Six Reasons Why Guys Like Porn (and how to break free)

I’ve been doing quite a bit of meditating on Proverbs 7 recently. In the text, King Solomon is looking out his window, looking down on the streets of Jerusalem, giving his commentary about a naïve man he sees strolling by the door of a prostitute. She lures him in. He follows. Adultery ensues.

As a recovering porn addict I couldn’t help but see myself in text. No, I’ve never been enticed into a brothel, but discovering the world of Internet porn presented a similar temptation to me. If you haven’t read Proverbs 7 recently, give it a quick read (it won’t take you more than 2 minutes).

Solomon paints a vivid picture of this woman. She is alluring, sensual, and beautiful. As I read it, I find at least six lures this woman uses, six reasons why this man is enticed to follow her home—the same six reasons why many men find it so enticing to look at porn again and again.

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Lure #1: The Forbidden

The first thing Solomon says about this woman is that she is an adulteress (v.5). Other translation say “strange woman,” and this carries the idea that the woman is someone else’s wife or no one’s wife. The idea is that she is forbidden. She is off-limits. She is not his to have. A few chapters later Solomon sums up the motto of the adulteress: “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Proverbs 9:13).

This is what makes pornography so tempting: it is forbidden. One of the marketing strategies of pornography is to create settings and scenarios that present the lure of the forbidden.

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Lure #2: The Physical Body

In verse 10, Solomon says she is “Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.” She looks the part. Solomon also says that she is cunning: she holds down a home, she has a husband. So, the text indicates that she is dressed seductively, but not so much so that she comes off as a common prostitute for hire.

This is, of course, one of the reasons why pornography is attractive. The photos and images are revealing, but not too revealing. Even hardcore pornography is marketed online with 10 or 30 second video clips that beg the viewer to see the whole film. They draw a person in visually, begging them to peak at more.

 

When we read Genesis we see that the apex of God’s physical creation is the human body. So, it isn’t surprising that when people choose to make idols out of the things that God has created, the human body comes at the top of the list every time. Sexuality is in many ways worshiped. When our eyes lock on someone’s physical form, there is a very natural part of us that acknowledges the incredibility beautiful of the human body. Something draws us to see the naked human form. This natural understanding of beauty turns to lust in our sinful selves, and every form of media that uses tight clothing, nudity, and seductive images is propping up the naked human form as something to which we should bow.

Pornography trains the mind to objectify a woman. No matter what our physical preferences are, objectification is an attitude we harbor about women in which we rate them by size, shape and harmony of body parts. The fantasy woman becomes the standard by which we judge the physical beauty of other women.

Quite frankly, what woman can compete with all the makeup, beauty lenses, hair extensions, camera angles, lighting and silicone?

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Lure #3: Passivity

In verse 13 Solomon says, “So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says . . .” She presents herself as sexually assertive. She grabs a hold of him and holds him close. She kisses him. She has a strong, shameless, unembarrassed look on her face. She looks right in his eyes and she tells him more with her look and her body language than all her words can say.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a woman exhibiting sexual assertiveness with her husband. But the message that pornography tries to get across is that the woman on the screen is easy, vulnerable, and eager, that she will assertively give herself to the man who’s watching the screen. In other words, there’s no need for him to be assertive in order to have this fantasy experience. He can be passive.

Real relationships that lead to marriage and godly sex require a man to be assertive every step of the way. Real relationships require him to step up to the plate and take action, to serve, to romance, to woo. Pornography’s message is that the man can take it easy; he can avoid the assertiveness of real relationships and reap the benefits of sexual pleasure anyway. If he wants to have the sexual experience, there’s no need to mess with the difficulties of cultivating real intimacy with a woman. He can have the fantasy on his terms and require nothing of himself. This is another reason why pornography is so alluring.

The result is unfortunate: men who watch pornography over and over will train their bodies and minds to respond only to certain fantasy situations. The pursuit of intimacy is replaced by the pursuit of cyber-voyeurism.

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Lure #4: Comfort

She says to him, “I was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows” (v.14). Peace offerings were animal offerings, presented and slaughtered in the temple, and then a portion of it was given back to the one who brought the sacrifice. It was to be eaten in fellowship with friends and family that day. These peace offerings were the choicest meat.

She continues in verse 16, “I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt.” Here she speaks of her couch. People in her culture would recline to eat, and she is describing his special seat reserved for him at the table, covered with an expensive, exquisite cloth from Egypt. This is the luxury linen of Solomon’s day. She assures him that this will be a luxurious dining experience. These cunning words say that she’s hospitable. She’s got a table set for him and is ready to entertain. She’s spared no expense. She wants to take care of him. She wants him to be as comfortable as possible.

