Abortion

hotspring's picture
Submitted by hotspring on
Printer-friendly version

I was taking the bus up to a friend's house and passed by a new planned parenthood clinic that was being built in the neighborhood. The anti-abortion activists were out heavy that day, well-organized and lining the streets for about ten blocks. One woman had situated herself right in front of the bus stop, so that bus riders would have to look at her sign while waiting for others to board.

Her sign said: "YOU! ESCAPED THE WOMB!"

I was really struck by the variety of approaches in the anti-abortionist's slogans: from a large image of a late-stage aborted fetus blown up huge, to more peaceful slogans such as "Adoption: the Loving Option", and "Abortion Hurts Women."

I am, of course, pro-choice. Yet I don't begrudge any of these people their viewpoints that abortion is wrong. Nor do I think that abortion is right. However, I think that there's a preliminary conversation that we're simply not having as a culture, and ideally, if we had it, would make abortion obsolete. This is the question of why it is that we still live in a culture in which women still have only shitty birth control options, and that the majority of responsibility for a shared experience of sexuality is still falling on the woman.

Now, biologically it makes sense that the majority of this responsibility (which is the responsibility of being a sexual being without manifesting the most direct consequence of being a sexual being) falls on the women's shoulders.

Yet the conception is the result of a merging of TWO energies.

Now, most of you know about my view that partner-based birth control is the only sane solution to this insane dilemma. The dilemma is: either admit that women have a sexuality, and therefore risk unwanted pregnancy, or deny women the right to the experience of their sexuality. (BTW, with partner-based birth control, this is not a dilemma at all - woman can be sexual and control fertility through joint responsibility).

Without dealing with the issue of kind forms of birth control, the abortion issue will always, sadly, be on the table. Whether legal or illegal, abortions will occur. So the issue, if one really cares about whether or not pregnancies are terminated or not, does not so much have to do with whether or not abortion is legal or not. It has to do with how well women are treated in this society, how well-educated they are about their bodies and fertility, and how supportive their men are in acknowledging their half of this equation.

When I looked at Shelley Lubben's site, and listened to the porn stars who had given up porn, the thing that stuck out to me was the number of women who admitted to having unwanted pregnancies and abortions after porn shoots.

Now, whose abortions are these?

If Shelley's statistics are correct, porn addiction is a common trend in the Christian community, amongst both men and women. As such, even those porn users who are Christian and who may otherwise think of themselves as against abortion may have some dead offspring out there, in the form of porn star's abortions.

How man porn stars got pregnant and had an abortion for your viewing pleasure?
How many abortions have you had?

Comments

Personally, as a Christian...

I have never understood Christians' obsession with being anti-abortion. If a Christian truly believes that eternal life in heaven with God is vastly better than life on earth, it scarcely seems a horrible crime to send a preborn infant straight to eternal bliss, sparing them all the suffering of this life. Sure, abortion is unnatural and you are robbing the unborn child of a chance to do something great with their life here. And there are many moral considerations on both sides of the argument. But from a Christian point of view, how on earth is the premature sending of a baby to eternal bliss an issue on the same level of concern as millions of fully-conscious-and-aware, starving little boys and abused unloved little girls in Africa and elsewhere in the third world?

Also, as a Christian and (hopefully former) porn user, I was raised to view sexual intercourse outside of marriage as morally wrong, and so I have always been repulsed by porn that portrays that. Not to mention that even from a purely atheistic/humanistic point of view, the type of sexual intercourse portrayed in most porn is, as you mentioned, degrading and potentially harmful to the woman as far as causing unwanted pregnancies, as well as a whole host of other reasons why it is degrading to a woman's sexuality. Personally the only porn I have ever been "comfortable" with is that which portrays a woman's pleasure (for example a woman masturbating). So, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I can state with confidence that no abortions have been a consequence of my viewing pleasure.

But then, I'm just weird :P

Abortion is a complex subject

EG,

If you accept that a preborn infant is a person, then intentionally terminating their life is murder, which is outlawed by the 10 commandments. Many Christians maintain that it is up to God, not people, to take a life. This is a serious issue for a lot of people.

That is not MY position on abortion, but you asked about Christians.

P.

I guess I misspoke...

I do understand WHY Christians have an issue with abortion. It's just that it's my opinion that the vast majority of them (in the USA anyway) are not thinking clearly on the matter. Or at least, they have their perspective warped by the immediacy of it. Because from the point of view of ultimate morality, I don't think anyone would argue that the sufferings of millions of children in the third world is not vastly more important than the deaths of unborn infants who have little if any capacity to actually experience suffering.

I am pro-choice, not

I am pro-choice, not Christian, and do believe that a fetus is a complete human for its stage of development at every point of its development. So yes, I do believe that abortion is killing a human. Like I said, eventhough I am pro-choice, I do not think that abortion is a good thing. But we've got to look at why and how unwanted pregnancies occur in the first place.

BTW, the human fetus has the lowest survival rate of all mammals. An estimated 60-80% of all fertilized fetuses do not make it to term on their own, and perish before the woman even knows she is pregnant or considers an abortion. The first few weeks of life post-conception are extremely precarious. Falling down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus alone is like jumping off a 30 story building. So, abortions aside, all fertilized fetuses simply do not make it. This is not an excuse for abortion, but it is a harrowing reality.

I've had regressions to fetushood in my craniosacral therapy class, and one classmate, who is also an acupuncturist, said that she was surprised at how ambivalent she felt about the success of her life (as a regressed fetus). Also, some fetuses seem a bit unsure as to whether or not they want to go through with the whole thing. This same classmate, who is also an acupuncturist and treats women with infertility through acupuncture, told me a story about how the woman kept on miscarrying. Finally, in one acupuncture session, when the woman was newly pregnant, my classmate spoke with the fetus and told it that a lot of people wanted it around. The woman has been able to keep this pregnancy longer than any others. Finger's crossed.

Maybe some fetuses are as scared to be born into the world as some of us are bringing them in.

Uncomfortable

I don't know quite how to respond hotspring, but I feel I should somehow... what you've written makes me uncomfortable - but I don't think this is a bad thing. The thought of unwanted pregnancies and abortions as a result of porn shoots.... this has a similar effect on me to the recent video posted here remembering porn stars who had died.... I feel compassion for the human beings that these women and men are.... As I sit here with my rational mind fully in control (it's a good day) I feel some shame at my past actions and a strong desire never to return to viewing porn... one thing I will say is that I don't think men (boys) start out looking for hardcore pornography, at least I think this is true of the men posting on this site... I was naturally attracted to images of semi-naked women as a teenage boy.... it took years and years as this addiction took hold for me to become someone who would seek out hardcore images on the internet... this is the addiction, becoming used to the 'hit' and seeking out something more intense. By the time I was hooked on hardcore images, the compassionate part of me that would have objected had been silenced by the addiction. After a year trying to beat this addiction, my compassion has a voice and your post has helped, but I think guilt and shame can also feed the addiction, especially for those just starting out trying to beat it.

time_for_change

I realize my post could be

I realize my post could be seen as pointing fingers and trying to bring up feelings of guilt.On some level, the part of me that is angry at women taking all the flack (guilt) for the abortion issue is rearing its head. It's not that I want to make anyone feel guilty, but if I am to honestly respond to the anti-abortionist's desire to make me as a sexually active woman feel guilty for the repercussions of what should be a shared responsibility, I'm going to have to try to do the issue some justice by trying to look at all responsible parties. The responsible parties are anyone who is sexually active. Even, it turns out, if they are only sexually active with their computer.

I am simply trying to point out that porn takes place in real time with real people with real consequences, and if you watch porn, you are responsible for those consequences even if you aren't acknowledging it. Porn is easily dismissed as being harmful to relationships because it is not "real." I think the pregnancy and abortion issue are the most obvious way to dispel this. If women get pregnant on porn sets and have abortions, then in a way, the guy that got her pregnant is not just the guy she was shooting the movie with, but all of the people that supported the industry and payed to view that porn. But I guess I already made that point.

I think we need to take more collective responsibility for the repercussions of our actions. The more we indulge in technology culturally, the more we are removing ourselves from the realities of our actions, and their impacts. It's like dropping bombs on civillians from high up in a plane, or just with the click of a switch. If you're not on the ground, you may only intellectually realize the carnage you've done.

I was only trying to point out that the violence done to women needs to be more than intellectually acknowledged, because if you're not acting on that realization, you're probably condoning it.

realities of our actions

[quote=hotspring]I think we need to take more collective responsibility for the repercussions of our actions. The more we indulge in technology culturally, the more we are removing ourselves from the realities of our actions, and their impacts. It's like dropping bombs on civillians from high up in a plane, or just with the click of a switch. If you're not on the ground, you may only intellectually realize the carnage you've done.[/quote]

I think you draw a very good parallel... the technology does remove us from the realities of our actions... if I was to walk up to a window and look through into a room where a porn scene was actually happening, and see real human beings before me, I'd see the suffering and be acutely aware of the potential consequences of disease, pregnancy, abortion... of course, I'd never actually walk up to a window and look through, but turning a computer on and looking at the screen does indeed amount to the same thing, it just makes me emotionally removed (why?) which is a bad thing...

Your thoughts have a come at a good time for me - thank you for making me uncomfortable, and for making me think.

time_for_change

hotsring: "I realize my post

hotspring: "I realize my post could be seen as pointing fingers and trying to bring up feelings of guilt."

