Episode 90: Research on Shame with Ryan Hewitt

Uncategorized Oct 03, 2022

I’m back this week with the third and final installment of my interview with Ryan Hewitt. He’s currently writing his dissertation and conducting pioneering research on pornography use in religious individuals, and on this episode, we’re diving into the topic of shame.

If you’ve been a long-time listener here, you will have heard me say that shame never helps you move forward. While faith is often the source of shame and moral incongruence for many of you, Ryan has discovered that faith can actually be the answer to shame, and we’re exploring how using this lens can be very effective in getting to the root issue.

Join us this week as Ryan offers his research and findings on beginning to understand shame in a new way. We’re discussing the difference between guilt and shame, the dangers of equating these two emotions, and what you can do to combat shame, instead of continuing to feed it.

If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 29 and identify as Christian, click here to help Ryan out with his research. He currently needs 100 more participants, and this is a great way to give back if you’ve received help and hope on your journey and want to use your struggles to support future generations. 

If you’re ready to do this work and start practicing unconditional commitment toward quitting your porn habit, sign up to work with me! 


What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • How guilt and shame are used synonymously, and why we have to differentiate between them. 
  • The danger of equating shame and guilt to each other. 
  • Why you don’t have to abandon your values to decrease shame.
  • The neuroscience research that’s emerging around shame. 
  • Why guilt can actually be a positive, productive emotion.
  • How shame creates a desire to hide and prevents you from taking restorative action.
  • Ryan’s findings on the answer to reframing shame. 


Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 90, Research on Shame with Ryan Hewitt.

Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you how to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life and faith-based coach.

Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast episode. This week we are continuing our conversation with Ryan. This is our last episode on the research around pornography use, this emerging research. And today's topic is shame. What does the research say about shame?

There is some stuff here that I haven't talked about on the podcast that I think you'll find really, really helpful. The neuroscience behind shame and just some new ideas and ways that we can learn to decrease shame in our own lives.

The research is now showing that shame creates more porn use, that shame is not helping porn use. There's so many researchers, newer researchers, Brené Brown, other people we mention who have been pioneers in this research that have really changed the world. You've heard me talk about it often in the podcast, and I'm excited for Ryan to share some of the research he has found on shame.

If you want to help him with his research, if you're finding this helpful, if you want to give back and help future generations by participating in groundbreaking research around pornography use, go to outofthefog.faith. He is looking for participants that are male, Christian, and between the ages of 18 to 29 to answer some questions for him.

That's really all it is, is just going on his website, answering a survey, answering questions, sharing your experience. And again, the criteria is that you are a male, Christian, and between the ages of 18 and 29. Okay, enjoy this interview.

Sara: Hey you guys, welcome back. We have Ryan Hewitt with us, he is getting his PhD in, you're going to have to remind me. It's ministry leadership?

Ryan: Yeah, ministry leadership, the really broad term.

Sara: But he's doing tons and tons of research. He's doing his dissertation around pornography, pornography use, pornography use in religious individuals. We've talked about all of the emerging research around addiction, which was fascinating, which is different than what you might have been taught the research around porn addiction is. The research around moral incongruence. And now we're going to talk about all the research around shame.

Ryan: Yeah, thanks again for having me. We've noticed as we've been talking through this, this idea of shame, even if you go way back to the very beginning, you had asked me kind of why I got into this research and I was sharing a little bit about my background of being in education as well as working with ministry and young people.

And that word, shame, is just always there. It's always present. It's always coming up in some way, some form, some fashion when you talk about sexuality in general in many faith based contexts, and even more so when you start talking about this idea of pornography. And so it's been cool for me, this has been an arena that I would say I’ve been pressing into more.

You know, as a PhD student you have to, in a sense, advance the ball forward. And so the connection of shame to moral incongruence is an arena that I've really been pressing into. So all that to say I'm really excited to talk about it.

