watching porn

Understanding the Why of Watching Porn

Just for the sake of argument, let’s change the keyword for a minute. Let’s say we’re talking about something more harmless – like donuts. Imagine for a moment you’ve got a friend who hates his job, is miserable in his marriage, or just has the sense his life is out of control. Let’s say your buddy, looking for a little bit of relief while life unravels, tries to cope with his stress by eating donuts. Sometimes he just nibbles at one, sometimes he gorges on two dozen. In either case, he feels pretty guilty about it because he’s read a few articles recently about the negative effects of glaze and chocolate. And he’s been keeping donuts a secret.

So he wakes up one day, deciding it’s time for change. He goes all out: eats egg-white omelets for breakfast, shreds his Discount Donut membership card, even changes his driving habits so he doesn’t cruise past any Hot and Fresh signs on his way to work. Let’s say your friend never eats another donut for the rest of his life. He’s the new poster boy for how donut eaters can change. Here’s the question: If he makes the positive step of staying away from donuts, has he dealt with the underlying issues in his life? If he conquers donuts, is he done?  Has he dealt with the core issues in his job, his marriage, or his life? The answer is not necessarily. Because this isn’t really about donuts, is it?

As we continue to think porn and marriage, we’re addressing two dimensions of a difficult topic: the external behaviors and the internal desires of the heart. It is vital to consider both. It’s just that many times discussions about porn center on quitting itand stop there. That’s hugely important. But husbands who are trying to be wise want to love their wives with their hearts, minds, and affections (internal) as well as with their observable behaviors (external). So why do men look at porn? Here are a few of the more typical reasons men are enticed by porn. Check if you see yourself in any of these.

Coping with stress.

Life often is beyond our ability to control. In the middle of uncertainty, porn can feel like a small island where a man can make things turn out exactly the way he wants, providing an artificial sense of strength, assurance, and control. But using porn this way can only fabricate the illusion of control based on a mirage.

Avoidance of an issue in marriage.

Marriage, emotional intimacy, and sex take difficult work. [Tweet This] Sometimes it can feel easier just to avoid a tough topic altogether and bury yourself in porn. But this leaves unaddressed issues in your marriage.

Sense of entitlement.

You don’t know how hard I work. My marriage is different and broken. At the end of the week, I deserve some “me” time. Each of these mindsets say that based on exceptional circumstance, porn is earned or deserved. But this mentality is self-centered, acting as if self-gratification is the most important thing.

Medicating pain.

In place of long-standing hurt or disappointment, for a few minutes, I can have something that makes me feel good. But using porn as an antidote for pain treats only the symptom, masking the underlying problem—like taking a shot of cortisol and sending a badly injured player back into the game.

You might find you have different answers than these. Depending on where you are in conversation with your wife about porn, she can be an exceptionally insightful ally to help examine what’s really going on inside you.

So what’s your why? You need to know the answer. You want your marriage (and your life!) healthy on the inside as well as the outside. The last thing you want is to get your external behaviors under control but have untreated, internal issues crop up again in a different area of life. Doctors know about this. They treat both symptoms and the underlying condition. Get some good medicine by seeking to understand your own why of porn.

Sound Off

How important do you think it is to consider both the external behaviors and internal desires of porn?

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