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Topic: "The Dangers of Emotional Pornography"

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Subject: "The Dangers of Emotional Pornography"
Date Posted: 5/12/2010 6:23 AM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2008
Posts: 423
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http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/features/21488-emotional-pornography

I ran across this article, which had me thinking about romance novels and how the writer of this article would also most likely lump them into the "emotional pornography" category (they are not mentioned here...although he would probably also categorize them as literary pornography). I've read the argument before that romance novels perpetuate the fantasy of finding that perfect happy ending and causing its readers to have unrealistic expectations of romantic relationships. This is just another of the same. Notice also the line "And we?re left with an old woman sitting alone, in her love seat, in front of the television watching her 'stories'". Romance readers have that stigma hanging over them as well of the dried-up women who never have relationships and seek instead to live vicariously through their books. I found this rather offensive because it takes the view that readers/watchers/whatever are not intelligent enough to be able to discern the happiness of fantasy from that of reality. Just because we enjoy romantic novels and movies that bring on that happy, satisfied feeling does not mean that we would forever be seeking that emotional fulfillment in real life that, according to the good pastor, does not exist. So...I am curious to what others of you may read into this article and what you think about that certain viewpoint that pursuit of "emotional pornography" leads to unrealistic expectations from life.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2008
Posts: 212
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I have to agree with you.  Why is it the author gives the credit of distinguishing reality from fantasy to children but not adults.  My 4 year old tells me a story of how he and he friend get fire on their shoes everyday to go into outer space.  When I decide to play along he tells me, its just fake fire and they are only pretending.  He and his brother know that TV is not real, but the author assumes that because I am emotionally moved by The Notebook (read the book as well as saw the movie), that I have unrealitic expectations in my relationship with my husband.  Who btw would not agree with the author.  For me, reading romance is an way to relax...and it gets me 'in the mood' after a hard day dealing with work and the demands of 2 young boys.  My husband likes that!!!  As an adult, I can also distinguish fact from fiction...and I take the emotional feelings I gather from these works of fiction and focus them towards reality.   It works for us.  Too bad this author doesn't have the skills to do so for himself.  He and his wife are missing out.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2008
Posts: 1,770
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I'm quoting one of the the comments someone added after that article:
"i read an article a few years back that said women who watch romantic comedies and romantic movies are more likely to be less satisfied in relationships. i believe it."

That just burns me up.  I am a hopeless romantic.  I shamelessly admit it.  I prefer romantic movies with a happy ending, and 99% of the books I read are romance.  I have been with  my husband for over 10 years and there is nothing about my reading habit or preference that makes me unhappy in my marriage.  If anything, like Pauline said, reading my romantic and sexy books helps me get in the mood for love & romance.  I'm almost 40 and my dh is almost 50 and we have two young children.  We're not exactly running around with the blush of new love, kwim?  Do I sometimes read about something in a book and wish that would happen to me, or read about a certain hero and fantasize about what it would be like?  Of course.  Does that make me a bad woman or an unfaithful wife?  No. 

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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So are all those Nascar fans losing their ability to drive in the real world?  Spending all of their commute time on a fantasy Nascar track?

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2008
Posts: 212
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Sharon,  good one...what about pilots playing video games, lol.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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many girls never grow out of the idea that one day they will be rescued from reality by some magic and a fictitious prince. And little boys never live up to the fantasy of the mind or that they?re supposed to be that prince and that their spouse is an all-fulfilling princess.

What a crock and how incredibly patronizing. Women who read romance are supposedly living in a fantasy world while the poor men are only guilty of not understanding those great expectations!

But I guess it shouldn't surprise me. I've met a lot of religious men in my life with a similarly patronizing attitude towards women, which I guess make sense because that's the stance of most of the religious texts of the world (being the Bible, the Qur'an, the Torah or whatever.)

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 7,052
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Just more ridiculous blather from insecure males. How about you grow a pair and place blame for your miserable relationship(s) squarely where it belongs. On yourself! LOL

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2009
Posts: 125
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Did anyone else feel sorry for this guy? Why is it a bad thing to hope for love and romance? When did we become a society that settles? Maybe that's why the divorce rate is so high.  What is wrong with wanting the "real" thing?

I am 42 years old. I've been married to the same man for more than half my life. My expectations of love and romance are what I make of them and no one else. I enjoy romantic literature very much and it does ad spice to our marriage. Is that a bad thing? I don't sit around waiting for my husband to turn into an Indian brave from old and carry me off to his tepee!! (Although that would be kinda of fun, Maybe I should consider getting him one of those breach clothes....ohhh or a kilt!! Just think of the possibilities!!!) But seriously when I go to work I get in my car, I don't go outside and look for my horse just because I like to read a good romance!!!!!

