Saturday, March 21, 2009

Women & Girls, Men & Boys, and Sexuality

The CBE Scroll, dedicated to bringing women and men into full egalitarian mutuality within the Church and marriage, brought up The Effect of Pornography on Women and Girls. In turn, that discussion (to which I contributed some quickly-typed thoughts) began opening out into various linked issues. Some of that discussion began going into sexuality in ways that the folks at the Scroll thought might better be served in another forum. Since I was involved in the discussion, and they figured I was foolish enough to blurt out whatever comes to mind, they asked me to continue any of the more overt discussion points here. So please, digest their thoughts, and if appropriate post there. But if you want to offer more pointed questions / statements, return here.

I do moderate this site, which means when you post your post will not immediately appear. Particularly in discussions of this variety, it is a good idea. One additional note: be wise in using your real name if you post something you don't want everyone on the web to know about you personally. I don't want to stifle discussion -- far from it. But I do want to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

Discussion points might include in part:

1.) From spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends of porn users, how has your significant other's use of porn affected your relationship?

2.) What is relational sexuality meant to be, biblically speaking, and how do pornographic portrayals of sexuality affect its relational meaning?

3.) What does pornography tell us about women? About men?

4.) Some "Third Wave" feminists disagree w/ the Second Wave feminist emphasis on pornography's destructive nature. Anyone who's versed in that discussion is welcome to defend, or at least explain, it here.

5.) Men and women affected by porn, are you desperate to escape its addictive qualities? Are there some of you who have walked in sobriety for a time, and can help others here by telling your stories?

6.) What is pornography? We use the word, but do we always know what it means?

And so on. Ask your own questions as well, of course.

I'd like readers to peruse the original post, and (if so inclined) come back here to discuss. Have at it!


Tink said...

>I find Susan Griffin’s Pornography and Silence convincing: she argues that porn tends to suppress actual eroticism in men. That is the harm, in my life, caused by my addiction to porn.<

This is what I have experienced as well. My Dh became a refuser and could have cared less about having sex with a live human.He was more than happy to be by himself in the act. Even when he was with me he really wasn't there.

Jon Trott said...


Sorry it took me so long to post, or respond, to this.

There are a few reasons, I think, that Susan Griffin's argument is compelling.

1. Porn almost always involves masturbation. Very young men (teens and twenties) can have numerous orgasms in a fairly short amount of time. But beyond those years, an orgasm for a male means he's got to wait a while -- from half a day or so to a few days (depending on age, health, and so on). So he does in fact "defraud" his wife, directly in contradiction to Paul's command to marrieds not to defraud one another sexually.

2. Sex is a brain thing, then a body thing. We "bond" to certain sexual practices which are very specific to each one of us as individuals, developing sexual "cues" and behaviors peculiarly our own. If this is done in a marital context, the cues often are highly relational and mutual; the sexual patterns of one involve the two marriage partners. If these cues are wrapped up in pornographic images, there is no relational component. Further, the wife or husband of the porn-using spouse will almost literally be locked out of the others' sexual universe. Many users of porn admit that while making love with their spouses, they are actually fantasizing the acts and persons of their favorite porn. Tragic.

3. Christian theology emphasizes (or should emphasize!) the interrelatedness of everything that is. Eros is a beautiful part of the whole, and meant to interlink with, in, and through other aspects of human life. Porn "snaps off" sexuality from the rest of reality, placing it into an isolated ghetto. No wonder the porn user ends up being less sexual in a whole sense than his / her non-porn using counterpart! Porn cuts off sex from life, and life is really so much of what sex is about.

You say of your porn-using husband: "Even when he was with me he really wasn't there." That said succinctly what I've tried to say above.

What happened since then, if I might ask? Has he sought help, or is he even with you anymore?


Sensuous Wife said...

porn used by a woman's husband takes a big black ugly rubber stamp and stamps 'not enough' on her forehead. she has to go to therapy to wash it off. how do i know? i just know.