Sara: Yeah, when we were talking about moral incongruence we kept wanting to go there. We were like, shame, shame, shame. So here we are, we get to talk about it. So yeah, feel free to get us started.

Ryan: Yeah. Yeah, well, again, I agree. We kept wanting to go there because we were always making the connection. I concluded or at some point I said that moral incongruence gap which, again, you can go kind of hear more about that. But it's basically the gap between our most sacred values and our behaviors. When there's a gap there, what happens? What happens internally?

And the research is finding that's a primary pathway to distress for many people that look at pornography, especially those that have strong moral convictions, like maybe religious individuals.

Sara: So let me just say so the more you think porn is bad, the more distressed you are when you view it, basically.

Ryan: Yeah, I think it's a great way to summarize it.

Sara: Which you're like, “Yeah, of course.” But there's a lot of implications there that we’re talking about.

Ryan: Absolutely. And I think that's where the research hasn't really got caught up in a practical level to say, well in light of that, then how should we be approaching people that are experiencing this kind of distress? And so one of the primary measures, indicators, or effects in this whole moral incongruence cycle is shame.

So one issue when you start talking about shame, is you first have to define it. And that's one thing I know in my background and growing up. But then as I started to even get into the research, it was amazing how guilt and shame are just used interchangeably, synonymously. You know, sometimes people, even in a conversation, they're saying, “Oh, I just feel so much guilt and shame.” And you're like, “Wait, which?”

So it's just thrown together. And they're definitely connected, but the research has been, there's been a number of researchers in the previous years that have really helped distinguish these, what they would call moral emotions.

Sara: Brené Brown.

Ryan: Yeah, she's a big one. Yeah, June Tangney is another big one, I just butchered her name. So yeah, exactly. They're starting to understand that, hey, there's something else deeper going on in this whole process of shame.

So some of what I'm sharing is not brand new by any means. But what I really like is seeing the connection of what the psychologists and the clinicians are finding with some of the brain research. And then you kind of bring all that together into this conversation and you start to, I think it really helps, as we were saying, helps diagnose some of the root issues.

Sara: Cool. And I am really obsessed with this part of the research. We'll talk about it here in a minute, but it just gives us new ways of handling shame. I think how I might have talked about shame in the past has been really helpful, but maybe a little just like one sided. Like shame comes from thoughts, how can we change the way we're thinking about things to feel shame?

But what we're going to find here with Ryan is that there's different parts of the brain that are activated with shame. And I'll let you talk about that first. But anyways, it's just super important, super excited about it.

Ryan: Yeah. Yeah, so again, different lenses you could look at it. I guess, maybe just jumping into what they've been able to find in probably the last five years or so from the neuroscience level.

Again, it's been difficult to study guilt and shame in general because they're what they call moral emotions. You know, it's more difficult to define and so it's just the research is a little more tricky. In the past five, five years or so they began to actually study kind of neurologically what's going on with people when they are experiencing guilt versus shame.

And so kind of real broadly you can say guilt, and this is kind of what some of the more leading researchers are saying is guilt is associated with behavior, just to put it really simply. Like I did something wrong, like I'm guilty. It's kind of a matter of fact, right?

Then you have on the other side shame, which gets a lot more nebulous. And I like it, there's a couple guys that have summarized it, they said, if guilt speaks to your behavior, shame speaks to your identity. Guilt says I did something wrong, shame says I am something wrong.

It actually, and a number of researchers have made this connection, that it takes the act that you view as wrong and then it generalizes it to your essence, to like who you are at the identity level, which is pretty fascinating.

Sara: Yeah. What I'm hearing when you say that is that you don't have to get rid of your values in order to decrease shame. You just have to get rid of maybe what you're making it mean about you when you don't live up to whatever, or when not live up, I don't like that phrasing. When you do something that doesn't totally fit within your value system.

Ryan: Right. Absolutely. Yeah, I think that's a great way to put it. Yeah, it's not that you have to completely, it's the message behind it. It's speaking to something way bigger than what the actual action itself was about.

