My husband wants me to watch porn with him

QUESTION: Joe, my husband wants me to watch porn with him but I am not comfortable with this. We are both Christians, but we have different views on this subject. He thinks that it is okay if we watch it together and says “the marriage bed is undefiled.” I feel that it is a sin to watch it for any reason. How can I please him sexually without compromising my moral convictions?

ANSWER: Your husband is not alone in his desire to use Sexually Explicit Materials (SEM). On any given day, about 40 million Americans look at SEM online. Interestingly, about 30%, (roughly 12 million) are women. While there are many women who watch SEM alone – far more than most people suspect – it appears that the majority of women using SEM do so with a male partner. Some use it because they feel it enhances their sexual experience. Others use it because the man wants them to and they comply to make him happy.

Various scholarly studies explore how the use of SEM affects individuals as well as how it influences relationships. Unfortunately, some of these studies skew to the researcher’s belief system. For example, some research done by Christians is discounted because it exhibits bias rather than scholarship. On the other side, some research that claims using SEM is harmless or even helpful is just as dismissible because of its demonstrated prejudice. I say that to let you know that when I refer to studies about SEM, I cite only studies the meet acceptable scholarly criteria. In other words, I will not believe something about SEM just because someone else claims it is true.

So how does that apply to your situation?

There have been insightful studies examining how women feel about their male partner’s use of SEM. Interestingly, single women whose male partners use SEM occasionally tend to view it as a minor problem, if a problem at all. However, if the woman is married, or if the man in an unmarried relationship uses SEM often, women find it distressing. Many said they feel that their partner’s use of SEM is a form of cheating or infidelity. Additionally, women often feel that in their husband’s eyes they do not measure up to the SEM women in physical appearance or sexual skills. In other words, they feel “He wants to watch them having sex because I’m not enough for him…not pretty enough…not sexy enough…nor a good enough lover.”

A 2002 study reported that females distressed by their male romantic partner’s use of SEM were faced with new perspectives about their relationship, themselves, and their partner. They questioned the validity of their relationships, their own desirability, their partner’s sexual focus, and their partner’s character and integrity.

Honesty requires that I mention that women who willingly participate in their partner’s SEM use tend to have a different view. As long as their men use SEM only when with them, they tend not to view SEM negatively. But hear this well: Over twenty years of working with marriages has shown me that most, if not all, women who use SEM with their husbands eventually regret that they did. Why? In time, they begin to feel just as the women in the studies mentioned above feel, ““He wants to watch them having sex because I’m not enough for him…not pretty enough…not sexy enough…nor a good enough lover.”

Two studies headed by Canadian researcher Peggy Kleinplatz, PhD, focused on the differences in good sex and great sex. Though she and her colleagues did not include SEM in their study, their conclusions provide strong support to the idea that SEM does NOT enhance the sexual relationship between two people. They found that great sex requires people to be focused on each other as well as on their own sensations, real in their passions, able to transparently be themselves, trusting, and vulnerable. It is being “in the moment.” It is the total physical, emotional, and spiritual connection between two people.

When I teach human sexuality at Lipscomb University, I tell my students that a true sexual connection is not about having a thrill or even reaching orgasm. It is the deeply bonded physical, emotional, and spiritual connection between two people that occurs in lovemaking more perfectly than in any other way.

Watching someone else have sex may titillate and create strong sexual desire, but that desire is for sexual excitement or gratification. It is NOT a desire for a deep emotional connection with your partner.

I could go on, but you get the point. What transpires between a husband and wife is supposed to be lovemaking, not just sex. SEM is about sex, not about making love.

Finally, I wish to comment on your husband’s view of the marriage bed being undefiled. He seems to buy into the idea promoted by some that as long as it is married people who are doing something sexually, it is okay. While I agree that some Christians have made rules about what marrieds cannot do in their bedroom that are ridiculous, if not evilly controlling, his interpretation of that passage does not say what your husband wishes it to say. I agree that husbands and wives have great freedom in their lovemaking – and that because they are married it is okay with God – but what your husband suggests is not about the two of you loving each other freely; it is about involving someone else in your sexual encounter. In fact, the passage he cites is about NOT ever having that happen, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)

I strongly urge you to refuse to participate in SEM usage. I just as strongly urge you to start open discussions with him about what lovemaking is to be and how the two of you can develop your sexual encounters into GREAT lovemaking.

In part two, I will reply to your question, “How can I please him sexually without compromising my moral convictions?”

If you wish to know even more, soon I will offer a 12 chapter DVD series for married couples that guides them through sound sexological teaching as well as providing workbooks filled with profiles and exercises for each person to learn more about him- herself and their relationship. If you would like to hear about this series when it is available, write us at info@JoeBeam.com and ask to be put on that mailing list.

If your marriage is in trouble, there are many who will help. If you wish my organization to assist you in getting the help you need, please call us toll free at 866-903-0990. We will listen and we will help if we can.

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2 Comments

  1. Will Johnson

    As a Christian, I sense a deep longing in the Body of Christ…for the freedom to be expressive in lovemaking with your spouse, but the problem is… “Who, in the Church, is actually teaching a course on LOVEMAKING?” It’s just like the common saying, that “there is no book on how to be married or how to be a parent…you just DO IT!” My question is,”How does two virgins come together and is expected to be masters at LOVEMAKING, when they have been provided, 18+ years of nothing but
    NEGATIVE aspects of SEX?” So, if SEX is such an important component of a marriage, why aren’t there more open discussion, forums and actual cognitive therapies regarding this critical subject…in CHURCH? It is not an activity, that is apparently innate or commonsense knowledge, that every human being, automatically grasp or even have a clue! Why are Christians so fearful of formerly educating oneself about the complete Anatomy of Lovemaking, which is impossible without diverse teaching strategies! The Church’s stance (fear), regarding physical intimacy, is its own worst enemy! “Without a vision (constructive practical knowledge about sex), the people will perish! It is time for Christians to embrace the truth, regarding the inevitable ignorance we all bring to our marriages, regarding LOVEMAKING…and figure out a way to use every means necessary to educate and support hurting couples, who are unintentionally clueless about SEX! Thanks for listening and God Bless!

    Reply
  2. Tina penn

    I personally feel that Sex is The most important for a happy marriage…which is found very rare…because people end up marrying to please their parents or relatives…or society….not because they have found the right person with the right chemistry….I think if people marry out of love and find a friend in their mate only then can a marriage be called a good marriage…relatives should not interfere between husband and wife…that’s my views….

    Reply

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