Pernicious Porn (Post #29)


“Pernicious Porn”   (Post #29) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

It’s time for me to ‘come out of the closet’.  I need to painfully share a struggle that I have as a widower.  I’m embarrassed to share it – but I believe that it’s important that I am truthful with you, my fellow widowers, because if you are truthful with me, you probably are dealing with it too.  Either way, this particular post is going to be difficult for me to write.  I can only do it because I’m here in the privacy of my own house, and you, well you are widowers in countries like Russia, Australia, or widowers from any other of the 45+ countries around the world that are reading this blog.

My struggle is with pornography.

I really don’t know why porn remains a temptation – but it does.

When my wife ‘Ruby’ was alive, I don’t remember having many issues with it.  I know and you know that this temptation is ALWAYS there for ANY living/breathing male.  No matter their age.  No matter if they are married or unmarried.  No matter if they’re in a happy marriage or in a horrible marriage.  No matter if they are married or a widower.  No matter what!  I just know now that I’m a widower, my vulnerability has me drawn to this temptation more than ever before.

The world is polluted with pornography.

I recently typed a harmless word into my computer browser – and I was appalled with some of the images and sites that were linked with the search.  OK, the images were nothing more than ‘soft porn’ . . . which was harmless to look at, RIGHT?  After all, that image of that great looking girl with the amazing cleavage is just a harmless image.  And it’s not a sin for me to look at it, RIGHT?

Being a living breathing male, I have a natural attraction to great looking women.  Seeing a woman’s continental-divide-cleavage, or her sleek sexy legs is naturally eye catching for me.  Especially now that I’m a widower.  When seeing the real thing in public . . . I turn my head and look away after noticing her (OK, well, at least I try to).  But when in the privacy of my house, when that soft porn appears on my computer, or on TV, or in a magazine, the temptation is there for me to ‘gawk’ at the image; or like a dinner – it tempts me to “go back for seconds”.  And if I do that, then it turns into ‘lust’.  And I know what the Bible says about lust.  It just ain’t right.

The best model for porn control was probably my own father.   Dad and I enjoyed watching baseball together on our small black/white TV console.  And one of the faithful sponsors of the game would invariably be Muriel cigars.  Edie Adams, dressed in sexy attire and impersonating Mae West would be the spokesperson in the commercial.  When that commercial played in between innings back in the mid1960’s, with ‘remote controls’ not yet invented, in a fit of disgust, dad would drag himself off of the sofa, hustle across the floor to the TV, and turn the picture black (yeah, you could do that with a round knob on the front of the TV), and then turn the sound off.  We’d both watch the clock, and after 60 seconds, he’d turn everything back to their normal settings.

A good friend, ‘Billy’, who is a happily married man approached me just a couple of weeks ago, and confided with me about his recent difficulty with pornography.  And he shared how he is working to fight the problem.  Step 1) after he admitted to himself that he was having a problem, he prayed for help.  Step 2) he then took it to his accountability group of Christian friends and got their support.  Step 3) he took positive action to remove its availability (removing certain apps from his mobile device).  Step 4) [claiming this was the hardest step] he reluctantly but remorsefully shared it with his wife.  That led to step 5) counseling with his pastor, and step 6) joining a new accountability group of men all battling the same porn problem.

None of those steps were EASY.  They were ALL DIFFICULT.  But difficult problems call for difficult actions.  And the Biblical book of James instructs us to actually “confess your sins to each other…so that you may be healed.”   ‘Billy’ schooled me by explaining the net result of following that verse; the ‘sin of darkness’ loses its power as it is bought out into the light.

I’m not an expert on the topic.  I don’t know the difference between ‘soft porn’ and ‘hard porn’ – but I have an idea that ‘soft porn’ is images of women wearing little or revealing clothing.  And ‘hard porn’ is images of women wearing no clothing, or involved in some sort of sex act.  And from personal experience, I can ashamedly admit, ‘soft porn’ CAN and WILL lead to ‘hard porn’.  And I can imagine that use of either ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ porn CAN and WILL lead to an addiction.

It will be a topic for another post, but due to emotional trauma, I would imagine that widowers (and divorcees) are particularly susceptible to addictions in multiple forms (alcohol/drugs, sex, eating, etc.).  Porn has ‘brought down’ many a man, no matter their occupation, socio-economic status, marriage status, position in life, or their reputation.

Battling porn takes an incredible amount of self discipline, and help from the Holy Spirit.  And sometimes . . . it takes forgiveness.