Sara: Yeah. So correct me if I'm wrong, but so then maybe this moral incongruence, how we can decrease that isn't necessarily saying, “Hey, it's fine. I can do whatever I want, I don’t have to feel bad about stuff.” But it's decreasing what you're attaching your identity to and therefore what does that mean about me? So instead of I view porn, therefore I am bad because porn is really bad.

Ryan: Yeah.

Sara: I view porn, that didn't align with my values, and that doesn't have to affect my worth as an individual or whatever.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. I think that you're on it. There's a, and again, this is kind of my research is connecting what is that moral incongruence model and what it's telling us, how does that connect with that shame? And again, I think in the middle of that gap there's a vacuum for shame. So you address the shame, you address the moral incongruence.

Sara: Cool, love it. Okay, so tell us about the neuroscience.

Ryan: Yeah, so guilt, what they actually found was guilt triggers the prefrontal cortex. So, you know, some people are kind of familiar with some of the basic brain stuff. You often hear prefrontal cortex when you're talking to young people, they’re like you don't even have a, you know, your prefrontal cortex isn't fully developed, you can't make rational decisions. Because we recognize that it connects to the logical, the rational part of our brain.

Sara: Yeah, my brother who is an adult, but sometimes I tease him, I'm like, your prefrontal cortex isn't developed yet.

Ryan: Yeah, exactly.

Sara: I’m like you’re not 26 yet.

Ryan: Yep, yep, exactly. It's like the last part of the brain to develop. And so kind of we're familiar with it there. But there's a connection, is it does, the prefrontal cortex is the part connected to rational thinking, logical thinking, being able to understand consequences and that type of thing.

Sara: Yeah, I talk about prefrontal cortex, it's our ability to plan ahead.

Ryan: Totally.

Sara: So if you know you're going to go to the station tomorrow night and that's when you struggle with urges for porn, you can make a plan using your prefrontal cortex. That's the part of your brain that can plan ahead of time, you want to do that ahead of time so that you're not relying on your lower brain when it's in the moment.

Ryan: Exactly. Yeah, and honestly what you're saying is reflective of what this research is showing because that guilt triggers that prefrontal cortex. But when you’re operating in that place you can actually, yeah, rationally think, you can logically think.

So guilt triggering that part of the brain actually means that guilt can actually be a very productive thing. It actually helps compel people to restorative action. It also helps propel them to empathy, like, okay, wow, I recognize what I did wrong. I can see externally, I can see others and I want to make it right. So guilt is kind of, in that way, a positive moral emotion.

Sara: Yeah.

Ryan: It comes from doing something wrong, but then what it releases and actually creates in us is a drive to go make it right. So what they found, though, shame, again, so this is why it's so dangerous just to equate the two together. What they found was shame actually triggers the limbic system, which is more of that lower part of your brain.

And so as someone who has two adopted kids, we went through a ton of trauma training and understanding that when kids are operating from that limbic system, kind of that primitive part of the brain, you know, people say you flipped your lid, there's actually a part of that brain that's getting flipped.

And so what's happening is you're now operating, and that autonomic nervous system is been triggered, fight, flight, freeze, kind of all those terms that we hear. That's the part of the brain they found shame actually triggers.

Well, what does that then create? What's the result of that? Well, it actually puts you in a self-protective place. They found that what it creates is a desire to hide, to cover. It actually creates a prevention from moving forward because you're actually worried about self-protection. Really, you could almost say it becomes a very self-centered, self-protective response that's actually happening at a neurological level that keeps you from moving towards restorative action.

Well, that explains why shame never helps people move forward. Because shame is actually triggering something to say-

Sara: It’s a trauma response.

Ryan: Totally, exactly. Yeah, I love that word. And so that is part of what provides even some neurological research to help understand the shame spiral. It's like someone in shame may want to get out, like deep down, but there's actually a neurological, like I can't. Well, when you're stuck in that place, what are you then going to do? You're going to hide, you're going to cover, you're going to cope.

