Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

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Beefster
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Beefster » 19 Nov 2017, 20:25

One common thing I have seen in the ARP meetings I've been to is that porn is a lifelong struggle. We have this notion that if you've been able to overcome the problem in the past, you can just sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. I suppose from the repentance perspective, that is true, but it fails to recognize your own susceptibility to porn. Men should be willing to open up to their wives about their past so that if the problem arises in the future, it's easier to admit you have had a relapse. Women should not expect the issue to be "solved" because it simply doesn't work like that.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Roy
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Roy » 20 Nov 2017, 16:20

I recently read an interview by LDS Sexuality Counselor Dr. Jennifer Finlayson Fife.

I felt that the following paragraph was very appropriate for this conversation:
So what is it that you’re striving and aiming for? Part of the issue I have with the
way we talk to boys, particularly, and girls, if we do, about porn is that basically in
the world we live in now, it’s like our kids are in a candy shop all the time. Porn is
everywhere. Then when you have a 13-year-old who is in the candy store
because he’s on his computer and he has access to something and he gets
curious, and he’s compelled by it, then he has the parent who comes in and the
shaming of the fact that he’s doing what would be completely natural and
developmentally normal is for him to be curious—or in the metaphor, eating that
candy—we both put our kids in candy stores in a sense that it’s everywhere and
then we shame them with the fact that they are staring at the candy as if Satan’s
now in their heart. As opposed to, you’re doing something that would be normal
and developmentally appropriate in the sense that you’re doing what you’re sort
of wired to do, but it’s not good for you. Okay? So how do we help you with your
sexual feelings? It’s to get you out of the candy store, for one thing, to manage
the Internet and access to the best of our ability, but given that we can’t fully
control that—how do we then talk to our kids about the fact that these realities
are there and what is it that they are really striving for? If you want to be in a
loving, committed relationship with another person, looking at porn every day is
probably not going to help you create that reality. It’s not going to help you
shape your sexuality in a direction that’s pro-social and really capable of a deeply,
loving intimate relationship.
It has to be a much more straight forward and less shaming
conversation, less high anxiety conversation with our kids.
I want to be someone that is capable of being one half of a deeply loving, committed, and intimate relationship.

Looking at a pornographic image will not ruin me from having a loving intimate relationship the same way that eating candy in isolation will not make me fat. However, eating candy in excess combined with other poor health habits and a sedentary lifestyle will absolutely contribute to real problems down the road.

Moderation, goal setting, shame-free awareness, ownership, and individual adaptation seem to be appropriate.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Nov 2017, 19:26

Fwiw, DA, your response to my comment really had little to do with my comment. You addressed a totally different issue than what I described.

Roy's comment is a good summary of my basic view - and I will reiterate that anyone who references their strength as a reason to hurt others in the way they use porn is self-delusional. I am saying nothing about letting others tell us what to do - and nothing about viewing porn, in and of itself. I am talking about not being so selfish that you think you are strong and using that as a justification to hurt other people knowingly and intentionally.

Compromise can be a terrible thing - but it can be a tremendous thing, as well. Believing that being willing to compromise in areas that are important to others is bad and a sign of weakness is not a condition in which I want to live.
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

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 21 Nov 2017, 08:42

Curt Sunshine wrote:
20 Nov 2017, 19:26
Fwiw, DA, your response to my comment really had little to do with my comment. You addressed a totally different issue than what I described.

...I will reiterate that anyone who references their strength as a reason to hurt others in the way they use porn is self-delusional. I am saying nothing about letting others tell us what to do - and nothing about viewing porn, in and of itself. I am talking about not being so selfish that you think you are strong and using that as a justification to hurt other people knowingly and intentionally.

Compromise can be a terrible thing - but it can be a tremendous thing, as well. Believing that being willing to compromise in areas that are important to others is bad and a sign of weakness is not a condition in which I want to live.
I don't see the difference or how my response wasn't directly related to your comment in several important ways. In fact, I still think my response cuts through some of the distractions (trying to make it about strength and moralistic judgments) and actually gets to the real heart of the matter in terms of what is really at stake here, namely that people are being asked and expected to basically sacrifice their lives (valuable time they will never get back) to some extent essentially being told what to do by others. Even if you don't feel that way about it, that doesn't mean that many Church members that have lost faith in the Church won't feel more or less that way about it or that it isn't a perfectly valid way of looking at the situation.

