Not quite long ago, I got a link to a website that shocked the tits out of me (please, pardon my language). At first I wasn’t sure what I was viewing because I was clearly under the impression that it was a Christian website, so I had to go and read the About page and sure enough it was a Christian site. According to them, their aim is to provide erotic material to married couples only. They claim that because so many Christians are getting involved in immoral sexual behavior and delving fully into pornography, their site was to stand as a standard for the sexual conduct the Holy Bible has permitted a man and woman to have only in the context of marriage. Hence, to keep the fire burning between a man and his wife and to ensure that they do not hunger for worldly pornography, the site posts erotica for the reading pleasure of their audience. To participate as a writer and to post comments, you have to register and you have to be married. Well, because they can’t tell who is married or not, they rely on the good virtues and honesty of members.
Now, having read all that, my interest was piqued, so I went browsing through the stories just to know if they were any different from the erotica I have read elsewhere, and here is the shocker: They were not. Words like dick, cock, pussy, tits, fuck were all there. The only thing you won’t find on the site are themes on threesomes, anal sex, homosexuality, pre-marital sex, adultery, incest, rape, BDSM, bestiality and all the other really pornographic topics. Everything else goes, including masturbation, public sex, role play etc.
I was baffled. The stories were written by members who were sharing real life experiences. And to be honest, I could connect with the writers in some sense because these were real married people like me, sharing real experiences of their marriage sex. Plus they do not hide the fact that the material they have up there is aimed at arousing the sexual feelings of whoever is reading it. You will see comments like the ones below. I erased usernames for privacy reasons.
Crazy, right? I thought so too. So I decided to speak to someone about it and to get her thoughts on the issue. I went to Twitter and contacted @anafricandiva. For those of you who know her, she is very open about sexual intimacy in marriage and often tweets via her alias @joysuo about reviving the sexual intimacy between a man and his wife and to maintain a healthy, moral, holistic, loving relationship through sex the way God permits and has ordained. I shared the link to the site with her and asked her thoughts on it and she got back to me the next day. She had the following to say:
“… issue is 1. Erotica, just like porn, is highly addictive. Once you start you can’t get enough. When one gets hooked on it, problem. 2. The way porn rewires guys’ minds so that what arouses them is an image and not their partner, is the same way erotica rewires our minds. When a woman starts reading erotica, what gradually happens is that her mind is rewired; what arouses her is an idea/scenario, not her hubby. In using something outside of marriage to get aroused, we transfer our sexual energy from our spouse.”
So there I was thinking about all she said and about what I saw on the site and I still wasn’t sure where I stood. Now let it be noted that because I was introduced to sex at an early age, my mind had long been stripped of its propensity to be actually appalled by certain things. I am one of those people that would see a sex scene on TV and not be moved by it. Then getting married to a director didn’t help either. Looking through his eyes, sometimes I just see the whole TV crew on the movie set and whatever excitement the scene was supposed to build in me, wouldn’t get me anywhere. I am more affected by words and that is why it is quite dangerous for me to constantly put my interest in erotica. It is a struggle for me to write it without being in that place of mind because I immerse myself into all my writing before anything out. Be it romance, drama, action, horror, I will have to be in a frame of mind to be able to put it down in paper; hence, my reluctance to write anything totally sexual.
Yes, I just confessed to you that I have sex on the brain. But you know what? I’m not alone. There are millions of Christians like me. For some the struggle is really bad and the world does not make it any easier. Christians battle everyday with their sexuality and one often wonders why it is so, being that the bible has all the resources needed to help us combat the flesh. We have the arsenal of God’s word and prayers and the support of the church but at the end of the day I have found out that the worst sexual sins are committed mostly by Christians. I can attest to this as a pastor’s kid. Many were the sins that were swept under the carpet to protect the church and if only the members knew what other members were doing beyond the four walls of the church, they would give up on God entirely.
