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Is it adultery when a husband fantasizes about pornography before or during sex with his wife? Should the wife have to comply with his wishes? Is she considered a prude for feeling this is immoral? Is she morally responsible for her part in the act?

In general, the Sixth Commandment (“You shall not commit adultery”) can be best understood by first asking, “What exactly is the nature of God’s love?” Well, it is pure, and it doesn’t manipulate anyone for personal gain or pleasure, and it doesn’t demean anyone. So when God says to us, “Be holy, for I am holy” He is telling us to love as He loves.


Pornography derives from the urge to defile an “other.” On the surface, it may seem that pornography is simply about erotic pleasure. But when the human body is made into a biological toy, it is stripped of all human dignity, and this defilement is an act of aggression. The hostility may be unconscious or it may be openly violent, but, either way, it has its basis in resentment. And to whom is the resentment directed? Well, as in all things psychological, the resentment goes back to the parents. Deep down, under all the apparent excitement, and despite the attraction to what is seen, lurks the dark urge to hurt and insult—to “get back at”—what is behind the scenes: a mother who devoured, rejected, or abandoned, rather than nurtured, or a father who failed to teach, guide, and protect.


Pornography, therefore, turns a person into an object to be used for personal pleasure—and that’s not love. It’s lust. Moreover, fantasizing about another body while having sex with one’s spouse defiles the holy reproductive nature of sex, and that defiles the spouse and therefore idolizes illusions—and that’s not love. It’s lust. Furthermore, a second person participating knowingly in the first person’s illusion makes that second person into a sex toy, not a holy spouse. That defiles the spouse, and that defiles love—and that’s not love. It’s lust. 

So, to sum it up then, whatever is not pure and holy love, free from lust, is immoral.

Now, is this fantasy lust adultery? Well, the best answer to this question is the warning that Christ Himself gave us: But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28).

Read about Jesus’ teachings 
on sexuality and matrimony 


Who wrote this web page?


What the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.


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