Well, where are you going to go to for those things? Often, for someone that maybe pornography was the trigger of this shame, well then that's where you then turn. And so it actually does create some, or the research does indicate this shame cycle is something that is research based and we see happening in our bodies, in our minds, and in our actions.

Sara: Yeah, absolutely. And what this says to me too, this is what I was getting at before we started diving into this. But we see that shame triggers a trauma response, and so what that means is that in order to address the shame we need to do more than just the prefrontal cortex work to get out of the shame.

And that's something that until I've recently, I recently finished like a trauma informed certification for coaches. And I hadn’t really implemented a lot of that until this new training that I've done. But what I'm seeing with my clients is, yeah, we can change our beliefs and work on our beliefs and that's going to be super, super powerful. But there's also an aspect of that, which is we need to do some body regulation, calm down our nervous system so that we can actually change those beliefs.

So for those of you who might be saying, “Okay, I understand shame is bad, Sara, you've told me that a ton of times. But I still just can't get rid of these beliefs.” It's because we need to do some body regulation, allow our nervous system to calm down before we can rationally think through the things that are causing, the way we're thinking about it that’s causing change. Does that make sense to you?

Ryan: Yeah, totally. Yeah, and that really, you know, as they’ve found this out they've said okay, well how do we actually help people in shame? So not to get too lost in this, but often in that kind psychological world you hear of cognitive behavioral therapies that are used in a variety of things, you know, anxiety, depression, whatever.

So that's commonly been kind of grouped together and used as kind of just a broad way. And again, it's a broad brush so I'm not trying to narrow it in too much. But what they found was that's not as effective, it's really effective at helping people that may be in a guilt pattern, but not as effective in the shame. At least at first because exactly what you're saying, it's a cognitive behavioral therapy. You're trying to get there, but you have to first get through the shame to get there.

And so if you start there it's like, you know, again, in trauma when people have flipped their lid, like you can't rationalize with them until they have come back down and come out of that part of their brain, then you can.

Sara: Yes. Yeah, which sounds really, you know, so many my clients, they view porn and then they feel horrible, so much shame. And we’ll talk about it afterwards once they're back online and once their lid isn't flipped anymore. And they're like, “Yeah, I understand, I understand why shame is hurting me. And I understand why it's not necessarily true. But sometimes I still just can't get out of it.”

And what we're what we're seeing here with the neuroscience is because the shame triggers that. So your limbic system?

Ryan: Limbic system, correct.

Sara: Your limbic system, which is that part of the trauma response that you can't get out of just by thinking your way out of it.

Ryan: Yeah. And I guess just to even kind of support some of your work, one of the guys have said, hey, these CBT, cognitive behavioral therapies aren’t as effective at dealing with the guilt, I mean, sorry, with the shame. He kind of tried this, what he called a compassion focused modality. That's kind of fancy word of saying let's first start with kind of this lens of self-compassion.

And so some of the components of that would be like self-awareness, reflection, self-compassion. Seeing ourselves through a different lens than what the shame is trying to speak. And they found that was actually a primary starting point.

And I loved even our last conversation, you left me with some new ideas that I went and researched and actually found new research that, you know, even things like mindfulness and those kinds of things are actually being found to be very effective. And I think it's getting to this root issue.

Which again, this whole conversation started with maybe we've diagnosed misdiagnosed the root. Maybe the root, the moral incongruence is the pathway that shows us the root of shame. So we begin to understand it through that framework. How do we move forward? We have to deal with the shame.

Sara: Yeah. Yes, that's the starting point. You have to deal with that. Oh I love that, that's so good. That's so interesting. For those of you who have heard me talk about being the observer of your brain, that might relate here to what Ryan is saying, is this compassion modality, this compassion focused modality around shame, learning just to have compassion for ourselves.

