September 12

Lust, Pornography, and Christiananity

Jesus is Watching You (and adult videos)

Well this isn’t so much a personal story as it is a commentary based on personal observation and experience. If you haven’t noticed reading my blog, I don’t use a lot of facts and figures. This is about what I observe in the world. I work in a world of facts and figures and statistics. I don’t want to write about them. Other people cover those things quite well. This is one of those posts that people will wonder about the facts and figures. I say go find them. I don’t have them. I am not sure I believe the ones I have read, because of the nature of the questioning that would have to occur to get the results. As with so many things revolving around sex, we really can’t get to the heart of the matter, because of the many taboos even in conversation that exist.

I am going to start with lust. Lust is one of those words in the Christian world that gets thrown around a lot. It is always used to shame men. I won’t argue this, I have sat in the pews of too many sermons that are on the topic of lust. None of them have ever dealt with it in any way that is not shaming men. Its an easy target. Men want women’s body’s to be theirs to enjoy. Its a part of how we were built. God made us with a desire for women. The unfairness to this is women lust after men too. Its not completely based on body, but it is a part of the equation. Women like the bad boys who set their own rules. I rarely hear women chastised for this lust of theirs. We use this word lust, but what does it mean. http://dictionary.com gives us this definition”

lust? ?[luhst]
noun
1. intense sexual desire or appetite.
2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed by for ): a lust for power.
4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.
5. Obsolete .
     a. pleasure or delight.
     b. desire; inclination; wish.

Notice something in that definition. There is nothing about looks. The verse that is referred to uses the word look, but lust is not about looking. Its about desire and appetite or craving. So women lust after men all the time. Women get horny. Women desire men sexually. Its just not based on something they always see. It might be wealth, power, prestige, or beauty. Women are not immune to lust. This is the verse used to go after men.

Matthew 5:28
New International Version (NIV)
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The context of this verse in Matthew 5 is Jesus calling out the judgmental people who sit back and do all the right things that they too are just as guilty as the ones who committed these acts. He is saying to the overly religious that if you want to judge the adulterer, then you tomust judge yourself, for what man has never looked upon a woman lustfully. He is speaking about the spiritual ramifications of these things. He is saying that for your spiritual well being you are no better off thinking about carnal acts with women who are not your wife than you are if you do the carnal acts. I would say that the core of this message is that no man is deserving of the saving grace of Jesus, and that being said we can do better. To do better we must stop worrying about our neighbor’s failings and start worrying about our own, for no man knows what is on my heart but myself. A verse rarely used for lust, but one that is used to attack homosexuality is this.

Romans 1:26
New International Version (NIV)
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.”

I am not going to say anything about homosexuality. If you are a Christian then you are answerable to God on that issue not me. Verse 27 is the verse that is used for this. I have left it off on purpose. The word lust is clearly used in relationship to sex and women. Not only that, but its used in way that is derogatory towards their actions. I think the point can be made that women have lusts that are not Holy in nature. The Church needs to stop presenting this issue as a male only issue. One of the things that gets thrown at men in sermons is this lust, and as a side note women are told to be dressed provocatively is inadvisable and not very nice, but men you are still supposed to have it under control. The women’s dress is treated as cultural phenomena that women should think about, but has no spiritual consequence. There may be some truth to this assessment when you are talking about little girls, but you will notice that women will dress to show off the parts of their body that they know have men’s attention. For some women this is cleavage, and for others it is their legs, and for others it may be their stomachs. They are knowingly showing off parts of their body for the purpose of gaining male attention. Not just any male attention, but male sexual attention. These women lust for male sexual attention.

Pornography consumption is merely more of the same. Men and women watch pornography to fantasize about sex. They lust for what is being done on screen. There is an addictive nature to it, because of the chemical releases in the brain. I would venture to say that all lust has an addictive nature to it for the same reason. It is in the modern era that you can see porn without shame from society, so it becomes more prevalent. In the past to sit around and stare at women was a juvenile thing. If a woman was to look up at you staring at her while she was at the beach or pool, you would be chastised or she would move. Watching other people have sex is not something most people are invited to do, so again there is no historical corollary that really applies to be able to watch a couple of actors put on sex show in the privacy of your home. It is a kind of supercharged lust. The act of lust tends to kick endorphins into your system, and pornography gives you almost unlimited means to do get that release of endorphins. The closest anyone probably got to this in Jesus’ era was the temple prostitutes or orgies, but these things of course required participation.