I do see your post this way. I was going to write a long response to this, but suffice it to say, I don't feel guilty at all. And I don't think the guys on this site should feel guilty either, especially since they're doing their best to rid themselves of their addiction, and also since it's not their fault. It seems like you're angry at men who look at porn, and maybe you were just venting.

hotspring: "I am simply trying to point out that porn takes place in real time with real people with real consequences, and if you watch porn, you are responsible for those consequences even if you aren't acknowledging it. Porn is easily dismissed as being harmful to relationships because it is not "real." I think the pregnancy and abortion issue are the most obvious way to dispel this. If women get pregnant on porn sets and have abortions, then in a way, the guy that got her pregnant is not just the guy she was shooting the movie with, but all of the people that supported the industry and payed to view that porn. But I guess I already made that point."

Does paying for the porn get her pregnant or does looking at free porn also get her pregnant? Of all the porn viewers
in the world, is it the female viewers who get the porn actresses pregnant or just the male viewer? (there are women addicted to porn). Did the wife who bought the porn vid to put some spice back into her relationship, did she get that porn actress pregnant too? Are the husband and wife getting the porn actress pregnant as they make love to her movie?

hotspring: "I think we need to take more collective responsibility for the repercussions of our actions. The more we indulge in technology culturally, the more we are removing ourselves from the realities of our actions, and their impacts. It's like dropping bombs on civillians from high up in a plane, or just with the click of a switch. If you're not on the ground, you may only intellectually realize the carnage you've done."

I disagree with this in relation to porn. Innocent civilians don't sign a contract and get paid thousands of dollars to have bombs dropped on them. They are completely unaware they're going to get bombed. They don't want to get bombed. Just ask them. They'll tell you. Porn actresses are aware of becoming porn actresses, signing contracts and getting paid large sums of money to have sex on camera and what kind of sex they'll be doing (that's just referring to hardcore porn actresses, not softcore porn models, who chose a different path). They are also aware and consent to being watched. In the vicious circle of porn, the viewer of porn is responsible for viewing and consuming, but they are not to blame for the porn stars' predicament. If I see a suicide bombing on the news, it doesn't make me responsible for the bombing, even if I liked the bombing or developed an addiction to looking at bombings on the news. I would be supporting more reporting of negativity in the news by watching it, but not to blame for the actual event.

I see this as a paradigm of the perpetrators and the victims. The victims are women right? And men are the perpetrators. In this case it's the porn actresses as the victim and somehow the (male) porn viewer as the perpetrator analogous to an airplane bomber wiping out a village of innocent civilians. I think it's more complex than simply being a male/female issue. If we look into it, there's the porn stars, then the directors and studios that put out this stuff, and the people who buy it and watch it. Then there's the consideration that there are male porn actors too. And female porn directors. They are on the rise. Who's the perpetrator, who's the victim? Who's exploiting who?

If anything, people should focus on the effect that viewing porn is having on themselves and their lives. In other words, take responsibility for what they can change and control by no longer playing a part in the vicious cycle of porn (being a viewer). Not add an extra non-existent layer of responsibility and guilt of what they think they're doing to the poor pornstar by looking at her (or him and her). What happens to the pornstar in real life is out of the viewers control and responsibility. They can try to help the porn actresses or actors if they want, but at the end of the day, they are consenting adults and will do whatever they choose.

hotspring: "I was only trying to point out that the violence done to women needs to be more than intellectually acknowledged, because if you're not acting on that realization, you're probably condoning it."

I don't see the connection between porn and abortion though. I think abortion is an issue and responsibility that is between the man and woman who conceived that baby, whether the woman or man is a porn star or not.

I've lurked around here for a while, I don't know why I'm writing now. Actually I do. I feel distraught (don't know if that's the right word). Hotspring, it feels like there's a hostility toward the male gender in some of your posts, especially men that are addicted to porn, but maybe men in general.

Or maybe it's hostility towards male sexuality, why and how could men get hooked on porn, even violence to women etc? Maybe you're thinking, what is wrong with men and why wont they get a hold of themselves? If it weren't for male sexuality, the porn industry wouldn't exist in the first place, you might be thinking. And maybe it's coming from a place of feeling your own sexuality is not like that, like it could never go there because it's different, it's better, superior, I don't know.

But I'm just rambling here now. I want to know what's going on for you? Do you feel we men are your enemy, the source of all of womens problems? What do you want from men? I want for you to feel loved and be free from resentment and anger towards the opposite sex. I want the same thing for me.

To answer your questions as

To answer your questions as simply as possible: yes, I do feel hostility towards men sometimes, which I think is natural in this forum given the honesty with which men very frequently share their love of watching violent acts towards women.

Let's keep in mind: this forum was designed not just as a refuge for porn addicts, but as a place for healing to occur between the sexes. Sorry, but that simply can't occur when I daily read about how much men get off on extreme violence towards women.

I can and do feel some level of compassion for you, but that doesn't mean that I am just going to sit back and listen to this hurtful truth without engaging you with it. It's ridiculous to think I'd just sit in the bandstands like a cheerleader and wish you well. Keep in mind: I did not come to this forum to support porn addicts. I came here to reckon with some of my own demons. Some of them that I thought were more or less resolved have come out full force thanks to the diversity of people represented in this forum (actually, the forum is not very diverse. There is a distinct shortage of loving couples sharing what they're learning).

I do not intentionally trigger you unless I am too upset not to. I do reach that point sometimes. I'd like to help you have some accountability for yourselves, by showing you some of my real feelings on the subject, whether you agree with them or not. Otherwise, this isn't a genuine dialogue. And yes, I do like a good argument sometimes, if it is a topic I care deeply about.

Yes, I am thinking why don't you men get ahold of yourselves, ESPECIALLY when I see that most of you really do not want to hurt women.

It's true, my sexuality is not just like a man's, but considering how plastic we are, I know that could change. I have viewed porn and can see how it could be addictive (in this day and age, pretty much any electronic distraction from ourselves is addictive, this forum included). I don't think its any excuse though. I've battled addictions myself and being addicted is, ultimately, no excuse for causing harm and suffering because despite addiction, it comes down to the fact that I do have free will. I may have to have a battle with myself to admit it to myself, but it's true, I have free will. So do all of you. So your stuggle is a hard one and commendable to a point. And I'd like to be compassionate, to a point. At which point do you admit that you have got to choose free will? Whatever reasons work for you, great. If considering your collective responsibility doesn't work becuase your mind is super literal and the most profound mind-altering substance you've taken is porn, great, don't buy into that collectivity bs (but once you try ayahuasca, I'd love to revisit the conversation with you). If guilt doesn't work, don't use it.

If you just love porn and think its fabulously healthy, have fun jacking off then. But if you want to share with me what a turn on it is to watch violence towards women, in a forum that is meant to be a place where healing between the sexes is to occur, please understand that I will respond honestly.

Yes, in this view of mine, anyone who watches porn, male or female, is getting the porn stars pregnant. The STRANGEST things happen when you watch porn! Women getting women pregnant!

As far as the issue with porn stars being consenting adults goes, I agree with you in the case of those who started out as porn stars as adults and who were not sexually abused when they were younger, which supposedly many of them were. If they were, their sexuality has been distorted for so long that the word consenting adult is a joke. If you listen to some of the porn star's testimonies, you will hear that there are many scenariosin which the women end up being put into scenes they didn't sign up for. Sure, they were stupid to put themselves in that situation, but does that make it okay to take full advantage of them? By some people's standards, apparently yes. My sense is that at a certain point, the woman is so literally screwed that she has little sense of self left.

Yes, a paradigm that I am struggling with is still that of power abuse - perpetrators and victims. From what I've gathered listening to porn addicts for about two years, it seems power play is what this is mostly about, to some degree or another. I do not think that all porn is a case of power ABUSE per se, or of male perpetrators and female victims, but the majority of it seems to be. Or we could look at it another way, and see the porn producers as the perpetrators and the porn users as victims. Or we could acknowledge that there are people who star in porn who genuinly love it and who help others to expand their sexuality. I really don't think this is the majority of porn though, and in any case, this is not the kind of porn I want to address. The point is not even that it is wrong for men to want power (if ONLY they could find it in themselves!). It is abuse of power I am talking about here.

I must say, I don't spend all my days being bitter about the male/female, but there are some things in this culture that are becoming increasingly widespread that do hurt quite deeply and I will confront them in any manner I am able in the hopes that we can all be honest with one another. If we haven't got that, what have we got?

I would have stopped being part of this forum a long time ago if it weren't for the fact that porn addiction is so widespread amongst my peer group that I will be interacting with these issues one way or another in pretty much every man I meet, so why not go straight to the source, straight to the jugular?

Yes the porn turns me on.

Yes the porn turns me on. Yes I have viewed violent porn to turn me on. It does not mean I enjoy violence against women. That does not excuse me from watching such things. I do not know how to explain the difference. Once you are on the path you need more to stimulate you more more more. Just a mad pounding in your head. again no excuse. Even though some of the things would I was watching goes against how I really feel I still watched. It fed on itself. The stuff that I watched that disturbed me or angered me just made me depressed and angry at myself which led to more self med. One big cycle just feeding on itself. I know I can not keep you from being angry at me/ men for those actions. I do not know what to say to help. This addiction was thrown at me and I had not guide book to help. I was shown things at an early age by family members (father uncles). It took years to ramp up to where I was/am. It is not a way of excusing me but I am here. All the guys here have figured it and are trying to fix themselves. It hurts. I would even say it hurts me more than you. I did these things. I have to live with these things. There is no way for me to just wash it away. If I could I would. I wish so much I could go back and change things. This whole #@@% mess just hurts so much.

