A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When She Asks About Your Past

In response to a recent Boundless post about recovering porn users, I wrote basically the following:
To any Christian man who has turned from using pornography ...

Don't count on forgiveness or trust from Christian women. If it is such a problem for them, they are better off not wasting their time or your time. They should find a man who hasn't struggled with pornography.

Men, work on being happy with your life. Your freedom from pornography is proof that you don't need women (because if you are practicing self-control over that, then you are practicing self-control, period). You'll be much happier by yourself than with someone who is going to hang your past over your head anyway.
I don't know if they'll publish my post, but I was thinking at lunch yesterday: It's hypocritical for me to come down hard on Christian women who slept around in younger years if I, as a man, was doing the same thing or championing men who do it. If a woman has a problem with me not being a virgin and/or using porn, that's her right.

Men, if and when the subject of your past comes up with a Christian woman, be honest and ask her if she is going to hang it over your head. Because if she is not resolute about letting the past be the past, then you and her are going to be miserable together. Cut it off right there and go your own way. You don't need women to play back your sins to you. If a woman thinks she's alright with it, then she needs to promise to not let it get between the two of you. If she does it later, call her out on her lying and broken promises. Remind her that fidelity is more than just the sexual part. She needs to be good as her word. If you are married to her and she is still pulling this garbage on you, she is sinning against you and the marriage bond. You probably need to take the matter to a church leader you can confide in. And men, you need to swallow the pill on this one: the rules of forgiveness work the other way, too, if you chose to marry the reformed bad girl.

I believe God can bring good out of a bad situation. Look it at this way, if you are a man and you messed up in your past, then your past sexual sins can help you separate those who really are caring from those who just warm pews. As a bachelor, if you got the nerve to be direct about this with people at church, you can find out quickly who is the real McCoy. The women, in particular, who have hang-ups about sex and won't put out in marriage are probably the ones that will freak when they find out your looked at porn or slept with a woman. Congratulate yourself on dodging the bullet. The woman who lovingly embraces you with a spirit of charity is only one you need to bother thinking about pursuing, if anyone at all.

There's another benefit if you are not in any hurry to get married. Marriage mandators and other anti-bachelor zealots won't have much of a comeback if you tell them, "Look, Christian women will probably have doubts about dating me because of my past. So why beat a dead horse, here? We should be considerate of their feelings." Your inquisitors will probably love the part about being considerate of the feelings Christian women have. Turn their own chivalrous impulses against them. Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove (Matthew 10:16). Escalate the game. And, again, congratulate yourself on dodging the bullet.

24 comments:

Ken said...

Another great post (I know, I sound like a broken record). The church today treats men viewing porn as the end of the world. I certainly will not defend porn, as there are a number of reasons why it is a no-no for any follower of Christ. However, there seems to be a disproportionate focus on it, while ignoring, say, materialism/shopping problems on the part of women, or envy/greed for more "things". A woman doesn't want her man looking at other women, even if those women have POSED for that purpose, and a man doesn't want his wife looking at another man's ability to afford more things, comparing it to him.

As far as actual sexual history, I was not a virgin. My wife was. This was out in the open from date one (we had started to get to know each other before our first date). She said on date one it would not be a problem. I was not looking for a virgin, though I admired that she was one. She was not looking for a virgin, though she wouldn't have minded finding one. Well, contrary to what she said on date one and subsequent dates, yes, it has been a problem for her. I wrote more about this recently on my own blog. Click my name or the link.

Amir Larijani said...

To the ladies: It's all well and good to ask your potential mate about prior porn exposure. Please do, however, be prepared for the answer.

Any male born from the 1960s onward, has almost certainly been exposed to porn in one form or another. What was once restricted to seedy magazines--or specific theaters--was thrust into American households courtesy of cable television, VCRs, DVDs, and now the Internet.

Exposure to such media, especially in the teen years, will often lead to a host of struggles. For some, that is easily overcome whereas for others, it may take years. There are some for whom that struggle has lasted decades.

How a man deals with that exposure will vary, and it may depend on a number of factors: the response of the parents, any past abuse experiences, the support he gets at church, the quality of his own Christian walk, the level of discipleship he has had leading up to his teens, etc.

