home
RSS
What porn did to a marriage
February 22nd, 2011
06:00 AM ET

What porn did to a marriage

The blog begins with a startling confession:

Hi, my name is John, and I was a sex addict. I’m also a believer in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and am married to an amazing and beautiful woman of God.

Church leaders have long struggled talking about sex, much less pornography. But Relevant magazine made a daring move this month when it printed a blogger’s confession about how his addiction to pornography affected his marriage.

The blogger is John Buckingham, and he is an English teacher, Relevant says. Buckingham said in the story that his addiction to pornography started when he was 12. He thought it would end after his girlfriend accepted his marriage proposal in early 2010.

Yet four months after getting married, Buckingham says he succumbed. He started watching pornography again. Burdened by guilt, Buckingham said he told his wife what he had done.

She was devastated. All the love and trust and intimacy we had worked so hard to build for the last four months was called into question and our marriage was shaken to its very core. I feared it wouldn't stand, and I wouldn't have blamed her in the least for walking out altogether. She had every right to do so.

She didn’t, and as Buckingham suggests later in his article, he didn’t give up either. He says he talked with other Christian men about their struggles but felt that they were using “softening rhetoric” (“I messed up;’ “I stumbled”) to minimize what they were doing.

He writes:

The sin of lust isn’t just a mistake, a mess-up or a problem…it is no less than an act of sin that is reprehensible to God and nothing short of honestly confessing and repenting of that sins is good enough for God.

Rachel Buckingham, John's wife, writes a follow-up blog explaining how she felt after hearing her husband's confession.

I no longer felt safe or loved. I was suddenly bombarded with lies—he doesn't find me attractive; it's my fault he strayed; I'm not beautiful; I'm not sexy; I am a horrible wife; I'm a failure; he is stuck with me; he doesn't love me ...

Buckingham writes more about his struggle. I’ll leave it to readers to decide if they think he has overcome his addiction.

But his confession left me with two questions:

Is pornography now such a pervasive problem in the church that leaders need to talk more openly about?

And can people of faith like Buckingham actually learn how to overcome their struggles while living in a sexually-charged culture where lurid images are just a mouse-click away?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Faith • Sex • Sexuality

soundoff (1,043 Responses)
  1. A guy with Morals

    It would seem humanity is understanding less and less of everything nowadays.

    I saw a comment above that said eternally damns someone because they are not perfect.
    This is a false, How can we be perfect if we don't know what it looks like? God showed us what perfection looks like when Jesus arrived, therefore man should aim to be like Jesus (not to be a physical copy or brainless person, but to model your spirit after his, to be holy). But we aren't Jesus or God, and sins we are born in sin it becomes difficult, that being said, you aren't damned because you aren't perfect, you are damned because to stop aiming for it. The race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but he that endured to the end. Meaning; keep trying no matter what, you'll eventually be rewarded.

    S-ex was meant to be had, but only with the person God chooses for you. (That person will be everything you want and much more, it is also likewise to the her).

    People, just because you go to church and Believe in God doesn't mean you are holy, that's like saying because I go to school and know knowledge helps me, I'm automatically smart, no you need to learn and study and memorize the material and follow instructions thereof. My mother always told me, there's a difference between those to who go to church and those who pay attention in it.

    Also

    "If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God's Word; and if we be uncertain of God's Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan".

    Ponder that people, and tell me what you think?

    March 11, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  2. camelback

    Forget religion, You can't be serious if you claim you have no problem with your spouse, girl/boyfriend, lover drooling, fantasizing, or having s-ex by whatever means, with someone other than you! That is betrayal and a blow to anyones confidence whether your religious or not! If my spouse/lover has to revert to photos, videos, & affairs with others for s-exual satisfaction you can bank on the fact its going to effect me emotionally! If you have to use "things"outside of a physical/intimate relationship with another to make s-ex fulfilling somethings is wrong.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  3. camelback

    You can't be serious if you claim you have no problem with your spouse, girl/boyfriend, lover drooling, fantasizing, or having s-ex by whatever means, with someone other than you! That is betrayal and a blow to anyones confidence whether your religious or not! If my spouse/lover has to revert to photos, videos, & affairs with others for s-exual satisfaction you can bank on the fact its going to effect me emotionally! If you have to use "things"outside of a physical/intimate relationship with another to make s-ex fulfilling somethings is wrong.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  4. camelback

