Sex is in the news. Or at least accusations of sexual misbehavior.
And I’ve been struck by the difference in how women and men respond to these news stories. Now, let me be clear, I believe wholeheartedly that many men are upset by highly improper statements about women made by a particular candidate and the rumors (true or not) that have followed. I salute these men for taking the situation seriously and understanding the importance of respect.
But overall, guys, I’m not sure y’all totally get it. Like really, really get it.
Even the men I’ve personally spoken to, who are disturbed by what’s been said and charged, seem to brush this off a bit more quickly. Or chalk it up to “a few jerks” or even “boys will be boys.”
Sometimes, it’s just hard for men and women to describe fully what it’s like to be their gender. So I wanted to take this opportunity to tell all of you husbands: Your wife has likely been sexually harassed. Repeatedly.
She may have been molested or raped as well. But if your wife is the average female, she’s had to deal with vile statements about her body, unwanted sexual touch, and even groping that left her stunned, angry, and/or ashamed.
And I think this is why women are being so vocal on social media and in conversation circles : Because, in the wake of allegations (yet again, true or not), women are sharing personal stories and realizing, “Hey, this is a universal problem.”
From my own life, at least one of the following is true of every woman I’ve talked to about this. (And this is from men they were not dating.)
- While out dancing, a guy’s hands roamed where they shouldn’t have gone, usually to her breasts or buttocks.
- A man spoke about her genitalia with crass terminology, often adding what he wanted to do with those parts.
- A guy landed his hand on her knee, and then moved up under her skirt or shorts without invitation or warning.
- A man cornered her against a wall and shoved his body against hers, usually pressing an erection against her. Sometimes, he did more.
- A man touched her private parts without encouragement or consent.
- A guy scanned her body with his gaze, head to toe, and suggested kinky acts or used graphic sexual descriptions.
The second one listed — someone speaking about genitalia in crass terms — happened to me in high school … in front of my dad. If my father hadn’t been turned away and missed what the guy said, I’m pretty sure that guy would have gotten a pounding. And deserved it. But did I say anything? No. Rather, I was disarmed by those comments, felt humiliated, and just wanted to forget about it. Given that it’s over 30 years later, I obviously haven’t forgotten. That moment left an impression.
I have several reasons for sharing this with you men:
Stories of women sexually mistreated affect wives in a different way. Yes, I know some women are dismissing what is rumored to have happened, but most women have had a visceral response. Maybe not to the news stories, but to personal stories now shared by friends or family. Why? Because we understand. Because we’ve experienced it.
Like a Survival Sisterhood, we now recognize it wasn’t our fault that some guy groped us in the nightclub, or the church fellowship room, when we were 19 years old. We didn’t ask for it. And, quite frankly, some of us are sick of this happening and want a better experience for ourselves, our daughters, and our granddaughters.
Sexual harassment impacts how women view men. To me, the most disheartening part has been women who suggest this is just how men are — that we shouldn’t expect anything more than being viewed as a sex object by men. You and I know that’s not true! The vast majority of men I’ve encountered never spoke in such crass terms or put their hands where they didn’t belong.
I believe those men who are true jerks, the sexual harassers of the world, don’t mistreat a few women; they mistreat a lot of women. Which makes it seem like it’s men across the board, but a single jerk can verbally and physically attack tens or hundreds. It’s a way of life for them, and their impact is felt across many women.
But this has left an impression on how ladies view men. Because if our interactions have been negative in this way, some wives begin to wonder: Does my husband secretly think this way too? It’s one reason I hear wives accusing their husbands of being perverts. Because some of the men in our lives were perverts, and it left an impression about the male race as a whole.
In an effort to protect ourselves, some women simply put up a wall against men, even their husbands. Your job, guys, is not to attack her for that belief but to help her pull down that wall by showing that you are not that guy, you can be trusted, and you will protect her.
Unexpected sexual touching can remind us of unwanted sexual touching. I know you guys like to hear things straight, so here it goes: If you think grabbing your wife’s breast out of nowhere is the way to get sex, you’re a fool. There are plenty of physiological and emotional reasons why this doesn’t get your wife’s sexual motor humming, but here’s another reason why she’s unlikely to enjoy that: It reminds her of sexual harassment she previously experienced. Even though she logically knows you’re not him, when you act like that jerk from high school who cornered her in the hallway and copped a feel … something clenches inside her. She may not consciously make the connection, but her body reacts negatively.
Distinguish yourself from that jerk in her past by demonstrating tenderness and respect. Be a secure place for her to express her sexuality without feeling viewed as an object or used for her body parts. Yes, I know it’s unfair that you’re having to deal with stuff some other guy did to her a long time ago, but we all come into marriage with baggage and we have opportunities to break down each other’s barriers and provide someone in this world our spouse can really trust. Don’t you want that to be you? She does — she wouldn’t have married you if she didn’t want the person she trusted most to be you.
Grabbing her without warning or invitation adds to feeling her body isn’t her own. When a woman has had her body touched without permission again and again, she feels a loss of control. She feels helpless to stop those actions that invade her most vulnerable and sensitive places.
When husbands grab their wives willy-nilly all the time, it can contribute to that woman feeling like her body isn’t her own — that it’s a plaything for someone else. Of course, our bodies belong to each other in marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” But listen to that word choice: yield. The New Living Translation says it this way: “The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.” We give authority to the other — as a conscious, willful choice.
If you’ve read me for long, you’ll know that I encourage wives to constantly give the green light to their husbands for affection, foreplay, and sexual intimacy. In our marriages, we should feel comfortable touching one another romantically and sexually. But that doesn’t mean you get to Indy-500 your way to grabbing her privates with no warning. Your wife needs to feel like her body is worth something, and she gets to be involved in flipping that red light to green.
Now it’s awesome that God created us male and female. What a complementary design! But our gender difference can also make it difficult to understand how our spouse views the world. Today, I simply wanted you husbands to try to understand the sexual harassment most women have experienced in their lifetime. For some, it was one time; for others, it was an onslaught of unwanted contact. Regardless, it left an impression.
You can leave a different impression. You can become her standard for what it means to be a man. You, husbands, can beat back the view of men as sexual predators by treating women with respect.You, husbands, can beat back the view of men as sexual predators by treating women w/respect. Click To Tweet
Start with your wife. She needs you to be her refuge and her ally.
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7
173 thoughts on “Your Wife Has Been Sexually Harassed”
This is definitely correct. My wife was abused one time specifically that she remembers and it’s led to some difficulties for us with our marriage. It took her awhile to learn that she really could trust me in this area. Also, like you, if guys make remarks to her, not even sexual necessarily, on Facebook for instance that are inappropriate, pretty much everyone else knows to get out the popcorn because when Nick goes after them, it will be intense. It’s no mercy. I don’t put up with that. I even had to deal with a stalker when we were dating.
My wife is my Princess. I guard her with my life and she knows it.
What a great subject AND timely response. You are so spot on with this. But this made me think of another topic I’ve seen in social media. “If women are offended by the comments made by a certain political candidate, then who are the millions of women who read Fifty Shades of Gray? (paraphrased). I find it interesting reading your perspective and I totally agree but then why is there is such a high rate of interest in a book of this type? Just curious.
Believe me that this going to irk me to admit (because I hate this whole phenomenon of BDSM erotica), but most such novels have consent as part of that relationship. While I’m not in the least willing to condone that kind of behavior or fiction, I find the comparison of allegations of sexual assault and a twisted, consensual relationship between two adults to be apples and oranges, so to speak. The latter is certainly unethical, but the former is also illegal.
That said, there are many theories why books like 50 Shades have spread like wildfire among women. One is that it allows women to free their repressed sexuality, because the level of danger presented pushes past their barriers. Others believe it’s a way of way who have felt harassed or abused to feel empowered by re-experiencing similar acts but on their own terms (with consent and a “safe word”). Others think we’re just rubberneckers, fascinated by sexual stuff so different from what we personally do. Still others say that in a world where women are responsible for so much, it feels freeing to surrender in the bedroom to a more forceful partner who takes charge. I think it’s a combination of things, including the push in culture toward more and more kinky stuff. That is, I think porn and pop culture have opened us up to things we would have never considered before.
But our culture allowing for consensual acts that are indeed appalling does not mean that sexual harassment gets a pass (as some almost seem to be arguing). In fact, I’d suggest that another possibility for the appeal of such books is that women get treated as sex objects so much that they don’t demand something better, even in their fiction. It’s sad, and I pray that more couples will move toward God’s superior design for sex — loving, consensual, committed, and intimate, within marriage.
