4 Ways Porn Warps the Male Brain

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4 Ways Porn Warps the Male Brain

By Matt Fradd

I’ve often heard men say, “I love looking at hdsexvideo porn movies. Besides it doesn’t hurt anything. It’s only fantasy. What’s the problem?”

Now, you may not have a moral problem with porn, but many are starting to have a medical problem with it. The more we study the impact of porn on the male brain, the more men are starting to think twice about porn being a harmless pastime.

1. Porn gives men a new standard of beauty.

In 2002, the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, published research showing that when men are shown pictures of centerfold models from Playboy and Penthouse, this significantly lowered their judgements about the attractiveness of “average” people.

In our hyper-sexualized media culture, is this something that really needs to be reinforced? Should we train our brains to rate women by the size, shape, and harmony of their body parts? Do we want our standard of beauty to be shaped by a fictional standard or by the woman we are actually in love with?

2. Male brains don’t just view porn. They enter into it.

The journal NeuroImage published a study in 2008 demonstrating that as men are sexually aroused by porn films, something called “mirror neurons” in the brain also fire.

What is a mirror neuron? Have you ever seen someone get hit in the face with a ball or some other blunt object, and then your own body recoils? This is because of mirror neurons: you instantly react as if you were the one hit.

When it comes to porn, the brain naturally imagines the viewer in the pornographic scene. When a man is turned on by porn his body is not merely responding to the naked woman. His brain is picturing himself as the main character, heightening the arousal. You see, porn isn’t merely arousing to men because the women in it are attractive, but because it makes the man feel sexy. With so many website around these days like Full Tube XXX providing higher quality experiences all the time is becoming increasingly more common and as a result more immersive.

This trains men not to get their sense of personal validation from real life relationships but from pixels on a screen.

3. The more porn men watch, the more their brains look like an addict’s brain.

In 2014 scientists at Cambridge discovered that the brains of habitual porn users show great similarity to the brains of alcoholics. When a self-confessed porn addict is hooked up to an MRI machine and then is shown a fullhdxxx pornographic video , a brain structure called the ventral striatum “lights up” in the same way it lights up for an alcoholic who sees a picture of an drink.

You might be thinking, “So what?” Well, researchers speculate that continued use of porn over time, especially starting at younger ages, makes it such that we actually lose willpower. The more we watch porn, the more difficult it is for men to say to no to watching porn because of the strong craving they feel.

This is not the kind of men most men want to be. We want to enjoy our passions, not be enslaved to them.

4. Porn makes violence sexy.

According to research by Dr. Dolf Zillmann and Dr. Jennings Bryant, the more porn one is exposed to, the more likely one is willing to trivialize rape. In their experiments, after watching just five hours of pornographic films stretched over a six-week period, subjects were willing to cut the sentencing of an accused rapist nearly in half, compared to those who had not watched pornography at all.

Those who watched more porn were also likely to believe that practices like sadomasochism were two to three times more common in general society than those who had not seen porn. Of course porn doesn’t make most consumers into sexually violent people, it does train men to embrace a culture of objectification, reinforcing a belief that women exist to give sexual pleasure to men. Again, is this the kind of men we want to become?

Let me make an appeal to men:

  • if your goal is to become a man whose standard of beauty is shaped by the one you love…
  • if your goal is to feel a personal sense of worth and validation based on your most valuable relationships…
  • if your goal is to be a man of self-mastery, not enslaved to your passions…
  • and if your goal is to treat women as people to be served and loved, not see them as objects for your pleasure…

…then consuming porn will take you in the opposite direction.

If you would like help breaking free from the power of porn, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor.

Does He Need to Confess Adultery to His Wife?

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Does He Need to Confess Adultery to His Wife?

By Dr. Russell Moore

[Note: Questions and Ethics is a monthly series in which Dr. Russell Moore provides insight into how Christians should navigate through life’s most challenging moral and ethical issues. The following is a transcript of this audio.]

