The Root Of The Issue

We’ve talked about statistics, scope and who is affected by the pornography epidemic.  Today, we’re going to excavate way below the surface issues and if you have the stomach for it, expose what might be at the root. Insecurity. I am not a psychologist, therapist, or licensed counselor.  I am, however, one who is walking the fragile road to freedom from a pornography addiction. On my journey, I have had the pleasure and at times, the curse, of talking with hundreds of guys/couples about their struggle with intimacy, sex, and pornography.  While we are all different and our stories vary considerably, I have found something that is staggeringly consistent in all of these conversations and in my own life…. We are terrified of the reality that we don’t measure up. What if I don’t have what it takes?  What if she doesn’t respect me?  Am I beautiful enough for him?  Does he still find me attractive?  Am I a failure as a husband? Leader? Father? While these fears are often below the surface, they have tremendous power to drive us to seek validation from anything possible…even if the validation is a counterfeit. Pornography makes us, in a very temporary and superficial way, feel validated sexually.  As many of us know, however, the guilt that sets in after the fact leaves us more empty and insecure than we were before.  So what do we do? Trust. Trust what God says about you. He loves you just the way you are.  He hates to see you burdened by the weight of your sin and it grieves Him.  But His arms are open wide ready to shower you with love and forgiveness. Once we begin truly walking in our trust of God and what he says about us, then we are set free to be honest with our spouses without insecurity because we know who we are in Christ.  Over time that deep authenticity and trust will give birth to and ignite REAL intimacy…the way God intended it to be. Remember, trust ignites intimacy.  Who then needs a counterfeit when you are enveloped by the real thing? Thoughts?

16 thoughts on “The Root Of The Issue”

  1. No – you didn’t go too deep in my opinion. I believe when it comes to this topic and the ones we love so dearly – you can’t go deep enough…

    I struggle with eating addictions to fill voids…and I truly believe that my husband’s porn addiction is no different. Comnpletely different ramifications – but similar none-the-less. Open eyes and brokenness…it IS what I pray for.

    I read this about an hour ago and it is still resonating in my mind. I want so much for my husband to see himself through Jesus’ eyes and not the eyes of the deceiver – but as Cindy shared with me yesterday – my job is to pray – there really isn’t much else I can do.

    Pray I do…

  2. Hey, this is off the porn topic, but still sort of the addiction part…how is the weight watchers going? Did you ever look into any of the “christian” diets out there? Like The LOrds Table and Thin within? Just wondering what your take on this is? The above diets mentioned shun WW because they say its just making the food behave or what have you instead of changing your heart. for those of us searching and longing to lose weight, what do you think? Can you do WW and lose weight and STILL glorify God? I’m being really sincere in asking all this and appreciate your honesty. love your blog too! Amy

  3. Wow! The silence on the comments is astounding! My take is the numbers of people that read this that have been plagued by pornography, the betrayal, the lies, the embarrassment, shame and guilt, fear putting themselves out there once again. It is hard to be on either side of the struggle, whether it is you or your mate that has struggled with it. The enemy so badly wants no one to talk about it, to keep it hidden in the dark. It is a lonely place to be, often scary, and causes so much doubt… such an endless cycle.

    I know for me, it was harder to find out that my husband was lying to me than to accept the struggle. It was such a hit on my trust, trusting him and trusting God. Openly talking about it, exposing it, that is where the real healing began for us. The accountability sets in, creates boundaries, opens the communication for us to be real and honest, hurt and all, and start moving forward and letting the Lord begin healing. It is a journey, I’m just glad to not be standing still or moving backwards.

    Love you guys! Thanks so much for your passion to speak TRUTH!

  4. Sorry, Chris. This wasn’t a topic I felt I could legitimately, nor effectively, tackle while at work. So, now that I’m home, I’ll weigh in [smile].

    I disagree that insecurity is the root of pornography. I’m not terrified that I won’t measure up–and haven’t really had that fear. Rather, for me, pornography is rooted in a fear–and now, some experiential evidence–that God’s design for sex doesn’t measure up. I seek an alternative path to sexual gratification. I didn’t want to wait until marriage (I started masturbating when I was about six), and now, in many instances, I’d rather have the control and specific stimulation that pornography offers that my wife simply can not–and, frankly, should not–give me.

    The root of pornography for me is selfishness and a distrust of God’s provision. And it’s hard because even now that I’m married, I still find that “counterfeit intimacy” meets felt needs in ways that real intimacy can not. In fact, real sex has been, and continues to be, rather a let down. And from the conversations I’ve had with others, I’m not alone. And so, rather than do the really hard work of discovering the real pleasures of intercourse with my wife, I choose the selfish road of instant gratification on a stimulation level instead of the true closeness of sexual intimacy with my wife.

