What Balance Looks Like

I get these Marriage Builder emails from Marriage Today, and have been suspicious of them in the past, that they were simply the same man bad woman good flotsam that , if you hear it on your car radio, turn it off, it will be playing in the car next to you. But I received a very good one today. I have been actually craving this kind of balanced approach to a whole host of issues, porn, abuse, divorce, communication, and more, while posting at my old forum. The tendency there was, if presented something like this, to see it as somehow blame shifting away from men.

This article clearly calls out men for porn use, something Ive repeatedly stated I have zero issue being called out about as a man. It goes on to add commentary on a propensity of women that is analogous to the sex drive of men, a sin doorway if you will, that tends to be more prevalent in women, while sexual sin tends to be more prevalent in men.

More of this, and less of the venom spewing hatred and blame shifting that defines the normal narrative would make great strides in bridging the church gender divide.

I could write pages accurately anticipating the predictable reactions to this, the accusations that this is blaming women for men using porn, the claims of absurdity by women saying “I read romance novels and don’t picture my husband as Fabio” (anecdotes) and the general urge to project female blame shifting onto men.

But I won’t.

The Deception Of Porn and Romance Novels




10 thoughts on “What Balance Looks Like

  1. “…they excite their readers by downplaying men’s sexual nature of men while overplaying men’s emotions. They convince women that there are men out there (unlike their husbands) who are much more sensitive and far less sexual.”
    I think the author needs to do some research. Harlequins did that back in the70’s and early 80’s, but today? Maybe “chick-lit,” which I can’t stand, but “romances” (read by many more women than chick-lit) are ALL ABOUT men’s sexual nature. Romances don’t idealize men’s emotional nature, they idealize dominant men’s status – their circumstances and plots showcase a simplified male dominance with few distractions from real-world circumstances.

  2. Yeah, I saw that and thought the same thing. I thought about it and concluded that they are already guilty of the man bad woman good perspective lens because they are assuming the readers of this article will be women who would never read the type of sexual dominance bodice rippers that are the rage, heck now vampires and zombies and werewolves are the best dominant sex partners.

    I agree, I wish they would have stated that qualifier. There is a subset of “Christian” chick lit that they are addressing though, and it feeds exactly the sexual denial and emotional utopia expectations so embraced by the church. In a way they created this, even this ministry, if you listen to some of their videos etc.

  3. Christian “chick-lit” often has the theme of a young engaged woman that is not really into her fiancé and then a nice Christian man comes along and sweeps her off her feet while defending her and being such a fine chaste gentleman (who would never think of her in that way).

    This is pure fantasy targeted and Christian women and is consistent with the messages spouted from the pulpits.

    There is a much more effective way to dispel the power of porn. Repression and denial tend to negate the desires of the heart, which gives power to porn. By openly talking about it without recrimination and shaming, a man and woman can greatly reduce the power of porn. They can get in touch with their desires and fulfill them with each other as they learn to see each other rightly. This is not accomplished by controlling each other.

  4. Oh yeah, I forgot about “Christian Romance.” Very VERY popular! I tried to read one but I couldn’t stand the preaching. Plus it was written by the Morris’ and it it felt like it was written by a committee. Maybe I should try again. (I’m rather fond of romantic suspense, and Dee Henderson has a series that might be appealing…)

    Incidentally I don’t see the harm in romances, but maybe it’s how I view them. When I see a strong, confident, “dutiful” male lead, I don’t think,”My husband isn’t like that.” I see an extreme personification of my husband’s attributes. Granted he doesn’t look the part, but I’m cool with that. Am I some kind of freak?

  5. Well see I don’t think that female impulse is wrong per se, but I think that there has to be self awareness and humility.

    Like okay think of this: the impulses we have for food, breathing, water, elimination of waste, comfort, etc are all natural, but in order to live with one another well we discipline them. Christianity calls for even more discipline–of character at heart. The idea is that we need to have the character of Christ. So looking at it wisely, Christianity says “Of course you will become bored, distracted, and tempted outside of your marriage. But temper this with good character and you will find that love–which is the actions that go with good character–will overcome that.” So the key thing is that you identify what you find attractive in your reading with your husband.

    For my part I was the same way–I felt that just because I found something sexy didn’t mean it had to be disloyalty, since there was only one woman I had devoted myself to.

  6. I didn’t realize there was a genre of Christian ‘romance.’ Since I rarely keep up with pop culture this doesn’t suprise me.

    I don’t know that I’d exactly call that balanced. I might go so far as to say it’s less imbalanced then most of the promise-keepers theme. The first 8 paragraphes going into detail about how visual porn is mostly a male problem, about how destructive it is, etc… Followed up by 3 paragraphs of ‘well, women can have issues too.” Given the huge imbalances in the ‘Christian Marriage Improvement Industry’, we should just consider it a win that any mention of female fault is brought up.

    @ Suz, not to be cantakerous:

    Incidentally I don’t see the harm in romances, but maybe it’s how I view them. When I see a strong, confident, “dutiful” male lead, I don’t think,”My husband isn’t like that.” I see an extreme personification of my husband’s attributes. Granted he doesn’t look the part, but I’m cool with that. Am I some kind of freak?
    Incidentally I don’t see the harm in porn, but maybe it’s how I view them. When I see a young, beautiful, “willing” female lead, I don’t think,”My wife isn’t like that.” I see an extreme personification of my wife’s attributes. Granted she doesn’t look the part, but I’m cool with that. Am I some kind of freak?

    I think that is the attitude of the majority of women in regards to bodice-rippers and romance comedies. Neither men nor women are immune to that slippery slope. The only difference is that if a man gets caught up in porn, it’s his character weakness. If a woman gets caught up in hyper-romaniticsm, it’s because the man wasn’t giving her enough romance. Like I said, I’m not trying to call you out Suz, just making a point that your stated attitude is not at all unusual.

  7. I agree, and I wanted to say that to suz as well. With all due respect suz, I even predicted I think your exact words as a reaction, but not from you….where I anticipated the “I dont see my husband as Fabio”….pretty much thats the claim women make, you are thinking way to superficially about the effect that the romance novels have. Of course you do not consciously think that, daydream of some guy whipping up an arugula salad from leftovers on spur of moment. Its the subconscious.
    Similarly the way women think men think about porn is also superfically considered, like men are super imposing nude silicon addled bodz over their wives or something. heck maybe some men do that and some women do that thing, but for the most part the effects are less surface and Id say less silly than that.
    Thats why they are insidious, and its why the romance novels are IMO even more insidious and subtle because women think immediately what you said they dont do that, then they fail to guard themselves on what they DO do

  8. I always thought Fabio was kind of weird looking, but there’s a lot of pop culture that has been a mystery to me. Seriously, what the heck is up with this image?

    It just makes me laugh! I hope there are crackers in that box to go with all the cheese.

    / completely pointless comment

  9. Pingback: A Series of Unfortunate Vents | Feminism is Empathological

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