Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Boys Will Be Boys": The Pornography Lie

Probably the most terrifying thing to me about parenting is the fear of my children getting sucked into the computer and internet. I've said it before, but the internet is a SCARY, WONDERFUL place. It's wonderful because we have access to so much information that we never did before. Want a recipe for something? Takes 5 seconds to get it. Need a place to connect with other people but can't leave the house? Join an online group! Want to be a huge nerd and share with others about your gloriously intelligent and awe inspiring thoughts and opinions? Start a blog! But don't name it something stupid or confusing, like "The Girl Who Wishes To Be An Orthodox Christian."

But. But. The internet is scary. Terrifying. Frightening. Petrifying. Hair Raising. Blood Curdling. (No, I didn't just google "synonyms for scary" and list them all in order...uh...) We all know what's out there. We all know how easy it is to get sucked in. And how simple it is to let it take over our lives.

What I'm talking about today is no secret. Pornography is out there. It's so easy to find that those of us who want nothing to do with it have to spend money, time, and effort to NOT find it. It is more addictive than hard drugs, and it consumes marriages, relationships, and lives of many, many people.

Let me preface this by saying a few things. First of all, if you are reading this and you suffer from an addiction to pornography, PLEASE know that I am in no way passing judgment or accusation on you as a person. I still love you and my goal is not to make you feel terrible about yourself. My goal is to give you hope, and help you to realize that it IS possible to get over this addiction.

Secondly, I understand both men and women suffer from addictions to pornography. However, in this blog post, I will be focusing on how it affects men, their girlfriends, their wives, and their relationships with others.

So here we go.

Hey ladies. We all have a responsibility to help our men. They are visual creatures and it's very hard for them to focus when we are wearing clothes that are screaming "Hey look at my legs/breasts/stomach/butt/whatever other body part we want to show off." Dressing modestly is awesome! It is possible to look cute and feminine while dressing modestly. You don't have to wear a veil or a long jean skirt in order to accomplish this. I'm currently working on making my wardrobe more modest than it has been in the past. Hey, maybe I'll write a blog post about it sometime! And I understand that dressing modestly is much harder for some women than it is for others, simply based on body types. Trust me, this is coming from someone who has a rear end the size of a small planet. But every outfit we choose is sending out a message that is more than simple fashion preference. We are either helping men see us as a beautiful, feminine creation of God, or we are helping men see us as an object of lust. Which would you rather be? (Raise your hand for the first one!)

HOWEVER. The responsibility is not solely on the girls. Sadly, our culture thinks otherwise. Not only is it permissible to "let boys be boys," as the saying goes, but it is also even encouraged. This culture has turned our strong men into weak, mindless machines who have no control over their thoughts or actions.We do not expect them to fight this battle anymore. We expect them to simply give in and do what everyone else is doing.

Typically, if a woman finds out that her husband/fiance/boyfriend looks at porn on a regular basis, she instinctively feels hurt. She often feels like she is being cheated on. "Am I not enough for him?" she begins to wonder. "Am I not beautiful to him?" "Who are these other women?" The insecurities rise, and their relationship is damaged. Women deal with insecurity in a much deeper way than men. It is difficult for women to become physically or emotionally intimate with a man with whom they do not feel fully secure. And even though it is very possible for women to forgive, it is very difficult to let go of the damage caused by these insecurities.

Even more damage is done by the reaction of others when women share these problems. Women who tell others about their hurt feelings are met with indifference, or even laughter. "What else do you expect?" people often say. "All men look at porn. It's part of being a man. Just let them do their thing and move on." Some women are even made to feel like they are being "controlling" or "overprotective" when they share their feelings on the issue.

I'm here to say this: ladies, we have womanly instincts for a reason. Your uneasiness about this issue is there because it is, indeed, an issue. You are not wrong for feeling this way, even though society tells you otherwise. You can and should expect that your significant other tries his hardest to have eyes only for you.

BUT. In saying that, it is your number one responsibility to love your man. You can help him overcome this problem. The way to do this is not to make him feel guilty, hold a grudge, or threaten him. Pride is important to men, and as their significant others, we see them when they are at their most vulnerable. Make sure he knows that you are here to help him in the best way that you can. Not to be the scolding mother-figure whenever he is "caught in the act." You want him to feel like he can come to you when he is struggling...not to be afraid to talk to you about it.

We are all human and we all sin. This is a fact, and we shouldn't look down on others for their sins. Just because somebody else's sin is different from our own does not make us a better or a worse person. And we should always trust our instincts. Our sex-saturated culture likes to tell us what "normal" is, even though our instincts often tell us otherwise.

There is help out there for those who suffer from this addiction, and for their significant others. A new book by Matt Fradd is out called "Delivered". It is filled with hopeful stories about men and women who have overcome their addictions. There are countless websites with helpful advice and suggestions, such as Family Life Center.

So remember: This is good news! There is hope! We must always remind ourselves that anything is possible with God.

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