Pornography Addiction and Annulment


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I have reached a state of spiritual confusion where I feel a tribunal would likely annul my marriage if I were to divorce my husband and apply. I know this would not be in the best intentions of my children and have no intention of going down this route at this time. However, in the future if things get worse I feel I might. :eek:

Before we were married my husband had ‘known’ five other women in the biblical sense. I was vaguely aware of this but he would not talk about any details. He was a wonderful man and very involved at Church. We met at church and we would even go to Mass as part of our dates. He led me to believe that his struggle with remaining pure for his future bride was way… in the past and that he would always be faithful to me. I suppose I figured that I would just get over it and should marry him as I did love him.

Fast forward 8 years and our marriage is less than ideal. He is whining and begging me to have six more often, insisting that I have to reach climax everytime or else something is physically wrong with me, and even asking for anal sex and S&M stuff. He finally reveals an addiction to pornography and masturbation, goes to counseling, and proclaims to be free from sexual sin at last. I (stupid me) believe him and we conceive two more children one of whom we miscarry.

Now, 2 more years have passed and I find out that he was clean for only 6 months. That means another 18 months of lying even when he knew that he was committing adultery. I find out that he masturbated almost every time he took a shower just be remembering the porn stars. He would even masturbate in the bathroom at the pool while the kids and I were swimming. Plus, in his delusional thinking, he spent 6 years holding onto the belief that our second child was not his because she shows a few recessive traits.

It turns out that the pornography thing started at age 10 and lasted through our dating time, engagement, and entire married life. My question is, “How can a man who masturbates to pornography for 4 to 5 hours a night, 2 to 3 times a week, during his engagement actually be preparing for marriage?” Clearly, he is missing some essential element of understanding what marriage is all about. Clearly, he is physically and emotionally incapable of vowing to be faithful for life. In my husband’s case the “faithful for life” part only lasted three weeks. Then I was pregnant and he was stressed to finish his dissertation so he could support me and the baby. Being on the computer late at night working while I was throwing up or sleeping made the “faithful” part too hard to keep.

He is doing everything he can now to get over this but there has been a lot of damage in our marriage. I really do not want to be married to someone who is chemically dependent on the high resulting from breaking the marriage covenant. It is all really gross.

Naturally, I’ve gone through ever state of hurt and devastation I know about. I am calm now but still I feel my marriage could be annuled someday in the future. I no longer feel a life long “till death do us part” attachment to my husband. If his addiction gets worse or he stops seeking help then I want to get far away. I do not want to be hurt again so I can’t trust him again. My heart is broken. I know God can heal and restore our marriage but… what if that happens and then my husband relapses again :eek: No matter what he or I do now will not change the fact that we do have a decent case to bring to a tribunal. That is terrifying.

Please help.


Oh my gosh, I’m really sorry. I felt really scared for you when I read this part:

“in his delusional thinking, he spent 6 years holding onto the belief that our second child was not his because she shows a few recessive traits.”

Usually when someone’s cheating on their spouce they’ll get defencive and start acusing their spouce of jibberish. I’m really sorry. Don’t be like one of those women who take mental aduse and become too faithful to their marriage despite the mental assults. This happened to my mom when she was married to her second husband, (and also her first.) He’s a slave to his sin if he cannot maintain swimming in a pool with his wife and kids without masturbating.:frowning: Of course, I’m just a kid. But my mom’s been through alot and I learn from her. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers. God bless you and help you.


While I feel for you, I’m afraid that most people who assume the tribunal will grant an annulment are quite surprised when the decision is actually given.

Intention to be faithful is presumed, without positive evidence to the contrary at the time the marriage began. Only he can provide this.

Also–contrary to what most people think, the Hebrew word YADAH (know), is used nearly 1000 times in the scriptures. Only TEN of these times does it have sexual significance.

The rest of the time, it simply means “to have congnitive experience of”–“know” in the ordinary, non-sexual sense.


My dear friend I am so sorry you have suffered so much in your marriage with your husband.
I know a liitle of how you feel I too have suffered.I think it would be a good idea to talk to your priest.I know you may feel embarrassed but please don/t be as your priest will have heard it all before and much worse! He will be confidential and knowledgeable.Let me know how you go.You are in my prayers God bless.


