Why did my Christian husband look at porn?

Surfing the internet for pornography

So you are a good Christian wife and you have caught your husband looking at pornography, or perhaps he felt guilty and admitted it to you.

Either way as a wife this can be devastating to you. Here are some thoughts that might go through your mind:

  1. Does he not love me anymore?
  2. Does he not think I am attractive anymore?
  3. Is he some kind of pervert?

Let me quickly answer these three concerns.

  1. Looking at porn by itself, is not an indicator that he does not love you. Your husband could still deeply love you but also look at porn.
  2. Your husband could still find you very attractive, yet look at porn.
  3. It would probably be safe to say that all perverts look at porn, but not all people who look at porn are perverts.

Contrary to what our feminist world teaches, men and women come to sexuality from very different places. The vast majority of women look at sex as just one part of the greater whole of a relationship. Men actually separate sex and relationship.

I have seen some Christian sights claiming that women are just as drawn to pornography as men. The facts say otherwise. The vast majority of internet porn, movies and strip clubs are frequented by men. While women do these things too, they represent a small fraction of the people involved in pornography or strip clubs.

Before I explain the reasons why your husband may have looked at pornography let me give you an illustration of how most men’s sexuality works.

Have you ever been to new restaurant with your husband? You come into the restaurant and even if you were not hungry before you came in, you will be hungry as soon as you smell all that great food.

You sit down with your husband and look over this great menu. Almost everything in it looks delicious, except for a few dishes that have things you know you don’t typically like. You narrow the dishes on the menu down to your top three, based on what favorite things you normally like. Then the final decision is made and you order.

When your food comes, the dish tastes just a great as you imagined. Your taste buds are singing and the part of your brain that gets pleasure from eating your favorite food is firing. After you have had your fill, you sit back satisfied and content.

You and your husband sit and talk for an hour, just having a good time together. Then you see the woman across from you order one of the other dishes you had your eye on but did not pick. It smells delicious. You almost wish you could put try a bite of it. Then the man at the table next to you orders another of the dishes you thought about trying. Talk about torture!

Ladies that is EXACTLY how men come to sexuality. We notice other women, we smell their perfumes, and we notice their figures. Very similar to the pleasure you received from smelling and seeing that dish on the other persons table, is the way men receive pleasure from viewing other women.

the average man’s brain is sexually stimulated by visual cues and is built for variety…

Using functional MRI scans, researchers examined the brains of young men as they looked at pictures of beautiful women. They found that feminine beauty affects a man’s brain at a very primal level – similar to what a hungry person gets from a good meal or addict gets from a fix. One of the researchers said, “This is hard core circuitry. This is not a conditioned response.” Another concluded, “Men apparently cannot do anything about their pleasurable feelings [in the presence of beauty]”

Dr. Walt Larimore, MD – pg. 99 “His Brain, Her Brain”

Do some men look at porn because they have fallen out of love with their wife? Yes. Here are some reasons your husband might look at porn that have to do with your relationship:

  1. You turn him down for sex often. Most men don’t like to be turned away, and if a wife does it all the time, the porn becomes an easy outlet for his sexual needs.
  2. There is no sexual variety in your relationship. You never wear lingerie, he rarely sees you naked, or you always have sex in the same position and in the same place.
  3. You emasculate him. You are always nagging him, telling him how he fails all the time or how he does not make enough money, or how other men are better than him. You disrespect him or call him a child.

But what if none of the above things are an issue in your relationship. You have sex often, don’t turn him down, wear lingerie and there is variety in your sex life. You love him and respect him and don’t cut him down with your words. Why would any man under these circumstances look at porn?

These are the reasons why Christian men (and non-Christian men) look at pornography even when they have a great relationship with their wife:

  1. Men are visually wired for nudity. It has been proven in study after study that both heterosexual and homosexual men are visually wired. The only difference is that homosexual men are turned on my male bodies, while the vast majority of men that are heterosexual are wired to react to the female form. The same part of the brain that causes us to be hungry when we see our favorite food, or gives us pleasure from smelling our favorite foods is the part of the brain that gives men pleasure from viewing a woman’s body, whether clothed or unclothed.
  2. Men are naturally polygynous. Most men are wired for polygyny, while most women are wired for monogamy. While our modern society has laws against polygyny, God placed no such restriction on marriage. Many of the great Biblical Patriarchs had multiple wives and the Bible never condemns it. In fact in the Law of Moses he prescribes how polygynous relationships may occur. The Bible only condemned Kings from taking multiple wives from heathen nations, as they would lead the king’s heart astray. This happened with King Solomon.

