The Problem of Porn

| 04-06-AD2013 | [10]

Marsh Fightlin - Porn

As a psychologist who counsels married couples, I see the problem of porn as more widespread than ever, especially among males.  It’s only a mouse click away.  The younger a man is when he is exposed to it, the more quickly it becomes a deep-seated habit.

Dealing with it is similar to dealing with alcohol addiction.  You have to start by admitting you have a problem.  Make access to the objectionable material as difficult as possible.  Put a filter on your computer that prevents access to objectionable sites.  Move the computer to a trafficked area of your home (i.e. out of the bedroom or downstairs den) and position the screen so anyone entering the room can immediately see it.  Allow another person (your wife, a wisely chosen buddy) access to your computer’s site history.  Dispose of all other porn material and cancel subscriptions to porn-related magazines (Playboy, etc.).  Unsubscribe to offensive cable channels.

Curiosity often opens the door to temptation.  Discipline your curiosity.  If, out of the corner of your eye, you notice a seductively dressed woman come into the room, keep looking at what you were looking at.  The temptation: “I’ll just look at her to see if I should look away.”

There is a right way and wrong way to understand this.  Men are supposed to appreciate the attractiveness of women.  The problem arises for single men when appreciation becomes desire—or for a married man if the woman isn’t his wife.

Avoid having large blocks of unstructured time on your hands.  Boredom is one of the key triggers for porn.  As the proverb has it, “Idleness is the Devil’s workshop.”  Find other ways of soothing yourself when you’re frustrated or stressed: working on a project that gives you a sense of satisfaction, or go for a run.

If you’re married and have been avoiding your wife sexually, stop doing that.  You’ve gotten used to a form of sex (the porn) which is an unreal male fantasy.  It may take time for you to appreciate again real sexual intimacy with a live woman, your wife.  The process is not unlike that of a man who has gotten used to over-salting his food.  When he cuts back, the food tastes flat at first.  But after a while, he slowly begins to appreciate, for example, the taste of a tomato.

Intensify your relationship with Christ.  Go to Confession more frequently and more honestly.  Receive Holy Communion more frequently and more devoutly.  (It isn’t heroic virtue to attend a weekday Mass once in a while, if your work obligations permit it.)

Then there’s that trinity of practices, prayer, fasting and alms-giving.  Set aside some time for daily prayer, even if it’s only ten minutes, and stick to it no matter what.  Give up pleasurable things for a day or so that are not sinful.  For example, alcohol, sweets, TV.  Doing without a beer on Friday can strengthen your resolve to shun porn when you are tempted.  Do something nice for your wife that you otherwise don’t do.  For example, a phone call in the middle of the day just to say “hello”.

The psychology of temptation is not unlike psychological warfare.  With the latter, the object is to convince your enemy that he has already lost the battle and so might as well stop fighting.  You will be tempted to think you have already given in, when, in fact, you really haven’t.  You haven’t given in until you actually click onto the porn site.  So don’t listen to the voice that says, “You know you’re going to do it.  Just do it.”   Answer: “No I’m not!”  And then get busy doing something else.  Temptation can seem overpowering, but if you ride it out, it eventually ebbs.

All of the above is Rule #1.

Rule #2 is, no matter what happens, don’t give up.  If you have a fall, pick yourself up and see it as a potential learning experience.  Learn, and get right back on track.  Over time, your falls will become fewer and briefer.  This is definitely a fight that you can win.

© 2013. Marsh Fightlin. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:

Marsh Fightlin is a husband, a father, a father-in-law and a grandfather. These relationships are at the center of his life and he enjoys them immensely. For the rest, his interests are shaped by his academic background: He is a licensed psychologist and has a licentiate in theology. He is a staff psychologist at a mental health clinic and operates a telephone consult service (www.catholicpsychconsult.com). His approach to his work is mostly shaped by Thomistic psychology, a dash of Freud, and a large dose of common sense. His theological interests are "catholic" and he's especially interested in Scripture study, The Summa of Aquinas, and the writings of JPII and BXVI. He is also an incurable film-watcher. With help from Act One of Hollywood, he has written a screenplay and his dream is to have it produced. He enjoys good food, particularly Italian and the Jewish deli kind. Two of his grandchildren are teenage boys. He regularly discusses issues ranging from deep mysteries of the Faith to the back stories to the latest super-hero flicks with them. He says he has a lot to learn.
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  • Deacon Robert P. Barnard

    Great article. I would offer 2 additional points for consideration: 1) Like with alcohol and drugs, consider having someone who can help keep you accountable, a sponsor, priest or deacon, your spouse, someone you can trust. 2) Beware of the dangers that has been brought about by our technology going mobile. It is easier than ever to troll the internet with our mobile devices. Mobile devices should also be equipped to make objectionable material harder to access.

  • Siegfried Paul

    I thought at the moment: your discussion deserves the greatest possible audience. But we have to understand first, what JUDE, the “servant” of Jesus and “brother” of James, is saying when he calls “sex” – PORN – “NATURAL”, “10″: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jude%201&version=KJV . I’m afraid, this problem is more serious than it may appear if we don’t look at it carefully. I’m also afraid, the “english” language has to be accused of having “given” the world the word “sex”. One night I crossed the most important bridge of this city. In the crowd, a young lady thought she would convince me in a discussion that “sex” without love exists: it doesn’t, perhaps you listen to JUDE for her sake.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnldarrouzet JohnDarrouzet

    You may want to consider adding this resource to your tools to help people: “Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain” [ http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Intimacy-Pornography-Hijacks-Brain/dp/0830837000 ]

  • Siegfried Paul

    I thought: MARK told me pluck out my eye, if it offended me; but if I had to obey MATTHEW, I had to pluck out my RIGHT EYE – http://rcg.org/questions/p025.a.html# . It is an easy task for most people to realize that there is a difference here. – In the link it is said that David C. Pack declined “acceptance to Dartmouth College”: I can name three male witnesses that the eight Ivy-League-Schools have no calendar at the moment, one of them is a teacher of an Ivy-League-School, he is a Carinthian.

  • Siegfried Paul

    I could not answer what my “religious affiliation” is, because there is no “RELIONSFESTSTELLUNGSVERFAHREN” in America (the “BUNDESKANZLERAMT” claimed in a letter I received that there is one in Austria) – so I was not admitted to http://rcg.org/dcp-bio.html#modalFormEx=5 less than one hour ago.

  • Siegfried Paul

    ["April 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm", "12.04.2013 02:42"] I correct – “RELIGIONSFESTSTELLUNGSVERFAHREN”: a presumably legal procedure to determine a persons “religious affiliation”, presumably based on a law signed by the emperor after 1855.

  • Siegfried Paul

    I thought your “dash of Freud” does not go together with “LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY” by John Paul II., on Freud. – I wrote two more emails to the editor of a german translation, Josef Spindelböck, http://www.stjosef.at/verlag/shop/de/Buecher/Allgemein/Liebe-und-Verantwortung , less than three hours ago: answering once more in a discussion with him, he is trying to explain to me that the “FIRST OF MAY” is not an invention of political parties.

  • Siegfried Paul

    I don’t correct: “MAY DAY” is socialist, but the origin is a “FIRST OF MAY”, the “1. Mai 1933″.