Today’s reader question is one I get asked a lot, even in person, but often in whispers: Is it okay to take sexy pics for my husband?

After all, he’s allowed to see you naked, so there’s nothing actually wrong with it, right? And there are even “classy” places that will do boudoir photo shoots, with you in lingerie. That would be a good gift, wouldn’t it? Especially if he were going away for a time (like a military deployment)?

Well, let’s think this one through, because I don’t think it has a black and white answer. Like many things in marriage, I’m inclined to say, “it depends.” So here are just a few thoughts that I have, and then you can work it through in your own marriage.

The Practical: Private Photos Don’t Tend to Stay Private

We all know this; we see it all the time with celebrities. But it’s true for “real life,” as well. Photos that you intend to stay private often don’t. Kids may come across them (and who wants their kids seeing this?). If they’re on a phone, someone else may see it.

If you’re going to take pictures, personally, I’d make sure they were erased right away. Let them be something to tease him with, not something he keeps with him.

Now, at the same time, I’m not a military person, and so I’ve never had that six month or a year separation. But I’m not sure sexy photos would make that year easier. It would be great if some military wives could chime in on this one, because I really do feel out of my depth on that one, and I’m reminded again of the gratitude I have for those in the service. So I’ll let someone with more experience in that area make a more definitive statement.

The Worry: Are You Recreating Porn?

Men are visual, and we like to be thought of as “the beauty,” as the Eldredge’s say in their books. I think appreciating a woman’s beauty, and seeing her revealed, is something that is innate in us, and isn’t necessarily bad.

However, we live in an extremely pornographic society, and so many men are really struggling with porn.

I do not think that you defeat porn by becoming porn.

The problem with porn is not ONLY that you’re looking at someone other than your wife; the problem with porn is that it makes sex into something which is entirely about the physical and not about a relationship. It makes sex into “I’m going to lust and get my needs met,” rather than “we’re going to experience this together.” And that is a very, very difficult thing to break. In fact, in many ways that’s harder than the porn. A guy may find that he’s able to give up porn, but he may not find that his sex drive for his wife comes back. It may stay dormant. It doesn’t mean she’s not attractive; it’s just that he’s trained his body to respond to anonymous images, and not to a relationship. And that takes time to deal with (and I talk about how to recover from porn here).

It’s like this: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a glass of wine. But for an alcoholic, that’s a tremendously bad idea. Even just being at a place where people are drinking is hard. Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with an Oreo cookie. But if you’re trying to change your eating habits and get your body to start craving food that’s real, then giving in all the time to that Oreo won’t complete that retraining process, and could disrupt it.

I received an email yesterday by a woman who is sick of having to initiate sex. I couldn’t really figure out what the problem is, but then she made a throw away comment in the middle of the email that sometimes she’s too cold to do a striptease. So I think tomorrow I’ll write about what initiating sex is (and it certainly does NOT have to involve a striptease or be that elaborate! Not that there’s anything wrong with elaborate). But it became that her husband wanted to put her in certain positions and do certain things that he liked watching in porn.