Sex and Intimacy

Is Porn A Form Of Cheating?

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Last week, I received this question:

“[I have a friend who] suspects her husband has dealt with pornography and possibly adultery for their entire marriage (many years). In the last few months they have been going to a very well-known Christian counselor in their area. Today she voiced her concerns to this male counselor about her husbands possible adultery and the pornography.

The counselor said he would give the husband a lie detector test for the adultery but not for the pornography. He told my friend that every man had the desires to look at other women. He even went on to say that it was not adultery.

In your opinion, how should she deal with this? Can you help her as well?”

Sincerely,

A concerned friend

I personally believe that this question is not nearly as rare as it should be and so I decided I would post my response on my Butterflies blog.

“Concerned Friend”, first, let me say that you are a good friend to be so concerned. I am a strong believer that feelings are the “theromostat” of the soul and so without even speaking with you, something tells me that your heart/gut didn’t sit well with what the counselor said. It shouldn’t have. To be honest with you, his response leads me to believe that he may battle in these same areas and it’s often hard to provide solid advice where you yourself are unstable.

I feel like there are a lot of issues here, but I will address them as best I can without hearing from the wife, husband or counselor directly.

First of all, I’m not really sure how effective a lie dector test will be if the counselor is not going to address the husband’s potential pornography addiction. Thinking about other women in the sense of “She’s attractive” is one thing. Looking at them naked and/or having sex with other people in magazines, on cable or online is something entirely different. But, the first major point about all of this is relationships—good, healthy ones, anyway—are supposed to be based on trust and honesty. If the husband is lying to the point of needing a lie dector test, it doesn’t matter if it is about another woman, porn videos or the route he’s been taking home for the past two weeks, he has a problem because THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR LYING, especially to your wife. From where I sit, this is the first matter that should be addressed.

As far as porn being a form of adultery, let’s look at the blanket definitions pornography and adultery:

Pornography: Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal. 

Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse; voluntary violation of the marriage bed; extramarital sex that willfully and maliciously interferes with marriage relations.

Hebrews 13:4 says that the marriage bed is honorable and the bed is undefiled. This means that it is pure.

I Corinthians 7:2-3 says that because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, each wife her own husband and let the husband give his wife the affection due to her and vice versa.

I Corinthians 7:4 says that the husband does not have authority over his body; the wife does and the wife does not have authority of her body; the husband does.

And finally, Ephesians 5:25 says that men are supposed to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave his life for it.

When you look at the definitions of adultery above, by engaging in pornography, is he having sex with someone else? No. But, is he voluntarily violating the marriage bed and partaking in extramarital activities that are willfully and maliciously interfering with his marital relationship? DEFINITELY.

Aside from the myriad of scriptures about God’s thoughts on lust (and yes, the foundation of pornography is lust), the Bible says that a man, once he’s married, does not have authority over his body. It’s obvious that his wife is not happy with him potentially engaging in porn and so if for no other reason than that, he should give it up. Just in case he needs another reason, when you take on the responsibility of husband, you take the back seat. Giving up your life as Christ did, is not just some romantic notion, it is a mandate. Putting anyone or anything other than God before her is not being a good husband. There’s just no way around that.

So, how should your friend deal with it? Well, a good counselor is supposed to help an issue and from what you are sharing, this particular individual seems to be enabling it to the point of doing further harm. ANYTHING that is causing a break in a bond is not profitable and so they should seek out, at the very least, a second opinion.

And, your friend should stay prayed up in preparation of whatever she’s about to here. Her heart/gut is not causing her to feel this way for no reason, but if she really loves her husband, I pray she will find a way to work it out. Sin, any form of it, is a sickness and as a friend of mine often says, just because God says that you can divorce because of adultery, that doesn’t mean he wants you to. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and love covers a multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12). This includes adultery and pornography.

This article was originally published here and is used with permission.

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