Great response J
I talk with my students about consent a lot. It’s important that they know that it’s never ok to, say, play with someone’s hair without their consent, or tickle or poke them without consent. I don’t ever want to STOP there, of course, because there’s far more to human interaction and sexual expression than consent, but I think it’s vital that Christians teach and practice that consent is the baseline standard. If something fails the consent test, it is per se immoral.
I think your analysis of why people are drawn to those books is so wise and spot-on.
Thank you. And good for you talking about that important subject. I agree. In fact, it’s one of the first things we need to talk to our young children about in regards to sex. Talking openly with kids about that standard encourages them to stop things and let an adult know if they’ve been inappropriately touched.
I always thought that the general obsession with Christian Grey had nothing to do with the sex, and was more about the fact that he was always telling Ana to eat up, eat more, let me cook something for you Ana…
Consumers of porn are less likely to have empathy for rape victims and in some cases view the victim as deserving being raped. What are we to do when people can’t even recognize that this is an issue?
@Asha – I am always concerned about taking this path. Why can’t we just say it’s sin and deal with it on that basis?
The problem with looking at how porn supposedly changes sexual outlooks is many of the studies are horribly done. Most have an agenda, either for or against porn. From what I’ve seen, the best-done studies have results a lot closer to the pro-porn studies than to the anti-porn studies. A lot of folks have tried to prove porn results in more rape, and no one has been able to do so.
The fact is porn is wrong, period. When we try to prove it’s wrong by looking at how it supposedly changes people we open the door to the reality that some studies show some positive results from porn use. Let’s stop diluting God’s truth with what we see as supporting evidence from secular sources.
BTW, I say all this as someone who has done this very thing for decades.
I think it matters a great deal, Paul. Because while “it’s wrong” certainly is the conclusion we can draw, and one would hope that’s motivating enough, I believe that God has reasons why he makes some things off-limits. He isn’t randomly throwing things into different columns labeled Right and Wrong. Rather, as pastor James MacDonald has well-stated, “When God says don’t, He means don’t hurt yourself.”
There are many reasons why porn is a bad idea, including — and most importantly — God’s command against it. While I haven’t seen any studies about a connection of porn and rape, I’ve heard from many wives who have been pressured into sexual acts they didn’t want to do because “he saw it in porn.” To me, that shows a lack of empathy for your sexual partner.
If we think that a series of 30-second commercials can influence us into buying products, why wouldn’t we believe that porn affects how men view women and sex? I’ve seen good studies on this myself, albeit I’ve also seen some pro-porn studies. What I’ve seen is that viewing porn together can increase sexual activity short-term, but the long-term effects are dire. Yet I think we’re still gathering evidence, and if it’s true that porn is bad, it will be shown to be bad by science as well.
Oh, and there was a university study showing that men were more willing to pressure for sex after viewing porn. I wish, wish, wish I could find that link. I remember it well, but I’m coming up empty on Google at the moment.
I think I want to temper both of your responses, yours and Paul’s. I don’t agree with Paul on his position, but I think J’s doesn’t go far enough. We do need to study more about why it is wrong and if it is wrong, it will indeed have harmful effects. I hear what you are saying J on “God says it is wrong” and I agree, but we should strive to know why. When we reach people in the pews who have questions today in an increasingly secular culture, we need to know more the reason behind the command. Its kind of like young children needing to get past X is wrong because Mom said so. What are Mom’s reasons for saying so? Then you can better understand the wisdom of God.
We need to know then some matters. What is sex is one of them, but also, what kind of beings are human beings? Are we just replicating machines producing more machines, or are each of us valuable beings in our own right and not deserving to be used? This isn’t some modern idea of understanding the reasons. The medievals also did this kind of thing. In medieval theology, practically everything was examined and questioned.
Definitely, porn is wrong, but we can understand the wisdom of God better when we see why He said it was wrong.
As I thought more about this, the reality is one of the reasons for my premarital promiscuous past is that other Christians told me stuff like “It’s wrong, so don’t do it,” without further reasoning. But I wanted to know WHY. If someone had expounded on all the reasons why God had created sex to be exclusively in marriage, that would have helped me a great deal.
So yes, I think it’s reasonable to ask why we shouldn’t watch porn, with all the reasons that come from that. Of course, God’s word is the final say, but He isn’t against us questioning Him and asking for reasoning (see Isaiah 1:18).
I thought also of Proverbs 25:2 and Deuteronomy 29:29.
We especially need these answers for our young people who can think our views on sex are just arbitrary and we only believe them because the Bible says so. I think it was Archie Bunker who said faith is believing things you only believe because the Bible says so. That’s their notion of faith today.
J – I’m fine with giving reasons. I find that a perfectly acceptable adjunct to saying it’s sin. I also think we can explain why it’s wrong without needing a study to back us up.
My concern is much of what is given as “proof ” that porn is destructive is garbage science. Or worse, some of it seems to have just been made up. I don’t think backing our positon with such things helps us. More than a few commonly cited studies have been shown to be wrong. What does that do for our credibility?
I suppose my real frustration, is the confirmation bias I see when Christians repeat certain things without checking to see if what they are saying is true. It makes us look stupid and gives the world an excuse to ignore God.
Of course, it could be I’ve run into too many “Christians” who are working hard to give God a blackeye this week and I should never have posted…. Okay, it’s very likely that’s my problem.
You’ll see I left out the specific study you mentioned, because I need more information on it and the subject was controversial enough to turn this comment thread once again in a different direction than anything I originally wrote about. I’m sure you’ll understand.
I agree we need good science. Unfortunately, researchers often find exactly what they’re looking for, and if you dig, you’ll find bias in the way the study was done. But I sincerely believe that if something’s true, it’s just true. I don’t like the false dichotomy between Christianity and science. I do try to double-check data I cite, explain results the best I can, and use my biblical world-view to filter through what I see.
Maybe we agree more than we disagree here: That we have a responsibility in how we use studies we come across. And ultimately, as Christians, we are best convicted by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
I have lost track of all the times people have shared things on the internet immediately that are absolutely false and they do no checking. That really damages our credibility. So the resurrection of Jesus that the salvation of men depends on and can’t be proven or disproven with just a google search should be believed, but this claim that can be disproven within five minutes we will share immediately and expect you to believe us on the resurrection. Even as a political conservative, I see many news stories shared that would support my cause, but are just plain false. Really irritating.
I’ve learned to do at least a cursory search on a topic before forwarding some “alarmist” (e.g., sign-this-petition, we-must-act-now) email from Grassfire, the ACLJ (not the ACLU! :)) or some other conservative political organization, because more than once the side of the story presented is incomplete or misleading. I’ve called them on this a couple of times, but I don’t know if my feedback has any effect. But it just takes a few minutes to pull up multiple articles on a given issue to determine if all the facts are being presented and what the opposition’s stance actually is, even if I don’t agree with it. Sometimes I forward, sometimes not; but even if so I don’t broadcast to everyone I know, and even close friends and family I encourage to do their own research.
Thank you for this, J! My heart just sighed. =)
This is one of the best things you’ve ever written, IMO, J. Thank you.
Tremendous, J. Thanks for writing this.
Great article. Thank you for challenging husbands to step up and be part of undoing the wrong messages that women have believed about men and sex.
You’re spot on. I had someone touch me inappropriately when I was pre-teen. I still remember how it felt. But I also remember the look on my dad’s face when he went to deal with the guy. I knew then that I hadn’t done anything wrong and my dad would protect me. Fast forward about 6 years and my brother, mom, dad and I were riding on a crowded train in another part of the world. Some guy made a grab for my butt. It was too crowded for me to see who it was. My brother saw, was shocked and didn’t respond. My mom noticed the commotion, I told her what happened, she told my dad. He said, “If I saw who it was I would have punched his lights out.” I remember that word for word. (My dad is a missionary; he doesn’t exude aggression.) I think that also taught my brother a lesson. Fast forward to two weeks ago when my husband heard the news stories about a certain person who made fun of people with physical disabilities. My husband said, “if he had said that about my sister [who was physically and mentally disabled] or in my presence, I would have knocked his lights out.” (He also does not usually resort to violence.)
My point is, everything you have said is correct. Women remember all the harassment and assaults. BUT we also remember the good guys, who stand up for women and tell guys that IT”S NOT OKAY.
Hooray for men who champion treating others, including women, with respect! They’re our everyday heroes.
When I was twenty years old, a young woman whom I barely knew at a school I was attending walked up to me out of the blue and passionately kissed me on the lips. I was so stunned I barely knew what do at the time (I was a young and inexperienced guy). She told me that the reason why she kissed me was that I looked almost exactly like her ex-boyfriend.
