How To Break The Spell Of Domination & Submission
Aug 10, 2020
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Welcome to the Husband Material Podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa, and I'm here to show you how. Let's go!
Hello Husband Material men. First, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for watching. Thanks to you guys who are showing up live because every time you tune in to Husband Material, you're choosing to do something difficult. Because this content, unlike a lot of content on the internet, requires you to think; requires you to feel; it requires you to be present to what's going on inside of you. So I want to celebrate you for that today. I want to thank you for showing up because you could be doing anything right now, listening to a fun song or watching a funny video. But instead, you are here. Doing the hard work of pursuing freedom from porn, even though it means talking about things that are not fun, that are almost never easy to handle. Because you want to grow, because you want to heal, and that requires change. And change is not easy. So well done my friend, for showing up week after week and especially this week because we are going into a very difficult topic today: power domination and submission. I also want to say a special thank you to our online community in the private Facebook group. Wow. I have been absolutely blown away by the depth of your questions, by the sharpness of your comments, by your willingness to be vulnerable with me and people you've never met before. And by how well you're supporting each other. Over 2000 points of contact have taken place in our Facebook group this month alone with the post, the comments, the reactions, and I'm just blown away by the level of vulnerability possible within this private space on social media.
Even though it's all online, we are sharing our stories. We are encouraging one another, supporting one, another, listening to one another. We're listening with the ears of God, which is important so that when we speak the word of God, it has power. It's been really fun, too, whether we are talking about activities we loved in childhood or processing our anger. Like we did this past week. It's my joy to be your brother in Christ, to be part of this movement. And there's nothing I would rather be doing than husband material than becoming husband material and helping you become husband material, even though it's hard.
So speaking of tough topics, this week we are talking about the power dynamics of porn, specifically domination and submission, and why some of us are so incented by them today. We'll be doing this by unpacking two sexual fantasies and the stories behind them. One about domination from my life. And one about submission from a member of my audience. This is so important when it comes to porn, because each person's individual preferences are particular and unique. You may think you have a problem with porn in general. No, it's always particular. So why do some of us prefer to be in control? While others of us prefer to have someone else in control while we play a more passive role in our sexual fantasies, when someone else takes charge? Maybe you find yourself aroused by porn where you feel powerful or where another person has power over you. Or maybe you're like me and you've been attracted to both power dynamics at times. In any case, there is always a reason. There is always a story about why certain power dynamics appeal to us. And I thought about getting all theoretical at this point, talking about betrayal and powerlessness and ambivalence, but in the end it seemed like it would be more helpful to get into some specific case studies.
I want to tell you about a sexual fantasy which used to arouse me like no other. Sexually invading a woman's mouth, whether with my own mouth or with my penis. If you've been following along with Husband Material content, you might ask me a question like "Drew, when have you felt that way before, when have you felt the desire to do this in the past?" And I would tell you about eighth grade and middle school. And if you know about my sexual fetish for orthodontics, that coupled with this, was always extremely sexually attractive to me. It was a power dynamic of domination where I'm in control, I have access to this person's mouth and I'm invading it.
If on the other hand, you have an understanding of trauma. You might ask me a different question like "Drew, when have you felt invaded by the mouth of a woman?" And in that case, I would tell you about my grandmother who was known to me as Grandy. Here's an excerpt from a story I wrote in my own individual therapy. I grew up terrified of my grandmother's lips, which were usually covered in bright pink lipstick. I had to keep my guard up or else she would plant her mouth as close to mine as possible and leave a bright pink mark on my cheek or my neck. And then I would rush to the bathroom and scrub the spot clean until my skin was raw. So being aware of her schemes, I developed a strategy to dodge her face by tilting my head away from her is whenever we said goodbye. This worked for a while, but on one particular evening, my grandmother took her lips to a new location. In the middle of our goodbye hug, I felt her tongue and teeth tickle the soft skin on my ear lobe. Clearly an erotic move.
And this is just one story. This is just one time when I felt invaded by the mouth of a woman. There are other stories too. I'm telling you this one today because it's so critical. I'm not saying this is the cause of my sexual fantasy. Certainly, it's a contribution. Our sexual desires are like rivers and they have many tributaries. And while we can't name a single cause, this water that we are talking about, our sexual desires or sexual fantasies, is a mix of many different stories. And this is just one snapshot of a longer story, among many stories, which has shaped my sexual arousal. And up until this year, I never would have connected that to my sexual fantasies. I never would have realized how this formed me and deformed me. And only in the last year, I've begun to identify as a survivor of sexual abuse. I was sexually abused by... It's hard to say it. I was sexually abused by my grandmother. And this is the nature of sexual abuse. We don't want to think about it that way. We don't want to admit to ourselves the horror of what we have survived.
