Sexuality on TV

I used to think I had committed a sin of impurity just by looking at a woman scantily clad. I now feel that it is only a sin if I purposefully imaging have sex with her. I have struggled with this and rarely commit this sin. My question concerns TV shows with sexual content. I have watched TV shows where a couple is making love on camera and have shown nudity. Through my discipline I have not imagined having sex with any of these women. Have I or have I not avoided any sin in these situations?

Regular viewing of such images and situations is like a form of meditation. It stays with you and is a near occasion of sin. I can think of no men I know who do not see such images and have some type of emotional reaction. Such scenes are sinful in themselves since the actors permit themselves to be used as sex objects. Such depictions have only increased over the last 40 years.

Being insensitive or desensitized to this does not help. Sin involves the will and knowingly watching scantily clad people portraying sinful situations as “entertainment” is wrong. As Christians, we should be mindful of what we - including me - put into our heads. The human body is not itself a sinful thing or to be totally avoided in certain situations, but these situations are always meant to be private. For our own sakes and the sake of others, let’s not be neutral about the oversexed media which continues to show more and more sexuality on TV as somehow normal, OK or good. It is not any of those. The misuse and misrepresentation of normal human sexuality is at the core of most of society’s problems today.


This is a problem that women face, too.

In general, if there is a show that tends to depict a lot of sexual content, I avoid it. If there’s a show or film I feel may have merit but might still show something, I may watch it anyway. I usually avert my eyes if and when the content becomes objectionable. Or the DVR fast forward feature comes in handy (especially for commercials, where using sex to sell something especially at later hours is really, really prevalent. Yuck.)

I don’t think that all reference to sex or sexuality has to be omitted from media for it to be acceptable - I think it’s actually an important topic that can be handled well, it’s just that it’s usually done in a fashion intended to be titillating (which is objectifying.) Otherwise I agree with Ed that some things are meant to be private. Panning to curtains fluttering in the breeze works just fine. :rolleyes:

A lot depends on the individual, too. For some people, going to a beach or public pool is too much temptation for them even if their desire to go would start out as innocent (since swimming is fun!). But it wouldn’t be right to say that it would be a sin, under all circumstances, to go to such places. Same with TV and movies.

Its not a sin to accidentally see something, but to deliberately look at something impure…

Catholics are bound to be obedient to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (promulgated under Saint Pope John Paul II and printed in 1992),

Quotes from the Catechism:

2520 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires. With God’s grace he will prevail

  • by the virtue and gift of chastity, for chastity lets us love with upright and undivided heart;

  • by purity of intention which consists in seeking the true end of man: with simplicity of vision, the baptized person seeks to find and to fulfill God’s will in everything;313

  • by purity of vision, external and internal; by discipline of feelings and imagination; by refusing all complicity in impure thoughts that incline us to turn aside from the path of God’s commandments: “Appearance arouses yearning in fools”;314

  • by prayer:

I thought that continence arose from one’s own powers, which I did not recognize in myself. I was foolish enough not to know . . . that no one can be continent unless you grant it. For you would surely have granted it if my inner groaning had reached your ears and I with firm faith had cast my cares on you.315
2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

2526 So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.

2527 "The Good News of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen man; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the ever-present attraction of sin. It never ceases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. It takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes, and restores them in Christ."316

2528 “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28).

2529 The ninth commandment warns against lust or carnal concupiscence.

2530 The struggle against carnal lust involves purifying the heart and practicing temperance.

2531 Purity of heart will enable us to see God: it enables us even now to see things according to God.

2532 Purification of the heart demands prayer, the practice of chastity, purity of intention and of vision.

2533 Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.

299 Ex 20:17.
300 Mt 5:28.
301 Cf. 1 Jn 2:16.
302 Cf. Gal 5:16,17,24; Eph 2:3.
303 Cf. Gen 3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515.
304 John Paul II, DeV 55; cf. Gal 5:25.
305 Mt 15:19.
306 Pastor Hermae, Mandate 2,1:PG 2,916.
307 Mt 5:8.
308 Cf. 1 Tim 4:3-9; 2 Tim 2:22.
309 Cf. 1 Thess 4:7; Col 3:5; Eph 4:19.
310 Cf. Titus 1:15; 1 Tim 1:3-4; 2 Tim 2:23-26.
311 St. Augustine, Defide et symbolo 10,25:PL 40,196.
312 Cf. 1 Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2.
313 Cf. Rom 12:2; Col 1:10.
314 Wis 15:5.
315 St. Augustine, Conf. 6,11,20:PL 32,729-730.
316 GS 58 § 4.

Thank you, so much. I too thought that as things became more sexualized, I could just ignore it but the trend just continued and continued to get worse. Everything that was considered risque and scandalous was meant, in my view, to be shown so often that people would be more accepting of it. Portraying deviant behaviors is not good. Scandal is a bad thing.

There are movies I can watch that show respect, romance and love and leave the private parts private. When I watch these sorts of movies, they elevate me. They resonate inside me. Today, I’m tired of closing my eyes through those parts that were put there on purpose. We need to help redeem the culture/media.


Unless you are watching pornography, which I doubt, the “sex scene” should only last a few seconds. I like my channel changing buttons and use them whenever there appears to be this type of scene. I can always flip back to the show after the scene. God Bless you for your faithfulness. Have a Blessed Lent!

We become what we think about, what we expose ourselves to. So there’s a danger, yes. Our parish priest used to freely admit that he was addicted to TV. He gave it up for Lent a few times, then gave it up all together.

:thumbsup: I enjoy the Cary Grant movies that mostly show true love without illicit sex scenes.
Why doesn’t the Catholic Church start a petition to send to movie producers, stating we are disgusted by the filthy talk & scenes in modern movies and want a return to wholesome stories in films & on TV.

With the recent hits like The Bible (TV series), Son of God, and the powerhouse Passion of the Christ, Hollywood gets it. They’ve put up other Biblically themed movies in the hopes of cashing in but true Christians know to stay away from these fantastical type movies. Best to vote by your viewing; the producers will get it.

That’s true, but we don’t need all religious movies. Interesting stories about modern people are fine …but without the filth! This is what the producers are not hearing.

I agree. When right and wrong mean nothing then what do we stand for? Filthy, immoral - those words mean something. A little history:


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