Betrayal
Trauma
Recovery

Why Pornography Is Adultery

by | Abuse Literacy

Porn is cheating

When you think of pornography you think of a man sitting in front of a computer or his phone just looking at it. People do not envision him looking at their phone or computer while masturbating and basically fetishizing females bodies in these ways.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

In a society where pornography use is condoned and even considered healthy in some circles, BTR founder Anne Blythe and her mother take a firm stance. Pornography is abuse, and those who use it are committing adultery. Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

Pornography Is Abuse. Period.

Many people have in their mind that it’s just this innocent thing on the man’s part. It doesn’t involve a real person in real time. But these women, a lot of them are either sex trafficked or forced into doing this by virtue of drug abuse or slavery.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

The truth about porn is not pretty.

Pornography is anti-woman, anti-sex, anti-feminist, and anti-love. The pornography industry exploits and abuses women and children.

Pornography Use Is Adultery

When a man in a relationship uses pornography, he is committing adultery.

 I think that a lot of the world just pictures “pornography use” in their own minds as guys looking at pictures. They don’t really think that it involves anything else other than just looking at pictures. But when they’re looking at those pictures they are real women that had their picture taken. They’re somebody’s mom, they’re somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. They are real women.

Anne’s Mom

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Pornography Users

At BTR, we understand the devastation that hits when others minimize the effect that your pornography-using partner has had on you. Pornography use is abuse and adultery.

You deserve support as you begin your journey to safety and healing. Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group group today and find a community of loving women who will offer you the support, validation, and empowerment that you deserve.

Full Transcript:

Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne. I have my Mom back again today because my Mom has been on a soap box lately, just to me; because she doesn’t share this with the world, but she’s going to be sharing it with the world today about how she thinks, and I agree with her, that we should be talking more about how pornography isn’t just viewing pictures, that it’s actually virtual sex because it involves masturbation. It involves bonding with something else through the chemicals that you would release during sex. This came up because I am writing a book, which I’ll tell you about later, and I was asking my Mom to help me. She was thinking that somewhere in the book we needed to talk about masturbation being part of the equation. So, will you start with telling me about what your thoughts were and why you thought that was important?

Mom: Well, the reason I thought it was important is because we often just use the term pornography and I think that a lot of the world just pictures that in their own minds as guys looking at pictures. They don’t really think that it involves anything else other than just looking at pictures. But when they’re looking at those pictures they are real women that had their picture taken. They’re somebody’s mom, they’re somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. They are real women.

Ethical Concerns Over Porn Use And Adultery

The other thought I had is that usually in connection with the porn men masturbate. Just like Anne said in the opening; that involves the same chemicals, the same hormonal response that a man would have with a live woman. So, I just felt like instead of everybody just saying: Well, avoid porn it’s not good for you, blah, blah, blah; you need to call it virtual sex because that’s what it is. Back when I was younger a lot of men used phone sex and that’s what they called it. Phone sex. They would call on the phone. It was a real woman, but she was responding in real time to his comments and of course he would be masturbating at the same time. So, that was kind of where I was coming from. Then also the quote in Matthew, I think it’s in Chapter 5 and I believe it’s verse 28, where it says:…if a man lusts after a woman he has already committed adultery in his heart.

Anne: So, a lot of people don’t think that just porn use is adultery, but if you combine it with masturbation to create a sexual experience that someone is having or performing with another person or thing, in this case with a virtual scenario, then they actually are having sex with a computer. Mom: Yeah, yes. You wouldn’t say computer, I mean that conjures up all kinds of other issues.   Anne: It’s not just a picture though it’s a video. Mom: A video of a real person, yes. They’re just providing their own physical stimulation.

Pornography And Virtual Sex Erode Trust

Anne: Through the masturbation part.

Mom: Uh huh.

Anne: My mom’s idea, and I kind of liked it, was for all of us rather than saying pornography to say virtual sex all the time. Which is going to be hard because everybody says pornography all the time and that’s really common, but I’ve started saying that and it’s actually been kind of cool. Like, the responses I received from the few people that I have said it too so far that virtual sex is adultery, and what includes virtual sex isn’t just VR googles that you would wear or something like that, but actually just viewing pornography and masturbating is virtual sex. That’s what it is.   Why do you think people think that it’s not adultery?

