We all have a “sex drive.” This is exactly as God intended it to be. You are going to have sexual thoughts, urges and desires. In fact, this is nothing more or less than “the power to co-create life” being manifest in you—the life of another human being, and/or the life of a marriage relationship. This in no way makes you a bad, perverted or flawed person! It’s what you do with these urges—how you direct this power, this energy, that makes all the difference.
Pornography is powerful because it takes advantage of and taps into intense emotional, biological and chemical connections throughout the brain and the entire body. We are born with many of these connections “pre-wired” or “pre-set” to switch on at certain times in our development. Pornography seeks to twist the truth and “mimic” or “counterfeit” this built-in attraction. Its goal is to ignite, excite and exploit these natural built-in urges and desires.
During sexual process, the brain begins narrowing its focus as it releases a tidal wave of endorphins and other neurochemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin. These “natural drugs” produce a tremendous rush or high. When these chemicals are released during healthy marital intimacy we refer to them as “the fabulous four” because of the myriad positive benefits they generate between husband and wife. When they are released during pornography use and other sexual addiction behaviors, we call them “the fearsome four” due to the severe addiction and many negative consequences they produce. In fact, the neurochemical release triggered by pornography viewing is so intense, some scientists refer to it as one of the most powerful drugs in history. Now you know why we refer to pornography use as substance abuse.
Take Courage—You Have What You Need to Be Completely Free!
Often, after people learn about the science behind pornography addiction, and recognize the Internet as a “drug delivery system,” many feel completely overwhelmed by the power of it all. They say, “Why don’t we just throw ourselves in front of a speeding train—it’s hopeless!” If you’re feeling this way, take courage! Yes, this addiction is powerful. If it were not, you would have conquered it long ago. However, the solution you’ve been searching and hoping for is already within you.
Many of the keys you need to shed the shackles of pornography and sexual addiction are already built-in to the very structure of your brain! It’s what we call your “divine gift for change.” It was placed there by your Creator. You’re already brilliant in its use—the power and depth of your addiction proves this. All you need to do is understand how this gift works, and then follow some simple principles, steps and tools to manage and direct it. As we say, “The same kind of process that got you into your addiction will help get you out!” In the past, this power within you has been a weakness. At Renaissance we will help you transform it into your greatest strength.
Porn Addiction is an “Intimacy Disorder”
Whether we realize it, or want to admit it, we crave human intimacy. We have an innate need to love and be loved. We need to be close and connected to others, especially those in our immediate families. Brain stimulation is not enough—we need what matters to the heart. Without intimacy we become depressed, emotionally and mentally ill. It is programmed into our DNA. We are social beings. We long to belong.
You don’t have to have sex to be “intimate.” In fact, most human intimacy has nothing to do with sexual relations. Rather, it’s about communication, understanding, appreciation, affection, mutual respect, friendship, quality time, sharing, and many more non-sexual actions and factors. One great prevention and protection against pornography and other sexual addictions is true human intimacy — the quality and quantity of time you spend together as husband and wife; parent and child; siblings and extended family; friends and colleagues; daily connections with everyone around you. This is what matters most in your life.
Many become vulnerable and fall prey to pornography and other sexual addictions because they are seeking the intimacy that is lacking in their marriage, family and other relationships. They often feel lonely and disconnected. Through sexual addiction, they replace real emotional intimacy with an artificial sexual intimacy. Pornography is a perfect example of substituting something that is not real for the real emotional intimacy that is craved and needed in a person’s life. It is the artificial for the real, the imagined for the actual, the shallow for the deep. Pornography can temporarily and partially fill the “intimacy void” with a weak and cheap counterfeit.
But afterward, an even larger and deeper hole is left, one more difficult to fill with the next sexual encounter or porn-viewing session.
Healthy sexuality is a powerful communication of love, commitment, loyalty, trust and fidelity. But when sex is taken outside these healthy boundaries through pornography use and other sexual addiction behaviors, and used to cope with self-criticism, self-betrayal, loneliness and disconnection, it is devoid of emotional intimacy and commitment. It is brief, intense stimulation that is hollow, empty, cold, and missing the deep meaning that can make sexual intimacy so wonderful. This brief, intense stimulation becomes highly addictive because it only increases feelings of loneliness, isolation and self-loathing, driving the individual to try and fill an ever-deepening “hole-in-the-soul.” Attempting to satisfy the powerful need for human intimacy with pornography and other sexual addiction behaviors, is like trying to continually fill a bucket with holes in it.
To heal from a pornography/sexual addiction, real love, real connection, real commitment, and real emotional intimacy need to be developed and nurtured with self and others. To do this you need to know how to develop deep relationships and overcome the fear that inhibits you from truly connecting. The Renaissance program will help you learn to connect to others in deeply meaningful and fulfilling ways.