(and the rest of us too)
Though I do not yet have sons, one of my desires is to help my sons (should God grant them to me), as well as other young men navigate the issue of how the Bible would have them use their sexuality, and how they ought to interact with women (no matter what she is wearing, or . . . not wearing). Our egalitarian society furrows its brow and wrinkles its nose at any attempt to establish Biblical notions and mindsets, especially when it comes to gender. Women should be free to do whatever they want and dress however they want, without the tyranny of patriarchalism breathing down their necks. In their mind, a woman should be free to wear a slinky, and not have to worry in the slightest about having the pulse of men quicken.
It would seem this message has become widely embraced, by both men and women everywhere. It is wildly popular. The women get to wear whatever they want, and men can gladly celebrate the freedom that women display (so much the better if said freedom is expressed by 10 inches, or so, of fabric). Despite the recent #YesAllWomen social media campaign (which I think was engineered to be some cyber-redux of the feminist movement of the 1970s), it is apparent that women want to be “free” to dress however they’d like. But let’s be honest, although women don’t want the negative attention (usually rape, abuse, etc.), they still sure want attention. If they don’t want the attention, then they need to somehow prove it. When a gal is strutting the streets with shorts that have less surface area than a belt does, what message is she trying to send?
We live in a meaningful world, where words and clothes and things have meaning. Clothing (on men and women) is a form of communication, and like all forms of communication can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented, etc. However, it is our individual responsibility as communicators, to make sure that we do our dead-level best to leave no room for ambiguity. A girl prancing around on a beach in a thong and teeny bikini, is saying something; and I think the burden is on the egalitarians to describe to us how this woman can wear lingerie in public AND clearly communicate that she isn’t trying to be viewed sexually. It would seem that if you’re dressed for sex, you’re communicating an invite to sexual attention.
It is painfully obvious that this whole system is leaning upon a false premise of gender being mushy, malleable, and fluid. We want so-called “gender equality,” but sorry folks, Solomon’s words still hold true . . . “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid (Proverbs 30:18-19).” The way of a man with a maid will always be something that is “too wonderful” and which even Solomon can’t figure out.
So, in light of all this, here is some summer-time advice to my sons.
Proverbs 7 illustrates a downward spiral for both a man and a woman. I want to focus on the failures of the young man. I’m fond of pointing out to young men that this bozo’s first mistake was NOT that fact that he went down HER street. No, his first mistake is found a few lines before when Solomon first describes him, and he says that as he looked out his window, he saw among the youths a young man “void of understanding.” THAT was his first mistake. He didn’t know how sexuality works, and how strong the pull of testosterone can be, especially when Miss Floozy throws her perfumed arms around him, displays her charms, and smooches the living daylights out of him. “Hey Solomon,” this fellow might ask, with glazed over eyes, “What were you sayin’ about the adulterous woman, I’m sorta havin’ trouble focussing on what yer sayin’?”
This is important. Good fathers talk to their sons. They make sure that their sons aren’t “void of understanding.” Our great problem is that we have a generation of men that are knuckleheads and numbskulls. They don’t understand how God intends their sexuality to be used. So, they sit back and whistle at the babes, not realizing that this dimension of their being is sacred, beautiful and intended to be expressed in the intimacy of their marriage. Instead of defending the sacredness of this dimension of their life, they defend Miss Floozy’s right to express herself and are more than happy to cheer her on in “her house” which “is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (Proverbs 7:27).”
I heard it said, and it has stuck with me, that “men want, and women want to be wanted.” I need to teach my son that his “wanting” sexually, must be governed and guided by God’s design for his sexuality. On the other hand, I must teach my daughter that “wanting to be wanted” must be governed by the same. When my son is confronted with beaches and public places full of women who are wearing clothing that I would only want him to see on his wife, in his marriage bed, I want him to be prepared to understand the difference between beauty and sex-appeal. He must understand the difference between seeing beauty and admiring it, and seeing (what I would call for lack of a better term) sex-on-display, and learn to despise it and run from it.
He must learn what beauty is by watching me point out the beauty of his mom (and my wife). This won’t be too hard since she’s the most lovely woman alive. However, he must also know (as he comes to a more mature age), that we are sexual beings and he must be aware of the fact that daddy uses his sexual dimension only with mommy. I want to make sure that my son’s taste for female beauty is governed by God’s standard (i.e. virtuous, godly, chaste, feminine, etc.), and point his eyes toward his mommy and his sisters, and outward from there. His mommy needs to be the epicenter of his understanding for what feminine beauty is, and his daddy needs to make it clear that he is a one woman man.
However, as fathers, we must fight to ensure that beauty is never reduced to merely hair, curves and skin. I want my son’s understanding of beauty to start with the source of all loveliness, Christ Himself. Further, he must grow to understand (and this is an admittedly tricky and delicate process) that sex is beautiful; however, what makes it beautiful is not that it is on display, but rather that it is something sacred, intimate, and secret. When sex is out in the open, it is no longer beautiful.
So, my sons, during the summer months, when the days are long, but the shorts aren’t, remember that in all thy getting, get understanding (Pro. 4:7). I am staunchly against the use and abuse of women as objects to satisfy male cravings. So, even if women decide to walk around practically undressed to snag sexual attention, I, and my sons, must refuse to play the game.
Yes, my sons, you are responsible for where you place your eyes and for how long; so, as Job once did, covenant with your heart to not look lustfully upon a woman. Yes, my sons, you are responsible to keep sex in the enclosed garden of marriage. Yes, my sons, you are responsible to not rape women, or abuse them in any other way.
However, my sons, if you are a man of understanding, you will see that when the women around you are dressed to attract sexual attention, that your sexual attention is already focussed on the “wife of thy youth.” And her alone, and her body alone. Giving your sexual attention to Miss Floozy, is–as Solomon tells us–a sure-fire way to death and hell. Just because many women in our generation are void of understanding how sexuality works, does not mean that my sons are at liberty to be so. My sons, it matters not to you what a woman says, does or how she dresses; you are not to be swayed by outward influences, no matter how alluring. You must be rigid in your principles, and your principles must be guided by God’s Word, not by social media hashtags, a day at the beach, public opinion or Miss Floozy’s brazen kisses.