On Mondays I like to try to answer a Reader Question, and today’s is one I get asked a lot, even in person, but often in whispers: Is it okay to take sexy photos for my husband?
After all, he’s allowed to see you naked, so there’s nothing actually wrong with it, right? And there are even “classy” places that will do boudoir photo shoots, with you in lingerie. That would be a good gift, wouldn’t it? Especially if he were going away for a time (like a military deployment)?
Well, let’s think this one through, because I don’t think it has a black and white answer. Like many things in marriage, I’m inclined to say, “it depends”. So here are just a few thoughts that I have, and then you can work it through in your own marriage.
The Practical: Private Photos Don’t Tend to Stay Private
We all know this; we see it all the time with celebrities. But it’s true for “real life”, as well. Photos that you intend to stay private often don’t. Kids may come across them (and who wants their kids seeing this?). If they’re on a phone, someone else may see it.
I’m reminded of this old Motorola ad (It showed on TV so it really doesn’t get that racy):
Seriously. You don’t want that happening!
If you’re going to take pictures, personally, I’d make sure they were erased right away. Let them be something to tease him with, not something he keeps with him.
Now, at the same time, I’m not a military person, and so I’ve never had that six month or a year separation. But I’m not sure sexy photos would make that year easier. It would be great if some military wives could chime in on this one, because I really do feel out of my depth on that one, and especially with the date–November 11–I’m reminded again of the gratitude I have for those in the service. So I’ll let someone with more experience in that area make a more definitive statement.
The Worry: Are You Recreating Porn?
Men are visual, and we like to be thought of as “the beauty”, as the Eldredge’s say in their books. I think appreciating a woman’s beauty, and seeing her revealed, is something that is innate in us, and isn’t necessarily bad.
However, we live in an extremely pornographic society, and so many men are really struggling with porn.
I do not think that you defeat porn by becoming porn.
The problem with porn is not ONLY that you’re looking at someone other than your wife; the problem with porn is that it makes sex into something which is entirely about the physical and not about a relationship. It makes sex into “I’m going to lust and get my needs met”, rather than “we’re going to experience this together.” And that is a very, very difficult thing to break. In fact, in many ways that’s harder than the porn. A guy may find that he’s able to give up porn, but he may not find that his sex drive for his wife comes back. It may stay dormant. It doesn’t mean she’s not attractive; it’s just that he’s trained his body to respond to anonymous images, and not to a relationship. And that takes time to deal with (and I talk about how to recover from porn here).
It’s like this: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a glass of wine. But for an alcoholic, that’s a tremendously bad idea. Even just being at a place where people are drinking is hard. Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with an Oreo cookie. But if you’re trying to change your eating habits and get your body to start craving food that’s real, then giving in all the time to that Oreo won’t complete that retraining process, and could disrupt it.
I received an email yesterday by a woman who is sick of having to initiate sex. I couldn’t really figure out what the problem is, but then she made a throw away comment in the middle of the email that sometimes she’s too cold to do a striptease. So I think tomorrow I’ll write about what initiating sex is (and it certainly does NOT have to involve a striptease or be that elaborate! Not that there’s anything wrong with elaborate). But it became that her husband wanted to put her in certain positions and do certain things that he liked watching in porn.
That’s not healthy. There’s nothing wrong with spicing things up in the bedroom and having fun.
But if you’re recreating porn, you end up objectifying yourself and pushing him back into this fantasy mode, not into relationship mode.
You’re not ever making love; you’re just using each other (or he’s using you). That’s not good.
This struggle pops up in a lot of ways and in a lot of questions I get, and not just about taking pictures. If your husband has used porn, recreating it will not ease his addiction to the porn and bring him back to you. Wearing more lingerie and acting sexier will not get rid of the porn; in some ways it just solidifies it. You become just what’s on the screen. Sure, it’s good that it’s you and not her, but the fundamental problem remains: you’ve warped what sex is supposed to be.
If you want to figure out a way to talk this through with your husband, that’s what 31 Days to Great Sex is for. I have a number of days when I talk about the dangers of depersonalizing sex, and how pornography can do this to us. And then we work through how to make sex intimate again. If you’ve tried to have this conversation with your husband, and it isn’t working, the book may really help.
And if you just don’t understand what I’m saying–like why can’t sex just be about being sexy?–then I’d really recommend working through The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, which explains how sex was supposed to be intimate and fun physically, of course, but it was also supposed to be a spiritual and emotional experience. If you don’t have those last two components, you’re really missing something! After all, it’s the spiritual, the feeling like one, that makes the physical even more intense.
So those would be my concerns. If you’ve read through those, and you don’t think they apply to you (because your sex life is both intimate and fun, and porn isn’t an issue), and you don’t intend to store the pictures, then I really don’t think there’s anything wrong. But please, heed the red flags, and really think it through first. If you feel like it’s wrong, then it very well may be for you, and that may be God’s way of prompting you to tread carefully!
Now, I’d love to hear what you think. Ever been in an awkward situation where you wish you hadn’t taken some pictures? Or, if you’re a military spouse, I’d love to hear your unique take on this question!