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30 DAY PORN FREE CHALLENGE

30 DAYS OF ADVICE TO HELP YOU STAY PORN FREE

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3 Reasons Your Porn Use Makes Your Wife Feel Awful

by Shaunti Feldhahn on December 26th, 2016 in Men, Couples, Spouses

porn-use-awfulMen, in more than a dozen years of research about how guys privately think about things like sex and porn use, I’ve seen a striking pattern. Although nearly all men are visually tempted today, and many hate and struggle against the temptation, most of those same men also think of it as a private thing that has nothing to do with their wives. They may feel awful about it, but they really don’t understand why their wives would. As one very representative guy told me, “Sometimes I deal with it great. Other times, not so much. But my wife knows I love her, right? She knows that if I look at porn it says nothing about my love for her.”

Guys, I’m here to tell you why you’re wrong. And please know I’m not trying to heap guilt or shame onto the heavy load you’re already carrying. Honestly, given my research with thousands of men for For Women Only and, more recently, Through a Man’s Eyes, I actually have immense compassion for your struggles in today’s culture.

But I’m here as a woman – and as a researcher – to help you understand the truth of what your wife has probably been telling you: that your porn use really does make her feel terrible.

Here are three of the reasons why:

1. To her, your porn use is, by definition, sexual involvement with someone other than her. Women generally aren’t as tempted toward self-stimulation as men are; and even where we are, it is usually around internal fantasies, not via external pictures of a completely different person. So when you’re looking at another woman and having a sexual experience at the same time, we view that as having a sexual experience with another woman. I know many men don’t view it that way. But we do. (And so does God, by the way. When Jesus calls it “committing adultery in your heart” he’s not just laying down a rule of some kind; he’s accurately describing what truly is going on in the hearts of men.)

346x396-recover-inline22. For your wife, sexual attraction/involvement doesn’t happen without emotional connection and love. Our female brains are wired differently than yours. Although there are certainly exceptions, we women aren’t usually sexually tempted by a man unless we’re emotionally attracted to and connected with him. And of course if we’re married, we think there’s no way we would “let” ourselves become emotionally attracted to someone other than the man we love. Thus, if you’re sexually tempted by other women (even images of them), we instinctively feel you must also be “letting yourself” get emotionally attracted and connecting to these other women; you must have some love for them, somehow. And that makes what might otherwise be seen as a purely emotionless sexual, physical experience (see #1) seem like a painful betrayal. The wounded heart cries, But you promised to love me, and me alone!

3. Your wife already feels she cannot measure up to other women… and you just confirmed it. This, oddly enough, is probably the most gut-wrenching feeling underneath the other two. Everyone has different fears and insecurities, but we discovered in our study with women for For Men Only that one of the most common insecurities for us as women is the deep desire to know that we are beautiful to our men – as well as the deep doubt that we are.

You know all those images out there in the world that tempt you to look at them? The cover of the magazine, the girl in the short-shorts, the babe on the TV? Well, we see all those images too. And as they parade by, they tempt you … but they destroy us. They whisper, You’ll never be pretty/thin/tall/well-endowed enough to be attractive to anyone. You’ll never measure up to this. You’re not beautiful; you’re ugly. And once we get married, we think we’ve found someone who does find us beautiful…. But that underlying insecurity is still there. So we subconsciously wonder, “But am I attractive enough for him?” And if your head swivels sideways when the hot girl saunters by, or we discover you’ve been looking at porn, you’ve just confirmed our deepest fears. No. We’re not enough. We’re not beautiful enough for our husband. It can be devastating.

Now, let me reiterate: I do not share those three things to make you feel terrible, or burden you with shame. I don’t even share those to give you more pressure than you may already feel. I trust that if you have read this far, that you deeply love your wife and truly want to be the man she needs. So I share this solely so you can know what is likely going on, deep down, inside the woman you love. She needs your reassurance and your protection.

We are strong, confident women on the outside. But on the inside, most of us are still like those young girls who secretly hope that our Prince Charming will show us, yet again, that he finds us beautiful.

