I listen to a podcast by Albert Mohler entitled “The Briefing”. It is a short podcast discussing national news from a Christian worldview. On yesterdays episode Mohler brought up a topic that I found interesting. He discussed the rise of erotic romantic books for women (that sounds a little perverted but I assure you it isn’t). I would encourage you to listen to the 03/20 episode for some background.
These books provide woman and men with the opportunity to read books filled with sex. In a usatoday.com article entitled “Fifty Shades of Grey: Who knew women like erotica?!?!?” Joyce Lamb interviewed Raelene Gorlinsky. Gorlinsky is a publisher of erotic romance novels and here are some comments from the interview:
Raelene: Erotica is designed to make the reader pleasurably sexually turned on. Of course, what is ‘pleasurable’ can be different for every person. But the current use of erotica to describe a category of fiction is intended to have a positive connotation — it’s not porn, it’s not skanky, it doesn’t make you feel ‘dirty.’ So much current erotica is aimed at women readers, to give them not just excitement, but a positive and empowering view of sex.
Okay, the aim of these books aren’t to incite negative views of sex. Instead, they are intended to be “positive” and “empowering”. If that is the case then why do these books contain BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Submission, Masochism)? Gorlisnky continues:
BDSM in erotica fiction blossomed as very popular with erotic romance readers a dozen years ago. Ellora’s Cave was one of the first publishers to put out a lot of it, to satisfy reader demand. It was then and still continues to be one of our top-selling categories…
It is a fantasy that allows you to let go of your responsibilities and let someone else take charge. Most BDSM stories focus on the person in the submissive role. In erotica, that’s more frequently the woman…
Yes, some women and men sexually practice BDSM in their real lives, but far more read about it as a fantasy they can enjoy but in their conscious mind know very well that doing this in reality would not turn them on, would not be enjoyable for them. It’s all the old clichés about reading fiction, and assuming that we women are not capable of separating reality and fantasy.
So there you go. You can write about sex and bondage all you want but it is not equal to porn. You can read about what most people would never think about doing and that isn’t equal to porn. Anyone with a Biblical worldview can see that the connections between this type of literature and pornography are shockingly similar.
Porn gives us a false sense of reality by exaggerating sex beyond God’s intention. Sex goes beyond pleasure it is about unity with another person. Just like porn, these books deny that unity and boil sex down to simple pleasure. That is far from the Christian view of sex. Most of us can tell that this literature is sinful but I how does this connect with the title of this post? Good question!
Now-a-days we can purchase and read books on Kindles and Nooks. We do not need to leave our home to get them. This seems like a great advantage because it allows readers to get their hands on information quicker. This truly is an advantage for an avid reader like myself but e-books also have one huge problem…anonymity.
A person can buy an e-book and read it without anyone knowing it. This is a big problem when it comes to the genre of erotic romance. Many woman would be ashamed to buy one of these books at a Barnes & Noble store because their covers are often overtly racy. I like how Peggy Hageman highlights this point in her article “Fifty Shades of Grey: A Modern Peyton Place, Delivered in the Brown Paper Bag of Wireless Download“found at econtentmag.com:
In the 1950s, dog-eared mass-market paperbacks were passed furtively from friend to friend. But the modern-day scandalous novel is delivered in the brown paper bag of wireless download: no need to buy such an embarrassing book face-to-face from your local bookseller (assuming of course that your local bookseller hasn’t already gone out of business).
The modern way we read books provides anonymity when people consume literature like erotic romance novels. However, it is important to realize that while our modern technology allows us to run away from others it doesn’t mean that we can hide from God. Hebrews 4:12-13 says:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. -NET
Many people attempt to run from the sight of God. Sinners know they are sinners and sinners don’t like being called out on their sin. We see the need to hide our sin constantly in our culture and the “brown paper bag” aspect of erotic romantic literature is just one example. Let this be a reminder to all of us that we can run from God but we cannot hide from him.
Thanks for reading.
