What to Do When Your Husband Won't Stop Watching Pornography

How to Know When It's Time to Seek Help

There's no question that it can be upsetting to find out that your husband or male partner is watching pornography on a regular basis. It's not uncommon for men to do this, as men are programmed to be aroused by visual stimuli, and he may have started watching porn in his teen years. Most likely, it is not something to be alarmed about, even if you're married or in a committed relationship. In some cases, however, excessive porn watching can threaten a relationship.

When Is Porn a Problem?

So, when does pornography become a problem? Here are some possibilities:

  • He prefers porn over sex with you
  • Porn use is interfering with his regular responsibilities
  • He can't get turned on without using porn
  • His porn use is hidden and sneaky
  • He refuses to have an open discussion about porn with you
  • The porn he's watching is violent or contains illegal subject matter

It is also important to consider the quality of your relationship overall. Are you emotionally connected? Do you have a healthy sex life? Does he seem depressed? Does he use drugs or alcohol to excess as well? 

If you feel that porn is a real problem in your relationship and you have reached the point where you're tempted to issue an ultimatum like, "It's me or the porn," your relationship has obviously been hurt by pornography. When your husband or partner chooses porn over you, you may have to face the fact that he is unlikely to change this behavior.

What often happens in these situations is that the woman puts her foot down and her partner promises he'll stop watching. Some guys actually do stop; others will resort to what they probably did as teenagers—watch in secret, feel bad about it, and hope they won't get caught. And so the lying continues, taking a big toll on your relationship.

Things You Can Do When Pornography Hurts Your Relationship

  • Have a talk and share your feelings. You may wish to have a counselor present to help you if your previous attempts have gotten you nowhere. 
  • Accept that if your husband has not stopped viewing pornography after he realizes it could end your marriage, he probably will not ever change this desire to watch porn. His attraction to porn could be stronger than his desire to stay married.
  • Consider counseling. Your marriage and sexual relationship do not improve after you and your spouse have honestly talked about how the both of you feel and think about pornography, you may want to seek marriage counseling to see if other problems in your marriage are triggers for his pornography use or his lying about watching porn. 
  • Make a decision. You might decide to stay married and ignore his use of porn, get a divorce, stay together and agree to compromise on porn (separate computers, sexual intimacy improves, etc.), or stay together but continue to fight about your husband watching porn.
  • Do not let your husband's use of pornography negatively impact how you feel about yourself. Your belief in yourself is a key factor in your personal happiness. The fact that your spouse watches porn has nothing to do with how you look or how sexy you are. The problem is his. 
  • Do not accept any blame or guilt for the fact that your mate wants to view pornography. It's not your fault. Sure, it is a problem for you, but he made the decision to watch porn and to allow it to harm your marital relationship. That puts the responsibility on his shoulders, not on yours.

A Word From Verywell

The first step is to determine if your spouse or partner really does have a problem with pornography. It may be that you need to relax more about it if you generally have a loving, connected relationship and an otherwise healthy sex life. If this is not the case, however, and you believe there is a real problem, it is time to directly address this concern. If you're getting nowhere on your own, seek professional help.

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