I'm new here, and I'm almost overwhelmed by all the wonderful new perspectives and information to consider.
However, I feel as though there's an elephant in the room that's getting insufficient comment: men use and abuse pornography infinitely more than women. This has grave consequences for society, families, and relationships.
I cannot help but feel that men, by their biological make-up, are innately threatening to these very constructs, and that ubiquitous access to sexual imagery has merely revealed the true extent and inherent nature of the threat.
The simple fact that so much of this site is geared toward helping men overcome their addictions and begin the long and arduous journey toward true pair-bonding, to me speaks volumes about how far men are, from within their own their natures, from the basic values of civilized society.
I recognize that this view is my own, and reveals much about my own issues. But it is one that has dogged me throughout my life experience as a male, and issues like what are dealt with at this site bring it painfully to the fore.
I have long felt something very few people acknowledge: that many of society's ills can be traced to men's behavior and proclivities. Of course this is extremely difficult to face up to, if for no other reason than that nothing can be done about it (beyond what human society has been doing all along), and that it pertains to roughly half the human population. For me, however, it is no less obvious and no less troubling for all its intractability.
In the quest for civility and even spiritual attainment, it seems to me that men have a much harder and longer distance to travel from where they find themselves as instinctual creatures, than do women. The prevalence of male correspondents and male issues on this site, devoted as it is to healing with sexual relationships, suggests the male predicament as a whole.
I can only say these things because I am male and have experienced them from the inside out. I am in a long-lived marriage with a loving and open-minded woman, and of course part of our intimacy is in sharing our subjective experience. I know, for example, that she has rarely if ever been tempted to infidelity by another man, or plagued with prolonged nagging sexual impulses and unmatched appetites, or used pornography. I, on the other hand, am not so immune, and have to struggle constantly to stay on the straight and narrow, even though our connection and love have deepened and grown in the years we've shared. Indeed, we seem to be in a new honeymoon phase of intense bonding in recent months--after 15 years of marriage--and I want nothing more than to honor her and be fiercely loyal to her. What tugs me away from those ideals seems to be my male animal instinct, not any hidden feelings of malice or dissatisfaction. In that sense, it feels quite innocent despite its potential to cause great harm. I am aware of having to expend considerable amounts of energy on self-control and mental discipline to maintain what seems to come effortlessly and naturally to my wife. I am a good man: loving, attentive, responsive, communicative, courageous. But I live every day with a monster in the basement, knowing the chains that restrain it are only as strong as my willpower.
Even as a young teenager, I sensed this basic disparity--and many others--between males and females. The resulting feeling of gross unfairness has haunted me my entire adult life. I do not blame women for this. It's no more their fault than it is men's. Nevertheless, I look around and can see the consequences in every corner of human experience the world over.
I have not read Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, and I will, but what I've read of the material on this site, from that book and the other articles, suggests to me that the real target of the message is men, who have an easier, more direct, and reliable connection to their experience of orgasm than do women, and thus tend to seek it much more aggressively, frequently--and independently. Men are mostly the ones who need to learn another way of being sexually intimate, and through great personal travail in many cases; women, with their natural reserves of oxytocin and female neural patterns, tend to be quick studies in the realm of harmonious sexuality. This material is presented in the most gracious, nonjudgemental, and circumspect manner imaginable, and obviously merits serious consideration and even practice, and moreover promises an astounding leap forward in our evolution as a species. But I cannot escape the impression that it is yet one more appeal to men to "work with" their innate tendencies in the interest of becoming better partners and ultimately better citizens--a time-honored story as old as civilization itself.