Pornography use is not a harmless activity that only involves the person viewing the material. It impacts the man’s family, social life, employment, relationship with God, and every other aspect of his life.
Ultimately, the harm done to a marriage relationship is one of the most devastating effects of pornography. Since marriage is the basic element of the family and society as God designed it, it would obviously be the focal point of Satan’s attacks.
And pornography is one of his powerful weapons to destroy marriages.
In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Jill C. Manning, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, said, “The marital relationship is a logical point of impact to examine because it is the foundational family unit and a sexual union easily destabilized by sexual inﬂuences outside the marital contract.”
Here are 5 ways porn will ruin relationships.
1. Increases Domestic Violence
Viewing porn exposes a man to many acts of violence against women. One study reviewed scenes from 50 most popular pornographic movies. The majority of the films showed verbal and physical abuse of the women in the scenes.
Another study reports that 88 percent of the hundreds of scenes they reviewed depicted violence towards women.
Viewing all this violence can affect the brain of the viewer.
According to the American Psychological Association, “mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that responds equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action.”
So when a man watches porn, his mirror neurons fire and he then may want to ‘mirror’ those behaviors with his wife.
2. Increases the Divorce Rate
Using porn puts incredible pressure on a marriage. The man’s secrecy, reduced time with his wife and family, his need to be alone, and the many other patterns of porn usage continually drive the couple apart. Sadly, the possibility of divorce increases.
Research shows that porn use is a significant contributing factor in about half of all U.S. divorces.
In The Real Truth Magazine, Edward L. Winkfield said,
“Some make the mistake of seeing pornography as an innocent alternative to engaging in an extramarital affair. Yet studies of the brain have shown that the mind does not readily differentiate such real versus imagined experiences. Therefore, to the brain, there is virtually no difference between viewing pornographic material and an actual sexual encounter with another person, especially when recalling the experience.”
OnlyYouForever’s website notes, “If you believe marriage is the ideal place for two people to become profoundly intimate, which is the journey of a lifetime, and includes emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy, then pornography use has no place in that paradigm. Because to use porn is to say that the two of you are not enough.”
3. Creates Feelings of Insecurity
Perhaps the biggest victim of a man’s porn usage is his wife. Realizing that her husband is spending countless hours looking at other women and avoiding her is emotionally crushing.
Zach Douglas stated in Relevant Magazine that “Some women are put in a position where they feel they must compete for sexual and emotional attention with the women in the porn their husbands watch. The “fantasy women” in pornography are portrayed as unrealistically sexually attractive, often because of plastic surgery, stage makeup and digital editing. It is impossible for a real woman to match up to these fantasy women, which can make her feel inferior and insecure.”
Additionally, BJ Foster, Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad, explained,
“A husband’s porn use validates all of the negative things his wife thinks about herself. If she only looked different, lost weight, was blonde, sexy, wore better clothes, or fit into the right size are all things that flood her brain, and more importantly, her heart. Ultimately, she feels like she is not enough.”
4. Decreased Sexual Satisfaction with Your Partner
Porn users typically have difficulty relating to or performing sexually with their partners. They have become accustomed to the impersonal relationships with the women on their screen.
Studies have shown that watching porn actually decreases a man’s sexual pleasure. Some porn addicts even crave porn more than being with a real woman.
Dr. Judith Reisman gives a compelling example in this excerpt from the award-winning Conquer Series.
Wesley Wiley of Debt to Life said, “The drug addict craves “more” but the sexual addict craves ‘different.’ In other words, a heroin addict wants more heroin. But a sex addict doesn’t just want more sex, he wants ‘different’ sex. The deception is that ‘different’ will satisfy you, but of course, once you have what you craved you want something different. It never ends.”
Pornography can also have physical effects on men, including erectile dysfunction (ED).
A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information reported that
“Evidence has mounted that Internet pornography may be a factor in the rapid surge in rates of sexual dysfunction.”
Pamela Paul, the author of Pornified, said, “Men who were fans of pornography were reporting that their sex lives were damaged. They had trouble maintaining erections, they were having trouble having intercourse with their wives, they simply couldn’t enjoy real human sexuality anymore. These men had programmed themselves to only sexually cue to computerized, commercialized pornography.”
5. Creates Feelings of Worthlessness
Porn also greatly affects a man’s self-esteem. He feels shame, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness. He knows he should be head and leader of his family, but instead seeks isolation and limited interaction with them.
Wiley explained, “The enemy tempts us to look, and when we do, he tells us what a loser we are for looking. Shame is one of the worst side effects of porn. Because people often look at porn to escape stress or fear, it creates a downward spiral that goes like this.
- Feel bad about your life.
- Look at porn to escape.
- Feel bad about your life for looking at porn.
- Look at more to escape.”
Zachary Horner described his personal struggle with porn. “Nothing has brought me down lower, dragged me down faster, and shot my confidence more definitively than struggling with pornography.”
He added, “Struggling with pornography doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you have a struggle you need to fight, as well as harmful behavior you need to work on and take care of. We are not defined by just one of our actions.”
There is Still Hope
Your relationship with God also suffers from your porn usage. He loves you and wants to see you walking in freedom from porn bondage.
For men who have been consuming pornography, all hope is not lost. You may be experiencing one or all of the five consequences listed above. But God will take each of them and bring healing to that area as you earnestly walk out recovery.
Aaron Tysdal realized how porn was impacting his marriage.
“I struggled on and off again with pornography for a long time, I finally realized how it was hurting my wife and how it was hurting my family and I, so I decided to not do it anymore.”
Aaron used the Conquer Series men’s small group study to help guide him through recovery. The Conquer Series is a cinematic small group study being used in more than 70 countries. The solid Biblical lessons and candid discussions about porn are designed to help guide men to lasting freedom.
Aaron explains, “I bought it and watched it with my wife and had huge realizations about how I was medicating my pain with pornography and using sex to feel better. Since then I have been working through what has brought me pain in my life in order to deal with the pain and not mask it anymore.”
Today, Aaron and his wife both lead groups to help other couples reeling from the effects of pornography.