Good morning everyone,
Last night I had the pleasure of leading a discussion on sexuality with the male students at Tyndale University-College in Toronto, Ontario. The direction of the discussion was toward an understanding of how our concept of masculinity will impact our relationships. Ultimately the concept of “Good King vs. Jerk Dictator” was presented. Let me explain:).
The jerk dictator is out to get all he can, not caring what it will (or potentially will…) cost his people. He is only concerned for himself. In his view HIS PEOPLE SERVE HIM.
The good king cares for those he is responsible for. He works hard to meet their needs as they arise. It is his priority to ensure his people are taken care of. In his view it is his responsibility to serve. HE SERVES HIS PEOPLE.
So, you may be asking “what does this have to do with our sexuality?” Good question. If we apply the “Good King vs. Jerk Dictator” concept, we are to serve the people we are in relationship with. We are to be concerned about their needs, desires, hurts, concerns, general well-being, etc. This goes for our children, partner, family, friends, coworkers, neighbours, etc – all the people we are in relationship with. This can apply to our sexual relationship with our partner – if we are to focus on their needs first, that means we will not be forcing them to do things they may not enjoy/want to do sexually.
How does this apply to pornography? Well, pornography, generally speaking, is a selfish act. Yes, there are couples who view pornography together and find it beneficial to their relationship. However, those who are struggling with an addiction to pornography are finding its use negatively affects their life – otherwise it would not be labelled an addiction. Most have found it very destructive in their partner relationship. Coming from that premise, viewing pornography and masturbating is the antithesis of focusing on the needs of the other. It breeds selfishness. You are able to meet your own needs without opening yourself to relationship. It short circuits intimacy (a topic for another day…). Viewing pornography and masturbating takes your focus completely off your partner, squarely placing it on meeting your own needs without their involvement.
If you have a view of masculinity that promotes selfless sacrifice to meet the needs of those close to you, viewing pornography and masturbating goes against the grain. You will have to go to great (and creative) lengths to justify it. You will be going against yourself.
I am of the opinion that unless you are able to line up your moral constructs with how you actually live your life, you will not be happy. You will try lots of different things to feel better about yourself, but unless you can reconcile what/who you think you should be with your actions, you will fall short. Porn is always hungry – it promises something that will meet your need for relationship, but never delivers. You will feed it until you die without finding any lasting satisfaction.
If you are struggling with an addiction to pornography, and can see how it is negatively affecting your relationships, seek help to overcome it. It is possible if you put in the work. Take care…
Individual and group pornography recovery treatment is available through Juniper Tree Counselling and Psychotherapy Services (www.junipertree.ca).
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