Do You Desire a Fantasy or a Real Relationship?

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Sex sells. Marketing in our culture is almost exclusively based on sex. We have known this for years, and although we think we are stronger than corporate marketing strategies, we (men) still fall easy prey to GoDaddy Super Bowl ads and Victoria’s Secret ceiling-high mall pinups. When I say “easy prey,” I don’t mean we all necessarily go home lusting after these pictures and falling into sin, but somehow there is a movement of something in us. And I say, rightly so! That movement of something within us is because we were made by God to be moved! Although the marketing media has no regard for our souls, we have to give them credit at some level for figuring out better than many Christians how to move people. As men though, we have a serious responsibility to learn how to control our desires and direct them in a way that is consistent with what is true, good, and beautiful. This is how we let our God-given desires propel us towards God himself through a life lived virtuously.

Before I go on though, let me say a little about pornography. Pornography comes from the same word as prostitution, which is the Latin for “price.” Porn uses a person as a marketable good in a transaction. Pornography is evil primarily because it goes against the very nature with which we were created. As John Paul II said, “the person is the kind of good which does not admit of use and cannot be treated as an object of use and as such the means to an end.” There are actually two major problems with pornography. First, going along with JPII’s quote, it turns the people involved into objects of use. Second though, pornography presents fantasy as reality. Porn trains its viewers to believe in a version of reality that does not actually exist. Marketers and producers of porn have figured out how to provide instant and exaggerated gratification to the desires of men and women. In reality, true gratification does not come in the same form. This is why pornography is fantasy. In the examples listed above, women are the marketed objects, but men are not the only ones moved by pornography in the media. There are two kinds of pornography rampant in our culture – physical pornography and emotional pornography.

Emotional pornography markets primarily to women and their emotional desires. Music and movies – especially movies – present an idea to a woman that somehow moves something in her. Movies like the Notebook or Twilight resonate with a woman’s desire. The problem with movies like these is that they present fantasy to woman as reality, very similar to the way physical pornography presents fantasy to a man as reality. You may think you are stronger than corporate marketing strategies, but you still fall easy prey. Somehow there is a movement of something in you. That movement of something within you is because you were made by God to be moved! As women though, you have a serious responsibility to learn how to control your desires and direct them in a way that is consistent with what is true, good, and beautiful.

Women across the board (and yes I am making a huge generalization here) typically feel pretty rotten about physical pornography. Even women who pretend to be ok with it in public because they think that’s what men want still feel deep down that pornography is somehow way off. It presents an unreal version of women, and a type of relationship they would never want to be a part of, because it supports the idea that women exist for men’s physical pleasure.

Men are very often uncomfortable with chick flicks. While it is true that many men are just uncomfortable with emotions in general and could learn a lot about them from women, I am going to step out from behind the macho veil and let you women in on a secret. Just as you know that you will never be able to live up to (or down to) the level of those women in porn, we feel deep down that we will never be able to live up to (or down to) the level of those men in the movies you love. Most men will never admit this insecurity (and I may deny saying this later) but it’s true. We don’t like when Nicholas Sparks novels are turned into movies because deep down we don’t want you to believe they are an accurate reflection of how relationships should be. These movies present an unreal version of men, and a type of relationship we would never want to be a part of, because they support the idea that men exist for women’s emotional pleasure. Chick flicks can equal chick porn.

I am not saying Twilight or The Notebook are evil movies in the same way actual pornography is evil. I am simply saying that if you walk away from these movies feeling like your life isn’t that great, your relationship isn’t measuring up, or somehow you won’t be happy until you find a Ryan Gosling character to sweep you off your feet, you might want to consider how chaste you are being. I am also not saying that women are the only ones to fall prey to emotional unchastity (or men to physical unchastity). The physical/emotional distinctions only concern the primary ways that sin affects us in our gender differences.

St. John Paul II said, “It is the duty of every man to protect the dignity of every woman, and the duty of every woman to protect the dignity of every man.” If a man (or woman) is being used to create or sustain some emotional pleasure, I would say his (or her) dignity is not being protected. Emotional pornography is only the tip of the chastity iceberg. The lack of emotional chastity wreaks havoc in hearts and relationships much in the same way a lack of physical chastity does.

