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Can Pornography Undermine Your Marriage?

Pros and Cons of Pornography in Marriage -- The Debate Continues


Man using laptop at table
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If you discover your husband looking at pornography on the Internet or on a video or in a magazine, you may have a range of emotions that can range from indifference, to curiosity, to rage.

Since sexually explicit material is perceived differently by individuals of both sexes, there is a debate as to whether or not pornography can hurt a marriage.

For some people there is a sense of "what is the big deal?" when discussing pornography. Others view pornography as insulting, degrading, repulsive, and as a form of virtual unfaithfulness.

Cons -- Reasons People Believe Pornography Hurts Marriages

  • Guilt, mistrust, and anger about pornography can tear your marriage apart.
  • Turning to pornography may cause your spouse to withdraw from your relationship because he receives instant gratification from his fantasies.
  • When your husband views porn you may feel disrespected, take it personally, and believe that you aren't enough for him. This can create a wedge in your marriage.
  • Pornography could make it difficult for your husband to see sex as a loving form of communication. As a result, pornography can decrease sexual satisfaction within your marriage.

Pros -- Reasons People Believe Pornography Does Not Hurt Marriages

  • A wife may think, "How can he say he loves me and look at this smut?" Looking at a pretty woman doesn't mean a man doesn't enjoy making love to his wife. It is an entirely different part of their lives that is separate from their marriage.
  • Some sexual experts believe a sexual relationship can be enhanced when imagination is allowed to run free.
  • Many believe if your sexual intimacy with one another is not being replaced by your husband's porn viewing, then it should not be an issue in your marriage.
  • Others contend that if your husband is viewing porn, it can only hurt you if you allow it to. If you aren't insecure and have a good self-image, your husband's porn use shouldn't hurt you.

Talk With One Another About Pornography

Discussing this issue with trust and honesty without accusing one another is the first step in dealing with pornography. Sexual therapists suggest that partners not try to censor one another's thoughts or to force one another to view offensive material.

Whether or not pornography will add to or lessen a couple's sexual enjoyment is up to each couple.

Liza Featherstone: "According to research by the late Alvin Cooper of the Silicon Valley Psychotherapy Center, people engaged in any kind of online sexual activity for less than an hour a week said it had little impact on their lives; people using it for 11 or more hours a week said it affected both their self-image and their feelings about their partners. Anywhere between one and ten hours a week is ambiguous terrain. It may just be a way to release stress, but as Cooper has pointed out, "the Internet is ... a very powerful force that people can quickly develop a problem with, like crack cocaine."
Source: PsychologyToday.com

There are several interesting debates going on about pornography and porn's effect on marriage on the Marriage Forum.

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