There have been several questions this week asking about what we thought of watching porn with your spouse. In addition, we had a brief exchange yesterday about how pornography might be rooted in insecurity and our desire for some sort of affirmation as well as pure selfishness. Today’s question is this…What effect does pornography, whether shared by the spouses or hidden have on the intimacy in a marriage relationship? Before I answer let me again clarify that I am not a psychologist and my answers are based upon my own journey and those I interact with on the same journey. Back in the day growing up, we had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica. It was an expensive, massive set of books that sat on our bookshelf waiting to give us in a moment’s notice static, unchangeable, unchallengeable expertise in defining or explaining anything we might want to learn whether it be the origin of a primitive culture to what causes a volcano to erupt. This set of books was a picture of the way our world thought in the modern era. Today, we live in a post modern or Wikipedia world. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia where you can find information on anything or anyone. Unlike the Britannica set, however, it is not static. It evolves. You see, Wikipedia is not written by experts but by anyone who wishes to add, edit, delete, or completely redefine something. It morphs, evolves, changes over time because the inputs are constantly changing. God has not been silent on the issue of sex. Just spend a little time in the Song of Solomon and you’ll see clearly that it was His idea and it was a really, really good idea. The truth, intent, desire, and will of God however is absolute. It doesn’t change. We who have introduced pornography into our lives, minds, and marriages have departed from that which was a part of the original plan and the Wikipedia effect takes place in our minds. You see, every time we look at that image, watch those videos with or without our spouse, or gratify ourselves while watching or thinking something impure, we are actively and constantly redefining in our mind what sex is and what arouses us. We have by our own choice departed from that which is simple, pure, Godly, and enjoyable for that which is complicated, confusing, shallow, and guilt inducing. I did not look forward to intimacy with my wife during the first nine years of our marriage. Because I was struggling with a pornography addiction, it was never simple for me. My mind was a mess. I had so reprogrammed my brain about what was arousing and pleasing that I could hardly be with my wife and mentally be focused on her. It was stressful, obligatory, and everything other than what I believe God intended. And it had absolutely nothing to do with my wife’s desire and availability to me physically, contrary to the opinions of many. We have been married for 16 years and I will say that its only in the last four years that we are truly beginning to experience what God intended for our intimacy. It is AWESOME!!! Let me say it again. Nothing compares to the real thing. It is worth every minute I have spent in accountability conversations, every dollar I have spent on accountability software for my computers, and every moment I have to pray when I start getting tempted to walk down that road again. If you find yourself deep in the relativistic mire of a self-indulgent addiction, it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of honesty. You must detox from the porn and give your spouse 100% of your sexual attention and energy. I find that not everyone is up to the task or has the pain tolerance to endure the hard work but trust me, it is worth it.