Cravings for a Naked Man

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He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. — Proverbs 26:27 (NASB)

Isn’t irony glorious? As I mentioned in my last post, porn fanned the flames of desire for men blazing within me. When I watched porn, I hungered for connection to, affirmation from, and love from men. They could be confident, strong, and intimate with each other in the videos I saw, and I wanted them to be that way with me.

Sadly, the only way I saw men being like that with each other was in a sexual context. But I knew there was something more that I needed, and I knew that it wasn’t sexual. The problem was that I couldn’t easily identify it or separate it from sex because of the loads of porn I’d filled my head with for years.

Also, let’s face it: American men are not the best at being vulnerable or giving opportunities for intimacy and deep connection outside of a sex act. I didn’t see other men demonstrating very clearly whatever it was my heart was longing for, so I relied on erotic images to help me visualize what I craved.

And it looked like a naked man.

When a naked man reveals himself to someone, be it his wife, a friend, a family member, or just about anyone else, he’s saying, “I trust you. I feel comfortable with you. I want you to see who I am really. I don’t want to hide anything from you. I don’t want to hold anything back from you. I don’t want anything to come between you and me. You’re important to me. I’m taking a risk here and you might make fun of me, hurt me, or reject me, but I am willing to take that risk. I love you enough to be vulnerable before you like this, and I hope this will make our bond ever stronger.”

I want you to understand that my attraction to men was a longing I had inside me for this kind of love and relationship. It was not for sex. The desire for sex came later. At the core, I just wanted intimacy.

I never had this kind of love and relationship, but porn showed me what a form of it could look like. It was all I had, so I fed upon it like a poor, starving child scavenging for food in a garbage heap.

But porn is only imagery. It can’t reach out of the computer screen and touch us. We can’t actually build a relationship with the people we see in the videos. It’s all fun and exciting, heart-pounding action until the video ends. Then we’re dropped back into the real world where nothing is different from the way it was only minutes ago.

Each time I watched porn, the pictures would end after I turned off the computer, and it was like my lover had abandoned me for the rest of the day. This naked man had promised me love, intimacy, adventure, and fun, but could give me none of it. Months went by, years passed, and this ache became stronger.

I was a Christian by this time, too. I worshiped God, I prayed, I went to church all the time, and most of my friends were Christians. I went on mission trips and evangelistic outreaches.

I did all the right stuff, I was a good Christian guy, and yet I still ached for masculine love.

The Lord began to teach me, even before I was aware of it, that he was that Lover I longed for in the porn videos. Every time I checked out a guy’s butt for its strong-yet-gentle curves, I was acknowledging there was One who was strong and gentle who loved me more than I could know. When I’d lust after a guy’s arms and chest, ripped to perfection, the epitome of masculine power, I was actually longing for my Father’s arms to hold me in his infinite power and grace.

The Lord revealed to me over time his true heart. He became intimate with me. He understood my needs and desires. And the really wild thing is that he never blamed me for having them. He never belittled me for being in need. He never shamed me for what I craved. Instead, he spoke to me in a gentle voice and told me he understood and loved me. He began to steer my hunger away from created things and toward himself. As he did, I found greater and greater levels of fulfillment and contentment simply in his Spirit.

As I became more satisfied in God, porn became less appealing to me. Lustful fantasies and imagery lost their glossy sheen. As months and years went on, I watched less and less porn. It was a lascivious fire that slowly burned out, for it had lost its fuel.

There is, of course, a lot more to this story than what I’m able to sum up here, but this will do for now. There will be more to write in the future.

I find it quite ironic that porn was meant to be a trap for me, to hold me in bondage, to keep me lacking, always on the lookout for my next fix. It developed in me a desire for something more, something greater, which was supposed to keep me coming back to it for more, but which it could never give me. It was a trick.

But the very desire that porn stoked inside me is what led me in desperation to find satisfaction of that desire in God. And God is the one who delivered me from the trap.

Porn had dug a hole for me, and had fallen into it. Porn had a rolled a stone to crush me, but the stone rolled back onto it, and I escaped.

