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5 Reasons to Tell Her You Struggle with Porn

This is a very important guest post about a topic that needs much more attention.  Thank you to Mark Chamberlain, Ph.D. for contributing it, and please check out more about his work in the bio line at the bottom of this post.

Maybe it started during a long business trip or surfing through cable channels late at night after she was asleep.

You found yourself more hooked into it than you wanted to be. Viewing that smut violates your own values, and you know she’d be offended if she found out. Her finding out… you shudder to think about that.

You don’t want to disappoint her or have her worry that this is a bigger deal than it really is. She has enough on her plate.

So you resolve to deal with it on your own. You’re confident that you can stay away from it. Maybe some day you’ll even tell her that it was something you conquered on your own long ago. So with renewed resolve you move forward, and do manage to stay away from it – for a while at least.

But then you find yourself caught up in the porn again. Enough times now that you’d have quite a bit to confess if you were to really come clean with her.

What’s a guy to do?

Tell her, that’s what! 

I know it might feel impossible, but here are five really good reasons to muster the courage and just do it:

1. Women love real men! I don’t mean men with deep voices who drive pickup trucks and bench press a lot. I mean men who are genuine and honest and open. Our wives love it when we are willing to engage and connect as we are instead of pretending to be something else. Sure,women hate it when their husbands make a habit of lusting after other women, but most women understand that porn can be addictive for men

She will be disappointed at first, maybe even emotionally devastated. But not nearly as hurt as if she were to find out on her own. She can come to understand that you want your life with her more than you want porn – but only if you open up to her about the struggle and let her know that!

2. You’re one of the good guys who deserves support! You may have developed the habit of holding your emotions in, trying to be tough, and dealing with problems on your own. You may be living in the man box that so many of us were raised to believe we need to stay in.

However, it’s okay to admit that a struggle like this is bigger than you. If it weren’t, you would have succeeded on your own before now. If she were struggling with something this difficult in her life, you’d want her to tell you so that you could be there for her, wouldn’t you?  The truth is, after the initial shock, most women feel closer to their husbands once his porn struggle is out in the open and they’re working on it together.

3. You can get this wedge out from between you and your beloved! Let’s face it, for as long as you’ve been struggling, you haven’t been able to really look her in the eye. There’s a part of you that wants to fly under her radar instead of truly engage and connect with her. Caught up in the guilt, you’ve had less mental energy to devote to her and her needs.

You’ve been more irritable. You haven’t realized it, but the primary source of your misery is not actually the porn but the closeness you’re missing out on between you and the most important person in your life!

4. Teamwork is the best path out of a pornography habit! Now that she knows, you’ll be able to reach out instead of acting out. A strong relationship is the most powerful avenue of relapse prevention. Recalling her pain will be a tether to help keep you grounded when you’re tempted in the future.

You’ll have someone to talk to when you’re feeling emotionally deflated and more at risk of relapsing. And here’s the great thing about the fact that she’s a woman: you’ll be able to talk about what you’re feeling with someone who understands emotion. You’ll have someone else joining you in praying for your success in this struggle.

5. Struggling together will draw the two of you closer! (Eventually.) Communicating about this extremely difficult issue is training at high altitude. Later when you face a crisis at work or with one of your kids, you’ll have access to all of the skills and strengths you’re developing now. If you can face this together and work through it,nothing will be able to tear the two of you apart!

And you really can face this together and work through it!

Trust her enough to open up about it, and you will most likely discover that you can!

Note from Dustin: This topic is so important and too often treated as taboo.  Please do me a favor and share this post with everyone you know…you could have a real impact in a marriage if this reaches a husband that’s just waiting to hear these words.

(photo source)

______________________________

Mark Chamberlain, Ph.D. writes on the topic of porn and relationships at this blog Love You, Hate the Porn. He is also the co-author of an upcoming book by the same title.  You can pre-order Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity through Amazon.

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About Dustin

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

Comments

  1. I agree that men (and women) can overuse and become addicted to p_rn, but in the vast, vast majority of cases, p0rn usage is perfectly healthy. This article does not seem to make the distinction between “healthy p0rn usage” and “addictive p0rn usage,” which leads mean to believe (along with the name of his books) that the author thinks that all p0rn usage is unhealthy. And that’s a very dangerous message to be giving people. Sending the message that all p0rn usage is bad and unhealthy in fact poses far more danger than p0rn itself does.

    So, to everyone reading this: p0rn *for either gender* is perfectly normal and healthy. It does not lead to cheating. It does not lead to less intimacy. It does not lead to “unhealthy” desires. And it absolutely does not mean that your spouse isn’t attracted to you.

    Almost all men look at p0rn. Encouraging women to overreact to this is a very dangerous message.

    What should you do if you catch your spouse looking at p0rn? Absolutely nothing.

    *If* it starts detracting from your sex life, time with the children, etc, then you have room to complain. But that’s not because it’s p0rn. If your spouse were reading too much and it detracted from the rest of your life, then you’d have the same amount of room to complain.

    Please set the record straight here: p0rn is perfectly normal and healthy.

    • I would like to see a study that supports the idea that “in the vast, vast majority of cases, porn usage is perfectly healthy.”

      • First, the vast majority of men use porn casually. What are the supposed ill effects of it?

        Second, if you’re going to claim that it’s unhealthy, then you have the obligation to prove that. Otherwise I can say that, oh I don’t know… living exactly 3.27 blocks from a park is unhealthy. You couldn’t possible find a study about living 3.27 blocks, so would I therefore be right? (Of course not – I have the burden of proof.)

        • “After six weeks of exposure to nonviolent porn, subjects came to see non-monogamous relationships as normal, had developed callous attitudes toward rape and sought after more deviant, bizarre types of porn.”

          Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant, Pornography’s Impact on Sexual Satisfaction, Journal of Applied Social Psychology 18(5) 1988, 438-453; and Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant, Effects ofProlonged Consumption of Pornography on Family Values, Journal of Family Issues 9(4) December 1988): 518-544.

          That does not sound “healthy” to me. Please feel free to post a counter-study.

          • From an article titled “Cultural and Ideological Bias in p0rnography Research”
            —–
            Another case of fact-value confusion in p0rnography research is found in another study by Zillmann and Bryant. Their subjects revealed an increased tendency to agree with four statements to the effect that there is inequality in female/male relationships, notably in marriage. [15] Every one of the four could be answered “Regrettably, that is so” as easily as by “Fortunately, yes.” Yet the authors repeatedly speak as if the subjects were not only describing behavioral tendencies and their consequences but endorsing them. That is also what they reported to the Attorney General’s Commission on p0rnography: “Heavy exposure to p0rnography led to a general abandonment of the notion that women are or ought to be equals in intimate relationships” (emphasis added). (“General abandonment” is a hyperbolic description of lessened average perception of equality, on a scale that was hardly precise to begin with.)

            I can think of several plausible explanations for the results of that experiment. (Assuming they are not spurious, that is: Attempts to replicate them have not, to my knowledge, been made, and there is frequent failure to get replication in this area of research.) For example, the contrast effect might have led subjects to see ordinary women, in distinction from the uninhibited ones in p0rnography, as being more constrained by traditional rules of gender and by fear of losing men’s “respect” in particular. Alternatively, seeing scenes of women and men engaging in the type of s3x that is more desired by males in this culture might incline them more toward believing that “it’s a man’s world” than they had before. (In reality, as anthropologist Donald Symons argued in his 1979 work The Evolution of Human s3xuality, this culture’s official attitudes and structures are much better designed to satisfy female desires for affection and bonding than male desires for s3x.) Finally, perhaps seeing men able to get their s3xual needs met outside a committed relationship would increase the subjects’ sense that a woman must go more than halfway to keep a man committed to her. Notice that none of these hypotheses involves the subjects’ coming to approve the reported perceptions. Moreover, Zillman and Bryant’s research did not claim that there was observable inequality in the movies shown; the researchers merely reasoned, on grounds of their results, that it must somehow be there (p. 32 of 1985 manuscript). Here again, the cultural prejudices which the subjects bring with them have been totally ignored in discussing “the effects” of p0rnography.

            [15] From Zillmann and Bryant, 1985, also Zillmann, 1985. The questions are: “Do you agree with the statement that women, generally speaking, are s3xually dominated by men?”; “Do you agree with the claim that women are more responsive to the s3xual
            needs of men than men are to those of women?”; “Do you agree with the statement that a stable marriage is best achieved by the wife’s yielding in most conflict situations?”; and “Do you agree with the contention that marriage is best served, in the long run, when husband and wife are on equal terms?” Note that the response to the first two could also represent a different contrast effect: a feeling that ordinary women, unlike those shown in p0rnography, are not being allowed adequate s3xual fulfillment.

          • There’s also some evidence that pornography may actually cause a decline in rape. While this sounds surprising, it may be simply a “get it out of your system” effect.

            http://anthonydamato.law.northwestern.edu/Adobefiles/porn.pdf

            The problem, at this point, in doing any study on pornography usage is almost all men (at least under 30) have watch porn. And those very few men who haven’t come from a very skewed population.

    • Additionally, I was not aware that “almost all men look at porn” (and by this, I mean regularly). This would possibly make sense in the community of single men, but this blog is directed toward married people who are trying to stay faithful to their spouses both in thought and deed. Is there a study to indicate that “almost all married men look at porn”?

      • Most data I’m finding online say that it’s about 70% of men. Now, if you take guys in their 20s who have their own computers, it’s probably 95%+.

        I strongly doubt that men magically stop looking at porn just because they’re in a relationship or married. Sure, they may look at it less, simply because they also masturbate less (more sex -> less masturbation).

        Do you also think masturbation is wrong?

        Also, interestingly, porn usage is highest in conservative states.

        • 70% of men regularly look at porn, or have looked at it at some point? Where did you find that figure?

        • Again, no original article, but let’s just go with the 70% of *all* “men 18-34″ cited in the second article. It still does nothing to prove that a) the use of pornography is common in healthy marriages and b) pornography is in any way healthy for marriage.

          • I’m not sure comScore really does full studies. ComScore is like Nielsen reports for the internet. Anyway, I think the Financial Times citing it gives it credibility.

            >> It still does nothing to prove that a) the use of p0rnography is common in healthy marriages and b) p0rnography is in any way healthy for marriage.

            Again, the burden of proof is on you. And a biased study from 25 years ago with questionably conclusions that do not get at the actual impact on marriages is not proof.

            The fact is that almost all men have looked at p0rnography, most (younger) men do so regularly, and there’s no evidence to show that it’s harmful.

            But, a question for you. p0rnography usage is more common in conservative, religious states. Do you think that those states have more unhealthy marriages?

            As for your claim that p0rnography usage is uncommon in healthy marriages, why do you think that is? Do you think it causes a marriage to be unhealthy, or do you think it’s a symptom of unhealthy?

            In my personal case, my fiance uses p0rn (though I personally don’t because I don’t enjoy it). I have no problem with it, and I even think it’s a good thing. When I’m not in the mood, why shouldn’t he able to get off? I fail to see why this is unhealthy.

    • You’re right. Most men look at porn and as the wife a good and decent man who looks at it occasionally, I don’t mind. In fact, it doesn’t concern me at all.

      However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s “perfectly normal and healthy”. That’s like saying it’s normal to go and eat breakfast in your bra and underwear at the diner down the road. Just because you could probably “do it” doesn’t make it normal and acceptable to the people around you. There are some things that just aren’t “mainstream” and to endorse porn as though it’s like brushing your teeth is invalid. If it were indeed as normal as you insist, we wouldn’t have to sneak around and try so hard to keep it a secret.

      And for a woman to remain tight-lipped is really bad advice. No woman should keep her mouth shut when she’s getting shafted. If your man has a problem, the last thing you should do is sit there and do “absolutely nothing”.

    • Porn is not normal and healthy. It’s immoral. Just because some people are ok with it, doesn’t make it normal or healthy.

      It IS something that should be discussed openly in a relationship, but quite frankly, if I met a guy who thought porn was either normal or healthy, I would ditch him in an instant.

      There are plenty of immoral things out there that some people think are normal and healthy. Doesn’t change the morality of the situation though.

      In addition to the morality of it, porn demeans women and implies women should be idolised for what they look like and for sex.

      • I couldn’t agree more with you, J. I like the simple and straightforward way in which you made this point.

      • No, some people being okay with it doesn’t make it normal, healthy or moral. But some people NOT being ok with it doesn’t make it abnormal, unhealthy or immoral.

        Normal: 70% of men between the ages of 18 and 34 have visited a p0rn site in the last month. I’d call that pretty normal.

        Healthy: The burden of proof is on the anti-p0rn side to prove that it’s unhealthy. Thus far, no one’s been able to do that. (The most people have been able to show is that when one person isn’t okay with it, it’s detrimental to the relationship. But that doesn’t show that p0rn itself is unhealthy.)

        Immoral: Why?

        Not dating men who think p0rn is normal or healthy: Well, factually speaking, it is normal. And every guy I’ve ever talked with thinks it’s perfectly healthy. (I’m in the < 34 years old, upper income socio-economic group.) Perhaps with the people you know it's not as common.

        Demeaning women / implying women should be idolized for s3x: If I can generalize what you're saying, it's that when a movie depicts something it implies that that depiction is idolized and that, assuming the depiction is unhealthy, you should avoid watching it. I presume therefore that you avoid movies in which the woman is depicted as a housewife and the man is earning the money. That depiction is idolized in such a movie as it implies that woman are only good for their motherly characteristics and cannot have strong careers. It would be unhealthy to watch such things, yes? (Or, perhaps instead it either (1) suggests that this element is one aspect of a person's life or (2) may idolize something, but isn't really a big deal?)

        p0rn, by the way, is much like alcohol. Most people (at least most younger men) use it regularly, and the vast majority of those use it perfectly healthily. And it's totally fine. A smaller number of people abuse it, and they need help. But the abuses of a few doesn't mean that no one should use it.

        • unfortunately this site won’t let me post what I originally wrote (too “spammy” apparently).

          so here’s the short version.

          I would love to watch a movie depicting a man so supportive of his wife that she doesn’t have to kill herself trying to be super mum, juggling being a housewife, mother AND a hectic career. I wish more men would get off their lazy butts and give their wives the gift of being able to stay at home and not worry about slaving away at a career. It would be very healthy to watch men being so responsible and women having so much freedom.

          Unfortunately society has a very UNhealthy obsession with women having to super mums who do it all, and is part of why women are suffering increasing numbers of mental breakdowns, anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. Because men aren’t taking responsible, and women end up having to do it all and some just can’t handle it. And women are able to stay at home are constantly attacked and accused of being “second rate women”, for “only” being a wife and mother.

          Porn is not like alcohol. Porn is like hard drugs. It messes up users’ minds, and sadly most of them don’t see the damage it is doing – not just to them, but their spouses, their family and everyone around them. Few use it unscathed.

          You and I obviously have a very different definition of normal. You obviously believe that “most” people doing something, makes it “normal”. More than half of women and 2/3 of men are overweight or obese. According to your logic, that must make it “normal”. Same with binge drinking.

          Sorry, but just because most people do something, doesn’t make it normal. Binge drinking and obesity are definitly not “normal”, they are both quite abnormal and quite unhealthy. just because “most” people do something, doesn’t make it normal or healthy.

          Sadly you’re wrong – most people I know are into porn – and binge drinking, promiscuity, and a lot of other unhealthy things. Interestingly, it’s the group that you mention (late 30s, higher income) that are least into it of the people I know. Again, just because “most” people do something, doesn’t make it healthy or normal.

          You didn’t tackle the question of morality – just asked “why”. Why is anything immoral? Sorry I can’t answer that for you. That’s up to your conscience and religion to know why things are right and wrong.

          There are a heap of answers I could give – because holy books say so, but I’m guessing you’re not religious – so the short version is – it’s disrespectful to your spouse if you have one – it’s saying looking at them isn’t good enough for you, it’s visual adultery, you want to see others. And if you don’t have a spouse yet, it’s saying to your future spouse, that you don’t respect your relationship with them enough to wait for them.

          My guess is you’re ok with premarital sex, so you won’t understand the last one, but again… I can’t explain immorality to you. Immorality is something a person understands or they don’t. If you don’t understand why something is immoral, then there is no way to explain to you why it is.

          • [Spammy comments: The website is detecting words like p0rn and s3x. Do this: open up Notepad, copy and paste your original message in there. Then go to Edit > Replace and change the O in p0rn to a zero. Do the same for s3x. And voila!]

            Ok, we have different definitions of normal. I think that if over 50% of some population does it, then it’s normal for that population – that is, “it’s the norm.” That’s just how I define a string of letters, and I don’t mean to imply that normal equates to healthy or moral.

            I don’t know anyone who has been damaged by p0rn, but you seem to. Could you provide some examples of how people you know are damaged by it? (And by that I mean concrete, specific examples, not vague subjectives ones.)

            I will admit that there are two main damages:
            – People whose *relationships* are damaged by p0rn (primarily because one partner isn’t ok with it), but that doesn’t mean that they are inherently damaged.
            – Those who are people who are legitimately addicted – who are choosing p0rn over their partners, etc – and, yes, it is damaging them. You might also compare this to an addition to video games. Most use it healthily, some do not.

            I’m not sure what your first two paragraphs are really getting at. I hope that you agree that it’s okay (and even good) for women to pursue careers if that’s what they want. If a movie depicts a woman who doesn’t have a career, does it mean that the movie is idolizing that, and that you’ll be brainwashed by it? Movies depict all sorts of things that may or may not be healthy. Our minds do a pretty good job of separating fiction from reality.

            You’re right that I didn’t tackle the issue of morality. Why would I? I don’t think that p0rn is like a moral good and all couples should use it. I think it’s morally neutral. I can discuss (and have discussed) if it’s NOT immoral, given initial arguments that it’s immoral. But it’s hard for me to go out and advocate for the morality of p0rn, any more so than I can for the morality of potato chips.

            I don’t agree though that you can’t argue why something is wrong. You very often can. And if you can’t, you might start to ask if it’s actually wrong, or just seems gross / weird. For example, killing someone is wrong because people have an inherent right to life, and you’re taking that from someone without their permission. One person’s right to life easily trumps anyone else’s right to do whatever they want.

            I’m curious though about holy books saying it’s wrong. Could give me some citations? And tell me, do you follow (or even wish to follow) everything your holy book says?

            As far as the whole respect issue: my fiance watches p0rn. This doesn’t bother me, it’s not disrespectful to me, and it doesn’t harm our relationship in any way whatsoever. If anything, I think it helps it. I personally don’t watch p0rn simply because I’m not visually stimulated like that. However, I’m sure my fiance would love it if I did! Should he stop using it if he enjoys it and I’m neutral-to-positive on it?

            Personally, I think people should be able to do more or less whatever they want behind closed doors. If they enjoy it, and it doesn’t impact me or other people, who am I to say that it’s wrong and that they shouldn’t do it?

            By the way, I’m curious, what’s your view on masturbation? Few people here have answered my questions about that.

  2. Also… people are going to have a lot of trouble making comments, because your spam filter thinks that if you have the word “porn” in it, then it’s spam.

    TIP: Replace the O in p0rn with a zero. The font that they use will make it look like it’s an O.