Sorry the emotions hit me hard. I do not want to attack you or accuse you. You have helped me open up things I did not want to see. with out you I would not be as far along as I am. I just want to say I am not evil for these things I have done.

Sorry I need to stop there. I just burn out and my thoughts leave me. It is ok keep going for the jugular. You help me open up feelings I try to hide and suppress. I need this in your face stuff sometimes it helps me see why I need to change. I really am going to change

thank you

Gratitude

hotspring, whatever your reasons for staying here and engaging with us addicts on this forum, I want to say "thank you" for being willing to do so, even when it is a painful thing for you to do.

time_for_change

Wow, a lot has transpired in

Wow, a lot has transpired in this discussion. It's getting juicy.

If my former post or this one seems harsh (or long), please know I intend no disrespect to any of you, just communicating honestly. I'm working on my delivery. This is why I don't usually post on internet forums:

Hotspring I didn't know you were talking about violent porn. There's so much and so many types of porn out there nowadays it's easy to get confused. I honestly saw your post as trying to take a topic (abortion) and make it tie into porn somehow, even in the most vague way, just to attack the MEN here because you were angry at them for being into regular vanilla porn (which isn't so great for performers or the viewers either, I know).

I was just trying to point out that your anger seemed to be narrowly targeted, not on ALL consumers of porn getting the actresses pregnant, but just consumers of porn from the male gender that are participants on this site. You said you've also viewed porn, so from your line of thinking you too have gotten them pregnant. Are you angry at you? It made me think, a child who watches porn or a female teenager or woman who watches porn, wouldn't get the same anger from you. Maybe because you don't think females like and watch porn either (many do), and of course anger at a little boy who's hooked on porn is just totally inappropriate. So maybe the real underlying issue isn't people being hooked on porn and consuming it, but violence towards women by men in a general sense (including porn) and oppression and inequality, which is wrong. It is the appropriate and natural response to feel outrage at injustice. But I didn't think most of the guys on this site were oppressors of women or supporters of violence against women. I still don't think that. But maybe I'm wrong about that. I guess I can only speak for myself.

Porn with violence done to women in it, as a means to excite men, I don't know what to say about that. Violence against women of any kind is upsetting and abhorrent, I understand that.

I understand that this type of porn and mostly ALL porn is made by men. I see these men as putting extremely effective and alluring poison out there in the world to make a profit with no concern for who who gets hooked or the damage it causes to those involved, and it does damage, not only to the performers (who are of both genders) but to many of the consumers who get hooked (who are both genders). We all need to take personal responsibility for our actions and choices, no one else can really do that for us. Nevertheless I don't feel its right to blame the consumer (of any gender) for getting hooked. Nowadays, it's soo easy, porn is all over the place, and there's so much ignorance about it. I don't think we can blame the performers either, blame and anger aren't the answer to this. By the way, I'm not trying to justify anyone's habit, that it's an excuse to keep on jerking away to porn cuz you just can't help yourself.

I just want to present a broader view that this isn't just a problem of strictly male consumers not being able to get a hold of themselves. We're all involved. Please check this out:

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/3073775/8737515
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOn_v5vzJcQ
http://www.netnanny.com/learn_center/article/160

I do care about the people in porn, I've actually met some of them, female and male. When I said I don't feel guilty, I wasn't trying to imply that I don't care or that I'm totally separate from everything. I wrote what I wrote because I saw the anger directed at guys here who know how bad porn is already and are trying to rid themselves of it , guys who are (from what I've seen) so down on themselves already it's ridiculous. So it's like preaching to the choir. No one who thinks porn is a great thing and wants to indulge in more would be attracted to a site like this. So I was like alright already they get it, it sucks for everyone.

I was thinking, what more do you want these guys to do that they aren't doing already to get a hold of themselves (this isn't rhetorical, I really would like to know some constructive ideas, (I have a few of my own)). So I got defensive. That was a mistake as apparently from the replies, some of the guys here want no defending and actually enjoy the confrontation and guilt. I think some guys here feel so bad about their "porn addiction" they want to be blamed and punished, because they feel they deserve it. This of course feeds into the addiction (IMO).

But I don't think us guys here should be coddled over our porn habits either. No need to give a thumbs up and a "good for you" for guys being hooked to porn. Seriously, I think as much should be done by us to steer our attention AWAY from the porn habit as possible, i.e. what do we actually want to do with our sexual energy or to feel good other than porn. Yes, our porno-baiting actions have consequences, both personal and to an extent global. But so do all of our actions and the actions of everything in all of existence to some extent when you think about it. Yes we've felt bad about it, yes, it can be addicting, so what are we going to do about it now besides feeling guilty, crying over withdrawal, counting the days and beating ourselves up?

In my view, porn isn't really the issue, it's sexual arousal and orgasm . That's what's addicting in my opinion. Porn, sex, masturbation, chat rooms, erotic stories, blow up dolls, and whatever else is out there, this is just the delivery system that leads to orgasm (dopamine blast in the brain, prolactin etc.). Porn without orgasm? What would be the point? Especially for a guy. If you couldn't have an orgasm from it, porn definitely wouldn't be an addiction anymore and we'd lose interest quick enough. Maybe I'm wrong. But for me I remember a time, before I had access to porn, that I would masturbate (in my early adolescence) and what would get me going would be my imagination or a sexy music video (back when they used to play them regularly on tv) or even my moms JC Penny catalog or something like that. That would work fine, because that was all I had. But when I got the internet towards the end of middle school, that changed everything, and it slowly escalated because more and more extreme stuff became so easily available, like women who were actually naked (totally shocking for me at the time). And then posing naked in provocative positions, women masturbating and finally, women actually having sex. Porn provided a quicker easier route to orgasm than the former ways. The ways of getting to the dopamine blast reward have fluctuated through the years for me, but this whole issue is still about sexual arousal and most important, the ORGASM.

I think you can give up porn without giving up orgasm and it might be easier at first than going cold turkey. Plenty of guys actually masturbate without porn. Orgasm and porn don't necessarily have to be connected and I don't see them as the same thing. On your road to finding a partner, if you haven't found someone and you feel you're going to slip into porn, you can slip and have arousal, stimulation and even an orgasm without going to porn. It may feel harder from conditioning self pleasure to porn over many years, but it's possible. Actually you can even do it without having a mental fantasy if you wanted (even tougher, but not impossible; you can feel and enjoy the sensations of arousal in your body without mental imagery with practice). You can even arouse yourself and decide not to orgasm at all. What I'm saying is, in slipping there are so many "better" ways to slip that don't involve ever going back to porn. So if you feel you have to, go back to the way you got by before you had porn, if you are fiending for an orgasm so bad and can't take it anymore. If there was a time you could orgasm without porn, why can't you go back to that? I'M NOT SAYING THIS IS THE BEST OPTION AND I'M NOT TRYING TO ENCOURAGE GUYS TO SLIP, BUT I THINK IT'S A BETTER WAY TO SLIP THAN GOING BACK TO PORN. Just trying to put some other ideas out there. Or better yet, do something constructive with the energy like exercise, sports, etc. Walking 3 miles a day helps me personally, and meditation. But making this whole thing so huge by calling it an addiction, saying you're in recovery and counting the days, and feeding off of any negative energy to perpetuate your feelings of guilt and suffering, I don't see that as constructive.

Most humans are addicted to orgasm period. And it's not because of some kind of character defect, it's natural actually. Orgasms have consequences, but I don't see libido or the urge for orgasm by itself as morally wrong. Orgasm is a part of most peoples lives in some way or another, but only a part, there's too much more to life to warrant making this such a big deal and giving it so much focus. If we choose to go the way of occasional orgasms (without porn of course) while single, it's best to put the majority of our focus on the rewarding non-sexual parts of our lives until finding an appropriate partner, that way we can more easily cope with the neuro-chemical ups and downs, like most people do, without blowing it out of proportion.

If you're going to give up all orgasms though, I feel that's harder in the society we live in and quite frankly unnatural. Not unnatural in a bad way, I think it's the best way (unless you desire a pregnancy), but I feel you're basically trying to rise above nature. You need to know how to do it, like through bonding behaviors and karezza and tantra, or if you're solo, through meditation and transmutation exercises like the 6th Tibetan rite or yoga postures like shoulderstand/fishpose, and brahmacharyasana; breathing techniques like ham-sah, etc. Or just getting soo busy and working so hard (physically) you don't even miss orgasms. Or maybe get religion.

