KMB After Dark: Porn Almost Destroyed My Marriage

Disclaimer: the following post is written by a KMB team member about her personal experience with sex, sex and marriage, how sex changes after kids, and other topics as they relate to sex. The views and opinions in this post are purely and entirely the author’s and neither KMB nor the author claim to be an expert on the subject matter.

KMB after Dark

I never thought it would happen to me.

I mean, who does? Who enters into the sacred covenant of marriage, vowing her life to one person forever, expecting to be let down? I have seen it happen too many times to other people, and I was not going to let it happen to me.

But then it did.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. Both my parents were addicts of one kind or another, but my dad’s particular poison (one of them, anyway) was women. Whether it was leaving his Playboy in the bathroom for me to stumble upon as a toddler or his repeated extramarital affairs, my father’s lifestyle caused me to grow up feeling degraded, devalued, and insecure. When I left my parents’ home as a young adult, I promised myself I would never let a man treat me the way my father did.

Fast forward a few years, and I was married to a wonderful man – Jim* – who loved me and made me feel important. He knew the baggage of my past, and he respected me in the way I always wished my father had. A few years into our marriage, a family friend disclosed his dirty little secret of a debilitating addiction to pornography. His habit cost him his family, career, and life as he knew it. As a word of caution, he suggested all men install anti-porn protective software on their computers. Later, when Jim and I were talking about our friend’s pitiful situation, my husband confessed his own hidden porn use.

My stomach lurched. I could feel my heart pounding in my neck, my scalp getting hot, my body shivering. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or kill him. We had been together for years; how could this have been happening all along? I felt angry, hurt, betrayed. He knew my past and how I felt about pornography. With everything that was in me, I could not understand how he could allow this to happen.

While Jim’s confession lifted the weight of secrecy from his chest, it derailed me and everything I thought I knew about my husband and our marriage. Emotionally, I was thrown back into my childhood and all the pain of growing up with a father who valued sex more than his family. But Jim said he wanted help, so we bought the software and I tried to move on.

Some months later, while I was pregnant, Jim got a promotion at work that meant a lot more hours on the clock. After our baby was born, I was convinced our troubles with intimacy were the result of my husband’s schedule and normal new parenthood changes. But things weren’t just different, they were terrible. Jim seemed cold and disconnected from me, both in our home and in the bedroom. Even while making love, it seemed like he wasn’t mentally or emotionally present. There was no real connection; it was just sex.

Looking back, I probably should have seen the writing on the wall, but it wasn’t until I caught him in the act that I realized not only had my husband’s porn use continued, but it had escalated into a full-blown addiction. Jim watched porn when he was working late; he found loopholes to get around the protective software he requested we install on his computer; he went to great lengths to access pornography, and he was using it all the time. No amount of weeping or begging on my part could convince him to curb his habit, and he continually chose porn over me.

Over time, our relationship grew further and further apart. I was so insecure about my appearance, my postpartum body, my inability to gratify his sexual appetite. Intimacy was anything but intimate; it felt like a casual hook-up – no comfort or connection. If anything, lovemaking felt dirty and perverted, like I was being used as a means to his very selfish end. I constantly went back and forth between wanting to do everything for him so he wouldn’t desire porn (though it never worked) and being so disgusted I could barely look at him, much less have sex. What hurt me the most is that he didn’t seem phased no matter what I did, because even if I didn’t give him sex, he always had porn. I was useless to him.

Eventually, Jim’s addiction robbed him of any conviction for his actions. All he ever thought about was porn and sex, and ultimately – unfortunately – he lost his job as a result. His termination was both the worst thing that ever happened to us and the best thing. Although our family was humiliated by the circumstances and devastated by the loss of our primary income, the realization that his addiction had led to such a desperate situation was the wake-up call Jim needed to change his life. He was repentant, sought counseling, and made every effort to mend our family. Through years of prayer and hard work, our relationship has been reconciled.

I am thankful that porn is no longer a part of our everyday life. With counseling, the support of a caring group of friends, and the redeeming power of Jesus, my husband and I have restored our relationship and built a strong marriage. Does that mean porn is never an issue? Of course not. Jim is an addict. Just like a substance abuser, he will always be an addict. But that doesn’t mean he will always give in. He learned how porn changes the way he thinks, so he has to work overtime to make healthy choices for himself and our family. Our sex life is on the mend too; he still struggles with the images he has seen, and I still struggle with insecurity sometimes, but sex is more than “just sex” for us now. We are connecting physically, emotionally, and spiritually, because we have found joy in intimacy that is selfless, not selfish.

If you have been hurt by pornography, you are not alone. Check out the links below for information, support, and help with recovery.

Fight the New Drug – Information and awareness about the harmful effects of porn
xxxChurch.com – Information, articles, online support groups for those battling addictions to sex, porn, and masturbation; help for men, women, couples, spouses, and parents
xxxChurch Spouses – Support for spouses whose partners struggle with porn and sex addiction
Fortify – Recovery program geared toward teens and young adults
Net Nanny – Porn-blocking software to protect your devices, plus social media monitoring and content cleanup to remove pornographic content from your PC
Covenant Eyes – Internet accountability and web filtering
X3 Watch – Online accountability and protection for your computer and all your devices
WatchDog – Free download to monitor internet activity on your computer
The Guideline: A Parents Guide to Addressing Pornography with Children – Free downloadable 20 page PDF

*My husband’s name has been changed to respect his and our privacy.


Previous posts in the KMB After Dark series:

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