fighting for free hearts

Compromising Our Masculinity

Porn is the ultimate compromise of the masculine soul.

Porn offers the illusion of beauty, adventure, and relational connection while appealing to the legitimate strength men possess.

However, porn offers counterfeits of those things. When men settle for what porn has to offer rather than engage their strength to pursue true expressions of beauty, adventure, and relational connection, they compromise the essence of what it means to be a man.

Deep in a man’s heart he wants the good, the right, and the true connection that is available with feminine beauty. But that doesn’t come easily.

Although it’s the thing he deeply wants, and it is the reality for which he was created, he fears what it will require of him.

Man is torn.

There burns within him a passion and a hunger for the authentic relationship and genuine connection that is possible with feminine beauty, while at the same time he struggles with his insecurity concerning his ability to reach the place of affirmation, validation, and true acceptance with the Woman.

The challenge of winning her, and all that entails given the mystery of her soul, seems too great. Her tendency to withhold herself, reserving access to her heart until the man has proven himself worthy of it, calls for something above and beyond any other relationship. In his soul the man questions if he has what it takes to attain what he truly desires.

And so porn enters. It seems the perfect solution. It appears to the man as though he has achieved the acceptance and validation of the woman but without any of the struggle. Pursuing a woman costs a man something. He has to work for it if he wants her to give her heart to him.

In porn, the man seems to have “won” the woman on the page or on the screen — and often more than one woman —  without the risk of failure and vulnerability inherent in trying to win the real heart of an actual woman.

But it is a foul compromise, as all compromises of the soul are. It leaves a horrible taste in a man’s mouth anytime he shirks his true identity and calling and betrays his nature in order to get something that he knows he settled for simply because it was easier than the genuine article that he should have pursued. Porn is a cheap imitation of unity with beauty.

It always is. Men know it, no matter how they may try to convince themselves otherwise.

Compromise is deadening to the masculine soul. Every time a man gives in to it, whether in porn or another context, he experiences loss and pain at the core of his being.

Porn is the ultimate compromise of the masculine soul because in the act of going to it a man is abdicating his masculinity.  He is saying, essentially, “i am not a man.” As John Eldredge says, “Porn makes you feel like a man without having to be one.”

We have lied to ourselves. We have been persuaded by a foul and strange idea that objectifying women for our sexual pleasure demonstrates that we are men. We have done this to cover the shame we feel as a result of this ultimate compromise.

It is true on the one hand that porn attracts us because we are men and feminine beauty expressed in her sexuality is powerful and appealing. However, that is a very different thing than saying that our use, and usually misuse, of porn somehow demonstrates and validates our masculinity.

The first statement acknowledges the reality of sexual attraction. The second statement is an excuse that allows men to be selfish in their relationships with women, resulting in either overbearing control or passive disengagement. Porn always leads to derision; first of the other, then of ourselves.

Men, in their frustration over the challenges of the masculine life, in a world that is broken, have formed a narrative to support the compromise of their souls. This narrative is an attempt to convince ourselves that our porn indulgence and our abuse of women is appropriate masculine behavior.

At some level, our porn use is revenge based in a deep resentment that life is so difficult. Not just life in general, but specifically life in relation to The Woman. Life is particularly challenging where she is concerned. 

Our pursuit of porn reveals a divine desire to drink from the well of life; a desire to be who we truly are as men made in the image of God who are intended to live lives to the full.

We are meant for real connection.

We are meant for authentic love.

We are meant for intimacy with God.

At some level every man knows these things and craves them.

When a man cuts a corner and goes for porn instead of living out of his true identity as a man, something in him dies. When he goes passive instead of pursuing and fighting for the beauty and the relational connection for which he is designed, he abdicates his masculinity.

Men are made in the image of God, and one of the primary ways His image gets expressed in men is through their warrior nature.

While this warrior nature can get twisted in the brokenness of humanity, it is intended by God to be used to fight for His Kingdom and all the King values.

Among the many things the King values are beauty and relational connection that mirror His beauty and the relational connection of the heroic fellowship that is the Trinity.

When a man runs to porn, he turns his back on all of that. He chooses to avoid fighting for the good, the right, and the true in favor of the false intimacy offered by a counterfeit.

In so doing, he embraces the ultimate compromise of the masculine soul.

It is crucial, therefore, that we learn to fight well. We have compromised far too much already.

 

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