For some reason, I woke up this morning with this subject on my heart. Maybe someone out there is struggling with this issue right now, and what I have to say will bring some calm to the storm.
Primarily I am going to be talking about the relationship men have with pornography (women have issues with it too, but that won’t be the focus of this blog). I want to give you the back-story and the underlying reasons why it is such a huge problem. Sometimes when you understand why people do what they do, your anxiety goes down. Because when we understand why things happen, we can fix the root cause or root issue. It makes you feel powerful to know more, because when you know better, you do better. I’m going to be framing this within the context of marriage in order to keep my explanations and advice condensed for the purpose of this blog.
I want to start with how it is supposed to be. In order for a man to gain full access to view a woman sexually, there was a natural process put in place. He is supposed to build relationship over time, bringing strength to her, making her feel safe and loved. He is supposed to be developing intimacy and trust, love and commitment. All of this builds toward being intimate physically. The ultimate act of moving towards a woman sexually is to make a life long commitment. In that context, the woman feels fully protected, fully loved, fully covered, and she is ready to “bear all”. It is in that place that man is supposed to have full access to his woman.
It is the most empowering feeling out there, to know you have done the work, made the effort, built something that will last a lifetime, and now are able to enjoy the “spoils”, which in this case would be a fulfilling sexual experience whenever the two of you want. However, a lot of men have found that there is a short cut to all of this. There is a way to bypass all the work, all the potential disappointment, frustration and rejection, and go straight to the addictive feeling of power he can get from engaging with something as readily available as porn.
Man was designed to hunt. It is the hunt that develops his strength. It is the thrill of catching what he was pursuing that builds his confidence. If it’s too easy, he doesn’t build his strength and he doesn’t build his confidence. A man is nothing without those two elements. He needs those things to feel whole. At the core of who he is, he needs to know he has what it takes. The rush of having instant, intimate access to a woman you don’t even know can feel very powerful in the moment, but it is a false power. He didn’t earn it, he didn’t sacrifice for it, he didn’t fight for it, he just picked up a stupid magazine or clicked a few times with his mouse. So this act will never fulfill him. It will only send him into a cycle of shame and a state of feeling even more powerless.
If you could interview men who are addicted to porn, you would hear them all say that in the moment they are engaging with pornography, they feel very powerful, but soon after they are overcome with shame. Shame is the antithesis of strength. They don’t realize that what they are doing is so counter productive to what they really need, and that is the trap of addiction.
If you are a man who is addicted to porn, here’s what I would say to you: You need to find your strength. You have it in you. You have always had it in you, you just may not have known how to develop it and tap into it. The first step in finding your strength is feeling connected to something bigger than yourself, like God. Knowing who He is, and who He created you to be is going to be key in finding your strength. The next step is feeling connected to your wife. Doing the work it will take to get your wife to fully trust you, and be open and vulnerable with you feels a bit daunting in the beginning. But when you begin to understand her and she begins to be vulnerable with you, and your sex life begins to reflect that progress, that is real power. You will begin to feel strength and confidence like you have never felt before. It will be so fulfilling you will know what it is to be a man. It may take some time, and it will require some delayed gratification along the way, but in the end, I can promise you it will be worth it. It will be what you have craved your whole life, and it is worth fighting for!
If you are a woman who has a husband addicted to porn, I would say this to you: If you have learned anything so far you have learned that his addiction to porn has little to do with you. You are beautiful enough, you are exciting enough, and you are worth fighting for. You have to believe that! He needs your support and encouragement, and to shame him further does not help your cause. You also need to be brave enough to set some boundaries and reinforce the truth that you are worth fighting for. Be ready to respond to his efforts in fighting for you, and be ready to show sadness, not anger when he doesn’t fight for you. Remember my blog about princes not rescuing dragons? If you haven’t read it, please do. But if you have, just remember that he was born to fight for his princess. If you become the dragon what is his motivation?
I don't expect a lot of comments on this blog as people will feel hesitant to expose the fact that they may be dealing with this issue. But, I do welcome any private messages and questions for me or my husband. With issues like pornography many people can feel isolated and alone. Please know you're not!