Mark Judge on “God, Onanism, and the Woman Who Said No.”

If you read one thing today, read this piece by Mark Judge over at Acculturated. Mark is one of the most insightful cultural critics around, and here he writes about how “porn industry has made cowards out of men.” He also tells a very personal story in this piece.

He writes: 

It’s not something fun to write about. The potential for embarrassment or personal–and even career–damage is real.

And yet, here at Acculturated, we’re in the business of dealing with the popular culture, God, and the virtues, so when the topic comes up, we’d be cowards not to address it.

I’m talking about sex, yes, but also something specific to sex–onanism. Self-love. Self-love, and the brilliant, heavenly, and comedic thing that is the young male libido.

What prompts this reflection is a recent column in the Catholic News Agency by Matt McGuiness. McGuiness set out to write “a second look at porn,” but his writing is so confused and oblique that he’s only managed to cause anger and controversy. The sharpest response came from pro-chastity activist and sexual abuse survivor Dawn Eden, who wrote a sharp response.

Mark goes on to tell that story I mention. He ultimately concludes:

Matt McGuinness was right in one sense. Us men can be lustful brutes. But to celebrate that, and the fear behind it, as he seems to do, is just weak. As Mencken said about the man who avoids live encounters with women because it has hazards, it is “the work of a puling and tacky fellow.”

Read the full thing here.

  1. CoolHand

    Is it so much to ask that you actually deal with the topic?  Seems so.

    [redacted for Code of Conduct violation. Please revisit Code of Conduct.]

  2. CoolHand

    You know what, Foxifier?  You’ve given me an epiphany.

    I’ve seen the same dozen posters make the same types of arguments in damned near every thread on the site for the last couple of weeks, and so I’m bored to death of them, and starting to get surly (mostly because I keep remembering that I just paid money to read this drivel).

    I’m out for the rest of the week.

    If after that I still have my rage on, I may stay away longer.

    Otherwise I’m gonna end up trying to strangle someone through their DSL line.

  3. Crow
    Carol: Can anyone explain to me why he was embarrassed to tell that story, and how in heaven’s name it could negatively affect his career? Is he a priest? I am puzzled. · 10 hours ago

    The pornography element of the post aside, with which I largely agree (and with other posters here about porn for men and women), I’m afraid I don’t get this either, Carol.

    He was a young man at one point who had a crush on a girl. He fantasized about her, and pleasured himself, being neither the first nor the last man to so do. Later on, after they’d dated some, they went back to his apartment, and she wisely perceived the situation and tenderly and chastely put a stop to it. No doubt, though it goes unmentioned, she also probably felt a flush of female sexuality at the thought of being desired in this way, but had self-restraint in the moment with him.

    Is he embarrassed by male sexuality?

  4. Crow
    DocJay: Aaron, you are correct. I looked at playboys and penthouses as a virginal teen. We all did. I was never so cowardly as an adult to not ask women out and I failed more often than not. My issues with porn come from the devastation it can have in marriages when it is non-consensual. The objectifying of women argument has merit but all the lefty women who decry porn for that reason have no problems neutering boys in school. I am still made of snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails. So are all my boys.

    Concur. There’s also a difference, I think, between images of a naked woman, even in the Playboys of our youth, and a large part of what is online at the click of a mouse today which is more coarse and even violent in places. But regardless I do not think this youthful “onanism” prevents healthy relationships with girls, or is no more obstacle than the other forms of youthful awkwardness. Of course, like anything that becomes a bad habit, unhealthy obsession, or addiction, porn can absolutely harm your relationship with others and your view of yourself. But boys are boys

  5. genferei

    From a slightly different point of view: “Our daughters are abused by a culture of porn” (which is the sub-editor’s way of missing the point). I daresay sons aren’t really helped in the long term by this, either.

    (I have to say, I couldn’t make any real sense of either the Acculurated piece or the original article.)

  6. Indaba

    The men of Ricochet have educated me enormously on the inside workings of the male and their completely different ways to women. Feminism was about getting women to think they were the same and that men were stopping them from jobs and money so as to control them. Feminism paints men with one brush when in actual fact, they are far more complex. Feminism also fails to mention the deeply nurturing side of men towards women and paints white knight chivalry as trying to keep the status quo, with the female vulnerable and beholden to the male. I am very grateful to the men in Ricochet for taking the time to discuss the many complex and deeply personal topics on male female relations over the past year.

  7. DocJay

    I read the piece and agree that porn has changed things.    Onanism has it’s benefits though.

    Women are changing also.  I went out to a wine place to meet a fishing buddy about a trip last week and two women came up, interrupted us and asked for sex in rather blunt terms.   I held up my wedding ring like it should be kryptonite and they laughed and said those don’t matter anymore.  Amazing.  

  8. Indaba

    I am particularly glad to understand the sexual brute part of the male which the article is trying to describe. The interesting thing is women do like that Conan the Barbarian passion in the bedroom. Onan, not so much! 50 Shades of grey is the feminist version of modern feminism’s brute fantasy. the woman thinks she gets some of that bodice ripping beast, but then he will go back into his corner and change back to a safe, metro sexual fantasy male she feels she can entice and control with her sexuality. As for hooker sex acts being normalized, so is hooker clothing for women. Who are the hookers? I was watching a TV show and every woman looks like a hooker to me. I am on facebook with friends’ daughters and at 16, they list as an interest pornography!

  9. Anne R. Pierce

    Anyone else reading Tom Wolfe’s new book, Back to Blood, which was previewed on Ricochet a month ago? He certainly deals with this topic!

