Reader “L” writes:
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this quote from Sheila Wray Gregoire:
“Now, I’m not against spicing things up, and I do think lots of things can be fun! But when we’re wanting ‘more’ because we’ve programmed ourselves to think ‘the weirder the sexier’, there’s a problem.”
It stems from the porn argument — many men have been conditioned through porn to be aroused by what they’ve seen and that there is an escalating factor as seen by the lack of what you might call vanilla interactions in porn today.
When I hear that argument (not so much about porn’s influence, but about it being the driving behind any interest in sexy games, bondage, etc.), I question how anyone could arrive at introducing extra-curricular activities into their sex lives without some kind of societal influence. No one lives in a vacuum and it is more impossible today than it was 20 years ago. I also personally don’t like the use of the word “weirder”, but that’s a whole other argument I could have.
What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks for the question! As you might expect, I’ve got a lot of thoughts. The quote comes from a post Sheila wrote about the dangers porn can create in a marriage. We agree: porn is dangerous to your marriage. Your sexuality should be focused on your spouse.
However, porn didn’t invent anything it depicts. As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Our ancestors were no more virtuous or innocent than we are. The Bible is full of sex. Shakespeare’s works are full of sex. Some of the oldest known works of art are pornographic. Ancient Roman graffiti was largely pornographic. A modern person may learn about a sex act from the internet, but our ancestors did everything we do.
It’s worth adding that men aren’t the only ones looking at porn — women also consume and are influenced by porn. Surveys indicate that a higher percentage of men than women view porn, but up to 30% of women are willing to admit to Cosmo that they view porn “daily” or “once every few days”. I’d bet that the actual number — women who won’t admit it — is higher.
Finally, let’s talk about “weird” sex. Literally:
1. involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny:
2. fantastic; bizarre:
3. Archaic. concerned with or controlling fate or destiny.
I don’t think people mean supernatural, so let’s go with definition number two: fantastic or bizarre. Neither word is inherently negative.
Fantastic: conceived by an unrestrained imagination; odd and remarkable; extravagantly fanciful; marvelous; incredibly great or extreme; exorbitant; highly unrealistic or impractical.
Bizarre: markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements; outrageously or whimsically strange; odd.
In both cases, “weird” is opposite to “normal” — so what’s normal? The Bible doesn’t differentiate between normal sex and weird sex, only between Godly sex and sinful sex. The only way to define “normal” is with reference to some environment and culture. Something normal in one place and time, to one person, may be weird to another. Normal and weird are determined by your perspective and your biases. Godly and sinful are determined by God.
Some sex act may be normal and sinful at the same time, or Godly and weird at the same time. Consider:
- Godly and normal: vanilla sex between a husband and wife.
- Sinful and normal: vanilla sex between unmarried persons.
- Godly and weird: Harry Potter trivia night.
- Sinful and weird: orgies.
So, that’s the long way of saying: “weird” is in the eye of the beholder. With a few limits, if you want to do it and your spouse agrees, go for it.
I think there are also two other things a person can mean when they use the word “weird”.
First, they can simply mean: “I don’t want to do that”. It’s perfectly acceptable to be apprehensive about some sex act, but it’s important to communicate and explain why. Saying something is “weird” is a passive-aggressive way of shaming your spouse into hiding their desire. Don’t use “weird” as an excuse to just say no.
Second, “weird” can mean novel, something new. We definitely don’t think it’s wrong to seek out new ways to enjoy sex with your spouse! We write about that all the time. As Sheila would seem to agree, we do recommend prioritizing penis-in-vagina sex, but we also think it’s healthy to push your boundaries and explore new things. A desire for new experiences is common in many areas of life, not just sex. You may not like everything you try, and that’s ok!
Finally, check out that third definition for “weird”: controlling fate or destiny. All sex is weird like that!
What do you think? Fantastic, bizarre, novel? How does culture influence your sexual relationship with your spouse?
Update: Commenter Juliettte makes some great observations about the positive effects that culture can have on married sex!
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