A pastor whom I greatly admire recently posted a question on his Facebook page. The question asked his followers to chime in on whether or not they thought watching porn with their spouses is a sin.
I found it interesting, and a little disturbing, that each and every person (save for my husband and myself) answered that yes, watching porn with one’s spouse is a sin.
Personally speaking, I don’t enjoy porn, and neither does my husband, so it’s never been a part of our relationship. However, I am constantly amazed at the willingness people demonstrate to condemn actions that other couples may enjoy in the privacy and sanctity of their own homes.
Many folks will quote various scriptural passages (such as Matthew 5:27-28) referencing the no-nos of lust (“‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”), as if human behavior is cut and dry, as if intimacy within a marriage can be applied in the fashion of “one size fits all”…
… And as if Jenna Jamison and Ron Jeremy were even around back in the day when Matthew found himself putting pen to paper (or however they wrote stuff down before there were pens and paper).
I find this sad (doesn’t the Bible have a thing or two to say about standing in judgment of others?), but more importantly, I find it irresponsible.
I won’t spend too much time on the biblical context, other than to say that I hope my husband looks at me with lust. We, as humans, are lustful beings, and I better be the one he is lusting after. Within the boundaries of my own marriage, I don’t find lust itself sinful, but lust for others might be problematic.
That being said, I hesitate to flat-out condemn most behaviors that couples may utilize within their own marriages. There is the obvious- abuse and infidelity- but actions that are A) victimless and B) pleasing to both partners should be fair game. There are many behaviors that are not right for me, or for my marriage- porn is one of them. I would never participate in an open marriage, and no one will ever catch me at a swinger’s club, for example.
For the record, I also will not be video-taping skits of my husband and myself in compromising positions, a la Jets’ coach Rex Ryan, his wife, and his foot fetish (though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what he did, save for the embarrassment the tape caused himself and his family). Truly, if anything like that ever came out about my own parents, I would die on the spot. Instantly.
What I especially will not participate in is telling other couples how to operate within their own bedrooms. Not only is that a gross prospect (smacks of voyeurism, if you ask me), but couples face enough pressures on the day-to-day without having to deal with me sticking my nose into their private lives. I have my own marriage to grow and strengthen, thank you very much.
If other couples find these activities mutually enjoyable, and it helps to both keep them together and strengthen their unions, who am I to tell them their choices are wrong? As is the case in most areas of life- what works for one does not necessarily work for everyone- and vice versa.
This is especially important in times like these, when the divorce rate hovers just over 60%.
I find it difficult to imagine God, who created us as sexual beings, tsk-tsking us from the heavens, for participating in mutually enjoyable actions in our own bedrooms. My initial thought is that He (or She) likely has other things on His (or Her) mind (such as genocide, war, devastating mudslides, tsunamis, earthquakes, the categorical destruction of our planet and each other, hatred and injustice).
After perusing the comments of others on that Facebook page I earlier mentioned, I decided to call on another pastor whose views I also greatly admire and deeply respect. In fact, this particular minister helped shape my own beliefs, as he is my father, Pastor Jon.
Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Dad, within the confines of marriage, is it a sin for a couple to watch porn together?
Pastor Jon: <Cough>
Me: Um… So… what do you think?
Pastor Jon: I think the answer to your question is, “Who’s your Daddy?”
Genius, I say!
My father’s point is that both individually and collectively as a couple, people must define for themselves who their “Daddy”, or Father (God) is. Once that question is answered, it is important to understand what that entity’s expectations are. Provided a person’s behavior remains true to that established figure as well as to their spouse, the answers become clear.
I view God as a parental figure, so the question of “Who’s your Daddy?” really resonates with me. Just as my own parents steer clear of my bedroom, I figure God probably stays outta there too. He’s got way too many children to be monitoring each and every harmless shenanigan I may or may not be participating in. He authorized the sexual choices my spouse and I will make when we stood before Him and said our vows, so we’re in good hands.
Remaining true to one’s beliefs, and acting in accordance with the expectations laid before us by one’s God and spouse, it would be difficult to go wrong. It is, however, a personal journey, and not every single person (or couple) will identify with the same “Daddy”. Not all Fathers have the same rules, just as not all couples have the same sexual palate.
I am thankful for my personal journey, for my God, and for my husband.
Let’s get it on!