Words are to women what pictures are to men.
This is not a new revelation. It has been said for many years that for women, “Sex starts between the ears not between the legs”. This is something I feel some Christian women have chosen to overlook or have forgotten.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is a romance novel that, due to it’s explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage, dominance, and masochism is placed in the sub-genre of romance, labeled “Erotic”. If you are unfamiliar, here is the definition: Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of human sexual relationships which have the power to or are intended to arouse the reader sexually.
I’m not sure when it became acceptable for Christian women to recommend erotic material to their friends, but this to me is a big double standard. I have heard this said many times in conversation between women, “…the story is just so good!”. I have not read the books to confirm or deny this opinion but I have read enough reviews to tell you it is poorly written. Erotic material and a poorly written story… that sounds familiar.
Picture a husband meets his buddies to watch a game, during a commercial break this conversation unfolds:
Rick: Anybody seen a good movie recently?
John: Dude! I just finished “Hoes Under Bros”. It was awesome! You should totally check it out.
Rick: I heard that had some pretty graphic sex scenes in it…
John: Well yeah, I mean it’s in the Adult section at blockbuster. But the story is so good, I just couldn’t stop watching!
Rick: Hmm.. my friend at work said that the male lead is very abusive and ties the girl up and stuff.
John: Yeah but that’s just the first one, in “Hoes Under Bros 2: Electric Boogaloo” you find out he really loves her.
Rick: Oh cool. Can I borrow it?
Now let’s say Rick came home with “Hoes Under Bros”, his wife yells the second she sees it, “Rick! Is this porn!?” Rick responds “Well, yeah honey, but John said the story is really good and they fall in love in the second movie”. Now I can’t speak for every wife in the world but I’m going to take a gamble and bet she does not say, “Oh they fall in love! Okay, that’s alright. Enjoy the movie!”
I know that story seems ridiculous and no Christian man is going to tell his buddies about a porno with a good story. But that is exactly what I see so many Christian women doing. The only difference is one is pictures, which christians agree is a black and white issue, and the other is words, which is apparently in the grey area.
So, do I personally think that christians should read erotic books? No, I don’t, but that is up to her personal convictions and whether or not she slips into lusting over the characters and visualizes herself in the situation. If a woman thinks that she can not lust while reading erotica then she should at least be aware that we, as christians, are called to guard our heart and even though the first books may not cause a woman to become aroused, her mind is most likely releasing dopamine and she is going to start searching out for more erotic books to give her mind another dose. In turn, possibly creating a vicious downward spiral taking her places she never dreamt she’d go.
I want to leave you with one final thought. If a woman can truly read erotica and not sin, not lust, not desire more, and she is free from conviction, then that is her right. But just as you wouldn’t drink alcohol, out of respect, in front of someone whom you know feels convicted by drinking, I feel christian women should be very mindful of who they are suggesting an erotic book to.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13
I am far from perfect, I sin everyday. I just feel as christians we need to be a little more open about what we are reading and be able to hold each other accountable.
Update: For continued reading on this topic, xxxchurch.com posted a blog on Fifty Shades of Grey today as well. Check it out.