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Twelve Addictive and Soul-Capturing Reasons Men Enjoy Porn

Twelve Addictive and Soul-Capturing Reasons Men Enjoy Porn

The sin that nobody wants to talk about is our penchant for pornography. If you want to silence a small group setting, bring up the topic of porn. It’s uncomfortable because so many of our friends are addicted to it, and for many of us, sexual discussions are intimately personal. Regardless, we must talk about this silent spiritual killer.

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The Porn Pandemic

After spending more than two decades talking to men about porn, I’ve noticed a few recurring themes. I’m going to share twelve of them with you, in no particular order. It’s these things that lure men (and women) into the world of pornography.

If you want to watch a talk that I gave on porn, you may view this one-hour presentation that I gave to a group of biblical counselors in Europe.

#1 Gratifying – The most obvious reason men enjoy porn is gratification. Simply put, it feels good. There is physical and spiritual pleasure derived from participating in porn. This pleasure mirrors our physical and spiritual selves. For temptations to work, they must be attractive to our whole selves. If the enemy can capture a man’s operating center (his heart), he can control his body. Thus, the starting point and our severest temptations begin with our desires (James 1:14).

#2 Lonely – You have heard the expression, “I can be lonely in the middle of 1000 people.” It is true. The loneliness I am speaking of is not so much external or physical. There is more profound loneliness that reaches us at the soul level. Relationships that do not quench our internal, spiritual emptiness will tempt us to look for other things to fill the void in our hearts. Though porn appears to be a quick fix, it never wholly satisfies.

#3 Risk-free – Porn does not require much risk for the voyeur. It is a rejection-free environment. Rejection is a big fear for many of us. Men are more fragile than you might imagine. Porn provides an easy place to try to satisfy what is wrong with us without the possibility of discovery. It is different from going to a strip club or some other place where you can lose anonymity.

#4 Angry – Many people struggle with a low-grade frustration about how life has turned out for them. Without a strong gospel orientation, a person will look for ways to soothe his frustration. The frustrated man will find satisfaction on the Internet. It is a frictionless environment where he can enter into momentary pleasure. The more complex and frustrating his real world is, the stronger the temptation to seek a virtual world.

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#5 Discouraged – Discouragement is similar to low-grade anger. Many of us did not get the life we expected. Living in an ever-changing, mundane world is complex. Many men do not have the wisdom to live in the mundane. They want excitement. This tension is one reason sports is so popular. It is why Hollywood has an appeal to both men and women. It is an escape. The discouraged heart feels a need to live vicariously through the plastic world of sex.

#6 Win – Tied to the anger and discouragement tension is a desire to win. Most of us men are unsuccessful, according to our standard for success. We want to conquer, to win, to come out on top of something. Porn provides an illusion of success through fantasy. Porn is the theater of mind where a man can be anything he wants to be with the type of woman he chooses.

#7 Fantasy – Any woman can understand this because they know the temptation. The dissatisfied heart will crave another kind of life. Movies or the lives of the rich and the famous are just two ways a person can enter into fantasy thinking. There are many ways to fantasize about life. Facebook can be the perfect antidote for the disappointed person.

#8 Conquer – Porn provides an easy way for a man to get his conquer fix on. It is part of our wiring to accomplish stuff and to feel good about what we have achieved. You can probably see how some of these categories are interrelated. To conquer is similar to our desire to win. Porn provides a fantasy world where we can win by wooing the girl through our manipulations. To conquer is to get her to do whatever we can imagine her doing for us.

#9 Devalue – The porn guy does not respect women. You cannot participate in pornography and have high respect for women. The objectification of women through porn is akin to slavery. It is disrespect of the female by dominating her. One of the oddities that I see in Christian women is them doing all they can to attract a man by how they look and dress. I am not talking about a bit of paint on the barn, but dressing in such a way to highlight her body. This strategy is not the kind of beauty a man should desire, but it seems to be the kind of man some women want to attract.

#10 Selfish – The devaluing of a woman through objectification is a self-centered perspective on sex. The act of physical intimacy should be motivated by the gospel, which is other-centered. Being romantic, sensual, and sexual should find motivation in a desire to serve the other person. The main goal is not self-satisfaction; personal gratification is a by-product of sexual intimacy but not the primary goal. Porn is biblical sex’s antithesis.

#11 Physical – I spoke about gratification as the first point. I broke it into two categories: (1) spiritual and (2) physical. I addressed the spiritual aspect under the previous categories, which find roots in a person’s spiritual confusion. The physical part of porn is not as complex or multi-faceted. There is a feeling element to porn. The feeling works out in two primary ways: (1) orgasm and (2) addiction.

