Motivation for Men to Fight Pornography

by | Apr 29, 2020 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 24 comments

Why We Need Men to Join the fight Against Porn

Why should men join the fight against pornography?

I’m excited to tell you today.

It’s Keith (Sheila’s husband) on the blog today. This month the theme is about pornography and the terrible effects that it has on marriages and the people in those marriages. In a way it feels like it has been Men’s Corner throughout the month with all the male voices giving such fantastic contributions including Hugh’s heartfelt and practical post on getting out of porn addiction as well as Connor’s excellent articles about the disturbing links between pornography and sex trafficking but also about how to fight porn without letting panic derail us. All great stuff!  And of course I have something on my heart that I wanted to share about this topic as well, so let me chime in, too!

SHEILA’S SPOTLIGHT

The average age of first exposure to pornography is 11.

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Why is porn sinful and why should we fight against it?

That is the main thing I want to talk about.  Not surprisingly, I have a very similar approach to Sheila when she started this month’s focus on pornography by dissecting why pornography is a sin. In her podcast two weeks ago, she talked about the concept of trying to look at all sin (including pornography) not as a list of ‘do’s & don’ts”, but as part of the cosmic battle – that is, whether we are working for God’s kingdom or against it.

I think the church is finally getting out of the trap of blindly following a bunch of rules and realizing that the point is to follow Christ in building His kingdom.  That’s why He taught us to pray “Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven.”  God’s plan is to reconcile all things in heaven and earth to Himself in Christ. Now that is a rallying cry that I can get behind and get excited about.

For too long we in the church have focused solely on the “Thou shalt not” approach to the issue of pornography.

The church has seemed to portray the fight against pornography as simply “God says it is wrong, so we shouldn’t allow it.”  Unfortunately, all that has done is gotten the church labelled by those outside it as uptight, prudish and against sex in general.  I think we all know the “God says it” argument doesn’t hold much power in society any more. But more than that, I think we can all acknowledge that even among believing Christians this message hasn’t been a silver bullet to fix the problem, either. I mean, consider the huge numbers of Christian men and women currently battling with pornography.

Do we honestly think they don’t already know God sees it as wrong?

I have talked with men who struggle in this area. They are acutely aware of God’s view of pornography and simply reminding them about it doesn’t help.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying pornography isn’t wrong, or that we shouldn’t care what God thinks about it!  I just think we need more than that argument alone to fight this beast.


Other posts you may enjoy:


Like every other sin, pornography is a corruption of God’s good creation.

Sin often takes us away from – and robs us of – the greater good that God desires for us, by promising an easier path than the one God has laid out. Before I describe how pornography does that specifically, let’s talk about a problem we have fallen into in modern society without even knowing it, that has created an environment where porn can thrive.  I call it the culture of excess.  Basically, we have gotten to the point where we take everything to the max all the time.

Bigger is always better. More is always preferable to less.  And frankly, we don’t even realize we think this way because it is the water we swim in. Think for a minute about the simple joy of biting in to a freshly picked apple. “Well,” says the TV advertising announcer, “That is nothing compared to the apple taste that will blow your mind with our new Apple Explosion Drink with Extra Apple Flavour!!!” The basic concept is that it doesn’t matter what it is that you want, there is more of it out there, you deserve it and YOU CAN HAVE IT NOW!!!!

In contrast, Jesus’ kingdom principles teach contentment and warn about excess.

Paul wrote:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not an ascetic; I don’t think it is specifically wrong to enjoy nice things. It just seems to me that with our modern society “dialed up to 11” on everything all the time, we can so easily miss out on the simple pleasures in life. I think that is what Paul is getting at when he says in the next verse “for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

Every day, every moment is a blessing. However, in the same way that a person who has destroyed their ears with loud music can’t hear the subtle notes in softer pieces, I worry that our constant excess has slowly sapped our ability to see the small blessings we receive every day. And even worse, I worry we are nearing the point where a freshly picked apple might honestly be seen as second best to a chemical cooked up in a lab. Once we cross that line, we will have lost something precious and probably irreplaceable in the transaction.