Reprinted with permission from CatholicPsych.com.



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53 Comments

  1. Ann-1312598 April 20, 2016 Reply

    Wow, what an awesome, thought provoking article. Beautifully said!

  2. Lisa-1114158 March 30, 2015 Reply

    ps and those experiences slowly knock out what you do not want for longterm, so those experiences were sent probably to teach you aswell so in a sense we can be thankful for them. In my own personal experience it not only clarifies that for me but makes me at the same time take a look at what I need to improve in myself aswell. It’s a journey climbing slowly towards God slowly slowly slowly. :)For everybody who want to climb towards Him. 🙂 it’s why like you said one has to be charitable either way. Only take on what one can handle along with oneself and one’s own life realistically with God’s guidance and help. Otherwise it is overwhelming. So no point worrying or being too fed up if it does not work out it was sent for a reason to teach a particular lesson or bring us closer to God, if we have faith, nothing is a loss. 🙂 If it is handed over to God with complete faith, true surrender, then it is never a loss. 🙂

  3. Lisa-1114158 March 30, 2015 Reply

    Respect and love is the key. 🙂

  4. Lisa-1114158 March 30, 2015 Reply

    ps in the Bible the man is the provider, but even with children the woman was not expected to sit around doing nothing, she was to dress the house in the Holy Spirit and to do some home based or second income to support the household, as she is expected to be with the children she cannot do it all, but she is not to sit around on top of the man either, she I understand from reading and searching men and women’s roles in relationships and marriage, in the Bible, that she was to work from home or some part time work to help out. It also would give her confidence and make her not sit ontop of the man, and share the load, it also would give her a personal sense of self-worth, and use her talents outside of the children rearing and I think it was intended to give her a respect and value to the man’s efforts aswell, while he worked that she did not take him for granted or forget. I understand from some source I heard that Our Lady even worked at cloth and embroidery, tailoring to subsidise the family income. In the Bible that is explained as working at cloth or wool, which would have been a common home industry or cottage industry. Nowadays it would be a part time job or possibly even fulltime depending on the circumstances, as many doors are open nowadays that were not then. But that work back then allowed the woman to be near home at least and near the children, who needed the mother nearby aswell. It made sense.

  5. Lisa-1114158 March 30, 2015 Reply

    That’s interesting, what kind of things have you experienced? I had the same problems with men. And the past behaviour lingered into the present, up to and even a desire for the future…despite many signs of wishing and working at faith and attendance at many religious events and efforts of prayer etc, The sad part for example is a person knowing what they need to change and not being able to and that is their cross and suffering. It is very sad. But not possible to live with it, nor would I choose it as a husband, very sad. What was your experience of the women?

  6. Lisa-1114158 March 30, 2015 Reply

    I think no matter what a person’s past is it is irrelevant as if they are walking with God it is the here and now. That is not a problem for me. It is if they are not walking with God in the here and now really that is a problem for me. Money is not a problem, as two people can work together in that area regardless, with maturity as a team with budgeting and both trying to work for example, there is no reason that this should be a problem if both people care enough about each other and for the relationship to work out. There are practical considerations that are necessary for a home and family bills paid etc and to be ready to form a home both parties have to be prepared to self sacrifice and be ready to do that. It has to be discussed and options looked at as to how to make that happen, like working at and collecting a harvest. The trouble starts when one party Is not really committed in this area and is not prepared to make that effort realistically. I have usually in my experience paid for the man throughout in fact, even when I had little money, so it is not women expecting a man to provide for them full stop. it is about team work a partnership and going towards the same goals. No matter what income, for both. A woman will not carry a man, but may come half way. it is nature as a woman may be with child or rearing small children and the man will have to step in at those times as the woman is more vulnerable. I don’t watch “chick” flicks, I never have I can’t stand them. Always and ever. I do not have a picture of the ideal man: I wanted always one who will treat me with respect first and foremost and with love in actions and words. IF that is there, then everything else will fall into place. I have a low income, but I am doing everything in my power with GOd’s help to change that because I have a responsibility to my children to provide for them and if ever that opportunity came up to marry I want to be prepared and be able to offer something decent, in practical terms. Otherwise what am I offering? I do not want to stand there with my hands at my sides, offering excuses. I believe it is because the oldfashioned idea, even as far back as the Bible in the Old Testament of preparing for marriage, both in spiritual and practical terms seems to have been forgotten completely. It’s like anything else we have to work at we have to prepare for it too no point having an opportunity and then we look and realise too late oh I never prepared for that, that is my opinion. Ps I prefer a man to show he is responsible than bring me flowers !!:)

