Defeat Lust & Pornography
Defeat Lust & Pornography 8 minute read

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

Last Updated: April 17, 2015

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.

– – – –

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.

– – – –

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?

– – – –

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.

– – – –

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.

– – – –

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.

– – – –

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.

– – – –

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).

– – – –

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.

  1. moses

    Its indeed educating ,.,i just found some tips to break free from porn..
    Thank you so much

  2. Michael

    I have two things I wanted to say: First that I cannot express how much I appreciate this article and the comments that follow. Not everybody is on the same page but that’s the beauty of it, lot’s of people from lots of backgrounds coming together to be human and talk about human things. It’s encouraging to me to see people expressing themselves without agreeing with everything and still maintaining a healthy conversation. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Second is that I saw my dad’s Playboys when I was five years old, and I’ve been drawn and tempted (addicted) to pornography since. I have lied more times than I care to remember trying to hide it (this is not the first time I’ve confessed however). I was going to be a pastor, before God began taking my life in another direction, so every single week I was hiding this sin from everyone. There came a point, though, in my life where I began to fight it, where I became fully aware of the fact that it is a sin and it is harmful not only to myself, but others around me. My faith in God grew so that I could further fight Satan and further win this war. But it never goes away, and if you led your guard down, if you become apathetic to your faith or whatever keeps you from being lustful in any way it’s incredibly easy to slip back into that pattern.

    This happened to my recently… My fiance, Anne, and I have dealt with this struggle before and we’ve had our victories and losses, we’ve shared a lot of pain through this sin. One day I found myself in a place where I wasn’t tempted, I had no desire to look at porn in any way. Whether this was because I was falling so deeply and truly in love with my bride-to-be that I didn’t want it anymore or because the Evil One was just backing off to make me drop my guard doesn’t matter, because eventually I slipped back into this trap again. However, this time, I didn’t share any of it with Anne. She asked me how I was doing and I lied to her, as blatantly and callously as I had lied to everyone else. At first I felt guilty, but the guilt faded, as did my sensitivity towards her. I never stopped loving her, in fact my love for her often grew, but no more than it did before. Yes, I was looking and lying, but my feeling for her were completely real…

    One day she wanted to get on my laptop to look something up and I kept her from it. I realized it scared her and so I told her, but I didn’t tell her everything. I told her that I slipped once and that I was sorry. It wasn’t just the fact that I had slipped that hurt her, it was the lies that went with it. She wouldn’t let me touch her or see her, and I can’t blame her what I had done was terrible. We argued and fought for a few days after and eventually I worked up the courage to see her, but soon I was telling more lies because she was asking me if it was only this once and I just couldn’t bear to hurt her anymore. However, those lies were quickly found out and further crushed her. To make matters worse, I eventually confessed to the full extent of my horrifying deceit and it sent her into depression and pain that I had never seen in another human being let alone my Anne.

    Listen to me when I say that pornography is not a good thing. It may seem like a good things because evil simply cannot seem so good. But if Satan made everything he used to destroy us seem evil, he wouldn’t get anywhere in his hatred for the human race. Men and women, I beg you to learn from my story, because there is no happy ending yet. I don’t know if there will be one at all… I’m fighting now, though, harder than ever before. I have help and I’m fighting for myself, for my fiance, AND for my relationship with my Father (God). I don’t know what is to come and I don’t know if I will fall again. But I do know that I will not stop fighting until I am called Home. Do not give up, ever, because your life will be fuller and happier for it.

    Thank you for allowing me to tell my story and to express myself.

  3. Peter Glynn

    Tere are a lot of fine folks who get caught up in porn, who chastise themselves and lament their moral weakness. All to often to no end. I increasingly believe porn is a brain problem more than a moral problem. The brain is under attack because people have learned to exploit its architecture to make money (which is the REAL moral issue). Drop the shame, heal your brain. Then there will be no reason for shame.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marnia-robinson/300-vaginas-a-lot-of-dopa_b_730797.html

    • Luke Gilkerson

      @Peter – Curious about your comment: You say its a brain problem, not a moral problem. Why can’t it be both?

