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social pornography

I’m reading Alan Hirch’s book, “Untamed” at present.  Very enlightening book which I highly recommend, but prepare to be challenged!  One concept he introduces in the book is that of “social pornography”.


What on earth is that?  We’ve all heard of pornography.   It leaves a sour taste in the mouth.  Ask a group of women what they think of pornography and 9 times out of 10, women don’t want their men looking at that stuff.   Our desire is for the men of our lives to be able to resist that kind of sexual temptation that feeds the flesh and leads to a dozen more problems down the road.

We get that, don’t we?

“Social pornography” is the woman’s deep-rooted sexual problem (not to say that a man can’t struggle with it, or a woman with pornography).  Alan Hirsch explains, “Male sexuality will tend to express itself in more ‘genital’ ways, and female sexuality in more ‘social’ ways, including insecurity, emotional over-attachments, inappropriate interest in others affairs, and promiscuity among other things.”


Social pornography is found right in the grocery store line up!  Ever notice what magazines crowd around the check out?  It’s not dominantly male-focused, it’s primary target is the women in line.    If the line’s long, I’ll take a peek at a catchy headline which usually involves revealing some scandal in a hollywood star.  If there’s still time to spare, I’ll skim through the other pages checking out the “who’s not, who’s not” pages along with “who wore it better”….


“If male porn has to do with looking at people’s private parts, the female version as to do with looking at people’s private lives” (Hirch).   Is there a lesser evil?  In our own minds we may wonder what the harm is at engulfing our minds into the life of the rich and famous and knowing what crazy things they do off screen.  This couldn’t possibly be ranked the same as addiction to porn!  But do I dare say that the realm of “Entertainment Tonight” is also an addiction? ….. a damaging addiction to the viewer as well as the life under the microscope.


What does this have to do with sexuality??   I would like to ask you in response; “How many times have you looked at the hollywood stars/supermodels and compared yourself?  How many young girls look at the Kardashian’s as an example of how to live?  How many housewives create their values on marriage and happiness with the front cover stories of People magazine?   How many women look at their sex life in comparison to the articles on sex featured in these magazines?   Is it healthy to be sucked into the bubble where there are “beautiful people” and “not-so-beautiful people”?   Does this feed our comparison-frenzy?  “The problem with standards of beauty is that they imply standards of ugliness” (Hirsch)


AND, is it really a good thing to be so consumed with interest in people’s lives we don’t even know?  If we create a habit of loving hearing about the latest gossip with celebrities, wouldn’t we be the same with those near us that we know?   The stuff they share in these magazines are awful and not what you would call “edifying to the soul”.  “Just like male pornography shortcuts a healthy sexual expression, poking around in people’s lives produce false intimacy and shortcuts real friendships” (Hirsch)


“All our sins are virtues gone wrong.” (C.S. Lewis)  This means we need to allow God to redeem these virtues back to His intention.   God’s intention was not for us women to live in a state of comparison or judgment of where we stand on the “beauty scale”.  He desires all to live in a healthy self-concept viewed through the eyes of the Creator.  His intention was not for us to indulge in gossip and slander regarding the lives of others, but in love, serve one another.


It’s counter-culture to think this way.  It’s revolutionary to LIVE this way.   Next time I hit the grocery line, I think I’ll skip out on my dabbling in social pornography.


….. just something to think about…..

Categories: a new spirituality
  1. June 29, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Here’s a few more thoughts to ponder…

    It’s great to tackle these issues certainly the church doesn’t do that nearly enough.. but I found Alan Hirch to not go deep enough with both male and female sexuality as it relates to sexual addiction.

    I would for the most part agree with most of what you’ve written but wanted to tackle what was said in this quote.

    One of my beefs I have had with some church organizations is the fact that there is often times a very shallow perspective on the issue at hand…. they leave it to simply behavior and well, they look at the perspective of the standard but fall short of the reasons behind the addiction or self destructive behavior and as a result overlook the most profound element and truth under neath the addiction, the very piece of truth needed to gain the freedom that men with the convictions of the Holy Spirit in their lives truly would like to have.

    Here is just a few points …

    1. The toxic shame that results with a sexual addiction for both men and women.
    2. The secret sins that are often times associate with the sexual addiction
    3. The real reason for sexual addiction has nothing to do with sexuality or the sexual drive and impulses one may have.

  2. June 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I think this was a quote from Hirch,

    “Social pornography” is the woman’s deep-rooted sexual problem (not to say that a man can’t struggle with it, or a woman with pornography). Alan Hirsch explains, “Male sexuality will tend to express itself in more ‘genital’ ways, and female sexuality in more ‘social’ ways, including insecurity, emotional over-attachments, inappropriate interest in others affairs, and promiscuity among other things.”

    I would argue that the root of all sexual addiction is about the core of insecurity with one’s own gender across the board and the struggle itself is perhaps an inner cry to seek completeness.. it is in fantasy our insecurities are no longer present and we become the person we’ve always wanted to be while covering up the real person. It’s at it’s core narcissistic and idolatrous. The fantasy is where there is no relational risk as it’s all just one dimensional relating… no risk so the fantasy can be whatever the person desires because to the one with the fantasy the pseudo reality the pain of rejection or humiliation is not there. It then becomes a thing about control… it’s all about control, controlling one’s environment, controlling how people respond to you, especially their response, and controlling you and shaping you into perhaps the person you’d rather be, your super hero as a child for eg, you get all the super powers you want and you get the girl or the guy. It’s not merely to do with the climax of orgasm and the clutching of one’s genitals although that’s part of it.. that’s not it all it is rather everything else I’ve just mentioned.

  3. June 29, 2011 at 7:51 am

    There is a cycle involved and an increase of destructive behavior with sexual addiction ….
    There are 4 stages to sexual addiction…

    1. The fantasy
    2. Then acting out the fantasy using porn
    3. It becomes more rooted in misogyny as the person turns to a prostitute
    4. and then believe it or not it could lead to murder.

    Few men and women will reach the 4th stage the norm is to stay within the first 3 stages.

    The fourth stage is obviously when the destructive behavior to one’s on control issues murder result. It is this escalated behavior that often times is over looked because it’s not the norm to see pornography as a control issues and just make it about a man’s sexual drive. Sex then becomes more about what I can get instead of a mutual give and receive that can perhaps only be best understood in a covenanted relationship between one man and one woman.

  4. Edward
    September 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Those 4 stages could apply for any addiction, especially MMORGs.

    People play WOW or Borderlands because they are fantasizing of being a hero when they cannot in real life.

    For example:
    1. See a movie like Expendables and want to be like the ex-SAS
    2. Play a simulating game like Combat Arms
    3. Find it unrealistic and start playing with MilSig guns
    4. Become Bounty Hunters or Assassins

    Gotta watch what I watch

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