Christian Porn


It seemed so innocent.

The cover depicted a woman wearing a high collared dress. A genteel man in the background. A beautiful title. The stamp of a Christian publishing house.

They were everywhere: the church library, the bathroom, garage sales. Gifted and purchased and consumed. Page after page proclaimed the power of true love and how happily ever after really does happen! Pastors and housewives, single dads and widows, ranchers and teachers! Whatever the plot line the message was the same: God is the God of a straight-and-paved happily-ever-after.

There weren’t any pictures. At least, not printed in ink on the pages. There was no discussion, or even evidence, of anatomical parts. Everything was altar-clean and painted in the rose of theologically correct glasses.

We drank it up; thirsty for the easy, vibrating love that comes with no question or quarrel; the love that we could open up in a page and enter; the love that proclaimed: “It always works out, for you.”

One day, while browsing in closet, I came upon a Kingsbury series. Addictive story line with captivating characters and real-life conflict and one particular plotline that is forever in my memory. In sum: the main female is having a tough time. Fortunately, her stunning high school sweetheart re-appears just as her jerk of a non-believing husband dies of a heart attack… in the arms of his lover. Don’t worry sweetie, it all works out, read on!

And I matured and my peers and mom and peer’s moms read on: fantasizing between the pages of every perfectly scripted fairy-false ending.

One day, while spending time in the family bathroom, I happened upon a new one. The cover was a bit brighter; the hero’s shirt was torn open and the heroine had wild hair past her buttocks. A fast reader, I skimmed through the chapters and stumbled into points of climax. In sum: things were tough for the heroine. Her love-through-vows wasn’t so great but her love-from-the-past was hot stuff. Never fear! Before long their throbbing members were joined and everything worked out.

And so we all moved up and on. Hearts or parts, what was the difference? We were in it for the literature. We closed the chapter, changed our heart’s panties, and went off to discuss computer programs to hold porn-addicts accountable. Poor souls, good thing they had us noble women.

And so we read and lived and fictionalized our purity as we fantasized about how perfect we were and how perfect it would be. And she beamed at the new pastor as she took his hand to pray (such a pity your wife is ill…). And she daydreamed about her husband dying and becoming the noble widow (with life insurance, of course). And she pictured her crisp apron as she served that new board member (and if only the kids would be shut-up she could finish the chapter!).

And I realized that there is no difference.
And that whether it’s fiction or photos, awakening ‘love’ is a dangerous and dirty business.
And I don’t want any part of it.

Advertisements
Comments
12 Responses to “Christian Porn”
  1. kitgonzales says:

    Well said, Dee. Nurturing fantasies and illegitimate desires of the heart, right?

    • Dea' says:

      Yuppers, all under the guise of a “sweet and safe story”. This industry (Christian romantic fiction) has bothered me several years now. I’ve heard countless people share how Grace Livingstone Hill grew into Karen Kingsbury which (for some) led to a pile of Harlequins. For some, the end road was discontentment and disloyalty in the mind. For others, it led to a desire for a more visual pornography.

  2. kristin says:

    I so agree with this and I came to that conclusion for myself many years ago. Also another thing that I noticed is that girls in the dorms at school would put up pictures of good looking guys with no shirts on from magazines, or just have those magazine with the stories on how to make your man happy and how to look better.. but then they would talk about how horrible it is when a guy has pictures up of girls or they would be addicted to porn and how it degraded woman… and I wondered why is it okay for woman but not for men? Good thoughts .. thank you!

  3. Mel says:

    Dea,

    Wow, this is very thought provoking! I think you’re absolutely right. As women, we escape to these fantasy worlds, but how is it really different? Can’t agree more!

  4. Agree 100%, and have for a long time. In fact I feel like this may have been part of our many conversations at a girls’ night I was part of at one point?

  5. Christine says:

    I have to say I disagree. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily a great thing to read these kinds of books all the time but honestly I dont think using the word ‘porn’ is in fact the right word to use. Wikipedia says that porn is ..the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual gratification.” When men look at porn they are doing it for this purpose from what I know. Actually, I know because a friends husband admitted this. He said there is no way that this (books) is porn for women. UNLESS a woman gets off while reading these types of books I dont think we can label them porn for women. Personally, these kinds of books make me want my husband more. Not the opposite. I suppose there are people where this is not the case but I dont know. I have heard others over the years say the same thing and the guilt I felt from reading the occasional fluffy book (not even the steamy romance ones) bothered me. It made me wonder if it was sinful. I just want to challenge the readers to look at it in this light. I dont want others to feel like they’re on the same level as men who cheat on their wives with photos.

    • Kmarie says:

      Hey,
      You know what I love? Women thinking about tough issues together in a spirit of non judgement. The problem with generalizing though is that it gets tricky with the whole judgement thing. What is deemed wrong for one set is not necessarily wrong for another.

