February 16, 2015
A husband and wife discuss Christian sexual ethics after catching a Valentine's Day showing of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Thanks, Kory and Lauren, for accepting this touchy assignment and for bringing such honesty and vulnerability to your conversation. At times like this I wish TC had a podcast so we could continue the conversation. In place of that, I'd like to further explore some of the ideas you offered in this comment thread.
Kory: You mention that there is "a fine line between modeling a positive, healthy sexual ethic and voyeurism." Could you expand on that? What sort of voyeurism do you mean?
Lauren: I'd like to hear more about this "difference between something being sacred and something being off-limits and taboo." Is it connected to your comment that "Itâ€™s possible to be in a loving Christian relationship and participate in BDSM"?
Thanks, Josh, for the question. What I mean is this - as soon as we talk about sex I think we risk making a public display of our private life. We may risk doing so for the pleasure we or others get out of talking about sex. This is why I don't expect Lauren and I will ever do a sermon with an open-mic "ask us anything" sermon about sex. To me that crosses a line between a healthy openness and putting on a show.
Thanks for your questions, Josh. The two statements can be connected, but don't necessarily have to be. It's important that we live authentic lives, and our sexuality plays a part in that. This article is a good example of a husband and wife being able to discuss sex (from the perspective of their own relationship) without the conversation turning to "locker room talk".
As we said in the article, it all boils down to trust and respect. When I talked about things being off-limits and taboo I mostly meant being able to talk about it openly. But it is also true that within a couple there has to be freedom to talk openly with one another about sexual desires. When a couple talks about these things and breaks these taboos, it is based on trust and mutual love, not a contract negotiation.
In reading this article, I found a comment Lauren makes troubling: "I can have a healthy respect for BDSM. If that works for you, thatâ€™s fine." And later, she adds, "Itâ€™s possible to be in a loving Christian relationship and participate in BDSM. Thatâ€™s not what these characters are doing." The question I have is whether it is truly possible for Christians to participate in "BDSM" in their relationships and for it to be "profitable?" I agree and affirm that God gives us much freedom in marriage to play, experiment, and enjoy. For example, one partner blindfolded and loosely restrained who is receiving from the other who is giving is one thing. One has submitted to receive from the other. But one partner restrained so that the other might take is quite another thing. God gives us freedom, but we are not free to use, hurt, or humiliate. By and large, I believe BDSM is a counterfeit of the beautiful gift God has given husband and wife. In His relationships with His disciples, Jesus was the dominant person, and the disciples clearly submitted to Him, but He only ever gave to them, and He never took anything from them. He taught them to submit to Him to be served by Him, and to submit to one another. The letters in B D S M are important. They mean something in the culture, and they say everything about these practices in general: someone is bound to serve the selfishness of one who dominates (BD); someone can be hurt for the pleasure of someone else (SM, generally understood to mean sadism & masochism). Can this really be part of a healthy sexual ethic built on trust and respect? Can there be trust and respect when the dominant one uses the one who submits? That's the slippery slope that I see with BDSM.
Wait a sec ... the guy offers her compensation (a room, etc.) in exchange for the sexual relations? Wasn't that the plot of Pretty Woman?
As an alternative: If you liked 50 Shades of Grey, you'll love <a href="https://timfall.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/50-shades-of-lent-a-movie-review/">50 Shades of LENT</a>!
Add your comment to join the discussion!