Whether or not to share sexual falls with spouse?



I’ve been married around 2 years and have fallen sexually (masturbation) twice. The first time was after our child was born during a period of long abstinence. The second was more recently (she was away, I did not take care of myself with respect to going to sleep on time which led to lack of prayer, being up late on my computer, etc.).

My question is what others think is the best practice when it comes to whether or not to share these falls with one’s significant other. My tendency has always been to share everything with my wife. I used to tell her if I fell in masturbation even before we were married. I just felt like I was hiding something if I didn’t.

The first time in our marriage that I masturbated, I told her.

This past time, I have not. I do recall someone (an older married man) sharing with a group once that if he fell, he would not share it with his wife. I believe this was because sharing it could actually do more harm than good.

I’m a bit torn… I want to be completely honest with her but don’t necessarily want to tell her if I don’t have to. I think a big part of that, to be honest, is that this past time involved pornography, which I haven’t struggled with in many, many years. I’m very embarrassed about that fact and obviously don’t really want to have to share that with her. On the other hand, I’m open to thoughts on whether it would bring about more closeness/trust if I were to tell her since it does show that I’m committed to honesty no matter what.

Anyway, I guess I could go back and forth more and more in writing. I could see pros and cons to either. I’m especially sad about having viewed pornography, as I can’t imagine her knowing that and it’s never come up as a sin in my life since she’s known me. I worry about what she will think about herself and how her knowing might damage our relationship.

I’ve tried to search about this topic here and on Google and not found anything from a Catholic/Christian perspective except for this post: relit.org/porn_again_christian/ch7.php. I believe my situation is different in that this is not a recurring/habitual/addictive area for me at present. I fell in an area I take very seriously and never want to be part of my life, but the bottom line is that I gave in to temptation and sinned. I went to confession the next day. I am still wondering about whether or not I should tell my wife.

Best regards,


I would lean towards not sharing.

Is your motivation for sharing to have her forgive you in order to feel better about yourself and what you did.

You masturbated twice in 2 years? That really doesn’t sound like a big deal. What will it accomplish if you tell your wife? Maybe she will feel bad about you having looked at porn, maybe she will worry you will do it again?

If she doesn’t ever know and forgive you, are you going to be able to forgive yourself? Do you need your wife’s knowledge and forgiveness to move on? Or can you be content with a private resolution not to do this again?


I wouldn’t tell her. It might make her feel inadequate and what purpose would that serve? Don’t beat yourself up. You went to confession. Jesus doen’t remember it anymore; why should you?


She does not need to know. You spoke to your spiritual advisor (priest) and that should suffice. This is the universal struggle for man that has been going on since the Garden of Eden. Do not be too hard on yourself over this. We are all sinners in need of Christ.

You sound like a good man who simply stumbled just like the rest of us do. The best thing you can do is forget about it and do your best to be a good husband, keep on loving God and doing his will.


All sin no matter how trivial it might seem to us is a big deal to God. That’s why God sent Jesus to suffer death on the cross on our behalf. But I agree… there is nothing good that come come from telling his wife. This is a private sin and an issue between he and God.


i don’t think it’s a good idea to share sexual falls with spouse,it’s not good.:frowning:


This is a talk to have way before marriage - a “If I sin, do you want to know about it”?

DH and I had that talk, neither of us want to know.

At this point, ask your Priest when you go to Confession. He has helped many couples and knows what is wise, abide by what he says.


I had a friend who struggled with masturbation. He and his wife decided to tell each other and both said, it helped a great deal. He had someone to be accountable to-she wanted to help him fight the sin.

It was hard for both of them, but he kicked that sin out of his life for love of his wife.



I wouldn’t tell her. Tell a trusted friend who understands your problem, and they can hold you accountable, perhaps they struggle with the same thing, or maybe it’s booze or drugs they have an issue with.


I think it’s all a matter of a person’s relationship with their spouse. If it is not causing a rupture or caused by a rupture in your relationship, I would treat it like any other sin. It’s not necessary to divulge it except in confession. On the other hand, if it’s something that a person struggles with very badly and/or over an extended period of time, having the spouse their for support and encourage could help a great deal. It’s a personal decision.


Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I’ve not told her and think that many of the posts here were spot on. This is mostly about me feeling ‘relieved of guilt’ rather than what may be best for the relationship. While I support whole hearted honesty in my marriage, this is the sort of thing that could hurt her more than it helps me. Yes, I would know that my wife knows absolutely everything, but at the same time she may suffer [even more] from doubting her self-image, wondering about my faithfulness, etc. She does not need to worry about those things, but seeking her forgiveness about something she doesn’t know about already could cause those thoughts.

It hasn’t been bothering me mentally/emotionally since the first few days after my fall and I hardly think about it. It really has been quite a long time (about a year) since the last time I struggled in this area.

