Pornography Has Stolen My Sex Life

Heather Schroeder - September 19, 2017

Dear CMR: 

How do I reconcile the fact that pornography has stolen my sex life? My husband has seen so many things that I don't excite him anymore. 

Thanks,
Lonely Wife 


Dear Lonely Wife, 

Thank you for your brave question! You are not alone in seeking an answer to this difficult situation. According to the National Association of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, as many as 3-6% of Americans struggle with some form of sex addiction. But my guess would be that calculation is really a profound underestimate of a rapidly growing problem in relationships.  

Working with many couples faced with this exact issue, as well as the wives and husbands individually, I would first start by asking what has your husband done to address his struggle with pornography? In order for the two of you to rebuild a healthy sexual relationship together, he first needs to address the underlying reasons he has used pornography. This can often be the hard part for many spouses...they want to help their husband fix and figure out this issue. Ultimately, though, the wife has no control over his willingness or ability to address the underlying issues. You, as his wife, do however, have the right to ask him to attend therapy with a therapist specifically trained in sexually compulsive behavior, attend 12-step meetings, and/or find accountability with other safe men; you have a right to ask him to help rebuild trust and rebuild intimacy.  

What can you do in the meantime while he works on his own issues? My suggestion would be to begin to explore and understand your own sexual history. By that I mean start to ask yourself what did you learn about sex growing up, and who taught you these messages? What do you think God says about sex and sexuality, and how has your life experiences influenced how you see God’s view of sex? What insecurities do you bring to your sexuality? And where did those insecurities first start? 

I would also encourage you to seek your own support. Find a therapist specially trained in working with sexually compulsive behavior and/or partners of sex addicts; there can be a lot to navigate when trying to build a healthy sexual relationship when pornography has gotten in the way. In addition to seeking a specifically trained therapist, I would encourage you to find a support group specifically centered around supporting those who have been impacted by someone else’s sexually compulsive behavior. You are not alone in facing this issue. And I have seen that couples that truly face this issue and choose to grow from this situation can have an even more rewarding sex life than they ever imagined!  

One final thought, while you work on better understanding your own sense of sexuality and seeking support, I would encourage the two of you to find ways to grow deeper in knowing one another. Not just knowing one another in a sexual way but in all ways…rediscover why you love him and what made you decide to marry this man. The act of sex should be a symbol for the deep sense of knowing and being known by one another. In the act of sex and being deeply known by one another, the two of you create a “oneness” that God not only designed, but deeply desires with each one of us.


Heather Schroeder

Dr. Heather Schroeder holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, masters in psychology, and masters in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. She has been working with clients since 2007 and has a passion for walking alongside those who are hurting, struggling, and wanting to grow. In addition to her graduate work, she has received specialized training working with individuals dealing with intimacy disorders/sexual addiction through IITAP (International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals) and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist candidate. Heather has experience working at one of the top residential sex addiction programs, as well as working in a professionals’ treatment program with professionals facing addiction issues/problems at work, and helping clients work on addressing relational problems, sexual identity issues, anxiety, depression, abuse history, grief, health issues, and spiritual issues.


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