But I think there's another addiction going on here too, the addiction to the struggle, the journey to recovery rather than being recovered and moving on. First, we make the journey impossibly difficult by saying I'm not going to ever orgasm at ALL until I find a partner (just stopping porn is not enough of a first step, no that might be too easy, I might actually manage that one). Then we fail, going back to orgasm (for some reason always with porn as if there were no other way to orgasm). We beat ourselves up, maybe get scolded on an internet forum or by a loved one, but then we get supported as well, we get told it's alright, you're doing a good job, you can do it, you can beat that pesky evil libido of yours, just try harder. Climb the impossible mountain one day at a time (it's not impossible but for a lot of guys it feels that way where they are). I ask what are we getting out of all this, and labeling ourselves addicts? There is an advantage to it. We get to try. And the great thing about trying is we get approval for failing, for feeling guilty and ashamed of ourselves, for keeping the cycle going without actually having to really change. And we get to have a story to tell. We get an identity. It's me the addict. I know who I am now. We're struggling or it's hard etc. And it gets all this focus.

When suffering, instead of saying it's porn withdrawal, OMG I'm such an addict, why not just say I'm having a bad day, and move on. This too shall pass. Just continue living your life and working toward what matters to you without giving your symptoms unnecessary attention. Even people who don't look at porn have a lot of the "withdrawal" feelings experienced by people here from time to time. Headaches, irritability, trouble focusing sometimes, sleeplessness, loneliness, horniness, overemotional, needy, clingy, emotionally distant, etc. You can even get similar feelings from quitting coffee or sugar or making other kinds of healthy changes like adjusting to a new diet. It's part of the human condition. The people who don't indulge in porn cope with these things in other ways, some healthier than porn and/or orgasm, some not. But great questions are, what can I do that's healthy other than porn or orgasm to feel better? What can I do that's healthy other than obsess over this to feel better? A whole new world opens up. If we were no longer obsessed with this struggle against our libido, maybe we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves because we would have so much free time and extra mental space. So we create the struggle and keep the struggle going. And of course what we resist persists. I think if we could see what we were getting from this way of being that we are choosing, it would be a lot easier to just see how silly it is and let it all go.

It might have been mentioned here already, but meetup.com is a very good site for connecting with others in the real world based on common interests.

Addiction is a simple thing

It's obvious that our brains are incredibly programmable, and its no secret how easily we take up the mantras of the day. On the other hand, we also possess free will, so we could, or at least I myself get excited about, the idea of programming my own brain, directing my own movie, and not following the herd. The inspiration that flows through me and all of us is unique, and is chomping at the bit to get out. Try to imagine something that's being overlooked, or has never been understood before. Stop a pattern that bores, offers nothing. Start one that intrigues.

Well Said

AC,

How true those words are. I think this is the key for overcoming porn addiction. I am 6 years into recovery now. I find I can look at images that used to send me into orbit -- and feel nothing. The power it has over me is almost gone. However, I must remain always vigilant as all men must. There is always that image, or woman, or whatever that comes out of nowhere that can destroy all you have achieved in a moment of weakness.

Great post

All of the concepts you raise are actually familiar here. I think you're mixing up two circumstances, however. I say this based on what men here have taught me.

The first situation involves people for whom your remarks are very useful: guys who are not really addicted. They're on the slippery slope, perhaps, but they're not on autopilot. No one here suggests that giving up orgasm completely while you're single is a good idea in such circumstances. Masturbation without porn, however, is a really smart thing to do, as you begin to lay down another pathway in your brain that circumvents porn. I've cited this link before, but you can look at tantra teacher Barry Long's thoughts on this for more details. http://www.reuniting.info/resources/porn_masturbation_addiction/barry_lo...

The second situation is porn addicts, and I can't tell you who's who, but people figure it out for themselves. They *really do* benefit from total abstention from orgasm, masturbation, arousal, sexy cues.... for a couple of months. It seems to allow the brain to reboot. Then, the occasional orgasm (without porn) seems to be no big deal. In other words, they're back to "normal," although they still have to be mindful of treacherous cues. After all, the old pathways are still in the brain, and can easily be reactivated...somewhat like jumping on a bike after many years.

Your advice, which is pretty much where I started out, is not correct for porn addicts. They need to "reboot" before they are ready for the program you propose. They should feel free to whine and emote all they want while going through the miserable withdrawal. "Stiff upper lip" advice is not appropriate. They'll get there when they get there.

In both cases, daily bonding behaviors (or other friendly interaction) can make the process easier...as can many of the other things you name.

In both cases, guilt is totally unproductive. Blaming consumers is not helpful, however, porn is going to be with us, and big business, for the foreseeable future...and only the consumers can do anything about the situation by turning their attention to recovery (if necessary) and balance. In the process, they can become stronger, healthier, wiser human beings than they were before porn entered their lives. It's like boot camp. Tough, but character building. And nothing to be ashamed of.

Thanks for your post. Hope my delivery wasn't too direct. Wink

Thank you for your reply

I'm glad you understand what I was trying to say, and I like your direct delivery. But I think you're right, I am mixing up two different situations perhaps. I was assuming most of the guys on here were the average case of using porn with masturbation at most a few times a week if they get the time, like I was. If that's the case, then I don't really see it as a real addiction. If it hasn't taken hold of you to the point that you have no power over it, it's just a negative habit that can be changed if you want to.

I guess some cases are way more extreme than that, and I don't mean to downplay anyone's suffering. I was giving suggestions I thought would make this process easier on guys and more fruitful. I feel like focusing so much on the journey of suffering can make it worse than it has to be, and keep you in it. Even if you are in withdrawal, there are things that can make it bearable so you aren't totally miserable and incapacitated. But maybe the withdrawal gets so bad you need medical attention like people addicted to very heavy drugs, in which case, you should get it. But extra sleep, exercise, meditation, even tylenol if you need it, fish oil, whatever supports a healthy functioning body. I mentioned some yoga exercises and breathing techniques that have helped me if I get horny (the 6th Tibetan is the quickest one I know), but I know horniness isn't the only withdrawal symptom.

For me, ending a porn habit is, at best, creating a vacuum in your life. It's great to get rid of what you don't want but that empty space needs to be filled, as best you can. But for me, shifting focus, not thinking about it so much makes it easier, because by shifting your focus onto doing other things (whatever it is you're wanting to accomplish or do or experience) you totally forget about the old habit and way over time, as you focus on creating what you want. I wanted to exercise more, so I walk. I wanted to get better at meditation. I wanted to be more social, so I joined meetup. One particular meetup I joined is for shy people because I was dealing with not being comfortable with people, "social anxiety". I joined a mens group. These are just some examples and I'm still working on things I want to accomplish, like going out even more and meeting more women, and improving my business, and finishing school. But honestly, I don't think getting rid of a negative habit, even an addiction, automatically makes everything else positive. It does help, but I feel like negative goals, one's that just focus on getting rid of something bad, shouldn't be the emphasis. Don't most of the guys here want a relationship or to make their marriages more successful, or to get control of their sexual energy so they can be healthier and use that energy towards achieving some goals? Why not focus on the journey to that, and better ways of getting those things. Just avoiding porn and orgasm wont necessarily give you the skills to have these things. If I were counting days, I would count everyday I took a step towards something positive, and not just avoiding something negative, as a success.

But I guess that's not the case for all, and maybe it's not for everyone. I don't mean to offend anyone here.

Thanks for your posts

Thanks for your posts, it is good to read alternative viewpoints and I'll second Asher in encouraging you to keep posting.

[quote=strategist]I was assuming most of the guys on here were the average case of using porn with masturbation at most a few times a week if they get the time, like I was. If that's the case, then I don't really see it as a real addiction. If it hasn't taken hold of you to the point that you have no power over it, it's just a negative habit that can be changed if you want to.[/quote]

I think if you read around the site some more you'll find a lot of accounts that describe seriously compulsive behaviour. Marnia's collection of accounts in this post (http://www.reuniting.info/node/1722) is worth a look. Here's one extract that describes how bad it can get "I could go a whole weekend inside mostly consuming porn and jacking. During the week I would do an hour a night- sometimes more."

I don't know whether the 'average case' is a few times a week like you describe... in truth I'd be interested to know stats on this, i.e. how many men who use porn, haven't descended into serious compulsion.

[quote=strategist]For me, ending a porn habit is, at best, creating a vacuum in your life. It's great to get rid of what you don't want but that empty space needs to be filled, as best you can.[/quote]

The old saying "nature abhors a vacuum" comes to mind - I've found that once that vacuum is created, the air just rushes in :)

time_for_change

All good suggestions

and excellent advice. My only quibble was with the masturbation advice. And only because the gentlemen here have taught me otherwise.

A focus on the positive is very healthy, and it sounds like you are making terrific progress. Thanks for not keeping it to yourself. Smile

I kind of understand what

I kind of understand what you are saying. The only thing is if I give in just one inch at the moment it will take me too long to regroup. I need to act now. For myself. Avoiding porn and orgasm may not give me skills. I will be ok with that. It will make me feel better about myself and like myself more. Everyday I count is a positive. Each day I go without porn is a positive. Maybe I do not understand. All I know is I have to avoid porn. If at this time I even considered masturbation/orgasm I know porn would get involved. Maybe others can have one with out the other. I know as of now I can not. That is why I have to go without any of it. I want to make it past 60 days. After that I will see if I do reboot.
Then I will know what I need to do from that point.

Thanks for your advice or suggestions. Every thing helps in some way.

I understand.

We're all unique and know what it takes for each of us personally.