Was that a form of sexual harassment? Would a young woman have felt that the same way, if a man walked up and kissed her under similar circumstances?
You know J, this would make an excellent topic for you to cover all by itself:
Exactly, what constitutes providing sexual consent? (I’m using the word ‘sexual’ very broadly for any type of physical or verbal contact between the genders).
I’ve been confused on the subject for a long time.
Yeah, that is not okay. And I remember talking to a teenage guy who recounted a girl being more than forward in how she touched him, and it caused him mixed feelings — basic physical arousal mixed with his boundaries being crossed. Maybe the reaction is less clear-cut for guys? I don’t know. (I’m not a guy!) But that behavior seems like sexual harassment to me.
I’ve seen some stories from male sexual assault survivors, and the reactions do seem to be different but the overall result is still the same. The assumption that guys always “want it” is toxic.
Worth looking into, if you have the time. There are a lot of people sharing sexual assault stories right now.
Absolutely. I agree. In fact, it’s possibly harder for men to scream “foul” when they’re sexually harassed, because it might seem like an unlikely scenario. But it certainly happens.
“The assumption that guys always “want it” is toxic.”
YES. Stereotypes about male and female sexuality are INCREDIBLY damaging to everyone.
I just always figured it was my fault, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or for being female. I figured that’s just how things worked. I had little guidance in that arena growing up. There’s things I never told anyone for two reasons – one, I figured I’d get in trouble for the things that happened to me, and two, it wasn’t something a nice young lady talks about.
That is sad. And no, not your fault.
Great post, J – thanks!
I’d use a stronger word than harassment for many of your examples. Most men and some women don’t understand just how destructive these things are and how they can colour a woman’s sexuality for the rest of her life. It’s not a little innocent fun, it’s ugly, horrible, and wrong. Most of it is also illegal, but outside a work setting (and sometimes not even then), no one is going to take it seriously.
Well, you and I have had a bit of verbal sparring about harassment vs assault (over on your blog), but I chose the word harassment here to have the broader sense. Yet some of my examples — like touching privates without consent — are indeed sexual assault. And I certainly agree with the use of the words ugly, horrible, wrong, and destructive. Thanks so much, Paul!
I wish we could go back to the days when young women were given knives they could conceal on their persons, to bring out when (not if) some young man got too touchy-feely. If said young man got himself skewered for his impropriety, well, that was his fault. But alas, we are in an age of “non-violence” and we must fight back with words, not action. If women were allowed more leeway to defend themselves – and even use deadly force against a rapist without repercussion – we might see less harassment and fewer rapes. My opinion.
Reading this article and the other comments, I get the sense that I am very, very blessed not to have experienced what so many women apparently have. I can recall just one incident in high school (which I’d actually forgotten about), but I didn’t get much attention from boys anyway so I thought I just wasn’t very attractive. (My husband tells me I scared them by being pretty AND too smart :)). Then in graduate school there were several “coded” stares and an under-the-breath proposition from one guy; but by then I was married so I hadn’t carried this sort of baggage into the bedroom. So your comments about the messages husbands send their wives with unexpected touching, grabbing etc. – surprise me. My husband does on occasion give me a pat or squeeze (although most of the time it’s kisses and bear-hugs), but if anything this makes me feel wanted and desirable. But it seems you mean to warn men of when it’s more the rule than the exception – ?
One final thought is that perhaps because of not having been victimized as many apparently have, I can understand the skepticism of even women when “victims” come forward in the media. I myself encountered more female than male jerks growing up (or at least the girls made a greater impression); and as vicious, vindictive and manipulative as girls and women can be, I could easily see the mere point of a finger ruining a man’s career.
A gentle pat or squeeze is not quite like grabbing or “honking” a breast. But yes, those women who’ve been sexually harassed can certainly those actions differently. And I’m so glad you didn’t experience this. It’s encouraging to hear women who escaped this treatment and ended up with a healthier view of sex because of it. Some wives struggle to dump the baggage of negative incidents.
As for finger-pointing where no incident actually occurred, I’m strongly against that. Because false accusations belittle the people who were truly victims. I’m also not talking about some snide pick-up line, which is more stupid than harassing. So there is some common sense here.
Thanks for your comment! And blessings to your marriage.
There’s some good research out there showing that most people believe that there are FAR, FAR more false reports of sexual assault than there actually are. In reality, false reports are statistically a very small problem in our society, while a huge number of sexual assaults simply go unreported, and even those that are reported often go uninvestigated and unaddressed. Of course it’s tragic if someone’s life is destroyed by a false accusation, but many, many more people’s lives are destroyed by a rape or sexual assault that goes uninvestigated — or for which they even get blamed.
Well, about 40% of reported rapes are eventually dropped as false reports. You do get ones like the Nat Parker (director) trial where he harassed the woman so badly that she didn’t want to testify, but it’s more common to have the Tawana Brawlys or Jackie Coakleys who completely fabricate stories for attention. I think the false reports are a significantly worse problem then even the unreported issues — because it makes it easy to miss or dismiss the real cases.
40% seems really high; I’d like to see the source for that statistic. I’m also wondering if those are false reports or insufficient evidence to pursue. Regardless, I agree wholeheartedly that false accusations direct much-needed resources away from real cases. What a shame.
I will find the cite; it was back in a news article when I was reading about the UVa faked rape in Rolling Stone (that’s Jackie Coakley).
I will say this — my cousin was sexually abused as a tween. After a few years of acting out, they took her to a therapist where she revealed the abuse and blamed a male teacher … who was 100% innocent. He was eventually cleared, but he spent months in hell and she almost ruined his life. Yes, she was traumatized, but so was he.
Yes, I agree that a false accusation that someone is a sexual assaulter can certainly ruin a life. It’s a terrible thing for someone to claim when there’s no truth to it.
That said, I think the study with 40% isn’t well-supported. Based on my information gathering, I’m thinking it was a 1994 study reporting 41% of the 109 sexual assault reports made to a Midwestern police agency were deemed to be false over a 9-year time period. However, there were potential issues with that study and it seems to be an outlier in the research. On the other hand, the oft-cited statistic of only 2% of reports being false also seems rather suspect. The best studies I saw showed numbers hovering around 8-10% of claims being false. Which is still way too high! If one of 10 women claiming sexual assault are lying, that’s a lot of lives impacted and resources wasted when we could be dealing with real sexual assault. Of course, none of those reports that I read dealt with how many sexual assaults actually occur that never get reported. And that’s a shame too.
Yeah, it was the 41% one, but there were several other studies that were close. Wikipedia had a nice survey:
The FBI stats are 8%, but there is a really interesting problem there of what constitutes “false.” The FBI state is based on people who later retracted their statements. However, the higher numbers, 20-40%, seem to be based on investigators being unable to substantiate that any assault took place (such as Emma Sulkowicz in Columbia and the UVa case) but without an accuser necessarily withdrawing any accusations.
And, it gets into problems of being able to count. You get situations like the Nat Parker rape trial where the accuser refused to testify at the second trial on appeal, but it was very obviously a rape.
I think we’ll never be able to get to perfect numbers, but for all accounts, there are higher number of false rape claims than for other crimes.
I think (like with the Stanford rape trial) that part of the problem is the haziness associated with a lot of crimes. A lot of people get passed-out drunk and have no idea what happened or what they consented to or people do something and feel a lot of regret and eventually “I can’t believe I did that” morphs into “he must have forced me.” One officer said that most of the campus rapes he investigated started out with, “well we met at a party, and I gave him a blow job…” And then there are the rapes where it’s like your mind just shuts down and simply can’t acknowledge directly what happened as a defense mechanism.
* I tend to get into the weeds on things, because the way the world works is FASCINATING. You’d think it would be really straightforward counting crime statistics, but nope. There are a million other factors involved because we’re humans and complicated. The subject is rough, but in general, the world is so interesting.
I have such mixed emotions as I read this! Because yes, I totally want accurate statistics, a real sense of what’s happening, and for the false reports to stop, stop, stop. But — at the same time — I worry that all this “weeds” stuff can discourage women who were truly sexually assaulted from speaking up because they might think they’ll just be labeled as a false reporter.
Truly, the problem often is that only two people know what happened, and if one of them isn’t telling the truth, how does the other prove what really happened? I pray for true justice in these situations, for the revealing of truth. Thanks for engaging!
