To the Husband who Watches Porn: A Wife’s Perspective

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Every week, I receive numerous messages from wives who have discovered that their husbands are looking at porn, and it’s heart-breaking.  Porn can wreck a marriage.  I know this pain, because I, too, have walked through it in my own marriage.

Early in our marriage, I logged into our computer and discovered that Dave had been looking at porn.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.  My heart was beating out of my chest, and I seriously thought that somebody had broken into our home and surfed the web for porn.  Not Dave.  Not my Dave.  We had a great marriage–at least I thought we did.

All I could think was,

How could he do this to me? To us?  

Am I not enough for him?  Am I not pretty/skinny/sexy enough?

Doesn’t he know this is wrong?  

Didn’t he know this would hurt me?

I took an hour or so to process what I eventually realized and accepted as the truth: Dave had been looking at porn for awhile.  He had a porn addiction.  My Dave.  My husband.  My hero.

I knew I had to address it.  I called him at work and simply asked if he had something to tell me.  He immediately confessed to the porn.  It was like he’d been waiting for me to find out.  He told me that he was glad it was out in the open now, and he knew it was wrong.

I would love to tell you that the days that followed were easy, but they weren’t.  I was so hurt.  I felt ugly and unwanted.  I could tell that Dave felt horrible about it.  He wanted to stop doing this a long time ago, but he said he just couldn’t stop through his own willpower.

As a Christian, he understood that he was lusting after the women in those images.  He knew what Jesus stated so clearly in the Bible, that to lust at a woman is committing adultery in your heart.  It goes directly against our marriage vows.

Dave knew this, and yet, he struggled with it.  For more on Dave’s story, please read his blog post below.

The Truth about Porn

Husbands, I share this with you, not to point fingers or make you feel bad.  I share this because I want you to know what your porn habit does to your wife.  

It breaks her heart. It makes her feel like you cheated on her.  It makes her doubt her beauty and sexual appeal.  It causes her to have a deep insecurity with your marriage.  It causes her anxiety and even depression.  It makes her feel cheap, and she sees you as sleazy.  It fractures the trust she has in you, and it immediately makes her lose respect for you.

You may tell yourself the lies that so many other husbands in our culture believe.  Lies like,

I’m not hurting anyone.

I’m not actually sleeping with another person, so it’s not cheating.

What’s wrong with me spicing up my sex life?

This is something I do alone, so it doesn’t affect her.

Porn actually enhances my sex life, because it gives me ideas for what we can do in the bedroom.

I’m a grown man, and I can do whatever I want to do.  It’s none of her business.

It’s okay if I look at porn to meet my needs, because she doesn’t want to have sex as frequently as I do.

All of these are excuses that mask a HUGE problem and keep husbands intertwined in a terrible habit that can become a full-blown addiction.

Husbands, if you are looking at porn, please get help and STOP immediately.  Go confess this to you wife.  Don’t hide it any more. Seek God’s forgiveness and your wife’s forgiveness.  

Then, take the steps necessary to regain her trust.  Put accountability in place.  Remove computers or other devices from hidden places.  Get blockage software that will alarm a trusted friend or your wife any time you look up porn on your computer.  Get rid of any television channels that show porn at night.  Be willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to beat this and save your marriage.  You can do this if you are willing to put in the work.

You must show your wife that you only have eyes for her.  Show her that you want her and love her with all your heart.  Give her your time and attention daily.

Those porn stars can’t love you back.  Don’t trade the love of your life for a temporary, empty fix.  Go to your wife and talk about your sexual desires and needs.  Listen when she shares hers as well.  Work together on having a God-honoring and sexually satisfying marriage.  Don’t settle for a counterfeit image to fulfill a need that only your wife should meet.  

Porn is never the answer.  It doesn’t spice things up.  It chokes out real intimacy between a husband and wife.

Please know that there is hope.  Dave and I grew stronger through this struggle, and you can too. Be blessed!

For more on how wives can also struggle with porn, please read, “The Truth about Women and Porn,” by clicking here.

For resources on how to beat your porn addiction, check out XXX Church.

For an honest conversation and information on improving your marriage and intimacy, check out our latest video resource, “Best Sex Life Now,” by clicking here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Julia Hill

    What if the wife knows about it? She may feel all those things deep inside but doesn’t realize it, or how she should tell him? What advice would you offer, and is there anywhere in the new testament that talks about this issue?

