Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Giving in to addiction

What situations or feelings weakened you so you gave in to your addiction?

Situations
Well this is easy, right now I am at work and the regular sensation is--"Here I sit facing something uncomfortable and challenging, but it would be so easy to click away to something stimulating, something that would let me escape."

When I am alone on a business trip.  The very fact of being in a hotel room is a trigger.  I think I am afraid of being alone, of feeling alone.  Which is ironic because I often stay up late so that I can have some alone time (ironically not typically a time of temptation for me), but when I am alone I don't like the feeling of being alone.  I think part of the reason that being on a business trip or being home alone for long periods of time becomes a trigger is because there is less a concern about getting caught.

And, of course, that is a fact that bugs me to no end, that causes a lot of shame.  If virtue is a measure of our behavior when no one else is looking, then how virtuous am i if the first thing I think about when I'm alone for any stretch is going to look up some pornography? Hmm...

Feelings
I think the feelings that most commonly cause me to fall into temptations are feelings of loneliness and lack of control. Initially it was curiosity.  As a teenager I was fascinated by sex and sexuality and the idea of it all, but that curiosity led me to seek out pornography as a way to feel in control of something.

Sex, is after all, about control.  The best sex is the sex that allows you to completely give up control of yourself and expose yourself emotionally and physically to another person without fear or shame. And if you believe, as I do, that masturbation is a sin, and that having sex with someone who is not into it, or who is simply doing it for you, is worse than not having sex at all, then when it comes down to it, your sex life (my sex life) is entirely in my wife's control.

Because I want to have sex more often than she does, she, by default, controls when we have sex.  She either says yes or no, and that is that.  This puts me in an awkward position because emotionally I connect sex with acceptance, intimacy, and approbation (if she is making love to me, then she approves of me - I'm doing something right. If she is not making love to me, then she disapproves and I must be a failure).  I would like to have sex more often, but I don't want her to do it just to please me - I want her to want me.

Is that co-dependence?  Or is that how its supposed to be? I mean, isn't a man supposed to want to sleep with his wife and vice-versa? And I know that a lot of regular life gets in the way of having the time and emotional space to take an hour to be intimate together, but it seems to me that sex shouldn't be something that one spouse should have to convince the other spouse about.

"Hey, this is really great, you know, trust me, we should try it some time."

Especially when for me, sex is so much about pleasing your partner.  If it were just about orgasm, then it would be a different story, but the mutual act of opening ourselves up to each other is about so much more than that.

So the long and the short is this. I don't feel in control of my own sexual needs.  And pornography is a counterfeit answer to those needs. I don't have to ask anyone. I don't have to wait for someone to be in the mood, or to not be stressed out. I don't have to give back rubs or foot rubs.  I don't have to wonder and worry if she is really enjoying herself or if she's faking. It's counterfeit for sure, but it seems "easier" at the time then engaging in the difficult work of navigating a real intimate relationship.

Of course its not easier, and the more I seek out counterfeit intimacy, the more difficult it is to communicate clearly with my wife about our relationship. That's the definition of a vicious cycle.

I find it terribly embarrassing to feel like I'm in the position of begging for sex.  Even as I write, I can feel rage creeping up inside of me. The idea that women can be so out of touch with what their husbands needs are that a man has to ask over and over again for sex.

Just the phrase "asking for sex" sounds pitiful.

Shouldn't it be something we give willingly, because we love each other?  Shouldn't a husband's sexual needs be as important as anything else in the relationship.

Now, if the husband doesn't know how to meet his wife's sexual needs, that's one thing, but what about husbands who have that figured out (I spend 90% of my time in love-making doing things for her that are designed to help her enjoy herself), and I still feel like I can't ask her for things, can't expect her to do the same for me, like the very act of her being willing to join me in bed should be thanks enough. 

Hence, one big reason for the pornography addiction.

ugh.

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