The story may no longer dominate the headlines, but the interest in the Duke student who is paying for her education by making porn continues. This fascination, I’m guessing, is due to the bizarreness of an elite student willingly participating in society’s most notorious profession. Personally, I don’t share the fascination. I simply haven’t had the stomach to follow along. All I know is that a young woman has chosen to sell sex for money. Money and power, that is, for she claims that her current employment is “empowering”.
And it’s this claim that selling sex makes her feel powerful that has left me thinking. I have no reason to doubt her; performing in these films may make her feel very formidable, but that’s not a good thing. Sex is not meant to bestow power, for if it does, it has become a weapon. A very dangerous weapon at that, because it wounds everyone it touches—including the one doing the wielding.
This newest porn star may willingly participate in acts that countless others are enslaved to do, but her choice does not protect her from its costs. The sex industry is no friend to women. For a time, some of them may feel dominion over the men that hungrily watch them, but they will soon discover that they are seen as objects not to be prized, but to be preyed upon. Horror is coiled to strike. This course she has started down might make her feel powerful now, but in the end it will leave her broken.
Men also make the mistake of treating sex as means of power. The charming cad, who woos women to his bed only to abandon them in favor of another, fancies himself as a champion of virility. For him women are simply trophies to be won, but what he doesn’t realize is that this hunt will cost him his dignity. While his friends may congratulate him for his many conquests, his soul cannot not join in the revelry. Overwhelming evidence informs us that men who hunt for sex are generally consumed with self-loathing. They use sex to seize power only to discover that in the process they have crippled their masculinity.
When women and men use sex for power, they always and only reap pain.
Sex is not meant to be about power. In God’s beautiful design, sex is devoid of dominion. Rather, it’s the willing ‘giving away’ of oneself to a spouse in the bounds of marriage. There are no acts of coercion involved, but in mutual submission the husband and wife entrust themselves to each other. The two become one flesh. It’s a union forged in shared vulnerability. The generosity in this joining establishes trust and binds them together. When this happens in sex there are no losers, no vanquished parties, for both man and woman have been honored by the other. In God’s design nobody wields sex, it’s a gift given and received between loving spouses. This is the way sex is meant to be, for when power plays are kept from the marriage bed there is ample space for love.