Originally posted in Rabyd Theologian 2.0 on May 22nd, 2009. Edited for clarification.
Sorry guys, I have to be fair to the ladies with the picture thing.
I feel very much like a man on the moon. Totally out of my element. If any woman wants to call me out of my mind, she is probably right. Seriously, If a woman out there wants to tell me why women lust or has any other comment on what I have written here — you are more than welcome and would be appreciated. I am coming at this from a male perspective after all.
OK, Women have lust problems too. See Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39 and the Proverbs 7 woman for Biblical examples. It would also be fair to say that women are also attracted to the physical form of men, something I do not get at all. However, I do not think most women lust because of mere outward appearance. The emotional strength of women is also their weakness when it comes to men. Vanity also plays a role. Truth be told, I still find it a mystery of why women lust, but they do. In the two cases above, one lusts because of her authority over Joseph and the other because of the absence of her husband. In one case it is about vanity in the form of control and the other is vanity in desire for being wanted.
In any case, what is a Christian woman to do? Guard her heart! Women like attention and don’t tell me it isn’t true, I see it. They want someone to listen to them and notice them. Women have a need to be loved, communicate with men and receive affection. These things combine into a strong desire for a man. I think. A woman’s heart and desires can get the best of her.
The difference is how this desire is pursued. Men chase, women seek to be caught. I have had enough conversations with women and for some odd reason when I am the only man in a room full of women, women converse as if I wasn’t there so I have some inside knowledge on this. This knowledge leads me to a conclusion that women have this strong desire to be so desirable that a man will chase to the ends of the earth to take her. It is a common fantasy and you only have to pick up any romance novel to know it is true. (Aside: could it be said that romance novels might be a form of emotional porn for women. I think so)
What does this have to do with nudity, modesty and culture?
First, a woman must distinguish between when she is seeking to be a pretty woman who is attractive and when she is being sensual. Sensuality is a clear sign of lust in a woman. It is a question of attitude. Any woman can be sensual and nudity is not necessary. In fact in sensuality, nudity can be too over the top. Once the clothes come off, there is no mystery and a man will actually get disenchanted with her over time unless they are committed in marriage.
The women who use sensuality know that the best course of action is to show just enough but leave some to the imagination. Sensuality is about using her sex appeal to attract a man for sexual or other proposes. It does not take natural beauty either. Madonna, back in the day, is a prime example — somewhat pretty, but it was the way she carried herself in a sexual attitude that made her the most attractive to men. Know the difference between pretty and sensual.
Second, Paul and Peter provide that modesty is a heart issue and it has little to do with clothing. It is about quiet submissive hearts that are precious to God. True modesty can be the best defense against lust that can develop in a woman’s heart. Quietness causes a woman to listen to God and receive his love. Submissiveness allows humility of heart and humility means a woman won’t think higher of herself than she should. Vanity is brought under control.
Thirdly, Know that in dealing with men, they are going to look. You are visually attractive to most men. Deal with it in a manner that is positive. I once met a woman who would get offended because men would look at her breasts. She was well endowed and had a habit of wearing tight t-shirts with words across her chest. I wonder why they were looking? Women should not be offended when men look – God’s biological design I think to keep the human race procreative – when they should be offended is when men treat them improperly by not respecting their person hood because of what they see – more important. It is also important for a woman not to get too embarrassed when the accidental happens. This is where women in the world are wiser than women in the church – act like nothing happened. If you let a man know you know he saw something, he and you will be more inclined to dwell on it.
Fourthly, if you are married and want to guard you marriage, there is one place you can be as sensual as you want – with your husband. I would also recommend that you give your husband as many images of you as you can. The one sure way to help your husband forget an image of some other woman is to give him many of you. I know this from experience.
Finally, this goes to dealing with other women. I speak of when a woman shows up and she is sensually dressed or simple not very clothed like at a beach or something. The claws come out and to you Christian women, I think you have a few habits you need to discard. One is to recognize this for what it is – jealousy because of your own vanity. When a curvy woman walks in front of you in bikini and catches the attention of other men and you try to bring her down with words or action, you are treating her like an object. The attempt is to diminish her so you can look better which results in you trying to compete for attention or you act in self-righteousness. “How disgusting, I am glad I don’t dress like that.” Someone tell me how such a statement is not self-righteous? Do you really want to tell me that you are concerned for her as a human being and society as a whole with such a statement? I think not. As a woman you are not respecting another woman for who she is as a person. All you are doing is judging her by outward appearance which Jesus specifically forbids.
Next: A Final Word on Lust.