I can already feel the defenses go up 😉 Its the “P” word. This woman is going to take this “too” far, make me feel bad for the nature of who I am as a man, cut me down, make me feel guilty. Rest assured, that is not the intent of this article. On the contrary, I want to lift you up on who you really ARE as a man, the greatness in you, and demonstrate how pornography only steals away from all that you are meant to be. “But pictures? Really? How could that take away from who I am as a man? I’m a provider, I have good relationships, I’m not “cheating,” so I do not see the harm…”
Recently there was a landslide in Washington that killed several people, destroyed homes and property, and within minutes, destroyed the security and stole the loved ones from people’s lives. My first thought besides the compassion for these people losing so much was a naive question – “Why would people buy homes next to an area that had the potential for a landslide?” The reality is, when these families purchased these homes, there was no sight of landslide in mind. No signs, not even “symptoms” that a landslide would occur. But over time…the soil softened so much and through the weathering systems, the foundation gave way. The greatest destructions happen slowly over time.
I love my wife/girlfriend, so what’s the harm?
Men were created “visual creatures” so its in my nature to look.
Its JUST a look. I’m committed and faithful to my wife (girlfriend) and I don’t physically cheat, so what’s the big deal?
I’m NOT in a relationship right now so I’m not hurting anyone!
I’m not addicted, I just look at pictures every once and awhile.
The strip clubs are for the boys night out! No harm in that.
What happens in the moment stays in the moment.
One of the top qualities of a soldier is to recognize an enemies strategy and to be alert and aware of how the enemy would come in a “back door” to attack. My friends who have served in the armed forces have shared stories with me on having to learn the tactics of the enemy. You HAVE to be alert, strong, and of a steady mind to be a soldier. One of the greatest traps you could fall into, beyond the subject of pornography, is that what you choose to do in the moment impacts only that moment. It takes strength to be intentional about your life – what thoughts you think, what habits you cultivate – and plain out courage to live your life beyond yourself; to live in an awareness of how your choices impact others, especially those closest to you.
At the root of every behavior lies a belief. Beliefs are what put our actions into motion. I have been the listening recipient of men who have struggled with pornography or just simply have admitted what brought them into looking at pictures or going to strip clubs. Here are three common beliefs I have found that men struggle with which lead them to turn to pornography:
Lonely – I feel alone in this moment.
All of us have the desire to be connected, to be loved, to be wanted, to be desired. One of the biggest traps of pornography is an attempt to fill the need to be wanted or desired. It’s an illusion that the longing to be desired you feel will be met by the pseudo woman. Yet in the end, all that it leaves with you is more emptiness. It takes great strength of a man to stop in the moment and think about what are you going to do with the present emotion you feel? What investment will you make in this moment of loneliness? Though very difficult, you can choose to have the self-restraint and make an investment in who you are as a man and in your future by not giving into the moment. To demonstrate self-restraint is one of the most attractive qualities of a man. But to cultivate the characteristic of self-restraint is daily, moment-by-moment choosing to have self-control.
Inadequacy – Do I have what it takes?
At the core of every man is the question “Do I have what it takes?” This applies to every area of life. Your work, your relationships, the pursuit of a woman, your dreams. Often what draws men to pornography is the fear that you don’t have what it takes, that you are inadequate. Sometimes you have been beaten down by your boss, criticized by your parents, received rejection from women. This leaves you with an ache and a fear that you do not have what it takes. It takes great strength to overcome this fear and to believe in yourself. Every great hero in the novels and movies has to overcome a fear and an enemy. Sometimes our worst enemy is ourselves and our self-beliefs.
Inferiority – I’m less than.
Often times there is struggle with the thought/fear/belief that you just “fall short” of a standard. From either a negative experience, a bad relationship, criticism growing up, or criticism at work, you feel like a failure and that belief goes down to the core of how you live out your life. When you believe that you are inferior, you will always find yourself feeling like you have to beg for the crumbs instead of rising and overcoming.