  • ashleywillis4

    Hi Julia,
    I think it’s good to address issues directly. I would ask him calmly, “Are you looking at porn?”. If he acts shocked at the question, just say, “I’m just curious. I know a lot of husbands do. I want to know if you do.”. That will get the conversation going. Then, if he admits to it, she can tell him how this makes her feel. In the Bible, it says there should be no hint of sexual immorality, and pornography is lust-driven. It warps our minds to desire things that aren’t real and true. I hope this help! Thank for reading and responding. Take care.

  • Katie

    Thank you for writing this blog. One thing that many do not realize is that in many cases porn use stems for issues that developed as a young teen and just stopping cold turkey is not possible. My husband has been seeing a counselor and going to a men’s group and one of the shocking things I was told early on by a counselor was that this is often times a 3-5 year process. We are just entering year 4 and though it has gotten better there are still slip ups. The more knowledge we women can get and share with others, the better so we do not think that this is always a quick fix for men.

  • Julia Hill

    Thank you for your help! Some friends from a small group we attended are going through this. She knows he does and doesn’t mind since they’re still engaging in sex with each other, but I don’t know how to let her know it’s wrong. He’s struggling I his faith and says the new testament doesn’t speak about it, and doesn’t feel it’s wrong since his wife is okay with it (he shared that with my husband). It breaks my heart because I know deep down they both know it’s wrong, they’ve just done it so long it’s norm to them now

  • A nonymous

    It’s simple really. If you have to hide it, it’s a problem.

  • scotty g

    But let’s ask women this, how do you think it makes your man feel when you are drooling over actors or pics of guys in magazines. When we hear comments about how “hot” they look or just “OMG, drool”? You don’t think this effects a man’s self esteem? You don’t think that he may be sitting there thinking to himself “What is wrong with how I look?” even though he’s possibly told ever day or so that he’s “handsome” or “the best thing to ever happen to you”? Most men don’t talk about their insecurities because we are taught at a young age to hide our feelings, to be strong and not show fear. But knowing that our significant other is voicing their attraction to others of the opposite sex, it does effect us. It makes us feel that we aren’t good enough. It makes us question the relationship. And for some, not all, it has an effect on our performance in bed.
    So, before you start questioning a man why he was looking at porn, think back in your life with them first. Try remembering all the times you commented about other men in from of him. Think about how those comments might have effected him. It’s a two way street.

  • Kim

    It definitely should apply equally. Women who do that are just as guilty; lust is lust. Our family streams Netflix and Hulu instead of cable so that we can monitor the content coming into our home. I always heard it’s ok to “read the menu” as long as you don’t take it any further, but that never seemed right to me. I know how it would make me feel as a woman, and consequently I’d never treat the man I love that way. The only 3rd party in a marital relationship should be God.

  • Ron Shaw

    I am a Christian Counselor working with couples over the issue of Pornography and its affect on their relationship. This is my 14th year in this. Before that, I was a sex addict for 30 years, the last 20 of them married. Until I got free from my addiction. Now I help others.
    In porn, the man believes a series of lies about love, sex and intimacy.
    In porn, when a wife discovers her husband has been involved in it she immediately jumps to her own series of untrue beliefs. The biggest one is that his porn addiction has ANYTHING to do with her, her “sexiness”, how “hot” she looks, or her as a lover, or her as a woman and wife.
    In fact, what both man and woman do not realize is that pornography addiction is not really about sex or orgasms. It is common that men will have sex with their wives, and after she falls off to sleep, they will sneak out to spend time on their computers.
    PLEASE, women, understand that what happens to your man in not because of you. it is because of something you can never give him:

    When a man goes into his “porn mode”, he escapes the reality of his life, the one where he is powerless to control most of what happens to him: the unfair politics at work, the stress of driving in traffic where people cut in on him and then flip him off. The fact that no matter how hard he works, there never is any extra money. The fact that he lives with other people and he cannot always meet their needs or live up to their expectations. All these things drum in the message that he has NO REAL POWER in his life. So he “stuffs” his feelings and his anger.

    When he sneaks off by himself, he enters a world of fantasy where he can have anything he can imagine with a “woman” who is anxious to please him, doing anything he wants and Never putting any demands on him. It is an alternate universe, and in it there in no God looking over his shoulder and watching what he is doing. In this world he feels equal to God, and he basks in his power and control.

    Ladies, realize that you can Never treat your husband like that God, nor should you. But realize that his addiction is to that intoxicating feeling of ultimate control. (We are ALL fond of being in control one way or another!)