  4. Bounder of Adventure

    You haven’t lived if you haven’t tried anonymous sex. What is really sad is people not trying it due to a fear of some non-existent biblical sky-god. Believe me, if there is anything like an intelligent god in this universe, it will have very little interest in the who’s, why’s and where’s of *your* sex life. In fact, chances are, it is more along the lines of Spinoza’s god…which does not have personal interaction with individual human entities. So go ahead…there isn’t a man in the sky with a grey beard waiting to tear you a new asshole because you had sex with some woman you just met. Don’t lie there on *your* deathbed, having missed out on life’s sordid pleasures owing to a gullible belief in sky fairys. You live once…if it moves, screw it!

    • neozer

      That my friend, is why our God is an awesome God. He’s not just a mystical fairy with a long beard, He is our Savior. Our God is so awesome ‘cos of the FACT that He cares for each and every one of us. These pleasures in life as u say, may be “good”. But isn’t that what most sinful things are? They are “good”! I advice u to read through the article again my friend, as u seem to not get the point of the purpose of this article! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing u of anything. I am just voicing my opinion on your comment and I really hope u find the way. May God bless you!
      P.S. our God is an awesome God XD just had to add it in haha

  5. John W

    I KNOW THIS IS REALLY LONG BUT PLEASE READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY. Thank you to all those who shared and have given words of encouragement and advice. I am a 25 year old husband and father and I have been addicted to pornography for over half my life. It is at the point now where it is not just interfering with, but destroying my life. I first discovered pornography at the age of 11. Having started taking up interest in girls by this age, while suffering from being very much an introvert with poor self image, it didn’t take long for me to get lured into this fantasy “girlfriend without the baggage” world. I did not have to approach a woman, I didn’t have to think of something to say, I did not have to have any confidence…I could just find photos or video of an attractive woman and she would show me whatever I was looking to see. It has recently gotten to the point that I have skipped meals, skipped going to the gym, neglected household chores and even my family to view pornography. I have even looked at it while my wife was in the same room. I have a much higher sex drive than my wife and the loss of trust and intimacy that evolves from my struggle with pornography just makes her desire to be intimate with me dwindle and feeds into my struggles more. I have begun going to a Christian counseling service and am seeking the help of an accountability buddy–also a Christian. The fortunate circumstance is that I am truly blessed with a very understanding wife who, though she is hurting and struggling with trusting me fully, is very supportive and helpful and not accusatory toward me. The fact that we are both Christians has given us the ultimate foundation to build upon, and I am learning to recognize the temptation to sin before I get as far into as I used to. I am also learning to call upon God to lift me up when I notice I am falling to temptation again. I hope I have offered encouragement to others in a similar situation and I am also looking for any advice and encouragement anyone has to offer, because this is still a major struggle in my life right now. I want to learn to give my wife the gift of exclusivity of sexual intimacy with her alone. Thank you again and God bless.

  6. Drew

    thank you so much for this it really put things into perspective for me and helped realize that was the same way in highschool… just longing for female attention and never really got any to speak of. The fantasies it produced were kind of an escape from the harsh reality and made me feel good or at least until i was snapped back to reality. i geuss what really made me look at porn was when a girlfriend cheated on me and it made me feel unwanted and in porn it just made me feel so wanted and like i was worthy of female attention.
    i never realized the bible was so relevant to my persnal life and now i think it could help me heal my wounds and kic this annoying addiction so that i can move on in my life and finally start developing a more pure and uncomplicated life
    thank you so much

  7. lady elaine

    First of all, please allow me to say this is the first time I’ve visited this site or any like it. I am very taken back by some of the posts here, let alone the article.

    I am a 27 yr old female with a husband and son. Neither one of us have stepped outside our relationship of 7 years.
    I truley feel sorry for the men here that battle sexuality. Your fantasies about woman are as natual as women’s fantasies about men! Love and lust for the female body is one of your traits given to you by your creator to create. Quit denying your needs and being so shameful. You don’t have to steo outside your relationship to fufill yourself. Open up and express your love of sexuality to her. If you don’t “click” in the bedroom, it’s because of lack of communication! Be ok with desires, they are what fuels the soul…..

    • @lady elaine – Thanks for your comment. As you can see from my post, I am advocating sexual expression and communication between married couples. I don’t know if you read the article all the way to the end where I talk about those very things.

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