Same goes for past sexual encounters, only this one is on both sexes whereas porn is predominately--although that trend appears to be changing--a struggle with the men.

As for the ladies: you need to examine why you are asking. You also had better be prepared to answer the same questions.

One gal asked her prospective fiancee if he ever had an issue with lust.

When she told me about that, I asked her if she would be offended if he asked the same of her. She said she would find it offensive.

Ladies, that is crap. If you ask a question, you'd better be prepared for that same question. If you can't handle it, then don't ask the guys.

As for the guys: you will almost certainly need to be ready for her baggage, too. Chances are very high that neither of you will be pristine white in the sexuality department.

As for whether those are disqualifying, that's a judgment call. I won't begrudge either of their standards.

One ought to consider, however, that this could easily turn into a case of making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Ken said...

Being prepared for the answer is good:

1. If you simply can't handle the fact that your potential partner has a history with porn and/or lust/fornication, then stop seeing that person. If it is important to you to have a partner that was able to avoid problems in these areas, you will make yourself and your partner miserable by trying to make the relationship work.

2. The alternative is having a reasonably certain notion that you can handle the fact that your partner has a past, and being aware as you go forward. This does not mean being paranoid or an overbearing nanny. It means being prepared for the issues that may be present because of the past.

3. Of course, if there is not history then it isn't an issue... unless you're worried that your partner has no sex drive or is not attracted to people of your sex.

Professor Hale said...

Anyone who asks about your porn history should be prepared to define what they mean by it.

How much is enough to get into trouble. As it is now, it is just a catch-all term. Is the Victoria's Secrets catalog porn? How about their TV commercials?

novaseeker said...

To me, the past is relevant from the perspective of understanding where someone has been, and the experiences that have molded them. Particularly important is relationship and sexual history -- not as a kind of litmus test, but, again, as very relevant information. The problem arises when people place other people in rigid categories because of their pasts. That may be appropriate if the person is not sufficiently distant from the issues of the past, or if the person' past is particularly troubling objectively. And in any case, everyone has a right to make an informed decision as to whether to get more deeply involved with someone, including understanding that person's relevant past.

I do think it's good advice, though, to not ask questions if you have no idea what you are going to do with the information.

Amir Larijani said...

Professor Hale says: "Anyone who asks about your porn history should be prepared to define what they mean by it.

How much is enough to get into trouble. As it is now, it is just a catch-all term. Is the Victoria's Secrets catalog porn? How about their TV commercials?
"

This is where common sense comes into play. I've yet to meet a woman who asks such a question, and is necessarily concerned about whether you glanced too long at a Victoria's Secret catalog, or whether you were too approving of the Swedish Bikini Team.

While some magazines (Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue) blur the lines, most women are asking in terms of the generally-accepted porn spectrum, with Playboy perhaps being on the low end, and the sky being the limit on the other end.

That list can and should include magazines, videos (irrespective of the media type), phone sex, cyber sex, and other "chat" media. Other technologies--such as pornbots--will add a further dimension to the mess.

Professor Hale said...

This is where common sense comes into play.

You will always get into trouble starting your comments with this. Sense is not common. What is sensible to one person is not to another.

I like to have conversations about things where the terms are clearly defined. Then we know we are talking about the same things.

Even such notables as the Supreme Court has been unable to define what pornography is is a way that the law can consistently be applied. I served several times in combat zones with a strict "no porn" rule in effect. Only at the end I discovered that porn was defined as "anything I could not buy at the PX". If I could buy it at the PX, it was by definition, "not porn".

Keoni Galt said...

Anakin, this is just another instance of "LTR GAME" and how your difficulty in comprehending the relevancy of 'GAME' and how it also applies to a Christian relationship just as much as it does to PUA looking for meaningless sex.

This should be a BONUS for you in dealing with your woman. This is the opportunity to show her that you are man that has developed himself into a moral agent of character, through trial and error.

First of all, you should NEVER BE AFRAID TO TELL THE WOMAN THE TRUTH.

She is supposed to be your potential love mate, NOT YOUR MOTHER.

Second of all, she will only be able to "hold it against you" in the future if you go about it all wrong.

If she asks you 'Did you ever watch porn' it's not the fact that you admit it, but HOW you do it that will determine her reaction.

