Porn, Three Months into Marriage
Porn in marriage.
I’ve been married for three months, and just three weeks ago I found myself being pulled towards pornography.
Kaylee (my wife) is a nurse and was working that night, 3pm to 3am. I saw her computer laying around and I felt both pulled toward it and repulsed by the desire to use my wife’s computer to watch porn.
My computer has had Covenant Eyes on it for years, so that wasn’t an option. But all of a sudden, her computer was an option.
But let me back up before I continue with the story.
What is Porn Doing to Me?
There’s a chemical in our brain called dopamine. This chemical contributes to pleasure. Anytime we feel drawn to porn or easy sex, we’re experiencing dopamine. And anytime we give into that draw we are paving a road for that behavior to occur more naturally in the future.
That’s why we can rationalize porn use and then later find ourselves enslaved to it.
To put it more directly, we are conditioning ourselves to move toward sexual desire. That’s why we don’t merely watch porn or use dating apps when we’re particularly horny; we use them when we’re bored, lonely, anxious, depressed, and in all sorts of other conditions.
Responding to the dopamine wires our brains (and thus our thinking) to view porn as an outlet for many of life’s experiences.
Now, this isn’t actually a bad thing. The redeemed image of this neurological wiring is that our brains help us long for intimacy with our spouse when we experience a wide variety of emotions. That is to say, when we’re bored, or anxious, or lonely, we desire oneness.
Porn and easy sex hijacks this beautiful impulse, forcing us toward lonely, empty pleasure.
But there’s hope! And that hope is what I needed as I saw Kaylee getting ready to leave, while her computer sat across from me in another room.
Where’s the Hope?
This is the brain-chemical that is released in moments of vulnerability and intimacy. It’s produced during childbirth, and it’s what helps to create trust and dependence in a mother with her child during breastfeeding.
Oxytocin is also what connects a couple during sex, specifically when making eye contact.
Needless to say, it’s a remarkably powerful brain-chemical. And it’s something you can intentionally activate.
As I mentioned, this chemical is specifically at play in moments of weakness and vulnerability. To state it more clearly, oxytocin is rewiring our brains when we confess, and we are able to rewire our impulses by confessing.
But, how does that work?
Reshaping Your Impulses
The act of confession is a vulnerable experience.
During confession acknowledging and admitting to weakness and need. We confess to those we trust, to those we look up to.
Oxytocin, and by extension confession, is able to teach us that there is joy to be found in moving away from the behavior we loathe.
Confession allows us to rewire our brain and turn our shame into hope. And, confession fosters community and pulls us away from our relationship with pixels and into relationship with people.
Back to Kaylee
So, this is what I decided to do with Kaylee.
Confessing after we’ve messed up isn’t the only way to practice confession. We always have the choice to confess broken desires before those desires are acted upon and embedded deeper into who we are.
So, I got up and went to Kaylee before she left and asked her to take her computer. She asked why. I told her because I was feeling especially fragile and I didn’t want her computer to be an option throughout the evening.
She looked at me for a few seconds and then said okay.
She got her computer and headed to work.
Of course, I was concerned about what her reaction would be later. But not an hour went by before she sent a video message to me.
In the video she expressed her thankfulness to me — thankfulness for fighting for our relationship, for choosing honesty, for inviting her into my weakness instead of trying to fight it alone, and she thanked me for being courageous enough to share my weakness.
Needless to say, I was humbled.
And what that did was rewrite my brain impulses, discovering that there was another option, that I could move toward Kaylee in my brokenness. It taught me that I’m not alone, and it taught me that she isn’t repulsed by me.
That single act wired our brains together as it redirected dopamine, connected us through oxytocin, and welcomed us into a truer reality of oneness.
Science and the Bible
The best part of all this information is that it’s impregnated in a single verse found at the end of the book of James:
Sometimes it takes a few thousand years to discover the “why” of God’s commands, but the commands always prove themselves to be insightful and needed.
Here we see modern science catching up with ancient wisdom. The very act of confession activates the means of healing that our body needs.
We may not understand the intricacies of prayer, but we can trust its biblical importance. Especially as we are starting to gain a helpful grasp of the beauty woven into confession.
If you want new impulses, new neuropathways, and new desires, then confession is the gift His life has given us. So, if you want to start becoming a new creation, then start confessing.
And it’s worth saying that you don’t need to be married to practice being a new creation. Confess to your roommates; leave your computer with a friend; call someone you trust (daily, if need be).
Another Kingdom feature he lived to give us was community within His family.
Press in and discover the salvation He paid the highest price to offer freely to those of us trapped in the lowest of places.
Grace and Peace Family.
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity. Shane is a missionary kid who was born in the Philippines. He is recently married and he lives in Lynchburg Va.