Is Porn Sinful?

adult video store entrance

As I’ve indicated on many subjects, I’m fairly liberal in my stance on sex in marriage. There are some immovable lines that cannot be crossed such as adultery, but I think there’s very little that can be done in the marital bed that’s inherently sinful. I’m far from uptight on the subject, particularly when compared with the typical Christian point of view.

But there’s at least one line drawn by the traditional conservative Christian that I agree with soundly: pornography.

Porn, certainly for men but potentially for women as well, can be subtly addictive and dangerously distracting. In its modern Internet form, it’s ubiquitous. anonymous, and convenient. The web has placed it at the very fingertips of every man, woman, and child with a few seconds to kill and even the most rudimentary computer skills.

But is it sin?

The Lust Angle

First of all, the only person we’re allowed to lust for is our spouse. Period. Jesus makes that extremely clear in Matthew 5:28. For a man to look at a woman he’s not married to with lust in his heart is the same as adultery. I’m not a big fan of the universal gender neutralization that some practice with the Bible, but I’m fairly certain that this rule goes for both sexes.

And if lusting after someone outside your marriage is adultery, and therefore sin, then any pornography you partake of falls clearly into the realm of sin on this premise alone. There’s only one exception to this rule, and that’s when the only person in the pornography you’re lusting after is your spouse.

Any sexual energy poured into this self-serving lust is energy you’re depriving your spouse of.

Lost Energy

There’s a second, more subtle effect pornography has. Each time we engage with the fantasies that porn empowers, we lose touch with reality a little more. And our spouse suffers for it, whether they (or we) realize it or not. Any sexual energy poured into this self-serving lust is energy you’re depriving your spouse of.

Now some might disagree with that assessment.

Some might say, “I get excited when I look at porn, and then once I’m aroused, I go to my spouse for release.” So, they’ve rationalized a way around this argument well enough to be able to sleep at night.

But experience tells me (and the entire sex industry would concur, from producers of beer commercials to prostitutes, from pornographers to sex traffickers) the build-up, the anticipation, and the seduction are an intensely satisfying and psychologically powerful event. It’s downright energetic.

By denying your spouse the opportunity to arouse you, you withhold that energy from them, instead expending it before some nameless (or stage-named) idol on a screen or in print. And if you insist, “But my spouse doesn’t arouse me as well as porn does,” then you’re only proving my point. You’ve so invested yourself into the fantasy the real thing is crippled. The only way out is to starve the one so your psyche feeds on the other.

Some might instead say, “We watch it together. It’s a shared experience, and it excites both of us.” Well, assuming you have somehow imagined that Jesus’ words in Matthew don’t apply to you, you still miss the point. You could be satisfying each other, rather than using external resources. You could be pouring into your spouse’s sensuality instead of counting on others to do it for you. Simply put, your spouse deserves better.

The only way I can see porn being kosher is when it’s of the homemade variety, starring no one other than you and/or your spouse. Now, this is where my opinion diverges from that of traditional conservative Christianity. They’d likely say even that was wrong. But despite my support of this particular practice, there are still some crucial considerations when a Christian couple makes a sex tape.

About Phil (251 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.