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Clergy Addicted to Porn: Gasp!

So here is my question: Is it possible to get psychologically "addicted" to something if it is not wrong or sinful or shameful and if it is not connected to guilt in your mind? The Huffington Post says the rate of porn addiction among clergy is the same as that of the general populace. Surprise, Surprise! Yes, pastors are people just like the rest of you. But what I want to tease out is which pastors are the ones who are compulsively looking at porn? That is the more interesting question.

My own hypothesis is that it is those who have an anti-body, anti-sexual theology (Thank you St Augustine!) and who subsequently fill their sermons each week with admonitions against _____(fill in the blank of the sexual act being condemned; porn, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex, having affairs. Strange, they rarely ever preach against battering spouses, abuse, or rape. Perhaps they understand these are not sex acts but violence.)

But of course such sermons keep sex in the foreground of their minds and, because the sexual urges are strong (and natural), they keep pushing them down and pretending they are above such primal passion. But with the ease of the internet….so easy, so available, they get pulled into it the very thing they fear and repress.

But, what of the pastors whose theology embraces the body and all its passions and urges as good, natural, and part of God’s design? What of those people who are aware that many of the rules governing sexuality are actually cultural not scriptural, norms not spiritual truths? These spiritually-led people are more likely to let the compassionate heart and integrity-guided conscience be their guides in matters of sexuality. And, my guess is that they are not only not be addicted to porn but that they find, like theologian Virginia Mollenkott writes in Sensuous Spirituality, porn as anti-erotic. For once we fully embrace sensual and sexual pleasure as intimate gifts to be used responsibly then reducing sex to elementary mechanics of Body Part A into Body Part B depicted in porn is actually quite boring.

Bottom line based on my hypothesis: Sexual repression may well lead to porn addiction. However, embracing sexuality as divine gift leads to disinterest in the adolescent portrayal of porn sex. Then again, it is only my hypothesis.

 

 
Tess, 04-05-12 12:56pm:
This is a very thoughtful post, Beverly. As one of the founders of MOMENTUM, a sexuality conference that just took place this past weekend in DC, I don't believe it's right or fair to define all porn as anti-erotic though I do find much of it that way. Porn, like so many aspects of our lives, exists on different levels. When you have porn that is created under ethical circumstances, when performers are asked who they want to work with and what acts they enjoy, when they are fed real meals on a set, when safety is a high priority, when the actors ENJOY what they are doing, porn can be erotic.

Addiction is such a huge topic and one I don't feel qualified to really delve into except to say anything can be abused and done to excess. We don't call people who overeat food addicts. I think that when porn interferes with your job, your family and your obligations, your health, you certainly have a problem.

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