Pornography Use In My Marriage

Question: “I am a Mormon member that is currently in good standing with the church. I occasionally (not every time) I have sex with my wife look at a porn magazine to get us going. We are completely committed to each other. She is ok with it, I think it seems to get her in a sex kind of mood. I realize that porn for those that are single is not right but what about for a married man that just wants to spice it up? We don’t do anything kinky or weird either.”

Answer: I appreciate your question. I’ve worked with couples in similar situations. My answer will be brief here as I don’t have all the details and history regarding your pornography use and that nature of the sexual behavior but I do have enough for a response here.  Pornography impact the male brain in clearly different ways than a female brain. Men, more often than not, are visually stimulated. Most women on the other hand are driven more by connection and verbiage from their spouse. The difficultly with your use of pornography is that you are using it as a stimulus to arouse you and move your mind into sexual behavior and thinking. My concern is that you are using the sexual images to arouse you and thus your wife is merely a byproduct of the sexual thinking, that comes after you are aroused. The difficulty with pornogaphy is that it numbs the senses. The relationship, bond, and beauty of your wife is what typically arouses sexually healthy men. My concern is you are using static images outside of your marriage to get ‘turned on.’ I have worked with many couples, some now divorced that started viewing sexually explicit content in an attempt to ‘spice it up’ and ended up slowly but surely looking outside of their marriage for satisfaction. Sexual behavior is a relational activity, not merely a biological one. If you are consuming the pornography like you would a food you are merely trying to get your appetites met, not bond, build, and connect.  Sexual arousal releases chemicals in your brain that your brain, a simple organ, wants to replicate just as it would nicotine, pizza, or ice-cream. The difficulty is that our bodies are hardwired to want to increase please and to also be sexual. It is during this consumption of porn that individuals become demanding and selfish. That is my fear for you and your spouse, that you will become more liberal with your sexuality and not find pleasure and arousal with each other, but with things or people that are not even real to you. The fact of the matter is, the women you are using to get aroused by are someones mother, someones sister, and possibly someones wife. When you leave the safety of your marriage and that commitment/covenant you will find yourself thrown into a sea of venues that promise fulfillment and excitement but lead you to a place of loneliness and sorrow. Church leaders have been clear, most have referred to it as ‘a plague’.

My questions with that are the following:

  • Is your wife really happy that you use porn prior to sexual activity with her? How can you be sure?
  • Do you fantasize about these women you view while having sex or being sexual with your wife?
  • How often do you find yourself ”rubber necking’ as you watch women in your everyday life and you consider them in an objectified and sexual way?
  • What does your spirit tell you? Is your sexual encounter or experience with your wife more about getting it on and done or about connecting, feeling, and enjoying each other?

Please read my article on pornography use and its impact on individuals and their relationships.  I have some resources and links within it about assessing if you are addicted to pornography or sexual behavior.

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