Some reflections on romance, sex, marriage, and the lack thereof, from the perspective of a happy(ish) middle-aged single man.
Some reflections on romance, sex, marriage, and the lack thereof, from the perspective of a happy(ish) middle-aged single man.
Christians often accuse occultists of brainwashing, animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, sexual molestation of children, ritualistic child abuse. When you consider the facts on both sides, this becomes the ultimate boomerang.
My response to a user who asks: “Would I be able to subconsciously change my sexual orientation to straight from gay? The reason I want to change is because I don’t want to be gay. I hate the fact of being gay! As you have said in previous videos, the power of the subconscious mind is unbelievable? So do you think it’s possible?”
Christians are generally pro-life and atheists pro-choice. What lies at the basis of our moral stance on this issue?
Christianity fosters self-hate in mankind (sometimes tastefully called “conviction of sin”) so that it can offer its own special answer (salvation) to an entirely artificial problem. The real solution begins by understanding that there is nothing wrong with you just as you are – that man is not a “fallen” being.
Can Christianity’s idealism work in the real world, or is there a breaking point beyond which our faith cannot cope, such as family tragedy, inability to forgive a grievous wrong, inability to suppress one’s sexuality, etc. Is it irrational to give our emotions their due?
Got some feedback from someone who received my book in the mail today. Due to the sensitive nature of it, I’ll leave it anonymous:
Right away, I made a pleasant discovery, that there’s a chapter called “Heal Your Sexuality,” and decided I’ll read it right away. The ideas there are as I have never thought about them (I have never actually thought about the relationship between pornography and real-life sex). I think your ideas shed light on reality and the advice you give in the end is great. You changing my thinking about that might change foundations that right now are the cause of my only personal problem I have/admit at the moment. I just wanted to say thanks even before I have gotten to read the other chapters.
This is what it’s all about, for me. Not an ego trip, not attention-seeking, not the insecure need for approval, not to make money – but just to touch lives in a positive way. To say something that means something, that helps somebody. All the risk-taking with controversial opinions, wearing my heart on my sleeve, losing friends … this is what it’s for, and this is what makes it all worthwhile. This may just be one comment, and I may be nothing but an idealist with his head in the clouds, but I dare to hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ve done something important by writing this book.
Other news: I have begun recording Reality Check as an audiobook. There’s a lot of work narrating effectively and editing out mistakes, so this is going to take a bit of time. I intend to make it freely downloadble in MP3 format. At the same time, I will also release it as an ebook in PDF and Microsoft Reader formats. I do have 250 paperbacks to sell (210 now), but ultimately I want to put this information out there in as many varied formats as I can, to reach as wide an audience as possible.
My book deals with many topics on theme of “question everything,” so here’s another trailer, this time on the issue of mind control, particularly in relation to the first seven years of our lives, when we are like sponges soaking up information with no critical thinking:
[ Link ]
[This is my second attempt at an essay on pornography. I’ve done this complete rewrite because (a) I felt the first essay was too way too long, (b) the practical side of it was in danger of being lost amid my spiritual meanderings, and (c) I’ve since had some fresh insights. To those who would criticise me for the essay below, please bear in mind that it doesn’t benefit me in the slightest to be this frank or transparent. The issues facing young people are very real, regardless of how jaw-dropping it might seem to those who have lived more sheltered lives. I say what I say only because I think it is helpful.]
Statistics at Family Safe Media state that the average age of exposure to pornography is eleven years. Take note, that’s the average age, not the lowest. It means that for every person who first encounters pornography at fourteen, there’s another who encounters it at eight. 90% of eight- to sixteen-year-olds say they have viewed pornography online, most while doing homework. 80% of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds admit to having multiple exposures to hardcore pornography.
These statistics would have been radically different when I was growing up, for one prime reason: there was no such thing as the internet. Today, it’s quite common for parents to naively grant their children unrestricted internet access, often in the privacy of their own bedrooms, and this is clearly why the stats say what they say.
The topic of pornography is so unpleasant for some people that they feel it should be hushed up and never spoken of. On the opposite end of the spectrum there are those who enjoy pornography and feel there is no problem with it whatsoever. And others will settle for a stance somewhere in between. It strikes me that any worthwhile opinion on the morality of pornography should not be based on something as diverse as personal taste, or on a set of values that we’ve merely inherited without question from our family, social circle, or religion. Any worthwhile morality is based on considering the consequences of our actions for ourselves and others. So, I will be asking the question: what are the consequences of exposure to pornography?
