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4 Reasons Men Like Porn

4 Reasons Men Like Porn

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part Four in a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series in partnership with Covenant Eyes. Read Part OnePart Two, and Part Three. Part Four was originally posted at Covenant Eyes here.

A Conversation Guide for Accountability Partners

One of the tasks of a good friend or accountability partner to someone who is entrenched in pornography is to help them understand their own heart. Why do they run to porn again and again? Solomon reminds us that “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water” (we often can’t see our own motivations) “but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5, parenthesis added). A wise friend helps to draw out of others the deeper motivations they are unable or unwilling to see in themselves.

As an accountability partner, it is important to understand the allure of pornography: What deeper motivations keep men coming back to it again and again? What are good accountability questions we can ask to get to the root of the problem?

1. Porn is easy, but relationships are hard.

Relationships, especially our closest relationships, involve work. Every day we are required to care what’s going on in others’ lives. We must put up with sour moods, offensive behavior, and selfishness—both in ourselves and in others.

In contrast, porn offers men a feeling of risk-free intimacy. Pornography offers men a fantasy world where they are required to know nobody, require no romance, and no self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. And for many men the payoff is great: not only can they avoid the messiness of real relationships, they can also feel the delight of a million virtual women catering to their every whim.

Good Accountability Question: Has there been a relationship in your life recently that has been unusually difficult?

2. Porn is comfortable, but life is stressful.

In life things go wrong. Expectations are frustrated. People let us down. Tragedies happen. We get sick. We get tired. We get into sharp disagreements. Life is stressful.

Porn, by contrast, offers a very comfortable world where nothing goes wrong. Porn offers a ready-made setting where we know we will get exactly what we want.

Of course, we know it’s fake. It’s like professional wrestling or “reality” TV. As Chris Hedges says in his book Empire of Illusion, the success of these forms of entertainment lies not in fooling us that these stories are real. “Rather, it succeeds because we ask to be fooled. We happily pay for the chance to suspend reality.”

Good Accountability Question: Have there been any stresses in your life recently which have brought on a feeling of pressure or strain?

3. Porn is exciting, but life is boring.

The word “boredom” first started being used by French authors when they wrote about that feeling of discontentment when life gets tedious. While the feeling of boredom has probably always been around, it is only in the last 300 years we have seen it become a social epidemic. Blaise Pascal said boredom is the plight of a modern man when “he lacks distraction and has no absorbing passion or pastime.”

Boredom is one of the fruit of a leisure culture. As wealth and free time increase, so does our hunger for distraction. As we come to expect constant stimulation and excitement, the day-to-day can seem dull by comparison. With Google at our fingertips, information is everywhere, but we easily become detached, anonymous spectators, rarely taking risks of vulnerable involvement or passionate commitment—rarely acting on what we know. Culturally we are guilty of what Dorothy Sayers calls the sin of tolerance, “the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

Porn offers a world of sexual excitement to our bored minds. Porn is a highly sexualized form of the image-based culture in which we live, a world where billions of pictures are painting a thousand words at break-neck speeds. Porn offers a fantasy of pure sexual stimulation.

Good Accountability Question: Have you found yourself bored or itching for excitement? Do you feel like your life is mundane?

4. Porn makes men feel powerful, but real life makes them feel powerless.

It is easy to feel small in the world. We intuitively know the world does not revolve around us, but this doesn’t stop us from wishing it did. We want others to pay attention to us, to treat us as important, to put us first. This desire can be so strong at times we can actually begin to feel entitled to it: we want a little corner of the world where we are kings.

Porn offers men a deluge of power. In a man’s porn-fed fantasy, the girls never say no. In pornography there are no social barriers between a man and the woman of his dreams. Pornography sells the idea that beautiful women are trophies–collectibles that show the watching world what a real man really is. Pornography also sexualizes male dominance, allowing men to fantasize about a world where women enjoy being treated as objects.

Good Accountability Question: Have you been in any situations recently that made you feel belittled, unimportant, or disrespected?

