The essence of being a man includes rescuing women and children in a flood, it includes hunting and fishing, backpacking, and, yes, watching porn. Hurricane Harvey this week has shown us that the manly virtues are not things that can be quickly thrown away.
Yes, I know that the feminizing movement is active in the church. It wants to redefine manliness to be estrogen-laden males. it wants us to vacuum the floor and to communicate fully our inner lives. But when we need real men, it is not these beta-males who show up.
When the feminizing movement showed up in the church, it did not directly attack courage, instead it told boys that they shouldn’t fight back – even if attacked or defending a weaker person. It didn’t directly attack hunting or fishing, instead it told husbands that they ought to “spend more time with their family.” But men have been spending time with their boys for many centuries – by hunting and fishing. It didn’t tell men to stop having sex with their wives, it just attacked their erotic desires – called it lust – and tried to convince men that the only Godly sexual desire involved candlelit dinners and long walks in the twilight.
But Godly sexual desire also includes pure physical desire, pure desire to grab their wives sexual parts and go to slurping and humping. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, ungodly about this.
Yes, there is also a place for romantic, sweet, and tender lovemaking. But there is nothing inherently more Godly and holy about tender and sweet versus hot and fervent. I dare you to find any scripture that even hints differently.
Christian men should be encouraged to be manly. To want sex – early, late, and often. The best way to encourage this is by depicting sex to them and not placing a guilt-trip on them for liking it.
So, it is my position that Christian men can view what is considered pornography (wrongly called, it should be erotica) without being wrong. I say this for three reasons. Firstly, holy erotica is God-ordained and inspired. Secondly, it is healthy. Thirdly, sincere holy men have been looking at “dirty” art for thousands of years without our religion being destroyed.
Firstly, Erotica is God-ordained. The Bible includes everything necessary for a Christian life. God knew that people would be angry at life’s injustices, so he put in the book of Job. He knew that people would question him, so he put in many of the Psalms and the book of Habakkuk. He knew that people would feel hopeless as they approached old age, so he put in the book of Ecclesiastes. Proverbs is filled with miscellaneous advice on thousands of important subjects.
And God knew that single people should be reminded how wonderful married love is, and he knew that married people would need to encourage their sexual desire so that it would not become humdrum. So he put in the play of the Song of Solomon that includes nudity, erotica, and explicit sexual imagery. Solomon had this play performed live in his court – in short – he had live sex shows, since video hadn’t been invented yet. God included this “porn” (actually erotica) in his Bible for a reason. That reason is to inform us that in our railing against adulter and fornication we should not forget that marital sex was invented by God for the pleasure of his people.
Secondly, Erotica is healthy. Despite what you read about from non-physician, non-psychiatrist, pseudo-experts like “YourBrainOnPorn” Gary Wilson; studies do NOT show that your brain is harmed by viewing erotica. In fact, a recent study showed that couples who overcome the imposed guilt of the legalistic churches were drawn closer together, even if the erotica was viewed alone. If brains were truly damaged so badly by porn, then the 70% of men who ADMIT that the view porn regularly and the 29% who lie about it would be wandering the streets waiting to murder and rape women. And yet, most marriages seem to survive and thrive in spite of these poor husbands’ brains being destroyed. We would like to provide a study showing that marriages survive more when men view porn, but we can’t find any men who don’t watch porn. The “Porn Addiction” so much quoted by these pseudo-experts simply doesn’t exist, which is why the psychiatrists did not include it as a diagnosis in the newly released Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5(DSM5). Vegetarians want to define bacon as an addiction, and the new puritans want to define erotica as an addiction. Neither is.
Thirdly, sincere Christian men are already viewing porn. Yes, I know, Christians sin all the time. But if the Holy Spirit is really guiding ANY Christians and God hates porn so much, then SOME of them should be overcoming. Yet the studies show that there is no difference between the porn viewing habits of proclaiming Christians and non-believers. That is because God is not helping men to overcome an act that he never forbade.
