Romantic Fantasy vs. Pornographic Fantasy

Marriage is a committed and intimate relationship between a man and a woman involving both physical and emotional intimacy.  Most would agree that the common view is that men have a stronger desire for the physical intimacy and women have a stronger desire for the emotional intimacy.  This can also be seen in the choice of reading or viewing preference.  Men typically are drawn toward reading and video that portray “graphic” sexual acts and women typically are drawn toward “romantic” novels or “chick flicks.”

There are many areas we could consider here, but I would like to suggest that the effects of both are similar—they both present a fantasy world that pulls the married couple away from each other. 

Consider this: a husband and wife are enjoying time at home dedicated for an intimate encounter.   The wife desiring a man who is actively involved in the emotional act of intimacy with her through romance, and the husband desiring a woman who is actively involved in the physical act of intimacy; however, the husband does not involve himself in her desire and the wife does not involve herself in his desire.  So, during their physical act the wife is mentally involved in her “fantasy” of the romantic novel or chick flick and the husband is mentally involved with images of a pornographic video or story.  They are in the present act of sex but lack any true intimacy.

Both the romantic material and the pornographic material contribute toward each person emotionally moving away from their spouse, depriving each of true intimacy, the wife is not satisfied and the husband is not satisfied. The wife is intimate with her novel’s and chick flicks, while the husband is intimate with his pornography in whatever form.

There is not a man alive who could ever be as romantic as a movie or book portrays a character.  A writer or group of writers write and rewrite romantic phrases until the perfect phrase is developed and teams of people work on the lighting and scenery for hours for the right romantic shot for the movie.

There is no woman who could live up to the “sexual acting” of a porn video.  The camera does not record the actress curled up in a corner crying after a pornographic scene and the industry does not advertize the vast amount of woman who participate with one movie to never “act” again because the experience was so degrading and humiliating.

Intimacy develops when the husband overcomes any insecurities, learns how to be romantic, and actually puts forth the effort into the emotional intimacy of the relationship, and the wife overcomes any of her insecurities and becomes active and present in the physical intimacy of the relationship.  We find true intimacy in a God fearing relationship in which each spouse is focused on the intimacies of each other instead of false intimacies of their respective fantasy worlds.

When viewed from this perspective, “romantic novels” and “chick flicks” have the same effect as “pornography.”

Values Guide Behaviors

Recently I was able to acquire an Ipod Touch that is off limits to our children.  I noticed as I was loading songs onto it that though there are some recent songs in my playlists, most of them are from the time period of my high school and college years.

I thought about this as I read an article written by the Barna Research Group, A New Generation of Adults Bends Moral and Sexual Rules to their Linking (2006).  When it pointed out that the Buster Generation, people who were in there 20’s and 30’s at the time the article was written, morality has its reference point of what they experienced during their child and teen years.  Most people tend to compare everything to what they experienced growing up: neighborhoods, television shows, music, church, education, life attitudes, and the list goes on.

The results of this study revealed the following:

  • 2/3 of the generation said that cohabitation & sexual fantasies are morally acceptable compared with ½ of older adults.
  • Most Busters believe viewing pornography and sex outside of marriage as acceptable compared to 1/3 of older adults.
  • 50% of busters view homosexual sex as acceptable compared to 25% of older adults.

Some would look at this research and celebrate that “society is progressing” and though I would agree with certain progresses over the centuries, I do not believe this research is cause for celebration.  The study also compared the values of “born again” busters to the research results and noted there was virtually no difference.

At times we conduct a pendulum swing which is a common practice in the church and social organizations and at times we become susceptible to the frog in warm water syndrome.  We have gone from “leave it to Beaver” where married people slept in separate beds with enough clothing to keep one warm on a cold night in the snow, to the Brady Bunch where a married couple can sleep in the same bed with a little less clothing but still with about two feet between them, to watching a “new kind of family” depicting a high school student performing oral sex in the school parking lot.

I would agree that over the centuries the church has taken some radical views of sex; however, as I read the Scriptures I do not see God taking prudish positions regarding something He created.  But I do see God reserving the intimacy of sex to be reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman.  As we read Song of Songs, we see a healthy sexual relationship between a married couple and this reading is extremely erotic, but prior to their marriage they are repeatedly warned to not start their sexual relationship before the right time.   God is not a prude.  People can be prudes and people can be sexually care free.

The article concludes that based on the research, “we can expect to see this mindset of sexual entitlement translate into increased appetites for pornography, unfiltered acceptance of sexual themes and content in media, and continued dissolution of marriages due to infidelity.”

As a church, we need to strategize and endeavor to correct these sexual attitudes among our congregations.  As individuals, we need to examine our own attitudes concerning sexual behaviors and compare them to what God has to say about them.  We are not animals that do whatever our instinct tells us to do, we are human beings with God’s breath breathed into us and we are to live out our sexuality according to His guidelines.  God does not want to make us miserable, He loves us and wants the best for us.