Virtual Sex Is Adultery

Mom: I think they have in their mind that it’s just this innocent thing, on the man’s part I guess I should say, it doesn’t involve a real person in real time. But these women, a lot of them are either sex trafficked or forced into doing this by virtue of drug abuse or slavery. Anne: Well, regardless, regardless of how they got there Mom: Right. Anne: They’re a real person. Mom: Yes, they are a real person. It’s still a real person. Anne: Yeah, and the man is still having real actual sex. Mom: Uh huh. Anne: With that person that he doesn’t not know.

Adultery And Virtual Sex Are The Same Thing

Mom: Right. Anne: That has no name, that’s on the film. The other thing is that he is actually having real sex with himself. Mom: Yes. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe when people hear: He just uses porn all the time, they don’t view it as kind of this innocent just looking at a picture type of thing. Anne: Or a video. Mom: Or a video. Yeah. But I think, this is my soap box here, it really is virtual sex and we should call it what it really is so that there’s no confusion about it. Anne: When you think of pornography you think of a man sitting in front of a computer or his phone just looking at it. Mom: Right. Anne: People do not envision him looking at their phone or computer while masturbating. Mom: Right.

Porn Equals Adultery

Anne: I think that’s just a natural thing that people do because who wants to think about that? Mom: Yeah. Anne: No one. Mom: Yeah. It’s too awkward, it’s too uncomfortable. A lot of people have trouble even saying the word masturbation. Anne: Right. Mom: You know, it’s not a comfortable thing. Anne:. No. So, it makes sense that when you say pornography that’s what people envision. That they’re looking at their phone or at their computer. Mom: And a lot of people in the world, me not being one of them, think that that’s just fine. That masturbation is just fine. So, that’s the other issue. It’s not just that we don’t see them as maybe not having sex, but they don’t view that as “sex” when it really is. Anne: Right.

Adultery And Infidelity Because Of Porn Use Are Damaging

Mom: It involves the same hormones, the same body responses. Anne: Right. Because in essence their having sex with themselves. Mom: Yes. Anne: We want to know what you think about this. We would welcome your comments. Please go to btr.org, find this podcast episode. It will be called Why Pornography Use Really Is Adultery. We’re not going to put the word masturbation in there because then it might be blocked other places. We would like to know what you think. Do you think it is adultery and why? Mom: When it involves someone in a committed relationship. Anne: Right. If they’re not in a committed relationship is it fornication? Yes, in my opinion if you’re a religious person and you believe in the Commandments and the Law of Chasity then it would be fornication. Mom: Uh huh. Anne: It’s either fornication or it’s adultery but in neither of those cases, in my opinion, is it ok. Maybe you disagree. We would love to hear your thoughts on it. So, again go to btr.org, go to education, and then go to podcasts. You can find the transcription there. You can scroll down to the bottom and make some comments. We’d also like you to share this on social media. See what other people think. You’re going to get a lot of people who think that it’s crazy and that’s ok. That’s what we’re here for. To validate women who feel this way and let you know that if you do feel this way, we feel the same way too. You’re in good company.

Virtual Sex Is Adultery

Mom: Or bad company.  Anne:  Or you’re in very bad company. We’re such an evil influence.  Mom: Dangerous. Anne: I know! We’re laughing because people call my ideas dangerous a lot of the time. So, it’s so dangerous to say that pornography use is adultery. When Christ himself said it in what, Matthew? Mom: Matthew Chapter 5. Anne: I love my mom. I’m super grateful that she came on today and I love her opinion that we should start just saying virtual sex rather than pornography and I encourage you all to try it.

BTR Is Here For You

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40 Comments

  1. Cynthia L Allen

    This is great. I completely agree that people just think of photos and videos when they hear the word pornography. I think saying Virtual Sex instead says it like it is. Much more true to what porn is. And yes, it is adultery – no question. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! Porn and masturbation really are adultery!

      Reply
    • EEC

      My husband will never “remember” or admit this, but when he tries to have sex with me the first night of our marriage, he was really missing his mistress, his porn. I could tell because he could not be aroused by me. Also, for 5 years I believed in his Christian image as he ignored me sexually. I don’t think he would have even noticed if we had sex or not the first 5 years until I found it. Do not tell me that isn’t adultery…

      Reply
    • Betty

      Amen! I agree 100%!

      Reply
      • Anne Blythe

        Porn use really is adultery – AND if porn use is outside your sexual boundaries, it’s also sexual coercion!

