According to the ancient philosopher Aristotle, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Aristotle based his conclusion on the observation that nature requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something is colorless, odorless air.
This vacuum of healthy masculine mentoring or role modeling gave rise to mythical manhood stereotypes perpetuated by the media. They pursue sexual gratification, or what I call “Rogue Intimacy,” as the highest form of relational intimacy.
What is Rogue Intimacy? Rogue Intimacy is when a man believes that intimacy always includes sex or some form of sexual gratification. Consequently, how often he has sex becomes his primary measure of love and being loved. Ignorant to intimacy’s vast virtues, he continues to value sex above all else. Thus his pursuit of intimacy has gone “Rogue.”
Consequently, a detrimental masculine culture has evolved, which glorifies a man’s aggressive, competitive, and dominating nature. Bolstered by our media, it perpetuates the myth of the “self-made man.” This glorification compels men to lead lives of isolation, void of meaningful intimate relationships.
We have gone from the “Father Knows Best” generation to the “American Dad” generation. Fittingly illustrated by Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden in the hit movie “Fight Club.” He declares to his fellow fighters at a pivotal point of the film:
“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. However, we won’t. Moreover, we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
“A generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is the answer we really need.”
Although the Fight Club dialogue is intriguing at this point, you might find yourself asking this question: “Have men really allowed the media to influence their beliefs about themselves and their relationships this much?”
In their 2012 book “The Demise of Guys,” Dr. Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus at Stanford University, and psychologist Nikita Duncan sounded a warning that rattled both the mental health field, social media, and entertainment industries. “Video games and online pornography are ruining a generation.”
Zimbardo and Duncan’s research ask the question, “Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?”
What they discovered is that “Increasingly, researchers are saying, ‘Yes!’”
“What we are finding is that young men are becoming addicted to the mental and emotional arousal caused by video games and online pornography. The addiction is so much that they willingly sacrifice their schoolwork, their employment, and their relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.”
Compulsive gambling, alcoholism, or drug addictions require increasingly more of a game or drink or drug to get the same quality of buzz. However, video game and porn addictions are different. They are “arousal addictions,” where the attraction is in the novelty, the variety, or the surprise factor of the content.
Zimbardo and Duncan state that, “The consequences could be dramatic!” “The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next novel or exciting thing is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school, and employment.”
In other words, it’s creating more intimately ignorant men!
The vacuum created by the longing for genuine intimacy is being filled with exciting media and pornography that perpetuates toxic masculine stereotypes devoid of any moral compass.
So how do we recalibrate masculinity’s moral compass? How do we re-forge, restore, and refine healthy masculine intimacy for this generation?
It begins with understanding, re-forging, and transforming what men believe about themselves. Restoration begins with the belief that what’s there is unique, valuable, and worth restoring. However, restoration takes time to carefully preserve what’s unique and valuable, while repairing what isn’t working. Remember, “What comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.”
I hope today’s blog has encouraged you. Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.