There is a mind game that’s commonly played upon children today (being a guy, I’m speaking only for the guys here). You turn twelve or thirteen and your sexuality starts to awaken. On the one side you’ve got religion telling you that lust is a sin, so right away you’re associating your sexual desires with something shameful. But your sexuality is so powerful that you just can’t help these thoughts. The need for release leads you to discover masturbation, and before you know it, you’re a junkie to your own little in-built bio-chemical drug dealer. And you secretly indulge yourself, perhaps with the sense of some divine disapproval. Opposite religion, you’ve got the arena of pornography, readily accessible with a couple of clicks on your home computer. It’s calling out, “Come on in. The water’s fine.” And you’re curious, as any kid would be. Except it’s not just bare breasts and curvaceous bottoms that catch your attention. Quite by accident, you discover … kinkier stuff; stuff that gives you greater excitement, but feels that much more wrong; stuff that you don’t want anyone else to know you’re enjoying. After some struggling, you find an equilibrium of sorts. Sexual attraction draws you to pornography; fear of perversity lets it go so far and no further; need and guilt become uncomfortable bed partners, forever nudging each other. And life goes on, while you feel powerless and ashamed and bewildered. That is the situation that faces a typical modern pubescent teenage boy.
Christians in particular are eager to overcome the problem of addiction to pornography, but unfortunately it is often done from a polarised standpoint. The big mistake Christianity makes is to replace the addiction with impossible standards of behaviour, where it is seen as sinful to allow a single sexual thought to enter your head. This view is based entirely on a misinterpretation of something Jesus said in Matthew 5:28. “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus was speaking specifically to married men with wives of their own. This is clear because he used the word “adultery.” If this had been a message intended for all, he would have said “fornication.” Also, notice it was a rebuke about actual intent towards real living, breathing women, not about our fantasy life. In a situation where you’re totally turned on by a girl, and an opportunity presents itself to have sex but you choose not to, that is the difference between so-called “lust” and the lust Jesus was talking about. Sexual attraction and intent are two different things. He was not criticising people for feeling sexual attraction to others; he was criticising people for the intent of mind that says, “I will have her.” Sexual attraction, in and of itself, is good. Yet Christianity often uses what Jesus said to bind Christians to impossible psychological goals. Impossible, because we are wired for sex. I mean, in a perfect sinless world, is a man supposed to experience his first ever erection on his marriage night? “Aargh! What’s happening to me!” It’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, but the “sex is dirty” attitudes that permeate Christianity have got to go. And nobody suffers more than Christian young people.
If you put aside for a moment everything you were taught or conditioned to believe about sex and just look at it for what it is, the truth is fairly obvious. Sex is nature’s way of making sure the human race continues. And nature’s method is really quite crude, if we’re honest. We can romanticise all we want, but nature is basically saying, “I am gonna make this the tastiest dish you ever had, so that you’ve no choice but to eat it.” If it were left up to free will alone, the population would be drastically smaller. As it is, nature constantly nags us to reproduce, whether we want to or not. Most people would never dream of injecting heroin into their veins, but nature uses exactly the same chemical pleasure principle to get us to do what it wants. Of course, we’re more than merely stimulus-response machines. We do have free will, however strongly it is influenced. We can choose what desires to fulfil and which to deny (although nagging nature always insists on making the latter uncomfortable for us).
Of course, there’s more to sex than just procreation, as anyone who has experienced sexual intimacy knows. Sexual intimacy allows you to connect with another person in a deep and fulfilling way. I hesitate to spiritualise it, but it is something way beyond a mere bodily exchange of fluids. In a relationship of this kind, you can feel so connected to another person that the unexpected ending of the partnership can be a devastating blow that takes years to recover from. In naturalistic terms, this bond occurs so that children are born into a stable family. I don’t place any mystical significance whatsoever to being “in love,” or finding “the one,” nor do I think that people who choose to be single are necessarily leading a less than fulfilled life. I simply suggest that the “sex, love and babies” package deal is what nature intended.
In times past, we had a natural, workable relationship with our own sexuality. We weren’t constantly being stimulated day in and day out. We simply hit puberty, chased members of the opposite sex until we found mutual attraction, fell in love, hooked up, and started a family. In other words, we did what we were designed to do. But something happened to affect that balanced situation. It began with the invention of the camera, reached fever pitch with the advent of the mass media, and reached critical mass with the internet. Sex is simply everywhere nowadays. You turn on the TV and the advertisements are using sex to sell anything from cars to toothbrushes. After 9.00 p.m. things are really allowed to get steamy and you might catch an erotic programme, or an unexpected sex scene in a mainstream movie. But the internet is where the real action is. A flashing cursor underneath the word “Google” and a switched-on curiosity is just one small step away from an explosion of pornographic photos and videos.
