Several commenters on my post Chick porn asked why men’s mostly visual porn is seen as sinful while women’s mostly written porn is seen as something different. I see two components to this, although both are merely part of our rationalization that women are somehow more pure than men and therefore less tempted to sin.
The first component is the widely accepted fallacy that romantic love makes sex pure. This gives women cover to call their porn “romance”, and claim it is somehow different than porn consisting mainly of images. This is why Jenny Erikson makes it a point to refer to the characters in 50 SoG as “star-crossed lovers with a penchant for BDSM”. The frame of mind here is that fornication is different if they are in love. The same is true with the title Prick: A Stepbrother Romance. This isn’t incest porn, it is romance. To be clear, romance doesn’t have anything to do with whether sex is moral or not, but it is an effective cover because nearly everyone believes that it does.
The other component is an over emphasis on men’s eyes. Custody of the eyes is a good reminder, but it is not fundamentally about our eyes. What matters is our hearts. We can see this in the frivolous divorcée’s favorite Bible passage (Matt 5:27-30), where Christ warns about looking at a woman with lust (emphasis mine):
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old,[c] ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[d] 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
The misconception here is that the sin is of the eyes. But it isn’t, it is a sin of the heart. The eyes can be a source of temptation, but they aren’t the source of the sin. Christ reinforces this in Matt 15:10-11:
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand:11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
Christ explains what this means in verses 17-20 (emphasis mine):
17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
Those who claim men’s porn is sinful because it involves lusting with the eyes are right, because if a man is lusting he is lusting with his heart. But this doesn’t mean that women’s written fantasies are any better. Ironically women’s claim that their porn isn’t sinful because it involves the heart and not the eyes only reinforces why their porn is sinful, just like men’s.
Ultimately though what this is all about is women’s tendency to deny their own sin, and men’s tendency to enable women in this.