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Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 12:55
by Beefster
I have come to believe that the worst damage done by pornography comes from secrecy.

Yet church culture and policy tends to drive men who have the problem further into the shadows.

For example:
- "Worthiness" labelling
- Not taking the sacrament is a visible sign of "sin", even though it really is none of anyone else's business.
- Women often have the attitude that they should not marry or date men who have a porn addiction.
- Men are being told they are horrible people for looking at porn.
- General prudishness and fear of sexual topics.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 13:00
by DarkJedi
I agree Beefster. It's a sad state of affairs. At the same time, don't be afraid to let go of the guilt. You can't change others, but you can change yourself.

It's kind of an interesting thing (to me) that in the temple Satan tells Adam and Eve to cover themselves because God will see their nakedness. Now I've figured out the symbolism (for me), but what I haven't really figured out is why did Satan have to tell them they were naked? They could see he wore clothes and even asked about them. They couldn't figure out they were naked? I do have a theory that relates to the topic, but I'm not ready to share it publicly (sorry for the tease). I will say that I'm not sure all guilt (or maybe any guilt) comes from God.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 14:27
by Curt Sunshine
I personally would say that one of the worst things comes from secrecy - and that problems that rise to the level of addiction often are caused by an inability to admit a problem and seek help (a pressure toward secrecy).

There are other serious issues with porn (including those that are embedded within various segments of the industry itself), but, at the individual level, intense shaming that leads to isolation and secrecy certainly is one of the most serious issues.

Another issue is a related one: over-labeling any and all viewing as addiction. Extreme labeling tends toward extreme usage, denial, hiding isolation, shame, and secrecy.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 14:39
by Roy
As a young man there is intense motivation to due what it takes to be an attractive marriage partner in the community that you belong to.

I believe that part of the allure of porn is that it feeds this desire. It allows one to fantasize that women are more or less throwing themselves at you. This fantasy can be a coping mechanism for stress, loneliness, and rejection.

If I could go back in time to give the younger me a message, it would be some variation of the following:
"You are a good catch! If girls don't seem to notice you now, just give it time - they will! You have a number of attributes that will make you an attractive marriage partner when the time comes. The correct young lady will find you very appealing. You will fall in love and give each other your hearts in trust. You will be a faithful husband and an involved and loving father. Have patience. All these things will come in good time and should not be rushed."
I think that believing those positive things about myself would have made adolescence and young adulthood easier.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 18:00
by Beefster
I was afraid to interact with girls as a teenager. There was a sort of attitude that I picked up that dating before missions was pointless and that kissing before dating seriously was bad, so I generally just avoided interacting with girls. I had a few female friends, but they practically acted like guys.

My porn problem is a more recent development, but alongside the loneliness and social awkwardness, I can see essentially where it stems from. I'm late to the romance scene even though I crave it and have since halfway through my mission. I struggle with marriage envy, especially when seeing couples younger than I am with kids. I'm working on being more open about it. I actually brought a porn addiction book my mom gave me to church. One guy asked about it. I'm still shy about admitting I have a porn problem (is it an addiction? I dunno. It's certainly compulsive, but it doesn't exactly control my life either.), so that's about as far as I got.

I feel so much pressure to conform to this goody goody two-shoes image of what a Mormon is... Which is weird because I never have cared about being popular. Perhaps it's the "set a good example" mantra taken too far in my mind. Social pressures add up and drive me to pretend that I don't have issues, yet my genuine self is just dying to come out in the open. It's a huge problem that it isn't safe for my genuine self to come out to play. Sadly, my true self only gets its chance to come out in one on one interactions with close friends. Just close friends though.

The church ought to be a safe place to be who you truly are, sins and all. But it isn't, and it shows for this subject perhaps more than any other.

PS: I also want to point out that the church/culture itself is not behind every reason to hide a porn problem. Some come from prudishness of American society, for instance.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 20:34
by mom3
Beefster wrote; I also want to point out that the church/culture itself is not behind every reason to hide a porn problem. Some come from prudishness of American society, for instance.
This. My evangelical friends take looking at a nude image as porn.

My husband and I returned from Europe a few years ago and promptly purchased 2 paintings of naked women to hang in our bedroom. We subtly wanted to shift the vision of nudity from porn/fear to beautiful and tasteful (modest if you would).

