Should I Be Upset That My Husband Watches Porn?

Processing your emotions may be easier if you know some of the facts about porn.
By Chris Ownby
January 13, 2021

So your husband watches porn, and you’re wondering how you should feel about it. Perhaps you’re frustrated and wondering if you have a reason to be upset. Or maybe it doesn’t bother you, and that’s what bothers you. It’s probably hard to know just what to feel or think or do with this. 

Pornography can be a complicated issue in marriage. And the truth is, you could be dealing with a whole host of other emotions and thoughts about it. 

First of all, it’s okay to feel these things

I can’t tell you how you should feel (nor should I, nor should anyone). 

But here’s what I can do: I can share what we know about how pornography can affect a marriage. Because I imagine that’s the one concern you probably have above all else. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what some research tells us: 

  • Married couples who use porn are more likely to divorce than those who do not use it. 
  • Watching porn can create unrealistic pictures in people’s minds about how sexual relationships are supposed to function. This can affect relationships negatively. It can decrease the viewer’s perceptions of real-life intimacy because they compare marital sex with what’s on the screen (i.e., porn stars). 
  • Viewing porn can lead to sex becoming more about one’s own physical pleasure and less about the emotional aspect of sex in marriage. 
  • Pornography can create a vicious downward cycle; if something isn’t going well in the marriage, a person might turn to porn. But then, turning to porn can make marital problems even worse
  • Pornography consumption is linked to decreased intimacy, less satisfaction in marriage, and infidelity. Not to mention an increased appetite for porn that depicts abusive, illegal, or unsafe practices and a higher rate of addictive behavior. (Just to be clear, the research gives strong evidence that porn is, indeed, addictive. Keep reading for more on this.)
  • According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over half of divorce cases involved “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.” 
  • Viewing pornographic material increases the risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies, committing sexual offenses, and accepting rape myths. 
  • Evidence shows that pornography affects the brain, much like a chemical addiction. It releases endorphins that cause an increased need for more arousing and shocking material. Over time, to get the same feeling or “high,” you have to get a heavier dose. Some studies indicate the chemicals released in the brain from watching porn are two-hundred times more potent than morphine and at least as addictive as cocaine. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
  • Watching porn also causes mirror neurons to fire in the brain, causing the viewer not merely to respond to the image on the screen but to put themselves in the main character’s place. 

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the negative insights researchers found. 

The bottom line is that pornography is easy to access and can cause severe marriage rifts. Yes, you’ll find many misconceptions out there from mainstream media about how porn isn’t all that bad. Some counselors even encourage couples to use porn in their relationships for various reasons. 

I personally prefer to err on the side of good solid research, which suggests that, overall, couples should avoid porn for the sake of marital health. I encourage you and your husband to let the science and research about porn inform your feelings, reactions, and conversations about porn in your marriage. 

Got Questions about Sex and Porn in marriage?

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If you’d like to learn more about porn or want more information to help you move forward together, these blogs can help you out:

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Sources

1Perry, S. L., & Schleifer, C. (2018). Till Porn Do Us Part? A Longitudinal Examination of Pornography Use and Divorce. The Journal of Sex Research, 55(3), 284–296. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1317709

2Zillmann D, Bryant J. Pornography’s impact on sexual satisfaction. J Appl Social Pyschol. 1988;18(5):438-453. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00027.x


3Perry SL. Pornography and relationship quality: Establishing the dominant pattern by examining pornography use and 31 measures of relationship quality in 30 national surveys. Arch Sex Behav. 2020;49(4):1199-1213. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-01616-7

4Maas MK, Vasilenko SA, Willoughby BJ. A dyadic approach to pornography use and relationship satisfaction among heterosexual couples: The role of pornography acceptance and anxious attachment. J Sex Res. 2018;55(6):772-782. doi:10.1080/00224499.2018.1440281


5Laier, C., & Brand, M. (2016). Mood changes after watching pornography on the Internet are linked to tendencies towards Internet-pornography-viewing disorder. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 5(C), 9–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2016.11.003

6Schneider, J. P. (2000). A Qualitative Study of Cybersex Participants: Gender Differences, Recovery Issues, and Implications for Therapists. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7(4), 249–278. https://doi.org/10.1080/10720160008403700

7Stack, S., Wasserman, I., & Kern, R. (2004). Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography. Social Science Quarterly, 85(1), 75–88. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0038-4941.2004.08501006.x

8Manning, J. C. (2006). The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriage and the Family: A Review of the Research. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13(2-3), 131–165. https://doi.org/10.1080/10720160600870711

9https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/inside-porn-addiction/201112/is-porn-really-destroying-500000-marriages-annually

10Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2016). A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 183–205. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12201

11Allen, M., Emmers, T., Gebhardt, L., & Giery, M. A. (1995). Exposure to Pornography and Acceptance of Rape Myths. Journal of Communication, 45(1), 5–26. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1995.tb00711.x

12Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of internet pornography addiction: A review and update. Behavioral Sciences, 5(3), 388-433. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.utc.edu/10.3390/bs5030388


13Ponseti, J., Bosinski, H. A., Wolff, S., Peller, M., Jansen, O., Mehdorn, H. M., Büchel, C., & Siebner, H. R. (2006). A functional endophenotype for sexual orientation in humans. NeuroImage (Orlando, Fla.), 33(3), 825–833. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.08.002

​​https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-can-change-the-brain/

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  1. Demonia
    Demonia says:

    Help my husband keeps lying to me about watching porn but ive caught him doing so numerous times and he only wants to touch me afterwards…im afraid that he doesn’t want me anymore what can i do ????

    Reply