I think it’s important to know whether the problem is philosophical or psychological. If he believes he’s been committing a grave sin, it’s more psychological, and he needs counseling. If he really doesn’t think what he’s been doing is a sin at all, then I think the battle will be much harder, as he won’t be receptive to counseling.

You said he is “doing everything he can now to get over this.” I’m guessing that means he agrees that he’s sinned and that he is seeking counseling? Support him through the process, just as you would support an alcoholic seeking treatment. God bless you and your family.


Thank you for the replies. We have seen our parish priest and my husband is has admitted his sin and is in recovery. But this does not change the conditions of our wedding. On our wedding day he was phycologically addicted to breaking his marriage vows. How could he even pretend he would be faithful for life. Of course, he did not know he was addicted and did not even kow that masturbating to pornography for hours while engaged or married would offend me. Seems to me that men can be pretty dumb about this when it really is clear as day.

Also I do not think one can really compare this to alcoholism. Breaking marital covenants is a sin of the flesh and a sin in my own body. Plus it is entirely 100% disgusting. There are days when I see my husband and I want to throw up. I don’t tell him that anymore as I know he is recovering and wants to be a great spiritual head of our family. My feelings of disgust are pretty much the same after all these years though.:mad::crying:


While masterbation and pornography are gravely wrong, mortal sin if done willfully, you would be hard pressed to make the case that your husband was “breaking his marriage vows.”

You need to decide if you are going to continue to live with him or not. And you need to talk to someone in your diocese who is well versed with canon law and nullity.

You have some ideas about getting a decree of nullity over this, and I don’t think you are being realistic. These things might point to other issues that would be grounds for nullity, but by themselves are not.


You chose to marry a man who had sex in the past with other women (confessed and forgiven I will assume). You chose to marry a man who was into porn, a sinful and nasty habit.

Did you think that marriage would make him change? That the sinful habit would go away? And, now, it has not and you are hurt.

Please, see a good Catholic counselor about this.

He has to decide to stop the sin. Pray for him and love him and support him.


*Hi sixlittlesaints, praying for you both. I just wanted to add, that I think your husband is a sexual addict, as opposed to only being addicted to porn. The fact that you posted he masturbates ‘‘for hours,’’ that is a sign of a sexual addict. I watched a 20/20 type show (it wasn’t 20/20 but something like it) on this a few weeks ago…basically, the show was mainly about men, but there were a few women. Of the men who were admitted sex addicts, the one thing they all had in common, was that they felt very low self worth, didn’t view sex in a healthy way (obviously) and their desire to masturbate, view porn, have sex with strangers for hours (like you post here) was due to the fact that they felt deeply depressed. Not much different than an alcoholic, who ‘‘needs’’ the alcohol after a while. These men were literally depressed if they were not escaping in these immoral ways. They would get depressed, have sex with a stranger in most cases (literally would patrol the streets looking for any woman to have sex with), and then they’d feel ‘better’ for a short time. Once the ‘‘high’’ wore off, they would feel guilty, and thus depressed…and then the cycle would keep going for hours.

I thought it was interesting. It still hurts you, I know…but it hopefully helps you to see that your husband has a serious sexual addictive disorder, as opposed perhaps, to someone who is just being selfish. According to the show I viewed, your husband, like the men interviewed, the underlying problem that they all share, doesn’t sound like it’s the vices they turn to, but rather the underlying depression that causes them to seek out a vice. You sound like you know this, but I wanted to share this, because it helps to know that your husband isn’t alone. The men in the show by the way, went to GROUP therapy sessions with other men. They said it helped TREMENDOUSLY because they felt ‘‘better’’ knowing they weren’t alone. Might have your husband try finding such a group?

It is not the same as a man driving by a strip club, with his buddies, lying to his wife…and then hanging out there all night. Then, he may not do that again for months or if ever. It’s not like a man who even has an affair, falls in love with another woman, and lives a double life. (both scenarios are bad, but not indicative of a deep rooted depression problem-maybe more of a character problem) Sexual addiction is more about supressing depression through sex. Some of the men on this show were even frequenting prostitutes. :frowning: That is how one of them really knew he had hit rock bottom. It was a very sad show, I caught a few moments, and then decided to watch, because it was uplifting to see that these men overcame their addictions, and went on to save their marriages. I think once their wives stopped looking at their husbands as having inherent character flaws, and selfish behaviors, they were able to be supportive in helping them to heal from their ‘illness.’ The men were very ashamed of their behavior…just as much as their wives were ashamed of them.