    So, before you obsess about how his love for you is corrupted, how he has “betrayed” you and his wedding vows, how disappointed you are, etc. Please understand that his love affair with a fantasy session of escape into “ultimate power and control” probably started when he was a young teenager, and it has NOTHING to do with the sincerety of his love and devotion for you. And he is clueless about how to stop! He keeps trying to gain control over his addiction, without understanding that his obsession is not about sex, but the intoxication of feeling in control. Unfortunately most purity men’s groups focus on maintaining “good” behavior and putting all kinds of barriers up to “bad” behavior yet never address the core problem that we are seeking to set ourselves up as “god” so that we feel in control (and therefore “safe”) surely you can understand the need to feel safe in this unkind world.

    So, bottom line, your feeling hurt merely puts up a barrier to your understanding and compassion for your man who is lost, disgusted with his lack of self-control, and striving to “fix” what is wrong, without a clue as to what the real problem is. Satan does more damage to the church by destroying marriages by breaking down trust between the partners than any other attack (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.)

    If you want to save your marriage, then understand that your husband’s addiction to porn does not reflect on you. If you were the most beautiful, “hot”, loving wife in the world, it still would not stop his need to feel in absolute control. He needs to place his security in the one true God, and stop running off to “La La Land” to play god himself.

    BTW: He cannot receive this truth from YOU. You are not his spiritual guide and you do not want to try to be the spiritual leader for your home, so do not lecture him on this. You can direct him to my website at http://www.AffordableChristianCounseling.org and he can then call me and I WILL TELL HIM THE TRUTH HE NEEDS TO HEAR. There is never a charge for any of my counseling services, Never.

  • Ron Shaw

    Julia, it is powerless to say that the problem with porn is that the Bible says it is wrong. We need a tangible reason to change our behavior. Gossiping and judging are just as sinful. Has stating that these are wrong had any significant affect on stopping it at church?

    The problem with porn and the reason that God tells his precious children not to do it is because when a man PRACTICES having “sex” with a two-dimensional female image for the sole purpose of his “happy ending” he is training himself to treat a woman as a sexual object or nothing more than an appliance. He is cauterizing his emotional ability to bond with another human being by going through the sexual bonding experience when there is no one there but himself, so his affection becomes totally self-directed and all about his needs and his happiness. We men cannot turn on and off our love and caring at whim.

    If we practice using women when we are alone, we will automatically treat a woman that way when we are finally in bed with our wives! She will sense that we are not making love to her, merely using her for sex. She will ultimately know that “you could be having sex with any woman, as long as you got what you needed”, and he will deny it until the end of the world, but it will still be true for both of them.

    Sex was created so that the two individuals would be welded together, (spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually) as “one flesh”. This is a unique relationship unlike any other we experience with any other person we love.

    Satan takes this special relationship created by God to be one of His greatest earthly blessings, and Satan creates the counterfeit of love, which is lust and uses it to prevent the bonding that God intends. When there is distrust and discord in the marriage bed, it affects the rest of the marriage, it affects the kids, it affects their witness to the neighbors, and ultimately it breaks down the mission of the church to be a light to the world. and THAT is why porn is bad. I am a full time Christian Marriage and Relationship counselor and anyone who would like to discuss this in person can contact me through my website:

    http://www.AffordableChristianCounseling.org

    There is Never a bill for my services, Never!

  • SeaClone

    Much of this discussion seems to be based on the premise that the wife is appalled by the husband watching porn and the husband hides it from the wife. What if neither of these assumptions are true? What if the wife and husband enjoy watching together? And what if the husband and wife have very healthy and active and monogamous sex lives with each other? And what if the husband and wife have an otherwise completely healthy, respectful relationship with each other? Maybe it isn’t that porn is inherently bad? Maybe, like most things, it is the people that are bad?

  • Ron Shaw

    Dear SeaClone, This scenario you have posed is ideal, in the short term. It is two people sharing a mutually fulfilling experience because they each get something out of it. Unfortunately the same can be said about a one-night hook-up with someone that does not remember your name 24 hours later. This discussion is about commitment. And in the instance where we watch porn together (been there, done that!) it teaches us that what matters most is positions, techniques, and mostly organic passion. Each person is working to receive the most fulfillment in their orgasms. That limits sex to a shared, physical act, no more significant that eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet together.