So now let's look at my sexual fantasy in the light of the story of abuse that I just told you. In my sexual fantasy, I am sexually invading a woman's mouth with my mouth or with penis. Here's the underlying logic of that. If I'm the one in control of her mouth, she can't hurt me. So I must be safe. Do you hear that? There's little boy in me who feels unsafe when it comes to the mouth of a woman. What does that little boy need? He needs protection. He needs safety. And I have everything I need to give that to him. With God, as my Father, with Jesus, as my Savior, my shepherd, my friend, my healer. With the Holy Spirit, living within me, with the image of God so deeply imprinted on my soul that there's nothing I can do to erase it. I actually have everything I need to address that boy with kindness, curiosity, compassion, and to give him what he needs, which is a sense of safety. How can I do this practically? In my self care, in the boundaries I set. My path to healing involves reclaiming my power. And when I do this, the little boy whose sexual development was stunted many times and including in this instance with his grandmother, he can grow up. He can resume development and I can reclaim my power. And when I do this, these fantasies of power and domination, they lose their hold on me. They have no control over me because I'm actually giving myself what I so deeply wanted and needed as a boy and did not get—which was protection and safety from the lust behind those lips.
Now, I want to ask you a question. If you have ever struggled with sexual fantasies and pornography, where you are the person in power, where you have a position of dominance or control over another person, I want you to fill in the blank on this sentence. "If I'm the one in control, I must be _____". For me, it was, I must be safe. Elliot says, "If I'm in control, then I don't have to worry about being rejected." So real. Power is associated with acceptance for you. And that makes me wonder when you felt rejected. Ultimately, I think it's important to name that control is predicated on fear. If I didn't have to be afraid of anything, I wouldn't need to control life. I could let it unfold. I could allow myself to experience whatever comes. If I'm afraid of something, then I feel the need to control.
And so there's this loop of danger, fear and control. And the more I actually am in control, then the more I have to lose, which leads to more danger, more fear, more control. This is how it goes. So when you feel the need to be in control, it's important to name the fear. That's what we do in the philosopher method. And then to see what that fear is based on, which is danger. A past experience, a loss, a disaster. Brandon says, "If I'm not in control, there is fear of the future." Like some disastrous event or circumstance, and that fear is actually coming from previous experiences from a memory. It makes me wonder what disastrous events have you survived. And perhaps this particular type of porn is attractive because it's giving you a glimmer of not having to deal with that again. Perhaps it's giving you a glimmer of avoiding a future disaster. Because if you're in control, then maybe it would have turned out differently.
Someone else says, "If I'm in control, then I must be right." Wow. That tells me there's a little boy who felt like he was wrong or incorrect or invalidated. And this fantasy is giving him what he needs, which is to be validated, to be right, to be appreciated. "If I'm in control, it gives me a sense of security and power." It's important. "If I'm in control, I must be accepted or wanted." Accepted or wanted. That's huge. And that tells me there's a little boy down there who feels rejected and unwanted. Tim is saying, "I feel the need for control because other circumstances feel totally out of control." Well said. If other circumstances are totally out of control and there's chaos, cause you're doing the good work here. I also have a follow-up question. Here's the flip side. "If I'm not in charge, what am I afraid, what happened?" My question right now is if you struggle with porn involving power and domination in a sexual fantasy or in a sexual experience where you're not in control, what are you afraid what happened?
Ben says, "I feel like I will be hurt and run over. If I'm not in control." The time is when you feel like you're not in control in a sexual experience will probably dampen your arousal. That would probably be a big turnoff for you because nobody wants to be hurt and run over. And that makes me wonder when have you felt hurt and run over? These sexual fantasies are giving you the opportunity to reverse that by running over someone else. So this is huge, all right? Your answers to these questions will take you back to the specific stories that shaped your specific sexual arousal. You'll come face to face with a little boy who felt powerless, rejected, chaotic. So now as an adult, your job is to help that little boy grow up and reclaim his power.
