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Podcast: Porn as a Best Friend

Episode 77 – Porn as a Best Friend

Join Josh and Kit this week as they unpack the reality that for some us, Porn has become a close intimate friend.

Highlights:

pornography on a heart level poses as an intimate friend, but in reality, pornography is anything but that..

by God’s design, the naked human body is a manifestation of worth

Mentioned:

101 Practical Excercises – Dr Doug Weiss

Regen’s Rescue Program

Regen’s Wives Group

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Thanks for joining us. We would be honored if you would leave a review/rating on the Regeneration podcast (here’s how).

Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

Transcript:

Kit: 00:29
I’ve had a lot of conversations with clients who are really struggling with letting go of pornography and it’s become clear that it’s, it’s become kind of a friend, a comfort. And so they have trouble saying goodbye to something that has met needs for them and they need to because it’s keeping them away from other things that could truly be comforts, healthy friendships and comforts. But it’s really difficult for them. So how do they do that?

Josh: 01:03
Hmm, that’s good kit. So Josh Glaser and kid Elmer, we wanted to just talk about this reality that, that pornography for many of us where it’s been a part of our lives for a long time, has become in a very real way. Like, like a close intimate friend. And the value of, of identifying what you’re talking about kit is I think a lot of times when people are trying to break free from pornography, they’re kind of just, it can be disgusted with themselves. Frustrated, confused, like why can’t I just let this go? This things, this is just awful. And they’re not recognizing really how, how they’ve become dependent on this in a way that they’re their mentor. I was talking to somebody not long ago who was really wrestling with with pornography and, and one of the things that came up as we talked was, was how well pornography seem to know them, you know, and that wasn’t quite the way they’re putting it, but it was just like, you know, when I need comfort, pornography seems to just get it, you know, when, when I want to, when I want to be pleasing to another, pornography seems to get it.

Josh: 01:58
And it’s, of course it’s all in the person’s head cause there’s not an actual other person there. It’s just a figment of their imagination or it’s a that on the screen that’s mixing with a fantasy in their own brain. But it’s a powerful cocktail to give that sense of, wow, this is really just my type, my kind and what I need in this moment.

Kit: 02:17
I think just declaring that trash, just saying that and acknowledging that is so important because I think sometimes, you know people who are really deep into it don’t understand why is this so hard. And so that’s just, I think that’s just really insightful that it becomes, even though it’s really negative thing, it has filled something that makes it hard. It’s becomes this, this, this place of meeting needs that that is really deceiving you. Yeah.

Josh: 02:51
Yeah. So let me just name them, name a few of these, of the kind of the kind of friend or the, the kind of characteristics this quote unquote can bring. So if you’re listening and you either yourself, you struggle with pornography or you have a spouse or somebody close to you struggles, just take a look at some of these things. Cause I think they really can. We, we mentioned comfort. Someone who’s, so imagine you’ve had a hard day and pornography has been been a GoTo after a hard day. So now there’s this friend who’s available to offer you comfort to help you forget about the cares and the worries of the day. Then the day in there and they’re there all the time, you know, whenever at your Beck and call, like your other friends don’t seem to show up all the time or they don’t seem to know you have a problem at pornography. It’s there, like it’ll be there for you when you need it. And of course I’m, I hope not. This is not as an ad for pornography but, but I think there’s that, there’s that sense

Kit: 03:43
Can deceive you, that can lead you into that place. Yeah.

Josh: 03:47
When you feel unattractive, when you feel like you’re a failure, when you feel like nobody wants you, pornography gives the impression of you are very desirable.

Kit: 03:57
And every client tells me that all those things that you’re saying entice them into it in some way, but never meets them. Like afterwards, like their, the promises there, the enticements there. But afterwards they’re always like, Oh, right, right. That did not do it because it’s false.

Josh: 04:14
Yeah. I mean, so, you know, we’ve talked about this in other places, but oxytocin is one of the chemicals that’s released during sexual stimulation. So it’s released during pornography use and pornography and masturbation. Fantasy. Oxytocin is a bonding chemical. So it gives a sense of connecting in the moment and after the fact, it, it, it’s, it, it proves vein. It proves it wasn’t real. There’s not another person there. And so, yeah. It, it does leave this, this emptiness that’s can even be kind of shocking. Like how empty it can feel afterwards

Kit: 04:47
Because, and maybe that’s because Josh, they, they S, you know, they’re struggling with making the decision. They finally get one over to make the decision. They’re already feeling guilt and shame about having made that decision. And then there’s nothing there again. Yeah. And so it’s just this, you know, double whammy. Yeah. Yeah.

