Porn and Refusal

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AkMike
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Porn and Refusal

Postby AkMike » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:11 pm

I really didn't know where to post this, as it involves subjects of two different sections. Mods, please place it wherever appropriate. Also, I don't know if a thread on TMB has been started on this topic, so please point me to it if it has already been discussed. I'm interested to read the responses.

I know this isn't going to garner a lot of popular attention (or at least I think it isn't), but it's been something that's been on my heart for a long time, and I'd like some input. And, ahead of time I want to make it clear that, no, I'm not involved with porn. So this isn't an issue that directly involves me at the moment.

I've been to many marriage blogs in the past year, most of them Christian but some "secular". Interestingly, the secular attract some Christian posters, and the Christian ones attract some secular posters, so I'm beginning to see that the topic of this thread crosses lines due to its nature, and not due to any theological leaning or lack thereof.

And please understand that I am not making light of the grave sin of pornography. I know it can destroy marriages. It is abhorrent and needs to be repented of in all sincerity. My heart goes out to all at TMB who are dealing with their spouse's porn use. God be with you, strengthen you, and heal you.

Okay, so the question I have is--what percentage of refused spouses begin their porn habit due to sexual refusal? One thing I have noticed repeatedly in Christian marriage blogs is that there rarely seems to be any outright admission from anyone that such a correlation exists. In the "secular" marriage sites, however, I have noticed that some (especially husbands but sometimes wives) who are refused spouses, will say that the reason they turned to porn in the first place was because of long-term sexual refusal, and that, once refusal stopped, so did the porn usage. Not everyone who used or has used porn had done so from youth, nor used it during their marriage at all until lack of sex "primed" them for the temptation.

I do believe that sexual refusal can indeed be, at least initially, the cause of a spouse's porn use. And, when the refusal stops, so does the porn. I acknowledge that it doesn't happen that way in all cases, but in some cases sexual refusal does seem to have a direct tie to a refused spouse's use of porn, both for release, and for vicarious, if illusory, engagement with a "willing partner". Let's face it--the women on those porn flicks are portrayed as willing, available, and loving sex. While it is all imagination, a refuses spouse's willingness to fantasize that he/she is actually desired can be a strong influence on the decision to engage in porn.

I've always thought it strange, and rather avoiding the subject, to note that, in many Christian marriage blogs it would be agreed that, while a refused spouse may eventually fall into adultery because another women was willing to give him what his wife would not, that porn would not have the same draw for a refused spouse. In other words, if a man will actually have sex with another woman (adultery) because he wife was a long-term refuser, why would it seem impossible or even improbable that he would fall into the sin of porn because she wouldn't give him sex? See what I mean?

It's like we have this dichotomy when it comes to sexual temptation. We admit that long-term lack of sex can be at the root of adultery, but we can't admit that that same lack of long-term sex can be at the root of porn use. Certainly "emotional affairs" can begin due to continual refusal in the marriage bed. But it almost seems that, if we admit there is a correlation between sexual refusal and porn use, that we downplay porn as a sin. But I don't see it as such. We almost always say that, "His porn usage started as an addiction early in his youth" or that "there are emotional reasons that have nothing to do with being refused", etc. While these reasons are indeed true some of the time, I find it impossible to believe they are true all of the time, and for all people.

To use the food analogy, a perpetually hungry man will be horribly tempted to steal bread. A perpetually sexually starved spouse will be tempted to seek (or at least be available for) attention from a person willing to satisfy their longings. The sexually starved are often hyper-sensitive even to the presence of the opposite sex. Why wouldn't that apply for porn users as well?

Hope I didn't step on any toes. I'm just wanting to make some sense out of a seeming discrepancy. Thanks.

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby SeekingChange » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:33 pm

I'm interested to see what others say. I know for my husband it started in grade school. He was at his father's shop, saw a magazine, "hid it" to sneak it out, and his father said, "Don't let your mother catch you with that." Utter FAIL on his father's part... makes one wonder if DH would of had a different road to walk if his father would have handled that initial situation different.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby landschooner » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:35 pm

I'm certain there is a correlation. We know for a fact that refusal causes and increase in sexual temptation. We know a certain percentage will fall in the face of that increased temptation.

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby seeker12 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:55 pm

I read at another Christian site that 30% Christian porn users started using porn due to refusal. When I remember the site, I will try to find the actual study.

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby Dgenerous » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:24 pm

I think we should be careful about our language here. Refusal may contribute to an environment of temptation, but it does not cause porn use.

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." --James 1
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby Leah » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:29 pm

Dgenerous wrote:I think we should be careful about our language here. Refusal may contribute to an environment of temptation, but it does not cause porn use.

