Some say variety is the spice of life; therefore, monogamy might be too tall of an order for some partners. It’s right there in the marriage vows: “forsaking all others”; yet, five, ten years down the road, some people get bored or complacent and start yearning for something different.
Let’s be honest, some people probably couldn’t keep a vow of fidelity if a large cash prize and all expense paid vacation was attached. Cheaters gonna cheat…
Reportedly 41% of marriages have been touched by the infidelity of one or both partners (22% committed by husbands and 14% by wives). A shocking 74% of men and 68% of women admit they would have an affair if they thought they couldn’t get caught!
These statistics about cheating relate to actual physical or emotional contact with another human being, rocking the sanctity of the marriage. What about those who focus their sexual desires, not on another flesh and blood person, but sexually explicit images on a screen?
Do you still consider it cheating if lust isn’t acted out on someone other than one’s spouse? Is fantasy the same in your mind as a mistress?
Pornography is believed to be used by a staggering 40 million people with similar neurological effects as drug addiction. Porn is a powerful stimulant to the brain’s pleasure center and locks in its viewers with an intoxicating cocktail of fantasy, arousal, and satiation difficult to replicate in reality. Once a user is hooked, there is a strong desire for more, and the imagery must become increasingly more intense to fulfill the craving.
If you’re the spouse of a porn addict, how does it make you feel?
I was just nineteen the first time my ex-husband introduced porn into our marriage. We had only been married a year when one night we went to bed, then he left awhile later stating that he couldn’t sleep. I was restless and became curious when half the night passed and he still hadn’t returned to bed. I walked out to our living room and caught him in the middle of watching a video he rented. I was young and naïve. I’d never watched porn before, and I found myself shocked and confused.
We’d only been married a year! What was I doing wrong that already had him bored with me and our marriage? I was still young and pretty, but I couldn’t hold a candle to those women with perfect bodies who were obviously so willing to do anything (and knew what they were doing)!
I took it as a wake-up call that I better step up my game if I was going to keep my man, and I perceived the problem to be with me- the way I looked, the way I performed in bed, something! All I knew is that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t enough to satisfy my husband, and he had to turn to that for fulfillment!
I was hurt, but I also still felt that this was somehow my fault. For awhile I used it as an opportunity to open up more honest communication between us. I welcomed him to let me know what he wanted from this aspect of our marriage so that we could grow stronger together and both be fully satisfied. It took me awhile to realize that the problem was his, not mine. He could have prime rib and still be sniffing around for something “better.” I didn’t understand the addictive qualities of pornography and how he was a slave to it. He would always be in search of the next great high.
We divorced, and I learned after the fact that he hadn’t contained his desires to just sex on the screen. He had been unfaithful throughout our marriage, then repeated his porn addiction and unfaithful behavior throughout his next marriage until he ruined that one, as well. It wasn’t until mid-way through my second marriage when I learned how prevalent pornography use is, and also how damaging it is to marriages.
In similar fashion, I stumbled into the living room in the middle of the night to discover husband number two engaged in his porn addiction. I learned that he was a regular viewer on the internet and also had a collection of movies he watched when I wasn’t around. Those old familiar feelings of not being good enough and letting down my spouse creeped back in.
Part of me understood that men are biologically wired to seek variety and quantity in sexual partners…procreate the species…blah, blah. I couldn’t entirely blame him for being entranced by some all-to-eager to please beautiful woman with perfect breasts and a perfect butt. I was, after all, a new mom. I was tired, worn down, and didn’t have time for perfect hair, make-up, and elaborate costumes. I was boring.
I comprehended that he had needs, and these screen sirens were willing and ready at his command, but it still hurt. The fact that he had to do this behind my back. The fact that I wasn’t pretty enough, sexy enough, or that he couldn’t share his needs with me made me feel like a failure. He hadn’t actually touched another woman, but he had allowed himself to feel desire for countless other women instead of the one he had.
Whether watching porn actually qualifies as infidelity on the cheat-o-meter is debatable depending on where you place intent and desire against physical action in the flesh. What porn use does accomplish is driving a wedge between partners. There is still a sense of betrayal. There is still the knowledge that an alternative was sought to the spouse.
Porn is known to change perceptions of people as sex objects rather then human beings. It often goes hand-in-hand with actual physical infidelity, and is a huge contributing factor to divorce. In fact, marriages where porn is involved are twice as likely to conclude in divorce. No, you won’t convince me that viewing porn is completely harmless. Sex will always be an important part of a healthy marriage, but that requires both partners turning that energy to each other instead of a substitute of any form.