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5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Boyfriend Looks at Porn

by X3 on May 11th, 2016 in Women, Couples, Spouses

blog-template-boyfriend-and-pornThere’s an ache in me that’s impossible to ignore. It’s strange and frustrating, because the last thing I want to do is make the situation worse, but oh, how it hurts. He looked at porn again. My boyfriend’s mind wandered and he watched porn. I feel simultaneously hurt by him and sad for him because this sin is one that shakes my core and it is one that he fights so hard to shake, but struggles so much with. My boyfriend looks at porn.

I know there are others who are in the same situation as I am, others whose boyfriend looks at porn, and as we ask the question, “So what do I do?” we can feel alone. We aren’t alone, though. I took my question to the foremost world expert in all the things (Google) and it gave me advice on how to accept his porn habit, reasons why it’s okay that my boyfriend looks at porn, and how I could maybe watch porn with him. Mr. Google seems to think that a boyfriend looking at your phone is a bigger issue than when your boyfriend looks at porn.

I walked away from my computer and made a cup of tea to calm my outrage at the world and Google, and came back to think through the steps that I’ve found helpful in the moments of pain after my boyfriend confesses his sin of looking at porn to me. I’m writing them down for you, but also for me. Something to come back to as I continue to seek to walk this frustrating journey in sinful flesh with the guy I love.

Here they are: five questions to ask yourself when your boyfriend looks at porn.

1. Did he tell you, or did you find out some other way?

It’s important that you have open communication about this. Sin loves secrecy, and one of the main ways we combat sin is by bringing it into the light—by confessing it. As much as it hurts to be told, if he’s taken the huge step of confessing to you, then it’s worth taking a second and being thankful for that much before you start reacting.

He’s included you, and now you get to face this thing together. If he didn’t tell you, then I’d encourage you to think seriously about why he didn’t tell you and what that means for your relationship.

2. Is this act a reflection on you, or is it something else? 

346x396-recover-inline2One of the biggest mistakes we can make is assuming that because someone we love looks at porn, we’re not good enough for them. The reality is that if you’re dating, then you shouldn’t be enough, because God’s good design for sex is within marriage.

For now, as much as we’d like to believe that sexual frustration isn’t real, it’s there, and you probably feel it too, even if it is to a lesser extent than the one you’re dating.

Him looking at porn isn’t about you.

But it hurts you because it feels like you aren’t beautiful or worthy or loveable, but ultimately, it’s something that he probably struggled with long before you showed up, and his brain is wired to go to porn for relief. That’s a tough battle to fight in a culture that says porn is okay.

Take a breath. Remember your worth is not in your boyfriend’s mind, but in God’s eyes, and remember that his actions aren’t a direct reflection on you. It hurts you, so much, but it isn’t about you.

3) What part of yourself are you going to speak from? 

It’s hard to do, but we should be speaking grace, not shame. I’m tempted to speak out of the anger that I feel, to make him feel more ashamed, to make him feel the weight of the damage he’s doing to my self-esteem, to be indignant and then end the conversation.

But grace is something different.

Do you remember the story about Jesus and the woman caught in adultery? It captured my heart long ago. A woman is caught in the midst of adultery and dragged in front of a crowd. Imagine that shame, imagine the vulnerability.

People are ready to throw stones at her, since the punishment for adultery is death, and someone gets Jesus involved. Jesus’ response to their challenge about the Law is to draw in the sand, and when he eventually stands, he says “whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” And everyone goes. Jesus, then, speaks to the woman with grace… The only one who could cast that first stone, chose to speak grace.

We’re all guilty of something, we all have shame, and the relief I feel when I remember that Jesus speaks to me with grace, not condemnation is impossible to express.

As much as your stomach is twisting with knots of sadness and anger, choose grace in that moment. Choose to remind him of grace, and then speak out of that place. Remind him of forgiveness. Remind him that though he feels filthy, Jesus has made him clean.

Remind him that He is still loved. Once you remind him, and yourself, of these things, talk about the pain you feel yourself, talk about your reactions and how his sin has hurt you. Do not perpetuate shame; perpetuate honesty. Sin loves shame, too.

