Is sexting really so bad?
Your initial reaction may be “Of course not!” or even “I would never do such a thing.” But you might be surprised at just how many men and women exchange sexual content via text—even those who claim to follow Christ. It’s not enough to simply say, “Don’t engage in sexting,” just like it’s not enough to simply say, “Don’t have sex.” We need to know why we’re called to a higher standard.
I recently received an email from a blog reader asking whether or not boudoir photos—photo shoots of women in lingerie—are appropriate for Christian women, specifically for brides prior to the wedding day. Answering her question caused me to look once again at the big picture of sexual images and how they affect us.
My husband and I both counsel young people through sexual sin and addiction, and since this is an issue that touches men and women, we worked together to bring you these points. Here’s the difficult truth about sending sexual images to your partner—and why doing so violates God’s design for sex.
Illicit Sexual Images Destroy Intimacy
When my husband and I were first married, I asked him what he thought of boudoir photos and sexy pictures. Since he traveled often for business trips, I thought the photos might be nice for him to have. To my surprise, he rejected the idea. Though the idea was appealing, he admitted, a sexual image separates the person from the picture. Without the spirit of the person in the image, their sexuality is objectified.
Objectified sexuality is what drives pornography. Sending sexual images to a partner outside of marriage is an affront to God’s design for sex; it objectifies sexuality and destroys the intimacy it was designed to reflect. Our naked bodies—or even the stripped-down-yet-slightly-covered boudoir versions—are covered not because of shame, but because of honor. God created our covering to protect intimacy. Marriage alone is where that intimacy is fulfilled. Sexting rips the covering off that intimacy and cheapens the very thing God values so much.
Even in marriage, sexting can be a slippery slope. Couples where one or both parties have struggled with pornography should not engage in sexting or sending sexual imagery to one another. What is “enough” at first—a boudoir photo, a sexy pose from a wife—may not remain so, and sexual objectification is a difficult door to close once opened. Better to be on guard than to open that door.
Sexting Incites Lust
If protecting intimacy isn’t motive enough, then realize that sexting is designed to create sexual arousal—and if you’re not married, intentionally inciting sexual arousal in someone else is the same as encouraging them to lust. When two people engage in this kind of behavior, they are ignoring God’s command to walk in sexual holiness until marriage vows are said.
What is lust? Lust can come in many forms—greed and gluttony are manifestations of it. But lust typically references sexual desire: a desire that quickly becomes a demand. Lust doesn’t ask; it takes. And lust and love cannot coincide. Jesus pointed out that lusting after another person is the root of adultery, because lust and adultery come from the same selfish attitude of the heart. Thus, lust isn’t just damaging to us personally—engaging in it cheats your future spouse.
Lust is only conquered when we choose faith in Christ over immediate desire. If you are in a relationship where your boyfriend demands sexual images, get help, get counseling and get out of that relationship. You are not his personal pornographer! You are a daughter of God with incredible value, a woman who intimacy is designed to be treasured and appreciated—not put on public display.
True Love DOES Wait
We often hear the phrase “True love waits” thrown around the purity conversation. Well, true love DOES wait—but it waits for everything. It doesn’t just save sex for marriage. True love chooses purity in word, deed, thought and action. Purity begins with your iPhone. It begins with your computer. It begins in your bedroom. It has less to do with preserving virginity and more to do with whether or not you are committed to following Christ, even when it’s hard.