And so just observing our brain, observing the shame, observing what's going on, observing that part of you that is freaking out. Noticing it and almost like separating yourself from it a little bit. Letting it be there, like listening to it but separating yourself, observing it instead of like diving into it and being like, yes, all of that is true. Yes, I am the worst. Yes, I believe all this.

Just noticing that part, having compassion for that part, and then expanding that towards compassion and empathy towards yourself. All these things we've talked about on the podcast, I won't dive into those. But that's how I'm connecting it there.

Ryan: Yeah, I think you're on it. And for me, just, I guess, I don't know, I think a lot of your listeners may come that moral incongruence may be rooted kind of in faith and their religious beliefs. And I think that's a place too that I, and again, my context is I've just seen people throw out, you know, just not understand it, they just throw out guilt and shame and, you know, we're not going to talk about pornography, but we'll all feel shame about it.

And it's like, usually our faith, our moral beliefs are rooted in faith. There's some, I would say every faith context has some kind of answer to the shame in the sense of what does it say about your identity?

Sara: Yeah.

Ryan: And so beginning to utilize that to speak to those places. So it's like filling that gap of okay, I'm hearing from shame, it's telling me I am this, this, and this, but in light of my beliefs, my values, my religion, what does that do? What does that say I am?

Sara: Yeah.

Ryan: And again, that can look a little different depending on the type of religious background. But that's been a big component for me and working in kind of my Protestant church background is like I kind of call out the incongruence of, wait a second, our tradition, our doctrine says this, and then you're in this spiral shame and it says this. There's a deep incongruence there as well.

Sara: Yeah.

Ryan: So how do we begin to address shame leaning into that? And it usually reveals this paradox of like, well, if I wasn't such a bad person, I wouldn't be doing this. It's like, well, no, the whole reason that we have faith is because there's a, you know, whatever the messages of grace or salvation or whatever. Apply that, this has the chance to actually apply it.

Sara: The purpose of Jesus.

Ryan: Exactly. Like why do we, you know, it's almost like we think, oh, grace got me here, but then now I have to live by works and behavior. It's like, well, no, no, our faith actually has an answer to the shame as we, exactly what you said, take a step back, use a new lens. What's that self-compassion lens? Oh, what does God say about me? What does Jesus say about me? Like combining those, integrating those, I think, is a really powerful, powerful combination.

Sara: So powerful. Make sure that you're using your religious practice to combat the shame, not to feed the shame because you can use it for either.

Ryan: Oh man, don't get me started. In the church we so often like, yeah, it's ironic in a way, it actually fuels the shame when it should be the one root that we have that answers it.

Sara: Yeah. And so for those who, like I'm not sure all my listeners, right, but I do want to offer some empathy and some compassion that, yeah, your religion might have used shame against you. And you deserve healing from that.

And if it hasn't, you can also use your religion to get rid of the shame too, if that feels aligned to you and if that feels good to you. There are so many ways, like I was just talking about this in an episode a few weeks ago. It just depends on the lenses that you have.

So if you have shame lenses on, you're going to see everything in those, in that shame light, right? All scripture, whatever, you can find evidence for shame. If you have the lens of compassion and worthiness, you're going to find so much evidence for that wherever you're looking too.

Ryan: Yeah.

Sara: One thing I'll say too, is I like to, with like guilt being useful, guilt is useful, but if you hold on to it too long it turns into shame. And so use it, but dismiss it. So thank you, guilt, for letting me know that this didn't really align with how I want my life to look like, with my values, you can go. Thank you for giving that information, you're dismissed. Instead of holding on to it, holding on to it and then it turns into shame.

Ryan: Right. Yeah, good connection there for sure.

Sara: Okay, cool. What else? Anything else you want to say about shame?

Ryan: No, I mean, it might be too much of a tangent because I think when you hit on it right there at the end, you said our religion may have actually been a source of shame, that's been a big area that I've done. And I think we hit on last time it's like growing up in a context where you don't talk about sex and sexuality actually fosters shame.