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Sadly, a lot of girls experience sexual harassment in Jr. High and High School when they are just starting to develop their sexuality, which can leave a lasting scar…especially if the boys laugh and high five each other afterwards. It’s the attitudes that leave the deepest impressions.
It brings me great sorrow that so many girls/women have experienced a personal sexual violation from the opposite sex, yet it’s the opposite sex that can’t understand why girls/women have so many struggles with their sexuality.
I can’t help but think that if men would police their own and insist upon showing nothing but respect for the female persuasion that girls would be able to develop a healthy sexuality and feel safe and more relaxed around the male gender.
But, our society seems to encourage the “boys will be boys” mentality. Yes, it definitely affects the female view of men. If it has happened enough times or early enough in their sexual development, it will be destructive. No, not all men are jerks, but I guarantee it’s the non-jerks that will be paying for the jerks behavior later on in life.
The question is, why do the jerks have this attitude in the first place and how are we going to change it?
What does being a “real man” mean?
You make some really good points.
I’m reminded of the famous quote (often attributed to Edmund Burke, but without determinative support): “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” When good men — fathers, brothers, friends, and public figures — stand up for real manhood, I think that has the effect of setting the standard we need. Which is one reason I praise those husbands and fathers who demonstrate respect for the women in their life. And, of course, there’s the ultimate real man: Jesus.
“I can’t help but think that if men would police their own and insist upon showing nothing but respect for the female persuasion that girls would be able to develop a healthy sexuality and feel safe and more relaxed around the male gender.”
This is so important. I read a great article last week that essentially said that — that it’s the responsibility of MEN to call out that aggressive sexualization of women in public.
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I loved your post, but I often struggle with believing that the “good men” I know are really good men when I hear the statistics on how many are secretly filling up their minds with pornography, which celebrates every form of abuse and degradation against women. It’s hard for me to get past that. Any thoughts?
Yes, it’s terrible. And yes, I think it’s affecting many men’s view of women and their sexuality. Frankly, it feeds into the “she secretly wants it” narrative that has excused heinous behavior in the past.
All that said, I believe most men understand at some level this is ridiculous fantasy and would not act out such harassment, and the good men feel guilty and want to stop filling their heads with images they know are not right. If you listen to husbands struggling with porn, you’ll hear that sense of shame they carry and how they know this isn’t what God intended or what women are for. In that sense, men have also been preyed upon by an industry that doesn’t care about women. I think I understood this more when I became the mother of boys and started to read how easily and scarily young men are targeted for such images. By the time some of these boys realize what a horrible mistake watching porn is, they’re caught up in a habit or addiction and it’s very hard to get out.
But you make a great point that porn contributes to this whole mess. And those who think it’s just images of people having sex don’t understand the industry today — the “abuse and degradation of women” you mention is a core theme in so much of porn today. It’s heartbreaking.
J, this aspect of the situation comes up again and again in the different Christian marriage blogs I follow. There is so much guilt by association that is unfair and uncalled for. I truly nderstand how hard this to get past the trauma of abuse, having been sexually abused as a boy. It leaves lasting scars and colors your attitudes in so many ways.
Having said that, I have not ever been guilty of sexually harassing a girl or woman, and I kind of resent being lumped in with “men who harass” simply because I’m a man. I know the emotions run real deep on this, but we should try to treat each person as an individual. If a man brings that into his marriage, it’s his fault and he needs to deal with it. But a woman who has been harassed or even assaulted, needs to try to see her husband as an individual.
BER’s comment above about doubting the “good men” just underscores this for me. No, you can’t see completely into every man’s soul. And if you have a past injury, it will color how you view people, not just in situations like this. If someone has been financially swindled, they will have less trust in the future, even of those who ar trustworthy.
I urge women to try to look past the past when relating to their husbands. And I urge husbands to understand their wives’ reluctance to do so at times. And men, prove yourselves trustworthy, and over time, the situation can be healed.
Bobthemusicguy, those are some good points and I definitely see my tendency to view all men the same because of past injury and am working on correcting that in myself. I saw one of your other comments, about how a wife who rejects her husband physically can open him up to Satan’s attacks. That ties in with this thread. I am sure what you said happens A LOT, but I think something that is often missed is that the experience of young women today is very, very different from that.
In my very young marriage, so far I’ve been the one with all the sexual energy and availability. I’ve never turned down my husband, but he has routinely rejected me sexually. That’s how I found out about his pornography use. My husband met internet pornography 10 or 15 years before he ever met me. We had talked about it while we were dating, and he let me believe it was all in the past (years ago), but it wasn’t. All of this is crushing for a young bride. I’m young, thin, cute, adventurous…none of that matters when pornography is involved. It screws up God’s design of a husband desiring and pursuing his wife, and turns it all around. Pornography just screws everything up.
I wish that young men could have forethought and understand the many consequences to themselves and others before they ever go down that road. I’m sure a lot of it is just from lack of being taught by anyone to do otherwise, which is a huge part of why I’m even posting this. The happy news is that nothing is impossible with God. He has brought our marriage back from the edge and is changing both of us. He has softened my husband’s heart and I can hardly believe how different he is from just a year ago when it all came out. God is repairing the damage my husband did to himself and to our marriage. He has also softened me and is changing me to have grace in my heart that was severely lacking before.
I know all of this is tangential to the point of the article, sorry! But hopefully it helps or gives hope to some other woman who is going through something similar. God is faithful and trustworthy when no one else is, and he can take what’s wrong and make it right. There is still more repair work to do, but I can honestly say we have a healthy marriage and strong love today.
Praise God for what He is dong for you! And thanks for trying to avoid the lumping together of “all men” in a group guilt by association.
1. I was introduced to porn at the tender age of 5, by my older brother. A child’s natural curiosity was taken advantage of and my mind poisoned. This is far more common than most people would think. And the constant barrage I face every day, from advertisements, tv shows, store displays, not to mention the women who are quite explicitly flaunting their bodies in public. All this makes it very, very difficult to keep garbage out of my mind. God is with me, but frankly, I’m tired of the war every day. I won’t surrender, but it is exhausting, spiritually and emotionally, to have this assault on my god-given sexuality all the time.
2. I have a buddy who has been dealing with porn use. His wife took the phone, iPad, etc., to monitor him, and he resents the fact that his wife is acting more like his mom. I fully understand her fears, but I have suggested what I think is a better solution. She needs to give him control back, and then he needs to give it back to her. He then perceives it as voluntarily giving this to his wife, rather than having it taken from him. That approach can make a man feel like he is being treated like a boy and it feels very disrespectful. I read somewhere of a man going on military deployment who, before he left, asked his wife to put a password on his laptop, phone, and iPad, so she would help him avoid temptation. It was all voluntary and exhibited both mutual trust, and mutual awareness of the sin nature that believers still struggle with.
I’ve had groping, & some other things you’ve mentioned.
But what really makes me feel violated, is men ‘drooling’ at me when I’m out in public. Usually when they’re driving past & I’m walking. Or I’m walking & they’re sitting in their vehicles staring & making me feel objectified while they seemingly undress me with their eyes. I’ve even had a guy pull over & ask if he could give me a lift somewhere. I didn’t accept! And in fact told him off for offering women he didn’t know rides in his car.
Yesterday a guy leaned right out his window & made it obvious he was ‘drooling’. I was enjoying a walk…up until then. I wasn’t wearing anything ‘revealing’. Some call out ‘hi’ in a suggestive manner. How did yesterday’s guy make me feel?…like he was thinking sexual thoughts about me without my consent. And it actually felt like rape. Like he would do that to me given the chance.
But here’s my issue… My husband left a porn addiction behind many years ago but still lusted after women in public for quite some time. Years ago in his teens before I met him, & before he was a Christian, he went to the Philippines & went to a brothel & slept with two young girls. He his that about his past for 14 years. I still don’t respect him sexually. When guys drool over me I think ‘my husband has been just as bad as that guy’. And I stopped having sex with my husband years ago. Counselling didn’t help.
Last week at Church a guy talked about undercover rescue of sex workers. I sat there thinking ‘my husband is just as bad as those men who raped those girls’. I’ve tried to see him in a different light….I can’t.
Truly, you need a different counselor. And perhaps a support group to help you deal with this damaging view of men. I never went to a brothel, but I have some serious baggage from my past and I am simply not that person anymore. The outward expression of my sexual excitement with my husband might appear similar to how I was with previous partners in my premarital promiscuous, but my mind and heart are completely changed. It would be unfair to judge me now by how I was before, when I’ve confessed, repented, and been forgiven by my righteous Heavenly Father. What you describe about your husband happened before his encounter with Christ, before his commitment to you.