The Biblical Goal of Accountability Questions

The reason accountability partners should ask these pointed questions is not to “psychologize” sins away. Rather, the goal of good accountability questions is to use them as a springboard to focus our thoughts on benefits of the gospel of Christ more than the pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Each question opens a door to living out Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

  • When we ask the question, “Has there been a relationship in your life recently that has been unusually difficult?” the goal is to help others see how they are looking to a particular relationship to make them feel pleasure or fulfillment (thus, a relationship that is always letting them down). We can then point them to the fullness of joy and satisfaction that comes from Christ (John 15:1-11; 16:16-24; Romans 15:13).
  • When we ask the question, “Have there been any stresses in your life recently which have brought on a feeling of pressure or strain?” the goal is to help them see that they are using porn as an escape from life. We can then point them to the psalmists who saw God as their refuge (Psalms 46; 59:16-17; 61:1-3; 62:5-8; 91; 142). Instead of escaping from reality, we can escape into divine reality.
  • When we ask the questions, “Have you found yourself bored or itching for excitement? Do you feel like your life is mundane?” to goal is to help others see if they have been settling for a life of amusement over a life of amazement. We can then point them to the excitement of knowing God and obeying him (Matthew 13:44; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2; Philippians 1:3-4; Colossians 1:9-14; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 3 John 1:3-4).
  • When we ask the question, “Have you been in any situations recently that made you feel belittled, unimportant, or disrespected?” to goal is to help them see they crave power, importance, and esteem from men more than they crave the favor of God. Jesus asked, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). We can point them to the eternal glory the Father gives to Christ, and that as Christians we share Christ’s glory because He lives in us (John 17:20-24; Romans 2:6-10; Colossians 1:24-29).

Learn more about the way porn warps our thinking

Your Brain On PornLearn more about critical steps to freedom from porn in this free e-book, Your Brain on Porn: 5 proven ways pornography warps your mind and 3 biblical ways to renew it. This book weaves together a biblical understanding of sex and lust with scientific observations about the damaging effects of porn.

Join the Conversation

What additional accountability questions would you add?

This entry was posted in Christian Living, Men/Husbands, People in Need of Care, Pornography, Sexual Purity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 
  • Dellferkin

    I think more simple than this post describes i think mrn like porn because their horny. Modern society has us all wrapped up in pschology…looking for deep reasons but the reason is simple. Guys are horny. Sex is fun. Sin doesn’t have immediate consequences.

    • Adam Parker

      I think you should read Proverbs 20:5 again, Dellferkin.

      • Dellferkin

        Gotcha on the Proverbs 20:5. Mans heart *is* deep and desperately wicked too. It does take a wise counselor to draw out our true motives…..usually, but not for the *why porn* question. As I said men look at porn because they are horny. Period.

         Forgive that H word I know it is vulgar but so is this awful subject at hand and though I tried to come up with a less offensive word I couldnt.

        Okay let me ask you this…if men were to master their real life relationships, cut down on stress, do exciting things to quell the boredom virus, and gain a powerful position at work would men be any less horny?  Would the girls in those dirty mags be any less enticing? Would cheap sex become less of a temptation? No no and no. Im sorry its just not that complicated.

         I dont care how good and balanced a mans life is, men are incredibly horny, and you dont even have to delve deep into a mans heart to know thats the truth.`

        PS; Im a woman, married to a Christian man who has struggled with porn for 27 years. He has seasons of victory and then he fails. I think hes pretty typical. There are no patterns or real reasons other than hes horny and carnal.

        • just a dude

          I disagree. When you are busy (i.e., not bored), feeling like “the man” (i.e., not powerless), and are not wrestling with stress (either relational or otherwise), I think your vulnerability to porn is dramatically reduced. However, that vulnerability (and those desires) will never actually go away–but this is partly (largely?) because you will always feel powerless and crave more power, and feel inadequate and crave approval. Even the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world feel these things. In this world, what we have (whether money, power, talent, women, etc.) is never enough. You could just say that men are greedy, lustful, and power-hungry–which is true–but the roots of this restlessness are in selfishness, pride, and insecurity, among other things.