I think people are habitual creatures, so no matter what we do, we're going to be addicts to something (or habituated to something) So whatever it is that is keeping you away from porn and masturbation right now, that is a positive habit that should be emphasized. So for example if it's working out at the gym, you would say, OK day 10 of working out. Day 11 of eating healthier food and supplementing my diet. Day 12 of getting away from the internet, going out more, and meeting new people. Day 13 of meditation, day 14 of working on my underlying emotional issues (that you used porn to escape from) with TAT or some other modality, day 15 of connecting with old friends and loved ones, etc. I see this whole addiction as an issue of restoring your mental, emotional and physical health and well being. That's what we all want. That's the goal. So what are the habits that I'm doing everyday, to support myself in that goal as best I can (besides this internet forum, the reading of which will not solve the underlying issues IMO). Don't get me wrong, I think this forum is great. It gives a lot of info, a sense of community support and also accountability which is awesome, but in a way, going to the forum as your ONLY source of relief is only a temporary distraction from your porn urges (comparable to distracting yourself from the urges with TV or web browsing) and it can distract you from dealing with and healing the real source of the urges (poor ability to deal with changes, stress, emotional pain and trauma from the past, relationship and communication issues, sickness, unhealthy body and lifestyle) that lured you to escape into porn use in the first place. These are the real issues, that have nothing to do with porn. Pain is a signal, it's there for a reason, it's trying to get our attention. It's saying please deal with me, don't ignore me! Porn is simply one out of many ways available of escaping pain instead of going within, finding the source of it, and healing it. Of course you might get horny sometimes, but hopefully you have a variety of effective healthy things that you can do immediately to make you feel better. Then it's not such a drawn out journey that emphasizes suffering and minimizes using the tools and strategies to fix it. And if you're addressing the underlying issues as best you can, its a much happier smoother productive journey. Just offering a different way of looking at what you guys are already doing. But I understand it might not be for some.

Concerning my personal journey

I'm also in a place where I don't seek self stimulation orgasm or porn. But it didn't start out that way for me. My journey has been more like a natural progression over time, and I understand that might not be the way for everyone, especially those that go the cold turkey path.

I tried cold turkey at the beginning. Very difficult, but as I progressed, very frequent wet dreams would keep me in the orgasm cycle anyway, so I would slip. In that process, I ended up experimenting with different things over time.

So I went from masturbating with orgasm (most of the time with porn also), to trying to quit cold turkey and failing, to masturbating without orgasm (sometimes with porn), and being able to not go over the edge very consistently. You have to want to retain your seed more than you want to ejaculate or be overwhelmed by the pleasure for this to work; it's about riding the wave of sensations. I got to a place where I was pretty good at never ending the porno-baiting with ejaculation. But then this became less appealing as the visual stimulation of porn started to feel more and more overwhelming and sickening to me, I started feeling repulsed. It felt like it was just too much going on for me to handle. This was never the case when I ejaculated to it, I just had a temporary loss of interest. Going the non-ejaculatory route with porn, I began to realize it was taking me out of my body and my own sensations because I was so focused on what she or they were doing on the screen, all my attention and energy was kinda in my eyes and head, so fixated on the visuals. Very narrow and limited. Also I felt really weird. I wasn't particularly drained afterward since I didn't ejaculate, but my energy was off. Didn't feel good after a while.

So then I realized I don't need porn at all. I decided to experiment with self stimulation without porn and without ever ejaculating and was able to do that pretty easily. I could feel and enjoy the arousal and energy through my whole body, and also I would use some energy exercises and breathing afterward to redistribute the arousal. Just doing that practice and making sure never to go to the point of no return, over time diminished my desire for any masturbation. The more I did it, the more I felt fine not doing it, and the frequency of needing it diminished. I was doing meditation while all this was going on. As I wanted self stimulation less and less, I found I was also wanting to meditate more.

I'm now much more interested in meditation. I also do the 5 Tibetan rites, it feels great, although I've slipped in doing some of the traditional yoga postures I mentioned before and will get back to doing them more consistently. They're good for transmuting sexual energy. Because in terms of sexual self control, the thing I'm interested in now mainly is eliminating any nocturnal emissions, and certain yoga poses are supposed to help with that. The energy loss and loss of equilibrium from a nocturnal emission is way less than orgasm when awake for me, but that changes the more frequent the nocturnal emissions occur. Many of them have more of an effect on my equilibrium.

It's much better now, but it used to be pretty bad, as much as a couple of "wet dreams" a week after I stopped ejaculating while awake. Most of them weren't really even erotic dreams, or even that wet, just slight emissions, which I would wake up in the middle of it happening, sometimes I could catch it and squeeze back. But most times by the time I would wake up, it was already happening. I was concerned because I didn't think I should be having wet dreams in my twenties. So I tried kegels. They're great; good for the prostate, erections and whatever, but just doing kegels alone didn't fix this issue ( I would do so many!). Yoga transmutation exercises and some changes in diet have helped. So now it's down to about once a month, and if it happens, it doesn't spin me back into orgasm or porn or even non-ejaculatory self stimulation. But if I do my yoga exercises more consistently, I think I can do better than that and eliminate them entirely. If you don't have this problem I think you're lucky, although there's an internet forum out there for guys trying desperately to HAVE wet dreams. Ironic. But I'm really just curious to see what will happen if I can stop all nocturnal orgasms.

I remember

reading the Q&A in Mantak Chia's book Taoist Secrets of Love. Some guy was asking about stopping wet dreams - he was already doing all the recommended solo exercises- and Chia said if the exercises aren't working completely, "listen to you body and find a woman."

That's especially interesting advice in light of our own experience. Gary said he would/could never have stopped masturbating if he hadn't had a partner. Somehow having a partner makes it easier not to ejaculate..assuming karezza-style lovemaking is the method of choice.

On another subject, we are not suggesting that people may not have other issues. We are suggesting that a reward circuitry out of balance will continue to create "issues"...no matter how many other issues are "solved." We can't expect therapists to heal the imbalances we are creating with our own excessive behavior.

It's time and effort well spent to restore reward circuitry balance. In our experience both the other issues and the help to overcome them seem to show up at the right times, as one makes a solid effort to restore balance.

There's no one right formula, of course, as healing on both levels tends to occur simultaneously. Yet to focus on healing "other issues" before rebalancing is not necessarily the most productive path (even though many people believe that).

Of course, healthy steps like friendly interaction, exercise, meditation, etc. are helpful in rebalancing the brain. And they may, in the process, help heal other issues, too.

That is interesting

The yoga has worked, except I haven't been doing it that often. I consider bringing the frequency of the emissions down to once a month by doing yoga only occasionally to be a success for me. But if I do those 2 yoga poses daily before bed (only takes 15 min max) then I think the emissions will be gone for good.

Of course finding a woman is a great idea. But the emissions weren't happening because I was feeling excessive desire for a woman, or horny or sexual frustration or anything like that during the day. A lot of the times I would feel great on an abstinence streak, no desire for orgasm, and it would still happen. I'm working on it by , but I'm not too concerned over it anymore.

Also Marnia, I never said to heal psychological issues first and then try to avoid orgasm after you've healed those issues. I'm suggesting that these 2 things need to happen at the same time, and one complements the other, especially dealing with physical wellbeing issues. I should have put an emphasis on that in my post, not dealing with emotional causes of addiction with TAT, although it is very helpful while abstaining.

Stopping orgasm and porn, and changing nothing else in your life, while waiting around for 2 weeks suffering. And then after that period, presto!, by some miracle you feel great and you're also more social and emotionally balanced and healthy? I don't think it works that way. Maybe if we lived in a tribe thousands of years ago, or lived in a culture that wasn't so sick, unbalanced, and unconnected to natural living, then it would work by itself.

Finding a woman and practicing karezza is great. But how many single guys here are actually able to do it like that? Just find a woman first of all, and then successfully practice karezza with her? I'm sure some guys do and it's no problem for them. But even after abstaining from orgasm for a month or 2, meeting someone and practicing karezza can still be a problem for a lot of single people. Especially if they're not good at finding a mate because they're nervous, anxious, or awkward. Trying or succeeding at being orgasm free by itself doesn't fix all that.

If they don't focus on healthy living and ways of dealing with the energy while single, it can feel like physical and emotional torture, not balance, no matter how much time passes without orgasm. The more time passes without orgasm, the more they might start to feel depressed inside. That's what happened with one of the posts I read on here.

If I hadn't dealt with things like eating much healthier foods, exercise, fresh air, and getting proper rest while not having orgasm too, it would be much much harder to get to balance by pushing through the symptoms of withdrawal by brute force day by day. Meditation especially and sexual transmutation exercises have been the greatest help to me in dealing with physical urges and feeling at ease emotionally. They do bring you back into balance. You feel better right away without waiting weeks or months until finding a partner. Focusing primarily on healthy living on all levels (especially physical) while avoiding orgasm at the same time, has made not orgasming so much easier and pain free.

I need to stop posting so much. It's taking up more time than I wanted.

Thanks

Strategist, your incisive 'pin' just pricked the huge bubble my ego had blown up around what I've been striving for the last 11 days.

I had lost the plot. Instead of being obsessed with orgasm, I had become obsessed with NOT orgasming. I had replaced one obsession with another. (Ego loves obsessions...they help strengthen it by building up a gripping story that the mind finds hard to break away from.)