Now we will shift to our second case study. Sexual fantasy, which one of my listeners wanted help with. Let's call him Nathan. Nathan was so brave in first of all, reaching out to me for help with this specific fantasy, and then giving me permission to share it anonymously with all of you. So thank you so much, Nathan, for giving us a window into your life story and for allowing us to learn from it. Nathan is aroused by porn, where a guy is tied up and being masturbated by another guy. So this is what I'm talking about when I say submission. He is submitted to someone else in a position of power over him, who's tying him up and masturbating him. I asked Nathan a few questions about this, including "which guy would you rather be?" He said, "I'd rather be the guy tied up." That is always the case. That is submission. I asked for some other important details and he told me that after he's climaxed in the sexual fantasy, the guy tying him up will ask how it felt or comment that, "I really needed that."
I asked him, "how does this fantasy make you feel?" He said, "It makes me feel excited, aroused, valued." Remember that? And then I asked him that magic question. "When have you felt the opposite of this? Extinguished, ignored, devalued?" And he told me a story which I will share in a short form with you all today. When I asked, when have you felt extinguished ignored and devalued, Nathan said "the day my dad caught me masturbating." It was the end of summer. School was about to start. I had been at school for band orientation, returned home and had to change quickly to get to the pool for swim practice. For whatever reason, I decided to masturbate before putting on my Speedo. I was completely naked when my dad opened the door to my room, my erect penis in full view, he paused and then yelled, "Hurry up! You're late for practice!" and slammed the door. I jumped off my bed and got quickly dressed as my erection subsided. I ran out to the car. It was a quiet ride to the pool.
Once at practice, coach was upset because I was late, yelling at me across the deck. I took off my sweats and hurried over to an equipment bin. I was bending over, digging in the bin for stuff that would fit me when Terry, one of the hottest girls on the team and a grade ahead of me, looks up at me from the pool and asks why I was in my underwear. I looked over my shoulder at her then down at my tidy whities. Immediately, I ran to the locker room and hid there the entire practice. I couldn't go on deck. There was nothing to do in the locker room. I masturbated twice in two hours to fill the time. And I felt ignored because no one checked on me for the two hours I was alone in the locker room.
It was only when my dad arrived that they realized I needed my clothes, which were still on deck. When someone finally came down to see me. Then a few days later, Nathan sent me another story which would provide additional information. He said when I was nine in fourth grade, my only neighborhood friend was named Shane. One day, Shane asked me to put my erect penis in his mouth. I refused as that felt weird to me. Every day, he kept asking. And finally, I consented to touching the head of my penis to the area between his nose and upper lip. The lady next door saw us and told my parents I had Shane on his knees with my penis in his mouth. Both sets of parents were Christians, his Charismatic, mine Baptist. And we got in so much trouble. We were no longer allowed to play together.
Nathan, thank you so much for sharing these stories with us. What stood out to me was that in both of these stories, Nathan is a target. In the first story, he's the target of his father's anger and of his coach's anger. He's undergoing emotional abuse. The yelling, the complete lack of attunement, and also there's Terry as well. In the second story, he's the target again of an older boy's lust, of sexual abuse, and his parents punished him for it. Nathan wrote the story saying, "Every day he kept asking and finally I consented." I would not call that consent. I would call that sexual abuse. Which is hard. Here's the point, people. In both of these stories, we have a little boy who feels completely humiliated and misunderstood and like no one is there to understand him.
So you can see how this fantasy can begin to make sense. A fantasy where someone is tying him up and masturbating him and then checking on him. He was in that locker room for two hours and no one checked on him. He was exposed in front of everyone. In both of these stories, there's exposure and there's also a lack of clarity. I mean, sure, his body is exposed, but in both places, people don't get it. I think it's really important that in the second story, Nathan's parents thought that he was the one forcing Shane to perform this act. When in fact, It was Shane who was in power. Here's the logic that I see in the sexual fantasy. If the other person is in charge, tying me up, then I must be desired. Seen, loved, not ignored. I must be validated. I must matter. And also with the second story, if I'm the one being tied up, then I can't be blamed. I can't be misunderstood. If I'm not the one in power, then, I can't be punished.