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I'm 43..are ya'll telling me that I've wasted my whole life 'cause I've been hoping to find what these bi*ches in the romance novels have? I mean, a 7 page man 6 times a book doesn't exist? the alpha male who's tough yet sensitive doesn't exist? that he can't rescue me from terrorists, hike through a jungle, then  make wild passionate love to me (and not stink to high heaven)? adn I wont' have a HEA?and the kids will conveniently be ot of the way when we're ready for some creative nookie? and last but  not  least (since I've added christian romance to the mix) I won't find the perfect godly man in addition to possessing all of the above traits?? I wonder if I can sue the romance publishers for misleading me for 30 years?

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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He reads to me like a pastor trying to counsel his "flock" on the dangers of allowing fiction to set unrealistic expectations on marriage & relationships.  In other words, being condescending and assuming people are too inherently stupid to distinguish between fantasy & reality.  And he's probably insecure as well, yes:P  He's patronizing, but he's a pastor, so it's almost surely second nature - lol.

Just edited to add... some of the comments are actually creepier than the article.  "I avoided my husband for 2 years before God completely changed my heart.".    Egads.  Thank God for taking all the guesswork out it:P



Last Edited on: 5/12/10 2:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2010 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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But you know what is sad? That this jerk seems to believe that people have to settle in their relationships and never hope or expect for better things. And when I say better, I don't mean for a hot, tall guy with abs of steel but somebody who is considerate, honorable and really in love with his woman. Is this some unatainable goal that no man can achieve? What is fantastic about a man who is a combination of smart/funny nice/sincere/strong and/or loving?

Also, you can see that this jerk lives in the 19th century. Women today don't need anybody to rescue them. We can rescue ourselves! :)



Last Edited on: 5/12/10 7:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2010 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think the secret to a long & happy marriage isn't so much about "settling" per se, but being realistic about those moments when Prince Charming isn't quite so charming.  Like when he falls asleep & starts snoring in the middle of that romantic comedy you thought it was going to be so much fun to watch together:P  People who can't deal with that kind of reality in relationships are more likely to be unfaithful, and I think that's his core concern, since he brings it up a few times in the article.  The rest of it is just the paternalistic mindset of a theologian.  When you get right down to it, most religions are paternalistic, even though some of the more progressive ministries these days allow women to be practicing ministers.  You have to keep in mind that some faiths don't exactly encourage women (and sometimes men too) to think for themselves, to seek relationships or marry outside of their church community (which can make the pickin's mighty slim:P), or even to make life choices without seeking guidance from their pastors and doing a lot of praying on it first.  My brother & his wife went through all of that rigamarole before they married, and I couldn't honestly say that they're any happier than my DH and I, but I've never asked them either.  Incidentally, I am a backsliding former "holy roller" (non-practicing Pentecostal), who married an idol-worshipping *gasp* Irish Catholic boy.  But he's a backslider too, so we figure it kinda balances out:P  I'm accustomed to the mindset of this guy, so even though it makes me roll my eyes & shake my head, it doesn't surprise me much that there are plenty of people out there who think that way.  It's when they start burning books & protesting outside of movie theaters that they begin to bother me.  Some people just can't live & let live - they have to try to change the world to fit their idea of what it ought to be.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 5:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I think romances are about giving high priority to love, and I think that's a great thing.  I think attitudes like this one -- http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780525951513-Marry+Him+The+Case+for+Settling+for+Mr+Good+Enough -- are what's messed up.  It's all about a "checklist" and someone being "good enough."  Where does love figure anywhere into that equation?

45, been with my husband since I was 21.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Accepting a person for who they are is totally different than settling IMO and I think that it touches on what you mentioned above, Kim. When you date somebody, you must decide what is important for you and what isn't and learn to live with those foibles that are part of the other person's personality. For me, respect is a very important thing in a man so I never dated anybody who raised their voice to me or acted violently...tons of my friends dated men who would humiliated them or treated them badly and they would continue the relationship because they thought they couldn't find anybody else. For me it was always, if that's the only man I'll find, then I won't be with anybody. I respected myself too much to settle for that.

Now, my husband has some flaws in his character - I think sometimes he's too judgemental and arrogant - but he has so many good qualities that when he acts a bit over the top, I just let it go. Is that settling? No, that's just taking the good with the bad.

Willa - Thinking about that book...any woman who has a list of must-haves so long and complicated that many great guys get rejected out of the gate is a nut. Nobody is perfect and any woman who thinks that their Mr. Right will fulfill all the items in a checklist is deluded and needs to grow up.

