Book Capsule
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“Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain” by Williams M. Struthers Review

With Hollywood’s recent reveal of the sexual depravity of many men against women, I find this book to be quite interesting in explaining the effects that occur in the male brain when it is consumed by pornography. The connection between Hollywood producing highly sexualized films (pornography) and the producers committing those acts in real life is not a coincidence. All that the world is just realizing about humanity, scripture has already described, which is why I find this book to be perfect for our time. This book is designed to explain the neurological damages that come with massive consumption of porn. William M. Struthers shows us his findings and the effects that it has on the life of a Christian while showing the reader what actually goes on in the brain. His conclusion is that a person that is addicted to pornography essentially rewrites their brain to do what God did not intend humans to do.

“‘My brain made me do it’ or ‘Porn has messed up my brain so I can’t help myself’ are not get-out-of-jail-free cards. We are still responsible for our actions. As a man cultivates patterns of depravity, he diminishes his ability to bear God’s image rightly. The knowledge that we get from Scripture and science should not be used to deny, justify, rationalize, minimize, normalize or celebrate the exercising of brokenness.”

Struthers explains how pornography effects the way a normal male interacts with their surroundings. There were a lot of things in this book that went way over my head. At one point, Struthers explains the different parts of the brain and how they are all connected. Struthers research shows that pornography effects and damages every part of the brain. This is a fascinating and new perspective for me. Often times, I give counsel that involves the heart and how a person needs to love God more than their sin. It was great to understand what actually happens to a person physically/mentally. Another section of the book makes the connection between the way a person views pornography and his inability/struggle to develop a true intimate relationship with a real woman. I would elaborate, but I’d rather you read the book to learn more. All in all, this book points out that a person needs to desire holiness, but also goes a step further in showing why it seems impossible for someone to fight for purity because of what is going on inside their head.

Struthers’ hope is to show that, even though the brain can be wired to porn and is seemingly stuck in a endless cycle of shame and hopelessness, they can rewire their heart to change. There are some areas where he gives some practical methods on how to fight it. I appreciate that he describes pornography as a hatred towards God’s intended design for sex. Which means that the only true way a person can have victory over pornography is to see God as more desirable than what fleeting pleasures of sin can bring.

“The process of sanctification is an addiction to holiness, a compulsive fixation on Christ and an impulsive pattern of compassion, virtue and love. This is what we are wired for. This is what we are meant for.”

Perhaps the greatest part of this book was explaining why people need intimacy. Struthers concludes that this desire for intimacy is shadow of the desire that humans have towards the greatest of all intimacy: to know God. When intimacy is distorted by sin, so is our intimacy towards God. Proper understanding of God’s design will help a person overcome their desire to distort God’s design of sex.

Although there were moments where I had to reread due to the fact that I’m not scientifically-inclined, it was a fascinating and convicting read to see the way the man’s brain works and how pornography can damage a person’s life. There are many books written on this subject, but this is the first for me to read this perspective: a Christian explaining pornography with science while interpreting the situation through a biblical worldview. If there are those that are struggling with pornography, or want to understand why it is difficult for men to overcome this sin, this is a insightful book worth reading.

Standout quotes:

“Shame only offers the lie of worthlessness, and a sense of worthlessness creates fertile soil for the continued exercising of sexual brokenness” (57)

“As a man’s relationship with pornography becomes stronger, it becomes increasingly difficult to hide” (63)

“Regardless of our sexual history, we must always remember that there is no sin that the blood of Christ is unable to cleanse. The sacrifice of Christ may not restore physical consequences of our sin (or the sins that others commit against us), but we can still be counted as righteous.” (175)

“‘My brain made me do it’ or ‘Porn has messed up my brain so I can’t help myself’ are not get-out-of-jail-free cards. We are still responsible for our actions. As a man cultivates patterns of depravity, he diminishes his ability to bear God’s image rightly. The knowledge that we get from Scripture and science should not be used to deny, justify, rationalize, minimize, normalize or celebrate the exercising of brokenness.” (177).

“The process of sanctification is an addiction to holiness, a compulsive fixation on Christ and an impulsive pattern of compassion, virtue and love. This is what we are wired for. This is what we are meant for.” (189)

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