    • I’ve been severely damaged by porn. So now you do know someone. My father liked porn. I was exposed to it at 3 years old. My soul died that day. after a lifelong fight to reconnect with my soul and to be able to believe in love again. I have experienced and also seen mine and many other lives and relationships destroyed by this ongoing plague of porn. It is pure evil! It is not the way God created it to be. i have researched this on every scientific spiritual and pysiological level. They all equate the same. Lust destroys our natural ability to love and bond. You may think it’s not affecting you. But then you really have no way of knowing what your missing. All i can say for sure. Is the affect it has had on me and on the people in my life who have become infected with it. So i find it very abnormal that anyone can even look at that filth and not be disgusted by it. It’s not something that should ever need to be watched. It’s to be experienced when making love to the one you love. But for those who don’t mind their spouse having sex with other people? don’t be suprised when all that porno makes them start thinking sexual about your own children. Studies have shown that’s the progressive end that porn leads to. Why? because there is nothing normal or healthy about it. Sex being a sacred act is healthy and a normal way to look at it.

      • “But for those who don’t mind their spouse having sex with other people? don’t be suprised when all that porno makes them start thinking sexual about your own children. Studies have shown that’s the progressive end that porn leads to.”

        Studies have shown that watching porn (something that virtually all men do, at least at some point if not regularly) leads them to be sexually attracted to children? Show me these studies.

        Virtually all men I know — and many women — watch porn regularly. They enjoy it, they do not mind their partners watching it, and see only positive effects on their lives.

      • Damaged while I agree with most of what you write, I can’t agree with that viewing adult porn leads to child abuse. It will lead to disrespect of women and relationships and marriage. It will lead to deviant attitudes towards sex and marriage, but it won’t lead to abusing children. Not adult porn.

        Viewing child porn can and does, but many adult porn viewers have no desire for child porn and it doesn’t lead them to it.

        When battling any evil, we must be so careful not to link unrelated things otherwise people like Julia above will jump on it and miss the point.

        Julie I don’t care if all the men you know and even if all the women you know watch porn. The fact they see no problem with it is damaging enough as it is.

        You’re right that adult porn won’t lead to child sexual abuse, but it still doesn’t mean porn is healthy. It just means adult porn isn’t the cause of every deviant behaviour.

        • @J: I’m “jumping on it” because it shows that Damaged is either (1) lying or (2) very misinformed. In doing so, it calls into questions everything else Damaged asserted.

          Is it possible that Damaged was, in fact, very damaged by watching porn? Sure. There are people that are very damaged by alcohol; that doesn’t mean that no one should drink.

          The claims of most anti-porn people here are that porn is damaging, but people have yet to show evidence. One would think that, given how many people watch porn, there would be better evidence of this claim.

          Now, I absolutely believe that if your spouse doesn’t want you to watch porn, and you do anyway, that it might be very hurtful to them. That goes for ANYTHING though. If the spouse sees X as terrible, and you do X, the spouse will be hurt. This does not mean that porn is an issue though.

          In the vast majority of cases, when people say that porn hurt their marriage, it’s solely because one spouse *felt* hurt by it.

  3. Adam Shields says:

    I think that p0rn (what the line is between p0rn and non-p0rn is probably vague) is bad for marriages. But I think the bigger problem with this post is that your spouse probably is not the first person that you should tell. You should probably find a same gender person that will hold you accountable to deal with the problem. Many spouses view p0rn usage as an act against them, when in most cases it is primarily about the person watching it. Usually p0rn usage occurs in an already unhealthy relationship, so adding to it another level of stress usually is not a good idea. Solving (or at least dealing with the problem) will do more to heal the marriage than anything else. I am intentional in my non-gendered language because it is not just a man’s problem. According to a survey by Christianity Today about 1/3 of its female readers had viewed it in the last 30 days.

    • >> “Many spouses view p0rn usage as an act against them, when in most cases it is primarily about the person watching it.”

      Agreed. So let’s start teaching spouse1 that if spouse2 uses porn, it’s has nothing to do with spouse1.

      >> “Usually p0rn usage occurs in an already unhealthy relationship”

      Ah… I have to disagree with that. Unless you’re saying that most relationships are unhealthy.

      I don’t look at porn, but my fiance does. I have absolutely no problem with his looking at porn.

  4. Well, I think I know a great topic for a follow-up topic! :)

    For what it’s worth, I personally believe that porn has no place in a healthy marriage. I have “used” porn recreationally and didn’t necessarily see any obvious ill effects, but it’s very easy to see why online porn the FASTEST growing addiction in the United States. However, this was before I had matured enough to understand true intimacy.

    Porn does nothing but cheapen intimacy and reduce sex to a recreational activity that is simply a means for personal pleasure. It’s fun to watch kangaroos box too, but that doesn’t mean it has a place in a healthy marriage with a good sexual connection. To say that porn provides a healthy sexual “outlet” is laughable, sad and disturbing.

    If you believe in casual sex and just “getting off” as the highest order of pleasure and personal connection, then I could see how you form the opinion that it’s totally cool for your spouse to consume porn on a regular basis. However, if you had an appreciation for true intimacy and the power of a monagomous, loving, sexually-charged marriage, I don’t see how you could advocate porn usuage.

    Just thought I’d add my two cents to this excellent discussion.

    • That’s the point I’m trying to make, Dustin–that porn has never been proven to enrich marriage in any lasting way (although Julia’s study, if accurate, indicates your husband may be less likely to rape someone), and there are no studies to show a majority of *married* people engage in porn. Your points regarding casual sex vs. true intimacy are right on.

      I would like to respond more to the above threads, but my comment was flagged repeatedly as spam.

      • >> that porn has never been proven to enrich marriage in any lasting way

        I never really claimed it enriched marriage. But it also doesn’t hurt marriage.

        >> I would like to respond more to the above threads, but my comment was flagged repeatedly as spam

        Try replacing the ‘O’ in porn with a 0 and the ‘e’ in s3x with a 3. It appears to flag things as spam if you have more than a certain number of “bad” words.

        • Pornography can and does hurt marriage. Does it destroy every marriage? No. But, it does cause divorce when one spouse feels they are no longer the only object of their spouse’s desire, decreasing intimacy by making the spouse feel replaceable, objectified, and/or their intimacy a cheapened commodity.

          Does it work that way in your relationship? No. But, you cannot fault Dustin for trying to help couples in relationships where mental infidelity a.k.a. porn is an unacceptable breach of trust or common morality.

          • I agree with you there – it can “cause divorce when one spouse feels they are no longer the only object of their spouse’s desire.”

            Rather than forcing men to give up porn entirely, couldn’t we also start educating women that the use of pornography does not mean that they “aren’t good enough?” Treating moderate pornography usage as normal may in fact de-stress many marriages.

          • I’ll be honest, I’m pretty shocked that you’re advocating changing the offended person’s mind over the addict’s habits. Do you know anything about the p0rn industry and the women who feel that is how they can reasonably earn a living and respect? P0rn hurts all people involved, but most directly the women who are cast in these roles playing out other’s fantasy for money. Its a modern day twist on prostitution and it is hardly the problem of the person who is offended by it.

          • I know a lot about the p0rn industry, and it’s totally different from prostitution. It is not simply prostitution with a video camera on top. The industries are run completely differently.

            Prostitutes often work at night and in rough neighborhoods, when it’s inherently more dangerous. They are raped, beaten and abuse, and feel they have no legal recourse because they were already breaking the law. They are often controlled by pimps who beat them, rape them, abuse them, but in exchange offer some minimum protection from the other thugs on the street. And, mostly importantly, they often do not possess the freedom to leave because their pimp might kill them if they try. They are often sex slaves (by virtue of being unable to leave the profession), and no longer are freely consenting.

            p0rn stars, on the other hand, are freely choosing to partake in this lifestyle. They have rights, and they have some place to turn if they’re violated. Strange though it may seem, some women prefer to get paid $1000 for a day’s work in p0rn than work for 2 or 3 weeks as a waitress. They are CHOOSING this life. They are CHOOSING that to be “play out other’s fantasies for money” instead of working in a lower paid job. And they often resent the implication that they’re being “wounded” in the p0rn industry. Remember – they are choosing this.

            Think of this like… stunt devils in movies. It is, by many accounts, a risky and dangerous lifestyle. I’m sure that neither you nor I would want our children pursuing this field. Do you swear off action movies on those grounds? I doubt it.

            So, no, I don’t believe that “p0rn hurts all people involved.” Obviously, the p0rn stars have decided that the alternatives to not being in p0rn are worse than being in p0rn. The p0rn users are, by and large, using it healthily. And the partners, well, they probably wouldn’t be hurt by it if they didn’t assume that it’s some violation of trust.

            And for the record, my view is actually not a shocking outlier. Rather, among my peers (Ivy League educated, late 20s), it’s quite the norm. We’ve actually talked about this issue before, and the consensus was ‘Who ARE these women who would have such a problem with their boyfriends / spouses watching p0rn?’ I guess we have our answer now: religious and/or older folk.

          • Also, Alison, keep in mind:

            *If* someone is an addict, then, yes, I agree that it’s unhealthy and should be remedied. But, much like one can use alcohol and not be an addict, one can use porn and not be an addict.

            For example, imagine a woman is out of town for a week, and her husband decides to masturbate while watching some porn. He hasn’t substituted anything for her, and this doesn’t degrade their relationship.

            The only damage from this is if his wife feels like he violated her trust. She may also feel like he violated her trust if he grabs lunch with a female coworker. It doesn’t mean that he should swear off getting lunch with female corkers. Maybe the wife is the one with the problem here.

          • As an ivy league, educated, mid twenties peer, I completely believe that most of our generation has bought into the idea that porn is OK, so much to the extent that they passionately defend it in comment boxes on blogs about marriage. Unfortunately, mere majority never made something true. Especially on a topic that our generation has little experience in: long-lasting marriage. Best to you in your upcoming one. It sounds as though you’ve talked about this issue and seem OK with your fiance’s actions. Other women are not OK with being objectified but have succumbed to this view as well, often by pressure from their fiances. I’ve seen it happen in my ivy league, educated, mid twenties friends and honestly, it saddens me that they lower their standards so. Good men our age are hard to find so it is true that women DO settle.

          • Alison,

            You’re contradicting yourself. First, you agree with me that most of our generation accepts p0rn as being OK. But then, you imply that if a woman accepts p0rn usage by her husband, then she’s probably settling.

            On the contrary, neither I nor my female peers are “settling” (or if they are, then it’s unrelated to p0rn). We simply don’t see an issue with p0rn. We were brought up knowing that almost every guy we knew looked at p0rn. Masturbation was considered very much normal for men, if not for women. We’ve probably watched p0rn with our partners, and possibly by ourselves as well. We’ve never seen these alleged “awful, horrible” side effects of p0rn – and, again, almost all of our male peers watch p0rn, so you’d think we’d see it. We’re just not buying into this whole anti-p0rn attitude.

            To say that we’re settling is like saying that an atheist is settling because he’s marrying another atheist. That might mean settling for *you*, but that’s not settling for them.

            I brought up the Ivy League, mid 20s thing not to make a “majority wins” argument, but rather to say that outside of the religiously-influenced blog and with at least my peer group, my attitude is normal. That is, I’m not some crazy extremist and the men who use p0rn (virtually every guy I know) are not crazy perverted freaks.

            My hope is that at least for some women, they’ll stop to question their assumptions about p0rn and be more open to, and less hurt by, their partner’s actions. As I said earlier, I believe that this blog post, while very well intentioned, may be very destructive to relationships.

          • Julia,
            To acknowledge that something is both commonplace yet wrong, does not mean I am contradicting myself. Divorce is common, and cheating is unfortunately too common. Moreover, just because many men use porn does not mean that women really approve or desire it for their relationship. However, given that it is now so commonplace, I have many friends who have felt forced to “settle” for it in their relationships because they feel that they have no other option. This is as it is in many Latino countries where verbal and physical abuse are common in relationships, so much so that women have now felt that this is what constitutes a “normal” relationship (I have experienced this in my own family). THIS is what makes me sad. I know you don’t think that’s bad, but well, the fact remains that porn is objectifying women and many women feel very strongly about this, and not because they’re religious or otherwise. Studies are also clear that is decreases sexual satisfaction. As you’ve stated, you may not fall into this category. I have many friends who have.

            I am still very confused at how you can think that telling your wife you have an addiction and/or tendency to porn can ever be a bad thing (what this article suggests). Do you advocate keeping secrets from your spouse?

    • No freakin doubt! If you think porn is ok in a marrige.then you don’t know the definition of marriage. Marriage is a comitment between TWO people in love who want to be there for the others needs and is there ONLY. Obviously, if you are a trashy family raised not to know the value of true love and intamacy, porn seems fine for you. And obviously there are some underlying problems that should be revised. And sure 70% of men have looked at porn at least once, and thats men not the married men not to mention thats at one point. Not regularly. Now heres the kicker, 43%-52% of marriages end in divorce with porn the fastest growing cause of divorce…hm…weird.

      • Ok, so:

        (1) The statistic is 70% of men between 18 and 34 have looked at p0rn in the past 30 days – ie, regularly. The statistics for having looked it once would probably be closer to 100%.

        (2) Got a source for that “fastest growing cause of divorce”?

        (3) Even IF that’s true, that doesn’t mean it’s a large cause of divorce. That just means that it’s INCREASING. That is, it was LOW, and now it’s higher than it was – but still possibly low. Remember that internet usage has also dramatically increased.

        (4) And even IF it’s a large cause of divorce, that doesn’t mean it MUST be. If men got insanely jealous every time their wives talked to another man, that also would make it a large cause of divorce. It doesn’t mean that you must cut out male-with-married-female conversations. It may mean that men need to realize that male-with-married-female conversations are normal.

        (5) A difference of opinions does not make someone trashy. Personally, I’m of the opinion that people should do whatever they want behind closed doors, as long as it makes them happy and doesn’t hurt other people. If they enjoy watching some adult entertainment together, who are you to tell them that they are breaking their commitment to each other? After all, didn’t they make that commitment to *each other* rather than to you? Shouldn’t they be able to set the terms of their own commitment?

        • Ok
          1) let me appoligize for some of that comment of mine. I had just woken up and I hardly remember writing that so disregard the part of me saying “trashy”. I can honestly say I dont know where that came from. I was reading some of the comments last night and I guess decided to comment this morning. It was harsh and I dont believe that.

          2) My comment was also made towards marriages in which not both were of consent.

          That being said, I believe it shouldnt be in a marrige for one persons viewing. I consider that a form of cheating even if the persons not really there. Im not trying to change your belief on it just informing you of mine and the statistics. Now if you and your partner are truely ok with it then go for it! But in my opinion I want to be the one to fulfill my partners needs and desires. I want to be the only thing he has those feelings towards. I stand by my first statement of what marriage is. I also stand by my last statement that it is a rising cause of divorce, but in a marriage that one spouse is not ok with it. I’m not commenting to argue, I only wish to add my opinion along with the rest. As for the sources, my phone makes it dificult to copy and paste so just look it up on google if you really are curious or disregard it if you wish.

          • Strangely, then, I think we actually mostly agree. We both agree that if both people are okay with p0rn in a marriage then they should go for it. We both agree that p0rn usage as a factor in divorce has risen in the last 15 years (although, p0rn usage was comparatively non-existent before the internet, so it doesn’t mean much). And, most importantly, we both agree that a couple must be on the same page with p0rn, or it can lead to divorce.

            The difference appears to be on what happens if one person is not okay with it. Your assumption appears to be that p0rn must be eliminated in that case. I, however, having seen the vast majority of my peers use p0rn regularly without any apparent ill effects, think that p0rn is normal and healthy.

            One way or another, the couple needs to be on the same page. I suspect that it’d be easier in the long term for couples to accept p0rn usage, but ultimately, it’s up to them. If they want to swear off p0rn, alcohol, eating meat, computer usage on odd-numbered days, or whatever, that’s their choice and I’m not one to judge that.

  5. >> It’s fun to watch kangaroos box too, but that doesn’t mean it has a place in a healthy marriage with a good s3xual connection.

    Are you suggesting that watching kangaroos box would make a marriage unhealthy?

    >> “If you had an appreciation for true intimacy and the power of a monagomous, loving, s3xually-charged marriage, I don’t see how you could advocate p0rn usage.”

    I appreciate intimacy and think that love and physical affection are incredibly important in a marriage.

    I also recognize that people are not always perfectly in sync s3xually. This may be just on a regular basis (one partner has a higher s3xual drive), or it may be on a periodic basis (equivalent s3x drives, but sometimes one person is in the mood and the other person is really not feeling it). What is so wrong one partner masturbating? And what is so wrong with using p0rnography to aid it?

    It seems to me that this is actually a great thing. When the partners can not fulfill each other’s desires, you’re allowing a way to ease the tension of this mismatch.

    Is masturbating unhealthy as well?

    And when you say “regular basis”, what do you mean by that? How I define “regular” is not necessarily based on times per month or year. It’s about the *way* that it occurs. If someone is using p0rnography *instead* of experiencing s3xual intimacy with their spouse, then that might be a problem. However, if they’re using p0rnography when they can’t get that, then I don’t see the issue.

  6. Okay Julia and Wendy, you both are just touching on the subjects of this rather explosive issue. It is considered detrimental in about 30-40% of marriages. It is a growing issue as porn is more readily accessible now than at any time in human history.

    I did a series on it at Anonymous8. It was 7 posts long. It starts here… http://anonymous8.com/relationship-advice/marriage-and-pornography-the-series/

    We discuss when it is works and what the challenges are. We interview 2 recovering addicts, a porn industry insider, and several psychologists on the subject.

    The issues are tough and not discussed a lot. I cannot even begin to put my fingers around the issue in one comment. If you have questions, let me know… I’ll check back.

    Sarah Baron
    Anonymous8

    • Hi Sarah,

      I read through the posts and what I found was (to summarize):
      * In the 30 – 40% of marriages in which it’s “detrimental,” that’s because the *partner* has an issue with it. Not because it’s actually causing an issue. See [1] below.
      * The “ex-p0rn addicts” had an issue because they were choosing p0rn OVER their partners. See [2] and [3]
      * Your experts seem to think that p0rn is okay as long as both partners are ok with it. The problem, by and large, seems to come when the *partner* has an issue with it. See [4], [5], [6], and [7]

      So, I would conclude this from your blog: p0rn is perfectly fine, as long as both partners are on the same page. If they aren’t, then, yes, something must be done about it. However, that “something” might be curbing the spouse’s p0rn usage, or it might be the partner recognizing that, hey, p0rn is normal and generally not an issue.

