Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15415
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Nov 2017, 15:09

Just like so many things, we tend to see this issue through our own lens and assume that lens is correct for everyone else. This is true particularly with people who have high tolerances for something. They chafe at being/feeling restricted with regard to something that isn't a problem for them - or that they think isn't a problem for them. Sometimes, their self-perceptions are correct; sometimes, their self-perceptions are badly mistaken.

Objectively, there are terrible aspects of the porn industry and terrible consequences of extensive porn use for many individuals. Objectively, there also are many people who can view porn occasionally or regularly and never become addicted or face severe consequences. It is just like alcohol in that regard.

An interesting thing to consider is Paul's statement about not eating meat with those who abstain from meat - and the implications about self-control and true strength. I believe true strength is NOT found in one's limits (in this case, how much porn someone can view without becoming addicted or causing harm) but rather in one's ability to abstain due to respect for others of importance to them, if not abstaining would hurt those others. I believe if someone drinks or views porn while in a relationship with someone who would be hurt by knowing about it (individually or as a group), and if that person claims they are doing it because they are strong enough to handle it, that person is delusional about their strength. There is nothing strong about indulging in and hiding something that would harm others, if known.

I am NOT saying all people who view porn are weak. I'm just saying viewing porn and hiding it while in a relationship that would be damaged if it was known is not a sign of strength.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

DancingCarrot
Posts: 128
Joined: 23 May 2014, 18:24

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DancingCarrot » 16 Nov 2017, 16:26

DevilsAdvocate wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 08:22
Basically it looks like many LDS women just don't want to believe that their own husband, father, brothers, sons, etc. are viewing porn/nudity on a regular basis. And it looks like many moral crusaders like to think that talking about how bad and bad for you that porn supposedly is will make a significant difference in stopping people from viewing it rather than largely being a case of preaching to the choir and spinning their wheels in a losing battle against human nature.
......
However, it is definitely risky to test the waters especially in the Church. For example, suppose you are dating someone and you tell them, "I try to avoid porn but haven't been able to stop watching it completely and I can't promise that I'll never look at it again." What do you think is likely to happen in that case?
This is definitely not true for me, and for other LDS women that I know. Personally, with every new guy I date (LDS or not) I know that porn is going to be a discussion point if we date for long enough. When we get to a certain point in dating, not if he happens to look at porn. I know that virtually all men look at or have looked at porn. How long we date is the determining factor for this discussion, not religion or anything else. Also, the man I dated who was affected the most by porn wasn't LDS or religious. It affected his self-esteem, his desire and capability for consistent intimacy, and his ability to work through sexual difficulties between us. In my experience, porn has nothing to do with religion, but religions can make the issue more complicated than it needs to be.
Roy wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 10:41
mom3 wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 10:22
Yes - we could stand to step back on many of our "moral issues" including every naked body, shoulder exposed, bare midriff woman being a harlot or porn provider.
I think that there is certainly a spectrum. I think it would be perfectly normal and even healthy and expected for a young unmarried man to gaze at the underwear catalogue for an extended moment.

However, I believe that this same young man could very well be harmed by copious amounts of hardcore material.

With my own children, I wish to provide acceptance for the former while protecting them from (not shaming them from) the latter. Not demonizing natural urges and bodily functions but not debasing ourselves to them either.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 15:09
Objectively, there are terrible aspects of the porn industry and terrible consequences of extensive porn use for many individuals. Objectively, there also are many people who can view porn occasionally or regularly and never become addicted or face severe consequences. It is just like alcohol in that regard.

An interesting thing to consider is Paul's statement about not eating meat with those who abstain from meat - and the implications about self-control and true strength. I believe true strength is NOT found in one's limits (in this case, how much porn someone can view without becoming addicted or causing harm) but rather in one's ability to abstain due to respect for others of importance to them, if not abstaining would hurt those others. I believe if someone drinks or views porn while in a relationship with someone who would be hurt by knowing about it (individually or as a group), and if that person claims they are doing it because they are strong enough to handle it, that person is delusional about their strength. There is nothing strong about indulging in and hiding something that would harm others, if known.

