Does Porn Have a Place in Marriage?

A reader sent me an email this week, asking me about my views on pornography as it relates to relationships that have potential to end in marriage.

“I know that you are not a counselor or any such thing. I am just asking in case you may have some insight into issues of this nature,” she wrote.

She summed my credentials succinctly. I am no counselor, and certainly have not been trained in the effects or porn or how to combat addictions. I do have a little insight, however, and at her request am sharing them today. I won’t take you into M.O.M mode for this one. If we took an imaginary trip into the porn world it would just end badly for all of us.

So your man is sitting in the closet with his pants down watching other people get off, eh? It’s not exactly the welcome home any woman looks forward to. Unless you’re a freak like that, in which case coming home to a room smelling like corn chips and hours’ old saliva is a greeting you look forward to. However if you are of the opposing sentiment, this can prove a real problem.

I think when it comes to porn, like anything, you have to set some standards and boundaries. You have to define for yourself and subsequently let it be known what you will and will not tolerate. For the irreligious couple who finds themselves contemplating marriage, God neither serves as a focus or a concern in their marriage or relationship. The idea that consuming or watching porn is “sinful” is therefore not a concern initially and may be more easily tolerated, at first at least. The problem with porn is that it is driven by lust, and lust is never satisfied. Religious or not, one partner is going to end up getting hurt when the other’s sexual lust can no longer be satisfied at home.

I did some trolling on my reader’s twitter page and blog and discovered that she is a self-professed lover of Christ. She is very careful about concealing her identity, so all that I was able to glean or assume is that she is in her mid-20s, university educated, ambitious and is very much in love with her partner. She seems like a good girl. I don’t know much about her man, but if she is the “Jesus Freak” she proclaims to be, I can deduce that he is involved in church in some way. He may not be active in the church, but at the very least he attends. It is estimated that 50% of all church going men watch porn religiously, with every pun intended. This is a problem because a) their focus is shifted from the pursuit of God to the pursuit or lust and b) it creates a warped reality of what love is supposed to look like. Men who consistently view porn, eventually to the point of developing an addiction, develop unrealistic standards for themselves and their mates. Most porn objectifies women while at the same erects idol-like images of men that these same women will do anything to please or to make feel desirable. That may work in fiction, but it has no place in reality. The reality is after a hard day at work and paying bills, neither of you is going to have the energy to pursue the Porn Matrix. Given the little bit of porn that I’ve watched, the burden of conjuring and creating that reality is placed on the woman, and that’s not another job that a working woman needs on her plate. This is why men who become addicted to porn oftentimes seek their thrills outside of the confines of their homes into the waiting arms of the neighborhood or corner-side hooker. It is her (paid) job to satisfy that warped fantasy.

My reader said that she has spoken to the man she is a relationship with about his watching porn and has unequivocally stated that it kills her to know he does. Perhaps it’s my age and/or my experience, but that fact alone should answer any questions about what his watching porn is going to do to their relationship. If someone really loves you, they don’t continue to do the thing(s) that hurt you. That’s not love. That’s sadism.
It is generally well known that ‘harmless’ viewing of porn is an eventual gateway to more risky behavior. Sex addiction is one of the hardest to cure, because our society is so driven by it. It is estimated that the average human being in the West is presented with 80 -100 sexual images – either implied or overt – in a day. As human beings become more desensitized to sex and nudity, it is only natural that the next progression would be to watching porn, then to more extreme porn, and more extreme and absurd until one day you and your husband are taking turns humping the family’s horse, asking yourself how on earth you got there?

So my dear reader, I say this to you: Decide what your boundaries are. If you have none, your mate will walk all over you. Define your limitations for every area of your life and don’t waver from them. The funny (and tragic) thing about us women is that we are so good at encouraging men that we eventually become the enablers for the same behavior we so deplore. We rationalize it by saying “Oh…he’s a really good guy except for when he does xyz.”

No!