The church, dominated the dear sisters who don’t understand the biological desire that God gave all men keep trying to accomplish the impossible. The natural result is a church empty of men. Pastors who counsel marital couples when the husbands porn “addiction” is discovered actually destroy the marriage.
One of the most arguments against christian married couples enjoying porn together is that the artificial perfection of the women and couples in porn will make the couple unsatisfied with the imperfections in each other.
This argument does not stand up to examination. Firstly, that is not the experience of couples who watch porn. Secondly, this argument isn’t used in any other situation. Thirdly, imagining the ideal is precisely what Christians and Jews have taught as the proper behavior for thousands of years.
Let’s take these one at a time.
Couples who watch porn do not experience decreased desire for each other.
The anti-porn advocate selectively quotes from the “question” part of the study that asks whether erotica-viewing will reduce marital desire. He then leaves out the results of the study – which contradicts his pre-determined conclusion. After studying 34 couples who were tested after viewing erotic and non-erotic stimuli. Here is what the authors wrote.
Participants viewing both the erotic and exciting films reported equivalent increases in excitement; however, the erotic film was rated as slightly more generally arousing and increased participant's desire to be close to their partner...viewing erotic films led to more positive evaluations of one's own sexual behaviors.
In short, the study states that couples who watched erotica – whether singly or alone – desired each other more. Of course they did. They got turned on by the fantasy and wanted some of the real thing from each other.
But why is this. Shouldn’t the fantasy make the reality less desirable? No
We use fantasy models all the time
Remember the wax fruit craze of the ’70’s. My mother put out a bowl of wax fruit as decoration. Did you ever try to bite into it? Well, I did. Mom was not happy. I discovered that models rarely taste as good as they look. Nevertheless, those perfect-looking waxed fruits did whet my desire for real fruit. If something can LOOK that good, surely somewhere there is something that TASTES that good.
When I go to the department store to buy clothes, I am surrounded by mannequins modelling those clothes. I know perfectly well that there are no male bodies with perfect abs like that outside of Hollywood (I’ll give you Chris Hemsworth). I certainly don’t look that nice. Yet I buy those polo shirts anyway. The store knows that showing me the ideal will increase my desire for the everyday.
When I watch Grey’s Anatomy with my wife, she knows perfectly well that I will never approach the manly perfection displayed
But I have gotten my bones jumped a few times after the episode!
Christians believe in Platonic Ideals
My point is that healthy brains are perfectly capable of distinguishing between the ideal and the prosaic. In fact, that is the way our brain works. We name things by the ideal. When Adam named the animals, he didn’t name them for ranges of attributes. (Four legged animal that eats grass, chews cud, and gives milk – coming in a range of colors and sizes) but rather for an ideal (this cow is larger than usual, with black and white spots instead of uniform brown).
As Judea-Christian philosophers, we believe that heaven contains the models of things that exist on earth. The perfect marriage is Christ and the Church. Contemplating this perfect love does not cause me to love my wife less, but more.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
So also, contemplating the perfect sex causes me to love sex with my wife more
I know that the sex models aren’t actually that perfect. That a guy cannot maintain an erection that long, that my wife isn’t going to moan that excitedly. That we aren’t both going to have simultaneous orgasms very often. I certainly know that I am not endowed with that many inches.
But that doesn’t keep me from using the inches that God endowed me with to please her and make her as happy as any porn star ever thought of being.
One of the greatest challenges facing the man who wishes to be honest about his porn use is overcoming society’s insistence that he is being, somehow, unfaithful to his wife.
Biblically, this insistence makes no sense. If reading about or looking at sexy women or sex acts were adultery, then God would cause us to be commit adultery every time we read the Bible, which doesn’t close the bedroom doors. Privacy is a function of large living spaces, which didn’t exist until after World War II.