        • http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/ Luke Gilkerson

          As you read my post, you see the the goal of these accountability questions is NOT to say, “You need to be less bored, less stressed in your relationships and situations, and be around people who respect you.” If that is all we do, we are merely engaging in behavior modification and the lusts of the flesh will not be quenched.

          The goal is to use these questions as a bridge to gospel-centered conversations. As a man delights himself in these holy affections, God promises that we will not give into the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5). This is the ultimate goal of any accountability relationship: not just to give an account of your sins but to hear an account of how the gospel defeats our sin. This is the biblical exhortation we are commanded to have in Hebrews 10:24-25.

          So to answer your question: No, we don’t tell people just to notice the inclinations of their heart. Yes, we redirect their attention to things above, and in so doing, we will be leaning on Christ to overcome our sinful inclinations.

          • mary

            I understand this subject as I have lived with it over 30 years with a husband who has been very loyal to his sin and the consequences have been a wife deprived of a loving husband and feeling very alone and wondering what their is about her that he has to find satisfaction somewhere else. For the Christian husband there is hope in the Word of God. Ephesians 6 talks about the problem and solution. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of GOD: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-and for me.

    • Luke Gilkerson

      I would rather say, “Men like SEX because they’re horny.” The question is why do men like this particular form of sexual substitute called porn. The reasons are often deeper than meets the eye.

      • Fred

         Dell’s comment may be a little clumsy, but he has a point. When I was an unbeliever I liked porn for the very reason that it’s gorgeous naked girls doing naughty things.  It appeals to the lusts of my flesh as a guy.  I could care less about how hard relationships were.  Life was exciting for me, hardly boring or stressful, and I wasn’t at all being emasculated by “real life.” 

        Maybe there are some that turn to porn because of these 4 factors you raise, but of all the guys I have talked with about this issue, none of these things played into them and their porn problem.  It was merely the lust of the flesh that they needed to master.

        • Dellferkin

          Forgive the *clumsiness* of my post I wrote that at 4am on my phone, plus Im clumsy. ;-)

        • guest

          “Merely the lust of the flesh” means that a natural and God given desire is “satisfied” in an ungodly way (porn). That’s what a lust of the flesh is – a misguided desire. Luke is simply pointing out what these desires really are. It was a good and valuable article.

          • Fred

             The reality, however, is as “misguided” a desire looking at porn may be, what he presents here is a tad too psychoanalytical in my opinion.  None of the men I know who struggle with porn do so out of any of the 4 reasons he mentions. It really comes done to their lustful hearts. 

            What I see here could be mistaken for providing an “excuse” for why men look at porn.  “Well, I feel powerless about real life, so I look at porn.” That’s ridiculous. How one interacts with and perhaps fails in “real life” should not be gauge of how one deals with sin. 

          • Erd

            The lust of the flesh is a * misguided desire*. Psychobabble? 

          • Luke Gilkerson

            Not sure why you would call it psychobabble. Please explain.

        • Luke Gilkerson

          In all the conversation here, I see a need to clarify why I
          have taken this approach in the article.

          Yes, we like porn because it is an avenue for the lust of
          the flesh. I completely agree. The question I was getting at in the article is:
          Why does fleshly lust manifest itself in this particular way in men’s lives?

          The nature of sexual lust is coveting; it is a particular
          kind of coveting. Sexual lust offers men a particular kind of pleasure that is
          forbidden. Coveting can lie dormant in a man until it is aggravated by the law
          (Romans 7) and when it is given opportunity (Romans 13:14). When a man is told
          there is something he cannot have, something he craves (like an easy
          relationship, a stress free world, excitement, respect), then this produces
          “all kinds of covetousness.” These are
          emotional opportunities make specific objects of lust more appealing.