    Just a thought, without religion even being taken into consideration. I saw an interview with a musician (I think it was John Mayer who stated that p0rn has made it impossible for him to ever have a meaningful/healthy relationship with a woman. If I can I will find the article and post it. Marriage/relationships center around love, sacrifice, and trust. When I got married I told my spouse I would be faithful and keep my body, desires, eyes... for them alone. That is what makes marriage special, amazing, fulfilling, and secure. I think its sad when a person has so warped the purpose and meaning of s@x that they can't find satisfaction in a physical relationship with another person, but have to use inanimate objects,and use people like inanimate objects to find pleasure in the act. Can you really say that you don't mind your significant other oogling someone other than you, fantasizing about someone other than you, and having s@x with someone other than you!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  5. hermon

    I feel sorry for this guy, he need to dump the woman that want him to poke out his eyes. What worse, thinking dirty thoughts or torturing a man until his libedo dies. You'll end up like a dog thats been beat too much and you'll spend half your life just a covering up, born in the USA.

    March 11, 2011 at 5:56 am |
  6. vincent perry

    religion=joke!!! see joe rogans noahs ark bit! hahaha

    March 11, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  7. Abba Bryant

    Divorce – as afforded for by the church and modern bibles – is definitely not a sin. Nowhere (if I am wrong, tell me what chapter and verse) does the bible say divorce is a sin. Any church that does say so is loosely interpreting and selectively defining the text.

    Also – divorce as seen by society and the courts has nothing to do with religion. According to the US government marriage isn't even a religious action. It is a civil contract defined by courts and laws. Get your bigotry and fundamentalism out of my courts and out of my home and most especially, out of my relationships.

    And I challenge the poster neighborlee to learn about the scientific method – challenging athiests to prove the non-existence of god is an automatic fallacy. You prove a positive, ie the existence of something. Scientifically speaking if you can't prove existence you can not assume existence. Science does not prove the negation of things – that is not how it works. So, as a counter challenge. Neighborlee: find a single christian who can prove that god does exist, without resorting to reciting passages from the bible which is an inherently unreliable source of factual information.

    March 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • someguy

      Divorce is definitely a sin, to the poster that said it wasn't. God says right in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce. Anything that is rebellion against God is sin. It also says in Matthew 5:32 that anyone who divorces his wife - except in cases of unfaithfulness - makes her commit adultery.

      March 11, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  8. dean

    Believers are delusional morons and are a danger to themselfs and others.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • camelback

      Now there is some nice hate speech for ya!!!

      March 11, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  9. LOL

    Wow, some of you seriously need something better to do than blog.

    It's quite obvious that "The Truth" is a bias anti-christian. It's also quite obvious that "Doesn't Matter" is a bias christian parent.

    Realize that the presence of bias is the absence of reason, cry us all a river and find something better to do with your time.

    The answer is no, I didn't read a vast majority of the banter. I drew my conclusions whilst skimming some the content.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  10. J.

    The bedroom of a married couple is undefiled.........

    March 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  11. pat carr

    They both should just sit down and watch some Classic Pron. And get over themselves. This couple is a joke.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  12. wuzzup

    We act and then we judge those actions...

    Seems our compulsions, though, time and again, overcome our beliefs...Then, we hide behind drawn blinds and indulge ourselves for years, until...

    Guilt and self loathing drive us to conform and behave in accordance with God...

    Sounds healthy to me!

    We are such wonderful role models for our children! Gee, thanks Buckingham for sharing this most helpful information. You and your wife must feel cleansed and satisfied, now.

    March 9, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  13. D

    PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH ME AND THINK I'M WRONG SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO POST THINGS I DISAGREE WITH PUBLICLY!!

    March 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  14. Perplexio

    Some of the best Christians I know are the ones who lead and live their lives by example. Christ's message was of love and tolerance. Honestly sharing His message through actions speaks far louder than trying to use His words. Many people who claim to be Christians or wear their faith as a badge of honor are often weakest in their beliefs. If you're truly strong in your Faith you shouldn't need to go around castigating, ridiculing, and insulting those who don't share your beliefs. And chances are if you live by Christ's example and respect the right of others to have their own beliefs your actions will be a much greater testament to His word than any attempts you might otherwise make to "convert" others. A person's faith and his/her relationship with God (or lack thereof) are a very personal thing. Let your faith guide you, but don't force it on others. If your life is a strong enough example, others will inevitably want to follow your path anyway. Let that be your testimony.