I blame the Church for so much of the damaged sexual relations in Christian marriages. The Church has painted a picture of men being predators and uncontrollable lust monsters while women were pure and virginal(even when they weren’t) lustless creatures. Women were warned to watch out for the men. The men only wanted one thing mentality. Here is one of proverbs warnings against adultery.

Proverbs 5:1-6
New International Version (NIV)
Warning Against Adultery

5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

To me this warning is clear. Men watch out. She will entice you. She will make you feel good, and she will drag you down to your death given a chance, and she will be none the wiser about what she is doing. There are plenty of verses that make it clear she is not absolved of her actions, so I won’t read into this that she is somehow innocent. The context of the Bible must be read as a whole. The problem here is the Church gives her a pass for her adultery all too often. It is blamed on the men. It is blamed on her husband’s failings, and on her lover’s charms. She was helpless to do anything about it. This is bunk, and everyone knows it.

Now lets get to my experience. I found that in my marriage, pornography was a problem. Not that I consumed it often or in large quantities, actually quite the contrary. Lust for other women and the temptation to just take a peek were there all the time, unless I was getting regular and quality sex. I only remember a very brief time in my marriage that happened. I think it was driven by some guilt on her part. I noticed right away that these temptations were almost completely absent during this time. As we separated I found that initially these temptations were huge. So was going out to pick up some woman just to have sex with. I gave in these temptations. I do not regret it. It has given me an understanding of things that I would not have had before. The absolutely carnal sex of pornography and casual sex was addictive in nature. I craved the endorphin rush, and the I craved the adrenaline rush of the chase. So what changed. I met Sarah. She was very sexual, but this was hardly casual. This was albeit short lived, a relationship. She was a person, not a body. She met other needs I had, and had needs I met. For me the sex was incredible. I had never had regular, healthy sex in a relationship, since high school. I know many will say sex out of wedlock is not healthy and spiritually speaking they would be correct, but psychologically speaking the definition expands some. Here is the kicker. I desire the healthy(or healthier) sex to the other stuff. I have not been tempted to go seek out the sex of pornography or one night stands after we split up.

Sarah never used sex as power. We had great sex up unto the day before she decided to move on. Sex as power in the relationship is at the core of what the Church teaches women. They are taught that there is no consequence to their actions sexually. They are taught that it is not their fault. Men are to get in line and do things right, and if they do, then their wife will desire them. There is the power play. The wife can say that he isn’t doing this spiritual thing or that spiritual thing right, and that is why they don’t desire their husband or worse strayed to another man. Of course if it were some womanly spiritual discernment that made them not desire their husband, then that same discernment should have told them that the man they were fucking on the side was in it just for the sex. Christian women hold men hostage with sex. I know women in the culture at large do this as well, but it is far worse in the Christian world, because the men will stay with these women because of their faith, and be tormented by their failure as a Christian husband.

I think that if the Church were to spend less time talking about lust and sexual purity, and more time about truly healthy relationships. If the Church taught Biblical truth about love, marriage, and leadership, things would be better. If the Church took the time to worry about spiritual successes rather than failures in its teaching, then men and women would strive to reach those heights. Too often people will look at the failures that are being talked about, and look around and see a sea of people who are doing worse, and decide that the teaching isn’t for them. I think that all too often the Church in focusing on the sins of men and women, they put the ideas into their head to become distracted by. How many people chose to look at pornography out of curiosity. To see what all the fuss was about. Those images are stuck there, and won’t go away. What if the Church stood up and said wives it is your duty to sexually please your husband? What if, instead of telling men to keep their lusts in check, they said husbands it is your duty to direct your sexual desires on your wife often? What if?

Ten-Foured,

JeD

February 22

Flipped It, and Some new Epiphanies

Flipped His Lid

A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends birthday party. This is a man I have worked with for most of the last 12 years. There was a break in the middle, but we still hung out from time to time. We enjoy working together, hanging out, and arguing aggressively. I was talking with his wife, and she told me that my wife had called about the party a couple of days earlier. These are friends that we both spent time with. She was complaining that she couldn’t go to the party, because I would be there. She was told it was fine, that there would be enough people there that it wouldn’t matter, and that was true. Then my wife complained further that I was bringing a guest. His wife again, said so what if he is, but I hadn’t told her that. She also asked what did she expect would happen when she left me. The conversation went on, and she told my friends wife that every time she sees me, I have hickies. Now I admit that this happened once early in the split, and I had a mark she accused me of having a hicky one other time, but it wasn’t. She said she didn’t care, but just wanted to know who it was, but again she didn’t care. Of course I didn’t bring anyone, why would I to a party of a friend who always had beautiful women around.

