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Why Men Like Porn: Hunger vs. Appetite

Last Updated: February 20, 2014

Joe Dallas

Joe Dallas is the Program Director of Genesis Counseling. He is also the author of several books, including, The Game Plan: The Men's 30-Day Strategy for Attaining Sexual Integrity. He is a pastoral counselor and a popular conference speaker. For more than three years Joe taught and conducted the nationally recognized Every Man’s Battle conference as the originating Program Director, and from 1991 to 1993, he served as the President of Exodus International. Joe and his wife Renee reside in Orange County, California, with their two sons.

If you’ve ever dieted, you know the difference between your hunger and your appetite.

Your hunger signals are accurate and honest. They tell you what your body really needs, creating a discomfort based on deficits that need to be filled. Hunger assesses, then announces, what and when you need to put into the system to keep it running. Following your hunger signals, then, is always a good idea.

Not so with appetite. Appetite is more about cravings than needs, and the distinction is huge and crucial. When I listen to my appetite, it almost always lies to me, telling me I need much more food than I really do. Compounding the problem, appetite always tells me I need the wrong sort of food. It’s based primarily on a craving for the intense versus a hunger for the necessary.

I’ll bet you’ve found this to be true as well. Ever notice that, when you wake up in the middle of the night craving some food, it’s not steamed broccoli that you’re fantasizing about? Invariably, late night urges call for ice cream, hamburgers, pizza, chips–foods that deliver high impact upon ingestion, but low results upon digestion.

Let’s take this further. It’s interesting to note that high-in impact but low-in-nutrition foods tend to be readily available, 24/7. You need drive no further than the nearest fast food mart to pick it up. No preparation needed; just plunk down your money and enjoy. Whereas if you choose to eat properly, you do need to plan a bit–shop for the food, clean and prepare it, etc. Proper eating takes a bit of diligence; poor eating can be done quickly with little effort. And while poor eating definitely delivers the impact that satisfies the appetite’s craving for something intense, in the long run, it falls woefully short of delivering anything substantial, much less helpful. That alone is good enough reason to listen to your hunger signal rather than your appetite cravings.

Sexual sin is the junk food of human relationships; an intense but non-nutritious attempt to satisfy a craving; an always-available but never substantial attempt to appease genuine relational hunger. It’s available 24/7–your Internet, late night clubs or the local red light district stay open all hours–and no preparation is needed. Just plunk down your cash and enjoy an intense experience that feels terrific but comes nowhere close to meeting the needs of your soul. And, like junk food, it’s a hugely successful enterprise, raking in billions per year as it exploits the cravings of the masses.

No wonder, then, you sometimes find yourself craving what you really don’t want, but feel pulled towards nonetheless. Your God resides in you, His Holy Spirit always willing to comfort and guide. And you may well have a loving wife who lies beside you in the night, available and caring, and your relationship with God and family is what really matters to you–that’s your hunger, if you will–but you still crave the occasional binge of junk food. Can the same man who loves God still desire something so destructive and wrong?

Sure, in that he has an appetite that’s trying to convince him of what he really needs. And if he’s foolish enough to listen to the appetite cravings, instead of the genuine hunger needs, he’ll introduce all kinds of junk food chaos into his system.

Don’t let that be said of you today. You have God-given needs, and you have flesh-induced cravings, and your Heavenly Father by no means holds your legitimate hunger needs against you. On the contrary, He wants them satisfied in the best way, and hates it when you settle for anything less! He said it so beautifully through Isaiah:

Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which cannot satisfy? (Isaiah 55:2)

Let’s pray this morning for the wisdom the discern the difference, and the strength to trust that what we hunger will satisfy, but what we crave will destroy.

  • Comments on: Why Men Like Porn: Hunger vs. Appetite
    1. zipporah on

      Speaking of JUNK FOOD… I believe its bad for the soul as well as the body. Humans were made to eat at the TABLE when work was done. This seemed to change in the late 70s early 80s when women had to work a major job outside the home and men had to work 2 jobs to keep the famiy afloat. SNACKS were made to eat wihout being a table, only to keep up the BLOOD SUGAR…When people started eating junkfood at a regular basis, MANY KIDS STARTED BECOMMING OBESE.. you always had fat kids BUT not at 300 LBS and larger..scales would only go to 300 because no one would hit that weight!
      As far as sex goes, it is getting HARDER for kids in the single digits to stay away from PORN. Many have cellphones; if their friends dont have them, they will show the porn on the cellphone WEB..kids are so literal that when they see PORN its as if they THEMSELVES were molested….years ago. it was the 13 and up kids..but that was YEARS AGO…this horrible SMUT can TURN LITTLE KIDS HOMOSEXUAL and theyll think they were born that way.

      Reply
      • Christ Follower on

        @zipporah I cannot believe your astonishingly ignorant and homophobic comment suggesting that looking at porn will “turn little kids homosexual” and then you follow it up with more the finally hateful, “they’ll think they were born that way”. How did you ever come to such a preposterous blatantly untrue and bigoted viewpoint? Where did you learn that looking at porn or pictures of naked people is the same as actually being molested by an adult who is in a position of power and control over a child. This comment should be deleted in it’s entirety as it is not representative of Jesus’ love or grace and would be considered hateful by many loving Christians. To leave it here would be a disservice to those who are trying to heal.

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