        Reply
  2. Amy

    Hi! Thanks for this episode and all you do! I agree p*rn is adultery because Jesus said it. And because Jesus said if you “look lustfully” that is equal to adultery, since he made it clear it is just the lingering gaze to make someone else an object of your sexual desire. I love the liberty and respect for women that shows! So, by easy deduction, a viewing of p*rn is adultery. Whatever kind and however often and accompanied by any or no other acts. That’s my perspective!

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Thank you for your support! I’m so glad you found it helpful.

      Reply
  3. Tanya

    Loved this episode!!! Waiting till my divorce is finalized before I post it on my Facebook page. It’s maddening when people say “it’s just porn” because I believe they are basically saying that I’m being overly insecure or jealous or controlling when I state that my stbx shattered my trust and my heart because of his porn use and other “innocent” situations involving other women. I have chosen divorce because of a combination of things, but am realizing that it’s partly because I chose not to stay until he was involved in a proven affair. Porn is virtual sex. Thank you very much for this episode. Your mom sounds so sweet as well as… I don’t know how to explain it, but I really enjoyed listening to the two of you together. Much love!

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Thanks for the support! We appreciate you helping to spread the word:).

      Reply
  4. Lisa

    I absolutely agree it is cheating and wrong – and I am an athiest! If you are directing your sexual energy outside of your relationship instead of engaging with your partner you are robbing your relationship of healthy intimacy and choosing to be with “other.” “Other” can take many forms but each of these is a betrayal to your partner and the life you are supposed to be building together. A solid partnership has a boundary around it that protects the partners & marriage from the outside world and when you start blurring that line it is a breakdown of your relationship. Devotion, commitment, loyalty, and respect are not old fashioned values they are essential to the survival of a marriage. If someone is single and watching porn it is still morally reprehensible; it is depraved indifference to the life and humanity of the women and children in the images. A good percentage of what constitutes porn is actually a crime being filmed or crime scene photos, that these men are then becoming aroused by and climaxing to repeatedly. There is something very wrong at the core of a person who can take the suffering of others and derive pleasure from it; in other words, it’s sadism. I left my kid gloves at home today, and I’m really fed up with the mainstream whitewashing of these issues, so I don’t care if there is backlash from standing up to this inequality. I’ll leave you now with one of my own “radical” views: porn is a crime against humanity, because it is targeted against women as a group, and ignores the basic human dignity we all possess and reduces us to a product that can be bought and sold and used and discarded. Wipe, repeat. The US had slavery for 300+ years but porn is just the newer, culturally glamorized and accepted version. Once the women’s movement comes full circle I believe people will no longer view any of this as “acceptable differences in point of view.” Anne you are NOT crazy they just don’t want you to shake up the status quo; you have stumbled upon the core of their false entitlements. #lundybancroft #dromarminwalla

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Lisa! Thank you so much for your support:). Hugs!!

      Reply
  5. Steph

    Agreed on every front.
    In the middle of divorce right now.. and porn was the gateway drug to everything else that caused our marriage to fall apart. He started there ( before we were married) and eventually was fully involved in sexual addiction, and betrayal trauma… which had all became part of the equation before it was over.

    From the beginning I have always believed that masterbation was ‘sex with self’, and porn was just a tool to help in the foreplay of making that happen. I do not believe we are designed to have sex alone. Intimacy does not and cannot happen in a vacuum.

    So in that sense I have struggled to fully ever calling it sex… but I know that through my husbands addiction I have learned that all the brain chemicals, all the triggers, all the same stimulation and gratification had taken place.

    So yes. It is ‘sexual’. And yes, therefore adultry.

    Terminology wise I kinda want to say pornography participation is adultry because it is almost a faux-intimacy, false-intimacy, or something to that effect.

    Still chewing on how to speak about it…

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      I appreciate your thoughts. The concept that pornography is adultery is new and it’s a lot to process!

      Reply
  6. Stefanie

    I can’t remember where, but I read somewhere that when masturbating while viewing porn, the brain can’t tell the difference.

    As he’s more than likely fantasizing that he’s the one with the woman on the screen, his brain thinks he’s actually having sex (or whatever he’s viewing) with her.

    If that’s not adultery…

    Reply
  7. Erik

    We should be careful qualifying virtual sex/adultery as “pornography by viewing photos of a real person with accompanying masturbation.” This sentiment is too limiting and may minimize behavior outside of the definition.

