Dependent on Porn

My husband and I enjoyed sex until he reached his fortieth birthday. Then he said he felt old and unable to perform quickly. He wanted to spice things up by watching some sexy videos with me. I want to please my husband, but I don’t want him dependent on porn for arousal. How far should a wife go in pleasing her husband’s sexual fantasies?

This husband is searching for the ultimate sexual experience. He may have reached some midlife crisis and feels that his masculinity virility and sex life have gone over the hill. Many men just like this one use pornography as a sexual stimulant even within marriage. Having a regular sex partner doesn’t remove their need for pornography because they’ve established a habit. People may turn to porn to satisfy curiosity or to revitalize a sagging sex life, but they tend to become habituated to its stimulation.

Unfortunately, the Internet has opened a new era of pornography and sex addiction. No longer must seekers cruise the seedy side of town. Now they can cruise the Net and indulge in pornography or cybersex or even have an affair online. The accessibility to inappropriate sexual activities creates problems for many wives. Weak, struggling men, including Christians, become deeply entrenched without ever leaving their home or office. This leaves wives calling addiction counselors in anguish, not knowing what to do about their husbands’ involvement with Internet porn. Some men defend their actions by saying they don’t see that they’re doing anything wrong as long as they don’t have physical sex with anyone. But infidelity begins at the point when a person makes a strong emotional connection. This means it doesn’t take a physical act to betray one’s marriage vows.

Pornography destroys intimacy because it introduces a third person, or more, into the relationship. A man’s dependency on it not only hurts the man himself and the couple’s sex life but it devastates the wife’s self-esteem. It undermines her sense of safety within the marriage and damages her trust in her husband.

People can break sex addictions such as this, but only when they admit their problem and get into a program designed to break it. (See appendix) Any woman dealing with this problem needs to spend much time on her knees, and then hold the line wherever her good judgment tells her not to follow him. No counselor can settle where that line isBonly she can do this. God gave each of us a brain and a conscience. After praying about the matter, each person has to make up their own might about what is right and what is wrong. God is always a faithful guide.

The Problem Escalates

The use of porn often escalates into even worse sexual practices:

AMy husband is into pornography big time. At first, it was only magazines, which he tried to hide from me. He started out with relatively mild stuff but over time graduated to hard-core stuff. I suspect he is going to X-rated films. He wants to watch porn movies before we have sex and sometimes during sex. Now it seems like we can’t make love without stimulation from an outside source. I can’t stand watching that stuff. My self-worth is about one inch high, and I don=t know how much more I can take. Please help!

Some men turn to pornography to restore lost interest or to revitalize a tired sex life. They may also use it because of early conditioning, as a way of satisfying curiosity, or in an attempt to improve their sexual performance. Whatever the reason, they tend to become habituated to its stimulation, which continually diminishes their gratification. Consequently, as in all addictions, they need increasingly stronger stimulation. Eventually, several sex experiences per day still leaves them unsatisfied.

Sex addicts typically begin to live a double life. They must hide from their spouses and others their masturbation, porn-shop visits, prostitutes, etc., due to their shame and fear of being discovered. And they lack intimacy. They become very self-absorbed and can’t develop relationships outside of sexual ones. To addicts, sex becomes a mechanical process that involves another personBbut that person isn’t really a partner, only an accessory to fantasy, a means of indulging their obsession.

Like all other addictions, sexual addiction becomes progressively worse. In his book When Sex Becomes an Addiction, Stephen Arterburn identifies four levels of sexual addiction:

Level 1: Fantasy, pornography, and masturbation. Arterburn calls pornography the Agateway drug@ to most sexual addiction. Society views pornography as harmless, yet it is the fuel that burns in the fires of lust gone out of control. Through the use of porn, the addict can masturbate while fantasizing about sex with another woman, a child, multiple partners, or while inflicting pain or violence. To state it bluntly, pornography is about masturbation. Compulsive masturbation is a quick escape from intimacy and becomes a one-sided process of self-gratification.

Level 2: Live pornography, fetishes, and affairs. In level 1, the addict’s only contact with another person is through film, video, or paper. In level 2, the addict makes contact with another person. Activities at this level include frequenting bars that feature nude dancing, having an affair, phone sex, and fetishesBsuch as clothingBthat become erotic stimulants. Addicts functioning at this level may also practice perverse forms of sex, such as bondage, masochism or sadism, multiple partners, and sex with prostitutes. All these sexual encounters are devoid of intimacy.

Level 3: Minor criminal offenses, prostitution, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. When sex addicts reach this level, they cross the line to minor criminal behavior. Some will engage with multiple prostitutes in one night. The voyeur who spies on others and the exhibitionist who enjoy s exposing his genitals in public are functioning on level 3. These are illegal acts, though they bear relatively minor consequences.

Level 4: Molestation, incest, and rape. Child molestation, incest and rape are included in the fourth level of addiction. Addicts who are arrested and convicted for these offenses will serve time in jail. Victims pay an even heavier price, and may begin to victimize others.

The husband cited exhibits all the characteristics of a sex addict. The description of his addiction points to level 1Bhowever, the wife may be aware of only the tip of the iceberg. Even if he hasn’t indulged in level 2 activities yet, it’s just around the corner.

It’s time for this wife to have a major confrontation with her husband. She should carefully think through and write down what changes she must have if the relationship is to continue. Things like calling Sex Addicts Anonymous* to find out what programs are available where they live. She can also check out what programs are available for the wives of addicts. Insist that he follow through or else. If he refuses, she must follow the ‘or else’ she’s set up. There’s no other way to handle this, unless the wife wants to settle for allowing him to continue his destructive addiction.

Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)

phone (800) 477-8191

www.saa-recovery.org

Exodus International

phone (888-264-0877 or (407) 599-6872

www.exodus-international.org

For Internet accountability:

Covenant Eyes

Phone: (877-479-1119

www.covenanteyes.com

This article is excerpted from Dear NancyBA trusted advisor gives straight answers to questions about marriage, sex and parenting, Nancy L. Van Pelt with Madlyn Lewis Hamblin, Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 2005. (Available from www.heartandhome.org.uk)

 

 

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