FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – In light of the increasing prevalence and tolerance of pornography and erotica like best-selling 50 Shades of Grey, Southwestern hosted a closed-door, women-only Grindstone event Oct. 29 to discuss the issue, its devastating effect on marriages and ministries and what in the world women can do about it.
Founder of Hope for the Heart June Hunt, author and speaker Susie Hawkins and Mindy May, a biblical counselor who works with young women including victims of sex trafficking, comprised the panel that candidly answered questions from moderator Terri Stovall, dean of Women’s Programs, and from the approximately 100-member audience.
The panelists said culture has changed significantly in areas dealing with sexual sin, and the change, they said, is not a positive one. May, a Southwestern Ph.D. student, said teenagers today are more sexualized than ever before, accepting activities such as “sexting” as commonplace.
Hawkins agreed and said pornography has even infiltrated the church in alarming numbers.
“It absolutely is impacting ministry families,” Hawkins said. “I think it would shock all of us in knowing how many ministry people are involved with pornography.”
With the exploding popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, it has become apparent that pornography is no longer mostly or solely marketed to men. Hunt said the book is widely considered “mommy porn,”—something attractive to the suburban soccer mom who can read the book privately on her e-reader, imagining herself in the situations described in the book, effectively replacing her husband with the fiction book character.
The content of the book, Hunt said, goes beyond explicit descriptions of sexual scenes to involving bondage, dominance and sadomasochism, which not only demeans females and casts the behavior found in human trafficking as acceptable but also plants irrevocable images in the brain that can never be removed.
“This is degrading,” Hunt said.
“I work with teenagers who have been sexually trafficked,” May said. “These are girls who have been taken into literal bondage, and so there are huge implications there. If we're adopting this as 'okay' or as 'entertainment,' we are in for a world of devastation as far as the sexuality in our culture today.”
Disturbingly, many women reading books such as 50 Shades of Grey do so considering it harmless and in fact helpful.
“It is surprising how many Christian women will read this book and say, ‘It spices up my marriage,’” Hawkins said. “That is going to put you on a road that is not going to bring fulfillment. You’re introducing a third party, so to speak, into your marriage bed, and according to 1 Corinthians 6 and 7, that is to prostitute. … It will not bring longterm what you are looking for. It brings dissatisfaction. Eventually a woman will think, ‘Why can’t my husband be like that?’”
So, what’s a woman to do?
The panelists said that when dealing with a husband who has begun to look at pornography, the husband and wife should immediately find a Christian counselor with whom they can meet as a couple. They also suggested the husband find an accountability group to join.
“It will not go away by itself,” Hawkins said. “It will not.”
Every woman, they said, should begin fighting for her marriage far before sexual sin forces her to.
“I think it is a wise wife who will not work against her husband and say, ‘You better not,’ but will say, ‘How can I help you? What can we do together to fight this?’” Hawkins said.
The panelists agreed that a woman should tell her husband if she has been reading erotic material or looking at inappropriate pictures, in addition to seeking biblical counseling and accountability partners.
The panelists said that while every person will face temptation if life, Scripture is clear that with Christ, temptation can be overcome, and in instances where people have yielded to temptation, Christ offers redemption. The women encouraged the crowd to guard their thought lives, to flee from temptations and to know that Christ, who offers redemption from sins for every person who would accept it and offers redemption for relationships that seem without hope.
“I believe that God is a God of reconciliation first and foremost,” May said. “And so if His plan is for reconciliation in our lives just as sinful people, then I believe He has the power to give us the grace to continue to fight for reconciliation in our relationships and in our marriages.”
The gallery is empty.