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The Impacts of Pornography On Marriage

Uncategorized Feb 16, 2022

Anytime something becomes commonplace, society tends to accept it as being "normal." Whether it's pursuing an education, the consumption of fast-food, or viewing pornography, the more the masses are engaging with it, the more it becomes culturally acceptable. With porn consumption continually on the rise, both by men and women individually, AND couples together, it begs the question – what is the impact? The stats and studies are very revealing.

There are two different situations to explore here. The first is when only one party is watching pornography and presumably, the other is not. The second situation is when both parties are watching pornography together with the intent of enhancing their sex life.

One Party Watching
Drs. John & Julie Gottam put it best: Use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction...We are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony" (

Plain and simple, if you watch porn alone, it will ruin your marriage. You are conditioning yourself to experience sexual pleasure apart from your spouse – which is a direct violation of the Biblical design for sex. Remember that sex was made for marriage, not the other way around. The idea is that sex is to be an expression of love between husband and wife in the convenant of marriage. Once you introduce a third party (porn), you are violating the very essence of sexual intimacy in a marriage.

It is also VERY important to note that the impacts of pornography on a marriage have a long-tail. What do I mean by that? The real impacts do not surface immediately. I've had clients who stopped watching porn once they got married because they were getting the real thing. Then they started watching a little bit here and there but it was no biggy. But one thing led to another and the whole thing snowballed eventually. Now the wife has lost trust and the man can't figure out how he relapsed again when he was clearly 'free' for a while. He wasn't free. He just had his problem temporarily paused. But the long-tail effects will always surface eventually.

Don't fall for the lies that you're some exception. If you want to get married one day or you are currently married, get rid of porn. Your marriage is in trouble otherwise.

Both Parties Watching
More married couples are viewing porn today with the intent of enhancing their sex lives. So the question is does it really work?

From an academic perspective, the research is not easy to interpret. Some of it is clear, some of it is still a bit mirky. But generally speaking, the data indicates that porn consumption by both parties actually has the reverse effect on marriage. While many bring porn into the marriage bed because it spices up their sex life and "a little porn never hurt anyone", studies reveal that the long-term effects are devastating.

Divorce rates DOUBLE when porn is involved. A longitudinal study showed that porn consumption among newly weds was especially damaging for long-term relationship satisfaction and quality of sex life.

Since the academic findings are not crystal clear, let me offer some anecdotal insights. I have spoken with multiple men in the last 6 months who have either experienced this themselves or have close friends that have. The couple hits a plateau in their sex life. They want to bring in a little pizzazz. One of them suggests to watch a little porn, and the other says, "yeah sure, why not?"

Initially, the experience is euphoric. More pleasure, more fun, better sex. The couple thinks to themselves, "How did we go this long without porn?"

Then the long-tail effects kick in...

The relationship dissatisfaction. The comparison. The option to watch porn when the other isn't in the mood. All of it starts to snowball, eventually creating an avalanche of discord and sometimes, divorce. I have heard this story countless times. I believe eventually academic findings will be able to explain these dynamics better, but in the meantime, I want to make it abundantly clear that a majority of the research and stories we are hearing all indicate that porn may initially spice up your sex life, but eventually ruin it.

If you're looking to have a healthy marriage and a satisfactory sex life, here is my biggest piece of advice to you: TALK. Have those tricky, uncomfortable conversations with your spouse. Talk about what you like and don't like. Ask them how their experience of sex has been (that's a very scary question to ask – I'm still getting comfortable with that one). Get feedback. And continue to build the other parts of the marriage that contribute to a healthy sex life – emotional connection, acts of service, spending quality time together, etc. These elements are well-researched and they are clearly positive contributors to a thriving and vibrant marriage.

Cheering you on,

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