It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all comment, or link up a marriage post below! Today I want to tackle a rather taboo subject among many wives: the increasing temptation of erotica.
Not too many decades ago, if a man wanted to see porn, he had to go to a store and purchase a Playboy. It was a deliberate act. It involved getting in your car, driving to the store, looking the clerk in the face and plopping down some money.
And so lots of people wouldn’t do it. The rate of porn use among Christian men was relatively low, in relation to the rest of the population.
Flash forward a few decades, and now the internet has made porn so easy to access that it’s become a huge temptation for many men (and for many women), and a huge roadblock in people’s marriages. While purchasing a Playboy at a store had involved lots of tiny choices, where at any point a man could change his mind and head home, accessing it on the computer involves far fewer choices. And those choices are largely anonymous, and very quick. To go to a store takes some time–time for the Holy Spirit to convict, time for you to second guess yourself. Time for you to say no.
To click on a link on the computer takes very little time, and it’s easy to silence those voices in your head and heart because it only takes a few seconds. And so many men have been sucked in.
Women haven’t faced this to the same extent because for most of us, visual pornography is not our main weakness, as it is for men (though it is becoming a graver threat to women, too). For many of us, romance novels and soft core erotica offer far more temptation than porn, and so the internet revolution wasn’t quite as dangerous to us. Sure, erotica is more easily discovered online, but the “really good stuff”, the big novels or the high quality writing, wasn’t as accessible. And so we were able to sit back and watch our men fall prey to the internet, and wonder why they can’t get their act together and practice more self-control.
Well, it looks like we have met our match in Amazon’s Kindle (or the Nook, or whatever e-reader you have). Because now we can do what men can do: we can access the things that tempt us the most without having to leave our homes, without having to look a clerk in the face, without having to spend a lot of time thinking about it. We can download erotic novels and no one knows! We just enter our credit card online at Amazon, and instantly the book is on our Kindle (or iPad, or Nook, or whatever). And there’s a whole series of erotic novels that are taking women by storm right now, earning mainstream news coverage about how women have discovered erotica.
I won’t mention them by name because it’s not important (and I don’t want to give them higher sales inadvertently). It’s just that we are now facing the same temptations that men have had to battle with for the last fifteen years, as the internet has become a staple in all workplaces and homes. They had to fight the temptation to access porn anonymously. And now we have to fight the temptation to access erotica anonymously. And it is vitally important that we do so.
Look, I think sharing “sexy” thoughts with one’s husband, and flirting, and playing together is all pretty great. I am not against sexual play or sexual fun at all. But when we use something outside of marriage to get aroused, we’re transferring our sexual energy from our spouse. And if you then have sex with your spouse after getting aroused some other way, it becomes increasingly difficult to “be present” when you make love. Your mind starts to focus on what you were reading, not on your husband. And that’s not really making love.
Our culture wants to turn sex into something that is completely physical. They are twisting something which is beautiful, and trying to make it exciting by focusing on the forbidden, the extreme, the hidden, rather than the relationship. And when you focus on the physical, sex loses that special element that helps us bond.
When I did my research for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the couples who enjoyed sex the most were also those who felt most spiritually intimate with each other. And the couples who enjoyed sex the least tended to be the ones where porn had played a large part in their lives, and they were still trying to recover from it. Porn rewires your brain so that what becomes arousing is a picture, rather than a person. And now erotica has the same effect on women: it rewires your brain so that what is arousing is an idea or a scenario rather than your husband.
The church is rightly concerned with the intrusion of porn into our lives and our marriages, but we women need to realize that we face similar temptations, and we need to put things in place to fight against them. We’ve been talking up internet filters, and accountability software, and accountability groups for men. But what about women?
1. Share your Amazon/B&N/Chapters account with another person/another device
This one is going to be a little expensive, I grant you, but it’s important. Don’t let your family just own one Kindle that you control. Make sure there are at least two out there: maybe a teenager has one, or your husband. Then link them all onto one account, so that if anyone purchases anything, you all know about it.
In our home, my youngest daughter, my husband, myself, and my mother all share an Amazon account. Katie buys a lot of novels, and everytime I turn on my iPad, I can go to my archives and see what she has purchased, and download it myself. Believe me, if you share an Amazon account with a teenager, there is no way that you will EVER be tempted to buy erotica (let alone sharing it with your mother!).
2. Have your email for your account go to your husband
If you do only have one Kindle, and it’s yours, then make sure that the email address on your account wherever you buy books is your husband’s. That way, every time you make a purchase, the receipt is sent to him.
Internet porn became a big problem for men because it was anonymous. They could access it without anyone knowing. Take away the anonymity, and it’s suddenly not nearly as big a temptation.
The best way to protect ourselves, then, is to make sure nothing is done in secret. So even if you don’t think you’d be tempted to buy erotica, I still think it’s always a good idea to expose things to the light. Just make sure others can always see your account and access what you buy. Then any possible temptation is reduced greatly.
Are there ways around these steps? Of course. There always are. But the point is that when you had to inconvenience yourself to buy porn, most men did not. They only started looking at it in huge numbers when it was easy and anonymous. So let’s make sure Kindles don’t become our porn by making sure they’re never anonymous, too.
And spread the word! More women need to hear this, because women are not immune to these kinds of temptations, either. Please hit the share buttons below on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter!
Now it’s your turn! If you have any marriage thoughts for us, just link up a marriage post in the Linky Tools below! Please link the URL of the actual post, and not your whole blog. And then link back here so that others can read more about marriage.