OPEN

BYPASS BIG TECH CENSORSHIP - SIGN UP FOR mICHAEL mATT'S REGULAR E-BLAST

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

OPEN
Search the Remnant Newspaper
Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Porn, Self-Abuse, and the Death of Romance

Written by 
Rate this item
(17 votes)
Porn, Self-Abuse, and the Death of Romance

Of news headlines it is said: “Dog Bites Man”—that’s not news; “Man Bites Dog”—that’s news! The mundane is not news. Similarly, that which unites us is not news; that which divides us is. What is the one mundane thing that unites us all? Sin. We write headlines about the unusual sins that others commit, not the mundane ones that plague most of us.

That said, even in our current woke cultural malaise it is not so unusual to find articles condemning our demonically perverse fascination with porn, because things have gotten so bad that purely secularist psychologists have had to deal with the morbid reality of what it is doing to minds and relationships.

And so I salute Kennedy Hall for his recent Crisis article, “Fighting the Demon of Pornography”, in which he called us to recognize that demonic habit for the great danger that it is and, for those of us who find ourselves in its grips, to respond accordingly; that is, to respond with measures drastic enough to be equal to the task.

And yet, as with nearly all essays dealing with porn, it stopped a little short of the end zone. The sin of porn never travels alone and is but the forerunner of the greatest slave driver of all: masturbation.

Nobody talks about it. It’s too personal. But our broken culture has spoken on the subject and their pronouncement is final—all debate is closed. An article on masturbation in The New Catholic Encyclopedia (Supplement 2012-2013: Ethics and Philosophy) states that, “Masturbation is a serious obstacle to integrating sexuality into the personality and to maintaining psychological health.”

And concerning our broken culture, the same article states:

Masturbation has been condemned by many religions, philosophers, and physicians over the centuries, but in the late twentieth century, these prohibitions have been strongly criticized, and masturbation has often been recommended as a positive release for sexual tension and stress (cf. Kosnick et al., 1977, 227).  The Catholic Church has rejected this trend and continues to teach that voluntary masturbation is a sin.

The Church “continues to teach”. Really? I know, they’re speaking of the Church Magisterium. But, on a practical level, is the Church teaching this? I know a priest (now deceased) who was teaching the truth about masturbation. He was accosted on more than one occasion by an angry parent. One mother, hands on hips, publicly proclaimed to him boldly and angrily, “Oprah says its normal and healthy!” Ah, yes, that great doctor of the faith, billionaire O. Winfrey.

Enough is Enough, a website that claims to be “Making the internet safe for children and families”, has created a grim list of statistics concerning the pornography viewing habits of minors.

It is impossible to do justice to the subject of pornography without pointing out that it nearly universally ushers in this even greater evil: this slavery of sexual self-abuse. Sexual self-abuse, a very accurate term, is not one used much these days. Perhaps no one puts this term into better context than C. S. Lewis:

"For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete his own personality in that of another and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of brides.  And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.  For the harem is:  always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival.  Among those shadowy brides he is: always adored, always the perfect love, no demand is made of his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.  In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself."  (Lewis 1956, p. 168)

The complete disintegration of man requires complete integration in his sinning. Sexual self-abuse harnesses the entire human—the mind, the will, the senses, the emotions, the hormones, the passions, the soul—and focuses them on an ethereal substitute for the natural love and desire for a real mate. The will, of course, ceases to be the will, as the slave suffers greater and greater dehumanization.

Porn is a gateway, but long before the ready availability of this vile drug the world knew sexual addiction. Many are brave enough to preach against porn; few are brave enough to preach against “self-pleasuring”. In doing research for an article some time ago, I came across an article in a popular women’s magazine that revealed, in stunningly vile detail, how far we have fallen. The writer of the article, a “professional”, spoke of her realization that she had thrown herself too fully into her career and had not taken any time for herself. She then related how she had recently set aside time to masturbate and how it had turned out to be a gloriously relaxing day. And advertisers spent money so that women everywhere could read this middle-aged, adolescent filth.

Where are the brave knights, the fathers in the faith, who will stand against this insanity; who will preach the truth to scoffers?

But who will steer the culture ship in the other direction if not the Church? Our beacon, as true as ever, seems more and more to be hidden beneath a bushel basket. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the mantra of the media and of the dark side of academia reverberated everywhere: Pornography and masturbation are “crimes without victims”. A coworker at the time told me that, “Sex is like candy. Kids who aren’t allowed to eat it, when given the opportunity, eat until they’re sick. But kids who have access to it all the time just eat a little once in a while, because for them it’s no big deal.”

