What women need men to know about pornography…

1. It hurts us.
More than you will ever know. More than we can articulate.

2. It IS about us.
I’m not sure what twisted part of your male psyche allows you to think it isn’t about us, and maybe for you that’s true, but we won’t be convinced. You looking in lust at another woman, is very offensive to us, and we DO take it personally.

3. 8. We know its everywhere.
That’s not an excuse. We realize this makes it harder to not be assaulted by the images, but love transcends temptation… Or it should. True love would.

4. We don’t feel like we can measure up.
When we see what you look at, we see our bodies and know they aren’t the same, they don’t measure up. We can’t be airbrushed. Our stretch marks should speak louder and look sexier than their tramp stamps.

5. We don’t want to be a replacement.
You see, we aren’t sure you see us at all. We aren’t sure that when we are lying there, exposing our bodies and souls to you and longing to be cherished, you aren’t thinking of someone perkier, tanner, skinnier, or more voluptuous… Someone you’ll never meet.

6. It’s unfair.
Nothing about it is, but – We are faulted for every perceived flirtation, every look we give, and every appreciative glance in our direction, but you can spend hours ogling women in a world where no one sees, no one judges, and no one can point you out.

7. It’s adultery.
You can gloss over it. You can tell yourself no one is harmed by it, but the truth is, you are harmed, your marriage is harmed and your children will reap the consequences.

8. We aren’t just a hole.
You can’t use our bodies to fulfill your fantasies. We have a heart and a soul, and we have a desire for love that isn’t made up of the faces and bodies of strangers.

9. You remind us of our past predators.
Our past misuse, abuse, and assault come roaring back into our lives, and the lies that we are something to be used and discarded, unworthy of love and affection, and easily replaced become truths to our hurt hearts, which means Daddy God has to reach deeper to heal those places.

10. It damages our trust in you.
If you will do this in secret, what and who will it take to entice you for good? Who will you leave us for? And when, if ever, will we be enough? How do you see our friends, our sisters, our daughters? Can we trust you to stay at home alone with them? Will you take advantage of them if we aren’t there to be used?

11. You cease to be our hero.
This is a hard reality. You cease to be the Prince Charming we believed you to be, you no longer seem like a knight in shining armor, and you no longer resemble our protector. This is as painful to us as it is for you to hear it.

12. Pornography to us is more than a hobby, a simple attraction, an appreciation of sexuality. It is a blaring, painful, aggressive cancer that eats at all we believe and hoped for in love. And, to many of us, it is the nail in a fragile coffin of insecurities.

13. We can forgive you.
Forgiveness is easier to do than forgetting… So holding a grudge or keeping a record of wrongs isn’t our way of rubbing it in, it is the struggle we face to forget we’ve been hurt.

*This list is based on multiple conversations I’ve had with women who face this daily in their relationships, ranging from men who “casually indulge” in pornography to those that are addicted. Some of these couples are walking in victory because of the grace of Jesus Christ and a lot of hard work, but many women and men still seek healing from the thoughts listed above along with serial mistrust and destructive addiction. Pray for them.

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15 responses to “What women need men to know about pornography…

  1. This comment was painful to read, but Don is dead on… Both sides are in a struggle. Women take their men for granted and groan at sexual advances far too much, and men take women for granted and see them less as souls but as lovers. We each have needs, and sadly we DO get shut down so many times we find ourselves seeking for validation and gratification other places. It’s important to see both sides.

    Please read this:

    What women ought to know in return:
    1. It hurts us when you reject us for just being a man, and making us satisfy these urges in such an artificial way. More than you will ever know.

    2. It IS about us. I’m not sure what disrespectful part of your female psyche allows you to think it is all about you, and not about both of us.

    3. We know its everywhere, because so many men are in this situation. True respect for me as a man would make all the difference. (Read: Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura).

