Edward Cullen as Porn Addict

AdamF books, cinema, Folklore, symbols, thought 53 Comments

Hear me out. 🙂

I was talking with a friend recently about addictions. Things like alcohol, caffeine, meth, and heroin (among many other substances) all seem to rob the addict of their free will to some extent. At some point in the conversation we started talking about mythology, and he mentioned how vampires could be viewed metaphorically as heroin addicts. (There is even a movie with the vampire/heroin metaphor, “The Addiction” staring Christopher Walken as a vampire who abstains from blood through fasting and meditation.)

edward_cullen1

Of course being LDS I couldn’t resist making the comparison to Twilight. I’ll spare you the plot synopsis but the “good” vampires in the story also abstain from human blood. This is incredibly difficult for some. The temptation is so great that they need a lot of social support as well as constant effort to stay on the straight and narrow. Even the sight of blood triggers their urge to the point that it is nearly uncontrollable. As they progress, they may be more in control but still feel the temptation, as Edward often does with his human girlfriend Bella. The father in the story is the most controlled of all, having abstained for decades.

Pornography seems to be the major addiction of choice in Mormon culture. Granted, there are other addictions that members face, but this one seems to stand out above everything else. Twilight is, like it or not, THE vampire mythos of choice for Mormons. Edward Cullen may as well be a metaphor for a porn addict because he wants more than anything to be with Bella, but he is constantly fighting off his urge to drink her blood, just like an addict may end up destroying, or at least ending, their family or marriage if ultimately they succumb.

This conversation led my friend to remark how unfortunate it is that someone who drinks a lot is not seen to have a problem until they’re a raging alcoholic. There is no middle ground in mainstream society for someone to “have a problem” with alcohol. They either enjoy drinking, and you wouldn’t dare say they had a problem, or they drink all the time and they have a disease.

I think that Mormon culture is on the opposite end of the spectrum, and it may serve to exacerbate the problems of addiction. A drop of alcohol, a quad shot of espresso, a glance at a porn site all spell a serious problem. Note that I am not justifying any of those actions. I DO think abstinence is the best rule to follow in those cases. However, it is often not the reality, and I think it would be more effective to view problems with addictions as being on a spectrum. The flaxen cord in the Book of Mormon illustrates this very well. One cord isn’t going to be that strong, but many will be binding. Each choice we make contributes to who we will become.

Comments

comments

Comments 53

  1. As a woman, I do not know many women with a porn addiction. I think perhaps food addiction is the addiction of choice for Mormon women. You have to eat some food, so you can’t quit cold turkey. You have to feed your family so you are in the kitchen surrounded by food. Our culture has food for every family get together, friend get together, or social function, etc. Food can be used for comfort during depression or times of celebration when non-Mormons have the choice of alcohol or a cigarette.

  2. About 10% of porn addicts are women, and pornography addiction among women is skyrocketing. As with drugs, some porn addicts are addicted with one use, other take longer to become addicted. It is important to remember that porn addicts can recover IF they get help from a good support group, a value-based sexual addiction therapist, a caring bishop or minister, and accessing the healing power of our Savior.

  3. I don’t believe people can become an addict after one drink or one look at porn. I think it is better described as they take that first drink or first view, really like the intense pleasure it gives, and then take a second, and a third etc.

    Interesting thoughts on food, jks. Perhaps it’s too difficult to discern or standardize for the temple recommend interview.

  4. “I think it is better described as they take that first drink or first view, really like the intense pleasure it gives, and then take a second, and a third etc.”

    Adam,
    I just need to know what you’re drinking my friend??? I’ll admit to being very much a novice at this alcohol deal and I confess to never having been drunk. The few social drinks I’ve had with friends haven’t produced any pleasure nor have they instilled a desire for a second or third. So I must assume that I haven’t stumbled upon the right adult beverage as of yet. Could you help a brother out here? I would love to find something legal that would produce this intense feeling of pleasure from just one or two drinks.

    While I fully understand the problems in our society with alcohol abuse, I think that we forget that many, many people drink responsibly without getting drunk or becoming an alcoholic. Therefore, I don’t think you can draw a parallel between that and porn. Porn causes an immediate release of endorphins which usually leads to wanting more and needing more to get the same release. While some may learn to regulate this behavior, it is addictive and cyclical. Alcohol can become additive as well, but for very different reasons and is usually a secondary result of other addictive, compulsive behaviors putting someone in a state of mind needing an escape. Just my two cents worth…

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    Uh, The Stuff?

