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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. Wow

    Why is it that with American Christians, everything is an addiction? Seems like another ploy to make god seem real.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Leroy MM

      Has nothing to do with "American Christians".

      You suck at life too.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Madtown

      Leroy MM

      Has nothing to do with "American Christians".

      You suck at life too.
      -----–

      Very christian thing to say Leroy MM. Tool....

      February 22, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  2. Reminiscer

    Looking back on my adolescent years, I definitely worried about "or-al se-x". However my "or-al se-x" worries were strictly based upon the possibility of not receiving any! Also, as a Jew, and thus a direct descendent of Jesus, I am immune to any frivolous gentile STD's. Boo ya!

    February 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  3. Mark

    Religion is childish. please see beyond it.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  4. Peter

    I'd say if you're using p0rn to escape a woman you're not really attracted to that's indeed tragic and maybe
    you should quit the woman or attain singledom until you're attracted to a mate that doesn't judge
    p0rn as immoral but instead would endorse or engage in the primal fantasy with you or use similar means
    to enhance otherwise physically-uninspired relationships. This anachronistic, inquisition-esque self-torture from the all powerful and corrupt teachings of "Jesus" and mosaic law.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  5. MEH

    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.

    LMFAO – get laid you loser

    February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  6. Hmmm

    Sounds more like indoctrinated self-loathing and s/exual repression ruined what could have been a healthy and shared s/ex life.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  7. Christy

    If you are an athiest, why are you bothering with a blog called "Belief Blog"?

    February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Matt

      Atheists crack me up. They sure do think about God a lot.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Leroy MM

      Maybe they think if they put it down enough, nobody will believe any longer.

      That way if they are wrong, everyone will be wrong with them.

      Pathetic.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Madtown

      Christy

      "If you are an athiest, why are you bothering with a blog called "Belief Blog"?"
      -----
      Maybe they're just interested?! If you are a person that has a desire to be truly informed about any topic; religion, politics, social issues...then you have to research that issue from all sides. If not, then you deny yourself information.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  8. Name*Chedar

    A love without compassion is not sn unconditional love. No one is perfect everything is in constant flux. Nothing is permanent. To be married for better or worse is all it matters.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  9. Rob B

    What a load of crap. Why is this garbage even hosted by CNN? Is there a Star Wars section on CNN?

    February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  10. happyjackrich

    I encourage anyone that still believes in the Christian myth to at least go ahead and read The God Delusion by Dawkins. Don't be afraid – if your faith is so strong then it won't bother you at all. Its very good and makes a great deal more sense than the bible...

    February 22, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Madtown

      I'm reading this book right now. Very interesting. I don't buy all of it, but I'm also not a religious zealot. I just think there is some room for both theories to coexist. In particular, not sure I buy Dawkins' suggestion that infinite regress is an argument against the "God" concept. I certainly see his logic, and agree with it to a certain extent. I just also believe that "something" can never come from "nothing", so to me at some point there had to be a first action. I realize there's no proof of this whatsoever, just don't see how a continual infinite regress in any way proves that there was no "first mover", or "God", or whatever we're calling it.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • JamesFord

      @Madtown

      Why do people feel the need to understand everything about life? Answering questions related to the origin of the universe simply go way beyond what the human mind is capable of right now. The concept of "something not being able to come from nothing" is nothing but a simplistic and ultimately meaningless assertion. You can't apply a limited human concept like that to the big questions.

      It's simple really: we don't now how the universe ultimately works or how it came to be, and we may never be able to. What we do know is that these simplistic antropogenic inventions called religions are almost certainly complete fabrications with no real explanatory value. Implicit atheism is the only logical stance when it comes to the existence of a deity.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Madtown

      "The concept of "something not being able to come from nothing" is nothing but a simplistic and ultimately meaningless assertion"
      -----
      Yeah, no kidding. It's just all we have at the moment. I agree that questions about origins are likely beyond human comprehension. Why ask the questions? Why not? 'Cuz we're curious?! Nothing wrong with asking, with contemplating.

      February 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  11. John

    What surprises me is that he told his wife about it. Wait til he's been married for a decade, done having kids, and stuck in a s/exless marraige (s/ex <10 times per year). He thinks he does it a lot now ....

    February 22, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  12. MEH

    omg....pu$$ies

    February 22, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  13. JB

    This is the stupidist freaking article I have ever wasted time reading... he needs to smack her around on the ass a little bit to work that sin out...

    February 22, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • dhondi

      How dare you say this is the stupidest article on CNN....true, this is a very stupid article....but by no stretch of the imagination the worst!

      February 22, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  14. Pietrus

    P0rn has done wonders for my marriage. Can I get a story on CNN? Or are those only for cheesy church-goers?

    February 22, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Sarah Grazano

      Amen! 😉

      February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Leroy MM

      If you don't like it, don't read it. If you didn't get it, it wasn't meant for you.

      It's simple really. Go find something you are interested in reading and quit wasting everyone's time (including yours) commenting on the articles you don't like. In other words, get a life, tool.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Frogist

      @Leroy MM: What's wrong with pietrus's viewpoint? Don't you wish to know other sides of the issue? Don't you want to have a "fair and balanced" perspective on this? 😉

      February 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  15. the right

    All this nonsense about sin and lust has been propegated by Christians who think they know the answer. Stop believing in god if its that much of an issue for you.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  16. Rick

    "The difference is that when we know we are displeasing and offending The Lord God"

    What a burden to carry. That you are displeasing to God. I guess guilt is a powerful motivator

    February 22, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  17. Joe in Colorado

    That chik sounds pretty stuck-up. She'd either have to watch it for me, or watch her happily-ever-after dreams go down in flames.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  18. Joe

    its really a personal matter.. between him and his wife.. society isn't to blame.. or needs to hear it..

    February 22, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  19. Alex Chambers

    As Ricky Gervais recently said........"Thank God for making me an atheist!"

    February 22, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Leroy MM

      That was really clever when he said that, right?

      You suck at life.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  20. lolumad

    He probably "confessed" to this because he was banging coke addicts in a parking lot.

    P0rn isn't cheating. Se/x isn't an "addiction". Sounds like some serious grandstanding nonsense.

    Also lol@automatic censors for censoring se/x on a blog about se/x

    February 22, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Joe in Colorado

      That chick sounds pretty stuck-up. She'd either have to watch it with me, or watch her happily-ever-after dreams go down in flames.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Tony

      Is this a joke? Sounds like the intimacy was never there if he was unable to address his desires to his wife. I'm disappointed this is here and not on fox news...

      February 22, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Chapstik Lez

      Actually there is such thing as a "s3x" addiction and p()rn maybe cheating to one person and not to another (its that whole "eye of the beholder" thing)

      February 22, 2011 at 10:58 am |
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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.