The Challenge Facing Every Man/Program 1
|By: Steve Arterburn, Shannon Ethridge, Fred Stoeker; ©2007|
|Pornography is hardly harmless. Listen as our guests explain how pornography led them into harmful behaviors.|
Today on the John Ankerberg show, Steve Arterburn, Shannon Etheridge, and Fred Stoeker, three best-selling authors whose books have sold in the millions…
Dr. John Ankerberg: They are addressing the problems, the sexual challenges that young men, young women, married men, married women are facing. And we are going to get to all four categories along the way. Fred started out with the dream of finding a girl, getting married, and having a family. But it didn’t end up that way.
Fred Stoeker: What happened was that the first girl I went to bed with was one I knew I was going to marry. The next one was with someone I thought I was going to marry. The one after that was a friend that I thought I could learn to love. It wasn’t long before I had the dates memorized when the pornography magazines would come in to the campus drugstore. And I would be there when the doors opened on those dates so I could be the first one to see Gallery Magazine or Playboy of the month.
Dr. Steve Arterburn: Sex in marriage has gone down instead of up because Hugh Hefner who taught us as young men, hey this is just something that you ought to do, even if you’re a Christian you ought to do it. He lied. It doesn’t make you more of a man, it takes your manhood away.
Stoeker: …and the worst part about it was that it was starting to affect every area of my life. —… I couldn’t give myself 100% to her because I knew if she found out about some of these she might even leave me, I had no idea.
Shannon Etheridge: Most women feel very grossed out by the whole concept that men are capable of doing this. And that’s where the whole men are pigs thing comes from. And we get on our high horse going, well we are not like that, we are better than men are. Well women fail to understand that it is true that men do give love to get sex, women give sex to get love.
Arterburn: Well, a lot of guys think that I can do all these things and when I get married and I eat the wedding cake it will all change and I’ll become this wonderful faithful loving man and I will never look at pornography I will never want to have an unfaithful moment, but that is a myth. … You don’t eat wedding cake and become a man of character. What you are doing now as a young single guy you will do as a married man, it doesn’t fix it.
Stoeker: But as I saw what I had become there was only one thing left to do and that was the bow my head and I just said, Lord, I am ready to work with you if you are ready to work with me. I had no other answer.
Arterburn: Fred had done something that nobody else had done. He had actually put together something that brought hope, and that was, he made sense of it all, took his life, shared it and at the end developed a way that every person could have victory if they would do some very simple things.
Announcer: Join us today for this special edition of the John Ankerberg show to learn how to secure victory in sexual purity.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. As you heard in the introduction we are going to be talking today about every young man’s battle. We have three bestselling authors; their books have been in the millions. And they are addressing the problems, the sexual challenges, that young men, young women, married men, married women, are facing. And we are going to get to all four categories along the way. But today, Fred, you and Steve, you have written this book. Tell me why?
- Stoeker: Well, you know it came out of my own story. When I was in high school, football was my god. And everything that I did at that time was based on that. So I wasn’t dating at that time because I thought women weakened legs and all that; and I thought that drinking was something that was going to take away my leadership as a quarterback on my team. And all I wanted to do was be all-state. And when I went to college, though, football was taken away from me. And as my god died, my morality began to die as well. And it wasn’t long before I had the dates memorized when the pornography magazines would come into the campus drugstore. And I would be there when the doors opened on those dates so I could be the first one to see “Gallery” magazine or “Playboy” of the month. And I would take it back to the dorm, even if I had to skip class so I could take a look at it. It wasn’t long before I was chasing women. What happened was that the first girl I went to bed with was one
- I knew I was going to marry. The next one was with someone I thought I was going to marry. The one after that was with a friend that I thought I could learn to love. And it wasn’t long before a senior there at Stanford University was afraid to graduate without ever having intercourse, and she wanted to do that, it was something she wanted to check off her college check list. And I didn’t hardly know her, but I did for, you know, her sake. And you can see how step by step things swirled. And then before long one year out of college I had four girl friends. I was sleeping with three of them and I was essentially engaged to be married with two of them. None knew about the others. And what happened at that point was, you know, it looked like I was leading every man’s dream; and I was an all American boy, blond, great shape, athlete, athlete of the year, and all that. But one of the things that started to nag at me inside was this draw that the porn had on me. And so, you know, I would find myself getting these magazines. I would find myself looking at them and find myself masturbating, all those things that go with that. And I would find myself just sick of myself afterwards for some reason. You know, there was no one around me that was saying this was wrong, but there was something inside me that just, it felt funny to be captured like that. And then on top of that, here I was connecting with all of these girls. There were very few nights that I wasn’t in bed with a girl. And yet I found myself, the more I was connecting with them in some sense, in a physical sense, the less I felt connected to them in an emotional sense. And I felt just totally lonely inside in spite of all these girls around me.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, let me ask you something. I mean, when you started out you had dreams of finding the key girl in your life and of marrying her, having a family, having children. I mean you had the whole success story out there. You didn’t intend to get into all of this stuff, it just happened right?