    4. I know you don’t feel like you can measure up, but it hurts men that you don’t even try to be our sexy girlfriends anymore. You expect us to romance you in that housecoat. And every advance we make gets rebuffed, because you’re busy reading 50 Shades of Gray or watching Bachelorette. I’m a real guy, and you’re more interested in fake soap-opera relationships than me.

    5. We don’t want to be a replacement.
    You see, we aren’t sure you see us at all. We’re the guy that takes out the trash, pays the bills, washes the car, kills spiders. You have more respect for the guy behind the grocery store counter than us.

    6. It’s unfair.
    Nothing about it is, but – We are faulted for every perceived flirtation, every look we give, and every appreciative glance in our direction, but instead, you turn that against us, and shut us down. Intimacy is always on your terms, When we are shut down, we do our best to make due with bad imitations that don’t judge us.

    7. It’s adultery.
    Christian men agree with this, and agonize over it, and accept it as better than leaving the woman that we promised God we’d stay with, even though she routinely rejects us as men.

    8. We aren’t just a wallet. We want to use your bodies to fulfill our fantasies, and yours alone. We want to be your man. We have a heart and a soul, and we have a desire for love that isn’t made up of the faces and bodies of strangers.

    9. You remind us of our past critics. The women that rejected us. The ex that got a judge to ban us from seeing our kids. The ones that never respected us enough to let us make a decision or win an argument once in a while. You deserve to be loved, cherished, and honored. Sexuality is a gift of intimacy that a man wants to share with his woman. It hurts when that gift is rejected by the one woman in the whole world that we want to share it with.

    10. It damages our trust in you. If you smack a dog on the face enough, eventually he’ll quit coming for affection. If you’d let us be your man, if you’d hold us up as an example for our kids, you could demonstrate to our daughters how to make their husbands porn-proof. But instead, you insist on breaking us down and blaming us, the way society does every day.

    11. You cease to make me your hero.
    I want to be your hero. To sweep you off your feet. The hard reality is that you don’t act like you want me to be your hero, so I’ve quit being heroic.

    12. Pornography to us is a frozen T.V. dinner when we’d rather have a 5-course prime rib dinner with all the fixings. But that’s all there is in the house to eat, and we don’t want to go out for fast food.

    13. We can forgive you.
    Forgiveness is easier to do than forgetting… So holding a grudge or keeping a record of wrongs isn’t our way of rubbing it in, it is the struggle we face to forget we’ve been hurt. But if we’re that far into porn, it’s probably because we’ve lost the struggle to connect with you in the only real physical way that we know how.

    *This list is based on multiple conversations I’ve had with men who face this daily in their relationships. Pray for them too.

  2. all very true. pornography ruins relationships and it can end marriages. after 7 years of marriage, catching it multiple times after being told he wouldnt do it anymore, it ended mine. there were other factors… but in the end i felt empty, didnt want to be intimate with him, and my feelings for who i thought he was were gone. for him the desire for sex was always there… but i knew i didnt fullfill his fantasy. he asked me on several occassions to change my appearance… my breasts werent big enough and he didnt have a problem telling me that. i wasnt a tan, hot bodied blonde. i didnt dress nice enough. not that i didnt dress nice, fix myself up every day… but i didnt wear skimpy little dresses or skirts… i preferred my jeans. i knew what he looked at and i knew what i wasnt and would never be. dont let this garbage trash your relationships. and the sad part was i had people ask me why i didnt get him help… i got blamed for his problem, that i didnt know was a real problem until it was too late for us as a couple. he covered it up for the most part but i had my suspicions… he lied about it. forgiveness has happended, but the relationship was too shattered to keep going. porn is a real problem dont let it destroy real, meaningful relationships.

    • Thank you, Sarah, for being transparent and real… Sometimes we need a safe place to voice those hurts… And a listening ear that validates your feelings. I’m glad you two have found forgiveness. I am sorry for your pain.

