I know looking at pornographic pictures is wrong, but what about reading books with ‘romantic’ scenes?
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“I know looking at pornographic pictures is wrong, but what about reading books with ‘romantic’ scenes?” New Era, Aug. 2014, 40

I know looking at pornographic pictures is wrong, but what about reading books with “romantic” scenes?

Reading and study. Youth. Female

Photo illustration by Craig Dimond

We always seem to be encouraged to read more, because, well, everyone knows that reading is a good thing. But not all books are worth reading, and just because sexual material is written about rather than photographed or video recorded doesn’t mean that it’s less morally hazardous. Making a common display of a sacred intimacy that’s intended to only be part of a marriage relationship is wrong—whether in words or images.

If something you’re reading contains explicit sexual descriptions that imprint themselves on your mind and arouse sexual feelings in the same way that looking at pornographic images would, then guess what? It’s pornography. Remember the counsel in For the Strength of Youth: “Choose wisely when using media, because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts you” ([2011], 11).