In both of these stories, we see emotional, sexual and even spiritual abuse. At the end saying that both sets of parents were Christians, we got in so much trouble... It almost makes me wonder if this punishment was justified in the name of Christianity. So what does this boy need? He needs to be honored. He needs attunement. He needs somebody to ask him, "how are you feeling?" "What do you really need?" That's what the fantasy is providing. It's providing a sense of being focused on, being seen, being known, being cared for and being significant. And Nathan, I want you to know that you can give that to him as an adult, with your attention, with your affection. You can relate to that little boy inside you with love. And I know that you are doing this through your own journaling, through working with a professional coach, through the trauma work, you are beginning to help him heal. For everyone else out there, here's the question I would ask to you. If you find yourself aroused by experiences of submission, where the other person is in power, I want you to fill in the blank here. "If I'm not in charge and the other person is leading the way, then I must be _____" What?
If the other person is in charge? I must be... wanted, seen, loved safe. That's my question for you. Adoniel says, "If I am submitting, I am not blamed." That sounds very similar to that second story from Nathan where he was blamed for an action. His consent for it was dubious at best. His parents blamed him for what Shane did. So that makes me wonder, when have you felt blamed for your sexual actions? Brandon is saying "If I'm submitting, I can feel good without it being sin." At least that's the thought, yes, that's the logic of the fantasy. That's why it's so powerful. Feeling good and righteous. Isn't that what we want? I feel very strongly that our core desires beneath these fantasies of power and domination and submission are in the end Holy longings. That they're actually evidence that our hearts are created for beauty, safety, goodness. For pleasure, for intimacy, for connection, for delight. These are all Holy desires and we're beginning to uncover what it is that we really, really want. It's not the porn. It's what the porn means to us. It's what the porn is doing for us. It's what porn is offering to your heart. The second question is, "If I am the one in charge, what am I afraid would happen? With the stories that we've heard from Nathan? When he's the one taking action? He's humiliated. He's misunderstood. He's ignored in a locker room for two hours. And in the end, with the final story about Shane, he's cut off from his only friend. What are you afraid would happen if you are the one in charge? Elliot says, "if I'm in charge and it doesn't work out, no one will help me." No one will help me. I'll be abandoned. I'll be unsupported. I'll be alone. While sad. Peter says, if I am in charge, then I must be taking a big risk. And that scary.
It makes me wonder when you've taken a big risk before with negative consequences. He also says, "If I'm the one in charge, it'll be my fault when things go wrong." For me, that makes it very clear that in the past, you have been put in a position where you were doing the best you could with the power and the responsibility entrusted to you and things went wrong. Or when you saw that in someone else. See all of our stories are so multi-dimensional, they're so diverse. We need to get into the specifics. Maxwell says, "If I'm submitting, then I must be sought after; pursued." That's huge. We are made to be pursued by our God, by our parents. Kurt Thompson says "We come into the world looking for someone who's looking for us." That is how we are made for attachment. Being pursued frees us up to pursue others.
It always makes sense. The question we need to ask is, "Okay, what makes this make sense?" Even the most bizarre, violent sexual fantasies, they make sense in the end. As we continue to locate these contributions from the stories of our lives. Henry says, "If I'm in charge, I might be rejected later." Well said. It makes me curious about the rejection you've received. And even more than that, the betrayal. Because when we're talking about a story like mine, or like Nathan's where it's coming from a grandmother, a father, a coach, parent. This person actually has a responsibility to care for us, to create a safe environment for us. And when they reject us, it's actually more just rejection. It's betrayal. They're breaking trust. Trust has been violated and that's actually deeper than rejection.
Somebody I don't know can reject me. Somebody with no commitment to me can reject me and that can hurt. Somebody who is close to me, who's committed to me and rejects me. That is called betrayal trauma. In all of these stories, we see betrayal. We see powerlessness and we see ambivalence. Ambivalence is the experience of too intensely contradictory feelings. For example, I love my grandmother and I want to honor her. And, I feel so gross when I'm around her. So I feel caught between feeling guilty about not enjoying her and feeling gross when I do get close to her. So in ambivalence with my grandmother, I'm caught between these two contradictory feelings; feeling guilty for separating from her, feeling when I'm close to her. It's that need for connection and safety. I have a lot of ambivalence about her because if I'm connected to her, I'm not safe. If I'm safe from her, I'm not connected. That's ambivalence. And ultimately, when it comes to power and domination, we always have to ask the question, "When have you felt powerless? Helpless? Like there's nothing I can do?" Those stories are being sometimes repeated in these fantasies about submission. And they're sometimes being reversed in these fantasies about domination. It's heavy.
