When I began to write this blog about whether couples can watch porn together responsibly all I had was questions.
– Does it make you compare yourself and/or your partner to the actors on screen? How does that affect your self-esteem? Theirs?
– Surely if a couple is watching together, at least there is openness and no secret porn viewing, right? Isn’t that good?
– Couldn’t it give ideas for sex that might spark a great sex life?
– What does watching together actually entail? Just watching? Mutual masturbation? Having sex at the same time?
– Can some couples watch porn and it be okay? Only if both are in agreement? If they can, who are we to disagree? Is there a difference between that and welcoming someone else in physically?
– What about a couple whose experience has been that porn has been helpful? How can we argue against that? Does experience trump what the Bible says about sexuality or vice versa
– Or is it okay for a couple to watch porn together as long as they aren’t Christian?
But then I realized I was asking the wrong set of questions completely.
One of the issues the Church has had with sex (and there are many) is that we are so worried about what is right and what is wrong that we have sucked all the fun right out of it by telling people what is acceptable and what is not. We’ve taken all the spontaneity out of sex by making up all kinds of rules.
Christians don’t know how to have sex, and we need a new discussion on sex that takes it outside of the bedroom.
Is sex just about two people coming together physically (pun most definitely intended) or is it an outpouring of their love? Does it start with sex itself or is sex the result of a deeper expression?
We typically take a strange approach to sex in the church where we are cautious of anything that involves our bodies or that feels good, while simultaneously neglecting the spiritual side of sex. Which is why, when the questions around sex focus mainly on the physical at the expense of the spiritual or emotional, we lose out on a deeper intimacy. Something that could be the key to unbelievable sex. And yes, I’m fully aware of how much this sounds like the title of a cringe worthy Christian sex book.
Rob Bell describes the idea of amazing sex in his book ‘Sex God’ like this,
“It’s easy to take off your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, dreams… that is being naked.”
This is truly great foreplay. When it starts outside the bedroom and takes place in all the little interactions you have with someone. How you respect their dreams, how you consider their needs before your own, when you are vulnerable about your deepest, darkest fears or desires, when you tell them how you are truly feeling, and in those small looks to each other where words aren’t required.
This puts porn to shame.
If you want to have sex with your spouse every night but aren’t willing to take the time to be vulnerable with them throughout the day, then it’s not surprising that sex can become stale, something to fear and something to get anxious about.
So is sex a physical act or a spiritual one?
We shouldn’t wait until we have no clothes on to shake things up in the bedroom. It should be happening in the normal, seemingly mundane moments of our lives with someone we have committed on traveling this life with.
Which brings us perfectly back to the question of whether couples can watch porn together.
I would not recommend it.
I know that there are many people who are reading this where porn has crept in and is sucking the life out of you and your marriage. Porn is something that we return to time and time again to medicate some buried pain that we don’t want to deal with.
If you’re using sex to heal a physical wound in your marriage then you’ve misunderstood what sex is about.
If you’re using sex to heal an emotional wound then you aren’t getting to enjoy sex as much as you should.
So because of our discomfort with anything remotely sexy, Christians have often been accused of hating sex or for being prudes, but understanding that sex is more than merely physical can change everything.
If we begin with the physical, then it is more likely to grow stale or boring. But if we realize that in our marriage we are free to be real in front of each other and there is no pretense, we allow ourselves the grace to be patient and honest with each other. Which breeds intimacy. Which, guess what? Should breed a sex life that is natural and focused on no one else but each other.
This isn’t stripping sex of its fun, it’s making it even more fun than we could ever hope.
So much fun, in fact, that you simply stop searching for ways to fix it or make it better because it’s too good to be true.
But instead it’s very, very real.
And very, very good.