It Is Another Woman

By Sam Jolman | April 16, 2010

“You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed.”  Jesus

Sex is never just about sex.  Truer words were never spoken for the guy who looks at porn.  All  men who struggle in this area do it for reasons other than sex.  Some men find it a great stress reliever.  Others use it to fill time when they are bored.  It makes a surprisingly quick and effective antidepressant.  Try it on fear, anger, loneliness – it would probably do the trick for a little while.  I know a guy who used it as a “pick me up” when he pulled all nighters for school. Instead of downing an energy drink, he jolted himself out of slumber by looking at porn.  And it worked, shot him full of adrenaline.  Like duct tape, porn gets used as a quick fix for a lot of things.

I’m learning a thing or two as I put more years under my belt as a counselor.  Things circle around.  Patterns emerge that you just can’t observe until you’ve been at something for awhile. The way men use pornography, as emotional medication, is one of those observations. 

Here’s another:  Every woman in relationship with a man who uses porn feels cheated on.  Yep, every single one.  This always perplexes the men.  How in the world could she feel so betrayed?  Sometimes it confuses the wife herself.  He didn’t actually sleep with another woman.  Its just a two dimensional pixelated image.  And so most men laud their wives to chill out, relax, stop acting like its such a big deal. Without any great rebuttal, she may even try to just get over it, rarely with success. 

Guess what?  It is another woman.  When a man takes another woman’s naked beauty into his heart and lets her sexually arouse him, he is with her.  You’re right, its not the same as jumping in the sack with her.  But we think this makes pornography something other than infidelity.  Maybe we’ll admit its a bad habit like biting your nails, maybe even lust, but never adultery.  We hope the distance, the anonymity, the virtual aspect of it make it okay. 

Fidelity is always a matter of the heart simply because sex itself is an act of the heart.  Some want to think of sex as just some bodily function, like sneezing or getting hungry and needing to eat.  Sex is the joining of two hearts, two selves, not just two bodies.  That’s why we use the mystical language of “the two becoming one” at weddings.  Something at the level of the soul happens in sex.

And so of course a woman feels betrayed by her man for taking his heart to a pornographic woman.  His sexual energy is being aroused by another woman.  And there he gives himself to her… the other her.  His real woman is devastated.  Like setting off a bomb, her heart takes in the shrapnel of a thousand insecurities: Why am I not enough for him?  Why does he have to go looking for another woman?  Am I not sexually fulfilling anymore?  Or attractive?  Does he not love me?  Is he trying to leave me? Is it my body?

Men struggle to get this because most never consciously intend to harm their wives.  A man really does go to porn to relieve or regulate certain emotions in his heart.  This is the paradox of the wrong.  On the surface, he’s not lying most of the time.  Generally, men are not trying to meet this woman or get her phone number or hunt her down for a one night stand. 

I mentioned earlier that porn use works for a little while on a lot of things.  But only for a little while.  And then like getting sick from food poisoning, the shame comes on to ruin your perfectly satisfying indulgence.  Before you know it, you’re doubled over feeling sick from what you’ve just done. The shame is there to tell you something is not right. 

In this way, shame is your friend.  There is such a thing as good shame.  And if we listened to it more, we’d get this whole thing.  In order for a man to truly heal his own heart, mend his relationship, and attend to his wife’s broken heart, he has to accept that he is an unintentional adulterer.

Here’s one last observation I’ve made, gleaned from working with couples in this area.  The more a man gets alarmed at this reality, the less his wife has to be.  I never ever tire of seeing the deep relief and rest that wash over a woman once her man really listens to his shame as a call to action and is moved to do something about his wrong.  Can there be a greater picture of a man than one taking action in the name of love?


  • I really needed this! Thank you. I just still don’t understand why it happens or what he is hiding…I do hope that he decides to stop this before our relationship falls apart.

    • Really glad this found its way to you. Why is a very important question in it all. But why never takes away the need for an I’m sorry. I hope with you for restoration of your relationship.

  • Thank you for saying these things and writing about it. I hope you answer me back, but I have recently had an issue with this with my husband. Now, we have been having marital problems for a little while now. I haven’t been very “into it” lets just say for a while now

  • Thank you for saying these things and writing about it. I hope you answer me back, but I have recently had an issue with this with my husband. Now, we have been having marital problems for a little while now. I haven’t been very “into it” lets just say for a while now, and I found on his phone we was watching a lesbian porn video. So basically his fantasy is to be with two girls! I was devastated and jealous and angry and felt like he cheated on me! Now, I myself have been seeing a counselor for a few months now for lots of reasons, and when I brought it up to her she basically said him doing this was his way of saying something was wrong, I guess because I haven’t been giving it up to him a lot these days. And then she went on to say stuff about me trying to do things for him, like whatever his fantasies are and such. And I said there is no way I am asking another girl to join us!! No way, no how, I could not handle that and to me thats another form of cheating, just with me there!! And she looked at me like perplexed like why wouldn’t you if this is your husbands fantasy??? I mean really?? Should I be finding another counselor? Lol I guess I probably already know that answer though .. but some feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Yes, I think you already know your answer.

      I can’t offer you counseling here on my comments. But its always okay to get a second opinion on therapy. I’d especially encourage that in your case. I’d also suggest you try and get couples counseling with your husband to help you guys talk and heal through this.

      • Thank you for responding. I would love to get couples counseling, I have wanted to for a long time. We have a lot of things we need to work through, but he is against it and will not go. I don’t know what to do about that one. Sometimes I feel like its a lost cause, but I love him so much and I don’t want to give up. I want to fix things and make them better. He thinks we can do it on our own, and that if you can’t fix things on your own then it can’t be fixed.


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