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Spice or Porn? by Jenny Smith

October 2, 2012

I am always amazed at the people I meet at book signing events. Some are just lookers with a passing interest in my books, some are writers or writer-want-a-bes. Still others are the wonderful published writers sitting around me. A few weeks ago I was invited to a book event at a Barnes and Noble store in Rome, GA. There were about ten other authors, some drawing large crowds and others smiling through the pain. (I’ll not tell you which I was for fear of appearing to gloat)…not.
Anyway, I was seated next to Jenny Smith who is a successful author and speaker in her own right. Her article entitled Spice or Porn?, so impressed me that I got her permission to re-post it in its entirety.- BMP

Spice or Porn?
A woman keeps hearing about a book. It’s a bestseller. Everyone at the workplace is talking about it. Raving about how their marriages are on fire! What she doesn’t realize as she clicks to download it is the danger, potentially being invited in. Could women be on the verge of being caught in the stronghold of pornography?

Women everywhere are sharing their love of 50 Shades of Grey, a series of books classified as Erotica. A form of literature defined as “literature or art intending to arouse sexual desire .”

From young college age women, to moms with small children under their feet, to women working hard balancing life, to grandmothers, the book has spread across the entire spectrum of womanhood. Record numbers of women are reading this book series, and boldly declaring it to be the best thing to have ever happened to their marriages. But will the impact be positive in the long run?

While I have seen post after post on Facebook and morning shows marveling at the “Mommy Porn”, what I’m not noticing is a warning to those picking these books up. Most of the women I speak with don’t look at these books as a form of pornography. They view it instead as, simply “spice” for their marriages.

When I asked what the difference is between pornography and “spice” across the board the answer has been the lack of pictures. In their minds, pornography has pictures, and this type of book, only words, is “spice” for their marriages.

What makes 50 Shades of Grey so popular? Many women share the same reason: within a few pages of reading they’re energized to have sex with their husbands. As one young mom said, after working all day, feeding and bathing the kids, it was wonderful to have something to bridge the gap from mom to lover. Wouldn’t that be a plus for a marriage?

I can remember having little ones and falling into bed exhausted. Most of us can relate to the feelings driving the popularity of the series. The feelings driving them are not new. What is recent is the possibility of trying erotica in a format where privacy is ensured. But is a book where the sex is explicit between unmarried adults, and of a nature described as BDSM or bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism, spice or pornography?

Are we becoming desensitized to the point where we are calling “evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20) We may have started down a slippery slope with our reading, movies, and TV viewing to such a point where we know longer recognize ‘porn’ because the line between good and evil has become grey to us. Not so to God. For years, women have entreated our men not to watch pornography, knowing the devastation porn brings to marriages. Are we being deceived into bringing porn into our homes in disguise?

What happens after the last page of the book is turned? What will readers turn to in order to produce a quick rush of lust? Is it healthy for either partner to need a book filled with graphic words producing arousing images in order to have a satisfying sex life? And what happens when words fail?

My husband made an interesting point, if I was reading erotica my actions would be opening the door for him to make the decision to begin looking at pornography easier. Do woman really want to risk an addiction themselves and open the door for their husbands to be encouraged to view their own pornography preference as “spice”?

The Erotica writing world acknowledge how closely pornography and erotica are. Pornography is “something that is a graphic sexual image that conjures up an animalistic reaction in you.” While erotica “also is graphic sexual imagery, but it has an extra component or several extra components that resonate with the viewer”. Many point to the books being a “fantastic” love story, but that’s the added component to the graphic sexual imagery. The story may be luring women in, but we can’t gloss over the graphic sexual aspect of the erotica. While this love story is the bait, the graphic sexual scenes and the physical response created is the danger. Can marriages thrive when the sexual union needs graphic sex between others as the starting point?

What can we do?

Be willing to think through the issue of pornography and take part in hard conversations with our friends. I was asked “what is the difference between Song of Solomon and erotica books? Is it pornography if the book is only words and it makes me want to have sex with my husband?” As we work through these types of questions we’ll begin to see how these books aren’t simply “spice”.

Second, when we see/hear our friends reading these books, we are going to have to be willing to put ourselves out there and share why these books could ultimately hurt a marriage. Pornography always harms relationships in the long run, and with the commonality between pornography and erotica relationships may be harmed more than enhanced.

If you have read or are considering reading erotica, are you willing to consider the danger these types of books may bring? The Bible tells us to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” Ephesians 5:11-12 ESV If a purchase has already been made throwing them away or deleting them from any electronic readers may be warranted. Reach out to a trusted friend and ask them for prayer and encouragement as you think through the pro’s and con’s.

If we simply ignore the danger somehow trying to sweep it under our beds each morning, we may well lose. But if we will hold fast to the truth of God’s word, and be willing to examine the issue leaving space for the Holy Spirit to direct us, we will be able to discern whether 50 Shades of Grey is “spice” or pornography.

Which do you see it as?

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Twitter.com/keepinginstride
Email: Jenny@keepinginstride.com
Website: http://www.keepinginstride.com

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