    To make matters worse, pornography starts with–and I would argue, is rooted in–a natural attraction to women. I never seek out porn with the hope of proving my status as a sex-god. Rather, I see the form of a “goddess” and am drawn to it. I see a girl offering herself in a way my wife shouldn’t–freely, without attachment. And so, yes, in my times of feeling less than ideal, worn down by life, and fully aware of my inability to give my wife what she wants, I cop out and take the girl who demands nothing.

    I also doubt that even when we have experience real intimacy we no longer feel a draw to the counterfeit. Our experience shows this to be true. There is something alluring about the “what if…” that others provide.

    I don’t doubt that the intimacy God brings about is a wonderful, powerful, blessed thing. I’m sure it helps us feel more secure. But since that is not the root of the problem, we must still have our guards up.

    The moment selfishness begins to rear its head, that is the moment we are in real danger.

    Just a few thoughts to start off the discussion.


  5. My husband has been free of pornography addiction for several years I thought. The other nite I caught him looking at something that I knew was over on the other side. I questioned him about it and he told me, Don’t you trust me?

    Down deep I want to trust him. I want to trust God in it.

    But I fall in the traps of uncertainity.

    I pray.. I pray…

  6. Great thoughts. Luke, love your honesty!!! Tomorrow I’m going to do a post about how porn affects our sex life or at least how it affected mine. These are tough issues people. Thanks for being bold enough to engage in the conversation. If nothing else, know that you aren’t alone.

  7. I believe that people who have issues with porn have the same deep down problems as those who deal with alcoholism, over eating, gambling, cutting etc. Each is trying to calm themselves inside. And you know what? It works or people wouldn’t continue to do it. Plants grow from soil and people’s issues come out of something bigger from their past that needs to be exposed and retrained.

  8. The first step is being truthful with yourself and seeing where you are truly at in your struggle. How deep are you in? Who can you tell how deep you are in? The next is exposing the lie that pornography is what you want. Porn is not what we are searching for…we are searching for intimacy. Intimacy with Christ first and or spouse second.

    So how do we regain intimacy with Christ and with our spouse? By being completely truthful, totally forthcoming and completely known once again. That is where we can begin to feel as if we can be known again away from our secrets. “Secrets don’t make friends,” and they do not foster intimacy either.

    Love you guys

  9. Chris,

    I am amazed at your honesty and willingness to just put it all out there. You and Cindy are and will touch so many lives and marriage with your story. We’ve walked this road too. But you have both put this out there is such an amazing way and have refused to let the devil keep this hidden away in a closet.

    Thank you.

  10. You are right. Validation is very much a motivator that fuels compulsive porn viewing. Gary R. Brooks, Ph.D. talks a bit about this in his book, The Centerfold Syndrome.

    From a young age, boys are taught that their masculinity or worth as a person is validated through “beautiful” women. It is very common for a man’s fantasy sexual encounter to include a feeling of manly validation. It allows a man to feel like a man, without requiring him to be one.

    Brooks explains that a deep, inborn desire for boys is intimacy with others. Unfortunately our culture trains boys from a young age to feel shame over feelings of weakness and vulnerability—necessities for building intimacy with another person. Little emphasis is taught to young men to develop interpersonal skills of communication, empathy and nurturing. Our culture instead trains boys to develop an “emotionally stoic exterior.” Then adolescence hormones hit us and confusion ensues: we want intimacy but fear it, so it channels itself in a purely sexual direction.

    He says, “As young men learn to wall themselves off from the too much emotional intimacy in sex—to develop nonrelational sexuality—they are also taught to sexualize all feelings of emotional and physical closeness. As a result, they become unable to experience nonsexual intimacy.”

    Porn ultimately becomes the canvas for men to paint these sexualized felt needs for intimacy.

  11. That’s great insight Luke, thanks. By the way, there are a bunch of us on staff here at including myself who use your product (covenant eyes). appreciate all you do.

  12. II heard Cindy on Janet Parshall. I’m trying to help a friend. Her husband, of 3 years, Ishe believes (I do too.), has a porn issue. He buys her clothing (lots) that she doesn’t want to wear from places like Fredericks – all through the internet. She is a beautiful 50+ woman, his income has been dropped by 50%, & they can’t afford it. He quit for awhile but came back to it, she believes, just to get the catalogs. They went to a counselor who suggested the 2 of them go to a strip club so she could feel more comfortable. I’m not sure how to help her . Can you give me some suggestions? Thank you &God bless. -Beth

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