Dear Mrs Bluth,
This letter is in response to your advice to the mom wanting to know how to handle her teen boys after finding out they were using their computer for porn viewing (2-17).
Recently, I became aware of my husband’s long-standing sex addiction and his porn viewing. I can’t even write to you to tell you how I found out and how damaged and broken I am.
When males view pornography, it affects the way their brain works and eventually wreaks havoc in the way they function. The damage can happen well before a frum boy reaches the shidduch parsha. You needed to let this mom (and dad) know this is absolutely something to get worked up about. This is, according to my therapist, a huge problem in frum homes. Aside from how horrible it is that males come to view the female body in the most debasing way, it totally damages a man’s ability to properly be intimate with his wife. The mutative effect is physical, emotional and mental and the dad that scoffed and made light of it saying the boys were “just curious” is wrong! Porn viewed on computer is more damaging than the magazines were.
The mom who wrote to you should second-guess herself. Any computer or smartphone needs to have a filter and in her case, the mom should be the only one with the password or code. She’s not well informed and I strongly feel your advice to her was lacking.
Rabbanim and menahalim should be discussing the immense problems that are inherent with porn viewing and where it can lead. Values and an educated understanding by adults and teens of how wrong things can go when traveling down this path (which is not the Torah way) is what is lacking in our frum communities.
Anyone finding themselves in my letter and identifying with me and the painful and demoralizing state I’m in should know that I have found great help and clear explanation in two books that have been a great source of education during this terrible ordeal.
Please accept my sincerest thanks to you for entrusting us with your letter. Your painful ordeal and ongoing after-shock is nothing short of devastating. I would also like to apologize to you if you found my answer in regards to the twin boys who’s mom caught them looking into porn sites on the computer they got as a bar mitzvah gift, too cavalier and superficial. I can well understand how you mistook my reply as lenient and accepting of the fact that this could have been just a “rite of passage” for young boys on the boundaries of adulthood. Your own unimaginable journey down this horrible path may have given you a far deeper perspective into the dangers that lurk for our sheltered and innocent children, and even for adults who fall into the trap that modern day technology presents to the curious, the weak-willed and the uninformed. I appreciate your bravery in coming to the forefront to make this readership and myself aware of the bottomless pit of destruction this represents. Forgive me, as well, for omitting some information so as to preserve your anonymity.
The dangers that modern day technological toys and tools pose are enormous, with life-altering ramifications when approached unsupervised and unprepared. To the Jewish child combating the taavos can spell the beginnings of a downward spiral. Yet, as even you pointed out, children, in as much as they may be supervised, shielded and monitored by loving, worried and involved parents, cannot be kept in a bubble. When they leave the house they are at the mercy of the world at large, their friends and peers and that attractive and menacing dangerous technology that can be found everywhere. I have also seen more than my share of, what appeared to be, stable, steeped in learning young bochrim and established baalabatim who have fallen into depravity due to their early beginnings of porn viewing. Sadly, this is the cause of many divorces and broken families.
I beseech the rabbeim, rosh yeshivas, menahalim of both boys and girls yeshivas and Bais Yaakovs, to promote and instill, from the earliest grades, the dangers and damage that lurks inside those mysteriously hypnotic boxes. Parents who must rely on electronic assistance for work should absolutely use filtering devices and alternatives that prevent inquisitive youngsters from going to places that will invade their minds in a devastating way. The fact that we set ourselves apart from the secular world in the way we live our Torah structured lives makes the draw to see “what’s out there” even more enticing for our young and old alike. What we learn too late is that we have everything we need in our lives already, and what glamour, excitement and adventure we think we can withstand and come away from unharmed, is in reality the Satan waiting to snatch our neshama away.
If your finger itches, grab a book or a sefer and nip the urge in the bud. Life was never meant to be simple, it was meant to teach us to conquer and overcome our lusts for the false gods and the things are there to ensnare us and bring us down. Let us find the strength to be true B’nei Torah, role models by example for our children and for others, and in this way, hasten the Geulah.
Therapy will help you find your way back to life and some semblance of peace and family unity. Trust takes a long time to rebuild, especially when it has been so sorely tested, but it is not an impossibility. Try to stay positive and focused on your goal. Since you are in therapy, I will not offer any opinion but I will tell you that hope is eternal and it is the very core essential motivator towards happiness and mental and emotional healing. Thank you for including the two book titles that have been helpful to you, however, since I have not had the chance to review them I hesitate to make them public. Anyone wanting to have them can request them via e-mail. May you attain peace, joy and happiness in the near future.