And I think sex & pornography are like that.  God has given us a wonderful gift in human sexuality. It is intimate, pleasurable, awkward, funny, frustrating and sublime all at once.  But in its truest form it requires two people working together, accepting and treasuring each other, understanding and responding to each other, being vulnerable and trusting each other. There is a tremendous beauty in that, but it is certainly not easy – mostly because by definition it involves another person. We have to be vulnerable. Things might not work out.  We might feel silly. They might reject us for a variety of reasons.

Porn Free Marriage: Why men need to join the fight

In contrast, pornography promises all the “buzz” without the “zap”.

In other words, the temptation of pornography is that you can have the “high” of sexual experience without the time and energy and potential for embarrassment or rejection that a human mate brings. After all, the women in pornography are always ready to say yes to whatever you want (or you scroll to the next site!).  They never reject, never have their own irritating desires and wants, never make you feel silly or small. Of course that could be tempting! Who doesn’t want to feel validated in such a personal and intimate way?  But do we not see how fake that ultimately is? You are sacrificing the possibility of a real relationship with a person and exchanging it for a fake relationship with an image!

In his sermon on the mount, Jesus talked about two gates or paths in life (Matthew 7:13-14).  It seems to me that when it comes to sexuality, you can chose the “narrow gate” version of sexuality where the “way is hard” – because it requires navigating a relationship with your spouse, considering her needs as well as your own and mastering your own feelings and desires. Or you can fall effortlessly into the “wide gate” version of sexuality, where the way is easy because it is all about you and it doesn’t require any work or (perhaps worse) vulnerability on your part.

We all know where each path leads. The “narrow” path sexuality can have its bumps in the road, but it leads to increasing intimacy with your wife and can result in tremendous fulfillment.  In contrast, no one is ever truly satisfied with pornography, because it is a counterfeit of what we are truly seeking. I have heard so many stories from men who have had their lives ruined by porn. What initially caused heart-pounding excitement inevitably loses its thrill and ultimately even becomes boring. To get the same level of arousal, one needs more intense stimuli and more varied content, taking you down darker and darker pathways. What started as feeling in control of your sexuality ends up feeling like your sexuality has been completely hijacked. And the longer you keep exposing yourself, the more you lose the skills and abilities to carry on an actual relationship in real life!  So when you finally want to have a satisfying relationship with someone, you just can’t!

Porn hurts women, plain and simple

My hope is that if we can begin to see pornography as a counterfeit of true sexuality, we might be motivated to fight against it more.  To be honest, though, that is not what personally keeps me away from pornography. For me, the key issue has always been the fact that pornography hurts women, pure and simple. Connor brought us face to face with some sobering facts about porn and sex trafficking in his post and frankly those things keep me up at night.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a woman trapped in that life, with no other options.  It doesn’t take much research to find story after story of women trapped in modern-day bondage, forced to participate in these activities without consent under threat of violence or because they have absolutely nowhere else to go.

It is tragic on so many levels. That’s what I think of if ever I am tempted to go to sites like that on the internet. How could I possibly contribute to such pain?  I want to be like Jesus and Jesus says the strong should help the weak, not exploit them.  I don’t want to be adding to the demand for this stuff; I want to be on the side of making it go away!  I remember the first time I saw a video from an organization fighting human trafficking. The verse at the bottom of the screen was Job 29:17 – “I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made him drop his prey from his teeth.” That resonated with me.  I want to be a fang-breaker.  Ever since then Sheila & I have sought out and supported several anti-trafficking initiatives worldwide.

Plus we should not forget the collateral damage to women in general that results from the ideology that the pornography industry is putting out there (which would be a whole post in itself). I have already talked about how seeing women purely as objects of sexual desire is dehumanizing and sinful in a previous post. Pornography has always done this in spades, but even worse, over time the porn industry has followed a trajectory into more and more overtly misogynistic and violent themes. As I said above, humans are always looking for the bigger, the better, the next thing.  And so pornography over time has pushed the edge farther and farther into darker and darker areas, all the while changing societies expectations and understanding of what is normal.  And real women pay the price.

And we all – men and women alike – need to stand against it.