Imagine if he took your worst sin from your life and saw you entirely in that light. Surely you can see how much that would pain you.
Look, something is amiss in your marriage, and you were right to seek counseling. But not all counseling is equal, and sometimes you jive better with one person over another. Think of your issues like disease with invasive symptoms. If the first doctor couldn’t give you an answer, would you simply surrender and suffer? I hope you’d seek out a different doctor and different answers. Try again. The fact that you came here to my blog tells me that you want something better. I definitely want something better — and not just for your husband, but absolutely for you. God has blessings in store for you, beautiful woman, and I pray you seek them out and find them.
Thank you J for your loving comment.
To be clear, my husband brought his porn addiction into our marriage for many years 🙁
Ugh. Porn. Can we just annihilate it from the Earth?
This was sooooo good! Thank you for sharing such great points!!! I had to think about it, but I realized at least 3 times in my life when I was sexually harassed, particularly in school. I don’t know if there’s a connection or not, but I hate it when my husband just starts grabbing at me. I always remind him: be gentle! Maybe there’s just something about us women where we’d rather be romanced and caressed than honked like a squeaky toy. 🙂 Anyway, great article!!
I’m one of those in the extreme minority: maybe it’s because I was homeschooled and attended less than two years off college before I got married, but I do not identify with any of the experiences described here.
To my knowledge, I have never even been wolf-whistled or cat-called at.
While I am thankful for this fact, I admit to feeling a bit like Terry above– “apparently guys don’t think I’m attractive.” Fortunately I found the wonderful guy who liked me enough to marry me! 🙂 But it honestly is a bit of an insecurity to me. How silly is that?!
Also, I still feel invaded and objectified if my husband is too forward or abrupt with sexual attentions, even without that kind of baggage. Go figure.
Look, I’m fairly certain public school and going to nightclubs when I was a young woman made this a more common occurrence for me. And for others. It’s really not about looks even. I’m sure you’re beautiful! (Your husband says so.)
Same here. I was homeschooled during high school, but I went to youth groups and church stuff, and I went to college and then work. I’ve never had any issues with inappropriate comments or gestures, no groping or sloppy advances, no catcalling.
I do wonder if the catcalling thing may be regional? I hear it’s really common in, like, NYC and the East, but I’ve lived in the central or mountain states my whole life.
Of course, my husband isn’t that into sex with me, so … I have to admit, I really do think it’s somewhat related to attractiveness. After I got over the hurt of realizing I am literally attractive to zero men on the planet, it was kind of liberating. I can run to the store for milk on a Saturday morning in my pajama pants and flipflops and not worry about being seen.
I grew up in the South — plenty of catcalling here. But it depends on where you are even in your region. If you hang out at church and restaurants, maybe not so much. That kind of behavior happened more in school, public parks, the beach, etc.
I read a book once about accepting being ugly. It was actually freeing to accept that I am ugly. I am also beautiful, unique, gorgeous, cute…..whatever, it is soooooo subjective. I also apparently have a perpetual don’t bother me look on my face. When I am concentrating I can look downright angry and unwelcoming. Plus, I believe God protects me. So I don’t hold stock in my attractiveness in whether or not someone cat calls.
Also, if that profile pic is you, you are stunningly beautiful.
Maybe I need to read that book, as it seems that my perception of my own looks depends on the day. Sometimes I see a traffic-stopper in the mirror, and some days I see…ugh (I actually cried at seeing my bridal shots – and not for joy). I also have a default “scowl” whenever I’m not smiling (and smiling is NOT an improvement, so I rarely smile for a camera if I can’t avoid it altogether). So for someone like me who hasn’t been harassed (or not much), the experience seems strangely enviable – just a little.
I was a 12 year old boy visiting my same age girl cousin. She had a friend over and they led me into her bedroom where they sat me down and entertained me with a striptease. Raised by a very moral mother I did no touching. While still about the same age another girl led me into an outside shed shut the door and laid down inviting me to ???? I bolted out of that shed and ran. When talking to my friends they said, “why did’t you do _______ or _______ ?” When I got older, I fantasized as to what I could have done to those girls. Later on I realized that I could have been accused of sexual assault if I had carried through with those fantasies, so I was glad I did nothing. I could have had to stand trial and if convicted on her word, sent to jail and branded as a sex offender for the rest of my life.
What I am saying is that sexual harassment might be invited by the women at times. It might be difficult for an inexperienced guy to figure out what is going on, when to stop, and the consequences of his actions.
What you’re describing doesn’t sound like an invitation to sexually harass those women, but rather you being sexually harassed. These events certainly should have never happened to a 12-year-old boy! It certainly must have been confusing, as sexual harassment often is.
Oh friend. YOU were a victim of sexual harassment in that situation! The tragedy is that not only did they commit that sin against you, they were probably (almost certainly) reenacting sin that had been committed against them.
Too many parents don’t know how to prepare their children for situations like that, which are not uncommon. Sexual abuse has a wicked tendency to spread like wildfire as victims act out their abuse as a way to try to regain control. I think too many parents buy into those stereotypes that boys and men always want sex and so they give theme plenty of instructions about treating girls with respect, not pushing their boundaries, etc., but fail to prepare their sons for situations where THEY are being preyed upon or harassed or victimized, by men OR women.
Thank you for this! I cant tell you how long I have felt “crazy” for being uncomfortable with my husbands unexpected gropes and grabs. I mean, “we are married and he is my husband so why should I feel funny about him touching me sexually when that’s a healthy part of marriage?” This is what I couldn’t understand … Why my body reacted negatively. But I have a long past of sexual advances and offenses against me. My husband and I have been in counseling and have uncovered a lot of things that have been repressed in my mind that have to do with how I react to him. But I never really thought about his unexpected advances exacerbating the problem. I just thought I was weird. 🙂 Thank you thank you! I shared with my husband and he now says he understands better and instead of feeling rejected, he wants to show me that he can and will always be my protector. I’m hoping this article lead to a few more conversations between him and I on this topic. It is so very enlightening but truly sad that the world around us has made us believe that all men are perverts . 🙁
I’m so glad, April! The credit is all yours for taking this tidbit and communicating so well with your husband. How fabulous that he “wants to show [you] that he can and always will be [your] protector.” Amen to that, hubbies! Wishing you all the best.
When I was 12 years old a boy in school started touching my butt every time he walked by. I was confused by it in my immaturity and naivity and ended up deciding he must like me. We became boyfriend/girlfriend and he treated me like crap. I wasted my first kiss on him, but what left a lasting impression on me was those butt gropes.
Fast forward 20 years later and I recognized that I cringed at my husband touching my butt every time he passed by me. I ddint understand why I felt so negative and uptight about him doing so. So, I thought about it while doing dishes one night and realized the negative connection. I decided then and there to not let some jerk boy so long ago continue to have power in my life. I took that touch away from my past and gave it to my husbsnd, instead, its rightful place, and I now enjoy that touch very very much.
As a guy, I can’t help but feel jealous of women who are sexually harassed. Now, I don’t mean major assault or rape. I’m talking about cat-calls, lewd comments, leering looks, butt squeezes, things like that. I would give anything to have that happen to me on occasion than be ignored, which is my reality nearly every day of my life (and is the reality of most guys).
But why wouldn’t you want sexual attention from one woman, who loves and cares for you? That’s when it’s meaningful. Otherwise, it’s creepy — trust me.
I can understand Tom’s desire to be “harassed” by a woman (funny!), given men’s desire more for physical than emotional attention and especially as the average man would not be in real danger. But also given that women are not as motivated by appearance (and yes, I’m generalizing here) I don’t see much hope for this fantasy apart from specific situations (e.g., the shirtless, buff-n-cut construction worker, etc.).
As for receiving attention from one special person, I have to agree that this is the ideal and the “safest” form; but I can’t help but think (and say aloud) that my husband is prejudiced for the very fact that he loves me – that my flaws are still there but are simply overlooked, for good or bad. I suppose it’s human nature to seek out “objective” assessments from strangers, and to wish to be attractive to the whole world and not just one person.
This word “harassed” is turning out to be more dicey than I expected! Those men saying they want to be “harassed”? I think that’s really about what I’d tell women if I wrote to them about touching their husbands; that is, be more assertive and clear that you want to be sexual with your husbands, because they typically like more overt clues that you are into him and into sex. BUT this post wasn’t meant to be about how women should touch men! Sorry, guys, but I’m trying to help you understand your ladies. I’ll chat with the gals later. 😉
Thanks for your comment, Terry!