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." --James 1


I agree. People are tempted from within.

That said, there have been other threads about this, and some refused men admit the porn was for the purpose of self-relief. I get it. Don't agree, but I get it.

If I post again in this thread, it will be to give links to earlier discussions.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby Leah » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:52 pm

Leah

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby AkMike » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:08 pm

Thanks for the links, Leah. I'll check them out. I know you've had a very difficult time with this issue, and I tried to be careful in how I phrased things. I didn't want to cause greater offense or seem like I'm offering an excuse for porn.

I understand where you are coming from Dgenerous, but I did not mean to intimate that refusal causes people to turn to porn, and I tried to be very careful to note how harmful porn use is. My apologies for the poor choice of words. When I mentioned in the original post that "sexual refusal can indeed be, at least initially, the cause of a spouse's porn use", what I meant was that it would be the impetus, or the root cause that the spouse chose porn use. The thrust of my thread was that the issue of refusal being the basis for a spouse choosing to sin through porn really seems largely neglected in Christian discussions overall. Yes, porn use is a great sin, but I have been very interested to find out just how low or great is the percentage of Christians who turn to porn use because they are craving sexual release and, albeit through fantasy, sexual interaction.

I guess in my mind porn use has much the same qualities as vivid sexual fantasizing, but instead of being portrayed in the mind only, they are portrayed on screen. Maybe in the mind, you are a participant, but with porn, you are a spectator. But both sins, in my mind, are great. As is the sin of sexual refusal. All three can destroy a marriage.

And while I know that there are hard-core porn users who prefer their sin, there are also "occasional" users who hate what they do, and would much rather have a genuine emotional/physical intimacy with their spouse. I simply cannot believe that every single porn user wants to engage in that sin, and completely disregard his/her spouse. And, I know these same people would gladly relinquish their sin if their sexual needs were being met. I've known men who have been porn users, and specifically turned to porn because they were being refused in the marriage bed. Refusal did not cause them to sin, but it certainly created a sin-rich environment for them to turn to. Also, I think it's good to remember that the Scriptures say, "Be careful not to cause your brother (or sister) to stumble." While a refusing spouse does not actually sit a porn user down and say, "Watch it," they certainly have put a serious stumbling block in their spouse's life. From a man's perspective, I know there are husbandswho would not have considered porn in the first place had their long-term refusing spouse been fulfilling their marriage vows.

Anyway, I was wondering how high or low the percentage of Christian porn users, who engaged the sin because of their spouse's sexual refusal. Seeker12's comment sounds about right, but I have no actual stats to go on, so I'm guessing. At any rate, they are certainly out there.

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby HisWarrior » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:35 pm

I was exposed to porn as a teenager and drawn to and stimulated by nudity and sexuality as young as I can remember. I might have chosen to use porn regardless, but it was hubby's refusal that spurred me on to look into it. In my young, naive mind, I started looking at porn to try to figure out what would turn him on since I "obviously" didn't. He used porn to get his sexual release before we married. I equated that if that's what got his engines running, I needed to find out how to mimic that. I also used porn to research answers to questions. The only resources I could find on subjects like female ejaculation were porn sites. Medical stuff dismissed it. Christian stuff was quiet or non existent. Porn held the secrets of sex that no one else woulddiscuss. Thank God for TMB now!

At the height of hubby's refusal, I was using nearly every day, and hated it. I wanted hubby, not that! But, I was scared and wanting. I was afraid of hubby because he tends to blow up and throw everything back on me. Not a valid excuse, but I was scares, confused, alone, depressed, aroused, used, and at the time emotionally abused. God seemed so distant and unhearing.

Hubby's refusal didn't make me use porn, but it certainly was a contributing factor. Is an employer who never pays his employee never to bear any blame if his starving employee steals a loaf of bread?

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby seeking perspective » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:01 pm

AkMike wrote:
I do believe that sexual refusal can indeed be, at least initially, the cause of a spouse's porn use. And, when the refusal stops, so does the porn. I acknowledge that it doesn't happen that way in all cases, but in some cases sexual refusal does seem to have a direct tie to a refused spouse's use of porn, both for release, and for vicarious, if illusory, engagement with a "willing partner". Let's face it--the women on those porn flicks are portrayed as willing, available, and loving sex. While it is all imagination, a refuses spouse's willingness to fantasize that he/she is actually desired can be a strong influence on the decision to engage in porn.

Interesting questions, and I have some random thoughts . . .