I would even argue that since men are the chief consumers of pornography, we men who do not agree with what the porn industry puts out there have a particular duty to speak up and counter that message.  Let’s let women know in no uncertain terms that not all men think like that.  I am the father of two daughters. I want them to grow up in a world where they – and all women – feel safe and valued. To me, being involved in the fight against pornography is one of the primary ways I can do that.

And I encourage you, my brothers, to join the fight as well.

Sheila here. I know so many men, like my husband, who are valiantly fighting this fight for us. What can we say to show others (and even women, too) that this is a fight worth joining? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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24 Comments

  1. Matilda

    “I would even argue that since men are the chief consumers of pornography, we men who do not agree with what the porn industry puts out there have a particular duty to speak up and counter that message“
    Yes, yes, yes & Amen! Please, men we need you to stand up & fight this with us, for us. We need to see & hear & read the good men! For so many reasons, I believe your voice needs to be even louder than ours on this one. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Phil

    I got to say this is a tough question with not such an easy answer it seems. First I would say it all depends on who you are talking to. Some men with morals will take heed to a statement That porn harms your marriage or porn harms women and say ok I see I shouldnt do that and stop. Others like say the one guy who is currently hanging around here and has seemed to have read everything this month about the use of porn and still has arguments for self for it. (Yes I hope your reading this) Men like myself lived in such denial that selfishness takes over beyond reason and we twist and turn reasoning into self will and truth that is lies. There is a quite large population that must be torn down to their knees and their life ripped apart to see that Porn is destructive. I think the answer is comprehensive. It starts with messages we receive as kids. Good parenting and protective measures to keep our kids away from porn. Instilling correct messages in children about respecting women. Being in the right Christin message and showing that the Kingdom of God and Light is More rewarding than the Kingdom of darkness. I like the thought of becoming active in an anti-porn abolishment group. At the end of the day the bottom line is the answer is “It takes work” for first YOU to stay away from porn basically from childhood into adulthood and then it takes work for you to instill in others (starting with your own children) to deliver the right message.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Perfect, Phil! Love it. Thank you!

      Reply
      • In recovery

        I think that understanding that this is sin and God will punish it is important but as you say it’s not enough.
        It was one reason I was fighting it before but since I didn’t understand the deeper issues that was leading to porn I never really won against it.
        When I got burned out in my faith I didn’t have any motivation anymore. I understood it was but I was too exhausted spiritually to even care .
        That’s where this blog became a real blessing. Speaking that I could never really have a fulfilling marriage unless I dealt with this. And that became my most important motivation. I wanted a good marriage and specially a good sex life. It’s been hard work but sex is so much better when porn isn’t involved. To be able to fully enjoy my wife without all that crap in my mind is a good motivation. Even if our marriage didn’t start as I wished and that has often led me to take the wider road, I work on reminding myself that the narrow road is always worth it even when things are tough.
        What’s sad with all of this is how much this is defded. By men and women. Sadly so many more women in the name of feminism defend this. I have mentioned it before but so many more young women take nudes and post it on internet, selling nudes and etc. Freely. I am afraid that the “taking nudes” thing normalizes porn so much. This is the excuse I see when discussion about this comes up. That there are so many non-industry related porn now that one can chose other things than things that can be related to human trafficking. And believe me so many woman say this too. It’s sad.
        I am doing my best to recover and warn people about. It can seem a little hippo critical but I am trying to use my story to tell people how this damages people and relationships. Some women who reach out on relationship forums ask about this and they are very thankful when I explain my situation and how they shouldn’t accept this in their relationships. Sadly they are at the same time bombarded with men and women calling them insecure for not wanting their partner to say no to porn. It’s sad

        Reply
        • Active Mom

          In recovery,
          I always appreciate when men such as yourself and Phil comment on these topics. It allows me as a parent to have a better understanding of how I need to craft my messages regarding porn to my kids. I agree with you regarding the sending of nudes. I am horrified at the number of girls in my kids social circles who do this frequently. (These girls are 12-13) I do not understand. I also have a son who has gotten unsolicited nudes from girls he doesn’t even know well. These girls literally get a hold of student directory numbers and send them to a large group of boys. I will say that as a parent the kids who send and receive etc are usually the ones whose parents never check their devices.

