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Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

How Does Viewing Porn as a Child Impact Future Behavior and the Brain?

 

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In today’s Whiteboard Session, Steven Luff, a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of CA, co-author of Pure Eyes: a Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and creator of the X3Pure on-line recovery program, answers a question we get often from parents: what is porn doing to my kid’s brain? How is looking at porn during puberty impacting their future behavior?

In this video, Steve shares how the pathways to the brain are majorly shaped two times in our lives: before the age of 5 and during puberty. When teens the age of 11 or 12 or 13 use porn or drugs or alcohol, they’re reshaping the pathways of pleasure to the brain and create a dependence on whatever substance brought them that pleasure. Not only that, but they aren’t learning how to manage their emotions and communicate with the people around them.

Parents, you’ve gotta have open conversations with your kids about porn. Don’t shame them but tell them that porn isn’t a choice that’s going to make them develop into a healthier person. What kids need instead are opportunities for them to be challenged and make mistakes and to learn.

Sometimes kids turn to porn because their parents are too restrictive and don’t allow them to make mistakes. Porn is super easy, but it doesn’t build any strength. It doesn’t build any resolve. It doesn’t build any character. If I want a relationship, if I want marriage, it doesn’t just land on my lap like porn does. It’s not freaking pancakes and syrup.

Parents, to help your kids develop healthy habits give them just enough challenges that it’s a little frustrating but not so frustrating that your child can’t accomplish it. And know when to step in and when not to step in. And with adolescents in this, when to step in is to tell them “We don’t use porn.”

Also, don’t forget to check out X3christmas.com to get your free access to the Resentment video series.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • More kids today think not recycling is a bigger deal than looking at porn.
  • We humans are in a very elegantly designed body with a lot of parts and systems. Sometimes these systems can get off track. And Porn is certainly one way to get your systems off track.
  • Physiologically speaking, porn is not good.
  • Porn affects our emotional lives. It affects how we go through the world. It affects how we feel about ourselves. It affects a lot of things and I don’t recommend.
  • There are plenty of wonderful things in life and porn is just not one of them.
  • Sex is about connection. It’s not about an object. Once sex becomes about objectifying something, that’s when sex becomes a substance of abuse.
  • Parents, give your kids spaces and opportunities for them to be challenged.
  • Sometimes kids turn to porn because their parents are too restrictive and don’t allow their child to make mistakes.
  • Porn is super easy, but it doesn’t build any strength. It doesn’t build any resolve. It doesn’t build any character.
  • If I want a relationship, if I want marriage, it doesn’t land on my lap like porn does. It’s not freaking pancakes and syrup.

 

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Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Can Masturbation Help My Marriage?

 

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Welcome back to another episode of the Panic Button Podcast. This week, I’ve got another question about masturbation.

So today’s question is: “Can masturbation help my marriage?”

We’re taking the whole month to talk about masturbation because everywhere I go, people want to justify what they want to do, and they’ll ask every question possible until they hear that masturbation might be helpful…

Then they’ll take that answer out of context, and run with it.

Can masturbation actually help your marriage? You sitting here on the toilet while she’s sleeping? I don’t know how that’s gonna help you. If you’re thinking about her, then go talk to her and do something with her.

Does masturbation help your marriage? I don’t think so. I think – ultimately – it’s just going to keep you apart rather than keeping you connected.

What’s going to help your marriage? Communication.

Building a closeness between you and your spouse on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level.

If you’re struggling with these types of issues but don’t have anyone to talk to, check out our Small Groups Online program. We have around 80 groups of men or women who meet online to have these conversations with folks going through the same things you are.

Go to SmallGroupsOnline.com and use the coupon code DOLLAR to get your first month for only a dollar.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Podcast Episode

  • Do you resort to the bathroom instead of the bedroom?
  • What’s going to help your marriage? Communication. Building a closeness between you and your spouse on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level.
  • Communication is going to connect you to one another, create an investment in one another and cause you to actually pursue one another.
  • Maybe women don’t have as much of a sex drive as men, but what if you – as a man – did a better job of making your desires toward / the pursuit of your wife known? Husbands, put your efforts toward them instead of yourselves.
  • Make a goal in your marriage to have sex more and then check in with each other. How are we doing this week? How are we doing this month?

 

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Posted by on Nov 19, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Can I Masturbate to Photos of My Wife?

 

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Welcome back to another episode of the Panic Button Podcast. This week, I’ve got another question about masturbation. The email asks: 

“What’s your take on masturbation if I do think of my wife?”

It’s a good question, honestly. I travel a lot, I’m away from my wife for weeks at a time, so I get it. Here’s what I hear from this question, “Hey, I’m traveling, or I’m going overseas, or I’m gone a lot for work… and I need to take care of myself.”

This month we’re talking about self-control. Frankly, I think we all just struggle with what that actually means.

Personally, if I wait four days without masturbating, I’m going to be really excited to see my wife when I get home, and happy to have sex.

But this idea of I can’t wait..!

Well, why not involve your wife in that?

I know it can be a little awkward. Rather than rub one out alone, though, why not call her and say, “Hey, I miss you,” and have a little sweet talk?