    The most important factor is that when sex is an expression of love, affection, total acceptance of your spouse, where the goal is not MY pleasure, but hers, and this is Consistent over a long season of time, God joins the souls/spirits of the two: Emotionally, Intellectually, Spiritually, through a physical joining which we call lovemaking. The result is that the relationship becomes affair-proof. Neither party ever wants to imagine intimacy with anyone other than their soul-mate. THAT will never happen when they are watching other people have sex. Watching others generates a desire to be there with them experiencing what is happening on screen, and it feeds our imagination that there is something “out there” that we are missing out on, and that we can do better than the sex we are currently experiencing.

    With porn it is all about the sex and orgasmic fireworks. With God’s design, sometimes there are earth-moving episodes, and many times there is more of a soft, gentle, closeness. A quietness that conveys the truth that our love is genuine and solid and steady and we do not always need fireworks to express what is deep in our hearts for each other. AGAIN, people using porn get to where they need to have ever-increasing mind-blowing sex, and when that reaches a plateau, they start to question the sincerity of their love together.

    I was a sex addict for 30 years and it consumed the first 20 years of my marriage. When God confronted me, it was the most devastating time of my life. All my world was turned upside down. I spun out of control. But my wife rejected all the good-intentioned advice given to her by others and she chose not to kick me to the curb. It took a long painful season to reboot our relationship on a new definition of love. But this June we will celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary, and I can honestly say that our lovelife now is so much more satisfying, fulfilling, life-enhancing, and fun than it ever was during my porn watching days. Sex done God’s way is to experience a little taste of Heaven on Earth. God said it was Very Good, and He is right.

    I am now in full-time ministry (14 years) helping couples overcome the devastation from Porn, Adultery, etc that Satan has used to drive a wedge between them and destroy their trust and “oneness”. My website is

    http://www.AffordableChristianCounseling.org

    I have never given anyone a bill for my services. NEVER. I receive my support solely from the individuals and couples I have helped in the past who now “pay it forward” for me to continue to help others today. All gifts are strictly voluntary. I am not tied to nor supported by any church.

  • Kate

    This blog post was so disappointing like the majority of Christian couples talking about a husband being addicted to porn. Porn IS cheating– especially according to the Bible. The Bible specifically states that lusting after another women besides your wife is committing adultery. It’s not “like” cheating– it IS. I’m so sick of seeing these shallow articles lessening the destruction a husband causes a marriage when he uses porn. The wives in these articles act like the husband is the victim. Like the article above…(paraphrasing) “He was glad I found out”…”He knew it was wrong”…”He wanted to stop a long time ago, but just couldn’t”. That poor helpless husband who chose day in and day out to be sexually pleased by hundreds of other women besides his wife needs all the sympathy of his wife. It’s sickening and ridiculous. The porn addict husband is NOT the victim. Wives should not be expected to immediately forgive and support her husband after this type of betrayal. SHE is the one who needs the help and support. He should not expect that of his wife nor should the church or other Christians hold the wife to that type of expectation.

  • Emanuil Kostadinov

    You are way off track here. The last thing you want to do as a Christian is to encourage people to not forgive. The hatred, visciousness and condemnation that comes out of your words comes from your desire to manifest your self-rightiousness. There was a quote by Billy Graham once where he said “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

  • Kate

    You’re way off track by telling me what the “desire of my words” are. You obviously didn’t understand my point. Do I think people should forgive? Of course. I said wives shouldn’t immediately be expected to show forgiveness and full support for their husbands choosing porn. It’s disrespectful to the wives to put that kind of burden on them after such a huge betrayal. My point is wives should be the ones immediately supported by the church and anyone else– not rally around the husband like he’s a poor helpless victim and the wife gets completely overlooked as if her feelings don’t matter. Wives in the christian community are expected to set their feelings and emotions aside to help their husband– that’s emotional abuse and it’s wrong. Your obviously a man and your extreme reaction is typical.

  • Kate

    Your comment, quite frankly, was even more disturbing with your utter disregard for the wife. You are exactly what I was referring to. Unless you have been in this situation you shouldn’t speak on the matter with such assertion.

  • Ted Mattos

    Hi Kate,

    I’m not a woman, so there is no possible way I could even pretend to understand what a wife goes through when finding out her husband has a problem with porn. Please keep that in mind.

    That being said, as a woman, you have no possible way to understand what a husband goes through when he’s addicted to porn. It is an addiction, much like cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, shopping, etc.

