Porn and Relationships

In Blog by Next Step

Author: Katherina Toews

This is the second part in a three part series called Standing Up For Her Means Saying “No” to Porn, where we’re going to talk about the effects consuming pornography can have on a person. In the first part we addressed the issue of porn and the changes it is making to our society and our world. This week we’re going to focus on how consuming explicit content in any form can affect our short and long term relationships. I have been beyond blessed to walk alongside people as we navigate our lives in a hypersexualized world, and one of my dear friends has agreed to share her side of the story about struggling with pornography and how it has impacted her life.

I have known Nona* for 3 years now and she is a remarkable human being, full of love and empathy who is grounded in the Lord. Being open and vulnerable about her struggles is one of the most courageous things I’ve seen her do, and I hope that through her honesty others able to open up to the trustworthy people in their lives about how they struggle. Pornography is not something that only affects certain kinds of people and the harm that it causes to our culture and our own hearts is felt by everyone. So I invite you into this loving, non-judgemental space, and into this honest conversation Nona and I had about how watching porn affected her relationships with the people around her:

K: When did you first watch porn?

N: I was about 11 when I first watched porn. I had mis-typed a URL and ended up on a porn site; I looked briefly but quickly went to the website I had originally intended to go to. Within the week, curiosity got the better of me and I started seeking out pornography regularly.                                                                          

K: How did porn affect the way you interacted with other people?

N: Porn created the expectation for me that to get attention from members of the opposite sex, I had to dress and act a certain way. I believed that to be seen as someone worthy of dating or showing attention to, I had to wear clothes that showed more skin and act in a way that told other’s I was willing to please them sexually.

Instead of being able to accept myself in relation to others, I was pulled into this state of comparison between myself and the women I saw in porn. Which in turn, created this belief that I was not worth being seen as equal to those around me. I thought of myself simply as a sexual object because that is what I saw the women in porn doing. I came to believe that I was made only to please men and had no value if I wasn’t doing that.

K: What was the biggest impact it had on you mentally?

N: I think the biggest impact watching porn had on me mentally would be the images that are impressed in my mind. With very little trigger, images of what I’ve seen come to mind and can derail my thoughts into a direction I don’t want to go.

K: At what point did you begin to see the changes porn had made in your life?

N: I don’t think that I really saw the changes porn had made in my life until after I stopped watching it. It was easy to look past the impact it was having when my focus was solely on my own personal pleasure. 

K: How did porn affect your romantic relationships and the way that you viewed sex?

N: I think because porn created in me a belief that I was only made to please men, it allowed me to believe that the only way for me to sustain a relationship was to ensure that sex was involved. Because without sex, I had no worth.

But bringing sex into relationships before its time, created struggles that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. And feeling a lack of worth in a relationship – whether that be from an argument or a miscommunication, or whatever it was – forced me to seek out sex within the relationship so that I could feel valued and cared for and important, instead of believing it when my partner would tell me that I was loved, and trusting him when he would say we didn’t need to have sex for our relationship to be sustained.

K: What would you have done differently if you had never seen porn in regards to your romantic relationships?

N: If I had never watched porn, I think I would have felt more secure within my romantic relationships. I think I would have had a stronger framework to stand on when it comes to my own convictions and my beliefs about myself and my worth. I wouldn’t have used sex (and in turn, used people I cared about) to make myself feel better.

I want to again thank Nona for sharing her story with myself, and with all of you as well. If there’s one thing that I know, it’s that when we share our stories and our struggles with others we release ourselves from the secrecy and shame that we’ve been carrying around with us. Pornography promises endless pleasure, but the truth is that, “As people get older and get into relationships, porn promises a virtual world filled with sex, more sex, and better sex. What it doesn’t mention, however, is that the further a consumer goes into that fantasy world, the more likely their reality is to become just the opposite of what porn promised. Studies show that porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex, and for many users, porn eventually means no sex at all.”(Fight the New Drug) We are made for so much more than solely seeking personal pleasure, and standing up for our fellow men and women means saying “No” to media sources that degrade and reduce people for others pleasure. Our world, our relationships, and our very hearts and minds long for us to return to right relationship with each other and with ourselves.

*Names have been changed for the privacy of the people involved