Wired for Intimacy: How pornography hijacks the male brain

Outlook

There is a really good review of the new book Wired for Intimacy by William Struthers on Tim Challies’ blog (here).

It sounds like a brilliant book, as Tim explains:

“What he (Struthers) provides is a well-rounded understanding of how pornography affects men. He looks beyond the usual, beyond the moral and ethical and legal and even spiritual. He shows that pornography is also a physical matter, “rooted in the biological intricacies of our sexual design.” Though there is value in books that look from the other angles, “calls to pray harder, move the computer to the living room and get plugged into an accountability group only go so far. They come across as hollow to many men whose brains have been altered and rewired by their experiences with pornography. They have trained their brains to respond sexually to the pornography they consume.”

Though there is value in reading this entire book, the heart of the book is the brain. In one chapter right in the middle of the book Struthers provides a primer on the brain and shows both how sexuality is hard-wired into the brain and how pornography can disrupt that God-given capacity. He shows that in many ways the male brain is built as an ideal receiver for pornography; the capacity of the brain to pursue intimacy with a wife is very easily disrupted and perverted by a desire to look at pornography. The wiring that ought to be used to pursue intimacy with one woman can easily be disrupted and used to pursue a kind of false intimacy with an endless succession of women. Men who have become consumed with pornography will have to admit with the author that “they have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly as created in God’s image. Repeated exposure to pornography creates a one-way neurological superhighway where a man’s mental life is over-sexualized and narrowed. It is hemmed in on either side by high containment walls making escape nearly impossible.”

What Struthers both claims and (at least to my mind) proves is that looking at pornography and acting out to it creates neural pathways that disrupt the “normal” pathways. As pornography use and acting out to it become habitual, the pathways become more and more pronounced and, therefore, more difficult to overcome. Soon a man has rewired his brain in such a way that true intimacy becomes a challenge“.

Once again, here is something else that hightlights the dangers of pornography on our culture and society.

But is all lost to the onslaught of internet porn?  Maybe not, as Tim concludes:

“While the male brain does predispose men to be drawn to nudity and drawn to images of sexuality, this does not provide an excuse for indulging. To the contrary, it challenges men to be exceedingly careful about what they view and it makes them doubly responsible before God for images they’ve consumed. The implications of the neurological basis for human sexuality call men to purity before God in a whole new way”.

I think what he is saying is, “Wake up before it’s to late!”.

 

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