  3. @Don…your response is filled with spoiled brat little boy. Your wife is your beloved and you must lead. Just as we love Jesus because He first loved us, your wife will love you because you first loved her. All your responses demand that the woman take the lead in the relationship. You must lead in gentle love and devotion to her body…housecoat or no. If you want to be treated like a hero, never stop being one. If you want to be respected, be a man worthy of respect…and when you put her in a place of respect, she will respect you. No one respects you with your pants down around your ankles in front of the computer. You are so full of it, suggesting that your adultery is your faithful wife’s fault. That is beyond reprehensible. Women should never get married in the first place. This nation has produced a bunch of little boys who never do grow up.

    • @Darla… I feel it is important for me to state that @Don doesn’t have this issue and says that his marriage is healthy bc of his terrific wife! He wrote his response out of conversations he has had with men that hurt and feel dejected. I admit his words took me back and seemed much more aggressive to me and more personal against women in general than my blog was intended to sound, but regardless of how it makes us feel, there is two sides.. And, his post is the flip side of a very tragic coin.

      • Thanks, Leslie – the book “Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters” Dr. Helen Smith comes to mind. From the jacket: “American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them? As Men on Strike demonstrates, men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century.”

        After 23 years of marriage, LeAnn and I have learned how meaningful Paul’s admonishments are in Eph 5. Men are commanded to love their wives because love is the key to a woman’s soul, and men aren’t particularly/naturally emotional – they have to work at it, with God’s help. And because they need grace and growth to overcome a sin nature that pushes them away from their relationships and into work and themselves (see Gen 3:17). Women are commanded to honor their husbands as unto the Lord, because honor is the key to a man’s soul, and women don’t normally interact with each other this way, and their sin nature pushes them to dis-respect their men (see Gen 3:16).

        I’d never advocate porn, though I don’t know a man who hasn’t struggled with it, including myself. I count myself incredibly blessed to have a wife who goes out of her way to honor all of me, including my God-given masculine libido.

        Truth be told, her, uh, brief and frequent investments in me makes me want to constantly move heaven and earth for her.

        Thanks again for being so fair in moderating this post.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Leslie. Your writings always encourage. It is hard to read Don’s thoughts based on conversations with other men, especially if a woman has a husband who has is addicted to porn and continues in his sin. The thoughts seem to be based on excuses or rationale for sin; however, it is more important to focus on what Christ says about this sin.

  5. Leslie, I agree with your stance on how women see it. It’s hurtful. But Don, you made some valid points ont he side of men. It’s important that if we are going to come together we try and see the other person’s side. It never takes one to destroy a marriage. I think back to hard times in my own marriage and I cannot recall a single time in which I felt hurt but had not hurt my husband. None of us can play innocent here….WE ALL HURT. We are all equally important. If we think we deserve grace but not our mate, we need some serious time before God.

    We women, although we have many valid points, tend to come off as judgmental and self-righteous and we have this idea that we know better than our men and we can reject them but how dare them do it to us. Shame on us. I’ve seen it in myself and i see it in other women too. We have no right to think ourselves better than our men, nor do we have any right to act as if our needs are most important. The Bible tells us to serve, and first we must be willing to serve our mate. Nothing teaches us humilty like servitude. We were called to be help meets, and we bring certain things to the table in our marriages but then we judge our men for not being just like us.

    Men aren’t easy for us to understand at times and we tend to feel pushed away at times when they don’t mean to make us feel that way. And typically they don’t know they are doing it unless we tell them, lovlingly, how we see certain acts. Yes, our struggles are legitimate but so are theirs. No one ever comes together when self-righteousness rules. Who needs grace when we think we got it all figured out and insist in their own way?

    Our guys speak language of sex and feelign respected and when we reject them, it makes them feel just like we tend to feel when they won’t talk to us. We speak different languages but that doesn’t mean one is wrong and one is right. Marriages never end or work because of one person. And here’s the other thing: In order to make it work, someone has to choose to do the right thing no matter what the other one is doing. I’m not saying we turn a blind eye to sin but there is proof all over the place that a spouse’s behaviour can positively influence his/her mate. Forgiveness, love, mercy and grace go a long way in a marriage.

