The Good News

We now know that our learned response (brain chemistry) to sex is good news for our marriage partner, because they’re the person we’ve bonded with, and the only ones we’ve trained our brains to. This is good news in many ways. First, when we’ve only bonded with our spouse, even long into the marriage, although we may not look the way we did at first, we can still have sexual desire for each other. It’s one of God’s amazing gifts to marriage. I’m grateful that after 30 years of marriage, my husband still just has eyes for me, even though I’m not in the same condition now as I was then. And second, when we’ve bonded to our spouse, we won’t want anyone else. We will have greater resistance to affairs outside our marriage.  I realize that we can do everything right and still things go wrong. People can still make wrong choices. But when we follow God’s plan, we have the greatest chance of bonding in marriage, and have lifelong intimacy.

The Bad News

Science unfortunately supports the bad news too, which is that when we take sex outside of marriage, we can train our brains to be aroused or bonded to other people, or to pornography. Science now shows that when someone has trained their brain to respond to pornography, they can lose arousal ability with an intheflesh partner, and so may need pornography to create that level of chemical release. This is why many men and women have discovered that although they’re now married; their spouse is not able to arouse them as they’d hoped. They’ll often become bored with sex and will need to introduce pornography into their marriage bed in order to experience the same level of pleasure. They may be able to carry on with the physical function of having sex, but without that same chemical release, or ‘wow’ of sex. However, with the increased use of pornography, some studies are revealing a connection between frequency of use and erectile dysfunction in men. A 2014 health survey conducted by Dr. Matthew Christman, a urologist from the Naval Medical Center of San Diego, found that rates of erectile dysfunction have more than doubled in the past decade, and that “this increase was primarily accounted for by a psychogenic (psychological), rather than organic (physical) cause of erectile dysfunction and coincided with the growth of pornography on the internet.” Specifically, the survey found that 27% of the men who viewed pornography experienced sexual dysfunction as defined by the International Index of Erectile Function. In fact, Dr. Christman recommends that urologists and other clinicians who treat men with erectile dysfunction should inquire about their patient’s use of pornography and recommend abstinence. Dr. Christman has observed that with the abstention of pornography use, the patient’s sexual dysfunction often resolves.

Training the brain

As a sexual healing author and speaker, sadly, I’ve heard this story over and over again. One young woman in her late twenties who joined my sexual healing bible study shared this story with me. Her new husband became bored with their married sex after only four short months. That’s hard to believe, I know. But although they’d saved physical sex for marriage, her husband hadn’t saved his sexual brain for her. Having been addicted to pornography throughout his young life, he refused to believe that it would follow him into his marriage. After all, he was marrying his soul mate, his gorgeous, sexy bride. He wouldn’t need the pornography anymore. But then he discovered the truth. He’d trained his brain to be aroused by the pornography, and although his wife was desirable, he couldn’t desire her without the pornography. Within four months he was introducing porn into their marriage bed. Before long, he wanted her to act out what they were seeing, which led to more perverse sexual behavior, including having sex with other people, something she refused to do. In the end, their marriage didn’t survive.

So why am I telling you all this? And what does it have to do with the demand for sex-trafficking? First, I want you to know this for you. Or maybe for someone you love.  Porn is altering the world’s view of sex, women, and men. Pornography teaches its viewers that women enjoy sexual violence, and therefore rape or abuse is not unwanted by women.  It has caused men to objectify women, and become desensitized to sexual violence. Pornography is impacting all of us, our marriages, our kids, our culture even if we have not been trapped by its spell.

But the other reason I’m telling you this is because pornography is one of the engines that drive the sex slave trade. And it’s one that comes looking for us.  (Barb continues this discussion; don’t miss her next article as she discusses The Church’s Demand for Sex-Trafficking.)

Previous in this series:

The Brain and Sex

More Info and Help . . .

More Articles: by Barb Wilson

Porn Resource Page: FamilyLife Canada

Talk to a Mentor



Written by Barbara Wilson Psy.D.

Barbara Wilson Psy.D.

Dr. Barbara Wilson is an author, Dr. of Clinical Psychology, licensed Clinical Psychologist. She is also the founder of Freedom Bound Communications, an organization that brings healing and hope to those with a painful sexual past. She speaks internationally to youth and adults with her message of sexual bonding and healing. Released from a past of her own, Barbara combines neuroscience and Scripture, with her own story of healing to explain what sexual bonding is and how to move freely into your future in her books, The Invisible Bond: How to Break Free From Your Sexual Past and Kiss Me Again; Restoring Lost Intimacy In Marriage. Dr. Wilson’s study guide, Free, Finding Freedom and Healing from your Past, available in women’s, men’s and young women versions, is being used locally and nationally to walk men and women through an empirically-based, trauma-focused approach for healing from past abuse, sexual trauma and destructive relationships. You can view or purchase any of her books here. Barbara and her husband have been married over 30 years.