    Wow Doug that’s not what I meant. If you go back and read the post I specifically pointed out that these issues should be viewed on a spectrum, and not as “one drink and you have a problem.” I didn’t mean to compare alcohol to porn, in fact, in my comment I should have said a use of heroin or meth or something else… in fact, I realized that I was a little off and should have changed it, but I was on the iPhone at the time and the battery was dying, lol. My only point was that I disagree that people become addicts after one use of anything.

  6. Dang-it Adam, I thought you were going to hook me up. 🙂

    With your clarification, I don’t think we have much of a disagreement here… Thanks

  7. It would be more like porn if Edward Cullen wanted to drink Bella’s blood in some other room away from her.

    But I am enjoying that you got “Edward Cullen” and “porn” in the same line.

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    That is a classic movie Doug, if you haven’t seen it. Then again, just check out the trailer on YouTube or something. That is enough… I really need to stop trying to comment from the cell phone. 🙂

    Johnna – touché! Although, he does do the animal hunting away from her, which is “not quite like the real thing but still satisfies him somewhat.” 😉

    But let’s face it. Edward has some serious issues, and the ladies love him. He may be an addict, but he’s sober when it counts.

  9. “A drop of alcohol, a quad shot of espresso, a glance at a porn site all spell a serious problem”

    Adam-

    I think this happens in our Mormon culture (spells a serious problem) because these choices are tied into dulling our sensitivity to the Spirit. Because we have been taught to avoid alcohol and drugs as well as porn, when we make a choice to ignore this counsel, we are taught that the Spirit will not dwell with us. For those who feel it is important to have the Spirit with them as often as possible, these choices can be considered more “serious” because of the loss of that Spirit.

    So, even though a drink may never be more than just a drink, or a look at porn won’t ever become an addiction, the spiritual implications of ignoring the Lord’s counsel in these things is why I believe it is viewed in this way.

  10. Jen,

    The fact that Joseph Smith regularly ignored the Lord’s counsel concerning the word of wisdom and even drank himself into a nice feeling of wellness the night before he died didn’t seem to interrupt his flow of revelation from the spirit. Or did it???? Perhaps you’re on to something… 🙂

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    Jen – No disagreement there, but I wonder if that “implication of ignoring the Lord’s counsel” that is so firmly emphasized on these issues makes the problems even worse. We don’t hear much about “losing the spirit because of ignoring the Lord’s counsel” when it comes to things like being more compassionate to immigrants, doing our home teachings, or loving and accepting those who are different. I just worry that TRUE religion is sometimes overshadowed sometimes by these issues (even though they do have their place) when they’re not necessarily “addictions”.

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  13. AdamF-

    I understand what you mean. I think it may be more firmly emphasized because of the harsh effects that alcoholism, and drug and porn addiction can have on a family and on the individual as well. I think that involving yourself in these things can lead to less compassion for others, and one’s ability to love and accept others who are different. For example, when a person becomes intoxicated they may do and say things that are hurtful or inappropriate to others. With porn, a person may not love and accept women who don’t fit into a worldly standard of beauty and they may find themselves thinking less of them, or even making jokes about those who don’t fit the worldly standard (i.e. their fat, ugly, etc.).

    So, I think by ignoring the Lord’s counsel in these areas, it can affect all other aspects of one’s nature, and thus the firm emphasis on avoiding them.

  14. Adam,
    Of course you are correct about the early saints not following this very closely and by your implication; the firming up of this “principle” was more politically motivated then spiritually. But that’s not what Jen was implying, unless I missed it. It’s obvious that the Word of Wisdom was taught as a revelation that even the weakest of saints could follow and yet many didn’t and yet still had the spirit. (At least that’s the perception.)

    I actually think the point you made in #12 is right on the money. We Mormons like to judge someone’s worthiness and thereby spirituality by outward appearances (such as the WoW) instead of the heart. I tend to think it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles the man, but what comes out of it… Where have I heard that before?

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    Jen – agreed. Some issues affect one’s spouse or family more than others do, e.g. you aren’t going to break up your family by not doing your home teaching, but you may do so with alcohol or porn. If I ever give a talk or lesson on these issues I am going to emphasize the flaxen cord analogy, that one mistake is certainly not the same as an addiction, but every choice is important.

