Emotional Abuse, marriage, Pain and suffering, sexual purity, Surviving Adultery and Divorce

Signs Your Spouse Might be a Porn Addict

Porn is of epidemic proportions these days. With the easy availability, more people than ever are addicted. Sadly, it’s no longer just a man’s issue.

According to Covenant Eyes:

  • 28,258 users watch porn every second.
  • One in every five internet searches are for pornography.
  • 88% of scenes in porn films contain acts of physical aggression while 49% contain verbal aggression
  • One in five youth pastors and one in seven senior pastors use porn on a regular basis
  • 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women admit to watching porn at least monthly
  • 68% of divorce cases involved one party meeting a new lover over the internet
  • 70% of wives of sex addicts could be diagnosed with PTSD

Maybe you, like many, don’t see that pornography is a problem. Many (including Christians) believe they can use pornography to help their sex life.

One of my primary problems with this way of thinking is that scripture tells us to flee every type of sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). I don’t know how you can classify pornography as anything other than sexual immorality.

But let’s take it a step further. What kind of impact does pornography have on one’s life?

Covenant Eyes states prolonged exposure to porn leads to diminished trust, belief that promiscuity is natural, and a sack of attraction to family and child-raising. Furthermore, compulsive pornography users suffer erectile difficulties more often than non-porn users.

Another issue that is frequently attributed to porn use is the objectification of women. Studies show that prolonged porn use can cause men to view women more as objects to be used for self-gratification than as humans to be treasured.

All of these statistics are one thing. But how do you know if your spouse has a porn problem? Chances are, he or she isn’t going to just tell you (unless God has really convicted him/her and he/she truly desires healing).

When I got married at the age of 22, I was very naïve. I had lived a very sheltered life, mostly in the bubble of my Christian home and Christian friends. To be honest, I still have to have jokes and innuendos explained to me on a regular basis. I can honestly say I had no idea what was normal for married life.

It wasn’t until after I was divorced that I was talking with a pastor friend. I was telling him about my husband’s affair and our subsequent divorce. He encouraged me to read Every Young Man’s Battle with my boys because it was highly likely my ex-husband had a porn problem. As I read this life-changing book, so many things in my marriage suddenly made sense.

I had always been an object to be used for my husband’s gratification rather than a gift from God to be treasured.

This desire for self-gratification was in every area of life, not just the bedroom. My only job in our marriage was to meet my husband’s wants and needs. It was never about a partnership or helping one another. Even as I write this blog post, I am propped up in bed recovering from spinal surgery AND suffering with the flu. My sweet, loving husband insists on taking care of me, bringing me chicken noodle soup and insisting I do absolutely nothing. He takes such good care of me…completely unlike my first marriage where I would be cooking and cleaning and generally expected to care for his wants and needs regardless of my physical condition. No joking. I remember being six months pregnant with my third child while fighting both a stomach bug and bronchitis. I asked my then-husband to please go get the kids some lunch from McDonald’s or something. They were hungry and too young to care for themselves. After asking multiple times and waiting well over an hour, I finally gave up and made them some hot dogs. My life was worth nothing except making his life easier.

So how do you know if your spouse has a porn problem? I asked this very question on Facebook recently. My friends did not disappoint—which sadly means so many of us have experienced the effects of porn in our lives. This list is far from complete, but it can certainly give you some ideas of what to look for.

Anger issues. These issues could stem from watching violence or simply from objectification. It could relate to the shame they carry or the frustration from wanting to be different. Or, it could be a result of blaming the spouse for preventing him/her from having the time for more pornography.

Staying up later to “work” after hours. Or getting up early. Many porn-addicted spouses refuse to go to bed with their husband/wife. They stay up in the office. Alone. They are always “working” at odd hours.

Refusing to share passwords with you. They lock doors and use passwords. They might be so kind as to get you your own computer, but protect theirs at all costs. They shut down screens when you walk into the room.

My ex-husband once used the line he was working on something special for me and begged me not to look at his computer and ruin the surprise. He was working on porn…and an affair.

