Monday, April 4, 2016

Put Her over the Top: Let Your Love for Your Woman Help Turn You Away from Porn

Nancy husband Paul is a great guy who's made all of her dreams come true. Well, almost. "Every part of our relationship is picture perfect, except one. We're the best of friends, he's there for me, he always takes the burden and puts me before himself."

So what's the hangup?

"I've known since we got together that he watched porn, and has since he was very young. He never hid this from me. I tried to accept it as a part of the male need for visual stimulation, and a change from what he sees everyday: me. Logically, I could come to terms with it, and in fact, was very proud of myself for overcoming my female need to be the only woman he lusted over. But despite the fact that he never lied about it, I still relate entirely to the other women who've commented on this post who feel betrayed and less than the women in those videos. I'm outraged that men need that kind of woman in their lives, even if only in their fantasies, and it makes me want to scream at him to marry one of those females instead, since he can't appreciate the smart, attractive, loving woman he has right in front of him. He says it's a childhood habit, and doesn't reflect on his opinion of me at all, but how can that possibly be true? He doesn't want me, he wants them.... I feel ungrateful because aside from this one area he is so generous and good to me. But at the same time I wonder, if he loves me so much, why can't I be enough? Why will I never be enough for him?!"

Why Not Indulge? Why Refrain from Lust? 

It's natural to love the female form. When you catch a glimpse of a strikingly attractive woman, you're going to want to stop whatever else you're doing and drink in all her beauty. It's not accidental that we use the word "stunning" to describe a beauty who turns heads. Like a sea creature stunned by jelly fish stings, we may find ourselves feeling helpless to resist. But, unlike that sea creature, we don't have to let ourselves get sucked in and devoured by our lust. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we don't have to do the devouring, feasting on whatever visual lust bait we happen upon.

The problem is, ogling WOMEN is not the way to the heart of A WOMAN. If it's women you love and you want to keep enjoying them in all varieties, maybe porn is for you. But if it's your woman you love and want to keep enjoying (the one you have now if you're in a committed relationship or the one you want in the future if you're single) then you'll do best to govern your enjoyment of female beauty rather than let it rule you.

Consider Her Feelings

Marriage Therapist Lisa Lund describes commitment as "taking your partner with you wherever you go." Building on that, Zach Brittle of the Gottman Institute encourages this mental exercise: "Imagine what it would be like to intentionally take your partner with you--if only subconsciously--wherever you went. Would you go to the grocery store or the gym differently? Would you go to a bar differently? Would you relate to your friends differently? Would you relate to your co-workers differently?"

And I would add: Would you make different entertainment choices? Would you click around differently online? Would your gaze rest differently, whether you're looking at pixels or a real woman? Would it bounce quicker from images that promote erotic thoughts about women who aren't your wife, rather than lingering and drinking them in?

Forgo for a Purpose

I remember being struck by a comment from Carl to a blog post about whether porn is virtual cheating, as the subtitle of our book Love You, Hate the Porn suggests. "Men have NO internal reason to forgo porn. Those of us who refrain, it's for this reason alone: We don't want our woman to feel like $#&*."

I disagree with Carl's assessment in this regard: Turns out men have plenty of reasons to steer clear of porn that have nothing to do with their women. In fact, speaking of subtitles, here's the one from Brian McDougal's great book Porned Out: "Erectile dysfunction, depression, and 7 more (selfish) reasons to quit porn." The others include delayed ejaculation, involuntary sexual fantasies, bad memory and concentration, poor relationship skills, and sleep disorders. She doesn't have to be on your mind--heck, you don't even have to have a she in your life--to have probable cause to give it up.

Put Her Over the Top

But it turns out Carl's reason--not wanting our woman to feel like $#*&--might be the best one of all. Which brings us to the amazing part. If you really prioritize and deeply care about what goes on inside your woman, it won't just help her avoid feeling crappy--about herself, about you, about the relationship, about men in general, about life. It touches and moves her in a way nothing else can! When she feels completely cherished by a man who she knows could be taking the path of least resistance and indulging his lusts instead, his devotion elevates the entirety of her life.

You can focus on adoring your woman or let yourself lust indiscriminately. Which MO will you choose? The difference it will make in your woman's life is expressed eloquently by Karen Brody from her book Open Her: "I call a vast number of men in the world 'wide-net fishermen.' These are men who, for lack of confidence in themselves and a lack of understanding of women’s hearts, cast a wide net ... always on the lookout for that next lucky catch.... The problem is that when a woman feels she is one fish of many, she loses respect for herself and her attraction for you. No woman wants to be someone you dredged up by chance. She wants to be the one you found because you were looking for her. Every woman wants to believe she will belong to a specific man, and that he is looking for her and will find her. Like that one special seashell among millions of others washed ashore, you see her and you know. She’s the 'one.'... A woman wants to feel that you chose her from among all the women you could have, that you exercise that level of confidence and power. It fulfills her deepest desire to be seen and celebrated as a unique feminine being."

Do This

Spend a couple of minutes putting yourself in the mindset of your woman. If you're single, imagine how your future partner will feel. Let these feelings sink into your heart: What is it like for her when she knows you adore her? What's it like when she worries that your eyes are wandering? How is it for her to be seen--truly seen? How would she feel if she heard you raving about how gorgeous some celebrity is? What's it like for her when you notice that she's wearing clothes you love or has paid particular attention to her hair or makeup? How is it for her to feel lonely and left out even when she's sitting or walking right next to you? 

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