There might be some embarrassment or awkwardness, but there’s no shame in that. If you can’t even talk with your wife about it, you’re going to masturbate and you’re going to feel guilty. That’s where the shame will come from. Sex is meant to be shared between you and your spouse. When you just masturbate on your own without her (or without him), I think you do yourself a disservice.

I’m not the masturbation police, but here’s my recommendation: if you’re away from your spouse, and you miss him or you miss her and you feel that urge, rather than just thinking about them… why don’t you call them?

It might lead to some fun that you can share together.

 

Our Favorite Quotes From This Podcast Episode

  • Here’s the answer… I think it’s okay (in the context for which the question was asked).
  • Shame is the enemy… And some of you might fight me on this, but for you to desire your spouse at that level is okay.
  • If you’re away and you can’t wait, why not involve your wife in that? I know it can be a little awkward, but rather than rub one out alone, why not call her and say, “Hey, I miss you,” and have a little sweet talk?
  • Sex is meant to be shared between you and your spouse.
  • You’re away from your spouse. You miss her. You miss him. You feel that urge. Rather than just thinking about them… call! (Maybe your discussion can lead to some fun.)

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Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Is Masturbation Helping Me Stay Pure?

 

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Today’s episode of the Panic Button Podcast features a question we receive from folks often:

“Is there any way that masturbation helps you stay pure?”

I mean, if by “staying pure” you mean not having sex or getting an STD then… sure, it can “help.” I’ve met a lot of married people who say that they wouldn’t have made it to the altar as virgins if it weren’t for masturbation.

I found that the church often has a weird idea about what “pure” means, and it often translates to: “if you’re having sex, then just get married and then you won’t have to feel bad about it anymore.” Unfortunately, a lot of people who don’t want to have sex before marriage end up marrying the wrong person… just to have sex.

Don’t get married just to have sex.

At the same time, there are plenty of people who take the opposite approach, masturbating their way to the wedding aisle.

I’m not sure that’s any better.

In fact, I’d say that you might be in worse shape when it comes to marriage, and actually engaging in a relationship.

Now… do not hear me wrong, or put words in my mouth that I’m not saying. If you’re reading this thinking, “Craig just said that masturbation is worse than having premarital sex…!”

No, I’m absolutely not saying that.

But I am saying that masturbation hasn’t necessarily kept you “pure” just because you haven’t engaged in actual sex with someone prior to your wedding night. More than likely, it’s been coupled with the hard drive of porn in your mind that you’re using every time you masturbate.

You won’t stop masturbating if you develop a habit of it. I think that’s the hardest part of this question. Masturbation is easy. It’s by yourself. It engages no one, and it demands nothing of you.

So yes, masturbation could possibly prevent you from having sex, but it’s sure as hell not keeping you pure. And it’s going to be a very hard habit to break.

 

Our Favorite Quotes From This Podcast Episode

  • Don’t get married just to have sex.
  • If you masturbate your way to the wedding aisle, I would say that you might be in worse shape than if you’d have had premarital sex. You didn’t get anyone pregnant. You didn’t get an STD. But you’ve habituated yourself to the ease of masturbation, and it is nothing like sex with a real partner who has needs, feelings, and emotions that you’re not used to meeting alone.
  • I don’t think masturbation is keeping you pure, but could it save you from having sex? Sure. In the end, though, is that a “Wow!?”
  • People live beneath the false notion that marriage solves everything, but you won’t stop masturbating if you’ve turned it into a habit.
  • Masturbation might prevent you from having sex, but it’s sure as hell not keeping you pure. And I think it’s going to be a very hard habit to break.

 

Need more honesty and people in your life? Check out one of our online small groups HERE and get your 1st month for just $1 with coupon code DOLLAR. Also, listen to more episodes of the podcast HERE

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Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

What Are the Psychological Effects of Masturbation?

 

About This Episode

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In today’s Whiteboard Session, Steven Luff, a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of CA, co-author of Pure Eyes: a Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and creator of the X3pure on-line recovery program, answers this question: what are the psychological effects of masturbation?

Most of the time, when we get this question, it’s asked by a person seeking to justify his or her behavior. Say it’s a 35-year-old married guy whose wife won’t have sex with him so he masturbates and thinks to himself, “It’s not hurting anybody… at least I’m not having an affair or something!”

 Steven had a lot of helpful things to say in this video, and my biggest takeaway was the connection he drew between masturbation and a lack of emotional understanding. Namely: guys and gals who begin masturbating at a young age – say, 11 or 12 years old – never quite learn to identify the emotions they’re feeling.

If you haven’t put a label on your emotions because you’ve been masking them with porn and masturbation since you were 12 years old, it means you don’t know how to deal with your feelings. That inability will stunt your maturity and hurt your relationships. You’ll miss out on discovering more about yourself and the people around you.

He’s gotta do the work for there to be real change, but you need to be an active partner in the process.