    Doug, I love when I say something that is on the money! 🙂

    I think it’s what goes in, what comes out, what one thinks about most of the time, the choices one makes, etc. etc. that make a person. Sometimes the whole “defile” model just doesn’t work for me though. I like to focus more on what we are becoming, rather than a model of sin-repent-try to be perfect-sin-repent, etc. etc. I prefer, try to do good, grow, learn about myself, serve others, makes mistakes, learn from those mistakes but don’t feel overly guilty about them, grow, etc.

  16. I think you make a good point, Adam, if I understand you correctly. It is a good idea to keep all things in perspective. I think we have just recently had the marathon porn discussion, but to perhaps put a new spin on it. I am aware of a situation not in my immediate family, where a married twenty something has a now public, compulsion towards pornography. I am not sure where thing’s are headed, ie, treatment, etc, but the cat is now out of the bag. In relationship to this I am seeing a number of different attitudes towards this person. On one extreme, there are those who think it is no big deal, and this personal matter is of no consequence. On the other extreme, I know a relative of his who have taken steps to ensure he is never alone with children, and that during family events his whereabouts are closely guarded. I’m not sure what his particular “flavor” is when it comes to pornography, but I have no reason to believe that he has been involved in child pornography, or anything other than the types that are compatable with a legal and reasonable expression of sexuality. To this family however, he is already a child molester. Other than this issue, he really is a decent young man. He appears to work hard, both in work and school, he appears generally responsible, though obviously he and his wife will need to come to terms with the pornography habit. In the minds of this family mentioned, all of his good has been cancelled out by this poor habit, and they have already acclerated his indiscretion into something far worse. We can have a tendency to this in myriad of other ways, by boxing people into categorizations of “good” or “bad”, and I would venture we do this out of a tendency towards self-righteousness.

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    Both of those extremes are unfortunate, imho. It may be a very serious problem, and should not be taken lightly. The other extreme is pretty sad as well. I know of many great men who have struggled or do currently have a problem with porn. It does not put them on the level of child molesters. NOT even close. What a young man needs like that is all the support he can get, including competent treatment that he won’t give up on (many go to counseling a few times and the dismiss it because “it didn’t work” when really they need to stick with it, that is, if they have a good therapist), and since it is out in public now he needs a few trusted people who accept him who will also hold him to it.

    You are right, it is so easy to label people “bad” in these cases, and some of it may be due to self-righteousness. We are all sinners, and we all need to love and serve each other. That does not mean accepting someone’s behavior, but it does mean to view them how God does.

  18. Usually (not always, I am sure) porn habits involve secrecy and lies. When a person is discovered, family members and friends may lose trust in this person because of the secrecy and lies. This loss of trust may cause some people to become overprotective of their loved ones because they feel like they have been deceived by the person they thought they knew so well. I think initially these feelings can be overwhelming and that is why some people behave the way they do. It doesn’t mean it is right, but when it comes to porn issues, it takes people time to work through it, especially if they had no idea the person was involved in it.

    I think they are a lot of good people who get involved in porn and struggle with it and it is hard to know if any given person will take it to another level. I am aware of two active LDS men who are now in prison for a very long time due to a porn habit getting out of hand. They are two completely different situations, but in both cases they chose to get involved in child porn and one involved his own children. I think it is almost impossible to be able to say that one person wouldn’t ever cross that line because people continue to do it and shock everyone that knows them. This isn’t to say that everyone will choose to do this, but I don’t think there is anyway to be able to tell and this is maybe another reason it scares people. I think this fear is also what drives people to behave the way they do, so I don’t know that I would necessarily call it self-righteousness.

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    The fear/anxiety definitely drives people, and imho it usually drives self-righteousness. That doesn’t excuse it though. Perhaps by nature it has to be this way, but if porn didn’t have to always involve so much secrecy and lies, it wouldn’t be as big of a problem. That is one of the reasons I think it is important to talk about and normalize, hence the Twilight/Porn combination. 😉

  20. AdamF-

    I’m not sure if this is correct so will you clarify this for me? Are you saying that if people would let their loved ones know they are looking at porn, then it wouldn’t be as big of an issue?

  21. Porn would not be as big of an issue if there wasn’t so much of a need to be so secretive about it. It would not cause so many weird compulsions if it weren’t so taboo. The high level of guilt and shame of those in certain communities makes the addiction stronger.

  22. Dex-

    How do you know that porn wouldn’t be as big of an issue if it was less secretive? I wonder how it would affect children if their dad was looking at porn and they were fully aware of it. It seems like this could create a whole lot of issues to me.

