In this episode:
Pornography is ruining many relationships and there is hope!
Dr. Cameron Staley is on a mission to help Christian’s who are ready to make a change and get this area of darkness out of their lives. There was no stone left unturned in this conversation and it will help you grow in several areas including:
- The root of how pornography attacks
- How it is being introduced to the next generation
- Actions parents can take to be proactive and impactful
- What happens when it enters the marriage
- When enough is enough what can be done!
The reason you are struggling with porn is because your relationships with others and your sexuality is really important to you. Otherwise, you'd be watching porn and not worrying about it at all. Click To TweetDr. Cameron Staley
Welcome to the lion within us, a podcast, serving Christian men who are hungry to be the leaders they’re predestined to be. I’m your host, Chris Grainger. Let’s jump in. All right, guys. It is your meat episode of the week, but you know, the first thing we’re gonna do, you know, you know, scripture. So the scripture for the week was Matthew chapter five, verse 28.
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Guys. I unpacked that scripture big time and the spiritual kickoff earlier this week, go check it out. I went into some deep things. I talked about some stuff that probably made some of you guys uncomfortable, but that’s okay.
We gotta get used to it uncomfortable, cuz we need to talk about the hard things. It’s not just the easy things, the fluffy things, the rainbows, the Skittles, the cupcakes. No, we’re gonna talk about the tough stuff as well. And this today we’re gonna be really, really digging into it. We’re gonna be talking about pornography.
Children, how to protect them, how to protect our marriages, the covenant guys, we’re gonna be digging into it. So who do I have with me today? I have Dr. Cameron Staley. Okay. He’s a clinical psychologist. He has a, he has an extreme passion for helping people improve their mental and sexual health. He’s actually done a TD talk guys.
It’s unreal. Like he, he, he’s done a TD, uh, TD talk before and he’s changing the narrative around the addiction story. So he shares details from his research and counseling experiences, uh, regarding ways to help people talk about sexuality and how to effectively reduce that unwanted pornography that so many of guys struggle with, you know, and he’s done it through he’s called acceptance and commitment therapy, a C T.
So we’re gonna talk about that. And he’s gonna talk about ways he’s made the, the principles more accessible for you guys. So you gotta stay on in on this one because towards the end, he’s gonna talk about some tools that he has developed. That’s really. Changing the game. And guys, we’re not talking about something where you you’re gonna be struggling with pornography for, for years.
This could be fixed in weeks and months, and he has the tools and the apps and the, the, and the, and the resources to help you guys with this. He does coaching as well. And for people who need that additional support. So guys, I’m telling you what he he’s done doing phenomenal work. He has a fire cast. He does, he does research.
He does training and all that stuff. You need to check out the show notes. We’ll make sure that you guys have links to all that, to, to be able to learn, connect, and, and grow and overcome this cuz guys, I’m telling you what more and more guys I talk with. This is a struggle, churches struggle with this topic and I get it.
You know, this is a tough stuff. This will be tough stuff to talk about from the pulpit, but it’s tough. This is stuff from a podcast standpoint, this is a great platform to serve others. So if you know what, if you’re struggling with this, this is for you. If you’re not struggling with this. This is for you.
Why? Because there may be men. I guarantee you that may be, there will be men in your life that are gonna struggle with this. You need to be in a position to serve them. And if you can learn and grow and understand these tools and resources available, how much more equipped are you gonna be as a Christian leader to help those men in the time of need guys, this is, I can’t emphasize this enough.
So you really sit back, learn, listen, particularly if you’re leading your children right now. And you’re, you’re raising children. As we talk about boundaries, how you can protect your children, some signs, what you need to be doing right now, you as the leader of your home to protect your children from the world.
That quite frankly, guys, the stuff’s out there, they’re going run into it. So we need to be equipping them to handle it. This is, this conversation gets deep. It gets. We go all over the place, but this is one that’s gonna make an impact. So guys, sit back, enjoy our conversation with Dr. Cameron Staley.
All right, Cameron Staley. Welcome to the line within us. How you doing this evening? I’m doing
04:02 Dr. Cameron Staley
great. I’m really excited to be with you and excited for our chat.
04:05 Chris Grainger
I am too. I am feeling so glad we were able to get connected and I think this is gonna be a powerful conversation. I did a, a spiritual kickoff for the guys where I went through Matthew and talked about lust and what Jesus says about that and, and, and really gave ’em some insight there.
So, uh, they’re ready. The, the listeners out there are ready for this conversation and, and, you know, they they’ve heard me give, you know, intro on you already, but that’s just Chris, you know, talking, saying words I love for our listeners to hear directly from the guests themselves. So if you wanna give a little bit about your background, that would be great.
04:37 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah. So I’m a psychologist and I’ve worked in the Intermountain west for the last 10 years or so. And when I was in graduate school, I needed a topic for my thesis and my dissertation. And at that time I was really interested in working with couples and improving their relationships. And I thought, you know, one of the common concerns couples struggle with is around sexuality.
I thought it’d probably be good to study that and learn more about that. And my advisors say, Hey, you need to come up with a topic. We need to study something. And I was actually sitting in church one Sunday and from the pulpit, they were talking about the evils of pornography and how addicting it was and how it destroys relationships.
And it was in that moment that I thought, huh, you know, I’ve heard that message my whole life, but I’ve never looked at the research. I don’t even know if there is research. And so I brought that to my advisor and say, Hey, can we study this and look at that. And I was really surprised when we looked at the research that there wasn’t any experimental studies even demonstrating that pornography was an addiction.
Wow. And I thought this is really strange, cuz everybody knows it’s an addiction. That’s, it’s how we talk about it. But that research didn’t exist 15 years ago when I was studying this. And so I said, Hey, let’s look at this. And we could be the first research laboratory to show that pornography is an addiction, like other substance use problems.
That was my thought. Um, but when we ran the study, we brought people in that struggled with porn and we monitored their brain activity using EEG. And I was really surprised that we did not find the same kind of brain activity patterns that you see with folks that struggle with substances. Okay. So that was really different.
It’s like, oh goodness. If, if this doesn’t follow an addiction, you know what else could be going on? And what we did find is those that are viewing pornography and struggling with it, experience higher rates of negative emotions while they’re viewing. So like stress and guilt and shame and anxiety. And that was really important to learn is, you know, maybe emotions are playing a major role and that people might be viewing pornography in, in a way to, to kind of turn down those Evo emotions or control them, or get rid of them in some way.
And that follows more of kind of a, a compulsive pattern. And we already have really effective treatments for compulsive behaviors. And so that was a pretty significant finding. Uh, but of course the media gets a hold of our research and say, oh, researchers disprove sex addiction. And that’s not what we did.
And it’s just one study and you don’t disprove anything. Um, and they completely neglected the role of emotions, um, because that’s not sexy enough. Like it’s gotta be something bigger. It’s like no, actually emotions drive our behaviors. And if we’re not aware of those, we keep engaging in things that we may not want to.
So that was kinda the origin. I really needed a, a research topic, um, in my grad program to really kind of help couples around sexuality. That is an, that is
07:41 Chris Grainger
a just amazing story. So how many people were part of this study? I mean, what, what we’re talking about from a number standpoint here. Oh, you’re testing my
07:49 Dr. Cameron Staley
So I think we had 55 individuals for this particular study. Okay. And they had a range of struggles with viewing pornography. So some people were viewing several hours a day, um, to an hour a day and, and they felt it was problematic and unwanted and they weren’t able to regulate that. Mm-hmm so it was a range of, yeah, maybe an hour, a day to, to maybe three to four to six hours a day.
Um, so kind of a
08:17 Chris Grainger
range of struggle, but it was the, the, the negative, the, the high, the, the, you saw higher levels of negative emotions when they were versus the addictions of like, just what, like tobacco, alcohol, drugs, those types of addictions. So I I’m assuming that was pretty surprising. It sounds like when you guys had that revelation.