    • Liam-1146586 March 30, 2015 Reply

      Well Lisa I think you’re onto something there about a person’s past. The problem, however, is in the walking with God. I’ve allowed myself be taken up with seemingly reformed women and in one sense they were, they might have quit past behavior but never quit the reasons why they behaved that way.

  7. Liam-1146586 March 29, 2015 Reply

    Unrealistic expectations are the greatest contributor to relationship breakdown and why people can’t find a spouse. CatholicMatch Institute has a lot to offer in this respect, educate men and women to see that compatibility first and foremost is based on compatibility in matters of faith. Women who expect men to provide for them and six children or men that expect women to have no “history” and dismissing someone based on not having a well paid job or having being previously married (or even a child outside marriage) is unrealistic and uncharitable.
    There was one discussion here where someone took umbrage at a suggestion that The Notebook and Hustler were somehow equivalent. Frankly I didn’t see that but I would say that in one way movies like the Notebook are worse. We can all see Hustler is bad and wrong, another discussion about the evils of pornography isn’t necessary. However, while I don’t think men, Catholic men expect a model to walk into their lives women do expect a character from a movie to sweep them off their feet.
    These movies that give an unrealistic idea of what romance is builds women up for disappointment. They either wait for the perfect man to come along or they chose the wrong man. We’d all be better off not getting lost in some celluloid fantasy and getting out there, talk to real men.
    I realize that half the people that will read this and will be offended by my words so I might just quit now, but ladies, please, just have some sympathy for guys like me. Perhaps I feel this way because I take some of it personally, I am like Mr Darcy in that I have an income of about £10,000, that’s where the similarity ends.

  8. Lisa-1114158 March 29, 2015 Reply

    My experience is that if in a relationship there is unholiness it affects both people in the relationship and damages the spirituality and bond of that relationship directly.

    • Carlos-1151986 March 29, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Lisa.

      As you might well understand life in faith is a perfect order, as this life is lived not by the spirit of the world but by the Spirit that descends from the Most Holy Trinity. In this sense, everything in living faith, has a meaning and a purpose, if we do think about sex within the Christian Marriage, it has a meaning of a expression of the mutual love between man a woman, where each person has the proper space to communicate love and life and protect them. And this love has a very particular characteristic and identity, which is a union in Christ’s, under the ministry of the Holy Sacrament of Marriage.
      Regarding the fantasies issue, I would say we all need wearing the helmet of faith and seek to grow in virtue and holiness.

      I would suggest the following books.
      Compendium of The Social Doctrine of the Church, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
      Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage, from the Pontifical Council for the Family.

      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/documents/rc_pc_family_doc_13051996_preparation-for-marriage_en.html