          Reply
          • in recovery

            12-13 years old!!! Thats horrible! But sadly thats how what the world has come to. With the development of our technology things like this become so much easier. And with the fall of morals and the idea that people expressing their sexuality is someting good this keeps being promoted. Telling people to not take nudes or have nudes on their phone is often met with the accusation of “slutshaming”.
            Because of this , more and more girls are doing their own porn. As I mentioned in another post. When a huge porn company presented what people had searched most for, many online “news” posted about it. And one thing that was becoming more and more common was porn made by regular people at home.
            One article stated that it has become so easy for people to make their own porn and earn money. There are sadly many that earn money from this.
            With the new “send nude” culture making porn and make people pay for private shows has become so much easier. Its really sad.
            And it doesnt even have to be nudes to be honest. Talked to a young man about it today. He told me that on gaming sites like Twitch , girls wear enough clothes to be able to livestream on the site but still keep men interested. And guys pay to see these girls on this site. Its not even much , like 10$ but imagine when these girls have like 200 guys paying 10
            $. That is a lot of money for one show. And often these girls have private shapchats where they are basically doing soft porn that guys can pay for.
            It has sadly become so easy for girls to do this and when there is no longer any stigma around it , its tempting for many. As Paul says, the root of all evil is money. Its in the end whats fuel human trafficking , that sadly has been part of human history as long as civilization has existed. Its very sad.
            And thats why its so important to talk to our young women about this without shaming them. I know many christian parents think that their daughters dont do this but we can never know. Its so easy to post these things. There is a super popular social media site with millions of people using it that has its own community where women all over their world share their nudes and shows. Im talking about almost millions of members in a community like this. And a lot of women dont even share their faces , just their bodies to get validation or because they get a thrill out of it.
            Its sad. To be honest I have seen a lot being addicted to porn but I actually never engaged in this community. When I discovered it I got curious but couldnt engage there. It may sound weird but it was too personal. Porn for me was never to get a connection to anyone but this is what this kind of porn does. You can create a connection by messeging the one making the porn. I know i am rambling but I think this is so sad and this is something that needs to be talked about. The men that are talking are the most responsible, I agree to that but not all these women are innocent. They know what they are doing and are even proud of it. And sadly making this normal can make more women start doing this. We need to end the demand and the supply.

  3. Sarah O

    I agree that anyone who freely creates porn (and there are such persons), needs to come to repentance just as much as the consumers. Unfortunately based on Connor’s earlier post this would not significantly reduce the supply.
    I think we should give the same level of understanding to the 12 year old girls that we give to the 12 year old boys – they have a developing brain that can’t fully process what’s happening and they really shouldn’t be made to. They are experimenting with their personality and trying to learn how to be noticed, fit in, and belong. You don’t need to watch porn to get the message that only beautiful, sexually available women get valued.
    The reality is you can no longer opt out of porn altogether, therefore we have to be countering its message as early and often as possible – for both sons and daughters.

    Reply
  4. Hugh Houston

    I found that in order for me to finally get porn out of my life I had to learn to hate it. To see how destructive it is for the women being objectified, for my wife and even for me as a human being and child of God.
    Hugh Houston

    Reply
    • Matilda

      That’s great Hugh. I believe if men come to see the people in porn as broken and in need of covering, not just covering their nakedness, but they need to be covered in pure love & accepted who God has made them as human. Ultimately they need the love of God to heal & cover their brokenness which parades itself as nakedness.

      Reply
  5. Sarah O

    Thank you Keith and the men who have commented so far. This really is the million dollar question – how to get people, and especially men, to care. Honestly I get very discouraged about it sometimes. Like the commenter Phil mentioned, who we have basically seen this convo from:
    “I really like it.”
    “Ok, but it actually injures women and children.”
    “I still like it tho”
    “Um, so there’s an 11 year old girl who won’t see her 18th birthday because she’ll be slowly abused to death because of this”
    “But I really like it”
    Where do you go with that??
    It means so much to hear from Keith, and Connor, and Phil, and Hugh. But more importantly I think we MUST hear from Keith and Connor and Phil and Hugh because there is a not small group who cannot hear women’s voices at all.
    The good news is that we have started to see sexual abuse see some kind of consequences. Over the past five years we have seen a lot of “untouchable” abusers of every kind brought to account in entertainment, political, religious and economic spheres. I believe this table is being flipped, and I am holding onto that.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Amen, Sarah!

