The title catches your attention, doesn’t it? Well, I am about to share my opinion on the matter (and just to warn you, it’s not a popular one).
The world we live in glorifies sex, and, as a result, it is damaging to every person in this nation.
I believe that the value of sex is preserved in marriage. This is an idea that is supported by my faith, but, for those who do not currently share my love for Jesus Christ, my argument still stands. As we work our way from the small aspects of sex in our culture to the big ones, let us try to be honest with ourselves in regards to the enormity of this problem. I have chosen five cases of sexual exploitation in our society, and I pose a question or two to go along with each one before going into my explanation. (Spoiler: there is a surprise at the end of this discussion, so keep reading!)
However, before we begin, let us make known that I am by no means trying to be hypocritical. No, I do not always have the most pure mind, heart, or actions. No, I do not always make the right decisions when it came to the music I listen to, the shows and movies I watch, or the decisions I have made and relationships I pursued. Yes, I am a sinner, and I have (and will continue) to fall short of the glory of God.
1) Commercials and Advertisements
Q: Why do ladies need to be in bikini bathing suits or lingerie all the time? Why do men always need to be shirtless in advertisements?
A: They don’t. Like, I’m over here just trying to watch “Fixer Upper,” I really don’t need to see an almost naked woman curled up next to an almost naked man sniffing him for a cologne commercial. Trust me, no cologne smells that good that you can wear it and become 100x more attractive because of it; if that were the case, a) CREEPY! and weird, b) that’s just wrong to take advantage of others like that, c) attractiveness based solely out of lust does not promote a healthy or long lasting relationship.
P.S. Billboards, commercials, and so on, are all publicly displayed… do we really want children and young minds to be filled with the curiosity and expectations being laid out (very obviously) before them?
2) Song Lyrics
Q: When do the “f word” and explicit words describing men and women’s genitalia ever need to appear in a song to have good music?
“But I just like the bass/rhythm/fill in the blank. I don’t actually listen to the lyrics…”
A: Ha! Yeah, right. There is plenty of good music out there with a strong bass, funky rhythm, or whatever else you like that does NOT have curse words, explicit language, or degradation of a gender.
Anyways, the words we fill our minds with ultimately become the words that come out of our mouth. Would we be proud to use that kind of language at the Thanksgiving dinner table with family and friends? Why? Because we know that it is inappropriate. We know that it is inappropriate to say in front of older people who don’t like that kind of music and children who should not be listening to those words, so I think it is safe to say that it is not music that ‘our generation’ (whatever that means…) should be listening to, as well.
3) Movies and TV Shows
(food for thought: some might call sex scenes in movies and tv shows ‘soft pornography’; no actual “parts” are shown, but undressing, sounds, sheets, etc. all are)
Q: How do movies and television shows give our society unrealistic expectations of what sex should be like?
A: If I had to define ‘sex’ based on what is shown in movies and television shows in three words, they would be:
Very rarely, if ever, do you see characters sit down (sober) with their partner and have a conversation about what their physical expectations and comfort levels are. Instead, you see people violently tearing each other’s clothes off and trying only to please their own burning desire for sex.
I do not see how this is at all healthy. People deserve respect, and that is not how tv portrays sex (though I would argue that there is no need to portray sex scenes at all).
Q: Do the effects of pornography benefit anyone in the long run?
A: Pornography gives people instant gratification with essentially no effort; no guy or girl to go talk to, no relationships, no strings attached… yet, if we are able to objectify pictures or words that easily, how much harder is it to objectify another human being? It is not that far of a stretch to say that pornography is objectifying human sexuality and leads to the objectification of actual sexual interactions, potentially be extremely dangerous.
5) Sex Outside of Marriage
Going into marriage, does anyone consciously think that it is alright to cheat on their spouse? The person that they promise to be loyal and loving to in sickness and health… so why do people do it (before or during marriage)?
A: I don’t have one. I don’t know why people do what they do, sometimes I don’t even know why I do what I do. All I can say is that the culture we live in does not discourage people from having premarital sex or affairs on their spouses, it just discourages people from getting caught.
Let us consider the damage of the following two cases:
Case 1: Consensual sex between non-married people.
Premarital sex is extremely common; in fact, people waiting for marriage are sometimes scorned or ridiculed because of their ‘prudish’ thinking in wanting to save themselves for their future spouse. Honestly, it is hard to tell people what they should and should not do, it is by no means my place to do such a thing. I will, however, tell you that I think premarital sex is extremely damaging to future, serious relationships. When someone is ready to get married, they will probably be honest with their fiancee about their previous sexual history, and that might cause some discomfort or distrust if the two people had different views on premarital sex or on how many partners they had before engagement. I am suggesting that trust might be compromised or at least that either or both of the partners might be more self-conscious about their future sex life because they do not want to be compared to their spouse’s previous partners. I know it would create some self-doubt for me.
Case 2: Consensual sex between at least one married person and a person who is not their spouse.
It is sad that this is the world we live in, BUT it does not always have to be. Changing our society’s view of sex would not be an easy thing to do, but I think marriage might become more protected than it is now. I don’t know, this point hits home for a lot of people, sadly. All I can say is to keep reading.
*I know that I did not address at all the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault, for that is definitely a post of it’s own; however, I believe with 100% confidence that our culture and outlook and display of sex is a huge factor in the accounts of harassment, assault, and rape. The desensitization towards sex as well as to respect of one’s partner’s needs and desires is creating a world devastated by the abuse of sex.*
SURPRISE!!! (but really not)
GOD GIVES GRACE!
First and foremost, this is not an excuse to live in. It IS, though, an opportunity to be redeemed from the sin that holds us captive. It is because of the power explained in verses like 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 that give me the confidence to talk about tough topics, like this one, that I know my life has been influenced by.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Because of God’s grace through Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins, we can be rid of them forever! The sexual struggles, temptations, and sinful acts can all be washed away by the blood of Christ.
(A few more perspectives on Christian abstinence and healthy sex can be found here: https://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/hottopics/sexabstinence/)