Five reasons why men use porn

Five reasons why men use porn

We live in interesting times when it comes to sex and pornography.

Pornography – which was once isolated to a small part of our population – has now become common play in many of our lives, be it in our homes, on our streets, on our mobile phones or simply featured in our entertainment as part of our daily media.

In America alone, 40 million people have been recorded as being regular pornography users and in any given second it has been reported that there are 28,258 people viewing pornography online – 70% of whom are men[1]. In another interesting stat, Porn Hub reported in 2015 that people had watched 4,392,486,580 hours of pornography, which they claimed was 2.5 times longer than homosapiens had been on this earth. That’s a lot of pornography!

What these statistics show is that both men and women from all over the world are now spending large proportions of their lives in front of a screen watching pornography, predominantly alone in their homes, and for the most part, not talking about it with anyone.

So what is this about?

Why is it that as men we are now spending significant amounts of time in our lives watching other people have sex to the point where we now have people being diagnosed with pornography addictions?

And as the majority of porn users are men, what’s going on for us?

The porn industry is a multi-million dollar industry that feeds off our own lack of intimacy.

Intimacy is an interesting word, one which has over time been erroneously tied in with sex or sexual relationships, when in fact intimacy is first and foremost about ourselves and the quality of relationship which we have built with ourselves. Intimacy involves listening, building and developing a relationship with oneself that’s open, understanding, honest, cherishing and most importantly, loving. In this we then develop our willingness, a reference point one could say, to being completely open with others – which is what being intimate really is about; being fully transparent without boundaries, barriers or controls.

It is about paying attention to the details, listening to and supporting the deepest part of ourselves so that we can be honest and truthful with what we’re seeing and feeling around us. It is about cherishing ourselves so much so that we will not accept less than this, either from ourselves or from others, in any shape or form. And why would we want to do that? Because we value ourselves too much to allow anything into our lives that does not hold us in absolute love. That is the recipe for intimacy.

The problem with intimacy is that it is a choice (although this is also an intrinsic part of its beauty). We either choose to build and bring it to ourselves, getting to know the abundant and neverending source of love which we have inside of ourselves and share it, or we don’t and we end up seeking a replacement for this from outside sources. Very simple.

But here’s the catch:

Our bodies are built to be intimate. If we’re not generating it from within ourselves, then we will look for it elsewhere. That is a simple fact. If we do not choose to live and develop our own intimate relationship with ourselves, we by nature of not doing this create a hole or an emptiness inside ourselves that forever feels void, leading us to seek to fill it with all sorts of things – porn being but only one of them.

Before we go any further though, when talking about pornography, it’s important that we don’t get caught up seeing it as being something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. This ‘moral” and ‘judgemental’ approach has never served anyone in our history and has often come from religious institutions that instill fear instead of bringing true love and understanding to people. More often than not, these types of emotions or approaches often end up being the very thing that contribute to men turning to pornography in the first place, because without that intimate and loving relationship with one’s self, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or run down, and in those moments, porn makes a lot of sense as it provides a sense of palpable relief to the tension, albeit only a temporary one.

Following is an exploration of the top five reasons that often drive men to use or want to use pornography, but often are not looked at or considered when they are sitting down in front of the screen.

How many of us truly feel like we live our lives in a complete and fulfilling way – where we go to bed at night feeling like our day felt good, that our work was satisfying, that our relationships were supportive or that all areas of our lives were solid, joyful and full? Unfortunately, not many of us.

Men have a tendency to live their lives in a way that feels burdensome, troublesome and incomplete, resulting in their turning to external vices to help them get by and alleviate the tensions they carry. Men carry these all day long and then come home and pick up a few more, just to add to the load, no pun intended, letting them slowly wear them down or boost them up because they feel ‘needed’.

If we truly analysed our lives and compared them to how we thought they were going to be when we were growing up as boys, would we honestly say that they have turned out the way we thought? Do we hold the same freedom, joy and wonderment we had when we were little? For most, the answer to this is no, so it’s no wonder that we turn to porn to fill our lives.

If we don’t put the effort to building our lives based on a true connection with ourselves then we are destined to build it relying on something else. Life doesn’t need to be this way.

Men tend to live their lives in a bubble, often quite disconnected from who they are. Simply put, men don’t know themselves, or more accurately, they don’t want to know themselves.

When you ask a man who he is, it’s almost impossible for him to discuss himself outside of his constructed lifestyle. As men we carve out a lifestyle for ourselves that comes with an image or a flavour that defines every part of our lives from the places we live, the people we hang out with, the politics we keep, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, the movies we watch, to the people we date – the list can be endless. But what happens when all of this is taken away?

What would happen if we were completely stripped of our jobs, our vices, our identities and our lifestyles?

What then?

Well, for most of us, we would crumble, we’d hide in our ‘man caves’, become depressed, we’d say we ‘don’t know ourselves.’ And why is this? Because we have built our knowing of ourselves on a false version of ourselves, one which we have created because we do not want to be our true selves just in case it is not accepted by the world. In other words, we have trapped ourselves in our own misery. It’s no wonder many of us turn to pornography for relief.