Terry, then how are single men supposed to feel desirable to the opposite sex? Single women get unsolicited attention (some appreciated, some not), so that’s how they know they are desired. But how do single men know that they’re wanted by women?
I’ll pipe in and say that women give more subtle signals and you can also tell in how receptive they are to you.
Tom – For some reason I didn’t get the notification that you had replied (or not yet; maybe our posts passed each other); but in addition to my other comments, I’ll echo J’s statement that women are drawn more to personality traits than looks. But even if we do a double-take, our “attentions” will not be as overt as a man’s. One observation of myself that seems to be true of many women is that we’re largely passive in nature, at least when it comes to attracting men. We may not whistle, stare or grope (and I might question the suitability of those who do); but we make ourselves…available. We might smile and do little things to get you to notice us (the more outgoing may even strike up a conversation), and if you do ask us out, we say yes! If we still like you at the end of the date and you ask again, we say yes again. In general, we’re just not wired to be the initiators. But believe me, we’re not sticking around just to be polite. Most self-respecting women won’t waste their time with a jerk or someone they’re just incompatible with.
In my case my husband-to-be and I were friends when we started dating (We’d actually been on a mission trip together). I’d already decided I liked him but it seemed he needed encouragement, so I joined our church’s puppetry ministry which he led. Still, it took some waiting but he finally mustered the courage to pick up the phone. It was a few years until we actually kissed (yes, really), but I continued to encourage him by spending time with him, letting him hold my hand and put his arm around me – and not dating anyone else. I only think of all this as “passive” in retrospect and after coming across a few articles on the topic, but this was how it played out. So unless your (future) wife is more sexually aggressive than most (which is fine and healthy, as J has pointed out over and over), you may have to settle for the passive “come-hithers” and take these as your cues that she finds you desirable.
Very well said, Terry. Thank you.
I can relate to Tom here. Before I got married, women wouldn’t give me the time of day. I was friendzoned. I even had them talking about how hot other guys were right in front of me, nothing you want if you’re about 120 pounds or so.
And no, we men do not get subtle hints. Not at all. There have been two times in my marriage my wife has said she wanted sex, but I missed the hints.
Excuse me. I just thought about those times. I have to go and weep now.
I’m sad when I hear stories like this. I also try to tell women that they must send clear signals! I’m trying, guys, I’m really trying.
I’d like to clarify one thing here. At least for me, physical attention equals emotional attention. During the years my wife was gatekeeping and refusing, I was emotionally empty. And that put me right in Satan’s sights for attack. Thank God that’s the past now. For many men, this is true. Don’t expect him to relate well to you emotionally if the physical connection is absent.
He might mean even just his wife. I was chatting with some guys recently and we noticed our wives don’t seem to have cute nicknames for us and when they call us, it’s because they want us to do something. Men want to be wanted after all.
So, J, you admit that being sexually harassed is at least better than being ignored. I agree. So now we’ve got most men (who are ignored and invisible) wishing they were most women (who are sexually harassed at times). But now you bring up a better alternative – sexual attention from one woman who loves and cares for me. Yes, that is better. But look at what happens even there. I pursue a woman who I’m attracted to. After some effort, and usually some resistance from her, let’s say I win her over. Now she is sexually attracted to me. Awesome! But she’s only this way because I won her over. If I never pursued her, she wouldn’t be thinking of me today. She would be sexually attracted instead to the next guy who won her over. So how does this make me feel special? I would be nothing to her if I hadn’t pursued her. I wouldn’t be on her mind, and even if I was, I wouldn’t know it – which is just the same, because I’m left feeling invisible and undesirable.
What?! I didn’t admit that being sexually harassed is better than being ignored. I said that sexual attention should come from your spouse. That’s entirely different. Frankly, I don’t want to be “harassed” even by my husband. Attention, though? Yes, please.
And I think your view of women may be a bit skewed. Are there women like you describe? Sure. But plenty of women desire getting to know a guy, and just don’t say it because that’s not how most women relate. Yes, that means the guy must pursue, but — from the female perspective — if you’re not willing to put forth a little effort to get to know a girl, what would make her think you’d be willing to put in the (much larger) effort it takes to sustain a relationship? I’m saddened by you feeling invisible and undesirable. I guarantee you that’s not how God sees you or who you were made to be. I’m one of those who really believes in the “someone for everyone” (well, outside of the criminally insane, but you get my point). Praying for something better for you.
J, I don’t think you quite get my points. About feeling invisible and undesirable, yes, I’m including myself, but I’m talking about men in general, or let’s say single men. Except for the Channing Tatum’s of the world (very few of those), how are single men not invisible to women since women don’t generally “harass” men?
Also, about whether being harassed is worse than being ignored, I was comparing occasional harassment vs. continually being ignored, not usually being ignored. Many (I think most) men continually are ignored by women, meaning they are not whistled at, ogled, etc. Let’s say you, as a woman, NEVER received any compliments from men in your entire life. No come-hither looks, no whistles, no second looks – nothing! Ever! Do you still then feel that that is better than occasionally being harassed? Because that is what many men experience – virtually NO unsolicited attention. Like my other point, I’m not talking primarily about myself. I’m making the point that the typical (i.e.: harassed) woman has it “better” than the typical (i.e.: invisible) man.
Having been in so many conversations with women, let me tell you what we gals talk about. It’s not Channing Tatum, nice-looking as he may be. We talk about how a guy treats us, or what activities with enjoy doing with him, or the way he shows us affection. I will never forget a discussion of girls in college when we all admitted the same thing: That every one of us would go on a date with this one particular guy, in a heartbeat, who wasn’t even handsome really — but he was so nice and funny and confident that he came across as the kind of guy you wanted to be with. See, for many women, the looks don’t come first; they’re sexually attracted to the guy they enjoy spending time with. So while I see what you’re saying…
And I think every husband should get a lot of come-hither looks for his wife. Come-hithers from your beloved are quite welcome!
Tom, I can’t help but think that this scenario illustrates our relationship with Christ…that we wouldn’t have given Him a second (or a first) thought if He hadn’t pursued us first. So, yes..as J points out, for the most part, how you describe it is how it works. The Bridegroom pursues, woos and wins the Bride. But in order to win her, he must convince her to forsake all others; that he should be her only love. And when he does win her, it’s not because he was just “the next guy”, but because he embodied those qualities that she could find in no one else.
I think you’re a bit like me in that you take hypotheticals to their logical extreme. Would I have married someone else if my husband hadn’t asked me out? Possibly. But at the end of the day, all the ifs and what-ifs are moot because…they didn’t happen. He asked, I said yes, then said yes again several years later, and we got married. Even so, I couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else. So yes – you WOULD be special to her and she would be thinking of you, provided she were a woman worth pursuing (but that’s another issue). But first you must realize that you have something to offer.
Several years ago I gave my husband John Eldridge’s book Wild at Heart which basically gives men permission to be men (and what this means from a biblical perspective). Also importantly, he points out that the question most fundamental to every adolescent boy and grown man, “Am I a man? Do I have what it takes to come through when it counts?” is often taken to the woman when it should be taken to God. (Conversely, women ask, “Am I lovely? Am I captivating?”; and rather than look to God for affirmation, they look to men.) I had another response on husbands being “wanted” by their wives all typed up; but I’m already off-topic so I hesitate to post. But it seems that so much of our lack of feeling desirable comes from asking the wrong questions, or asking the wrong person.
Sigh. Yes, I guess that’s all I can hope for – subtle signals from women, and perhaps receptive responses when I risk rejection. You do realize how that sucks compared to what you women get – overt attention – don’t you? When I think about this for a while, it makes me feel unlucky for being born a man. But, perhaps more than that, I wish this could have all sunk in a long time ago. I unfortunately grew up thinking I would get attention from the opposite sex, just like my sisters did. I wish I had a male to tell me that, no, you’re a guy, so things will be much harder for you. You have to do most of the work yourself, and step out of your comfort zone more than women have to.
Getting back to sexual harassment, I feel women complaining about sexual harassment is like multi-millionaires whining that they have to pay a lot of taxes for their yachts! As a guy, I feel “let me have your sexual harassment problem!” Because occasional wrong attention is better than persistent non-attention.
No, no, no — it is nothing like multi-millionaires complaining about their yachts! I reject that entirely. To have someone take liberties with your body and harass you sexually is dishonoring, not attentive. And yes, relationships are work — not grueling work, but definitely effort. Effort worth expending.
Yet if you somehow think that a woman harassing you would make life easier, I don’t think you understand the meaning of harassment, which is “aggressive pressure or intimidation.” Healthy relationships and sexuality are not about pressure or intimidation. That’s not at all what God intended when He made us sexual beings.