      Porn is a big grey area. And I am a woman who was a victim of it. While there are black and whites in our great old world ( and I really don’t want to get into those because that is still controversial and about perspective…) Pornography and how it hurts is based on many factors including the people involved (both men and women), intents, personal strength and personal weakness, the kind or type of porn and the way it either devalues a person or the way it hurts essence. While I am against porn in some aspects I am not in others. For instance, I have friends who engage in their marriage in porn together. While that would destroy my marriage- it is not for me to judge what works in theirs. They only pick ones where worker rights are respected, age appropriate and the women (and men) are treated well on taping sites. (There are ways to find this out I hear) For them- neither gets jealous and all parties are fine with it. For me- I have a jealousy issue and it would kill me. I am also sensitive and wouldnt be fine with that in my marriage.

      My point is- I cant judge my friend and tell her she is wrong in her own personal marriage if her partner and her are consenting. It’s like telling her oral sexual engagement is wrong in a marriage if I held to that belief (I don’t but some do…and vice versa. IF I have a friend who thinks that is wrong – I think we could probably have a conversation about it but if she still held to that belief I HOPE I would respect her belief system and move on.:)
      I believe you have thought this through and I respect it. It sounds like the right decision for you and the many women who agree with you. I could see what you are meaning and for you it seems that it is the morally right choice for your perspective and situation.

      However, I also see what C means and I am fine reading romance novels. Heck, I even skip the light stuff- I adore Nora Roberts novels. While the sexual content is a bonus for me- I love the way she writes characters and stories. i wish I had that imagination. I never want the men or stories in the book and it always makes me grateful for my hubby…and often if we are in a dry spell I find it has creative tips in the sexual parts to make me love him more. Some people use sex instructional…I feel uncomfortable visually so I don’t, but reading wise I am fine. I know others who are the opposite and a sex book visually for varied positions is fine to do and un emotional. I can’t engage in that. I think it is different for many situations and people:) It’s not that one is “sin” and one is not. Sin is anything that is selfish. Selfish is different for each person. SOme of us have gifts that are easy to give and most would not deem that selfish but in some cases it IS selfish and that would be judged accordingly. However, judgement should maybe be left to God. Plus, many women who read this are christians which maybe different rules would apply. At the same time I dont think it is good to draw that line and make it “us and them” either. So it gets tricky.

      Life and marriage are tough enough without us women judging each other’s marriages and what is right to do and what is not. We can have those conversations privately if we are close to someone and on a forum like this- open to discussion it is a positive thing to think about it ( as long as all opinions are welcome:) But when it comes down to the nitty gritty- we all need a little more support, acceptance and a listening ear if we feel hurt when porn of any kind tramples on our essence OR when we enjoy a certain activity and it is fine in our marriage we also need the support to continue on and not be judged for successfully finding what works for us. It’s individual.

      For some women this post was needed to convict and challenge. For others it doesn’t do that and they just shrug it off…But it does open up discussion which is good. I think it is great you feel so passionate about it and I hope it makes your marriage even stronger! I wish that for each women on here. While I dont think it applies to me exactly in the way you are describing – it does apply to me in making me realize that I need to assess how I treat people who go against what I am for…and what I choose to do in my marriage should still honour the essence of my partner:)

  6. Dea' says:

    Fun comments 🙂
    I’m sure I’ll miss something, but here’s some response to C and K.
    1. First, this blog and my writing always presents a glimpse, never a full picture. Many pieces make a whole. I’m far to dialectic a thinker to say, “Here it is! This is IT!” I live within conversation and rhythm, so receive it in that way.
    2. This was never about sex. It’s far more simple and abstract then that.

    When it comes to relationships, purity, vows, etc., the Christ has little to say about the nitty-gritty physical details. He has a whole lot to say about the unseen. In sum: if you think it, desire it, consider it done. He was the first to embrace the prostitute while condemning the ones not following through on their pledges of loyalty. Heart first.

    Next, as credible as Wikipedia is ;)… I disagree that pornography is simply for sexual gratification. C’mon, would you be fine with your spouse just ‘recreationally viewing’ porn as long as he/she didn’t orgasm? Again, not about sex, it’s about desire, discontent, curiosity, boredom, bitterness…and on and on and on….
    What I desire is faithfulness– in myself and those who have pledged it to me. My husband has to regularly see women’s breasts as he sets up ECGs or performs CPR. It’s his job and he keeps it professional. What I WOULDN’T love would be if he sat up late at night with a female coworker and expressed deep needs of his hearts or frustration with me. Baring his heart could be as hurtful as baring his body.

    This is why I (brashly, one dimensionally) compare Christian Romantic Fiction to pornography. It stirs discontent. It invites dangerous comparison. It begs one to secretly consider a path that is not theirs and should NEVER be theirs.

    I would rather pick up a Nora Roberts or Shades of Grey and take it for what it is: something sexual for pleasure/interest. It is what it is and no one is trying to convince me that it’s Good. The issue with the CF is that there supposed to be safe and healthy and beneficial. Thousands of women are eating it up, believing it to be godly-good, and then wondering why they’re staring at their ‘normal’ husband and wishing he were the charasmatic and sensitive man in the pulpit.

    I’m on the run, sorry this is a bit disjointed. The thing is: not about sex. It’s about the heart.

