It’s no secret that the contributors to this blog view sex as one of God’s most brilliant ideas. Since Satan can not create anything himself in his efforts to take as many people to hell with him as he can, his only option is to distort what God has already created. Pornography is one distortion that ensnares a lot of people, robbing them of the pleasure they were intended to enjoy in their sexual relationship with their spouse.
Veiled as a harmless act of watching something to aid in arousal, pornography is actually something that has destroyed more relationships than I care to think about for very long. So what is the problem? Why does it matter? How does it affect us? Does God care if we use pornography? I will interact with these questions and more in this series Pornography: The Spice that Destroys Sexual Taste Buds.
Doesn’t this definition from Merrium-Webster make pornography sound innocent?
“The depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.”
What could be wrong with this? Sounds like a great way to make sex spicy, doesn’t it? The problem is that this definition doesn’t speak to the men who saw pornographic images at the age of 10 and have be ruin from it. Or to the women they married who battle trying to figure out what is wrong with them that they can not seem to please their husbands. Or to the women who have found themselves viewing pornography and wondered why they struggle with a “men’s issue.” Isn’t pornography just something that men deal with?
Pornography can come in many forms; pictures, videos, erotic literature and so on. It does not discriminate between men and women, sinner and saint, old and young. Anyone left unguarded is vulnerable to it’s grip. Pornography is dangerously addictive so it is important that we be fully aware of the potential it has to leave a wake of destruction in it’s path.
God and Pornography
The Lord God holds the answer to everything and he has given us a guide to show us the way to live. The word pornography does not need to be in the Bible for us to understand God’s view of it. Consider these words He has given us as they relate to pornography.
Matthew 7: 24-27 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
Matthew 5:27-30 You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Matthew 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
2 Samuel 11:2-3a One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her...
In the case of David, he allowed the lust of his eyes to become a snowball of destruction. The good news is that, as my favorite teacher Bill Johnson says, God can win with a pair of twos. He can take a situation where a king commits adultery and murder, and release His Plan despite that to make the king’s family line the one that eventually bares the Messiah. If you or your spouse have battled pornography, God can bring healing, but let there be no confusion of how He despises the way pornography has diminished His original plan.
Marriage and Pornography
Allowing pornography into your marriage, whether you view it individually or as a couple, is damaging on so many levels and I will touch on some of them here. My husband and I have both had minor struggles with pornography and we have been open with each other about our battles, but we have also been clear that it is such a slippery slop and thankfully we have avoided watching it together which we believe would be even more damaging.
When pornography is factored into the equation, the following issues contribute to establishing a block to intimacy.
~ A person who uses pornography to become aroused is taking an emotionally easy, non-relational path to arousal which not only numbs them to the less overt methods of their spouse, but also, because it requires nothing of them, it establishes a belief that they aren’t required to be a participant in arousing their spouse.
~ The spouse of a person who views pornography can not compete with the images being portrayed because they are based on fantasies. The one viewing pornography is building up a sexual situation in their mind which doesn’t actually exist. This type of fantasy is impossible to live up to. We are not talking about a fantasy where, for example, a husband would like to see his wife wear more lingerie. We are talking about a fantasy where the objectified person looks a certain way, acts a certain way, possesses certain characteristics. It is a total package that is impossible for a real human being to live up to, and they should never have to.
~ Not only can the spouse of a person using pornography not live up to the expectation of becoming a real life version of this fantasy, but they also find themselves questioning why they are not adequate as a lover. Why does their spouse need to go to pornography when he or she is available? Are they unattractive? Are they not good enough in bed? This reasonably leads to feelings of insecurity. Although they are not to blame for the problem, they often find themselves feeling like they are.
~ Another way that pornography blocks intimacy is that it contributes to feelings of jealousy. It’s not going to go over well to have a husband or wife know that their spouse is getting aroused by looking at other naked people, and rightly so. God planned for us to find fulfillment of our sexual desire in the eyes and arms of the person we are married to.
~ Finally, rather than love making being a time of enjoying one another and building intimacy, each one has images and/or questions running through their head. The one viewing pornography has those images attached to their sexual arousal and desire so it becomes part of their marriage bed. The one married to the one viewing pornography participates in sex and thinks “Is he thinking about those two girls doing it? Are my boobs big enough? Do I have to do what that other girl did?” “Does she wish I were more like that guy with such a large penis? What if I don’t satisfy her? Does she think I’m a bad lover?” These are not the things you want to have running through the minds of two people united in the most amazing act in all creation.
If you are battling pornography I suggest that first of all, you acknowledge it for what it is. No excuses. Come to the Lord and confess your sin and ask him to take it from you. If it is something you battle habitually, talk to your spouse and get some accountability. If your spouse is the one battling porn, pray. Pray a lot. God is the only one who can change someone’s heart. Also be clear about your expectations with your spouse. There is a fine line between nagging and being straight forward about how you want your spouse to behave. Find the line. You may still be accused of nagging, but you are fighting for what God intended for your marriage.