      ————
      [1] “Between 30 and 40 percent of partners in one study (Bridges et al.) indicated that p0rnography had negative consequences for the relationship, including decreased self-esteem and increased feelings of undesirability for the partner of the one using p0rnography.”
      [2] “It affected our relationship because I was taking care of myself while viewing p0rn.”
      [3] “I know it hurt my marriage because of the hurt that I felt from my wife when she discovered it on my computer. I know it broke trust which took a long time to build back.”
      [4] Kuhlman: “Any time both partners are in agreement, p0rn is certainly an acceptable component of s3xual style.”
      [5] Dobrenski: “Pros: 1) p0rnography can be used by couples to enhance their s3x lives. 2) To some degree, p0rnography brings fantasies to life. 3) p0rn can be considered as simply an aspect of human s3xuality. Detriments: 1) p0rnography rarely, if ever, demonstrates real intimacy. 2) p0rn can create unrealistic expectations for “real life” partners. 3) Depending on your relationship status, p0rn could be viewed as a form of cheating or s3xual abandonment.”
      [6] Gilcrest: “When is it okay:

      * both partners are aware of behavior
      * both partners approve of behavior
      * behavior is not a substitute for real relationship intimacy
      * daily life and meeting individual and couple goals is not affected

      When is not okay:

      * it is secretive behavior
      * it is taking time away from the needs of the relationship
      * it is being used in place of s3x with ones partner
      * the behavior has become addictive”
      [7] Gudelsky: “p0rnography can be a great supplement to an already thriving s3x life in a marriage as long as everyone involved is on the same page. Sharing some s3xy images or scenes can greatly spice up your own personal acts! Sometimes, little doses are necessary injections of pizazz when you have run out of ideas. There is also nothing wrong with using a bit of graphic imagery to put you over the edge when self pleasuring as a result of a spouse being out of town or having to be at work late or early!”

  7. I am posting this comment on behalf of Julie from http://www.IntimacyinMarriage.com since it was flagging her as spam:

    Wow. Quite the dialogue going on here. Great to see!

    I fall in the camp of believing there’s nothing healthy about any level of porn, especially within a marriage. I recognize that across society, that may put me in a minority. I’m cool with that. I think if you were to ask most married women out there if they think their husband using porn is “no big deal,” you would be hard pressed to find too many who would honestly agree with that statement. No scientific study needed for that. Just start asking all the women you know who are married.

    Obviously, I look through the lens of my Christian faith (again, I recognize many people aren’t looking through this lens). In my study of the Bible, I find that God’s design for marriage is that it be exclusive between a husband and a wife — that the marriage bed would be kept pure.

    A huge tenet of “exclusivity” and “marriage bed kept pure” is that there are no third parties. Use of porn invites third parties into something that by its very design is supposed to be exclusive. I realize some people would argue with me that since these third parties aren’t actually there in person, then it’s really not the same. I think, though, that you can’t “kind of” cross the boundary of exclusivity. “Uhh… yeah… I’m just a ‘little bit’ pregnant. Or, I think I will go sky diving ‘just a little.'” Doesn’t work in those examples and doesn’t work with porn either. My opinion, I realize, but I’m cool with that.

    Porn and erotica serve no other purpose but to fuel sexual desire (if they didn’t have this effect, they wouldn’t be sold. We can’t possibly argue that they are heralding fine acting, right?) I’m all for fueling sexual desire. I just think any sexual desire fueled should be within the context of a husband and wife doing what it takes to authentically understand each other sexually. To me, using porn or any version thereof simply shortcuts a more fulfilling path.

    I’m all for sexual freedom — within marriage that is. There actually is a ton of sexual freedom within marriage, but too few married couples really experience that kind of soul-drenching connection. At least not without some heartfelt intention and effort.

    All that being said, it’s always good to see such passionate dialogue on all this. Brings out into the light many things that are not discussed as much as they could be. Thanks for running the post Dustin! Kudos to you!

    -Julie

    • “To me, using porn or any version thereof simply shortcuts a more fulfilling path.” I like that point a lot!

    • >> “I think if you were to ask most married women out there if they think their husband using porn is “no big deal,” you would be hard pressed to find too many who would honestly agree with that statement. No scientific study needed for that. Just start asking all the women you know who are married.”

      We must know different types of people (possibly the religious bias – I am not religious). I’ve actually talked with a number of women and the vast majority of women I’ve talked to think women who have a problem* with porn are crazy.

      * That is, a problem with their spouses’ looking at porn. A problem with porn production is a different issue.

  8. I would just like to comment, because I consider myself and my husband “normal” married people. We have Christian backgrounds but do not consider ourselves “religious”, are 100% about monogamous, committed relationships/marriages and being 100% honest and open in our relationship.

    As for p0rn- we have watched/used it together on multiple occasions. We have a healthy sex life and value true intimacy. But I agree with the above comment that we aren’t always on the same page- and enjoying p0rn together can be Fun! ;) Also- if one partner is using it as “fuel” to help them get in the mood for their spouse, I see nothing wrong with that either! Just as so many people use visualization and “fantasies” to get revved up…. plus, my hubby really likes it when he knows I am in the mood for watching p0rn- cuz he knows he will be the one benefitting! ;)

    I do admit, that knowing your spouse is “using p0rn” without involving you, or overusing it to the detriment of the relationship is where it becomes a problem. No person wants to be considered “obsolete” in their own relationship- especially when it comes to intimacy and sex. Just my 2cents.

  9. Just wanted to add- if my husband had an addiction problem with p0rn, I would be crushed. And if I found out later that he had dealt with it on his own, etc… without ever telling me first- I would be pissed! We are partners, husband and wife, Best Friends. If he can’t tell me and count on me to support him in getting help, then that does not speak well for our marriage or our relationship as it stands.

    I wouldn’t necessarily feel the need to be his accountability person- perhaps that would be better filled by another man he trusts or a therapist, but I would want to know it was happening in the first place! Again, just my 2cents.

  10. Dustin,
    Thanks for posting this site and follow-up comments. It is a discussion that needs to be addressed, and I happen to agree completely that porn has no place in a healthy marriage. In addition, I think that even single folks should avoid it completely because it distorts our understanding of sexuality–instead of looking at another human in his/her full glory as a human being (a spiritual being as well as a physical being), it objectifies both the viewer and subject as purely physical objects, with the goal being satisfaction of lust. I also know that many people disagree with this opinion, and that’s ok.
    Again, thanks for posting!

  11. Wow, I’m so gratified to each of you who have taken the time to pitch in with comments. Dustin, I am in awe of the thoughtful readers (and articulate writers) in your Engaged Marriage community!

    There are so many important topics being discussed… I think I’ll just try to address one at a time.

    Julia, I don’t want to “encourage women to overreact.” Like you, I don’t want anyone to feel extra or disproportional pain over their partner’s behavior. My perspective has primary grown out of talking with more than a hundred couples in my office over the last twenty years. As I listen a lot (and prompt very little), I’ve seen so much pain in the hearts of the partner who feels betrayed. I hear textbook descriptions of symptoms of posttraumatic stress: they find it hard to focus on other things, have difficulty sleeping, find disturbing images intruding into consciousness, and have repeated flashbacks of the moment they discovered their spouse was into porn.

    What they’ve shared with me has convinced me that porn is an issue that can and sometimes does strike at the heart of our sense of relationship security. Once that safety in our most important relationship feels threatened, our entire emotional foundation is rocked. It’s an “attachment rupture” that our minds and hearts simply won’t let us ignore. Attachment injuries may be in the eye of the beholder, but that doesn’t mean we can merely talk ourselves out of them. They quickly cascade from awareness of an event or experience into a host of biochemical and emotional responses that must be addressed for partners to feel close and connected again. For a great article on what we couples therapist are learning about this wounding and how to heal it, see this article by Rory Reid and Scott Wooley http://rory.net/Pubs/EFT%20Couples%20and%20HD.pdf.

  12. I think it’s worth noting (as you well know) that you’re not seeing a representative sample of couples. You’re seeing precisely the ones that have problems with it. I’m sure you recognize that, but it’s worth pointing out to everyone else.

    One continuous theme in these posts is that damage from p0rn seems to be from the betrayal of trust, the partner’s insecurity, etc. That is, it’s not that the p0rn is directly damaging the relationship. It’s that one partner is doing something that the other partner has a problem with.

    How do we handle situations in which partner1 wants to do something and partner2 doesn’t like it? Usually we evaluate a variety of solutions: (1) Partner1 doesn’t do it (2) Partner2 accepts it or (3) They meet in the middle.

    This blog post just went ahead with the assumption that Partner1 shouldn’t do it. For some couples, that might be the right solution. But it’s not the solution for all.

    Here’s a variety of alternative solutions:
    (1) Partner1 and Partner2 could enjoy p0rn together.
    (2) Partner1 could be more discreet about p0rn usage (“out of sight, out of mind”)
    (3) Partner1 could be more open about p0rn usage (“if he’s going to use it, I’d rather know when it happens when it happens.”)
    (4) Partner1 could use p0rn less, but not cut it off entirely.
    (5) Partner2 could recognize that p0rn is not something only “perverts” watch. Most younger men watch p0rn regularly, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s not an issue unless you make it one.

    I suspect, in fact, that women who recognize that p0rn usage is extremely commonplace are far less likely to have issues with their spouses using it, and therefore far less likely to feel these “detrimental” effects of p0rn usage.

    And that is precisely why I reacted so negatively to this blog post. While I know that Dustin was genuinely trying to help couples, he was also reinforcing the idea that p0rn is something only “dirty bad perverts” watch. In doing so, he is increasing the paranoia about it and increasing the damage caused by p0rn – exactly the thing he was trying to prevent.

    • In my opinion though, it seems as if Mark is just trying to explain how the couples react when, as I said, one doenst agree with the engagement of p0rn in their relationship. I’ve been through it (or I probably wouldn’t be here) and I can say that its just the way your mind processes it, more so an inate action than anything else. For example, my mother has struggled with it with my father and it has nearly torn their marriage apart because of her perspective on it. When I found out about the p0rn I believe I had such a strong reaction to it because of how I saw it affecting my parents and I learned what my mothers veeling a were towards it. Now had her reaction been ok with it my brain may processes it a little differently but becaus e thats what I learned, and already somewhat beleived, betrayal was the only way of my mind processing the matter. I tryed to tell myself that it’s normal, and even though it is, it hurt me all the same. I do beleive that,it is just a matter of how vastly differnt the human minds are, what we grow up learning, and your own personal morals. So I dont think Marks point was to say that it destroys relationships, merely to put in to words how hurtfull it can be and sometimes is towards the other person.

  13. So, I’m not going to venture into the topic of whether or not p0rn used in any capacity, whether openly or not, whether married or not, is right or wrong. (You guys seems to have that one well covered). Suffice it to say, there are plenty of men out there who DO look at p0rn and if their spouse caught them, it would most likely not be a good thing. And based on my own experience and a cloud of witnesses around me…most of the time, the men don’t actually want to be looking at p0rn. What I have found is that they do it for a couple reasons- 1) they’re addicted and/or 2) They aren’t getting something at home, and are using it as a coping mechanism.
    For these men (or women) who find themselves in this situation (which is vast majority of men that I personally come in contact with)- that’s exactly who this post is for. Men (or women) who are using p0rn for one reason or another, and really don’t want to be. I agree, they absolutely should tell their spouse that its a struggle. When you got married, you took the bad with the good…men, your p0rn problem is now her p0rn problem. And if you’re addicted, then she wants to be there with you as you try to overcome that. If its because you’re not getting something at home…she actually has a role in that and has a right to know. (this could be where the controversy comes in)- So am I saying that a husband looking at p0rn could be the fault of his wife— yes and no.
    Make no mistake, the husband (i generalize the sexes here) is the one who makes the decision to click on the website and look at p0rn and probably masturbates too. But if it truly is a coping mechanism, then likely he is less than satisfied with his sex life- which, again, in my experience of talking to men is not related to “how good” the sex is, but rather “how often” the sex is. And in that- the wife has a huge role.
    I may get in trouble for saying this- but I strongly suspect that a good majority of affairs could be avoided is things were being taken care of at home. I’m not excusing the affair. It is blatantly wrong…but I wonder how many men feel driven to it simply because they aren’t being fulfilled at home.
    There’s a huge difference is trying to will yourself to be fulfilled at home with what you got and actually being fulfilled. As a married couple, you agreed to serve each other. I wonder how often the man is really under-served…I really wonder…

    PS- I’m a lucky one in that my wife doesn’t make me wonder about us…but I can understand it from the other side.

    • I somewhat agree with what you’re saying. Well, except that most men I know – actually, every man I know – would openly admit to using porn, and their girlfriends / wives would have no problem with that.

      >> “if it truly is a coping mechanism, then likely he is less than satisfied with his sex life”

      It depends. It’s usually a “coping mechanism” (if you’re using it INSTEAD of sex with your spouse, then, yes, that indicates a problem), but it may not be quite as severe as you’re talking about.

      It may be as simple as the wife is traveling, or for whatever reason really isn’t in the mood that night. So the guy decides to “take matters into his own hands” that night. I don’t see any issue with that, and it’s probably better than the alternative (trying to pressure his wife into sex and/or leaving the man frustrated).

  14. So, I’m not going to venture into the topic of whether or not p0rn used in any capacity, whether openly or not, whether married or not, is right or wrong. (You guys seems to have that one well covered). Suffice it to say, there are plenty of men out there who DO look at p0rn and if their spouse caught them, it would most likely not be a good thing. And based on my own experience and a cloud of witnesses around me…most of the time, the men don’t actually want to be looking at p0rn. What I have found is that they do it for a couple reasons- 1) they’re addicted and/or 2) They aren’t getting something at home, and are using it as a coping mechanism.
    For these men (or women) who find themselves in this situation (which is vast majority of men that I personally come in contact with)- that’s exactly who this post is for. Men (or women) who are using p0rn for one reason or another, and really don’t want to be. I agree, they absolutely should tell their spouse that its a struggle. When you got married, you took the bad with the good…men, your p0rn problem is now her p0rn problem. And if you’re addicted, then she wants to be there with you as you try to overcome that. If its because you’re not getting something at home…she actually has a role in that and has a right to know. (this could be where the controversy comes in)- So am I saying that a husband looking at p0rn could be the fault of his wife— yes and no.
    Make no mistake, the husband (i generalize the sexes here) is the one who makes the decision to click on the website and look at p0rn and probably masturbates too. But if it truly is a coping mechanism, then likely he is less than satisfied with his sex life- which, again, in my experience of talking to men is not related to “how good” the sex is, but rather “how often” the sex is. And in that- the wife has a huge role.
    I may get in trouble for saying this- but I strongly suspect that a good majority of affairs could be avoided is things were being taken care of at home. I’m not excusing the affair. It is blatantly wrong…but I wonder how many men feel driven to it simply because they aren’t being fulfilled at home.
    There’s a huge difference is trying to will yourself to be fulfilled at home with what you got and actually being fulfilled. As a married couple, you agreed to serve each other. I wonder how often the man is really under-served…I really wonder…..

    PS- I’m a lucky one in that my wife doesn’t make me wonder about us…but I can understand it from the other side.

  15. So my view, to summarize, if a man is choosing to watch porn INSTEAD OF being with his wife, then there’s a problem. If he’s doing that regularly, then you get into the “porn addict” stage and you need to get some help. But, by and large, most porn usage (like most alcohol usage) is in the healthy stage. For example, when a wife is unwilling / unable (traveling, etc), and the husband decides to watch some porn and masturbate, I don’t think there’s SHOULD be any issue.

    Some women may get upset. (Not most women I know, but I recognize that some women, especially from a more religious background, do have an issue with that.) However, some women may also get upset if you grab lunch with a female coworker alone. Just because they’re upset doesn’t make it right. There are MANY ways to remedy the situation, and I think that the burden is as much or more on the partner to not overreact as it is on the “user” to stop doing it.

    Most people here, probably being more religious and conservative, disagree. That’s fine – it’s interesting to hear your perspectives, even though I may very much disagree with you.

    There are a few questions though that I haven’t had people answer:

    1. Is it wrong to masturbate?

    2. (If you say that masturbation is fine) Is it wrong for a woman to use a vibrator?

  16. Adam Shields says:

    I think that the vast majority of pOrn is made with people that are willingly participating. But international human right organizations as well as Interpol and FBI and other law enforcement agencies are increasingly concerned that more and more porn is being produced with the use of sexual slavery. There are different definitions of what constitutes sexual slavery, but most international experts agree that there are more slaves now than any point in history (by numbers, even though the percentage is down.) Many estimates in the US are that about 20,000 people a year are brought into the US and more are trafficked from within the US. It has been shown that everything from ipods to college t-shirts have been made with human slaves and pOrn is also being made with some human slaves. Most p0rn, especially that made in the US is not. But some is.

  17. Up front, I am completely with Julie on this. For those who are following Jesus, normal and healthy are non-issues – the question is right or wrong. The answer to that, biblically, is clear.

    All of this aside, my personal experience is that exposing myself to nudity or sexuality (p0rn, TV, movies, or anything else) tends to reduce my enjoyment of being sexual with my bride. It does not harm my desire (and could certainly increase it) but it does subtly change my focus away from her. On a purely physical level (which is sadden as far as many men go with s3x) it does not cause a problem, but on the mental/emotional/connection levels is does. IOW, I won’t argue that p0rn might make it better physically – but it makes is less enjoyable on deeper levels – levels that are,to me, more important than the physical. I experience p0rn as a short-cut that “helps” the physical at the cost of the other aspects of s3x. For me this is a bad trade off.

    Also a note to Julia, who has mentioned masturbation a number of times. Despite centuries of man’s tradition to the contrary, the Bible says nothing against (or even about) the act, and as such we can;t call it sin. That said, it’s a poor substitute for loving s3x. Yes, I know folks who would rather do it themselves than with there spouse – I would guess they have no experience with the deeper levels of sexuality I discussed above.

  18. Intresting Dialogue folks! First, I want to say, I love this post. Great advice for husbands that too many husbands need to hear.

    Without getting into much detail myself, I want to say that I agree 100% with what Julie (from Intimacy in Marriage) and Dustin have said (like I always seem to do). There is no place in marriage for this. It is not healthy for marriage, no matter how you want to spin it.

  19. I was directed to this article via Twitter and I am not a regular reader of this site and it seems I may not be your target audience. I wholeheartedly agree with Julia on this issue but I didn’t always feel that way.

    When my now husband and I were engaged (about 6 years ago) I “found out” he had been watching p0rn on the internet. I was devastated. I asked him to stop, he said he would. I realized that he didn’t stop and was very close to breaking up with him over it. I didn’t have any problem with masturbation (as long as it didn’t affect our s3x life) but I felt betrayed by the idea of him watching p0rn.

    Now, at this same time, I considered myself to be very GGG (good, giving and game) and enjoyed reading s3x advice columns. I started listening to a s3x advice podcast that opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas about s3x and s3xuality and that’s when I learned that most men (and many women) do partake in some pornography. This helped me because it no longer felt like I was personally being betrayed or there was something wrong with me. Long story short, my views have evolved considerably and I no longer think it’s a big deal. I am totally okay with my husband watching p0rn, watching it myself sometimes or watching it together. In fact, in those periods of time when our libid0s are not compatible it can be helpful.

    You may want to read about this study, where they could not find any men who had not watched p0rn and the conclusions that watching p0rn did not create unhealthy perceptions . . .

    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7017169126

  20. A note on the study Krin mentioned – if you have no control group (those who have not viewed porn) then you have no way to say what porn has or has not done.

    I always find it sadly humorous that so many claim p0rn does not change how people think of act. There are hundreds, probably thousands of study that show that what we are exposed to changes how we think, perceive and act. Why would p0rn somehow be different? Why would virtually every other think we watch affect us, but p0rn does not? If one starts with the claim that is does not affect people, they have shown their bias and anything else they say should be ignored.

    If someone wants to study HOW p0rn affects people,that is valid. Trying to determine if it affects people is ignoring a huge body of evidence – something real science does not do.

    I do understand that for some p0rn seems a solution to various sexual issues. I would argue that while easy and cheep, it is not the only solution, and often not the best. Like a lot of easy fixes the long term results are not always what the short term results promise.

