Emotional Porn

In For the Guys, For the Ladies, Relationships, Single by Debra Fileta

I’m intrigued by how much negative attention sexual pornography gets from the Christian community, all while the concept of “emotional pornography” never even crosses anyone’s mind.

Recently, I was asked my thoughts on the popular TV show The Bachelor.  If you don’t know anything about this show, it’s a reality show that follows a good looking young man in his attempt at winning an eligible “bachelorette” to be his bride. Presented with a harem of girls to choose from, he spends the remainder of his time on the show romancing, seducing, making out with, leading on and emotionally bonding with each of these single ladies, all the while sorting through which one will ultimately be the love of his life (usually after making out with a different one the night before- that just screams true love, doesn’t it?).

Whenever I’m asked to give my opinion about this kind of entertainment- whether it be a book or a T.V. show-  my answer is typically communicated with two simple words: Emotional Porn

So what is emotional porn? While I’m in no way trying to get legalistic about the things we “can” and “can’t” watch as Christians, I really believe there are concepts to the idea of emotional porn that sting, because they get to the heart of an underlying issue that tends to get ignored.

To get a good understanding of what I mean, let’s first take a look at the concept of sexual porn and it’s negative effects:

Sexual pornography is defined by taking sexual acts out of their proper context and displaying them in unrealistic ways to satisfy a selfish pleasure.  It involves setting up an individual to live within the walls of fantasy, becoming aroused by people, situations, and things that don’t really exist. It fuses a person’s physical response to unrealistic expectations, poisoning the mind and in turn, the heart.

I know as Christians, we tend to put sexual lust at the top of the list of sinsIn my community growing up, movies and TV shows with any sign of a sex scene were put on the black list.

But what if our emotional response is just as much a part of our sexual integrity as our physical response?

What if we’ve focused so much on sexual lust, that we’ve failed to acknowledge the role of emotional lust?

Because the same poison can impact our emotional world, as well. 

What if what we watch can feed our heart the lies of unrealistic expectations, causing us to live in a fantasy world that will impact out real life relationships?  

What if the movies, books and TV shows we are entertained by are actually causing us to become emotionally aroused by people, situations, and things that don’t really exist?

What if we’re creating both unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of love and romance with the things we call entertainment?

Maybe it’s time to reconsider the things we are allowing to enter our minds and influence our hearts.  Maybe it’s time to take inventory of the things we are allowing ourselves to soak up and ask ourselves what thirst we’re trying to quench in our lives? And are we quenching it in a healthy way?

Is it a longing for intimacy? For love?  For affirmation?

The most dangerous thing about both emotional and sexual pornography, is that when we live within the walls of fantasy, we are set up for failure in our reality. 

When we live within the walls of fantasy, we stop really living.

We begin to redefine our standards of love and affection by the measuring stick of lust and pleasure.  We begin to place unhealthy and unrealistic expectations on ourselves and on our partners…and slowly sink into the pit of discouragement and discontent with reality.

It’s like trying to enjoy a piece of fruit after devouring a handful of candy.  All of a sudden, what used to be sweet loses it’s sweetness.  What used to be satisfying, loses it’s ability to satisfy.  The natural world begins to lose it’s appeal.  And at the end of the day, just like you can’t survive on sweet confections, you can never live abundantly in the world of fantasy.

Reality will always win.

Friends, you were created to enjoy emotional and sexual pleasures in the context of real life and within the walls real relationships.  Don’t numb your God-given senses by giving in to momentary pleasures of unrealistic expectations.

You were made for so much more than this.

DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates, and Love In Every Season. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter or book a session with her today!

BOOKS BY DEBRA

Get busy learning what you need to know about healthy singleness, dating, and marriage. Check out Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me or True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life.

Choosing Marriage Christian Dating Book(Debra’s New Book: Love In Every Season Coming January 2020, Pre-Order Today!)

And Check out Debra’s Love + Relationships Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!