William Struthers is dedicated to understanding the brain. In his role as associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College (IL), Struthers teaches courses on behavioral neuroscience—biological reasons why people make the decisions they do. In Wired for Intimacy: How pornography hijacks the male brain (IVP, 2009), Struthers explores the science behind why men find pornography compelling, what it does to their brains, and how they can find freedom. Leadership associate editor Brandon O'Brien spoke with Struthers to find out how pastors can help men break the patterns of pornography abuse.
Why is it important for pastors to understand the science behind pornography abuse?
They need to understand how a human being is put together. If we don't understand what a human being is, then we won't be able to minister to him effectively. The tools we use to address porn addiction often don't work because they are based on a wrong assumption about who we are as human beings.
Do we also have false ideas about sexuality?
Yes. Many people think that sexuality is mainly a physical issue. But the Christian view is that sexuality is fundamentally about being made in the relational image of God. People are made for relationship; and when you start talking about how humans relate to one another, you have entered the realm of psychology. Human sexuality, then, is both physical and psychological.
What underlies the desire for pornography is the desire for intimacy—for relationship. Pornography promises a form of intimacy. But then it reduces intimacy to intercourse.
You warn against calling all pornography use "addiction." Why?
Christians talk about a struggle with pornography as "porn addiction." But most clinicians know that, much of ...