Relax. Go watch some porn.

Growing up in a Christian community, the topic of sex was very significant. Of all the things considered to be abominations to God, improper sexual acts seemed to be right there at the top of the list. In the particular sect of Christianity that I grew up in, there was no ambiguity about the context in which sex was appropriate: between one man and one woman who are in a marriage relationship. In this context, sex is a wonderful, beautiful act. Everywhere else it is heinous and an abomination to God, resulting only in pain, guilt, sadness, regret, etc. Christian teaching portrayed sexual desires as being like a fiery force, requiring the utmost self-control to maintain control of, desires of such magnitude that only with the strength of God they can be overcome. We looked sadly on at the non-believers (and believers) who had fallen prey to this massive force of desire and given in, leaving them in unfortunate situations of disease, unwanted pregnancy (often resulting in the, believed to be, atrocious act of abortion), pain, heartache, and guilt. If only they could see God’s wonderful plan for human beings and their sexuality. If only they could see how beautiful sex can be when performed in the right context.

It is only recently that I came to terms with the fact that this is complete bullshit (pardon my French). This is just another instance of self-fulfilling prophecies. If you convince yourself that sexual desire outside of a marriage relationship is a terrible, atrocious thing and that the force of sexual desire is like a fiery force requiring the strength of God to overcome, then that’s what it will be for you. If you convince yourself that sexual acts outside of marriage will make you feel extremely guilty, then that’s what they will be for you. You will feel guilt, because you created the guilt within yourself. Truth be told, the guilt just isn’t there unless you put it there yourself (or with the aid of like-minded people).

So much stigma exists around the topic of sex. Personally, I think we need to relax. Not be stupid about it (so use protection, know about diseases, know what emotional significance sex has to you and your partner, etc.), but relax. Sex is a normal biological act which humans find enjoyable. So, I say, flip open your laptop and watch some porn. Sex isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s not some “sacred” act. It’s just part of being human. Sexual desire is not some “uncontrollable force.” It’s perfectly controllable. In the absence of a moral system like Christianity, humans are not sex-crazed animals lacking self-control. It’s just a matter of deciding what sex means to you and acting according to that, whatever it may be. Hey, it may even lead to a healthy, god-free, monogamous relationship. Or it may lead to a life of countless sexual relations with different partners. Why not? I say, to each their own. Who am I to judge? Human sexuality is much too complicated to be understood as appropriate in only one context.

Unless you are a Christian. Then save yourself from the guilt and atrocities that accompany extra-marital sexual activities (like watching porn). Because there will be guilt and atrocities…exactly the ones you created for yourself. So to you I say, do not have sex outside of marriage and do not tempt yourself with porn or look lustfully at people of the opposite gender. It really will screw up your life.

[Note: In order to keep a respectful dialogue, comments will be moderated before appearing on the site.]

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Relax. Go watch some porn.

  1. If you work at the rub-the-parts-together for a bit of entertainment and perhaps procreation, then maybe it really doesn’t matter who does what with whom. But, if we did manage, as social humans, to all live at a level of pure monogamous sex in marriage, then sex would become a non-comparative/con-competitive experience. I don’t know if there is any other aspect of life that doesn’t end up being exposed to the public in some indirect way. How you raise your kids, how much money you make, how/where you take holidays, all ends up in the public domain and ends up building your social persona/feeds into your social status. But, sex ends up staying a secret. It doesn’t feed into your social status. I wonder if sex then, isn’t the ideal in this manner. Wouldn’t it be great if different aspects of life that force you into different ‘classes’ by the default of them hitting the press, wouldn’t change your relationship to others? Are our ‘secret’ sex-lives our one little chance to the possibility of action free from social repercussions?

    Instead of reducing sexuality to some common activity, what about raising all other human endeavors to sex’s non-comparative possibility? Wouldn’t that create incredible possibilities in seeing each other as equals?

    I realize fully well, that this is beyond a pipe-dream, but the idea is worth pondering.

    1. Now I don’t see it being entirely true that sex remains a secret. Many people speak openly about it and in cases where someone is being “sexually deviant” (relative to what is accepted as “normal” in one’s culture) it usually gets into the press very quickly. And what do you say about the status of homosexuals in our current society? One could hardly deny that one’s status as “homosexual” has a significant effect on their social situation (whether that be bad or good).

      Are you saying that the significance of sex within the marriage context is that it’s non-comparative/non-competitive? I don’t know why that would be significant. And I don’t know why it would need to be comparative or competitive outside of marriage. Obviously there are those cases, but it’s certainly not the rule.

