In his seminal work Wild At Heart, John Eldredge posited that men need three things: A battle to fight, an adventure to live and a beauty to rescue.
His writing opened the eyes of many men to consider their lives in light of these three qualities and many of us, after making an initial assessment, realized something was missing. With regard to my addiction, i saw how my indulgence of pornography paralleled — to some extent — the absence of a true, godly adventure. The lack of adventure was not the only factor, but it was part of the picture.
There is a crucial role for healthy adventure in the life of every man. Without it, the temptation to sexual indulgence through porn, or other riskier behavior grows.
Jason Martinkus of Everyman’s Battle says it like this:
Most men, if they’re honest with themselves, will admit that they long to feel; loved, accepted, wanted, significant, adequate, powerful, respected, challenged, a sense of belonging, a sense of adventure. With a hard heart these things are out of reach. So it takes something outside the norm to feel again. It takes intensity.
Enter sexual addiction. Very few things on the planet, if any, rival the intensity of emotion that accompanies our sexual passion. For some men, it is the only way they feel anything. Much of their emotion becomes sexualized and the experience of acting out sexually becomes a brief moment of electricity where they actually feel alive. It may be the thrill of the hunt for the right picture, prostitute or encounter. It may be the moment of engagement where they cross a line into something taboo. For some it is the moment of orgasm.
But truly, pornography is a cheap substitute for real adventure. The intensity and chemical release in the brain may make it feel like it’s the real thing, but it’s not. Nothing about porn is real, it’s a fantasy that is built on deception. If we keep running to porn as a form of adventure we will never actually get what adventure is supposed to supply us as men: that deep sense that we are men; that we have risen to a legitimate challenge and exercised authentic, unpolluted power in achieving a goal.