    Adultery can occur without a real person’s photograph—say, a computer generated image, or a painting, or just imagination. And, the chemicals which accompany sex, dopamine, oxytocin, etc., need not come through masturbation.

    Pornography is not nudity. It is *anything* extramarital that is used for arousal. Adultery is not a sex act with self or an extramarital partner. It is the *very seeking* of emotional and sexual intimacy outside of the marriage.

    Pornography, adultery, and fornication can all happen in the mind. Christ taught that lust was the committing of adultery in a man’s heart. Nothing else is needed to label the behavior as adultery. Real or virtual, lustful behaviors betray the commitments made in marriage and with God.

    By the way, I’m a husband in recovery. Thank you for giving tender wives the voice they deserve.

    There is always hope with Christ.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Thank you so much for this! I totally agree:). I appreciate your perspective and support! There IS always hope in Christ!

      Reply
    • Connie Limerick

      Thank you for sharing. It is amazing to me that you seem to understand the pain wives feel when husbands use porn to satisfy themselves. I felt I was not enough. My self esteem dropped to almost nothing. I had tremendous anxiety when we went any where there was attractive women he would stare at. Many wives report the same feelings. I divorced him and am now gaining back my self esteem.

      Reply
  8. Janine

    Hi Anne and Mom, love this episode thank you and completely agree.
    Also, some computer activities involve porn websites where the viewer can be involved in mutual masturbation in real time. This is absolutely adultery in my view as well as with the videos. My former husband did this. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Janine, I’m so sorry about the pain you’ve gone through. Thank you for supporting BTR!

      Reply
  9. Hans

    I am a man that struggles with pornography or virtual sex. I totally agree with you that it is adultary, at least on a heart level according to Jesus. The one thing I would add to that, is that in the same context in Mathew it says: Mathew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
    I see that when we raise the standard on being lustful equals adultery has to also see the other part, that if you say damaging words it is as damaging or sinful as adultery. So yes, I want to raise the standard in my own life with lust, but also let us raise the standard when it comes to words or being angry.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Ah, no Hans. Anger is a healthy emotion that MAKES SENSE in the context of adultery. Even Jesus became angry sometimes calling people vipers or throwing them out of the temple. If a woman didn’t become angry when her husband abused her, she would be crazy. Anger is the appropriate reaction to abuse and infidelity. You’re clearly trying to silence your victim with that line of logic. See my post on legitimate anger when you’re a victim of abuse and infidelity, all taken from scripture.

      Reply
      • Bethany

        Thank you Anne! My (ex)pastor used the exact line of reasoning as Hans when counseling my husband and myself. It was horribly traumatizing for me. But I couldn’t come up with an argument or response on the spot, because his words just shut me down completely and I could barely breathe, let alone find words to express.

        Reply
  10. Anon

    It goes even further than this now, which was bad enough (the photos and videos). Now there is this disgusting act of live, what they call ‘cam models’. Which is really just an innocuous way of disguising the fact that they are online prostititutes. The women go live on webcam, with the men watching them live on webcam or on chat, and they direct them to do things live on camera. How is that not adultery? I had no idea this existed until God revealed it to me that it did and that my husband used them. There is no denying that is adultery, and yes I agree that all forms of pornography is adultery.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Yes! It’s crazy to think that people don’t understand what really happens with p*rn. People are hurt on either side of the screen. The woman who is being abused through prostitution, and the wife who is being lied to, abused, and neglected at home.

      Reply
  11. Alisha

    I know I’m about a month behind but I TOTALLY agree. YES, porn use is adultery. I’ve really been struggling with this concept lately because my ex-spouse claims that the reason our marriage failed is that “we just didn’t work.”

    It’s such a denial of truth and it hurts so much that he can’t even see what he did.

    In his mind, I was crazy, needy, controlling, but he’s the one who cheated.

    It gave me so much power to hear this episode. It gave me words that I’ve been scared to say out loud.

    My husband cheated on me.

    Thank you for giving me a voice.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Totally. Alisha, I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      Reply
  12. Rem

    So, I have been struggling with this with my fiance for some time period even before we made the commitment to be engaged, this has always been a problem with us. I’m also an sexual abuse survivor and a proactive feminist. I also am an empath and as crazy as this sounds electronics are affected by my mood as well as other things.