    March 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • ER

      Thank you so much for this comment. It's a nice breath of fresh air compared to the general hatred spewed by both sides whenever religion is mentioned.

      March 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  15. fishman

    This is the kind of story that give christianity a bad name!

    March 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  16. what?

    masturbator

    March 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  17. jmur

    FOR ALL THOSE who want to know the truth...... Atheists/Agnostics have the LOWEST DIVORCE RATE. Study by census
    bureau below: U.S. divorce rates: for various faith groups, age groups and ...
    Apr 27, 2000 ... "There is consensus that the overall U.S. divorce rate had a brief respite .... true that atheists and agnostics have the lowest divorce rate of all. .... "Christians are more likely to experience divorce than are non-Christians,"
    EXCEPT EVANGELICALS who have a low rate because, lets be honest, you are then including all of your fanatics whose wives / husbands have no choice to stay due to doctrine.

    If CHRISTIANS think that divorce is so very bad they should officially make IT a SIN (like it was before that king of England went and CHANGED THE BIBLE to suit himself.....really? you believe in this still?) and all who get divorced after receiving the blessing of HOLY MATRIMONY will be excommunicated or cast out of their church FOREVER. That is the only way to deal with the hypocrisy of the divorce debate in Christiandom. Put your money/life/social acceptance where your spewing vitriolic mouth is for a change.

    And here are alot of sources but the Barna study DONE BY EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS shows the same results
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm,
    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/baptist_divorce.html
    http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released
    http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistfamiliesmarriage/a/AtheistsDivorce.htm

    for once.

    March 6, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • LP

      It's not a sin? Protestants are weirdos.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Emily

      Oh, what a shame, too bad hell doesn't exist. Additionally, too bad you believe in a God who casts out people to eternal damnation who know they are not perfect yet still strive to be decent human beings just because they don't prescribe to a certain belief. Your version of Christianity is so far warped from the original that it allows things the original would never put up with. So go ahead and live your little oxymoronic life dedicated to a book written by your fellow humans.

      March 7, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • Fred

      Good for you, you believe something. Christians believe something too. I wish we could find ourselves in a place where that was just OK with everyone and we didn't need to attack the beliefs of others. Also, divorce is a sin.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Eric Greer,MS LMFT of Intimacy Matters

      I'm not in total disagreement with your reply, jmur. My definition of Christian is at a higher bar than simply one who calls him or herself Christian. Christianity involves faith, belief and action. With that definition the myth that Christians have a similar divorce rate or worse than non-Christians does not bear up. In fact, a recent studies conducted by the University of Denver, Smart Marriages and Southern Baptist (I'm not Baptist by the way) researchers conclude that committed Christians have a significantly lower divorce rate. I suggest you google Dr. Scott Stanley and Smart Marriages and Divorce Rates Among Christians and Myth to find some other data that conflicts with those shared by you.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • U.F.

      @jmur-
      SO true! Statistically Atheists do have the lowest divorce rate. Most of the circle of friends I have are in well balanced relationships and long term ones. They also seem the most monogamous. Seems it may be the "forbidden fruit" in Christianity is too hard to resist. Mutual respect is a much better motivator for treating one's spouse well and having a happy marriage.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  18. BR

    It's been a few days and none of my comments marked as "...awaiting moderation." have not been released. What's up CNN? (TYPO)

    March 4, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Paul Bishop

      Yeah BR, I had alot of the same problem, but I'm a Christian on this thing so I don't think it's particular to believers. At leastyour posted now!

      March 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  19. BR

    It's been a few days and none of my comments marked as "...awaiting moderation." have been released. What's up CNN?

    March 4, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Atheist to the Core

      Hey, at least yours got added. Since I spoke my mind about a god, I got deleted. Typical, though. Believe in a god, get posted, express your views against a god...get deleted.

      March 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  20. fr4nx0r

    For goodness' sake, what a load of Pauline garbage!

    March 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Blaine Hoffman

      Sounds to me like his puritan belief system did in the marriage. Stupid story.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • ADiff

      I agree with Blaine. While over-indulgence in anything may be deleterious, this sounds more like the damage associated with failure to conform to an unrealistic (in this case Religious) ideal.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.