In a podcast posted on his website DesiringGod.org on Tuesday, Piper, the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, said he has been asked this question many times over the years.
“It comes to us sometimes from men, but mostly from perplexed women,” he said on the podcast. “Most recently the question comes from an anonymous listener who simply asks: ‘Pastor John, is it sinful to watch pornography with my spouse before sex?'”
The pastor’s answer: “Yes it is. It is sin.” And a “revolting” sin at that, he explained, noting that the act of watching porn corrupts sacred sexuality.
“In that sacred moment, corruption is abounding in three directions: toward Christ, toward the spouse — which I assume is a wife here being asked to do this — and the marriage, and toward the people in the pornography.”
Piper indicated that defilement happens in the mind, which harbors the sinful images “all the way through life, day and night.”
He quoted Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church,” and parallels Scripture to earthly marriage, saying, “This act of marital sexual union is one of the most intense expressions of the very meaning of marriage; namely, the truth of the words — and I mean words spoken, I pray, in the sexual embrace with your eyes six inches from hers — ‘You have I chosen above all others. You alone are the one where I feast with pure and unsullied pleasure. I have eyes for no one but you. I do not run after other women in my mind or in my body. I am utterly devoted to you with my mind, with my eyes, with my body. You alone are my pleasure.”‘
Piper continued, “That is marriage. That is how the Lord Jesus relates to his bride. That is what you vow at the altar. He has eyes, Jesus has eyes for no other.”
He added, “What does it say about Christ and his love to His Church if you feed the moment of sweetest, purest union with the poison of putrid food from pornographic sexual sin?”
“And make no mistake, the performing and filming of pornographic acts is sin. What they are doing is sin. They are not acting for the glory of God as you watch them. They are not acting in step with the Gospel. They are not pursuing holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).