      Reply
    • Madeline

      So true, Sarah! In response to the one commenter and others like him, I’ve started to wonder: at one point will I stop being shocked at how little some people really care? I used to assume that people just didn’t know but there seems to be an emerging faction who know and really don’t care how much they hurt other people.
      Also like you, I have to remind myself to look at the progress that has been made in the last few years and the “untouchables,” as you called them, who have actually faced some justice for once. I have to say I love that people like the folks here at TLHV aren’t just standing by and ignoring the writing on the wall either. There are people who care.

      Reply
  6. Mark

    Porn videos should be outlawed. There also has to be human traffickers exploiting those that are unwilling “participants”.
    It should be a no-brainer for world Govt’s to stop it and they refuse.
    It should be one issue hear Dems, Pubs, women’s groups or even religious leaders all should be uniting on this issue kicking and screaming to end it and continue to heavily regulate magazines to make sure unlawful exploitation doesn’t exist. (actually skin magazines should be outlawed as well)
    Hiding behind “Free Speech” laws is a joke, because it is used as a mechanism to hide criminal activity.
    But then North American Govt’s (especially Liberal groups) are spineless when it comes to outlawing Sharia Law.

    Reply
    • Matilda

      True, but I believe a lot of those in power like it and view it. This is something that can only be defeated by intense prayer & intercession by the Church.

      Reply
    • Madeline

      What does this have to do with Sharia Law? Why do you have to bash another religion/culture when it really has no place in this discussion to begin with? Many Muslims and people from the Middle East in particular find North American culture overly sexualized.

      Reply
      • Mark

        Hi Madeline,
        I was targeting Sharia Law, because an acceptable practice within Sharia Law can be very abusive toward women.
        We are talking about abusive and sinful exploitation of human beings, it happens in porn, human trafficking and Sharia Law. Muslims don’t have to embrace abusive aspects within Sharia Law.
        As for leaders within North America not outlawing porn and enforcing human trafficking laws which also means paying better attention to border laws, you may be right. In the U.S. leaders on both sides of the aisle, probably including both male and female lawmakers view porn. Otherwise we would see them ending it as there are a lot of female Senators and Congresswomen that can create a large enough coalition to stop it.

        Reply
        • Madeline

          I stand by my original statement that Sharia Law really doesn’t have anything to do with this conversation. Muslims are not responsible for making porn in this country. They’re also not responsible for the vast majority of abuse and exploitation, considering roughly .8% of the US population are Muslim (I don’t know the population in Canada).
          Its unhelpful, even harmful to the push to stop porn, to scapegoat such a small demographic in North America when our rampant porn issue is not really related to them. Trying to make it feel like their fault will only take away from any real solutions.
          I also have to add: Some teachings within the Christian church are very abusive towards women (TLHV have discussed some of these at length). Should we make laws against Christianity too? No one here will argue for that, because this is a Christian site. When Christians decide we deserve better treatment than other populations just because we’re Christian, we look arrogant and prejudiced. I don’t see Jesus lobbying for that.

          Reply
    • Keith Gregoire

      I am not sure that outlawing something that is already partially attractive due to the fact that it is “forbidden fruit” will solve the problem.
      I think the key is changing people’s hearts, both about the issue and about our apathy toward the issue.
      The reality is that the prevailing thought in society is “all men do this” and we need to expose that for the lie that it is. Sometimes our answer will be, “Well, I am a man and I don’t!”, Sometimes it will be “I understand why you would say that, because I a man who was into that, but now I realize I have to stop because…..(your own story)”.
      The big thing for me as a man is that I have been feeling increasingly convicted about the need to stand up for our sisters. Women are being exploited and it needs to stop! I hope I can inspire other men to see that this is not a “women’s issue” – – it is a justice issue.
      I know I have also been somewhat blind to it in the past, so that gives me hope that other guys can “get it” in the future.

