What’s Wrong with a Little Porn When You’re Married?

What happens to a marriage when pornography invades the home? What is its relational and sexual impact on the couple? While our culture increasingly dismisses any talk about the negative impact of porn, the reality is that it’s much more corrosive and damaging than you think. Long before your marriage descends into the chaos of exposure and threats of divorce, you need to know the damage that porn can inflict on relationships. It’s never too late to change direction if you know or suspect that porn is disrupting your marriage. One way to start on the road to transformation is to honestly examine the damage porn has already done to you and to others. Sometimes God uses warning signs in our lives to get our attention. There are three major ways that porn disrupts and eventually destroys marriages.

Pornography Destroys the Beauty of God’s Design for Sex

A healthy marriage is based on intimacy. Adam and Eve were “were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25), a description not just of sexual pleasure but of relational intimacy. They held nothing back from each other; they were totally open and vulnerable. They knew each other in a way that no other couple ever did. Before sin entered the human heart, they experienced sex as God designed it, mutually pleasurable as both sought to selflessly please the other. God gave them the gift of sex as the means to deep relational connection.

But when sin entered the world, the perfect intimacy that Adam and Eve shared collapsed. Because God made sex such a powerful experience, it needed the relationally safe boundaries of marriage. Intimacy is not something that happens quickly between two people; it grows through the years as the couple faces problems together. That is why the father in Proverbs 5 tells his adult son to remember the years he has spent with the “wife of his youth.” He is not to throw away those years and experiences to have sex with anyone he chooses. The pleasure sex brings is better within the boundaries of marriage, with the wife he has spent years knowing and loving. “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love” (Proverbs 5:18–19).

God created sexual pleasure within marriage and values it as a foundational expression of growing spiritual and emotional intimacy. But the physical intimacy with your spouse that God values so highly is steadily corrupted and ultimately destroyed when you engage in porn.

Pornography Makes You Selfish and Self-Centered

As one Christian counselor put it, viewing pornography is all about masturbation.¹  In other words, when you engage in porn, it’s all about what you can get out of it. It’s about your fantasies, your pleasure, and your desires. Women and men are reduced to mere sexual objects for your own selfish pleasures. The people on the screen, whether you are passively viewing them or actively engaged with them (via webcam, texting, or chat rooms) exist only to please you. Real intimacy, which by its nature takes time to develop, is obliterated in quick hits of self-centered fantasy.

What gets lost in viewing or engaging in pornography is this critical fact: the person you are interacting with is not real and neither are you, because the foundation of your “relational encounter” is a total lie. In real life and real relationships, there is someone you want to get to know, and someone who wants to know you as well. The fantasy of pornography is that you believe you are the object of someone else’s interest and desire, but the cold reality is that you are really alone with yourself.

Pornography Isolates You from Your Spouse and Family

The more you use pornography, the less you will attempt to relate to your spouse as God intended, because that involves effort and a willingness to care about someone else. In contrast, porn becomes the way you escape the endless stresses of life, especially the stresses that are part and parcel of marriage. Life in a fallen world is difficult. A good marriage not only lets you weather the storms; it helps you grow through them. But porn entices you with the false promise that you don’t have to face those storms. Instead, it promises pleasure and escape. In porn you will find women who are beautiful, daring, lonely but anxious to be fulfilled by you—quite different from your wife. In porn you will find men who are thoughtful, romantic, and willing to tackle any challenge to have you–quite different from your husband. But porn, very simply, entices you into a world that doesn’t exist.

Your spouse, meanwhile, continues to occupy the real world, and the more you pull away into fantasy, the more he or she will feel abandoned by you.

¹Jeffrey S. Black, Sexual Sin: Combatting the Drifting and Cheating (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Publishing, 2003), 6.

This blog is an excerpt from our minibook, What’s Wrong with a Little Porn When You’re Married? by Nicholas Black, published by New Growth Press. To purchase this minibook, and other resources from Harvest USA, click here

Nicholas Black
About The Author
Nicholas Black is the Program Resources Director for Harvest USA. Along with being part of the teaching staff, he oversees the writing and editing of all Harvest USA publications. Prior to joining Harvest USA, he was the Shepherding and Children’s Pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church, Glenside, PA for 14 years. He is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He is married to Nancy, and is father to two adult children.

2 Comments:


  • By Hemant Tandi 13 Jul 2018

    Very well explained and this sensual and lustful generation needs to hear this . No matter how we hard we try to justify Licentiousness and infidelity, God is going to bring judgement and let’s be warned that it’s consequences will never be removed from the throne of judgement. God is Holy and He will never compromise anything less. Sex is holy and godly provided its excercised on the principles of God.

    Also, faithful couple thrive in everything they do. They are lot stronger and fulfilled . Their children and grand children are blessed too .

  • By Dave Presba 27 Jul 2018

    Thanks for this, as it will help me with my counseling duties!

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