    • That’s a fair point, Paul, and I agree with you somewhat – that study was sort of silly. Only 20 participants, qualitative responses, and no control group. (Even if you could find men who hadn’t viewed p0rn, that still wouldn’t be a valid control group.)

      And, you’re right, what we are exposed to does change our actions in some way, even if so tiny as to be unmeasurable. However, just because we know it probably DOES change our views, you can’t assume that it changes our views in a particular way. It may just make someone more willing to express their s3xual preferences, and there’s nothing wrong at all about that.

      The “issue” that p0rn can help solve is when one partner’s in the mood and the other isn’t. Are there other solutions? Sure. [For simplicity, I'm going to assume the man is the p0rn watcher and the one in the mood.] The man could try to convince his wife to have s3x, which is bound to meet with frustration on one or both sides. The man could just “deal” – again, frustration ensues. Or he could masturbate without p0rn – better, but I fail to see why p0rn would make things worse here.

      It seems that people’s anti-p0rn arguments fall into one of three categories:
      (1) Violation of trust. Sure, but that’s only because the woman has decided she’s anti-p0rn. Just because your partner’s against it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
      (2) It skews someone’s perception of s3x, the female body, etc. Show me the evidence for this. No assumptions, as you said.
      (3) It’ll replace “true intimacy.” Oh, come on. If it could replace s3x (to say nothing of actual intimacy), teenage boys would stay in their rooms all day (oh yes, they ALL look at p0rn) instead of chasing girls. Ask any boy over the age of 12 – p0rn and masturbation are very poor substitutes for s3x.
      (4) The bible says so. I’m surprised that the bible discussed p0rn directly, what with photography not existing at the time. It’s most likely that it’s a matter of interpretation. Also, not everyone is Christian.

      On the contrary, if women recognized (as krin eventually did) that p0rn is actually very normal, it may make things much better. For one, woman would no longer feel that their husbands are cheating. It may encourage couples to be more open about their desires, both with themselves and with their partners. And it almost certainly would make things a lot less frustrating when the man is in the mood and the woman isn’t.

      • Julia,

        There are plenty of studies which show that the affects are neither too small to measure nor all benign. Is feeling free to “express their s3xual preferences” a good thing? I suppose that depends on the preferences, and if those preferences have been modified by p0rn. More than a few marriages have ended because a man or woman does not share their spouses “new found preferences”. It seems to me that s3x is like most other things in that one’s preferences can become an obstacle to their own happiness and satisfaction.

        Is masturbation a good solution if one spouse wants less s3x? If it were, why are so many husbands and wives forever complain about having to do it? If all a person cares about is the physical, then it would be a good solution – but most of us want far more than a climax. Even you admitted this in what you said about teenage boys. Masturbation is a very poor substitute – but if that were the end of it then it would be better than nothing. Problem is, it reduces the impetus to find a way to have more s3x as a couple. The one who wants more has a bit less drive to push them to work it out, and the spouse has less reason to do it since they know there is another way for their spouse to have the need taken care of. Along these lines, I think some women find a way to justify hubbies p0rn use because it means he bothers them less.

        As for a couple working it out, that actually does happen – especially when they are unwilling to take the easy way out. There are plenty of women (and a few men) who have learned to enjoy sex and come to desire it a great deal – something that would not have happened had their spouse settled for DIY s3x. I am not morally opposed to married folks masturbating, but as anything other than a last ditch method I think it cheats both husband and wife in the long run.

        On your numbered points:

        1) I find “because the woman has decided she’s anti-p0rn” very condescending. Beyond that, for me what my bride thinks is very important. Her thinking something is wrong does not make it wrong, but it makes it wrong for me because I love her more than I love my genitals.

        2) I find it bizarre you would suggest it does NOT skew things, and that you do tells me you have made a decision that no evidence will change. This is not about p0rn, but about the reality of being human – we are all changed by what we see, hear, and think about. It’s been found that smokers are more likely to stop smoking if their friends or even their friend’s friends stop. Weight loss and other behaviour changes have been found to be influenced by social networks beyond the second level. If you think our s3xuality is somehow the one behaviour that is exempt from this, then I would suggest it is you who have the burden of proof. I would also suggest that your denying there are changes shows that you know any changes would be less than good.
        BTW – If you care to, do some searching on the divorces that happened in China after Western p0rn got in. Couples blamed each other for not being able to do what they saw in p0rn. I know we all want to think we are smarter than that, but we are not.

        3) I’ve dealt with this already. At the best it reduces the change of more intimacy. In many cases it leads to less s3x. Once he (or she, it works both ways) is free to masturbate, their spouse feels less reason to say yes. We tend to be selfish, and this means we tend to take advantage. There is also the “I can’t take no again” reality. When s3x with your spouse is the only option you are more likely to ask even if you expect a no. When you can DIY, you only ask when you think a yes is likely. And less asking means less s3x.

        4) Your assumption that p0rn did not exist is incorrect. Both images and writings were common, especially in Rome. Common items like potter and plates had images of people having s3x in a variety of positions.
        Yes, I know not everyone is Christian. I started here by saying it was not an option for Christians no matter how “normal” it might not be. Those who don’t follow Jesus have no such limitations, but there are other good reasons to “opt out” which I have discussed.

        As for your final statement, what if we replace the word “p0rn’ three with “prostitution”? Would not that be as true as what you said? Does taking your argument to the next logical conclusion help you see the flaws in the argument?

        • >> “More than a few marriages have ended because a man or woman does not share their spouses “new found preferences”.”

          And more than a few marriages have ended because a woman feels a man is being “mentally unfaithful.” What a shame!

          >> “Masturbation is a very poor substitute – but if that were the end of it then it would be better than nothing. Problem is, it reduces the impetus to find a way to have more s3x as a couple.”

          To make an analogy: Eating in is better than eating out (healthier, cheaper, etc). If dinner cannot be prepared within the house because both husband and wife are busy, they should not eat out, and instead starve that night. Otherwise, you might reduce the impetus to cook. By your logic, that would be correct.

          Does it reduce the impetus to find a way to have more s3x? Yes, it does *reduce* it, but it doesn’t remove it. The impetus is still sufficiently there, but some of the stresses involved are reduced.

          >> “Her thinking something is wrong does not make it wrong, but it makes it wrong for me because I love her more than I love my genitals.”

          If your wife were very upset if you got lunch alone with a female coworker, would you swear that off too?

          >> “I find it bizarre you would suggest it does NOT skew things, and that you do tells me you have made a decision that no evidence will change.”

          I’m not actually saying that it doesn’t change things. If you believe that everything changes our perception, then sure, p0rn would too. But you can’t assume that it changes our perception in any meaningful without some evidence to back up that claim.

          >> “do some searching on the divorces that happened in China after Western p0rn got in. Couples blamed each other for not being able to do what they saw in p0rn.”

          I’m sure that there is a correlation between western p0rn entering China and an increase in divorce rates. However, it’s not necessarily (and probably isn’t) causal. Western p0rn entering China is also correlated with a lot of other things – greater equality, western views on marriage and divorce, women working (and therefore financially able to get divorced).

          >> “When s3x with your spouse is the only option you are more likely to ask even if you expect a no. When you can DIY, you only ask when you think a yes is likely. And less asking means less s3x.”

          Show me some evidence for this, because this has not been at all what I’ve seen. Remember that even with p0rn and masturbation as options, the vast majority of people still much prefer s3x.

          >> “Your assumption that p0rn did not exist is incorrect. Both images and writings were common, especially in Rome.”

          That’s a good point, but I think you have to admit that it’s hardly the same thing. Unless you’re also suggesting that married people should also swear off any movies beyond a G rating, as even a PG13 movie is likely to portray s3x is more graphic detail than images and drawing from 2000 years ago.

          >> “I started here by saying it was not an option for Christians no matter how “normal” it might not be.”

          Also (I know that this doesn’t actually argue against your point, but it’s interesting nonetheless), you know that p0rn usage is substantially higher in more religious states, right?

          >> “As for your final statement, what if we replace the word “p0rn’ three with “prostitution”? Would not that be as true as what you said? Does taking your argument to the next logical conclusion help you see the flaws in the argument?”

          No, because the premise is not the same – recall that my sentence started out as “if women recognized that [ ] is actually very normal”. In 2004, 70% of men between 18 and 34 looked at a p0rn site in the last 30 days. Those statistics are nowhere close for prostitution.

          Additionally, prostitution is a completely different thing for many reasons, including:
          1. Ethical issues: prostitutes are often being physically forced to stay prostitutes, for fear of being killed by their pimps. Prostitutes are often s3x slaves. p0rn stars, in the US anyway, are almost always consenting to this profession.
          2. Safety issues: by hiring a prostitute, you put yourself, and your partner, at a very high risk of catching a disease. Even if you use a condom, this does not wholly prevent many STDs.

          • >> And more than a few marriages have ended because a woman feels a man is being “mentally unfaithful.” What a shame!

            Ah yes, just change the rules so it’s okay. Seems to me you are saying the beliefs of those who want to view p0rn are more important or valid than those who feel it’s wrong.
            If a wife had said it was okay before marriage, then changed, that would be one thing. But a lot of guys who do it on the sly know their bride has ALWAYS felt it was wrong. They want to change the rules after the game starts.

            >> To make an analogy: Eating in is better than eating out (healthier, cheaper, etc). If dinner cannot be prepared within the house because both husband and wife are busy, they should not eat out, and instead starve that night. Otherwise, you might reduce the impetus to cook. By your logic, that would be correct.

            Sorry, I find the analogy full of holes.

            >> Does it reduce the impetus to find a way to have more s3x? Yes, it does *reduce* it, but it doesn’t remove it.

            And in my mind that cheats both of them.

            >> If your wife were very upset if you got lunch alone with a female coworker, would you swear that off too?

            Yes, absolutely. As I said, her heart and mind are important to me. Sacrifice is a vital pat of marriage – and the lack willingness to sacrifice is a big reason for divorce. Is it possible for a woman (or man) to have limits that one can not or should not meet? Yes, but it’s very rare.

            >> I’m not actually saying that it doesn’t change things. If you believe that everything changes our perception, then sure, p0rn would too. But you can’t assume that it changes our perception in any meaningful without some evidence to back up that claim.

            It’s really not that hard to connect the dots! If a guy watched porn which shows women seeming to enjoy something most real women find gross, won’t he be more likely to start wanting that act, and to dismiss his wife’s protests as silly? We all know this is how repeated exposure to things works. You continue to try and make sex different than all other aspects of life, but you continue to ignore my asking you to back that up.

            >>>> “When s3x with your spouse is the only option you are more likely to ask even if you expect a no. When you can DIY, you only ask when you think a yes is likely. And less asking means less s3x.”

            >> Show me some evidence for this, because this has not been at all what I’ve seen. Remember that even with p0rn and masturbation as options, the vast majority of people still much prefer s3x.

            Again you are arguing that basic human nature does not apply to things sexual. I take it you have not been told “no” to sex the vast majority of the time. I have spoken with hundreds of men and women who have, and it does result in not wanting to ask. Add another way to get some relief, and one asks even less.

            >> Also (I know that this doesn’t actually argue against your point, but it’s interesting nonetheless), you know that p0rn usage is substantially higher in more religious states, right?

            I know that per-capita use of on-line porn is higher. In part this is because getting porn at a local store is more difficult and more hazardous to one’s reputation. This is NOT the same as what you have claimed, nor does it support the idea you seem to want to present that “religious” people view more porn than non-religious people. This page http://bit.ly/i77GTz has an abstract from a study that found that for the Christian men studied, “…regular viewing [of p0rn] was significantly lower than has been found in the general population.” Other studies have found the same – those trying to follow Jesus use less p0rn than their larger community.

            >> No, because the premise is not the same – recall that my sentence started out as “if women recognized that [ ] is actually very normal”. In 2004, 70% of men between 18 and 34 looked at a p0rn site in the last 30 days. Those statistics are nowhere close for prostitution.

            I find it frightening that you see something as acceptable just because the majority of the population does it.

            Clearly you and I have deep moral differences that go well beyond sexuality. It’s been a fun debate, but neither of us is going to change the other, and I suspect everyone else has long since stopped reading our interaction.

            Go in peace

  21. Okay, this conversation is going on and on. Here was our conclusion from our porn series. I know Paul did one on his site as well…

    “There is a lot more out there about how p-rn damages marriage than about how it benefits or enhances marriage. I think that is interesting, because it is in the p-rn industry’s best interest to make the case that it enhances marriage (as in it could lead to more revenue), but the vast majority of p-rn producers aren’t making that case. That is either because the argument does not work or because the porn they produce does not help marriage. This is just something I’ve noted in my research. If it were good for marriage universally and profitable at the same time, you’d expect to see it on banners all over the web like this… ”Watch this with your wife tonight for some steamy action!” or “If your marriage is in good shape, we can make it better!” (And this would not just appear on sex toy sites). Is anyone seeing this? Nope. Also, you would expect a study from the p-rn-makers association about the benefits to marriage, but again, I have not run across any of these. Instead, therapists and industry insiders list the multiple conditions under which couples must operate for their marriage to gel well with p-rn. It’s like an obstacle course. Here goes…
    IF the wife and husband are both secure about themselves physically and in their marriage and
    IF they are both comfortable with porn and enjoy it and don’t have religious or moral objections to it and
    IF neither one has been sexually or physically abused at any point in their life and
    IF they are both on the same page about the subject and
    IF they realize it is not a substitute for real intimacy and
    IF neither one of them has addictive tendencies or personalities,
    THEN it could work. (Can you imagine what % of couples actually comply with all of these “requirements?” It can’t be that high, especially if you consider how many women post children feel truly secure in their own bodies. That one right there eliminates a huge percentage of women.)”

    That is my logic behind the issue after a bunch of research behind it…

    Sarah

    • Sarah,

      I read your “experts” take on it and I had a very different impression of it. It seemed that almost everyone you interviewed said that p0rn was FINE as long as both people are ok with it, and it’s not a substitute for actual intimacy. And when we deconstruct your “list of requirements” below, this is exactly what we’ll see.

      But first, your other point:

      >> “There is a lot more out there about how p-rn damages marriage than about how it benefits or enhances marriage. I think that is interesting, because it is in the p-rn industry’s best interest to make the case that it enhances marriage”

      Quantity of arguments does not equal quality. What you see is usually this: no solid data, just assumptions (on both sides). Those who are anti-p0rn are probably deriving their views from society’s general p0rn taboo (which, thankfully, is changing). Those are pro-p0rn are deriving it from their own person experience: they’ve used it, they’ve enjoyed it, and they haven’t seen any issues.

      And, remember, who is more likely to be vocal on the subject: anti-p0rn people. Pro-p0rn people will generally just say, “ok, well, don’t use it then.”

      As for why there’s no data? (1) Because it’s really hard to do this study, since basically every man under 30 has watched p0rn. It’s nearly impossible to get “virgin eyes.” (2) Because there’s a lot of legal and ethical hurdles to showing people a bunch of p0rn. (3) Because it probably doesn’t really impact marriage much one way or another. If there’s a conflict about it, then there’s a big negative impact. But otherwise, it’s unlikely to make a widespread impact. Have you seen many studies on the impact of s3x toys on marriage? I doubt it.

      As for your list… it’s just not true, nor does it match up with what your own experts had to say. The major problem is you’re trying to speak for other couples far too much, asserting that if they fit condition X, then they shouldn’t use p0rn, *even if* everyone’s ok with it. You’re also making this weird stretch of say that if one person has condition X (such as having been s3xually assaulted), then the OTHER person can’t watch p0rn. What’s the relationship?


      1. IF the wife and husband are both secure about themselves physically and in their marriage and

      No. You do not need to be secure about yourself physically, or even in your marriage. I may never be as attractive as a p0rn star, but I also would never think that my fiance is there thinking, “Gee, I wish Julia were a p0rn star.” Do you get insecure if you watch a regular movie and the actresses are more attractive than you? Should you not watch any movies at all?

      Likewise, in prior relationships where I have been more insecure, I have never been concerned or hurt by p0rn.

      If both people are ok with it, then they’re ok with it. You can’t say “even though you’re ok with it, your partner can’t use it because you’re insecure.”


      2. IF they are both comfortable with p0rn and enjoy it and don’t have religious or moral objections to it and

      Correct.


      3. IF neither one has been s3xually or physically abused at any point in their life and

      No. I’ve been s3xually abused. I fail to see the relationship between the two. Sure, if a particular type of p0rn brings back bad memories, I might ask not to watch that one. Similarly, I don’t like bees (unrelated, of course), so I won’t watch movies or TV shows with bees. But I can still enjoy movies and TV shows.

      Frankly, if anything’s going to bring back images of s3xual assault, it’s going to be actually having s3x. And yet you’re not suggesting the couples swear off s3x if one has been abused.

      Also, if they’re on the same page about the subject, doesn’t it sort of negate this (already silly) point?


      4. IF they are both on the same page about the subject and

      Yes, but this was repeated from #2.


      5. IF they realize it is not a substitute for real intimacy and

      Correct.


      6. IF neither one of them has addictive tendencies or personalities,

      If you make this claim, then by the same reasoning, people with addictive personalities shouldn’t be eating any bad food, drinking even a drop of alcohol, exercising (yes, exercising can be addictive too!), etc. Do you really advocate that if EITHER person has an addictive personality than NEITHER person should do any of these things? I doubt it. In that case, you shouldn’t just whip out this claim about p0rn.

      Again, what’s with the either one thing? How does the woman having an addictive personality impact the man using p0rn?

      —————————————

      >> Can you imagine what % of couples actually comply with all of these “requirements?”

      Actually we’re just down to the same point: both people need to be on the same page, and it can’t be a substitute for intimacy. As far as the first point, the woman can change too (as Krin did, to the BETTERMENT of her marriage). As for for second point, it very rarely is.

  22. Julia, thank you for offering so much input to keep this discussion going. I get the sense that some may be tiring of it, but what can I say: it’s my occupation!

    I only ask that you save some of your input to start this kind of discussion over on my blog markchamberlainphd.blogspot.com.

    You said, “The man could try to convince his wife to have s3x, which is bound to meet with frustration on one or both sides. [Or] the man could just ‘deal’ – again, frustration ensues.”

    You write as though this is necessarily detrimental to the individuals and their relationship. I couldn’t disagree more!

    The alchemy that makes s3x wondrous for most couples is that a kind of dynamic tension continues to some degree even after the courting is over. The need for flirtation and coaxing and seduction doesn’t need to end with commitment!

    The oasis would not be so magical if it were in the jungle and not the desert. I’m not suggesting that we try to improve our s3x lives by way of deliberate, unnecessary deprivation. However, everyday life is full of natural ups and downs, times of abundance and times of scarcity. Naturally occurring sexual emptiness (such as when one partner travels) provide a wonderful opportunity for us to yearn, anticipate, and bond. That’s right: bonding even in each other’s absence! How cool is that? Absence really can make the heart grow fonder.

    There are times when it feels satisfying and soothing just to hear one’s partner’s voice on the phone! Like water in the desert. And I’m flying home day after tomorrow! The oasis is in sight! Drink out of a mud puddle when that crystal clear blue water awaits? That would be crazy! To masturbate to porn while I’m away is only preferred by those who’ve forgotten–or perhaps never experienced–the way a yearned-for reunion can supercharge the bonding power of lovemaking.

