I had the chance to hear Dr. Simon Sheh speak about shame and porn addiction. He spoke for the second time for our Love Life Conference.
Below the information on a book he wrote, available on Amazon.ca.
His book is titled Pure At Heart: A Man's Guide To Purity In A Sexualized World
Unfortunately, I don't have the book handy. Though I bought one at the conference, I promptly lent it out to a seminarian.
PURE AT HEART is a life changing handbook about overcoming sexual addiction and achieving sexual purity. Dr. Simon Sheh, one of the few Christian Psychologists in North America specializing in the treatment of sexual addiction, wrote this practical handbook to help men pursue purity in our hyper-sexualized world. PURE AT HEART gives you: Surprising new information about pornography and how it affects a man and his health, A self-assessment questionnaire to help point you in the right direction for seeking help, Effective tools to break the destructive habits of sexual addiction, Clear advice about how to affair proof your marriage, and Guidance on how to safeguard sexual purity in your children.
"Dr. Sheh asks some tough questions when it comes to men, pornography and sexual addiction-is it just about sex? The reasons behind these habits may surprise you, as may the practical plan to get free from these family and self-destroying habits. This book is a must read, both for men and women who are looking for answers."-Paul Arthur
"Dr. Simon Sheh delivers an extremely straight and forthright prescription for how to live a morally pure life. Contained in these pages, from a biblical perspective is information that can bring you freedom from pornography and sexual addiction. I recommend you read this material thoroughly and honestly...it offers solutions that can change and heal you."-Rev. Kenneth A. Solbrekken
So much from the Amazon site. What is it I remember?
Most of all, I remember Dr. Sheh's revelation that Christ is the redemption also of our shame. As he hung naked on the cross, he bore both our sin and shame. Second of all I remember the stories he told from experience. I could never retell any of that the way he said it himself. He was an impassioned speaker, and so I would recommend going to hear him, if you have the chance, or if you need treatment, I could imagine him being a truly helpful therapist. Face to face would be much better than the book. But lacking this opportunity, the book would be better than my trying to restate it.
Nevertheless, with those caveats, let's give it a try:
Shame is a very deep-seated emotion, a very deep pain. It speaks to the lack of acceptance of yourself as a person of value, either by others or yourself. Often this comes from the home with words such as "you won't amount to much", "you are not as smart as", "you are too short, too ugly, too whatever..." , "you are not as good as your older brother..."
This sort of talk may be more pervasive in some cultures or families, but we are all familiar with it. Shame is different from guilt, as it does not speak to a particular behavior, lapse or sin, but speaks about your whole being, maybe something you can't change, at all. It is just simply who you are.
This shame can lead to addictive behaviors in order to comfort ourselves. Sexual addictions and addiction to pornography can be some of those problems created. Dr. Sheh feels that the female breast takes the man back to the comfort of his mother. I don't know what to say about that, except I think I remember reading that Luther said something like it, when he marveled, as a married man, that the female breasts are both for the nurture of the infant and for the stimulation of the man. (Indeed, it is somewhat marvelous, speaking as a married woman.)
From there he spoke about what porn does to a person and to relationships. From there he went onto recovering from addiction. He spoke to the fact that most people can't go cold turkey and that every failure is a learning opportunity: "What did you learn from this instance and this lapse?"
In the end, he is very hope-inspiring, impressing the hearers with the fact that these things can be beaten.
So, basically, seeing how pervasive porn use has become, I would think that the book is a great investment, as it is bound to affect someone you know, if it does not involve yourself. Maybe, I should buy myself another copy, in case I don't get the other one back.
Dr. Simon Sheh has a website here: http://www.drsimonsheh.com/
In relation to the problems associated with porn use, also see this Ted Talk.