  23. Jen, I think what Dex means is that the act of keeping it a secret, lying about it, feeling public shame drives the person to medicate themselves with more use & thus the addiction becomes worse. Perhaps if we could treat porn more openly as a serious issue yet nothing unusual (because it is not) there would be less of a problem.

    That’s what I meant, anyway. I’m not sure how my comments on this thread and others could be interpreted as we should “let” our loved ones use porn, but thanks for asking for the clarification.

  24. AdamF-

    Porn has not been so readily available in homes until the past few decades, so I do think it is unusual to a certain degree. It is not usual for someone to have such easy access to so many women (and men). It used to be that anyone who wanted to view porn had to work much harder to do so than they do now.

    I am not sure how you get people to view it as something that is not unusual, when many of the older generation struggle to grasp what is going on, never having had to deal with it to this degree.

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    I don’t know either, but the fact is it is a serious and widespread problem now. It is not unusual anymore, and anyone who thinks otherwise has their head in the sand, or is in denial. Perhaps what could help is for a few brave souls in every ward to be open about their addictions, and for the rest of the members to embrace and love them. This issue cannot be dealt with or overcome in a secretive, “unusual” framework.

  26. One of the issues involved in porn addiction is that the porn addict doesn’t typically come forward with their problem, but they are discovered and are “forced” to deal with the issue. I think it makes a big difference if a person comes forward compared to one who is discovered. My point being, some people don’t necessarily want to deal with their porn issues and prefer to be left in secret to do what they wish.

    As far as being open about their addiction, I think many people don’t want to be open about it because of their children. I think it would be easier to deal with if only adults were involved, but when you pull children in it greatly complicates things.

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    Good points. I esp. agree with the part about young children. What I was thinking of with being open is those who are sober, or have been for some time.

  28. If there were not such a huge sense of shame associated with having a porn addiction, there would be less stigma toward getting help, and people would struggle for years trying to “take care of it themselves”.

    Until people can be open about it, everyone is going to feel like they’re the only ones with a problem.

  29. Jen, I would still stress caution in the assumptions that generally, pornography consumption progresses towards sexual deviance, particularly child pornography, then to actual child molestation. That was the point of my comment, this young man was made into a child molester by virtue of his viewing pornography generally. Now, just to be clear, I would change my opinion if he was viewing child pornography (which is akin to actual child molestation in person as far as I am concerned, given that in either case actual children are involved). If he is viewing age apropriate women in a reasonable and legal context, then it is highly unfair to characterize his actions/intentions, as being one step away from molesting a child. That is ultimately what you are saying and believe. While you are free to believe what you like, you must acknowledge that the ratio of individuals who consume pornography, to the ratio of individuals who molest children, bodes quite poorly for a reasonable argument of correlation.

  30. Cowboy,

    My comment above is not saying what you are suggesting it does in your comment (#30). I am sorry if it wasn’t clear what I was trying to express, but my point was that it is impossible to know who will choose to move to child porn and who will not. In other words, ANY good many can go that direction. I am NOT saying every good man WILL. My point is that when someone involves themselves with porn I don’t think they are intentionally planning on getting involved in child porn and I am sure the men I am aware of that did would have never believed that this was the direction their life would have gone.

    I am sure there are a lot of factors that come into play when someone starts looking at porn and the reasons why they choose to do it can vary greatly, but MY POINT is that there are some who it will take in a direction that is shocking to not only themselves but everyone one around them. They weren’t planning on what happened to them by a long shot, but that was the risk they took when they chose to start looking at porn. I know most people won’t become child molestors, but once you involve yourself in porn, there is no guarantee that you won’t choose to go that direction at some point.

    I agree with you that we shouldn’t treat people who are having porn problems as child molestors. I think it is important to find out the extent of the problem, such as how long it has been going on and if there has been any acting out (prostitutes, etc.) This can help others understand how to help and to be able to deal with their own concerns. I think we need to be able to help those with porn problems IF they desire to be helped, but they also need to understand that they have broken trust in their relationships,(especially if there is a spouse involved), and it will take time to rebuild that trust. Sometimes this just doesn’t happen and divorce is inevitable.

    As far as your comment about age appropriate women, I think it is impossible to know how old many of the women are in porn, especially in the 16-17 year old range.

  31. Cowboy-

    I have a lot going on right now so I forgot to write this in comment #31. I was trying to explain in comment #19 why some people react they way they do when they find out about a loved ones porn involvement. I wasn’t saying it was ok, but I think reactions sometimes depend on their exposure to porn themselves or what they have experienced in relation to others and their porn involvement. I think both sides need to try and understand one another and realize that it isn’t something that anyone typically reacts to well. It is a learning process for both and it takes patience and understanding.

