I was just searching for some lyrics to a Chris Tomlin song. In the margin on the website that posted the lyrics was a picture of a bikini-clad woman. The ad focused on zooming in on the bikini-covered areas. It apparently is for an online game called Evony. I checked it out on wikipedia--not wanting to give any more traffic to the game's site. As far as I can tell, it's a civilization-building game, and it looks to be set in medieval times (when there were definitely no women in bikinis around). Wikipedia even talks about the controversy over the site's ads (which show up all too often in innocent places). If your game isn't good enough to attract people to it on its own, please don't bring us down with you by polluting our screens with your lust-driven images.
This weekend we were watching television at my family's house when an ad for pistachios appeared. It featured a dominatrix, clad in leather, of course, flourishing a whip which was used to crack open a pistachio. Really?! I know that sex sells, but do we need to use it to sell pistachios now? Apparently that's their new marketing technique: innuendo can sell nuts. Shame on you, Wonderful Pistachios. Please don't ruin a food I love.
Sex only sells if we let it. And we've let it for far too long. What would happen if we stood up to such advertising instead of letting in infiltrate our homes? What if we turned off that commercial? Or went so far as to rip that ad out of the magazine and send it back to the company telling them we don't want that around? What if we installed those ad-blockers that many servers (like Firefox) offer? What if we tell companies that we've had enough?
Many of us struggle with those images. While we know they're disgusting and offensive, we're drawn to them at the same time. We want to look away, but we can't entirely avert our eyes. It doesn't help when we keep getting messages telling us that it's okay. It's not. Women are not objects. They're people. Sex is meant to be an intimacy-building expression of love between a married man and woman. You may debate me on this, but I know that when sex gets treated as something recreational, we hurt ourselves and those we share it with.
The more we allow advertising to confuse our minds, telling us that our libido can be satisfied through the things we buy, the more broken our society will become. And the more we try to satisfy our libido rather than build real relationships, the more broken we become. Let's stop letting sex sell. And let's let "the marriage bed be kept pure" (Hebrews 13:4) so it can be a place where sex can flourish as God designed.