    We might experience similar episodic heightening because of periods of stress, differences in sex drive, hormonal fluctuations, and postpartum healing.

    To spoil these opportunities by p0rn and masturbation is like asking Disneyland to create a roller coaster that drops back down to ground level every time it starts to get a few feet off the ground. It would not be nearly so mysterious and gratifying to connect s3xually if the process were not such a delicious cocktail of yearnings and disappointments, tensions and then tickles, fond hopes and then sometimes–and only sometimes—breathtaking gratification. All of these ingredients are needed to unlock the deepest fulfillment in marriage.

    Koreans have a saying: the most delicious side dish is a hearty hunger. How true! (For more on this topic, see my other book, Wanting More http://www.amazon.com/Wanting-More-Challenge-Enjoyment-Addiction/dp/1573458171/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295103825&sr=8-1.)

    As I think about the limits of my language to describe the enriching potential of sexual hunger (and my amateur attempts to wax poetic) it occurs to me just how much of our best poetry and paintings and fiction and music and sculptures would simply never have been created if artists and lovers throughout history had concluded that the fitting thing to do was to simply take care of their own s3xual desire when it went unsatisfied… and didn’t feel like it was worth trying to convince their partner to have s3x.

    That’s something to think about!

    • You’re right, Mark, I should not have spoken so broadly. (Although, neither should you.)

      For some couples – and it sounds like you and your wife are one of them – depriving oneself of s3xual satisfaction for weeks is worth it for the joy of the reunion. And that’s wonderful. If that choice makes you and your wife happy, then I wholeheartedly endorse that decision for you two.

      But every couple must strike their own pattern and understand what will really lead to the most mutual happiness. Hey, as far as I’m concerned, if a couple decides that neither ever wants to have s3x, or they only want to have s3x on the front left corner of the couch, good for them! Let each person decide what makes them happy.

      Many couples may find that p0rn and masturbati0n does not substantially change the moment when they come back together, but depriving oneself does cause considerable frustration. For that couple, p0rn and masturbati0n is probably the right decision.

      Many couples may even find that p0rn and masturbati0n actually make the reunion better. Why? Because the husband (sorry to be crude) may come so quickly, having been deprived for so long, that the woman has barely had time to enjoy herself. For that couple, p0rn and masturbati0n is probably the right decision.

      Many couples may find that p0rn and masturbati0n CAN change the reunion, but only if used just prior. That is, they can each use p0rn and masturbati0n as long as it’s, say, 3 days prior to the reunion. But then no more, so they can fully experience each other on their return. For that couple, p0rn and masturbati0n is probably the right decision.

      Many couples may find that their libidos do not match. For example, the woman may only want to have s3x every week or two, whereas the man wants it everyday. Without p0rn or masturbati0n as an option, either s3x will become a chore for the woman or the man will be consistently deprived. Such a mismatch of needs can and does lead to frustration and resentment. For that couple, p0rn and masturbati0n is probably the right decision.

      In short, while s3xual deprivation may be the right thing for some couples (you and your wife included), it’s not the right thing for all – and probably not even most.

      You and I both want the same thing: for couples to not feel the pain of p0rn and betrayal. But you have assumed that p0rn is obviously evil and bad, and therefore p0rn user must stop. A greater understanding by the other partner about how completely *normal* p0rn usage is, and that it’s not a sight of wandering eyes, may help to heal that pain. Read Krin’s story for a fantastic example of that.

    • As far as your blog… I know you’re anti-p0rn and I’m not going to change your opinion here. But, I do think a few things would help your readers without going contrary to your beliefs:

      1. Why do men look at p0rn? A discussion making it clear that, unlike an affair with an actual person, it does not necessarily indicate that the marriage is fundamentally unhealthy.

      2. Statistics on the prevalence of this issue. I found some stats saying that 70% of men between 18 and 34 look at p0rn once a month, but I can’t find stats about married men specifically.

      3. A discussion about the difference between masturbating without p0rn and masturbating with p0rn. Are they equally bad, in your mind? What’s the difference?

      Also, I doubt you’d be able to do justice to these perspectives, but…

      4. Is all p0rn usage an “addiction”? (I don’t think so, obviously, though people can be addicted to p0rn.)

      5. What the “other side of the story” is – why do many people (especially younger, less religious people) not have a problem with p0rn

    • Thanks for this description, Mark!
      Changing anyone’s mind when they’re entirely unaware of what their missing is a hard task and one that is unlikely to be accomplished through the comment box. However, I just wanted to thank you for this beautiful description and a wonderful article.

  23. I am in a sexless marriage. My wife started menopause with hot flashes and the whole nine yards in our early 30’s. On average we have sex 3-4 times a year. So on occasion, maybe once a month I look at porn. I don’t see where it has changed my attitude toward my wife. When we have sex it is great but the infrequency is difficult to deal with. Knowing it is a medical condition helps but I must admit porn has also helped me fight urges to cheat. So while I believe Porn is wrong and I see all the statistics flying around I also see some value in it at some points. If you can handle it without becoming addicted or objectifying your spouse

    • @ Just me: But does your wife know and is she cool with it?

      • @NOJ Why blame the husband here? What about the husband’s reasonable expectations for sexual intimacy?

        @Just me – for what it’s worth, I think you’re not doing anything wrong. If it’s not hurting your marriage (and is even helping it), that’s all the evidence you need. Don’t believe their people with knee-jerk reactions that it’s wrong.

  24. Odd question… but WHY is there a huge argument about the rights and wrongs of P0rn on an article that suggests that IF you have a problem you talk about it?
    Seemed kinda futile to me. And for the record, as the wife of an addict, I’m against it.

    • The article suggests that *ANY* p0rn usage is an addiction and must be stopped. Of course, if you actually have an addiction, you should talk about it. However, like alcohol, p0rn used in moderation does not constitute an addiction. In fact, while most men under 35 use p0rn at least once a month, few are “addicted” to it.

      Sarah, may I ask – why do you say your husband has an addiction to it? Given the opportunity to have sex with you or use p0rn, does he decline sex so that he can masturbate to p0rn? Or do you say that he’s addicted because he uses it, against your wishes, a few times per month? (Both situations absolutely do exist, but the first is much rarer.)

      My objection to this article has been stated many times, but it’s this: p0rn usage is normal and healthy, and in almost all cases, the only ill effect is the partner feeling hurt. If more women realized that most men (at least in the sub-35 population) use p0rn, women would be less hurt by it and the “problem of p0rn” would be effectively solved in an easy, stress-free way. By assuming that any p0rn usage is bad, this article encourages the anti-p0rn view and thus increases the pain that p0rn causes. (Of course, this is not the author’s intent at all.)

      See Krin’s story earlier for an example of this. This is not at all an unusual situation. I and most of my female friends are somewhat similar to her, except that we never had an issue with p0rn. Our partners use p0rn and it’s not an issue for us.

      Luckily, the <35 population has grown up accepting p0rn, so this issue will largely resolve itself over time.

      • Julia,
        While I absolutley respect your right to do what you will in your relationship, in my relationship, p0rn IS a problem. Not because of the circumstances you suggest, though there have been days when the first scenario is acurate and times when the second was as well, but because it has absolutley taken over the mind of my spouse. It’s the first thing he thinks in the morning, the last thing he thinks before bed, and it is, despite your statements, a progressive issue. What started as “soft core, occasional use” escalated to extreme things, and virtual s3x with others just to fill the urge. Addiction is not a new concept to me as I had a drug problem in my teens, and I can say with out conviction that he exhibits MANY similar symptoms. But now, knowing what I know, I would never, if god forbid we split, tolerate p0rn in any relationship. It’s just NOT worth it.
        Also, I am well educated, in my 20s and have high self esteem despite what others believe, I just don’t see any reason that our s3xual energy should be expended outside of our relationship,addiction or not.
        I hope you can understand that while your views work well for your relationship, they would never work in mine, and as I respect your right to choose that for yourself, I would ask the same.
        Good luck in your upcoming marriage, and the future.

        • Just had an after thought: You say that by convincing the women of our generation that it is fine, the issue would be solved, but you agree that addiction is possible. Could that view not be detrimental to a man who really was an addict? Who would he turn to when things went beyond his control? He certainly couldn’t turn to his wife for understanding if she had been “trained” to believe there was no such problem. And one question: What do you know of Ted Bundy? Pretty serious case of s3x addiction, but from what I could see it STARTED with p0rn and escalated from there.
          Personally, I’m very thankful that s3x addiction is recognized now and that there are resources and treatment options available and that there is light being shone over this “taboo” topic, or my spouse may not have been able to reach out for help.

          • Sarah,

            Do you and/or your partner drink alcohol occasionally? Does that moderate usage imply that your partner couldn’t turn to you if he became addicted? I would presume not.

            On the contrary, distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy* p0rn usage may make it easier to treat people who are legitimately addicted. Imagine what would happen if we confused “normal” alcohol usage with addiction. The causes and effects are different. Even if you’re wholly opposed to any alcohol / p0rn usage, you probably want to seek different treatments for moderate vs. severe usage. (Ex: moderate usage of alcohol is probably caused by wanting to drink a beer with friends and ‘fit in.’ Several alcohol usage is more likely to be rooted in depression. You want to treat them differently, even if both are bad.)

            As for Ted Bundy, I don’t know much about him. However, Wikipedia says that although Bundy linked violent p0rnography to his crimes, some researchers believe that this was just a manipulation tactic to delay his execution.

            Interestingly, there is some limited research suggesting that p0rnography may give people a relatively healthy outlet for less healthy desires, so that they DON’T act them out. This seems somewhat plausible to me, and there is some data correlating an increase in p0rn usage with a decrease in rape (but not other violent crimes). Similar data can be found with violent video games and other violent crimes. It’s just one study, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

            The fact is that actually very little truly scientific work has been done on the impacts of p0rnography. Most of we claim to know is from a few poorly conducted studies or individual anecdotes – hardly scientific. All we really can say is that usage is widespread, the results are not catastrophic (though they may be bad or good), and that it’s certainly hurting some people and helping others.

            * Again, from what you’ve said, it sounds like your husband is in the ‘unhealthy’ bucket. You’re doing the right thing, in my humble opinion, in getting him treatment. That treatment probably means that he shouldn’t be using any p0rn ever again (much like alcohol).

        • Absolutely I can respect that. It sounds like your husband does legitimately have an addiction. And I totally understand your reaction of not wanting to tolerate any porn in a (hypothetical) future relationship.

          I see this much the same way as alcoholism: most people use it healthily, but some are addicted. A couple may choose, between themselves, to tolerate absolutely no porn / alcohol, that’s fine. Their lives, their choice. Many former partners of addicts may decide that they don’t want ANY usage in their new relationship, and that’s very understandable.

  25. I blame my struggle with porn on my wife. I do. Listen, I am like any other red blooded male in the world. I love the sight of a sexy woman naked. But up until a few years ago porn was just something we watched together occasionally and once in awhile by myself if she was away for an extended period of time. But a few years ago, my wife started becoming less and less interested in sex. Our frequency was never in the 2 or 3 times a week range but we did it at least once a week. Then it was once every other week, then once a month, now its about once every 6 weeks. I am still young, only 42. I am in my sexual prime. I am not ready to be celibate for the rest of my life. So I had 2 options. I could go out and cheat on her or I could look at porn and masturbate. I chose the latter because I felt if was more honorable. My wife knows I look at it and she has expressed her annoyance with it. I never do it if I think she would catch me. But I told her that if we had sex more often, I wouldnt need to masturbate. She then started crying and laying the blame on me because all I want is sex, and its never enough. I bought her toys to use on me so she could participate. I have bought her sexy outfits in the hopes that she would maybe one night surprise me and wear one and ask me to masturbate for her because she wants to be there for me but she isnt up for full blown sex right then. I would be perfectly happy with mutual masturbation once in awhile. I have bought her toys for herself. The problem is, and I quote from her words, “I can do without sex. I dont need it”. So I ask you, how is that fair to me. I have tried to be more romantic. I hug, kiss, snuggle, cuddle more. I go for walks with her. I do what she wants for the most part in the hopes that once in awhile it will lead to sex. But it never does. So I masturbate. I look at porn (and I’ll be honest, it really doesnt do anything for me anymore… but if my wife gets naked I’m up and ready in seconds… so doesnt that say something too) lately I’m so frustrated and angry that I dont even look at her when she is naked anymore. I will avert my eyes. And that hurts because I find her to be the most ravishing creature I have ever laid eyes on. But she doesnt think its possible that I could find her that attractive. And nothing I do or say will convince her otherwise. I have even talked to ehre about hormone or chemical imbalance issues and asked her to talk to the doctor on her next pap to see if that could be a problem, and the doctor said absolutely and that it take simple blood tests and its easily fixed with meds if something is found. So she got her pap, scheduled her mamo….but refuses to go for the bllod test because she feels like Im pressuring her. I cant win.

    • Steve,

      Stop blaming yourself. (Don’t blame your wife for her lack of interest in sex either — it’s probably not something she’s choosing. Of course, her not doing anything about it *is* her fault.)

      Porn is not the issue. The *very* few studies about pornography’s alleged damages have been debunked. The typical studies had people watch an overwhelming amount of porn on a daily basis — so much that many people just dropped out, skewing the results. They found that at the end, the people who watched porn had more “negative” views on sex (where “negative” was, in fact, more open minded about a lot of things as well). But they didn’t properly take into account that people dropped out. And they didn’t look at long term effects. There’s also research on the “Tetris Effect”, where people who play an absurd amount of tetris everyday start to see shapes fitting together in weird ways. Does that mean tetris is damaging? No, of course not.

      When people claim that porn has damaging their marriage, it’s almost always because of how the other person *reacted* to the porn. Not the porn itself. (If I was crushed every time my husband talked to a woman at work, would it be fair to say that my husband talking to a female coworkers is damaging our marriage? Not exactly.)

      (There is also a legitimate porn addiction, just like there is a legitimate addiction to alcohol. Overuse is bad. Moderate use is fine.)

      So, you keep looking at porn. It’s perfectly healthy, and certainly seems to be helping your marriage.

      Now, I also subscribe to Dan Savage’s philosophy on sex and marriage. You didn’t sign up to be celibate for the rest of your life. If this is a permanent condition – permanent *because* your wife won’t take the basic tests to try to cure this issue – personally, I think you’re licensed to cheat (but not get caught). Asking you to more or less go without sex for the rest of your life is not reasonable. You’ve done everything else you can to avoid celibacy.

      • Wow Julia, that has to be the most messed up thing I’ve read all day.

        You can say the same thing about domestic violence….. and too many messed up people do. They say the domestic violence isn’t the problem, it’s how the victim reacts to it.

        My exhusband tried that line. It wasn’t his fault we divorced over him bashing our daughter after years of bashing me – it was my fault because I wouldn’t stay silent and went to the police and had him charged. In fact, he repeatedly told his mates that I was the evil one for going to the police and it was all my fault we were divorced for doing so. That he was totally blameless for beating the living daylights out of me and even trying to kill me on numerous occasions – it couldn’t possibly because he was combining illicit drugs and not take his psych for his psychotic mental illness, and then beat me up when he was coming down off his high every night – it was all my fault we got divorced because of my reaction to his violence. If I’d just ignored it and let it happen, everything would have been fine and we’d still be “happily” married (in his eyes) as we were in the years before when I did just let him get away with it and do nothing.

        I’m sorry, but telling a victim that it’s their fault for reacting negatively for being disrespected is just really twisted. And viewing p0rn is exactly that – disrespect. It might not be as bad as beating your wife, but it’s beating her spirit, and the wife in question here sounds beaten in spirit enough as it is.

        I’m sorry Steve, I feel deeply sympathetic for you – I’ve been five years without sex now and I know it’s hard, especially with a really high sex drivelike mine – but Julia is wrong. You need to START blaming yourself for your behaviour. Don’t blame yourself for your wife’s behaviour, although you probably have contributed to it at least a little. But you do need to start taking some responsibility. Your actions are your choice, and lack of sex doesn’t excuse p0rn or mast***bation.

        Good luck, I know it’s not easy, having gone to 1-2 times a day to none for 5 years myself, but it’s doable. It just depends on if you truly love your wife or not.

        • You do realize a lot of people *happily* permit — even encourage — their spouses to look at porn, right? And these people do not seem to feel any of the negative effects or feel that it’s disrespectful?

          Comparing it to domestic abuse is ridiculous.

          • You do realise a lot of people are into all sorts of kinky things and permit, even encourage, each other to hit each other, right?

            Just because a couple enjoy doing something together, doesn’t make it right. And just because they don’t see the negative effects or see how disrespectful it is, doesn’t mean it’s not damaging and disrespectful.

            Doing something repeatedly that you know hurts your spouse is not only comparable to domestic abuse, it IS domestic abuse. It’s not physical abuse but it is emotional abuse, and despite having many serious permanent serious injuries from my exhusband, I can tell you this – it’s the emotional abuse that left far deeper scars than any physical abuse.

          • “You do realise a lot of people are into all sorts of kinky things and permit, even encourage, each other to hit each other, right? Just because a couple enjoy doing something together, doesn’t make it right.”

            Huh. I guess that’s where we disagree. If a couple enjoys doing something together, then I think it’s unfair for someone else to say that it’s bad.

            One of my best friends LOVES to be hit during sex and she loves it when she has a bunch of bruises the next day. Hey, it’s what she’s into. She didn’t choose that as a kink — she’s just into that. Even her therapist says “go for it!”

            Who are we to then tell her that what she’s doing is bad and unhealthy? It seems far more unhealthy to live a life where you won’t be sexually fulfilled.

        • And, by the way, I’m not blaming the wife for her lack of sex drive. That’s not her fault.

          I am, however, blaming her for her failure to take a blood test. That is 100% her fault, and a shows a lack of love and respect for her husband. He’s in pain, and she won’t try to help him.

          I’m truly sorry for what your ex-husband did to you. Domestic violence is never okay, and never the victim’s fault. Obviously, when ex-husband blamed his violence on you, that is completely wrong.

          But, the fact that your ex-husband said his violence was your fault doesn’t mean that something ELSE happening in someone ELSE’s marriage can’t be blamed to some small degree on the spouse. Domestic violence and using porn as a sexual relief are so completely and utterly different.

          For what it’s worth, my husband looks at porn sometimes. I don’t look at porn. We have a completely healthy marriage and I don’t feel my husband is disrespecting me at all in looking at porn or masturbating.

      • Steve,

        I understand your feelings and reactions, but please know they are not going to get you what you want. You are pushing your wife away, and that does not make her want to have sex. Regardless of what she has done (see below) your choices are ensuring that you will never have the sex life you want. Accept that or don’t, but it’s the truth.

        Your wife is doing the same thing you are doing – seeing two people instead of a marriage. She says she does not need sex, can live without it. I don’t think that’s as true as she wants it to be, but it’s really irrelevant because the marriage needs sex and won’t live without it. Her putting her desires and feelings ahead of the needs of a healthy marriage is a huge problem. Your doing the same is also a huge problem.

        The bottom line is she needs to be open to regular sex, and you need to be closed to porn. If each of you is waiting for the other to do their part before making a chance then nothing will ever change. If one of you decided to do what is right without any promise or sign of your spouse doing their part, then things can change.

