Happy hug a florist day everyone…
Now that we are all basking in the glow (hopefully) of another Valentine’s day gone by I thought I would write about intimacy. I am hoping this will piggy back on the last post about masculinity. I will be involving some theology in this post, as I feel our design contributes to the topic at hand. I am coming from an intelligent design perspective – I view our design as the batteries that make us work the way we do, especially relating to intimacy. Giant hole in the plot if left undiscussed.
We are designed as relational beings. God intended us to be in relationship with him and with each other. At the outset, prior to the fall, the intimacy shared between Adam and Eve, along with the intimacy shared be God and each of them, was as it had been intended. It was perfect. The fall brought a number of things in to play that had not been present before the fall – Adam and Eve both realized they were naked and felt the need to cover themselves (shame); they hid from God knowing they had not followed his instructions (guilt), as well as out of concern for what his response might be (fear); and Adam tried to pass the buck for his choice onto Eve (blame). The difficulties we have in relationship with each other – family, friends, romantic, parent-child, etc. – can all be filed according to shame, guilt, fear, and blame. Intimacy is going to be pretty difficult to foster with someone when these are present. How are we to trust ourselves or the other when we have these propensities? Fallen world = fallen bodies = fallen intimacy. We retain the design our bodies were intended for, and part of that design includes a capacity (and necessity) to share intimate relationships with each other and with God.
So, what does pornography have to do with this? Pornography promises to meet the need we have for intimacy quickly and easily, without all the mess of relationship. It preys on our lack of trust in people, on our insecurity with ourselves. The problem is that this promise is completely false. Pornography will never satisfy the need we have for relationship. It is empty, and will only continue to demand more and more as it fails to meet the need. Anyone involved long term with pornography will speak to its ever growing deviancy. What satisfied when you began looking at porn and masturbating does not satisfy forever – it constantly needs to change in order to stay relevant. It will continue to progress in deviance the longer you are involved.
We are all fumbling to reproduce the perfect intimacy we are designed for. Our relationships strengthen, are shaken to the point of breaking when trust is broken, and often fail. Relationships are very hard work. We need to do our best to approach them from the understanding of how we are created, and the deficit left post fall, all the while trying to understand the need we have for intimacy in relationship. Porn coupled with masturbation will never satisfy the need, and will only keep us focused on ourselves. It promises to substitute for real relationship, but requires us to remain alone. It sabotages our ability to relate to each other by warping our view, keeping us completely focused on sex as the be all and end all of intimacy. It disables our ability to be in relationship.
If you are finding this is true in your life, if you find you cannot stop viewing pornography and masturbating despite your best efforts to do otherwise, do what you can to put an end to this behaviour. It takes time to understand the challenges it poses in your life. A different perspective cannot hurt, as it is really difficult to look at ourselves objectively. If you are serious about freeing yourself from an addiction to pornography, find a professional experienced in this are to help. If you are in the greater Toronto, Ontario area, Juniper Tree Counselling and Psychotherapy Services can help.
This is not hopeless. There is freedom from this if you put in the work. Grant yourself and those you love a new you, a you focused on meeting the needs for intimacy that you were designed for. Take care…
Individual and group pornography recovery treatment is available through Juniper Tree Counselling and Psychotherapy Services (www.junipertree.ca).
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