Updated: Feb 24
It’s the problem that has a name.
It’s happening to men all around the globe.
The problem lies buried, unspoken, in the minds and hearts and genitals of American men.
It is a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning men are suffering acutely as we embark upon the third decade of the 21st century.
Each man struggles with it alone.
As he sips his coffee, as he drives to work, as he watches his kids’ basketball games. As he showers. As he shaves. As he turns on his computer screen, and once again, logs in to a porn site, looking for a fix.
It happens in the morning. It happens at work. It happens at night, when the kids have gone to bed, when the wife is busy watching TV. Or, if the man is single, it happens in the dim light of his living room, this yearning, this searching for meaning, this desire for pleasure, the desire to feel something.
In couples, the women are often in the dark. They’re tired from working all day, from organizing kids’ schedules, from making meals or doing laundry and dishes. They’re too tired to have sex, and often feel like pleasing their partner is added pressure they can’t handle. They’d rather go to a yoga class or take a bath, or nod off while reading a book.
Meanwhile, the man is dying for physical touch, for intimacy. He’s dying to be held. He’s dying for someone to show him affection in a visceral way, a way that he maybe never received. And so, again and again, he turns to porn, and he decides that he’ll give that pleasure to himself. He’ll just take care of this himself, he says.
Because in porn, the women are always happy. They’re always eager. They’re always ready and available. They’ll try anything. And they’re never too tired.
In real life, when a man meets a woman who is beautiful and sexy, intelligent and confident, he has no idea what she’ll want to do, whether she’ll want to try out positions, whether she’ll like what he feels like in bed. And so it’s easier to keep resorting to an imagined woman, a robotic woman, a woman who doesn’t exist. Because in that imagined scenario, the woman is always pleased, and he always feels like a man. He always feels powerful. She is always happy. In the imagined scenario, the man always knows what to do.
For many men addicted to porn, they become so enamored with the imagined world, that the “the real thing” is too much to handle. So instead of going after what he wants, and having to accept his own vulnerability, and having to communicate his fears or desires, the man shies away, buttons up, retreats. He makes up an excuse. He runs. As a man, he’s supposed to be always ready for sex, but he’s spent so much time looking at websites, looking at other people get off, that he doesn’t know how to get off himself. He doesn’t know how to get aroused when “the real thing” is standing in front of him, when he is confronted with truth instead of his imagination, when he is in a paradigm he cannot control.
And all across America, this addiction to pornography is killing relationships. It’s killing existing relationships, and it’s killing potential relationships, because men are unsure of how to be vulnerable in the arms of a real woman, how to communicate their needs. They’re not sure if they’re allowed to do such a thing. They’re men, after all. Are they even supposed to have needs? No. They’re supposed to be tough, to muscle through. They’re not supposed to share their feelings. They’re just supposed to watch people experience pleasure from the sidelines, and get off through watching rather than actually being present in the experience themselves.
And what do men desire most of all?
Intimacy. Kind words. Physical affection. Deep love.