  32. Jen

    I have expressed my opinions regarding the sex slave trade as it pertains to pornography, in prior posts. So, I agree with you regarding the potential for age discrepancies, which is unfortunate. However, you are saying that Pornography users are a step closer/away from being child molesters, even though you concede many will not eventually take that step. The problem with your analysis is that it fails to consider how pornography appetites which revolve around reasonable sexuality, eventually degenerate into child infatuations. It makes sense that the habit is progressive, ie, that after time “tame” nudity is insufficient. I would compare this to relationships with a girlfriend however. When you are dating a person, it is easy to get off (forgive the crudeness) on intense kissing. Yet as most of us know after a while this is not enough, which is why most couples start to press the sexual boundaries, if they don’t cross them altogether. However, none of this leads towards an unnatural progression, though it all is progressive. That is my argument with your assumptions, that sexual deviance is not a natural progression from “tame” pornography to things which are more explicit.

    You state:

    “it is impossible to know who will choose to move to child porn and who will not. In other words, ANY good many can go that direction.”

    This fact is true independent of pornography usage, though I would sort of challenge the “any good man” part. I don’t think most good men have this in their wiring, and you have not aptly demonstrated causality, other than you know of men who looked at child pornography, who later acted out. That actually makes alot of sense, you just haven’t shown how, “reasonable” pornography led to child pornography, and then to acting out.

    “but once you involve yourself in porn, there is no guarantee that you won’t choose to go that direction at some point.”

    This statement is really focused towards the inverse, since once I start eating pizza there is also no certainty that I won’t get fat. That is, you are implying not that there is “no guarantee”, but rather there is an increase in propensity for this type of behavior. This line of rhetoric smacks just shy of the type of perspective which would jump the gun and accuse someone of being a “dormant” child molester based on a pornography habit.

  33. “That is my argument with your assumptions, that sexual deviance is not a natural progression from “tame” pornography to things which are more explicit”

    I understand your point Cowboy. I don’t know why some people get involved in porn and get to the point of sexual deviancy. I don’t know how you define “tame” porn either because what some consider tame would be explicit to another. As far as your example with the girlfriend/boyfriend, you say it doesn’t lead to an unnatural progression, but what is natural and what is unnatural? Some people consider oral sex unnatural, and others consider it natural. One partner might expect oral sex and the other may consider it offensive.

    In relation to your comment that good men don’t have it in their wiring, I would say that is true, but I also think if a good man puts something in his mind long enough he can become less than good and override any “wiring” that may have been there originally.

    I stand by my statement that once you involve yourself in porn you have no guarantee what direction it will take you. Just like drugs or alcohol, I don’t think anyone plans on becoming an addict. I don’t think they see themselves 20 years down the road spending more money on beer than food. It isn’t something they plan for, it is something that happens over time after a continual decision to make the same choice over and over. Once you become an alcoholic you have much less freedom than you did before to choose the course your life takes. I think it is the same with porn and it can be with food as well. People choose to slowly kill themselves over time with the type of food they consume as well as how much. Obesity is a huge problem and contributes to substantial disease in our country.

    Anyway, I think you and I agree more than we disagree on this subject. It may be that you see viewing porn once in a while as something that is fine and maybe this is our point of disagreement. I don’t see any redeeming value in it, so I think it causes harm in every instance that it is viewed to one degree or another. I know that many disagree with me, and that is their right and maybe that is how you feel. Because we don’t know how porn will affect a person, I feel the risk is not worth it. Others don’t mind taking the chance. I think we just have to agree to disagree on this subject.

  34. Jen:

    I think we do agree more than it sounds, as I have little contention with your last comment. I agree with you that pornography is destructive, in that it destroys homes and families, creates unrealistic expectations for the male/female dynamic, and that it can become a legitimate compulsion. As for what constitutes natural, I won’t go line by line, but I would just argue child pornography is outside the boundaries of what should be considered natural. That was the point of topic, that pornography usage leads towards child pornography/abuse. That is the tiny point on which disagree. As for is pornography A) inconsequential to society; B) a benefit to society; C) socially destructive; I’m with you that C) is the correct answer.