      • Lisa-1114158 March 31, 2015 Reply

        Thank you Carlos for these excellent articles, thank you. :0 I think there is a complete lack of Catholic teaching or even Christian teaching in schools. My generation, unless you were lucky enough to be taught at home( as I was so lucky), were not educated inmany aspects of our faith. This explained the apostasy in the last few years in big numbers along with other factors. But also there seem to be a lack of courses in preparation for relationships, marriage under the Catholic wing, for example touring schools, even short courses that supplement and confirm the Church’s teaching and the teaching that young Catholics in a Catholic family should be getting at home. It would be wonderful if there was simple English explanations of basic concepts and both spiritual aswell as practical issues discussed in secondary school and after. Maybe if young people had it listed to them, for example what is right and wrong and why in simple bullet pointed ways, and that is is wrong in their best interest and that part clearly explained, less mistakes would be made. That maybe the responsibility of relationships and marriage could be emphasised there are so many areas that could be really taught and explained at least offered. it is as if current generation has to be re-taught everything properly, even to confirmation, there seems to be little to no real connection with the Holy Spirit in this event, despite many prayers to the Holy Spirit, no laying on of hands, no real connection to this, or understanding of what incredible Spirit is invoked or asked for. Or awareness of that repsonsiblity after and what is to be done with that great gift. Thank you again for the articles. :0 have a happy and blessed Easter:)

        • Carlos-1151986 March 31, 2015 Reply

          You are welcome, thank you for your reflections, Lisa. They are legitimate questions we do face in our communities and you have pointed several aspects that constitute a real concern regarding the Christian initiation. There are certainly many new possibilities to open our hearts to the infinite grace of God’s love. I pray the Holy Spirit guide you in your mission.
          I think you have your heart full of love to share and the desire to help others.
          Happy and holy Easter. 🙂

  9. Lisa-1114158 March 29, 2015 Reply

    I it not what is right and wrong in men and women’s eyes it is what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. Is that not correct as Catholics? confused at opionions presented here regarding fantasies and these areas, from Catholics.

  10. Lisa-1114158 March 29, 2015 Reply

    In this train of thought we should not be reading or looking at any movies or books that are not in accordance with our faith, is that not also Jesus’s request? Is it not the request of Our Lady many times? Look at the prayer of apology, there are many things nowadays which “slip past” and are not considered important because we are so used to being hammered with them all around us. They are NOT compatible with our faith at all. The most read book should be our Bible, not any other, we should know this FIRST and when we really do then there is no place no business for anything else. I am very confused by what seems to be “ok” nowadays and what is not even within our community. I apologise if I have offended anybody with my views and questions.

  11. Lisa-1114158 March 29, 2015 Reply

    and further to that, is it not written that those who entered a marriage for the wrong reasons and lust in their hearts were killed ( Tobias and Sarah) and that is women choose an unholy unsuitable husband that it is a mistake then? That is the husband is to be head of the household he must be a good choice? And that the holy relationship and marriage was blessed many times over ( Tobias and Sarah and many others) and that marriage should be a mini church, a reflection of Christ? How could then lust have any part in anyone trying to be holy or be part of a relationship or marriage? Would that mean that the marriage is not holy to begin with as both parties entering into this are not holy in the first place and less marriages should take place because in fact many people are not holy at all? That they are not marriage ready in fact? If the act of intimacy in marriage the angels cover this with their wings and make it a sacrament anything else is not approved in God’s eyes? is this not what it should be according to God’s law and the Bible and are we for or against God in our faith?

  12. Lisa-1114158 March 29, 2015 Reply

    excellent articles on this site. Can anyone tell me do all men have fantasies up to and even that are not holy or anything to do with our Catholic church? Why can’t sexual areas and physical intimacy be beautiful and holy? Why do most people see this as just a personal struggle? Is it not written many times that it should be holy in this area and the example of Tobias and Sarah? How can anyone hold fantasies or requests for things in this area that are banned by the Bible and Jesus’ words, banned by the Holy Spirit and unholy? Why is Holy sex and physical intimacy something that seems to be so non-existant nowadays? ( very confused after recently dating someone who seemed to have a complete contradiction in the here and now in this area, when I found out it stayed in my mind until I broke up the relationship shortly after.) Am I overreacting here? Should I ignore things like this and just accept the advice of friends that “men are like that thought”?? I would like Catholic male opinion on this aswell. I thought we were to be “pure of heart”.??

  13. BIll-154597 March 26, 2015 Reply

    Interesting article: basically some people have an unrealistic view of relationships.

  14. Patrick-341178 March 26, 2015 Reply

    Mmm… well a fantasy relationship involves a lot less nagging… while a real relationship involves an actual person… a bit of a coin flip….

