It’s kept me awake more nights than one, and for a good reason. Research suggests the average age boys are introduced to porn is eleven, as in tuck-me-into-bed-daddy eleven.
I wasn’t always such a nice guy. There was a season of my life where I would lie and manipulate to get what I wanted.
Blogger’s note: This is part one of a two-part article about the devastating affects of pornography use and pornography addiction on men. Over 50% of all divorces cite pornography as a primary reason for the marriage’s failure and still porn remains a multi-billion dollar industry. We now have an entire generation of boys and men raised on a steady diet of cheap easily accessible sex. Today the average age of a boy’s introduction to porn is just eleven. It’s a growing epidemic blind to race, age, creed, or economic background and if this trend is to ever change, I’m convinced it will need to be women who lead the way.
Men, inherently, don’t talk about their problems. For the vast majority even the thought of mentioning a struggle or challenge to another be it personal, relational, or professional is no less than an admission of defeat. It would be like replaying the VHS tape of that day on the ball field at eleven years old when we dropped the fly ball or missed the touchdown pass while everybody looked on in stunned disappointment. It’s a reminder of the embarrassment of past failures and shortcomings and the wish to, once again, go hide under a rock. None of us, most especially men, want to be humiliated as it makes us feel isolated, alone, defenseless and given the alternative most of us gladly accept the loss of an arm than ever be reminded that we can’t live up, perform, or excel. Much of this feeling comes from a culture that glorifies success, a corporate America that does not accept failure, and lessons learned growing up from men around us.
The modern man’s modus operandi, when faced with a serious problem or crisis, is to keep his mouth shut and work it out on his own. He rarely seeks advice and never asks for help; he allows his ego and pride to view any appeal as waiving a white flag surrendering his manhood. And the women in his life know this phenomenon all too well. They’ve experienced the frustration and helplessness of seeing him disappear in that infernal cave as he pulls away distancing himself while he figures things out.
It’s estimated that 70% of men look at pornography on a regular basis and 25% or more view it daily with 10% being admitted pornography addicts; but given the propensity of men to down play any personal defects I’m convinced these numbers are much higher. Pornography is arguably the most significant character crisis facing men today and young women are beginning to feel the affects of dating and marrying a generation of men raised on a steady dose of easily available pornography. In the January issue of GQ Magazine a twenty-something woman humorously and graphically retells her experiences dating men who are unable to separate sex with a keyboard from sex with a real person.
A man looking at pornography is nothing new. Since the days of ancient Greece and Rome when brothel and bathhouse walls displayed artist renderings of couples in various sexual positions like an erotic menu of sorts allowing a bashful ‘John’ to simply point to what he wanted.
With the topic of pornography slowly moving in from the fringe of our cultural conversation the debate seems to center on the ‘why’. Why are men so drawn to pornography? Many say it simply reaffirms that we are visual creatures by nature while others claim it’s a better alternative than cheating with both bearing witness to men’s seemingly genetic disposition for sexual variety. But that really doesn’t answer the ‘why’ question. I believe a better one is addressing what men are actually doing when looking at porn. Maybe the answer is just too obvious to even mention or possibly it’s too embarrassing for anyone to admit, either way the answer boils the viewing pornography down to really nothing more than a means to an end. Men don’t watch porn like they would ESPN or CNBC. Men are viewing porn with intention and purpose, not some haphazard time waster. The images provide the necessary stimulation to generate a desired outcome. It follows the same logic behind why guys don’t window shop, if you’re not going to buy something what’s the point?
Some professionals have declared pornography to be no less addictive than crack cocaine or crystal meth, and I agree. Amidst all of the data, reports, and surveys conducted around the who and where of pornography what isn’t being discussed is the depravity that can ensue the more we view it. Much like the druggie who starts out as a casual user, eventually the addiction takes hold and she now requires stronger stuff to achieve the same high. For the porn addict who started out casually watching soft core as a way to spice things up a bit it eventually turned to hardcore because, like the drug addict, the images must now be harder and more shocking to reach the same euphoria. And if left unchecked the depths to which a porn addiction will take someone can be startling. Just like most junkies didn’t start out on heroine, most men aren’t intrinsically drawn to fetish porn such as rape fantasies – it happens over time.
Serial killers Ted Bundy and Gary Bishop both claimed pornography addiction was the primary driver behind their heinous acts. Bishop, when interviewed shortly after his conviction said:
“Some of the (pornography) material I received was shocking and disgusting at first, but it shortly became commonplace and acceptable. As I continued to digress further into my perverted behavior, more stimulation was necessary to maintain the same level of excitement.”
Bundy said hours before his execution:
“You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that.”
This certainly shouldn’t be seen as an indictment that every porn user will eventually become serial killers but both men’s stories point to the highly addictive nature of pornography and how its consistent use can take men down paths never imagined.
And it’s on those dark paths that a porn addiction begins to manifest itself outwardly in the relationships around him. Since he has become so mentally and visually desensitized by the ever-intensified streams of explicit images and stimulation, real sexual relationships can soon fail to satisfy his needs. His partner is not able to please him sexually, because she doesn’t represent the necessary fix he has grown accustomed. Marijuana doesn’t have the same affect on a habitual heroine user as it once did. So to compensate he attempts to merge his sexual fantasy with his sexual reality by asking her to participate in and be what he sees online.
