Why Does My Husband Watch Porn?

The reason are complex and different from person to person.
By Chris Ownby
March 8, 2021

Your husband watches porn. I’m sure this has caused some mixed feelings within you. Should you be concerned? Or should you be okay with this? Or maybe you’re concerned about how okay you are with it. And you’re not sure how you feel about that

But your big question is, Why? What’s the allure, the drive, the motivation? Is it something you’re doing or not doing? Regardless, talking about why husbands watch porn isn’t an easy topic. But you’re looking for answers. 

I honestly don’t know why your husband looks at porn. But we can narrow it down to what we know is quite common out there among guys. 

Before we dive in though, let me tell you what more than likely is not the reason he looks at porn: you. Unless you’re force-feeding him to look at those images online, you are not the reason. It’s nothing you did, or how you are, or the way you do things (or don’t do things) in the bedroom or otherwise.

Take it from a guy who’s been in the struggle. Sometimes, I’ve even put the blame on my wife for my online behavior. Thinking things like, “Well, if she weren’t so tired all the time,” or “I can’t even remember the last time we had sex.” Doing this is easier than facing the reality of my own guilt or shame. So, even if your husband tells you it’s your fault, it’s still his decision to look at porn. Let’s just take that pressure off of you.

Now that we can lay that aside, what are some common reasons happily-married guys look at porn? 

They began the habit at an early age.

The younger a guy has his first exposure to pornographic images, the more profoundly it affects him throughout his life. Studies have shown that kids exposed to pornography are more likely to want to repeat what they’ve seen without understanding what they’ve seen. Think of the weight of that. Their views of sex are easily skewed to focus on power, self-satisfaction, fear, or violence rather than intimacy, connection, and love. If your husband began looking at porn early on as a child, it possibly formed a habit that was harder to kick than if he were first exposed later in life. 

Pornography has deep-seated effects on the brain.

Studies show that the physical landscape of the brain actually changes when a guy watches porn. It creates neural pathways, making it easier to fall into the trap of desiring pornographic images over and over. It’s like paving and repaving a road to make it easier to travel on each time. Chemical processes occur, which researchers have compared to that of cocaine addiction; the reward centers in the brain are in full-tilt, promising euphoric (although temporary) feelings with each “hit.” The bad news is that with each encounter with porn, it takes just a little more “shock” to get the same amount of high as before. The good news is the evidence is strong that the brain can be re-rewired to reverse porn’s adverse effects on the brain. 

He may be caught in a vicious cycle.

For many men, sex is a short-term cure for anxiety, depression, stress, or insecurity. The problem is pornography has been shown to increase these negative feelings. Here’s the general idea: Your husband views porn to get some relief from, say, anxiety. And it works, but only for a short time. What comes next, however, are feelings of shame and remorse. Shame turns into more anxiety. And he’s back where he started. If your husband is caught in a negative cycle, it might be hard for him to understand how to break out of it. 

He just doesn’t know it’s unhealthy.

Sometimes what porn provides masks the damage it does to a person, their brain, and their relationships. It could just be that he’s blind to what porn is doing to him, you, and your marriage. 

These four ideas are usually at play among men who watch porn. But reasons why a husband views pornography are complex and differ from person to person. 

One thing we know: pornography can be damaging to a person’s mental health and to their marriage. This is why it’s critical to talk to him about his reasons and seek professional help if necessary. Understanding why he watches porn is the first step; keeping your marriage healthy and protecting it is the ultimate goal. 

***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.***

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