Erotica: Is It Harmless Fun?
Fifty Shades of Grey
Would I have read these books several years ago? Yes. Probably a few times.
Would I have gone to see the movie? Most definitely.
While there are many different points in the books/movie I strongly disagree with, what I want to focus on in this post is the point of view I have from my own life.
Many of you know of my past struggle with pornography. Going way back, I first started watching porn when I was introduced to it by my (then) boyfriend. I felt so embarrassed to watch it at first, yet it drew me in at the same time. We would watch it together. It seemed to add excitement to our relationship, and I never really thought twice about it. We were both ok with it, and it was our choice to make that decision, right?
Looking back, what it really did was set the stage for me to combine sex with fantasy…not knowing how to separate the two.
Several years later (after I had given my life to Christ), I stumbled across erotica online, and it completely fascinated me (and my vivid imagination). I quickly realized it provided me a welcomed temporary escape. I was incredibly overwhelmed and sleep deprived, caring for an infant who never seemed to sleep and who cried more often than not. (It took us 8 months to discover he had a milk protein allergy.) I would find myself drifting off into this fantasy world even when I wasn’t reading any stories.
Somewhere along the way, I started searching for porn. The stories by themselves just weren’t enough anymore. These fantasies were something I would replay in my mind throughout different times of the day. Out of embarrassment and incredible shame, I didn’t tell anyone. It had an incredible hold on me, and it was changing the way I saw both men and women.
I had no idea what I was setting myself up for…
- I didn’t realize those same exciting pornographic movies I watched years ago would set the stage for me to combine sex with fantasy. It didn’t seem like a problem until after I gave my life to Christ, and I actually tried to stop fantasizing about all the erotica and sex acts I had viewed. I found that I couldn’t separate the two in my mind. One always included the other.
- I didn’t know the escape I was providing myself would make me even more unhappy in my real life. Real life couldn’t possibly match up to the unrealistic fantasies I conjured up in my mind.
- I never realized that even after I stopped reading erotica and looking at porn, that those images could be conjured up in my mind in an instant (whether I wanted them to, or not) years down the road.
- I never knew I was creating a new pathway in my brain for my imagination to travel all too easily, making it very difficult to not rehearse those scenes in my mind when I was with my husband.
- I didn’t realize how much seeing the violence portrayed against women would affect how I see men…including my own husband.
- I didn’t know how drastically this would affect the level of intimacy I would experience in my marriage.
The Lord has healed my heart in so many ways over the last several years, but it was not an overnight process. It also wasn’t without major struggle in my marriage.
When I first started down the road of healing, I was afraid that not fantasizing would equal complete boredom (I know that sounds terrible, but I’m trying to be honest). I do have to say that I went through a period of feeling bored and almost numb when I was letting God heal my heart in this area, but the freedom waiting on the other side is NOT boring. 🙂
Sex is is something wonderful that God created for us to enjoy within the parameters of marriage He gave us. When we start fantasizing about anyone (male or female) who is not our spouse, we are going down a dangerous path whether it feels like it or not. This is not only sinful, but destructive to ourselves and our spouses. To be blunt, if you think your fantasies about someone else is no big deal…make an effort to stop. You will soon see what a big deal those fantasies really are and how difficult it is to stop.
This is just my own personal experience of why movies and books like Fifty Shades of Grey and other erotica are so deceptive. They seem exciting, entertaining and harmless at the time, but they rob people of the true intimacy God created them to have (among other things). They give a distorted view of what real relationships are like, and this affects us all more than we realize.
Maybe you have longings that have gone unmet in your life. Chances are, you do. If you don’t know what to do with these longings, they can lead you down the path of sexually fantasizing about someone else, erotica, porn or even acting these things out in an affair. This is a trap that will only lead to more pain.
The Lord knows your heart better than anyone, and He knows the needs that have gone unmet in your life. Take these things to Him. It can seem impossible, humiliating and sometimes almost wrong to talk to God about the deep longings you have (especially if they include sexual content), but He will not be offended or shocked. I had the most difficult time doing this before, so I understand any reservations in doing so. Write it down if you need to, first.
I used to cringe at the thought of wondering how God could meet any of my needs that I saw as sexual. How does that even work, and is that even right for us to want? The Lord can and does meet these needs, but rest assured… He can meet needs we equate with sex in ways that do not have anything to do with sex. It sometimes doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t sound possible, but I know from what He’s done in my own life that it’s true.
Maybe what draws you to erotica is your desire to have an emotional (rather than sexual) connection that you don’t have now. I truly understand that, and I think it fuels a lot of why women are drawn to it. Reading erotica or watching movies like this only increases the dissatisfaction you have in real life circumstances, though. This is something Fifty Shades of Grey won’t tell you.
Erotica does not enhance the satisfaction you have with your spouse (or future spouse), it hinders it.
If I knew back then how much those decisions would cost me, I would have turned and gone the other way. Guard your heart, mind and eyes from any kind of sexually illicit fantasies. This is not the true, fulfilling intimacy God has for you. It is a cheap imitation filled with deception, destruction and lies. It will always leave you feeling empty, because it’s not what your heart is truly seeking.
If you are on the fence about going to see this movie, I pray you don’t.
When we plant seeds, sooner or later we reap a harvest. Erotica plants seeds in our minds and hearts, and I can promise you the harvest is not a good one.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
So well written, Amy! Many women need to read this. It can definitely turn into a downward spiral that no one is even faintly aware of. I’m glad you can share your testimony, you are brave and admirable! You should be so proud of yourself! 🙂
A good trick is, if you start thinking about something you shouldn’t, just picture them picking their nose and eating it. That will shut down the thought really quick. 🙂
I know this is an old post, but I really needed this. I read way too much erotica- I got into it because I didn’t enjoy sex with my husband after years of same sex attraction. It helped our sex life, but now I feel I’m dependent upon it.
This is all so hard. Thank you for being honest about your struggles