So am I saying it is OK that your husband has looked at pornography?

It depends on what he was looking at.  If he was just looking at pictures of naked women – that is not wrong.  Even if he was just looking at pictures of a man and woman engaged in normal heterosexual sex – that is not sinful behavior.

It is a sin for a man or a woman to look at photographs or film of people having sex outside God’s design for sex(homosexual sex, group sex, rape, bestiality). We are to derive pleasure from imagining these kinds of acts, and we should not be deriving pleasure from photos or movies with these kinds of acts in them.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not saying that it is wrong for a Christian to watch a movie or TV show that has a rape scene or a homosexual couple engage in sex.  If this just a small part of a larger story there is no issue with that. The question is are we watching this movie to get pleasure from seeing someone raped? Are we watching this movie to get pleasure from seeing a couple engaged in homosexual acts? If not then it can be acceptable to view these films.

Even if a man or woman does look at pornography as I have defined it above this is not mental adultery or mental unfaithfulness. Mental adultery is when a man covets (that is what the Biblical word lust is translating in English) another man’s wife, or if a married woman covets any man other than her husband. Coveting is not the same as being sexually attracted to, or aroused by someone of the opposite sex. Coveting in the heart, or lusting in the heart, is the fantasy to possess that other person. Thinking about ways to get them to have sex with you, whether you act on it or not.

Every person that has ever committed the adultery, coveted (lusted after) the person first. They entertained thoughts of how they would do it, and then they did the deed. That is what Jesus was addressing in Matthew 5.

So what should I do about my husband looking at porn?

I have explained the reasons why your husband may have looked at porn and why looking at porn as I defined it earlier is sin. But shaming your husband is the worst thing you can do. Calling him a pervert will do nothing to help your marriage.

Gently helping your husband to understand that it is a sin to watch films that depict sexually immoral acts is wrong. You also need to humbly ask if there is anything you could do to help improve your sex life.

But realize, you could have the best sex life in the world and your husband may still be drawn to look at other women.

He can meet this need for a variety of women by looking at nude photos of women and erotic films that do not depict people engaging in sexual activity that is outside God’s design for sex.

Let’s take the restaurant analogy again and apply this to men. You and your husband just had the greatest sex you have had in a long time. After a while you and your husband decide to go out to dinner. Just after you sit down, two beautiful women sit down across from your table. Then a beautiful woman and her husband sit on the other side of you.

You may not realize it, but your husband is fighting not to check out those women, he will sneak a glance when he can. With every glance he sneaks, he receives pleasure. Chemicals(dopamine) are firing in his head. It makes no sense to you, because he just had great sex so why would he still be drawn to look?

But your husband getting pleasure from checking out those other women is EXACTLY like the pleasure you get from looking at other people’s plates of food, and enjoying the aroma of those wonderful foods, even after just eating a great meal.

I totally realize that many Christian women (and non-Christian women) at this point are throwing things at the computer screen as I say these things.

But everything I have said is the truth of how men work. It also true that the Bible does not condemn a man looking at women other than his wife, and it does not condemn people looking at nudity or allowing themselves to have sexual fantasies and sexual imagination as long as they are not imagining evil things like homosexuality, group sex, rape and bestiality.

I am not advocating that it is ok to go around nude everywhere (that is a separate subject), but there is a time and place for nudity and erotica. Check out Song of Solomon, and lookup the symbolism of many of the words that are there in the word of God. If someone drew on paper what is being described in Song of Solomon, you would have some very erotic pictures.

Conclusion and Application

There are two choices before you:

Choice 1

You recognize your hurt, but realize that you were probably mistaken about your husband. He still loves you, he still thinks you’re hot. He is man, and as man God wired him for sexual variety. He just needs to get away from the porn and into something that is not sinful, but yet still lets him feed his need for variety.

Ask him how you could improve your sex life, and what things he would like to do different and do it!

Choice 2

You reject everything I have said here. You reject that men are wired for variety. You remain angry at your husband forever wanting to look at or be turned on by the sight of any other woman than you.

You may even get him to make a commitment to not look at any images of other women. But instead, he will just lie to you to get you off his back, and then he will find better ways to hide it.

He may even feel guilty because of how it makes you feel, and because of the lies that have been told about what lusting is in the Bible for centuries. But in the end, every man is drawn to the female form (unless he is a homosexual). Eventually he will gravitate back towards it. The question is will he ever find out there is a better way, that he can view naked women, just not people fornicating.

The choice is yours ladies.

Related Resources

What does the Bible say about Lust?

Is Sexual arousal lust?

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