What’s Your Porn?

Posted by Jacqueline Gardner, Team Teacher

I’m not allowed to watch romantic comedies.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much I enjoy more than curling up with a container of cookie dough and my fav chick flick, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days (which is ironic since I’d be far more interested in learning what it takes to keep a guy around…).

Thing is, as much as I love them, they’re just not worth the tradeoff: two hours of gushy entertainment for a night of wrestling against lust simply because my reality can’t compete with my fantasy.

Think it’s all in my head? You’d be right, since the brain’s deep limbic system is the primary sex organ. Believe it or not, viewing romantic media content affects your brain. Dannah’s research for one of her books led her to discover a biological component in exposure to romantic film content. (Ever watched a romantic movie with sexual nuances and then found yourself craving your/a husband?) Both men and women viewers experienced changes in progesterone and testosterone levels, indicating that media content alters the endocrine environment and hormones, at least temporarily.

So for me, all that stuff is girl porn.

Maybe it’s a stretch to compare chick flicks and romance novels to porn. Or maybe not. Beth Spraul believes that whereas porn targets men visually, the lies told to women are introduced emotionally. She says that things like chick flicks and ‘chick-lit’ “take a good gift from God [romance, relational intimacy] that women are created to desire, and distort it…And just like men buy into the lies of pornography, women who believe their husbands and marriages should always be like what they see on the screen will be sinfully dissatisfied with God’s good gift to them of a ‘normal’ husband and marriage.”

Problem is that girl porn leaves my body aroused but my heart unsatisfied. It has nothing to do with real love or real sex. (For those of you who’ve read What Are You Waiting For, it’s shakab but no yada.) No knowing, seeking, or respecting. Just the physical. Just me and my gratification. Just a counterfeit. Lust takes. Love gives.

Do you struggle with girl porn? Are you exposing yourself to romantic content (movies, TV, books, music, conversation) that leaves you dissatisfied? Pulling you further away from your husband instead of closer to him? Causing you to fantasize or masturbate? Doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, or a mom. The Enemy uses the same tricks.

So I don’t let myself watch chick flicks.

I want the real thing.

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17 Comments

  • Don’t miss the point … as a married woman your bed is undefiled. Hollywood screen and print romances might be a “spark” in your bedroom with your hubby but that same *lighter* is a highly destructive catalyst outside of the “fireplace” of marriage.
    Each of us has to establish our own standard (and boundaries) according to the convictions of our faith walk. As a married woman of nearly 22 years, I want to guard my heart with all diligence. All of life’s issues flow from our heart/mind. Whatever we feed grows. Feed the flesh (that carnal nature) and the flesh rules. Feed the spirit and the spirit rules. Bravo Jacqueline. Bravo. <3

  • This is amazing! I have never thought about it like that, but it does makes a lot of sense! I’m 18 and single, and as many girls my age enjoy watching romantic movies with my friends, but they always leave me feeling empty. Many times they leave me feeling so sad that I don’t have a guy in my life, and I go days just thinking, imagining and longing for a guy just because of a least than two hours movie. I’ve caught myself so many times going to the Lord in prayer saying how bad I feel for spending more time longing for what I saw in the movie (which is most of the times not as good as the movie makes it seem! Most of the movies portrait a relationship that is far from being God’s best) than longing for Him. I have been trying a lot to avoid “romantic” stuff, movies or music that are not the Lord’s perfect romantic love. I agree with you, I want the real think!!

  • Thank you so much for this post, Jacqueline! I can completely relate and I have been feeling convicted about this for a long time. I don’t feel tempted to lust after watching a chick flick but I tend to feel discontented with myself and my life. I don’t want to completely give up romantic movies because it’s fun to watch them with friends but I think I will definitely stop watching them alone and if I am going to watch a movie with friends, I’ll suggest a Disney movie or something next time 🙂 You are great at getting a message across.

  • I say everything in moderation. I can see why you might avoid secular films and books; they are so often very vulgar. But a good Christian romance movie (Love Comes Softly) or a good Christian romance novel that glorifies the Lord is not porn. Porn is inherently wrong. If things like Anne of Green Gables, The Sound of Music, etc. is getting you excited, you have some other problems you need to deal with. I think there is nothing wrong with seeing a movie or reading a book and having an idea in your head about the future husband you want…that’s all it is, is an idea. God built us women to love a good romance story, I’ve yet to find a scripture that negates that. I’m not saying that this kind of thinking is way off…if God tells you specifically not to do something than that’s one thing. Only He knows your limitations, but beware of legalism when you tell you others not to do something that isn’t explicitly wrong.