What lies beneath any of your cravings for a naked man? Do you experience a similar abandonment when watching a naked man on screen, only to disappear by video’s end? What points of irony, if any, can you find in your own life and struggles? Are there any Bible passages that really speak to you or express your feelings?

* Photo courtesy Jonas Bengtsson, Creative Commons.

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  • Jon Evan

    Great post! For various reasons I felt inferior to other men. In porn I sought macho aggressive men whom I admired. After the video ended my sick fantasy world would take over to imagine these men loving me. Of course, that delusional world only made me sicker! I sought psychiatric help and was medicated which really was useful — not.
    It wasn’t until coming to Christ and experiencing Him did I get well. I mean experiencing Him as not just a story or a theology but as a living person and more as a Person who was always near and in fact living in me — giving me Life. I realized that I wasn’t junk and that I didn’t have to play second fiddle to any man. It didn’t matter if those around me didn’t like me. Why? Because of John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and WE will come to them and make our home with them.” That word “home” is especially meaningful to me. And so, because the God of the universe lives in me I have meaning and am loved. To be loved like that is not fantasy nor delusion but what theologians call incarnational reality: coming to terms with what is REAL. That Immanuel really means God with us all the time!

    • Kevin Frye

      It sounds like you’ve been through quite a bit yourself, Jon. God really does get to the root causes of problems we have and can heal us of things that medication and other human methods can only attempt to manage. Often, so much of what we think is just the way we are is not actually, necessarily permanent. We really do become new creations after coming into a saving relationship with Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing this here!

      • Jon Evan

        “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God,
        for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of
        their salvation perfect through what he suffered.”
        Yes, reality is walking daily in our new identity as a son of God, empowered by His Spirit enabling us to escape temptation, and enjoying God in the company of like sons and daughters of God and such is the abundant life that Jesus promised even as you have been enjoying it here in this blog!

  • Steven

    Your use of “trap” and Jesus being the answer to that reminded me of a prayer Catholics say a lot during Lent, “God Himself will set me free from the hunter’s snare.” (though similar thoughts are in a handful of psalms)

    To me, another great irony of porn is that it corrupts my interactions with men in real life. It makes every show of affection or closeness seem sexual. It makes mundane situations remind me of the start of a porno. It’s all very stupid. Sex may not be what I really want, but it becomes what I think about.

    • Kevin Frye

      That’s very true. We’re not meant to be sex-charged every waking moment of our lives, but porn tries to make us that way. It’s not natural.

  • Jeremy

    I’ve been sitting on this not really knowing how to respond. I wanted some other comments to see if they could give me a direction, but they haven’t. My whole journey with the Lord and with porn has been so very different to yours. I will share it here for what it is worth. Maybe someone might be able to share some valid insights that can help me.

    I never got into porn until late in life, strange as that may seem. I was a religious prick at school – totally self-righteous and vociferously defensive of my position. I was into Christian Science and did not know the Lord Jesus Christ. I was an habitual masturbater, and still am, from an early age in primary school, long before I had my first ejaculation. It was and still is a great release and comfort to me, but I didn’t have access to porn so there was no hold there. In my teens I did ogle well-built guys and loved the rugby pictures of the hunky team players and wanked over them. That soft porn did excite me and continued to do so on and off for all my life until the internet, which I came on to late because my wife knew of my issue with soft porn and that it would escalate. She was so right.

    My wife and I gave our lives over to Jesus in a simple prayer in 1979, but really had no idea what it all meant. My wife started sometime later to attend a Christian ladies group and gained some knowledge there. My knowledge was all related to Christian Science teaching which, although I no longer outwardly followed, still continued to influence my thinking hugely. We started attending church in about 1986 and then we grew in knowledge and spiritual insight exponentially. I came out to myself and my wife around this time, but although our sex life continued so did my flirting with soft porn on and off through the years and with it or without it my habit of masturbation.

