The young man told me an unbelievable story. He was telling me about an activity that was popular in his college dorm. It was called "hogging."
As he explained what this activity was, it became clear to me that this young man was engaging in a very sinful and demeaning sexual activity. By many standards, his behavior was considered deviant and misogynous.
Clearly, hogging is when a man purposely seeks out an overweight or unattractive woman to satisfy his sexual appetite. Many times, it is a game, a form of competition that men do to see who can have sex with the largest woman. It is not unusual for a group of men at a bar decide to "spice up" the most overweight or unattractive woman or it occurs when it is close to bar closing and a man decided he will "settle" for this woman rather than go home alone. This type of behavior is disgusting, despicable and wrong on so many levels.
This young man was starting to feel a twinge of guilt for his behavior. The night before he was involved in a "rodeo" where his friends hid in his bedroom and took pictures of his sexual activity and then jumped out and surprised the woman, humiliating her and telling her it was all a competition. This last encounter ended with the young woman breaking down in tears, angrily crying hysterically and threatening to call the police for sexual assault.
It's disgusting the path that sin takes in men's lives. The desire to seek sexual thrills coupled with competition makes men stupid. This selfishness leads to treating people like objects, forgetting that other people have needs and feelings as well.
His behavior reminded me of a section of the Bible where Paul is speaking to first generation Christians: "Don't you know that wicked people won't inherit the kingdom of God? Stop deceiving yourselves! People who continue to commit sexual sins..." Then Paul reminds them that even though they have engaged in sexual sins, that they have changed... "That's what some of you were! But you have been washed and made holy, and you have received God's approval..."
This young man didn't have a Christian heritage on which to build, just like these first generation Christians. He thought that what he was doing was "normal, what guys do." Fortunately, the Holy Spirit was speaking to him, letting him know that abusing women and seeking sexual thrills and competition is not "normal." And he was listening...
God takes pleasure in uprightness, in those who seek to please Him before pleasing their own sensual desires and selfishness.
This young man changed for the better. He is now walking in righteousness, seeking God's will for his life. He is forgiven. He is now made holy. He is receiving God's approval.
God changed this young man.
Allow God to change you.
BE A MAN.
"We're gonna put our money into a computer rather than marriage counseling." This was a statement from a man with a rather troubled marriage. "I don't think counseling is going to help us any. We can spend time together in front of the computer and find good resources there." I looked at his wife and she, in a rather pie-eyed fashion, gave her tacit permission towards her husband's solution to their many marriage troubles. He proceeded with a rather lengthy story about how a new, more powerful computer, would be the solution not only to their family woes but also the difficulties in his marriage. "We will gather around the computer as a family and make our computer a place of bonding, we'll become stronger if we invest in that rather than counseling." I attempted to protest but he had won his wife over to his point of view. They cancelled their remaining sessions and I never saw them again.
Do you think the computer helped this marriage? A computer is amoral. It is neither evil nor good. It is what is done with the computer that brings in the morality.
I have been able to watch this man's behavior from a distance and unfortunately, his life has fallen apart. His wife divorced him. Several things transpired that she could not live with: 1) he used the computer for watching porn, 2) he used the computer to develop relationships with numerous women with whom he had affairs, 3) he was arrested for having sex with a patient, 4) he was also arrested for domestic violence and 5) he lost his medical license.
The computer also affected his children. One of his children became addicted to pornography (from the same computer), another was charged with sexual molestation and must now register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, the rest of his children have completely cut him off, wanting nothing to do with him.
I'm not saying that if they had continued in counseling that everything would have been perfect and these problems would not have occurred but I think it is ironic that the very thing he convinced his wife would solve all of their problems seriously contributed to his moral failure and the subsequent behavior of his family. I'm also not saying that the computer was his main problem. His main problem (in spite of claiming the name of Christian) was old-fashioned selfishness. He was not allowing God to transform him.
I'm writing this to you to ask you a few questions:
Into what are you pouring your time, energy and money?
Have you convinced yourself that possessions will bring your happiness?
