It’s not that bad.That is probably the reaction many have when reading my post on Magic Mike, 50 Shades of Grey and the pornification of women.
I mean, after all, there are many worse things out there, right?
That is absolutely correct, but it is the wrong question to ask. Just like asking how far can I run away from godly purity and it still be OK, it is not the right perspective to ask “What’s the worst bad thing I can do and it not be ‘that bad’?”
The right question to ask is “What’s the best thing?” When we have that perspective, we see things completely differently.
Magic Mike, 50 Shades of Grey and other forms of pornography, be they “better” or “worse,” all pale in comparison to the best thing in regards to sexual fulfillment – God’s design.
For many of us, it may seem odd to think about God’s design for sex and His desire that we enjoy it. That may not be a traditional view, but it is a biblical one. If He created us (and He did) and if He created us male and female (and He did), then He created us in a particular way that makes sex pleasurable.
He didn’t have to make human reproduction like that, but He chose to give us this gift for our enjoyment. Being the Creator of it, however, He knew that it would only truly be completely enjoyed in a certain way – within the permanent bond of marriage.
Sure, you can have sex outside of that and it will give you pleasure in some form, but you will not and cannot experience the full sense of joy, peace and love that comes from exercising God’s gift within His design.
In his book, True Sexual Morality, Daniel Heimbach examines sex from a biblical perspective and discovers that certain factors are always present in proper godly exercising of our sexual desires. These seven benefits are facets on the diamond of sexual fulfillment that God has given us.
What makes pornography so vile is that it promises each of these, but can never fulfill any of them. In this way, pornography is the exact opposite of God’s design for sex. It is the most extreme perversion of how God intended us to find fulfillment sexually.
What should sex look like and how does pornography, of all types, miss the mark? Here are the seven components of biblical sex.
1. Personal – God made sex extremely personal. He gave it to the first husband and wife in the garden for them to enjoy together. Sex is made to share in relationship, with that being the marriage relationship.
Pornography claims to meet this need, but instead it enflames lust (not love) toward objects – images, words and thoughts. There is nothing personal about watching someone on the screen. There is nothing personal about reading about a man sexually abusing a younger woman, as is the case in 50 Shades of Grey.
2. Exclusive – In the very way it was designed, sex was meant to be exclusive between spouses. It was meant to be a bond between those two and those two alone.
Pornography, while appealing to this, can never be exclusive. The objects are viewed by countless others. The very fact that it is popular demonstrates that it cannot be exclusive. The woman in the audience of Magic Mike is one of millions of others who saw the men on the screen.
3. Intimate – Sex was designed to be more than just a physical act. It was made to join two human beings together completely. It is to be an act that unites them physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Pornography can say it is intimate, but it is strictly about a physical desire of one person. It is not something truly shared with another person. Even if a couple views it together, it does not increase their intimacy. It invites images of others into their bedroom.
4. Fruitful – God’s design is for sex to bear fruit. The most obvious example of this is children, but that is not the only fruit that grows from a healthy married sexual relationship. A deeper, healthier relationship between the husband and wife is a clear result.
Pornography can produce nothing of value. All it can do is tear down what has been built, be it purity, integrity, honor, relationships, marriages, families, etc. The only fruit it could produce is rotten.
5. Selfless – Sex is intended for spouses to show love to each other. It is meant as something that speaks love and appreciation into the life of the other person.
Pornography often claims that your use of it is good for your spouse in some way. It’s a lie. There is nothing selfless about pornography. It is only about trying to satisfy a personal desire. How can you love your spouse, when your desire is to see someone else naked?
6. Complex – Humans were created as complex creatures. We have emotions, thoughts, dreams and a spiritual aspect to our life. Sex is designed to operate on all the levels of our person. It is so much more than a physical act.
Pornography has no complexity. It can’t. It is images or words on a screen or a page. There is nothing complex about it. Also, it is unable to meet anything but the basest physical desire. It cannot fulfill all of the longings of the person.
7. Complimentary – Sex was created to bring differences together. Men and women are different, not just physically, but in a whole host of ways. In sex the way He intended it, God brings those differences together and creates something new and beautiful.
Pornography has nothing to compliment. It is static and plastic. Fake. It cannot join people together. It can only mar and disfigure what was already there.
In looking at the list, pornography is the worst of all sexual perversions. It promises everything and delivers nothing. Other sexual sins, while worse in terms of their personal or immediate consequences, at least fulfill one of the purposes for which God created sex. Pornography gives you none.
Our culture’s obsession with it, including so many of us in the Church, must be overturned and conquered. There is only one power man has ever experienced that can triumph over a devastating addiction to pornography – the Gospel.
Thursday, we will see how the Gospel is the only thing that can move us from discouraged addicts of porn to fulfilled disciples of Christ.
Much of the information in this post comes from Daniel Heimbach’s True Sexual Morality, and the pornography position statement by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.