    When we hit the internet my flirting with porn became more serious and really upset my wife hugely, naturally, although by then we did not have sex together. She could not understand how I could not remain celibate like her. I decided that I had to take desperate measures since prayer and asking and seeking and begging to be set free did nothing up to this point. So I separated from my wife who was my dear and best friend. I hoped that this action would help me to find the answers and at the very least it would not be distressing my wife any longer. So stupid in a way because the separation hurt her hugely. And I did not get free, but I did begin to come out more and more and discover what it meant to be gay.

    I find the release of ejaculation/orgasm comforting and satisfying. Porn helps hugely with that. I’m not convinced that I am using it as a substitute for intimacy, but perhaps I am. I don’t think of the guys on the porno as being my lovers so much as my enjoying watching them and being stimulated by their love or sex, mostly the later as not many porn vids actually show any love, though I like it when they do. I do know that my sex life is hugely screwed up and I have my doubts it will ever be unravelled, so I continue to do what I must to find release and I continue to struggle and fail to really find intimacy with another person.

    I do continue in my faith in Jesus, pray regularly, read the Word regularly but not with a plan as such though I tend to read a book at a time over a period of time, taking a few verses a day. I talk with some folk about it, but have no regular fellowship and no church. I’m pretty isolated except for exchanges like this on the internet.

    Anyone have any insights? Welcome to throw them in here. Blessings, J.

    • Jon Evan

      Hi Jeremy, your candor is courageous and I believe it’s good and biblical to “confess your sins one to another” and I think that Jesus honors that. As I read your posts I pray Jesus will give you insight and courage for action as He did me in my dark days. My own journey with ssa was likewise circuitous and painful. I did mention the psychiatry route already which was after my drug addiction attempt to seek comfort from the pain of confusion. What I learned with my many addictions (porn, drugs, masturbation) was the reality and process described well in step 2 of AA (and I think 12 step programs can be a beginning). First, one ‘comes’ to a treatment center or group, then one ‘comes to’ i.e. awakens to realize “hey! something must be wrong, I’m here in this treatment center”, and finally one “comes to believe” that I am “insane” as step 2 describes! It’s that kind of process.
      The insanity is realizing that I had a brain disease where ordinary things in life: like a sunset, a stroke on my forehead by my wife, the taste of coffee, or reading a Scripture verse did not give me any happiness or make me feel good. This is the opposite of what normal people experience and this is the insanity. Why is that? Because the addictions had diseased my brain resetting the various neurotransmitters like dopamine which God created to be the physical side of happy emotions. This is why for porn/masturbation/sex addiction science is discovering it is like cocaine/heroin addiction in terms of longer term effects on the brain. Drug addicts likewise derive little/no pleasure from the normal activities of life.
      And so, what I am saying is: what you Jeremy might already know that one can get quite ill with one’s addictions but not quite realize the extent of the illness nor the seriousness. Where I live there exists a one year residential program to deal with addictions because it takes that long to stop, regain brain health, and relearn to live without drugs, porn, masturbation, and other sex addictions and to learn that real comfort from the trials of life come only from the Person God who is described in Scripture as “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction,”. The emphasis on the “all” comfort is because God doesn’t just dispense some comfort but a comfort that surpasses everything else!

      • Jeremy

        Thanks, Jon, for taking the time to give such a thoughtful and encouraging reply. I’m not sure a 12 step programme is available here in this country and I’m not sure I would want to do that anyway. I’m feeling a little that at my age it’s not really worth bothering with anyway, so I’ll probably just bump along in my mess doing the best I can for the years that are left to me, God willing. I am enjoying the exchange this web site encourages, so thank you all for this opportunity, and thank you for putting up with me. Lol!

        • Jon Evan

          Jeremy, it makes me sad that you don’t feel worthwhile enough about yourself to want the best for yourself. But, this just underscores the effects of addiction to blunt even the feeling to want to get well. One is never too old to get well. Absolutely not! Even at 65 I’m not retiring but trying to refire in a new direction after retiring from my career. I’m asking God for a new career :).