  • @Em
    Thanks so much for the reminder. I think you’re right, and certainly didn’t intend to say we shouldn’t enjoy the idea of romance. Actually, “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers is one of my favorite novels. Romance was and is God’s idea…only problem is that our culture stinks at moderation and we often cross the line! I struggle with fantasy, so avoiding lusty chick flicks is how I guard my mind, but I agree that obedience might look different for other girls. Thanks for your wisdom =)

    Jacqueline

  • Hi everyone, greetings from the African continent :). Great post Jacqueline, I agree with you totally. For me, I had to decide to give up all romantic content including Christian ones because it led to fantasizing and lustful thoughts. I deleted all the romantic songs in my phone and quit watching all the soaps on TV (Mexican,American,Filipino,etc). The Mexican soaps are still a struggle because I really enjoy some. I also had to hold back on watching popular teen dramas and a lot of romantic movies. I still enjoy romantic Christian content once in a while though. It’s a good reminder that we should aim for God’s best and what is real when it comes to matters of the heart. Good job!:)

  • As an unmarried guy who just turned 30, one might think “This stuff is none of your business.” But I HAVE seen romantic comedies and dramas severely distort the perceptions of my female friends (sisters in Christ). It hurts to see them set up for a fall. It also irritates my single male friends, because we can’t offer the kinds of “perfection” that Hollywood offers. It’s a lose-lose situation, and I’m GLAD to see a young woman speak out on the matter. Ladies, listen to her. This is solid stuff she’s saying. And to the writer, Thank you!

  • Great blog! I have found myself more emotionally effected by girly porn or chick flicks since I have been in a relationship. During the years I wasn’t I found those to be contrived and unrealistic. I see the connection.

  • I just wanted to share that I hate it when people term things like books or movies ‘girl porn’.

    1. Pornography is serious. Very serious and the women who participate in it most often have been abused. Look up the statistics. I hate to think that we trivialize the matter, by terming other things ‘porn’.

    2. I agree with Em: “if God tells you specifically not to do something than that’s one thing. Only He knows your limitations, but beware of legalism when you tell you others not to do something that isn’t explicitly wrong.” Ultimately this isn’t a matter of ‘girl porn’, but a matter of the heart and earnestly seeking Christ.

    3. I have been in places in my life where it was so hard to even read the Bible. The one thing that helped draw me to God and restore my faith was a few books that would fall into this category of ‘girl porn’ you talk about.

    I’m not trying to be offensive or rude, but I just wanted to share another perspective on the matter.

  • @Julie

    Hi Julie,

    Appreciate your thoughts! I agree. Porn is serious. I’m not trying to equate chick flicks to the sexual exploitation of women, but I do believe they can both do the same kind of heart damage. What pornography does visually for men, fantasy does emotionally for women. We’re wired to be sexually aroused through different channels.

    I actually agree with Em and posted a reply to her comment above (Redeeming Love was one of the things that helped draw me to my Beloved during a spiritually dry season). And while I will always be on my guard against legalism, I also don’t want to fall into the ditch on the other side. In Ephesians 5 Paul, pleads with us to avoid even a hint of sexuality (I think because when we taste a ‘hint’ of something, we usually want to consume more) so we might follow the example of Christ.

    No offense taken! I actually appreciate the kindness and thoughtfulness in your reply! Thanks so much for throwing in a word of caution.

    Love!
    Jacqueline

  • I just started reading your blog and I really love your insight. As someone who has had a history of love and relationship addiction, “chick flics” are just as provocative as porn. We do not have tv, I only read a few select magazines and stay clear of much on the internet. Some people think I have become “too religious” but for me it is about respecting my family, and my spiritual health and being obedient to God. One I stepped away from the “fairy tale” romance, God brough a wonderful man into my life who is now my husband. If I still gave in to indulging in lusty drama, I would not be as fulfilled in my marriage as I am now, nor would I be the wife God wants me to be.

  • I agree with both sides of this. While this is not what we would normally consider “porn” and the exploitation of females that go along with that,it is a form of porn that engages the mind, emotions and imagination. We are wired differently than men. While they are turned on visually, we are turned on more through our emotions and imaginations. Anything that gives us the “wrong idea” of what a Christian married romance should be like, is harmful and will leave us dissatisfied in the end. I don’t believe that when God said the marriage bed is undefiled, He meant for us to bring outside sources (porn – in any way shape or form) into our sex lives to make it better. I think Christian men and women have totally misconstrued God’s intentions here to justify things that may not be acceptable in God’s eyes. I grew up with a father who was very addicted to porn, so I do not take this lightly. I lived with the devastation and destruction that it caused in my family, eventually leading to my dad’s complete dissatisfaction with my mother and a series of extramarital affairs and a bad divorce. Whether we’re engaging in it with our eyes or our minds, it’s displeasing to God and ought not to be a part of a Christian’s life. I am not bashing Christian romance. Although they are not my typical go-to book, I have read some very sweet romantic books that do not cross the line of being pornographic, but we do need to be discerning what is right and wrong – not based on other people’s opinions, but God’s.

  • In the earlier years of my marriage I had to actually stop reading Christian romance novels because it was making me compare these perfect love stories where God was in the center and focus of the relationships when at last they came to be, to my husband and the real life hard stuff we were working through. I found my self discontent and as soon as I realized where that was coming from, I had to stop reading them. My husband is an amazing Christian man, we have a great marriage where we work through our stuff. But at that time in my life, I couldn’t handle those books without comparing my husband to the men in those books. At that point, that was an area of weakness for me. So I agree with you, and I will say that I think there are seasons in your life too where the subject matter may change – for now maybe it’s chick flicks, later that may not be an issue but something else may. God is good to us, He speaks and if we remain sensitive we’ll know what to avoid to be able to walk blamelessly before Him.

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