Or have you invested your life into accountability, honest relationships and seeking God's will for your life?
God is very clear about His will: It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
I have heard that this man is now trying to repair the damage he has done and is trying again to live a life that is pleasing to God. I find that encouraging.
Please pray for him.
BE A MAN.
Most Christians today like to say that all sins are “equal” in the eyes of God, that there is no scale of less or worse sins, that a white lie or a homicide alike would have been enough to require Christ to die on the cross. We say this in theory, but in practice, we know that a white lie won’t get you kicked off the church leadership team. And a homicide likely will.
In practice, there are some sins that are socially acceptable, even in the Church. There’s one sin in particular that has pervaded our society and churches so silently we hardly give it a second thought, and that is the constant hunt for more over what is enough. Or, in an uglier terminology, what is known as gluttony.
When I think about gluttony, I think about my desire to shove a dozen donuts into my mouth and wash them down with chocolate milk. Or perhaps it’s my tendency to mindlessly feed chips to a stomach that’s no longer hungry. Many of us can look at the sin of gluttony and think, “That’s not really my struggle.” Or, we think, “What’s the big deal?” After all, most congregations have compulsive over-eaters among them, and they’re not considered “less spiritual” or “backslidden” for it.
But gluttony has never been merely an addiction to food. And if we look at it in its original definition and context, gluttony becomes far closer to home than we’d like to admit.
At its simplest, gluttony is the soul’s addiction to excess. It occurs when taste overrules hunger, when want outweighs need. And in America, where upsizing has always been part of the American dream, it’s often difficult to distinguish what is hard-earned achievement and what is indulgent excess. In this sense, even the most athletic and toned among us can be gluttons. Any of us can be.
All desire for excess stems from a lack of satisfaction. I’m not satisfied with my portion—be it the portion on my plate, in the marriage bed, or in my bank account. Because I’m not satisfied with my portion, I then seek a greater portion. But because every portion is a finite part of a finite whole, I am constantly chasing an excess that can never satisfy.
This is the story of Genesis 3. What was the sin in the Garden of Eden if not a desire for excess? Adam and Eve were given beautiful sights and beautiful tastes in the absence of shame, but what made the garden a paradise was not any of this. It was a paradise because God walked in the cool of the day with them. And yet, Adam and Eve’s downfall was because they deemed even this as not enough. They weren’t content with their portion of paradise, and they reached out—to disastrous consequence—for more.
Like them, we are ravenous beings. We embody bottomless cravings that constantly paw at the next attractive thing. Our appetites are as strong as death, Proverbs 27:20 tells us. We are always on the move for the next thing that can satisfy and slake our restless thirst. This endless pull is the engine of gluttony. It propels our souls ever toward excess.
And yet, the desire for “more” is not inherently bad, but it is often misdirected. What we need is a relentless appetite for the divine. We need a holy ravenousness. Our craving souls can turn and become enthralled by a goodness that is found in the presence of an all-glorious God. There is only one infinite source of satisfaction that can satisfy our bottomless cravings.
A taste of His supreme grace is enough to lure an appetite long held prisoner to lesser portions. If stolen water is sweet, lavished grace is sweeter.
And here’s a strange side effect: The more we drink deeply of the endless love of an infinite God, the more our tastes will be changed. The deep bright marrow of grace will drip down into the restless souls of the ever-hungry.
In pursuit of lesser portions, our tastes have dulled. We’ve become numb to our real hungers, filling them with lesser fare. But when we return to the source, we taste anew.
Psalm 34:8 challenges us to see the difference for ourselves: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” I think Paul understood this verse when he told the people at Lystra that God gives food and gladness so that our hearts would turn from vain things and turn to the ultimate satisfaction of who God is (Acts 14:15-17).
Consequently, if God has ordained that His goodness can be tasted and seen (and, I would submit, heard, smelled and touched), this has at least two direct implications. First, it means that every finite pleasure and satisfaction is meant to point us toward the infinite pleasure and satisfaction of God. My admiration for a sunset, then, need not stop at that horizon, rather it can curve upward into praise and gratitude. Second, it means that if our desire for "more" is misplaced, then certainly it can be redirected to something good as well.
