How Pornography Skews Your Perceptions About Marriage and Intimacy

While you may think that tawbah wipes away the sin of watching pornography, the imprints that pornography leaves on your mind have not been wiped away. In fact, these pornographic imprints will shape and distort your perceptions about marriage and intimacy.

Take Brother Mahmood who joined the Purify Your Gaze online program (now known as Breaking Free) after struggling with his addiction to pornography for decades. One of his main motivators for his recovery was to be able to get married.

But with every prospect that he met for marriage, he kept finding himself not feeling satisfied and frustrated. The problem? He did not feel physically attracted to any of the prospects he met.

In his eyes, they all looked “bland”.

“My biggest fear is, what if I marry one of the bland sisters and then am unhappy due to the unfulfillment of looking at someone who is pretty. As a result I start pursuing women out on the malls and streets, because thats what my heart desires. And also that’s what would suck me right back into porn. And this fear is even compounded by the fact that I do get attention from the non Muslim women. ” — Brother Mahmood

Brother Mahmood is 35 now, and all of his friends are getting married. He’s spoken to literally dozens of sisters in various cities, but he has still not found “the one” who is good enough for him.

His views on intimacy have become skewed and colored by the fantasy that has gotten a grip on his heart.

“My fears regarding the practicing Muslimas being prudes increases even more when I read blogs of the sisters where they mention how difficult it is for a modest practicing sister to open up sexually to a man after marriage…. for some sisters it took them over 2 months after marriage to be intimate with their husbands. These are situations where one puts so much emphasis on the looks of a sister. She better be drop dead gorgeous for me to put up with all this red tape.”

“It makes me wonder that while I am out there getting exposed to sex and sexuality from porn and interacting with non Muslim women, the sisters live in a little bubble where they keep themselves away from anything to do with sexuality other than the academic knowledge they get in school.”

What Brother Mahmood fails to realize is the impact pornography has had desensitizing him to natural beauty and being able to appreciate the natural courtship that takes place within a marriage.

What Brother Mahmood fails to realize is the impact pornography has had desensitizing him to natural beauty and being able to appreciate the natural courtship that takes place within a marriage.

The imprint fixed on his mind, that is looking for that perfection is based on a heavily edited and choreographed fantasy. He expects intimacy in real life to happen the same way it occurs in pornography, which cuts to the chase immediately. The basic storyline is: Man sees an attractive woman, woman sees a man, and the sexual act takes place.

“No matter how often you watch pornography, or how seldom, you are still vulnerable to these distortions that are internalized by your subconscious. Each fix is going to leave a lasting impression on your mind.”

Pornography feeds the fantasy that he is instantly desired, craved, and wanted at the drop of the hat, where the woman will drop everything she is doing and will come after him. This desensitization from what true beauty is, what true intimacy is, and what true sexuality is, has taken brother Mahmood to a place where nothing satiates him. He wants more and more, but he’s left feeling hungry.

And that is the basic premise of the sexual addiction: it never satiates. You never get that joy that comes from enjoying a healthy relationship with a spouse.

Pornography robs that satisfaction and joy that would come from a beautiful interaction with your spouse. There is nothing intimate about it. It just keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole in your heart and soul and bars you from the very love and mercy you want most from a relationship.

The damage is not just restricted to pornography; other unwanted sexual behaviors just as much shape your perceptions about marriage and intimacy.

No matter how often you watch pornography, or how seldom, you are still vulnerable to these distortions that are internalized by your subconscious. Each fix leaves a lasting impression on your mind.

Even though these are the consequences of watching pornography, recovering your healthy sexuality and what it means, is very much possible through recovery.

It’s through the healing process of recovery that you can begin to uncover and challenge your false perceptions around intimacy, marriage, and what beauty really is.

You can reclaim that part of yourself that has been damaged through the years.

  • Ahmed says:

    JazakAllah khair, Brother Zeyad. As someone who has been married for 10 years, I can tell you firsthand you are exactly right. There is no end to our desires and fantasies. And that hole being burnt into one’s heart can often feel like a blackhole that has no end. And the addiction completely destroys the fabric of the marriage. There are a myriad of other problems that can occur such as ED.
    May Allah grant us all the ability to break free.

  • A Sister says:

    A very interesting and eye opening post, barakAllahu feek.
    I can understand why some people may feel in some ways “put off” by “prudish” sisters once in a marriage (and even brothers can be prudes), but this behaviour has to be taken in the right context.
    If a man and woman are chaste and never engaged in pre-marital relations, then their marriage will be their first experience with the opposite gender on many levels; emotionally physically, sexually etc. It’s an overwhelming experience and will obviously take time for each party to open up sexually to each other.
    As a marriage progresses, surely “prudish” behaviour will simply disappear as you’ve developed a deep bond with your spouse to enable each other to express yourselves on a sexual level without fear of embarrassment, humiliation, rejection etc.
    I guess in many aspects, prudish behaviour can be seen from another angle; as a person having immense hayaa (shyness), which is a God-given blessing in the times we live in full of much corruption and immorality. And when that hayaa is let down in the correct context for your spouse only, sexuality can truly be appreciated and enjoyed in a healthy way. This will also give one peace of mind that I’m married to a chaste man/woman who fears Allah and will only be open sexually to me alone.
    May Allah guide our affairs and forgive our sins ameen…

  • Hitmebreeze says:

    Salaams. Nice post Zeyad definitely can relate to Mahmood’s thoughts calling them prudes loool looked up the word gave me a good laugh couldn’t of found a better word that described how i felt about marriage as well. A fear of i could be celebate at 40. Hence the association with women who bring drama because they’re not averse to sex and the association of a practicing modest muslim to no personality or excitement kind of summed up how i saw the situation. Thanks/Praises To Allah i’m now put off by women with drama but there’s more recovery work to be done.