A Message to Men

In a group of any given dozen people, most of us consider ourselves at least as good as everyone else, if not just a little better. We’re the upstanding citizens who pay our bills and don’t drive more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit; we open doors for little old ladies and drop a twenty in the collection plate when we feel like attending church or synagogue. We’re decent people.

To maintain our veneer of respectability, we generally don’t talk politics or religion except with people who hold views similar to our own. In fact, there are some things we never discuss with others. Respectability is important, you know? And who wants to have a reputation as a wacko, a weakling, or—worst of all—a self-righteous prig?

Well, I’ve reached the stage in life where I don’t care as much about what people think about me. And I want to talk with you about something that affects you or someone you love–perhaps indirectly through your father, brother, son, close friend, uncle … It’s tearing you apart, building guilt and self-hatred, and neither of you will say a word about it. It has to do with what men do when they’re alone, in front of their computers, which they say is nobody else’s business. Yes, you knew where I was going …

I’m talking about pornography, the so-called victimless crime. That in itself is an outrageous lie. Porn can be defined as a market transaction in which women’s bodies and sexuality are offered to male consumers in the interests of maximizing profit.

The wife is the first victim, which we’ll discuss more next time. Consider that your expectations of intimacy are increasingly unrealistic. No way can your wife meet the fantasies generated by what you watch on that computer screen. Porn in your life or my life creates a giant barrier to marital intimacy with our wives.

Intimacy is based on trust and commitment. Pornography erodes those values and qualities. Almost without exception, you keep your addiction to porn a secret from your wife—from everyone. Over time, you’ll realize that you’re really the primary victim of porn.

A weight of guilt begins to grow, creating anger, resentment, and depression. Even worse is the shame at what you’re doing. Then there’s the fear that you’ll be found out. With that comes isolation. You retreat emotionally and find yourself barren of feelings, emptied, wasted, and feeling unworthy. Not only that, the pornography that initially excited you requires bigger and bigger hits. You’re addicted; it’s been called the “the crack cocaine of sexual addiction.”

Porn is a sure pathway to infidelity and divorce. Both you and your wife perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity. Studies show that continued viewing of porn brings a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including child sex, sexual aggression, and promiscuity. A friend of mine was involved in the hunt for a notorious serial killer. He said that without exception, those types are heavily involved in porn. Put in extreme terms, do you want to be part of/play around with/participate in, something that has the potential to make you a monster?

I can give you all sorts of statistics—42.7% of all internet users view porn—but the issue is you. Do you want to regain control of your life? And where do you go to get help?

Maybe you’ve been doing this so long that you feel you are absolutely unworthy of help. That is another of the devil’s lies. Jesus Christ came from heaven and died on a sinner’s cross for you and me. Don’t even compare. Drop that idea that you’re worse than anybody you know. It’s not true and it’s totally beside the point. The point is that you need help and it’s available. There are trained people who can take you out of this swamp of hideous defeat, destructive thoughts, and self-loathing. Christian counseling should be sought, to correct and heal, to recover and renew, to gain a new life.

Here are a few other resources for help:

God’s word is the source of all truth. If you are involved in porn or have a loved one who is, do a search on holiness, purity, lasciviousness, concupiscence, immorality, evil desires, etc.

I Thessalonians 4:3-7 — It is God’s will that you be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable … For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

If you have comments or want help, please let me know. I’m not a trained counselor but I can point you a direction.

Idol at Aswan

We can work together to give people hope; sometimes, that’s the start they need.

There’s more to say about this very difficult subject. We’ll address the other victims next time. Know that God loves you. He wants to bring you to freedom.


About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Risking change/changing the risk, Tackling Fears and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Message to Men

  1. Jerry says:

    You’re right, Sam. I misunderstood “shall” instead of “will” in your post. However, King James version and the New RSV have “shall” in Gen. 3:16, while the New Jerusalem version has “will dominate you”. Which Bible version were you using for reference? There’s quite a bit of difference between the “will” and “shall”, it seems. For centuries men have dominated or ruled over women. It seems likely that this scripture could have influenced that history. Your post to Matthew had a sentence, as follows: “He must assert his position of leadership and all that goes with it.” That reads like your acceptance of male domination or rule over women. Did I misunderstand your post?

  2. Jerry says:

    Sam, I agree with you regarding the dangers of pornography. I am reminded about reading (or hearing) that in the old west, cowboys would pay more for a photograph of a nude woman than they would pay for a prostitute, since they could savor the photograph often for one low price, I suppose. I would suggest that sexual fantasizing by men, and perhaps by women, doesn’t require pornography. I think that men may have x-ray vision in that regard. I saw one of my artist friends (a woman) admiring the “chest” of a shirtless skateboarder (a man) while our painting group was having a picnic lunch in the park. That may have been a bit of fantasizing on her part.

    I would question your interpretation of the Genesis 3:16 quotation excerpt “…. and he shall rule over you.” One might read that phrase in Genesis as indicating the intent of God for men to rule over women. However, it literally reads that men “will” rule over you, not “should“ or “must” rule over you. Our relationship with women could be more on a coequal, cooperative basis if we took the literal interpretation for that scripture, don‘t you think?

