** Trigger alert: discussion of pornography’s role in betrayal **
Another common thread I see is that pornography played a huge part leading up to the act of physical betrayal. It did in mine. This is another clue that it’s not your fault and there was literally nothing you could do to prevent his actions.
This is a topic that deserves your education so you can heal and move forward and prevent it from destroying future relationships, or from seeping into your children’s lives.
*** Addictive sex/”romance” actually changes the way the brain functions and prevents access to the area of the brain that makes logical decisions, including MORAL decisions. ***
This is not an excuse by any means, but the brain is hard wired for risk/reward, fight/flight/freeze, and this is where the Enemy takes hold. Shame is what spurns some men to self-medicate with porn, and shame of using is what keeps them in the cycle of using it.
Myths about porn:
1. All guys do it. FALSE: Though it is a growing problem, not all men turn to porn.
2. It doesn’t hurt anyone. FALSE: Scientific studies show that use of porn is harmful to committed relationships, and is destructive to emotional and physical intimacy. Porn is highly addictive and causes physiological changes to the brain, reducing the ability to reason, make logical decisions and make moral judgements. It’s also documented that there is a high amount of physical and mental abuse of the women who participate in the creation of porn, and human trafficking has been involved as well. There is no good use for porn. Porn creates and encourages the objectification, or de-humanizing people as objects for selfish, one-sided enjoyment and reduces respect for women. Most children see their first porn at age 11. Eleven – are you blocking porn on your computers if you have children?
3. It helps our sex life. FALSE: Porn imagery effects on the brain creates false expectations of their own performance and their partner’s. It encourages turning to porn only for gratification.
4. It’s not cheating because it’s not a real person. FALSE: There are growing number of studies that reflect the real damage and trauma to women whose husband’s regularly turn to porn. Men’s emotional withdrawal, isolation, withdrawal of physical non-sexual affection, and that amounts to emotional abuse. Additionally, because of the addictive nature of porn, the need is progressive, in other words, they need more and more stimulation to get the same “high”. This is where men will “take it offline” and seek out real-life partners, in order to feed the addiction.
5. Women don’t use porn. FALSE: 17% of all women struggle with porn usage. I also struggled when I tried to control my husband’s sexual activities by joining him in his addiction. I am fortunate that I was able to stop, and you can too if you’re caught up in this tool of the enemy.
6. My husband could stop if he loved enough/if he loved God enough/if he wanted to / if just used more will power. FALSE: Porn is highly addictive in nature, and causes changes to the brain that over-rides the ability to use the pre-frontal cortex, where logic, morality, decision making happens. Porn literally hijacks your husband’s brain. Unless he gets support from other men in the same situation (many Churches are starting men’s groups for this very purpose) or qualified therapy from a professional who understands the addictive nature of porn, your husband is fighting an uphill battle that love alone will not win.
7. Our marriage counselor says there’s nothing wrong with porn usage, that it can enhance our sex lives. FALSE: See number 1, 2 3, 4, 6 and get a new therapist who is compassionate towards the trauma porn causes you as a woman.
8. I can’t demand my spouse stop using porn, or that my children be protected from porn in my home. FALSE: You can set a boundary within a relationship that you will not tolerate the use of porn in your home, and enforce it with blocking software on home computers and smart phones. You can enforce the boundary that says, “If I discover that you have been using pornography, I will not sleep in the same room with you until you get help/show me with your actions that you have not used pornography for an amount of time allows me to feel safe, and up to and including, leaving the relationship.”
9. The damage is done, there is no turning back. FALSE: Even though porn causes physical changes to the brain, healing of the brain is possible, through something called “neuro-plasticity” and with “sobriety” from porn, prayer and the right support, a man can regain the ability to have a deeply meaningful, intimate, and enjoyable physical relationship with this spouse.
If porn has affected your marriage, HAVE HOPE. There is healing available!