  35. “I don’t know how you define “tame” porn either because what some consider tame would be explicit to another”

    I don’t know if “tame” is the word I would use, but there are different degrees. Porn that is degrading, depicts one partner to be unwilling, etc. I think would be defined as worse, imho. The book Pornified describes this well, as well as the process of going from “tame” use to more explicit things. What often happens (if I haven’t said this already) is an addict has limits as to what they are offended by (e.g. “I would never look at THAT kind of porn, it’s just sick), but then they may stumble across some of it sometimes and be disgusted at first. Then later on, they think, “I’d like to see that again” and so on until it becomes preferred and embraced.

  36. The book “Confronting Pornography” by therapists Mark Chamberlain, Dan Grey, and Rory Reid, and the books by recovered addict, Mark Kastleman, describe the highly addictive nature of porn, which can be as addictive as cocaine, meth, and heroin for some addicts.

    And, yes, unfortunately a number of addicts are addicted after one exposure to hard-core porn just as some cocaine and meth addicts are addicted to one use of the drug.

  37. hmmm…

    “The book Confronting Pornography by the rapists Mark Chamberlain, Dan Grey, and Rory Reid,…?”

    or

    “The book Confronting Pornography by the therapists Mark Chamberlain, Dan Grey, and Rory Reid,…”

  38. Lol Cowboy, been watching some SNL lately? 🙂

    Hawk – exactly! Although, I didn’t get all the outraged Mormon Mommies that my wife said would comment.

    Chris #38 – Whether or not someone is “addicted” after one use is not clear – there isn’t a scientific consensus on that, just interpretation/opinion… I went to a training done by Mark Chamberlain though, and it was fantastic.

  39. dont know why we would be outraged when edward cullen and porn were in the same sentence hahaha although i am not as obsessed as most i think it is funny for those that do have the obsession.

    as far as the porn hmmmmmmmm i think for men it could be easy to get addicted after glancing once. hub has had a problem and has gone the through repentence steps but it keeps coming back. i think trying to cut it cold turkey is not a good solution, but eventually hopefully we can be rid of it.

    we have looked together as sort of a foreplay but not something i feel a need for all the time. interesting

  40. IMHO, and without doing the necessary research of current studies in this area. I believe that porn is more of a problem in our religion because we tend to stereotype women and objectify them as having value through their sexual or reproductive strength. The priesthood holder (men) are the elite group who women are required to “hearken to”. When women are treated as second class citizens by the elite or priviledged group, abuse is common. We hear stories of benevolent patriarchy, but the result is that men in our religion do not relate to women as equal souls, so they objectify and stereotype women in their lives and in their fantasies. This attitude is third world, comparable to Sharia Law in the Muslim countries, which ensures control and dominance over women. The result of which is not benevolent to either men or women.
    There was a wonderful presenter at the “Learning and the Brain” conference at Harvard University in 2005, Stanley Greenspan, who presented “The First Idea, How Symbols, Lanaguage, and Intelligence Evolved from our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans”. His theory was that the critical step in our human development was not a “genetic leap” but a learned capacity. That capacity depended on specific types of nurturing interactions and other cultural practices which were passed down and thus learned anew and further developed by each generation. It also purports that these practices are transformed from generation to generation and that emotional, not cognitive processes, are the foundation of these cultural practices. These emotional interactions are the missing link in the evolution of symbols, language and cognition that work together in mankind’s development. If we continue to advocate “benevolent patriarcy” along with other types of sexism, we will burden our sons and daughters with an attitude that holds them back in an egalitarian culture.
    What emotions support treating women in a limiting and secondary manner, and what are the consequences to women as a result of being treated in this manner?
    How do we transform the LDS Church, in our generation, to better include and support women in our religion?
    We need to examine our underlying attitudes that contribute to the addiction to pornography, not just the action of viewing this pornography.
    As far as Edward Cullen’s difficulty with conquering his addiction to humans, there is Scottish mythology that states that is in my geneology (Stewart and MacDonald (Clan Ranald) that explains some attributes such as paleness and size (very tall):The real ‘gentry’ or to give them another familiar epithet – the Lords and Ladies – were…by blood alone, the members of a genetic strain, the Dragon and Grail families – the Fairy Blood. One could not and cannot ‘become’ a member of the gentry any more than one can ‘become’, by initiation or otherwise, a ‘witch’, a ‘vampire’, a ‘magus’, a ‘dragon’, a ‘fairy’ or an ‘elf’. All these are names which described the ‘gentry’ and the latter – elf – is a word which originates from albi meaning a white or ‘shining one’. From albi derives the French Cathar name Albigensian (Albi + Gens) meaning – ‘of the elven blood’ – et quid erat demonstrandum.”
    The bloodline is supposed to come with spiritual gifts and in the royal houses, be descended from the house of David. The paleness is actually a genetic disorder that can cause anemia in extreme cases. Red hair and pale skin with freckles is the only genetic marker that has been identified currently as other racial markers have not been determined amd some of the Celts have this unusual marker. We’ll know more as they refine the genetic process.
    I don’t agree with this birthright idea, and think that the whole “purity in royal bloodlines” was due to the effort of families to control wealth, not genetics. Royal families have more blood disorders because of ancient genetic problems due to a shallow genepool. So do the states of Utah and West Virginia. The mythology explains some of the genetic variables. The interesting note is that people with my genetic difference may require blood transfusions, if the condition becomes severe, so a diet rich in folic acid and red meat would assist them. Early church history tends to support the idea of birthright through bloodline and genetic spiritual gifts and curses. Interesting comparison of our modern mythology, mormon culture. The addiction of Edward Cullen may have some biblical connection that relates the Celtic folklore to the Old Testament story:
    “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” – Gen. 6:1-7
    The Hebrew word nephiyl is properly translated fallen ones and refers to the offspring of fallen angels who mated with human women on Mount Hermon in the land of Canaan. It may be that “after that” in Gen. 6:4 refers to a second invasion of fallen angels after the flood, which would explain why the Israelites found giants (Nephilim) in Canaan upon entry into the Promised Land: “And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.’” (Num. 13:33, Hebrew Masoretic Text, Hebrew-English JPS 1917 Ed.)
    Historically, this type of addiction of Edward Cullen’s addiction is ancient and biblical.

