Monday, April 15, 2024
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The Destructive Effect Of Pornography On Manhood

A man taking care of his family.
How do you define manhood?

Manhood is another one of those things that if you asked 100 people to define, you’d probably get 100 different answers. Some people would highlight physical traits like muscle mass, facial hair, and voice pitch. Others would underscore character traits like courage, self-reliance and respect. Individual approaches have their place, but there is a social approach to the question that I find far more insightful.

Pornography Is Anti-Masculine

To frame the question in familiar terms–what separates a boy from a man? A boy, I would argue, is about himself. His feelings, hopes, and dreams monopolize his attention. If you don’t believe me, you probably don’t have any 6-year-olds, 9-year-olds, or 12-year-olds in your life. A man, on the other hand, is about the team. He defines his self-interest in relation to that of the group’s. A team may consist of a family, or a cause or community that transcends bloodlines. And participation on one team is not exclusive of participation on another.

Being a team player requires understanding the law of give-and-take. I addressed this topic last week in Pornography: An Exercise in Selfishness. The context in which you give other people what they need (time, resources, love, etc.) is the same context in which you take what you need. That is the way the world generally works.

I’m not saying that every guy who watches pornography is a boy. Or that guys who don’t are men. What I am saying is that pornography develops a selfishness characteristic of boys whose fruits carry over into other areas of life. And that quitting pornography creates space for manhood to flourish.

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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