About a week later, I had dinner with these friends. They told me some things I didn’t know from when me and my wife were together. There was a time my wife was going out with some women who were actively destroying their marriages. I knew from a slip up in anger that my mom had confronted her about this. I did not know that my friend’s wife had as well. Well at the time I was carrying her water, and wanted to believe that she was there to keep her friends out of trouble, and besides she often would come home drunk, and we would fuck. Something that rarely happened during that time in our marriage, or anytime for that matter. She also told me that she remembered a conversation one morning they had. She had just finished sending her husband off to work, and had fixed him a special breakfast for no reason and packed his lunch. My wife complained that I never took my lunch, and she suggested that my wife pack my lunch. Her response was, “He can pack his own damn lunch.” My friend’s wife told her that she was destroying our marriage. Her lack of desire to serve me in any way, and continually complain about my actions while doing nothing to encourage me to behave differently was destructive. Now my actions do not encompass things that were destructive to the marriage, they were things like eating out at lunch most days. My friends wife also challenged her that instead of continually harassing me about getting a promotion, that perhaps my wife should go back to work as a skilled nurse, especially since she insisted on having a cleaning lady, the kids were all in school, and she didn’t really cook most of the time. That evening my eyes were opened to two things. First, I had good friends, better than I knew. They stuck up for me and the marriage I so wanted even without my knowing. Second, that my wife was never on a track of happiness in marriage. She didn’t understand that the test of marriage was to love the other person without needing reciprocation, and when their partner does the same, we grow as people and as a couple.

So how did I flip it on her. Well she was declaring by leaving that she believed that she outranked me in the relationship. That she was more desirable than I was, and she was. She was because she was on the market and she was married, and I was not on the market and was married. Once she moved out, she fell in the sex rank category, because she was now a single mom of four kids in her forties and not slim. I moved up, because I was on the market, in good shape, and a single dad of four kids. Strange how these things work, but I can find a woman pretty quick. With or without them knowing any of the details. My self esteem went up quickly, and with that women came to. She thought I would be alone all the time, and she would have the men she wanted. The truth is I have the women I want, when I want them, and short of some sex, the men aren’t there for her. I am excited about my future as I mourn the demise of the dream of being married once and forever to someone to grow old with. The truth is I never had that. She would never have been a woman that would have endured. I know because I have seen it, that its not a fairy tale, but it is a a fairly odd tale for a man and woman to live out their years growing closer and closer as their youth fades. At least in this day and age.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

June 30

The Early Years

I remember him standing there like a break in the mist, or the shadow under old trees & I wish I had known then it is the place we cannot go that needs our touch most | 01162010

To understand how I ended up where I am, you have to understand that my wife constantly sought ways to make sure that I knew that my place was below her. I being young, stupid, and in love didn’t think much about it.  One of the things that stood out early in our relationship, was the education gap, and the wage gap that came with it. I was extremely underpaid for the IT job I had at the time.  I started the job as a part time gig, while I worked at becoming a paramedic. I decided somewhere along the way that I wouldn’t be a good human being if I had stayed on that course.  The job became full time, and I accepted a salary that seemed OK to a single guy with a cheap apartment and no bills.  After we were married for about a year, my wife agitated with the fact that if we had kids she would still have to make the largest share of the family income proposed that I go back to school full time, instead of this part time thing I was doing.  It seemed like a good idea, and I readily credited her with giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get this done.

So we moved to a little college town, and bought our first house. She paid my way through school.  I appreciated this, but she was always annoyed by it.  She was never happy while I was in school. She put on a lot of weight, and become more and more demeaning to me.  Sex was still an issue, and I had just decided that wasn’t going to be great, and I would get used to it. The problem was she continually rejected my approaches, but was not happy herself with our sex life.  The problem as I see it is she was much more experienced than me, and didn’t respect me because of my age, and my income. None of these are things that I could overcome. They are red flags for any single guy who comes along and reads this. We tried to have a baby, but this wasn’t working. We went through a time of having sex every day, which would have been fantastic, except she made it so clinical that it wasn’t any fun.  During this time she also made every sexual encounter about her. I had to make her have the maximum amount of pleasure every single time. Honestly this was just too much work. Sometimes, I just wanted sex, but that wasn’t ever her plan, or I should say was rarely her plan.  If we did just have sex, then it was because that is what she decided.   The only conflict that we have had in  our marriage is that I was a night owl and didn’t go to bed at the same time as her. I wish I had, but I never could do it. One of the main reasons was because I was afraid that things wouldn’t change if I did, and that would mean that I had been rejected. I know now that this is true. She wanted to find a reason that she was rejecting me, but she was definitely rejecting me.  A lot of this stems from how her father treated her, and not having a mother, and being sexually abused by multiple men over her life. All things that I had compassion for, but now I would warn any man off a woman with a past like this. Feel compassion, have empathy, but don’t marry these women. They are broken, and most beyond repair, without a true and deep relationship with Christ.