Nothing you do is ever good enough. This can be in general and most definitely in the bedroom (more on this one later). They might pick fights with you so he/she has a reason to be upset with you and avoid intimacy.  Everything you do is criticized, done wrong. It can go back to that objectification.

Lack of meaningful conversations and intimate moments. It’s so much easier to get your sexual gratification from a computer than it is to build intimacy with another human. Why expend all that energy when you can gratify yourself?

Asking you to do demeaning things in the bedroom. This might vary from asking for new positions or toys. He might suddenly want to add violence in the bedroom. If you refuse, he might tell you it’s like making love to a dead person or say other degrading things to you or about you.

Lack of interest in sex with you. Many women commented their porn-addicted husbands lost interest in sex with them. Nothing they did could elicit a response from them. They were far more interested in the being alone with a computer screen in the bathroom.

Erectile dysfunction. Yes, it is true. Pornography leads to erectile dysfunction. Porn causes the man to need more and more to experience arousal. An ordinary intimate encounter between husband and wife simply won’t elicit the arousal necessary to perform a sexual act.

Does any of this sound like verbal, mental, or emotional abuse? I’d say abuse often goes hand-in-hand with pornography.

If your spouse is exhibiting any of the above behaviors, start digging a little deeper. Look for signs that pornography might be a problem. Seek the help of a professional counselor. Pray and confront. Find a support group to help you through this difficult time. Know that even if your marriage doesn’t survive pornography, God will not let you down. He will be faithful to put you back together and on your feet again (1 Peter 5:10).

There’s one other sign your spouse might have a porn problem:

Absolutely nothing. Sadly, there are times when there are no indications of a porn problem. They treat you well. They talk about how much they hate porn. They live Godly lives. They enjoy serving you, pleasing you. They want intimacy. Yet, their lives are steeped in pornography. Many of these men/women will eventually confess and seek the help they need. They will tire of fighting their demons. They will desire healing and intimacy. These are the ones who desperately need our love, grace, and support. These are the ones who will overcome and take your marriage to a deeper level.

******

Are you looking for some help overcoming damage inflicted by a porn-addicted spouse? Call me for some life coaching!

Stats taken from https://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/

8 thoughts on “Signs Your Spouse Might be a Porn Addict”

  1. Thank you Dena for taking on such a timely subject as porn, timely yet taboo in the Christian world. It is an issue that as a minister I have battled, and wrestled with in my conviction to be a Godly man and the spiritual leader in my home. We are starting a classes this week at our church called the Conquer Series. About being set free from porn and sexual addiction. You may want th o check it out. Thanks again. Keep up the Godly work you do