So, how’s that philosophy working out? And if it did work, would any of us really want sex to be “no big deal?” I think that my former coworker spoke more truth than he could have known, for the embrace of sexual acts devoid of intercourse with the complementary gender has, indeed, rendered sex no big deal—as testified to by a plague of sexless marriages.

Intercourse. Interesting term. It means simply communication, but came, in common usage, to generally refer to sexual intercourse—the sexual communication between a man and a woman. Ironic that, in the age of instant global intercourse, sexual intercourse—what some have termed “a foretaste of heaven”—has become no big deal. In the words of philosopher Peter Kreeft:

…spiritual intercourse with God is the ecstasy hinted at in all earthly intercourse, physical or spiritual. It is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong, so different from other passions, so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that just elude our grasp. No mere practical needs account for it. No mere animal drive explains it. No animal falls in love, writes profound romantic poetry, or sees sex as a symbol of the ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the image of God. Human sexuality is that image, and human sexuality is a foretaste of that self-giving, that losing and finding the self, that oneness-in-manyness that is the heart of the life and joy of the Trinity. That is what we long for; that is why we tremble to stand outside ourselves in the other, to give our whole selves, body and soul: because we are images of God the sexual being. We love the other sex because God loves God.

That is what we’re losing. Evil is always reductive. It reduces to "no big deal" the things that are absolutely a very big deal. It’s hard to imagine the woman who wrote the magazine article mentioned above writing poetry about her self-pleasuring break from routine. Evil is always and everywhere the death of romance. Many modern movies termed “romantic comedies” are neither romantic nor any laughing matter given the depravity of their casual treatment of the sexual embrace.

We are not what we should be to others when are not true to ourselves; when we are not molding ourselves in the image of our Creator. 

Pornography must be resisted, and far from being the mere tip of the iceberg, it is a very bedazzling snare, the gateway to sexual self-abuse—the loss of one’s sexual identity; indeed, the gateway to the absorption of one’s self into nothingness. Men, gifted as we are with an extreme sensitivity to visual sexual stimulus, are demonstrably more vulnerable in this regard than women, many of whom have become totally insensitive to male sensitivity.

Enough is Enough, a website that claims to be “Making the internet safe for children and families”, has created a grim list of statistics concerning the pornography viewing habits of minors. But what of the viewing habits and attitudes of their first teachers, their parents? What is it about the current state of marriage in our culture that would indicate to children that there is a sacredness to sexuality? They have been born into a world where adults are not adults, and children are not allowed to be children.

The teachings of the Church in this matter are clear, perennial, and unwavering. Where are the brave knights, the fathers in the faith, who will stand against this insanity; who will preach the truth to scoffers—standing up to the Oprahs and the masturbation-promoting sex-ed gurus of the world—and take the consequences that come with proclaiming that truth? Precocious sexualization is an unfailing barometer of societal decay. Where are the parents who will grow up so that their children can be children?

As addictions go, this one is tough. It is the temptation that goes where you go, the drug that follows you everywhere. Porn is a trigger, and the mind becomes a porn generator. Escape is difficult, but not impossible. Sacramental Reconciliation and the Eucharist are powerful, and one needs allies and models. In this, none better can be found than Joseph and Mary. The very term “sexual purity” is an insult to modern sensibilities, and virginity is the target of scoffers. Defeating this sin requires taking the road less traveled; stepping out of the mainstream and striving for sanctity; that is, for sainthood—that to which we are all called.

Prayer is powerful and the holy imagination of contemplation begins to conquer the porn generating mind. Asking others to pray for a special intention of ours can be powerful; asking them to pray with us for that special intention is immensely powerful. Contrary to what society says, self-abuse is not a “crime without victims”, for all sin affects the body of Christ. We are not what we should be to others when are not true to ourselves; when we are not molding ourselves in the image of our Creator. 

Catch the latest from Remnant TV   BREAKER 19: Convoy of Patriots Rocks Canada

[Comment Guidelines - Click to view]
Last modified on Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Jerome German | Remnant Columnist

Hailing originally from the North Dakota Red River Valley, Jerome German is a retired manufacturing engineer, husband, father of eleven, and grandfather of a multitude. His parochial activities have included music ministry, faith formation, and spiritual direction/talks for men’s retreats. Along with his wife-for-life, he winters on the Riviera Maya and summers in beautiful western Wisconsin. He contributes articles to The Remnant Newspaper and Crisis Magazine.  

Latest from Jerome German | Remnant Columnist