#12 Addiction – Initially, a person can dabble with porn without addiction. We control it. But because the Lord wired us to be habitual for our good and His glory, we can take His good wiring and turn it to our disadvantage. We become addicts. The Bible speaks of the “caught” person, which is an addicted individual (Galatians 6:1). Addiction is the good feeling we receive through the act of porn and masturbation, and the more we do it, the more we want it.

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What’s Your Vice?

Drug addicts understand the thrill and despair of addiction. The angry person knows the ups and downs of their addiction, too. When sin intersects our God-given need for habituation, we become an addict to our preferred “drug.” Once we go into repeat mode, it becomes our unconscious default. The addictive eater is similar to the pornographer. It is the saame for the serial apparel shopper.

Anything we cannot walk away from is our porn. Anything that controls us is our addiction, which is why we must be careful. The person who struggles with fear or insecurity or jealousy or any other sin that takes control of them is no different from the person who struggles with porn in that addictive behavior has caught them.

The consequences of our addictive choices will be different, but from a spiritually broken perspective, all caught souls have the same problem. Let the unhooked soul cast the first stone, though stone casting is not what our addictive friends need. They need our compassion, courage, competence, and care.

What Controls You?

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do (Galatians 5:16-17).

The temptation to look down on others is resident in us. One of the blessings of being in the counseling business is that you learn an important lesson after a while: we all are the same. We are all born in Adam and come into this world with the addiction temptation. The difference is how we struggle with them. How do you struggle?

What can easily captivate your mind? Is it depression, fear, anger, lusts of the flesh, cigarettes, movies, food, selfish ambition, a desire to be rich, a desire for comfort, or a bigger this or grander that? What tempts you? It is important to understand we are all in a battle. There is warfare for our souls. Satan’s Plan A is to send us to hell. His Plan B is to hinder Christians in their walk with the Savior.

We are no different from the porn guy. There are two kinds of people: those who know what tempts them and admit it and those who know but will not admit their weaknesses. The best thing we all can do is acknowledge what the Bible says about us. We are sinners, which implies a need for God’s rescue. Being rescued is more than being saved. We are not entirely sanctified.

Brother’s Keeper?

The porn struggler struggles in two ways. He is in a battle in his soul, and he is in a battle with his community. You perceive the “soul problem” by the twelve-point list that I gave. What you might not readily perceive is how he is in a battle in his community. Porn is not a private sin that separates itself from the porn guy’s community.

Though his struggle is in his heart, it is also with you—particularly the females in his world. This aspect is a touchy subject for some women, even to the point of them becoming angry when someone addresses how they dress in public. Regardless, there is a responsibility on all of us not to become stumbling blocks to those who find this temptation easy. Our call is to live out the gospel before every person (Philippians 2:5-7).

  • Will you self-assess?
  • Why do you dress the way you do?
  • Does your manner of dress draw a man’s eyes to your body?
  • Do you dress in such a way to reflect Christ?

The Aggravated Response

I have heard, “I could dress in a feed sack, and a lustful man would not stop gawking at me.” This kind of comment is a diversionary tactic. Regardless of a man’s degree of addiction, we cannot justify our release from honestly assessing ourselves about the “how” and “why” we dress the way we do. What I’m suggesting here is no different from the alcohol addict.

Would you say, “It does not matter if I had a Coke; he would still get drunk.” Maybe so, but does this release you to break out your Bud before him because it does not matter? Without question, a perverted, addicted man will lust regardless of what you do. But that does not remove your responsibility for dressing in a way that does not draw attention to your outward adorning (1 Peter 3:3-4). The caring soul who radiates Christ wants to serve those around her.

Living in a sinful world is not a perfect experience, and we don’t have the luxury of saying “I can live any way that I want to” when there are fallen friends all around us who struggle differently from us. Paul said he would not eat meat as long as the world stood if it caused a brother to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:13). There is a lot to unpack from what he said, but the main thing, for now, is emulating his humility.

Call to Action

  1. Are you addicted to porn? It’s a yes or no question.
  2. If you are, will you talk to an appropriate person? It might not be wise to speak with your spouse at this point. Ideally, you want to have these conversations, but there is a sequence to problem-solving. Your first course of action is to get the help you need.
  3. Perhaps your addiction is in another area. What is it? Will you work through this article, exchanging the word porn for your addiction? Then will you find help, too?

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