    • Wow mate, you sound like my exhusband. Except with him it was “it’s my wife’s fault I hit her. She’s too sick from having major surgery to have the house spotless and dinner on the table every day when I come from work. I work hard so I deserve to be waited on hand and foot when I get home from work. And if she can’t do that, well I have every right to get angry, and I can’t help exploding and smashing the house up and beating the living daylights out of her. She’s making me do it by not being well enough to take care of me”.

      You can see why we seperated 6 months after my operation.

      I don’t know your wife – she could be unwell, or she could just be a selfish uncaring wife. Ultimately though, when it comes to YOUR behaviour, it doesn’t matter what she does.

      It’s not a choice between cheating vs p0rn and masturbation. It’s the same pathetic excuse that rapists use – “Oh my s3xual needs are not being met, I have to go get me some s3x now and if no one will give it to me willingly, I’ll just force someone”.

      Yeah, your wife has serious issues, whether it’s illness or choice, but that does not excuse YOUR behaviour one bit.

      I love s3x myself. When I was married, I’d pretty much bug my husband for it at least once a day (usually twice, depending on whether he had time before work in the morning). I loved it and it was one of the few things I could do when I couldn’t walk. But you know what? am I out there looking at p0rn? no. am I out there reading erotic novels (or “mummy p0rn” as it’s called”) no. I don’t even get the point of mast***bating alone because it’s the kind of thing that can only be enjoyed with a spouse.

      No wonder your wife won’t get help! She’s scared. Because if it is a medical problem and it gets fixed, she feels like you’re going to hassle her for sex constantly, and if the doctors can’t find a physical problem, she’s scared you’ll blame her and that you’ll sink further into your selfish quest for pleasure.

      Stop treating her like a sex object. Make her feel loved for everything else other than her body. The best thing in the world you can do to make her more interested in s3x is show her two things – show her you love her for everything else about her, and show her that you love and respect her, including stopping looking at p0rn and mast**bating, no matter how much or how little the two of you have sex.

      The only thing I can say that can help you is that you need to get a medical professional to make her understand that if there is a hormonal imbalance she needs to get it treated regardless of her attitude towards sex. Hormone imbalances can lead to all sorts of really bad medical problems if left untreated and that regardless of how she feels about sex, she needs to get tested for her health.

      • Really? Beating someone is equivalent to looking at porn (something that does not, in any way, hurt his wife)?

        If Steve is telling the truth, it sounds like he’s done everything he can to show that he loves and respects her. She’s the one showing a lack of respect, in not even trying to find out if there’s a medical problem.

        Do you honestly expect Steve to go without sex — or any type of sexual relief (including masturbation) — for the rest of his life?

        • Julia, did you read what he wrote? looking at p0rn IS hurting his wife. He’s made her hurt very obvious. He knows it hurts her, and yet he still does it, so he can’t say he’s done “everything” to show he loves and respects.

          It doesn’t matter how many things a person does for their spouse, if they do something deliberately they know hurts them, over and over, they are being totally disrespectful and need to stop it if they truly love them.

          Maybe his wife is being disrespectful, but it doesn’t give a person a right to be disrespectful back.

          To be honest, whether the wife has a hormonal problem or not, it’s obvious from Steve’s post she is suffering from depression over the whole issue, and having worked with lots of women with depression and sexual dysfunction, quite simply, they mentally cannot cope with trying to get the physical side of it looked into when they are under the kind of pressure mentioned by Steve. In fact many of them are driven to self harm and even attempting suicide rather than having it looked because they feel so worthless because of this exact treatment.

          Steve mate, if you’re reading, it’s nothing personal – most guys in your situation don’t realise how depressed their wives nor how hurtful they are being. It isn’t until their wives reach the point of being suicidal that they realise just how much damage they are doing to their wives. I hope and pray your marriage doesn’t reach that point.

          Julia finally to answer your final question, the answer is yes. Millions of people all around the world do it. I’ve known people who have extremely high sex drives and then their spouse falls ill and can never have sex or any form of intimacy at all. They don’t disrespect their spouse by using p0rn or mas***bating. Their love for their spouse is greater than their love for sexual pleasure.

          It’s not easy, but love and marriage are never going to be easy 100% of the time.

          • If what Steve is saying is true, then it sounds like he’s much more unhappy than she is. She expressed “annoyance” (which does not sound particularly significant) but is otherwise happy with their lack of sex life. He seems pretty miserable. He’s making an effort to fix the issue. She isn’t — she won’t even take a stupid blood test!

            She is being far more disrespectful than she is. Her husband is miserable and she’s doing NOTHING to help. She knows it’s hurting him.

            And how is masturbation disrespectful to someone’s spouse?

  26. Wow. There are some really strong opinions here on both sides of this issue. First, let me clarify. Porn was not somethiing I looked at frequently in the past until the sex became less frequent. Sure, I occasionally looked through a playboy magazine and a few times the wife and I enjoyed watching a porn movie together in bed. There was I would say 18 years of marriage that passed before the frequency dropped and then , of course, because it was so easy to find, porn became my go to girl so to speak. I also said that me looking at porn annoys her but she in no way feels demeaned by it, at least thats what she says. She is annoyed because in her words “sex is all you want and no matter what, its never enough”, which cant be further from the truth. Many psychologists believe that a man expresses his love and affection physically, while women express it emotionally and verbally. I cant agree more. I am willling to show her and give her the emoptional things she needs but dont I deserve some of the same? I can think of many things that would have been much more insulting or degrading to my wife had I chosen them. I dont look at porn or masturbate every day. I would say on average I do maybe twice a week if I can find the time when the wife and kids are all out and I’m home alone. In fact, when she gets home and goes to the bedroom to watch some tv before bed, I usually follow her to bed and read a book (I cant stand the shows she watches and she cant stand the ones I watch). But I am in the bed with her and available to talk if she wants to. I dont disappear into another room until I am ready for bed. I spend the time with her. I would say in all other aspects of our relationship, we are very compatible. We dont fight often, we share the chores and the other responsibilities around the house. We do things together most of the time, we laugh, we joke. But with regards to sex, I consider it to be a very important part of marriage and she “can live without it”. I chose to keep being faithful but God made us human creatures (especially men) to be sexual creatures. Go forth and multiply sound familiar? It would be different if this was a health issue where it was medically impossible to have sex. In that case, I would agree that it is wrong. But we are otherwise healthy. She has complained for a few years now that she is always tired and fatigued. Something is medically wrong with her and I am trying to get her to find out what. A lot of the things that cause female sexual dysfunction also cause fatigue and the like. The notion above where my wife wont go to get the blood test because she thinks that if something is shown that I will demand she fix it and then service me more is preposterous. I dont expect my wife to “service me”, I expect her to love me and want to be affectionate and intimate with me. I have never physically abused my wife, I dont verbally abuse her either. I am fully aware that I at least am part of the problem, but the difference is I am willing to try to fix my part, she doesnt want to acknowledge there might be a physical physical problem and try to fix it. And yes, we do have sex occasionally, but it is often very hard and aggressive. Dont get me wrong, when we do, its great, but we havent made love in years. I want to make love to my wife again

    • Sorry Steve, the problem is I find Julia’s statements offensive not yours.

      You sound like a decent guy who just is making a few minor mistakes and need to fix a few problems of our own, no matter what your wife does.

      Can I ask… if your wife was medically unable to have sex, would you still look at p0rn and masturbate? Honestly what would your answer be?

      It’s not a trick question, but whether your answer is yes or no, it reveals an underlying problem that you need to fix.

      If the answer is yes, you would do those things anyway, then as a christian, you need to deal with that. Because as a christian (which from your post it sounds like you are), p0rn and mast***bation are immoral and no different from adultery. In fact, they are part of adultery as they are sexual behaviours outside of sexual behaviour with your wife. You cannot blame your wife, as you’d be doing it if you were single – you cannot blame lack of sex for your . So if your answer is yes, then it’s an issue you need to work out with God because it’s God you’re disrespecting.

      And if the answer is no, you wouldn’t do those things anyway, then you really are putting crushing expectations on your wife. I realise you aren’t meaning to, but your are in effect saying to her “if you don’t have a medical problem, if you don’t have sex with me, I’m going to keep pleasuring myself.” You said so yourself – you EXPECT her to be affectionate and intimate with you.

      Honestly, it sounds like your wife has depression, which would explain the tiredness and fatigue as well. Or the depression could be a symptom of a more physical problem. But either way, depression itself is a physical problem and needs to be taken seriously. If you get her to a doctor, and the doctor says there is “no” physical condition, it is “just” depression, (as some doctors sadly wrongly put it), know that depression is physical and is just a medical problem as much as say cancer for example.

      Whether it’s another medical condition or just purely depression, whatever the condition turns out to be, it is oviously making her depressed and that is why she doesn’t want to look into what is wrong. she may also have a reason for not wanting to get checked out – I have known several people where serious genetic conditions run in their family, and no matter how sick they got, they refused to get tested because they couldn’t face the answer. they’d rather risk death than face they had a serious lifelong (but manageable with treatment) condition. You need to get your wife to talk to you about why she is refusing to get tested.

      Don’t make it about sex, don’t even mention sex. Stick to the fact that you’re worried about her being so tired and fatigued all the time. Tell your worried it might be something serious and that you’d hate to lose her to something that could be treated if they diagnose it in time. Make her see how serious it is to get to the bottom.

      Also, have you looked into couples counselling? specifically, have you done couples counselling with a pastor or christian therapist? Your wife does have problems. Two actually, quite independent of anything physical. The first is I do agree with you, she is doing the wrong thing. Even if she isn’t interested in sex, she is doing the wrong thing not at least trying more often. The bible clearly says not to deny your spouse sex except for with mutual consent to take time out to spend connecting with God. This is a spiritual issue that she needs to work out either together or on her won with a strong christian who will remind her how important it is. Depending on her, it may be better to do it together with a pastor, or it may be better for her to do it alone with a female christian counsellor because a male pastor might be too intimidating/she may not feel as a guy he understands her lack of interest (not sure as a female I’d understand, but apparently most women do).

      Secondly, she needs to get to the bottom of anything emotional and mental and spiritual for her lack of interest, which is something she’d probably be best doing with an individual therapist.

      I totally disagree with your comment “especially men” describing human sexual interest. Women are just as interested (some women even more so than most men), but because we are the physically weaker sex, and because of society’s indoctrination that women should be meek, not interested in sex,or if they are, they are sluts or deviants, most women learn to block out their sexual feelings or hide them. Very few feel free to admit to truly loving sex – even to themselves.

      You need to convince your wife to get medically tested, and to go to counselling (alone or together, but preferably both!). But don’t make it about sex. Tell her she needs to get medically tested because of her general health, and tell her you want to go couples coucnselling because you feel emotionally neglected, not because of the sex. Because that is ultimately the problem – she is emotionally neglecting you whether it’s caused by a medical condition or not, it still needs to be dealt with. And with a therapist who is unbiased, you are both safe to bring things while having an umpire who can step in and say if one of you is being unfair.

      And it’s a safe environment then for you to bring up the issue that you think she needs therapy for why she isn’t interested in sex – and the therapist or pastor is highly likely to agree with you and hopefully convince her to talk about it (either there or individually with someone).

      Don’t put the idea of therapy to her as “I think you’re in some way broken, lets go to a counsellor”. You need to put it to her as “WE are having issues making OUR relationship not as close as it could be, and *I* would like to go see a counsellor to see if we can make things better”.

      Prove to her how serious you are by making an appointment, and if she refuses to go, go by yourself. Couples counsellor will tell you, a LOT of there work involves only one member of the couple. I went to a couples counsellor several times during my first marriage, hoping my husband would one day join me ( he did once but that’s a whole other story), but even though he only came that one time, I found the counselling did ME immense good. It gave me someone to talk to about the issues, and it gave me positive ways to cope with the problems.

      In our case, our problems were all him (drugs, psychotic mental illness, his abusive family, his violent junkie friends, etc), going to a couples therapist help me cope with it (until he abused our daughter and that was the end of our marriage, because child abuse is the one thing that can’t be fixed.

      But be careful who you choose as a therapist. You need someone who is firstly unbiased and secondly, who is TACTFUL. No matter what is your wife’s fault, it won’t do you any good if the therapist alienates her. That is why my exhusband only went to couples counselling once and never again. The first counsellor we went to (the only one he saw), we never checked out first. She immediately picked up the cause of our problems, but instead of encouraging us to work on them together, she spent the first half of the session telling him basically what a loser he was (only with true things like violence and drug use etc are bad) and then they spent the second half of the session yelling at each other til he smashed her door and stormed out.

      I felt like I was the one who had to be the umpire between him and counsellor arguing. Which just made me feel worse, and him not willing to try someone else. She was right in everything she said about him, BUT it was how she went about telling him.

      Ironic thing was her response was to tell me to leave him which was quite unexpected from a christian counsellor. but anyway… she sucked. You need to find a counsellor who has a christian viewpoint on marriage, who is unbiased and who is tactful.

      make an appointment, and if your wife refuses to go. go without her. you need to talk to a professional about your mast** bation and p0rn problem anyway. If you show your wife that you’re willing to talk to a therapist, with or without her, then it should show her that you are serious about fixing your marriage problems.

      And finally, if she is STILL unwilling to go to a therapist after you’ve been regularly to one for a few months, then it’s time to do something more serious.

      I assume she’s a christian too. If you go to a couples therapist for a while (and I mean at least once a fortnight for at least 3 months) and after all that time, she STILL refuses to see a therapist (or at least a doctor to get her checked for medical problems), then you need to get your pastor to come to your house and see her whether she wants to or not and basically hold an intervention with her. Because once you’ve put that much work in, then you can truly say there is nothing else left to try, and someone else needs to step in.

      • J,

        Your assumption here is that porn and masturbation are unethical because:
        (1) They disrespect your spouse.
        (2) The bible says so.

        As far as (1), let the spouse be the judge of that. It doesn’t sound like she feels it’s disrespectful to her. I’m sure there are many things in your marriage that I would find disrespectful in mine (for example, controlling someone’s masturbation habits, or gender roles, or whatever). But you’re entitled to conduct your marriage how you would like. You should offer the same respect to everyone.

        As for as (2), recognize that Christians believe many different things. You, for example, maybe don’t actually believe that women are supposed to be inferior to their husbands, even though that’s pretty clearly stated in the New Testament and even though many other Christians do believe that. Likewise, not all Christians believe that porn and masturbation is wrong. Unless you’re going to believe EVERYTHING in the New Testament (if not the Old Testament as well), then you cannot assume that all Christians must believe X simply because the bible says so. If you’re picking and choosing (which you probably are), then so can everyone else.

        In other words, don’t assume that what’s wrong for you and your marriage is wrong for everyone else’s (or wrong for the same reasons).

        • Julia sorry mate, but I cannot agree with you about everyone being able to conduct their marriage as they like.

          I know of many people where one person (the man in all the cases I know personally) thinks it’s okay to bash the other, and the other thinks it’s perfectly ok (generally because they think it’s a man’s to be able to). The victim doesn’t enjoy it, but they believe it’s how their marriage should be conducted. You may be able to stand by and watch that kind of behaviour and tell those involved they are entitled to conduct their marriage the way the please. But I cannot. If I see someone disrespecting, particularly if I see someone abusing, their spouse, I’m going to speak up.

          It is not “respect” to say silent when you someone being mistreated by their spouse or seeing someone mistreat their spouse. It is your attitude that is the reason domestic violence, particularly physical violence is so rampant – because people turn a blind eye to it and actually have the audacity to say it is “respecting” the couple by staying out of it.

          And for your (2), you obviously do not understand the new testament at all. The new testament clearly says that women are EQUAL to men (not inferior) – that we are all equal in God’s eyes regardless of race or gender. It does however give guidelines on how society should function – wives should follow husbands, believers should follow elders, slaves should follow masters (or in modern comparison, that employees should follow employers), that people should follow authorities (leaders, rulers, kings or in modern society, governments, police, laws). Without a “chain of command” society falls apart.

          Someone has to be in leadership, and the bible gives a structure that takes into account that like it or not, women are physically less strong than men in average. Having been a single mother for the last 5 years, I am well aware of how vulnerable in general women can be. I have had many people try to take advantage of me – people such as banks, employers, even a bad cop, etc – none of which they would have tried if I’d been male. The bible recognise that women are spiritually equals to men, but because of their physical makeup and the attitude towards women of 99% of societies ever to have existed, that women are better off having a man to protect them. It doesn’t make them inferior in any way though.

          I do what my boss says, does that make me inferior to my boss? not one bit. My IQ is 50 points higher than hers, I have two more university degrees than she does, and in every way other than her higher position in the company, purely due to number of years of experience not quality of experience, I am her “superior”. But she is my boss, and unless she tells me to do something that I know to be wrong, I do what she says at work.

          Following someone’s lead doesn’t make them superior to you. And the bible never says to follow blindly. In fact, we have a moral duty NOT to follow a person who is doing the wrong thing, no matter how much their position is above ours.

          I believe the bible – I believe women are equal to men, and that wives are equal to their husbands, and that women should follow their husbands unless their husbands are doing something that God has declared is wrong.

          Of course I believe everything in the new testament – I wouldn’t be a genuine christian otherwise.

          Sure, there are many people who call themselves christians who believe there is nothing wrong with p0rn and mast***bation, but that doesn’t ACTUALLY mean they are christians. There are many people who call themselves who don’t believe Jesus is God – there are some out there who don’t even believe Jesus even existed as a person, despite all the independent historical evidence that the man Jesus existed. Even Hitler claimed to be a christian! A person simply claiming to be a christian, doesn’t mean they are one. Even Jesus talked about people who will at the end of the world, tell Jesus they were his followers and his response will be that he doesn’t know them.

          You say “if you’re picking and choosing, then so can everyone else”. Well I don’t pick and choose, and neither can anyone else. You either believe the bible, or you don’t. You cannot pick and choose and (genuinely) call yourself a christian.

          I should point out the legitimate point that christians don’t follow all the rules in the old testament, but if you studied the bible, you’d know that many of the rules are rules given only to the Jewish people and Jesus’ coming released followers from ceremonial and ritual laws (and those who study the bible, whether they believe in it or not, even if they think it’s not from God at all, know the difference in what is only applicable to jewish people, and those that are applicable to all humans). But when it comes to the new testament, the whole thing must be followed for someone to be a genuine christian. Anyone who picks and chooses even the slightest thing is not a genuine christian.

          So you have your answer. I do believe everyting in the new testament. I don’t assume anything. I KNOW a christian has to believe the whole lot because the bible says so.

          I also don’t assume anything about what is wrong for marriage. I KNOW. I know what the bible says, I do my best to follow it, and I know that the same rules apply to everyone in regards to sex, relationships and marriage.

          Morals are not some wishy-washy vague thing. They are absolute. You can try to excuse your own immorality by calling it right for you, you can turn a blind eye to other’s immorality by saying it’s right for them, but it doesn’t make it right for you or them or for anyone. Your beliefs are your choice, but it’s because I respect you as a human being, a wonderful creation and child of God, that I can’t sit back and say you should just think whatever feels right for you. It’s because I respect you that I tell you you are wrong.

          I’m human and I may not exactly be the most eloquent or even sometimes the kindest in putting it to you, but it’s out of respect that I say something. Sitting back and saying nothing when you see someone doing the wrong thing might be modern society’s way, but it’s not respect at all.