          • Jeremy

            I’m very happy for you that you are comfortable in your skin with who you are and where you’re at and how you’re living. You have to know that I’ve been there in a sense, but that is not the answer for me at this time. I can no longer accept the pat answer that this is THE TRUTH (meaning the Bible and what you think it means) so therefore GO AND LIVE BY IT. Yes, it is sad that at my age I should be like a teenager, still trying to discover myself. I’m a very late developer. Lol! What you think is best for me is not necessarily what is best nor what I think is best, and maybe (though I know you’ll reject this) not even what God thinks is best. It’s my journey and I must take it and follow the twists and turns of it believing I am ever pointing in the right direction, eventually. Lol! Just be glad for you that you have your journey and not mine. Blessings – J.

          • Brian

            What God thinks is best is a whole lot better than what you or I think is best in our own lives. That’s the reason why we are in the messes that we are in because we think we can do what is best in our own lives. You don’t have to “following the twists and turns believing I am ever pointing in the right direction EVENTUALLY.” It doesn’t have to be “eventually”….you can go in the right direction God’s way. You said in an earlier comment that you read the Word regularly. Well the Word is basically what God thinks is best in our lives. I mean He is the one who created us so He would know what is best for us more than we do. Proverbs 16:25 said, “There is a way (a path) that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Going our own way can lead to misery, destructive consequences, and a lack of peace.

      • Brian

        And that is one of the tragic consequences of porn and I have experienced this myself. Not only do you feel the load of guilt and shame dumped upon you but like you said, the little things, the ordinary things in life doesn’t give you the pleasure that it once gave you. As for me, I love to read but I noticed over the years my reading habits have waned. I still love to read and desire to read a book but I never get around to doing it is because the guilt and shame due to the porn. And this guilt and shame is debilitating me. I miss the pleasure of the ordinary, little things in life. I want to regain that pleasure back again.

    • Brian

      The release of ejaculation/orgasm is comforting and satisfying…..but only at the moment. It’s only a temporary release and then you feel the need to do it again and it becomes a cycle, an addiction, a bondage. I know because I experienced this myself. Porn can be used as a substitute for intimacy because you would rather go to the porn for that release instead of your mate. And you said so yourself Jeremy that your “sex life is hugely screwed up”…..that’s because you’re substituting a satisfying and good desire (having intimacy with your sex) to a false intimacy that appears to be giving you intimacy.

      I don’t think a woman can understand how a man would rather go to a video or an image for a release rather than go to a real, living, breathing human-being. I understand the isolation Jeremy. When I’m isolated I turn to porn for a release but after this release the loneliness is still there. Porn doesn’t solve the isolation, the loneliness —it escalates it. Jeremy, do you get tired of turning to something that isn’t really answering your good desire for intimacy. Do you believe that if you turn to the Lord and ask Him to give you true intimacy and to show you how false of an intimacy porn and masturbation is bringing? Can you trust the Lord to give you intimacy whether it’s through the avenue of friendship or getting back together with your wife instead of trusting in yourself to give yourself what you think is true intimacy? Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” ……pleasures forever more. These pleasures are everlasting, more everlasting than porn. At times I have to tell myself this as well.

    • Brad Hill

      I so appreciate the honesty here because I’ve had several very similar trains of thought after I graduated bible school in 2014 and got into a long-distance relationship with a guy pretty soon after (we broke up a little over half a year ago)…. I ended up leaving the ministry I was apart of after graduating as well and gradually became super isolated, mostly out of shame and not wanting to be called out for my choices by “friends”…. However, I became miserable, and intensely missed leading and doing worship teams, being with the “body” of believers and people who actually told the truth and I didn’t have to second guess it… Isolation did help me be sorta kinda ok with the decisions I was making, but even then, I guess the Holy Spirit just would NOT let me feel ok about it…

      I’m personally still wrestling with what I believe about the whole SSA issue and how God sees me and it and other people, but I can tell you, it is incredibly life-giving and essential to the soul and mind to be with other believers in a live context. There are believers where you live I am certain that will love and cherish you where you are at though they may not agree with you in everything you’re doing. I have a few group/ministry functions I try to go to weekly here in Indianapolis where brothers and even some sisters I’ve opened up to are just loving me and letting me wrestle through stuff as they know I’ve heard all the advice but just need connection and time with the Lord to figure it all out…. That being said, I do all “the stuff” too and it’s ok to wrestle with and figure stuff out. God is faithful to convict when He needs to and when we screw up, the consequences tend to bite us eventually and we end up being like “oh that’s why you say this is bad”…