      Or maybe I’m not understanding your main point?

  2. Sex was and is God’s idea in the first place. Its a truly beautiful thing! Its the closest thing to heaven here on earth. God compares his relationship to us as a man and his bride. The unselfish, loving relationship (there is that word again) between a man and a woman is a taste of the incredible love God has for us. What truly makes the sex experience amazing is not the act itself, but the relationship that goes with it.

    Vi

  3. Several thoughts,

    First, to address your witty phrase: “relax, go watch some porn.” Of course the thrust (no pun intended) of your argument is not something I have primary issue with, inasmuch as you are wanting to challenge a certain moralistic and narrow view of sex as something “secretive” and limited to the confines of procreation, etc., etc. However, what I find a little surprising is that you appeal, I’m sure somewhat seriously as well as jokingly, to porn as an example of the “relaxed” way in which we need to approach the topic of sex. The reason I find this surprising is because I would have thought you would object to porn, not because you have a largely “moralistic” problem against it, but because you would have a justice and social issue with it. Porn is degrading, not fundamentally in the sense of “dirty” or “unsanctified” (although there is a case there for using these terms) but because it sets an example of desire and fulfillment of that desire that is unrealistic and manipulative to our very persons (for an example of a testimony to this, see Robert Jensen`s story:

    http://www.amazon.ca/Getting-Off-Pornography-End-Masculinity/dp/089608776X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316527695&sr=1-1).

    Porn does not display the unique and complicated interplay between persons who have to learn to love each other’s bodies, but often displays a relationship of one-sided power and control over the other that is anathema to genuine relationships. Furthermore, this representation of power and control become models for the person-hood of both men and women who then become convinced that this is how they should think of sex and themselves. I would assume that one-sided power and control over the other are the types of attitudes that you, as a person wanting to be open-minded to the other, would reject. So, I’m a little surprised that in railing against the injustice of narrow views of sexuality with the church (a view that, don’t get me wrong, I have sympathy with) that you would appeal to pornography as a sort of “remedy” (my term, not yours, but I think it is implied) to this attitude.

    Secondly, I think that from a Christian perspective, there needs to be both a taking sex seriously, and at the same time, viewing sex with a bit of ambivalence. We need to take it seriously because the way in which we communicate the meaning of sex also communicates something about God and the way we feel we should organize ourselves as people. Furthermore, the church needs to take sex way more seriously because at best, we hardly talk about it in church, and as you pointed out, when we do, it is not always done in any open, dialogical way. Yet I think the church should also view sex with some ambivalence because in the New Testament, Paul seems to view sex in this way: “Hey, if you gotta….then find a loving relationship within which to do it, but I’d rather you find better things to occupy yourself with.” (for the real version see 1 Cor. 7:1-7) Anyone who has been in a relationship long enough knows that sex, as an act in itself, is most certainly not the apex of relational life. It is wonderful to be sure, but it in itself it MUST NOT be the defining ethos of the relationship. Only when sex is itself a manifestation of the mutual self-giving of the other (a giving represented in Christ’s offering of his body to us) can sex be a beautiful and good thing and not an abusive and manipulative thing (see 1 Cor. 7:4 — Interestingly, the common critique of this passage is the “ownership” this seems to give the husband of his wife’s body. However, any legitimate reading of the text will also note that the man’s body is also “owned” by her. In other words, it is about giving each other your self, not one owning the other exclusively). Openness to “other kinds of relationships that make sex meaningful” itself must be a LIMITED openness due to the fact that some relationships are not relationships that model mutual self-giving and I would hope that on one level or another, you would concede this bare minimum.

    On another note, see this essay by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who wrote an awesome piece on the topic of sexuality called: “The Body’s Grace.” Let me know what you think as I suspect that you may find a lot of resonance with Williams’ position.

    http://www.igreens.org.uk/bodys_grace.htm

    1. In response…

      1. In many cases porn is just 2 people (or more or less) who feel like making a video and posting it online for others to watch. It’s also quite often very amateur and in that way quite realistic. Obviously there are also the varieties that are just completely unrealistic and sometimes downright degrading (so probably intended for a specific audience…like people who like to watch others being degraded). But people aren’t stupid. I presume that most porn watchers are very aware of how unrealistic what they’re watching is (when they’re watching the “fantasy” type). It’s like watching anything else. People watch completely unrealistic movies knowing the whole time that it’s not reality, but it’s still fun to watch and almost never screws up your perception of reality. People are able to have a disconnect. And reality usually quite quickly fixes up anyone who made the mistake of neglecting to disconnect from their “fantasy reality.”