Is the desire for excess sinful? It depends on whether the soul is addicted to a finite excess or an infinite excess. Do we ever think of gorging on God? Do we relish the chance to spend a few more minutes in prayer, hidden away from the world for just one more taste of the divine? When was the last time we lingered long over the pages of an open Bible because we just couldn’t stop admiring the honeyed flavor of an ancient truth? If the Bible is the story of the only infinite good, why do we spend so much of our lives at lesser tables?
We Christians have so tamed our enjoyment in God that we cannot fathom what such thrill-seeking would even look like. Feasting on God is as foreign to most Americans as an empty stomach. Why can’t we fix our souls on the only goodness who can handle our cravings? Why do we chase the more mild flavors of money, food and sex?
If only we would not stifle our gluttonous cravings, but turn them in the right direction. If only we would feast on an infinite God who offers fullness of life, rather than these lesser tables with the far milder flavors of money, sex, food and power.
As George MacDonald put it, “Sometimes I wake and, lo, I have forgot.” Sleep is like a reset button and my hunger is misdirected often. I think I’m hungry for the finite, but I’m really hungry for God. To remember, we need to taste daily, deeply and constantly of the goodness of God. So let us turn together, and feast rightly.This post was written by Jason Todd of Relevant Magazine. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/socially-acceptable-sin
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Several years ago, I got into a debate with a close friend and the conversation went quickly south. What began as a discussion about our theological and political differences ended up in a shouting match in which each person's character was called into question.
I went into the argument with a "win-at-all-costs" mentality. Winning a disagreement was the only way I knew how to disagree, but what I lost wasn't worth the victory. I said plenty of things I didn't mean. As the saying goes, "I won the battle, but lost the war." And lost a great friend in the process. We haven’t spoken since.
I may have won the debate, but it wasn’t worth the cost.
We’re never going to agree with everyone we come in contact with, but we must learn how to disagree in a way that honors Christ and His body.
Disagreement is an increasing norm in our lives, but we're marginally equipped. It's much easier to post disparaging remarks on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and news articles. Digital disagreement allows us to hide behind a screen.
Just take a sampling of the Christian blogosphere, where heated debates on who gets into heaven, the biblical role of women and gay marriage, just to name a few, are commonplace. Spend time scrolling through comments where any of these discussions take place and you'll immediately lose your faith in humanity.
All of this painfully illuminates the question: Why can't Christians disagree well? Why are we so comfortable tarnishing the name of Jesus—whom we all call “Lord”—just so we can win the argument?
Christians spend much of their time focused on how to engage the un-Christian world around them—and rightfully so. Yet in doing so, we sometimes lose our ability to navigate conversations and relationships with our own brothers and sisters.
John didn't hold anything back when he said: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). We usually apply this to our relationship with unbelievers, but loving “one another” in and amongst our own is an incredible witness as well—for better or for worse. So how can we turn this around? What do we need to do in order to disagree with our brothers and sisters in love.
First, we need to understand that the underlying theme that allows for disagreement to happen in a healthy way is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence can be simply defined as seeking to understand before being understood. It's human nature to fight for your supposed “right” to an opinion and your supposed “right” to be heard. But the reigning mark of our faith is not holding on to our personal rights, but offering our Christ-reflective unconditional love. It's easier to hoard the opportunity to push someone else down than to sacrifice your right to be heard. But to uphold the name of love, this is often the harder, better way.
Emotional intelligence is sacrificing your rights in order to care for others. This is deeply rooted in the Christian faith: "In humility value others above yourselves" (Philippians 2:3). By focusing only on yourself—your opinion, your agenda, your perspective—you shrink the world. Your problems become the lens you see everything through. You isolate yourself from a world looking for attention, love and human kindness. You cannot care for others when the world revolves around you. And you cannot build the Church body if all you are concerned about is yourself.