Are you going to act guilty and shameful? Are you going to essentially make an admission in a manner that cedes the upper hand of moral authority to her? Because in doing so, you are literally GIVING her the stick to beat you over the head with later.

This is exactly what I meant when I came here a while back and talked about "MANNING UP."

I did not use that term to "shame" men, but to give real helpful advice in dealing with relationships...because I've been there and done that.

You need to understand that your instinctual response to what is essentially nothing more than a "shit test" has set you up for failure:

"Men, if and when the subject of your past comes up with a Christian woman, be honest and ask her if she is going to hang it over your head."

This is completely BETA. This is ceding the power and authority in the relationship even before it truly gets started. There can be NO GOOD OUTCOME FROM DOING THIS.

By asking her if she is going to hang it over your head later, you are virtually guaranteeing her that she will! Because you've just placed yourself in your relation to her as beneath her. This will than create contempt for you, as all women, Christian or heathen harlots, all desire to "mate up."

First and foremost, I agree with you about being honest. You should have NO reason to lie to her...because YOU SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF HER "HOLDING IT AGAINST YOU LATER!"

You do not "ask her how she feels about it." You do not try to sugarcoat or make it sound any better OR worse than it is.

You stick to the facts. You should tell her "yes, I used to watch porn. I realized that it was damaging my spiritual essence, it was corrupting my character, and I quit watching it and I've learned that I'm a much better man for having developed such self-control."

And that's it.

If you handle it right, she will respect you for your no-apology, no wimpering, simpering, begging of her to not 'hold it against you' style. She will respect THAT kind of honesty...because you will DEMAND it with your demeanor.

Now, I realize that you and many other men that come here have already made up your minds to remain celibate. I'm trying to explain to you that your cynical view of women is predicated entirely on not only fear of her shit tests, but that you are already predetermined to fail them because of your fear of her doing what only comes naturally to her.

We are all sinners, no?

So why should you be afraid of telling your woman that you've learned from your past sins, and are a better man for it now?

Dani said...

As for the guys: you will almost certainly need to be ready for her baggage, too. Chances are very high that neither of you will be pristine white in the sexuality department.

I think this is a helpful reminder. Someone quoted a statistic to me the other day - that 35% of online porn viewers are female.

As someone who spends her days ministering to women can I urge those of you who discuss/write/dialogue about porn and Christians to not assume this is a 'guy' problem? Or even an 'almost entirely guy' problem.

In the past I've spoken with a number of women who have struggled with porn and one of the things that seems to make it worse is that when they hear the issue addressed from the pulpit, in articles or books it is almost exclusively directed at the guys. This only makes is that much harder for them to speak to someone about their struggles (because they feel even more despicably shameful as a female struggling with it).

Amir Larijani said...

Professor Hale says: "Even such notables as the Supreme Court has been unable to define what pornography is is a way that the law can consistently be applied."

Actually, it's the definition of obscenity--not pornography--that was at issue with SCOTUS. This is where Potter Stewart provided what may be the most famous statement in Supreme Court history: "I know [obscenity] when I see it."

While one can dicker around as to whether Sports Illustrated (the swimsuit issue) or FHM or Maxim constitute porn--the case for the affirmative is strong--the women I know are typically referring to everything from magazines to all manner of video footage and even phone/cyber sex.

Anakin Niceguy said...

HL,

I appreciate where you are trying to come from and I take it in the spirit it was offered. However, in all kindness, I disagree with your approach and your understanding of my intent.

First,

I want to address this ...

I'm trying to explain to you that your cynical view of women is predicated entirely on not only fear of her shit tests.

That's a shaming tactic, HL. It equivalent to "You're just afraid of a strong woman." No, I'm intolerant of obnoxious women. There are no s**t tests in my vocabulary because any women who refuses to treat me with respect and kindness will not be a part of my life.

HL, I'm afraid that your strong presuppositions about me, MGTOWers, and other men has skewed your understanding of where I and other guys are coming from. You have erroneously accused us of all wanting to be celibates. I believe too many PUAs assume that if one is not a PUA, or a "Natural" then one is an AFC or "incel" or something like that. Go back and reread my article ... carefully. Do you see any wish to appease or placate any unforgiving woman? Uh, no.

