Porn and Perfection

Written by on October 10, 2020

Written by Joe Dallas, Originally posted at joedallas.com Used with permission [2]

“I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!” – from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

The power of porn may not just be its explicit content. It may also be its capacity to take the viewer into another world.

Porn’s a place where bodies and people are perfect, where imaginary lovers comply with every wish, and where the scene created perfectly matches the deepest desires of the viewer. It’s a perfect and perfectly destructive world, and it’s the stuff both horror and heartbreak are made of.

Life on My Own Terms

Novelist Ira Levin tapped into the horror of it in his fantasy drama The Stepford Wives, a dark essay on chauvinism in which a New England town is inhabited by men who’ve perfected the art of re-creating their wives into compliant, flawless and utterly lifeless beings who live only to please
their husbands.

The procedure involves creating a replication of the wife looking and behaving exactly as she does minus anything the husband dislikes. Then the wife is killed, of course, to make room for her new and improved model. When the main character in the story discovers Stepford’s secret, she asks the leader of the town the obvious question: Why?

His answer is chilling in its simplicity.

“Because we can. If we can have you any way we want, why should we settle for you as you are?”

There’s the horror of married men and porn – that a man would betray the real woman who loves him so that he can indulge in a phantom figure that doesn’t even know him.

But there’s heartache along with the horror, lying in the number of men who’ve gotten hooked on the Stepford Syndrome, taking time, focus and sexual energy away from their wives and investing it in images that are perfect, exciting, and utterly unreal. CS Lewis described the issue decades ago when he wrote:

     For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete his own personality in that of another and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.

     And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.

     Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself.

Mirage, Not Marriage

Ironically, however convenient it may be to skip the efforts involved in normal intimacy and instead settle for the cheap substitute of these ‘shadowy brides,’ the fact remains that the genuine needs of the soul cannot be met by Stepford Women. They offer no emotional support, provide no reliable nurturing, and have no partnering capacities whatsoever. Like the junk food some people eat in hopes of meeting their hunger needs, they supply a quick rush with no follow through, leaving the consumer hungry for more of what didn’t satisfy to begin with.

The husband using porn is ripping off both his spouse and himself.

Plenty of men have realized that, repented, and stayed on course. On the one hand, that’s something to cheer about. On the other, let’s look at it in light of what Christians in other nations, and other times, have suffered for the gospel, Saying no to porn is the right thing to do, but please don’t confuse it with martyrdom.

So when images beckon from all sides, and when memory of a quick pleasure derived from porn conveniently omits the aftermath of shame and hurt, I hope we’ll remember the real love and support that outweighs and outdoes the unreal hands down, slam dunk. With that in mind, we can consistently and resoundingly say No to the unreal and Hallelujah! for the real.


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