Age Verification to prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing online pornography is set for rollout in the UK. The House of Lords approved the final piece of legislation relating to guidance for the new UK Age Verification system this week (Dec. 11, 2018), with final sign-off from the House of Commons poised. Enforcement is anticipated to begin in early 2019.
Here are some common questions and issues that are being raised.
If I asked you why you abuse sex you would probably give me one of the following: answers:
“I have no idea” “I wish I knew” “I think it’s just who I am” “It is the way God made me” “I think I am simply perverted” “I’m sick” “I’m disgusting” “I’m just a loser” “I’m a bad man” “I mentally disturbed” “I am too self-absorbed”
In treating men struggling with sex/porn addiction I have heard all those comments and more when I asked the why question. Without a clear-cut rationale for why we will simply default to believing it’s a character flaw. In our minds, the obsessed focus on sex is the result of our overactive sexual energy.
“I am convinced I am hard-wired differently than other guys,” said Connor, who at one time was spending nearly $250 a week on live sex webcasts. “There is no other explanation for why I am consumed with sexual thoughts around the clock. I can never get enough.”
Connor is right, he is hard-wired to abuse sexbut not due to anything biological or physiological. Connor’s obsession for sex was developed because someone(s) hard-wired him by causing emotional pain. He learned to block out the emotional distress by distracting himself with sex. To straighten out his wiring, Connor, like all sex addicts, will need to discover the true root of his addiction.
Her Need for Empathy
I truly believe uncovering the origin of a sex/porn addiction is vital in recovery process. The key to unlocking the power of a sex/porn addiction is for men to discover why it manifested in the first place. The answer to the why question provides a level of freedom and relief that enables us to feel hopeful we can get the addiction under control.
But this information is not only important for men dealing with sexual integrity issues, but it’s also valuable for their spouse or partner.
Why? Because it helps both parties clearly understand the addiction is not only about “sex”. This insight helps to clear up the misconception they are simply dealing with “an out-of-control pervert” who will never stop acting out. It provides a sense of hope needed, not only to manage the addiction, but to keep the relationship together.
When a wife or partner understands the ‘why’, it opens the door for them to develop empathy, which is needed for a couple to reconnect. Empathy allows those betrayed to see the addict through a softer pair of eyes that are not as condemning and judgmental.
“I was shocked to learn what Matt had been doing had nothing to do with sex,” said Rachel. “It was quite a relief to understand there actually was some rationale for the insane things he had been doing.”
Now don’t take Rachel’s comments wrong. It’s not that she was condoning Matt’s sexual addiction it was simply that she could now see why he had been acting out in such a destructive manner.
“Just because I now understand doesn’t mean I am ready to forgive,” she continued. “But I could see that day coming. Prior to this, I had no hope of ever forgiving him. It’s obvious he’s been dealing with a lot from his childhood that I never knew.”
When a woman develops empathy for her sex/porn-addicted partner she indicates an understanding of his problem. However, she is not, in any way, shape or form saying she is accepting of the behavior. She continues to despise it. By becoming empathic a woman can find a way to adjust her thinking to once again accept her partner if she sees he is taking steps to change.
Basically, she is saying “I understand why you do what you do. It all makes sense to me now. However, I still don’t like it, so what are you doing to fix it?”
IMPORTANT FACT: Discovering the reasons why a man abuses sex is not an excuse for his behavior. He had other options, including to seek help earlier. But he elected not to take them. He is still responsible for the pain he has caused to others.
Every year the conversation in our home surrounding what to sacrifice for Lent is pretty entertaining. Each individual throws out an idea, while other family members counter argue why they believe it is not a true sacrifice. It’s always the usual list including sweets, bread, or electronics. In reality, all are good ideas and serve the purpose of denying oneself over a period of 40 days.
Last year I proposed men make a sacrifice that could have long-term and healthy outcomes for themselves and their relationships.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine if someone is dealing with a sexual addiction. A man who views pornography a couple times a year may be acting inappropriately and hurting intimacy between him and his wife, but it doesn’t mean he is a sex addict.
A sexual addiction is diagnosed when sexual activity has a negative impact and effect on other parts of a person’s life including relationships, finances, health, safety, employment, and/or relationship with God.
The following is a brief assessment to help you get an initial read if you are indeed struggling with a sexual addiction. Check each one that applies to you.
