Can Porn and Internet Sexual Addiction Lead to Divorce?We don’t think anyone would argue that the internet hasn’t contributed to a greater worldwide access to information, knowledge, and entertainment. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic era, the internet provides a lifeline to millions of people. However, there is also a downside. Internet addiction, addiction to online pornography in particular, has emerged as a growing problem that can affect relationships and marriages.

As the American Psychological Association (APA) points out, pornography is a loaded subject, saying, “Whether or not you think it’s moral, the fact is, people like porn. Various international studies have put porn consumption rates at 50 percent to 99 percent among men, and 30 percent to 86 percent among women.”

However, when the use of anything becomes excessive, a person’s relationship with others can suffer.

What is sex addiction?

According to Psych Central, “Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses.” Addicts may spend significant amounts of time and money on their addiction, which can cause harm to a marriage or relationship.

For many, this can include the use of pornography or online services. For some, this can escalate to sexual encounters outside of the marriage or even illegal activity. It is important to remember, however, that a sex addict is not necessarily a sex offender and, in most cases, is not.

Is pornography addiction grounds for divorce in Maryland?

Maryland is a no-fault divorce state, so you do not need to state grounds to file for divorce from your spouse. You may claim grounds for adultery if your spouse acted on their sexual addiction; your divorce attorney can explain more about this. However, a porn addiction could certainly be a sign that there are issues in your marriage that may need addressing.

What are some red flags that my spouse is addicted to porn?

If you believe your partner may have a problem with online porn, be aware of some of the following signs:

  • Spending excessive time online, especially when they miss social activities, work, or other events to be on the internet.
  • Lack of emotional and physical intimacy, which may be a sign of an unhealthy obsession with pornography.
  • Sudden changes in sexual proclivities, requesting especially extreme or rough sexual acts. This is called habituation, and is a phenomenon that occurs with many addicts over time.
  • Becoming uninterested in or even critical of their partner’s body, comparing them to the actors or models in pornographic materials.
  • Acting evasive or secretive. Many individuals with an addiction or unhealthy relationship to pornography may try to hide it or become defensive if you attempt to talk about it.

Understand that you are entitled to know what is going on in your home, especially when children are involved.

Is my child in danger if my ex-spouse is addicted to pornography?

If your ex-spouse is not viewing illegal pornography, they are not committing any crimes. However, if you do believe they have an internet porn addiction that is negatively affecting your children, you have the right to request a parenting evaluation for child custody purposes.

Typically, the courts will take the following into consideration when making decisions of this nature:

  • Is the parent willing to make behavioral changes to address the situation?
  • Is the child suffering emotional or physical neglect from the parent’s addiction to pornography?
  • Is the parent’s relationship with the child suffering due to the parent’s preoccupation with internet porn?
  • Has the child been exposed to danger or harm (of a non-sexual nature) due to the parent’s inattention from their addiction?
  • Has the parent exposed the child to inappropriate sexual situations or images?
  • Has the parent made any security efforts to prevent the child from accessing pornographic sites and materials?

At McCabe Russell, P.A., our family law attorneys are here to help. Whether you are merely considering divorce or are ready to move forward, our experienced lawyers will walk you through the process with compassion and confidence. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys by calling 443-917-3347 or reaching out to us through our contact form today. We maintain offices in Bethesda, Fulton, Columbia, and Rockville.