08:38 Dr. Cameron Staley
It was cause I thought, oh, we, we kind of know what’s going on in the brain, in the frontal lobe when somebody’s using a substance. And so if viewing porn is an addiction, we would see similar activity and we didn’t. Um, but these folks that are viewing sexual images, they’re feeling sexual arousal and desire and these negative emotions mm-hmm , and that’s a really different presentation than this is a, a neurological or physiological addiction, like a substance, um, viewing sexual images is different where you’re not ingesting anything.
Um, but it, it might be more in the service of trying to regulate emotions. So that’s kind of a different type of a struggle we’re looking at.
09:18 Chris Grainger
Okay. I’m curious, you know, as you’ve worked with people over the years and even that study, and since then, when, when, when is that point of infliction happening?
When, when are guys getting introduced to it? You know, I’m sure that age is probably dropping lower and lower with every generation. But I’m just curious because for, for the dads listening out there, or, or the parents in general, you know, you know, just to give them an idea of, of when that could be entering, cuz I, I bet it’s sooner than we than we think.
09:46 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah. If you’re waiting to start having talks around sexuality, when your kids are dating age, it’s too late. So I would say most of the folks that I’ve worked with that have struggled with pornography started viewing around eight to 12. Wow. That’s a pretty typical range. And what I’ve seen is there’s just really common reasons why people begin to view.
And that’s often folks that grow up in really kind of conservative homes, religious homes, where they don’t talk around about sexuality a lot where it’s like, this is a sacred thing. And often when we treat something sacred, we don’t talk about it very much. And so these children are just curious. That’s how we learn and we explore.
So you have children where it’s, they’re just curious about how bodies work and what anatomy looks like. And they come across sexual images. They don’t really have any understanding or framework that, oh, this is pornography, or this is explicit, or this is adult entertainment. And they start to feel these kind of sexual feelings.
They don’t have words or language for that either. But kids are really smart where it’s like, oh, I’m feeling something, but this is something we’ve never talked about. So if it’s, if it’s something we don’t talk about, it must be a really shameful thing. Mm-hmm and that’s usually where it starts. And then kids view sexual images for monster a few years and, and begin to touch themselves and masturbate.
Then later on, they, they learn that, oh, what I’m doing is pornography, or this is masturbation. Oh, these are the sinful things. My, my folks talk to me about, or my church leaders. And then at that point it’s like, oh my goodness. If I’m drawn to these things that are sinful or evil, I must be an evil sinful person.
And so there’s not a separation of, you know, these sexual images are designed to evoke sexual feelings. Mm-hmm , and that’s kinda the purpose of those that’s really normal. But without that understanding or relationship to talk about this, it’s a pretty lonely path that a lot of people walk on and, and then they discover that, you know, viewing sexual image and masturbating helps me cope with feeling lonely or sad or stressed or overwhelmed.
And it becomes interesting and arousing, but also an emotional coping strategy. And so then when you learn, oh, this thing I’m doing is really bad, I feel really shameful. Well, how do I cope with that? Now I view porn and masturbate. That’s the primary thing that they’ve found that works well for emotions and that’s the compulsive cycle, right?
Cause I’m feeling bad. I view porn and masturbate to feel better. And then I feel bad about that again. So I’m gonna view again, and that’s how that kind of develops over time.
12:31 Chris Grainger
Mm, that, that, it’s, it’s really sad cuz I can totally see how that can so many people get, can get trapped into that. And when you think about not even that long ago, Cameron, I mean the way the access that, that, that kids in particular that eight, 12 year olds have now to pornography’s unbelievable.
I mean, just figure a couple generations ago, maybe it was, you know, your dad stack of Playboy right in the back of a closet somewhere that you maybe run across one day and, and, and, and that’s how you would get introduced. But now, I mean, if you had a kid on an open iPhone or a tablet, you might as well be handling on loaded gun.
I mean, it’s the same level of threat. And, but I don’t know if, if we’re just not treating it that way and we’re not thinking that way, but you know, it sounds, it just seems like the access is just unbelievable and you don’t even have to be looking for it and it it’s, it’s just, it gets there.
13:26 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yep. You’re right on.
I think about when we were kids. You don’t stumble across sexual images. Like I think about the first time I saw pornography, I was in graduate school. We actually had to go to this adult entertainment stores and purchase magazines to get the stimuli first study. I’d never seen pornography. And I was an adult and married and had kids at that time.
I just don’t come across those images. But I like your comparison with a smartphone. We wouldn’t hand a, a gun to a child because like, well, that’s not safe. Um, but with technology you have access to all kinds of things, but we often don’t think about that. That developmentally kids are not ready to have a handgun.
Um, they’re probably not ready to have a smartphone. And so my kids, I hope they’re okay with me as a psychologist, as a dad, but they don’t get a smartphone at the same time that their peers do yes. Where it’s like, yeah, developmentally, you’re not able to regulate impulses and desire and checking things.
It’s like, we need to delay that and you need some kind of guidance and mentorship around that.
14:31 Chris Grainger
I’m so glad you’re there. And, and I’m with you there myself as I have a, a 10 and 11 year old, of course I have, you know, a small baby as well, but we don’t have smartphones. And, and, and well, I, they don’t have smartphones rather.
Uh, and they’re not gonna have smartphones for a while. I mean, I, I want to, to put the boundaries in place and help them and we’re, and we’re having sexual conversations and, and talking about the stuff openly, because I want ’em to hear it from me, you know, as much as they can and then actually feel a safe place to come and ask questions and things like that.
So maybe just talk about boundaries, if you will, for our, for, for the guys listening. And, and maybe we wanna protect our, our ourselves as well as our families. What boundaries do you see work that that really make an impact?
15:16 Dr. Cameron Staley
I think you, you talked about the most significant one and it’s developing a relationship with your children.
Where you can have these conversations and that it’s safe. And I think often parents might feel like, well, if I have a, an internet filter, that’s the boundary. And now I don’t have to cultivate those relationships. I don’t have to have these conversations
15:38 Chris Grainger
makes it easier for them. Right. Yeah.
15:41 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah. And so it gives you a peace of mind, but I’ve found that I’d say almost all of the folks I’ve worked with that struggle with pornography.
They all had filters and they all had checks on devices. There’s always work arounds on those. Yeah. Those filters are largely ineffective because they, they kind of relinquish your responsibilities as a parent to have these conversations and to develop those connections. But also you’re kind of teaching your children with a, with a filter that I don’t trust you and you can’t be trusted on your own.
And we wanna teach our kids that you’re making these choices. You don’t need to rely on these other things to kind of make choices for you. Let’s teach you wholesome principles and you’re gonna make some mistakes and come across some imagery that is not child appropriate. And when you do, let’s talk about it.
What did you learn from that? How was that for you and questions that you have for me, those moments or opportunities to have a conversation and not a, oh no, it’s over. Those are, those are educational moments that I think about one that happened with my kids maybe last year, where they were just watching a music video and the cover art, that music video was a naked woman laying on a cloud.
And instantly my, my wife’s like, oh, you gotta turn that off. It’s like, no, actually let’s turn it back on. Let’s talk about it. Um, Hey kids, what do you think about this? Why do you think there’s a naked woman on this cover? It’s like, they’re trying to sell music, right? You know, this is entertainment industry and she is attractive.
This is what this is, right. If you’ve noticed that or feelings come up, that’s quite normal. You know, what would be problematic about searching for these images when you’re a child? And so we just had those conversations, but they learned that, oh, singing image. Isn’t a scary thing. It’s just something that we talk through with mom and dad.
