You’re Not the Perfect Hand But I Don’t Hit on Nineteen

Sex (Photo credit: danielito311)

Johnny Mayer. Hes coming back guys!

So Im going to talk about something controversial. At least for Mormondom, especially when it comes to dating. Porn. Pornography. Every once in a while a female authority will make a statement about how women should not date men who view pornography. Which causes a huge uproar among both the single men and women groups. I knew men who were in counseling for their pornography “issues” and whenever that happened they were devastated. They wanted a chance to build a relationship, to overcome the intimacy issues that are usually at the heart of pornography use, but their only opportunities were being shrunk because of well-meaning intentions.  I also knew married men in those groups, who were struggling so hard to find a way for this not to destroy their lives. marriages and futures. And this group was the only way for them to talk about the difficulty of being men and fathers and breadwinners in a way no one would let them.

On the other end of the spectrum, I also knew women who were in support groups for women whose husbands viewed pornography. This ranged from men who lied about viewing pornography occasionally, to men who lied about conducting online relationships with other women, because of pornography. They were so grateful for the opportunity to talk about how it felt to be betrayed by the person they loved and trusted, because they could not discuss sex and trust in a regular conversation.

Here’s what I think: Sex is complicated. Really really complicated. And while we know that  sexual drive varies more within a group than between groups, men tend to be higher on the spectrum as whole compared to women. More men report feeling lack of intimacy in their marriage when they are not having sex, while women tend to report that lack of intimacy when it comes to lack of trust, feelings and talking. Massive over-generalizations, but lets just start there.

We treat men like criminals when it comes to acting out around sex. We say why cant you just control yourselves? How can you hurt your wives/gf this way? How could I possibly date such a sick deviant? WHAT WOULD JESUS THINK? But the reason sex is so hard to control is because its biological. Its hard wired into our systems to propagate the species. So of course porn is enticing. Its sex! And men have a complex relationship with it, that makes them more likely to have this particular weakness. But thats what it is – a weakness. Something we are all struggling with on this mortal plane. Something we were all given so that we could overcome.

Lets look at it from the other angle.  More women are more prone to eating disorders than to hypersexual disorders. Eating disorders are often seen as a exercise in control – many women began them as a way to gain control over some aspect of their lives, are rewarded for their weight loss or efforts, and then continue to do it until it becomes the primary way they relate to food. They are extremely difficult to treat. Why is that? Because its biological. We HAVE to eat to propagate ourselves! But we rarely treat women with this weakness as criminals, because of this issue. No one is telling us to not date women with eating disorders, even though they can have the same kind of terrible effects on intimacy, marriage, trust and else.

Some of the best conversations Ive ever had in my life were with those men in counseling. And I ached for the women who finally found some safe relief in their groups. But the only reason I was able to be in those situations, is because I was attempting to understand both sides of this issue. Right now, we are only talking about one side – what men are doing to women. Let’s talk about what society and women are doing to men.

Then, there’s a whole ‘nother aspect to the problem. In Mormondom, and some other religions, and society at large, women are often put in charge of men’s sexuality. This picture has recently gone viral. At the top where she writes whore and slut are the words “asking for it.” In most talks I heard growing up given to women we are told about dressing appropriately, being the ones to set the limits, to safeguard men from their impulses. Men are described as rutting beasts essentially, and we are the virtuous angels who are required to stop them. So if we dress and act like whores, well then its our fault when we get raped, or if we dress like nuns, then its our fault they turn to porn. Men cannot be held responsible for their sexual actions.

Can we please change the dialogue around sex? I mean a lot of people are having it. Everytime someone tells me they are trying to have a baby, all I think is, “Thank you for telling me about how much sex you are having.” Its everywhere people! SEX! Even if you arent having it, the lack of it is complicated. So lets make it easier on all of us. Lets not scapegoat men or women when it comes to the difficulty of controlling desire. Neither sex (what!) is perfect when it comes to this, so lets take make it easier to take the best we can.

One thought on “You’re Not the Perfect Hand But I Don’t Hit on Nineteen

  1. Interesting and very relevant post. Judgment, misconceptions…how to overcome those impulses…? We (society in general) are so ‘categorical’ when it comes to men, women, sex…it’s time to erase those lines of compartmentalization.
    And regarding the “difficulty of controlling desire”….isn’t that one of the steps to enlightenment? “We can learn to seek happiness by limiting our desires rather than satisfying them.” Mind over body kind of thing?

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