And that is why at the beginning of this episode, I wanted to celebrate you for being here for doing this hard work for continuing to listen. As we're talking about suffering, heartbreak, loss, abuse, abandonment, enmeshment, betrayal, powerless, ambivalence. All of these streams flow into our sexual desires and fantasies. And here's the best part. As we name these specific stories, they also give us very specific, next steps toward self care. So what will it look like for me to reclaim my power when it comes to my grandmother, some of the other stories around this fantasy for me of invading someone's mouth... It's going to look different than it will for Nathan. It's going to look different for you. So how do you discover your specific path to healing? Basically what kind of self-care is going to bring you what you didn't get? What is going to help you have a corrective experience around the specifics of your story? This is what we explore in our private Husband Material groups. I'm starting a new group in September. If you're interested in joining, go to husbandmaterial.com/group and we have six spots. This is the last group I'll be offering this year. And it is also the last group I'll be offering to the public. Next year, these groups will be exclusively available for members of Husband Material Academy coming soon. I want to open it up for questions. And I think we already got one. Brandon is asking, "If you know your story, or if you don't know your story, would you do anything different practically?"
The answer is yes. So, if I am coming from a story of powerlessness and my sexual fantasies are putting me in power, basically me having something like accountability, software or internet filters, is actually going to make things worse for me. It's going to reinforce that feeling of being constricted, of being helpless, of being powerless, of being boxed in. And that's why they never worked for me. Maybe for someone else that kind of structure and support gives a feeling of safety. For me, it's just reinforcing the trauma because of my specific story. Here's another example. Let me tell you something that really worked for me when I am able to call an ally and have a conversation about my emotions, about my soul and connect at a deep level, It is so healing for me. Because one of my core longings is to feel safe and accepted when it comes to my emotions.
And so that is always so powerful for me. Let me give you an example of what it looks like for me to reclaim my power in the places where I felt powerless. I love running. And recently in Santa Barbara, having the mountains close to me, I've found that I really like running up the mountains. And so when I run, it is giving me a redemptive reversal, feeling powerless. I can move, I can act. I felt helpless where I felt frozen. I felt stuck. I'm breaking out. And I am hitting that pavement hard. It's a redemptive reversal. It's a way of giving my body what it didn't get. And there is another really important part of this, which is I think, choosing to risk again. So for me, choosing to risk, when it came to relationships and kissing, that was a big deal for me.
It allowed me to have an experience of connecting with the mouth of another person in a way that was healthy, in a way that was safe in a way that was good. That's part of my healing journey. So the answer is, yes. Just like our path into porn is different for each one of us, with our specific families, with our specific fantasies, our path out of it is equally unique. Ultimately, here's the pattern. You need to find something real that meets that core longing even better than the fantasy. And if you can go back into the place of the trauma and experience what you didn't get in that very place, then it loses so much power. And this is what we do in our groups. We tell our stories to one another, going into the very specific soil of our abuse, our abandonment, our enmeshment. Meeting one another there, noticing each other's goodness, beauty, strength in the story. nd by doing so, you can actually modify those memories. It's a corrective experience. It's reopening the wound so you can heal it. And then after we do that, toward the end of the group, we practice resurrection by rewriting the future. If you don't go backward into your story, you can't move forward. When you go backward, it frees you up to find what are my next steps. And for some of us, those next steps might be changing our environment. They might be changing our lifestyle. They might be changing our relationship. It might be getting individual help from a professional, it might be getting into a group, it could be something as simple as reading a book. I don't know what it is for you, but I'm so glad that you showed up today in the presence and power of Jesus.
Our fantasies lose their flair. They lose their vice grip on our imaginations. As we experienced Him, not just in the logical rational part of our brains, but the emotional side, the imaginative side and our stories and the images and flashbacks that we have; Inviting Him into the stories like one I shared with my grandmother, like the two stories Nathan shared, is going to put the love of God into contact with the pain that we still need to process. That's what we do in our groups. That's what we do in individual coaching. And that's what we do in our Facebook group. Although sometimes we take breaks and talk about fun stuff too. And if you want to be a part of our next Husband Material group, go to husbandmaterial.com/group. Always remember, you are God's beloved Son in you, He's well-pleased.