Why Husbands Look At Porn

Up front: This is in no way an excuse for men looking at porn. Porn use is wrong, and it’s a violation of the covenant promise a man made to his wife when they married.

That said, I have become aware that men and women see porn use very differently. Today’s TGH post tells men how their porn use makes their wife feel. Here I want to try to communicate to you his thoughts and feelings. This is not about who’s right and wrong. Rather, I think both sides can benefit from a better understanding of what the other thinks and feels about porn. 

Let me start with a comment a woman made on one of our surveys about porn:

I am a woman recovering from a porn addiction. My partner has struggled over the years as well, he is now on the tail end of recovery. Every few weeks he will slip up- he hasn’t used videos in years, it’s pictures of women in revealing clothes/bikinis etc with masturbation. My history gives me deep empathy for the struggle. I realise it is not really about the other partner’s inadequacy or physical appearance. It is a very strong visual and natural urge, often triggered by stress.

Most men would say “Yes, exactly”. Their looking at porn is in no way a reflection on their wife, how she looks, or what she does with him sexually. 

A lot of men don’t see porn, even if accompanied by masturbation, to be sex. It’s sexual, but it’s not sex. It’s nothing like what they do with their wife. Many men see their porn use as totally separate from their wife and the sex they have with their wife. I don’t know how to explain these to you because I don’t fully get it, but I know a great many men honestly believe these things. 

As I’ve mentioned before men often use porn as a fix, a way of feeling better. They use porn to self-medicate their pain, fear, stress, or whatever. Men also use porn to self-medicate sexual frustration. Some men know this is wrong and is not really about their wife, while others justify it by telling themselves (and others) they wouldn’t use porn if their wife would have sex more often or do what they want sexually. While these men believe what they say, I suspect few of them would drop porn if their wife suddenly did what they want her to do. Other men look at porn as a passive/aggressive way of getting back at their wife. As one man put it, “When I’m feeling snubbed by the wife, I’m more tempted to seek arousal in other ways.

I realise most of this sounds impossible to women. While some of it is justification, I think there really are some significant differences in how men and women think about porn. I’m not telling you what he’s doing is no big deal. But he honestly sees it as less horrible than you do. 

Perhaps the best takeaway from this is to tell him you don’t see it as he does and you never will. Tell him that his pretending you are wrong is not helping either of you.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I really, really, really hate porn.

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5 Comments on “Why Husbands Look At Porn

  1. This is very good information, Paul. In addition to reading this kind of information, I believe it takes a wife allowing herself to find understanding, as well as, the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal understanding to a wife who is grieving over porn. Once she allows herself to understand, she can be a powerful counterpart in helping him overcome his self-medication. Like you said, that is in no way a justification of its use. Understanding is a strategy to help a marriage build a fortress against the enemy.

    “…others justify it by telling themselves (and others) they wouldn’t use porn if their wife would have sex more often or do what they want sexually. While these men believe what they say, I suspect few of them would drop porn if their wife suddenly did what they want her to do.” This is a very important and true statement.
    Bonny Logsdon Burns recently posted…How to Arouse Sexual Desire through Emotional ConnectionMy Profile

  2. I found out my husband was doing porn about 16 months ago and he said he stopped. I checked his devices about 4 months later, and everything was clean. I checked about 2 months ago, and clean. I saw this post and was going to respond a couple of days ago, and I just suddenly thought to check again, and I found all kinds of Google image searches for “hot women” and bikini pics of a few different actresses. Not porn, but porn-y.

    So yesterday was a fun day.

    • @sunny-dee – I’m sorry for you, but glad for your man and your marriage. This kind of thing is the slippery slope – he tells himself it’s okay because it’s not porn. But once a man goes there, the line keeps moving on what is okay.
      Praying for both of you.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Argue With Yourself About Your WifeMy Profile

  3. Thank you,Paul, for your insight into this tender issue. I believe there is another reason husbands may use porn: it’s easy and requires no effort. Sometimes a nice guy just wants a little action but doesn’t want to expend the effort to help get his wife in the mood or maybe he just knows she will probably say no anyway so he sneaks away for a few minutes. I know my man has done this before. What do you think, Paul?

    • @Learning – Yes, this does happen. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of the guy being selfish, but I doubt that is the primary reason. More often experience has taught the guy his odds are low or it’s just going to be far more work than it’s worth. This is especially true is he figures it’s going to be just for him or her just going along with no real interest.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…7 Things I’ve Figured Out, Plus A BonusMy Profile

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