One of the ways that pornography lures us is by presenting itself as a refuge, just like this woman’s table and home and fine foods were a refuge of comfort for this young man. One of the self-justifications we often use when we gear up to view pornography is that we want to unwind, we want to relax, and we want to reward ourselves after a hard day.

Pornography is often a way to self-medicate. The stress of life, deep feelings of dissatisfaction with life, and discontentment lead people to seek out “little releases.” Pornography presents itself as a refuge, a hideaway, a place to find needed comfort.

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Lure #5: Ego-Fulfillment

The forbidden woman continues, “Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you” (v.15). Notice how she strokes his ego here. “I’ve come out to meet YOU, to seek YOUR presence earnestly, and have found YOU.” She probably would have said the same thing to someone else had they come along at that time, but she insists that he’s the one she wants to be with. She makes him feel desired, wanted and attractive. Solomon says in verse 21, “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her FLATTERING lips she seduces him.”

The man that repeatedly returns to pornography is caught in the fantasy experience that the woman on the screen is selling to him: she wants him, she notices him and she makes him feel like a real man. This idea of ego-fulfillment is a form of validation. It’s a lie we learn in our culture early on: that my masculinity is validated based on the “beautiful” women that notice me. It is very common for a man’s fantasy sexual encounter to include a feeling of manly validation.

For me, even though I haven’t sought out pornography in a long while, my fantasies still haunt my imagination. As a young man I often felt unattractive. I sought my validation from girls and received very little of it. I would react by filling my mind with a host of fantasy scenarios where I was the hero, I was the irresistible man whom women loved. When porn entered my life, I experienced a virtual storyboard that fed these fantasies.

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Lure #6: Secrecy

She continues, “For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey; he has taken a bag of money with him, at the full moon he will come home” (v.19-20). The idea is that the man of the house is gone on business and isn’t at all expected to return until the next full moon (the season in which community festivals are celebrated). In other words, she tells this man, “We have no worry of getting caught.”

Often what makes porn so enticing is that it is viewed in secret. In some sense there is the excitement of possibly getting caught. But ultimately pornography thrives on secrecy. Many times it takes getting caught and/or confrontation for those struggling with pornography to take action and get away from porn.

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Fight Fire with Fire

Like many men, I can easily be drawn to porn like a moth to a flame. We can’t change anything about the nature of pornography: it will always hold out these enticing lures. The heat from pornography’s flame will probably always have some draw for me. The only thing a man can do (with any lasting effect) is to catch a glimpse of a larger, more enticing flame.

What is the brighter flame? I believe it is the flame of real love.

I get a glimpse of this flame in my relationship with my wife. In our courtship I found myself experiencing something powerful: I was falling in love. As our love grew and matured, we developed a healthy jealousy for one another’s hearts. We wanted to occupy a special and irreplaceable position in each others’ hearts. There were times in our courtship when pornography held out its lures, and like a moth to a flame, I felt the pull. But as I looked to the flame of her (godly) love, my heart responded in kind: I knew that, with this type of love, I possessed the power and strength to walk away from temptation.

It reminds me of the words of Solomon’s bride, in Song of Solomon: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its

flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord” (8:6). She speaks of her lovers-jealousy for him, a fierce longing for him, and a desire to know that she is his only love. This love was like a burning fire in her.

But this marital love is only a spark from a much greater fire: “the very flame of the Lord.” This phrase, “flame of the Lord,” reminds me of the flame that burned the bush in front of Moses. Think of it: a fire that never burns out, that never exhausts itself, a fire that is its own source of fuel. This is a paradoxical thought.

But it reflects the name by which God designates himself to Moses at the bush: I AM WHO I AM. He is the self-existent One, the One who always IS. He is the source of all Being. He is the eternal God. He is the God who cannot be reduced to a simple, explainable name or description.

“The flame of the Lord” hearkens back to the words of Moses: “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). The Lord’s jealous love is an all-consuming love. His love for His people is an awe-inspiring thought, a love that desires us to have no no other gods before Him, to never make or worship an idol.

His jealous love is called by the prophets and psalmists a “steadfast love”—sometimes translated, His ruthless loyalty to His people.

As we grow to truly know God, I believe our hearts cannot help but be caught up in wonder and awe that some theologians have called “the Beauty of God.” King David wrote,

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4).

Can you imagine yourself writing these words? Can we honestly say that our one deepest longing is to gaze at the beauty of the Lord.

I believe the only way to overcome the lusts of this world is to have a fixed gaze on a greater Beauty. Until we get close enough to the flame of God to let it warm our heart, the lures of sin will always have their pull. Worldly pleasures can and do put a spell on us. “You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness” (C.S. Lewis).

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Breaking Free from Temptation . . .

Get free and stay free from Internet pornography temptations. Asked a trusted friend to be your accountability partner. Get Covenant Eyes on your computer. Experience the freedom of accountability.