We started discussing this subject with asking “Is Premarital Sex Okay?“. We then moved on to how people can stay away from engaging in premarital sex in “Premarital Sex…Before and After Pt. 1“. This article will discuss the aftermath of premarital sex (PS) and how we can heal from the devastation.
Premarital sex is rampant in our culture. People are getting married at an older age. For those who do not have a Biblical Worldview sex can be taken seriously or casually. We don’t need to look hard to see this displayed for us…Thanks Jersey Shore! No matter how casually one takes premarital sex, it still causes massive devastation. It can be like a personal Katrina. Every part of your being can be effected by it. Physically, it can cause STD’s, pregnancy, and stress. Emotionally, it can cause pain, guilt, and hopelessness. Spiritually, it can cause a feeling of “untouchableness”. The last one is the most devastating. This “untouchableness” is the feeling that God cannot save someone so wretched and gross. How can we move past this feeling? That is the goal of this post.
1) Recognize Your Sin
As I pointed out in my first article, “Is Premarital Sex Okay?”, PS is sin. It is something that God considers evil. When we engage in such behavior we are telling God, “My self-gratification is more important than your glorification.” When we come to this understanding it can put us in a place of guilt and shame. Many would say that those are negative feelings but when it comes to sinning against a holy God those are proper reactions. If there is no guilt then how could anyone be condemned? Of course, sin is a damnable offense to God. As the Apostle Paul writes:
For the payoff of sin is death -Romans 6:23a, NET
When we sin we deserve death. For the believer this should cause a deep sense of guilt and shame. This leads us into the second step of dealing with sexual sin…repentance.
Repentance is essential to restoring a vibrant life after the devastation of sexual sin. God is faithful to his children even when his children are not. When Paul writes his second letter to the Corinthians he is very worried about their lack of concern over sexual immorality. Corinth was a place that was filled with sexual sin. We live in similar times. The only difference is that we don’t need to go anywhere to see it. We have access to sex everyday when we turn the TV on. While TV wasn’t a concern for Paul, the cultural view of sex was. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 12:21:
I am afraid that when I come again, my God may humiliate me before you, and I will grieve for many of those who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practiced. -NET
Paul is afraid that people within the Christian community haven’t repented from their sin. He knows the power of repentance. Repentance is more than being sorry or offering an apology. It is turning from the sin one has committed and living a life that is pleasing to God. Repentance is what leads us to freedom. Freedom brings new life.
3) Live in Freedom
Imagine with me standing before a jury. You are on trial for committing a heinous crime. Now imagine being convicted and locked up. While in prison you realize that you were wrong and you are sorry for what you have done. You have had a change of heart and decided to turn from your old ways. Someone within the justice system stands in your defense to account for the change of heart you have shown and you are set free after a year behind bars. How do you feel?
I am sure I would feel disconnected, forgotten, maybe even, lost in a world that has undergone a variety of changes since I was put away. But, I know one feeling that would be overwhelming. The feeling of freedom.
That sense of freedom is similar to the calming assurance I have in Christ. I know that I am his and he is mine. That means that when it is all said and done I am going to be with him forever. What that doesn’t mean is that I am going to live a completely sin-free life. I am going to make mistakes because the flesh is weak but God is faithful. He has made his people free in Christ as Paul tells us in Galatians 5 when he writes:
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. -Gal. 5:1, NET
For those that have faith in Christ you are free because of Christ’s work on the cross. Live in that freedom and in confidence knowing that your just condemnation has been overturned and accounted for. As Paul writes in Romans 8:1:
You were once condemned, and justly so, but now you stand in Christ! Every Christian needs to be reminded of this truth and live within it.
For those that have made mistakes with premarital sex or other sexual sins, remember that even though you are in the midst of devastation, God is faithful. Though you may be suffering from guilt and shame, God is comforting. You may have thought that your sin made you “untouchable”, but God is powerful enough to change you. God changes, saves, and sanctifies people! I pray he will do the same for you.
Thanks for reading.