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When I was in college, a movie some of my friends and I became quite enamored with was 9 1/2 Weeks with Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger.
The 1986 R-rated movie is full of overtly sexual scenes and sexual manipulation (subtle and not-so-subtle).
It is disturbing and erotic, all at the same time, as it follows the unconventional and unhealthy relationship of two people. Kim Basinger’s character becomes conflicted in her sexual attraction to a man who is clearly so damaging to her.
We probably were drawn to it not only out of curiosity (so much we didn’t know about sex), but also as an attempt to shore up our flimsy sense of adulthood. We watched this movie as if we were oh so sophisticated and grown up…as if we did indeed know so much about sex.
I actually remember thinking that. “Clearly, I’ve left childish teenage days behind if I’m watching this movie.” Oh the irony. To think of oneself as grown up, all while behaving as someone who is not—someone who needs a movie to make her feel like a grown up.
So many years have passed since I watched that movie. I am able to look back and see it as one more example (among so many) of how easily sex becomes warped—in media, in entertainment and in real life.
It’s fascinating how thin the line is between godliness in sex and distortion in sex. There are sexual scenes from 9 1/2 Weeks that in the right context of a loving marriage would be god-honoring. But put them in the context of a manipulative relationship between two people who are not married, and the sex becomes tainted. Ruined. Wrong on every level.
It is why we cannot lose sight of context.
9 1/2 Weeks is merely a movie. I know. And I know we could find countless other mainstream movies, as well as many not-mainstream movies, that would reveal this issue of context.
Across the societal landscape, examples abound of how sex has been skewed. We often have become desensitized to where things have gone astray. Not only are we no longer shocked by any mishandling of sex; we fully expect it, at least on some level, to show up in the societal landscape.
By the very nature of being God-designed, sex becomes a target to take out of context and twist. Our sinful free will nature contributes and, of course, Satan intentionally attacks anything that reflects God’s goodness.
In the right context of a loving marriage, sex has profound potential to fuel spiritual, emotional and physical oneness between a husband and wife. I’ve long believed that the extent to which we experience and learn of the goodness and holiness and pleasure of sex in marriage, that’s how far to the other end of the spectrum we will see it misused and misrepresented.
Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. Knowing what I know now, what would 50-year-old me say to 20-something me eager to watch the movie 9 1/2 Weeks? I’d probably tell her that context means everything.
The eroticism and tingly feels and passion are God ordained. But they are meant for the loving context of a covenant marital commitment between a husband and wife. They don’t just mean more in that context. All their value is in that context.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.