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Should You Be Dating if You Have a Pornography Addiction?

Should you be dating if you have a pornography addiction? No doubt, you are not alone. The pornography path for men is common. Statistically, a boy will most likely see porn for the first time around the age of 10. Throughout high school and college, he’ll watch more porn. Left unaddressed, he will attempt to stop this habit, but will continue to watch it into his marriage. Studies suggest porn negatively affects relationships.

pornography addiction dating

Does Porn Damage Relationships?

In a 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, data suggested rabid porn use “was a significant factor in 56 percent of their divorce cases the prior year.” More compelling data was published in 2016. A study presented at the American Sociological Association might be one of the first to address porn’s affects on marriage.

Married people who start watching porn are twice as likely to be divorced in the the following years as those who don’t. And women who start watching porn are three times as likely to split.”

How does porn affect relationships?

It sets unreasonable expectations. In the end, pornography harms the intimacy and the sexuality of the relationship. It’s not just men who struggle with it. More women are beginning to come forward as well. Pornography is an equal opportunity addiction and affects relationships in both sexes.

the association between pornography use and couple dissatisfaction can be explained by men’s aggressiveness, women’s lower sex drives, and poor within-couple communication.”

Before you begin a relationship, put a stop to your pornography use.

relationship pornography use

Some experts suggest you might need to wait a year post pornography addiction before entering a relationship. Marriage or a relationship won’t solve your addiction, even though a lot of guys might believe this. According to Lawyer Thomas Alvord in his paper Safeguarding Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Marriage“Research has shown that relapse is very common amongst recovering porn users at the six- and twelve- month marks. Therefore, the seven to twelve month period is a starting indicator to see how someone will begin, handle, and maintain sobriety.” Complete sobriety may not happen until years two to five.

Something that I discovered while researching this topic is that while I’m abstinent from watching pornography, I’m still in recovery. There’s a difference between abstinence vs. recovery.  A recovery plan needs to be instituted, similar to any addiction. This is often described through inner, middle, and outer boundaries. The inner boundary includes the behavior you wish to stop (in this case pornography). The middle boundary addresses triggers that may lead to the behavior (stress, arguments, lack of sleep, traveling alone, etc). The outer boundary includes healthy behaviors that may help in recovery (being in community, journaling, daily affirmations, exercising, etc.).

Be open and honest about your pornography addiction.

As Craig Gross, founder of XXX Church, mentions in the video below, bringing up your porn addiction on a first date isn’t recommended. But, waiting to0 late to discuss this issue can also be problematic. If you’re considering proposing, it might be a good idea to share your past addictions before you’re engaged or married.

Once trust is established within a relationship, authenticity and transparency can help build a sturdier relationship. In the event someone reveals their addiction to you, it doesn’t mean you should end the relationship.  Instead, “become educated on the issue, work on building open communication in your relationship, set boundaries to protect yourself, and learn to recognize honesty about progress in recovery.”

Here are some characteristics of someone on the road to recovery from Vauna Davis, MA, Executive Director, Utah Coalition Against Pornography :

  • Being honest about their struggles —without wallowing in shame
  • Understanding the difference between abstinence and recovery
  • Being able to describe what they are doing to recover
  • Full participation in therapy, 12-step group, education, and regular visits with a church leader or accountability partner
  • Willingness and a plan to continue recovery steps through their life (remember: recovery = healthy living = lifetime commitment)

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One Response to Should You Be Dating if You Have a Pornography Addiction?

  1. Constance April 27, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    To any women who read this article: If the man you are dating is into pornography or going to ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ (where no decent gentlemen are willing to step foot) and doesn’t see a problem with it – run. Run now. Run fast. Find as many barriers as you can put between you and put them in place. If he tries to validate this behavior in any way, I’m telling you right now, all of his arguments are automatically invalid.

    I was raised by parents who taught me, in their own special way, just how worthless I was. Over and over. My mother was the one who was really into pornography, but my dad wasn’t bothered by it either. She called me a prude quite often because I felt uncomfortable around all of it, even after she found out that part of the reason for that was because my cousin who was about 12 years older than me had been sexually abusing me.

    Mom told me how I would never get a man unless I learned to wear the plunging necklines and short skirts like she did. Since I am naturally an awkward, geeky math-nerd, I was still single and alone at 24 and had only ever dated twice, so I broke down and took her advice. I got attention pretty quickly and since I had been raised in a home filled with the stuff, I didn’t see his pornography addiction as the problem that it was, even though it bothered me personally, I assumed the one with the problem was me because my mother said so. We were married not quite a year later.

    Then the beatings started happening. And if I didn’t want to have relations, too bad, I didn’t have a choice in the matter because I ‘belonged’ to him. And even after my parents found out, they didn’t lift a finger to help me, it was a ‘marital issue’ and I just needed to find a way to work it out. Even after the concussion. Even after he groin-kicked me which tore at my stitches after I gave birth to his daughter and left me bleeding black for weeks. And truthfully, I would have let him beat me to death because worthlessness is at the core of my being, but I finally left him to protect our daughter because she didn’t deserve to pay for my mistakes.

    We throw around the term ‘objectifying women’ but I think it’s been almost forgotten what that really means. It means that pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, etc. all usually put women in the role of being sex objects. And objects are property, and property is ‘owned’ and can be treated or mistreated any way you want, we are no longer people and what we want, what we need, what we feel doesn’t matter. Pornography and its ilk begin to hardwire the brain to accept women as objects and make it easier and easier to accept treating them poorly. If you really need more proof, look up the connection between pornography and rapists, child molesters, and serial killers.

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