17:33 Chris Grainger
Right. Well, I mean, hats off to you for doing that, but, but I I’m just, can’t help to think. There’s so many guys out there that are listening that just, they clam up. Maybe that the heart race gets, gets up and they, their palms get sweaty. Maybe they get beads of sweat on their forehead and they just, they just don’t want to deal with that conversation, particularly if they have daughters, maybe that’s cause I’m a three time girl, dad, but I I’ve, I’ve learned that, man.
I’m just gonna lean into the uncomfortable. So maybe give some encouragement to the guys listening. I mean, what, what, what should they do? I mean, do you meet ’em where they’re at with some of these conversations? I mean, obviously, I don’t know. You’re just gonna come out right out with, with hardcore porn right out the gate, but maybe you start at early just talking about sexuality in general.
So I, I love your advice here on how to help our children and, and open those relationships. Like you’re talking about.
18:19 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah. And so it, it really does start with having conversations about our body. Okay. And I think a lot of struggles with porn come from that is a lot of us feel uncomfortable with our own body and maybe feel some shame there.
And so often we’re like, oh, I gotta cover up. And you know, bodies are not okay. And I think about body, our bodies is one of the, the most divine gifts we have. Right. We’re creating an image of God, like what a special thing. And yet we often feel a lot of shame around those. Yeah. So just getting comfortable, naming body parts when you’re a little kid is like, here’s your elbow?
Here’s your chin, this is your penis. This is your vagina. Right. It’s just using correct terminology. Um, I think that’s really part of it. And I think as my kids got a little older, um, We would talk about different systems like digestive system or respiratory system or reproductive system. Yeah. And I would just draw little diagrams where we can pull up a little image of, you know, this is what, where the ovaries are.
Isn’t that interesting where they’re tucked in there in a uterus and oh, daddy doesn’t have a uterus. Yeah. And this is what a penis is and testicles and the kids are just that curious, like kids just are curious about bodies and wanna learn. Yeah. And if we’re like, well, I don’t wanna have that conversation.
That’s uncomfortable then they’re probably gonna learn it from pornography. Yeah. Or peers. And like you said, I wanna be the ones teaching my kids about this. So if we don’t, there’s a vacuum and I don’t want their 12 year old body teaching them or pornography. Cuz pornography is not educational. It’s not realistic.
It doesn’t teach consent. Um, it doesn’t show anything about intimacy or respect for others, right. That should not be educational material. And too often people view that as, I guess this is how it works. Cause I didn’t have these conversations. Um, but for me, I never really have sit down chats. It’s usually when we’re on a hike or when we’re on a ride going camping or on the way to church.
Right. It’s these casual conversations when we’re doing other things. Yeah. Where it’s just another conversation, right? It isn’t that like, oh, I remember when dad sat me down nine months ago and had the chat. Right. That would be super, you just need to be fairly frequent conversations, bits and pieces. And it’s just a normal thing.
20:43 Chris Grainger
That’s right. That’s right. I mean, and when you, when you make it to be bigger, just just big event, it has to have, you know, all these technical things. That’s when I think you start freaking yourself out and then it’s not just not gonna happen. You’re just gonna you’re just gonna avoid that. It’s kinda like, uh, a lot of guys just avoid Bible study, cuz they’re afraid their kid’s gonna ask ’em something that, that, that they don’t know to answer to.
Well, come on guys like that, is that really a reason not to dig into God’s word, but. I think these are great points. You’re bringing up here.
21:12 Dr. Cameron Staley
And that’s a good example. It’s like, if they ask you a question, you don’t know, like, yeah, I don’t know that let’s do some research. Right. And you can teach them how to learn and how to find accurate information.
And that just shows, oh yeah. Sometimes your parents don’t know everything and that’s okay. This is how we find that out. This is how we dive into God’s word and, and study the Bible. Or this is how we find accurate information around sexuality. Right. Cause pornography is not that. So let’s find good resources to
21:38 Chris Grainger
Absolutely. Absolutely. Hey, let’s take a quick break. We be right back.
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Now, Cameron, I wanna shift it a little bit, cuz the guys they’re getting too comfortable with this, with this conversation. They’re thinking that we’re just gonna talk about their kids and, and, and that’s cool, but guys, this conversation is for you too, cuz we know the stats are out there. Christian men struggle, struggle with pornography and a lot of them, they don’t think that they’re cheating because they’re not actually being physical with another woman.
So speak to that. Cameron, if you don’t mind, you know, why, why do that mental? Why, why do we think it’s okay maybe to look on our phone versus, you know, actual that consent, uh, having that physical consent.
23:05 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah, that’s a big question. So maybe we could spend some time dissecting. Absolutely. So initially you mentioned off a lot of Christian men struggle with pornography, and we found that to be the case is people who are religious are more likely to perceive that they’re addicted to pornography, even when they’re viewing at lower rates than less religious individuals.
Okay. So that’s a big part of it is often religious folks that have a really strong devotion to following God’s word and living the commandments and being faithful to their partners. Sometimes that kind of pressure or really high moral standard sometimes brings up a lot of stress and a lot of pressure mm-hmm and, you know, while they were growing up, if they found that oh, viewing pornography and masturbating helped me cope with that.
Sometimes that coping strategy continues into adulthood when it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m my marriage is really important. My relationship with God, my covenants are really important and I’m following falling short. That can be really distressing for a lot of Christian people that really wanna live their values really well.
So sometimes that pressure contributes to an ongoing struggle with pornography. Mm. And so that might be one reason why Christian men and women struggle with this more is the perception that you’re addicted. So if you believe that you’re addicted that framework, doesn’t really give you a path forward where we think with addiction, it’s like, oh, this is a lifelong struggle.
This is a disease. There’s nothing I can do about it. I am completely powerless and out of control. And that belief system that’s associated with addiction is often what gets people stuck. Mm. And so that’s part of it. So we see higher beliefs in addiction amongst Christian individuals. And so that framework is part of it.
Um, the other part of it is for a lot of people viewing sexual images in adulthood, it may not have a lot to do with sex. Okay. It may be more of this primitive immature coping strategy for emotions that really isn’t an effective emotion regulation strategy. And so you’re right. There might be a lot of men that say, I don’t view this as cheating.
This is how I, I manage my stress or my loneliness or my depression. And I think that’s confusing where it’s like, but you’re viewing sexual images to do that. Right. Right. And so it’s not only an ineffective, emotional coping strategy, but it can also introduce a lot of distress in that relationship.
Where a partner can be, Hey, you’re viewing sexual images. You know, you are being unfaithful. And often that message on the other side is if your partner’s viewing pornography, you know, they are cheating or maybe they’re gonna molest children or they’re gonna assault people, or they’re going to physically act out and be unfaithful.
And that isn’t typically what we’ve found. Okay. Um, that for a lot of folks, particularly Christian folks, if they’re viewing pornography and they don’t want to, and they’re struggling with that, it might be more of an emotional coping strategy then, Hey, I’m just really enjoy viewing porn. Okay. A lot of the folks I work with, they view porn and they’re really distressed by it.
And they don’t get a lot of pleasure from it anymore, but it feels really habitual and really compulsive. But if we view this as a sexual problem, that actually contributes even more distress on the men, more distress on the partners and it kind of keeps people stuck. Um, so I w I’m I’m with you where viewing sexual images ongoing is likely not gonna strengthen your relationship, um, and not gonna build that intimacy and connection, but sometimes looking at this, as, you know, maybe this is less of a sexual concern and more of an emotional concern, it makes it easier for both people in the relationship to navigate it.
27:15 Chris Grainger
Mm okay. Well, I can’t help, but think doesn’t it create, I’m trying to think of the right words, barriers or stress in those relationships. So say you’re looking at these images and these videos, whatever they may be, and you have this expectation, are you putting some false expectations on your spouse and maybe, you know, I I’ve, I’ve read where, you know, some guys, they even struggle just to perform sexually with their wife because you know, it it’s, it’s just not the same as, as what they’re seeing.