Has there been much good in the last 11 days? OF COURSE, and I can feel that goodness in my mind, heart and body. But last night, when I read over your post, I was in a state of despair...and there were not even any tears to wash it away with, it was just cold and stale. Then I suddenly realized the saying: "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart". My initially noble and heart-oriented sacrifice for the sake of truth and healing had become a millstone around my neck. It was time to let go.

Yes, let go I did. I relieved the built up pressure as one lets out steam. The choice was fully mine. I was becoming stone-like. I couldn't even meditate anymore, the most vital spiritual practice I know of. My thoughts would just fly around the mind and never calmly reside in peace. Even while fully in the addiction I could always meditate. But my 'too long a sacrifice' was even taking over that area iof my life.

Please keep coming back. Like hotspring, who you were answering, you seem to have an ability to argue outside of the set paradigm. It is mind opening.

By the way, I'm not about to rush back into full on porn addiction just because I 'came' last night. I actually still seek continence and freedom from porn forever. But I will not be too bloody-minded, i will keep my perspective. It is a living a whole life that really matters, not how many days one can 'not orgasm'.

Hi. That is a long post.

Hi. That is a long post. I've already been pretty verbose in this conversation so I will just try to clarify a few things very simply (I have to go meet Aphrodites in a minute here so don't have a lot of time - no disrespect intended).

Firstly, I have watched very little porn and the stuff I have watched came out of a desire to make sure that I was not reacting negatively to something I knew nothing about. I have no real curiosity about porn other than the very basic curiosity most humans have in seeing what others look like doing it. I don't find it very arousing or worth my time. I've never been hooked on it, but I see how people could be, mostly because most people in this culture are bored and boring and prefer passive forms of distraction from this boredom. I have a very good friend who was a porn producer in LA for years, and numerous friends who watch porn, and many women friends who have been strippers. So I don't think I'm totally ignorant about porn.

That said, if we take that mathematical equation of mine to be correct - that anyone who has watched any porn is partially repsonsible for the pornstars unwanted pregnancies, then of course I include myself in that group, for the total of about 10 hours of porn I have watched in my life.

My post on abortion came not out of a deep desire to make the porn watchers on this site feel guilty. It came first of all from an experience I had taking the bus past an anti-abortion protest, and tying together the points the anti-abortionist were trying to make about abortion together with some things that came to light from watching Shelly Lubbin's site: 1) that porn addiction is a big problem within the Christian community, 2) that many porn stars get pregnant from shoots and have abortions, and 3) that therefore many of the christian anti-abortionist may have a large number within their own communities who are partially responsible for those abortions, even if they are unware of it.

The observation that our collective porn watching is leading to abortions led me to ask the question of how man abortions the porn watchers on this site think are theirs, assuming that the collective cause and effect of this observation is true (which you may not think it is).

Your response elicited some of my deeper resentments that you were sensing in the post, resentments that I am not out to hide and hope to get over some day.

Tonight I return to the

Tonight I return to the hotel. In the lower level parking area a young woman is searching for her pass key. Mine is ready, I open the door and hold it for her. She smiles a quick thank you and hurries up the stairs that go to the street, not into the hotel. I think she didn't want to wait and ride with me alone in the elevator. I am a 6' 175# mature male. Sometimes, infrequently, I am afraid of the people around me. I mourn for the fear a healthy young woman must bear.
And now I read strategist's response
Hotspring calls on us to look at the ramifications of our sexuality.
I do not hear her words as an attack on men but on patriarchy ("Creating Love" by John Bradshaw), repression and the unexamined life.
Her words lead me to introspection, not to defense.
I agree with Marnia that guilt will not lead us out of this mess. My way out was to chose to be a loving man. One of the ways I used to justify my habit was to restrict the amount of money I put out. The free porn on the internet was a boon. But every click is counted and in some way sold. Any level of support for that industry causes harm. Polarizing it into a male/female issue can be a distraction when what is needed is compassionate action.
And about bombs. If we are ignorant of the consqeuences of our actions we can allow great evil to happen. Our society has created a dependency on gasoline. I chose to own and drive a car. The oil fields of Iraq were owned by the state and profits benefited the people. Now, by the blood of thousands of our heros and hundreds of thousands of innocents, the oil is in the hands of multinational corporations. Am I responsible?

Ultimate Morality

The concept of ultimate morality was raised above, then Aphrodites asked us to look at our responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

By ultimate morality, I think what was meant was viewing human actions from a single, objective viewpoint, so that the issues of absolute right and wrong can be sorted out. Some religious leaders talk this way. They make it sound like there is an absolute right and wrong, which can be determined based on biblical or other principles. I used to think that way too. I used to think that I was capable of viewing the world objectively and dispassionately. I thought I could sort out issues like pornography.

The problem with that position comes when you inevitably have to face your own involvement, your own personal responsibility for a situation you created, even with the best of intentions. The truth is that no person is capable of viewing life objectively and dispassionately. We are all affected by our emotions and perceptions. We all have a tendency to think that our own motives are pure while questioning those of others. We all have acted in a way that created unintended consequences.

Hotsprings is correct when she says:

I am simply trying to point out that porn takes place in real time with real people with real consequences, and if you watch porn, you are responsible for those consequences even if you aren't acknowledging it. Porn is easily dismissed as being harmful to relationships because it is not "real." I think the pregnancy and abortion issue are the most obvious way to dispel this. If women get pregnant on porn sets and have abortions, then in a way, the guy that got her pregnant is not just the guy she was shooting the movie with, but all of the people that supported the industry and payed to view that porn. But I guess I already made that point.

Others are also correct when they point out that the women themselves are also responsible for the unfortunate situation they are in. They made the decision to be there, to get involved. They had the power to say no.

Where does that get us? In the end, you can argue the point back and forth, but it won't stop people from the unintended consequences of their actions. The fact is that nobody considers themselves to be evil. We ALL believe that our motives are pure. So, I no longer argue at the level of ultimate morality. I just do the best I can to work with those around me, to minimize the consequences of my own actions and to help where I can.

I am Canadian. We Canadians see ourselves as peace loving, friendly, polite people. Yesterday, I attended a session where representatives from Africa and South America discussed the damage that Canadian mining companies, with the alleged help of the Canadian government and the tacit consent of the Canadian people, have done to the environment and economies of their countries. Put more starkly, the harsh chemicals used to extract metal from ore are literally killing aboriginal people. I, too, am responsible for what is wrong in the world.

P.

Sacred corruption

Women have always been held to a higher standard of behavior than men. "Boys will be boys," and in the meantime women learn early on that there are profound consequences to their sexual actions. I think Hotspring elegantly expresses the disdain that eventually surfaces in the female response to sexual disrespect. It arises after the shock and the disappointment, and it's a central part of our emotional relationship with men, along with the compassion we feel, and the responsibility that is also ours as women.

Yes the truth can hurt. Can it also heal? I have to admit that while it is cathartic for me to speak my truth, or to read someone else's expression of it, I will become immediately defensive when someone points out my failings point blank. I look for ways to preserve my ego, but the real truth is that in this world, self and other are intertwined.

I know not everyone here believes in reincarnation, but I do. I recently read that our lives number not in the tens or hundreds or even thousands, but in the hundreds of thousands. That means that this life is like one of those dreams I can't remember when I wake up. The present is a moment of extreme spiritual ill-health and confusion, most dramatically expressed in the misuse and abuse of our sexual power. This power is now in a state of sacred corruption, but remember that it's always darkest before the dawn...

I don't believe in reincarnation, but . . .

A friend who does believe in it said something I found engaging. We experience time as progressive, but God/Creation stands outside of time. Maybe we are living all of our lives simultaneously rather than sequentially.

On your other point, Galileo, I am familiar with the feminist viewpoint of the different standards for men and women. I am also familiar with how people who self identify as being black view white people's role in history. I also have to deal with the way that North American aboriginal people accuse Europeans of interference (and worse). As I said above, my country is being blamed for raping the environment. My generation has been blamed for a plethora of woes by my children's generation. I find this frustrating on two counts:

1. EVERYBODY seems to be able to find a way in which they have been discriminated against. This leads to the feelings and politics of victimization. That's a trap for both the "exploiter" and the "victim".

2. There's a limit to what I can feel responsible for. I am not every male, white, Euro-Canadian old guy. I am me. I seem to have benefited from my history. I seem to be somehow privileged, but honestly, it doesn't feel that way. I try to help the people around me as best I can.

P.

I have to dash off

to a workshop, but I'm really happy this discussion has moved into metaphysics.

Ultimately regaining clarity/equilibrium is a spiritual path. And most all traditions claim that this cannot be achieved without careful sexual management. This suggests that humans have actually learned something practical about increasing inner clarity over the milennia. These days, in my veiw, the neurochemistry is explaining why such advice works.

Personally I believe that our physical experience is indeed a sort of dream, extending through time/space (which is itself a sort of "bubble" in Reality). As we regain spiritual clarity this becomes more evident.

The goal is awakening, and it's my understanding that when we do, we heal our entire adventure in the bubble...kind of like yanking a strand of spaghetti out of the bowl of chaos. Wink

Meanwhile, making our bad dreams "real" is not as helpful as forgiving bad karma others have earned. After all, with each act of forgiveness, we guarantee forgiveness for our own bloopers. This process also helps speed spiritual clarity, because it is a reminder of our oneness. Porn is everyone's problem, and ultimately it heals in loving reunion.

Bye for now!

Thanks everyone for such an

Thanks everyone for such an engaging discussion.