- Stoeker: Well, it did happen. And the funny thing was, it was more than just a dream for me. It was actually the one thing I cared more about than football, was to someday have a marriage that was successful. I came from a broken home, my mom and dad got divorced [when I was] in 5th grade. And it was kind of like from that moment forward the sun never shone as brightly again. It was just this feeling, your dad was gone and you feel a disconnection that way. But then, I would also wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and hear my mom crying in the next room. And I would go into comfort her and she would say, “Oh Freddy, this is so hard for me. I want to try to be your dad, but I can’t be a dad; and because I wasn’t the women I needed to be for him, he’s left.” And it was just awful. And I remember swearing to myself I would never treat a omen that way as long as I live. And yet the funny thing was that once I got into high school, especially into college, I ended up being my dad. My dad had multiple mistresses; that was the cause of the divorce. And then here I was, even though I wasn’t married, three or four girl friends at the same time. I had become my dad in spite of the vow that I had made. And as I looked at it then, I couldn’t believe who I had become.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Let me come to Steve and then I will come back to you. And that is, you guys talk about the big lie, that people start off with these expectations and it doesn’t work out. And actually, when we say it’s just, we say, “It happened” you are going the direction that you think is right; and you are doing stuff that you feel is natural; and you have good intentions. But you are missing something; there is a big lie in there somewhere.
- Arterburn: Well, you know, I was born the same year that Playboy was born, in 1953. And I would have to say, and of course, you have had all the folks from Playboy on your program. I would have to say that Hugh Hefner has done a great job in getting his philosophy that a little bit of pornography will really help you be a better man; that is just something that you want in your life. And back in the 70’s when all of this kind of started coming to the surface there were some anti-porn activist, some women, who said, “Look, if we don’t stop this, en are going to be so stimulated by all of this that women will not be safe in their homes; that the rape rate will go up; and men will be just demanding sex all of the time, if we don’t get these images out of our culture.” Well, that was before the internet. And now we see the proliferation of all of these pornographic and sexually stimulating images, and the rate of rape hasn’t gone up. Sex in marriage has gone down rather than up. Because Hugh Hefner, who taught us as young men, “Hey, this is just something that you ought to do. Even if you are a Christian you ought to do it.” He lied, it doesn’t make you more of a man; it takes your manhood away. You can’t function as well with a real live woman if you are into pornography. And one of the reasons that I wanted to be part of this book, you know, when I saw the manuscript that Fred had developed, and had an opportunity to be a part of this. I mean, you’ve heard his story; but the reason I wanted to be a part of it is that Fred had done something that nobody else had done. He had actually put together something that brought hope; and that was, he made sense of it all, took his life, shared it and at the end developed a way that every person could have victory if they would do some very simple things. And over and over again we have had, I would have to say, hundreds of thousands of emails, the men and young men have said, “You have done something that nobody else has done. I can have victory because of – and I am sure we will talk about it later – because of what you told us to do.” So there was not just a statistical verification of the problem, there was a great way to handle it, a great way to deal with it, and have victory over it. And so it’s exciting to see these guys use the material and not struggle anymore.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, Fred, what we actually did is, in the 80’s when I started the program, I invited Hugh Hefner to debate Josh McDowell. And he actually sent one of the writers for Playboy that he had sent to Seminary. The guy didn’t believe in God, didn’t believe a stick of it; he was there just to debate folks like ourselves. When all the pastors would picket Playboy in their cities and so on, they sent this guy. His name was Anson Mount. What he told us in the program sounded good. Josh did a great job in the debate. It was interesting, a few years later, his son and daughter called me; and they had watched the tape. Their father had died. But they said everything that he was saying there was not true at home. And you experienced a little of that, the fact of, you had this outward image going, and you had this private thing. And I find it interesting, you said that you finally got sick and tired of it yourself.
