6 Problems with Two Porn Addicts Dating Each Other
The epidemic of porn use is causing untold amounts of damage to our culture, and in our ministry we particularly see the damage it causes in marriages. We counsel couples regularly that are struggling with one or the other’s involvement in pornography.
This is one of the reasons that we encourage people to ask those that they are dating about both their opinion of porn, and whether or not porn is or has been an issue in their lives. Of course, it isn’t quite as simple given the nature of our tendency to lie and even underestimate the potential of addiction when it comes to porn and it impacts the brain, but regardless, interaction and discussion around the topic is pretty vital. In fact, increasingly research is finding that the issue doesn’t only need to be addressed with men, but women as well. Statistics are suggesting up to 20% of women are using porn in today’s culture, and the numbers aren’t less in the church.
It occurred to me though, that there is a slight problem with this suggestion. From the perspective of someone using porn, as much as you might want to be honest and open about your struggle, having someone of the opposite sex admit to having the same struggle is actually not very safe.
Usually, at least in today’s culture, someone using or avoiding using porn hasn’t done the necessary steps to getting help and stopping their addiction. I’m working with this as my premise as I describe the following potential thought processes and dangers.
It’s much like a drug addict finding someone else who is a drug addict. Some of the things listed have elements that are good, but projected toward someone you are dating almost always turns bad. The processing in their minds can include any number of different things including:
1. Relief; finally someone who understands what I’m going through.
2. Release from shame/secrecy; I won’t have to be afraid of their finding out.
3. Companionship/co-dependency; I’m not alone, we can work through this together.
4. Permission giving/enabling; “If you struggle I won’t get mad as long as you don’t get mad at me if I do”.
5. Intimacy/sex; when talking about sex and sexual experiences regularly, the conversation leads to regularly thinking about sex with the person they are in a relationship with, it also provides a sense of intimacy that has never been found before. The potential result is for this kind of conversation and shared struggle to result in a sexual relationship because neither person has felt free or loved or without shame enough to speak of it to someone else.
And the biggest potential problem is this one:
6. Fantasy fulfillment; hidden deep in the recesses of the mind and heart of a porn/sex addict is a carnal dream that maybe; just maybe they can find someone who likes it too. That all of the fantasies and things they have seen in porn might actually be reality and all they have to do is find that someone who is just like porn says they will be. Finding someone like this confirms deep inside of them that the things they believe about sex and sexuality are true, that what they have been taught by porn is not in fact a lie. It’s an opportunity for them to embrace their problem rather than confront it.
So, yes you should find out what the person you are dating believes about porn, after all a tremendous number of people, Christians included, seem to have adopted the lie that porn doesn’t hurt anyone and is permissible. Research is increasingly proving the Bible right in that porn destroys relationship and damages us physically, mentally and emotionally.
When you share, be cautious about how much you share with that person, find out what they believe and what their experience was, and then encourage each other to pursue greater levels of help and freedom instead of sharing every nitty gritty detail with each other. Encourage speaking with pastors, counsellors and going to support groups. And do NOT make each other accountable or the only people you share your struggle with. The dangers are real and terribly hurtful for your future relationship, whether it be with each other, or whoever God leads you to in the future.
Oh, and for the record, couples who decide that they do like porn and want to watch it together, eventually do find it incredibly damaging and hurtful. It’s dehumanizing and something deeply personal and intimate is removed from the experience. So don’t kid yourself, the fantasy you have about finding someone else who is like “minded” (which is really just sharing in your shame) will hurt you personally when you realise they don’t actually want or need you in the room at all.
Follow this link to find 6 Steps to Freedom From Porn