Does your mind wander with sexual thoughts throughout the day?
“I don’t know what you are so upset about. Every guy watches porn. It’s no big deal so why don’t you just leave it alone.”
I am blown away by the number of men I meet in my counseling practice who have uttered those words to their wives to justify their pornography addiction. In fact, many men believe watching pornography is as harmless as watching football. In their minds, since “every guy watches porn,” then it’s a harmless activity.
But they’re wrong.
Viewing pornography is far from harmless, especially to the emotional well-being of our wives. When we watch porn, we are sending extremely hurtful messages to our spouses.
While we may not intend to communicate self-worth eroding messages, nevertheless these messages are coming through loud and clear. Here are three of them.
Readers, the following first appeared on the website ThePornEffect.com. It is a letter written by a young woman who spent time in the pornography industry. For those men – and even some women – who think there is nothing wrong viewing pornography, you need to read this.
Dear Porn User,
I want you to know that I don’t write this with any hostility to you. Maybe you watch porn but don’t want to. Maybe you watch porn and don’t want to stop. Either way, thanks for reading.
I was a “porn star” for only six months but featured in over twenty films. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’ve seen the reality of what the porn industry is really like. I think many people believe falsehoods about porn. Falsehoods which, if they knew them to be such, would probably try harder (or try at all) to stop watching porn.Continue reading “So You Think Women Enjoy Being in Porn? Think Again.”→
Great article by Garrett Kell on being upfront and transparent with our wives about the struggle of sexual sin. This article originally appeared on the website “For The Church’. Read and take the advice to heart. One of the biggest issues facing couples in this situation is the husband lacks the courage to be honest and open. It is a BIG mistake and only leads to further pain and mistrust.
Quite often I am asked by one of my clients who abuse sex “what is the time frame for being cured?”. They are a little taken aback when I respond “never”. Their wives also are disappointed and worried when they hear this news.
However, it is not all bad news. Like any other addiction, the desire to abuse sex doesn’t evaporate into thin air after a man has done his work and followed a recovery program designed to achieve sexual integrity. And I do not need to tell you that sexual temptation loudly surrounds us.
In fact, there is really little escape from the endless imagines and triggers that engross us on a daily basis. That is why the focus of recovery needs to be not simply on changing our behavior but instead changing our hearts. A critical component of that change is realizing we could become vulnerable if we let down our guard. Read what the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:12.Continue reading “Can Sex Addiction Recovery Be Permanent?”→
Do you have a secret? If so, you have come to understand the best way to keep it a secret is to guard it. You must keep it out of sight from others so that no one ever discovers it. And what better place to keep it hidden than in the dark.
The dark is a wonder place for secrets because it’s difficult for people to see through darkness. Jesus knew this.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19-20
Pornography addicts hate the light because it’s impossible to act out when being exposed. They need the dark in order for their secret to remain hidden. It is in the dark that a pornography addiction can manifest itself and become deeper and more intense. It is in the dark that a pornography addiction can thrive and work to destroy the addict’s mind as well as relationships.
One of the first steps necessary to recovery is admitting we have a problem. And that requires taking our addiction out of the dark and exposing it to the light. You hate reading that don’t you? Come on admit it.
But if you want to be free of this 10-ton weight you are carrying you must expose it. We do that by finding a trusting friend or accountability partner. We join a support group in which we are surrounded by like-minded men who understand the struggles. We admit our sins to our wife or partner and ask for their support as we tackle what could be the biggest challenge we have ever faced.
Let’s go back to Jesus as he continues discussing the need to bring sin into the light. “But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:21 NLT
Doing what God wants. How different is that then simply indulging in our own selfish pleasures? Doing what God wants. Come out of the dark with your pornography addiction and start on the road of recovery today.
An article in the popular magazine Women’s Health outlined three reasons why couples should watch pornography together. Obviously, the writers and editors of Women’s Health don’t have a lot of experience in seeing how couples who watch pornography together can quickly see the erosion of their relationships.
Carla and Jonah started counseling after she found sexually-graphic text messages that he had been sending to women he met in chat rooms. He would later confess to her that he had been having online sexual encounters with three different women in which he would masturbate while reading the erotic text they exchanged back and forward. Continue reading “Couples and Porn Don’t Mix”→