I am NOT saying all people who view porn are weak. I'm just saying viewing porn and hiding it while in a relationship that would be damaged if it was known is not a sign of strength.
I agree with Roy, mom, and Curt.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 281
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Beefster » 16 Nov 2017, 22:54

As far as openness goes, I plan on telling every girl I date seriously, during the DTR, about my P/M. Most of the men I know from ARP hid the problem from their wives (and kids) for years and it was a real strain on their marriage when they came out.

I suppose when you look at it, the issue of secrecy isn't so much about the secret itself, but that keeping the secret builds up to an explosion when you come out. Sure, you can avoid that explosion by keeping the secret, but at what cost? The longer you keep that secret, the worse coming out will be. Sooner or later, it is going to come out, so you better choose how and when that happens before you get caught (which leads to a far worse reaction).

I figure that heartache can be avoided if I'm open about it upfront. There will be no buildup. No catastrophic feelings of betrayal. I expect a neutral response at best, more than likely a negative response... But it won't be catastrophic. Even if it's a dealbreaker for her, I won't feel the same loss because I'll have invested less in the relationship than I would coming out later. At least to me, it's the obvious rational choice because the alternative comes with so much more pain and hardship. And secrets. Ugh. I don't want to have to keep secrets from my wife. (Except confidential stuff, of course.)

When the problem is shamed into the shadows, not only do men not seek help in overcoming the issue, but it becomes a bigger and more complicated issue than it needs to be from the buildup.

YW shouldn't make a big deal about a guy's porn problem. The only dealbreaker on the matter should be if he isn't doing anything about it nor does he want to.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 6398
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by SilentDawning » 16 Nov 2017, 23:37

Cnsl1 wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 03:36
SilentDawning wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 21:41
How would it affect society at large?
I think you would see more sexually motivated crimes, and fewer restraints on people who have tendencies toward porn.
Your suspicion follows the popular opinion, but not the data. The evidence suggests otherwise, which is something I discovered a while back when researching a talk on the subject. Consider this: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/al ... al-assault
I read the article. Makes sense now that i read about it.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

JAC
Posts: 19
Joined: 17 Dec 2014, 13:57

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by JAC » 17 Nov 2017, 08:09

The psychologytoday article is too quick to jump to conclusions. More data is needed to make the bold claims the author is trying to make. Just a quick scan of the internet and you'll find articles with information that contradicts, or at least sheds doubt, on his conclusions. Like these for starters:

http://genprogress.org/voices/2016/05/2 ... e-numbers/
https://www.thedailybeast.com/theres-be ... saults-why
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/se ... on-n753566

I have found that this topic is polarizing and controversial and you're going to find very intelligent qualified people making conclusions that contradict each other. It gets very confusing.

One thing it took me awhile to understand is that porn is a symptom of a deeper problem. Almost every man, and many women, have a strong sex drive. That's not a problem in and of itself, but couple it with selfishness and a culture that promotes people, actual human beings, as objects that can satisfy our craving, and that is a problem. A big one!

As a society we are sending mixed messages. We are saying that filming and watching fantasies of women being sexually degraded is okay, while simultaneously condemning people that do it for real. We have got to get consistent with our message like we already have with child pornography, which we've decided is so damaging to society that even virtual creations of child porn are against the law.

User avatar
DevilsAdvocate
Posts: 1347
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 12:56
Location: Utah

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 17 Nov 2017, 08:25

mom3 wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 10:22
Basically it looks like many LDS women just don't want to believe that their own husband, father, brothers, sons, etc. are viewing porn/nudity on a regular basis.
I disagree here.
  • It's not just LDS women. Many people of other faiths despise pornography.
  • The industry does do damage. That's not religious. That's science...
I never said that only LDS women despise porn. What I meant was that at the very least many LDS women do not want to believe that their own husband, brothers, etc. are viewing porn/nudity on a regular basis. If anything, I think your comments mostly reinforce my basic point that if the end goal is to tell people what they want to hear and avoid upsetting them then keeping porn habits secret is actually a perfectly understandable and effective solution to the problem at hand (some people simply can't handle the truth very well).