          • I’m not really not sure where you’re getting that masturbation is wrong. Could you cite a relevant bible verse (from the New Testament, presumably)?

            But, I’m glad to hear that you’re not picking and choosing verses (even if the no-masturbation thing seems to be just created from something not explicitly in the bible).

            I assume therefore that you:

            (1) Never wear gold or pearls.
            [Timothy 2:9] I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes
            [Peter 3:3] Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

            (2) Believe slaves should respect and obey their masters (which presumably would mean to not fight back or flee).
            [Timothy 6:1] All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect
            [Titus 2:9] Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted
            [Peter 2:18] Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

            (3) Would sentence to death anyone who “curses” their parents.
            [Matthew 15:3] Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’

            (4) Give to every beggar you see, and would not try to reclaim things from someone who steals from you.
            [Luke 6:30] Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

            (5) Believe that people in rural, developing countries, who may never have heard of Christianity before, shall be “damned”
            [Mark 16:16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
            [John 3:18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
            [John 15:6] If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

          • Julia the bible is full of verses that state any sexual behaviour outside of marriage is wrong. It doesn’t specify “masturbation” by name same as it doesn’t list a whole of bunch of other things specifically by name either. It’s simply the whole category is deemed wrong.

            And nup, I don’t wear pearls, my only gold is my engagement ring which I only wear because my fiancee asks me to and is modest, my hairstyle is a simply ponytail or half ponytail, and I wouldn’t wear fine clothes even if I believed in spending that kind of money.

            Employment these days is pretty similar to the “slavery” practised in Jesus’ day that is referred to, and that’s why genuine christians work hard and be polite even to the worst bosses, only doing something when the employer commands them to do something that is against God’s word eg theft, sexual misconduct etc. I’ve followed the lead of some really bad bosses and do everything they say except where it has been immoral (particularly illegal).

            The deal with curses Jesus is talking about isn’t just swearing at your parents as most people assume. It refers to putting a full on curse on your parents. I’ve never met anyone personally who puts that kind of demonic on anyone, and Jesus made it very clear how he felt about the death penalty – “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Just because a certain crime is considered a capital offense, does not mean we as individuals should carry it out.

            Not demanding someone return something stolen from you, doesn’t mean you can’t ASK for it back. There is a difference between insisting on something versus asking nicely and being willing to accept no for answer. If I see a genuine beggar on the street and I actually have money (something I don’t have much of being a single mother only able to work one day a week and the australian child support system being an unenforceable joke and countless expensive medical problems and my daughter’s therapy). Ironically, most of the beggars I’ve met have higher incomes than I do without my massive medical expenses, it doesn’t stop me from giving to them. And I use it as a lesson to teach my daughter generosity no matter how poor you are.

            And for your final point, “believeth not” generally refers to those who have heard the Word of God and reject it. Those who genuinely have never heard the word of God are judged on what they do know. Such as it’s obvious to anyone with eyes and a brain that the infinite complexity of the universe didn’t just happen by chance and was created by a higher power. Hence why so many non-religious people believe in intelligent design. While I don’t know the specific verses, the bible has multiple verses about how there is no excuse for total non belief as you can see God’s hand in the universe. I personally don’t know what kind of belief that God is the only God and creator of the universe is “enough” to get them over the line and saved, but not having heard of Jesus isn’t an automatic sentence to hell – faith in God and a righteous life got pre-Jesus people saved. I don’t know the exact process – the bible doesn’t say all the specifics on the topic. That one I’ll have to wait till I meet God face to face to ask. All I know is never having heard of Jesus at all isn’t a hell-sentence. Non-believer refers to the choice of knowing about God and still not believing.

            Hope I didn’t miss anything? Actually specifically about (1) Paul is talking to Timothy about fancy, immodest forms of dress. “pearls and gold” refer to the fancy “bling” worn of the day. A wedding ring was never considered as part of the fancy pearls and gold Paul was referring to. Same as wearing fancy silver jewellery or platinum or diamonds would be considered immodest and unacceptable, a simple engagement ring or wedding ring is considered modest – particularly so in that it marks that someone is offlimits. Simply plucking individual verses out of the bible doesn’t work – you have to know the context of the section, and the original meaning must be understood. You have to know WHO certain passages were addressed to (such as specific people, specific churches or christians as a whole)and you need to know specifically what those passages mean.

            For example, one church was told that women should cover their head. If you study it, it was specifically address to that church because women who went around with their head uncovered in that city area were the prostitutes… leaving your head uncovered was basically advertising that you provide sexual services. Some modern churches have made this mistake in thinking this applies to all women, when simply studying the passage a little deeper would have this clear.

            I know from having spent 14 of the last 15 years at university writing literally hundreds of assignments that involve quoting sources, how very easily you can totally change the meaning of something by simply taking small quotes from throughout it – with enough skill, you can make something sound the total opposite of what the author intended. It never ceases to amaze me when reading articles that summarise other people’s research this way and then going back to the source research, how totally twisted the person who summarised has made it. All by quoting out of context and/or only taking fragments here and there.

            The bible is the same – you have to read things as whole sections and to understand the context and the meaning. Sadly not many people call themselves christians, and those who do read it, few read much of it, and of those who do read most of it, few bother to examine it. I am only on the journey of discovery myself as you can spend your whole life studying the bible constantly and still have more to learn.

            But being able to understand exactly what passages mean is exactly why christians need to study the bible – and non christians need to as well if they want critique it. It’s a journey – I can’t answer all your questions because I still have more to learn, but I can try to answer what I can when I can.

            And hey, I’m not perfect… just because I believe the bible totally, doesn’t mean I’m perfect at following it. It doesn’t mean I don’t believe every word of it though. Being Christian is about wanting to follow Jesus, is it about being forgiven for what we do wrong, it’s not about being perfect.

          • Well, that’s awfully convenient.

            You interpret the pretty clear “no gold” instructions to mean “not too much gold.” You assume that “cursing” your parents is referring to witchcraft (which, maybe it is — but wouldn’t you want to know what *type* of curse before giving a death sentence). You interpret that you only have to give to *some* beggars. You assume — even though it’s pretty clearly stated multiple times that ALL those who don’t believe will be sent to hell — that it’s only those who know of Christianity and haven’t become Christian (okay, even so — isn’t it giving a REALLY unfair advantage to those who were brought up Christian?).

            Basically, you define all of these to be way more restrictive than what’s actually there, so that you can continue to believe that you try to follow everything in the bible.

            But then, when it comes to porn / masturbation, you take really vague wording about that someone shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage and apply it to masturbation. Huh? Again, give me the bible verses that say so. Tell me how a reasonable person should see those as “obviously” applying to masturbation.

          • Julia I give to beggars as I am able. If I don’t have anything to give, I cannot give them money. Even the apostles said to beggars they had nothing to give. Instead they gave them something greater than money.

            If I come across someone in the street who is begging for money to go buy alcohol for example, if they ask me, I offer them help instead. One alcoholic I met who was at my usual bus stop, I knew he was begging for money when I watched him begging for a “bus fare” and then watched him spend the money on alcohol. So when he asked me, I gave him a bus ticket. I couldn’t condone giving him money, but I gave him the help he was asking for and didn’t contribute to him harming himself getting drunk.

            Giving to beggars doesn’t automatically mean giving them money.

            Some of the bible verses such as the ones about curses need a thorough understanding of what they were applied. In Jesus’ day, the meaning was common knowledge – these days, not so much so, which is why Christians need to study the bible in depth. And I already pointed out with capital offenses what Jesus said about them. Just because christians should follow something, doesn’t mean they are qualified or permitted to carry out certain punishments. That’s why within churches there are elders, and that’s why christians are told to follow the law and government except where those laws command people go against God’s word. commuting a death sentence isn’t against God’s word – God forgives and so should people.

            I obviously didn’t explain it well, but “not believing” refers to not believing in God, not to not knowing specifically about Jesus. knowing about Jesus and rejecting Him = not believing. Not knowing Jesus existed but believing that God exists and trying to live a righteous life was enough for people in the old testament, and everything I’ve read in the bible points to this still being the case.

            And the gold thing… it’s a context issue. I tried explaining it, but you probably want to ask someone who is qualified in theology if you want a deeper explanation.

  27. And I would happily give up porn in exchange for “regular” sex with my wife. Even once a week would be enough.

    • Steve therein lies the exact problem I’ve tried pointing out. In that statement, you saying if you got sex, you’d give up p0rn – or said in reverse, if you don’t get sex, you will continue using p0rn.

      You should be giving up p0rn because it’s wrong in God’s eyes and (for christians at least) they know that it is damaging to marriage. Because it is a type of fornication and inappropriate lustful behaviour and something that people shouldn’t do whether they are married, engaged, dating or single. They shouldn’t do it whether they have sex 10 times a day, once a day, once a week, once a month, once a year or never.

      If you can’t give it up for your wife and your marriage, then do it for God and for your relationship with God – because even if your wife didn’t care one bit, God does care and like any sin, it damages your relationship with God.

      Your relationship with God is the most important thing in the world. Don’t let your desire for sexual pleasure come between you and God.

      • Huh. I’m actually confused. I assumed that the bible said masturbation was wrong — but where? I can’t seem to find it. In fact, on the below christian about page on this topic, it says there is no actual passage about masturbation. So how do we know God thinks it’s wrong?

        http://christianteens.about.com/od/whatthebiblesaysabout/f/masturbation.htm

        • Julia firstly let me specify… there is nothing wrong with mutual masturbation in marriage. It is only wrong when it’s a solo act. Throughout the bible it is repeatedly expressed that ALL sexual activity is supposed to be something done solely between a husband and wife. Solo masturbation is something done alone purely for the masturbator’s own pleasure and that is why it’s wrong. Any thing sexual that is done alone or with someone other than your spouse is wrong.

          Beyond that, if you want specific info, I suggest the following site: http://www.patriciaweerakoon.com/

          I haven’t had a close look at her site, but Patricia is a sexologist and a christian with decades of experience.

          She came to a conference I went to early this year, and I took her elective on sexual dysfunction (dysfunction as christians see it, such as porn, homosexuality etc) and it was fascinating, unfortunately I’ve lost my notes. She also did a presentation for the whole conference attendees on christianity and sex in general – mostly aimed at singles rather than married people, as it was for a conference for young adults, there were only a handful of married people, I was sadly the only divorcee, but what she taught on masturbation applies to all christians regardless of relationship status. The topic of solo masturbation was raised by many people.

          She gave a great overview of the topic, with all the relevant biblical verses. When it came to masturbation, she made it very clear through the bible verses that masturbation is only healthy where it contributes to a (married) couple’s sex life and not where it is replacing sex. So in situations like mutual masturbation (masturbatng together without actually having sex), or things like phone sex/skype sex, they’re all fine because even though the person is touching themself, it’s as a part of their mutual sexual life. It’s when it becomes a solo thing, for the pleasure of just the partner themselves, that’s when it becomes wrong.

          That basically all sexual contact is about giving your spouse enjoyment as much as (or more than) it is about your enjoyment. Any sexual activity where the sex is more about your own enjoyment than your spouse’s, is wrong.

          As for porn, to christians it is automatically wrong in all circumstances except when you are purely looking at stuff of you and your spouse. Because anything sexual outside of your marriage is immoral and wrong – not just having sex itself, but anything related to sex such as looking at naked pics, feeling up a person, etc. (sorry STEVE mate, that’s the other thing wrong with you looking at porn that I forgot to bring up – you’re actually committing adultery by looking at women other than your wife, so even if she is okay with it, you’re still doing the wrong thing by her and by God).

          There is nothing wrong with taking pics of your spouse and looking at them – if it pleases them as much as it pleases you, and nothing wrong with filming the two of your, as long as it’s about their pleasure as much as yours. The only downside is you want to be very very careful that no one else finds it – that’s a disaster in more ways than one.

          Sorry I can’t answer any more tonight though because it’s 3am here and I need some sleep. I’m not a sexologist by trade – if it wasn’t obvious above, I work in healthcare I have dual degrees in science (pharmcology/neuroscience/biomed) and psychology (with a minor in maths), and after I quit doing a postgrad medical degree to care for my mentally ill husband and autistic daughter, I got a nursing degree instead. So my focus is psychology and orthopaedic nursing. I’m not that great at remembering wherein the bible specific verses, but that’s why I recommend people like Patricia who are specifically trained in that area.

          Sorry to bail on you, I’d genuinely love to continue this conversation, but I need sleep so I can get my daughter to school in a few hours.

          • “(sorry STEVE mate, that’s the other thing wrong with you looking at porn that I forgot to bring up – you’re actually committing adultery by looking at women other than your wife, so even if she is okay with it, you’re still doing the wrong thing by her and by God.”

            By YOUR definition of adultery, yes. (And, hey, people are free to define their relationships rules however they would like. If you’re like to say that your spouse even shaking hands with a woman is “adultery”, and your spouse is actually supportive** of that rule, then that’s fine by me. I really believe that people can define their relationships rules however strictly or loosely they want.)

            By mine — and almost everyone I know (men and women) — looking at porn is not adultery. In fact, I can’t think of a single person I know who cares at all if their partner looks at porn.

            ** That is, provided people are *truly* consenting out of their own free will (and are fully informed), then I’m fine with whatever bizarre rules they want to make. Obviously, if someone “agrees” to do something within the context of an abusive relationship then that isn’t necessarily “consent.” Or, if someone agrees to something, but isn’t aware of the alternatives, then that’s not truly consent either. So let me put it this way: people should be able to define their rules of relationship however they want provided they have the “cheerful fully-informed consent” of both parties.

          • Just one more quick answer Julia… It’s not my definition, it’s the bible’s. You can choose not to follow it if you like. God gave us the free will to accept or reject Him and His word.

            I’m guessing you don’t know many (any?) genuine christians. Every single one I know (and that’s thousands) would care if their partner looked at porn.

            Some would find it hurtful personally, ALL would be concerned about the negative impact it has on their spouse’s relationship with God.

            I never did anything to stop my first husband looking at porn. Personally I never got the point – I see naked people every day at work, it’s nothing interesting. And I watched it destroy him. He had so many sexual dysfunctional problems of which the porn definitely contributed to. We were having sex nearly every day, sometimes several times a day – to this day (to his current wife’s horror) he admits I was the best he ever had (and he’s had a lot of women) but because of his porn addiction nothing was ever good enough for him, and nothing is still good enough for him. He is married again, has multiple mistresses, has sex with women, men and “others” but he still doesn’t enjoy it. And it began with looking at porn.

            Porn destroys healthy sexual mentality.

          • “It’s not my definition, it’s the bible’s. You can choose not to follow it if you like. God gave us the free will to accept or reject Him and His word.”

            But where? Seriously. Please. Tell me where in the New Testament is says that you shouldn’t masturbate. Give me a bible verse.

            “I never did anything to stop my first husband looking at porn. Personally I never got the point – I see naked people every day at work, it’s nothing interesting. And I watched it destroy him. He had so many sexual dysfunctional problems of which the porn definitely contributed to. We were having sex nearly every day, sometimes several times a day – to this day (to his current wife’s horror) he admits I was the best he ever had (and he’s had a lot of women) but because of his porn addiction nothing was ever good enough for him, and nothing is still good enough for him. He is married again, has multiple mistresses, has sex with women, men and “others” but he still doesn’t enjoy it. And it began with looking at porn. Porn destroys healthy sexual mentality.”

            This is the same ex-husband who physically abused you and your daughter, right? The guy sounds like a pretty terrible person – physical abuse, cheating (I assume he is cheating, and doesn’t just have an open marriage?), drugs, etc. He may well have had a porn addiction as well, and that may have made your sexual problems worse (or possibly better).

            But, what you’re saying is this: “My ex-husband was physically abusive because he was a terrible person (or mentally ill, or whatever). But the cause of his cheating / other sexual problems is his porn addiction.” It seems more likely that his cheating / other sexual problems has the same cause as his physical abuse.

            Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe he wouldn’t be cheating if it weren’t for his porn addiction. Even in that case though, that still doesn’t mean that moderate porn usage is bad. I have family members who are alcoholics and that has a pretty terrible impact on their life. From there, should I conclude that any alcohol usage is bad? No, of course not. Looking around at the world, it seems pretty obvious that people most people can use alcohol in a moderate, healthy manner. Likewise for porn.

            Every single boyfriend (including my husband) I’ve ever had has looked at porn regularly. They were never addicted. They never cheated. And they never hit me.

            Moderate porn usage is not the problem. Porn addiction — and otherwise just being a terrible person — is. You know, just like alcohol.

  28. Julia and J….. Let me say that I appreciate this spirited debate. There is a lot of opinions regarding masturbation and porn. Let me sttry to stop one of these arguments. My wife and I are not particularly religious. I have been to church in 3 times in the last 22 years (our wedding, my mother in laws funeral and my father in laws funeral) so honestly, I dont really care about what the bible does or doesnt say on the issue. I was looking for help on how to deal and this site came up regarding the addiction to porn and I felt that maybe I have a bit of a problem and I wanted to see what was being said. Then I read another article concerning marital responsibilities and based on some of the quotes that Julia posted from the bible, sex is supposed to be a part of a healthy marriage. My issue is the fact that my wife does not acknowledge that it is important and she feels her zero sex drive is not a problem. I could have chosen to have an affair. I have had several women offer themselves to me over the last few years. I have also had many conversations with female friends of mine, and for the most part they are surprised I havent had an affair yet. Most of the women I know feel that it is their responsibility to keep their man engaged and interested in them sexually to keep them faithful. I know that probable looks like a sexist comment and it probably is, but you have both quoed bible verses and to me it looks like God has said the same thing. Do not withold sex from your partner. I have also read many articles that go on to explain that maybe part of the problem is just getting to the sex. That finding the time is what may be the biggest problem, but that when you get started, it usually is great and your partner gets into it. I have ready articles that said that if you just keep it up, doing it even when you really dont want to, that eventually it will trip the circuit and put you back i on track to a healty sex life. My wife is unwilling to even try. Yes, I expect her to be intimate with me. A healthy marriage needs intimacy and sex. If there is an underlying health issue then I want her to be able to come to me to help her through it. I am always here for her.

    • Steve, my mistake mate… I thought from your previous comments about God and your familiarity which Christian beliefs meant that you were one. If you’re not a christian, then christians can’t expect you to follow their rules, although they can suggest it as the healthiest way to do things.

      I get your frustration… in the last few years of my marriage, I got very little sex despite daily trying to initiate it. And when we did have sex, it was all about pleasing him which is very hard to do when someone is constantly high on drugs. But neither cheating nor porn not masturbation crossed my mind. All that crossed my mind was doing everything I could to make him interested and to make him enjoy it. It’s not even something that you can really get advice on because who is going to believe a woman when she says she wants to do it every day and her husband doesn’t?

      It does happen but it’s a rare combination. I won’t say I didn’t feel unsatisfied sexually – because I felt very unsatisfied, but I used that frustration and turned it into something useful. It motivated me to focus on other things both in our marriage and life in general. It’s why I started studying nursing after a year off to reassess life and have put my passion into helping people through nursing.

      And if you think only having sex occasionally is hard, wait til you haven’t had it for five years when you want it on a daily basis! And it’s certainly not for lack of possibilities. As soon as I seperated from my husband, I had lots of offers (sadly a few from married men, but that’s a different issue), and a few years later finding wonderful man and getting engaged, it’s even harder but we survive. Sexual pleasure is not a necessity.