As a woman I can express to you how a woman’s mind operates. When your thoughts are fixed on another woman’s body (pictures, magazines, computer screen, strippers) the woman that you are with questions, “Am I good enough?” Gentlemen, at the heart of a woman, she wants to know that she is beautiful, that she is beautiful to YOU. Both in who she is as a person and also on the external side. When a woman sees you looking at another woman’s body, its a form of disrespect to the woman you chose to be with. On the flip side, a good woman would not hesitate to adore you for loving her well. In a woman’s mind, if you need to look at another woman to be satisfied, then she must not be enough for you. What women don’t understand is that it’s really not about the woman, its about the man and what he is dealing with (like the fears/belief mentioned above).
For your relationships (whether present or future), by sowing into the habit of pornography through magazines, videos, or strip clubs, you’re feeding into the belief that its all about you. That picture feeds into the thought processes that this image, this woman is for MY needs, that “relationships” are about your needs, to serve yourself. This woman in the magazine or on the strip pole is there to make YOU feel good. What this produces is a mental belief that feeds into the behavior of filling of a need without giving back or giving of oneself. Its a one-way “communication” – meeting your need of expectation. It’s not about relationship or about you sacrificing for another. Your relationships will not only be damaged through this pattern but you will see relationships fail time after time without being aware of this issue.
You are meant to lead.
There’s a reason why women are attracted to uniforms. Firemen, policemen, soldiers, all have the reputation of bringing particular attention to a woman’s heart. Though they do not know the man within the uniform, the uniform represents the ability for a man to lay his life down for another. To protect, to serve, to lead the way. THAT is an extremely attractive quality. A hero is someone who has sacrificed himself for another. A hero knows how to discipline his mind and thought-life. For me personally, I cannot follow a man I don’t respect. Despite his charm, his suave looks, how much money he puts in the bank, the car he drives…if he cannot control his own mind and actions, if he cannot be a leader in his own life, how then could I look up to him? Without demonstrating leadership over his own life, what strength will he have to “lead” or others or me? (Protect, serve, strengthen).
You are meant to accomplish.
In the core of a man is the need (not just a want but a need) to make things happen. As a man, you were made to accomplish things. That feeling that you get at CrossFit, playing video games, or cheering on your favorite sports team is the need to accomplish something. When you look at pornography, your greatness is being put to sleep. Pornography takes away your focus, your strength, your drive to make something happen. Stealing away from you, making you less of the man you were meant to be. Don’t allow your greatness to be stolen and be placed in another man’s hands. Accomplish what you are meant to accomplish that no other man can but you.
You are made to be an influencer.
A difference maker, a leader, one who leads by example and by sacrificing for others. How you choose to live your life will either be all about you or how you choose to live life will influence and impact others. All of the main leading men in the epic movies (Gladiator, Braveheart) are men who are influencers. They lead by actions. What part of looking at naked women adds to those qualities?
You are meant to build.
As a man, you have the desire and the ability to build something. Whether it be build a good marriage, build a project at work, build a log cabin…you are meant to build and accomplish. Those moments you are looking at the computer screen or searching through magazines or going to the strip clubs aren’t contributing to whatever vision you have to build. A man that is strong is a builder in his life. He doesn’t have time to waste unless it’s contributing to the building of who he is as a man and what he is building in his life.
A man who has built himself up to be a man of integrity and honor is a hero in my eyes. A man who has done what it takes to make a relationship flourish is the bomb. There is a separation and a distinction between the boys and the men. Who are you going to be when no one else is watching you? THAT is the man who either shines or hides in darkness.
Nicknamed “Spunky” and “Fire Pistol,” Mary is passionate about writing on relevant topics related to life, thriving relationships, and specifically encouraging women to be women of integrity that add value to a man’s life. Her writings can be found on www.marylacy.com. When she is not writing, Mary is a both a personal trainer, www.beonthemove.org, and a manager for a music production company, DJNOEL2033. To get in touch with Mary, email her at [email protected] or visit her blog website, www.marylacy.com.