  41. “We need to examine our underlying attitudes that contribute to the addiction to pornography, not just the action of viewing this pornography.”

    Jo – I would love to respond in more depth to your comment, but don’t have much time, so I’ll just say that I totally agree with this part. There are many things that contribute to problems like this.

    Mormon Mommy – interesting idea on “cold turkey” not being the best solution. Could you expound on that a bit? Is striving for abstinence not necessarily the most effective solution at first?

  42. i just thinking cutting an addiction or desire cold turkey doesnt really solve the issue. maybe if there were counseling or online support group who knows but cutting porn cold turkey is how we tried to solve the porn addiction and it hasnt cured the problem.

    given circumstances: being surrounded by it at work, coworkers looking at it on their phones and such.

    it is definitely not something that we are proud of and we do have good spells, we go through repentance and feel good about making our life better in sync with the Lord and then we hit a weak spot.

    the joys of struggles we can only pray that we will break through this. 🙁

  43. You can!!! Definitely take advantage of the resources (if they are available). A relative of mine was really helped by going to the church addiction groups. I think people should work at it from every angle possible, and stay committed. Therapy, groups, scriptures, etc. etc. It IS possible. Couples therapy I think is CRUCIAL as well. I HIGHLY recommend Emotionally Focused Therapy, if there is an EFT therapist near you. Go here: http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php and search by state or city.

  44. Do you find, Adam, that porn addiction is also a cultural phenomenon based on the stringent control of sexuality within the confines of membership in the Church? I mean, honestly, what kind of God gives us a libido the size of Texas (from a personal standpoint) and then expects us to go against our nature? It’s sort of a twisted experiment, if that’s what God’s about. I don’t think God, if there exists a God, is that twisted. We, in our ultimate act of pride, created He Him in our imperfect, flawed, and base image.

    Back to porn. I was married for over 9 years to a recovering Catholic (lol) and a porn addict. Shame was the commonality I saw with him as well as with my former clients (yes I worked in the profession). As you know, shame is a vital part of addiction; shame begins the cycle anew.

    I am now married to a man who, for lack of a better term, is a porn aficionado–like me! Are we addicts? Nope. We feel no shame, we don’t hide it, there are no negative consequences, we have normal lives, family, and we don’t need more and more with more explicit images to get aroused. (TMI? He he he)

    Anything can be an addiction–my contention? We are ALL addicted to something, whether it be an attitude, food, belief system, religion, drugs or sex et al. The behavior determines the addiction, not necessarily the drug or the frequency. A person can be a binge drinker and not drink for months before succumbing to the urge. A person can be a binge porn viewer and not succumb to the urge for months. This does not make them any less of an addict. If the hiding, shame, and other behaviors are there, its an addiction. To truly peg an addict, one needn’t look at whether they take “A drop of alcohol, a quad shot of espresso, a glance at a porn site”…one needs to view it, as you said, on a spectrum. If a person feels shame and has hiding behaviors, negative consequences about the behaviors mentioned, then they may present with addictive tendencies. But what if these behaviors were not forbidden?