I graduated, and came out making a lot more money than before, and then went ahead and doubled my income from there over the course of a few years. I was now clearly the higher income earner in the house, and if we played our cards right she could be a stay at home mom.  We still hadn’t had any success having kids.  We started fostering kids for the state.  We fostered a little boy that was one of the easiest kids in the world. He was with us a short time, but it was memorable. We then started fostering the two boys that we eventually adopted. This would be another reason I am furious about her desire for divorce. We promised these boys ( and a little girl ) a family, and now she wants to destroy that. They will be affected by this more than other children, because of their past loss.  We had moved into a small house back where we grew up.   My wife had weight loss surgery, and was starting to lose weight. We had been married now for three years. We went through the stresses of fostering, and she was active in the surgical weight loss community. I was leading our Bible study. All seemed well, except of course the lack of sexual attention that I got. She had stopped kissing me. She complained about my chewing tobacco. I had stopped using it around her, and made sure to have chewed some pretty strong gum before I came home from work. It didn’t matter, because that was just an excuse for ending intimacy in that way. She was never bothered by this when we dated, and I wasn’t near as careful to minimize the effects on her.

We lived like this for about two years before my wife went to a homecoming game at her college, and hooked up with a former fling from college. She had lost weight, and was trying out her new body.  She told me about this about a day after she returned.  I was pretty destroyed emotionally. I didn’t know what to do. Ultimately, I decided to forgive her, and stayed. If it weren’t for my beautiful and wonderful daughter, I would question that decision today.  We went to some counseling, and I wasn’t real hip on it. First it was a counselor that she already was seeing, and I felt like there was way too much going on behind my back. Then there was the part where she made me feel like it was partly my fault that she did this, because I didn’t make her feel good enough about her weight loss.  Now understand that I never made her feel bad about her weight gain, or her size before we got married. It was never an issue for me, and still isn’t. If she follows through with the divorce though, I have vowed to never, ever date or marry a woman again who views herself as too big, or has been sexually abused, because there are way to many issues that go along with that, and I don’t want the headaches or heartache.

I forced myself to have sex with her quickly after that, so I could get past the feeling that she had given herself to another man.  She ruins the sticking the flag in the top of the mountain again moment, by informing me that it was some of the worst sex that we had ever had. Who says that to someone the first time having sex with them after cheating on them.  I have never understood this. At the time, it made me feel like she had enjoyed the other guy more than me, and was reminded of how good sex could be with guys who weren’t me.  This was a big blow to my already falling self esteem. I had relied too much on her to fortify how I feel about me, and she not only didn’t feed that beast, but beat it down at every opportunity.  She was without a doubt her fathers daughter. He had made her feel bad most of her growing up, and she was doing that to me now.

Needless to say over the course of the next year, she got pregnant. I had questions of whether the child was mine the entire pregnancy. God is good, he produced a child that looks so much like me, that it was impossible to question. We had moved into a new house, and now were fostering a little girl we planned to adopt. The same year our daughter was born, we adopted all three kids from the state.   We are now seven years into our marriage at this point, and in our fifth home, and our third home purchase at the time we adopted and had our daughter.   That is a lot of moving. I was starting to believe that she couldn’t settle down.  She had a similar pattern throughout her single life.

This was the condensed version of the first half of our marriage. There are plenty of happy memories. I loved my wife, and still do. We had vacations and times together that were fantastic.  I enjoy talking to no other person more than her, when she bothers to listen.  We have had a couple of problems that I am willing to work through. One is the lack of sex, and the tension around sex. The other is that when we talk about tough things, she either bullies me, or shuts down. I respond to these tactics no better.  I believe that she has some issues due to her upbringing.  I think she as BPD, and needs to learn to manage her emotions with the help of a real psychotherapist.  I am still in this marriage, until I have no choice.  I am writing these things, so I can get my head clear, and because I like to write.

Ten-Foured,

JeD