So just any, any insight there that you could give us. Yeah, those are great
27:51 Dr. Cameron Staley
questions. You have all the good questions, Chris. . So what we’ve seen is what’s missing. When people begin looking at pornography is the literacy people don’t have a great understanding of what pornography really is. Okay. And so children, there’s, there’s not a big distinction between reality and fantasy mm-hmm like you watch a superhero movie and you think, well, I can fly or I can do
28:19 Chris Grainger
Right, right. Yeah. I got
28:21 Dr. Cameron Staley
powers. Or you watch lower the rings. And it’s like, yeah, I guess if there’s a conflict, you pull out your broad sword and you take care of it. Yeah. And it’s the same thing with viewing sexual image. It’s like, oh, I guess that’s what women like or what men like, or what women’s bodies look like or men’s and right.
I guess this is the behavior that’s acceptable. And so what there needs to be is more literacy and education about what pornography is mm-hmm and that would help prevent a lot of these struggles. So if, if you’re chatting with your kids to say, Just like Laura, the rings is a Hollywood production, right?
Pornography is the same thing. Mm-hmm . So there is a script, there’s a camera crew, there’s makeup. These are actors. Um, what you’re showing, it’s not portraying a relationship. It’s not portraying intimacy or connection or consent or respect. None of those things. This is all adult entertainment. This is not educational.
This is not cartoons. This is not for children. Right. But if you view sexual images, you will be aroused. That is the purpose of viewing sexual images. And so helping them see that would be really helpful. Cause a lot of kids, when they come across sexual images and they become aroused, like, but those things were evil and really bad.
I shouldn’t become aroused to something that’s evil and really bad. Right. And so children are just not able to separate that. So say if you taught them that yeah. If you come across sexual images, they will be arousing. They’ll be exciting. That’s normal, but also it, it is not cultivating connections with people and not helping you build a relationship, um, or covenants with, um, God.
Um, these things are not consistent with the path that we wanna go down, but if you view them, it’s gonna be arousing, that’s pretty normal. So then as that transitions into adulthood, if people don’t have that education, they might start to get these beliefs that this is how sex works. Mm-hmm and it isn’t.
But what we see is a lot of men and women are uncomfortable talking about sexuality and viewed a lot of pornography. They don’t wanna talk about this with a partner. And so they may kind of replicate some of these behaviors and actions that may not be pleasurable or appealing for a partner. And so for me, a good rule of thumb is.
If we can’t talk about it, we probably shouldn’t do it. Mm-hmm so we need to have conversations about, Hey, I did view this behavior or activity while I viewed sexual images. What are your thoughts about that? And a part of might say, like, I’m not interested in that, like that’s uncomfortable. I’m not doing that.
Right. Or am I be like, yeah, that’s an okay behavior between the two of us. And so viewing pornography doesn’t mean it’s gonna spill over into the relationship. Um, it might be another opportunity to say, Hey, let’s have a conversation about, you know, some of my interests and preferences and what I viewed and let’s talk about these things.
Let’s build those connections and those conversations, and it’s okay to say, Hey, this is something I find arousing. And a partner might say, no, right? I’m not doing that. It’s like, great, like respect your partner, have this conversation. But I think often we skip the chat and just try to replicate some of these actions and, and that is not consistent with good sexual health.
31:38 Chris Grainger
I think for and for the Christian couples as well. Cause as you mentioned, it can be UN uncomfortable. We don’t wanna bring up, you know, some of these topics, even with our spouse. And this is where I’m trying to encourage you guys lean into the hard stuff, because if you want a great marriage and you want to have a great connection with your wife, you need to be able to talk about these things.
You know, everybody’s gotta pass every, everybody has things that, that, that that’s happened. And, but just bearing it down inside. It is not, you know, I, I think that’s just, there’s, there’s no winning strategy there. We want, we want to create strong covenants that bring us together and, and the bedroom, God wants intimacy in the bedroom.
He wants it. He ordained it. I mean, that’s why God gave us sex. Amen. I mean, he, he designed it. So as Christian men, we should be leaning into that and having these conversations with our brides and, and, and, and doing all we can to, to, I, I guess, learn and grow together as couples. Yeah.
32:35 Dr. Cameron Staley
I’m with him. When I think about marriage, it is the only relationship where you have sexual intimacy.
Mm-hmm , that’s the only one, right? We don’t have that relationship in any other ones. Like we share hobbies and interests, and we got colleagues with all kinds of people, family and friends, but in that marriage is the only one, right? Under sexuality is ordained and sexuality. For me, it is just, it’s designed to be connecting.
That is the function and purpose of it. Right. But a lot of people found, and this is kinda the other question you brought up is a lot of people struggle with vulnerability and connection and maybe want to be intimate with their partner, but that can feel risky. A partner might reject you. You might feel insecure.
And so often people continue to view pornography because it’s a really safe risk free way to fill some connection with some actors and fill some pleasure. But you’re actually not building intimacy or taking any meaningful risks in your relationships. Mm-hmm . And so there are a lot of men that, um, are able to perform or prefer solitary sexual activity.
And so they’re viewing pornography and they masturbate and they’re able to orgasm and that’s simpler and easier because there’s no risk, there’s no vulnerability, there’s no direction. And then when it’s like, oh, now I’m doing with my partner. It’s like, oh no, this actually is less comfortable. And we had some conflict and some disagreements uhoh and I’m worried about some of these other things.
And so sometimes sexual performance can go down and pleasure can go down a little bit. Mm-hmm cause we haven’t worked on and established that relationship. Mm-hmm so that’s the key thing. So there is a worry that if you view a lot of porn, it contributes to erectile dysfunction. We haven’t found that in the literature mm-hmm um, but if you’re viewing porn frequently and masturbating several times a day, yeah.
That’s probably gonna reduce. Right that, uh, sexual performance in a relationship, but we found a lot of this is coming down to the health of the relationship and the connection. And so sometimes performance is more difficult in that relationship because there’s more risk there, but there there’s more benefit there.
So I think about sometimes pornography is like a candy bar. It’s like, yeah, it’s sweet and it’s easy and requires no effort. But what we want is a nutritional that requires some preparation and some thought and some work and effort, and that is a we’re shooting for, in a
35:06 Chris Grainger
relationship that, and I mean, as a, I doing the research, trying to get ready to have this conversation with you.
It, I, I ran across a few. I don’t, I don’t remember the studies exactly, but it was saying that the, the sexual sat the most sexually satisfied couples are the one, the, the Christian married, the Christian married couples who, who treat, who respect the covenant. Of of marriage and, and they keep that, you know, that activity within the confines of, of their marriage.
And I think that’s the most sexually satisfied people. So I don’t know if there are any studies out there as you have, that would back that I just know for, for, from what I’ve my research. And just speaking personally as well, there’s nothing like this connection with just your wife underneath the covenant, the way God designed the marriage and the sexual satisfaction that comes with that.
35:58 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah, I agree. It’s beautiful. And divine. And what for me is heartbreaking is many of the Christian couples I’ve worked with that that do feel a lot of shame around sexuality and they are to partners. And yet that isn’t a big part of their relationship because they’re uncomfortable about it, right? And the conversations are awkward.
And then fo one of ’em, or both of ’em are struggling with pornography, cuz it’s an easier, safer way to have those experiences. But, but those are just not fulfilling and connecting. So it is heartbreaking where this, this could be such a special, meaningful part of your relationship. Yeah. And for yeah. A handful of, or a big part of Christian folks, they struggle with that.
Yeah. Where it’s like, oh, sexuality is, if I’m interested in that I’m not righteous or that that’s the natural man that shouldn’t be yeah, fine. It’s like, oh no, like this is part of the plan. Um, yeah. Yeah. And so I think without the dialogue and understanding it, it contributes to problems. So the more we talk about and, oh, this is really healthy, um, to have these experiences with your partner, the better
37:01 Chris Grainger
it’s gonna absolutely.
