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aslanI picked up a porn-bot the other day, that bit of spam that whispers sweet nothings into your ear, hoping to entice you into clicking on pictures or a website. I’m a girl, so not easily enticed by the thought of having a virtual sexual relationship with “Sally” or “Natasha.” Also, I’m not really visual in that way,  beyond obsessing over pinterest pics of shoes, crafting, and home improvement projects. Pin-lust perhaps? So for me porn is simply a nuisance, an icky thing, a spam.

Something was different this time however, those sweet nothings “she” kept whispering in her tag lines, began to hurt on an emotional level,  “Are you lonely? Does nobody appreciate you? Do you want to feel alive? I will love you.”

Somewhere in the process of trying to unsubscribe, trying to extricate myself from “her” affections, my abuse antenna were triggered, my awareness that this was actually psychological abuse, emotional abuse, a form of sexual assault really. I was prey and she was a predator, willing to tell me whatever I wanted to hear. Whatever I needed desperately to hear. Not because “she” loved me or even cared about me one bit, but because “she” wanted my time, my money, my attention.

Of course she doesn’t even know me, she can’t possibly love me, she is not even a “she,” but rather a bit of robotic advertising.

I am such a scientist, sometimes to my own detriment, but I wanted to sit in those feelings, to observe and to empathize with what it might be like to be preyed upon by online-porn. What hit me first was such a huge sense of betrayal, of having been deceived on a deeply spiritual level. We all need love, right? To have someone whispering to you the secret desires of your heart,  and to realize it’s all fake, just hurts.

This is a form of brain-rape, emotional and psychological abuse. Messing with your head and heart, I call it. Flat out, it’s a form of sexual abuse. You are being victimized. Now of course with the power of one click you can end it all, but I became well aware of the seduction there, the temptation to just see what happens. If one is already down, bored, hungry, angry, tired, lonely, the temptation and vulnerability is much more powerful.

There’s a deep hunger within us all for relationship, connection, intimacy, the affections of other people, and to see that exploited, manipulated, really hit me in the gut. Add in some sexual desire, the pull of biology, and it is one toxic cocktail.

You need my love, don’t you? You’ve earned it.

I know what sexual abuse feels like in your spirit, I know that sense of betrayal, that longing for human contract, for the favor of another, and to suddenly realize that someone else doesn’t even perceive you as an actual human being, but rather a flat two-dimensional object, a clump of cells, a bit of prey they plan to harvest. It’s a bit like being really hungry, starved, famished, and somebody promises you food, but they just bring you a plate of sawdust. Sawdust with hefty price tag, a bill due.

Sawdust is a bitter, bitter, pill to choke down.

I’ve known a lot of men who were victims of sexual abuse as children, and a few actually exploited as grown men, but I never really saw the kind of exploitation that happens on a daily basis with on-line porn, with women always presented as enticing bits of supplemental advertising on TV. The way our modern society has weaponized covetness, envy, comparision, jealousy, lust. Resentment and entitlement.

Lust is actually a form of coveting, of desiring what does not belong to you, of believing the grass is always greener on some else’s side of the fence, of chasing the imaginary dragon that has you convinced that once you catch it, it will feed that deep longing in your soul.

No earthly thing can actually do that for us fully, we are just chasing sawdust. Chasing bitterness.

For all the guys who have been caught up in online porn, I’m so sorry you were deceived, betrayed, exploited. I can see things sometimes with fresh eyes, in ways I hadn’t seen them before, and I wonder how the story of men and their daily experiences in the world will play into the #MeToo campaign, the #churchtoo campaigns.

#Metoo is a story that must be told, it is an unstoppable tsunami, an infection breaking free, but in the back of my mind I can still hear the cries of so many men saying, I am not a monster. I am not Frankenstein or the elephant man or a leper on the streets.  I am as lost and broken as you women are and I am trying to find my way in a dark world, a world all encased in moral ambiguity and sexual confusion.

 

lu and aslan

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