For the first few years of our now 15-year-old marriage, sex was a disappointment; for him, for me, or both.
What I thought I needed to be in the bedroom came from what I saw in porn. My identity in intimacy was that I had to be this sex-crazed wife that made all the noises, wore all the things, and showed extreme pleasure the entire time.
But it wasn’t just me, my husband thought we would be having sex constantly. He believed I would desire him 24/7. Like I was supposed to always want him, always be ready, and like it was my only goal in life to get him into the bedroom.
Que the disappointment.
Porn created identities that were lies.
Porn created this unrealistic expectation for my husband and for me. We had fights over what we thought the other should or shouldn’t be doing.
When I didn’t desire to have sex he was very disappointed, hurt, confused. These feelings he conveyed made me feel like I had no choice but to meet those high expectations.
I felt like I was wrong if we weren’t having rated r/porn level sex or enough of it. I lived for years trying to be the porn star I thought I needed to be to keep my husband happy, all the while feeling deep down something wasn’t right.
I wasn’t doing these things because I actually wanted to.
It was to keep my husband ‘happy’, to attempt to keep him from looking at porn. Because, if I was a porn star why would he have to look anywhere else?
That behavior didn’t stop him from looking though which created an even more confused identity for us both. I wonder how many things I did in the bedroom because I truly desired to or just because I was trying to meet these ridiculous expectations I had over myself.
It took years to de-program these thoughts and realize that our sex life needed to be far from what the porn-saturated world determined was good.
Switching our identity out of what porn created and into what God created has enabled a beautiful and highly enjoyable sex life.
With porn in our lives, I was never good enough. I was never pretty enough. I was never sexy enough. I was never desirable enough.
With porn, I was an object and easily replaceable. With porn, I was stuck and alone. I felt cheap and no matter how hard my husband tried to make me feel differently, I had a deep-seated root of this wrongful identity.
However, through my own recovery, after my husband started his from porn addiction, I started taking back my identity.
My identity in Christ:
I am enough
I am chosen
I am called beautiful
I am a child of the King
I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I am not alone
I am not stuck
I am a masterpiece
I am treasured
I am worth more than rubies
I am healed by his stripes
I am forgiven
I am free
Knowing who I truly am brings incredible freedom.
I no longer need to compare myself to images in porn and the expectations that came with it. I am who God says I am. I can trust that my husband means what he says about me.
If he chose to use pornography again, my fight will be to remind myself that my identity is not tied to his choices.
There is a big pull in this world for our identity.
We all want to be loved, to be accepted, to feel free. As my counselor has stated, “Porn is a counterfeit relationship and a counterfeit identity” (Shirley Faleer, MA, LPC). Porn can never offer what God already does.
I have never felt freer than when I bask in my identity of Jesus Christ. It is hard to rid myself of the old identity that feels so deeply rooted. I still have some roots that try to hold on.
But it’s possible. You are worth it to know this identity, to receive it, to feel it, to take ownership of it.
You are worth it to trade out the lies for the truth.