So why would it be any surprise if there are many LDS women that think their husbands are not viewing porn when in fact many of them actually are and keeping it secret almost as if their life depended on it under these circumstances where they know full well that people will freak out and make a big deal out of it if they know about it? As far as doubting the level of harm done on average I was talking about harm to the individuals viewing porn/nudity, not those involved in the production of it. So that's why I stand by my statement that, yes, there absolutely are many men and probably a solid majority that view porn/nudity occasionally without experiencing any noticeable problems as a direct result.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 17 Nov 2017, 09:57, edited 1 time in total.
"Truth is what works." - William James

User avatar
DevilsAdvocate
Posts: 1347
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 12:56
Location: Utah

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 17 Nov 2017, 08:32

DancingCarrot wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 16:26
DevilsAdvocate wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 08:22
Basically it looks like many LDS women just don't want to believe that their own husband, father, brothers, sons, etc. are viewing porn/nudity on a regular basis. And it looks like many moral crusaders like to think that talking about how bad and bad for you that porn supposedly is will make a significant difference in stopping people from viewing it rather than largely being a case of preaching to the choir and spinning their wheels in a losing battle against human nature.
......
However, it is definitely risky to test the waters especially in the Church. For example, suppose you are dating someone and you tell them, "I try to avoid porn but haven't been able to stop watching it completely and I can't promise that I'll never look at it again." What do you think is likely to happen in that case?
This is definitely not true for me, and for other LDS women that I know. Personally, with every new guy I date (LDS or not) I know that porn is going to be a discussion point if we date for long enough. When we get to a certain point in dating, not if he happens to look at porn. I know that virtually all men look at or have looked at porn. How long we date is the determining factor for this discussion, not religion or anything else. Also, the man I dated who was affected the most by porn wasn't LDS or religious. It affected his self-esteem, his desire and capability for consistent intimacy, and his ability to work through sexual difficulties between us. In my experience, porn has nothing to do with religion, but religions can make the issue more complicated than it needs to be...
OK, this is completely baffling to me; I don't know how to make any sense of it. None of that sounds very LDS at all. I mean I could see some casual cafeteria Mormons that don't really believe or care about the doctrines that much being more honest with themselves and others about porn/nudity than my off-the-cuff generalization. But I was thinking more in terms of bona fide believing and obedient Mormons that actually take the doctrines and what past and present leaders have said very seriously, get married in the temple (often fairly young and after only a few month engagement), accept every calling, wear garments, pay tithing, etc. Many of them don't even watch R-rated movies. Do very many LDS women like that actually believe that their husbands are still viewing porn/nudity on a regular basis?

I don't see how that would even be possible without even more mass hysteria, divorces, etc. than we currently see. There was a poll about what people hate the most in each state and in Utah of course the answer was porn of all things. That didn't come out of nowhere; the Church has clearly made many people absolutely obsessed with porn and trying to stamp it out for good at all costs. So what would there really be to talk about with the typical obedient believing Mormon other than, "Porn is bad and no good Mormon should ever look at it, period, end of discussion." That's what the Church teaches repeatedly, loud and clear, so it seems like it would be every bit as non-negotiable in practice as strictly obeying the Word of Wisdom. Of course one of the main differences from the WoW is that porn is much easier to hide without anyone noticing so that's why we end up with so many active LDS men doing it anyway despite the Church's best efforts to discourage it.
"Truth is what works." - William James

User avatar
mom3
Posts: 3186
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by mom3 » 17 Nov 2017, 10:20

DA - So proud to see that I didn't read your comment correctly. Thanks for enjoying my end of the rant. Good to see we are more connected than my response implied.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

DancingCarrot
Posts: 128
Joined: 23 May 2014, 18:24

Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DancingCarrot » 17 Nov 2017, 11:12

DA, I think we may have different demographics when we both refer to “most” of the LDS women we know. Also, I I think generational differences play a part. I’m in a YSA ward still, and I see both ends of the spectrum, but women who realize that we are all sexual beings are not rare in my experience. During my RS lesson on the LoC, a lot of women openly discussed things and one of the best comments was “Not all porn is created equal.” That comment wasn’t disruptive and a lot of the women nodded their heads in agreement. It was a great discussion.

So certainly, I know and have heard of women like you describe and won’t try to discount their influence and beliefs. But I also wanted to provide my perspective and experience, which stands in contrast with yours.

