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Should a Christian Girl Date a Guy Who Struggles With Porn?

By: Kristen Clark

Megan met Josh through a young adults group at her church and had been going out with him for several weeks. One evening while having coffee with Josh, he confessed to her that he currently struggles with pornography and is trying really hard to stop. Megan wasn’t sure how to process this information and went home with a conflicted heart. She hated the thought of Josh viewing pornography, but didn’t know if it was a big enough deal to end the relationship.

What would you do if you were Megan? How harmful is pornography to a developing relationship?

Is it wise for any girl to date a guy who has a habit of viewing porn?

A recent survey found that 75% of young Christian men (18-30 years old) view porn at least “several times a month,” and 61% say at least “several times a week.” Sadly, what those statistics tell young single women is that 3 out of the 4 Christian guys they meet struggle with porn on a regular basis.

Porn is destroying thousands of relationships because it’s the type of sin that always promises satisfaction with just one more look. In marriage, it creates an ever-growing wedge between the physical and emotional intimacy of the husband and wife.

As Luke Gilkerson of Covenant Eyes points out:

“Pornography doesn’t teach men to serve, honor, and cherish their wives in a way that fosters romance. Pornography trains men to be consumers, to treat sex as a commodity, to think about sex as something on-tap and made-to-order. As Dr. Mary Anne Layden writes, ‘It is toxic miseducation about sex and relationships.’”

Porn destroys relationships because it replaces real-life intimacy with a selfish, lust-saturated version of intimacy. It replaces real life relationships with a one-way, pleasure-on-demand, non-committal act that treats Image bearers as lust satisfying objects.

Some single girls think their boyfriend’s porn struggle will simply go away once they have access to sexual intimacy within marriage. However, this has proven to be false by countless marriage testimonies. If a guy or girl views marriage as a porn-replacement they will be very disappointed. Why? Because marriage satisfies a sex drive, not a porn drive.

Porn is lust driven and getting married doesn’t automatically make the lust-filled heart go away.

It might appear to help the problem at first, but before long, it will come back. Porn is an addictive sin that will not be satisfied long-term with any alternatives, including marriage. Unless this sin is dealt with biblically from the root up, it will always come back.

While your boyfriend may be honest about his struggle, things could be a lot worse than they appear. Although Josh appeared to be open and honest about his porn struggle to Megan, objects in the mirror are often larger than they appear. So often a porn addiction is just the tip of the iceberg. There may be many deep rooted issues and a warped view of love and sex.

If your boyfriend admits to having a problem with porn, I would encourage you to find out more. If possible, ask your dad or a godly older man go out with him to find out more about the extent of his struggle.

Find out answers to questions like, when did he first view porn? How often has he viewed porn since then? Did he grow up in a home with porn? What kind of porn does he currently view? How harmful does he think porn is to a marriage? What is he doing, if anything, to find lasting freedom from porn?

Understanding the depth and extent of his porn struggle is very important in helping you (along with wise counsel) know how to handle the situation.

So should a Christian girl continue dating a guy who is trapped in a porn struggle?

My advice to women like Megan would be tailored for her specific situation, but would ultimately have the same conclusion: I do not think it is wise to enter into or remain in a dating relationship with a guy who is currently struggling with porn.

It’s one thing if it is far in his past, but it’s a completely different scenario if he is currently struggling with it. Before you view me as insensitive or harsh, I encourage you to read some of the many blog posts on Covenant Eyes and you will quickly see the devastating effects porn has on a relationship. With those statistics and case studies in mind, I believe it is wise to end the relationship until he is able to find victory and freedom from his porn habits.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you suddenly dump him in a harsh way, or make him feel like he’s a lesser human because of his struggle. Please be kind, gracious, and loving in how you communicate this decision to him. Help him to see that it will ultimately be in both of your best interests if you end the relationship in order to give him space to seek help. Porn is a heavy struggle, and He needs help from a godly man, counselor, or mentor, rather than a girl friend. Maybe God will bring you back together someday, but for now, you can trust God by taking a faithful next step.

If you’re wrestling with this advice, think about it this way.

Do you think it would be wise to continue moving down the relationship path towards marriage with a guy who is currently struggling to be faithful to you? Does it seem wise to enter into a holy covenant to become “one” with a guy who is committing virtual adultery on a regular basis? I know what I’m saying isn’t easy and will require a lot of prayer, wisdom, grace, and godly input. 

I encourage you to get wise counsel from your pastor or a godly older woman on how to handle your specific situation best. And if you find that you’re the person struggling with porn in the relationship, my advice would be the same. End the relationship for now in order to give yourself time, space, and clarity to pursue biblical counsel for your struggle. And if you want to start digging into a great resource right now, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of our book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. 

Is porn a major problem today? Yes. Does porn have to destroy every family, every relationship and every marriage? Absolutely not. 

Having a good heart-to-heart talk early on in the relationship about this issue will help you and your significant other get on the same page. Discussing both of your expectations, beliefs about porn, plan for purity, etc. will help you know where the other person stands. It will also show the value and importance you both place on cultivating a porn-free relationship.

Don’t wait until you’re five years into marriage to have these invaluable conversations – have them now.

To help you get started on having deeper conversations in your relationships, download our free PDF called 136 Questions to Ask in a Relationship.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this deep topic. Feel free to ask any questions or share any comments that you have below!

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