      Sorry to hear about your split with your wife as well….. I can’t imagine going through that…. In fact, fear of that happening keeps me from pursuing a woman the majority of the time because I don’t want to force the issue if it can’t happen naturally, and it has yet to happen… I’m so attracted to and just love the intimacy of a man that I have a ways to go I guess, although I’m more concerned with being fully abandoned to and loving Jesus at this point… But nonetheless, I still have a big “porn” issue, and I keep having to cut off “unhealthy” relationships because the Lord won’t let me keep them and I feel so convicted and chained by them until I let go…. This issue sucks dude, but your honesty is a good start and the Lord can definitely take it when you vent to Him…. Keep talking to Him like how you’re doing… He is super faithful. Bless you Jeremy!

      • Jeremy

        Thank you for your encouragement, Brad. You rock! Bless you! My peace in my search is taking me another way entirely at this time so I am not going to subscribe to the YOB anymore, just for now at any rate. Not sure if I’ll ever come back to it – somehow doubt it. It is just so in conflict with where I am and I cannot handle it at this time. Also there is no church environment in my city or my nation that brings me comfort, gives me room like you to explore in an environment of love. I may have to move to another country to find that.

  • Mike

    Wow, Kevin, guess I have never really explored the reasons I looked at porn. It just seemed easy, I wanted to see a fine looking naked man! The more I think about it, I realize it is so much more. When looking at porn, I found that I gravitated more towards couples who were intimate and seemed to really have a connection. The porn that just starts off with two guys on a couch and the next thing you know, they are banging, never interested me.

    The “why” of my porn pattern reflects my life in many ways. I long for a deep and personal connection with another guy, I want to feel like I am the “only one”, I want to feel valued and special to another guy. I desire the deep and personal affection of another guy.

    • Kevin Frye

      I lean toward the belief that everything we do is for a reason. Why do we do the things we do? Why do we want the things we want? Why don’t we do the things we don’t do? Why don’t we want the things we don’t want? Everything is for a reason, and we act out whatever is in our hearts, whether we’re aware of it or not. That’s why I believe it’s useless for us to try to change the way we act if what we really need help with is a change of heart. If our hearts change, then our actions will naturally follow. And only God can truly change a person’s heart.

  • Alan Gingery

    You always write interesting blogs Kevin. My friend says that there is always a message for us to learn about our SSA through anything that triggers it. He calls it a hieroglyph and like the Egyptian writing, taking the time to decode it personally, helps us to understand ourselves better. I never liked watching two guys or multiple guys having sex (though I watched it). I mostly liked single men who were attractive. For me the message was envy. I felt bad about my body image, felt defective and insecure. Not masculine enough. So the bigger triggers for me were personable guys who seemed strong, athletic, sexy, etc. They were the opposite of what I felt about myself. I probably didn’t like 2 guys having sex, because it reminded me of my sexual encounters with a man and those sexual encounters didn’t satisfy me or make me feel intimate, cared for, or connected to the other guy. In fact, I was so dissatisfied afterward and felt used for the other man’s lust, that I never had sex with another man ever again. However, all the underlying issues that created SSA in my life were still there, so some 35 years later I got hooked on gay porn. Figuring it out took a while. Getting clean and staying clean has taken longer. Still in recovery, but making progress. Knowing that fear of men and envy of men were things that used to make me feel bad about myself has been tremendous to help me make real connections and friendships with live men. Fulfilling those relational needs in healthy non-sexual ways makes porn very irrelevant in my life. It is all promise, with no delivery. Think about staring at a glossy picture of a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. No matter how long you stare, you will still be hungry afterward. You need to go the real dinner if you want to get fed. Porn won’t do it.

    • Kevin Frye

      Good points, Alan. Thank you for sharing.

