in-the-light

In the Light: Healing Sexual Intimacy After Porn, Sexual Addiction and Betrayal

Shelley Martinkus self

This is part of a series of posts about journeying through a husband’s addiction to porn. 


I recently shared about what the sexual intimacy healing process has looked like for my husband, Jason, and I in a marriage marked by betrayal (through porn and infidelity).

It has been one of the areas of our marriage that has taken its slow and precious time to heal. There are times when I feel we have arrived – and other times when I feel we are oh so far away. Overall, we have gained a lot of ground.

My desire is to give you a better look into what sexual intimacy looks like 12 years after betrayal. And it’s not just my husband’s betrayal that has made sexual intimacy complicated. I brought in distorted views of my body which culminated in an eating disorder (anorexia) through high school and college.

Needless to say, this ever-so-important part of our relationship hasn’t been easy. Early on in our recovery, the safest way for me to engage sexually was in the dark. But, thankfully, it has evolved over time.

Here is a glimpse into what sexual intimacy looks like for me (and let me just tell you, I feel SO vulnerable sharing these tidbits).

Today, I prefer for us to be intimate in the light – whether it’s the glow of the moon or a discrete light shining in from our bathroom.  I prefer to see my husband’s face, specifically his eyes. And him mine.

Today, I feel more confident in my body.  Ladies, let’s be honest – my body hasn’t improved with time.  I’ve had three baby boys and I have the stretch marks, looser skin and wonky breasts to prove it.

This confidence hasn’t come from perfecting my body but rather learning to love and admire my body not only because of what I’ve put it through (an eating disorder) but also because of what it’s done for me (four pregnancies, chasing after littles, putting on my running shoes and hitting the pavement, dance parties in the living room – just to name a few).

I admire my body more today than I ever have. That confidence has allowed me to be ok with letting Jason see it in the light.

Today, my husband wants to please me.  In the height of Jason’s addiction, it was all about him. It felt empty and shallow. I walked away feeling misunderstood and alone. But now, Jason asks what I’d like. He is intentional to communicate that we never have to be intimate.

Today, our sexual intimacy isn’t perfect.  More than anything, I want to drive this point home. I guess I thought that sexual intimacy would always be fun and always be easy. I also thought there would be a finish line in sight and the day would come when we had mastered the act and it couldn’t get any better.  I’ve since realized I was mistaken. Sexual intimacy with my husband is life work. 

Today, there are a lot of times when I’d rather enjoy a foot rub than connect sexually. Girls, I’m just trying to keep it real here. It can be hard work for me to go there emotionally and physically. Especially after giving, giving, giving to three little boys all day long. This definitely ebbs and flows. Jason and I can go weeks without engaging sexually and then shazam, we’ll have four or five days of enjoying each other after our babes have gone to bed.

Today, our love, desire and passion for each other is more sacred than ever before. It’s not perfect.  There are times when I’d rather not. There are also times when I’m reminded of the past and we have to stop and have a conversation (talk about a mood killer).

Yet even with all the bumps in the road, oftentimes, we come together and celebrate our heart and soul connection. We connect emotionally and then celebrate sexually.

Fully known and in the light.

Please know I’d love to hear from you.  If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at shelley@rlforwomen.com.


Read more about Jason’s porn addiction and Shelley’s battle with anorexia in this honest interview. You can also read more from Shelley about how she faced the realization of her husband’s porn use and infidelity, then how she bravely confronted the issue despite fear and uncertainty. 

 For more resources check out:

Redemptive Living for Women: This is my website where you’ll find a helpful workbook, weekly blog posts and support.

Redemptive Living: My husband Jason’s website where you can find the book he wrote about his journey, free resources for men and more.

Kitchen Convos: This is a series of conversations that my husband, Jason, and I put together to help couples find redemption after betrayal. There is a fee associated with this, but if you choose to participate, we will donate 15% of the proceeds back to MOPS International.

Fight the New Drug: An edgy non-profit that advocates for the fight against porn.

This Christianity Today article shares eye-opening recent stats on porn use in Christian circles.


Shelley Martinkus

 

Shelley Martinkus loves to encourage women and has a special place in her heart for women with a similar story to hers.  She is a blogger, speaker and writer.  Her first book, Rescued, was released in 2015 and is a guide to help women survive and thrive after sexual betrayal.  She is proud to call Denver home where she lives with her husband, Jason and their three young boys.  Some of the things that help Shelley survive are comfy pants, running around Wash Park and long talks with Jason after the boys are in bed.  You can connect with Shelley at rlforwomen.com.