Saturday, October 16, 2010

Masculinity in Question....

Since studying the Theology of the Body, I have had the amazing experience of learning more and more what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. In society it seems like there is so much confusion as to what these realities truly reveal. There is such deep questioning around masculinity and femininity.

Case in point:

This week I was reading about a celebrity couple who recently announced their separation as a couple. After this announcement was made, the next morning, the celebrity husband was a guest on a radio show and admitted to having an affair with another woman while still married to his celebrity wife.

but what really broke my heart was his comment about the affair. He said, "The affair made me feel very manly."

ah. wow. talk about deep questions--

what does it mean to be a man? What is a "real man"? is the measure of a man how many women he "conquers"?

Why is pornography the number one addiction in America today? Yes, you read that correctly, pornography is the number one addiction in America today- not alcohol, not drugs- pornography.

Pornography is insidious on a number of levels. Probably the biggest lie that pornography purports is that it is "harmless" and "doesn't hurt anyone."  On college campuses across America, binge drinking (American college students spent 5.5 BILLION dollars on alcohol last year--more money spent than on textbooks) and pornography go hand in hand.

Often people say, "Oh, boys will be boys, let them have their fun." but that, my dear friends, is a lie.

Pornography is not a harmless pastime, its a scourge from the pits of hell.

What does it do to a man? Pornography emasculates men.


From Chastity.com: 

What does pornography do to a man? For starters, because it cripples his ability to love, it robs him of the capacity to be a man. The essence of manhood consists in readiness to deny oneself for the good of a beloved. This is why Saint Paul reminds husbands in his Letter to the Ephesians that their love must be like that of Christ, who allowed himself to be crucified for the sake of his beloved, the Church (Eph. 5:21–33).

Pornography defeats this calling. Instead of denying himself for the good of the woman, a man, through the use of porn, denies the woman her dignity in order to satisfy his lust. In essence, pornography is a rejection of our calling to love as God loves. It is no wonder that those who use it are never satisfied. Only love satisfies. One marriage therapist noted, “People who use pornography feel dead inside, and they are trying to avoid being aware of that pain. There is a sense of liberation, which is temporary: that’s why pornography is so repetitive—you have to go back again and again.”


The average age a young person sees internet pornography is 11. America is the biggest exporter of pornography and the industry makes more money than all of the NFL, NBA and MLB combined.

As a man views pornography, chemicals are released in his brain that give him a "high" and hook him to the substance (just like alcohol or drug use) and so as a man (and increasingly more women) enters this world of fantasy (and, indeed, it is pure fantasy, the majority women and men on the sets of pornography production are often drug addicted in order to perform inhumane acts and are often threatened by producers to "act well") and as the "high" begins to wane, he (the consumer) must turn to more explicit material.

One former pornography producer said, "When i went to my first "adult industry convention", I saw things that turned my stomach but by the end of my career as a producer, I found those very things boring."

In the wake of this addiction and viewing habits, the man's family, marriage and personal life suffer and can ultimately die.

This same former producer commented, "I was in charge of recruiting new girls for our company and when they first began "working" for us, they were happy and smiling, but within a few weeks or months, as they did more and more shoots and more hardcore things, I saw the light in their eyes die. I saw their soul die. And I saw mine die as well."

The average age of death of a worker in the sex industry is 37. Lust destroys everyone involved, the producers, actors and consumers. It destroys marriages, families and children. Unfortunately, also, many people are afraid to speak about this deep scourge of pornography.


But we must address this reality in love and truth for there IS hope, and there IS help and there IS the POWER of REDEMPTION. Many men are coming forward now and talking about their addiction and receiving healing and freedom. They are learning what it means to be a real man. That the heart of a man is a warrior, a soldier, one who defends and protects and gives his life for his beloved.


The measure of a man is Jesus Christ. That is a very, very beautiful thing.

If you struggle with pornography (even if you are telling yourself right now "I just look at it every now and then, I don't have a problem"), I beg you to please seek freedom. We use addictions to hide our pain or mask emotions or trauma that we don't want to deal with. There is a better way to live.

For more information, visit these sites: chastity.com, Theology of the Body Healing Center (headed by Dr. Bob Schuchts, they give AMAZING men's retreats called "Return to Glory" and have one coming up at the end of this month. They are also presenting a December retreat for married couples), Sexaholics Anonymous (a 12 step program founded on the principles of AA, excellent program).


You are not alone. 

Healing is possible.


                                  







You are loved more than you can possibly imagine.




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks sister for this awesome post. I've struggled with this addiction for many years. It's taken so much from me. Schooling, work, family time, and especially my soul. But thanks be to God I've been sober from this addiction for a little over a year and a half now. There this healing, but only with Christ. Confession and the Holy Eucharist (both properly received) have been instrumental to me. Please keep me in your prayers and I'll keep you in mine. Thanks again and God bless.

Sr. Miriam James said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you very much for sharing your journey. I admire that very much. Please know that you are not alone in your struggle and addiction and you are not alone in your recovery. There are many in the fellowship of recovery, and this path is a true path to holiness and redemption.

Fight the good fight, allow Jesus to come and touch you in your wounds, and indeed, day by day, as we struggle and grow, the glory of God shines brightly through our littleness for His glory.

Bless you, bless you--i am most definitely praying for you.