- Stoeker: Yes. And you know, I was getting sick of myself, and then I had a special moment at work one night. I had been a stockbroker at the time, and I had been working hard all day making phone calls, trying to get business, that sort of thing. In fact, I was working so hard I was surprised, I looked up and it was getting late and everybody else had gone home besides me. And so it was kind of a, I thought, “Well, I had better get home.” And I looked out the window and I saw the sun setting, and I thought it looks like a great sunset, I am going to sit and enjoy this and relax before I head home and eat and go to bed. And as the sun was setting, I don’t know how He did it, but I felt God come into the scene; and He showed me what I had become. And honestly, I really didn’t know God at the time. I didn’t, this is the last thing in the world I would have expected. But as I saw what I had become, there was only one thing left to do, and that was to bow my head. And I just said, “Lord, I am ready to work with you if you are ready to work with me.” I had no other answer. And, you know, I got up and I left. I wasn’t sure what had happened there or anything like that. But over time it became really clear that He had come into my life and things had changed. And I started to go to church. And I had been going to church for about a year and had been actually attending a marriage class on Sunday mornings, because I was, you know, if there is anything in the world I didn’t know what to do, it was how to treat women well. And so I began going to this even though at that time I had dumped all the women, I had moved back to Iowa, and I was single, alone, not dating; but I just wanted to learn about women. And he interesting thing was that, after I had been going to that class for about a year, I was introduced to my wife, Brenda, who had been a Christian for a long time. And the more I got to know her, the more I wanted to do well as a husband. And so I can say something that most men can’t say: from my wedding day until this moment I have never purchased pornography or looked at it on the computer. And so a lot of people would look at that and say, “Wow, you have really turned things around. I would like to be at that point.” My statement back is, “Maybe, I had dumped the porn, but was I really where I need to be in relation to my wife and in relation to my Lord?” And I would have to say no, not even close. Because there is a standard that God has for us, which is that we should not have even a hint of sexual immorality in our lives. And when I began to look at my life and began to see who I was still. You know, I had become better, so to say, but I was still on Sunday mornings looking at the newspaper ad inserts, masturbating over them before I would go to church. I would be lusting over joggers going by, I would be lusting in R rated movies. And there would be just a series of things, that even though I had cut the porn, I found that I had simply changed what I was looking at, I had moved from porn to these other things. And I found I was still getting that kind of impact in my life, that same kind of chain around me that I couldn’t break. And the worst part about it is that it was starting to affect every area of my life. I mean, I could see it was effecting my relationship with my wife; I couldn’t give myself 100% to her, because I knew if she found out about some of these things she might even leave me, I had no idea. But when it came to my son, when he was born, that was one of the biggest things that changed things for me. Because he would be walking around, he was a toddler at the time, and he had that pacifier hanging out of his mouth, a little drool coming down; and a lot of times he would walk up to me he would grin up into my face, and I could see what his eyes were saying to me, “Daddy, you are every thing to me, I want to be just like you when I grown up.” And the odd thing was, there would be sometimes that I would actually burst out crying when he would smile into my face; because I knew that my grandfathers were both hooked on porn; my dad was hooked on porn; you have heard my story. And as I would look into that innocent face, I knew there was no way to keep him from landing in this same trap that I was in. Not only could I not…, not only was he destined for that, but there was nothing I could do. And it was at that time where a real change began to happen; and I just knew something had to be done, if anything could be done.
- Ankerberg: Alright, it is interesting, you started out as a non-Christian. You because a Christian. You dropped some things, you took steps toward purity, toward God, but you stopped short. We are going to talk a little bit more about why you stopped short, and it did cost you. And then I also want to get Shannon’s comments here. We are going to talk about how we are put together as guys; and how we act out; and what our thinking is; and how that sometimes gets us into trouble. And we are going to talk about how you can also correct that. But I want to hear the girls take on this, what they think about us after we talk about that. We are going to take a break and we will be right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright we are back, we are talking with Fred Stoeker, Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn; and we are talking about their bestselling book “Every Young Man’s Battle.” And Fred, how are guys made? How are we put together? And how does this affect us in all of the decisions we are making down the way?