You accused me of being "Beta" because I said ...

"Men, if and when the subject of your past comes up with a Christian woman, be honest and ask her if she is going to hang it over your head."

You seem to have failed to appreciate where I was coming from in what I wrote after that ...

Because if she is not resolute about letting the past be the past, then you and her are going to be miserable together. Cut it off right there and go your own way. You don't need women to play back your sins to you. If a woman thinks she's alright with it, then she needs to promise to not let it get between the two of you. If she does it later, call her out on her lying and broken promises.

This is not a man begging mommy not to hit him. It is about holding the woman accountable for her feelings. It's about not giving her wiggle room to hit you later with something. It's being able to shut down a later attack by putting the spotlight on her integrity. Look, you may not agree with the approach, but you need to understand the motivation behind it. It's not fear. It's not about any of the imagined betaness that you ascribe to me. It's about demanding integrity from women.

Let me tell you what is so hilarious about all of this ... the things that you called beta is actually a piece of advice I picked up from one of your fellow PUAs on a discussion board. It only goes to show that not even the PUAs are agreed on everything.

You linked to an article you wrote "Relationship Dynamics" but have your read this one that I wrote?

In essence, your message about being resolute and confident is one that you are preaching to the choir here. I think PUAs would do better to coach "incels" instead of MGTOWers.

TMink said...

"if you are a man and you messed up in your past" That would be all of us.

"Any male born from the 1960s onward, has almost certainly been exposed to porn in one form or another."

Agreed.

To me the porn obsession, by people who do not look at it and find it repulsive, not the people who use it, is like the church's obsession with homosexuality. The practicers of the negative obsession of a sin they do not struggle with do so in a particular fashion. The sin they focus on is a "worse" sin. By getting their panties in a wad over it, they pretend they are less sinful.

Porn is wrong. I am convicted of this. Freaking out about porn and making it some kind of negative idol is just as wrong. Sin is sin.

Trey

Amir Larijani said...

TMink says: To me the porn obsession, by people who do not look at it and find it repulsive, not the people who use it, is like the church's obsession with homosexuality. The practicers of the negative obsession of a sin they do not struggle with do so in a particular fashion. The sin they focus on is a "worse" sin. By getting their panties in a wad over it, they pretend they are less sinful.

or, worse yet, they could themselves be practitioners of the very sin they are condemning.

Anonymous said...

"The practicers of the negative obsession of a sin they do not struggle with do so in a particular fashion. The sin they focus on is a "worse" sin. By getting their panties in a wad over it, they pretend they are less sinful."

"or, worse yet, they could themselves be practitioners of the very sin they are condemning.


Yup, yup, those are big ones in evangelicaland.

Also, no informed opinion about porn use exists without some understanding of the differences between what really is porn addiction and more "normative" (even if sinful)interests in it.

Keoni Galt said...

That's a shaming tactic, HL. It equivalent to "You're just afraid of a strong woman." No, I'm intolerant of obnoxious women.

No, it is NOT a shaming tactic. It's pointing out the truth. If a woman asks you a question about your past, and your first answer is to ask her if she's going to use it against you in the future, you ARE placing yourself beneath her in the dynamics of your relationship. That is NOT BEING resolute, or strong. That is being weak, mincing and afraid of her holding something against you.

I'm not trying to shame you, only point out that your tactic on this matter contradicts your point about men being confident and resolute.

There are no s**t tests in my vocabulary because any women who refuses to treat me with respect and kindness will not be a part of my life.

And what I'm trying to get across to you is this: ALL women "shit test." Throw out the vulgar nomenclature and understand that what it really is, is a "congruency test."

God designed women to be hypergamous. That means they have a biological hard-wiring to seek worthy mates to have children with. Women will always have subconscious promptings to "test" prospective men to determine if they consider him worthy or not. That is the nature of women.

My point is, when you understand this, and you know precisely how and why she does this in the first place, you will than know how to respond...and how to gain her respect. You cannot DEMAND respect with simply words and receive it because that is the logical thing. But you CAN act in a manner and demeanor for which she will respect you...and believe me, asking her if she'll use something against you in the future is anything BUT doing that.

HL, I'm afraid that your strong presuppositions about me, MGTOWers, and other men has skewed your understanding of where I and other guys are coming from. You have erroneously accused us of all wanting to be celibates.

