Figuring out why
Redeemed pornography user here. One of the most helpful tools for me in combating porn temptation was figuring out why it had such a strong pull in my life. Going back in my memories to the 9 year old boy who was lonely and emotionally starved for affection coupled with the neurophysical response of dopamine and adrenaline helped put things into perspective. I self-medicated my loneliness with porn. Satan seized the opportunity to implant some very damaging lies that with God’s help as a beloved son of the King of Glory are being dismantled. Here’s a few resources that have helped me along the journey:
Surfing for God – Michael John Cusick; A good starting point for understanding the issue behind the desire. Porn addiction is not about sex! Good book by itself, but you can miss the bigger picture (as I did) when reading. Best when coupled with a more holistic spiritual healing resource.
Heart of a Warrior – Michael Thompson; By far, the best Christian resource for men I’ve ever read. Facilitates understanding the wounds inflicted on our young hearts as boys that Satan uses to shift our perspective and keep us enslaved to sin. Through Christ we are a NEW creation and co-heirs as beloved sons of the Most High God!
Men of Valor Podcast; They have a series about the origins of sexual addiction that were also helpful in understanding myself.
Christian marriage/sex blogs:
Generous Husband, Generous Wife, XYCode, Forgiven Wife, and many more I can’t remember (I’ll try to update with links when I get on my laptop); These were instrumental in understanding that my sexual desires were not inherently sinful and how sex is way more about the emotional and spiritual connection with my wonderful Wifey than a physical release.
Another great book it Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing by Jay Stringer.
It’s not just about porn, but unwanted sexual behaviour as a whole. The premise is these things come from our story, both past and present. When we find and deal with those things, the unwanted behaviour loses it’s hold on us.
Like many addictions or bad habits, there can be from subtle to huge differences in origin for everyone. And though I believe it can be overcome’ I hesitate to say it can be cured – simply because the natural temptation is always there. The best way I know of to defeat it long term is to learn to hate it – “it” being porn. That is extremely difficult as the base desire that drives it is not sinful of itself. Much like hunger and need for food makes dieting so hard. IMO, smoke and drink are less difficult to give up simply because you can easily do without them with no ill effects. Sex could also be in that category for a single person, but not the case for one married. Even if you thought for yourself it would be better to be celibate to keep your desire down and avoid sin, you cannot make that decision in the face of your spouse’s desire or need.
So you have to not only figure out what is behind the temptation, but also how to separate the feelings so you can crucify the right one without damaging the other. That can be incredibly difficult.
Just as soon as you think you got it whooped and you are re-focused on the right place, your spouse is unavailable for whatever reason, good or bad, and “it” is always there saying “I can help you!” Our mind never really forgets anything, so it is always there. And the simple truth is – yes, you “feel” better for a moment. Though there is a lie, “it” never helps solve the problem that caused the pain to begin with, it just masks temporarily and always amplifies the pain eventually. That’s satan ‘s secret weapon – to get you to use something to repair that actually makes the problem worse – which sends you looking for more …. and down the spiral you go.
In that aspect, it’s really no different than any other addiction that makes the same empty promises. Alcohol, drugs, food, sex – it’s all the same basic problem. The key I think is figuring out how to sooth those pains with the appropriate salve. The pains will always be there, they always come back. Everybody has some form of them.
There are specific action plans that vary for individuals. My best choice is always physical activity – just get up and go do something else. Usually physical. Recognition is important too. Seeing the signs early on that the storm is building. For me, being honest about my desires with my spouse is helpful – because luckily for me, I have a very forgiving and serving spouse. But even so, I find that so hard to do sometimes. I guess it represents a weakness in me that I’d rather keep hidden. And even though she is understanding, she is not perfect and doesn’t always react or respond positively. Only addicts understand how difficult that can be. So you have to develop multiple action plans for multiple situations.
One last thing – I do believe it is important to grasp the concept of forgiveness and learn to forgive yourself. This in turn should include some level of forgetting so as to not let guilt control you and keep you in the spiral. However – it is also very easy to forget where the spiral takes you. So along with forgetting, we have to work on remembering – remembering the negative results of following the rabbit down the hole. This can bring back some of that guilt. Navigating those waters have been the hardest for me over the years. Sometimes you just want some relief, and you want it now. The right way works, but it seldom seems as easily attainable or as quickly applicable.
Thats where faith comes in.
Thanks for the list of resources.
Figuring out the why is important in so many areas where we find ourselves enslaved, whether is is sexual sin or anger or greed or whatever. There is always a root to something we can’t seem to overcome, and finding that root is the first step to pulling it out.
This is an excellent topic and important question. Rarely, if not ever, will you meet a man that has not looked at pornography – more than a glance. Curiosity could be the simple ‘why.’ The physical charge of eroticism another ‘why.’
The simple, God created purpose of a woman’s form to stimulate the urge to re-produce can cause a man to look for that form in the wrong places. An unhealthy spiritual, emotional, and/or relational situation of a man (or boy) drives the ‘why’ for the use of pornography to achieve sexual gratification. It is certainly sin at its basic level and a debilitating addiction at its worse. Getting at those deeply rooted ‘whys’ for the draw of and use of pornography is so vital and important. Thanks for starting this topic!
Here’s an interesting and thoughtful article that urges the pursuit of ‘figuring out the why.’
As promised, here’s a list of blogs I found helpful:
The Generous Husband
The Generous Wife
The XY Code
(Thanks Paul and Lori for all the work you put into your writings!)
One Flesh Marriage
Hot Holy Humerous
Heaven Made Marriage
To Love Honor and Vacuum
Also, as a warning to anyone looking to explore their wounds or who is becoming aware of their wounds – beware of your reaction. When my eyes were opened to the wounding of my heart, I was acutely aware of where I (incorrectly) thought the wounds were coming from and focused way too heavily on my Wifey’s actions and responses. Certainly, Satan can use those closest to us to inflict the most damaging wounds, but they are all a part of his plan to keep us isolated and focused on self (self-sufficient, self-seeking, self-protecting) instead of relying on God.