Empowerment? Not Really.

A recent reader and commenter here at the blog, Monroe, made a puzzling comment about empowerment in relationship to looking at pornography.

Initially it seemed that he was saying the looking at pornography empowers him, but that wasn’t what he was trying to say.

Rather, he ways saying that it seems in the moment — when you are looking at porn — that it empowers you.

He had this additional explanation which really helped.

He said:

My point about empowerment is that I’ve discovered that my
subconscious purpose in masturbating and viewing pornographic material has been as an ego boost. I know now that it accomplishes the opposite. It lowers self esteem and then I have a greater need to boost my ego again. It’s been a vicious loop. Now that I understand it and have figured out how to interrupt problem thought patterns, I have managed to escape the cycle.

Monroe makes a good point:  Pornography seems like it is empowering, but rather, it is emasculating.  Pornography can arouse your masculinity, even if you only have a little bit of masculinity at work in you.  But it cannot empower you as a man. It cannot make you a man.  In John Eldredge’s words, pornography cannot bestow upon you your masculinity.

Escaping the cycle, as Monroe calls it, is crucial. So often when i was in my addiction, i was caught in a death spiral, as though a riptide were carrying me out to sea and i was not strong enough to resist it.

In truth, i wasn’t strong enough, on my own, it took God’s intervention for that. Now i am truly empowered to be an authentic man. It bears repeating that pornography robs men of their masculinity.

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