No, I don't accuse ALL of you MGTOWers of wanting to be celibate. I'm merely referencing the large number of men that have preached celibacy as the only answer to dealing with women. Maybe I was wrong when I said YOU personally were already set on celibacy, and for that, I apologize if I'm mistaken on that...but there is certainly many men that most certainly have proposed celibacy as the ONLY way to deal with modern women.

I believe too many PUAs assume that if one is not a PUA, or a "Natural" then one is an AFC or "incel" or something like that. Go back and reread my article ... carefully. Do you see any wish to appease or placate any unforgiving woman? Uh, no.

You don't think so, but I'm merely trying to point out to you that based on what you wrote, it's not that you are "appeasing" or "placating," but you are certainly signaling to her several different messages with the line of questioning you proposed: 1) that you are worried that telling her the truth would give her something to hold against you in the future, and that 2) you are so afraid of her possibly being emotionally upset with you, that you'd be willing to forego a relationship.

This is the very real message you are communicating to her. You think you're using logic - but what you are really communicating to her is WEAKNESS and FEAR.

Keoni Galt said...

You accused me of being "Beta" because I said ...

"Men, if and when the subject of your past comes up with a Christian woman, be honest and ask her if she is going to hang it over your head."


I didn't "accuse" you of being Beta. I said asking a question in that manner IS Beta. And again, I don't use that as a shaming tactic to shut down the debate and insult you. I'm stating this from experience, as I learned the hard way that using Beta behavior is very upsetting to your woman, and oftentimes both you and her don't even consciously realize just WHY such behavior is so upsetting to her. I'm telling you that the message I'm trying to impart here is that you need to understand what behaviors are "BETA" and avoid them, because such behavior is a relationship KILLER.

You seem to have failed to appreciate where I was coming from in what I wrote after that ...

Because if she is not resolute about letting the past be the past, then you and her are going to be miserable together. Cut it off right there and go your own way. You don't need women to play back your sins to you. If a woman thinks she's alright with it, then she needs to promise to not let it get between the two of you. If she does it later, call her out on her lying and broken promises.


I agree with your mindset.

Just not your tactics.

I'm telling you that if you handle it right, you will not have to worry about her using it against you in the future, because she will respect you for being a MAN who is forthright, honest, and not afraid of a woman's emotional state.

This is not a man begging mommy not to hit him. It is about holding the woman accountable for her feelings.

That's not what it's about IN YOUR MIND WHEN YOU MAKE THIS ARGUMENT. But saying it the way you worded it? The subconscious projection you ARE making is one of a little boy afraid of upsetting mommy. "Mommy, I'll only tell you if you promise you won't ground me!"

That's not what you mean...but that's how you're coming across.

It's about not giving her wiggle room to hit you later with something. It's being able to shut down a later attack by putting the spotlight on her integrity. Look, you may not agree with the approach, but you need to understand the motivation behind it. It's not fear. It's not about any of the imagined betaness that you ascribe to me. It's about demanding integrity from women.

The only integrity you can demand from a woman is by doing, not asking. I assure you Anakin, I spent years being married to a woman in which we fought regularly because she would always bring up my sins of the past. Once I learned how to stop being afraid of her emotional state, once I stopped acting in a Beta manner, we no longer have that problem. And what I've come to realize is that much of our source of conflict came from me acting Beta.

Women cannot help but have contempt and disgust for Beta behavior from men.

Let me tell you what is so hilarious about all of this ... the things that you called beta is actually a piece of advice I picked up from one of your fellow PUAs on a discussion board. It only goes to show that not even the PUAs are agreed on everything.

There is a vast difference in adopting a mindset of "if this women is going to act like this, I'm outta here" versus explicitly stating to her "Are you going to use this against me later?"

There is quite a distinction to be made between the two.

You linked to an article you wrote "Relationship Dynamics" but have your read this one that I wrote?

Good article. I got no qualms with anything you wrote there. My only point was the question you propose men ask prospective girlfriends is in fact following the very dynamic you are preaching against. "Please Mommy, promise you won't ground me if I tell you!"

Anonymous said...

What KG said.

