Monday, October 17, 2022

Anonymous Asks (219)

“Is it a sin to watch pornography with my spouse?”

Are you kidding?

Okay, I’ll play. Let’s posit world’s most sanctified porn filming scenario. A Christian studio shoots their movies with the intent of helping young believers better glorify Christ in their sex lives. The actors are exclusively Christian and married to one another. They portray nothing but loving married couples making each other as happy as possible, following scripts developed by careful study of the Song of Solomon. The studio donates all profits from the venture to missions.

Would you be good with that? I’d still have a problem or two. And anybody looking for their kicks from porn would be bored to tears with it.

Conforming to the World

Oh, also, I should probably point out that this scenario has never happened in the history of the universe. So when someone asks “Is it a sin to watch pornography with my spouse?”, this is NOT the sort of activity about which they are inquiring. Not one bit.

In fact, a new porn film is shot in the United States every 39 minutes. The industry rakes in about $3,000 every second, more revenue than all professional football, basketball and baseball franchises combined, and more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC. When any form of entertainment is that overwhelmingly popular with the unsaved, you’ve got to know it’s bound to pose a problem or two for Christians, sort of like attending the Roman arenas back in the day, or watching Game of Thrones. Talk about being “conformed to this world”!

Feeding the Beast

The first major problem with porn is that the industry is riddled with sex trafficking and exploitation. Even secular media sources concede this. Watch Rashida Jones’ documentary Hot Girls Wanted — if you can get through it. Porn actresses are frequently underpaid, drugged up, physically and emotionally abused and, yes, objectified. When Christians watch porn, even by mutual agreement, this is the beast they are feeding, whether they are renting it, buying it or just generating page views on a porn website by clicking away. Paul writes, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness.” Would the apostle have included porn among these? The question answers itself.


The second major problem with watching porn with a spouse is consensuality. Two thirds of porn viewers are men and only one third women. That suggests an imbalance between the sexes that may have you thinking your spouse is as interested as you are when she is merely going along to preserve the peace or to keep you from straying. When two parties agree to engage in an activity together, one party is invariably initiating and the other agreeing to go along. If that activity is a sin, then the spouse who initiates is not only participating in sin but also playing the role of Eve with their spouse. As the Lord Jesus put it, “It is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” Stumbling a brother or sister is a sin about which the writers of the New Testament have plenty to say.

Lust Conceived

But the third and most obvious problem with watching porn at all is lust. If you and your spouse are watching other men and women engage in sex acts in an attempt to make your own sex lives more exciting — all of whom are almost surely more fit and attractive than either of you — that visual fantasy in which you are both participating is a source of lust. If looking at a man or woman with lustful intent is the equivalent of adultery in the heart, and you find porn a helpful addition to your sex life, it is probably because you are reliving what you have just seen in the process rather than enjoying one another as God intended. And in the very unlikely situation that you are not fantasizing while in the act, then almost surely your wife is. Lust conceived gives birth to sin, and sin accomplished brings forth death. It may start with porn, but it will not stop there.

The Defilement Problem

Sexual sin, like the ongoing practice of sin of any kind, is defiling. Defilement is always a problem for the Christian: it contaminates the prayer life, constitutes a sin against one’s own body, and ultimately results in judgment from God. Worse, defilement always spreads and invariably causes unexpected problems. How would a Christian choose which debased acts would be appropriate for viewing without seeing things he or she can’t ever unsee? How would you and your wife explain it to your kids if they happened to discover you are watching it? How does one switch from porn to worship or prayer?

Christians should want no part of porn, consensually or otherwise.

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