dear sharideth #14: this one is about porn part 2

yesterday i wrote to women about how to confront their man’s porn use.  today, it’s the guys turn.  some of what i have to say was touched on in the comments yesterday by some pretty brave men who i’m honored told their story.  but there was one thing that came up that i want to make sure and clarify.

i absolutely believe porn addiction is real and requires professional help to overcome just like any another addiction.  i know its destructive nature and the pain it’s caused in far too many relationships.

what i take exception with is men who use the real pain and desperation of others to try to get out of trouble.  some men throw the “i can’t help it” card because it’s easier and offers them an excuse to continue in bad behavior.  this diminishes what little compassion and understanding there is for men who actually are addicted.

that said, men, if you believe you are addicted, get help.  look back over the comments from men yesterday, there’s some good information there about where to start to get free of porn addiction.  i’m not qualified to offer any professional help and even if i were, i wouldn’t do it here.  what i can offer is encouragement.  there is freedom from addiction.  i’ve seen it.  if that is what you want, you can find it.

for the rest of you…

this is going to be short.  if your wife caught you out for looking at porn here on the interwebz, there’s some things you need to do.

1.  respond – do not shut down and do not deny.  she caught you.  man up and own it.

2.  hear her out – let her say everything she needs to say about how she’s feeling and the fear it’s caused her.  listen close because what’s she’s telling you is going to be critical in what you need to do to make it right.

3.  answer her questions – she’s going to have some.  and they are going to include wondering about what might lacking in her that “caused” you to look at porn.  do not give trite answers that reflect what you think she wants to hear.  be honest.  yes, even if you think it will hurt.  let her know, kindly and with humility what you need.  that’s the only way real restoration happens.

4.  do not blame her – you are a grown man.  own your actions.  even if she’s the most terrible person on the planet, you are still responsible for the choices you make.

5.  reassure her – similar to having an affair, sneaking a peak at porn causes your girl to doubt herself and lose her sense of security not only in the relationship but in how you feel about her.  she doesn’t understand that the porn has little or nothing to do with her.  women are not built that way.

6.  layout a plan – give her the blow by blow of what you are going to do to make it right.  then do it.  be honorable in your intentions to put her first in everything.  because i guarantee she is feeling low on your priority pole.  pun intended.

7.  cut it out – men are built to look, but you are not required to do so and you are certainly not incapable of controlling yourself.  guard you mind, guard your heart.  then offer both to the woman you claim to love.  give her the opportunity to meet your needs; both physical and emotional.

men, you know that porn doesn’t satisfy for more than a few minutes.  it just creates a bigger hole every time.  why?  because it’s not real.  we both know this.  what is real is the woman who would take a bullet for you.  and let’s face it, she just did.

respect her, honor her, give her a man she can proud of and never have to doubt.

guys, other suggestions to help each other come back from being caught out?

ladies, if you’ve been in this position, tell the guys how it made you feel.  what was the outcome?

and in case i wasn’t clear, here’s Bob Newhart to drive the point home.

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17 comments on “dear sharideth #14: this one is about porn part 2

  1. First of all: the 7 steps you lay out prove why you are the ‘man’ for this blog. If I may speak for men, most women would have stopped yesterday and have us figure those steps out ourselves. Second of all: I really love how this discussion actually works online. You may be dependable on the visitors leaving comments for that, but they’re YOUR visitors. That’s a compliment. I’ve got nothing new to comment on, so I’ll gently remove myself from a conversation that should develop and give more insight.

  2. Can I tack onto number 6? Lay out a plan that includes a role for her. For Christians, make one of those roles praying with you daily. A lot of Christian couples (with or without porn problems) overlook the strength you can build into a marriage from daily prayer together. Involve her in a role that lets her both monitor your recovery and feel that she’s contributing to it. That’s a double boost for her security and a double-help for you in remembering what’s at stake and taking actual steps to achieve freedom.