I am so enjoying this front row seat, watching these "game" guys give Anakin and friends a much-needed corrective education. It's about time this dialogue took place between the religious theorists and the natural pragmatists. Popcorn, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Absolute honesty when approaching relationships is vital, especially where sexuality is involved.

If one party or the other cannot accept prior history, it's not worth the eventual fallout if the relationship proceeds but then crashes due to past issues.

If I get into a dating relationship and am presented with "not quite honesty" on the first date, then a load of recent baggage and crazy history after I've gotten emotionally involved, I immediately see the relationship as temporary and will not commit.

Men and women shouldn't keep secrets, and if they do, keep them hidden and don't drop it on someone who emotionally invested in you after a commitment.

I was in a relationship with a woman who didn't tell me until six months in about some wild recent history. It was a betrayal, as I explained to her because I agreed to enter the relationship based on her false history. I wouldn't have even dated the wild car crash of emotions she really was, but then months later there I was almost about to get married.

Honesty is the best policy in relationships and dating. No question.

Amir Larijani said...

I have no qualms with a gal asking me about my past. Never have had a problem with it. Guys need to be willing to ask about hers, too.

By the time we get to the point in the relationship where we discuss sexual histories, either (a) we're both seeking marriage and we're only concerned about past matters to the point where we can help each other, or (b) one or both of us is looking for a reason to end the relationship.

If she's thinking (b), then she'll find a reason to end the relationship, even if you are an Eagle Scout. If she's thinking (a), then your past struggles will almost certainly not be a dealbreaker.

Likewise, if you want to marry her, then you're not going to be looking at her baggage as a dealbreaker either.

Are there times where the baggages can be bad enough to where marriage ought to be postponed or perhaps shelved? Certainly. But in this context, we are assuming that baggages are past, not present, tense.

As far as "don't count on forgiveness from Christian women", I would not necessarily agree.

Like I said, if you have progressed to the point where you both are discussing marriage, and she asks you about your past, chances are--unless you're still using porn, or you're supposed to be on a sex offender registry, or you have one or more dead bodies buried in your backyard--your past is probably not going to change her mind.

Besides, even if it does, then why should you sweat it?

TMink said...

Makes sense to me Amir.

Trey

SavvyD said...

My thoughts:
1. This isn't a topic that should be discussed unless one is engaged. But then you should know enough about each other to be able to share comfortably. As for me, I don't think it would matter all that much. My jaw would probably drop over a high number of sexual partners and I would want to know if he could/would really be happy with me.

2. Withholding sex---there are plenty of women who have sex often and indiscriminately and then later withhold sex. If you have a loving and giving relationship, there are ways to work out the problems that led up to being in a sexless relationship.

P Ray said...

This is a great double standard the situation where only men with options are seen as desirable. In other words, if you have only seen porn and are still a virgin, you are the lowest of the low whereas she was merely exercising her youth and time for fun and how dare you criticise her because it was all in the past.
Hogwash, and why I've told my parents to their face why I will not be marrying a woman my age or older.
It's not possible to build a lasting future with someone who's had so many emotionally wrenching experiences while at the same time claiming a widespread impulse (watching porn, which if I remember correctly there was a study looking for men in England aged 20 onwards (to measure their attitudes to women) -- they couldn't find a SINGLE man who hadn't seen porn, so there could be no control group) is something deviant. And I daresay you won't be able to find a single woman who hasn't seen porn. Meantime, they base a man's desirability off of his ability to cheat, while objectifying each other through which girl gets what from her boyfriend and how much drama she can wrench from a situation.
It's a horrid situation, both for the principled atheists and the principled religious folk.

lifeinlonglegs said...

"The problem arises when people place other people in rigid categories because of their pasts. "

It is a terrible thing to hold someone to their past: an entirely different thing if this is someone's present. There is a difference between a history in an area and active disobedience in that area.

People expect that out of our "history" we will have "compassion" for those choosing sinful activities in the present. Compassion sometimes looks like a kick in the ass. Telling someone that less than God's best for them is 'acceptable' because "hey, everyone's got a history" is not compassion. If we have a history God has delivered us from, we know that and will testify to that strongly.

But if it's legitimately history, it should be treated as such.

How else can you move forward with the race we are running, and press further in to see what else in our lives needs redemption?

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