Yet in focusing on understanding the other, in an intentional act of love, your world expands. By seeking to understand before being understood, "our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection—or compassionate action," says psychologist Daniel Goleman in Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.
Just like in any family, conflict among Christians will never go away. But when we learn how to seek understanding before being understood, we can begin to have healthy disagreements.
We can learn to focus on areas of agreement over areas of disagreement. And perhaps then, we can restore our reputation of love.This post was written by Tyler Braun of Relevant Magazine. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/why-dont-christians-play-nice
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
What should you do when you find yourself attracted to another woman? Here are some helps: 1. Avoid being alone with her. Ensure that your spouse is with you whenever you must be with this person. If not, tell your spouse ahead of time and/or immediately afterward.
2. Stop fantasizing about being with her romantically and/or sexually.
3. Don't open Pandora's box by telling her that you are sexually attracted to her. It will only complicate matters more. She may turn around and accuse you of harassment.
4. Share your feelings of attraction with a close friend who can hold you accountable.
5. Take responsibility for all your actions. You are not to blame for your feelings but you are responsible for the actions that follow your feelings.
6. Try to look at the whole picture. A few moments of passion can lead to a lifetime of regret and hurt.
Taken from The Sexual Man: Masculinity without guilt
BE A MAN.
The crime of human trafficking is one of the most egregious human rights violations, and it is happening in our own communities. Its victims are individuals lured into this country under false promises of legitimate work, only to be forced into the sex industry on arrival. They are domestic runaways taken in by traffickers and forced to trade sex for a place to sleep. They are also girls being baited into “the life” by a presumed boyfriend who later reveals himself as a pimp. Much like victims of domestic violence, human trafficking victims are trapped by fear, isolation and brutality at the hands of their traffickers and those who purchase them for sex.
An estimated 1 million children worldwide are sexually exploited annually. The average age of girls forced into the sex trade is 12 to 14. Within the United States alone, it is estimated that nearly 300,000 children are trafficked for sex every year. The cases involve tremendous violence, such as a recent case where the victim was beaten, forced naked into a cold shower, covered with ice and then made to stand in front of an air conditioner for 30 minutes.
What can be done to prevent other children and teens from being victimized? A first step is addressing the truth about trafficking. Put simply, human trafficking is the selling of human beings for profit through forced labor, sexual exploitation or involuntary domestic servitude. Experts estimate 27 million people are trafficked worldwide annually, reaping $32 billion in illegal profits, which makes it the second-largest and fastest-growing black market in the world.
Human trafficking is a crime that can be difficult to identify and track. The Internet and websites such as Backpage.com have only exacerbated this problem, by taking the sex trade off our streets and into hotel rooms — out of sight of law enforcement and social services. Our computers provide access to a variety of sites that promote prostitution, which make millions of dollars by offering anonymity to traffickers, further facilitating the victimization of children.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed in 2000 became the first federal law to emphasize the need to protect victims and offer legal protection for victims of trafficking. States have responded by passing comprehensive human trafficking statutes and updating existing statutes. Today, all but one state have some form of anti-trafficking law. While momentum against trafficking is increasing, however, more must be done. Our work to reduce the demand for commercial sex is built on a simple, solid foundation: Societal change requires information. Just as a movement against drunken driving helped the public understand the danger of drinking and driving through a concerted campaign of public awareness and powerful testimonials to reduce deadly accidents, our work seeks to spark positive change. Moreover, just as domestic violence all too recently was a topic broached only behind closed doors, bringing the tragedy of human trafficking to the public eye is the first step of many.
Those who receive messages from popular music, movies and television that selling sex is just another career choice should know that most prostitutes are, at the very best, selling themselves for the lack of other means to support themselves. In fact, those used in commercial sex lead an extremely dangerous and often violent existence. Epidemiologists report that individuals used in commercial sex live only to an average age of 34. Many aren’t willing participants. The stark reality is that many aren’t even old enough to consent to sex. If apprehended, johns increasingly face serious criminal prosecution. These basic facts, if widely understood, should reduce the demand for commercial sex and thus lessen the number of human trafficking victims.
