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Sexually Incompetent Men: The Neutering Effect of Pornography

10/14/2013 09:44 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The year 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of Playboy Magazine and the introduction of the "Playboy Philosophy," espoused by the guru of pornography, Hugh Hefner. This philosophy essentially boils down to the belief that women are available to be used by a man whenever he wants, and viewing pictures of naked women who look like they want you is an easy and effective way to use women for your own gratification. In addition, a man is taught how to be a more sexually competent man so he can use these objects called women more effectively. Hugh has done an amazingly effective job of spreading that philosophy--better than most missionaries do when spreading their message about God. But there is one huge side effect of pornography usage that Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Philosophy does not mention: Pornography neuters a lot of men.

Sex By Myself With Myself

For the regular pornography user, sex becomes an act of relief or release while lusting after a photograph, a video, or a live webcam performance by an object called a woman. In this act, the man is all about his penis, his needs; whatever makes him feel good instantly--and with no regard for anyone else. He views the pornographic woman who demands nothing, does not judge his performance, or require anything other than that he look at her, and he most likely never forgets the image. As he continues using pornography, it gets stale pretty quickly and he needs more unique or perverse things to turn him on and give him orgasmic comfort. In the process, it becomes an uneasily broken habit for him and a destructive addiction. And all the while he is using pornography, he is telling himself it is because he has greater levels of testosterone or a greater sex drive than other men, validating his use and want for more and more and more. Sex and the act of self-gratification become something he is really good at doing with himself. His sex organs and the pleasure that he derives from them are all that really matters to him sexually.
So when it comes to a real, live naked woman--perhaps the one he is married to or living with--it is no wonder that he simply cannot produce an erection without the help of erectile dysfunction medication, some kind of penal implant, or pornography to stimulate his imagination.

The physical appearance or flaws of his real-life woman, compared to the perverse or perfect bodies he habitually views, is an issue that hampers his getting an erection, but there are other factors that lead to dysfunction. Sex has now become an act in isolation, so he has a very difficult time fusing love and intimate connection with having sex. His pseudo-sex life is not integrated into the whole of who he is; it is separate and compartmentalized. He can't instantly substitute the illicitly erotic and naughty images for a wife he has disappointed--a partner who feels disconnected, who fills him with anxiety, has her own needs and desires, and can judge his manhood.

His dysfunctional sex life will most likely affect every area of his relationship. When his incompetence surfaces a couple of times, or an argument occurs that he can't easily resolve or ignore, he may start protecting his dignity by not having sex and intentionally withholding it. He may become sexually anorexic, other than the sex he has with himself. He may begin to control, criticize, and distance himself from his wife so that there is no chance she might want to be intimate.

It is not easy for this sexually hyper-charged self-sex expert to accept that he is not able to make love, express kindness, connect intimately, or rise to the occasion of sexual intimacy with his wife. She will watch him become angrier, more depressed, and more isolated. So not only does she have to deal with the reality or suspicions of his sexual betrayal, she has to deal with what appears to be a lack of attraction to her and a man becoming more overbearing and unbearable the longer he uses pornography.

Stopping pornography is an important first step but it won't instantly fix the problem. Many couples exist this way for years, like the woman who called "NewLife Live" telling us how well her husband was doing after attending our Every Man's Battle Weekend. She had seen improvement in his demeanor, but they had still not had sex in three years, and in reality, she felt like he didn't really want to be with her. We helped them get back in bed together.

Your own experience will validate the neutering of men by pornography, or you can talk to a recovering sex addict. Most of the time, they will tell you how difficult or impossible it was to go from having sex to making love. It is probably the most troubling after-effect for the men who attend Every Man's Battle.

The good news is there is hope--and it does not start in the bedroom. It starts with his most important sex organs, his eyeballs. They must go from peering at forbidden images to looking directly into her eyes, trying to imagine how she feels. If he will listen with the intent of at least showing compassion for her, he will begin to break the ideas of objectification. If he can see love making as something other than relief or release for him, and simply a time to give her pleasure, it will take a lot of the pressure off of his performance. If he will talk about the love-making experience and how each of them are feeling, he will discover the intimacy that can only come when two people begin to understand each other. If they will continue to connect in this way, most likely his sex drive and desire for her will return.

There are no quick fixes or instant solutions for a male's sexual incompetency, but there are wonderful moments of intimate connection awaiting most who persevere.

Two of the seven things I suggest doing in The 7 Minute Marriage Solution are, first of all, to start honoring your vows. Looking at and lusting after naked women to whom you are not married does not honor those vows. The other suggestion is to start responding to your spouse romantically. To do that, you need to return to the early days when romance was fun and an essential part of the relationship. Give up the porn-driven release and you will find yourself much more romantic and driven toward your wife.