  10. Aaron Miller

    Jesus said even thoughts could be sinful. The distinction liberals often fail to recognize is between accidental thoughts and willful thoughts. Sin necessarily involves the will. 

    We are constantly involved in our own formations. Indulged, an urge becomes more frequent and more powerful. One key to overcoming such bad habits is to be accepting of frequent failures. One willful lapse does not force another.

    Anyway, I agree. Innocent fantasies are fine until we advance them before real relationships and real experience.

  11. Jim  Ixtian

    **Sigh** Yet another ‘Shaming Men’ article. Commenter ‘Days of Broken Arrow’s analysis is more accurate.

    In writing this you’re failing to take into account other societal changes. You’re just looking at the prevalence of pornography as if it happened in a vacuum.

    Specifically, the women younger men deal with now are not the women of your era. To find a woman worth seriously pursuing, men have to wade through a sea of tattoos, piercings, radical feminists, competitive grrrl power types, “sex positive” feminists who have been with dozens of men, trendy bisexuals, and single mothers. And I could go on here.

    This is where conservatives have gone wrong and why young men no longer support conservatism. You come from a perspective of white knighting chivalry, putting all the blame on men and acting as if women are innocent wilting flowers and it’s an episode of “Family Ties” from when you grew up.

    Who do you think voted for Obama? Married Midwestern women in their forties with three kids and a stable marriage? No, it was the demographic I described above. IF THIS DEMOGRAPHIC EXISTS FOR THE ELECTORATE YOU DAMN WELL BET IT EXISTS FOR YOUNG MEN.

  12. CoolHand
    Jim Ixtian: Uh-oh, another ‘Shaming men’ article. Commenter ‘Days of Broken Arrow‘ analysis is far more accurate.

    Beat me to it.

    If women want old timey men back, they might ought to start thinking about bringing old timey women back.

    Until that happens, you can exhort and deride and whatever else ’til your heart’s content, but the men who see the strings are still going to refuse to dance.

    You can continue to blame porn (or whatever else you like) and stick your fingers in your ears, but this problem will continue until women make the field of relationship less deadly toward men.

    Men want a woman worth White Knighting for, we’re just not finding them anywhere anymore.

    And, just so you know, claiming that you’re the type that’s worth it while simultaneously telling us how ignorant or cowardly we are for not doing what we’re told, tells us immediately that you’re NOT worth it.

    Women wanted to change society in wholesale fashion.

    Well, they sure did it.

    At least have honesty and self awareness to own the destruction you’ve wrought.

  13. Carol

    Can anyone explain to me why he was embarrassed to tell that story, and how in heaven’s name it could negatively affect his career? Is he a priest? I am puzzled.

  14. iWe
    LT Wisp:   Seriously, this article talks about about men as if they’re animals!

    We are ALL animals. We all have animal instincts, and they drive both sexes (albeit not the same way).

    The only question to my mind is whether most people are aware that being civilized means being *more* than the sum of our desires. Just because we are animal in composition does not mean we have to be animal in practise.

  15. Aaron Miller

    Why the assumption that criticism of one side implies the other side is blameless? Let’s not be as eager as liberals to take offense, guys.

    The article is about porn. I’ve known women who admitted to looking at porn, but it seems safe to say that most is consumed by men. Hence, the focus on men.

  16. CoolHand

    I read the article.

    It said that men use porn because they’re too cowardly to go out and risk rejection by women.

    It’s no wonder our side can’t win the culture war.  As evidenced by this article (and actually the whole magazine/site behind it) and the loads of people here who insist that the culture we actually have right now doesn’t exist, we can’t win the war because our side can’t even find/see the battlefield.

    It’s like they’re playing battleship with a blindfold on, so they can’t even see their own ships.

    I weep for the nation, with fools like these as its only champions.

  17. CoolHand

    The big problem we have is that so many people think that they have “something BIG and important to say”.

    They feel that they must get their important thing out there so quickly that they don’t ever stop to examine their premises to make sure what they’re saying is not wrong (or gobbltygook like this article).

    It’s as though everyone has lost the ability to speak plainly.

    I see it here at Ricochet a lot too.

    People will use 200 $10 words to say something badly that could have been said much more clearly with about 40 $0.25 words.

    Complexity and sophistry do not necessarily a good argument (or even a point) make.

  18. Mollie Hemingway

    I wrote about this topic a few years ago. I was surprised to learn that while society treats porn as feeding the insecurity of women, it really is frequently about feeding off of the insecurity of men. Also, to my surprise, my friends who were most critical of porn’s effect on men were men who seemed beyond normal to me, had good relationships with women, and still said it was quite deleterious for them.

  19. Nick Stuart
    Aaron Miller: Why the assumption that criticism of one side implies the other side is blameless? Let’s not be as eager as liberals to take offense, guys.

    The article is about porn. I’ve known women who admitted to looking at porn, but it seems safe to say that most is consumed by men. Hence, the focus on men. · 21 minutes ago

    Taking a look at women’s magazines from Cosmopolitan to YM and Seventeen, 50 Shades of Gray, and innumerable bodice-ripping pulp romance novels, it’s obvious that men are not the only consumers of porn.

  20. Britanicus

    I have to wonder if the lady in the article who said no to the writer actually used this phrase: “I know you’re a man, and right now you need to penetrate something. But I want to wait until we know each other better.”

    If someone ever told me that I “needed to penetrate something”, I think I would laugh. I, along with most men here have been told “no” by our love interests many times in our days. Never have I heard it said in so awkward a manner haha.

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