We’re take a quick break.
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So Cameron, you you’ve, you really unpacked a lot right there. And now you probably got guys wondering, okay, if I’m struggling with this and this is something I wanna move forward and I want, I want to have that covenant in my marriage. I want it to be right. I, I want to have that connection with my wife.
I know you’ve done a lot of work in the, in the a C T therapy, the act therapy. Maybe, could you break some of that down for our listeners and kind of give them some ideas or some, some of how that would potentially could work, how that could help ’em. Cause I think just from my research and talking with you, I know this is something that may give some guys a lot of encouragement, uh, through this conversation.
And that’s the
38:30 Dr. Cameron Staley
good news. Is there so much hope that a struggle with pornography doesn’t need to be lifelong or years and years. And as long as you have the right approach, um, you can overcome this concern, um, within a matter of weeks to a couple of months. And so what we’ve learned is folks that struggle with pornography are less aware of their emotions.
And when those emotions do come up, they tend to be more judgemental and critical of those. And so one of the things that acceptance and commitment therapy or act does is it’s a mindfulness based approach and it’s been around for about 40 years and it’s an evidence based treatment for. A range of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression and OCD and eating disorders and trauma, even seizure disorders, substance use disorders.
And so it’s, it’s considered a trans diagnostic treatment, um, because it, it it’s targeting the underlying concerns behind all mental health problems. Mm-hmm . And so if you look at, you know, why is somebody struggling with pornography? If we look at what’s underlying that and address that the pornography concerns kind of go away.
And so I, I view pornography as the symptom, or like a cough of an underlying cold. And so if you were had a cough, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to go to the doctor. And the doctor says, okay, how about you work on suppressing your cough this week? And then you’re gonna be healthy and good to go, right?
He’s like that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Um, but that’s typically been the addiction approach around poor is just stop viewing, just control your urges, and then you’ll be good. You’ll be healthy. But if you have a cough and you have a cold, then it’s like, well, you might need antibiotics. You might need chicken it’ll soup.
You might need some rest. And when you address underlying concerns, the cough kind of goes away, right? And porn’s the same thing. So we found that low awareness of emotions and being really judgemental of having sexual thoughts or feelings and urges is a big part of this. And so increasing that capacity to, to recognize thoughts, create space for emotions, and just being able to notice urges is a big part of this.
And so if we’re not aware of emotions, emotions are driving our actions. So if you break down the word emotion, it just means to put emotion. OK. And so emotions do lead to actions, but if you’re not aware of them and you’ve just been busy all day and working really hard and being productive and trying to be a good provider at the end of the day, you’re probably pretty stressed and overwhelmed, but don’t notice it.
Your mind’s gonna say, oh my gosh, maybe you should look at pornography to feel better. And it’s like, well, I don’t wanna do that, but I guess so like, but there’s emotions that have been building up. And so as I’m working with people and we start to slow down and increase some awareness there, people begin to realize that there is typically an emotion that proceeds an urge to view pornography.
Mm-hmm . If we can start to notice that we can just create space for that emotion, or we can try to meet that emotional lead in an effective way, instead of like kicking the can down the road, which is what viewing pornography is. It, it doesn’t satisfy emotional needs. It just controls them or pushes them away, or it avoids them or escapes them.
So if you’re feeling lonely, reach out to your partner or a friend, have a conversation, get connection, but often people feel lonely. So then they view pornography to get some measure of connection, cuz it’s easier. But it’s like, right. That’s gonna maintain those feelings of loneliness. Mm-hmm so that’s a lot of it is act is helping you recognize that there are emotions there let’s create some more space for those.
And let go. Of some of those judgments we have around sexuality. And instead of focusing on controlling our sexual urges and putting all of our focus and effort on trying not to cough let’s shift and focus on cultivating and living our values mm-hmm . So if you value your marriage or your relationship with God, or being a parent, um, or becoming a better engineer or better psychologist, or mm-hmm, a Bo hundred, whatever that is, let’s channel that focus and energy on things we wanna build.
Cause what we’ve learned is whatever we focus on tends to grow. So if you’re trying to control and get rid of sexual urges, they actually get bigger. But if you’re trying to build a better relationship with God or better relationship with your partner or your kids or in your profession, those also grow mm-hmm
And so our mind can only do it. Can’t not do so if you’re trying not to have sexual urges, you’re gonna have a lot of them, but if you’re trying to work on improving your relationships, you’re gonna improve ’em right. And so focus on things that you can do and not things that you’re trying not to do. Our mind’s just not set up that way.
43:31 Chris Grainger
Mm-hmm I mean, just like go, go to scripture. I mean, in Philippians focus on the pure to noble, the right, the right. I mean, you have to, you have to drive yourself that way. And, and, and the, the good news is it sounds like there, there is a path, there is a cure. There is a path, and it’s not something that you have to work on for, for 10 or 20 years.
You, it sounds, you said weeks to months, you could accelerate this and actually. Get out on the side. That that’s incredible hope right there for a lot of guys.
44:03 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah. And the research we have. So this is amazing. So when I looked at treatments that actually worked for unwanted pornography, there was a total of zero treatment studies investigating any addiction approach that research doesn’t exist.
And so it may be helpful or it may not be helpful. It actually does not exist. And I think about it as a psychologist, I can only offer research, supported treatments ethically. That’s my mandate. There is no research showing addiction approaches are effective, and that’s shocking to think about that. Um, but there are three research studies that show acceptance and commitment therapy is an effective treatment for reducing pornography.
Mm. And I wish I could say there’s hundreds and hundreds of studies, but there isn’t there. Absolutely. Isn’t. Yeah. And so we’ve done a review of the literature around sex and pornography addiction. Over the last 25 years and there’s been four or 500 studies looking at, to what extent is this concern an addiction or not, or is it a compulsion mm-hmm but in the last 25 years, there’s been less than 10 studies looking at what treatments are helpful.
And when you look at pornography specifically, there’s only three and they’re all acceptance and commitment therapy. Wow. And so this research has been done at Utah state university and by a man named Mike TIG, who trained under Steve Hayes, who developed act mm-hmm . And they found that folks that have been struggling with pornography for years and years and decades after just 12 weeks of act, they were able to reduce their view on average, by over 90%, wow.
In 12 weeks. And the reason why that is, is we’re targeting the underlying mechanisms that are maintaining this problem, right? We’re increasing awareness of emotion. We’re letting go of that struggle with controlling urges. And we’re focusing on. Living our values and building a better life. And that’s what I’ve seen over and over and over.
And there’s, there’s some folks I work with where we share these principles. And just after a couple of meetings, they’re like, I see it. And they’re done with porn, cuz it’s like, oh, this may not be a sexual concern. This is an ineffective, emotional control strategy. And this isn’t something I wanna do anymore.
Let’s focus my effort on things I actually care about. Right. And find better ways to manage my emotions. And then people are and running. It does not have to be a lifelong struggle. I love it.
46:26 Chris Grainger
Uh it’s so encouraging now also realize you you’ve made a tool to help men overcome this. So would you mind sharing a little bit about that?
46:37 Dr. Cameron Staley
And that kind of takes me down memory lane where I let it an, an act group for, um, students at the university who were struggling with pornography and at the end of the group, they said, why, why don’t people know about this. We’ve gone to addiction programs and 12 step programs and have been struggling for years and done all the church things and tried to pray it away and read my scriptures and get it gone.
And, but act actually worked why isn’t this out there? Right. And they, they actually challenged me and said, Cameron, you need to make an online program. And I’m like, no, that’s too scary. Like I enjoy working with people in my office where it’s safe. I don’t right. I I’m pretty introverted person myself. And they said, wait a minute, you challenged us to, to take risks in our life and to build intimacy and practice vulnerability and fill things.