 

Our Favorite Quotes From This Video

  • We weren’t biologically designed to sit in front of a computer, opening up constant windows until we find the perfect arousal template that gets us off – maximally – to get a “high.” We weren’t designed for the world that we’re actually in.
  • Are you using masturbation as a way to manage your emotions? Are you using it on occasion? Do you masturbate because there is a physiological buildup and a need for release? Or are you masturbating because you don’t want to (or don’t know how to) deal with your emotions?
  • The litmus test for whether or not masturbating is a problem for you is whether or not you’re masturbating to get away from uncomfortable emotions, or whether it’s a physiological release.
  • Most men – men who’ve grown up in this era, with porn available to them since the age of 12 – they don’t know their emotional state. They don’t know the difference between “I’m happy!” porn, or “I’m sad!” porn, or “I’m anxious!” porn. It’s just porn, porn, porn, porn, porn. They don’t know that there are these emotions that are underneath it.
  • When people choose sobriety over masturbation, they find out a lot about themselves. For instance: they often thought that the act was merely a physiological need. What they discover is that it has become a need because they have so hard-wired the neurons in their brain to behave a certain way. Sobriety helps them rewire their brain.
  • If you go your whole life and never get to the bottom of why you are masturbating, you’re missing out on self-discovery and your own journey of knowing who you are as a person. It’s a hypnotic state, and when you’re in it – acting out sexually – you’re in fantasy-land. You are physiologically and psychologically checked out. Until you sit in these life experiences without substance addiction, you’re not going to know who you are. And often, people are very afraid of discovering who they are.
  • Hopefully, you’ve got a loving church or loving community around you to say: keep pushing into the darkness. We’re here, and you’re going to find yourself. You’re going to find your true self instead of this mask that you’ve been wearing.

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Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

My Husband Won’t Stop Looking at Porn

 

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So this question came in from a wife: “My husband said he would never look at porn again. Why does he continue? I don’t understand why he won’t take ownership for his life, his issues, his shit, and clean up his mess.”

So they’re kind of two in the same. If you’re that dude, don’t tell your wife you’re never going to look at porn again. Let’s be honest. You’re going to look at porn again. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Guys, I don’t want to set you up for failure. Have that conversation with your wife and say, “You know what, I don’t want to do this and I know it hurts you and I know it’s not good for me. So I do not want to keep looking at porn. What I’m going to do is I’m going to do these things and put these things in place so I don’t go down that road. And if there’s anything else that you think I’ve missed or I need to add, I would love to to hear those.”

Dude, you got yourself into this hole. You climb yourself out of it.

We’ve got a bunch of different programs―whether it’s X3pure or My Pilgrimage―they are going to lead you down that path and it’s going to open up of the wound and it’s gonna kind of say, “Okay, this is how we can correct that.” You’ve got to make the next step.

And women, then there comes the point where you can be his mom or you can be his wife. Guys, you don’t want another mom. If your wife is nagging and harping on you and she doesn’t trust you, that’s not a good relationship. That relationship is now toxic.

He could find an accountability group tonight in his city. He could find a group at his church. He can go anywhere and get some answers.

He’s gotta do the work for there to be real change.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Podcast Episode

  • If you’re that dude, don’t tell your wife you’re never going to look at porn again. You’re going to look at porn again, like just be honest. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • It’s not rocket science, guys. Where do you find porn? Why do you look at porn? Where do you go to? Start writing it down and then get to the root of some of this stuff.
  • Dude, you got yourself into this hole. You climb yourself out of it. Like you figure it out.
  •  I can’t just eliminate it and go burn it. No, that’s not going to work. That’s like a white knuckled change. I’ve got to get to the root of some of this stuff.
  •  If you’ve never done the work to figure out why you’re looking at porn in the first place, don’t make the commitment that you’ll never look at porn again. Do the work. It’s hard work. Start figuring it out.
  •  “Why does my husband say he’s never going to look at porn and then it looks at porn?” Because it’s hard! He doesn’t not love you, he just doesn’t want to do the work. It’s hard work. It’s painful. There’s trauma, possibly. There’s deceit, there’s lies. There’s stuff that he’s not proud of. There’s resentment, there’s all sorts of things. It’s overwhelming and he doesn’t know where to begin.
  •  Gyms love January because we all go back and sign up. Guess what? Gyms love every month after January more because you’re not in the gym but you’re still paying for it because you feel bad for quitting. The work is hard.
  • If your wife is nagging and harping on you and she doesn’t trust you, that’s not a good relationship.
  • If somebody doesn’t want to work on something in themselves, that’s hurting your relationship. Either you’re working on your relationship or you’re not.
  • If you get to a place where your husband repeatedly says, “I’m not willing to work on it,” he’s saying, “I don’t value the relationship. The commitment I made to you at the altar doesn’t mean anything and I’m not willing to put in the time and the work.”
  • I’m tired of the women doing all the work for the man. He’s got eyes and he’s got ears. He can watch a video, he could read a book, he could call a friend, he can do all those things and the fact that he’s doing none of them, that’s why you’re in this hole.
  • The Bible says sin clouds your vision from seeing Christ clearly. There’s this fog and you know when you’re foggy and your drive and you can’t see what’s in front of you, he can’t see what’s in front of him and he’s just buried in this stuff.
  • Stop telling your wife you’re never looking porn again. Don’t lie to her. And then stop saying you’re going to do something and not do it. Try and figure out.

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