Is the effort to reduce demand for human trafficking a misguided moral crusade or an imperative to protect young people and others from those who profit from illegal, often involuntary, servitude? Decide for yourself. The answer seems pretty clear.
If you wish to join the effort, consider offering your time and financial support to charities that provide services to victims. Men can speak out against johns who purchase individuals for sex. Parents, parent-teacher organizations and schools can help educate children about how to protect themselves online. Doctors, nurses and hospitality and travel industry workers can seek training to identify victims and help them access services.
The fight to end the exploitation of human trafficking victims continues.
This post was written by Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II who is the attorney general of Virginia. For the original post, go to: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/15/the-truth-about-sex-trafficking/#ixzz2JH96Z6rr
BE A MAN.
Early in our marriage, we would receive Victoria's Secret catalogs in the mail. Even back then, these catalogs were pornography. They've only gotten worse.
Nevertheless, I told Karyn about the draw those catalogs had for me and I asked her to not have those in the house, especially since we were raising boys.
By starving my eyes from those catalogs, they came to the point of having less attraction for me. Over time, by telling Karyn about the things that turned me on, she was able to help me. We would talk about those things that were tempting. It was liberating to tell her and she would continue to love me and shield me from those things that held my attraction.
After the boys were raised, I accompanied her to a Victoria's Secret store where she was trying on some clothes. Being the dutiful husband, I went with her. I thought, "I've gotten past that Victoria's Secret temptation. I can handle this now."
While I was sitting there, minding my own business and trying not to look at the images of scantily clad women on the walls, a very attractive young lady walked up to me and started talking to me. I was polite and talked with her. Then another attractive young lady and then another. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by three very attractive young ladies.
Well, my ego got the best of me. I started thinking, "these girls think I'm hot. They're talking to me because they really like me." I found myself paying more attention to them while they were flirting with me (or I thought they were flirting with me). Then it hit me. "What in the world am I doing? I'm almost old enough to be these young ladies' father!" Then Karyn came out of the dressing room and paid for some clothes she was buying.
When we got outside, I confessed to Karyn what had happened. She simply said, "of course those sales clerks were talking to you, you're safe. You're much older than them. The longer you stay in the store, the more likely I will buy something." Well, I'll tell you, my ego was instantly deflated. We continued our conversation and Karyn said that the clerks were occupying me so that she would spend more time shopping.
Why do I share this story with you?
Well I learned a few things about temptation:
- I said to myself before going into the store, "I can handle this." God says, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." Knowing this was a past temptation, it would have been wise to ask God for strength before entering. It might have been better to just not go into that store.
- I have a big ego and I need to keep it in check. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." If I stay humble, God will give me more grace.
- Temptation changes. I thought that I had the sin of lust conquered. However, this temptation played into something different. I was on my guard for lust but not on guard for my ego.
- My ego got in the way of my ability to think clearly. These young ladies were just doing what they had been taught. "Keep the hubby happy and his wife will buy more stuff." I was being played and never realized it.
So, my conclusion, my goal of this post is this:
Do you let your ego go unchecked?
Do you humble yourself so that God can give you more grace?
If you think that you have temptation conquered, get ready. You will find yourself tempted in ways that you haven't been considering.
BE A MAN.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Alain de Botton made a surprisingly theological argument against pornography. He argued that pornography often functions like an addiction. It inflames a particular species of pleasure and, over time, can order all of life to the pursuit of this pleasure.
A brain originally designed to cope with nothing more tempting than an occasional glimpse of a tribesperson across the savannah is lost with what’s now on offer on the net at the click of a button: when confronted with offers to participate continuously in scenarios outstripping any that could be dreamt up by the diseased mind of the Marquis de Sade. There is nothing robust enough in our psychological make-up to compensate for developments in our technological capacities. We are vulnerable to what we read and see. Things don’t just wash over us. We are passionate and for the most part unreasonable creatures buffeted by destructive hormones and desires, which means that we are never far from losing sight of our real long-term ambitions.
