Quitting Porn Is The Rite Of Passage For The Modern Man

The ancient torchbearer, representing a rite of passage..
The “Torchbearer,” symbolizing the power of self-mastery and transformation. (Image: Mark Queppet)

Rites of passage were common in cultures throughout history. They typically involved separating young men from society, subjecting them to some ritual or challenge, and reintegrating them into that society with a new, upgraded role–in addition to tools and skills necessary for success in their respective worlds. Rites of passage were also a way to forge bonds of community between participants, their leaders, and other members of society.

In traditional Jewish culture, when boys turned 13, they would become a bar mitzvah (“son of the commandments”). A formal ceremony denoted an increase in responsibility and formal social consideration as a man. Ancient Spartan society, for example, was known for making their youth endure numerous rites of passage that were particularly grueling. These were tailored to the demands and interests of a military state, and the myriad challenges that accompanied warrior life:

Ancient rite of passage..
A depiction of the Spartan “wilderness rite of passage.”

The biggest test came at the age of 12. Then, a boy would be given nothing but a spear and a blanket and sent out into the wilderness. The aim was to survive for a whole month. Many boys failed, returning to their schools tired and hungry after just a week. They were dismissed from the Agoge [rigorous training program] and would live the life of the Spartan Perieci¸ or middle classes. Boys who survived a whole month were welcomed back as men. They would become full Spartan citizens and be permitted to take a wife and have children.

Source: History Collection (Ancient Coming Of Age Rituals)

The modern world is highly fragmented, both on broader societal and more local levels. It is rare that we observe the kind of structure and social coherence that give birth to constructs with these aims in mind. Reality is that the modern world, due to rapid technological progress, presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities that are very different than those of any other era in history. However, many people find themselves ill-equipped to navigate this landscape. Every case is unique, but general reasons include fractured family and social ties, a biology that has yet to catch up with rapid environmental challenges, and the absence of leadership and structures in place that create order and harness the potential of individuals (fatherhood, the school system, religious institutions, etc.)

Today, I’ve transcribed a pretty forward-thinking clip by Mark Queppet, the founder of Universal Man, which inspired this article. Queppet believes that quitting pornography is the modern rite of passage, because doing so requires becoming a particular kind of person that is capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. Queppet makes his case on a number of grounds, including 1-) the foundational role of sex drive; 2-) the great self-control needed to resist pornography’s allures in the smartphone era; 3-) the sweeping lifestyle changes needed to become a porn-free man; and 4-) the necessity in the process of confronting the darker elements of masculinity.

[FYI, in the last 5 minutes of the video, not included in the transcript (9:00), Queppet outlines what he perceives to be the biggest philosophical challenge to this process–post-modernism. The moral relativism inherent to post-modernism, Queppet argues, belies real constraints on reality, and deprives people of motivation to forge a purpose-driven, values-based path that can alleviate some of the suffering in life.]

Very fascinating subject matter. Check out the transcript and video below!

Mark Queppet on quitting pornography..
Mark Queppet on quitting pornography as a rite of passage.

When men go through this process, popularly called “reboot,” they experience a huge number of positive side effects that go beyond just the realm of sexual health. They become stronger, more disciplined, more focused. They reconnect with a vitality in life. They gain strength that then enables them to go on and do other, more positive things. And it seems like once a man is able to navigate the field of porn–be able to quit porn–he’s able to navigate these other vices, these other issues, and develop a lifestyle that can really help him show up as the man he wants to be.

Mark Queppet

Transcript Of Quitting Porn Is The Rite Of Passage For The Modern Man (Mark Queppet)

Welcome to Universal Man. My name is Mark Queppet, and I’m here to help you sharpen you masculine edge, and in this video, I’m going to be talking to you about how quitting porn is the rite of passage for the modern man that helps him overcome the vices of the modern world, as well as the philosophical pitfalls.

Okay, so the modern world holds more potential for the individual than any other time in history. Our advances in society, in technology have empowered each person to be able to make a huge positive impact on their environment, as well as, you know, live a relatively comfortable and good life, as long as they can put things in the proper order.

One of the biggest problems that I see getting in the way of people successfully doing that is that while we’ve advanced in a lot of good ways, we’ve also advanced in our vices. The modern vices have evolved in such a way that it can be very easy to become trapped by them so that you cannot thrive. The way I see it a vice is something that’s naturally pleasurable. It’s pleasurable on kind of an instinctual or biological level, but if you indulge in it to excess, especially, it’s going to have a very negative impact on your life. But it can be very difficult to resist that indulgence.

For example, we’ve got super high-calorie, high-flavor foods that are very easy to get fat and sick off of. We’ve got super stimulating click-bait trash media, that knows how to press all of our buttons, that want drama, that want intrigue and novelty, and really just kind of fill your mind with junk. We’ve got the mass popularity contest of social media, where people essentially outsource their personality and their values for the sake of getting these arbitrary internet points. We’ve got drugs and pills and potions for pretty much everything under the sun, many with more negative side effects than positive side effects.

