Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jayson Gaddis - The Number 1 Reason Why So Many Boys and Grown Men Surf Porn (and What to Do About It)

This is a greatly important post from Jayson - on a topic few people are willing to talk about honestly and without generating shame. ALL men surf porn at some point. It generally isn't an issue if it is occasional, but when it becomes a habit or gets compulsive, then there is a problem.

BUT the problem is NOT immorality or some other shame-based ideal, rather it is an issue of escape - not wanting or being able to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Generally, just like drugs and alcohol, internet porn can be an addiction, and like all addictions, they are tools for escaping our painful feelings.
The Number 1 Reason Why So Many Boys and Grown Men Surf Porn (and What to Do About It)

Photo Courtesy Darrin Harris Frisby

Photo Courtesy Darrin Harris Frisby

If you’re honest with yourself and you’re a dude, you’ve surfed porn at some point in your life. I know I have.

Maybe it was a phase, maybe you’re still doing it. Do you pay for sites? Just browse the free ones and leave, deleting your cookies and any trace of your porn tracks so no one knows your little secret?

If you ever meet a man who denies surfing porn, I’d call BS on him right then and there. I’ve never met a man who hasn’t surfed porn at least once. What’s the problem with a guy who wants to surf a little porn now and again anyway? Initially, nothing.

In my opinion, nothing is fundamentally wrong with masturbation and your own sexuality, despite what strict religious organizations may tell you. The issue is not masturbation or even surfing porn, although many women might disagree. And for good reason. (The porn industry itself condones the abuse of power men have over women, many porn sites have aggressive imagery, and what the industry teaches or trains us about our sexuality are all important issues that need to be addressed).

I write this post for four reasons:

1. No one talks about it, so let’s go there. Bring on your comments.
2. To help you understand why you hide your porn use and why you feel bad about it.
3. To raise your awareness and help you understand what drives men to porn
4. To take some action in relationship to your porn use

Before we go any further, let’s look at some important, but not surprising porn stats from Tech Crunch in 2007:

  • Every second, there are 28,258 people surfing porn
  • Every second, $89 is spent on porn
  • 266 new porn sites are put on the web daily
  • “Sex” is the most searched word on the web
  • $2.84 billion in revenue was generated from U.S. porn sites in 2006
  • 72% of porn viewers are men (A 2001 Forrester Research Report had a slightly different number: 77% of online visitors to adult content sites are male. Their average age is 41 and they have an annual income of $60,000. 46% are married.)

To see other fascinating porn stats, click here:

The numbers are clear. Even with the statistics, many men deny surfing porn. For the brave men that admit to surfing porn, there is little understanding and awareness around their use. So, why are the numbers so high?

According to a Kinsey Institute survey which asked “Why do you use porn?” respondents had this to say:

  • 72% said they used porn to masturbate/for physical release.
  • 69% - to sexually arouse themselves and/or others.
  • 54% - out of curiosity.
  • 43% - “because I can fantasize about things I would not necessarily want in real life.”
  • 38% - to distract myself.

From my perspective, we have to ask two important questions:

  1. Why does a man hide his porn use and then feel bad about it?
  2. Why is he surfing porn in the first place?

To answer the first question we have to look at our culture. With so many messages from religion and conservative groups telling us that sex is bad and wrong, many people in our culture end up repressing their sexual aliveness. At the same time, the media and pop culture oversexualize everything. Watch any beer commercial or MTV video. It’s no wonder we are so confused about sex and sexuality.

Repression + oversexualized imagery & messages = confused, disconnected shameful relationship to one’s own sexuality.

For example, in my work with men, at some point a man typically owns up to his porn use with me. And, almost without fail, he feels shame and guilt about it. Often he’s married or has a girlfriend and surfs porn quite a bit without ever owning up to it with his partner. Understandably, this sets up a difficult dynamic with himself and with his partner. Shame begets shame.

Think about it. What guy wants to admit that he doesn’t know how to manage the sexual life force raging through his body? Men get mixed messages about sex, and with all the conflicting information, and nowhere to go to sort it out, it can end up coming out sideways in the form of strip clubs, constantly objectifying women, porn use, hookers and much more.

To answer question number 2, we have to investigate two of the responses in the Kinsey report: ”for physical release” and “to distract myself.” What is a man “distracting himself” from and what is it that he is “releasing” aside from the obvious?

In my professional opinion, this is the number 1 reason so many boys and men surf porn:

Guys surf porn to “check out” or to “distract themselves” from certain uncomfortable feelings they are experiencing, period. Said another way, surfing porn is a symptom of some underlying discomfort a man is experiencing . It’s this simple.

Go read the rest of the post, wherein he talks about how to break the porn habit.

1 comment:

Michael jones said...

great work, friend. such an important topic. so over shame. and guilt. just wanna need to be distracted less.