          The idea for this comes from John Bettler’s fantastic article,
          “When the Problem is Sexual Sin: A Counseling Model.” Bettler
          convincingly argues that underneath our objects of lust are often
          “relationship lusts” and “life-meaning lusts.” Why is a
          particular object so appealing to us? Why do we crave the naked woman? Not just
          because she’s naked, but because she is safe, easy, exciting, and plays to my
          pride.

          When we unmask the nature of physical lust itself, then we
          see how the specific promises of the gospel minister to our twisted desires. We
          can then keep in step with the cravings of the Spirit and not fulfill our
          fleshly lusts.

      • Crm

        I agree *men like sex because they’re horny*. Why this particular form? Because its available, its visually stimulating, it feels good, its cheap and convenient and because we humans are selfish, lustful and carnal. Simple really. Looking for a deep rooted cause is futile and distracting IMO.
        Why do we overeat? Especially spicy flavorful pleasantly presented foods? Why? Because we’re hungry sometimes very hungry. Because we lack discipline. Because we’re selfish. Simple human lusts of the flesh. Its not rooted in psychology.

  • friend

    I wish even Christians would stop promoting the idea that porn is only a men’s issue. I am a female and not the only female who struggles. When the church addresses these articles to men it only further promotes the lie that as a Christian female who has struggled with porn…I am alone.

    • Another friend

      At the same time, though, I think we can look at articles like this and still benefit from them – you’ve just got to be willing to take advice for someone else. Are you alone? No. But do most women struggle with this in the same way as men? I’d venture a guess that they probably don’t.

    • Luke Gilkerson

      When I wrote this article, I wrote it specifically with men in mind because of the unique fantasy life men have in relation to pornography. While women also struggle with fantasy as it relates to porn, the fantasies tend to take on different nuances that I didn’t want to cover in a shorter article.

      That said, you are right: we should giving women adequate resources on this as well. Recently I led a webinar specifically for women on this topic: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/06/26/women-hooked-on-porn-free-webinar-for-christian-women/

      I also recently published an article in our e-zine to parents about this: http://www.covenanteyes.com/pureminds-articles/girls-like-porn-too-a-timely-message-for-parents/

      Hope these help!

    • Genericaccount

      Friend, you have a legitimate argument and I’m praying for you.

    • Jeremy Bair

      Here is a great article that was written by one of our pastor’s wives on this specific issue for women. Hope you enjoy! http://www.crossconnection.net/2012/06/lie-good-girl/

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  • http://www.wbcservices.biz/ Cynthia Calabrese

    Luke, as I read all the posts here there is one very important point I believe that has not been covered.  The true nature of pornography (and all other addictions, for that matter) is the creation of an idol in the heart – a God-replacement; something  else in creation we desire other than the Creator (Romans 1:22-23).  Idolatry is anything we WORSHIP other than God.  We renounce living for Him & His glory and look for objects of worship that will give us what WE want – good feelings, power, or control.  Colossians 3:5 says that pornographic images cause covetousness (to desire what is not yours).  The problem is not the Internet and pornography; the problem is SIN and the false worship of the HEART.  What should we do?  1 Corinthians 10:14 says we are to FLEE from sexual immorality. 

    • Luke Gilkerson

      I agree with you. I believe that is what I was trying to get at in these accountability questions without using that taxonomy. Remember what David Powlison said in his article “Idols of the Heart and Vanity Fair”? “If ‘idolatry’ is the characteristic and summary Old Testament word for our drift from God, then ‘desires’ (epithumiai) is the characteristic and summary New Testament word for the same drift. Both are shorthand for the problem of human beings.” I was approaching the same issue but through the lens of “desire.” I hope my questions didn’t give the impression that I was excusing behavior: by goal was to label sin as truly sinful.

    • Al

      I disagree with Woman’s Biblical Counseling whole heartily.Of course all addictions result in the outcome of the sin of idolatry. There is a reason why someone is trapped in pornography or any other compulsive habit which leads to sin (i.e. over-eating, worrying, fear, drugs & alcohol).