You can complain about the way things are, or you can adjust your expectations and intent with God’s desire for your life and building a healthy relationship with a woman. Me? I’d suggest the latter. Many blessings!
Terry, you’re absolutely correct about our marriages reflecting our relationship to Christ. I’ve been giving Ephesians 5 a lot of thought, and it has been a real eye opener.
In my effort to understand what it means for me to be part of the Bride of Christ, I’ve observed my wife and talked about it with her. I think that even on the physical level, there are analogies regarding desire and surrender that apply to my relationship with Christ.
And it has made me more concerned than ever that I reflect Christ in my role as husband and lover. Of course, He perfectly deserves my love and surrender, and I receive these from my wife purely as gift, in spite of my sins.
The ideal is for both partners to fulfill their roles in this holy dance called marriage. But since we are sinners, it will be imperfect, at best. I can’t change my wife, but I can do my best to reflect Christ and trust Him to take care of her. Praise God, He has been dong this for us both.
Tom, I was either completely ignored, friendzoned, or sexually harassed. It left me feeling confused and unattractive. To be honest, even my husband inappropriately groped me and did things I would get in my sons’ faces for if they did them to a woman. But, by that point I was so confused, hurt, and feeling so unattractive that even negative attention felt like something. So, I see what you are saying, even if other women are appalled by it. It doesn’t lessen the damage done by such actions, though. Sin is damaging. Ultimately, being used and abused, harrassed, and made to feel unsafe are scary. I don’t mind a sincere compliment, the bravery of an attempt to get to know me (but accept a no, especially since I am married), and I don’t even mind an old-fashioned cat-call. (Wolf whistle, hey beautiful). I don’t like anything sexually aggressive or suggestive, or that hones in on a body part as opposed to my whole being.
I have heard many men say how women are lucky to have such a “sexual advantage” in their looks department. I love feeling pretty, but I don’t like feeling like a sexual commodity [slightly redacted here to leave out a word I didn’t want to print].
To be sexually harassed might feel like you must have some value, but ultimately it shows how little someone else values you compared to themselves. All the ignoring and friendzones I got in school and college were actually testament to other people valuing me, and God protecting me. One fellow told me, “you will make someone a wonderful wife someday.” Other fellows told others to leave me alone and not bother me.
I truly think God protected me because once He did open a door to a relationship, I dove in head first and took off running and made way too many mistakes. At least at that point I was older and got married to him. I can’t imagine diving in like that at 14 years old. I would have really messed myself up.
Today, I am content with knowing my husband finds me attractive. I don’t need or necessarily want affirmation from other men. Heck, at one point in our marriage hubby told me he didn’t find me attractive anymore, and I learned to be content knowing I am beautiful in God’s eyes. As an added blessing, my,children tell me how beautiful I am.
It seems to me this post is talking about two types of harassment. The first is harassment from a stranger, or another person who has no business offering sexual advances toward a woman — the catcall, the leering eye, the creepy uncle at the wedding reception grabbing a butt during a dance. The second is an unwanted sexual touch from a spouse or other person in a loving relationship who may be well intentioned, but misinformed — a husband grabbing his wife’s breasts as she washed dishes. Both touches may be unwanted — and therefore to be avoided — but the two men are not in the same category of sexual harassers. In the first case, the man is a jerk who probably should be prosecuted. In the second, the man may be a loving husband who needs to be educated.
As a husband of 30 years, I am often confused by which touches are welcome at a given time and which are not, and this confusion has arisen due to my past experiences.
I married late in life and had a few serious girlfriends before meeting my wife. In my day, the girl always waited silently for the guy to make the first move physically, whether it was a first kiss, or taking it to the “next level” whatever that meant. This meant we guys felt considerable pressure to find the right balance between taking things too fast or not fast enough. Go too fast, and the girl thought we were jerks; go too slow, and she thought we weren’t attracted to her. And, we couldn’t just ask the girl what she wanted because, as the girls in the movies always told us, “If you want to kiss a girl, don’t ask; just do it.”
I wanted to treat girls with absolute respect, so I was very slow to initiate any physical contact. I always waited until I knew we were more than just friends before initiating the first kiss, which was often many weeks or months into our relationship. What I found was that the girls I dated were surprised and disappointed with my apparent lack of lustful desire. After giving one girl our first kiss, she confided that she was about to break things off with me if I didn’t kiss her soon. Every girl I dated (including my wife) wanted more from me physically and sexually than I offered. They often complained that my kisses were too gentle, that I was not passionate enough and not sexually assertive enough. With one of them, I reached second base, not because I reached out to touch her breast, but because she intentionally positioned her body so that her breast fell right into my hand. (Admittedly, I didn’t object.)
Like several ladies above have alluded, my girlfriends said they felt unattractive precisely because I treated them with respect. And, these were not promiscuous hussies. I was a conservative Christian guy and the girls I dated were conservative Christian girls. None of them wanted to hop into bed with me, but I was surprised at how much sexual activity they all wanted, and how disappointed they were with me for not pursing it.
With that background, it honestly confuses me when I touch my wife’s breasts and she pushes my hand away. At our stage of marriage, my touch is not intended to arouse her: I know that with her sexual arousal is an elusive event. Rather, my touches are intended to simply remind her that, at our age, I still find her sexy, and I still desire her. Even so, she feels objectified and used. So, I will refrain, in respect for her wishes.
I don’t think men who unwittingly touch their wives in ways that accidentally trigger bad experiences for those women are harassers. My post was really to let you guys know what’s sometimes going on and another reason she doesn’t like that kind of touch. That said, we do like attention and touch — at least, most wives. If your wife is completely against sexual affection, even in very reasonable circumstances, that’s not about you. Wives should enjoy being touched and fondled by their husbands IF it’s in the right context. Indeed, women can be very sexual and desirous of that attention; it just needs to be handled well.
I’m here giving general advice for marriages, but the way to know what works for your spouse…is to ask. “Hey, what’s going on when I touch you?” “How do you like to be touched?” “Which kind of touches make you feel loved. Aroused?” Etc.
Okay…help? My husband has pretty much been told he was worthless his entire life. Plus, as most men, he’s a super sexual-minded guy. ((he’s also been super big into porn since he was 14 and hasn’t let up…)) So when he randomly grabs my breasts or lady parts and tries to get all up on me, I feel horrible for asking him to stop. Now, I’ve always been one of the girls that guys likes as a friend or a pal, but never a romantic interest. Even my poor hubby has never romanticized me. Our relationship started off nearly completely physical, so I’ve never had a “butterfly-tummied, blush-faced, gentle-tingle” relationship. Thusly, I see no reason why I should make an attempt to try to “go back” to a “sweet” sort of physical touch when we’ve been doing “everything else” for 5 years. Sooo…HALP.
Sit down and have a heart-to-heart! Tell me what you just told me, albeit in all positive terms, please. That is, say something like:
I really want our sexual relationship to be more intimate and the way you aggressive grab me doesn’t make me feel protected and loved. I know I haven’t told you before that this bothers me, but that’s because I didn’t want to discourage you from touching me. I want to be available, but I need a different kind of touch that will draw me into being more sexually engaged with you.
And while you’re at it, I think you should address the porn issue. Because that’s very likely one reason that he thinks his approach is okay with a woman. Porn often messes up a man’s expectations for what sex should look like. You should ask him to stop viewing porn, and tell him you’ll be in his corner as he moves away from that habit and turns more toward intimacy with you.
Wull, Ms. J, I have had the porn talk with him dozens of times in the past five years since that’s how long we’ve been married. It’s never quelled his watching or looking. He also just (July 2015) stopped talking to/asking for pictures from a few of his exes as far as I know. (He’s lied and been caught about conversing/…doing…”other things” with his exes countless times) Let’s just lay it down as there are OODLES of trust issues here on my side. I have talked to him as much as I can, but he never seems to change his doings. I’ve gotten in my Bible daily and prayed unceasingly. I just keep getting the twinge in my mind that I don’t wanna try anymore. I know it’s ungodly to divorce, but, in all truth, keeping my children fed and housed is the only reason I stay with him at the moment. There’s no intimacy in any of the sexual acts, no touch outside of sexual acts, no talking, no friendship. We are near literally roommates…except that he pays all the bills…(I’m a stay at home mother with a 1 year old daughter and a 3 year old son.) Granted, I had SERIOUS post-partum depression with both children and that could still be hanging on thus attributing to the feelings of hopelessness in my marriage, but…I dunno. I’m rambling and straying very far from the subject of this post. I suppose I just need someone human to talk to and hear their thoughts from a different perspective. I know God is there and all is in His good timing…but I just can’t shake the feeling that I should quit. My dad and psychologist of a mother are biased towards me and I can only afford to see my actual psychologist once every two months. I have one friend who lives two hours away and she is younger than me and doesn’t have any experience or advice to share. I guess I just want a nudging one way or the other. On the one hand, ‘m scared to stay with my husband because my aunt stayed with my uncle, who has done all the same things mine has, but…with men instead. Yick. She stayed miserable for 20 years in hopes God would change him…but on the other hand, I hate the thought of leaving him beucause deep down, I know I love him and I wanna stay…aughh. I’m confused and God hasn’t answered yet. Should I continue fighting or move on alone? In one’s opinion, of course. I’ve done all the talking I can to my husband.
