[NOTE: This was originally published in June of 2012, but is being re-posted to foster thoughts about the up-coming release of Fifty Shades of Grey.]

Yesterday we considered many thoughts that surrounded the movie Thor, centering on lust. Is it okay to watch a scene that highlights a certain actor’s – or actresses – physical attributes? Does it bump up too closely to lust? In my opinion, the scene from Thor was designed to make you do so, and other similar scenes do so as well.

These thoughts came about from a post I read on Facebook, the rise of female pornography addiction, and the release of Magic Mike. Here is the synopsis of the film: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. Classy! I promise to stick to some of the same concerns from yesterday and stay away from the question of, why Steven Soderbergh is continuing to throw away his career by making bad movies?

I guess this is the main question I have with the release of Magic Mike, is this a preview of what’s to come? Will films like this become common-place because of the rise in popularity of female porn?

I may be wrong, but I cannot think of a film that has marketed male nudity this explicitly, at least in recent years. The content says “brief graphic nudity”. Some may think, ‘at least it’s brief.’ Yes, but it’s still graphic. This film is dangerous for at least two reasons.

First, the cast is made up of notable actors. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey are guys that have catered to girls idolatry of love in many romantic comedies. Now, they are going to be leaving little to the imagination in MM, but women will flock to the theaters.

Secondly, the story seems to follow your typical romantic-comedy plot. Rom-coms usually depict rank fornication, but do so in a cutesy way which sells tickets. And even though the story of MM follows male strippers, the added rom-com subplot makes this pill easier to swallow. It makes porn seem cutesy.

To me, a line from the film sums up everything. Dallas (McConaughey) is giving his fellow narcissistic strippers a pep talk and states, “You are the husband she never had.” This statement is wrong on so many levels, but let’s just pick one.

Husbands and wives make a vow before God that death will be the only thing to separate them. Because of this covenant, the man commits to the wife and visa versa, no matter what. In light of the current discussion, this means the wife holds the husband as her standard of beauty – not some stripper.

And this is the true danger of films like this, creating lustful covetousness of a fantasy. You see, many men and women can remain in a marriage, while fulfilling fantasies through movie stars and make-believe characters. The new, exceedingly popular, pornographic novels Fifty Shades of Grey have proved that. Walt Mueller, President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, recently wrote an article about the literary porn phenomena. Read what he witnessed at the book table at Costco one afternoon:

A younger woman was holding the book and pondering the purchase. She had an inquisitive and slightly guilty look on her face. An older women standing nearby happened to see the same inquisitive and guilty look and decided to engage the younger lady in conversation. . . . a conversation that pushed the latter to a tipping point. “Thinking about reading it?”, the older woman asked. “Yes, but I hear it’s a little dirty,” the younger woman replied. At that point, the young woman’s husband appeared behind her with their cart. Noticing her husband was now privy to the conversation, the young woman turned a little red and muttered something about her husband showing up. . . as if the conversation needed to come to an end. She looked like a guilty kid who had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The older woman. . . probably in her mid-60s by my estimation. . . looked at her, gave her a little wink, and said, “It’s ten dollars well spent.” With that, the young woman placed the book in her cart. . . . and I watched her exchange a sly little smile with her husband. That was an interesting mentoring moment that says a lot about who we are and what we’re becoming as a culture [read the full article here].

One can never point out the deceitfulness of our sin enough. Whether it’s Thor with his shirt off, Magic Mike struttin’ his stuff, Twilight vampires glistening in the sun, or new explorations in bondage from Fifty Shades of Grey, we must be cautious of toying with our sin. Remember, sin wants to destroy your marriage, lead you down a path of adultery, and, ultimately, drag you to hell, so be wary of the lie it’s telling. Should you go see Magic Mike? Will it help you appreciate your husband? Will it cause you to lust? You might not have to search your heart too long on this one.

  1. Well, Mathew McConaughey being in the movie is enough of a reason for me not to watch it. 🙂

    Seriously, though. As a women, seeing men with their shirts off doesn’t cause me to lust. But this movie is so wrong on so many levels that I don’t think that I could force myself to watch it. I’ll just go watch more episodes of Dr. Who.

    In answer to your question, ‘is this a preview of what’s to come?’, perhaps. But that would just be giving equal screen time to men’s bodies, when women’s bodies portrayed as objects of lust have been around since the beginning of film. Both are equally wrong, but viewing women’s bodies lustfully in public has been more socially acceptable.

  2. Cindy says:

    Thanks, John. It really grieves me the lies that are out there that lead us so wrongly and I don’t think we can refute it enough. A lie often told is believed is an old adage. It reminds me when Paul said in Phillippians….To write the same thing again to you is no trouble for me and it is a safeguard for you…….So, don’t stop reminding us of these things cause we need it and we are always tempted to justify and downplay sin.

  3. Sherry Zorzi says:

    It shocks me to see how many women I know, many of them professing Christians, are reading 50 Shades of Grey and looking forward to watching Magic Mike. It shows so clearly the disconnect between what we profess and how we live. How can women read or watch such things “coram Deo”?

  4. DustyOldTrail says:

    I kinda want to bail on female porn to fanboy about Doctor Who. The Tenth Doctor is my favorite by and large.

    Male strippers are strippers too John. Lust is all about gratifying a warped sense of need. I ‘need’ someone who’s drop dead gorgeous because I drive a civic and can burp the alphabet. I ‘need’ a new face every couple of years because life is too short and you only live once. I ‘need’ someone who doesn’t fight because I’m too stubborn to listen.

    Ultimately I don’t need fantasy fulfillment or even sex for that matter. Don’t jump on me here. Yes sex is awesome and given to us through marriage by God. Yes it is wrong to turn away from sex for too long unless devoting yourself and your spouse more to the scriptures. The point I’m trying to make is that sex is not better than Heaven. Heck sex most likely isn’t even in Heaven. (No husbands and wives means no sex as far as I know) Sex and lust are some of the biggest areas of my life that I’ve all but handed over to the world. If there was any one sin that I could say most reminds me of my need for a Savior it would be lust. It’s a struggle and I hardly ever win it if even for a day. Thank God that we have a God. Thank God that I am saved. Thank God that all this is passing away.

    Thanks for the article and the discussion.

  5. Melynda Keenon says:

    Women are constantly struggling to measure up to standards and they are expected to always do what is right. Many have ended up in divorce for not being all they could be in a marriage. Magazines depict perfect women in our view. We also are usually complicated in movies, no fun, corrupt, or witch like ways. I have heard jokes all my life about women getting married and not being fun anymore. Well I have raised 3 kids and married for 22 years and committed to my husband for 25 years. I told my husband about the movie and he was oh wow yes go and I will be here when you get back. I do not want to see nudity at all. I went to see Twilight on premiere night and it was hilarious listening to these older women having fun, showing that they do have romantic sides in the busy lives they live. Most movies I ever see expect the woman to be exposed. Unless it is a George Clooney or Brad Pitt and now Matthew Mccoghney . I think Christians should make an impact on all movies lke this or it looks like an attack on Women saying “we are fun and romantic and do Love our husbands” we just went to Padre on vacation and almost nudity was everywhere that makes me uncomfortable!!!!

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