Josh: 05:08
Are there other, other, kind of, if we were to parallel it with friendship or that close beloved person, like what are the, what are some of the other roles that pornography has played?

Kit: 05:19
Well, I guess when you think, when you said, you know, what is it, what of friendships? You know, what are we looking for? We’re looking for belonging, we’re looking for acceptance, we’re looking for you know, if we don’t have a good self image of ourselves then someone else seeing us a certain way or giving us that sense of you are attractive, you are interesting. You know, all those things.

Josh: 05:44
Yeah. Yeah. And I think so one point I want to make here, by God’s design that the naked human body is a manifestation. It’s an expression of you of worth, you know, like, Hmm. You know, you think about the way God intended it when when a bride and bridegroom come together in their wedding night and they disrobe in front of each other, they show each other, they really, it’s a manifestation of the words. Like, you know, I’m, I’m giving you my life. I see in you something so valuable. This is my body given for you with all its vulnerabilities and I’m, it’s an beautiful expression of giving and of acceptance and of desire and of belonging and worth and pornography hijacks that experience and gives a semblance of it. Even though there’s that actual, the person is not, not present. So the brain doesn’t know the difference. Oh, it’s horrible. Yeah.

Kit: 06:37
Deception. I just think it’s really interesting and sobering to think about how the enemy deceives in such grievous ways. So, you know, we don’t want to be in done by that, but we also need to be really aware that, that that’s part of what pornography is, is just an extremely powerful deception of one of the most sacred, beautiful things that God has ever given us.

Josh: 07:08
So it’s almost like what we’re saying is that that pornography on a, on a heart level poses as this intimate friends, intimate lover, this one who knows us so well and is there and available for us, but REIA in reality, pornography is anything but that intimate friend. It’s actually a deceiver. It’s, it’s there to do us harm. It doesn’t care about us. It doesn’t actually see us. It doesn’t it doesn’t give us a place of belonging and it in the end chooses up and spits us out.

Kit: 07:42
Yeah. And you know, I, when I think about the conversations I have with so many clients who are just struggling so much with this, and I realized that they, they’re so far into it, and part of what you’re describing, what we’re talking about here is that after a while, maybe even at the very beginning, it really kills that sacred understanding. Like you, before you get into pornography, you know, you, you, you might still have some sense of the sacredness of, of you know, what God intended for sex and then surely in a healthy marriage between a man and a woman, you, you discover that it’s something that’s, but it takes, it also is built on it and you’d take, it takes a while. There’s something beautiful that grows and grows and grows, but it’s almost like then pornography just comes in and kills it. Just destroys it.

Josh: 08:33
I think that’s, I mean from a, from a spiritual warfare perspective, I think that’s exactly the enemy’s his goal. He does, he, he wants to tear down the sacred because the sacred points to God and reveal something of, of God’s great love for us who allowed himself to be stripped and vulnerable for our sake, giving his body for us. And so if we can, if the enemy can desecrate that and, and turn that sideways. I think the other, the other aspect of what you said that, that is sad about it though is that because the, the, I guess we were talking about, because the heart feels that connectedness. I think over time it does become, it just, it just reiterates that this is the only friend I can do this with. And if I, if I feel guilty and ashamed about what I’m doing, then it almost kind of entrenches itself as you can’t let anybody else know you. No one else will care for you like I do. So I’m not sure if I’m making that clear, but there’s this, there is this cycle of I’ve done this again, I feel so ashamed. I can’t tell other people about it because of how bad I feel and that feels even worse and more isolating and you feel even worth less. And so where do you go? You go back to your quote unquote best friend.

Kit: 09:48
That’s why I admire you know, men and women, women that I see so much that they, that they come and they, and they confess it, they share it, you know, and it’s really hard and they’ve never told anybody. And there’s so much shame and, you know, I’m, I’m just, I so admire their vulnerability, their courage when they come and and share that with me. It’s,

Josh: 10:09
And I, and we want to encourage people to, to be, to be gentle with yourself. I mean, what we’re describing about the heart experiencing this as a best friend is not a, not a reason to be angry or disgust with yourself. It’s really, it’s, it’s helping to affirm, Oh, you know what my heart really needs and wants those things. And that desire is really good. Yes, it’s a good desire. Pornography is the enemy, not your heart. We can’t try to kill her heart with this. We need to begin to recognize pornography for what it is. All the while affirming and reaffirming that our heart needs this really good thing. As a matter of fact, he needs it even to a greater degree than pornography has been giving it.

