Pornography use among both single and married boys and men in our church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—is a very touchy and controversial topic. Seemingly every priesthood session of conference has a talk about the evils of pornography, full of warnings, concerns, and instructions to repent of this evil and seek help. Since 2016, Utah as a state has even declared pornography a major health crisis (see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-utah-the-fight-against-porn-is-increasingly-being-framed-as-a-public-health-crisis/2018/02/17/87bf761e-13ea-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html). Twelve step groups to help with pornography use have been set up across stakes worldwide that is almost exclusively attended by men. Also, support groups for the spouses of those with pornography addictions have also been set up in stakes, almost exclusively attended by women.
With all of this negative focus and panic given to the pornography subject by the church it is not a surprise than many negative attitudes, assumptions, and confusions about the subject have developed among church members. In particular, many women have developed resentments, anger, and blame towards male members on the subject. The purpose of this article is to help women understand the male experience with pornography to help bridge the gap and divide on the subject and increase understanding and support.
Research and clinical experience have shown that men on average have a higher libido than women, experience sexual excitement quicker, and most importantly for this article, are more quickly and powerfully stimulated visually (See: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201205/the-triggers-sexual-desire-men-vs-women). Hence it makes sense why men tend to look at pornography more often than women and for longer amounts of time, even though women do look as well at lower rates (see https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/porn-addiction). It says in the scriptures that “…the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7). It also says in Mosiah 3:19 that “…the natural man is an enemy to God” that is commanded to learn to “putteth off the natural man”. In short, we men are created, built, and equipped naturally to be visually attracted and enticed by women in a powerful, often overwhelming way. The challenge is to control, channel, and direct these energies in appropriate ways. Functionally this powerful male visual attraction plays a critical role in pushing men towards women to establish and maintain committed relationships. Unfortunately this power can also be misused easily through pornography and other alternative avenues and outlets.
Forms of pornography have been around since people could draw and take photographs. However, today is different. Never before has pornography been so easily found and available, especially since the creation of the internet. Pornography is now more easily accessible than ever in the entire history of the human race. A few key strokes on one’s phone, computer, or TV network will quickly yield millions of pornographic options in seconds. The powerful stimulation that follows is addictive. So in a sense, all men who possess regular sex drives are wired to be attracted to pornography and the naked female form. However, the extent of exposure to and use of pornography among men varies widely. Some avoid and control this temptation better than others.
A few things to know:
*All men today have seen pornography at least occasionally unless they have no internet or TV, often in an accidental fashion. How long a man or boy looks at the pornography from there is what varies. Some men catch what they see and quickly escape the view, others view it for a brief time and then eject, while others indulge for much longer periods of time, even hours.
*Shaming generally makes the problem worse. Correct teachings, help, and support on the subject from the church are useful and helpful. Giving a man shame, blame, and guilt on the subject is not useful and helpful. In fact it is usually counterproductive. He will respond much better on average to empathy, compassion, and support. A man being attracted to pornography is natural. A man indulging periodically in pornography in understandable given how we are built, but not excusable (again, see Mosiah 3:19). In spite of our wiring, we are expected to put off the natural man and pornography temptations is a big part of that. But in today’s technology age, this task is harder that it has even been.
*In a marriage, men often are tempted to go look at pornography when their sex lives are not happening as often and/or without as much interest as the women in the pornography appear to demonstrate. This creates expectation problems among men, as well as frustration and resentment. Still, when women commit to work at and prioritize the sex life part of a marriage, it does help make it notably easier for a man to lessen or avoid pornography use because he is having a regular, gratifying sexual outlet appropriately with his wife. Admittedly, a good and regular sex life does not prevent pornography use and a man going to pornography because he is not getting as much sex as he would like is not an acceptable excuse. Men still have to be responsible to keep the law of chastity, regardless. Nevertheless, a regular sex life is helpful to not only lessen pornography temptation, but also to promote emotional bonding and closeness in the marriage.
*Pornography use may or may not be combined with masturbation. Pornography has gotten more attention from the church as the highlighted concern and issue. However, masturbation is a problem that often results from pornography use and can compound the issue.
There is a lot more I could say about this issue of pornography. This is an introduction and primer to the subject and I may add additional articles on this subject in the future. In addition, you may wish to read the Psychology Today article links on the subject to be more informed on the subject. The goal point of this article is to hopefully help women understand the subject better along with having more helpful and useful responses to help men overcome this enormous challenge, especially later in marriage. Men and women need each other, including with help to address and overcome the great challenge of pornography here in the latter days. Remember, “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.”
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2020-03-02||Randy Gilchrist||Understanding men|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).