  15. Elsa-1164238 March 25, 2015 Reply

    Querida Robyn Lee:
    Sobre la fantasia no es tan importante, porque creemos que vivir la realidad nos permite conocernos y saber lo que queremos, en cuanto a la T.V no es bueno pensar que es lo unico que existe para nuestra soledad. Gracias por tan hermoso mensaje.
    Sinceramente, Elsa Nivar.

  16. Michael-85720 March 24, 2015 Reply

    Good article, Dr. Greg!

    ANYTHING that Satan can do to trick the man or woman into sin that keep them out of the fight for a happy Catholic marriage will do for him. Frustrated men jump for free phantom women who gladly give “all” to them without all that “confusion.” It’s too bad, because porn is so wrong on so many levels. Women who think everything ought to be so charming and smooth – and are disappointed by men’s lust, insensitivity, blunders and coarseness – continue the vicious cycle of wanting the Knight or Prince who meets all her requirements only to end up an old maid.

    I actually believe that these days of ample if not full women’s rights and freedoms has had a hidden ill effect – that of less submission to a man’s headship. The clever modern emancipated woman – even the Catholic woman of “genius” – may, however, point out the man’s flaws and state that he’s not quite up to par or that the man and woman equally share all decisions (but there yet remains a subtle avoidance of that virtue). It’s something to consider.

    As women analyze things more in conjunction with their emotion (though they may say by their intuition or sense), I believe that they err in judging a man too quickly or harshly, thus dismissing him before they even ask why the man did that. I possess a lot of fluidity and reasoning power and also anticipate a variety of answers in fun or deep conversation. I think that a woman is more spontaneous.

    Occasionally I’ll give a woman whom I’m in dialogue with the slightest easiest task – or, if you will, a test (of her flexibility).

    Once a woman asked me to tell her which 2 posters (of 10) of hers I liked; I said that I would if she could 1-3 word caption them. This would be also to talk about them more later. She wrote back, “Hmmmm.” What does that mean? It seemed like she was inferring that I couldn’t even go through the trouble of spelling out half the sayings or that I was unnecessarily demanding. She couldn’t say OK, get into the game, or simply do the favor and quickly ID them. She could’ve said something to clarify her “hmmmm.” Even if she would’ve said “Oh, C’mon,” I would’ve conceded easily. That was the end of that. Very unforgiving of “mistakes” – I call them variations, twists and turns, and adventurous escapades.

    Once, when I was more lonesome and posting political commentary on Facebook (which I strongly feel is necessary as an extension of the propagation, continuance and preservation of conservative principles in family and society), I perhaps rambled a bit too much in my first phone conversation with a woman with whom I had a great online dialogue. I thought it was great, only to my chagrin, she sent me an email saying it was over because I was too political.

    That’s just an example or two of many how women have so much of the sin of being easily judgmental unto dismissal (perhaps based on a lack of faith, humility or rationality). Even should the man attempt to clarify or qualify, she may yet be wary and tend not to accept his explanation, thinking that it’s rationalization instead.

    Another sin that both men and women fall into is denial – though I have read a book called “The Adam and Eve Sindrome” that places it aptly more with women, as they are more “subtle creatures”.

    The Apostolate for Family Consecration said generally more than once in their conferences and preaching at Family Fests that the common sin of men is lust while the commonest for women is jealousy. So it makes sense that women get very upset and are unforgiving when men let out an off-color remark, make a wolf-whistle, sin by (not necessarily be addicted to!) looking a some degree of porn even if it’s not actually porn!

  17. Tony-953748 March 24, 2015 Reply

    I am a widowed Catholic Man 66 and was married to a non Catholic Woman,Strong Christian for 37 years.We had a great relationship.You could call it a fairy tale irelationship as everyone else did as everyone could notice our closeness.Were there every any issues?Of course nothing is ever perfect and we might not like each other for a hour or a day but the love for each other never waned.
    Now I can not make it past 1 or 2 dates and consider myself a gentleman of fine morals and integrity,well groomed and dress well.I am near the point now of just throwing in the towel and accept the fact that I will never find another mate.I have gone to counseling for advise but nothing seems to work.Hopeless!!!!

