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Fear of Sexual Passion Drives Pornography Battle by Christian Counselors

I admit it. I momentarily blew a gasket after reading about Christian counselors urging prayer and repentance for any Christian who has been watching pornography. (Internet accessibility means fewer choose reading and looking at photos that was done earlier.) What I find so incredibly ignorant is when they say watching porn is a sin because the Bible says so (!? Chapter and verse please.) or because God forbids it (! And which commandment might that be?) or because it violates the marriage (and if you are not monogamously married then this presumably violates their premise that this is the only way to be sexual! Again, there is no biblical grounding for such an argument.)

From their arguments one can only conclude that God blesses and commands monogamy and the nuclear family. This is no different from the missionaries who went to non-western cultures and promptly required natives to wear western clothes and have proper sex in the missionary position…but then, only if it wasn’t too much fun! What that has to do with the teachings of Jesus of course is zilch. It is incredible that US Christians rarely stop to consider how much of their Christianity is simply making US culture sacred! Not only does this lead to an incredible amount of xenophobia on our part it also is a complete distortion of the gospel. The gospel is NOT about sex. It is about living righteously with one another and our God.

There are good reasons why people should not be absorbed with pornography, particularly if they are obsessively and compulsively watching it. But saying it is a sin for sex-phobic reasons is suspect and praying away sexual desire is singularly unhelpful, and I would argue, may well have severe consequences for our intimate relationships. So here is my list of reasons why pornography could be problematic for people who want to live righteous and healthy lives. There are probably more:

           Pornography is a distortion of what sexual expression is about. It shows the goal is to get off. I think we can do better than that.

            It focuses on body parts rather than interpersonal interaction and relationship.

            The industry exploits especially those women who have previously been sexually wounded or those with economic difficulties. Some liken it to sex trafficking.

            Pornography promotes unreasonable expectations of body perfection, size of the penis, and performance expectations. Neither is it a dependable educational source for responsible sexual behavior.

            It confuses people into thinking pornography is erotica and erotica is pornography. (That is another column for another day.)

            It thrives especially on those customers who are repressed and operating out of a scarcity model.

            It provides an easy distraction for those with relationship problems and personal issues or concerns that most likely need professional attention.

            It keeps women defined as soley for sexual purposes and promotes sexual objectification of men and women, but particularly women. (She is looking like she is enjoying it because she is getting paid to do so not because she is.)

So, just to be fair, although I would recommend the use of erotica rather than porn, here are some good reasons for turning to this non-partnered expression of sexuality;

It provides some measure of sex education for those who need it.

It provides a sexual outlet that does not require a partner or a relationship.

It can serve as a stimulus for couples to increase their desire.

The sexual release it promotes prevents the use of other people for self-serving purposes.

It does not require people to remain asexual/celibate/chaste in the privacy of their own home.

No one is objectified or hurt. (Although whether it prevents healing for some of the actors in the making of it of course is unknown but entirely possible.)

My basic Christian assumptions, of course, are totally different from these Christian counselors who assume pornography is wrong because it creates sexual feelings outside the confines of marriage (They seem not to be unaware it might be used constructively within marriage.) Further, I think God gave us sexuality as a gift not so we would repress, restrict, or abuse it but with the expectation that we would use it with integrity and honesty as befitting a righteous way of living. I think this falls under Jesus’ teaching, of “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Unlike these Christian counselors, I assume pleasure is both good and blessed by the God who created it ,as is implied in the Genesis creation story and evident in the lifestyle of Jesus, and that the experience of sexual pleasure particularly has physical, mental, and relational benefits.

But mostly I disagree with these pleasure police because their theology is based on fear, fear of the body, pleasure and unbidden, passion, and their own sexual response. Fear of the feminine and women’s sexuality is in the mix as well. They fear sexuality running amuck. But I know that “perfect love casts out fear” according to the author of I John. And, I know that a God of love who excessively and extravagantly desires us and the Creator God from whose creative imagination all this derives wants us to go into our world and make love…but to do it responsibly, honestly, and with integrity and compassion.

 

 
Danni, 09-01-11 9:06pm:
Yay! i like your point about culture.

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