      Reply
      • Madeline

        Thank you, Keith. I was thinking that exactly as I read this: Its beautiful to see a Christian man framing this as a humanity issue, a justice issue, rather than just a women’s issue.

        Reply
  7. Mark

    Keith,
    I don’t think porn in this era will ever be outlawed, whether the forbidden fruit is attractive or if the more sinister part of the global porn industry is exposed.
    However, I do think if some viewers of porn understood that porn has cells in the ugly side of the sex trade it does become less attractive. The kind that exploits victims by turning them into drug induced sex slaves against their will for a profit. Porn wouldn’t look like eye-candy if the viewer knew in the back of their mind that some girls are living in their own personal hell on earth being held against their will by evil people.
    There are human rights issues involved and as I said in one little sentence about the U.S. Congress really doing something about trafficking and human rights is turning into a politically correct issue they don’t have the guts to touch.
    You’ve done a great job exposing the marital, emotional and physical toll porn has on marriages, Sharing the less glamourous and sinister side of porn is appropriate, because to some viewers if they understood that some of the porn they view are victims, it wouldn’t be so enticing, maybe even make them sick.
    When I originally shared an opinion about human rights violations against woman and how the U.S. Congress is slow to even prevent Sharia Law, I did not intend to make this conversation about faith as I purposely didn’t used the word “Muslim” in that initial comment as I don’t think all Muslims embrace all aspects of Sharia Law, in fact I’m made to believe some Muslims reject it.
    Maybe if I had exposed how slow Congress was slow at enforcing bigamy laws in the U.S. 4-Corners area, one might think I’m focusing on Mormonism. But Mormonism denounced the practice of bigamy.
    But even so, there are a few diehard Fundamental Sects who still label themselves as part of the Mormon faith, ran by Old Geezer sex addicts that practice bigamy and marry multiple young girls against their will or have been manipulated.
    (actually bigamy is also part of Sharia culture)
    You’ve covered a lot about the ugly sides of porn and sex addiction and I wanted to share who the other victims were in the industry and how slow Govt’s react to dealing with a true human rights crisis, no matter if it involves people of different faiths or not.

    Reply
  8. Active Mom

    I would hope everyone who read the stats and saw the horror would stop but I don’t know if that’s true. A few years ago I was watching a hearing before Congress and a celebrity was testifying. The celebrity now ran a pretty powerful organization to help stop the trafficking of women. I went to the site (it’s name is Thorn if anyone is interested) and I was horrified by the stats but I was also encouraged by the sheer number of people and resources being put forward to stop this horror. Reading some testimonials etc made me want to cry and scream at the same time. A good friend was over at the time a mother and she asked what I was reading I showed her. Her response “meh bad life choices have consequences.” I was shocked. No empathy, no compassion nothing. I think too many people view those women, men, girls, and boys as almost pretend victims. Most people will never come in contact with them so they don’t really care. It’s sad

    Reply
    • Mark

      Yes Active Mom, it is horrific.
      If there is another “Motivation for Men to Fight Pornography” (as titled on top) is for the ones that struggle with it, were come and realize some of what they are viewing, is enabling traffickers to stay in business.
      The monitor screens keeps viewers insulated from never knowing that they are watching real victims, that have been trafficked.
      I have to believe most viewers would feel sick to their stomach if they knew that their addictions helped finance traffickers to destroy the lives of their victims.
      Many would probably be more motivated to stop viewing it.

      Reply
  9. Al

    Wow, Keith. You are one of the most gifted writers that I have encountered. I like that you are very logical and replace “you” with “us”. I don’t feel like my mom is scolding me!

    Reply
  10. Headless Unicorn Guy

    For too long we in the church have focused solely on the “Thou shalt not” approach to the issue of pornography.

    Long ago I came to the conclusion that Christians are just as screwed-up sexually as everyone else, just in a different (and usually opposite) direction. “Thou Shalt Not” instead of “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

    Reply

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