Let’s (TED) talk about porn & Struthers’ “Wired For Intimacy” [REVIEW]


Earlier this year, I read William Struthers’ book Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. It was an amazing book and I learned much from it (and I encourage anyone to read it, male or female).

One justified criticism, however, that I have heard about this book is that it doesn’t quite speak to the questions that many would naturally bring to such a book. It’s separated into two parts: the first is theory, the second is application and implications.

This is all well and fine, except the first part is extremely clinical and tries really hard to be a casual observer to the effects of pornography. This results in a whole lot of the minutiae of various hormones and chemicals in the brain and what happens to them and why. But, there’s no context as to why (or whether) any of these effects are necessarily bad or harmful. It merely describes various chemicals and brain structures and how pornography is received and processed, but in his attempt at neutrality and avoiding value-judgments, he ends up creating at atmosphere in which the reader continually thinks “okay, so what?”.

Some of it is interesting, but it would neither convince porn advocates (that’s a weird phrase to type) of pornography’s inherent harm, nor does it give people trying to recover from pornography addiction anything more to hold on to.

The book really shines in the second part, however. The problem here, though, is that this part has little to do with the title of the book, or even the contents of the first part. It makes the opposite mistake of the first part and assumes that the prior commitment of the reader is that of being against engaging in pornography.

It’s from this stance, then, that Struthers lays out what–I honestly feel–is the best exposition, theology, and commentary on “biblical masculinity” and gender I’ve ever heard or read anywhere. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. I posted my favorite quote from the book at the time. It’s after laying this theological foundation that Struthers then begins to talk about pornography’s spiritual effects and how one might engage spiritually to combat these. This book is easily worth the cover price just for the second part. It gives hope and clarity to this most difficult of issues.

But, all of that wasn’t even what I really wanted to send your way today. Instead, I wanted to send you the below TED Talk by Gary Wilson of Your Brain on Porn.

I feel like this talk is exactly what the first part of Struthers’ book should have been (or rather, what would have been more helpful and more to his point). I think both males and females will find it interesting and engaging.

The talk really gets at the effects of pornography and, more interestingly (to me, at least), how internet pornography is so different on males than “vintage” magazine (or even video) porn. Further, it gives the neurological harm of pornography, a review of the literature concerning this topic, steps to recovery, and benefits of recovery. And lastly, it’s not offered from any sort of religious or necessarily “moral” perspective, making this interesting, engaging, and perhaps convincing to a much wider audience.

So, if you have 15 minutes or so to spare, enjoy the talk.


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