Click the link for the conclusion to Confronting him about his pornography addiction.
This is an excerpt of the final interview with serial killer Ted Bundy in 1989 just hours before his execution in Florida’s Maximum Security Prison. His words are elegant and articulate but his warning, regarding pornography, is dire and frightening.
The first time I saw a porn magazine I was about 10 years old. My family lived on a farm that made Little House on the Prairie seem like Broadway. After driving five miles of dirt roads through the backwoods of Deliverance our driveway was another half mile. The Branch Dividians looked at buying our piece of nowhere, but even religious psychopaths have some common sense.
Our single wide (notice I didn’t say double) trailer sat at the top of a hill and at the bottom stood a 100 year old dilapidate house out of a scene from Amityville Horror. It came with a large Hemmingway-ish front porch with a slope leading away from it. As a side note, that front porch made an excellent means for stopping while I learned to used my bicycle’s brakes.
No one had lived there in years but apparently the last inhabitant had a hankering for porn and tobacco. Inside strewed among old boxes, broken down mattresses, and small-town newspapers was a 70’s issue of Hustler next to a pouch of Red Man Chewing Tobacco.
Obviously, being a said redneck, I eagerly went for the chew first. Tasting like a piece of five-day-old roadkill, I spit out as much as I could and gagged down the remainder. The periodical however I approached with a bit more caution. While I had no idea what it entirely was I had a sneaking feeling it wasn’t something good. Thumbing through its pages of men and women doing things I’d never seen on Saturday morning cartoons was at first confusing, then intriguing, but soon was thrilling. I had just turned a new chapter in my life and hoping to savor it a while longer I instinctually hid my private stash from the eyes of annoying adults and ditched the tobacco.
That moment flipped a switch in my young subconscious mind. Seeing those beauties in their birthday suits opened up a Pandora’s box of sorts – sex. As I got into high school thoughts of sex began permeating my waking hours. With an ample supply of teenage cuties around it seemed no matter where I was – my thermostat remained on high. It should be noted here that none of these thoughts ever went anywhere (that’s for you mom), the notion of actually having sex was far more nerve-racking than my teenage constitution could stand.
Let it be known I am not a virgin. I have been married, divorced, and have two kids to show for it. Now that’s out of the way I will admit that my first time ‘doing it’, which was much later in life than most, was arguably one of the most disturbing yet exhilarating events I’ve ever had – and definitely the most disappointing and uneventful for her. I was never given a ‘birds and bee’s conversation, talk, or a grunt growing up and any pornography I watched was obstructed by static from a poor satellite signal. My only point of reference for the mechanics of sex was the bodily diagrams in our Health book and my imagination.
When a young lad gets to an age where his chances of actually having sex are greater than his chances of being hit by lightening a shift in his priorities takes place. A good portion of his time and energy is now spent in search of a willing accomplice. The youngster may find himself spending his parent’s money, telling her what he thinks she wants to hear, and putting on academy worthy acting performances in the hope of scoring a homerun. But deep down he never thinks she’ll really go along with it. He’s already gotten far more rejections than he can count but in the midst of all those NO’S sometimes he lands a YES and when that happens everything normally goes to crap! [pullquote]All he really wants now is a six-pack, silence, and a TV show that doesn’t include Barney or teenage vampires.[/pullquote]
I’m convinced any guy younger than 25 should be biologically prohibited from having sex. It should be like his junk doesn’t work until the morning of that birthday. First they simply have no idea what they are doing or how things work and they usually end up embarrassing themselves while the poor girl gets depressed that she went through all of that trouble for three minutes – two of which was spent getting ready. Not to mention these guys have no clue about romance, bonding, and intimacy. Those notions get totally lost in his amazement that
“Oh, my God, I’M GOING TO HAVE SEX WITH A REAL GIRL!!!”
Guys having sex at that age is like a bomb exploding – it’s total shock and awe. He’s finally been picked first on the playground and now has no idea how to handle it. But the sad part is he doesn’t really care because performance anxiety isn’t a young guys concern; it’s all about number one and basking in the success of talking her into it. And once she’s said yes it becomes all about how fast he can go from zero to touchdown and there’s not a woman who doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
Here’s how a guy knows when he’s too young to have sex. If he has to make excuses for the party ending too soon with the phrase “I’m sorry, that’s never happened before” then he needs to put it back in the box for a few years, because he just looks sad and it gives his buddies a bad name.
But a funny thing eventually occurs, believe it or not with age and marriage most guy’s longing for horizontal jazzercise wanes. A couple of kids, a mortgage, job, a yard to mow and all he really wants now is a six-pack, silence, and a TV show that doesn’t include Barney or teenage vampires. What once seemed like his only reason for living is now pretty much a nuisance.
It’s scientific fact that a male’s sexual peak is in his late teens and early twenties, during a time with the least likelihood of him actually having sex. While a woman’s sexual crescendo occurs in her late 30’s and into her 40’s and if the reports are accurate they aren’t having sex either. Which proves my point that if dudes waited a few years everybody would be happier and having more sex.
I broke my strip club hymen during my Sophomore year in college at a spot in Nashville called Deja Vu. Proof of that night, over 20 years ago, remains to this day; upstairs on the inside wall of a storage closet at my college fraternity