And, you know, if you don’t like your life, you can escape into one of the incredibly robust and detailed video game worlds where you can level up your video game avatar while your real life falls apart. And if all of this doesn’t work for you, you got porn, the demonic bride of the modern masturbatory man. It’s that succubus found in every pocket in the form of a cellphone that’s stealing the energy of men, and also their morality at rates at which I don’t think we’ve ever experienced.

The result of all these sort of things is that if you don’t defend yourself against them, you’ll very quickly get your health, your morality, your vitality, your effectiveness stolen from you. And you will be mired down in these pits of vice. And, by and large, I believe that is what’s happening, especially to men in every large numbers. Our capacity to induce pleasure and stimulation has outpaced our socialization mechanisms that would equip us to navigate these seas of temptation.

And men are the ones who are really suffering here. If you look at the stats, I mean, what is it, men have lower graduation rates, higher suicide rates, higher incarceration rates, higher rates of homelessness, higher rates of drug use, and they’re more likely to be served divorce papers. This is particularly impactful on men, and you know, at Universal Man, this is something that we really want to look at.

In previous cultures and societies, there were rites of initiation, rites of passage that were designed to instill someone with the tools, the experiences, and help them have a transition into adulthood where they could navigate their society effectively and become a productive member, become someone who could really thrive and function well. This is what we need now. We need something for the modern man, so that he can enter into this modern world full of vice, full of temptation, full of things that would tear him down, so that he can thrive, so that he can actually use all his potential of the modern world, rather than just get caught in the corners and the cracks of it.

Thankfully, I believe that this process already exists, and it’s been discovered by people in the porn addiction recovery community. Men by the thousands are quitting porn voluntarily by going through periods of abstinence. On the surface, this was initially explored because it can help you overcome a lot of sexual dysfunction. It removes compulsive behavior around sex and porn use, and that’s all great, but something more happens here.

When men go through this process, popularly called “reboot,” they experience a huge number of positive side effects that go beyond just the realm of sexual health. They become stronger, more disciplined, more focused. They reconnect with a vitality in life. They gain strength that then enables them to go on and do other, more positive things. And it seems like once a man is able to navigate the field of porn–be able to quit porn–he’s able to navigate these other vices, these other issues, and develop a lifestyle that can really help him show up as the man he wants to be.

I know I’ve personally gone through this process, and a lot of my previous videos were all about this, but if you don’t believe me, you can look at all the reboot accounts, and you’ll find them by the hundreds, of men’s’ whose lives have just been completely transformed.

So, basically, I believe quitting porn is the rite of passage for the modern man that will prepare him to show up as his best self in this modern world, and I believe this for a number of reasons.

First, for the ubiquity. Every man’s got a sex drive, and he needs to learn how to come to terms with it. Also, most men have developed a compulsive habit around porn and masturbation use, many times to the point of addiction. So, this becomes a common challenge that men can overcome and develop a shared toolset around, develop community around. It’s something that almost universal for men in the modern world.

The second reason I think it’s good is because the level of self-control that you have to develop in order to do this is insane. The ability to overcome a porn or masturbation addiction, I think is fundamentally different than overcoming any other kind of addiction because, you know, in most cases, it’s like an instance of cutting out going to the liquor store, or a bar. Cutting out going to your drug dealer. But, for overcoming porn addiction, we always have access to porn. We always have smartphones. We always got access to the internet. And so the level of self-control and self-mastery needed to conquer is just on an entirely different level. Therefore, going through the process is that much more valuable because you become that much more powerful.

Additionally, it’s very difficult to just cut this stuff out and not make any other changes. It almost forces you to make positive lifestyle changes. Your baseline habits—it forces you to set up a baseline of hygiene in terms of sleep, exercise, basic diet, basic socialization. You can’t just quit porn in a vacuum. You can’t quit masturbation in a vacuum. You need to be putting your energy into healthier areas. You need to distribute things in a more beneficial way in your life.

But the final reason I think quitting porn is such an important rite of passage for men because of how it forces you to confront the darker elements of masculinity. Very often, tied up into all this stuff are those potent, darker sexually aggressive elements. You know, that part of you, that part of your masculinity, that part of your masculine biology that can very much turn toward the side of darkness, right?

And it forces you to look at that part and learn how to get control of it. You can call this the confrontation with the shadow, or the integration with the shadow. So these darker, aggressive energies, which are normally relegated to private acts of indulgence—they can then be really captured and rewired to serve your greater good. And this is a lot of what we talk about here in Universal Man—learning how to use these potent forces inside of you for good rather than for evil. This is the idea of learning how to make love to life. This idea of sexual transmutation, where you put all of that energy that maybe previously just went toward unhelpful vices and that sort of thing, and you can leverage it to pursue things that really mean something to you. That are valuable to you. That create valuable and goodness and fruitfulness for yourself and other people.

So, I believe if you master yourself enough to quit porn, quit masturbation, you are going to be able to thrive in this modern world. You will have developed the strength and self-mastery needed to really be your best.

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