In the LDS Church we’re counseled to stay away from pornography and taught that it can have a negative impact on relationships and on the home and family. Today I want to teach you more about what goes on in the brain with pornography and my goal is to minimize the damage that pornography can cause in your home and your life if you or someone you love struggles with it. I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife about this topic and I don’t believe there is a need to be disgusted, fearful or worried. Your brain may believe that being worried and disgusted is useful, but I assure you it is not. What if viewing porn, while not an ideal choice, is a result of the same brain patterns as eating brownies with ice cream? What if, while it’s not recommended, it’s also nothing to be so fearful or shaming over? What would change in the way we talk about and help someone through this addiction if we completely removed the disgust and shame and fear? Let’s begin with us. Today I’m going to teach you how.

7 replies
  1. Avatar
    Ida Ewing says:

    Jody – Great podcast. We need to challenge our shame narrative around pornography and deal with it in more healthy ways. You did a wonderful job of exploring the process and meanings of porn use. I want to challenge you on one thing though. You never once used a feminine pronoun or talked about daughters or wives viewing porn. This is not a gender issue. Making it a gender issue reinforces our LDS story that women are asexual, never have urges, curiosities or desires and only exist sexually to deal with the more accepted sexuality of the men in their lives – husbands and sons. How is a woman or girl supposed to deal in a healthy way with her experience with porn if it is only framed in terms of men? Talk about adding a level of shame and isolation! I understand that you may be speaking from your client base experience but again, it is acceptable (if difficult) to deal with a husband’s or son’s use of porn. But is it the same to be open about a wife’s or daughter’s struggle with it? Something to think about. I love your podcast. And Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife. I consider you both to be women of wisdom and substance.

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    Unkown says:

    Hello Jody! First I want to start of by stating that I appreciate your time and effort. As you may already know your podcast are extremely useful. I am not an LDS mother. I am a young new mom who recently got married. Before stumbling across your podcast I was having many problems in my marriage, barley marking the year point of being married. My son is 11 months old. Soon after being married I discovered my husbands porn “addiction”. At first what you were introducing to me was not making sense. I started on podcast 1 and have worked my way up to this one. Everything was at the right time and place. You are exactly right, I was having thoughts in my head that were not helpful, like ( my body changed, I’m not the way I used to be, I am not good enough, He doesn’t want to be with me, why hasn’t he approached me). This was making me act mean and cold towards him. I was also harming myself with these negative thoughts always being in a bad mood and wanting to get revenge.
    One day I opened up podcast on my phone and I began to scroll threw information on parenting. I know it was God who put you in my life and I cannot express how thankful I am. I do recognize that I am still learning applying the things that I am learning. I will say sometimes it’s hard. You bring so much value to my life. I love your dedication and hard work, Thank you, I Look forward to more awesome and amazing podcast.
    Much Love to you and your family.

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    Sandra Turley says:

    Wow. Jody. You have changed everything I thought I would teach my children about pornography (and actually, how I will address any of their questions about sexuality) with this powerful podcast. I was directed to your podcast through a friend that said you had mentioned listening to my music in one of your podcasts…and now I am the one listening to your “music.” You are creating and sharing such goodness and clarity. Thank you for all you are doing. Between listing to you, and Brooke Castillo this fall I feel like I’ve been in a college course that is the most fascinating and important I could have ever taken. Thank you!!

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    Athena says:

    I’m new to listening to your podcasts. I have to say I enjoy your insights, so thank you for sharing.
    I’m still trying to chew and swollow this one on pornography. This may be personal but have you had a spouse or child that has had this addiction? I have a hard time believing what people say on this subject if you’ve never experienced it first hand.
    I have experienced it first hand and am really struggling with the “normalizing” of it. Yes they may see it but they don’t have to view it and it’s not ok to do so. I believe that God commanded us to be chaste and in my opinion looking at pornography is being unchaste. I feel like that is why it’s a big deal in the church.
    Like I said, I’m still chewing on what you’ve said and I’m thankful for your insights and am looking forward to listening to the other podcasts you’ve given on the subject. Thanks!

  5. Avatar
    Dani says:

    Hi Jody,
    I’ve been binge-listening to your podcast for the past three weeks and I’ve listened to every one (yes, 100+ podcasts in three weeks!) I love 95% of what you have to say but I’m having a really hard time swallowing this advice on pornography.

    I’ve chosen to align my beliefs with the church’s teachings that pornography is a big problem and should not only be avoided but shunned. So yes, that belief/thought is my choice and I could choose to believe something else, but doing so would oppose what the church teaches (and by extension, what I believe God thinks).

    What I’m getting at is that you said “your husband looking at porn is the circumstance. It is neutral. Only your thoughts about it give it meaning.” But the church teaches that it is not neutral because of God’s thoughts about it.
    It seems like you are diminishing the fact that in the LDS church porn IS considered a serious transgression, and to deal with that circumstance we can just choose to think that because it’s biologically normal, a little bit is okay. (Which is basically “the world’s” philosophy.) But it would seem more appropriate to address this kind of emotional infidelity as something to process with clean pain rather than suggesting that we can just choose to think something else that makes us feel good. Especially because of the other behaviors that often accompany porn use that most LDS people consider betrayal (lying, adultery, etc.) That would be what I would expect from a “clean-thinking” LDS perspective. Of course you can choose to think whatever you want about any circumstance, but if you believe that God is not neutral and doesn’t approve—and you want to agree with his thinking—then you will need some tools to process the emotions that come along with agreeing with what the church teaches are God’s thoughts on serious issues.

    That is actually the big question I have come away with after thinking deeply about the CTFAR model while listening to your podcast. If we believe that God/the universe has thoughts that make some circumstances non-neutral (that is, Good or Evil), and we want to align ourselves with God, then just choosing a new thought isn’t going to always work. I know that’s not where you spend the bulk of your time with your clients, but where CTFAR stops and moral relativism begins is one thing I would love to hear you address.

    Thanks for your work in helping people. I consider myself fortunate that I was raised by a pretty clean-thinking mom, but your podcast has helped me think about things from a new angle and go much deeper into how my thinking affects my life.

  6. Avatar
    Dani says:

    This is in reply to the comment I left last night, which it looks like it hasn’t been approved (yet?). Anyway, I just listened to #114 “Circumstances Are Neutral” (I knew I should’ve waited before commenting last night!) and I appreciate that in that episode you fleshed out the idea of grieving and clean pain and THEN choosing what to think or feel for the long-term. I think that’s a much more complete way to approach it and I guess that piece was just missing from this pornography podcast.

    Still, from an LDS/religious/moral perspective, I’m still struggling to see how all circumstances can be neutral if God has thoughts/opinions/commandments about them. Maybe you are really saying that it means that circumstances are neutral *in my life* until I give meaning to them (which I think can fit into a moral perspective), rather than neutral in the grand universal scheme of things (which I don’t think can fit into a moral/LDS perspective). Anyway, I still have 20 podcasts to listen to before I’m caught up, but if you haven’t addressed this yet I’d love to hear about it sometime in the future.

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