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Can porn enhance your marriage? Rather than viewing pornography in secret (and dealing with the shame that invariably follows), a growing number of couples are choosing to view pornography together as a way of adding variety and excitement into their marriage bed. And rather than consuming pornography that may exploit women or children, couples reason that subscribing to content from subscription-based services that allow the entertainers to produce their own content for others is acceptable. The logic is, that as long as the content that is produced is consensual and as long as the porn use isn’t hidden from the other spouse, the sinful elements of pornography are removed and couples are free to consume porn together. In fact, several years ago, a former pastor and theologian assured followers that there was no shame in consuming “ethically-sourced porn.”

I want to offer four reasons why this deception is likely to have negative long-term consequences for your marriage. But before we jump in, please note that these words are not primarily directed at the significant number of individuals who are well aware of the destructive power of pornography and are trying to overcome this sin. Such persons need support, prayer, and encouragement, and what follows is likely all-too-familiar knowledge. These are reasons why Christians should reject the lie that under the right conditions, porn can be a welcome addition to their marriage bed.

Porn Invites Unhealthy Comparisons

Some couples turn to pornography when their own sex life begins to feel routine or ordinary. Viewing porn as a couple might seem like an effective way to learn new ideas, techniques, or activities to incorporate into their sex life. Porn can offer up a tantalizing array of ideas that a couple might suppose will jump-start their own creativity. After all, porn makes any bedroom activity look easy and inviting.

But the imagery depicted in porn is an illusion. It is digitally enhanced sex, performed by airbrushed models that sets an unrealistic standard for what sex can be. Not only that but it is sex divorced from the challenging – yet sanctifying – work of vulnerability and intimacy. It portrays the promise of sex apart from love and connection.

So, rather than drawing you closer together, watching porn as a couple and then trying to replicate what you are watching can actually have the opposite affect of what you are hoping for; rather than drawing you closer together as a couple, it can leave one or both of you feeling insecure about your own body or your own sex life. Scripture calls us to delight in our spouse (Proverbs 5:19), and to find our enjoyment in them, but if we are inviting visual images of another person into our sex life, we invariably direct our delight into another person. Many wives especially can testify that this has left them feeling inadequate compared to the images on the screen. On top of this, viewing porn can fool you into thinking that good sex is simply a matter of seeking arousal, and imitating what you see on screen, while ignoring the mystery and the goodness of spousal intimacy.

Porn Damages Your Sex Life

Porn functions like a drug for the soul--it delivers a rush, that can energize you momentarily but wears off and leaves you worse than when you started. Viewing porn together might even provide a short-term jolt to your sex life. But like many drugs, your body can become numbed to the effects of porn over time. This means that with repeated exposure to porn, it takes more and more novelty in order to achieve the same sexual thrill. What was highly arousing at first, eventually will lose its thrill, and more novelty is required for the same effect. The net effect of this is that frequent pornography consumption can make it much more difficult to have sex with your spouse because “normal” sex pales with what is depicted in porn. In short, your body becomes dependent on pornography for sexual arousal. This growing realization has even led to non-Christian publications like Time, and GQ to encourage people to stop porn use. You may assume that watching porn together as a couple will enhance your sex life; in reality it may make it more difficult for you to enjoy sex together as a couple.

Porn Tarnishes The Image of Christ

In a Christian marriage, sex is not only about physical connection, and it is not even just about the emotional connection. In a Christian marriage, sex is meant to reflect the self-sacrificing, covenant-sealing love of Christ for his church. Sex in marriage is meant to exult Christ by emulating the way in which Christ gives himself to his bride, the church. If you are in Christ, you and your spouse are each indwelt by the Spirit of God, you are his temple! When you have sex with your spouse, Christ is present, and Christ is worshipped as you enjoy sex as God intends it for you (see 1 Corinthians 6:15-20).

Pornography tarnishes this by reducing a person to a commodity--a body that may be had at a price, reducing sex to a mere transaction. In doing so, the meaning of sex is diminished, and it no longer points to the supremacy of Christ as it was intended. Pornography violates God’s design for sex by including others in the marriage bed--even if those “others” are images on a screen. In this way, even “ethically sourced” porn detracts from the glory of Christ, because it diminishes sex into something less than worship.

You might suppose that consuming porn as a couple is relatively harmless, especially if it is “ethically sourced,” but in truth, you will be cheapening the purpose of sex and overshadowing the glory of the one to whom it was meant to point.

A Better Way

It can be tempting to open the door to the possibility of porn in your marriage, especially if your marriage has hit a dry spell. It may seem as though it will be a way to add some excitement--and truth be told, it may, for a brief while. But the trade-offs are significant. There are other ways to rekindle sexual excitement that don’t lead to potential long-term consequences, or that don’t violate the glory of Christ. Read books on the topic of sex together; communicate with one another about your wants or desires; find a Christian website (even this one!) that can offer suggestions that can enhance your sex life. The blessings and the rewards of obedience will be worth it!

 

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