    Would a shot of espresso occasionally make them feel shame? One porn site? One drink? What if we took the forbidden element away, took out the shame and allowed people to be grown ups? What would the landscape of addiction look like then?

    Best,

    JA

  45. I tend to agree with you that the secrecy and the “forbidden” nature of porn in LDS culture can make it a lot worse, but that is all speculation so far… I actually hope to do some research on this in the near future, but we’ll see (e.g. how strong is the relationship between religiosity and the intensity of porn addiction)… Taking out the forbidden element *may* lesson the problem, but my hunch is that it would still be a problem. We really don’t know yet though!

    Regarding couples using porn together – that is another interesting area. I definitely think it is a lot better idea than solo. For one, solo use often brings along with it solo masturbation, which biologically (this is science, not theology) can be addictive because solo sex does not produce nearly as much prolactin, thus it is far less satisfying, thus the urge for more. Granted, those aren’t the only factors at play. My point is that the worst thing that can happen (and the most addictive) is for spouses to use porn and masturbate alone, in secret, in violation of their own goals or values.

  46. “…often brings along with it solo masturbation, which biologically (this is science, not theology) can be addictive because solo sex does not produce nearly as much prolactin, thus it is far less satisfying, thus the urge for more.”

    And this is bad…why? In the realm of a partnership, to my estimation, this sounds like a healthy thing. Unless the “more” refers to “more” solo sex only (which, if it isn’t as satisfying, wouldn’t make sense, would it). If a man or woman engages in solo sex to porn, tells their mates about it, then they have great sex together, that to me signifies a healthy personal and mutual sex life. It’s the secrecy, the lying, the shame…these things are addiction earmarks.

    Solo sex, I’m sorry to say, is as addictive as regular sex to an addict. If solo sex is a French fry in the fast food of sexual experiences, then sex WITH someone is a Whopper with cheese! Usually the reason for solo sex is a myriad of factors including, but not limited to an inability to connect on an authentic level with another human being (sexually).

    People with addictions to porn have a lot more going on than “sin”. Now…if pornography is against a person’s goals and values, and yet it’s a titillating experience and they succumb….then yes, it can be a catylist or at the very least an exacerbation of a dormant addiction. But if no shame, “right” or “wrong” exists in that person’s world and they look, then the only thing they would experience is titillation, and maybe a tired forearm…at least until they exuberantly share the experience with their wife and then get a hand up-side the head! LOL

    My point in all of this is I believe the restrictive nature of certain attitudes toward pornography contribute greatly to it’s allure and consequent addictive quality. It doesn’t, of course, negate the problem of pornography addiction, but it lends a new facet to the landscape of addiction if we could learn to accept it as a healthy part of a person’s sexuality.

    And plus, I don’t want to give up my porn. (Jeez, us addicts will say ANYTHING to justify ourselves, eh?) ;0)

  47. No, I agree with you that the “restrictive nature” of porn could certainly contribute to the problem… unfortunately, we don’t have any real data, not yet anyway. And I didn’t say anything per se about sin or “bad” – those categories do little for clients, and in fact often get in the way. “Bad” doesn’t really mean anything, but I’m not sure that taking out the “right and wrong” out of things completely will solve anything either. If I had a client or a couple with this problem right now I would definitely find out what their core values where, and would not force my own on them.

    And the idea of something not being satisfying leading to more, means that without the prolactin to cool down the sex drive, the satisfaction is not there, so one may quickly need more. So YES, it can lead to more.

  48. Also, there would be no bonding via oxytocin going on, hence the sex itself would not lead to better emotional connection/secure attachment with one’s partner. For those without any impulse control problems, or without any compulsivities or hypersexuality, this may not be a significant issue, but for many it is a huge problem. Again, no data, but I don’t think just all of us getting together and deciding porn, for example, is no longer “bad” will cure all these compulsivities.

  49. The following book is great resource for anyone who is trying to understand Pornography addiction.  Many of the questions that are being asked in this blog post are answered directly with references, and research in Donald L. Hilton’s book, He Restoreth my Soul.  Don is a member of the LDS Faith and provides wonderful insights into this addiction.  You can find it here.

    http://ldshopeandrecovery.com/education-resources/books-products/he-restoreth-my-soul/

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