    Every time I have an issue in my marriage I am forced to ask myself, “Do i really believe this stuff in the way I react, think, behave.” Did I do something here that I can make right? Can I take on some proactive measure to make things better, that isn’t ME-CENTERED. Perhaps before we starting blaming everyone else for our pain and our issues, we do what the Bible says and examine our own hearts. I can’t change my husband but i can be changed if I’m willing. and to be honest, the gospel of Jesus is the saving grace of my marriage.

    My point is, who is going to try and understand the other? Who is going to take a self-righteous feet-planted-in-the-ground attitude and not own some part in making things better? No we can’t take full ownership of someone else’s sin but we darn sure can love them through it and respond with firm love that shows they are working it our for.

    I saw this before I saw your blog and it may be helpful.
    http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/02/can-we-cause-someone-else-to-sin/

  6. Porn addiction was mentioned a couple times. It’s an important point, and I’m glad you raised it. Having some experience working with men on this, indulge me with a few final thoughts before I move on to other things (like work, heh)…

    Most addictions are a struggle between harmful habits and sobriety. So it’s normal then that many wives would expect porn addicts to trade fake women for abstinence. In fact, the real struggle (and conflict the Enemy is stirring in your marriage) is between fake women and YOU.

    Ladies, you are the only women on planet earth that God has ordained to enable your husbands’ “sexual sobriety.” That’s why you have such a powerful physical and spiritual influence over his behavior.

    Other than abuse (which I obviously don’t advocate), too many woman abdicate this power by shutting their men down, expecting them to earn their way back into the bedroom through good behavior. This is not Christian grace. Call it spoiled behavior if you like, but abandoning your man to his own sin (1 Cor 7:5) when you’re his only sinless outlet (Heb 13:4) is itself sin.*

    Besides, it rarely works.

    So what does? Dr. Phil lays out effective addiction-breaking steps here:

    http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/173

    I won’t belabor things by going through each step, but a wise wife would see where she can proactively and prayerfully step in to provide alternate behaviors, help her husband with self-esteem or stress issues, be a support structure, etc. No doubt this is a difficult path, and yes, he has his own struggles to win, but she certainly has a vested interest in his success.

    And co-dependency is common to every addiction. Rather than focusing totally on his behavior, she would also consider the ways she’s enabling the very behavior she hates.

    Recovering addicts carry a coin or token in their pocket. It reminds them of their commitment to stay sober. My wife’s constant physical affection is my token. Every loving act reminds me that porn is a worthless imitation, and makes me want to be a better man. I will be praying that your men find such a treasure in you all.

    Grace and peace,
    db

    *[I’m with you on this, Jennifer.]

  7. Although I can put myself in the shoes of the woman and understand your point of view, your tone and attitude wont let me. If you really want to reach out to the male audience you better check that attitude at the door. You won’t break through and barriers with your fists up.

    If you didn’t mean to come off like that, learn to write better.

    • These are not my personal thoughts… This isn’t a tirade against my spouse or men. This is an honest and raw conversation between many women made into a list of fears that they face as spouses. As most fears, they admit that perhaps they are harsh, and perhaps they aren’t grounded in reality, but they are fears, nonetheless.

      I hate that I have been seen as such a tyrannical, self-righteous person when most who really know me know that in my daily life (as most of my other blogs prove) I am the quickest to point out my own flaws and frailties. I’m not perfect. My marriage is not perfect, tho I have been married to one man and have lived quite happily most of these 12 years. Marriage is a daily pursuit and work to be what God intends.. My heart went out to these women… And I shared their fears. Many of them have appreciated my voicing them so accurately as ridiculous or asinine as they may seem to others.. They are painfully real to those women. It’s for them I wrote.. And I’m sorry for any misrepresentation or offense it might have caused… But I am glad for discussion. It’s important if we are ever gonna see the cost of sin to find the cure of grace. Thank you ALL for your honesty. 🙂

      And my writing is always a work in progress… I’m trying to communicate as best as I can on the things that I am passionate about.

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