. I remember our sexual moments every time I feel necesity of her body and masturbate. But I have to confes that I have been watching porn in the past, For now I have been holding myself from that but the temtation is there and I ask God (Jesus) for help. I am still masturbating thinking of my wife: is this a sin? or it is only if a think of other women? Thank you for your help. God Bless you

ewm21
ewm21

wow, what a great series. I've used your site for about 2 weeks and had never looked at the porn link. I had a problem with porn and infidelity ever since I got married. Although God has healed me from my addiction (Oct 31, 2008 - literally, woke me in the middle of the night to make me understand how valued I am to Him and that His Grace is sufficient for me), I find myself getting upset with my wife for not wanting me more and for refusing me to perform oral sex with her - I feel so deprived because she's 45 and she's supposed to be wanting me more now, right? She's happy that I don't miss a day to rise early for my devotions, that I'm much more patient with the kids and just have a gentler calmness about me, but I find myself getting so frustrated with her because she hasn't responded to me in the bedroom. she's even said she doesn't like oral sex... and she orgasms everytime I do it,..???... Talk about confusing!!! Now, after reading your series on porn, I can see it's MY attitude that needs changed! Thank you and I have to go now to do some praying and confessing. God bless you and your ministry

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

Jackson - I find this a far better solution than her just saying no! If this is in addition to a regular, healthy, mutually enjoyed sex life, done because you desire more than she does, then I don't see any reason for concern. Some couples find this a good solution to differences in sex drive. Sometimes this even results in the wife wanting a b it more sex. Other times the wife starts to offer this instead of sex, and that can be a problem. Bottom line, if it does not mean less sex as a couple, it's very unlikely it will be a problem.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@2k - A virgin is someone who has never had intercourse; it's about what the body does, so you are a virgin. Your mind however has been deeply effected by the porn you have seen, and as such you are not the same as a man who has neither had sex nor watched porn. I don't say this as judgment, just a fact. The good news is that God can and will help you to renew your mind. It takes time, and may be so gradual at first that you can't see it, but staying free of porn and fighting the lust will result in changes. Given that you clearly have a sex drive, it is God's will that you marry. Continue to work towards being the kind of husband God would have you be.

Guy
Guy

XXXchurch.com is a great way to take the first steps needed to break the internet porn habit by setting up an accountability partner to be privy to all web sites you view. Covenant Eyes is another very good software choice as well for having accountability to websites you view/visit. Another software choice is Safe Eyes and is endorsed by Dave Ramsey. It does cost though - about $50.oo. Reddietofly - you are a lucky guy to have such a patient and loving wife. And, so true about the power of prayer - it is our spiritual life-line to Him.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Snuggle Muffin - It's a good article, I just wish he did not try to make porn an addiction in the more classic sense of the word. There are some very valid, science based reasons to say it's not an addiction, and frankly I don't see any benefit from getting into that argument. Give the data, tell what it means, and let folks learn from it. When you enter into the addiction argument I fear you distract from the real issue. The addiction argument is a clinical one, and I just don't see how it helps anyone one way or the other. Of course I also have a bias on this based on my personal experience. At 15, after 7 years of porn use, the last three years of it daily, I set it down and stopped cold turkey. Successfully went cold turkey. To some degree I think that is about my all or nothing personality, and I certainly give God credit for helping me. However, while I was tempted, I never, ever felt anything like withdrawal. I also recall when I was "using" being unable to view porn for a week two two weeks because of vacations. I really can't say I missed it that much while away from it. I did not crave it, I did not hurt for not seeing it, and when I got home I did not run to my stash just as soon as I could. Bottom line - for me porn was something I did that I enjoyed. Despite early and frequent use, it was never, for me, an addiction. It showed none of the classic indications of an addiction either while I was doing it or when I stopped. That DOES NOT mean it's not an addition for any0ne, but I think it pretty conclusively proves it's not an addiction for everyone.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Jim - You are certainly correct that the images, and even worse the attitudes, don't go away when the use stops. But I can tell you, some 35 years after getting out, that those things do fade over time. As to porn and masturbation being inseparably connected, I know this is the reality for some men. I also understand why it would be this way - the act and the porn were once linked, so the act will bring up the porn in a Pavlovian way. However, other men find that dealing with the mental porn temptation while masturbating is easier than dealing with lust when there is no release. This was the case for me - I don't see how I could have stayed free of porn had I not had some physical release. Granted the change in my thoughts was a process, but that process did happen. I guess it's a matter of knowing yourself and doing what works best for you. Hopefully for men who are married the release issue is not left in his hands, which makes the whole thing a non-issue.

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  1. […] Porn, by The Generous Husband (this one is a combination of a series of posts on the subject of Pornography and the harmful effects it has on marriage. Make sure you read it in its entirety to understand everything Paul is saying. He offers addendums to clarify.) […]