Case in point. Today, I was talking with my friend Jeremiah about my post Complex Attraction. In that post, I argue that when I experience an attraction to another guy, that attraction not only includes a sexual aspect, but also a desire to befriend and get to know and serve that person. Jeremiah pushed back on that, citing pornography as an example. He rightly pointed out that when someone views porn, what often happens is that the ONLY goal is to satiate a physical, sexual desire, and that the viewer doesn't give a lick about getting to know the porn star as a person, much less serving them.
Great point! Duly noted. And yet...I still don't think it is that simple.
A while back, I was talking with another friend about his history with pornography. As he was sharing his story, he told me that eventually he stopped watching pre-recorded porn videos and started participating in video chat rooms where he could interact with a real person in real time. He didn't find the prerecorded videos to be appealing anymore. I asked him why, and I think his answer gets to what I am saying here. He said that the live chat added a personal element to the sexual act that he found got closer to his root desire. He even told me that often times - either before or after the "sex act" took place - he would end up talking with the person on the other end of the camera, getting to know about each others lives and even encouraging or giving advice to each other. Some of them he actually kept in contact with afterward!
How can you tweeze that desire for friendship and companionship and non-sexual intimacy from the physical desire that took him to the chat room in the first place? I'm not sure that you can. The prerecorded videos were no longer satisfying, in part because they didn't speak to the whole desire, but only part of it. I think that at the core of our physical desires is a desire to know and be known, to have a friend and be a friend, to care for and be cared for.
And those desires are good, even when they come part and parcel with a sinful desire, such as a sexual desire for the same sex.