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“I don’t see why it’s wrong if the partner doesn’t have an issue with it? I think it’s unrealistic to think that a man won’t watch porn.”

This was a response I heard during a conversation with a friend about the problem of pornography. However, when I started listing names of men she knew and respected, she replied, “Why are you giving examples of people I know who wouldn’t ever do that?”

So there it was. There was a nonchalance towards men in general consuming pornography, yet high regard for those who overcame the temptation. Unfortunately for my friend, this high regard was due to her observation that overcoming porn was “unrealistic”—a feat that couldn’t be expected for the masses.

But isn’t this what women want? Don’t we want a man who exceeds our expectations? A man with strong self-control and the wisdom to rise above the lies which the culture is screaming into his ears. The lies telling him to “do what feels good” without counting the cost.

According to a judicial hearing on Pornography’s Impact on Marriage and the Family, research found that the partners of men using pornography described their porn use as “betrayal,” “cheating,” and “affair.” While the men did not have actual physical contact with the women they were viewing, the partners said they saw their porn use as “a form of infidelity and breach of the relationship’s exclusivity.”

They felt that their partner had “taken the most intimate aspect of the relationship, sexuality, which is supposed to express the bond of love between the couple and be confined to the relationship, as well as her own sense of self, is deeply impacted by a husband who finds fantasy women more desirable than herself”

Here are just a few reasons why a woman wants a porn-free man.

1. Women want connection and stability.

Porn isolates and irregulates emotions. When a man becomes dominated by pornography, he may become rude and begin to withdraw from the people in his life, always having to ensure that he gets his porn fix in.

Take for example Annette and Jeff Kohn. They met at the Newman Center, went to daily Mass, regular confession, annual retreats, took Natural Family Planning (NFP) classes to prepare for marriage, and now have eight children. A few years into marriage, Annette noticed that Jeff was struggling with mood swings, depression, and even became emotionally abusive. It took 11 years for Annette to learn that her husband had been viewing pornography and 14 more to find out how much of a deeply rooted struggle it was in her husband’s life. Thanks be to God their marriage was restored. It took a lot of work through counseling, spiritual direction, and support groups, but today they can say they have rebuilt a loving relationship.

2. Porn promotes sex trafficking.

Porn by its very nature conditions men to view women as objects to be used for pleasure. Anything a man can imagine a woman doing is just a click away, whenever he desires.

Children are not the only ones trafficked for pornographic content, but adult women are too. In addition to being trafficked for sex, the majority of pornography shows physical aggression, with scenes of rape making up for about half of porn films, the victim being the woman. Marriage researcher Pat Fagan writes that during these sex scenes, it is the men who are partially clothed while the women are usually naked. Watching porn fuels trafficking where many “performers” are coerced. This way of thinking can lead to violent or abusive behavior when digital images are no longer enough.

This means that when one watches porn, they could, in fact, be viewing a real-life rape as well as physical abuse. The more porn is popular, the more likely it is that sex trafficking is rising right along with it.

3. Women want strong relationships. 

Dr. John Gottman is a well-renowned psychological researcher who has spent over 40 years on divorce prediction and marital stability. He makes three points about the destruction of porn. The first is that when one masturbates with porn they turn away from the intimacy they could be enjoying with their spouse. Second, watching porn makes the viewer the one in total control of his experience, whereas marital sex provides the opportunity to share control with your spouse making it a deeply connecting act. Last, using porn creates unrealistic expectations, making it impossible for one’s real partner to live up to the fantasy in one’s mind.

When a man watches porn, he begins to lose interest in his own partner because it becomes impossible for her to attain the level of fantasy and perfection he sees on the screen. Not only does his wife become less desirable, when he does desire her she becomes an object to be used for his own pleasure.

4. Self-control is attractive.

Men’s Health writes that porn is addicting and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) it “falls under the definition of compulsive sexual behavior disorder...a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses.”  Fagan writes about how when one gets to the level of porn addiction, they are 40% more likely to lose their spouse to divorce, over 50% percent more likely to suffer significant financial loss, and 30% of those addicted to porn will lose their job.

5. Porn impacts the bedroom.

Porn can cause erectile dysfunction. When men view porn in their office, it can show up in the bedroom. Fox News wrote in their piece Porn Addiction: Why Americans are in more danger than ever porn use can “stifle arousal and erection (in men) during real-life intercourse” because your body fails to recognize its natural cues. This presents a moment of embarrassment for both partners.

Hope can be found!

If you or your spouse is striving to say goodbye to porn, know that you are not alone. In the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) pastoral response for those struggling with pornography they wrote, “Freedom from pornography is possible! No one needs to fight this battle alone...Certainly, none of us is free from weakness and concupiscence, which remains after Baptism...But the Lord invites us with all our weakness to trust and abide in him”.

Overcoming an addiction doesn’t just take willpower, it takes accountability. Covenant Eyes wants to ensure that nobody tries to fight this battle alone. That is why they offer Screen Accountability. Screen accountability enables one struggling with porn to choose a friend as their ally to help them fight their temptations. Screen monitoring periodically captures screenshots of screen activity and analyzes explicit content. It then blurs the image to protect the user’s privacy and when there is an image which was viewed that is deemed concerning, it sends a notice to the chosen ally.

This accountability not only encourages virtue, but it also fosters encouraging conversations with one’s ally, who is there to be a support. And for any women reading this, if you are struggling with porn and masturbation yourself, you can fight the addiction and find freedom too!

For those women who have been hurt by the wound of pornography, Bloom For Catholic Women provides therapeutic support, spiritual insight, an encouraging commnuity, and will re-instill in you a new confidence and hope. Finding out that the one you love is using porn is a traumatic experience which calls for transformation. Covenant Eyes has a free download titled Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives, as well as a free ebook called Hope After Porn. Hope After Porn offers real life stories from four different women who have experienced the destruction porn can cause in a marriage yet learned to trust their husband again.

Even with accountability and community, temptations happen, but remember that when a temptation arises it is not a sin. It is an opportunity to say no to darkness and choose the good. God has given us free will and the power to choose right instead of wrong. We deserve to eat at the banquet table, not the scraps thrown to the dogs on the dirty floor. So dive into God’s mercy and grace! Pray and don’t despair.

Resource
Ally Covenant Eyes

Covenant Eyes: Screen Accountability™

Description

Be the best version of you.

Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability is designed to help you live with integrity on your devices by sharing your activity with a trusted friend.

Audience: Adults and supervised minors 
Language: English
Resource Type: Software 
Cost: $15.99 / month.  

Susanna Parent is a freelance writer and Wisconsin native, who now begins her mornings brewing French press coffee in the home she shares with her husband and daughter in the Twin Cities. When the sun sets, you’ll find her with friends enjoying a glass of red wine, preferably outside underneath twinkly lights. When not exploring all that the Twin Cities has to offer, she is indulging her wanderlust spirit with her family and writing about it later.