How to Heal from the Effects of Porn in Your Marriage: Part 3

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If you’ve been following along on our posts about the effects of pornography, you know that pornography is something that grips marriages in our church, in marriages NOT in our church, and frankly in many, many more places than you would ever suspect. It’s easy to fall into the generalization that only the adolescent boy, husband, or dude at work watches porn, but you’d be very wrong. In this last part of our “How to Heal From the Effects of Porn in Your Marriage” series, you’ll hear from a woman’s perspective about her struggles with porn as an adolescent and young adult, and how that’s carried into her marriage.


“Girls don’t watch porn.”

I have heard this phrase far too many times. What an age old misconception. In reality, 28% of women regularly view porn and according to recent studies, more than 1 in 3 women watch porn at least once a week. Contrary to popular belief, watching porn isn’t just a guy thing - it’s an everyone thing.

I wasn’t even a teenager yet when I was first exposed to sexuality and barely 14 when I was first began watching pornography. It wasn’t that big of a deal and my far-from-mature, prepubescent mind didn’t understand what it meant to be exposed to sex at such a young age. And even now - over ten years later and happily married - the effects of porn have still left a scar in my life.

You may think porn isn’t a huge deal. In our culture, you’re actually weird if you don’t regularly watch it. But unfortunately, our culture has neglected to see that porn consumption has negative long-term effects on our mind, health, and relationships.

What are the effects of porn consumption exactly? Addiction, loneliness, neglect of real-life intimacy, and divorce just to name a few. Actually, couples who begin to consume pornography within their marriages are twice as likely to get a divorce than their non–porn-consuming peers. So yes, porn consumption isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

For myself personally, porn formed a false view of true intimacy in my life. It painted a picture of what sex should be according to culture instead of according to God’s intent (we will get to this later). It also became a coping mechanism for when I felt lonely and dissatisfied in life. It was an addiction - my dirty little secret. My addiction to porn peaked in high school and ebbed its way into my college years and lingered even after I put my faith in Jesus.

As women, society often ignores the fact that we too have sexual urges which is why I believe we neglect the problem with porn addiction among women. We act as if only men have a desire for sex, but we are all human who all have desires. God put those desires there - they aren’t foreign or dirty. Sex was designed by God as a beautiful way of joining two people together in an unbreakable union. It is the deepest level of intimacy you can experience with another person in this life. And it is isn’t just for procreation - it is for enjoyment, stress-relief, and so much more! The #1 way I can experience intimacy with my husband is by “becoming one flesh” with him as Genesis 2:24 puts it. That’s a fancy way of saying “have sex.” If you’re a Christian, you may be squirming in your seat right now. That’s okay - being uncomfortable is sometimes a good thing. You probably feel that way because you haven’t heard much about sex from the perspective of the church. But it’s about time we talk about it.

After I put my faith in Jesus, my perspective of what sex was changed, but it took a long time. I felt so much shame for so long because I had broken this “sacred agreement” of having sex outside of marriage. But God is not a God of shame and guilt - He is a God of forgiveness who met me in the midst of my pain and loved me anyway. Someone reading this needs to know that God is not holding your past against you - He loves you and doesn’t want you to live your life burdened by guilt and hurt. He wants to make a new way for you, and He already has by the sacrifice of His Son. You can be free.

Even though I knew that Jesus washed me clean, I went into marriage harboring a lot of baggage from past sexual partners and years of porn addiction. But my husband loved me despite the shame I felt. I’d be lying if we didn’t struggle with comparison, because we surely did. But the way we overcame both of our broken sexual histories was by centering our intimacy on Christ. This wasn’t some dirty, gross thing we were doing - it was sacred. We began to view sex not as a means to self-satisfaction, but a means to true, deep intimacy with one another. 

Do you really think the enemy wants healthy sex lives among married coupled? Heck no. Why would he want Christ followers to experience the greatest and most fulfilling form of connection known to man? He hates it. So he uses guilt, shame, and insecurity to keep spouses from experiencing true intimacy. Be aware of his schemes. Paul spells this out very clearly in 1 Corinthians 7:2-6. He basically says - have sex because it’s your maritial duty, give your bodies to one another, and don’t avoid having sex unless you need to take some time to pray (yup, that’s in the Bible people). He also emphasizes that you should have sex often so that “Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Paul knows the propensity of the human heart to try to find satisfaction in other places. Want to know the best way to avoid falling into porn consumption and even adultery? Have sex with your spouse and have sex often. 

Disclaimer: I know for many of you, past experiences of sexual abuse has been the main reason you struggle with sexuality in your marriage. Know that I hear you and I know your pain… I know it isn’t easy. But I believe God is a redeemer and will heal you of the pain and the trauma you have experienced. He wants you to experience sex not in the context of pain and abuse, but in the context of love and sacredness - exactly the way it was meant to be.

There is no easy way to overcome pornography addiction in marriage. I have been free from its grip for probably 6 or so years now, but I still fight the shame from it regularly. But I never overcame it by my own ability - I overcame it by relying on God’s grace and the Holy Spirit working within me. The best way to overcome porn addiction in your marriage it is by admitting your weaknesses and having an honest conversation about it. Admit you can’t overcome it alone, pray (with your spouse) for God to change your perspectives on true intimacy, flee from temptation, and prioritize intimacy with your spouse. Never leave your spouse out of the conversation, talk with trusted friends about your struggles, and even seek marital and individual counseling. No matter what you do, look to Jesus who is truly able to free you from even the heaviest chains. I truly believe that by God’s grace and the patience of a loving partner, you can be free from pornography’s grip. You can experience true, unaltered intimacy with a real person who loves you and not bodies on a screen who never could. You can experience more freedom and satisfaction than you ever thought was possible.