Today I have an email that came in from someone who is writing—he is a Christian man, a member of a church, who writes and tells me that he had an affair several years ago, that this affair only lasted about a week, that he put an end to it, but he writes and wants to know whether or not now—even though he has confessed it to God, he has repented toward God, he has talked to a couple of key accountability partners in his life—whether or not he ought to tell his wife. Now, this man says that their marriage is already precarious. It has been precarious for some time. He is not sure whether or not his wife knows the Lord—or if she does, how mature she is in Christ—and he doesn’t want to jeopardize their marriage. He doesn’t want to split up their marriage and really wreck the lives of their children. And so he says do I have to tell my wife?

Now, what I want to say is first of all I just stopped and prayed for this family because I know that this has to be absolutely agonizing. It is agonizing for him. It will be soon agonizing for her and for the children—those who are completely innocent in this saga. I do think that you need to tell her and for several reasons: One of those reasons being, you have sinned against her. Your having this adulterous affair is a sin against your wife, and until you have confessed to her and until you have repented to her I don’t think you are finished with the process of repenting. Biblically she has ownership—that is radical language, I Corinthians, chapter 7—she has ownership over your sexuality, and so your sin affects her, even if she doesn’t know about it. And it affects her in several ways: one of them being you have joined yourself with some other woman outside of your marriage, which has a spiritual, mysterious effect, Paul says in I Corinthians, chapter 6.

Secondly though, you have brought to the marriage a breakdown in intimacy. You are keeping a secret from her about something that is at the core of your marriage. She deserves to know this, and I don’t think you have finished repenting until you confess it to her and until you ask for her forgiveness. I also don’t think that you are going to be free from the weight of conviction that you feel from that sense of guilt that you either feel—or if you don’t feel, it’s because you have covered that over and you have a heart that is numb to that. I think that you need to confess this and get that out in the open.

Having said that, I want to say to you be prepared for the consequences of your sin. And I think that you need to make it very clear when you confess this to your wife that she is more important to you than the risk that may come along with your confessing this to her. And so you need to own your sin. You need to communicate this to her as a sin, and do not give any indication that you blame her at all. She is already probably going to be looking for that in whatever it is that you are saying. Do not give even the appearance that you are blaming her. So whatever problems you may have had in your marriage, whatever sorts of issues that you may have with her, this is not the time to talk about those things. You have no ground to give any list of grievances to her—regardless of whether or not those things may be legitimate. She is not to blame for your immorality and your sin, and so don’t imply that she is.

And I would also say don’t take her first reaction to be necessarily her last reaction. She is going to feel betrayed. She is going to feel outraged. She is going to feel as though she doesn’t even understand what her world means right now. That is all completely natural because you have broken the covenant. You have sinned against her, and you have done so with a breach of trust. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t give excuses, reasons. And let her express the grief and the anger that comes out of this. You have been carrying this sin with you now for several years. It could feel to you almost as a relief to get it out in the open in front of her. But this is the first time she is hearing about this, and so, you can’t expect her to forgive you immediately, reconcile with you immediately, move on. She has to grieve this, and she has to express the sort of anger that she has. Let her do that, and then wait patiently for her to forgive you. Don’t expect that she owes you some sort of immediate reconciliation. You are going to have to spend in many ways the rest of your life in your marriage rebuilding the trust that is there, even when she does forgive you.

So I am really sorry about this, and I am praying for your entire family, but yeah, you need to tell her. That is the second step for you, after confessing to God, in your repentance.

 

If you would like help in navigating the struggles of your marriage or relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

The Biggest Communication Problem

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Listen, then respond. Empathy and understanding must precede advice.
-Jennifer Dowling

If you would like help with your communication, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

How I Gleaned Hope from the Darkest Psalm

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How I Gleaned Hope from the Darkest Psalm

By Christina Fox

After a recent talk I gave, an attendee shared that Psalm 88 was her favorite psalm. For those of us familiar with it, we might hear such a comment and raise our eyebrows in confusion.

Psalm 88? Really?

Psalm 88 isn’t a feel-good, everything-will-be-all-right kind of psalm. In fact, it’s the darkest one. If we put it to music, it’d be set to the tune of a sad country song—if not a funeral dirge. Hear the despair of the psalmist’s words:

O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. (vv. 1–3)

Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. (v. 7)

O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? (v. 14)

While other biblical laments end on a note of trust and worship, this one ends without any light or hope. It simply concludes, “Darkness is my closest friend.” The end.