  3. I’ve got a separate side question for you, Sharideth. Possibly for a third post? How would your two advice lists change, if at all, if the genders of the situation are reversed? If it’s the man who catches his wife in porn? With women behaving more like what we traditionally associated as male behavior in various areas of sexuality in the last few decades, I’d have to assume that porn-related behaviors have also risen to some extent.

  4. Chris says:

    Honesty can be pretty helpful from the guy’s side, I believe. Both sides, really, but it seems it is not the norm.

    For example, how great would it be if a guy could tell his girl who he finds attractive? Obviously, he should be regularly telling her how much he finds _her_ attractive, but if she can accept that he finds other shapes and ideas attractive as well, without threat or judgment, that goes a long way to defusing the tension, as well as building intimacy, since she gets a window into the way her guy thinks.

    It’s gotta go the other way too. She needs to be free to tell him if she finds something or someone hot as well, also without judgment. Again, for honesty’s and intimacy’s sake, to defuse the tension, not as a threat.

    I also think that it would be helpful if the guy can go to his girl anytime and tell her that he’s tempted. Instead of porn, tell her, and ask for help. A warm, helpful response as simple as a hug could help rewire the brain.

    Just some thoughts.

  5. Ernie says:

    First off, Sharideth, thank you so much for addressing this issue. It’s real and it’s doing real damage to relationships – we need to be talking about it!

    I think you give great advice to guys. The one tidbit I would add is this – Men, as you respond to your wife, hear her out, and answer her questions, you need to allow yourself to feel the weight of your decisions. It may be very difficult at first to feel her hurt, disappointment, anger, sadness, etc, but God can crack that hard heart of yours. He did it for me.

    I vividly remember the day I shared all my secrets. I had no emotion – felt absolutely nothing. So I retreated to my bedroom by myself. I just started talking to God saying who knows what and before I knew it my heart broke, and I began to feel the weight of my sexual sin. It was amazingly beautiful and unbelievably sad all at once. That was the start of my healing.

    Men, if you want to continue to dig in to the truths that Sharideth laid out in this post, I highly recommend a book called PURE: A Guys’ Guide to Freedom from Sexual Sin. Just click on my name above this comment and it will bring you to a site with more info (sorry for the shameless plug, but this book seriously is the best!).

    Be blessed and be encouraged, men! You really can be free from this stuff!

  6. I was exposed at the age of 10, at the barber shop. It was written off as curiosity. I was then allowed to have my own subscription to Playboy around that same time. This progressed to me–as a teen–having centerfolds on my wall–neither my mom, nor her boyfriend asked me to take them down (or indeed took them down); they just closedy bedroom door.

    From there, I inherited the boyfriend’s stash of mags. All down hill…

    Porn was a part of my life, off and on, from age of 10 until a couple of years ago.

    I went through Celebrate Recovery & can’t recommend it highly enough.

  7. It’s already been said, but Kudos, Sherideth, for addressing this head on. The issue hit close to home for me several years ago. It was remedied by an Every Man’s Battle support group, among other things. I think, as women, we don’t realize that it really is an issue for all of men on some level. Honest communication is definately key. A woman can take the truth. It’s the lies and secrecy that do the most damage.

  8. Lafemmeroar says:

    It’s always good to get tips from a guy … helps me in understanding the other sex better. And these tips are awesome, practical and very doable.

    If I were a guy and my chick caught me looking at porn, immediately going down on her would probably quench any anxiety she has. In that way, porn is the way women can get their “head on” … something not all guys are into. I just don’t know how “doable” this would be from the guy’s end.

  9. Lafemmeroar says:

    oops Freudian slip I meant “get tips from a chick … helps me in understanding my sex better.” Wow my head is spun the wrong way today.

  10. Evan says:

    One of the best quotes I’ve ever seen on this:

    “men, you know that porn doesn’t satisfy for more than a few minutes. it just creates a bigger hole every time. why? because it’s not real. we both know this. what is real is the woman who would take a bullet for you. and let’s face it, she just did.

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