The Problem with “Mommy Porn”

Traditionally, we have often thought of pornography as a struggle for men. However, studies like those conducted by Covenant Eyes show that porn use among women is rapidly increasing, particularly among younger females. While some women get pulled in to pornography simply through seeing graphic sexual images, many more are introduced by the combination of romantic themes and sexual arousal, which is exactly why Fifty Shades of Grey was the fastest selling book in the history of publishing, selling more than 100 million copies!

Moms and Pornography. The Hidden Vice.

Fifty Shades of Grey may no longer be in the news, but the popularity of mommy porn hasn’t faded away with it. The brilliance of combining romantic fantasy with graphic sexuality has succeeded in making pornography seem more acceptable for the average woman. I’ve talked with women who will readily condemn pornography but find no problem reading an erotic novel, which the publishing world refers to as “mommy porn.”

The problem with mommy porn

Women can justify the use of erotic fiction as a safe way to become sexually focused, even within marriage. Mommy porn doesn’t appear to be as lewd or offensive as visual porn, particularly when a “storyline” has redeeming qualities. As innocuous as mommy porn may seem, it has hidden destructive effects that mirror the impact of visual pornography.

Mommy porn teaches us to separate sex from relationship.

God created our sexuality to be intricately linked with an intimate relationship. Sexuality is not simply an expression of our individuality or a way to “make babies.” It is a God-given gift intended to prompt us to pursue intimacy. Because of our sexual drive, we become distracted from other endeavors to seek out love. Sexual intimacy within marriage is a sacred way of celebrating with our bodies the life-long promise we have made to one another.

While the Bible may seem like an obscure book in its teaching of sexual morality, the greater picture is that God created sex to be linked with a relationship. When a person uses pornography (in whatever package it might be delivered), he or she is pursuing sexual expression apart from a real relationship. When women use any form of pornography as a way to address their loneliness, they are likely to find it is a quick fix that actually causes them to feel even more isolated. Women were not made for fantasy and sex; they were created for real relationship.

Mommy porn confuses fiction with fantasy.

It may seem like splitting hairs, but I think it’s critical to understand the difference between these two words. Fiction is an untrue story about something that could possibly happen. Fantasy is an untrue story about something that could never happen. For example, when you read C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you accept that the author is taking liberty in creating a wardrobe as a gateway to another world. Lewis’ novel involves talking animals and other creatures that we know don’t exist in our world.

Erotic fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey is fantasy, presenting a world that simply doesn’t exist. There are no millionaire 30-year-old men with perfect bodies who are also highly romantic and sensitive. Just like the airbrushed models in porn magazines, mommy porn presents an idea of something that just doesn’t exist in our world.

Mommy porn also erases the natural consequences of real-life sexual choices. Within the pages of erotic fiction, no one gets a sexually transmitted disease, deals with the fallout of damaged relationships, struggles with sexual addictions, or has lingering regrets and shame. The BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism) presented in Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t sexy and romantic in real life, it’s abusive. I talked with one young woman who, inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, got involved in an online chat room that included BDSM. She eventually hooked up with a man through this chat room. Her experience was highly traumatic and in her words “terrifying and disgusting.” She is still in counseling several months later dealing with the emotional aftereffects.

In the real world, our sexual choices and experiences have consequences. Pornography in any form creates an alternate reality in which we can convince ourselves otherwise.

Mommy porn creates dissatisfaction with reality.

One husband wrote me, “My wife has become obsessed with reading erotic novels. At first, I didn’t complain because she was much more sexually responsive. But now it’s killing our sexual relationship. She doesn’t want to have sex with me at all. What do I do?”

While many married women justify mommy porn because it helps them turn on their sexual desire, they are actually training their thoughts and longings to be geared toward something or someone other than their spouse. Just as the unrealistic images of pornography cause a man to become dissatisfied with his very normal, beautiful wife, the unrealistic fantasies in mommy porn can lead to these same feelings of unhappiness.

True sexual intimacy requires something from you. Loving a husband in real life means accepting him with his imperfections and inadequacies. Husbands and wives must learn to be unselfish, forgiving, and vulnerable with each other as they grow as lovers. This is exactly the opposite of what porn teaches us. Pornography is all about what you can get, requiring nothing from you. It trains you to be self-focused and insulated in your own world of desire and fantasy.

Pornography, including mommy porn, is disastrous to individuals and society because it trains us to believe that sex is about me, about lust, and about always wanting more. No matter how pretty the package of porn might be, we have to recognize it for what it is: a dangerous distortion of God’s design for sexual desire.


Juli SlatteryDr. Juli Slattery is a recognized expert in the integration of biblical truth and sexuality. She is a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker, with over 25 years of experience counseling and teaching women. Dr. Slattery holds degrees in psychology from Wheaton College, Biola University, and Florida Institute of Technology. The former co-host of the Focus on the Family Broadcast, Dr. Slattery co-founded Authentic Intimacy with Linda Dillow in 2012. She now hosts a weekly podcast called Java with Juli. Dr. Slattery and her husband, Mike, have been married since 1994 and have three sons. She is the author of ten books including Rethinking Sexuality.