Despite the dark tone, however, there is hope to be found in Psalm 88. Here are four reasons.

1. You can cry out to God.

The psalmist persistently directs his emotions and sorrow to his Father in heaven. He acknowledges God is the one who saves and reigns over all things (vv. 1, 6–8). His anguish is the faithful cry of a believer who understands his need of God’s deliverance and help.

When you’re in the depths of suffering, the psalmist’s words give voice to your pain. You can bring your uninhibited emotions before God as you pour out your heart. In your distress, he hears your cries.

2. You can share your deepest pain.

Like hymns today, the psalms were used in worship—yes, even Psalm 88. That this song was proclaimed by God’s people speaks volumes. It also offers hope, since it’s clear God doesn’t expect us to cover up what’s really going on. We can approach our Father in raw honesty. We don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. We don’t have to hide the pain, the emotions, the distress.

At the same time, Psalm 88 reminds us whom we are praying to: our Maker and King. In his humility, the psalmist’s honest sorrow differs greatly from the faithless grumbling of the Israelites in the wilderness. He reminds himself—and us—that God saves (v. 1) and that his deeds are righteous (v. 11). He shows us that we can express our deepest heartache in a way that honors God, rather than grumbling against him.

3. You can grieve the darkness.

Psalm 88 is brutally honest about life in a fallen world. While many of us come out of depressive fogs and spiritually dark seasons, there are others who perpetually struggle. Some preach a false theology that says if you jsut pray hard enough, believe hard enough, and do all the right things, God will make your life all that you’ve wanted it to be. But real life indicates otherwise. And so does this psalm.

The sun doesn’t always come out tomorrow. We don’t always get the job we wanted. Marriages end. People get sick and die. This is the far-reaching effect of sin on this world. Psalm 88 reflects our pain and give us permission to grieve all that isn’t right.

4. You can trust your Savior.

All Scripture points to Christ, and Psalm 88 is no exception. For what the psalmist sought in his lament was answered in Jesus, who came to rescue and restore what’s broken. He came to fulfill the deepest cries of our heart. He came so that one day all our tears might be wiped away.

Psalm 88 reminds us that we need an intercessor. We don’t always know what is best. Many times, we don’t even know how to pray. Jesus intercedes on our behalf, reshaping our prayers for God’s glory. Not only that, but the Spirit also prays for us. When we can’t find the words to voice what our hearts long to say, he cries out for us (Rom. 8:26). What marvelous grace and love! What comfort! Even when the pains of life mute us, the Spirit speaks for us.

I’m so grateful Psalm 88 is included in Scripture. It reminds me that I can cry out to God with a broken heart and that he hears me—no matter how weak my prayers. It directs me to focus on the truth of who God is, for even in the darkest night, his grace still shines. And when it seems as though darkness is my only friend, I can remember Jesus Christ, who faced the darkness of the grave so that I could be called a friend of God.

If you would like help finding hope in the darkness, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or a coach.

When Your Spouse Won’t Listen

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When Your Spouse Won’t Listen

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

We all desire to be seen and heard. It is true at work, in our relationships, and most especially with our spouses. Fewer things are more empowering than articulating thoughts that are heard, received, considered and used to grow our relationships.

On the contrary, not feeling heard disempowers, erodes and stunts our relationships from maturing. Worse, if it happens over a period of time it can lead to anger, distance and apathy.

So what do you do if your spouse won’t listen to you? If you find yourself in that situation, you likely feel frustrated, at best–and entitled, at worst. You probably don’t want to hear that you may be contributing as much to the problem as the accused.

If you feel you aren’t being heard, let’s take a step back and consider a few reasons why that may be happening.

TIMING

First, consider the timing of your delivery. Catching your spouse as they walk in the door may not be the time they are most receptive to hearing you out. Some people need some time to wind down and recharge (this doesn’t count if your idea of winding down is tuning out for the entire evening). Does this sound like your spouse? If so, consider that need and think about the timing of your delivery. A little bit of time could create much-needed space for your spouse to be a better listener.

MEN VS. WOMEN

Everything from science to psychologists to our own experiences has proven that men and women generally come from two very different places–and have very different needs. At the core, women want to be loved and cherished and men long to be respected. Before we get carried away, we ALL desire to be loved and we ALL desire to be respected; however, how we prioritize those things is different.

