A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Aug 2018, 17:39

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A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by Bear » 25 Aug 2018, 03:35

I'll be vulnerable here..
Porn can also be very helpful.
No one mentioned this at church.
I have come to view porn as almost everything else: Too much is bad.

For many years it has been almost impossible for me and my wife to have sex because she is suffering from anxiety and general shame about sex (shame was 100% church induced, maybe also the anxiety).

Watching porn, helped my wife to mature sexually and get rid of the shame. It has opened up the whole sex-talk in our relationship and frankly, porn has been a life(or sex) saver for us.

Why is stuff like this never mentioned at church? I thought the church was supposed to help people.
The church caused the problem (in my wife) and actively doing something that the church hates, fixed it.
Seriously - it makes me mad that it can ruin people's lives and most importantly - keep them from fixing their lives.

Porn is like chocolate. Like wine, like money, like anything really.
It just matters how you use it, and what you use it for.

Addiction is often a different thing. People can be addicted to many different things. Porn and food included. I know people who easily become addicted to porn, video games, internet usage. And the common thing is addiction. Not porn. Not the internet. Not computer games.
Addiction is a thing in itself.
I don't have addictive tendencies and if I drank I probably wouldn't be an alcoholic. I play computer games but don't become addicted.
I think the church conflates addiction and porn. And conflates evil and porn.
Sexual purity can be just as evil, if it destroys your future sex life. (As it did with my wife).
Please church, have some grey scale in your thinking. Not just black and white.


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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 25 Aug 2018, 09:22

Bear wrote:
25 Aug 2018, 03:35
I'll be vulnerable here..Porn can also be very helpful...No one mentioned this at church.
I have come to view porn as almost everything else: Too much is bad.

For many years it has been almost impossible for me and my wife to have sex because she is suffering from anxiety and general shame about sex (shame was 100% church induced, maybe also the anxiety)...Watching porn, helped my wife to mature sexually and get rid of the shame. It has opened up the whole sex-talk in our relationship and frankly, porn has been a life(or sex) saver for us.

Why is stuff like this never mentioned at church? I thought the church was supposed to help people.
The church caused the problem (in my wife) and actively doing something that the church hates, fixed it.

Seriously - it makes me mad that it can ruin people's lives and most importantly - keep them from fixing their lives.

Porn is like chocolate. Like wine, like money, like anything really.
It just matters how you use it, and what you use it for.

Sexual purity can be just as evil, if it destroys your future sex life. (As it did with my wife).
Please church, have some grey scale in your thinking. Not just black and white...
Thank you for sharing this, I think it's a valid point that needs to be made. The Church loves to tell people how things are supposed to work in theory according to them but it seems like they don't want to hear about or even consider the possibility that in reality specifically not doing what they say can and does actually make life better and more enjoyable in practice for many people.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 06 Oct 2018, 11:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 25 Aug 2018, 09:32

dande48 wrote:
23 Aug 2018, 21:01
The Church operates on prophetic inspiration. Because of this, it's very difficult for the leadership to admit when things aren't working and make adjustments. Reduction and rehabilitation should be the goal, and I agree that current Church practice is less effective than it should be...In all fairness, I do think the Church's approach leads to a desire to change, which is a step up from a lot of what we see in "the World". But facillitating change is a whole new battle. The old model of faith, prayer, and repentance too often just doesn't cut it. And when it doesn't work, it makes those struggling feel even worse. I do wish we were more open about it, and less judgemental. Don't get me wrong, porn is bad. The world would be a much better place without it. But we shouldn't let perfect be the enemy of good.
I think it comes down to a question of what "sins" do we have to live with to some extent or not and why? And what happens if we act like some "sins" are absolutely impossible to live with but that doesn't actually successfully stop many people from "sinning" this way anyway? Theologically it seems like viewing porn/nudity should be about the same as masturbation, sexual fantasies, and reading explicit romance novels like Fifty Shades of Grey (basically substitutes for real sex between marriage partners in the Church's view). But we rarely, if ever, hear about how everyone supposedly needs to be permanently cured of their masturbation or romance novel "addictions" in the Church the way we repeatedly hear about porn. Why is that?

I think part of it is they feel uncomfortable about saying masturbation (hence the odd euphemism "self-abuse" used in leadership handbooks) and they don't think romance novels are that much of a problem because some wives are completely freaking out about porn but many men couldn't care less if their wife reads romance novels. But previous leaders like Boyd K. Packer, Spencer W. Kimball, and Mark E. Petersen didn't hesitate to try to give young men exaggerated guilt-trips about masturbation in a way that doesn't seem to be happing in the Church anymore. Personally I think more of them have started to realize that if the Church weeded out masturbators to the same extent that it has effectively weeded out most drinkers, smokers, and fornicators then there wouldn't be very many men and young men left to bless and pass the sacrament, go on missions, get married in the temple, and serve in callings to keep wards and branches running.

