Real men talk about porn.

SECRET+WPI recently came upon this post about porn addiction and as a porn addict myself who has struggled on and off for many years and has been able to get it under control (with a lot of help from other people- I’ll get to that later) I take a keen eye when it comes to reading articles and blogs and pieces about porn. Especially, as it relates to Christians.

So when this blog came to my attention via Stuff Christian Culture Likes on facebook I clicked the link to read it straight away.

Now I am sure that the writer had the best intentions when writing it and I am sure they are passionate about seeing men (and women) free from porn. He is spot on when he says that porn addiction is a conversation that we need to be having.

The problem with any discussion on porn addiction that begins with hyperbolic language to make a point is that you run the risk of alienating the very people who need to hear the message.

Hyperbolic language that relates porn consumption to child trafficking, rape or abuse only serves to increase the shame that those dealing with a porn addiction have. I am under no illusion that there is definetley porn out there that comes out of child abuse and rape. Matt is on the ball when he talks about these types of images and movies being a part of the “darkest regions of the internet”.

However when we start out like this and when we link all porn consumption with the obvious illegal activities that go on we are only going to create more shame.

Our general mindset becomes porn= illegal and depraved and utterly perverted. No wonder then that we struggle to talk about these things in Church where the need to talk about it openly is so needed. Anyone that struggles with looking at porn then becomes afraid to talk about it with someone in fear that they will be labelled as a pervert. If you know anything about porn addiction you know that shame is the fuel that keeps addiction burning. Shame leads to porn addiction which leads to shame which leads to porn, to shame, to porn and.. well I think you get the point.

The shame which leads to a lack of honest and open conversation is also helped along with the damaging and just plain wrong idea that “real men” don’t look at porn.

Any Christian man will have heard this term used often and it does little but make the man feel bad about themselves, which leads to shame. We all know how that works don’t we?! What a ‘real man’ is, is something that has never been pinned down. But telling men that they aren’t really a man if they look at porn again perpetuates the shame. Shame = porn = more shame = more porn etc.

If we’re forced to use the ‘real man’ term I would strive to redefine it not as someone who doesn’t look at porn but someone who is brave enough to open up to a friend, or a family member or a Pastor about their struggles. That takes real guts. Guts to be vulnerable and admit they don’t have it all together. Most porn addicts in the church think they are the only one dealing with it. They think this unsurprisingly because it is barely talked about and when it is talked about, as Matt’s post at times encourages itself, it is in a manner that depicts all porn users as perverts who prey on women. This simply, is just not true.

Finally, the problem with the discussion on porn in Church is not so much that men don’t see a problem with it, rather it is in its very nature an addiction. Put it this way, someone addicted to porn doesn’t necessarily continue to do so because they think it is fine, they continue because they can’t help it. That’s why it is called an addiction.

If you talk to most people who are addicted and want to be free they are more than aware that it is not healthy for them to view porn. They will tell you about the shame they feel, the doubts about themselves, the lack of intimacy with their spouse, the lack of intimacy with God, their increased irritability, the perpetual guilt, loss of direction etc.

So having a pros v cons discussion of porn is old news to the porn addict. That is not the problem. We know all too well what porn will do to us. This may sound as an excuse to go on viewing porn. It is not. It is just how it is.

So how do we begin healing from a porn addiction?

By removing the shame aspect of talking about porn addiction (or maybe sin in general) so that people won’t feel threatened by the response. By offering places where people know they can be open with people who won’t judge them and who won’t reject them. Who will love them regardless. By removing the stigma that porn encourages.

By being the person who takes the brave step and admits that they are addicted to porn so others can see they aren’t the only one.

Getting help is the only way that someone can become free from any addiction. That requires honesty. An honesty that will wither and die before we even get started if we continue to encourage a view of porn that is highly stigmatized.

How we talk about porn is important. How we talk about sin is important. When we talk about it a way that is going to increase the shame involved then we need to think of better language to use. We need to think of more loving ways to address it in the pew.

Because judgmental language is never going to help.

No matter how much of a real man you are.

2 thoughts on “Real men talk about porn.

  1. Thank you so much for positing this! Being a young man who has struggled with porn addiction for many years, you hit the nail right on the head! it was not until i felt the freedom that opening up to others brought, and the peace of knowing that i am not alone as I for so long told myself that i finally began to turn my focus back to where it needs to be in order to become free from this addiction, God! Since i shared my story that fist time a little over two years ago, i have opened up with many other young men (16-20 year olds) many of whom were brought to tears simply hearing my story. I remember feeling what I knew they were all feeling, :I am not alone? there is actually someone else out there struggling with this?” it is amazing to see how God work through us when we are open enough to share our storied with others! thank you for this post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s