Drawing on the thought of St. Augustine, de Botton argues that true freedom is the freedom to pursue what is necessary for the good life, a freedom that pornography and similar addictions can practically destroy. De Botton concludes by saying that we should heed religion’s (and here I think he has Christianity mostly in mind) call to limit our sexual drive, not because sex is bad but to keep sex ordered to our overall well-being.
De Botton essay is an important commentary on the reality of contemporary life. As Pamela Paul research indicates in her book Pornified:
A good friend of mine I think summarized the situation best, “You used to have to exert an effort to view pornography. Now you have to exert an effort to NOT view it.”
- Overuse, pornography, infidelity, and risky behaviors are among the most frequently treated Internet-related problems by mental health professionals
- Over half of all spending on the Internet is estimated to be related to sex
- The best estimates indicate that 77% of Americans view pornography at least once a month
- 75-77% of males have downloaded porn in their lives
- 20% of males consciously abstain from viewing pornography
- 70% of 18-24 year-old males visit porn site monthly
- 47% of women believe pornography harms relationships while 33% of men said the same
- 33% of all Americans believe that pornography will not harm a relationship
- During a six-week experiment the statement, “marriage is an important institution,” was affirmed by 60% of men who viewed no pornography during that period, but only 39% of those exposed to heavy viewing of pornography during the same period affirmed the same statement
- 58% of women believe that pornography is demeaning to women while only 37% of men agree
- Both men and women who were exposed to pornography were significantly less likely to want to raise a daughter than those who had not viewed pornography
Pornography is not just addictive and ubiquitous though. It is also a story about how we should relate to people. In her article “Love your Enemy: Sex, Power, and Christian Ethics,” Karen Lebacqz describes pornography’s relationship script as follows:
Pornography would suggest that men are socialized to find both male power and female powerlessness sexually arousing. In pornography, domination of women by men is portrayed as sexy. It is the power of the man or men to make the woman do what she does not want to do—to make her do something humiliating, degrading, or antithetical to her character—that creates the sexual tension and excitement . . . . In pornography, women are raped tied up, beaten, humiliated--and are portrayed as initially resisting and ultimately enjoying their degradation. (Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics 10 (1990) 8)
The only addition I would add to this “relationship” narrative is the one Ariel Levy notes in her Female Chauvinist Pigs, women and men can switch roles, either one playing the submissive role or taking the assertive role. Either way, the pornography script makes rape not just acceptable but the norm. (I think Jana’s recent post makes a very similar point.)
Finally, it seems important to remember that pornography is also a business, with the lowest estimates making it a billion dollar a year business. It is not only taking advantage of an innate human drive, as de Botton argues, but also forming people in this perspective to generate a steady revenue stream.
Screwtape’s quip about the best way to corrupt a person seems to capture the cumulative result of the pornography industry, “An ever increasing craving for an ever dimensioning pleasure is the formula. It is certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return.”
I would probably despair of this situation except for two things. First, practically, the beginning of a solution to this problem is simple: stop (or do not start) viewing pornography. If help is needed with this, there are countless effective and free filters available for routers. This one was recommended to me by two of my tech savvy friends.
Secondly, theological, God made us such that in our hearts we desire much more than what pornography offers, we desire to love and to be loved. This is the heart of the Church’s sexual teaching: that sex should always be life giving, not destructive, dominating, violent, or commercialized. This is why the metaphor Jesus frequently uses for heaven is the wedding banquet, friends and family singing, dancing, and eating in the celebration of love. Pornography cannot ultimately compete with this joy for which God made us.
This post was written by Jason King. The original post can be found at: http://catholicmoraltheology.com/porn/
BE A MAN.