I do agree that if this were a continual struggle and having a major effect on our relationship, intimate life, and my view of my wife, it should probably be brought into the light as a couple.

Thanks again for all the input!

Peace and God Bless,


As a wife whose husband struggles with this issue, I would say do not tell her. A single or small handful of failures in this area are somewhat understandable to me and seem like a private matter (mostly). A recurring addiction to the p*** stuff online followed by the m****** act should definitely be shared with a spouse though.


Discuss it with your confessor. I don’t think anyone on a message board can tell you if you should tell your wife or not since none of is presumably know you or her or understand the dynamics of your relationship. It’s clear from the posts here that for some couples sharing this information is helpful and for others it’s not. Only you, with the help of your confessor can decide what is in the best interests of your marriage.


I’ve struggled with the same thing as jin. I’ve made it a point since we were dating to be absolutely honest with my wife, but I’ve fallen with pornography and masturbation, and the dread of telling her was overwhelming, and I still haven’t. For her it would be even more damaging than for most women because her step father who she looked up to and raised her since she was 4 was busted in a sting operation and is now in prison, and her mother and him attribute it all to his addiction to pornography, and it certainly doesn’t help that her mother tells her I have an addiction (because she thinks everyone has an addiction). In spite of this, my wife knows that before we married I struggled with impurity and pornography. I still feel guilty at times and want to tell her, but the posts here have somewhat reassured me, or perhaps they just appeal to my sense of rationalization. Either way what I really wanted to contribute for thought was this: if you cheated on your wife with another woman or she cheated on you, should she tell you, or you her, and would you want her to?


I say yes you should tell her. If you struggle with something and don’t reveal it to your spouse then you are not truly giving all of yourself to her, which you are supposed to do. Yes she will probably be a bit disappointed at first, but in the end I think you will find it will most likely grow the two of your closer and she will be glad that you are willing to share your deepest darkest secrets with her. As long as people put a limit on what they tell their spouses, they are not truly living a life of openness, and are still putting up walls and wearing masks.


First of all, as a very orthodox and devout priest told me before I was married, when I was concerned that I should be upfront with my intended about intimate details of previous relationships, you are entitled to your privacy, as is your wife.

Here’s what I think I’d be asking myself if I was in your situation:

Do I feel I need to confess ALL my sins to my wife, or just the those relating to sex? If just the sexual ones, why not the other ones that might affect her also?

What do I hope to achieve by confessing this to my wife? What do I see as its outcome? Will it improve my relationship or hurt my wife?


Peace be with you also. If you have not explored this topic on the internet perhaps it will help you to do so. Here is one linked with, bible and christians married couples in mind. As to telling your wife, it would be your choice. I think many wives understand a man, as to lack of sexual relations, as happens from time to time will indeed masturbate. As in your case, the absense of your spouse or a pregnancy or post pregnancy, etc. etc, or healing and illness, God understands you have a physical need and urge as man to have a release. That is my opinion as I research the topic, but I do not speak for any church’s official position.

God bless:


Dear J

I understand and agree with everyone who replied to you. They all have really good arguments.
Before we were married my husband told me about some bad stuff he had done (sexually) earlier in his life. I was quite amazed at what he told me but at the same time very grateful that he shared it with me. His brother told him not to share such things (after all what good does it do) but for me I meant a lot. If we had married without full mutual knowledge then how could our marriage be build on trust and full openness? I trust and hope that my husband will always be that honest with me. As far as I am concerned there is no such thing as privacy in marriage concerning these things. You have comitted to a one flesh union and you are ONE. So what you did concerns your wife. I was reading with great interest, and thought about how terrible it would be to hear such a thing from ones husband. But I reached the conclusion that HONESTY is more important. If you know the theology of the body you know the term: fully, faithfully, fruitfully. I think the “fully” is no less that sharing evrything. I also think that sharing will prevent you from doing it again, because you HURT your wife. You already hurt her whether or not you tell her.
I wish you all the best.


Despite a few opinions to the contrary, you made the right decision. I applaud you. It is far better to be kind.


If your wife did the same, would you want her to tell you?

In my humble opinion, if you were constantly struggling and falling in this area of your life, it might be good to tell your wife and she could help you, could be an accountability partner for you. I’m sure you’d do the same for her.

On the other hand, that doesn’t seem to be the case. To bring this up and cause all the emotional hurt associated with it might just make it more of an issue, something you’d constantly both be thinking about, and that could lead you into a sinful habit that at the moment you seem to be perfectly capable of overcoming on your own.

I’m going to say exactly what my confessor said to me - when you confessed this sin you were given God’s forgiveness AND His peace - you need to accept that peace, and think about how your actions can make you an instrument of God’s peace in your wife’s life. :slight_smile:

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