      2. It’s very much not the case that porn is made “just for men.” Many women watch porn, and find it quite enjoyable.

      3. I don’t see why sex has to occur only in a “meaningful relationship.” For some people, sex outside of a meaningful relationship just isn’t appealing (I’m one of those). For others, that’s not the case. Some people just like to have fun with it. I say, what’s wrong with a one night stand, if both parties find the idea appealing (because this is often the case)? Or maybe some people want to have “fun with it” for a while and then settle into a meaningful monogamous relationship. Why should I have a problem with that? Porn, for the most part, doesn’t include the “meaningful relationship” part of sex. So what?

      [Note: These comments are pure speculation. I can’t source any of my “most people” statements…this would be flagged quickly as a wikipedia submission.]

  4. Maybe you’ve never witnessed your close friends relationships/marriages and families being shattered by following through with this ideal…

    1. No, I don’t have any issue with people following that ideal or a slightly less strict one (or slightly more strict). I just have a problem with the idea that there is some “right” kind of relationship. The Christian way of doing relationship I think is perfectly valid and good, but so are an infinite number of other options.

      1. Donna you really haven’t lived long enough to know the bad effects of sex. If you just looked at a few statistics (I mean long term, over generations not just immediate gratification/meeting of physical needs), you could draw some pretty basic conclusions (your experience doesn’t have to be your only teacher, learn from experiences from others). .
        Have you even talked to people who have used porn for years? Do they feel satisfied???
        Inappropriate sex is one of the most warped kind of bonding that enslaves people.
        Yeah. it may meet a certain need for some people but it meets it inappropriately and will eventually enslave if used inappropriately (outside of proper relationship.

      2. Granted. The light-hearted nature of my post didn’t bring very much attention to the fact that porn really can be a significant problem in someone’s life. I think porn is a lot like alcohol. A person can choose to use discretion and have a life-long healthy relationship with alcohol, or they can develop an unhealthy relationship with it and allow it to take over their life. It’s all on a person-to-person basis. Some need to avoid it entirely to avoid getting carried away. Others have no trouble with keeping themselves in check.

  5. Porn is not like alcohol. Nor is it like any other experiences. It is visual and therefore does not get out of someone’s mind very easily, this being especially true for guys who are visually physically aroused (ie. something physical happens to them when they watch porn). So my question is “Why arouse yourself, if you can’t have sex”? Why watch porn which in itself (in the making of it) is totally degrading mostly to women and kids. Why should one watch it just because they are able to keep themselves in check when the very act is degrading? Who is proud of themselves because they can keep themselves in check when watching it? It has nothing to do with guilt but rather why we have sex in the first place.
    I will say it again, sex is not meant to be played with or used inappropriately. Talk to those who have been sexually abused and find out how they have trouble having “normal relationships”. Research serial rapists and killers (like Ted Bundy for example)… they didn’t decide to be sex addicts. They inappropriately watched porn and because the experience touched them (their sexuality) at such a profound level, and aroused feelings at the depths of their soul that should not have been aroused unless in a relationship, they started craving those inappropriately.
    Having been brought up in a very safe controlled environment, you probably have no idea of the devastation inappropriate sex can do to a person, how it demeans people to objects, how it breaks people to the core, how, once those desires are awakened, one longs for them to be fulfilled, etc… As much as you want to say, “everyone is free to choose whatever works for them/meets their needs and desires”, that is a bunch of crap!. What usually works is following the God-ordered plan for this world, even if you don’t acknowledge God. Anything else will eventually lead to some kind of sexual depravity.
    Sexual desires are there to propel you towards marriage not towards personal gratification through watching porn. If you arouse desires that are not being met by another person, you will eventually try to meet them in some twisted way. That then degrades the act of sex when you do have sex. People can have twisted expectations of sex if they watch porn. Some would rather watch porn than have sex, (ie. feel more fulfilled). Sex was intended to bring two people together with a deep strong bond.
    Yes, you can have a healthy interest in sex and talk about it but don’t watch porn to educate yourself. Some subjects are not to be learned about until one has enough maturity and is in the right circumstances (ready to get married and needs to learn in order to have a healthy marriage).
    Ok, I’m done ranting now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s