The main thing I take away from reading your comment is that it sounds like you think that if doing something (looking at boobs, drinking beer, etc.) will hurt someone's feelings then the best thing to do is just bend over backwards to live up to what they want and expect. Never mind porn, consider the example of alcohol to see how this works in practice. If some disaffected members or ex-Mormons that don't believe in the WoW anymore fear how their spouse will react if they admit they want to drink sometimes or else their spouse already threatened to divorce them if they do then based on this general approach they should supposedly just forget about it. And not only that but suppose they are on a business trip where there is practically zero chance their spouse will find out and actually get their feelings hurt, it sounds like in that case they should supposedly still abstain out of respect for their spouse's feelings because having a few drinks in that case would be selfish and weak.

To me that doesn't sound like any kind of reasonable compromise at all, it actually sounds like, "My way or the highway" and an arrangement that couldn't be more one-sided where one partner is essentially being controlled by the questionable expectations of the other. What if someone masturbating once in a while would hurt their spouse's feelings if they knew about it, does that mean they should just never do it? What about R-rated movies, garments, paying tithing, etc.? It might not seem like a big deal looking ahead a week at a time to just let it go mostly to avoid upsetting anyone but some of this can really start to add up over a lifetime so while I would definitely suggest being careful about situations like this because TBMs will quite often not react very well to any deviation from what they expect, I definitely wouldn't tell other people what the best thing to do is in situations like this as if there is only one right answer that should apply equally well to everyone because they are the ones that will have to live with the results.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 24 Nov 2017, 09:44, edited 1 time in total.
"Truth is what works." - William James

Roy
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Roy » 21 Nov 2017, 10:10

DevilsAdvocate wrote:
21 Nov 2017, 08:42
What about R-rated movies, garments, paying tithing, etc.? It might not seem like a big deal looking ahead a week at a time to just let it go mostly to avoid upsetting anyone but some of this can really start add up over a lifetime so while I would definitely suggest being careful about situations like this because TBMs will quite often not react very well to any deviation from what they expect
I can only respond for myself. My spouse has been quite understanding of my position. She recently told an inquiring family member that she understands how I got to where I am and she respects where I am (relative to the church). It has taken us some time (8 years post FC) to get there. Part of that journey was me basically remaining a good husband and not turning into a sex crazed, drunk, abusive, drug addict that she might have feared without the "commandments" keeping me in line. About a year ago, my Dr. told me to not drink anything other than Coffee, Tea, or water. Recently, I told DW that I would like to give that a try as an alternative to the sugary drinks I usually drink. We discussed her concerns. One of which were what the children would think. I committed to only drink them at work. DW still was hesitant about the coffee and suggested I try just the tea. Now I can drink tea at work. This is part of both of us trying to live a more healthy lifestyle.

I know that everyone is in a different situation and I firmly believe that individual adaptation should apply. I think that the principle is a willingness to not be inflexible to the feelings, desires, and priorities of significant people in our life. If both spouses can try to equally apply this principle, I believe that much good can occur.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Nov 2017, 12:12

Nope, DA. Not what I said, meant, or impiled at all.

We obviously see this differently, so I will end the mini-discussion.
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
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by DancingCarrot » 22 Nov 2017, 12:53

Beefster, Brene Brown is a social worker and PhD-level social researcher who has done a lot of work around shame, vulnerability, and worthiness. I'd suggest picking up her books for more info, especially The Gifts of Imperfection. Her books have a lot of good info and are fairly quick reads.
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

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Heber13
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Heber13 » 22 Nov 2017, 13:34

Roy wrote:
21 Nov 2017, 10:10
DW still was hesitant about the coffee and suggested I try just the tea. Now I can drink tea at work. This is part of both of us trying to live a more healthy lifestyle.
This seems to me like it is a very compassionate and caring example of how 2 people get along with each other. There is some give and take. There is some expressing feelings and listening to the other. There is mutual respect, from what it sounds like. It is not "my way or highway" for either party, or "I won't be told to conform on anything...I'm living my life without caring about how it impacts others"....it is a middle ground of working through differences.