- Stoeker: Well, one of the things is that we really don’t know who we are most of the time as we are growing up. We don’t have our fathers telling us, you know, what to protect ourselves from, or what to guard against. And so a lot of times we are coming in, we are learning a lot of this from the locker room. We are learning from our friends with the stories they are telling. But the real issue I found was that there are actually things built into us that take us in that direction of more and more porn, more and more girls. And it wasn’t until I understood what was underlying these things that I was able to deal with them. And the two main vulnerabilities that we have as men would be our eyes, and the way our emotional makeup is made up in relation to sexuality. One thing that we know is that we can draw true sexual gratification through our eyes; we will get into that a little bit more later. But I think that most men can relate to the fact that if you are even, let’s say you are looking at a girl on TV, and you are watching her, and looking at her breast a little bit more, and a little bit more, you can feel your engines getting going; and pretty soon your engines get up in the red zone and you either going to masturbate or you blow up. And so you know there is this thing that the eyes can actually perform foreplay and actually get your engines going. So that is an aspect of our maleness that can draw us down that path very quickly. The other side would be our emotional makeup. And that is that our native language of passing intimacy with women would be the things surrounding intercourse, and intercourse. And so what happens is that, when we are with a girl, and when we are falling love, our native language or the thing that we would most naturally want to run to, is to push her boundaries, get into the sexual arena, and pass that intimacy. The only trouble is that a lot of times girls can be holding back, or they have those boundaries and we are pushing past. And the other thing that is a problem is that we don’t even know that that is there. So a lot of people say, “Oh, men are pigs; that’s all they want is sex.” But it really isn’t that. What is really underlying that is that is our native language we want to express ourselves the way that is most comfortable to us, and the easiest for us. And so, until we understand that that is part of our makeup, it is difficult for us to say, “Look, I know that is part of me, so I am going to defend myself when I am with my girl, and defend her.” We aren’t even do that if we don’t know it is there. So those are the two main issues that would drive a person to do what I did: get deeply into porn with the eyes, and you would also then get into the multiple girls because of that emotional makeup.
- Arterburn: You know, a lot of the guys would say, “Well, why would God make us this way if we shouldn’t just use it?” Well, you know, if we didn’t have something this powerful, we would never get together with women. We would just drink beer and watch television, or sports events, or whatever it is that we do. But the sexual drive is so powerful it draws us to women. And then, when we are married, it can draw us right back to the woman. But just because we have the owner and the drive doesn’t mean that God doesn’t expect us to have some constraints on it. And I think young women, less and less, are expecting to have constraints; but it is important that we take control of our sexuality, and that we say, “I want this to be the most powerful part of my life here when it comes to my male/female relationship.” And if we will do some of the things that Fred and I have written about in the book, when you do get married it is going to be a powerful experience for you.
- Ankerberg: Shannon, when you hear Fred talking, the fact is that guys can take in your image in their mind, and without you they can have, they can have fantasies they can lust over your body, they can actually have masturbation, and you are not even there. Okay, when you hear these stories, and you have written with these guys, how does it effect most women when they hear this?
- Shannon Etheridge: Most women feel very grossed out by the whole concept that men are capable of doing this. And that’s where the whole, “men are pigs” thing comes from. And we get on our high horse, going, “Well, we are not like that; we are better than men are.” What women fail to understand is that, you know, it is true that men do give love to get sex, women give sex to get love. And just because we operate in the opposite, doesn’t mean we are in the right and they are in the wrong. It simply means we have our own unique sexual vulnerabilities that we need to be aware of. And often times it is that nurturing side of us that kind of lays the foundation for him to feel as if he can cross that boundary. So it takes two to tango, and we just want to encourage women to look at their part in the dance, too.
- Ankerberg: Steve, we have got two minutes left. You have a word you use, bifurcation, and people having a split mind in terms of approaching the topic of sexuality. Tell us what you mean.
- Arterburn: Well, a lot of guys think that I can do all of these things and when I get married and I eat the wedding cake, it will all change, and I will become this wonderful faithful loving man. And I will never look at pornography or never want to have an unfaithful moment. But that is a myth. There is no bifurcation in character. You don’t eat wedding cake and become a man of character. What you are doing now as a young single guy, you will do as a married man. It doesn’t fix it. In fact, you will become even more sexual. And you will find yourself more vulnerable to temptation if you’ve develop these habits in singlehood that really can destroy your ability to be fully sexual as a male and fully fulfilling as a women.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, next week we are going to talk about that fact that some of the things that will stick with you, just like you are talking about, you carry over into your marriage. Fred, you said that you had these expectations; but you were carrying this baggage, and it really does affect your marriage relationship. And then you are saying, “I’m trapped! How do I get out of this?” And most guys that are listening are saying, “Hey, I can agree with that story. I am there.” Okay? But they are saying, “I can’t wait for you to tell me I can be rescued, I can stop this.” Because they think that’s like going to the moon right?
- Stoeker: Right.
- Ankerberg: Alright, so next week we are going to get into, how do you come up with a battle plan for the way you are built? And does it work? And how long.