Relational Health

Porn Is Toxic to Your Relationships

Watching porn has proven to be toxic for all relationships in a user’s life. It’s especially damaging for marriages and romantic relationships. Porn doesn’t just harm marriages, it often leads to dishonesty, infidelity, and divorce. Even if it’s not so obvious, a porn habit damages your relationships much more than you realize.

Your Brain Is Dating Porn

Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that helps us bond with others. It is released during skin-to-skin contact and is known as the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin is one of chemicals released by the brain during porn use or a hookup which increases the compulsion to repeat the process. Oxytocin is released in even larger amounts during climax. For the porn user, this can result in bonding to porn by creating an emotional attachment to it.

Behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski calls the dopamine-oxytocin combo released in the brain during orgasm a “biochemical love potion,” This is why after having sex a couple is more inclined to form an emotional attachment. This biochemical love potion is also released when you watch porn. When you do, “you’re bonding with it,” Kuszewski says. “And those chemicals make you want to keep coming back to have that feeling.” This is why people develop a neurological attachment to porn. Some refer to this as ‘dating porn’. 

The more a person bonds with porn the more likely they are to choose it over their real relationships. 

Isolation & Porn – A Vicious Cycle

cat scratching at doorOne way porn use hurts relationships is it leads the user to increased isolation. The majority of Christian porn users in a recent survey admitted that using porn negatively impacts their relationships because they isolate themselves from others. Porn is pursued in isolation and the shame that results leads the user to deceive those closest to them. 

It’s hard to know which comes first because porn and isolation feed one another. Porn leads to isolation and isolation leads to porn. There is a draw to porn that can seem mysterious. Isolation moves you away from people and a lack of bonding keeps you from forming strong attachments with friends and family when you are with them. It’s no wonder those who use porn report more loneliness.10 The single person who has bonded with porn through years of use puts him or herself at a great disadvantage relationally.

When you quit porn, you won’t feel the need to retreat into isolation because of shame. Those who are living porn free know that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety – it’s connection. The Freedom Fight helps you learn to connect regularly with others and seek authentic relationships – because that is critical to living free from porn. When you’re stuck in the shameful shadow of porn use, you avoid the very thing that helps you break free from it: authentic relationships. 

Watching Porn Is Cheating

Porn is a form of cheating on your spouse because you are engaging in sexual activity with someone other than your spouse – even if it only in your mind and heart. 

‘You shall not commit adultery’;but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28)

Jesus makes it clear that lusting after someone is equivalent to adultery. The consequences are different from physical adultery, but mental adultery is sin nonetheless. 

Not surprisingly, those who use porn are 318% more likely to eventually physically cheat on their spouse than non-porn users. They have already been committing adultery in their minds so doing so physically is a surprisingly small step for the porn user. A married couple may divorce because of infidelity, but pornography is what is often fueling the infidelity. Unfortunately, infidelity is part of the ‘corruption’ a person reaps from sowing porn in their hearts and minds. God warned us of what happens when we sow to the flesh. Galatians 6:7-8 explains this concern:

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.”

Watching Porn Harms Your Spouse

A wife who follows Christ will view a husband’s pornography use the way Jesus does – as serious as adultery. She will likely see it as a violation of the marriage vows. Discovering a porn habit is often a very traumatic experience for Christian wives. If there has been deceit and lying involved, and there always is, it will feel like even more betrayal. Porn is a trust killer in a Christian marriage.

Destroying Self-Image

Your wife will likely wonder why she isn’t enough for you. She will feel like she has to compete for your attention and affection. Your porn use makes her feel second rate. These are significant blows to a woman’s self esteem and can be damaging to her mental health. 

Dwindling Commitment

Studies have shown that increased porn consumption directly impacted the way youth feel about casual sex and hook-up culture. Those who watched more porn placed a decreased value on the institution of marriage, the desire for children, and the need for faithfulness in a relationship. Those who watched more porn believed sexually deviant behavior is more common than it actually is. When something is normalized in a person’s mind they are more likely to practice it.17 Porn use diminishes commitment to marriage and family. 

Eroding Trust

Trust is often quickly eroded by small disclosures to your spouse. The biggest mistake and most damaging thing a porn user does to his wife is reveal the truth only a little at a time. He is typically discovered and admits he watches once in a while. Then the wife discovers more and her wound is reopened. He promises he will never look again. But she discovers him using porn and relives the betrayal each time. Women who have gone through staggered disclosure are often diagnosed with PTSD. It is very traumatic and damaging to the trust in a marriage.

Watching Porn Strains Your Friendships

The shame of porn means we seek it in isolation. Porn users work to get away from people to get their fix. The multiplied shame after indulging in porn makes users avoid even their closest relationships. From our National Survey of Christian Students, six out of ten admitted their porn use negatively impacted their friendships. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” 1 John 1:7. A porn habit undercuts authentic connection and fellowship with other believers.


The Fear of Facing Sin

The guilt caused by porn makes it difficult to admit you have a problem to others. The biggest reason porn users don’t share their struggle with others is that they are still living in denial. The tendency to live in denial is even greater when it comes to a Christian struggling with porn. No one wants to face the ugliness of their sin. Especially when it is admitting to a porn or sex addiction. 

The self-deception about porn addiction begins out of a desire to resolve the massive inconsistencies a Christian user lives with. Particularly when he or she has made commitments to God, themselves, and others not to watch it again. The shame of failure is deep. The Freedom Fight can help you face your fears of admitting sin so you can move forward toward a porn-free life.

Porn-Free Couples Are Strong Couples

If you aren’t authentic and truly known by others, you can’t be truly loved by others. But when you decide to come out of the shadows and be authentic and vulnerable, you’ll experience a depth of relationships you didn’t know was possible. This is one of the most significant positive results we’ve seen when people go through our program–they have learned to develop deep authentic relationships. 

happy couple on rooftopIn a six year study, the couples where neither the husband or wife used porn were two to three times more likely to stay together than the couple where one of the spouses used porn. Those who don’t use porn report more sexual and relationship satisfaction than porn users do. They also report more intimacy. If you want deeper relationships, a stronger marriage and a better sex life – you’ve got to live porn free.

Find Freedom. Save Your Relationships.

Freedom is possible – and while we make it free of charge it still requires the investment of yourself. Your investment in time will pay off in your closest relationships, especially your marriage or future marriage. If you are single, don’t believe the lie that getting married will fix your porn problem. It won’t. We’ll help you discover a life where you and your loved ones are free from the shackles of porn.

Ready to Quit?

Find freedom from porn.

The Freedom Fight is a completely-free-to-use, proven program for men and women who want to stop using porn. You will:

  • Understand how porn affects your life
  • Learn to identify your individual triggers
  • Practice using tools to help you overcome your triggers
  • Choose a system for confidential accountability and support
  • Find a community of men and women free from porn
Need help quitting?

Porn has defined sexuality for many young people, especially those who had access to it during their teen years. Porn is fake sex. It offers feelings of fake intimacy. It distorts our view of and ability to enjoy the real thing. But with time and the right plan and support, your mind can heal.

nearly 90% of Freedom Fight participants report lasting freedom from porn after completing the program.
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