Devoted Christians and Muslims are just human beings at the end of the day with real needs. Religion has put people in a tight corner. And pardon my usage of the word ‘religion’. I always separate it from true faith and believing in God alone with no human additives to corrupt one’s devotion. Religion can exist completely without God. Take for example the pastor who climbs the pulpit to call on the name of Jesus and yet sleeps with his members’ wives or the guy who takes a knife and chops off somebody’s head and says he does so in the name of Allah. Those people are religious with no God. That’s not to say that at some point they didn’t seek God. They might have just like we do on the daily. Yet, all of us are stricken by earthly desires. But then there are people who say they have overcome completely. Does that mean that the problem I speak of today is just for certain people and others are immune?
No. Everyone and anyone can fall into the same sin that everyone and anyone is falling into. You are strong today doesn’t mean you won’t fall tomorrow. You might be able to overcome your lusts for a while but you could be weighed down by them or something else another day. To me, the struggle and triumph, therefore, comes by falling and rising and trusting in God to help you all the time. I am yet to see a sinless man on this earth, for when we think we stand, it is then we fall. That being the case, should we be allowed to our diplomacies and subtleties? Should we be allowed to indulge in our weaknesses by finding a ‘healthy’ way to handle them in a manner that we satisfy God and satisfy ourselves? Hence, giving unto God what is God’s and unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s?
Well, I think that is the plain message of all Christian erotica. To the advocates of such literature, they have acknowledged that they have an addiction to sex and instead of satisfying it in a worldly manner and encouraging people to follow in ‘carnal’ things, they bring it home and modify it into something godly. It’s like saying, my kid is addicted to sugar and instead of scrapping it out of her life, I put the sugar in her tea so that she takes it the right way. Going by that analogy, it’s not so bad, is it? We pick the good smudged by the bad, wipe off the bad and voila! we have the good alone.
But let’s look at it this other way.
We pick the good, smudged by the bad, wipe away the bad and we have the good, only that our hands have been stained by the bad and now we flaw the good again until we can’t tell where it ends and the bad begins.
If you go to that site I visited, all of the things written there are practiced by many married couples like the ones you and I come across every day. Some of the strong language used are used by normal married people when having sex. But is it appropriate for someone to write out their sex experience with their spouse for the public to read? What is their aim? Is it not the same as giving a live show for everyone to wank over? Aren’t they corrupting minds? Well, I wouldn’t completely know because I cannot read their minds but I can tell you that for the writers on those sites, they might have succeeded in putting an image in another person’s head that is not of their own spouse but of the spouse of the writer themselves. They might have stirred up another person’s sexual lusts. But the writers would argue against this because their goal, as they claim, is for the reader to concentrate on their marriage alone. But what if the reader doesn’t? What if the writer is actually leading another Christian to do wrong?
Me, I am very liberal on these issues. I believe in adults making decisions on their own without anyone on their necks about it; that is why when I see things like this I try not to make a judgment so fast. And, reiterating, I am somewhat undecided on the issue. I have heard of cases where pornography has helped couples. I know of a man who increased his sexual abilities in bed by watching porn and by learning techniques via educative erotica to help him last long in bed. Surely, the church wouldn’t teach him that. After all, to many Christians, God really doesn’t care what you do in your marriage bed as long as you don’t defile it. Yet He gave us the book of Songs of Solomon. And please, let nobody tell me that book did not do justice to sex between a man and his wife.
I can hear some people’s loud thoughts spiritualizing the book completely, getting aghast at me for seeing any form of sex there. And I think, maybe, that is part of the problem. Maybe that is why so many Christians are addicted to pornography today. The church won’t talk about sex as it should, won’t fully tell the truth about sex and holds very archaic views about it. The only commandment people hear is DON’T DO. And sadly, this lack of expression affects even married couples and often leads them to follow their basic human nature, which includes seeking, exploring and breaking the rules. The pattern is as old as what happened in the Garden of Eden.
So my big question is: is it wrong for people who still love God, who have tasted the other side too and still like it, to want to find some way to bring some excitement and balance into their lives, knowing they can’t completely escape their flesh?
Or should these Christian erotica writers borrow a leaf from King Solomon as he used in Songs of Solomon to describe the intimacy between a man and his wife in more appropriate language?
Or should they just not write erotica at all?