    • Michael-369664 June 28, 2016 Reply

      Tony if you had a good 37 year marriage, you rounded all the bases. Do yourself a favor, the chances of meeting anyone even remotely as decent as your late wife are very small. You have a huge hole in your life, and if you are not careful you may fall victim to a con artist, gold digger, or worse. Take time to grieve your loss, and don’t rush to fill the void left by the loss of your wife. I quit trying to date at 55, now at 60 I feel at peace, and it’s over. I know it must be terribly hard to be alone, but you don’t want to end up abused or taken for a ride. Get someone to talk to, and take your time. Maybe you will find a new mate, maybe not, Don’t force yourself out there if you’re hurting on the inside. Good luck!

  18. Anna L. March 24, 2015 Reply

    Hope to find real relationship, if possible.

  19. Samuel-1046539 March 24, 2015 Reply

    I hear what you are trying to say, but I think some of the examples you used may be a bit of a stretch. I was surprised that you didn’t bring up fifty shades of grey, as an example of the kind of fantasy women are generally more attracted to. I even have secular female friends that referred to the book as “porn for women”. Lots of guys like it too, or say they like it, basically because they are hoping that the girls will buy into it and then they can indulge in some kind of melodramatic, perverted, ridiculous version of Beauty and the Beast in real life. Of course, they like it and didn’t really see a problem with it, because they are “adults” and they can “separate fantasy from reality…” but then when we get into philosophical discourse, everything, including sexual preference is “relative” and “everybody has their own truth about certain things” and it doesn’t matter how many times you prove them wrong, they still hold on to it, because if they except their is an ultimate truth, that means that might mean they shouldn’t just have sex with whomever, however they want, and it might mean abortion IS killing an innocent child, and maybe sex isn’t “just sex.” Its hilarious, because they contradict themselves. I’m like, ” I thought you said you were adult and could tell the difference between fantasy and reality???….but your basically saying there is no reality…that everybody just kind of makes up their own contradicting, arbitrary politically correct realities…ok, so how can you tell the difference than? conversation with people like that is either a fight or a butt-kissing contest, and I prefer neither. Its ironic because, they preach so much about how everything isn’t black and white, right and wrong, but they don’t live their life like that; agree that reality doesn’t exist and be best friends or they will make subtle gestures of disrespect and talk about you behind your back. [MODERATED] Their way or the highway; black and white, HA! they just don’t admit it. My conclusion is that my truth is there IS ultimate truth and reality despite what other people might say or believe. Then I just want to go home, read, immerse myself in music and not talk to people, because I realize this is how most people think, and how the entertainment industry wants us to think. Then I’m like, stop thinking so negatively, join caholicmatch, where I have met people who I don’t think are completely insane, so things are looking up, thank God.

    • Carlos-1151986 March 24, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Samuel.

      It is very difficult indeed as you mentioned from your own experience, and I think we all face in different ways that same difficulties in living the values of life. I think we can’t do nothing without the help and grace of the Lord.

      John 15:5
      5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

      I think often in the Lord’s prayer, St. Francis prayer and St. Patrick’s prayer to focus in reality when it comes concrete problems in day to day life.

      Our Father in heaven,
      hallowed be your name.
      Your Kingdom come,
      your will be done,
      on earth as in heaven
      Give us today our daily bread.
      Forgive us our sins,
      as we forgive those who sin against us.
      Lead us not into temptation,
      but deliver us from evil.
      For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
      Now and for ever. Amen

      Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      where there is injury,pardon;
      where there is doubt, faith;
      where there is despair, hope;
      where there is darkness, light;
      and where there is sadness, joy.