The Buddhist perspective offers a lot to this discussion, and informs my thinking. I appreciate you bringing up ultimate morality, poet.

I would see the dilemma more in terms of karma, which is simply an understanding of cause and effect. Karma is tied into the basic concept of inherent emptiness of all phenomenon - which DOES NOT MEAN that life is meaningless and empty, and so our choices and decisions and their ramifications don't matter. Inherent emptiness of all existence is the simply the notion that nothing is inherently self-existent. This is another way of pointing out that everythign is connected, interrelated. If you were to break things down into a microscopic level, you would not be able to definitively say where I stop and you begin. We all inform eachother, and the whole. We are interdependent. We are not actually self-existent. The idea that we are, that we have an "I", is an illusion. The idea that you have an "I" that is distinct from the porn star's I, or my I, is an illusion. It arises in the discrepancy between the relative and the absolute. The sense of the I has the function of navigating through relative reality. But it's not the whole picture. The problem is when we mistake the relative plane for the whole enchilada, which its not. This is a very literal and very limited way of thinking. Furthermore, its simply not accurate. Yes, the "I" exists, but the notion that the I is an indipendent phenomenon does not bear water.

The concept of Karma, or cause and effect, comes from this basic understanding of the interrelatedness of all things. If I am connected in all ways to my environment, then everything I do has an effect, that ripples out indefinately in many directions. So, if we were to break down the scenario of of the porn addict paying for porn that pays for the producers to pay for the porn star to star in the film, in which she may get pregnant, than you are tied up in the karmic cause and effect scenario of her pregnancy. If the porn actress got pregnant and you were one of 598,000 watchers who paid for that film, the fraction of your responsibility in the abortion might be a small fraction of a total collective responsibility (which also includes her responsibility to herself as part of the equation). So in 20 years of porn watching, on a daily average of whatever your daily average is, you might only be technically responsible for .03 abortions or some such.

I am doing this absurd exercise in mathematics because I think it could be shown in a very technical and literal way the probability that you may have caused an abortion from your porn viewing. But these numbers aren't the point, because .03 abortions isn't much different than .06, and I don't mean to imply that its just the number that raises the question of how guilty you should feel. The point is the motivation.

What is the motivation? A woman getting an abortion may have any number of motivations for her action. She may feel that the child would have few opportunities or live in poverty if she had it at that moment. She may have the motivation of self-preservation (not wanting to raise a child alone, etc). But still, the difference in motivating factor still does not change the fact that that baby didn't make it into the world.

It seems like we all know that your motivations in watching porn are not to cause violence to women. That does not change the fact that violence towards women is being perpetrated in the name of whatever other motivations you had for viewing it.

Yes, we all have to make our own choices, and they're always changing, and in this day and age, usually challenging. I have chosen not to drive a car or fly in a plane for five years to reduce environmental impacts and use of bloody oil. I now have started flying again so that I can attend courses that will allow me to develop skills that will help people. So I made a personal choice that the good that would come from the expenditure of the oil would compensate for the damage it would do. It's hard to measure these things.

I think that there is something else going on here that we haven't rooted out yet - something about violence towards women that just speaks to the need you men have to seize your power and have it be so overwhelmingly convincing that women just can't help themselves but completely surrender. Now that is a lovely thing, when what you want to do to her is beautiful and when you do muster the courage to seize your power. But watching violent porn is a shoddy substitute for that dynamic that you could have for yourselves. Instead, it reinforces unhealthy dynamics between the sexes, and keeps you spent and powerless.

So despite the pain it causes me to know some of the things I now do about how many men operate, I take solace in knowing that these dynamics are distorted and unhealthy manifestations of very healthy urges. Us women WANT you to be powerful, we are starving for it. That is why the saddest and most hurtful thing is NOT the fact that you watch violent porn and in many cases are unaware of or don't care about the consequences, but that you have become so powerless that you cannot even discern anymore the roots of your deepest desires as men to be powerful men, and keep on choosing such a poor substitute for who you really are. That is the insult.

BTW, on a lighter note, I wanted to mention, almrazim, that your description of being turned on by the woman who was being blasted with a water jet until she came and came was not something I think of as particularly hardcore. True, I didn't see the film, but actually all it did was remind me of the days when I was a teenager and would happily enjoy any jet I could find, whether in a jacuzzi or swimming pool. Water jets are a shoddy substitute for a real man, but they do the trick, again and again. Further, they don't get you pregnant. So, you're slate's clean as far as any shared responsibility for abortion on that particular flick, almrazim!

Trust me if you saw the

Trust me if you saw the video you would change your mind. There was far more going on than just the water I just did not want to describe all of it and no there was no "sex" with a man involved. If you wish I can describe the whole video but I really do not want to.

I do not believe I will/could be violent. Just the thought of that scares me a great deal.

To be a powerful man. I have no idea how to be that. I do not even know where to begin. I have been lost in this addiction so long how do I find my way. How do I become this powerful man without slipping into violence. Again I fear being violent so much it makes the thought of being powerful hard. My views are so distorted at this time it is hard to separate power/violence. I know there is a difference. I just do not trust myself enough at this time to make that distinction.

What you say may be true most of it probably is. My first reaction to most of your post is anger. That gets me no where so I reread. That helps after anger is gone I then see more clearly. I have to then realize why I was anger. The truth hurts. It makes one defensive. If I face all of this head on I will either come out the other side healed and healthy or completely break. Which will it be. I do not know to be honest.
I know which I want. I have to come out healed all the way or I will just sink back to the addiction. I have to be balanced. I have to be this powerful man you speak of without violence. I have to be true to myself and everyone around me. I resisted the idea of me causing such a ripple. I want to say I am me and I only affect me. But that is not being true that is a lie. As hard as it is to accept it is the truth.

Has anyone here seen the movie Butterfly Effect. If nothing else that movie shows how much an effect one person can have.

I am just lost. I have found part of a map but I have no clue how to read it.

You speak of insult. Maybe I am. I am weak and timid. I have know no other way. I do not even know if I can change. I know I want to. I am trying but in the end can I. I use I a lot even if it is an illusion. I can not see part the Illusion you speak of.

I agree I am powerless still. It would be so easy to just slip back to the addiction. Let it all go. I could live out the rest of my life and not care or worry about what my actions cause. I think I could even convince my addicted brain well enough to be come numb to any hurt I am causing.

I am choosing to not go that path. I do not care how much pain I personally have to endure. I do not want to be part of such a painful thing any longer. I have been part of that world long enough to cause more damage than I believe I can make up for. All I can really do is to stop or at least slow down the pain and hurt I cause.

I fear nothing I say will help in any way to fix the insult you feel I and other men have caused. I can only say how I feel. I can only try to do better for myself. If that helps balance out some of the pain and evil I have cause that is good. It does not fix things but at least I can put some good out there instead of just the bad I have put out for so long.

This may sound like I am beating myself up it really is not. I am just looking at it honestly. If I keep hiding from it I stand no chance of healing.

Will I heal. Will I get better. Can I reduce My impact of pain and suffering. I do not know yet. I can only hope. Will it ever be enough. probably not.

I am lost about what else to say. I am not that good with putting thought and feeling to words. Well I do not feel that I am. I never get down exactly what I want to. I will just have to go with what I can get down.

thanks

Hope? Don't rely on hope!

Hope? Don't rely on hope! Rely on action.

You seem very clear about your desire to live a better life. Power is just the ability to respect this desire to live a better life. Power is about personal integrity and love.

Words are limiting, and I've written enough. If I could, I'd make you a piece of pie and give you a neck rub (you've been doing a lot of thinking and feeling!).

I hope I don't sound too hypocritical saying that I hope that you find peace within yourself, after I've been so confrontational. But I do think you can find it if you make the choices that are in line with your obviously decent and caring self.

BTW, the "I" is not an illusion. The illusion is that this I is self-existent, that it is a phenomenon that exists indipendently of anything else.

Ok action it is. I think I

Ok action it is. I think I get the Illusion part a little better.

I also am burnt out. I think I will force myself to take the rest of the day off from posting after this. I need to relax. Not let my guard down. I just need so down time.

thanks for clearing that up

Karma

Hotspring,

Karma can be taken too literally, like some celestial accounting ledger that balances the large suffering of the one against the small suffering of the many in your example. To me, the point is that when one suffers, all are diminished, because there truly is no difference between "one" and "all". In the Hindu story, Arjuna refuses to fight because he realizes that the "enemy" is really his family. Your example is the woman who has chosen to have an abortion and the man viewing the image. Those two are not the only actors. Many others brought those two people to that place and that time. There are reasons why both the man and the woman did something they would otherwise not do. If both had truly understood the consequences of their actions and had felt free to do the right thing, neither would have done what they did. You have been pointing an angry finger. Is there someone else you are thinking about in addition to your example of the woman who has an abortion?

Suffering blinds us to the true beauty of the universe. Could I share my favourite poem with you? It is very old and I don't know who wrote it. I wish I could remember where I read it.

I heard the bell ringing
There was no I
There was no bell
There was only ringing

P.