In mid-2006, the world of porn underwent a transformation. The major players all introduced YOUtube-style streaming videos. Before this momentous event, you had to download the video, then open it, and risk getting a virus. Sometimes you didn't have the right software, so you spent a lot of time making sure it was what you wanted to see before downloading it and 'enjoying' it, or you would go to a specific site whose content you liked, watch the one or two new videos and leave it at that.
More recently, porn delivery evolved in the direction of video gallery sites (increasingly referred to as 'tube sites') which aggregate pages of thumbnails of streaming tube videos from different porn sites. No guesswork, no pause while downloading. You look across a matrix of thumbnails of videos with maybe 100 or so screenshots, see a picture that floats your boat and click on it.
However, porn purveyors want hits, so your click may take you to that video, or it may take you to another site that you didn't intend to visit, often another gallery site, which is giving the first site a referral kick-back. Now you've got two pages of thumbnails open. At first, you find that annoying and close one, but after things deteriorate, something on the new page catches your eye and you click on that, making a mental note to go back to the first thumbnail. ....and so on until you find yourself with 20 tabs open.
There are two parts to a physical sexual experience: the build-up of arousal, and then the sex. In "normal" porn there is usually more emphasis on story. It often conveys some intimacy and touch etc. (Even though you are not physically experiencing it, you are mentally connecting more with those thoughts.) But on a tube site a clip is often a mere 3-5 minutes long. You go straight from 0 to 100mph. Arousal isn't a slow, relaxed, teasing build-up of expectation.
Guys all over the Web are complaining of extreme sexual performance problems and other symptoms. While the advent of Internet porn, and then the arrival of highspeed and torrent downloads of porn, increased rates of porn-related problems, many guys didn't notice severe problems until the rise of tube sites.
- Because tube clips are so short, you do a LOT more clicking to novel clips for various reasons: one is way too short to build up arousal; you don't know what will be in the clip till you watch it; endless curiosity, etc.
- The variety on tube sites is limitless.
A professor in the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Sheri Pagoto PhD, writes:
Studies on appetite show that variety is strongly associated with overconsumption. You will eat more at a buffet than you will when meatloaf is the only thing on the table. In neither scenario will you leave hungry but in one you will leave regretful. In other words, [if you want to circumvent overconsumption and its problems] avoid the buffets of life.
Professor Pagoto points out that,
By frequently seeking extreme forms of sexual stimulation, the porn addict will eventually develop an inability to experience sexual pleasure from normal sexual activity; and if the habit goes long enough, an inability to experience pleasure from anything except porn. This pattern of behavior actually changes the brain’s “baseline” of what turns them on. As you can imagine, serious problems develop. First sexual problems, then relationship problems, and then work problems.
It's not that food or sexual arousal are "bad." Things go awry when an activity "become[s] necessary, a 'go to,' preferred over normal life experiences." Not surprisingly, a 2011 study (USA) found that, "Higher frequencies of [porn] use were associated with less sexual and relationship satisfaction."
"Uh-oh...where's my erection?"
Endless in-your-face variety not only promotes higher-than-usual consumption, it typically also decreases sensitivity to pleasure. One common result is decreased feelings of satisfaction; the brain wants more and more.
In the case of porn buffets, another effect men often report is loss of sexual responsiveness. Decreased response to pleasure is common in all addictions, both behavioral and chemical. As erections and orgasm depend in part on sensitivity to dopamine in a key part of the brain, it appears that a decreased sensitivity to dopamine is making some users less sexually responsive too.
But a numbed pleasure response is probably only one factor, especially for the younger guys. They appear to be wiring their sexual response to sexual cues that are so different from human sexuality that they don't respond normally to the "real deal" when a three-dimensional partner turns up.
As with some other technological advances, humanity has apparently outsmarted itself with the creation of tube sites. One insightful observer commented,
If people have the right to be tempted—and that’s what free will is all about—the market is going to respond by supplying as much temptation as can be sold. Market incentive continues well beyond the point where a superstimulus begins wreaking collateral damage on the consumer. —Eliezer Yudkowsky
What makes tube sites the Bermuda Triangle of porn? Judging from men's self-reports we'd say:
- Using a tube site, users seek for, and consume, more novelty per session than ever. They tend to overconsume, and risk numbing their response to sexual pleasure.