    He tells me they don’t mean anything but he knows their names, what movies they star in, if there is a film with them in it, he recognizes their face and where he’s seen them. And he doesn’t just look up random porn but pornstars, or actresses caught on tape (I drew the line at this and he’s stopped since I brought it up) but the point being, how am I supposed to receive this? How a I supposed to be cool with this kind of committed attention on women that aren’t me?
    And the thing is he knows it makes me angry, that although I don’t ask for much, I demand loyalty so why still do it? Why not at least try to stop, instead of making excuses?

    I’ve offered alternative activities, things that will help him feel better since he’s lived unhealthily in the past and he’s a little older now. “This helps me sleep” he says, but it doesn’t help him get any better at living his life.

    In turn, I also watch virtual sex. I try my hardest not to and honestly if I have to do anything by myself it’s with my partner in mind, not another person. If I use virtual sex, same thing I’m imagining us. I view it differently than he does. I also try my best to make sure I don’t know who these people are. I figure abstinence is the only way I can move past this for myself but worried that that will make him worse.

    He tells me he’s happy but if he is then why the need to watch?

    Reply
  13. Mary

    I am currently in a divorce process after discovering my husband’s 8-year addiction to live cybersex/virtual sex in chatrooms and on Skype. He flies to see the latest performer (only cybersex though) buys the items on her Amazon wish list, bought her a $3,000 bracelet for Valentines Day, texts incessantly with her all day long. He is a 62-year-old who had wanted to be a minister. She’s 26 and looks like a supermodel. He said she “is like water “ to him—-he’s so addicted. I would discourage the use “virtual sex “ in the case of a lack of live relationship. I think porn addiction , compulsive porn use, adulterous porn addiction/use, infidelity via porn, describe adequately what the destructive behavior is.

    I’m so sorry you and all of your listeners are living this horrid nightmare. It’s a growing plague on our families and children. Thank you for all you are doing!

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Mary, I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. Thank you for sharing. Betrayal trauma is so hard!

      Reply
  14. Jonathan

    I see a lot of talk about the more violent porn out there. But as an ex porn addict, I would like to mention there is another kind of porn that is doesn’t come across that way at all. The actors are gentle and one could almost get the impression of “loving”. Even this is evil. It will destroy his self control and resistance to temptation. He may get pressured by his cravings to the point where he will go out and exploit a prostitute, only to come home with an STD which he will pass on to his wife if he gets married. If he is married, he may ruin his own health along with his wife’s health – especially her emotional health. He may resort to prostitutes, or get snared by an unscrupulous, manipulative woman who will twist him round her little finger and then chew him up and spit him out when she gets tired of him. The damage of porn is always destroyed trust, ruined family, ruined life.

    Reply
  15. Heather

    I call “porn” prostitution.

    Yes it is adultery.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Smart. Yes, porn is also prostitution!

      Reply
  16. Kim

    It is 100% adultery. I haven’t even been married 4 years and he was using way before we got together and this is the 4th time around that I caught him ( I know there has been so much more that I don’t even know about ). He always says he will stop but on this last time he made the comment “what’s the big deal of me looking at a naked woman” and that I needed to chill out…well I have to tell you that was the last straw..I am now in the spare bedroom and making plans to leave as I do not accept this behavior nor do I have to live this. I think he is actually relieved so he can go about what he choose over me….live caming and porn. Oh and I won’t miss going out in public with him and watch him ogle every woman that fits his fantasies.

    Reply
  17. Christina Crowl

    My husband and I just recently started talking about our struggles with his pornography addiction publicly . . . It takes all of us talking about this awkward and embarrassing subject together to break through the silence. You really are doing amazing things I thoroughly enjoyed this with your mom.

    Reply
  18. Connie Limerick

    Thank you for sharing. It is amazing to me that you seem to understand the pain wives feel when husbands use porn to satisfy themselves. I felt I was not enough. My self esteem dropped to almost nothing. I had tremendous anxiety when we went any where there was attractive women he would stare at. Many wives report the same feelings. I divorced him and am now gaining back my self esteem.

    Reply
  19. Esperanza Teman

    Yes! Men watching pornography is virtual sex!!! It is adultery and fornication as my husband even writes these women’s names and circles and highlights the ones he really likes! I asked him why he does that and his answer was, he doesn’t even know them. And what I hate about all there is that when he gives me a birthday card, or any card: “mother’s days; anniversary- he doesn’t even write my name and his salutation is left blank and he just puts in his complementary closing remarks!
    Disgusting!

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      Yes, I’m so glad you brought that up. Pornography is adultery for sure!

      Reply

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