The oft quoted Matt 5:28 Whosever looketh after a woman to lust after her… ignores the context of the scripture which talks about hatred being equivalent to murder. Every time I become angry with someone I do not “hate” them. I can be very angry with someone without desiring their death, so also I can be very aroused at the sight of a woman’s body without desiring or scheming to have sex with her.
Only in America are women’s breasts always hidden from sight. In the rest of the world, and in the rest of history, breasts were considered a normal, and very pleasant sight.Clearly the people of the Bible were used to naked breasts in public. Unquestionably the Romans had no problem with them. The Jews certainly appreciated the finer parts of female anatomy. David saw Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop because it was obviously common for women to do this.
The shame of nakedness in history is not associated with a lack of modesty, but rather with poverty. Poor people could not afford enough clothes to be dressed all of the time. But even rich people took off their clothes when they were around water. The bathing suit – like pajamas – is a recent American/English invention.
The pornographic portraits, statues, and literature of the ancient world is pervasive in all cultures. Yet neither Jesus nor Paul and the other New Testament writers mentioned it. They spent their efforts warning against real adultery, real fornication, and real lasciviousness.
The churches are failing fathers because they have lost the concept of masculinity.
When Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, he began preaching Jesus in the marketplace. He made the unconverted Jews so angry that they attempted to kill him. Today, if a man preaches Christ this way he will be informed that he is not be “seeker-friendly”
When Peter was working out on the fishing boat after the Resurrection he worked naked. Today he would be arrested and put on the sex-offender list.
When Abner sent David an invitation to be King of Israel, David told him to return the wife that was given to another man. He went to war to keep the woman that was his. Today, he would be denounced as a brute.
When Solomon was inspired to write a Song of Love, he made no secret of his erotic desire. He publicly described his sexual acts. He proclaimed how much he liked her naked body. He talked about her nudity in detail. He detailed his masturbation. Today he would be called a pornographer and banished to the sinful alleys of the internet.
Today, Christians expect a man to listen to his wife instead of lead his family; to play with his children instead of instruct them; to romance his wife instead of have sex with her; to play soccer instead of hockey; to drink soft drinks instead of beer. To compromise instead of fight for what is his.
None of these things are bad. They are just not MASCULINE. Masculinity is not always the best thing, but it is half of the best thing. It is the half of humanity that God created to express. It is the half that is usually expressed by men.
No man is perfectly masculine. I, personally, never hunt. Frankly, I would rather quilt. I happen to be pretty good at listening(I’m a psychiatrist, after all). But I also have no fear of standing my ground on an issue if I stand all alone. I have often, like, Shammah the son of Agee, stood in the patch of lentils and defend it when everyone else fled.
The point I am making is not that every man has to act like a cave man. But the skills that make a good cave man ought to be encouraged
It happened again this week. Some friends went to the pastor to save their marriage. The man had a “porn addiction”. The result is always the same – the marriage is not saved. The wife continues to go to church, the ex-husband drops out. The children are assured by the church that their daddy is a bad person.
This is because the pastors are not actually being trained in good counseling techniques. Most of them only took a couple of introductory courses during Bible school, learn a little bit more by practicing (malpracticing) on their people with no supervision, and then finally are confirmed in their poor practice by other poor counselors and pastors who have gathered together in organization like “Focus On the Family” which should named Focus On Destroying Fathers.
Firstly, let’s get rid of the idea that God ever intended pastors to be counselors. Just where did this idea come from? Is it in the New Testament. No, it isn’t. In fact, when a man came to Jesus seeking family counseling Jesus said, “Who made me a judge or divider among you?” (Luke 12:14).
How did pastors get into the marital counselor position? They got there because when a couple have a disagreement between themselves, they want an outside authority to force the other side to capitulate. The husband is not obeying the anti-masculine rules that our society has made its new norm. The wife threatens divorce unless the husband agrees to “counseling”, but instead of going to a competent counselor who can actually help, she drags him down to the church, where she knows the pastor will tell the husband that he is “sinning” by acting a like a man. Because of his love for his wife, the husband will attempt to feminize himself for some time. This inevitably fail. When he does fail, the wife will feel holy as she disobeys the direct command of Jesus and leaves him. The church ladies who all participated in the gossip surrounding this breakup will all comfort the ex-wife that she “tried” and the man will be ostracized. The pastor is called into testify that the husband didn’t cooperate with counseling, the children are handed to the mother and told that the father is bad.