If you do not want him beating you, I am sure you have made that known. Would it hurt you if he hit you? Would you leave him if he did? If you do not want him chasing after other women, make it known. Would it hurt you if he did? Would you leave him if you discovered he was? If his watching his porn is so offensive to you, why stay? What are you afraid of? That one or three years invested will turn up to be a waste? Imagine 30 years enduring something so offensive and repugnant to you. What is the triumph in that?

From where I sit, you have two choices: Either develop a tolerance for porn and start watching it with him, or force him to abandon it altogether by getting the help he needs so that the pair of you can have a healthy, equally yoked future together.

 

Have you ever been addiction to porn or know someone else who has struggled with it? Am I off the mark? Can you have a healthy relationship with/be a porn addict? Chime in for my reader!

  • David S.

    I think arguing that you can’t have a healthy appetite for porn is like arguing that you can’t have a healthy appetite for your favorite food. Just because I like fufu doesn’t mean I am going to see if I can swallow 50 pounds of the stuff at a sitting, and quit my job so I can spend my day pounding it. As someone who I has dealt with lust since before I was a teenager I can say with conidence that lust is not insatiable. It is quite satiable (is that a word??) I will even go further to say that porn actually helps with the satiating process (hush, I know that one is not a word). Yes the exxageration is exciting, but very few people want the level of exxageration you see in porn in their every day sex life, just like most people have very little desire to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at a five star restaurant.

    Can someone have an unhealthy addiction to porn and sexual activity? Certainly. Just like people have eating disorders. I once read an article about someone who increased his weight to 1000 lbs by eating 20,000 calories worth of food a day. That’s more food than I eat in a week.

    Most people who have eating disorders get to that point because they start to eat for some reason other than because they are hungry. Most people who have addictions to porn get to that point because watching porn becomes about something other than satisfying natural sexual urges in a manner that doesn’t destroy their relationships. The key is knowing when enough is enough, kinda like with eating.

    • I can see your point buried in there David. I really do. But I have to wonder, if the tables were turned and your woman was turned on by watching gay porn between two men, even just occasionally, would you be open to watching it with her? How would you feel if she evoked a scene and asked you to act it out? Perhaps she could strap up with a big black dildo and penetrate you just for kicks? It’s only in moderation, after all.

      • David S.

        I’m bowing out of this conversation, mainly because to continue I would have to talk extensively about my own sex life. All I will say is: I think if you are actually interested in this topic, you should watch some porn, or have offline conversations with some people who do because your understanding of porn and the people who watch it is only scratching the surface. And, men (or women for that matter) don’t need porn to develop wild sexual fantasies.

        • D3bi d3bi! There will be no porn weekend marathons for me, thank you!

          But honestly, thank you for chiming in as usual. This is a subject better left to the experts, and as I said in the beginning I have no credentials when it comes to porn. The reader asked me for an opinion, I gave it, we discussed. It’s a win for all!

          Being the geek that you are, I don’t blame you for gracefully bowing out of the convo. As for geeks? They are the biggest freaks! Some things should remain private. 😉

  • Ebenezer Scrooge

    DAVID, I must disagree with you on this one. I watched a lot of orn in my teen years, as a matter of fact, it got to a point where I began viewing “perverted” porn, just for the thrill of it, as “regular” porn couldn’t cut it. But like most of my shenanigans during that phase, I had put a timeline on it, knowing fully well that it would have to stop one day.
    However, not everyone has the will and strenght of character to realise this!!! So many, become disillusioned by the androcentric perspective of porn that having a healthy sexual life becomes an uphill task.
    MALAKA, funny but just the otehr day, whilst reading on TheVibes, my mind begged to ask… Since most ladies sing praises of TheBunny, its distant cousins and reommend their companionship (sometimes in place of the “ChauvinisticPigs” known as Men, what will be the reaction of a lady, were she to walk in on her Mr., PinchingTheOneEyedSnake??? Or do the standards differ???
    Just for laughs anyways, http://www.nairaland.com/911485/blue-film-nearly-cost-relationship

    • That strategy totally backfired for this poor man. Ooooo!!! *gagagagaaa!!!*

      • Ebenezer Scrooge

        It always does!!! Maybe not as vividly but it does…. Ummmm, my guess is you’re busy that’s why the question on DoubleStandards was overlooked… Hehehe

  • NM

    You said it all really, it’s all about boundaries. We live in such a hedonistic society, where pleasure (seemingly) takes precedence over most things. Porn is a deal breaker for me, am all for spicing up amorous activities ….but I draw the line at having some unknown parties being the catalyst that gets us going…….um, no!

