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Men are Stronger Than Porn

by Brian Caulfield

With headlines screaming of a golf great’s links to porn stars and others who make a living off male fantasies, it’s a good time to talk about pornography and its consequences. The following words are mainly for men, but women (especially wives) may want to listen in.

Let’s be clear from the start. Porn destroys love, breaks up marriages, exploits women and hurts children. Yet it has respected defenders in the media and in government. Indeed, these are boom times for pornography, thanks to the Internet, which flashes suggestive images with virtually every click.

Men are especially susceptible to these images – accessing such sites four to five times more often than women – because they respond physically to sexual stimuli, whether these are found in a flesh and blood woman or a mega-pixel computer image. As countless low-budget porn flicks have shown, men don’t necessarily look for great art when they seek stimulation.

When I say men, I mean married and single men, young and old men, religious or atheist men, but most of all men in their 30s and 40s, who are the largest viewers of porn. Still, all men are attracted by racy images, and few manage to break free from lust and claim consistent “custody of the eyes” or purity of thought.

The billion-dollar porn industry knows these facts and acts accordingly. It’s time we men acted accordingly as well. Let’s put porn in its place – in the spam or trash folder, or through the paper shredder.

The Fathers for Good website, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, has a section called “Men Are Stronger than Porn.” The name was carefully chosen. As Catholics, we learn that Original Sin leaves a wound of concupiscence even after Baptism. So we know we are weak, mortal men who are subject to temptation and prone to fall. We recall the story of David, a man after God’s own heart, as the Bible calls him, who nonetheless stole the wife of his loyal soldier, whom he then had put to death. The pull of lust is strong, men! Let’s not fool ourselves.

Yet as Catholics, we also know of the strength and grace that come from Christ through the Word of God and the sacraments. We know his sufferings in the flesh and his death that broke the power of sin in our lives. We live in the time of his resurrection and glory, the age of the Holy Spirit.

So despite all troubles and temptations – and a media that is intent on multiplying both – we know and proclaim that “Men Are Stronger than Porn.” Even if we fall into the Internet’s web, even if we think that we’re hopelessly addicted, we can recover, with grace and the help of friends and experts.

One excellent program started by the Archdiocese of Kansas City (Kansas) is highlighted on the Fathers for Good site. The “My House” initiative has helped men to break free from the shame and shackles of compulsive porn use and reconnect with their wives and children.

Hopeful news also comes from a recent report by the Family Research Council, “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community.” Author Patrick Fagan lays out the findings in summary form, including:

• Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.

• Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornography they use, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.

• Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as “sex objects.”

• Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.

Bad news all around. Yet we cannot despair. The culture of porn on the Internet, on TV, in popular songs and public displays should – must – engender in all men an equal and opposite reaction. Let’s put porn in its place, as we resolve not to let it destroy true sex with our wives, or disrupt our marriages, or spoil the innocence of our children.

Let us be pure warriors against the influence of porn.

The study ends on a note of hope: “The key to militating against these damaging patterns and to protecting against the effects of pornography is to foster relationships of affection and attachment in family. The first and most important relationship is between the father and the mother. The second is engaged parents who love their children. In today’s technological society, this means limiting, monitoring, and directing their children’s Internet use. This, in turn, provides an invaluable shield against Internet pornography, and allows room for a healthy sexuality to unfold in a natural and socially supported way.”

Men, let us heed the call. If a husband falls to pornography, his wife and children will suffer immensely. Yet if he turns and serves as the first line of defense, great benefits will flow for his family. Why not start this very evening to build the kind of communication in the home that will lead to healthy relationships and better family time? Say “I love you” to your wife, and show your kids that you care for them. Before bedtime, say a prayer for your family. Make it a habit.

You will never regret it.

(The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Headline Bistro or the Knights of Columbus.)

http://www.headlinebistro.com/en/columnists/caulfield/121609.html

 


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