The porn industry is a horror. But conflicting it with love of the naked bodies God sent us with is just as bad. IMO.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 22:07
by Beefster
mom3 wrote:
12 Nov 2017, 20:34
The porn industry is a horror. But conflicting it with love of the naked bodies God sent us with is just as bad. IMO.
I absolutely agree. Porn stars are treated as disposable and recruited using the most disgusting tactics.

However, I would say that any imagery of the human form can be viewed in a lustful fashion, be masturbated to, and otherwise functionally operate like pornography without being porn in the strictest sense. The viewer is responsible for the way they view the human form. I've heard of missionaries masturbating to girls in the Ensign, for instance.

But to slap the label on all nudity is irresponsible. On the flip side, to exempt covered women from "porn status" is also irresponsible; you can provoke lustful feelings with strategically covered women. I would argue that some one piece swimsuits are more provocative than the average bikini and in some cases, bikinis can be more provocative than nudity. It depends on presentation.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 13 Nov 2017, 05:26
by DancingCarrot
I think it’s important to be able to distinguish between stuff that is intended to be pornographic, stuff that is erotica, stuff that is nudity, and stuff that isn’t sexual in any nature. Being able to masturbate to women in the Ensign does not make those images function like pornography. Rather, the person who masturbated has projected himself onto them and required that they now be sexual images for his own purposes. He has a pornographic lens, but he’s not viewing pornography. To me, that is one of the biggest pitfalls of regular or consistent pornography use: turning other people into sexual objects due to their own unmanaged desires.

I would also add that the above is a reason why women tend to not want men with porn issues. It’s tough to want to sign up to be teaching and coaching your significant other about healthy sexuality when, as an adult, it’s truly their own responsibility to cultivate that. Plus, it’s not desirable to want to be on the receiving end of whatever misguided expectations the man has formed from viewing so much porn while often having little to no actual sexual experience.

I think this is often important to bring up: being aroused is not inherently bad. Being aroused by things that are supposed to be arousing isn’t inherently bad. What we all do with our own arousal CAN be healthy or destructive, and we are responsible for those actions. Blaming my arousal on someone else gets no one anywhere, and further frustrates the problem because I’ve just shifted responsibility. Other people/images/film being provocative isn’t the issue, IMO. What we each do with our arousal, for instance if we blame others for being provocative, is our responsibility.

Lastly, while I definitely have wishes to be more authentic and open at church, it’s not a place that I want to become a pseudo-therapy joint. Being open and honest when the situation calls for it is one thing; requiring that others understand whenever I want to talk about it is another.


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Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 13 Nov 2017, 09:33
by Roy
DancingCarrot wrote:
13 Nov 2017, 05:26
I think it’s important to be able to distinguish between stuff that is intended to be pornographic, stuff that is erotica, stuff that is nudity, and stuff that isn’t sexual in any nature. Being able to masturbate to women in the Ensign does not make those images function like pornography. Rather, the person who masturbated has projected himself onto them and required that they now be sexual images for his own purposes. He has a pornographic lens, but he’s not viewing pornography. To me, that is one of the biggest pitfalls of regular or consistent pornography use: turning other people into sexual objects due to their own unmanaged desires.

I would also add that the above is a reason why women tend to not want men with porn issues. It’s tough to want to sign up to be teaching and coaching your significant other about healthy sexuality when, as an adult, it’s truly their own responsibility to cultivate that. Plus, it’s not desirable to want to be on the receiving end of whatever misguided expectations the man has formed from viewing so much porn while often having little to no actual sexual experience.

I think this is often important to bring up: being aroused is not inherently bad. Being aroused by things that are supposed to be arousing isn’t inherently bad. What we all do with our own arousal CAN be healthy or destructive, and we are responsible for those actions. Blaming my arousal on someone else gets no one anywhere, and further frustrates the problem because I’ve just shifted responsibility. Other people/images/film being provocative isn’t the issue, IMO. What we each do with our arousal, for instance if we blame others for being provocative, is our responsibility.
:clap: :clap: :clap: I have nothing to add.

Re: Too Many Reasons to Hide a Porn Problem

Posted: 13 Nov 2017, 12:38
by mom3
Dancing Carrot - Best reply ever. Thanks.