      As I heard my pastor once say “you have to get to the root problem of why you commit Proverbs 26:11″ ( a dog and his vomit). I suggest that every person with an addiction or compulsive habit that leads to sin must do a personal inventory of your life from 5 years old to the present. Examine your past relationships and identify generational curses, life issues and hurts and apply the word of God to them. Last but not least, get an accountability partner to confess your faults so that you can be made whole.

      This is just my humble opinion… Thanks.

  • mosesjerome90

    Today’s world is being ruined by this.By the way where is holiness?. The Bible says that even when we look at a woman with lustful eyes we have committed adultery.But we humans fall into.Only the grace of God can protect us in this sinful world.
           Men-never ever look into some other women than yours.Love her whom God provided u

           Women- never ever look into some other men than yours.Love him whom God provided u.

           Let the holy generation rise up and show the world that Jesus lives and loves even those who are caught in such sins but not their sins…

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  • Jordan

    Great article Luke. I’m battling with this as a new Christian. Wretchedradio brought me here BTW

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  • Paul Coneff

    Scripture and science support the addictive nature of porn. I have a testimony of a man gaining freedom from 20 years of addiction to porn on my website,
    http://www.straight2theheart.com. I focus on the negative beliefs behind the behavior creating the chemical reactions involved in porn addiction, so we are
    addressing the physical and psychological aspects.

    Even more, once we can trust Jesus words about the source of sin, the roots of sin, we identify the lie from the ‘father of lies,’ and the “sinful thoughts that come out of the heart” (Matt. 15:18-19). Then we can trust Jesus words to identify the roots of our healing, sharing how Jesus was rejected, unwanted etc. in His life, fulfilling prophecy as our Suffering Messiah (Luke 9:22; 24:24-26; 44-46, Heb. 2:10, 17-18; 4:15), so He could feel the pull of temptation, so He could identify with us, knowing from a first hand basis what we’ve gone through…sowe can RECEIVE His victory.

    As a Christian Marriage and Family therapist, I ask men, which is stronger, your sincerity (trying harder to do what you’ve already been unable to do), or Jesus purity and Jesus victory He has ALREADY gained 2,000 years ago. As we continue praying, asking the Lord to reveal the lies or negative thoughts, taking them to Jesus so that we are “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5), we see Jesus replace those thoughts, renewing their minds with His peace, His purity, His acceptance.

    It IS a PROCESS, NOT a quick fix. And it consistently makes an impact on men’s hearts, minds and bodies. After 7,000+ hours of praying and counseling with men and women, I’ve seen the power of trusting Jesus words, connecting the men’s story of sin and suffering with their Suffering Messiah, who died for their sins and their suffering, rising again to heal them and set them free.

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  • caretaker

    I’m a caretaker for my wife who has Alzheimer’s and my struggle with this stuff makes me crazy-un-fortunately I have a long history of sexual sin in one form or another, and feeling the stress of care-taking and feeling all alone is just to much for me-and it just makes my walk with the LORD guilt ridden, it is turning into a vicious cycle. I hate IT!!!!!!!

  • Mariana

    My heart has been broken for one year and a half. I told my husband that “I forgive you”, but I feel just as hurt as the day I found out every time I think about how he betrayed me. I don’t think I have any more strength to go on. He told me he has stopped viewing porn, but I can’t trust him, period. I was and still am a faithful wife to him since the day we got married, I give him sex all the time and am usually the initiator. But I can’t forget what he did to me. I feel like my case with his pornography viewing is very rare. What I mean by rare is he was watching porn the first month into our marriage. I found this out by confronting him about it one day because he was acting really weird. I had just asked him if he was okay and if we were okay, and our conversation ended up about him confessing about his addiction. My question is “Why was he viewing porn so early into our marriage even though he was getting sex on a regular basis?” I can’t help but blame myself because of how unattractive I am when naked, and if that is what turned him onto his addiction.

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