And so it was actually them, the folks I was working on that said, you need to do more and nice. I sat on that for about a year and it’s like, ah, I do, I really need to do it. Like if I know a treatment that works, I need to create it in a way that’s more accessible. Yeah. So a couple years ago I developed life after pornography, which is just an online self-directed program, all based on act.
And it’s got 10 modules and it’s basically what I would do in therapy, working with somebody, struggling with porn. And I’ve interviewed a dozen experts that share their thoughts around sexuality and act and relationships. It’s got a workbook, um, and it’s all self-directed. So you can go for that whole program on your own, in your home, on your phone, on your tablet.
And I made it less than the cost of a single therapy session. So for under a hundred bucks, um, you can get that whole program and go through these principles on your own, right? And then after having that up for a couple years, people said we wanna app. And so this last year I worked with, uh, the folks from get your marriage on, who has great relationship apps for marriages.
Um, so they have the intimately us app, which is a wonderful app. Um, but you can get it on your phone. Your partner can get it and they sync up and it’s all educational information and, and ways to build that relationship and improve sexual. And so they came across my work and said, Cameron, we need to help people with porn.
Let’s build an app. And so we worked together for a year and were able to construct a, a new sequence of modules all based on act, um, that you can get on your smartphone. So you can get it from the iTune store, the Google play store. And it’s the same principles of act on an app. So now we have the life after pornography coach app that you can get, um, or you can do the full online self-directed life after pornography program.
And then if folks need even more one-on-one support, I do coaching around this as well to help people with the act. And so there’s lots of ways. So I just wanted to make this as inexpensive and as accessible as possible because I feel a lot of passion in this area. Cuz what I found is there’s a lot of really, really good people.
Who’ve struggled with porn mm-hmm and they’re trying to navigate this in a way with integrity and a godlike way. And they just don’t know where to go. Mm-hmm and it’s like with the right principles and direction, you can overcome this and get back in your life and start ministering to others and sharing the gospel and cultivating your relationships.
Let’s move past this struggle and do these things that really matter.
50:09 Chris Grainger
Amen. That now we we’re gonna make sure we put those links, Cameron, and, and the show notes for the listeners out there. Cuz first of all, that price point that that’s crazy. That’s that’s, that’s what a value to, to, to those that may be struggling there.
So check out the show notes. We’ll make sure we get, you know, get people connected all in all those different ways to, to move forward with that. So I mean that, that is awesome. So the, the cures out there, you know, it doesn’t have to be a daily grind. Uh, how about relapsing? What do do guys relapse do if they’ve gone through act, do, do you see a relapse if they do, do they just have to get back through the program?
Just curious on what your, what you see there.
50:47 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah. And so often when people come in, they say my goal is to never view pornography again. Okay. If I view pornography again, that would be a terrible failure. Um, because it’s viewed as this terrible sexual problem. Right. But if you look it as, oh no, you’ve kind of conditioned your body that when you’re feeling emotions that are uncomfortable, your mind recommends this strategy to regulate it.
Mm-hmm . And so as you go through life and as definitely, as you become a parent and you marry and enter a career, there’s gonna be some challenges and a lot of stressful experiences, your mind is gonna recommend that you view pornography to cope with that. Yeah. That’s pretty normal. That’s pretty expected.
And so when you have that awareness where it’s like, oh, if my mind says you should look at porn, that’s just your mind trying to help you regulate an emotion. Right? And so when you have that awareness and understanding, you can disobey an urge. But what happens is a lot of us, like we have an urge to check our phone.
I have those urges a lot where it’s like, yeah, oh, maybe I should check if I got an email or a text message. And when I’m not thinking, or going fast, I pull up my phone and I check it a lot. Right. But there’s other times where I’m more aware and, and slowing down to my life. And I have that urge to check my phone and I can just notice that urge and my phone can stay in my pocket and it’s like, oh, but what if there’s a message or I felt a D or a vibration or a ding.
Yep. You can feel that discomfort. And that urge to check and just notice it and keep walking and sexual urges are the same. And so you’re going to keep having emotions, right? You’re going to keep having urges to view pornography. And there might be times where you EY that urge. And if you do that, I would encourage people to view that as an opportunity to learn about, okay, what was going on.
Maybe my pace of life is getting a little too quick. Maybe I’ve become disconnected with my values. Maybe I need to reconnect with my partner. Mm-hmm maybe I need to reflect on these emotions that are going on. Cause something’s going on. That led me to look at porn and I wasn’t aware of those urges.
Let’s understand where I’m at in my life. Kinda get back on track. And so a lot of folks, when they view again, it’s like, oh no, like all that progress is over. And, and you erased that day since last incident billboard. And it’s like, start over and they’re like, there’s no starting over in life. It’s like, let’s learn from it and let’s keep it going.
And the more you do that, I found that people tend to struggle much less mm-hmm . But if you have the mentality of, oh, if I view again, I relapse people tend to view a lot. Mm-hmm cause they feel so shameful about that. Mm-hmm and so your mind’s like, oh, you’re feeling so bad. Let’s view a lot of porn to help you feel better.
Right. But if you view it as like, oh, I viewed, I made a decision that was inconsistent with my values. Let’s learn about it and move forward. And for me, that’s the beauty of Christ’s message and, and his atonement. Yeah. And sacrifice for us is his arms are always stretched out still. And he just invites us to move forward, get up, keep going, go towards him.
And I think about the adversary, he does the opposite. He says, oh, what you’ve done is so bad. It’s unforgivable. Why you shut down and withdraw and stay in the darkness. And that’s what shame is. Shame’s like turn away from people that care about you. Right. And turn away from your savior. But Christ messages, I’m always here.
Keep going. You’re going make mistakes. That’s part of the plan. That’s okay. But get up, let’s learn from it. Yeah. And let’s make it better.
54:20 Chris Grainger
Therefore, there is no combination for those that are in Christ. Jesus. I mean, we have to, we have to remember that. Cuz Satan is gonna do all he can to pull us down. Hey guys, I’m gonna take our last break.
We’ll be right back
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Cameron, this has been just so much just that you’ve unpacked here for our listeners. And I think, you know, the hope that that, that you’ve, that you’ve given us here of that’s just. That’s what I’m hanging on too. Cause I know I talk to the guys, it seems like it’s every week there’s somebody who’s joining the lion lion’s den.
And I always ask what you’re struggling with and this is consistent, you know, this is coming up. So guys are, are at least willing to talk about this is a struggle. And so many of them, quite frankly, they said, you know, they tried to get to their church, but church just aren’t they can’t handle this. I mean, I haven’t seen churches been able to, to handle this well.
So it’s very encouraging to hear people like you and the work that you’ve done. Because I think as Christian men, we need to lean into where the, the research is there, where the experts are and, and, and to, to get better and to, to be for that hope. And I’m just so encouraged for what you’ve done.
56:13 Dr. Cameron Staley
Oh, I’m so glad.
And, and I’m with you. There’s so many good folks I’ve worked with, or they’ve tried all the church things and the church programs and praying and reading scriptures and, and their mind comes to the conclusion. Well, well, if those things didn’t overcome my porn issue, maybe those things aren’t true. Maybe God doesn’t exist and maybe Christ doesn’t love me.
And it’s like, oh no, no, no, no, those are completely separate. Right? Sometimes folks in the church area just don’t have an understanding of some of these mental health concerns. And this is more of mental health concern than maybe a sexual concern or religious issue. And so with the right tools, you can overcome this.
And for me, I, I say, I, I read the Bible to enhance my understanding and to bring the spirit in my life and to build my relationship with God. It’s not a strategy to control sexual urges or to overcome porn, right. It’s not its purpose. And I pray to, to commune and converse with my heavenly father. I don’t pray to control urges.