...I know that in some marriages, this does happen. The lack of sexual intimacy leads a desperate husband to porn. (I'm using "husband" for my convenience and because I relate to the wife being the refusing spouse; I know that the man is not always the refused gender.) He's probably seen porn in the past, and he may have used it on occasion. But chronic sexual restriction can lead a sexually starving man to an increase in porn use. I suspect that refusal doesn't cause porn use as much as it exacerbates an interest that is already there.

...In some marriages, a wife's refusal may be a result of her husband's porn use (even if it has been mild and is in the past). As we see discussed on another thread at the moment, women who already have body image insecurity may feel especially hurt by any hint that she physically falls short of her husband's standard beauty--and if he has seen porn, she's probably going to be wondering about this. This insecurity and hurt might lead to her building up walls to protect her heart from more hurt, and these walls might become refusal which then leads him to feel desperate and seek porn again. In this case, the porn led to the refusal rather than the other way around.

...I'm not so sure about this statement:
And, when the refusal stops, so does the porn.
Even after he stops using porn (as in watching it and masturbating to it), does he cease seeing those images as he engages in sexual activity with his wife? Some men report that when they realize their wives are no longer refusing, they sometimes go through a phase of distrust in the change. The refusal may have stopped in actuality, but if he doesn't fully trust that, is it so easy for him to simply quit, cold turkey? And if his body has learned to respond sexually to a set of images, sounds, or activities, then will he require those images to achieve sexual excitement and orgasm?

I'm really just thinking out loud here, so to speak.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby Leah » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:12 pm

AkMike wrote:Thanks for the links, Leah. I'll check them out. I know you've had a very difficult time with this issue, and I tried to be careful in how I phrased things. I didn't want to cause greater offense or seem like I'm offering an excuse for porn.


Don't mind me. My story does not fit this profile. Many of the stories I remembered seem to have been pruned away. Maybe some of those folks will come share for themselves.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby Dgenerous » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:13 pm

AkMike, I wasn't presuming upon your intentions. Just being careful about word choices.

Like Leah, this thread really doesn't apply to me so I will bow out now.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby mamame » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:47 pm

I'm a wife who used my husband's refusal as an excuse to get into porn.

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby HisWarrior » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:40 am

And, when the refusal stops, so does the porn.


I agree with Seekingperspective. Porn doesn't just stop. My hubby quit refusing, but our sex life still has gaping pits and 10 foot walls between us which keeps temptation looming. The lure of the quick fix is still there. I quit porn a year ago and it took approx. 9 months for me to stop using the images to achieve O. They still pop up from time to time and I have to consciously chase them away, even if it means loss of arousal or even no O.

Porn seems like an STD. You may never be unfaithful to your spouse again, never look back, but the affects are still there. Only God can totally cleanse and heal.

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby padsnd » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:46 am

I agree with most of the others on this.

No one's sin causes another person to sin. However, there is a correlation, and one spouse's sin can increase the temptation significantly. This is true whether the first sin is porn, refusal, or something else. It is also true if one of the sins is in the past and the person is now falling back into it.

Some examples:

A person refused in the past. That person repents and walks away from that sin. The spouse falls into porn. The spouse who refused in the past is more likely to return to their refusal. Did the porn cause him/her to refuse? No. Did it contribute even though refusal existed first? Yes.

A person viewed porn in the past. That person repents and walks away from that sin. The spouse falls into refusal. The spouse who viewed porn in the past is more likely to return to their porn use. Did the refusal cause him/her to view porn? No. Did it contribute even though porn use existed first? Yes.

In both of these cases, does a removal of one sin automatically mean the other sin ends? No, the thing that pushes the individual over the edge of that temptation is no longer just the other spouse's sin. Both of these sins, like most sins, feed on themselves. Does it make it significantly easier to break free from the temptation? Yes, but there is far more than just removing the tipping-point temptation.

This concept is very hard to understand. Porn and refusal are intricately linked--while standing completely on their own. That statement sounds self-contradictory. It is not. This may not be the best analogy, but a spouse sinning via porn and/or a spouse sinning via refusal are like two limbs in the body where one or more is ill. The healthy limb is interdependent with the other limb. If the right arm is injured, the left arm is going to feel the added pressure of needing to pull more "weight". It may not give up under this pressure, but it certainly will feel the struggle.

Both limbs can function on their own; they are not dependent on the other. Neither limb can function completely without the other having an effect on it as long as the other limb is there; they are not completely independent. They are interdependent. They mutually affect each other, but the illness in one indirectly harms the other. When the left arm has to pick up a heavy weight without the help of the right arm, it may feel like a direct effect though.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby Dale » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:14 am

padsnd wrote:This concept is very hard to understand. Porn and refusal are intricately linked--while standing completely on their own. That statement sounds self-contradictory. It is not. This may not be the best analogy, but a spouse sinning via porn and/or a spouse sinning via refusal are like two limbs in the body where one or more is ill. The healthy limb is interdependent with the other limb. If the right arm is injured, the left arm is going to feel the added pressure of needing to pull more "weight". It may not give up under this pressure, but it certainly will feel the struggle.