How often as men do we spend time genuinely nurturing and supporting ourselves? And I don’t mean pumping iron at the gym and chugging down synthetic protein shakes, I mean taking care of ourselves like we would a child, with the tenderness, sweetness, love and care that we – that all men – deserve? Watch a group of men with a newborn baby, and note how gentle and loving they are. It’s enough to melt the hardest of hearts. Why don’t we allow that for ourselves, all of the time, without compromise? Why don’t we show that to our friends, our partners and our lovers? But what’s worse, why do we shut other men down when they do? What are we so scared of? Is it not irresponsible to live and show the world that you are one thing when in fact you know deep down that you are not?

When a man is truly honest and allows himself the space to be truly vulnerable and open, it is almost guaranteed that he will express how much he misses and craves basic human intimacy and touch.

When men rob themselves of the power of their own love and forgo the beauty of their own intimacy, they seek comfort in a staged substitute because they’re not prepared to live that for themselves. They look for relief in their partners, in their friends, in their mothers, in their work, in their video games, in their cars, in their sports, in their alcohol and when it’s not there, in sex, or more poignant to this article, watching others have sex on screen – aka pornography.

Ask a man to express how he is honestly feeling and watch him squirm. He will either change the subject or avoid it like it the plague. If you’re lucky you might get a short, clipped response or a disconnected intelligent answer. But how often do you actually get to see what’s really going on for that man? Men are tightly wound ships, walking around like everything is okay, but when you start to address the impact this has on their bodies, we can start to see that they are far from okay.

So of course when a man is all wound up he needs to find a way to blow off steam, and what better way than pornography? But as stated, the question we need to be asking here is not if pornography is okay or not okay, but why it is that men need to blow off steam in the first place? How do they become the tightly wound ship? Why are we not expressing all that we are seeing and all that we are feeling and instead allowing it to build in our bodies so they become pressure cookers that can blow at anytime?

This way of living is not only unnatural, it is highly impactful and destructive to the body, to our families, to our work, and to our lives. It leaves us tired, disconnected and exhausted and we think porn is the answer when in fact, it only tightens the lid more, even though it seemingly offers momentary relief, and a momentary release.

Porn does not provide true reprieve. It simply offers an illusionary moment of relief whilst further adding to the tension.

This silencing of who we truly are as men starts at a very young age and is something we quickly become accustomed to, accepting that life is “just the way it is”. There are consequences after all for showing how we are truly feeling to the world. Deep down though, men know that there is more to say. We’ve just forgotten how to say it – or more importantly –we’ve forgotten that we’re going to be okay if we do say it.

Men are so scared of being rejected that they build layers upon layers upon layers of protection, just so they can avoid ever feeling the pain of it. It’s amazing the patterns and behaviours we adopt to get away from feeling what is at the core of our being – so much so that we get ourselves caught up in a very convoluted mess that can seem difficult to get out of and ultimately eats away at our lives.

So is it any wonder that a man finds comfort in watching porn? It asks nothing of him. It doesn’t ask him to be real, it doesn’t ask him to evolve and it certainly doesn’t ask him to be honest about who he really is or where he is currently at.

This is something we seriously need to examine.

As men we are robbing ourselves of knowing our own gorgeousness by settling for false ideas and notions of being ‘safe’, and we’re using porn to do it.

We overlook the fact that the porn industry is fed by another industry, one which we keep running within ourselves, the one that perpetually seeks intimacy from outside sources instead of delivering it for one’s self.

As men we need to start getting honest about why it is that we are using pornography; not in a way that places judgement, criticism or blame, but in a way that is simple, open, real and honest.

Men have many beautiful things to offer the world and a deep level of love that is astounding – something which they can offer others, but more importantly, offer themselves. But how often do we foster this? It’s up to each and every man to start to explore and talk about what is going on in their own lives and in such, make it okay for other men to do the same, supporting each other. Only then can we start to see what is really happening and start saying no to all that gets in the way of our being true men.

Life doesn’t have to be about tensions, burdens and relief. It can be lived joyfully and whole, where we go to bed feeling fulfilled, supported, loved and cared for, rather than needing to seek the solace of a darkened room with some lotion, cream and a flickering screen in order to bring us relief from the world.

Life can be different, but what we need to know is that we’re in truth only ever a small choice away from it being glorious.

It is but a choice.

All it takes is a willingness to be open with ourselves, and with others, and whilst that may seem difficult at first, such a step offers a portal into a world that far too many of us have chosen to forget – to become something we are not. If we connect back to that which is truly within and then live our lives expressing this, then porn no longer has a stranglehold on our thoughts, or on our way of being, for what it offers pales into insignificance compared to the beauty of the true intimacy we are capable of knowing and building.

Reference:

  • [1]

    http://www.webroot.com/au/en/home/resources/tips/digital-family-life/internet-pornography-by-the-numbers

  • By Martin Gladman

  • Photography: Meg Valentine