Those things, to me, are more important than porn or coffee or alcohol...it is how we connect with others and get along with them and learn to do so in the most compassionate way.

I don't feel like "my right to porn" is a hill to die on for a man wanting relationships with others. That is just me...but...there are more important things in life, regardless of the debate on true destructiveness or benign impact of porn to an individual. You just have to work through it like Roy exemplified.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Roy » 22 Nov 2017, 16:17

Heber13 wrote:
22 Nov 2017, 13:34
This seems to me like it is a very compassionate and caring example of how 2 people get along with each other. There is some give and take. There is some expressing feelings and listening to the other. There is mutual respect, from what it sounds like....
Those things, to me, are more important than porn or coffee or alcohol...it is how we connect with others and get along with them and learn to do so in the most compassionate way.
Yes Heber, that is what I was going for. Of course that is an ideal. It makes it much harder to compromise if your spouse expects you to follow every church standard with exactness or else tears, disappointment, shame, and regret. Both parties must be reasonable and give & take.

DW and I have gotten to a point where honesty, respect, loyalty to each other, and consideration are our shared values. They are the glue that hold us together.

I am not made to feel like a "disappointment of a husband" because I would like to try tea. There is appreciation and respect that I came to her first in honesty, that I had a beneficial and logical purpose in mind (not just rebellion), and that I am willing to defer to her feelings if she feels strongly on the subject.

Tying this back to porn. DW and I live in an exclusive marriage. I know that porn use (actual porn - not just watching Game of Thrones with some nudity/sex scenes) would be considered a violation of that exclusivity. It would be seen and felt as a betrayal. It would strike a blow to the sense of safety, security, and trust currently enjoyed in the marriage. Those are all things that I want to protect and nurture - not harm. For me and my wife, it is not really a Mormon standard as it is a relationship standard. It is personal.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roy
Posts: 4418
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Post by Roy » 22 Nov 2017, 18:11

Beefster wrote:
19 Nov 2017, 20:25
One common thing I have seen in the ARP meetings I've been to is that porn is a lifelong struggle. We have this notion that if you've been able to overcome the problem in the past, you can just sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. I suppose from the repentance perspective, that is true, but it fails to recognize your own susceptibility to porn. Men should be willing to open up to their wives about their past so that if the problem arises in the future, it's easier to admit you have had a relapse. Women should not expect the issue to be "solved" because it simply doesn't work like that.
I did use P and M as a single young man. Due to my upbringing in the church I felt that this was evil. I felt deficient. I tried to stop and would be successful for a time but would ultimately succumb. I wrote in my pre-mission journal that if I did not beat this for good cold turkey then I would never find fulfillment and happiness in a real relationship. I felt that it would mean that I was broken internally. That I was not capable or true and enduring love.

I now believe that I was being much to hard on myself. There may be people out there that are "addicted" to porn to the point where it interferes with living and being social. I was not that person. I believe that a number of individuals use porn as a coping mechanism to deal with life stressors. I certainly feel that part of my porn use was in this category. It was necessary for me to learn alternative coping mechanisms. I feel that I have successfully done so.

I am still drawn to and attracted to the female form and in that regard I am "susceptible to porn". I honestly do not think of this as a weakness or a problem. It is just how my brain and body are wired. I can acknowledge a lustful thought, accept it, and move on without dwelling on it or self recrimination.

Part of this is just framing things differently. I try to take ownership for framing things in my life in a productive, healthy, positive, and hopeful way.

If I could go back in time to talk to myself as a young man, I would want to tell myself, "You are a good catch. You have a lot to give in a relationship. There will come a time when the women your age really start to notice and be drawn to you. Don't freak out! Eventually you will find your future wife and she will love and admire you just as much as you love and admire her."

For me, this "I am not broken" starting point is important.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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