Matthew 5:28 “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
To lust after a woman is not only adultery, as Jesus has said, but it is also to engage in a fantasy in which we objectify another human being.
I think that the engagement of fantasy is so powerful because it allows us to separate from a present moment that doesn’t feel as satisfying. To engage in a fantasy like porn allows us to engage in a sexual act without all of the awkwardness of sensual experience. Or, it allows us to feel something that we feel is real, without the presence required to make it real. The great tragedy of porn is that by engaging in its fantasy aspect we are creating a system where people are objectified, and this contributes to the even larger system of human trafficking. And, it ruins relationships by creating false expectations.
Maybe, you don’t look at porn, but, by engaging in fantasy, you’re destroying the sexual relationship you do have. By engaging in fantasy while having sex, you are saying that whatever is going on in your head is far superior than the person you are engaging with. And, the person you are with is just a means to an end, an object for your pleasure. It’s quite clear, at least in such a moment, that this relationship is not a very loving one. As philosopher Slovoj Zizek has said, “Sex without love is like masturbation without a partner.” If all a person is is an object, then you can’t enjoy what the Bible is trying to get at with sex which is spiritual oneness. Without present to what is actually real (even though the fantasy seems real), you can’t participate in the union of body, mind, and soul. Sex without presence is empty and void. In this way, there are many married couples who are engaging in unholy sex because they are not present with each other body, mind, and soul.
To engage in fantasy, even if you are not watching porn or having sex, still devastates our sexual identity. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:22: “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.” What you allow into your mind and into your soul changes how you see. So if you see people through the light of sexual fantasy, then those people become your objects and that doesn’t allow the truth of love to prevail within you.
Sexual urges are difficult, and I don’t want to be legalistic or moralistic about it. What I hope is that we can develop new kinds of thinking about sexual expression that allow for both presence, and respect rather than degradation. Without presence, we’ll never find the healing for our sexual brokenness and enjoy what it could be to the fullest. Sex is a big deal and we need to learn how to help people without all of the nasty guilt and shame that has coincided with it.
70% of men confess looking at porn and 30% of women.
Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. And, conservative estimates that 1 in 2 girls, and 1 in 3 boys will be sexually abused.