Men, you’ve got a treasure in your hands: your wife’s vulnerable heart. Ask God for what I know you truly do want: the ability to hold and protect that treasure well.

 

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  • Amanda Kayci Burdine

    Thank you. This is the best article. I keep reading it because it makes me feel like I am human….I will add, for no good reason whatsoever, but one thing this article does not help me do is pretend a man cares at all what we are feeling about it (or would care enough to read this. But at least a woman can feel like she is only going half as crazy as the male reaction to her pain would suggest). Thank you for this!

    • Ryk Tatum

      Amanda, there are men who care (as well as those who don’t. It is unfortunate that men have become so hardened that they are callous to a woman’s needs. Likewise, it is unfortunate that some women have become apprehensive toward the legion of men who do care. Love yourself, my sister, and the man who loves you will follow suit.

  • Jasmine B

    Men are men they were made differently so I don’t agree with this article and it’s not for all women. Having your husband Look at porn should be the least of your worries, men look that’s what they do, they check women out in real life and now on the internet, does that mean he doesn’t love you, no. Men like to see certain things, they have fetishes that maybe they aren’t open to say what they are or they don’t want to bother you with trying what they like so they look at other women usually on pornsites or wherever they find and take care of their fetishes that way. Now I’m not saying it’s ok for them to engage in conversation on social media to get women or whatever you want to call them to send them naked pictures because then there is when the line gets crossed and it could end up getting emotional and turn into cheating, but as far as looking at porn (which is someone they wouldn’t touch in real life) you have nothing to worry about. In fact watch the porn with your husband you may add some spice to your sexual relationship or be his porn star so he doesn’t have to look at porn. I’m no expert like the writer, but if you don’t let him at least look at porn you may eventually push him away or seek it in a way far worse, Just my opinion of course.

    • mgonz00

      It was sad to read this comment and hear another woman justifying the root problem of sexism, lies, and deception amongst marriages and relationships in the church. As female Christ followers in the world today, we have a sacred duty to lift up one another in the fight against sexual sins in our churches. It is imperitive that women of God come together and exemplify a biblical view of feminism in the church and in society- especially in the world of 2016. Enabling the leaders of our homes and our churches with such a heart breaking addiction is slowly sucking away the ability for the church body (men and women equally) to be transparent in their needs for a savior and their fear of that savior’s power. I’m saying this with love as a sister in Christ. I appreciate your thoughts.

      • Jasmine B

        Although your opinion is correct, life doesn’t work like this anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God or the right way in life, it’s just that things have changed. It was nice of you to bring God into this comment, but we weren’t discussing God we were discussing what happens in relationships and not everyone attends church like you so this was a little insight for those needing a little more advice than the religion card. But by all means go right ahead and preach to those who are in that relationship situation they probably do need God in their life.

        • LaughtrackKitty

          The article is talking about porn as an addiction – not casual use and/or as something fun to do with your husband or wife. As someone who is in a relationship with a porn addict, I can tell you there is a BIG difference. I’m no prude and have no problem with porn (or alcohol, or drugs, or gambling, etc.), but when taken too far and if you’re already predisposed to addictive behavior, it can be extremely devastating to the addict and his or her loved ones. Believe me, I would love to enjoy the occasional porn with my boyfriend, but that’s not possible for us. That would be like enjoying the occasional drink with an alcoholic or the occasional shot of heroin with a drug addict.

    • Amanda Kayci Burdine

      It often changes into an affair with the likes of prostitutes and such because porn will never satisfy. In my situation, we were going to counselling for the porn addiction because I could not bear not having sex any longer only to find out he had not only replaced me with porn but prostitutes too. Completely shut me off and ignored my sexual needs.