    • Kmarie says:

      I think we are all saying the same thing in different words and perspectives. Intent is a lot. I also agree with what you were saying about the intent of a book. Christian books claiming christian intent is a misrepresentation. ..which is probably why I prefer the other stuff. But I have read some really good christian books too with great points. It depends. Industry on a whole- claiming to sell things for God- is really like a temple situation in scripture I think. I dont think its great to cash in using God. But some really are not meaning to do that either. SOme are and they deserve to be challenged. As for misrepresentation- Aren’t we all guilty of misrepresentation at some point?:) That said, it is ALL about the heart:) We def agree there!:)

      I love C’s heart and that she was willing to offer a different perspective. One that I think has a lot of merit. I also love that you are saying it is all about heart and making points about representation. Even with professionalism we could take that a step further and the private thoughts that may happen later. We just can’t judge that and what a reader is going through in their private thoughts or what a husband does in his.
      If anything it is about the company selling it. Even the writer may have different intents. Some christian stuff is blatant crap, other christian stuff has wonderful intents:) I would argue that christians have more responsibility simply because they claim more and “witness” out there…so if they do that- well, its fair game to call them to higher grounds if they call others to higher grounds. I agree with that assessment.
      Maybe on the little details we could all agree to disagree on the small stuff? I don’t think I am exclusively “right” nor vice versa:) What I do think is that there are different perspectives. Some is right, some is wrong, some is grey. If this is really about heart than it has to be individual:) Because different hearts have different gifts, ways of seeing the world, and reactions:)

      Overall, I think it is a great conversation in that regards. I am against industry and incorporations as a whole and challenging their material is a great thing to do. Challenging the women to think about varied perspectives is good too, but passing a judgement or generalizing it all would not work or going after women personally who like this stuff. Then it is not about heart- it is about logistics. Legalities. And you are absolutely right- Jesus would never condemn:)

      Usually acting on desire ( like getting off) is taking it a step further. We all have desires. Just like we all have weird thoughts like driving off the road. But we dont follow them through and realize the desire should not be acted on. I realize it is different when we go purposefully into things that create our desire, but works of art can do that too. I realize that is also disputed ( art versus temptation ect) That is why it is good to think about why we do what we do.

      SOmetimes we need to get angry and passionate to help resonate different mentalities and change. The way women are treated in those romance novels ( like a dumb piece of meat only satisfied with romance or family at times could also be disputed and the men like muscled romancers…but NOT all are like that. Some are very encouraging and realistic and others are pure escape. We escape through food, through drink, through gossip, through serving in church…just because one appears harmless does not mean it is not escaping. So is it wrong to escape when life is very tough sometimes? That is up to debate:) I dont equate escape with purposeful desire and coveting but maybe in some cases it is:)!?

      And THAT is why I like you. Because it is not the end and you are willing to dive in and have dialogue. I dont completely disagree with you. I also knew that there is WAY more to what you think than this. We have awesome convos in person but on forums we sometimes seem like we live VERY different lives. Yet In many ways we are on similar journeys:) The internet is just a tiny piece of who we are- it still matters but I love that you pointed out that it is not entirety:) I do realize it is not the whole which is why I added my voice with some of my whole…which is not all of me either:) I do have a side that is probably in agreement over much of this with you…but then there is more:) I understand the passion. I also have been a HUGE advocate against porn in the past because of how it affected me…but that was about my heart. It was hurt. I still have some things I can not get over.
      That aside, If women are engaging in these novels, and if I see them at the bookstore, and if they saw this and thought it through, I hope they also feel like I am not assessing how the marriage is and where their heart is:) In the end our hearts are very complex.
      I am glad you wrote this. And I like your heart. Which is why I thought the perspective was interesting and the forum was a great place to discuss safely. I knew I was safe offering something else:) I was hesitant at first but then I remembered your smile and thought- why not?:) I realized you can hold your own and so can I… ultimately we have a past friendship and some meaning to go off of:) Heart!
      And I loved your last paragraph. Great argument. All in all we ( you c and I) are saying the same thing- We all care about the heart, we all dont want to judge and we are all showing that in completely different ways:) Different but same:) You made some needed points to christian industry, C made some needed points in regards to women readers, and I hope I made some valid points to the differences in each situation. It all deserves to be discussed. You DID that. YAY!!!
      I appreciate you Dea. Thanks for sharing.

      • Dea' says:

        Nice! Thanks! 🙂

      • Kmarie says:

        Ps. I was not saying J thinks extra thoughts in his head. I know he is professional. I have seen him in action and he is the face of professionalism! I just re read my comment and realized I looked like I was planting doubt. Which totally should not have been said. Because I actually meant that each person is different even in thought. Anyway, I apologize for what the words looked like they were saying. Big mistake. You guys are great together and what goes on between you is yours. And I love the faithful way you belong to each other:)

  7. christineohlhauser says:

    Ok I think I understand now what you ladies were saying….just needed more explanation:) I wonder if it is why I have lost interest in CF. I go with Sophie Kinsella usually for a light read because I love the British and her style of writing.

Thoughts? Comments? Hmm....

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

  • Blog Stats

    • 100,290 hits
  • Top Rated

%d bloggers like this: