Letters From A Devastated Artist (10)

“At the heart of pornography is sexuality haunted by its own disappearance” – Jean Baudrillard

Dear Porn,

Where do I draw the line between you and art? How do I know the difference? You are so subtle and enticing…confusing. You don’t care if I’m male or female. You just want my body. You don’t give a damn about my soul. Oh wait, maybe that’s exactly what you’re trying to do to my soul.

You gradually erode my artistic creativity and squander my time. You fill my heart with guilt and numb my senses. And so my eyes become cloudy and dark and ultimately opaque. Why is that humans with my artistic temperament seem locked in an endless struggle with you? Is it truly a battle for my heart? Could it possibly be true that every longing for your delights is, at its core, a longing for intimacy with God? Do I want intimacy so desperately I will seek it anywhere?

Why is it every person that struggles with you also seem to be the most fun to be around? And the ones that don’t struggle as much seem so cold and dull and black and white? Is there a correlation?  If you were around in Bible times, I’m pretty sure King David and Solomon and John would have struggled with you. Peter and Paul maybe not so much – they had other issues. Oh yeah, they were human just like us, we all have issues. We just like to condemn the ones we don’t struggle with.

How can I know the difference between beauty and pornography? (excerpted from Sex, Lies & Religion). “When we take off our clothes in lovemaking, it represents a revealing of sexual and spiritual secrets between lovers. Therefore the truthful artist, in depicting exposed flesh and the intense passion of the sex act, speaks in a way that portrays both a spiritual and sensual communion. In many works that overemphasize titillating aspects, the artist doesn’t show too much, but on the contrary, he shows too little.

When these spiritual and sensual elements mysteriously connect the artist with the viewer, there is a sense of satisfaction and revelation. The wholeness provides the viewer, as Luigi Galvani calls it, ‘an enchantment of the heart.’ But this is vastly different from the act of viewing pornography. The actors in a pornographic film are portrayed as partial rather than whole beings. In fact, once a perception of completeness enters the story (for example, realizing the character is someone’s son or daughter who possibly has been abused and coerced) it diminishes the pornography’s ability to titillate.

The pornographer causes the viewer to subjectively respond to the person or act portrayed only as a means of personal gratification. Creators of pornography sell a perception that sexual fulfillment represents the only value of a person and that meaning exists only in fleshly aspects. There is no opportunity to respond to either the wholeness or harmony of that person or to the mysteries and radiance of the sexual act. As far as the question of radiance, there remains no ‘all is right in the world’ feeling, or leaving a better person, or a sense of the lingering presence of true beauty.

Another test of art versus pornography is whether the subject’s nudity makes him or her seem more or less human. Does it enable you to identify with the subject, or does it distance you from the subject, allowing you to view that figure as an object rather than as a complete person? Within the context of love, a mutual giving and receiving takes place, leading to the orgasmic pleasure of sexual intimacy. Through intercourse, we share with our lover what is ours to give. This personal giving and receiving unites our souls so exclusively, that for another person to view or partake in the sharing of this erotic gift violates an exclusive communion. There remains no room for a ménage a trois.”

It’s important to know this ménage a trois can occur with three humans, or as a threesome between a human, porn and God. And we know what God says about that – He wants nothing between us and Him. He wants our longings to find their object in Him. A sensual God desires to know us intimately. He calls for all our spiritual and physical senses to be fully alive!

Not deadened and darkened and damned by pornography.

Sensuously,

Randy

P.S. I write extensively about this subject that religion rarely addresses, especially how to know the difference between art and pornography in “Sex, Lies & Religion”.

12 Responses to “Letters From A Devastated Artist (10)”

  1. I remember reading some of this in your book. For someone who is not "artsy," I am still able to relate to this and realize that porn disconnects us from the beauty and passion in sex.

    However, being single, reading your stuff brings up a lot of swirling thoughts for me and is rocky road, for sure. I appreciate what you do, and when married, I think your material will be much more relevant to me. For now, I have to put it in the bank and wait for application within the confines of marriage.

    • Thanks, Ben so much. Yes, i realize that it is not just the "artsy" types that struggle with this issue. It is all of us. Thanks again.

  2. Like truth, our bodies are not made acceptable only when covered…..there is an amazing beauty in God's creation…in the raw and exposed forms that become subjects in art. Your writing beautifully differentiates how those throughout history have sought to selectively deem parts of God's creation worthy and others deemed as unacceptable….how within the boundaries of relationship to God and within a commitment to your spouse, our passionate physical love is one of God's truest gifts.
    I believe that only when we use whatever medium we are creating in to negatively manipulate others to use, judge, take advantage of and destroy beauty, peace, mercy, awareness and love for others does its use become less than it was created to be…whether it was to entice, exclude, or expose viewers to be taken to a place that isn't about whatever is lovely, beautiful, or meaningful to improving the awareness of the human condition….but nakedness in itself…was exactly how we were created to be…and unaware that it was less than lovely….

  3. "Is it truly a battle for my heart?" YES it is! Our true enemy, satan, wants nothing more then to separate us from our Beloved's heart.

    "Could it possibly be true that every longing for your delights is, at its core, a longing for intimacy with God?"

    I have just recently come to this realization, thanks to "Sacred Romance" by B. Curtis and J. Eldridge, as well as your book "Sex Lies & Religion". I am understanding how religion has stripped 'beauty', 'passion', and 'intimacy' away from God and replaced it with 'duty', 'reason', and 'intellect'. How the struggles with sexual intimacy I have had since puberty have been a longing to be intimate with my Beloved – God. Yes, we can have that kind of intimacy with God.

  4. Rocco,

    "I am understanding how religion has stripped 'beauty', 'passion', and 'intimacy' away from God and replaced it with 'duty', 'reason', and 'intellect'."

    Well said!! and so true. thanks.

  5. "You gradually erode my artistic creativity and squander my time. You fill my heart with guilt and numb my senses. And so my eyes become cloudy and dark and ultimately opaque. Why is that humans with my artistic temperament seem locked in an endless struggle with you? Is it truly a battle for my heart? Could it possibly be true that every longing for your delights is, at its core, a longing for intimacy with God? Do I want intimacy so desperately I will seek it anywhere?"

    -Our heart longs for the completeness that we will find in God when we meet Him in person. All other things we try to fill that longing with is incomplete. We will only receive that true happiness with Him in Heaven. If God were to reveal Himself completely to us while here on Earth, there would be no free will. So, until we can be reconciled with what our heart truly desires, we plug in anything we think will help. It's a constant struggle to remind ourselves what we are truly longing for.

    "It’s important to know this ménage a trois can occur with three humans, or as a threesome between a human, porn and God. And we know what God says about that – He wants nothing between us and Him. He wants our longings to find their object in Him. A sensual God desires to know us intimately. He calls for all our spiritual and physical senses to be fully alive!"

    – I have never, ever heard this point put into better language. Thanks Randy!

  6. i spent nearly two years living in france and finally came to admire and understand the art & even freedom of nudity (not discounting modesty). i always felt so shameful, growing up in the church, when it came to nudity & art. i also began to acquire a taste for fine wine. i began to see the artistry in it & not view it as the thing that made my grandpa beat his kids. he abused it. he didn't appreciate it. he stole its potency and disregarded its artistry. i feel the same with nudity.
    i agree with you wholeheartedly concerning the intent of pornography and the trap that it sets and i also see a definitive line between art & porn. even beautiful art can be misused and disrespected, but it is with eyes that appreciate the craftsmanship and the beauty of its mystery that we can come to appreciate the sacredness of intimacy and the freedom from shame.
    just my thoughts;)

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