Also, I think I would add that not all porn consumption is created equal. IMO, there are differences in using porn infrequently to using is consistently and regularly; as well as differences between the reasons WHY someone uses porn (and to me, “because I’m that horny” is an immature and non-self-aware answer — I have desires to express my need for hunger in certain ways, that doesn’t mean I frequently indulge and certainly not at the cost of negatively affecting myself and those closest to me).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

User avatar
DevilsAdvocate
Posts: 1347
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 12:56
Location: Utah

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 19 Nov 2017, 13:23

Curt Sunshine wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 15:09
Just like so many things, we tend to see this issue through our own lens and assume that lens is correct for everyone else. This is true particularly with people who have high tolerances for something. They chafe at being/feeling restricted with regard to something that isn't a problem for them - or that they think isn't a problem for them. Sometimes, their self-perceptions are correct; sometimes, their self-perceptions are badly mistaken. An interesting thing to consider is Paul's statement about not eating meat with those who abstain from meat - and the implications about self-control and true strength. I believe true strength is NOT found in one's limits (in this case, how much porn someone can view without becoming addicted or causing harm) but rather in one's ability to abstain due to respect for others of importance to them, if not abstaining would hurt those others. I believe if someone drinks or views porn while in a relationship with someone who would be hurt by knowing about it (individually or as a group), and if that person claims they are doing it because they are strong enough to handle it, that person is delusional about their strength. There is nothing strong about indulging in and hiding something that would harm others, if known. I am NOT saying all people who view porn are weak. I'm just saying viewing porn and hiding it while in a relationship that would be damaged if it was known is not a sign of strength.
If some people think that the best thing to do is to basically sacrifice their own life to some extent for the sake of what other people want and expect out of them then I guess that's their choice and their life to live. But to me it's basically a question of control and being controlled. From that perspective, the strongest response I can think of would actually be for people to stand up for what they want or at least the fact that they are only human and basically say, "You don't get to tell me what to do." But there is also the question of what hill people are willing to die on or not and it seems like practically no one wants to be a martyr defending their right to view porn/nudity.

But does that really mean that whoever is more fanatic about something should always win and be able to impose their will on others so easily and without any resistance? And if people are only given one acceptable option that isn't really what they want deep down or isn't that easy and simple then why is it any surprise that they would say, "OK, have it your way" publicly and then turn around and do what they want anyway when no one is looking? (because in the worst case it is much easier to ask for forgiveness than permission under these conditions). To be fair I think many active LDS men actually go into marriage fully intending to not view porn/nudity because they believe that's what they are supposed to do but after a while they give in to the temptation to sneak a peek and their old habits return. At that point, keeping it secret is quite often simply the most painless thing to do for everyone involved under the zero-tolerance environment that has been created.

To be honest, I feel like I have already let my wife win this battle; I already go out of my way to avoid viewing porn/nudity more than 99.99% of the time anyway mostly because it just isn't worth the stress of having to lie if my wife asks me about it or worrying she will catch me and freak out. And I can live with this but what still bothers me about all the anti-porn hysteria and rhetoric is simply the intolerant zealotry of it especially in the case of soft-core porn/nudity where it just seems so overdramatic to make such a big deal out of it. The way I see it, if someone doesn't like porn/nudity then they don't need to watch it but that doesn't mean they should be able to tell other people they can't ever watch it either. If people don't want to be in porn/naked pictures then they don't need to, and if they feel coerced then that is something for governments to worry about, not something for consumers to be given a guilt-trip about when they just want to see some boobs without meaning any harm whatsoever.

The unreasonable demand that no alcohol should be allowed bothers me even more. On NOM and some ex-Mormon sites there have occasionally been people that want to drink but don't know how to tell their TBM spouse this or else they already did and their spouse threatened to divorce them if they ever drink. To me, it just doesn't seem fair or right that this kind of reaction should be rewarded by making people the unquestioned boss in the household. And having people basically forced to live the rest of their lives being controlled like this mostly makes me sad for them more than anything. I eventually told my wife I wanted to drink sometimes and it was definitely worth it even though it would have been much easier to forget about it to avoid any confrontation.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 20 Nov 2017, 10:05, edited 5 times in total.
"Truth is what works." - William James

Post Reply