I think that if you view your husband in the light of, that he is ill, you might not have resentment, and hurt feelings. I know that you must be hurting, and that is part of the consequences that your husband’s behavior has caused. But, whatever you do, whether you stay or leave…like others have said, talk with a priest, and keep the faith. Your husband isn’t going to be ‘‘all better’’ over night. He has a serious problem, and it will take a lot of effort and time on his part to kick this sin out of his life.

I hope that your marriage can surivive this, and be better for it, in the end. But, whatever you choose, know I’m praying for you! :console:*


*I just reread the last portion of your opening post. No one can tell you here, or elsewhere if you should remain with your husband. It’s a choice only you can make. I think that only you can decide what your breaking point is. Your husband has a lot of trying to do. He has to really make a concerted effort to change and heal, there is only so much you can do. You can be supportive, you can pray together, etc…but, he has to want to heal. I am so saddened to read that he has been masturbating since he was 10? :frowning: Did something horrible happen in his childhood…sexual abuse? Did he witness physical abuse against his mom…or was he mistreated? My heart breaks for your husband, also. No one should go through life shackled in sin like this. :frowning: God bless you for standing by him all this time. Again, I can’t suggest either way, what you should do, but just know, we’re here praying for you! *


You said you think you will be granted an annulment, what makes you so sure? Have you been told this by a priest? Maybe if it really is very likely that there is no marriage, then you probably should leave your husband.

If you feel those strong feelings of disgust towards him, and there is no marriage there, why stay?

But if you do make this decision, you have to realize that it’s very unlikely that you will find another man who does not have this problem. Plus, since you already have children it might be harder to find a man just because of that. Is there any way you can get over your husband masturbating?


Are you saying that most men are addicted to porn and masturbate 4 - 5 hours a night? Good grief! I would rather remain single than put up with some guy who does that for hours on end. And people think porn is harmless. Uh huh.:shrug:


Go and back and read her original post. She didn’t know about the porn and masturbation until after she was married. It’s more than a habit here. It’s an addiction. If he can’t overcome his addiction, and it is affecting family life, then maybe it is time to leave. It is a very hard addiction to overcome, unfortunately, because of the brain chemistry involved in masturbating to porn.


*Many men are not addicted to porn and sex. Many men have healthy views of sexuality. *


“Most Men?” Wow. That was offensive. No. “Most men” are not addicted to porn.

OP-You husband has an issue with porn, clearly. Like others have said though, there is a world of difference between porn and breaking a marriage vow.

We’ll pray for you, but please think long and hard before doing anything that’ll permanently change things.


I was responding to this quote of FlyingFish:

“you have to realize that it’s very unlikely that you will find another man who does not have this problem”.

I am amazed at how nonchalant people are towards pornography these days, especially Catholics in this forum. People have truly become desensitized to it.

It affected my marriage. It ruined the man I was married to because he began to treat me as “porn with skin on”. I became nothing but a receptacle for his lust, a thing he could ejaculate on. He wasn’t making love to me because I was invisible; it was the images in his head that he was having sex with. That is what porn does to marriages. And then people wonder why wives are upset???


Whew! there are so many replies I am not sure where to start! :wink:

First of all, I am so sorry you are going through this right now. You will be in my prayers.
Something I find intersting is the misinformed " advice" people are giving you. I am not trying to ruffle any feathers, but I would liek to clarify some things here.

First of all, Her husband IS BREAKING HIS MARRIAGE VOWS becaus emasterbation is a direct sin against God’s plan for the marital embrace between man and wife. Masterbation involves, fantasy, and repeated, behavior. I think it is in Mathew that Jesus says who ever has lusted after a person in his head has **COMMITED ADULTERY **in his HEART. Masterbation is in fact a distortion of God’s true plan for husband and wife.