4. What happens next? 

This is a hard one. It’s all up to you here. If you’re not willing to stick around for this, and that isn’t a bad thing at all, then tell him that. Tell him why. Be honest. Encourage him to fight. If you want to stick around, then tell him that you’ll be there, that you want him to beat this, that you’re on his side, and work out what his next steps are.

For me, it’s making sure he has accountability outside of me, and that we set up safeguards to make sure that he can’t access porn easily again.

Moving forward may also mean that you make deliberate decisions about your own physical intimacy and decide scale it back so that you’re not tempting each other. Your relationship is more than your physicality, I assure you.

5. Are you okay? 

Make sure that you’re okay, because if you’re not, that’s also okay. It’s alright to be knocked around by what he’s done, but it isn’t alright to shove those emotions down deep and ignore them. That won’t end well.

I have a trusted friend I can go to when I’m hurt. I can speak with her and be prayed for, and I need that to be available for my own mental health. I need a safe space to say how hurt I am, and to be reminded that I am loved.

It isn’t easy, this journey we’re on. Relationships aren’t easy in a porn-saturated world, but we don’t have to accept porn addiction and we don’t have to ignore it. We need to be able to work together with our partner in fighting it.

Redemption is possible—just look at that woman caught in adultery. Jesus will not abandon us. He will not abandon those we love either.

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  • Domina Elle

    1. I show my partner porn at times because we think some porn is funny. Especially 1970’s porn. Other times we watch it when we are in a sexy mood and want to get sexy. Otherwise he isn’t one to watch it. Never has been. I am more inclined to watch it. There is a variety of erotic media and it’s not all the same. We have a solid relationship and don’t hide anything from each other. If he wanted to watch it he would just say so. We are HONEST with each other. Crazy concept huh?
    By the way…
    Some men have ED combined with low libido and porn can help in that department. If a partner is denying his/her partner sex, this can lead to problems. Is this being factored in here? As a fully grown adult woman I want and need a healthy sex life. If my partner doesn’t take care of me sexually problems can arise. It causes emotional and physical upset. Men aren’t the only ones who can have strong libidos.

    2. I am a very secure solid person – woman. I don’t feel insecure or weirded out by my partner watching porn. It is not a reflection of anything on me. In a way you are telling people it should be considered a reflection on them. Sure, some women would have this response but if they didn’t before, they might after reading your list. Did you think of that? Are you banking on that fear?

    3. I always speak from my heart and honestly. I would never shame my partner for any reason and we will talk through any issues we have. We all have shame because sexuality is constantly being shamed in this culture and others. Parents start by shaming their children over masturbation which I see as a form of sexual abuse. There could be a link between being shamed as a child for the normal natural human activity of masturbation and how a person behaves around porn and regarding sexuality. If they sneak they might be doing so because they were shamed earlier in life. I had shame I had to deal with for this reason (my parents mistakenly thought And FEARED I was masturbating and shamed me. That is when I was told about God the first time as a matter of fact!) and felt ‘dirty’ long before I had ever masturbated or had sex! Because my parents were coming from a religious based fear that their parents had instilled and their parents before them and they didn’t know how to handle natural human sexual development without shaming. This type of sexual abuse is passed between generations. This is something humans need a lot of work on. Thankfully I processed that shame and no longer live with it.

    Something I have observed, in fundamentalist communities (of varied religions) where sex is shamed or there are attempts to control what people do sexually (I’m talking natural healthy sex) there are oftentimes many cases of sexual abuse and I’ve often wondered if there is a correlation. Im not saying that we shouldn’t have guidance, sex education or support around sexuality, I refer to sexual shaming and sexual oppression. In the Bible it even refers to sexual desire as a ‘burning’. God created our bodies to experience immense pleasure, it is an important part of humanity, a core part. Shaming ourselves and each other can’t be healthy and I believe this shaming is at the root of many of the unhealthy manifestations. A new approach is required.

    4. If this kind of advice is needed- we may be talking humans who aren’t ready for the responsibility of intimacy and sexuality. If you are going to fall apart because your partner watches porn now and then- or due to being shamed- you’ve got work to do regarding your own actualization as a human being. You wouldn’t be alone though- many humans are not working from a solid platform and end up in relationships before they are fully actualized as individuals. These relationships are often doomed from the start. Maybe porn isn’t the cause but a symptom.

    5. Am I ok? I am fantastic! How are you?

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