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Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain Paperback – 1 Dec 2009
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"Wired for Intimacy is a groundbreaking book on the brain chemistry of sexual addiction. Every man needs to understand how his sexual choices affect this crucial part of his humanity. It will be a great help toward sanctification for those who embrace its message."--Russell Willingham, author of Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Healing Power of Jesus
"Finally there's a book that scientifically quantifies what those of us who work in the field of sexual addiction have long understood: pornography powerfully impacts the brain. Wired for Intimacy offers a clear and complete description of the brain and its interplay with human sexuality. Struthers marries an advanced understanding of neurobiology with a thoughtful theology of sexuality and a comprehensive discussion of intimacy. The result is a very readable, understandable book that goes far beyond the typical 'porn is wrong' premise to illustrate why from a biological, emotional, relational and spiritual perspective. Wired for Intimacy surpasses the typical recovery book in its scientific foundation and careful scholarship. This is a much-needed and welcome addition to the Christian literature addressing the pandemic of pornography."--Marnie C. Ferree, M.A, LMFT, director of Bethesda Workshops, author of No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction
"This book opens the door for Christians to talk about men, sex and addiction in a candid and intelligent manner."--Douglas Weiss, Ph.D., author of Sex, Men and God, president of the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy
"The chapter titled 'Your Brain on Porn' is one of the best explanations of how a person becomes addicted to the neurochemicals involved in love, romance, sexual arousal, and human touch. Wired for Intimacy is a valuable contribution to our field." (Given four out of five stars)--Mark R. Laaser, Christianity Today, March 2010
"Fascinating and highly informative."--Luise Bolleber, ForeWord, January/February 2010
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Wired for Intimacy is a match of three halves - part one dealing with mainly religious objections to porn. Here there are many of the usual Christian arguments which I am largely sympathetic to, but are already well worn in other earlier works. The problem lies in Struther’s tendency to the “corrupt”, “degrading” “distorted” type of vocabulary heavy on the guilt and shame. This is unfortunate if his aim is to help those in trouble as simply telling users they are engaging in degraded behaviour and should do something about it does absolutely no good - they already think that. Cruise the nofap community if you doubt it.
Then the middle section deals with the brain science with some useful material - though much better explained by Wilson (see above) and lots of complex and largely irrelevant description of bits of the brain that aren’t fundamental to the addiction process. In this section he tells us that persistent pornography use deepens pathways in the brain under the influence of the reward circuit but does little to advise on how to eradicate these habitual paths. In fact, under the excuse of “not reinventing the wheel” readers are simply redirected to a bunch of existing counselling and therapy resources. This completely misses the point. If Wired for Intimacy has something new to say the whole benefit should be to apply this new perspective to understanding and addressing the problem - which he completely fails to do.
Finally we get a large chunk on what proper godly masculinity really is - or should be according to Struthers. As above, this is probably very worthy but really beside the point. If you already have a Christian outlook this is unnecessary and if you don’t then you won’t find it convincing. Much better to subscribe to the Good Men Project and see how guys (some from a Christian perspective but most not) are really grappling with the issues.
In general - despite much academic referencing - Wired for Intimacy is also far too based on the power of repeated assertion and generalisation rather than detailed argument and referencing the experience of actual addicts - both still struggling and those in recovery.
So why three stars? Basically because it’s at least an attempt to tackle the issue which is still to be applauded. Gary Wilson makes the case that we are involved in maybe the greatest unregulated social behavioural experiment of all time in terms of the number and age of porn users and the uniquely new phenomenon of high speed internet porn.
Evangelical Christian believers need to find a voice on the subject - but sadly this isn’t it.
It ranges from how our brain processes pornographic images and their physiological and psychological consequences.
Lightly addresses gender issues and the issues of identity and its construction.
It seems appropriate to a person with little knowledge on the subject book, as is my case.
This book relates some details allowing those who want to go further.
However it can also be read with more lightness affording enter the field without much difficulty.
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