Learning Biology to Fight Pornography
COMMENTARY: The goodness and wisdom of God’s holy will for marriage and sexuality remains unchanged.
Much has been written and repeated about pornography, to little or no avail. After studying sexual addiction for my doctoral area of expertise, I helped numerous men who struggled with pornography issues. My work is scientifically accurate, biblically sound and doctrinally faithful to the Catholic Church. Much of the advice available from other sources only worsens the problems and leads to feelings of failure and hopelessness.
Based on listening to hundreds of men in my private parish-based practice, I developed a course called “Wholly Men.” It teaches 40 strategies, backed by research, to counter the destructive patterns of compulsion caused by exposure to pornography. It provides men the tools to protect their family, help those in need, and answer God’s call to be leaders in this fight.
Wholly Men includes a 10-week program in an online self-directed format for groups of two or more men that helps identify risks and ditch compulsory behavior. To learn about some “Impulse Control Tools,” see the link at the bottom of the “Wholly Men” tab found on the AriseForHim.com website.
Pornography fuels fascination with oneself. It attempts to cause arousal, which bathes the brain in chemicals to heighten the five senses. But the purpose of sex is for attachment to another human being and, ultimately, to create new human life. We can give the gift of ourselves in love, receive the gift of love from another, and, more importantly, make love in the world by producing children to increase the number of lovers. Sex is God’s idea about love, loving and making love. When sexual arousal is pursued with pornography, no other person is present. There are pictures of people who have “eyes but do not see … ears but do not hear” (Psalm 115:5-6), so, inevitably, the heightened senses cause a person to attach to themselves, which is a diabolical failure for love.
In a pornified culture, it seems as if we have forgotten the facts of life: Genitals generate generations. Our reproductive system is for reproduction. CatholicEducation.org features Register contributor Donald DeMarco’s article “Can Immunology Corroborate the Two-in-One-Flesh Image in Genesis?” It explains how the immune system is seriously damaged by unnatural sex using the digestive system. Sexual expression faithful to God’s design fuels fascination with one’s spouse through a natural union of genitals for both unitive and procreative purposes. This is the constant teaching of our Church.
I am currently developing “Wholly Women” as a program for support partners of Wholly Men. My wisdom simply echoes that of the book One Day at a Time in Al-Anon. I advise women to focus on improving their own interior life by increasing loving-kindness and mercy, to comfort and encourage men, rather than “snoopervising” their behavior. We know that men will typically engage in lying and hiding their behavior from a woman to avoid her disapproval, prior to his final abandonment of her. Women are often unaware of how their behavior emasculates men because they have been brainwashed by the culture to treat men as they treat children. In contrast, Wholly Women ask themselves, “How am I being foolish? How am I being cruel?” Sacred Scripture instructs, “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Teaching women about their own biology will help them trust in the Church’s guidance. When I was a guest on EWTN’s Women of Grace (airing Oct. 10 and 11), I was able to show a textbook diagram of what I refer to as the “Dancing Womb,” which describes the way the woman’s womb moves in a sort of dance as it prepares to receive the life-giving products of a man during sexual intimacy for the purpose of welcoming new life.
Knowledge of the human body’s response to sex allows us to respond intelligently and compassionately to many false ideas about sexuality that are driven by pornography’s toxic miseducation, (a term used by the late Judith Reisman in her 2004 testimony to the U.S. Senate). We can explain that a woman is born “that” way, with her “dancing womb” and her monthly menstrual cycle as key features in God’s sacred design for sexuality. When a woman doesn’t understand God’s design, her desires for specific behaviors are a result of her sexual wounds, her sexual sins and her sexual habits of behavior. Everyone knows she is looking for love, but possibly in all the wrong places, due to a lack of good Catholic formation that validates the wisdom of traditional, perennial Church teaching.
Pornography convinces men of the lie that women go into heat, like animals. Pornography cannot show a man the important features of female sexuality. The gift of self in sexual union cannot be photographed. Those who study photography are familiar with the essays of Susan Sontag, who is famous for the quote, “When I looked at those photographs, something broke, something went dead, something is still crying” (On Photography, 1977). I believe pornography has that effect, especially on children.
In recent years, I have presented on the dangers of sexual education. Most parents are unaware of pornographic materials used in schools today. Family Watch International is the best organization to join if you wish to stay updated on this issue (see FamilyWatch.org).
When we turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we can focus on the fallen nature of man (see No. 400). The final sentence reads,
“The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.”
Sexual attitudes are changing over the decades, but the goodness and wisdom of God’s holy will remains unchanged. God is love. Looking for love is looking for God. Ultimately, God wants us to populate heaven — and that is accomplished by following Church teaching on marriage and sexuality.
Monica Hidalgo Breaux, Ph.D., MSW, brings expertise to the historical, biblical understanding of God’s plan for marriage and family life. Her extensive research validates the wisdom of the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality. While raising her five children, she received an AAS in substance abuse counseling from Lamar University, a B.A. from McNeese State University, and an MSW from Louisiana State University. She earned her Ph.D. from Arizona State University while teaching human behavior and research methods as a faculty associate in the social work graduate program.