How Pornography Affects Marriages

Pornography can not only be an addiction, but it can ruin relationships, marriages, and lives.

Pornography addiction is a real issue—not something created by the media and should be treated as any other addiction would be.

Any person of any age can get lured into the act of watching porn on TV or online.

In fact, the most recent research shows than nearly as many women as men have become addicted to watching pornography.

Once someone goes down that rabbit hole, it is difficult to come out, especially for people of certain dispositions, life circumstances, and/or addictive personalities. 

Whether or not married couples should use porn individually or together for pleasure is a debatable topic.

Some find it healthy to be able to have an alternate outlet or to watch porn together as a couple if both partners are interested.

But others believe watching pornography to be a negative, even sinful activity that should not be brought into a marriage.

Whether you believe the former or the latter, extensive research has been done on the topic and it is difficult to deny the findings.

Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

According to the organization, decades of studies from major institutions have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society. 

The mission of Fight the New Drug is to bring about awareness to the issue of porn consumption and addiction and change conversations and attitudes surrounding the topic.

Most youth today have their own device (cell, laptop, tablet, etc.) and are able to browse freely with no one monitoring their decisions.

Tweens and teens are very vulnerable to influence and can be easily lured into the world of porn.

What Fight the New Drug has found is that the attitude about pornography is extremely casual and there is a lot of push back from teens when asked about their use of porn.

Some may be embarrassed to admit it or fearful of getting in trouble. 

How do parents, who have children being exposed to porn, handle this surprisingly common situation?

Here are some tips from the experts: 

  • Realize this is a different world for your children than what you grew up with.
  • It is not a question of IF your child will be exposed to porn in some fashion but WHEN and to what degree. 
  • Do not overreact if you discover your son or daughter has been viewing inappropriate materials—this will not be helpful in communicating with them. 
  • Use empathy and calmness when communicating with them.
  • This should not be a one time conversation like your parents probably did with the birds and the bees; this should be on-going and educational.
  • Healthy and unhealthy sexuality is all mixed up in the media, making it difficult for children to discern between the two. Love and intimacy will look differently to them. Show them what is correct. 
  • You must have a conversation with your kids once they get internet access—this is not negotiable. 

Now, what does a spouse do if they discover their partner is watching pornography and it is becoming an issue in the marriage?

How do they approach someone?

When a spouse or even the marriage as a whole begins to focus on someone or something other than each other, issues can arise and negative changes in the marriage can happen.

The issue needs to be dealt with.

What To Do

  • Calmly approach your spouse and the subject.
  • Fully listen to your spouse without judgement.
  • Use empathy and think about what the other person may be going through to get them to the point of obsessively watching porn.
  • Think about what may be going on in your spouse’s life or even in their past to influence them.
  • Look at the individual as a whole; separate the person from the action (good people can do bad/questionable things sometimes). 
  • Focus on building something new and healthy and moving forward. 

What Not To Do:

  • Do not place labels on your spouse.
  • Do not jump to conclusions.
  • Do not look at your spouse as a bad person.
  • Do not overly focus on the porn—look at the cause. 
  • Do not focus on the past behaviors. 

Can a person addicted to porn overcome the lust?


This type of addiction is just like any other—there are reasons behind it and with help from you and maybe even a professional, your spouse can overcome the core desire and the habit.

The focus needs to be on the why and things need to happen to replace the negative behavior with a positive one.

This does not mean that your spouse will be void of any sexual interest, but that the interest needs to be redirected back to you. 

What is the best first thing the couple can do to help fight this?

The state of mind of both you and your partner need to be right and both of you need to be humble and fully willing to get help.

This cannot be viewed as a s/he problem but something you and your spouse take on equally together.

There is hope—you just have to be willing to get to the root of the problem and agree to get help.

Who Can Help?

Any behavior that you find undesirable in yourself can be improved. 

Having an understanding partner who is aware of the situation is the first step after the cliched “admit you have a problem,” step.

Check in with your partner and be willing to be honest with him/her. 

There should be a regular “check in,” where you discuss your improvements, actions, and where you feel you stand as far as your grasp on the matter.

Improvements should be celebrated and setbacks should be acknowledged with a question from your accountability partner. 

That question is, “How can I help?”

There are apps and software that can keep people clean of pornography as well.

Some of those apps send an email or text to the accountability partner if the “accountable,” person goes to a porn site.

The apps have other ways to help someone who is porn addicted to stay strong and meet their goals on the matter. 

One great one is Covenant Eyes and it is one of the oldest and most trusted of its kind.

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