- Tube sites offer videos, rather than stills, so the viewer doesn't use his imagination and becomes a passive voyeur, no longer imagining himself as protagonist.
- Clips are shorter than normal sex and "cut to the chase," rewiring users' sexuality to an unnaturally hasty sexual rhythm.
- Hotter thumbnails/clips, endless novelty and abundant material that violates expectations constitute supernormal stimulation, and may rewire users' sexuality to pixels that goose the reward circuitry more than real mates.
- Searches for the perfect clip tend to ratchet up anxiety.
- Tube sites are intense brain-training--but not for real sex, as demonstrated by viewers' unreliable erections with partners.
Another piece of secular research. When will Christians stop hiding their sin?
Even the world has caught on a little bit:
Porn isn't good for you.
Porn isn't good for relationships.
Porn isn't good for society.
This blog post was adapted from an article found on the Psychology Today website:
BE A MAN.
Men have within them this desire to always be looking for more. That could be one of the definitions of a TOURNAMENT MALE. Men have unusual abilities. For example, a room can be full of men, yet some will attempt to monopolize the only woman in the room.
Men will be talking, many of them with their backs to the door. A woman will enter the room and the men with their backs to the door will know, I don’t know how we know, but we know when a woman has entered the room. Maybe we pick up on the observations of the other men that saw her first. I don’t know how, but we men have this ability.
A few moments after the woman enters, men will do one and/or two things:
1) they will check her out, comparing her to their own wife or girlfriend, or if single, compare her with old girlfriends, and/or 2) they will approach her and start talking to her.
There will ALWAYS be more than one man who chooses option #2. Hence, the tournament is on…
Let me share with you my experience with being a TOURNAMENT MALE.
Before having been married for 10 years, we moved to Ecuador to counsel missionaries. I was excited being on the mission field with a young wife and two sons.
My office was in an English-speaking church in Quito. On one occasion, we had a group of about six high school girls visit us from America and the Pastor and I took them to the hospital in Shell Mera. We stopped at one very picturesque part of the Amazon Jungle where there was this waterfall that fed into the Amazon River. The Pastor and the most attractive girl took off down the trail (she had been sitting in the front with him and they had been carrying on quite a conversation) and I waited back at the van and walked the remaining girls down the trail. All the way down the trail, I was brooding. I was thinking to myself, “why does he get to take off all alone with the prettiest girl and I’m stuck with these five?” I was jealous and I was not very cordial on this trip after jealousy set in.
Sometime on the trip, I don’t know if it was at the hospital or on the trip back, I realized how stupid and selfish I was. A thought hit me, “You are such a lucky man. You have a wonderful, beautiful wife and two marvelous sons. Why in the world do you care about being alone with a high school girl?” Part of the answer was I was in a competition with the Pastor. Because he was with the prettiest girl, he was more of a man than I was (or so my ego wanted me to believe).
The TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome works that way. My ego was more important to me than anything. I got jealous.
When I got back to our apartment in Quito, after the boys were in bed, I told Karyn about this experience. I told her how I felt and what I discovered about myself. Karyn said, “yes, I’ve seen that about you and have been praying that God would talk to you about that.”
That just blew me away. My wonderful, patient, loving wife chose to let God speak to me about my TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome in His timing rather than confront me directly in her timing.
I tell you this story, passing on what I learned, hoping it will help you:
- It’s important to have someone in your life who is willing to pray for you
- It’s important to be honest with yourself, God and someone who loves you
- It’s important to listen to God’s Holy Spirit. He will lovingly confront you about things that need to change in your life.
Let God empower you to keep your ego in check.
Are you a TOURNAMENT MALE? Every man is. So, ask God to take you out of the tourney and put you into His hands where you can do what He wants and not be ruled by your jealousy and ego.
BE A MAN.
My thanks to Dr Don Joy for this concept of the Tournament Male