    On a lighter note, but somehow related, a joke was sent to me in an email this week, as follows:

    A woman went to the pharmacy and asked for cyanide from the pharmacist. He said, “Cyanide? What do you want with cyanide?”

    She replied, “I want to kill my husband, because he has been cheating on me.”

    The pharmacist said, “I can’t sell you cyanide. I would lose my license. You and I both would be thrown into jail. Absolutely not, I won’t sell you cyanide to kill you husband.”

    The woman opened her purse, retrieved a photograph of her husband with the pharmacist’s wife, and showed it to the pharmacist. The pharmacist looked at the picture and said, “Why didn’t you tell me you had a prescription?”

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Jerry. That’s a good story.
      I agree, that sexual fantasizing doesn’t require pornography. We have quite a bit of guidance re our thought life. The big fisherman tells us, “… I have written both of them (letters) as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking (II Peter 3:1). Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, said, “You have heard it said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).
      Yes, the Gen 3:16 passage makes for good discussion. In my response to Matt, I quoted it as you did, “and he will rule over you.” Maybe the word “shall” came thru on your computer, but mine still says “will.” It’s in the context of husband and wife, which Adam and Eve were. I suppose some might interpret it to mean that all men should rule over all women but I don’t see it. Nor did I intend it to read that way.
      Again, Paul writes that we (husband and wife) should submit to one another. However, he tells only the husband to love his wife. That’s not to say the wife is not expected to love her husband; rather, it’s that we men often have to be reminded, that we consider how to “love” our wives.

  3. Sam, right on. Good for you.

  4. Matthew Kofron says:

    Sam…..good bold statement against a growing plague. I totally agree with your words. I have heard a couple of sermons about the dangers of porn which you clearly stated. However there may be a more deeply unpopular subject. There are some good Christian women who for a multiplicity of reasons, do not see, honor or respect their husbands sexuality. This aloofness and coolness puts the husband at risk for temptation. Perhaps it is a marriage problem and not a male problem.

    • samuelehall says:

      Matthew, good comment. And it is a marriage problem but it is not that simple.
      Women’s issues go all the way back to Genesis 3:16b–after the Fall–when God told the woman that “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” As I understand it, this meant that the woman would desire her husband but would also desire to usurp her husband’s role of leadership. He must assert his position of leadership and all that goes with it. The man isn’t the leader if he doesn’t exercise this God-given leadership, described in Ephesians 3:22-33, leaving the wife to take over the marriage.
      What that does is to put the responsibility for leading the marriage and the family back in the lap of the husband. The Ephesians passage tells the husband (3 times) to love his wife; the wife is told to submit to his leadership and respect him (which is your point) but if he just shows up … what’s she to do? Someone has to take charge but in a loving, submit to one another (Eph 3:21) relationship, the marriage will thrive.
      Getting married is easy; being married is work, hard work–but it’s worth it. Single people, are you listening?
      Doubtless I’ve confused some of our readers. You with greater insight and understanding–help me out! The institution of marriage needs help. The terrible pox of porn is wreaking havoc on it.

  5. Here are a couple more resources:
    _Winning the Battle Within_ by Neil Anderson. There are corresponding leader and study guides, but under an old title _Overcoming Sexual Sin_, available at http://www.ficm.org.
    There are Christian support groups for men and women, husbands and wives, at a church in the Lake Oswego (Oregon) area. I can look for the information if you are interested. I attended their seminar a few years back to learn about how to help people overcome these challenges.

  6. As one who enjoys the discussion of both politics and religion with those of different ilk, I was smug on my contrast to your opening, but caught by surprise as to your direction. As you described, it is such a hidden subject, I don’t even know anyone who delves so, or admits or brags about such. It doesn’t mean they don’t. I’m just clueless. I don’t see ads or invites for porn for groups, such as for dinner, football, cards, or sharing opinions on novels. The only time it comes up publicly is when some famous (or infamous) person is caught, or more likely, their computer is. In contrast to the nice ladies modestly dressed in your profile photo, the western world has gotten quite scant with women’s clothing. I suppose the excess of skin warms us to the excess of skin against skin. You’ve taken the extra step in exposing the excess of skin against skin as contributing to the demise of marriage. And you have offered a way out and at least for Christians, the options for seeking help. The only stone unturned, sort of to speak, is that with a subject so secret, who would ever break their silence? And, worse, if someone did, what to do about it? Specifically, Sam, if someone were to approach you in confidence and say, “I do porn,” what would you do? I have no idea what I would do, because I’m definitely not one of those trained people you mentioned. Far easier to discuss politics and religion with those of different ilk.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, John, for your contribution. You are not alone in not knowing that anyone you know is involved in viewing pornography but doubtless some of the people you know are regular participants. Such men (95% are men) are both inside and outside the church.
      You ask why they would break their silence–because they see all that they hold dear leaving or being taken away from them. And the guilt and shame either drives a man to repentance and recovery or to destructive acts–against himself or others.

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