Love is in the air! When I think of Valentines, I think of my husband, my friends and my family, especially my three grandchildren. I have different kinds of love for each. And Valentine’s Day is about all forms of love.

Whoever we are and whatever our background, we all long to be loved and to love. It’s ingrained in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual DNA because it was placed there by our Creator. What kind of love are you seeking and longing for? What kind of relationships do you dream about for yourself and your children?

Unfortunately, this Valentine’s season, Hollywood is pushing the cheap, lust-filled counterfeit of genuine erotic love. “Fifty Shades of Grey” glamorizes sexual exploitation, bondage, degradation and sadomasochism. No surprise given the current state of our pornified culture. It’s everywhere, but nowhere is it more coarse and graphic than on the Internet. Pornographic messages promote taking rather than giving: “You exist for my pleasure. You are a sex object. You are valued for your body parts and not for your heart and personhood. Once I am done with you, you are expendable.”

Current medical and social science confirms that pornography harms children, women, men, marriages and the culture. It’s exploitative, and often violent and deviant. The invasion of graphic online pornography worldwide is “the largest unregulated social experiment in human history” (Seto 2013) and is a hidden public-health hazard. Pornography is “deforming the sexual development of young viewers” (Eberstadt and Layden 2014). Statistics don’t lie:

  • 88.2 percent of top-rated porn scenes contain physical aggression (spanking, gagging, slapping, etc.); 48.7 percent contain verbal aggression (name calling). Perpetrators were usually male; 94 percent of the targets were women (Bridges & Wosnitzer 2007).
  • For some adults and youth, pornography increases the risk of sexually aggressive behavior (Hald, Malamuth & Yuen 2009) and is one factor contributing to sexual dysfunction, including sexually deviant tendencies, sexual offenses, difficulty with intimacy and acceptance of rape myths (Paolucci-Oddone, Genious & Violato 2000).
  • Searches for “teen porn” tripled 2005 to 2013 (Google 2014).
  • By age 10, 32 percent of children in a sample had been exposed to pornography. The impact of exposure to children 9 and younger: more sexually questionable acts, more sexual arousal to violence and more time using pornography later in life (Skau 2007).

Our bodies, however, were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another in marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

Deep within the heart of every woman is the desire to be loved, cherished, adored, honored, protected, fought for, taken care of and, if need be, rescued. It’s what I call the Cinderella heart, which is beautifully portrayed in one of my favorite romantic films, “Pretty Woman.” Toward the end of the film, the handsome billionaire, played by Richard Gere, after generously offering Julia Roberts’ character a condo and an expense allowance, which she surprisingly turns down, asks, “What do you want?” She replies, “I want the fairy tale.”

A woman’s heart’s desire perfectly complements the true masculine heart, which is to be respected and admired. Just watch your children and grandchildren. The desires of the innocent feminine and masculine heart are reinforced beautifully by fairy tales and childhood films. My 4-year-old granddaughter has every princess outfit with all the accessories, as do her friends. My two grandsons, 6 and 3, respectfully salivate over “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and the older boys love the action super heroes in “The Avengers.”

Thankfully, many young people have not bought into the counterfeit version of sexual fulfillment depicted in today’s culture, which promises to deliver and satisfy, but instead leaves it’s consumers empty, depressed and hungry. It’s critical for males and females of all ages to guard their hearts.

I recently met Kris and Kristen Wolfe, both young millennials who are countering today’s pornified cultural messages. Kris shares through his website Goodguyswag.com, “A true gentleman protects a woman by deep moral standards within.” He protects her from harm and protects her heart, her reputation, her emotions, her sexuality and her spirituality. Kristen, a former Miss USA, promotes true femininity at www.sheismore.com.

President Obama recently spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast about “putting on love.” Putting on love takes courage. It does mean having to say you’re sorry, putting yourself in another’s shoes, showing compassion, sacrificing for others, loving your enemies and serving the greater good. It’s not about taking, but about giving. In Scripture, God beckons humans to love Him and our neighbors as ourselves. It means embracing real love, genuine love and sacrificial love. Love that puts others first.

And finally, if you really want to spice up your sex life, go to the owner’s manual for true sexual intimacy. Sex is God’s idea, and He’s generously given us a play by play guidebook for love-making within the confines of marriage in the wildly erotic and lovely poetic book, the Song of Solomon. This isn’t talking dirty to your lover; it’s talking erotically to your beloved.

This is about connecting – face-to-face, heart-to-heart, mind-to-mind, body-to-body. Read the book. Read it with your beloved – and don’t let the language exchanged between King Solomon and his beloved throw you. Gentlemen, hair like a “flock of goats” and breasts “like two fawns, twins of a gazelle” won’t cut it. And ladies, neither will, “His body is carved ivory. … His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of fine gold.” Instead, you’ll have to get creative, use modern-day words to verbally caress your beloved. Words that honor and celebrate the other, express your admiration and adoration of your lovers’ attributes. It’s an adventure; it takes practice – but it works!

So get out the wine, chocolate, flowers and music and find true satisfaction … mind, body and spirit! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.