      Yeah it really sucks to go without. Especially after 8 years of marriage to have five years of nothing, but it hasn’t killed me – in fact I don’t know anyone who has died from not doing anything at all sexual – do you?

      Your comment is sort of sexist, but if you look at the thought underneath and apply it both ways it is true – that it is both partner’s job to keep each other interested and engaged – and in all areas of the relationship, not just sex. Your wife is disengaged, she should be meeting you halfway, but for whatever reason, she isn’t, and if you truly love her (which it sounds like you do), then you need to find a way to engage whatever the problem.

      A health marriage needs intimacy, but it doesn’t have to be physical. I know of people who are disabled and will never have sex, yet they have the most beautiful loving marriages because they have other forms of intimacy.

      So you’re not a christian, but my advice still stands on couples therapy – you need to get go, with or without her and get some professional advice. Stick with it, and she’ll see you’re serious about fixing the problems and will hopefully follow your lead. And if she still doesn’t after you’ve given it a few months, then you need to find someone she respects to do basically an intervention with her about getting help – she needs someone other than you, someone she sees as independent to point out to her that it’s HER marriage that is sucking not just your’s because of her view about sex. And that just because she’s ok with not having the act of sex, that by not participating in it, that nonsexual intimacy is breaking down too.

      It also might pay to be (nicely) blunt with her and ask her where your marriage stands. Find a polite way to say (without freaking her out) that if she’s happy with there not being an sex, if she’s also happy with you not doing anything else couples do and for you to just be friends. Although if you were to do this, you might have to prepare yourself for her to say yes. Hopefully it will make her see that it’s not fair for her to take what she wants from the marriage (non sexual intimacy) while denying you what you want (sexual intimacy, which I say want because as much of a powerful want that it is, it’s not a “need”).

      I’m not saying you should definitely ask her this because it could have the wrong effect, but it’s just an idea to point out to her that it’s not fair her wants are being met and yours aren’t and that you’re only asking her to return the favour. But if you do it, don’t make it about sex – make it about what she wants from the relationship and what you want from the relationship.

      It’s something I’ve had to work on with my daughter and her autism – she has huge trouble understanding that what she wants isn’t the same as what others want, and that there has to be give and take – that if she wants her friends to play a game with her or to talk about her hobby, that in return she has to be willing to play their game or talk about their hobby too. She’s 10 now and is making progress but she still struggles. It’s something many “normal” people struggle with, including adults- the concept that people have different desires and that for any relationship (family, friends, marriage) that just because one person likes doing something, doesn’t mean the other person does, but that for the relationship to work you either have to find mutual ground OR give and take. And it works… for example with my fiancee, I watch his favourite anime, he watches my favourite soapie. We both started off hating the other’s show, but now we enjoy the time together.

      You need to find a way to put similar to your wife. That you are meeting her wants from the relationship doing things for her that don’t interest you because you know she likes them and that it would be nice for her to do the same. Don’t demand it, don’t expect it even, but suggest it lovingly. Remind her gently that the best relationships are a two way street – emphasize that you’ll keep loving her no matter how one sided it is, but ask for her to consider making it a two way street again.

      And feel free to tell her some weirdo you met on the internet is a nurse and says she really needs to get medically checked out, if for no other reason than it’s something everyone should get done at least once every couple of years for their own health.

  29. I would consider an addiction to porn as someone who uses porn as a substitute for sex with their spouse or significant other (and not because the significant other in unable or unwilling to have sex), or someone who goes to look at porn after having sex. I dont consider looking at porn and masturbating to be immoral. Men are visual creatures so porn helps to facilitate the act of masturbating. Go to any sperm bank (and I think God is ok with sperm banks as it helps women who otherwise couldnt get pregnant because their spouse is sterile) and you will find porn in the private rooms where the man is sent to “secure his donation”. I’m just saying that I believe Mastubation is not a bad thing and I believe it actually helps in certain situations to keep the marriage from falling apart. I also believe mutual masturbation is something that women who have low sex drives could do to keep their husbands engaged sexually duirng those times when he wants it and she doesnt. Actually, I got my wife to masturbate for me one night and while she did it I masturbated myself, that particular time it turned into some of the hottest sex we had in a few years. There are things a woman can do that can satisfy her husband without actually having to have intercourse…. some women have low sex drives because they dont want to have to clean up after sex.

    In any event. I love my wife more than anything in the world. I will do anything for her. I will make any sacrifice. But I have needs too, and shouldnt she be willing to do the same.

    • Steve mate, she should be willing but you can’t make her. Truest love is unconditional.

      My marriage was very one sided, yet I loved him totally and would do anything for him, gave up everything for him. Even still paying debts for money he borrowed in my name because I never said no to him for anything.

      Our marriage only had two conditions – no cheating and no abusing our daughter. Even cheating I could have given him a chance to fix things. Ultimately he crossed the one condition I had on our relationship – not abusing a child. But if it weren’t for that, we’d still be together.

      He was the one to actually ask the divorce after we got seperated (I initiated the seperation, with the intention that he’d go to rehab, go back on his meds and get abuse counselling) but despite everything, even what descended into him stalking and abusing me for years after, I didn’t even so much as look at another man until we were officially divorced and even then it was quite some time before I considered dating again.

      Right up until the day we got divorced, I would have done anything for him as long as it wasn’t immoral or illegal. Absolutely anything in the world, no matter how big a sacrifice. Despite the fact that I knew the chances of him giving me anything except abuse by that stage were slim (he considers me reporting his violent attack on our daughter as me “abusing” him and choosing her over him – his own daughter!).

      Sometimes love is a one way street, but I don’t believe in inititiating a divorce for anything other than your spouse cheating or physical abuse, and I do believe in being dedicated to your marriage as long as you are married, even if you’re the only one doing so. All you can do is gently lovingly keep suggesting to your partner that they meet you half way and hope and pray that they do.

  30. J keeps bringing up the point that “what if the person is unable to have sex because of a medical problem?”. It is my humble opinion that the ONLY reason for celibacy or infrequent sex in the marriage bed is some sort of medical condition that affects the body (impotence, pain during sex, paralysis ect). In the case of psychological issues (maybe a person was raped or molested) then it would be understandible as well but I would hope the person affected would seek help and I would expect the spouse to support and help in any way they can. It is my opinion that both partners are morally obligated to keep their partner satisfied in all aspects of marriage. I believe sex is an important aspect in marriage. I dont agree with a married couple who “Chooses” celibacy, I think that is an afront to God. I believe that a woman (or man – I still cant wrap my head around the fact that some men have zero sex drive – I do not know a single male who doesnt want to have sex, even the married guys who say they hate their wives still want to have sex with them) who decides that it is ok to have zero sex drive and refuses to even acknowledge the possibility that her lack of sex drive could be a result of a chemical or hormonal imbalance is betraying the husband. No one is 100% compatible with anyone else. It is up to each individual to make the sacrifices they know they need to make in order to satisfy their partner. If that means pushing yourself to have sex with your partner more frequently then that is what needs to be done. II also believe that the same can be said for the partner with the high sex drive. That individual needs to make a sacrifice and push himself to be more understanding of the spouses feelings and not try to force her to have sex all the time. He should also not make her feel bad for not wanting to have sex. Listen, we all have to do things in life that we dont want to do and if the reason for the zero sex drive is simply that thae individual “can do without it” then that is wrong. That person should recognize that a zero sex drive in a HUMAN is not a normal thing. God has made humans as sexual beings.The couple has to find a happy medium that works for them. And for those of us thast have spouses that have refused to acknowledge that there is an issue, masturbation is still the better choice than having an affair. Women need to realize (and I’m going to make enemies by saying this) that a man looks at porn in order to facilitate the act of masturbation and not because the man has a secret desire to be with the woman in the porn. I would say that most men who look at porn and masturbate do so to make up for a lack in their relationships and not because they dont desire their spouses. Yes, I said most. But as in everything, there is always the few who do not fit the mold. In this instance, they are addicted to porn and use it as a substitute. I also dont believe that looking at porn is being unfaithful to your spouse. On the contrary, in situations like mike, looking at porn has kept me from having an affair. I also dont think God feels that masturbation or porn are betrayals to the marriage sacriment. If He does, then He would be a truly cruel being because to make men and women so different as far as sex drive and sexual primes are concerned,and not allow individuals to pleasure themselves individually is just mean. I do not believe God wants his children to suffer and I firmly believe that we humans have misinterpreted his will. I believe the religious scholars, both ancient and present, have placed their own values on their interpretations of the bible. I believe that we, the humans, have given ourselves unrealistic spiritual guidelines. I believe that when I get to the gates of Heaven (if I get there), my God will evaluate me on my life as a whole and not hold human mistakes against me. To say masturbation and porn are evil, well, that is just plain silly.

  31. Steve, I understand the point you’re making about it’s “better than going out and cheating”. But it’s like a lot of things: it’s “the lesser of two evils”.

    Like someone who has an anger problem saying it’s better they smash up the house than smashing up their wife. That may be true, but it would be better to deal with the anger problem, same as it is better to solve your sexual pleasure problem independent of what your wife does or doesn’t do.

    I totally agree with you that spouses should be committed to meeting each other half way on this issue, but I disagree with you in that not getting enough sex doesn’t justify any sexual behaviour outside of what is done with your spouse.

    So sure… if masturbation and porn are the only things stopping you from physically cheating, then go right ahead… it’s better than putting both yourself and wife at risk of catching a disease or getting someone else pregnant, but it would be better for you to bring your sexual desire under control, same way it is better for a guy with an anger problem to get it under control rather than smash inaminate objects.

  32. I consider my sexual desire to be under control. I am not a sex addict. I dont think wanting to have sex with my wife once or twice a week is excessive. I dont think I have the problem here. I believe I have been very understanding to her needs. I think too many people live in pain because of their religious beliefs. J…Your story breaks my heart but I believe you risked your life and the life of your daughter by staying in that situation as long as you did. You are trying to relate my story to yours but our stories are completely different. I have an otherwise happy marriage. My wife and I are friends and we have a wonderful relationship mostly. You stayed with an abusive husband who took drugs. Being a smart woman as I think you are, that was very stupid. He could have killed you in one of his fits of rage. You see it every day on the news. You were right to try to help him with his demons but the moment he crossed theline is when you should have left. You say that even in the bad times you would still tried to keep him engaged. This sounds a little like battered wife syndrom to me and I’m just sorry you had to go through with it. Masturbation and putting a fist through a wall (or worse, your face) are 2 completely different things and should never be compared.

  33. I think what I’m saying is that while you went sexless for 8 or 9 years because of the situation you were in, I believe you did that to yourself because of your religious beliefs that masturbation is bad. I find it very difficult to believe my God would ask me to go through something like that and not give me the freedom to take care of myself. That sounds sadistic and I dont see God in that light. I believe too many people read a book called the Bible and consider it the word of God when it was written by a man. You will call it faith I’m sure. But I have faith that God is compassionate and he would never ask his children to endure something that is so against our nature.

    • Steve I “did it to myself” as much as you are “doing it to yourself” for not physically cheating on your wife. I know masturbation to be cheating on my husband as much as if I’d gone out and slept with another man. I’m not even sure why you like masturbating alone – it’s not enjoyable without a spouse participating in some way. I could no more have cheated on my husband with masturbation than you could cheat on your wife with other women.

      And while God is compassionate, He makes it clear that life is full of suffering, and those who choose to follow Him WILL suffer for their decisions – suffering by giving up selfish pleasure, suffering persecution, and some will even die for their faith. Following God isn’t about pleasure, it’s about doing what He says no matter how tough it is. We get our reward in the next life, not this one.

  34. I’m sorry. Masturbation is not cheating, and nothing save the voice of God himself will convince me other wise. You can interpret the meaning of the bible all you want but until someone finds a scripture or something that says “Masturbation is evil or wrong or cheating” explicitly. To say so is deluded and borderline fanatical. 100% of what is in the bible is a wonderful story written by human beings to try to give a reason or purpose for this life on earth. The scriptures were written by believersor us to follow if we wanted to try to lead a “pure” life that is pleasing to God. My own personal opinion is that God is pleased simply by our being who we are. I believe God put the world in motion and is now sitting back watching it unfold. He may or may not occasionally interceed if he thinks something we are doing is wrong but there is really no proof either way. My FAITH makes me believe God judges us on our actions but I dont believe he has explicitly told us what actions are good or bad. The 10 commandments will undoubtedly be brought up so once again, I will say that the commandments, while purportedly written by the hand of God, existed in a box never to be seen by the eyes of his children so who is to say Moses didnt write them himself. faith tells us to believe it was written by God so therefore it must have been. And the commandments themselves, do not specifically mention masturbation as being wrong. The only commandment that even mentions sex is Thou shalt not commkit adultery. Adultery is a married person having sex with another person other than your spouse. To date, no one has found a document written in the hand of God or even Jesus that corroborates any of the stories or enforces any of the “rules” spelled out in the bible. You are free to interpret a HUMANS story as you see fit. You are free to live a life of suffering for Him and then you can reap your rewards in the next life. I dont think God will deny me access to heaven because I masturbated in life.

    I enjoy masturbation personally, only I know my body well enough to make the pleasure as intense as it can be. Sure, I can show my wife what I like and I have. She has tried, but some of the orgasms I have experienced while masturbating will never compare to those during real sex, and vice versa.

    God does not want drones. God wants us to be free thinkers who are willing to accept the consequences of our actions. He has given us free will but above all else, he has given us the freedom to be who we are. We are humans and human nature is not meant to be ignored. Thousands of years ago when humanity was in its infancy, someone wrote a book in the hopes of giving his fellow human beings a reason for being, a general guide on how to live their life. What followed after that is just pure human arrogance and a desire to control the masses. I believe in God, I really do. But the rules and the idea that we must suffer in order to be worthy just doesnt compute to me.

  35. ThisismyAlias says:

    I clicked from somewhere else and it caught my interest. I haven’t read all the comments and I can’t find a date so I have no idea how old this is lol but I have a few thoughts.

    1. Do all these ‘openminded’ women who think regular p0rn use is ok also think that a threesome is acceptable? Would they happily allow their husbands to go to a strip club ‘regularly’ and masturbate to a personal striptease? Would they happily partake in a spouse swap? Because when it comes down to it, porn is no different. You’re watching other people having sex. You’re allowing the images of OTHER peoples bodies into your marriage. And as the ex-wife of a p0rn enjoyer I don’t believe for a second that any woman {or man if the roles are reversed} could truly be ok with this situation in an intimate and loving relationship. I knew about the p0rn, I watched the p0rn as a ‘supportive’ wife, I roleplayed, etc. We got divorced. He still found me attractive, we still had sex, however it went from something intimate and beautiful between the two of us to something very pedestrian. It was never ‘making love’, it was always sex. Marriage is like spaghetti – its all linked. If you bail out on putting the time and effort into connecting with each other on an emotional level then your sex life WILL eventually be affected. If you use p0rn as a way to keep your sex life interested then your emotional connection WILL eventually be affected. It may take 1 year, it may take 5, but it WILL happen.

    I am happily remarried and p0rn is an absolute no-no in our home. Both my husband and I agree, not only because I have a problem with him doing it {and he is completely disinterested – sorry to burst anyones bubble but some men really aren’t attracted. Men who have never been exposed to it seem to see it in all its sleazy, distasteful glory} , but because of my history it would be too easy for me to slip into the habit of chucking on some porn to add ‘spice’ when things are a little disconnected {we have small children – it definitely gets disconnected} instead of taking the time to reconnect on an emotional level and therefore messing up my relationship spaghetti! We make date nights a priority, actively laugh alot, flirt through the day and give each other lots of cuddles and kind words. We also sext, have naughty phonecalls when he’s away for work, have kinky dress-up nights, use handcuffs, have body buffets {yeah we eat of each other LOL}, and make a habit of ‘christening’ every new piece of furniture, not to mention every room in every new house we move into :D And, y’know, its a helluvalot more exciting, intimate and just plain fun, than watching a DVD of someone else doing all that stuff!! And as a plus, I know that since I’m the only naked body he’s seeing, I don’t need to worry about rogue images of skinny women with a faceful of makeup and a full body wax sneaking into his mind and creating negative comparisons against my trim but had 3 babies in 4 years booty and occasionally unshaved legs!!

    Julia, you may discover what I did in your marriage, or you may, sadly never experience what true intimacy, solely between a man and wife, really is. Either way, I’m sad for you because even though you don’t realise this, you’re really missing out. Thanks to my {current} husband I have experienced the fullness of an intimate, private relationship, the way I believe marriage was meant to be. There is no comparison.

    2. My husband {and I} both masturbate at times. And I occasionally use a vibrator. During that time of the month I’m ok with my husband masturbating if he wants. I even offer mental and visual stimulation ;) Its between the two of us, its open and it doesn’t involve anybody else. In fact when I’m pregnant I’m medically unable to have conventional sex so mutual masturbation sessions keep that spark there. I would only consider it cheating if he was doing it secretly, motivated by another woman – either real life or images.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts :)

    • Julia Calia says:

      Do I think threesomes, strip clubs, spouse swaps, etc are okay? It’s not my thing, but for another couple where everyone involved is okay with it, sure.

      However, saying “porn is no different” is pretty absurd. Really? It’s *no* different? Watching on film someone have sex is the exact same thing as having sex with someone else? Is watching a movie where someone is killed the same thing as killing someone?

      Also, it’s absurd to say that any wife who is okay with her husband watching p0rn isn’t really okay with it. What, it secretly bothers me but I’m totally unaware that it does? Huh?

      Trust me. I’m okay with it. Really and truly 100% okay with it. I’m pretty sure I know how I feel.

      Now, maybe you can make a half rational argument that it’ll eventually become a problem. But then, I’ve never known a couple where that has been the case — and in every couple I know of, the man watches porn periodically. And the woman is totally okay with it.

      That’s not to say that it *can’t* become a problem. Of course it can. Alcohol (or ANYTHING) can also become a problem in a marriage if abused, but it doesn’t necessarily become one.

      It’s all well and good for you that you don’t want your husband to watch p0rn. He doesn’t want to, and that’s how you guys prefer to have your relationship. Fine by me.

      It’s also fine with me that my husband does watch p0rn. I don’t worry any more than you that “rogue images of skinny women” will pollute his mind. Actually, I may worry less than you. After all, if you’re going to be worried about your husband being affected by p0rn stars, you may also be worried about models that your husband sees.

      It’s very condescending, judgmental, and egotistical for you to say that I must not know what true intimacy is, simply because I’m fine with my husband watching porn. Your evidence for this, moreover, is that with your ex-husband, sex wasn’t “making love” and that he happened to watch p0rn. Have you considered that there may be no connection between the two? Or that what happened to your marriage doesn’t happen to everyone?

      Your view is that, effectively, the relationship of everyone I know is doomed. That’s absurd.

      You’re free to make your choices, and I’m free to make mine. If you and your husband want a marriage without porn, great. You all should do that because you’re probably happier that way. If my husband and I want a marriage with porn, that’s fine too. We should do that because we’re happier that way.

      But if I’m perfectly honest, the only times I hear about porn being an issue in a relationship is when the woman is unhappy about her husband watching porn. I never seem to hear about porn itself being an issue. Strange, no?

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