This whole convo about

This whole convo about responsibility and causes reminds me of stuff I read a while back from Nisargadatta's I AM THAT:

As long as you believe yourself to be a body, you will ascribe
causes to everything. I do not say things have no causes. Each
thing has innumerable causes. It is as it is, because the world is
as it is. Every cause in its ramifications covers the universe.
There are no causes, but your ignorance of your real being,
which is perfect and beyond causation. For whatever happens,
all the universe is responsible and you are the source of the
universe. (347)

All that happens is the cause of all that happens. Causes are
numberless; the idea of a sole cause is an illusion. (398)

The wise man counts nothing as his own. When at some time
and place some miracle is attributed to some person, he will
not establish any causal link between events and people, nor
will he allow any conclusions to be drawn. All happened as it
happened because it had to happen; everything happens as it
does, because the universe is as it is. (270)

The deed is a fact, the doer a mere concept. Your very
language shows that while the deed is certain, the doer is
dubious; shifting responsibility is a game peculiarly human.
Considering the endless list of factors required for anything to
happen, one can only admit that everything is responsible for
everything, however remote. Doership is a myth born from the
illusion of "me" and "mine". I do not have the feeling that I am
talking. There is talking going on, that is all. Do you [really
talk]? You hear yourself talking and you say: I talk. I have no
objections to the conventions of your language, but they distort
and destroy reality. A more accurate way of saying would have
been: "There is talking, working, coming, going". For anything
to happen, the entire universe must coincide. It is wrong to
believe that anything in particular can cause an event. Every
cause is universal. Your very body would not exist without the
entire universe contributing to its creation and survival. I am
fully aware that things happen as they happen because the
world is as it is. To affect the course of events, I must bring a
new factor into the world and such factor can only be myself,
the power of love and understanding focussed in me. (389)

The idea of responsibility is in your mind. You think there must be something or somebody solely responsible for all that happens. There is a contradiction between a multiple universe and a single cause. Either one or the other must be false. Or both. As I see it, it is all day-dreaming. There is no reality in ideas. The fact is that without you, neither the universe nor its cause could have come into being. (502)

Most of our karma is collective. We suffer for the sins of others, as others suffer for ours. Humanity is one. (465)

Ignorance is like a fever - it makes you see things which are not there. Karma is the divinely prescribed treatment. Welcome it and follow the instructions faithfully, and you will get well. A patient will leave the hospital after he recovers. To insist on immediate freedom of choice or action will merely postpone recovery. Accept your destiny and fulfill it - this is the shortest way to freedom from destiny. (489)

The world had all the time to get better, yet it did not. What hope is there for the future? Of course, there have been and will be periods of harmony and peace, when sattva was in ascendence, but things get destroyed by their own perfection. A perfect society is necessarily static and, therefore, it stagnates and decays. From the summit all roads lead downwards. Societies are like people - they are born, they grow to some point of relative perfection and then decay and die. (419)

Man does not change much over the ages. Human problems remain the same and call for the same answers. (445)

It was the same ten thousand years ago, and will be the same ten thousand years hence. Centuries roll on, but the human problem does not change - the problem of suffering and the ending of suffering. (459)

The world does not yield to changing. By its very nature it is painful and transient. See it as it is and divest yourself of all desire and fear. When the world does not hold and bind you, it becomes an abode of joy and beauty. You can be happy in the world only when you are free of it. (504)

All very interesting. I

All very interesting. I like these points and agree with them. Yes, all this talk is daydreaming. Yet we do find ourselves in this dream. Even if we realize momentarily that it is unreal, unless we are enlightened, it is unlikely that we will be able to sustain this realization for long enough to actually apply it to our ignorance-mind. In other words, since we are usually in a state of ignorance, it might be more useful to get closer to an understanding of what that ignorance consists of. We can read about that enlightened state, but it does not always give us a road map out of the mess of our delusion.

The strange thing about reality or our perception or mis-perception of it is that there is not just emptiness: emptiness is formm (ie, Ultimate and relative define one another - to realize the ultimate does not do away with relativity). There would be no emptiness without form, as Chogyam Trungpa points out in his book, "Cutting through Spiritual Materialsm:"

"Avalokiteshvara said, 'Oh Shariputra, form is empty, emptiness is form: form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form." . . . We should be very precise about the meaning of the term 'form'.

"Form is that which is before we project our concepts onto it. It is the original state of 'what is here', the colorful, vivid, impressive, dramatic, aesthetic qualities that exist in every situation. Form could be a maple leaf falling from a tree and landing on a mountain river; it could be full moonlight, a gutter in the street or a garbage pile. These things are 'What is', and they are all in one sense the same: they are all forms, they are all objects, the are just what is. Evaluations regarding them are only created later in our minds. If we really look at these things as they are, they are just forms.

"So form is empty. But empty of what? Form is empty of our preconceptions, empty of our judgements. If we do not evaluate and categorize the maple leaf falling and landing on the stream as opposed to the garbage heap in New York, then they are there, waht is. They are empty of preconception. They are precisely what they are, of course! Garbage is garbage, a leaf is a leaf, 'what is' is 'what is'. Form is empty if we see it in the abscence of our own personal interpretations of it.

"But emptiness is also form. That is a very outrageous remark. We thought we had managed to sort everything out, we thought we had managed to see everything as the same, if we take out our preconceptions. That made a beautiful picture: everything bad and everything good that we see are both good. Fine. Very smoothe. But the next point is that emptiness is form, so we have to reexamine. The emptiness of the maple leaf is also form: it is not really empty. The emptiness of the garbage heap is also form. To try to see these things as empty is also to clothe them in concept. Form comes back. It was too easy, taking away all concept, to conclude that everything simply is what is. That could be an escape, another way of comforting ourselves. We have to actually FEEL things as they are, the qualities of the garbage heapness and the qualities of the maple leafness, the isness of things. We have to feel them properly, not just try to put a veil of emptiness over them. That does not help at all. We have to see the isness of what is there, the raw and rugged qualities of things precisely as they are. This is a very accurate way of seeing the world.. . .

"Finally we come to the conclusion that form is just form and emptiness is just emptiness, which has been described in the sutra as seeing that form is no other than emptiness, and emptiness is no other than form; they are indivisible. We see that looking for beauty or philosophical meaning to life is merely a way of justifying ourselves, saying that things are not so bad as we think. Things ARE as bad as we think. Form is form, emptiness is emptiness, things are just what they are and we do not have to try to see them in the light of some sort of profundity. Finally we come down to earth."

Hey, they're not my words.

They are from Nisargadatta. I'm not going to even pretend that his realization of the absolute is also my realization. I would like it to be. I intellectually understand and agree with what he is saying, which is very different from being enlightened. I've also had moments of realizing and really grocking the truth of what he says. But I also live most of my experience in the relative, like most of us do, and these things sayings aren't always a comfort to my ego when I'm suffering or see suffering in the world.

But according to him, even your desire to take responsibility for your actions because of their consequences is a manifestation of the absolute, so even that is included. But you are not some outside independent force whos actions are affecting the world and causing problems or joy. Your strong sense of justice, desires, faults, anger, everything bad or good, there is no separate you there that is the cause of any of that. That goes for everyone else. That the whole universe is involved in everything that happens. For me it's very humbling. We can still live and take responsibility in the relative world with that in the back of our minds, maybe with less seriousness and inner turmoil over it all.

Strategist, I just edited

Strategist, I just edited some text to that post because I found some interesting literature on emptiness and form. But to respond to you:I do agree that the desire to take responsibility for oneself and one's actions is part of the illusion of the self.

What this comes down to to me is that we need to really see life, really feel life, but without placing too much attachment to it all (too much worry or self-importance) or losing the larger perspective of our context. It's that middle path way. Thanks for your insights. I'm sure much of what I bring to this discussion is just pure ego!

Yes I agree, most of this stuff

is really hard for me to wrap my mind around intellectually. That's why I'm not too fond of the whole neo-advita satsang culture, continuously talking about something that can't be got to or experienced with thoughts or words. As beautiful and poetic and profound as many of these spiritual teachings are, I eventually get to the point where I say, "Don't talk at me about it, just tell me what to do to realize and experience this for myself."

Even then, I'm not sure enlightenment will change the nature of the world the way we want it changed. As powerful and infinite and at one with the universe as they supposedly are, most "enlightenend" people at best leave behind spiritual teachings and start religions. They don't do very practical things like build perfect civilizations, end pollution, cure cancer, end poverty and world hunger, or advance science and technology. Not that I know of anyway.

All I know is that meditation helps me to experience what is for myself more and more clearly. Mind and emotions become clearer. Preconceived ideas and conclusions, especially spiritual ones, can get in the way if we take the map to = the territory. Luckily for most of us, these things are so mentally confusing, they're very easy to forget and then we're left alone to find the truth for ourselves.

You say, "preconceived ideas

You say, "preconceived ideas and conclusions, especially spiritual ones, can get in the way if we take the map to = the territory."

EXACTLY. Hence, the title of the book I quoted from, "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialsm." The ego can use ANYTHING, even the spiritual path (and sometimes, especially the spritual path), to distort things.

Thanks

It is by increasing our inner equilibrium that we come into alignment with Creation. That is actually the most powerful thing we can do for "the world." The process not only increases a delicious sense of well-being. It also increases spiritual vision, compassion and a sense of oneness.

That's why I love this story about the Daoist rainmaker":
http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/aligning_with_the_tao_lao_tzu

Porn guys: You may feel that you are very far from thinking this big. But please do. Quantum leaps are possible.

*big hug*