      O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
      to be consoled as to console;
      to be understood as to understand;
      to be loved as to love.
      For it is in giving that we receive;
      it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
      and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
      Amen

      As I arise today,
      may the strength of God pilot me,
      the power of God uphold me,
      the wisdom of God guide me.
      May the eye of God look before me,
      the ear of God hear me,
      the word of God speak for me.
      May the hand of God protect me,
      the way of God lie before me,
      the shield of God defend me,
      the host of God save me.
      May Christ shield me today.
      Christ with me, Christ before me,
      Christ behind me,
      Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
      Christ above me,
      Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
      Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
      Christ when I stand,
      Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
      Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
      Christ in every eye that sees me,
      Christ in every ear that hears me.
      Amen

    • Clem-1095266 March 25, 2015 Reply

      Samuel I like your logic, it’s good to know that there are other people out there that think and don’t just feel.

  20. Clem-1095266 March 24, 2015 Reply

    God help us all! Our culture has been so corrupted here in America. There was this particular girl, I sometimes think that she broke my heart. Everything about the relationship was wrong and I knew it but when she left me for someone else I was devastated. I was 27 years old when I met her and I had been waiting for marriage, that went away with her. I was foolish enough to believe that I had a bond with her but that was not the case. Sometimes I wonder if the reason I feel like I loved her and at times miss her so much is because she was actually a pornographic fantasy come true. Maybe that was the reason I gave in to temptation to begin with.

    • Carlos-1151986 March 24, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Clem.

      I understand you, how much difficult is, I often think in this passage to help to focus in true meaning of life.

      2 Corinthians 3:17
      17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

  21. Jacqueline-198 March 23, 2015 Reply

    I don’t know, I’m old enough to know that there is no perfection out there, and my reading some novel with Mr. Awesome as the main character is not going to make me feel badly over my lack of a relationship. Mr. Darcy, Edward Cullen, Romeo are all characters and fictional. But what makes them so attractive is that they are romantic and REAL MEN, flesh and blood men, can be romantic and that’s no fantasy but a reality!

    • Carlos-1151986 March 23, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Jacqueline.

      In my understanding, the love that never fails is the love of God and any adequate valid expression of the same love in human beings. As the Lord is Infinite grace the expression of that same Love has endless possibilities. Reality is necessarily linked in this sense with the eternal archetypes models of life, which find in the Word of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ its reason and meaning of being.

  22. Joan-529855 March 23, 2015 Reply

    I have always felt that visual porn is just as damaging to a man’s mind as written porn is to a woman’s mind. I think that comparing Victoria’s Secret ads to The Notebook is a rather accurate comparison. At the same time, comparing Playboy or Penthouse to Shades of Gray would be another accurate comparison. It is all smut…whether it is minor smut or major smut….smut is smut. Satan wants nothing more than for man/woman to fall to this smut, that is why it is so important to pray for the presence of God’s grace to be with us every second of every day. “Angel of God my Guardian dear to who God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule, and guide. AMEN

    • Carlos-1151986 March 23, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Joan.
      In the words of St. Augustine “Love and do whatever you like.” or in the expression of St. Bonaventure “Love goes further then knowledge.” Certainly both of the saints where mentioning that kind of love that never fails, the love that brings care, freedom, peace, understanding, holy light, meaning and purpose. In another words that love that never fails.

  23. Vincent-767706 March 22, 2015 Reply

    While the equivocating is a bit much, both things reduce people to archetypes fulfilling a role that is not contingent on their unique humanity. I don’t want a fairy tale wedding. I want a wedding perfectly suited to me and my future wife. I don’t now know what that entails as I haven’t met her yet.

    • Terri-1150256 March 22, 2015 Reply

      I agree with you Vincent…about your view on marriage.

  24. Signore-926793 March 22, 2015 Reply

    Absolutely brilliant. Thank you and Praise God for your apostolate.

  25. Carlos-1151986 March 22, 2015 Reply

    Thank you, Gregory.