    It’s my proposal that there ARE two victims in porn addiction: the wife and the husband. Does the wife need support? Oh, absolutely! If she follows Biblical principles, she wants her husband back to following God’s heart, not the heart of the Playboy channel, porn.com, etc. She also needs emotional support to know that she’s a creature of God’s beauty and that she has a self-worth (which hopefully never gets into a “pride” territory). She’s been psychologically effected in a horrific way and should seek counseling by loving Christian pastors/counselors. I completely agree about that.

    “Wives should not be expected to immediately forgive…” is what you said. Well, perhaps “immediately” is a huge challenge, I would agree. But yes, a wife should be expected to forgive. The Bible teaches that… Ephesians 4:32 states: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Note that He doesn’t teach: “Forgive others, unless you’re feeling very wounded…then it’s completely okay to withhold forgiveness.” Imagine if Jesus had that attitude with us: “I’m not going to forgive Ted…because what he did has really crushed me emotionally.” I’d be doomed for eternity.

    And you know what… without the Holy Spirit’s strength, I can’t see any mortal woman being able to forgive that horrific act. As I already stated earlier, it’s terrible and almost unforgivable! Almost. With the Spirit’s urging, it can be forgiven…but only with His help.

    You might respond with: “You’re a man…you can’t possibly know what it’s like!” And I could not argue that point.

    I could state back, as already mentioned earlier: “You’re a woman. You can’t possibly know the type of hold that pornography has on men.”

    So, when I hear about marriages that are affected by porn (one of Satan’s greatest weapons), I pray for both partners… as a marriage is a ONE-ness. (Mark 10:8, Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:24).

    I pray that you will read my response with the respectful kindness that was intended when I wrote it.

  • Jeff

    Why does it have to be an “addiction” when a brother just wants to beat some meat? Doesn’t mean his significant other is no longer attractive or sexually appealing — maybe they’re just not in-sync at the moment, or the guy wants a little more. Better solution than constantly nagging someone about a date with Mr. Lefty would be to respect boundaries and have a conversation about it if it truly bothers you — not label it as an addiction and look to treat it like some sort of cancer.

  • Anon

    Well in my opinion….I think the fact that Dave just admitted it straight out once Ashley asked is pivotal to the trust you guys are rebuilding…..plus being willing to do ANYTHING to solve it is a saving grace. My ex husband Mike hid it from me for 7 years & kept on hiding it continuously. I lost count number of times I kept finding it on home computer, it would devastate me each time. He would admit undet duress yet he’d often be in denial, I would ask him to stop. I felt exactly same as Ashley, except I wad too kind, and kept on giving chances and chances and he kept on blowing it and eventually he didnt care. I truly hope you guys make it work. I left him 6 years after initially finding out about his porn addictoon. Hundreds of counselling hours later ( me going for counselling fortnightly & him a handfull of times) after trying every single thing I knew to do….I left, disillusioned & suicidal. My family is in ruins. However5 years later, now I have hope that the kids will someday see that I had to draw a line in the sand & that doesn’t make me an ogre for leaving older 2 and taking little one with me. Big picture it took obedience to what God had 6 months earlier said yo me….to leave. I believe through God’s grace I have entered “the abundant life” and saved more than one life by following what God says rather than man.

  • Anon

    What is done I’m the mental/emotional realm does affect the rest of a person’s life…..God made mind spirit and body as a whole….not separates that we can change like clothing. We are Integrated like the trinity…3 in one

  • Anon

    Amen!

  • Ruby Pearl

    I truly believe that the main reason men in Christ’s Body struggle with the sin of pornography is due to the emaciated lack of teaching on a husband’s most important responsibility on earth: the spiritual leadership of his wife. David Platt confronts this issue in his excellent book entitled Counter Culture. How illuminating it would be for every pastor across our nation to PROPERLY regularly teach what is one of the most crucial lessons of the Bible. The genuine teaching of husbands being willing to lay down their lives for their wives. The instruction for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves His Church – to cherish them. The focus on SO THAT NOTHING WILL HINDER YOUR PRAYERS as stated in 1 Peter 3:7. When a husband is living in such a way as to be willing to lay down his life for his wife, there is no time or energy left to delve into porn. And what wife wouldn’t eagerly follow a husband who was sacrificially loving and serving her!

    Following you will find excerpts from David Platt’s book Counter Culture http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/2016/04/excerpts-on-husbands-duty-from-david.html