Wives, your men are 100% more likely to shut down if they feel they are being nagged or disrespected. Often–and maybe even rightfully so–women may feel frustrated, as though men should earn their respect. The problem is, that is not the face of sacrificial love.

Proverbs 14:1 says this: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” One of the greatest ways to build your home is to establish a foundation of grace, love and respect between you and your spouse. Finding your identity in Christ and operating out of the abundance of His love will establish a soft heart for your husband and a place where he will feel respected. Almost always, when a husband feels that respect, his heart softens, and making his wife feel loved and cherished won’t be forced, but fulfilled.

This doesn’t let you off the hook, men. So many of you are prone to wandering minds. If your wife is speaking to you, be intentional about putting down your phone, turning off the game and leaving work at work. Make eye contact, listen, and respond. You are to love and cherish your wife. Your undivided attention is of the best ways you can do this.

Men and women are different. But there is beauty in knowing that and finding the best ways to glorify God in spite of those differences. If your spouse isn’t listening, be sacrificial in your love. Think of what you could be doing better, swallow your pride and love them–not necessarily because they deserve it, but because Christ loves you.

DELIVERY

As goes the saying, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. When communicating with your spouse, it is wise to check your heart and motives before you deliver your message. So often, we are prone to tune out when we pick up on a tone of voice that puts us on the defensive. Checking yourself can be so hard to do when we are operating from a place of hurt or anger, but it is worthwhile to wait until you can communicate in a positive manner. This builds character in yourself and trust in your spouse.

One common denominator across all healthy marriages is healthy communication. At the core, that takes open hearts, articulate communication of your feelings and an ear that is willing to listen. It is no accident to find these in your marriage.

If you are finding your spouse at a place where he/she won’t listen, it is time to do some searching. Start by examining your own heart, timing and delivery. Make small changes where you can. If that doesn’t work over time, seek professional counseling. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an indication that you want your marriage to thrive. Start small, start now.

 

If you would like help in your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Stopping Triangulation in Relationships

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Stopping Triangulation: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Involving a Third Person in Your Problems

By Couples Therapy Center of NJ

Most of my clients have some kind of challenge in their relationships with others. The struggle may be with a spouse, a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a child, a neighbor, or a landlord. No matter who the struggle is with, we often discuss what someone else said or did and how my client felt hurt or angry about it during our sessions. When we dig deeper, many times I find that a big part of the problem is triangulation. Triangulation is when a third person gets involved in a conflict. It might feel good temporarily, but it will hurt you in the long run.

Think of an imaginary triangle of three people. An issue may come up between two of them: maybe something one person said or did that upset the other. Triangulation occurs when one of the two individuals involved in the issue ‘invites’ a third person into the debate or argument. By ‘invite’ I mean talks to the third person about the individual they have the issue with or talks about the issue itself. The original issue has little or nothing to do with the third person! The problem here is when we use this as a way to vent our feelings.

This is what talking behind someone’s back is all about. Let’s say it starts when you take issue with what someone said. You then ‘invite’ a third person in by talking about it with them INSTEAD of talking directly to the person you had the issue with.

This feels good temporarily because it gives you a chance to vent your feelings and feel understood by someone else. And putting someone else down is a means of getting revenge.

Triangulation, however, is NOT helpful in the long run. It complicates the original problem because now another person’s thoughts and feelings are involved. More importantly, it denies us the means to solving the issue. The best way of solving an issue is talking directly to the person who hurt or angered us. So, what do you do instead?

First, realize who the issue is really with. Identify which two people the original debate or hurt or anger is between.

Second, don’t ‘invite’ a third person into the discussion (in other words, don’t triangulate). It is OK, and quite beneficial, if you do choose to talk to a very specific 3rd person: that person being your therapist. It is a therapist’s job to help you figure out your personal relationships. Talking to your therapist is different from triangulation because the therapist’s intention is to help you decide how you’re going to resolve the issue. Your therapist will offer you tools and ideas for solving the problem and your therapist will encourage you to talk directly to the person involved in order to get it worked through.

 

If you would like help in your marriage or relationships, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.