    Recently Fr. Jeff has mentioned in one of his reflections during Lent aspects of Jesuit spirituality, and he was presenting an image how St. Ignatius of Loyola pictured the spiritual combat humanity faces; by one hand the armies of evil inviting people into the wrong direction in life, by another hand the armies of Christ inviting people into the right path of life.
    The configuration of this image with the content of your article may well be understood when we do think that fantasy expresses the spiritual illusory coming from what is seductive and apparently they seem real, but they do not have nor metaphysical, nor ontological, nor aesthetics consistency, because they are absent of meaning coming from the reality of Most Holy Trinity.
    In this sense we can well understand that in our day to day lives we do face messages like you have pointed, those messages can be in a movie, in a magazine, they can reach us in many ways, trying to convinces us they are innocent and they are good.
    Like St. Augustine, wrote in his book The Speech of Happiness, he pointed this fake spiritual lighthouse that many follows convinced they real. In the same way he has reminded us to be vigilant and firm, in the true happiness that only Jesus Christ can offer, He alone is the Way the Truth and the Live.

  26. Michael-410923 March 22, 2015 Reply

    I agree with the author. One can be primed in a way psychologically or in an animal way. I went to one interview and was distracted by cleavage. Knowing I was distracted, I became even more distracted wondering ‘why does this boss think that is appropriate business attire?’

    A movie may initiate emotions. When a rather shy man of good character comes up and says ‘hi’, well that doesn’t have the same emotional effect as the movie you just saw last night. Or, memories of your ex. So, this good guy is brushed off.

    I stopped watching regular television for a year in university, started going to more social occasions. Amazing how much more I related to people around me. Television skews things. The people I used to ignore were suddenly more alive and in depth. Cut back on the things that you react to the most, and other opportunities arise.

  27. Terri-1150256 March 22, 2015 Reply

    This article seems to indicate that men and women cannot distinguish the difference between make believe (i.e. movies) and real life, unless you are mentally unstable….Men & Women know the difference between fiction and reality (i.e. what is real life)

    This article makes alot of assumptions and far fetch comparisons…see Pat’s remarks…

    • Vincent-767706 March 22, 2015 Reply

      Media does manipulate us, but it is subtle and not the same in all people. Somewhere between “media has no effect on anyone” and “we are all zombies who do what film and television tell us” is the truth.

  28. Pat-5351 March 22, 2015 Reply

    In argument, any analogy eventually breaks down. This article demonstrates that. In the beginning, it seems to have legs, and then…. I agree that people need to have real relationships, not fantasy ones. But the Notebook and Hustler are the same level of harmful, or contribute the same to sinful behavior, and ruination of lives? I don’t think so. This kind of comparison actually gives another plank to the “porn is not so bad” argument, see, it’s just like a chick flick or some romance novel a woman reads. To me that is an inaccurate and harmful message.

    • Vincent-767706 March 22, 2015 Reply

      Agreed. It’s a neat thought but the two things can not be equivocated.

    • Brian Barcaro March 25, 2015 Reply

      Except that the author never actually says that. “I am not saying Twilight or The Notebook are evil movies in the same way actual pornography is evil.”

  29. Tricia-877261 March 22, 2015 Reply

    My emotional porn relationship with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice is over. My heart is broken.

    • Meesch-691047 March 22, 2015 Reply

      Great news- Jesus was sent to bind up the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1)!

    • Michael-410923 March 22, 2015 Reply

      Previous postings about P&P suggested more of that and less of a hookup culture. People actually talk, socialize, date, and grow into relationships. The movie with Keira Knightley is hilarious in the scene where they are dancing (kind of multi-partner square dancing) and she has multiple conversations at once, depending on who her partner is at the moment. However, it is only one story and not every man fits a Mr. Darcy character.

  30. Alma-953915 March 22, 2015 Reply

    Mary is a great role model for women. Christ is a great role model for men. ^_^

  31. Dan-1002097 March 22, 2015 Reply

    My thanks go to this author for the most thought-provoking article the Institute has posted in several weeks.

  32. Jeannie-822585 March 22, 2015 Reply

    I really appreciate the insertions of JPII in this article. It would be so helpful that young girls and boys would have as part of their CCD lessons a workshop on what an Ephesians 5 love is for both the man and the woman and that we are both called to submit unto God in marriage. It would explain the beauty that God has intended for us so the world has that less of a chance of scooping them up and messing up lives. In summary, let’s get back to God’s word and make it our only authority because He loves us beyond measure.

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