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    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Wired for Intimacy

      It's no secret that our society is saturated by pornography nor is it a secret that the main audience for porn is men.  In his book: Wired for Intimacy William Struthers delves into the deep corners of the male mind and explains how porn effects the male brain and why it has such a grip on men.

      InterVarsity Press has allowed me to review this book and I'm glad I got this chance because it was a very good read.  Struthers takes a difficult task: understanding the male brain on pron; and makes it simple to understand.  Although he is a genius and a true student of the mind he doesn't bog this work down with medical jargon simply to make himself sound smart.  Struthers makes this book accessible to the mass population and allows the reader to easily connect to the content.

      For me personally the first half of the book is what struck me the hardest because Struthers talks in the first half about: society being saturated by porn; how porn corrupts (NOT helps) intimacy; the consequences of porn and the male brain on porn.

      These chapters are filled with stats and quotes that caused me to keep my highlighter in my hand the whole time I was reading it.  I was less struck by the second half of the book (and if I'm completely honest a bit disappointed by it). I think this is because there were bits and pieces of practical advice as to how to stop looking at porn but not much.  It was in the last chapter of the book, but it felt like a side note. 

      The reader is struck hard by all the content of the first chapter and shown how negative porn really is to a man, but is left with little to no assistance in how to get free from the constant attention porn desires to have on the male life.  I'm no fool thinking that it will stop being a temptation for us, but I would've like some more "how to's" after hearing how bad it is for me.

      OK, little negative sermon over.  The first half of the book really did blow me away and gave me some great insight into my own mind and the mind of men everywhere.  I know I can utilize this information to really help me understand the teens I work with and I believe I can use the information given to learn how to better help these young boys through their struggle with porn.

      I think my favorite quote in the whole book comes in chapter 2: The Corruption of Intimacy on page 59.  Here Struthers says: "Each time a man views pornography he impairs the ability of the Holy Spirit to direct him towards sanctification, and he slips further into depravity (1 Thess 5:19).  The more a man views pornography, the less likely he will be inclined to seek out God and live a life of holiness."  I've seen this true time and time again in the lives of men who struggle with porn...they just stop wanting Jesus.  It's like Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters." (Matthew 6:24)  Granted Jesus was talking about money but I think the principle applies to anything we try to serve above and over Christ.
      Another great quote comes in the 3rd chapter where Struthers says: "Porn is a whispered promise.  It promises more sex, better sex, endless sex, sex on demand, more intense orgasms, experiences of transcendence.  Time spent with porn prevents the user from engaging in real relationships with real people who can better meet their needs." (Pg. 69)  This is another sad reality of those who struggle with porn...they start ignoring people and married men ignore their wives and don't have sex with their wives so they can view porn...it just seems ludicrous...but that is the power that this demonic thing called porn has.

      Lastly, Struthers shares how viewing porn opens up neurological pathways to the brain and the more people view porn, the more this highway of pathways opens up.  It gets wider and wider, causing the pathway to transcend the secret of a room into the reality of real life where men can't really stay in reality.  Struthers says: "As men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways.  Like a paths is created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed.  Over time these neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography.  They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed." (Pg. 85)  That idea scares me, especially with teenage boys who already struggle to keep their actions in check.

      All in all this book is an educational read and well worth the time.  I still struggle with the second half of the book and wished there was more.  However, the first half of the book was well worth the entire book and is well worth the price of the book itself.