Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Centerfold Syndrome & Men

The Centerfold Syndrome

Psychologist Dr. Gary R. Brooks, in his book, The Centerfold Syndrome: How Men Can Overcome Objectification and Achieve Intimacy with Women*, has identified four symptoms of the "centerfold syndrome." As the result of a steady diet of soft-core pornography, men may display one or more of the following symptoms:

Voyeurism-an obsession with visual stimulation that trivializes all other features of a healthy relationship

Objectification-obsessive fetishes over body parts and the rating of women by size and shape

Trophyism-treatment of women as collectibles and property

Fear of intimacy-inability to get beyond glossy, centerfold images of women to have a real relationship

Pornography subtly communicates that the value of a woman is determined by her body, shape, and size. Only those women with a perfect physical appearance are valuable and worthy of being admired, desired, and loved. This can have detrimental effects on how women and girls view themselves.

I often wonder how many young girls who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are unknowingly struggling to measure up to the perfect "10" image projected by the airbrushed centerfold.

I also wonder how many teenage boys, consciously or unconsciously, measure the value of their girlfriends against the "bunny" image.


Pornography's Progressive Pattern of Addiction

Dr. Victor Cline, a clinical psychologist at the University of Utah and a specialist in the area of sexual addictions, has observed a four-step syndrome common to almost all of his clients who have been involved with pornography.

Step 1-Addiction.
Once consumers of pornography get hooked, they keep coming back for more and more. The sexually graphic material provides the viewer with an aphrodisiac effect, followed by sexual release, most often through masturbation. Pornography gives the viewer powerful imagery that can be recalled and elaborated on with the person's fantasy life. Despite negative consequences, most addicts are unable to rid themselves of their dependence on pornography. Their addiction rules their lives.

Step 2-Escalation.
Cline describes the second phase as an escalation-effect. The pornography consumer, similar to the drug user, requires more and more stimulation to reach his or her "highs." In fact some viewers prefer the powerful sexual imagery planted in their minds by exposure to pornography to sexual intercourse itself. This nearly always diminishes the viewer's capacity to love and express appropriate intimacy within relationships.

Step 3-Desensitization.
In this phase, material that was originally perceived as unthinkable, shocking, illegal, repulsive, or immoral is now viewed as acceptable and commonplace by the viewer of pornography. Regardless of the deviancy expressed, the viewer perceives the pornography and his or her use of it as legitimate.

Step 4-Acting out sexually.
This last step describes an increased tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in pornography, including things such as: promiscuity, visiting escorts, voyeurism, exhibitionism, group sex, affairs, rape, sadomasochism, cybersex, phone sex, child molestation, and more.

Clearly, this progressive pattern demonstrates how reality and fantasy become blurred for those who are entangled with pornography or when viewing is no longer enough. Early emotional wounding is almost always a factor in pornography addiction.

In regard to the compulsive or addictive nature of pornography, Dr. Cline shares the following: "In over 26 years, I have treated approximately 350 males afflicted with sexual addictions (or sometimes referred to as sexual compulsions). In about 94 percent of the cases I have found that pornography was a contributor, facilitator, or direct causal agent in the acquiring of these sexual illnesses." ii

iCline, Pornography's Effects, 3-5.
iiVictor B. Cline, "Pornography and Sexual Addictions," Christian Counseling Today 4, no.4 (1996): 58.

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shared by Barbara at 12:18 AM



What if "Hustler" creator Larry Flynt and "Playboy" creator Hugh Hefner are both psychopaths? They certainly display many of the attributes. Would this really surprise you?

I was raised with and by all psychopaths. I was always made to be SUPER aware of my body, how it looked, the imperfections. Psychopaths don't internally KNOW what is "right" and all they have is what they reflect/project. So, because this is what they do (compare themselves to others to see if they look normal) I was trained to do this as well. Bulimia, anorexia, hating everything about my looks was ingrained. I was taught that only attractive people had a right to expect love. But what is gross and amazing is that psychopaths can be gross to look at (greasy hair, rotten teeth, BO) but they still see themselves as attractive. IT IS SIMPLY AMAZING!

And some person who is not educated on what psychopathy is may mistakenly say: "Well maybe we should try to incorporate some of their self-esteem." Just think of the movie "Aliens." You can't contain evil. You can't shave off parts of it and leave the rest. Psychopaths are 100% evil with no redeeming factor. (Dr. Robert Hare points this out.)

Cults/religions that focus so much on looks (including SUPER modest) are ofentimes just hiding places for psychopaths. How they turn our eyes from the Lord and distract us with being "so perfect," by making us so concerned with how others view us. (Are we sweet/kind/gracious/submissive enough?)

As childish as this sounds, and to keep myself from being sucked into this way of thinking, I often just ask myself "If I were old and in a nursing home would this (perfect looking, right makeup etc.) even matter or would God STILL love me?" Guess what? The answer is always: "God totally loves me!"

11:55 PM  

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