Kit: 10:47
And everybody struggles with having these desires and not always choosing the healthy godly way to meet those. And pornography is one way and it’s a, it’s a dangerous way and it’s a dark way, but the desire in the, in falling into temptation and falling into things that aren’t what God wants is everybody’s issue. And so we don’t want it, there’s not particular, you know, flaw on us and a flaw in this person who’s choosing that.

Josh: 11:17
Right? Absolutely. Yeah. So let’s talk about what you can do and, and, and even how recognizing that pornography has been, this best friend can be a real Avenue out and away from pornography were, would actually give you a practical exercise. And then, but, but one of the one of the ways this can be out is begin to ask yourself like, what, what kind of friendship has pornography been giving me? When has it been available to me? Or what has it given me in the times that it’s been available to me that I actually want and need and things like, you know, I want to be accepted, I want to be known, I want to be comforted. Those are good desires. And so what do we do with that? If not going to pornography, then, then where do we go? It’s just too, and that’s a way to honor your heart’s desire for that. That close friend. What else? Kit, what would you add to that?

Kit: 12:04
No, most of those are all good. I’m just to think those are all right on excepted, desired, all those things. I just think that’s a healthy thing because I think we get out of touch with it when we fall into some of these other habits. We forget that the first desire we had was good, so we need to go back and be like, Oh yeah, that was a healthy desire. Let me get back in touch with what I do desire rather than just going to, you know, and letting that negate it.

Josh: 12:29
Yeah. So one practical exercise is to literally write down what’s, what is the longing or what part did pornography play and where else might I seek that out? Yeah. Now here’s the challenge with that because it’s going to get really frustrating really quickly when we recognize that while pornography was available on demand, what I’m looking for is not necessarily available on demand in the same way and probably is simply, it’s probably not. Probably, it’s not going to be, it’s simply not going to be available all the ways and all the times that pornography has because real people actually have, they’re there. They’re not just there at your Beck and call and they’re not going to perfectly know what you need without you saying it and things like that.

Kit: 13:09
But it will open you up to being able to talk about, but what are some things you know might not be that that person’s at a friend’s attention every time you need it, but what, what else might be that? What other life giving things can you, you know, consider doing that are helpful that meet that need?

Josh: 13:27
Yeah. Make it a list. Yeah. Not a, not a, well I won’t do this, I’ll do this, you know, not pornography, but just one thing, like that’s probably not going to cut it. Yeah. But include include other people because so, so much when we, when we frame it up as this is the best friend, we, we are intentionally personifying it. And so you want to actually seek out other people to be a part of whatever it is that you’re seeking.

Kit: 13:48
Yeah. Maybe not just one person, and it may be a PR particular person, but it could be more than one person or a group or you know, a gathering.

Josh: 13:57
Right. And then, and then what are the things that you can do as a person with the Lord that you can do by yourself if you need to. So I remember there was a season of my life where pornography was especially tempting, right? When I was going to sleep. It was really, really difficult. And when I was going to sleep to unwind and to feel like I could rest in less, I went back to that best friend. Yeah. And another friend of mine had actually, and I don’t even know what the painting was, but he had this beautifully, this beautiful picture. And it was probably a maybe a 12 by 12 painting in his house. And it was a painting of Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus. And it was a very comfortable in the clothing that looked really soft and it was beautiful and the colors are vibrant and as it was, and he gave it to me, he said, I want you to just take this and meditate on this as you go to sleep. It’s just a comforting image. And so that was, that was something I did for several weeks. And just to try to be with God and looking at the comfort this, this Holy family. Yeah. that’s, that’s one idea, but there are other, other ways that you can comfort yourself and with the don’t include pornography and masturbate,

Kit: 15:00
Music, meditation, you know, I know that some of my clients have, you know, certain things they listened to at night that really helped them because it’s a temptation. It’s attempting time. Yeah.

Josh: 15:10
Yeah. How about if you can co calling another friend or talking to another friend, doesn’t have to be long, but just him getting ready to go to sleep, just wanted to pray and you certain kids, it can be kind of accountability but, but why not just, you know, just for connection,

Kit: 15:26
Reading something beautiful and positive or listening to something. You know, I often listen to you know, just to get myself ready for sleep at night. You know, a beautiful poem or a beautiful prayer. You know, there are those kinds of things that can be really soothing.

