Married Women And Porn Use

In 2016, I published my book “Overcoming Porn”. At this time, it has sold over 20,000 copies even though I did little advertising and published it only in e-book format.

Over the next month, I will be excerpting selected portions for this blog. This first article reviews the effect that porn has on the married women who view it.


 

Married Women and Porn

Let’s return to the statistic about married women and porn use. As we observed, recent studies show that of all regular female porn users (defined as monthly use or more), 87% of these are married women.

Why do married women use porn so much more than single women?

There are many theories why the clear majority of female porn viewers are married, but most analysts mention four factors:

  1. They are introduced to porn through their partners
  2. They initially view porn to see what their husbands know. The goal of this is to improve their own sexual education.
  3. Married women think more about sex than single women and therefore have more curiosity regarding sexual orientation.
  4. Married women engage in more sex than singles, so they think about the details of sex more often as well. Curiously, the number one search term for straight women viewing porn is “lesbian.” Married women have more curiosity about bisexuality than single women do.

An online newsmagazine for women “Helloflo” published an article for women titled “Three Benefits of Watching Porn.” The third reason contends that through porn “women can validate their own sexuality.” If a woman fantasizes about sex with another woman, and then she sees this acted out on the screen, they no longer feel an outcast. They won’t have to live with the fear that they are all alone in this. The article’s author claims friends of hers are now more comfortable with threesomes, extramarital affairs, Bondage and Discipline, and transgenderism because of porn.

The popularity of the “Fifty Shades” books just underscores this point. Most critics say the Fifty Shades series is poorly written, with cardboard characters and a thin plot. This makes it the equivalent of porn in terms of quality. Yet, like porn, it sells better than most other forms of literature.

I asked a forum of online female psychologists to address why these books are so popular. When the counselors responded to my questions, the answer was almost unanimous. Many women have “ravaging fantasies”. In these fantasies, they imagine a strong, virile man forcing them to do whatever he wants sexually. In real life, that would be called ‘rape’, but in sexual fantasy it is called ‘ravaging’. The psychologists agreed the books are popular because they bring female readers relief to know they aren’t the only women with this fantasy.

Most women have stated if a man tried this in real life, they would call the police.

Typically, women separate fantasy and reality into separate mental categories. Their fantasy thought life has a dynamic control over an area of living which reality is not allowed to intrude. Yet, with women viewing porn more often, the lines between fantasy and reality are blurring. The sales of BDSM materials through online retailers are hitting record numbers. Since most of the buyers are women, this sales growth is attributed to women viewing BDSM porn in increasing amounts.

When porn was only available at outlets in the unsafe parts of town, women never went there. Before the Internet, women did not view those magazines and only fantasized through romance novels and soap operas. Most of these did not get explicit with the fantasies. This ambiguity allowed women to keep reality and fantasy apart. Porn has collapsed the wall between the two worlds.

Darlene had a sexual addiction. She had sex with men she met online two or three times a month. Even though several of these meet-ups resulted in violence against her, it did not stop her seeking out more partners. As we pieced together her history, she revealed it all started in high school when she became hooked on romance novels. We call this type the “bodice-ripper”, because they feature strong men taking advantage of weaker women. The women in these novels submit to the men, but the sex in the books is hyper-idealized, revealing few sexual details. There are no rapes in bodice-rippers.

She didn’t act out these fantasies until near the end of her marriage. Her husband openly viewed porn a few times a week. He never tried to hide it from her. One day, she viewed a webpage he left open. The “free” porn site offered many options. The first one she saw was a sexual depiction of bondage. I won’t give the details here. But she became fascinated with bondage-oriented videos. This took her teen fantasies beyond the romance novels, and she began to act them out in detail.

She then went online to seek partners who would act out her fantasies with her. By the time we started counseling, she had met with over 100 men. Darlene identifies as a conservative Christian and she lives in shame. She regularly views porn and she never attends church any more. She cannot bear the shame that someone might recognize her from her online profile.

After six months of counseling, Darlene stopped using porn and stopped meeting with men she met online. To overcome this, we had to identify her underlying motivations for using porn. Once she did that, and discovered how to address those motivations in a different way, she felt free.

Admittedly, Darlene is an extreme example of women’s behavior with porn. However, with the current growth of porn use among women, it is possible we will see more and more women acting out their fantasies. Already, there is a rise in women who report they now practice open marriage with their husbands. (An open marriage is one where both partners allow the other to have extra-marital sex while agreeing to be honest with each other about these encounters). More women are also involved in bisexuality than ever before. Many of them cite porn as their starting place with this lifestyle.

One final piece to the puzzle of women and porn use. The largest online supplier of free porn recently did a survey with 40,000 women who view their site. They asked them simple questions like where they were from, what they viewed and how often. When they crunched the numbers, they discovered women viewed porn more in sub-cultures which featured a dominant religious life. In the United States, the so-called “bible belt” had the highest porn viewership among women. There are many theories as to why this is, but the simple reason is probably the right one.

We simply don’t talk enough about our sex lives in religious circles. This means people resort to finding out what they don’t know from clandestine sources of information. For the average person in our world, this usually means porn. And if your primary source of knowledge about sexuality comes from the world of ‘adult entertainment’, you are going to be misinformed about sex.

Finally, from 2013 to 2014, the percentage of women using the major porn sites jumped from 5% to 25%. This increase happened in only one year. I didn’t have the figures from 2015 before writing this, but I will guess the percentage of women viewing porn continues to increase. One of the telling features is that none of these statistics includes children and teens viewing porn on their phones. Since surveys cannot include those ages, it is impossible to tell what is happening. But a major book, published just a few months ago, speculates that more than 60% of teen girls are viewing porn. Since they will be coming into their twenties soon, we may see a massive jump in the percentages of women using porn in the years to come.

Why do I bring that into our chapter one discussion? First, women have always adopted a higher moral standard in our modern world than men. That is a generalization of course. There were always the female erotic writers and practitioners. But if women are now delving into porn almost as much as men, I wonder how the world is going to fare? Second, if women are increasingly acting out their fantasies, this cannot end well for women in general. Third, if men are convinced their wives give tacit approval to porn, this may remove another helpful deterrent to using porn for a lot of men.


 

Excerpted from my book “Overcoming Porn” (2016, Mike Phillips Publishing). Available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon in e-book format.

2 thoughts on “Married Women And Porn Use

  1. I think I’m not gleaning your full meaning here, because I don’t know where you stand on this. Apologies if this is in your other writing that I haven’t seen yet. Can I ask your stance?
    Is all porn harmful, or is it like alcohol in that some can be enjoyed, but it is dangerous to over-indulge and addiction may result? Is it more harmful to women than to men?
    Is all fully consenting sex, e.g. open relationships, OK, or is it harmful within a marriage? Are open relationships more harmful to women than to men?

    Personally? I think porn is like alcohol but worse- more likely to destroy a man and a family. Perhaps some is ok for a single person but it seems to have really insidious effects.
    I find it hard to believe that an open relationship is free of a power imbalance. It seems that usually one person wants to be “open” and the other goes along with it because they don’t want to lose the relationship.
    Thank you for your thoughtful words.

    1. I am posting excerpts from my book “Overcoming Porn”. Yes, I believe all porn is harmful. And no, I do not think Open Marriages are a good idea. I was pointing out that women have different reasons for using porn than men and often it produces different results. In the days to come, I will be posting many more excerpts from the book, and you’ll see the bigger picture. Or you could buy the book and see it all in context.

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