And then kind of the purity culture kind of like, oh, we're not going to teach you what's good, but we're only going to teach you what don't do. And then you do it, well there’s shame. So I think there's a lot there that many religious backgrounds, unintentionally I'm sure, have fueled shame connected to our sexuality. And I've seen that a lot.

Sara: Absolutely.

Ryan: And so that's a really important point that you made. And for people to really process their journey of that, that's something that as I work with young parents, we start there. Because when I talk with parents I say, hey, you know, as we begin that's part of my goal, is to help people get upstream with the next generation and kind of reorient from where we went off and where we went wrong in some ways.

And I always say before you can even begin to think about how you're going to lead your children you’ve got to be aware of your own journey. Like how has shame influenced your view of sexuality and yourself and your relationship? And dig in there because it's such a root starting point. And so I think there's a connection there for sure.

Sara: I did a devotional with another friend who is a researcher around sex and parenting and sexuality. And we did a devotional at a church one night and really like hit it hard with the shame.

Ryan: Yeah.

Sara: And at the end the sweet, sweet Bishop just got up and he was really quiet and like teary eyed and he said, “I just am so grateful that I can change. And I recognize that I haven't done it great in the past, I've used a lot of shame techniques in the past, and I'm so sorry.”

Ryan: Wow, that’s powerful.

Sara: Yeah, “I'm seeing that shame isn't from God and I'm going to work on changing that, I'm so grateful I can change that.” Like just so powerful. He was a sweet, sweet dude and experience there.

Ryan: Yeah. Wow, yeah, that's powerful. That's huge. I think that for so many that have come through that, to come to that realization and then that way we can lead from a place that we're not leading them down the same, into the same shame that we had to wrestle through is huge.

Sara: We have to do that as ministry leaders, we really have to do that. People don't see through the, I mean people see through the shame.

Ryan: Yeah.

Sara: People aren’t going to stick around if there's a lot of shame that we're using in our tactics.

Ryan: Right. Right, right, absolutely. Again, it kind of points back to the moral incongruence, you can't live in that tension forever.

Sara: No.

Ryan: And if you’re just, the shame is there like, gosh, I can't do this right. I'm just continually, like I believe this, but I keep, whatever is out of line. It's creating moral incongruence, it's creating shame. Well, something's going to give in the long game.

Sara: Yeah, love that. Love that. Well that was so powerful, all so, so, so good. And I see this one bullet point, I don't know if you read this, but I just am seeing it. It says, just the last thing here in your shame it says answers to shame require elements of self-awareness, reflection, self-compassion, and seeing ourselves through new lens. Which I was just saying, I was just talking about lens, and I didn't even see that. So very cool.

Ryan: Yeah.

Sara: Okay, love that. Now, tell us how we can help you, how we can find more about you. Where do you want my listeners to go if they want to help you with your research et cetera?

Ryan: Yeah, thanks. Thanks for asking. Yeah, so I'm really getting close. And every PhD says that, it feels like, for a very long time. Like I'm getting really close.

But so I'm in the final stages of my research, I’m in the data collection. Which at that point usually means, they say the hardest part of a PhD process is getting through the proposal. Because then at that point you're saying, the whole committee is saying you have done a survey that is, or I mean, a study that is worthy of kind of moving the ball forward. So now you just got to get the data to analyze it.

So that's where I'm at. And specifically, what I'm looking at is this PPMI model. Again, I mentioned, I think it was in the last episode that a couple guys came up with this model to help kind of put kind of a picture around what's going on in terms of these pathways to distress.

So the thing about a new model is it needs to be tested. Not a lot of people have tested it yet, I've only found one who did it over in Poland. So what I'm doing is I’m taking-

Sara: And the PPMI model is the pornography moral incongruence, what does it stand for?

Ryan: Pornography problems due to moral incongruence model.

Sara: Okay.

