One of the most arguments against christian married couples enjoying porn together is that the artificial perfection of the women and couples in porn will make the couple unsatisfied with the imperfections in each other.
This argument does not stand up to examination. Firstly, that is not the experience of couples who watch porn. Secondly, this argument isn’t used in any other situation. Thirdly, imagining the ideal is precisely what Christians and Jews have taught as the proper behavior for thousands of years.
Let’s take these one at a time.
Couples who watch porn do not experience decreased desire for each other.
Here is the argument as presented by the “Porn Addiction” specialists.
- Porn is an addiction
- Addiction results in more need and less desire
- Couples who use porn will be less attracted to each other
The article I link to above is by a licensed counselor who quotes peer-reviewed studies to prove his position. But, like the other porn-addiction advocates, he selectively quotes the studies and misrepresents them. In this case, in order to prove point 3 he quotes a 2013 study by Staley and Prouse. “Erotic Viewing Effects on Intimate Relationships and Self/Partner Evaluations”
The anti-porn advocate selectively quotes from the “question” part of the study that asks whether erotica-viewing will reduce marital desire. He then leaves out the results of the study – which contradicts his pre-determined conclusion. After studying 34 couples who were tested after viewing erotic and non-erotic stimuli. Here is what the authors wrote.
Participants viewing both the erotic and exciting films reported equivalent increases in excitement; however, the erotic film was rated as slightly more generally arousing and increased participant's desire to be close to their partner...viewing erotic films led to more positive evaluations of one's own sexual behaviors.
In short, the study states that couples who watched erotica – whether singly or alone – desired each other more. Of course they did. They got turned on by the fantasy and wanted some of the real thing from each other.
But why is this. Shouldn’t the fantasy make the reality less desirable? No
We use fantasy models all the time
Remember the wax fruit craze of the ’70’s. My mother put out a bowl of wax fruit as decoration. Did you ever try to bite into it? Well, I did. Mom was not happy. I discovered that models rarely taste as good as they look. Nevertheless, those perfect-looking waxed fruits did whet my desire for real fruit. If something can LOOK that good, surely somewhere there is something that TASTES that good.
When I go to the department store to buy clothes, I am surrounded by mannequins modelling those clothes. I know perfectly well that there are no male bodies with perfect abs like that outside of Hollywood (I’ll give you Chris Hemsworth). I certainly don’t look that nice. Yet I buy those polo shirts anyway. The store knows that showing me the ideal will increase my desire for the everyday.
When I watch Grey’s Anatomy with my wife, she knows perfectly well that I will never approach the manly perfection displayed
But I have gotten my bones jumped a few times after the episode!
Christians believe in Platonic Ideals
My point is that healthy brains are perfectly capable of distinguishing between the ideal and the prosaic. In fact, that is the way our brain works. We name things by the ideal. When Adam named the animals, he didn’t name them for ranges of attributes. (Four legged animal that eats grass, chews cud, and gives milk – coming in a range of colors and sizes) but rather for an ideal (this cow is larger than usual, with black and white spots instead of uniform brown).
As Judea-Christian philosophers, we believe that heaven contains the models of things that exist on earth. The perfect marriage is Christ and the Church. Contemplating this perfect love does not cause me to love my wife less, but more.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
So also, contemplating the perfect sex causes me to love sex with my wife more
I know that the sex models aren’t actually that perfect. That a guy cannot maintain an erection that long, that my wife isn’t going to moan that excitedly. That we aren’t both going to have simultaneous orgasms very often. I certainly know that I am not endowed with that many inches.
But that doesn’t keep me from using the inches that God endowed me with to please her and make her as happy as any porn star ever thought of being.