Josh: 15:42
Yeah. Lighting a candle. And I, and I liked that you said, I’m reading something beautiful because this is not about distraction. It’s not about, okay, I’m going to feel time to submit to do something else. Cause sometimes what we distract ourselves with actually doesn’t meet the or doesn’t even kind of come close to meeting that need. It just gives us a distraction. And so we’re going to end up going back to that. Yeah. That best friend. So here’s another exercise. That I, that I was introduced in my recovery from pornography years ago. It’s by it was actually, and I read about it from a book by dr Doug Weiss is a book 101 101 practical exercises and it’s filled with just a lot of different ideas about breaking free from pornography. But one of those exercises he called a dear John letter and this is something that we do with our the men who go through our rescue program, which is for men, your struggles sexual compulsivity issues in what he advises is that you take time to take stock of what, what pornography has, has been there for with you.

Josh: 16:42
Like what role has played in your life, what kind of friend it’s been without judgment, without shame, without, you know theologizing it away. But just writing down, you know, you’ve been there for me when I was sad, when I had a great day and no one was there to celebrate with me. You were available. When I felt lonely and like I wasn’t worth anything. You welcomed me with open arms and treated me like I was a King. I mean those kinds of things. And then on the other side of the letter or the, the other side of the paper, you write down ways that pornography has lied to you. What it said it was going to be for you, that it didn’t. And so the letter would go something like this, dear John, or dear friend or dear you, you know, we’re again, we’re personifying pornography, writing out the, the good quote unquote good it’s been, and then saying, but you lied to me.

Josh: 17:30
You didn’t tell me that. And then you fill in what it’s taken from you, what it’s, and so for me, it included things like you told me that you were there for me, but you don’t even know who I am. You told me that you would always, you always be for that you would be there for me. But but you, you didn’t tell me that once I came to you, you wouldn’t me go in the, you would keep me away from people who really do care about me. You didn’t tell me, you told me that you would treat me like I was someone of worth, but you didn’t tell me that you would make me feel worth less and less and less the more I spent time with you. And just kind of writing through those things. And then the letter concludes with, and that’s why I’m leaving, you know, so it’s a, it’s a real dear John letter and this is not, just to be clear, the exercise is not to kind of say like, this is the end all cure, but it isn’t really helpful meditation on what I’m really looking for and why this isn’t true.

Josh: 18:23
What this really is that I’ve been, that I’ve been using sounds really powerful. Yeah. I did it like it was probably like 20 years ago and I still remember it. It was a, it was a, it was a meaningful, meaningful thing. And, and the information that I, that that came up for me and understanding why I was going to this and why I didn’t want to go to it anymore because of how to deceive me with stuff that I, that I meditated on and came back and back and back in the years as I really began to release pornography and get rid of it in my life. That’s pain. So we’d commend that to you all. And yeah, so kid, anything else you want to say? Are you,

Kit: 18:55
I guess, yeah, the only other thing is so you know, the idea that that pornography and is, is, is a lie and, and it will will begin to Rob us of the things that, that, of the, of those healthy, pure desires, it will, they’ll start to die in some ways they’ll, and so, and they can be redeemed, they can be regenerated. But you know, just to be paying attention to the fact that, you know, this ending, this is so important, making that decision and there will be rebirth. Those things will come back. But when we continue to use something other than the, you know, the good and the right, then it, it, it starts to eat away at it. And so stopping it will then allow it to, you know, those things to come back and be calm, just primary in our lives again.

Josh: 19:52
And w and there’s so much more we could say and should in other places about, about what pornography actually does in your brain, in your body and your nervous system and how it, how it really does require a S withdrawal. And, and there will be arid places. So three word, arid, barren places like as you’re walking away from pornography, which is why you’ll need people. So, and we unabashedly want to recommend to you, I mentioned rescue. We have which is actually just getting ready to start in October. I’m not sure when this is going to air, but if you’re interested in rescue and you’re in the town center Baltimore area, we’d, we’d commend that to you at the Howard County area. We also have other groups here in spiritual coaching that can help if you’re wrestling with pornography and if you’re a spouse, if you’re a wife and your husband is wrestling with pornography or other sexual sins, we commend to you our wives group, which is a safe place for you to come and process through your own pain and struggles with that. So,

Kit: 20:46
And we’ve mentioned path through the wilderness before

Josh: 20:48
For men and women. And so for women who are struggling with pornography, they, there is a lot of really important, powerful information and path through the wilderness about this issue and about how to be free of it. So that’s another [inaudible] for men and women and coaching for sure. So we’re here for you people [inaudible] and so grateful that you’re listening. Please share this podcast with others and, and and send in questions you have or comments, we’d be happy to reply to those in future podcasts. So Lord, we just pray for greater freedom from pornography or reveal it reveal our hearts desire so that we can bring our heart’s desire to the places that you provide to meet our hearts, desire and true ways and reveal to us, Lord, the ways that pornography has been lying to us, that we can be free once and for all. And pray these things now in Jesus name.

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