This is where I notice the first real, tangible problem with porn. The invention of pornography is to the human what the invention of the electric light-bulb was to the moth. There are a few theories about why moths head towards lights. One is that they use the moon as a means of navigating. Without going into detail, suffice it to say we’ve all had the experience of switching on the bathroom light at night and seeing a confused moth flapping against the glass in a persistent but futile attempt to come in. Life was easier and less confusing for the moth before the invention of the light-bulb. His instinct tells him, “It’s the moon. Go that-a-way.” Smack! And his tiny little brain can’t comprehend the fact that he’s not in the open fields any more; he’s in the big city and it’s wall-to-wall with misdirection. He sees the moon everywhere, but can’t understand it’s not the moon.
Porn is exactly the same kind of misdirection. Sexuality was designed to produce children whilst rooting you in a deeply satisfying bond of love with another human being. Porn simply can’t fulfil what your sexuality was designed for. As such, disappointment and unfulfillment are built into it. The potential of human sexuality for love and creation is reduced to a lonely, loveless orgasm, repeated ad infinitum.
Pornography captivates men because women captivate men. Women are supposed to. But women are not on tap in the way that porn is. It is so easy for your entire sexual attention to be consumed by pornography, to the point where you give up on pursuing real relationships, settling instead for a substitute. Like the moth, we no longer see the moon because we’ve been mesmerised by the electric lights. The challenging question (which is impossible to answer, but worth thinking about) is this: how many people are alone who would otherwise be in fulfilling sexual relationships if not for the misdirection of pornography?
What of the actual content of pornography? This is where it gets difficult to talk about because it’s often not pretty, and people can feel soiled by the mere verbalisation of sexual ideas they have never before heard of. Pornography is not (as is sometimes claimed) a celebration of female beauty. Pornography is designed to tap into something quite bizarre and difficult to explain about human sexuality: the ease with which it can be perverted.
Interest in pornography often starts out as innocent curiosity about the opposite sex. The trouble is, you can’t easily control what you encounter, and you can’t always predict your own reaction to it. Maybe all you’re looking for are some nice pictures of some celebrity or other posing with her kit off, but sooner or later, you’re going to come across something a little naughtier that invokes a sense of excitement because it’s forbidden. I’ll give you a fairly tame example, one that isn’t even considered porn. Several years ago, a pop duo called t.A.T.u. emerged from Russia, consisting of two teenage girls who were apparently lesbian lovers (likely just a marketing tactic). In the music video for one of their songs, they kissed each other sensuously while dressed in school uniforms. Not only were the girls lesbians, they were schoolgirl lesbians – the forbiddenness of same-sex relationships and the forbiddenness of slightly underage sex. Neither of these details were by accident; the marketing people behind the band knew exactly what they were doing, just like pornographers know exactly what they’re doing.
Since pornography is unfulfilling by its nature, it acts like a drug that over time requires ever greater stimulation to work. As best I understand it, pornography seems to encourage us to mix sexual desire with negative emotions in order to get a bigger hit. On one end of the scale this is illustrated by porn featuring two people doing something a bit naughty. On the other end it’s women being degraded and abused in horrible ways. If a person new to pornography was immediately shown the nasty stuff, he might run a mile from it. But give him exposure by degrees and it’s another story. When what you’re looking at becomes more mundane and unexciting the more you are exposed to it, the quest for greater stimulation leads to ever darker forms of pornography.
How do you discern what’s normal from what’s perverse? Is it all subjective? I would suggest one simple rule: if you find yourself enjoying the thought of doing something to a woman that you wouldn’t dream of doing to her in a real life relationship context, then you’re perverting your sexuality. The choice is yours, of course. If you want, you can go down that road, but accept the consequences. You can embrace the dichotomy of treating women with respect in public whilst privately wishing you lived in a world where you could do all sorts of things to them without consequence to them and yourself. That’s not the kind of person I want to be.
It’s also worth asking the question, what turns a man into a rapist or a child molester? The sinister mentalities of such people don’t spring into existence from out of nowhere, as if they were one day suddenly possessed by the devil. I think the ongoing indulgence in pornography plays a key part in the lives of people who end up committing sexual crimes against others. You can’t feed your dark side and expect it not to grow.
The crux of my whole objection to pornography is this: porn changes you. If you think you can navigate those waters safely, think again. There’s an adult DVD website that features its own chart of top-selling pornographic movies, and at any time the list will consist of titles featuring all kinds of perverse sexual practices. These are not DVDs stocked to cater for a minority of men with particular fetishes. These are the top sellers! This is clear evidence that the more you indulge in pornography, the further you will slip towards liking the really nasty stuff.
If there’s any doubt about the truth of what I’m saying, there’s one experience you can have that will clear it up. And that is to fall in love with someone, or even to simply recall what it once felt like to be in love with someone. The kind of sexual thoughts you have towards this person are so different from the things you gravitate towards in front of your computer screen. Being in love makes the scales fall from your eyes, bringing the two opposing views of sexuality into sharp focus and showing how utterly different they are, and how horrific one of them is.
When you understand what you’re dealing with, it provides greatest motivation for staying away from pornography. Be wise.