Porn Won’t Ease Your Burden

The masculine soul is burdened by tameness.

The hearts of men need risk, adventure, and struggle. Men need to live in a world where something important is at stake. Daily life often presents a reality steeped in the mundane, where monotony anesthetizes us into a stupor.

Predictability. Routine. Micromanagement. Sanitized Experiences. These weigh a man down and choke life out of him. They leave a man completely unsatisfied and champing at the bit for vibrant, authentic life.

For men, tameness leads to deadness. They experience deadness of heart, deadness of soul, and deadness even in body.

Exercise science has discovered that without changing — making more unpredictable — your workout regimen, your physical body will plateau.

Life, quite simply, requires wildness. Every aspect and dimension of our lives needs wildness to thrive.

And yet, there is so much tameness in our lives. When’s the last time you took a smart risk? i don’t mean a risk that was some sort of foolish dare thrown at you by that one friend who is known for having questionable ideas. i mean a risk that, if you took it, would result in good things — not just for yourself, but for others.

And what about adventure? Where is that in your life these days?

The fact is most men feel the deadening tameness of our situation — some more than others — and a vibrant life feels lightyears away.

It is into that reality that pornography and fantasy offer themselves. They seem like a lifeline.

Sexual fantasy and pornography offer themselves as ways to deal with the tameness that stifles men. They seem like the answer to boredom and frustration, and they look like the way to reclaim our manhood after we’ve been emasculated by tameness.

Fantasy and porn have the appearance of wildness, excitement, and adventure. They are more stimulating than routine. They are more attractive than predictability. They are thrilling in ways that duty, obligation, and sanitization can never be.

And yet they fail because they are poor imitations of vibrant, authentic life.

Running to fantasy or porn in search of wildness and adventure actually kills wildness and adventure in a man’s soul. The whole situation is a trap. Fantasy and porn are, ironically, predictably controlled stories which we orchestrate in an attempt to manufacture the wildness and adventure we seek. But if we manufacture it, there’s no wildness and our souls remain hungry for something deeper than mere fleshly pleasure.

In our irritation with routine and predictability we strike out into a world of sexual exploration only to harm ourselves further by entering into a different world of predictability. If you’ve watched much porn, you know how each scene is going to progress. There is actually very little innovation, if any.

Fantasy and porn steal wildness and adventure — which are all about true freedom, purpose, meaning, and calling — by connecting those things to sexual lust.

The inability of porn and fantasy to bring deep and lasting fulfillment reveals a restless craving in our souls for the genuine article. Beneath the rubble of our acting out and chasing fantasies there is a yearning in men to be deeply true; a desire to be authentic.

That yearning may be on life support, but it still has a pulse because the craving to be the real deal is a holy longing.

The Enemy relies on the boredom of tameness to drive us to counterfeit forms of life. The hypnotic aspect of the mundane is one of his best weapons against us. It lulls us into complacency. It makes all of the counterfeits more attractive to us.

A good friend of mine who is a pastor told me that when he is backpacking, drinking in the powerful beauty of nature and engaging his mind and body in the wild, he doesn’t struggle at all with lust. The temptation simply isn’t present when the landscape around him is full of life. But it’s when he gets back to routine and the duties of the daily grind that temptation returns.

In The Weight of Glory C.S. Lewis wrote:

“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.”

So often we think of “worldliness” as the materialism or sexual license or some other sort of outward behavior. But it’s appropriate to also think of “worldliness” as, simply, operating according to the ways of the world; the influence of the age in which we live.

With that in mind, the way of the world is to resign ourselves to the deadness of a tame and predictable existence as we cultivate a relationship with counterfeits such as porn and fantasy.

Or we could ask Jesus to wake us from the evil enchantment and give us the full life He promised. A life that, if we truly enter into it, is anything but tame.

 

2 Responses to “Porn Won’t Ease Your Burden”

  1. Christopher Mars

    Your best post yet, James. Astounding. It encapsulates the entire challenge of being a man and struggling with lust/sex addiction. Your post cuts to the heart of our existence as men.

    Reply
    • james tarring cordrey

      thanks, Chris. i appreciate your thoughts, your constant reading of the blog, and your fellowship on the journey.

      Reply

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