Both limbs can function on their own; they are not dependent on the other. Neither limb can function completely without the other having an effect on it as long as the other limb is there; they are not completely independent. They are interdependent. They mutually affect each other, but the illness in one indirectly harms the other. When the left arm has to pick up a heavy weight without the help of the right arm, it may feel like a direct effect though.


Excellent analogy, padsnd! I have never heard it put that way, but I will definitely be using that from now on in counseling and preaching (if you don't mind my stealing it! :lol: )

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby padsnd » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:27 am

Dale wrote:Excellent analogy, padsnd! I have never heard it put that way, but I will definitely be using that from now on in counseling and preaching (if you don't mind my stealing it! :lol: )

Dale


Sure. There is a bit of mistake in there because I originally started by saying multiple organs (hence the others being possibly plural), heart and lungs. I changed it to limbs because the organs can have an even more direct effect on each other and cannot really function at all without the other one. In the case of limbs, one limb can live without the other. I don't recommend it as a best solution unless the one needs amputation though.

I would also note that when one limb is hurt, the risk of a systemic infection that could affect the whole body (including the other is high as well). Again, this is not a "given", but it explains why it isn't just business as usual when one is sinning. The other must be extra vigilant (taking antibiotics too) because it is now being bombarded by the struggle from the other limb.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby KyWildcat » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:58 am

Interesting thoughts on how our sins affect the Church as the Body of Christ.
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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby HisWarrior » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:00 am

I can see that....porn already in play somehow...natural tendency towards or previous exposure. Others, it may manifest as workaholism, alcoholism, anti-depressants, eating problems, emotional affairs, divorce, withdrawing, masturbation without porn, etc. It may even be a combination of coping mechanisms.

Lack of a generous marriage bed is devastating.

What are some ways to avoid a destructive, sinful path when the marriage bed remains cold? Especially after counseling, intervention, and discussion and boundaries have already been explored?

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Re: Porn and Refusal

Postby AkMike » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:47 am

I have a tendency to think that, for a hard-core user, porn imagery can definitely be hard to shake, even after the sin has been repented of and spousal refusal stops. But for the occasional user (not habitual), who reluctantly seeks out porn due to refusal, it may not be as much of a problem once the refusal ends.

I know for myself, my mind has the capacity to be the biggest porn shop. As someone who is in the writing field professionally--mostly fiction and creative nonfiction--and who is now, at least locally, a selling artist, I have to be careful of the information I process and how it processes. I don't have to watch porn to have pornographic imagery flit through my head. Our culture is so saturated with invitations to illicit sex by way of words, images, and physical engagements, that my mind can easily manufacture pornographic scenarios without much effort on my part. I'm not good at things like math, but the creative areas of my brain work overtime. So, I do have to be careful what I look at and what I read, even if it is not in-your-face porn.

For instance, I do a tremendous amount of historical research on artists who operated in a specific genre, in order to better learn their techniques and understand both their methods and artistic approach. But there are some, who were masters in their field, whom I've had to avoid, because, even in their time, they pushed the envelope and painted nudes, not like Michelangelo, who glorified the human body, but more like a porn peddler, because they seemed themselves to have a hedonist bent to their characters. Really, I've come across what I could only term as soft porn, and had to make it a point to avoid those artists' works, even though the brush-handling or canvas prep, etc., are something I'd love to learn. But I just can't go there because their artistic works are a moral minefield.

Add to that the fact that I was very promiscuous prior to salvation and that I learned things in real life that I never got out of porn, and some of those images can also pop up from time to time. The interesting thing is that it never happens when my wife and I are making love. I am totally focused on her, so the imagery from my past is not a problem. I do recognize that not all people are like this, though, and some may have trouble with illicit imagery during lovemaking.

Further add to this mix that I do sometimes write short fiction pieces whom those outside my marriage might consider soft porn, but I write with my wife and I as the characters, and the piece is to be read only by her as an addition to the marriage bed.

It's confusing, for sure. One thing I do know--when I'm not getting enough sex, I can feel the draw toward illicit images almost as a physical thing. As a man, I need and want that touch and attention that only my wife can give. But if it is not forthcoming for an extended period, the invitation to engage in illicit sex looms ever bigger. An unrepentant refusing spouse simply has no idea how dangerous to a marriage long-term refusal is.


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