I wholeheartedly agree with this article, especially the part about the lack of emotional intimacy. This has been an ongoing problem in my marriage as well, and I also tried to focus on the good things my husband did. But, a few months ago, I just caught him again. Unfortunately, his pornography problem started as just pornography, but became a prostitute, gambling, drinking, and drug problem also. Because of the shame and guilt he feels, he has been consistently dishonest, making it impossible to deal with the problem. Now we are getting divorced. This has destroyed the family home of our four beautiful children. It is both a horrible addiction, and a choice. Calling something an addiction does not remove the agency of the addict. Recognizing an addiction is a recognition of compulsive behavior, but that compulsive behavior was at one time chosen. And it is a choice to hide as well.
Agree with "Grateful Reader" that there must be some "Father-of-Lies" influence in this propensity to throwing every case of pornography-viewing into one-bag-fit-all category. While aspirin would prove insufficient for a brain tumor, surgery would be hurtful for a simple, recurring headache. Let us therefore carefully consider what Elder Dallin H. Oaks has to say on the subject in his October 15, 2015 Ensign article: "If behavior is incorrectly classified as an addiction, the user may think he or she has lost agency and the capacity to overcome the problem. This can weaken resolve to recover and repent. On the other hand, having a clearer understanding of the depth of a problem—that it may not be as ingrained or extreme as feared—can give hope and an increased capacity to exercise agency to discontinue and repent."
For "A Grateful Reader": Please see this article from Elder Oaks that basically agrees with you and shows that there is a "spectrum." He explains how to deal with the varying degrees of the problem. It's very helpful: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/10/recovering-from-the-trap-of-pornography?lang=eng&_r=1
She didn't say using once a year, the comment was 'retuning to' use. This is called a lapse, or relapse, if we 're-turn' toward the adversary's tactics, and our brain has been changed by compulsive use in some fashion, or away from the Savior. Its not a judgement, its a fact. Stop and think, even if men are hard wired in this fashion, is this God's plan, or the natural man? We have a choice to give in or not to our hard wired nafures. Do you remember what King Benjamin said about the natural man? Consider reading the early chapters of Mosiah again, to learn what to do. Still, a serious addiction takes a lot of concerted effort to turn away from. This is why they say don't do it, even once.
The article mentions steps that men and women can take to overcome their pornography viewing habit. In addition to 12-step programs, such as the church's ARP, there are other programs with roots in cognitive behavioral theories that work well, sometimes better, faster and more permanent than 12-step programs. The program in the book Power Over Pornography is one of them and may be worth checking out.
Great article! Succinct, applicable, relatable. Good job!
I appreciated reading your article and you have great insight. You are correct, it is lust that is addicting, and unfortunately, many men are hardwired to be lustful. I often wondered if our Heavenly Father created us this way so that we are encouraged to procreate and find a female attractive. We deserve to learn how to control our lusts and passions - no doubt.
My experience is that many men do not discuss this with their spouse because the topic alone can 1) ruin or taint their marriage, 2) make a man feel that he can no longer be respected in a relationship, 3) be labeled an addict.
One of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I read your article was what we label an addict. You mentioned that if they return (once a day or year) may suggest them to be an addict. I have seen documentaries on individuals addicted to pornography but would someone who smokes marijuana or consumes heroin once a year or month also be labeled an addict? Like other vices, lust consumes men...sometimes even on a daily basis, but i would maintain that this is how men are hard coded in their DNA and testosterone can be a contributor. Again it is how we control that urge but I would not call that individual an addict per se.
Pornography addicts typically look at pornography many times a day. On their smart phone, at work, at home...they have difficulty maintaining social relationships and stability in their lives because of their addiction. Men dealing with a temptation that is natural to them ("the natural man") I would not call them an addict exactly. They simply need to learn to deal with their carnal urges that God has instilled in them, but it probably does not pre-occupy them like a true addict who is masterbating 2, 3, 4 times a day to pornography.
I don't know if my comments make sense and would appreciate your thoughts.
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