It's a funny thing about pornography. For an industry that destroys families and relationships at such a rapid pace, it sure is popular.
Now imagine being the lover of the man or woman in the closet. And you thought they felt bad? I think there's nothing short of an actual affair that would be as destructive to a couple's intimacy as a spouse with a pornography addiction on the side.
The thing that amazes me is that we live in a culture that acts like we should embrace pornography. For couples who have no religious association, no spiritual leader counseling them to cleave to each other and ditch the lap top, there is probably some serious confusion. Hey, if Monica on Friends is okay with pornography, shouldn't I be? But in many cases, what we're seeing are men and women who try hard to be chill, to accept their companion's dirty habits, because no one is telling them that they don't have to.
But here's a big secret the industry doesn't want the lovers of their customers to know: you don't have to live with pornography. Frankly, as flesh and blood companions, we're worth so much more than that. Monogamy and pornography can't coexist. Anyone who tells you differently is fooling themselves.
Outside of the personal habit, there's the issue of porn in the bedroom. There are plenty of couples who insist that pornography has brought them closer together on levels of nakedness. I'm not saying it hasn't taken them to new levels, but as far as creative intimacy goes, it's like buying a kit. There's no discovery, just replication.
When I was getting married (as a virgin), my mother gave me "the talk". Her instruction was simple and to the point. She said, "Honey, intimacy is kind of like Christmas morning. Don't open all your presents at once." She might as well have been speaking Greek; I had no idea what she was talking about.
But eleven years later, I understand exactly. I'm amazed at some of the creative things we've come up with in the past few years, things someone who used pornography would have probably learned a long time ago from a hotter, younger couple who did it more effectively. Personally, I'm thrilled when I can shock my husband with something neither of us has thought of. We're reinventing the wheel all the time. What we have is nothing short of hot and organic at every level.
I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the flip side of the coin, no matter how unpopular it makes me. Sex in a committed relationship is a two way street--meaning, it takes both parties to have it. And if one person is using it as a manipulative tool, or withholding their love and affection for personal reasons, it's not unusual for their partner to eventually look for relief elsewhere. Does that make it right? No. But is partner-inflicted abstinence right? No.
We must guard our intimacy. We should work regularly to cultivate feelings of love and affection outside the bedroom so that when the lights go out (or don't), there is companionship and love and equally satisfying sex. Because no matter what a person might find online or at some skanky back room sex shop (some of which can be fun and motivating), nothing compares to the trust and excitement that can flourish once the bedroom door is locked.
If you or your loved one is struggling with a pornography addiction that is hurting your relationship, there is hope. Look to the resources around you and make it right. Whether you're the culprit or the victim (because there's no doubt that the person left alone feels victimized and worthless and flat out cheated on), once pornography enters the picture, it often takes the help of a professional to mend the gash left behind.
p.s. Picture retrieved from THIS website