Secondly, I just went rhogh an annulment, literally—it was granted this week. It is untrue to say that the only way to have an annulment is if the person was unable to carry out his vows from the begining of the marriage ( not having the intent etc ) An anulment can be granted on ( i think it is 12) different situations. ONE of them is the above reason. Other reasons are not being free to make the choice to marry ( such as being pressured by loved ones to marry ) not knowing your spouse had an ADDICTION at the time the vows were taken, not knowing your spouse was not open to children, and having an abnormally short engament, among others. The chief reason to grant an annulment is because not knowing the above things ( plus the other ones not listed ) means that you entered into a “false covenant”. Meaning, at the time that you both took your vows you were either under diress or false pretense and could not possibly be held to your vows. It is NOT TRUE to say that most annulments arent granted when in fact, I was told by the Tribunal that less then 15% are not granted. It usually takes about a year to complete, and costs 400 dollars which can be made in payments.

I hope this clarifys some things for you.
Know that you and yours are in my prayers. Good Luck with your desison. Pray pray pray! God will heal you, pray to St Jude, he is the saint of cases dispaired of. He helped me during my divorce and annulment.
God Bless!

In Christ,


I don’t think that every man does this for 4-5 hours a night (the OP said it was twice a week IIRC), but most men today look at porn. It’s a sad truth about men. I’m talking about younger men by the way, men who grew up with internet.

It’s not entirely a male problem too, I remember reading that something like 30% of online porn users are female.

If the OP expects to leave her husband and find a man who never looks at any porn, she has to think realistically. A 4-5 hour porn session is pretty ridiculous, and I doubt most men have the time for that, so if it’s the length of time he spends looking at it that’s bothering her that’s one thing, but I dont think that is her issue. Her issue is that he looks at it at all. Most men, and increasingly more and more women do.

And factoring in the fact that she’s an older woman with children, that if she were to find a new man she’d be looking for a man in her age group (possibly previously married), all kinds of issues arise there.

It’s probably in her best interest to learn not to be disgusted with her husband because of his habits. He is at least trying to change. She said he was looking at porn since he was 10 (!!!), it’s probably hard for him. Maybe if she found it in her to accept him and not be disgusted by it her life would improve.


There are many issues here. The fact that he has consistently lied to her about his porn habit is a big problem. That is a big issue of trust. He has broken it from the start. Good grounds for annulment there.

Then there is the issue of being treated as an object for his lust. His “asking for anal sex and S&M stuff”. should be acceptable behavior in a marriage? He is treating her like porn with skin on, urging her to act like one of those fantasy porn actresses. Yeah, that could be a huge turn off to a wife. Yet you wonder why she is upset?

I find it very disturbing that young women today think they too must act like porn stars in order to attract and keep a mate. I worry for my daughter. I worry for my sons, who so far don’t look at porn.

The fact is that porn, especially the Internet variety, is very hardcore and getting worse. Don’t brush it off and pretend it’s harmless. It isn’t. It’s time you men took a stand and pulled your hands out of your pockets. Porn corrodes marriages and relationships.


Is that really grounds for annulment? If he has issues with self control and sex addiction, it’s not quite the same as breaking promises. He might be trying but failing because his free will is diminished by other factors.

Then there is the issue of being treated as an object for his lust. His “asking for anal sex and S&M stuff”. should be acceptable behavior in a marriage? He is treating her like porn with skin on, urging her to act like one of those fantasy porn actresses. Yeah, that could be a huge turn off to a wife. Yet you wonder why she is upset?

I’m not saying she shouldn’t be upset, but we don’t know how much he asks either. Is it something that he asks every once in a while, or constantly tries to pressure her into. In what way does he ask it, does he try to manipulate her or guilt her. I don’t know.

The fact is that porn, especially the Internet variety, is very hardcore and getting worse. Don’t brush it off and pretend it’s harmless. It isn’t. It’s time you men took a stand and pulled your hands out of your pockets. Porn corrodes marriages and relationships.

I am actually a woman, and I am turned off by men who look at porn. At the same time I am a young woman, and virtually every man I know looks at porn. I don’t have hopes of finding one who doesn’t. I am hoping to find one who doesn’t look at it very often, and doesn’t look at the more crazy internet variety.

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