    Half the fun of getting to know each other is discovering what turns your partner on but maturity is understanding that your intimacy ‘sessions’ aren’t going to be on 100+ each and every time, porn sets that unrealistic expectation. It’s foolishness (judgmental I know but….). Down with porn! LOL!

  • Could it be that this is just a very simple issue of pent up sexual frustration. If two unequally yoked people come together, eh there’s bound to be a lot of WTFuggers going on. Secondly, he is a man oo. Me I don’t care, even if I am dating a pastor-GOD FORBID! I know damn well he got SEX on his mind. He might be more controlled through concentrating on the Word and avoiding reading the scandalous Songs of Solomon.I might very well be way off base.May the good lawwwd see it fit to not turn me back at the pearly gates. AMEN!

  • Hi Malaka,

    I enjoy your blog, it’s great, very thoughtful posts! To the question: Does Porn Have a Place in Marriage? I think that will be a question for each couple to decide. I personally find the porn industry revolting, and very dehumanizing. When I remove myself from my own strong personal opinions and moral opposition to porn, I am not as idealistic. Like prostitution, another industry I abhor and wish didn’t exist; I am not idealistic to say it has no place, I wish there was no place for it and I still hold those beliefs, however reality is that it does exist and already has a place in marriages for example in the case of porn, or in society in the case of prostitution. It’s there and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore I think it’s important that each couple be honest and work with each other regarding this subject matter. It’s difficult and complex issue, which involves an array of issues that if the person does have a porn problem won’t go away that easily, thus it’s important for those in the marriage to be open and have mutual respect and honesty, that way the marriage can be healthy.

  • browneyedgal

    First and foremost, just because someone is not religious does not mean that they tolerate ‘sin’. I am not religious, I am agnostic. But that should not be construed to mean that I do not have morals. It does not mean that anything goes. I have morals and boundaries. It’s got nothing to do with religion. But that is not the issue here.

    I believe sex is a beautiful thing and it comes so naturally between lovers. Much in the same way kissing does. BUT, there is a perverted form of sex. The examples that come to mind are threesomes, orgies and pornography. I believe that sex is strictly an act for/between two people. To express their love for each other (hence the term ‘making love’) and forge their bond through intimacy. The minute a third party comes into the picture, sex becomes perverted.

    Porn serves to bring other parties into the picture. And I personally do not buy that there is any such thing as a ‘healthy’ consumption of porn. If you want to consume a healthy amount of porn, how about you consume 0%?

    My take; porn does not have a place in any relationship, let alone a marriage.

    #thatisall

    • First and foremost: thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Second: Your entire opening statement is a blog on its own, or quite possibly a series of blogs! Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but as an agnostic aren’t you afforded the benefit of determining what is immoral and what is not? What is ‘sin’ is defined by God’s law, where as morals are accepted/defined by human nature. So for instance, David sees nothing wrong with porn at all, whereas you assert that it has no place in any relationship and cannot be consumed in healthy doses at all. I don’t think either of you would describe yourself as religious, so who is right?

      CS Lewis has already written masterfully on this topic in Mere Christianity.

  • browneyedgal

    Hehehe. It’s not a matter of who is right. These are just our personal convictions which are a sum total of the experiences we’ve had in our very different lives. Another conviction of mine, religion does not bear on a persons character. That is why you may meet a person who is of upright standing and they are not religious and then hear of a priest who molests children. We are who we are. Period. But I repeat, these are just my personal convictions. I do not wish to convert anyone to see things the way I do and I hope they return the favour by not trying to convert me.