  2. Thank you so much for addressing this difficult topic…I’m so thankful for those of you that are willing to have this discussion. You and I have talked via email how our stories are so similar as far as the affair and the church are concerned. My former youth pastor/husband was addicted to porn and I discovered this early in my marriage. To say it was nothing short of traumatizing would be an understatement. I too, was very naïve when it came to this topic, had only sisters, and didn’t have a clue how guys thought and what they battled with. When I found out about the porn, I didn’t know how to help my husband and quickly took his shame as my own. I began to struggle with health issues due to the stress and burden this became to me. I wish someone had explained to me the trauma and PTSD this caused my life. Oh to go back to that young wife and whisper words of advice and encouragement. It was something we battled together (I thought) all 16 years of marriage only to have it end in an affair. Was he lying to me about porn not being an issue all those years? Probably. What a fool I was. I remember at one point finally getting to the realization that his choices were not mine and therefore his shame was not mine either. However, it affected all areas of my marriage. Every point you listed in this post were spot on. I’m pretty sure the affair he ended up having and pursued was because of his addiction. The spiritual darkness in my home those last two years is almost overwhelming to think about and I am SO thankful God rescued our family from that evil. It’s been almost 3 years and he is still living with this girl, not married, and has turned his back on his faith (other than to make it appear to the world he’s good). Does the porn still continue? Probably, and not my problem except…my 3 children have to live with him 8 weeks every summer and are very loosely monitored. He bought them all phones and my ex’s girlfriend has a son the same age as them who has zero monitoring and boundaries. Here’s where I need advice. How do I talk to my 2 sons about pornography and the far reaching affects it can have on your life? How much do you talk about? I hate reading books about it because I relive the trauma of my own experience. I have talked with them about porn, what it is, how to avoid it, but short of sharing my experience I am now at a loss. They are 11 and yet love their dad who I don’t want to disparage but also want them to be aware of the dangers. I don’t wish any young woman to experience what I experienced in my marriage. I want to raise men of integrity and faith who are authentic to their core. I’m no longer ignorant and unaware, but the PTSD I have from my own marriage makes it so difficult to know what to say. I have been praying and praying for a godly man to enter our lives who would be that example and guide to them. I certainly don’t want them to learn from their dad and am afraid to say anything that makes him lash out at me or the kids. This leads me to my second question. If I ever start dating again (which I would love to but am terrified of making the same mistakes) how do you find out if the guy is addicted to porn? I’m pretty sure my ex would have readily said “no” if I had asked. So how do you truly know? Does it become a trust issue? I definitely have trust issues after my ex’s affair and porn use. Sigh. Some days I wish the internet had never been invented and yet I know evil will always exist and there are other avenues that people will go to and get the same end result. I would definitely say that the biggest fear I have if I ever remarry is pornography-more so than an actual affair and yet I guess they are the same thing. The peace and freedom I feel now compared to the burden porn was in my marriage is indescribable. Is single parenting lonely? Absolutely. Is it hard? So. Hard. Do I want a man in my life to love me for me and make me feel valued and appreciated? YES! My ex husband never once said I was beautiful. It makes me cry just thinking about how low my self esteem was in my marriage. How devalued and dehumanized I really was. I was an object and not a person. Looking back, the emotional abuse was so prevalent. Thankfully I clung to my faith like crazy and God delivered me over and over again in so many ways. The blessings are incredible! I am so grateful to be almost 3 years post divorce and feeling hopeful and joyful again. Thank you so much for your ministry and any advice you can give those of us who are afraid to date after this and ways we can talk to our kids about porn would be so helpful. Blessings!

    1. Sheri I can say the Internet isn’t the problem. Porn has destroyed many marriages before it was a blip in someone’s mind! There were magazines with naked women and we were told it was art! My husband after less than 3 months of marriage I found in the living room with a magazine as I lay waiting in our bed in a sexy negligee anticipating a great night of making love. Nope and when he was caught his reply was it was too much work to have sex with me . Self gratification took less effort and required less energy. Same results so the girl in the magazine won! Later it was the xxx rated movies you could rent and watch on the vcr in your living room. Then people got tv’s and vcr’s for their bedrooms. Over the years it destroyed me. I still loved my husband and we stayed together but inside I disappeared! No one knew what was going on. After it finally hit him that I was a shell of a woman he put his head on my lap as he knelt in front of me and asked what could he do to get me back? I said I honestly don’t know. I was empty. Long story short he had developed some health issues then that he was ignoring and suffered mild heart attacks that he passed off as doing too much or something he ate and finally having a stroke. He was paralyzed on one side and his speech was affected. I was pregnant with our 5th child. He passed away three weeks before she was born. I know he’s with the Lord as he was a true believer but it just robbed us of so much!! Satan will use anything and everything to destroy families especially those of believer’s!! I hope Dena can help steer you to dialogue with your sons! My oldest son has been involved in porn and I constantly pray God delivers him from all of it! He’s just retired from the military and he’s still married to his wife and I pray together they conquer this! Praying you continue going forward with blessings!!

      1. So sorry for all you’ve been through. Praying you feel God’s peace and love each day. You are so valued by our Creator!

    2. Hi Sheri! So much to say. I love your heart, and want to start with this one thing: Be faithful to God and let Him handle all the areas where you are uncertain. Remember His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

      I am hoping to start a coaching group soon, and I think it would be an excellent place for you to talk through some of these concerns. My current course is very time consuming, so I know it will be at least March before I can do a group. Would you be interested?

      1. Absolutely I would be interested! Keep me posted as to what I need to do when! Thanks for the encouragement!

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