Right. And so sometimes we’re using these really wonderful spiritual tools in a way that they’re not designed for. Okay. And then we think like, well, they don’t work. Like let’s get rid of all of them. And so I’ve seen a lot of people where they lose their faith. Around this pornography struggle. And that’s heartbreaking where it’s like, no, we have effective tools.
Let’s overcome that. And then keep living your faith and cultivating that and reading scriptures and praying and absolutely praying for help and guidance. Right? Reading that personal revelation is really key, but the goal’s not to get rid of urges or to control those. Those are divined. We need to learn how to navigate those and manage those and use those in our marriages.
But often folks, like, I just wanna get rid of them. It’s like, no, that isn’t the problem though. Um, there’s a lot more going on. It’s in the emotional realm and a lot of men are like, I don’t wanna feel stuff that’s unpleasant. It’s like, well, I think about name it in the old Testament where he had leprosy and goes to Elijah and it’s like, well, you gotta go dip in the river and you’ll be cured.
He’s like, well, I’m not doing that. Um, yeah, but you would do some great thing to overcome it. And I think about sitting and feeling your emotions is like dipping in the river, Jordan. It’s a really simple thing. It’s kind of dirty. kind of unpleasant, but it is the path forward. And often for men, it’s like, I will do anything, but that it’s like, well, actually the way over through this concern is to get more comfortable with emotions.
Great. More space for those. And you can overcome this problem.
58:45 Chris Grainger
Amen. And amen that you’re all over it. Now. I don’t let any guests leave. Uh, the line within us. We’re gonna have a little, a little fun with you now. We’re gonna stop talking about pro pornography for a minute and, and talk about you. We call it a feeding time on the line within us and this kind quick it’s lightning ground.
It’s fun, but it gets, let our listeners know just a little bit more about you. So you willing to jump in. Let’s do it. All right. So question one at the gate. What is your favorite thing about God? Oh,
59:16 Dr. Cameron Staley
for me, it’s his unconditional love. Amen. And I think about. Through my life. I’ve always felt that God has been there for me.
Yeah. And that has never changed. It is such a constant in my life. And there’s times I feel that in the therapy room where we’re working on issues on depression or anxiety or working through trauma, and I can feel God’s love for the people I’m working with. And that for me is so special and feeling the spirit of God can bring me to tears quicker than anything else.
It is such a sweet feeling. And so for me, there’s people, people let you down, people are imperfect. There’s a lot of injuries and relationships, but for me, God has never let me down. He is a constant and consistent, and there’s times that I tune out and don’t listen to God and, and kind of walk off the path a little bit.
But I know that every time I go back, he’s still there. Mm-hmm and I love
1:00:16 Chris Grainger
that constant in my life. You gotta love that. A gappy love there’s nothing like it. So now flip it. What’s your least favorite thing about Satan? Oh,
1:00:28 Dr. Cameron Staley
oh, I think no matter whenever you’re doing good work, mm-hmm, , Satan’s there to oppose it.
Yeah. And so I think about the more I work on being a better father, a better husband, or a better psychologist, or a better neighbor, or a better disciple, the more effort I’m putting into that, I know Satan as legions are working just as hard. And, but that opposition is how we grow and develop and, and gain strength in those areas.
Right. Um, but I know that the harder I work, the more opposition I’m gonna get. And so I actually even create space for that too. Yeah. Where it’s like, if I’m getting some opposition, there’s some struggle. Maybe I’m heading in the right direction. But some people I wish like, you know, same just kind of like, gimme a break.
I’m trying to do some good work. That’s
1:01:15 Chris Grainger
1:01:15 Dr. Cameron Staley
That’s right. That just, isn’t how it works. And so I recognize that eternal principle that if you’re doing God’s work, saying’s gonna be there too. I
1:01:24 Chris Grainger
can, uh, give you a big amen on that with my friend ever since the starting the line within a, the spiritual battle is real.
And, uh, I can only imagine you’re doing the same type of work you’re helping, you know, Christian men. So, uh, I will, I will definitely be keeping you and my prayers, my friends. So what’s something, what’s something that you’re currently struggling with right now. Oh,
1:01:50 Dr. Cameron Staley
so, um, I have a lot of doubts. Like I have the same insecurities and I, I really do value mental health, education and mental health care and caring for people that don’t have a voice and really disadvantage and need some direction.
But the more I like go on podcasts or develop these apps or do these online programs, or I even did a Ted talk. And that was terrifying is I do these things and the darkness comes in and the fear comes in and Satan’s like, oh gosh, like who are you? Yeah. Like, why would you be doing this? Like, everyone’s gonna hate you and reject you in your own.
Your own faith community is gonna reject you. And mm-hmm , I have all these fears and I can’t tell you how many times I’m driving to work in the morning. And I just pray for strength to say, please, I’m working so hard to minister to others. And I, I feel like this is an area I can serve and I’m scared.
Yeah. And there’s times where it’s like, I don’t want to go on another podcast cause it’s, it’s intimidating and it’s a risk and it’s vulnerable. Mm-hmm and I know that it’s what I need to do. And I know it is my calling. I sometimes I’m like, why was this my calling? Please gimme the strength to keep going.
And then I also pray that please protect me. Um, because there is opposition out there and there’s been some folks that are kind of scary that push back on some of my research and some of my efforts to help people. And at some point I have to turn it over to God and have faith to say, if this is your work, please fight some of those battles for me.
Um, you know, with having four kids in a marriage and the career, I don’t have the energy to fight all those battles and I need you. Yeah, I’m gonna keep working. And, and I know I can’t fight those battles. Please take care of some of those for me. And I feel like God always does. Um, but I think that inuring those doubts were, I wanna have an impact and make a difference.
And it’s really intimidating for me. I’m a really quiet, introverted kind of person.
1:03:53 Chris Grainger
I feel like we’re, uh, you’re just speaking to me directly right now, Cameron. So that, that, that. Uh, really resonated with me. I just must say, I, I, I just wanted to just let that be known for listeners out there. So go back and listen.
I mean, you, you were all over it, so let’s, let’s do two more. What what’s, uh, what’s a new habit that, that you want to create this year?
1:04:15 Dr. Cameron Staley
Oh, a new habit for me, it would be more consistent scripture study. Okay. So, so my life gets so busy. I, I got a full time job at university, got a bunch of kids, they’re all in sports.
Um, and then I coach and do therapy in the evenings for people and help with these programs and podcasts that I tend to do most of my scripture study on Sunday on the Sabbath and mm-hmm and I really enjoy that. And we have, we go to church and we do family church, but for me, I, I want that scripture study to be more consistent.
Yeah. Cause I need that direction. I need that spirit. I need that more consistently. And sometimes I get into that busy part and it gets pushed off till Sunday. And I love the Sunday, but I, I want that feeling more consistently and, and I’ve recommitted to God several times, I’m gonna do that. Um, but then it’s, I kind of slip into those habits and get busy, helping and doing good things.
Yeah. But because I’m trying to do so many good things, I feel like I need more consistent divine help. Right. So that’s a habit I wanna improve is maybe not read as study as much scripture on Sunday, but have that more consistent throughout the week.
1:05:27 Chris Grainger
Amen. It’ll happen. It will just, just stay at it. I mean, Satan’s gonna do everything he can and keep you out of that words.
Just remember that. So just, just, you know, fight it and if it’s just, if it’s nothing but a proverb of date, that’s one thing I tell guys is Ooh, kinda like an apple a day. There’s 31 Proverbs. So for whatever day of the month, it is read that proverb. Just, it, it takes three minutes to read that proverb and that at least gets you in the word.
You know, the Proverbs or the book of wisdom. So as the work that you’re doing in knowledge work, maybe that’s something that can help you.
1:06:00 Dr. Cameron Staley
I like that. And I think that’s probably my issue is I usually read a couple of chapters. Yeah. Maybe biting off some
1:06:05 Chris Grainger
Proverbs. That might be a lot more doable. Yeah, that’s right.
