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.”
I 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?