      • Mrs.T

        Thank you for your comment, Amanda. You are spot on. From what I’ve learned since discovering my husband’s sex addiction, porn usage is progressive and our stories are proof of that. When someone intentionally seeks out porn, they don’t think about the consequences — they’re only thinking in the moment…selfishly concerned with getting their fix. They don’t first click the site and think, “Man, I want to be a sex addict!” or “This will help me to pursue prostitutes one day..or even child pornography!”

        If only those guys knew where Porn takes them. Porn takes a man’s hand and leads him away from everything that is good and pure. Porn leads him to sexual addiction. It kills his relationship with God. It steals his family and healthy relationships with friends. It destroys his own freedom to think for himself — his thoughts become captive to sexual fantasies because his brain has become hijacked. His whole body goes into some sort of survival mode…he lives to feed the addiction and does whatever necessary to have his addiction survive…he protects it and sacrifices so much to do so…

    • Karen Thomas

      I am truly sorry that this has been your experience with men. But please know that not all men are like this. There are men out there that do not need this type of stimulation in their lives. Please search for this type of man. You deserve better. Real love doesn’t need outside stimulation to spice things up. It amazes me how many couples miss out on what real love making is without anything extra – even nighties (my husband tells me there is nothing more sexy than me naked). And the more we concentrate on and honor one another, the better it gets over time. The world will have you believe that it gets dull and boring as time passes. So not true. So unbelievably not true. I pass out now from having too many too deeply. My doctor says it’s okay, so we keep looking forward to the next time, and the next time, and the next time…That’s where love makes all the difference.

  • Tom Hillson

    I can think of only a few reasons why God likely doesn’t exist that are stronger than the unfair disparity of the sex drive of men vs. women. Shaunti valiantly tries to blunt this disparity in her books, but she fails. It’s not her fault though – it’s just irreconcilable, as we have a supposedly just God who nevertheless scorns men’s nature and praises women’s.

    • Ryk Tatum

      Tom, I am a believer in God. (If you are not, thst is fine. I’m not a faith shamer.) I believe he created us to be vastly different so that we would depend on each other and not forsake each other. The problem became that one sex sees itself as better (or perhaps, less worse) than the other.

  • Crossdive

    This is one of the most accurate, honest, theologically solid articles I’ve seen in quite some time. I’m trying really hard to be the right man so the right girl (when she comes along) will never have to face this sort of pain from me. I want to be God’s answer to her core question and insecurities, which means I need to continue my progress towards getting my shit together. Not going to lie, it’s been difficult the past couple days, but I’m so grateful and empowered by knowing that Jesus is loving and merciful, not harsh, judgmental, and angry, and that because Holy Spirit lives in and loves me, He has given me the strength and authority to choose well. 🙂 I’m praying for the victory that is mine to take in Jesus, and praying for that special young woman and that I find her really soon.

    Hopefully this encourages someone! You are not alone.

  • Lisa

    I like this article. All these feelings were true to me at one point in my life. However, I have to add to this, that even when you learn to understand that it’s not about you, and it’s not personal etc, it is still an addiction that is taking up (consuming) your energies and time that could be and should be spent on loving your partner and/or family (assuming that it is an addiction, because if it isn’t, I don’t think it would be an issue in the relationship). Whatever your drug of choice is, this is what hurts the most. In the end it’s not about morality, sin, or sex. It’s about being partnered in life with someone who puts themselves and their needs/pain first and lives life self-medicated. Living this way kills empathy and is not conducive to healthy relationships.

  • sarah

    I can’t understand why xxx church has such wonderful insightful ministries like Pilgrimage/Recover and then still publishes what Shaunti Feldhahn has to say. I am 30 and I do not know a single woman that views sex only in emotional terms. Women born after the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s probably realize that men and women can both engage in sexual activities without feeling they are “in love”.

    • Sarah

      Hello Sarah,
      May I introduce myself as your first encounter with a woman born in the 70s who cannot separate sex from emotion and ‘being in love’? I’ve tried…can’t bring myself to do it because as a science teacher, I know that loving someone at a deep level is what separates us from other species. We not only procreate but we love as well.

  • Stuart Lee Tutt

    So very accurate!

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