Marriage and Family

Pornography

“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2523.

Indications That Your Spouse Has a Problem with Pornography

Often, suspicions arise long before an inappropriate behavior is discovered. There are several signs that may indicate a growing problem with pornography or other related behaviors (source: National Coalition Against Pornography):

  1. Loss of interest in sexual relations or insatiable sexual appetite.
  2. Introduction of unusual sexual practices in the relationship.
  3. Diminished emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy.
  4. Neglect of responsibilities.
  5. Increased isolation (such as late-night hours on the computer); withdrawal from family.
  6. Easily irritated, irregular mood swings.
  7. Unexplained absences.
  8. Preference for masturbation over sexual relations with spouse.
  9. Unexplained financial transactions.
  10. Sexual relations that are rigid, rushed, without passion, and detached.

Pornography and Marriages


  • Men are more than six times as likely to view pornography as females.
  • Women reported that they preferred engaging in “cybersex” within the context of a relationship (via email or chat room) rather than accessing pornographic images.
  • Pornography is very addictive. The addictive aspect of pornography has a biological substrate, with dopamine hormone release acting as one of the mechanisms for forming the transmission pathway to pleasure centers of the brain.
  • Prolonged use of pornography produces habituation, boredom, and sexual dissatisfaction among female and male viewers, and is associated with more lenient views of extramarital sexual relations and recreational attitudes toward sex.
  • Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their marital sexual relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Women married to men with a pornography addiction report feelings of betrayal, mistrust, and anger.
  • Pornography use undermines marital relations and distresses wives. Husbands report loving their spouses less after long periods of looking at (and desiring) women depicted in pornography.
  • In many cases, the wives of pornography users also develop deep psychological wounds, commonly reporting feelings of betrayal, loss, mistrust, devastation, and anger in responses to the discovery or disclosure of a partner’s pornographic online sexual activity.
  • Wives can begin to feel unattractive or sexually inadequate and may become severely depressed when they realize their husbands view pornography. The distress level in wives may be so high as to require clinical treatment for trauma, not mere discomfort.
  • When the viewing of pornography rises to the level of addiction, 40 percent of “sex addicts” lose their spouses, 58 percent suffer considerable financial losses, and about a third lose their jobs.
  • Only one-third of couples maintained an interest in sexual relations with one another when one partner was engaged in “cybersex.”

Source: The Family Research Council, 2009 Study “THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY ON INDIVIDUALS, MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY” 

ARE YOU Facing an Addiction to Pornography?

Ask yourself the following questions (source: integrityrestored.com)

  • Are you using the internet more frequently and/or for a longer time for sex-related activities?
  • Are you spending less time with your spouse and kids or other (live) people
  • Are you becoming less productive in your work?
  • Do you feel that you need to view more (or more intense) pornography? (This could be a symptom of tolerance.)
  • When you don’t use porn, do you experience anxiety, difficulty concentrating, or restlessness and unease? (These could be symptoms of withdrawal.)
  • Are you growing increasingly more obsessed with viewing pornographic images?
  • You can’t seem to stop viewing (or you stop for a while, only to start up again)--despite adverse consequences to personal health, career, significant relationships, or spiritual life?

There is Hope!

If the situations mentioned on this page are familiar to you or you have experienced sexual wounds in the past, there is help. If you think you may have an addiction, you should seek competent psychological counseling that embraces the full truth of our sexuality as taught by the Church.

These are some resources offered as a place to begin the journey toward regaining the mental, emotional, spiritual, and relationship healing and wholeness that God wants for you and your loved ones.