Woman Dating or Engaged to Man Addicted to Pornography

wooden path bridge
Should I continue a relationship with a man who seems to have a real problem with obscene and sexually explicit material?

I’ve been dating him for a long time, and we’ve started talking about engagement and marriage. Overall, he’s a fantastic person. But I wonder if his pornography addiction is a red flag. Do you think we should move forward in our relationship?



Not unless your boyfriend is ready to get serious about dealing with his problem.

A brain on porn

Pornography is as physically addictive as any drug. Porn addiction is based on neurochemical changes that happen in the brain as a result of prolonged exposure to stimulating sexual imagery. Because of its neurochemical basis, pornography is relentless, escalates, and destroys.

If you decide to marry this man, don’t expect his addiction to go away on its own once you’ve said your wedding vows. To be more specific, don’t assume that normal, healthy marital sex will take the place of porn in his life. No living, breathing, thinking woman can possibly fill that role without doing untold damage to herself as a person. Why not? Because pornography addiction is not about sex.

Pornography addiction isn’t about sex

Using pornography is a symptom of an intimacy disorder. An intimacy disorder is a comprehensive psychological illness that compels an individual to avoid meaningful interaction with a real human and to replace it with impersonal sensual imagery.

Unless this disorder is addressed and resolved, your relationship can’t move forward on solid footing. Marriage won’t fix the problem; it will only complicate matters and increase your pain. So, what can you do?

It’s time to talk

We encourage the two of you to get professional counseling — together. You need to deal with the porn problem before talking further about marriage.

At this point in your relationship, you’re in the best position to take an in-depth, honest look at the issues you struggle with as a couple — before you’ve made a formal commitment by buying rings and reserving the church. If your boyfriend really cares about you and sincerely wants to spend his life with you, he has a powerful motivation to make necessary changes. But once you’ve tied the knot, that motivation won’t exist in quite the same way.

Having healthy communication in marriage (if marriage is where the two of you end up) starts with talking now. An intensive counseling model, with sessions that focus specifically on the addiction problem, is the best way to address this issue. Not sure where to start?

We’re here to help

Call our Counseling department for a free over-the-phone consultation. Our licensed Christian counselors can give you referrals to intensive counseling programs. And they’d welcome the chance to talk with you about your unique situation.

In the meantime, we recommend that your boyfriend install accountability software. That’s not the ultimate answer to the complex problems of pornography addiction, of course. But it can play an important role in helping to keep tabs on his online activities.

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