We’re recording on the 26. So read proverb 26 before you go to bed and tomorrow read Proverbs 27 and the months that, that don’t have 31 days, don’t worry about it. You’ll get it on another month,
1:06:18 Dr. Cameron Staley
you know? So I love it. I’m totally gonna do that. That’s
1:06:20 Chris Grainger
great. All right. So the, the last question for you here is, is what do you hope that, you know, the guys that Terry listening, they, they’ve heard you talk about, you know, pretty deep topic that we went through today.
What’s one thing that you hope that they remember from our conversation. Yeah. The reason
1:06:38 Dr. Cameron Staley
why you’re struggling with pornography is because your relationships and sexuality really matter to you. Mm-hmm and your relationship with God really matters. Mm-hmm , if those things didn’t matter, you’d be viewing and you wouldn’t be.
Worried about at all. Mm-hmm and I think we lose sight of that. We feel like, oh, I’m a terrible person. I’m not a faithful disciple. And struggling with these things, you know, what is so wrong with me? Mm-hmm but the reason why you’re struggling is because you wanna live a life with integrity mm-hmm and you wanna get it right.
And you wanna have healthy relationships and you wanna follow God’s path. Mm-hmm , that’s why you’re struggling. And so what I found is often the things we struggle with actually can put a spotlight on what we value the most. Mm. If you were not struggling with this problem, it means there’s not many values here, but you are struggling with this because this does matter to you.
Your relationships matter, your integrity matters your relationship with God matters. So I would invite people to remind themselves of that, that when there’s a struggle, it’s because there’s some core values here and we’re not able to live those consistently. There’s a lot of dissonance. There’s a lot of distress.
Mm-hmm those emotions are information they’re really quite helpful. And so we can slow down and listen to that. But the fact that you’re struggling and working on this is evidence that you are trying to do the right thing. Don’t lose sight of that.
1:08:05 Chris Grainger
Absolutely. So where should guys go? Well, of course we’ll sync of everything in the show notes.
So where do you want guys to go to, to learn more, to connect, to, uh, to, to access your programs? Where, where do you wanna point ’em?
1:08:16 Dr. Cameron Staley
Yeah, you can find Dr. Cameron Staley on, uh, Facebook or the life after series. Okay. On Facebook or Instagram, or we got a YouTube channel where we have free trainings, free podcasts, all kinds of resources out there.
Um, you can check out the app life after pornography coach or the life after pornography program. Um, oh, the really cool feature in the app that I like is you get to interact with other app users. Um, so there’s built in forms there that you can support each other and ask questions and. I do monthly office hours for the app folks to answer their questions and support ’em.
So if you’re like I’m alone in this, I’m the only one struggling what’s wrong with me. It’s like, mm-hmm, join the other hundreds of folks in using this app. It’s like, we’re all here to learn and we’re all learning act together and we’re practicing mindfulness and increasing awareness of emotions and we’re here to support each other.
So it’s a really wonderful environment there. Um, so yeah, those are probably the easiest ways to track me down.
1:09:13 Chris Grainger
Okay. We’ll make sure that’s in the show notes for you guys. So you know, Dr. Cameron, and is there anything else you’d like to share with us on the line on the line within us today?
1:09:22 Dr. Cameron Staley
Just appreciation for, um, having this conversation with you and getting to know you and Chris and I chatted, I guess it’s been a few weeks now and got to know each other, and I don’t know, I feel similar to you where I am assuming that you’re kind of a quiet person like me.
Mm-hmm but feel called. Um, to help men step up into their roles and, and be better disciples and leaders and husbands and parents. And it’s scary. Um, so I, I don’t know. I feel like I got a brother through this, so I really appreciated that.
1:09:53 Chris Grainger
You absolutely did cuz you, I think we’re our twin we’re twins.
You’re definitely a, the smarter, better looking twin . But uh, you know, I, I, I, I got the call. I’m an introvert like you, but you know, out here, you know, being very vocal, being very public, being very vulnerable, talking about real things. And, but you know, God’s called me to do it. I gotta lean into the hard and, and the conversations like today are what’s gonna make us and the guys that listen, cuz a lot of guys listen to the show.
It’s gonna make us better. So I can’t. Thank you enough, sir. Well, thank you Chris.
1:10:25 Dr. Cameron Staley
It was my pleasure to be with you.
1:10:27 Chris Grainger
All right. Well you have a great day. You too.
Is your daily routine setting you up for success or failure? Each day is an opportunity to improve. And it starts with solid habits. We created a guide that outlines nine powerful habits that will strengthen the physical, mental, and spiritual areas of your life. To get your free guide, check out the link of show notes or hop over to the line within.us/habits.
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guys. I told you that conversation was gonna be real. It was probably one of the most in depth conversations we’ve had here on the line within us. I pray that it served you well. I pray you took some notes, go back, check it out. I know we talked about a lot of stuff. We covered a lot of ground and I get it, but I’m tell you what guys it’s gonna make us better.
And I want you to think about right now, the question we talked about this week, what lustful behavior do you need to flee from? Flee from it. Okay. There’s lustful behavior out there. There’s things there’s pornography. There, there there’s all these things that are just sexual images that are coming at us.
I want you to have a, a wonderful, wonderful, intimate sex life with your wife, and the only way that’s gonna be possible, we gotta remove get these things out of our life. Cause I’m telling you guys the most sexually satisfied men are Christian men and women who are living in the covenant of marriage.
It’s proven it’s out there. The stats prove it. The stats show it. So let’s, if you, if you’re struggling with this, there is no shame. Remember there is no combination for those that are in Christ. Jesus. So forget that, but get help. And people like Dr. Cameron, they’re, they’re creating resources to serve you and to help you get better.
So guys, I pray this one helps you again, share this one with others. This is a conversation you do not wanna keep in your back pocket. Give us a rating, write a review. That makes a big difference. Maybe consider donating, be a donor for the line within us, jump on every month, whatever you can give, it would support.
It would help the show. It would help us continue to get this out there, guys. It doesn’t, it’s the stuff isn’t free. It takes a lot of work. It takes resources and we pray that that serves you well. So if it does consider being a donor, maybe consider jumping in and joining the lion den the lion within.us, join the lion den.
That’s free. Grab a Bible study, jump on a course, take a course out there. Maybe jump on the Thursday night Bible study with us. If you want to ha if you wanna be part of that, join the lion den and you can learn more there. Get the scriptures. You need to fight like a lion. That’s right on the main page guys, we are building things to serve you.
It’s all about you. You are the hero and this story. It’s not about us. It’s about showing you how you can be the leader, your predestined to be. So if you’re struggling, you feel like Satan’s constantly coming after you. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know how to lead your family. Let us come alongside.
Give you some tools, give you some support, give you some encouragement and help you. We can do it. So join the line within us and, and let’s, let’s really, really go at this battle together. So guys, I pray this serves, you will come back on Friday. I’m gonna give you some health, wealth, and self tips. We’ll give you a few dad jokes.
We’re gonna lighten it up to go into the weekend. I pray again that this was a G this was a great conversation. I can’t thank Dr. Cameron Staley enough for taking the time to, with us now, get out there and unleash the lion within.
Guys this is a topic to many will not touch. It would be easier to cover areas that make you feel comfortable or affirm what you are doing right. However that is not what being a Lion is all about.
We are leaning into the uncomfortable topics, not because they are fun, but because they are necessary! We need to spread the light on this darkness and help those that are struggling.
This is for everyone, those that are struggling and those that are not. We all need to educate ourselves on how to serve others when the ugly head of pornography shows up in our lives.
Listen with an open mind and after hearing the wisdom from Dr. Staley you will be equipped to unleash the Lion Within!
- Changing the Narrative Around the Addiction Story TED Talk
- Life After Pornography online program
- Life After Pornography Coach app
- Dr. Cameron Staley’s Website
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