No, this has never happened to me. My wife likes me to be a man. Oh, yes, the sisters of the church have tried to force her to adopt the pervasive man-hatred of the church. These women are now divorced and our marriage is strong.
The reason that pastors make bad counselors is because that they look at things in the “sin-righteousness” paradigm. This is not bad. The church is supposed to teach righteousness. They are supposed to teach healthy behaviors and good habits of life. So when a couple comes to the pastor for counseling, he looks for what is “wrong” in the marriage. He attempts to remold this couple into the Platonic ideal of what he has been taught is the “Biblical” model of marriage. He looks for “sin” and attempts to get the couple to let the “Holy Spirit” guide them into righteousness.
But, those of us who happen to be trained in human health – DOCTORS – know that there isn’t a perfect model of the human body or a perfect model of a human relationship. Every body and every relationship is infinitely unique. They cluster around certain norms, but these norms are considerably more diversified than untrained people realize. Hearts are not all the same size or in the same position, the arteries (and especially the veins) are in much different places in the body that we expect. As a psychiatrist, I know that people’s baseline behavior varies very widely.
And the “normal” differences skyrocket when you combine all of these widely varying behaviors into families. Even if you simplify humans into 16 basic personality types (a vast over-simplification) you have 256 different combinations of just two people. Now add in the in-laws, children, cousins…. The number of different combinations is astronomical.
You are not going to solve all of the myriad numbers of things that can go wrong in a marriage by teaching the husband to say, “I hear you saying….” and filling her car with balloons on her birthday. Nor are you going to become a capable pastoral counselor by going out to Colorado Spring, CO, taking a 5 day course and getting a certificate.
You are especially not going to become a capable counselor when you are being taught a method that has no peer-reviewed studies showing its effectiveness. Being told that we don’t need studies since the Bible already told us everything that we need to know is false. The Bible gives us guidelines for STUDY about our relationships with each other. It is not a textbook. God expects us to develop expertise in how these guidelines are implemented in each culture.
It would be nice if the evangelical community decided to develop Christian counselors. It would be nice if they started some peer reviewed periodicals to see how their different methods worked. It would be even nicer if they actually read the Bible instead of just waving it around claiming that it supported their theories. But none of this has happened. Instead non-expert preachers have gotten together, pieced together some ideas based on traditions and then wrote books telling us what GOD SAID.
The third commandment told us to not take the name of the Lord in vain. This means, don’t use God’s name to defend your own ideas and your own vanity. Don’t claim God said something he didn’t say in order to give authority to your bad ideas.
There is one other reason to not go to your pastor for counseling. Because he already has a relationship with you that will get in the way. You will not be honest and open with him and he cannot be honest and open with you. I often have patients tell me that they are very religious and are very involved in their church. I then ask them if they would like their pastor involved in the treatment team. They invariably say “NO.” Why? Because they are afraid of what he will learn about them. They don’t want to discuss their substance abuse, their adultery, their sins. They have to go to church and watch him preach at them for a long time after the treatment is complete. Therefore they hide the true problems from him.
And this goes the other way. The pastor is under pressure to not say certain things to his parisioners. Sometimes I have to tell my patients that they cannot continue to use marijuana if they wish me to continue prescibing for them. I will have to give them a drug test before I will meet with them. Can you imagine a pastor telling a congregant that if he doesn’t stop using pot he will have to leave the church? If he did so, would he be a good pastor?
Don’t go to your Pastor for counseling. He is not appointed by God to be your psychiatrist. He doesn’t know what he is doing. His position prevents him from giving the best treatment. He will destroy you.