Ryan: Yeah, so really helping us ultimately understand what's the root issue. So I'm empirically testing that, but amongst a very specific demographic, and it's young Christian men. So that's kind of broad, but it's 18 to 29 year old men that would classify themselves as a Christian.

And so the reason why, it's not because those are the only ones out there struggling, but they're at the convergence of three kind of high risk or amplified factors. Number one, that age range is one of the highest of porn use. Males are more likely, females use it as well, but more likely males are. And then within this moral incongruence framework, religious individuals are more likely to perceive themselves as addicted, even when they use less.

So kind of the three high risk factors that this model is going to kind of analyze and see how much is moral incongruence actually the root issue for this demographic?

So with that being said, I actually need some survey responses and would love, love, love, if any guys out there that are in that age range, 18 to 29, you'd consider yourself a Christian man, you can go to my website. I've created a website that kind of gives a little bit more vision about me, my ministry, but also the survey itself. And it's called outofthefog.faith.

Sara: Out of the fog, sorry, you say it again.

Ryan: Yep, outofthefog.faith.

Sara: Okay, I'm writing that down. So we'll make sure to put that in the show notes. And I’ll also talk about those in the other episodes too.

Ryan: Oh, very cool. Yeah. And so it's a three to four minute completely anonymous to every level, completely anonymous survey. It literally takes about three to four minutes.

So when you go to that website, at the very top there's a banner that says survey, you can click on it there. And really the goal is I need, I'm getting there, I'm over halfway with the surveys, but I need about 100 more. And the goal is to understand shame, moral incongruence, how is it affecting this demographic, really to provide the research and data to support the strategies and approaches that aim at the root, like what you're doing, Sara.

I think it's so important that we actually have the data to say, hey, this is really what's going on. Now that we understand the root, let's figure out solutions.

Sara: Yeah, this is why I love, I love that we can work together on this because I'm not a researcher, but I can say I see this, and this, and this, and this, and this is really like the pattern, and this is going to harm you. But the research is so powerful to have behind all of that. And there is a bunch of research, but we need more. We need more.

Ryan: Right, for sure.

Sara: You need 100 more responses, we're going to get you that easy.

Ryan: Oh that would be awesome. I tell you, yeah, the whole PhD journey it's like everything is in your hands until you get to data collection. And you're like I'm literally, between me and the finish line is like I need help.

Sara: Yeah.

Ryan: And I just, yeah, it really is, I believe, a good cause and it's unto strategies and approaches to help young men that are in this. So let's figure out the root so we can make sure that we're dealing with the root.

Sara: Cool.

Ryan: And that’s what you’re doing and that’s why I love your work.

Sara: Yeah, thank you. So those of you listening, please consider doing that if you fit those criteria. 18 to 29 Christian, Christian men. Is that it, right? Those are the three criteria?

Ryan: Yeah, that's it.

Sara: Because you get a cool opportunity to use what you're going through to help more people and this research is, and doing the survey will really help a lot of people.

Ryan: Yeah, and just to clarify that, whether someone is in a season of like, man, I am doing awesome, complete victory. Or like, man, no, I'm still stuck in this shame cycle, I'm stuck in the struggle. All across the board we need it because what it's really looking at is how does faith, our Christian beliefs combined with the moral incongruence, how we morally view pornography, and then also how does it affect behavior and porn patterns? And so again, no matter where they're at on that spectrum, it applies.

Sara: Cool, love it. Okay, you guys, so outofthefog.faith. Thank you, Ryan, so much for all of this great information. So appreciate having you on. And have a great week everyone. Bye bye.

I want to invite you to come and listen to my free class, How To Overcome Pornography For Good Without Using Willpower. We talk about how to stop giving into urges without pure willpower or relying on phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.

We talk about how to stop giving up after a few weeks or months. And spoiler alert, the answer isn't have more willpower. And then lastly, we talk about how to make a life without porn easily sustainable and permanent.

If you're trying to quit porn, this class is a game changer. So you can go and sign up at Sarabrewer.com/masterclass and it is totally free.

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