4 minute read

Why Disney Relationships Are Just Like Porn

Last Updated: July 29, 2021

Noah Filipiak

Noah Filipiak is a pastor and the author of Beyond the Battle: A Man's Guide to his Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World (Zondervan)He also hosts The Flip Side Podcast. If you desire to be free from lust, porn, and fantasy, you can join Noah and his team in an online small group at Beyond the Battle, or get the leader guide to run your own group.

I’m the dad of 3- and 4-year-old daughters.  I’m an expert on Disney princesses.

My daughters have every word of the Frozen soundtrack memorized and have more Disney princess toys and articles of clothing than I can count. I swear I didn’t buy all this stuff for my kids, but here’s to the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and various hand-me-down givers who did. Disney princesses are like mold on your shower caulk, no matter how hard you try to keep them out, they always find a way in! Eventually as a dad, you just give up and sing along.  (Yes, I know every word of the Frozen soundtrack as well. I am a Disney princess expert after all.)

This is not an article about how Disney movies are corrupting our children. It’s an observation of how similar the relational mindsets in Disney movies are in comparison to those set forth in pornography and romance novels. While this is surprising, on a closer look, it’s more clear.

Fantasy: One of Porn’s Problems

Of the many problems with pornography, one is that it only exists in fantasy. Fantasy is pretty innocent when it’s Mickey Mouse running around with a wizard’s hat on or a cartoon Merlin talking to his pet owl. It becomes destructive though, even lethal, when it replaces someone’s reality. If you begin to think Mickey Mouse is real, and you sell all you have so you can go live in his Magic Kingdom, now you have some real life problems.

The problem with pornography is it allows fantasy relationships to replace real ones. Who wants a real relationship with its cumbersome problems when you can have the ease of porn’s instant gratification? The men or women portrayed on the pages don’t have the insecurities, imperfections, sensitivities, and needs of a real life partner. Same goes for the Fifty Shades of Grey books and the many other popular romance novels out there. A person in real life will never be able to compete with the fiction on the page.

Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus wants us to embrace the life found in reality, while Satan is able to get our minds to believe the fake is actually real. What better way to steal, kill and destroy than this?

What happens if a person only eats fantasy food or breathes fantasy air?

Exactly.

The same is true of fantasy relationships.

Fantasy: A Key Ingredient in Disney Relationships

Fantasy relationships exist so freely on the pages of pornography, romance novels, and in our minds, it’s not surprising they’ve been so widely accepted in the magical world of Disney as well. Remember what we just said about pornography and romance novels: The men or women portrayed on the pages don’t have the insecurities, imperfections, sensitivities, and needs of a real life partner. The exact same sentence is true of Disney relationships.

Take Prince Charming for example. After all, his name is Prince Charming!  In the classic story of Cinderella, Prince Charming and Cinderella fall madly in love…and he didn’t even know her name! So what exactly was this love based on?  The prince’s charm? Cinderella’s perfect figure, perfect face, and perfect hair? Last I checked, that’s the stuff porn and lust are made of, not romance or love.

Or the ridiculous notion of Sleeping Beauty, a blonde-haired beauty who looks almost identical to Cinderella, falls asleep and can only be woken by “true love’s kiss.” Guess who this act of true love comes from? A prince who has had one flirtation with her (and again, they don’t know each other’s names)! But hey, she’s hot, so that must be what love is!

Quick, name me all of Prince Charming’s flaws. And all of Cinderella’s…

Name me all the flaws of a person you’ve flirted with one time for a few seconds…or that you lusted over on a page…or you dreamed about in your head.

Perfect, Beautiful People and Happily Ever After

These are the model relationships our kids dream of thanks to Disney: perfect, beautiful people with no flaws and who always live happily ever after.

It’s the same reason Fifty Shades Darker (the Fifty Shades of Grey upcoming sequel) is the most watched movie trailer on the internet and the same reason men continue to look at porn long into their marriages.

In reality, spouses turn out much different than Prince Charming or Cinderella. Riddled with disappointment, where else is one to turn than to the unlimited fiction of porn? Romance novels and porn draw us in because we allow ourselves to be convinced these things are real (by the thief Satan from John 10:10).

But reality always stings because at the end of the day, reality is all we have!

It’s time to embrace reality

Disney movies to a 3- and 4-year-old are relatively harmless, but porn certainly isn’t!  Walking around with the mindset that you have to live off of fantasy certainly isn’t either.

The solution is found in facing, and embracing, reality. It’s found in being grateful for what God has given you, despite what you deserve from Him.

He’s holy, we’re not. We deserve hell, yet instead He lavished us with His grace. Not just grace for heaven (thank Him for that!), but also the daily graces that we typically never stop to appreciate. The grace of being single, or the grace of having a flawed spouse—both of these being much better than hell! Opportunities to thank God for giving us what we dont deserve, rather than giving us what we do. Embracing the reality that all human beings are flawed, most especially the ones we know best like a spouse. To buy the lie that a future spouse (if you’re single) or a different spouse (if you’re married) will not have problems or will finally fulfill you is to fall into the thief’s trap of deception yet again.

Thank God for the life He’s given you and the fulfillment found in being His bride. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.  (And conversely, don’t be surprised that the grass beneath your feet has dried up and died when you’ve spent all your time watering la-la land.)

Jesus is the only charming spouse with no flaws you can live happily ever after with. Go to Him for the perfect relationship. Not to porn, not to romance novels, and not to Disney princes and princesses!

  • Comments on: Why Disney Relationships Are Just Like Porn
    1. Susie on

      I never read 50 Shades, but I stopped reading all romance novels after someone pointed out to me that they are the woman’s version of porn: objectifying the other gender and turning your heart away from your spouse to an imaginary perfection.

      Reply
    2. Wayne on

      Wow, what a great article. Thank you for articulating the deception of fantasy ant porn.

      Reply
    3. Bob on

      Wow – it’s so interesting you end an article criticizing the fantasy of Disney and Porn with another fantasy – Jesus. You’re last sentence is so telling – you’re selling the same fantasy you are criticizing.

      Reply
      • Redeemed Former Porn Addict on

        People only call Jesus a fantasy because he offends their sin. And by the way he was real. You don’t need to be religious to know this. You only need a Roman history class. Great article, Noah.

      • Steve on

        Jesus is factual and real and can be proven as in a court of law using the same methods as attorneys use even more so than the first 4 presidents of the United States

    4. Dennis on

      Something I needed to be reminded of today. Thanks for the article!

      Reply
    5. Chantel on

      While reading this I felt so condemned by my sin, I finally see so clear that I am a sinner. What great work you are doing for the LORD! Thank you so very much!!

      Reply
    6. CeCe on

      This is so true! After finding out that my husband is addicted to porn, I can’t read romance novels. Every time I try to, although they are clean Christian romances, I end up feeling the pain and betrayal caused by my husband’s addiction. Even though my husband is recovering and has been free of porn for almost 2 years, I can’t help but long for the “perfect” love stories I read in these books and it is so triggering for me. I always take it out on my husband who doesn’t deserve that because of all the hard work he has put in. Real relationships and people aren’t perfect and nobody’s love story is perfect.

      Reply

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