Have Stories Damaged Your View of Sex?

On Thursday, I addressed how I would write screen sex scenes differently from the way Hollywood does. But I ended the post by pointing out that “if Hollywood let me write the sex scenes, very little sex would occur on the screen. I’d opt for the approach of many classic movies in which lovemaking was implied but not shown. After all, sexual intimacy in marriage is the sort of thing that should happen behind closed doors.”

One commenter added: “Why and how did it become acceptable to have sex scenes in movies anyway? Why do people want to watch that? Focus, Hollywood. Less is more.”

jeune femme drôle cachée derrière livreI agree with those who say there is a danger in filling our minds with unrealistic stories about sexual activity — whether it comes from pornography, Hollywood, erotic books, or over-the-top romance novels. When we allow erroneous messages about sex into our eyes, our minds, and our hearts, we can cheapen the intimate act God gave married couples and adopt twisted expectations of the sexual intimacy in our marriage.

  • Why won’t my wife do what that woman on the screen will do? Why isn’t she as eager and wild?
  • Why doesn’t my husband sweep me on my feet like that and pleasure me for hours?
  • Why does our sex sometimes feel awkward, when it looks so beautiful in the movies?

Do you pay attention to where you’re getting your messages about sexuality? Who is telling you the stories about romance, love, passion, and sex? What are they telling you, and is it helpful for the sexual intimacy in your marriage?

From a practical perspective, I don’t think you can entirely avoid stories that don’t wholly support God’s view of sexual intimacy. At least not without locking yourself away somewhere. Turn on the TV or watch a movie or open a magazine, and there will be tales of couples engaged in premarital sex, comedies poking fun at sexless marriages, messages hinting that kinkier is better, etc. As Christians in the world, we need to sharpen our filters and be able to move past that, identifying untruths where they occur.

But honestly, I cannot remember the last time I saw an R-rated movie, because I grew so weary of being cussed at and shown naked people doing it. Sometimes we don’t need a filter so much as a fortress — just shoving out those stories of sexual intimacy that could do real damage to our minds, hearts, and marriages.

Consider these scriptures:

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job 31:1

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.” Psalm 101:3

Of course, the Bible itself includes stories of sexual sin — but they are provided as warnings, not entertainment. Like the fables or original fairy tales provided important warnings about not talking to strangers (Red Riding Hood) or the importance of working hard (Ant and Grasshopper). There’s a very different tone in stories like Tamar (this one or this one) or David and Bathsheba and the love between Elkanah and Hannah or between the Lover and Beloved. It’s clear what sexual stories would receive God’s approval and which would get His rebuke or condemnation.

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself some questions. What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you listening to? What stories about sexual intimacy are you soaking up and giving credence? Are they in line with God’s message? Do you need to make different choices?

5 thoughts on “Have Stories Damaged Your View of Sex?

  1. Greg

    …Precisely why I believe biblically-based websites like yours and Julie’s that address sexuality are so crucial. The world is aggressively force-feeding all of us lies and deceit about it (even if we don’t go looking for it–it’s getting more invasive by the day). And sadly, there are still some believers treating truth about sexual intimacy like an exclusive club. As a matter of survival, we *all* need reminders and encouragement of what sex is for, and how to deal with it wherever we are.

    Current personal challenge: PC/console gaming (and no, I’m not the only 40+ year-old that still plays them). As fun as it can be, there are no longer options to switch off profane language and filter out sexual content. Some you can avoid in-game, some you cannot.

  2. Tyler

    Agree. Our culture significantly affects the way we view and live out our relationships.
    However, even sites like yours and Julie’s offer a host of information on a dozen different positions, tips for oral, where to put your hands, etc. and when my marriage hasn’t had any of those “healthy things” for years….I wonder if continuing to read your blog isn’t a stumbling block for me. I have expectations of what Godly intimacy should look like…and when it doesn’t happen or live up to what I read others here having…it leads to resentment, frustration, withdrawal, guilt and loads of pain.

    1. J Post author

      I’m sure the expected answer would be me saying, “Oh no! EVERYONE should come to my site.” But actually, I agree with you. I think there are people who probably shouldn’t be reading my blog, or at least they should scan the titles and decide whether the topic is likely to be helpful. For instance, one time I might cover something about how to communicate about problems while another post involves specific how-to’s for the marital bedroom; if you’re in a sexless marriage, that latter one might simply frustrate. This is also one of the reasons I’d discourage singles from reading blogs like this too often, because you can’t act on what you read and you might end up fueling your desire and frustration.

      You have my compassion, Tyler. I pray that your marriage comes to a place of health and happiness regarding intimacy. Maybe you can seek out those resources that will help with that. Maybe mine will make the cut sometimes, maybe you need to walk away. But know that God is always with you regardless. Blessings!

  3. Chuck

    Last Christmas I had a similar conversation with Julie of IiM one morning at a coffee shop. The church has always been at least 10 yrs. behind the curve here when it comes to good Christian resources on sexuality from a biblical perspective. 2 days ago I’m reading from Fox News that has an article in it’s sexual health section that men who have stayed chaste until marriage are now sexually confused b/c they were given “all” this support to stay chaste before marriage, but now that they are married and they don’t have that same support group to help them. I find it so hypocritical that the church reconizes that God created us Physically, Spiritually and Sexually, but guess which dimension doesn’t get equal time in the teaching area ? I realize that this all stems from the fall with Adam & Eve’s shame of their nakedness. But our children continue to suffer b/c of our own sexual problems that take a long time to heal. When the church tries to take the lead in “Teaching Abstinence” or “just say no” campaigns we don’t teach them about healthy God given sexuality. Abstinence Programs have a not so good track record, but we continue to teach them while the hormones are exploding with all of their mis-guided sexual energy. And then we have the gender identity issues along with the same sex battle. But if The Church does not start to deal with the “elephant in the room”, secular culture will continue to steer our youth’s curiosity.

    1. J Post author

      I don’t believe abstinence programs are the problem, because they vary greatly in their approach and effectiveness. A simple don’t isn’t enough, but there are fabulous reasons to remain “chaste” until marriage — including physical, emotional, and spiritual reasons. Quite honestly, teens are having less sex than earlier peaks (by the stats), so maybe something’s having an effect.

      Regardless, you’re right that churches need to be willing to address the subject, honestly and biblically. God created this thing called sex, and we Christians have an obligation to help people experience this gift in the right context.

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