Fight the New Drug is an awareness organization educating about the harms of pornography on individuals, relationships, and society. We share research, facts, and personal accounts to help promote understanding for various aspects of this multi-faceted issue. Our goal is to maintain an environment where all individuals can have healthy and productive conversations about this issue, while acknowledging that this issue can impact any person or relationship differently.
FTND note: We continually encourage couples to make decisions about their relationship that’s best for them. Sometimes, that choice is to go their separate ways, and sometimes, that choice is to stay and support each other through the struggles porn brings. It all depends on the couple, and we respect the decisions people make for themselves. There’s no “correct” answer, seeing as every relationship is different.
“I have caught my wife looking at porn past midnight in our garage and our bathroom… What should I do? What would you recommend?”
–Recent message from a male Fighter
In our world today, porn isn’t an issue that only guys are dealing with. One recent study of Danish adults, ages 18-30, shows that 98% of men have seen pornography during their lifetime, but on the flip side, so have 80% of women. In that same study, 68% of men and 18% of women said they view pornography at least once every week. In another, 17% of men and another 30% of women said they viewed pornography 1-2 times per month. Many other studies also confirm these stats.
Clearly, this issue affects everyone. It’s not just men watching and struggling, women are dealing with porn’s negative effects as well.
Porn’s effects on everyone
One of porn’s worst effects porn can have on a relationship is that it can completely rock the foundation of trust that healthy relationships are built on.
Porn is almost always sneaky, secretive behavior—it inserts itself into a relationship like a stubborn third wheel, warping the attitudes and thoughts of the consumer. It can lead to increased insecurity and decreased satisfaction in a relationship, and is even shown to be a cause for increased divorce and infidelity.
All these reasons, and more, are why we say that porn is anything but harmless personal entertainment. It truly affects not only the consumer, but their partner, too, for both men and women.
From the male perspective
While the most common story is a girlfriend or wife who feels betrayed by her male partner’s porn habit, the struggle goes both ways. Not long ago, we received a powerful personal account from one of our followers that illustrates how men can feel betrayed by their partner’s porn habit as well. Take a look at this recent message we received from a male Fighter:
And that’s not the only one we’ve received. In the next message, he explains that his girlfriend’s secret porn consuming has left him distraught, hurt, and alone:
I was just reading your article about what porn does to a partner and felt like I should share my story. For a while now, my girlfriend has been very distant and not very intimate with me.
A while ago, in an attempt to spice things up in our relationship, I introduced sex toys to try and get her more interested. After a while she acted like she didn’t like them, so we stopped using them and I locked them away.
One day I noticed things were out of place, and found that these items had been used. I asked my girlfriend about them and she denied knowing anything about it. Keep in mind that she has always been very sensitive about nudity on TV. She would always act really offended and be quick to change the channel/movie whenever it popped up. Anyways, as time went on she was getting less and less intimate with me. But I kept noticing that the toys were still being used and that it was only when I was gone.
Eventually, she’s gotten to the point that she is denying me sex and finds reasons to stay home alone. When I leave, she will immediately run to the bedroom.
She wouldn’t talk to me and be honest even when I could tell something was going on, so finally, as a last resort, I planted a camera in our bedroom. (FTND note: this is not appropriate nor acceptable behavior, and we do not condone planting recording devices.)
I wanted to be sure she wasn’t cheating on me and I couldn’t deal with her lies anymore. I ended up catching her watching porn a few times a week. It all blew up when I confronted her and no matter what I try, she won’t talk to me about it or work on it with me. All she says is that it was my fault for introducing the sex toys in the first place.
I have felt crushed and devastated ever since I found out. I feel like I can never trust her when I leave her alone. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Porn is an “everyone” issue
As we stated above, we don’t condone this Fighter’s behavior with planting recording devices. We’re simply sharing his experience to shine a light on how porn can drive partners apart, and introduce secrecy into a relationship where there once was trust and openness.
This real story puts into perspective the fact that porn is not just a guy/boyfriend/husband issue. It’s an everyone issue. From stories like this, we can clearly see that feelings of betrayal don’t only happen to women. Letters like this in our inbox may be rarer, but that doesn’t mean situations like this aren’t happening all over the world.
We hope that by shining a light on it, more men will come forward and share their hurt from a partner who is consuming porn. You are not alone.
It’s easy to think that only women experience the depression, the sleepless nights, the traumatic flashbacks that come from discovering that your partner has been consuming porn behind their back. It’s easy to think that only women have their trust shattered by their partner’s porn habits. However, this simply is not the case. Both men and women can experience feelings of betrayal trauma, and both men and women can struggle with porn issues.
Why this matters
With the increased availability of internet porn in the last decade, a recent German sex study shows a fact we should all already know—women are as easily at risk of becoming dependent upon porn as men. The study showed that at least 17% of women consider themselves addicted to porn, and that half of the women surveyed were internet porn consumers.
One ultra-popular porn site recently came out with stats that show 1 in 4 of the site’s viewers are women. According to their data, women are spending much longer watching porn, staying on the site for an average of almost 11 and a half minutes, while men logged off after just 10 minutes. Also, they’re checking out more hardcore genres of porn.
Porn drives a wedge between partners, it damages the trust of a healthy relationship, and it can eventually tear a relationship apart. Porn affects men and women, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and everyone in between. It can affect all of us, which is why we all need to step up and share the facts.
For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.
Get Help – For Partners
If your partner is struggling with porn, you are not alone—know that there is hope, and there is help. As you navigate this difficult situation, there are supportive communities and resources available to you. Below, we’ve got a non-exhaustive list of several resources for those experiencing betrayal trauma. Because this isn’t a complete resource list, feel free to look for more betrayal trauma resources that are catered to your specific needs and/or location. Note that while both men and women can experience betrayal trauma, some of the resources are gender-specific. Please also note that while some of the resources below are religiously affiliated, Fight the New Drug is not.