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You Can Run but You Can’t Hide

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.

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About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we have one amazing child! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on March 21, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m not sure why BDSM and “‘positive’ and ’empowering'” would be contradictory. Just like sex I think kinky sex can be part of finding intimacy with your partner. In otherwords, I don’t feel that the illegitimacy of erotica, in a christian homes depends on what kind of sex is portrayed.

    • Pand,

      The problem with your comment is that I never said that “kinky sex” between two married couples is wrong. If you read my post you will notice that I being up two main points. #1 These romantic books are akin to pornography. #2 The anonymity that online books gives is dangerous.

      If you have a comment on those two things go for it but, I am not really sure why so many people comment on the minor stuff.

      Travis

      • Hi Travis,
        I think I’m actually disagreeing with Gorlisnky in this case:

        “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”

        I just hate seeing BDSM get a bad rep, because of the porn industry. Correct me if i’m wrong, that seams like what he’s implying.

        Also I don’t mind if you don’t want to approve my comment though. I’m not trying to me mean. Thanks for replying.

      • Gorlinsky is a woman. The words you quoted were my words not her’s.

        Personally, I think BDSM is not healthy. It creates a sense of domination that simply shouldn’t exist within a healthy marriage. My main concern is that women are reading these books and, like porn, it creates a false sense of what sex is. We need to live in reality not fantasy.

        Also, if a comment is on topic and doesn’t contain vulgar language I will approve it. Both of your comments were approved and you don’t come off as mean.

        I would like to know if you are a Christian though? If not, what is your worldview?

        Travis

      • I’m a Christian (as in I read and believe the Bible).

        I think BDSM is largely misunderstood. The best way I can think of to explain it is the following:
        Have you ever had someone tease you, but known all along that they weren’t serious? If you have, then you know that there is really no harm in it even through you could easily associate it with bullying, which can be a serious problem. In fact, you may even be able to recognize the ways in which a friendly jibe can add significantly to conversation.

        That’s the way I feel about BDSM. It’s something unconventional that can add to the relationship with your spouse. Like in my analogy it’s easy to associate BDSM with abusive or cultish practices, but they are simply not the same thing. BDSM is by definition a consensual, experience.

        I’m curious where your opinions of BDSM have been drawn from. Was it porn? erotica? wikipedia? other people whose opinions were based on porn or erotica? In reality BDSM can be simple things like teasing, or a pair of toy handcuffs only in a more intimate context. It can take a while to realize that BDSM isn’t the stuff portrayed in porn. Porn and erotica don’t portray life accurately and in this respect I think we agree.

      • Pand,

        Not all “consensual” experiences are good. Also, I just think that is creates a dynamic within a marriage that is unneeded and could be extremely unhealthy. To only say BDSM is, “teasing, or a pair of toy handcuffs,” doesn’t jive with what BDSM stands for.

        Also, my post was not about BDSM. It was about romance novels that have graphic sexual components to them which is equal to porn which every Christian agrees is sin.

        Travis

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