  • Richard

    Hey there, this was a very interesting read! I went to Biola University and met men that I was also attracted too. I formed many great close intimate friendships. My friends that I was attracted to were the hardest ones to keep. One of my closest friends that I was attracted too had a very interesting and what I would say healthy way of dealing with me back then. He would treat me like a normal guy, he would get naked in front of me whenever it was the appropriate context. Eventually, it turned into a very deep exercise in which, we literally sat in front of each other naked and affirmed each other’s bodies. He is married and straight. He thought a lot about his childhood with his father and was able to bring some of that into our friendship. My attraction for him fell to like a 5% when it used to be a good 100%. But now I feel like I know him in a healthy physical way, sort of like the way athletes know each other. My curiosity to see him naked and most men naked was satisfied in a healthy friendship. He also affirmed me as a man which at first was very hard to accept. Imagine sitting front of someone naked and they affirm EVERY part of your body? It was very intimate, loving, and felt like friendship. Any thoughts?

    • Kevin Frye

      Hey, Richard! That’s beautiful. I think nudity can be a very healing, affirming thing if handled correctly. I think people today, especially men, both Christians and non-Christians alike, are afraid of nudity, afraid of being naked, afraid of seeing other men naked, because it has been ingrained into us that nudity equals sexual expression. But that’s a lie and it has caused our society and relationships a lot of harm. I think it’s time for Christians to reclaim nudity as a wonderful, healthy thing. I don’t mean as nudists or naturists do, trying to make it into a lifestyle or philosophy, but rather as simply a part of life that can be good and useful but should be neither worshiped nor disdained. Some of my most empowering, healing moments in life happened through nudity. I would love to sit around naked with a friend or two and affirm each other’s bodies. Thank you for sharing this, man!

      • Brian

        I agree that nudity is a wonderful, healthy thing but I think that it’s mostly appropriated and suited within the realms of marriage. There is such a thing as pure nudity …..a kind of nudity that is innocent such as being in a locker room around other guys, etc. An unhealthy nudity would be in a bathhouse with another guy.

        For me, I always found my body (naked) inferior and inadequate. I remember when I was in school, whenever gym time came and the guys had to take off their clothes in the locker room I would rush to put my clothes on because I didn’t want the other guys to see me. I never liked what I see whenever I look in the mirror. I know for me I could not see another man naked because I would instantly lust after him and constantly compare my body to his. Question….if you sat around naked with a friend, how would you affirm the other guy’s body?

        • I’m late to this discussion but this is a subject that I have thought a lot about and discussed with a few close friends. Let me first say I have many issues with my own body. I wrestle with self hatred as a result sometimes. Secondly let me say I am American. There is a point to be made there. You see, in my occupation I travel the world and I’ve seen many differ next cultures where nudity is normal and NOT sexualized. In fact in Korea nudity in bathhouses is completely normal and just part of the culture. It’s what fathers do with their sons as a bonding experience. It’s what guys do together as bonding experience. I’ve done it 4 times and it was the most freeing, healing thing I’ve ever done. Even though I don’t like parts of my body. I just think in America nudity is immediately equated with sexual expression. I agree with Kevin. It’s time for us as believers to take back nudity and let it be used to build each other up!

    • Paul

      Richard, I am curious about you and your friend affirming each others bodies. How did you do that? Did you affirm your bodies as a whole or part by part:

    • Brandon Parrish

      I think that’s amazing! It’s interesting how that openness and nakedness with each other decreased your attractions.

  • Brandon Parrish

    This is exactly how I feel man. To be honest I still struggle with porn from time to time. I know in my head that what I am looking for to satisfy me is found in our Father, but I have not really experienced it very much, only really heard about it.

  • Alex Cochell

    Wow, thanks Kevin for sharing. I want to start off by saying that I thought it was well written. For the depth to my comment though, I leave with this. I have been reading through all the posts on this site from oldest to most recent and I don’t think any of them have resonated as much as this one with my story. This post truly spoke to me and the pain of my struggles throughout my lifetime. I am on the verge of tears and wish I could hug you man, but it will pass. I can’t thank you enough for posting this. It opened my eyes to some of my own pain and desires. God is so good man. I love it. Thank you so much Kevin.

    • mistaken identity

      Yes, God is so good.