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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Backward Porn Addiction: When women draw attention to themselves...

I thank you in advance for reading this long post. It comes from Rick Thomas from Counseling Solutions. It is worth the read.
I think most of us understand what a porn addiction is.
It is typically understood to be when a man seeks to lust after a woman.
But what about a Backward Porn Addiction? What is that?
Frankly, I had never heard the term before, though I am very familiar with the concept.
I was caring for some friends recently when the wife began to talk about her struggles with what she called a Backward Porn Addiction.
I think I was more amazed by her humility than anything else.
She was sharing how she liked to capture the gaze of men.
She has struggled with a life-long battle of insecurity and her method of “feeling better about herself” was to dress and present herself in such a way to draw attention to herself.
Ladies, let me ask you some questions:
  • When you get dressed in the morning do you think about God’s gaze upon you or someone else’s?
  • Do you dress to put God’s name on display or your physicality on display?
  • How does the glory of God impact your thought life when it comes to your appearance?
  • Would your friends or spouse say you are overly-concerned about how you look?
  • Can you go to the store and really not care how you look?
  • Are you free to not wear make-up?
  • Do you secretly compare yourself to other women?
  • What feeds your thinking more:
    • How the culture views beauty?
    • How God views beauty?

Backward Porn Addiction

A Backward Porn Addiction is when a woman, or man for that matter, presents herself in such a way that she draws attention to her appearance. She is not actively pursuing porn, but she is doing it in a backward kind of way.
One of the more seductive problems with this kind of heinous thinking is that she can feel smug or self-righteous in her judgments of a man who aggressively or openly pursues porn. Her addiction is more subtle, thus the reasoning could run along these lines:
Guys are sleazy. They disgust me the way they gawk at women.
While her assessment may be crass but true, do you think dressing provocatively-subtle is more spiritual, biblical, and honoring to God? If so, then you’re a legalist who is hair-splitting. While the two porn addictions are going in different directions, both of them corrupt the soul and rob God of His due glory.
Typically a Backward Porn Addiction manifests itself in two ways:
  1. Women comparing themselves with women
  2. Women competing or craving for the gaze of a man

Checking out the competition

The next time you’re in a place where a woman enters a room and there are other women already in the room, notice how the other women look at the lady who just entered. An insecure woman will look up and down the woman who just walked in. And why does she do this?
I talked to my friend and her husband about this very question, though the answer was self-evident. She said the reason many women do this is so they can compare themselves among themselves.
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. – 2 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV)
They are “checking out the competition” to see what it is like. Are you without understanding?
She went on to say that she is tempted to see what she has versus what the other woman has and then she would adjust her thinking about herself accordingly.
If she could find a flaw in the other woman, then she would feel better about herself. If the other woman appeared to be “more together” or better looking, or better “built,” then she would feel worse about herself.
This is one of the reasons porn is so devastating to a woman. In her mind, she cannot compete with what her husband is looking at in the cyber world. These “plasti-women” are what our culture grades as the perfect 10. No normal woman could compete with a “cyber woman.”
Adultery, though the competition may not be as “plastic,” still shatter a wife’s world because she knows she has been outed by the competition.
I appreciated my friend’s honest and transparent answer. Most women would not own up to this. It is like a “secret handshake” among the fraternity of women to say what she said.

Capturing the gaze of a man

The second element to a Backward Porn Addiction is a woman’s subtle desire to capture the gaze of a man. This is a deceptive and appealing drug for the insecure woman. She can feel a sense of power if she can make the man look twice. Though she may be disgusted at the thought of adultery, she is flattered by his gaze.
There is a battle of opinions going on here.
Whose opinion drives your clothing choices? God’s opinion of you or another person’s opinion of you? Whose eyes or attention are you trying to attract?
Some women will say they want to feel sexy or look attractive and it is the man’s fault if he looks too long. Yes, it is the man’s fault AND you are naive and deceived. That puts it mildly. Worse case, you are lying.
I know when I am flirting or manipulating a situation. I’m not that detached from my motives. I suspect most women are not as detached from their motives as they may want you to believe.
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. – 1 Corinthians 8:13 (ESV)
Let me paraphrase:
Therefore, if [the way I dress] makes my brother stumble, I will never [dress in a way that may capture his attention], lest I make my brother stumble.
Some will argue the point and say, “I could dress in a burlap sack and a man would still lust.” That may be true. However, when the argument goes in that direction then we’re being intellectually dishonest. Yes, lustful men will lust. I get that. The greater question for you is the motive of your heart?
Do you dress in such a way that could capture the gaze of a man? Honestly answer that question. If you are genuinely unsure, then ask someone who has the grace and courage to assess the way you dress. It would be an excellent conversation between a husband and wife. It would be a good conversation between the ladies in your small group.

Looking for male shepherds

  • Dad, how are you shepherding your daughters regarding their temptations toward sensuality?
  • Husband, are you aware who is “hitting on your wife?”
  • Is your wife “eye candy” for others?
  • How are you guarding your wife’s heart and her reputation?
  • Are you culpable in allowing her to flaunt herself before others?
  • Do you know the difference between being culturally relevant and sensually tempting?
Dads and husbands: are you talking to the females in your home about these things? If your wife or daughter(s) struggle with insecurity, then it is a given that they struggle with how they look.
Candy’s parents said she would never go to the mailbox without putting on make-up. They saw this as a positive thing. They were glad that Candy cared about herself.
Sadly, Candy’s parents were not discerning. Candy was controlled by the fear of man and what people thought about her mattered more than anything else. She was an idolator.
Rather than helping her walk through her life-dominating sin pattern, they applauded her desire to be attractive.
Insecurity is bondage. Trying to be beautiful for the insecure person is like giving crack to an addict. They need to be freed from the beauty trap and reacquainted (or acquainted) with the Gospel.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
Not only are we saved by grace, but we are being sanctified by grace too. Our entire salvation, whether we are talking about being saved or sanctified, is a gift from God. There is a reason for this: so God can receive maximum glory for what He did. But for the insecure person there is a “boasting problem” going on.
The insecure person, who is in bondage to the beauty trap, will seek to overcome her problem through her works, her appearance. Let’s suppose that she did overcome–which would be a mirage rather than the real thing–then she could boast about her accomplishments and feel better about herself.
Though she would probably be “discreet” about how she overcame because she is a Christian, she would know that she “solved” her problem through her strength (beauty and physicality) rather than God’s strength. This is deception, legalism, and another Gospel.
It is also spiritual blindness: she will more than likely see her insecurity merely as a battle in her heart. What she won’t understand is that she is in a battle with God. He opposes the proud and insecurity is a manifestation of a proud heart (James 4:6). The insecure person is not controlled by God, but by others.
Imagine having a child who was afraid while under your watchful care. It would be troubling to you because of all you do and have done for your child to provide and take care of her. Though we are imperfect parents, God is not.
Not to be able to apply the power and freedom of the Gospel to every area of your life marginalizes the Gospel. This is a malfunction in the human heart, rather than a reflection of God’s inability to care for us.
The insecure woman, who is grasping for vain beauty in order to feel better about herself, needs to be carefully and skillfully walked through what it means to be “in Christ.” The solution is not complicated, though applying the solution can be a challenge.
  • Husband, does your wife have a “backward porn addiction?”
  • Dad, is your daughter becoming addicted similarly?
If so, I appeal to you to come alongside her in order to care for her soul. Re-examine her relationship with the Savior. Seek to reorient her mind and heart around the truths of the Gospel. Help her to fully enjoy what Christ has provided for her by His cruel death on the cross. He died to set her free.

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