ETA: 33 - married almost 9 years, together with DH, 10 yrs. :)



Last Edited on: 5/12/10 7:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2010 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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Hmm.  I think what offends me is that this guy thinks that women in general are dense enough that we can't distinguish between fantasy (movie, book) and real life.  He is making a whole crapload of assumptions about WHY we are drawn to reading romance books, watching romantic movies, and his assumptions are, in general, wrong.  I mean, this guy honestly seems to think that we go for that stuff because we are dissatisfied and are seeking an ideal.  He seems to think that the feeling that we get from seeing or reading about a good romance leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction with our own lives because they may not "measure up".  Wow, now if that's how it works, what does that mean for adrenaline-junkie guys who like action/suspence flicks?  Do we need to start worrying that they will start taking unnecessary risks in their real lives because they are dissatisfied with the lack of excitement?  I think he's drawing all kinds of wrong conclusions here.  How about we read and watch romances because they make us feel warm and fuzzy?  And that's really all there is to it?  Is that really so hard to believe?

Wonder if that guy ever read a sci-fi book without actually becoming unhappy with his own life because of the fact that he can't *actually* time travel and/or visit other planets?   Sheesh.

Since we're sharing stats, I'm 42 in a couple of weeks, married 16 years and been with hubby 18.5 years.  I am happy and content with my marriage and my life.  I have loved reading romance books and watching romantic movies since I was at least 12.  I don't know who that author guy thinks he's talking about, but it sure as heck isn't me.  I am a total realist- I love and accept my hubby, warts, dirty socks on the floor, and all.  I have very realistic expectations about  marriage and relationships, and that's why I am in a successful relationship.  Doesn't mean I can't enjoy a good story about a big strong hunky guy who sweeps his woman off her feet and never, ever misses the hamper or leaves the toilet seat up.  I passed the 2nd grade and know how to tell fantasy from reality.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I honestly think that the "settling" thing comes from the fact that  he and the people he ministers to basically settle when they limit their choices in life partners to the people who attend their church & think and believe like they do.  That has to make for a lot of couples who really aren't happily married or suited to making it in the long haul.  And I guess you're kinda outta luck if you look around & none of the choices does anything for you:P

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 9:38 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2009
Posts: 125
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Imagine what could happen if we could get all the offended Christian morality focused on a worthy cause such as, oh I don't know child abuse, homelessness, dissaster relief..........But I digress.....I have to find my bonnet because my DH the Duke is taking me on a carriage ride!!! Oh wait that might be fantasy I'm not sure.........I've read too many romance books this week....

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2008
Posts: 423
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Haha...I agree, Terra. If all the righteous Christians in the world who are focused on such petty things were to channel their energies into a worthy cause I'll bet they could probably solve world hunger. I saw one of my facebook friends "liked" this article, I was curious, so I clicked on it, and it got my dander up. I hate this type of narrow-minded thinking. It's akin to the people who wanted to ban Harry Potter because it promoted the "dark arts" as if reading Harry Potter would make kids join satanic cults. It seems to me if these people had their way the world would be a lot less rich for all the art, music, literature, and entertainment they would want no one to see. It would be a dystopic world where everyone looked the same, thought the same, acted the same, and felt the same, or else something bad would happen to you.

I also like your point, D.G., about how he lays the fantasizing game solely on women and men are just the hapless victims of women partaking in this emotional porn. I didn't notice that while reading the article.



Last Edited on: 5/12/10 10:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/13/2010 6:38 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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I have to find my bonnet because my DH the Duke is taking me on a carriage ride!!!

LOLOLOLOL, Terra!

Date Posted: 5/13/2010 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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You guys are going to get a kick out this one. :)

I read a sports blog - whose target is, as you can imagine, men. In a weekly column, one of the writers  gets inane questions from readers which he answers. See one of this week's questions:

Do you ever find yourself randomly practicing kung fu when you're alone in your room as if you were Bruce Lee reincarnated, instead of (in my case as well as yours) some uncoordinated white guy?

LOL!

Date Posted: 5/15/2010 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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<<It's akin to the people who wanted to ban Harry Potter because it promoted the "dark arts" as if reading Harry Potter would make kids join satanic cults.>>

Wait--are you saying I can't play quidditch?

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 6
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Hey Everyone, Did this really need to get into a slam Christians and pastors forum?  Lets just disagree with this article and leave the rest alone.

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2008
Posts: 627
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<<It's akin to the people who wanted to ban Harry Potter because it promoted the "dark arts" as if reading Harry Potter would make kids join satanic cults.>>

Wait--are you saying I can't play quidditch?

 

hahaha good one...there goes my dreams of fixing my glasses with my wand.. dang.  haha