In other words masturbation is a "sin" they almost have no choice but to live with to some extent. But viewing porn/nudity, by contrast, has traditionally been put in the same category as disobeying the Word of Wisdom and premarital sex as completely unacceptable. And to be fair I think this zero tolerance policy actually used to work fairly well in the 1990s and before like the Word of Wisdom still does as far as getting faithful members to stop before going on missions and/or getting married. But high-speed internet, smart phones, tablets, etc. have been a complete game-changer that have made expecting the same results as before almost impossible because now it is much more like masturbation than disobeying the WoW in practice where it costs people nothing and it is much easier to keep private without anyone that would disapprove knowing about it. Basically many in the Church have still not adjusted to the current reality very well and the old hard-line zero tolerance approach is increasingly starting to backfire in multiple different ways.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 25 Aug 2018, 10:04, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by SamBee » 25 Aug 2018, 09:36

Actually I know someone who got sent to ARP for too many romance novels
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 25 Aug 2018, 09:50

SamBee wrote:
25 Aug 2018, 09:36
Actually I know someone who got sent to ARP for too many romance novels
Well I know plenty of temple "worthy" LDS women here in Utah that read romance novels without apparently feeling much, if any, guilt or shame about it. And why would they worry too much about it if no one has ever told them otherwise? Sure there are exceptions to every generalization especially with the leadership roulette that happens in the Church but to me there is no comparison between the over-the-top demonization and fear-mongering that goes on in the Church and LDS culture with regard to porn/nudity versus romance novels and masturbation. It is night and day for practical purposes.
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by Roy » 26 Aug 2018, 09:48

I believe it is worth mentioning that not all porn is the same. I believe that there are levels of "degradation" (not sure of a better term for this) that might be apparent.

I do believe that consumption of porn can have negative effects upon a person, their expectations, and their relationships. I believe that the frequency of the porn usage and the relative level of "degradation" can increase these negative effects. As a metaphor with alcohol, the more you drink (both in quantity and concentration) the more intoxicated you will likely become.


I also believe that each marriage or relationship has an understanding and expectation about faithfulness and what would breach that social contract. I do believe the church's stance leads to an expectation of zero tolerance in regards to porn. This sometimes leads individuals to be very secretive about any porn use and this secrecy in turn only deepens the sense of betrayal if the other spouse ever finds out. I believe that it is especially unfortunate if this individual with secret porn use then becomes labeled as a porn addict and sent to addiction recovery (I do believe in porn/sex addiction but see that in much more clinical terms. We do not do ourselves any favors by using the term broadly to cover all consumers).
Bear wrote:
25 Aug 2018, 03:35
It has opened up the whole sex-talk in our relationship
I absolutely believe that open conversations between spouses or sexual partners is vital to more healthy relationship. Ultimately, I believe the goal is to have complete intimacy (recognizing that intimacy encompasses much more than just sex) with your partner. I believe this is best achieved with openness, communication, trust, vulnerability, etc.
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 05 Nov 2018, 16:20

Bear wrote:
25 Aug 2018, 03:35
I have come to view porn as almost everything else: Too much is bad.
I couldn't agree more. I realized I couldn't live the complete abstinence from porn road after 20 years of trying. I read a great article maybe on BCC about how trying to refrain was like a credit card bowed under pressure between your fingers, and as the pressure builds on the bowed side, there is an immediate snap to the opposite side. The analogy was that there was then a flood of porn use when the person did finally give in.
(I tried googling the article as it explained it better, but only got results for credit card porn sites)

I have had to navigate this new paradigm for the least few years when it was brought to light. There was a great openness and communication in our marriage about it. It was something we did together and was mutually beneficial. I have had to still limit myself and keep things in check whenever I notice it becoming something that happens too often on my own or interferes with other aspects of life.
Currently we are on a hiatus from it all together.
Roy wrote:
26 Aug 2018, 09:48
I also believe that each marriage or relationship has an understanding and expectation about faithfulness and what would breach that social contract. I do believe the church's stance leads to an expectation of zero tolerance in regards to porn. This sometimes leads individuals to be very secretive about any porn use and this secrecy in turn only deepens the sense of betrayal if the other spouse ever finds out. I believe that it is especially unfortunate if this individual with secret porn use then becomes labeled as a porn addict and sent to addiction recovery (I do believe in porn/sex addiction but see that in much more clinical terms. We do not do ourselves any favors by using the term broadly to cover all consumers).
This is exactly where we were. It was heartbreaking for both of us in the beginning. There are and probably always will be issues there, even with complete open communication, there is no true absolution from breaking trust.
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by Reuben » 06 Nov 2018, 11:03

For those interested in apostolic backup, there was this from Elder Ballard in November of 2017:
Too many men and women suffer in silence because we have unintentionally demonized those who are addicted to pornography. Parents, family members, and friends can do much more to help those in trouble by being willing to listen and offer support and encouragement.

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/m-russel ... d-answers/
I mostly like this a lot. The one thing I don't like about it is typical: it conflates addiction with compulsion in general.

An addiction is a compulsion driven mostly by past indulgence. Spending time "dry" and getting support to do so can be an effective way to treat it. But when a compulsion is driven mostly by mental illness or similar traits, or shame, or grief, or stress, or a medication, or really anything else, just spending time dry isn't very effective. The compulsion usually comes right back. It's best to find what's driving it and address that - along with therapy intended to increase control over automatic thoughts and behaviors, such as CBT.

Don't get me wrong, those things partly drive alcoholism and drug abuse, too, and need to be addressed when they do. Treatments based entirely on the "bad thing causes more of the bad thing" addiction model don't have a great success rate. When, as with porn use, the addiction model usually doesn't fit well at all, such interventions usually don't work, and can backfire badly.

One thing Elder Ballard gets very right is trying to destigmatize porn use. Speaking of which...
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Re: A Healthier Approach to the Porn Dilemma

Post by Heber13 » 07 Nov 2018, 16:23

It's a good discussion to raise the point that some things work for some people, but not for others. Some things are more dangerous for some than for others.

It is rarely black and white, or simple.
Bear wrote:
25 Aug 2018, 03:35
suffering from anxiety and general shame about sex (shame was 100% church induced, maybe also the anxiety).
having these types of experiences can lead a person to start taking things said at church, even from apostles and prophets, with a grain of salt.

Guidelines or good ideas should not be so absolute that no variation to individuals is allowed. Sometimes, despite their guidance, we find things in life that help us, and we should allow ourselves to do things our way, after great consideration for all factors.
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."

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