It sounds like he’s been unfaithful, both with porn and in physical acts with women. Is that correct? If he’s a serial adulterer, and he has no intention of change and no remorse for his actions, I turn to what Jesus said:
“‘You have heard the law that says, “A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.” But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery'” (Matthew 5:31-32).
The issue in his time was men divorcing women, but it’s true for both sexes. And I have an entirely different answer for a man who struggles with porn or has an affair for which he’s repentant.
All that said, I encourage you to speak with a mentor (not simply a friend) or a pastor whom you trust. Praying for your wisdom.
Yes, ma’am, both porn and physical cheating have been repetitive throughout his entire relationship “career.” From his first girlfriend at age 14 all the way thru his first fiance at 18 until his 27th birthday coming up this month. I know not whether he is repentant or not, but the continuation of such acts even after getting caught doesn’t seem like remorse in my eyes. Perhaps God will change him. All I see, that I can do, is pray. Thank you for listeni…reading. XD ^^
No, it doesn’t ‘remind’ me of any past incident of a jerk. It makes me mad that my husband IS THE JERK. Men just need to grow up and follow the simple rule that every kindergarten child learns. “Keep your hands and feet to yourself at all times and in all places”. Simply. Just ask before. It’s easier to ask for permission than to have to beg for forgiveness.
I don’t know your husband, so I can’t say. But I would say this: Many husbands are definitely not jerks, but they don’t realize the effect they’re having. Which is why I wrote this post, and why it’s worth talking to your husband about how you’d prefer to be touched. I’m a big believer in presuming the best about your spouse, giving grace where you can, and asking for clarification. Maybe you could start with that perspective and make some headway in changing his bad habits.
Dee, please don’t lump us all together as in “men just need to grow up.” How about, “this particular man needs to grow up.” By way over generalizing like that, it simply perpetuates the stereotype, and in an indirect way allows a man to behave badly, because he also thinks that “men are like that.”
There are a lot more men out there who are appalled at such behavior. One question I would ask is, is your husband a Christian? Is he even attempting in any way to follow Christ and submit to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?
By the way, as a teacher for 32 years, I can guarantee you that the kindergarten lesson you mentioned may have been taught, but it was not learned, by boys or by girls. Most of my students of both sexes never learned that there are lines one should never cross. And from meeting their parents, I’d say many of them never learned about propriety, either.
J, sorry, I was thinking of unsolicited sexual attention, not sexual harassment. What I should have said was that “I feel women complaining about unsolicited sexual attention is like multi-millionaires whining that they have to pay a lot of taxes for their yachts!” I’m thinking here of whistles, cat-calls, ogling, things like that. Not sexual harassment, meaning not “aggressive pressure” like you said. Just unsolicited sexual interest. Now you would agree with me, right? As a typical guy who gets no (or very rare) overt interest from the opposite sex, a typical woman who gets a fair amount seems a bit like a spoiled multi-millionaire to me.
I’ve mentioned at least a couple times how guys have it much harder, in that they have to be the primary ones who risk rejection in initiating with the opposite sex, they have to be the primary ones who have to go out of their comfort zone to meet the opposite sex. Would you please affirm this? You say “relationships are work”, but that’s not my point. My point is that it is the guy who has to stick his neck out for the most part, and it is the guy who generally feels invisible and undesired, since he gets zero to little overt attention from the opposite sex. Would you please at least acknowledge this?
I appreciate the clarification!
This does still feel like two women complaining about which is worse to deal with: curly or straight hair. (Believe me, I’ve heard long conversations like this.) You always think the other side has it easier somehow, but both situations have their own challenges. Is it easier to be a man or a woman? I think they both have their challenges.
And I don’t think the ogling is quite what you think it is, because it can get really creepy at times. Although I agree with you that men typically have to take that first step and risk rejection; which can be truly tough. Would it help you to know that in my past I cold-called a guy and asked him out in college? He was blown away…and said yes. Perhaps more women should feel free to help a shy guy out this way. Perhaps. 🙂
J, I will admit, I feel extremely jealous of what women enjoy, that is, overt attention from the opposite sex. And, like I said before, I unfortunately got screwed and didn’t have good male role models to help me realize that I had to be assertive with women, that they wouldn’t generally knock down my door, because they’re women. And yet I can’t agree that men’s and women’s challenges even out somehow. Why? Because when I ask a woman to really, really think about what it would be like for no guy practically EVER to show any overt interest in them throughout their life, they recoil in horror.
But you’re looking at one particular aspect and ignoring everything else. You know, women are far more likely to be sexually harassed and abused, so I think maybe things “even out” (at least). The point is simply that you’re looking at one part of the equation, putting your magnifying glass over it, and then feeling super-frustrated. Step back and see the whole, and count all the fabulous things about being a guy. I for one am thankful that God made men.
J, allow me to disagree one more time. Which is worse for a woman: (1) to receive dozens of non-threatening unsolicited compliments on her face or figure over her lifetime, combined with some (but fewer) threatening comments, and an occasional butt-grab, or (2) virtually NEVER getting any compliments on her looks and having no man ever approach her for a date? Scenario (2) is far worse, is it not? Scenario (1) is your typical woman, since most women get more non-threatening compliments than they do threatening ones. Scenario (2) is your typical guy. What are the fabulous things about being a guy … that relate to having a relationship? I’m not talking about any advantages guys may have in society … I’m talking about male-female romantic/sexual relationships. Because, after all, what is more important than these relationships (after basic essentials like food, shelter, God, etc.)? Please tell me why it is fabulous to be a guy (vs. a woman) when looking for opposite-sex relationships! I desperately need to know. Thank you.
My husband has told me that he felt like the guy in the Michael W. Smith song, “Somebody Love Me,” while in high school and his first few years of college, as he was never “popular”; and while girls’ parents thought he was great, the girls apparently didn’t – or at least not enough to date him. He had dated here and there before noticing me (we’re 3 years apart in age), but I was his first long-term girlfriend. Neither of us is particularly outgoing, but I think God brought us together in a way that had us both make “the first move,” as it were. We both noticed each other during the mission trip I mentioned, but in a sense I made the first move by joining the puppet ministry, and waited for him to reciprocate by stepping out of the “friend” zone and asking me out. But I could have been rejected if I’d continued to throw myself at him (to my way of thinking, at least) and he still didn’t show any interest. I guess my point is that other guys have been where you are, but somehow it just works out.
I do recall a friend in high school confiding, “I love shy guys!” She did have a more outgoing personality than I did (and do), although I never witnessed her MO in-person. So I can’t say how exactly things might play out for you as I can only speak for myself. But there are outgoing girls who, while perhaps not giving you the kind of physical attention you hope for, may well initiate conversation, make a point of being around you, do you little favors (bring you a coffee), etc., to let you know they have indeed noticed you and are as I said, “available” for a date or three. And who knows – as J points out, she may even do the asking. But even if it falls to you, she may have already met you halfway.
In the meantime, and from what I’ve gathered, God is more interested in fixing us than our situations. Let Him use this time to make you into the kind of man who would attract the right kind of woman. If your time and attention are constantly focused on impressing the opposite sex, you might be coming across as desperate and needy. Women love confidence (as do men from what I understand); and this manifests not so much in being outgoing or assertive, but in security in who you are and your particular strengths. Press into God and wait on His timing. I know that sounds like a platitude; but from a woman’s standpoint – especially that of a woman who would complement you – the strong, smoldering, silent type is irresistible. Work on exuding godly masculinity – from the heart, not just in the externals – and you may find that God brings your perfect woman to you.
Terry, Can you expand on this some more please: “the strong, smoldering, silent type is irresistible”? I don’t exactly understand those qualities, especially “smoldering”. How does a guy with those qualities behave? How would you spot one out in public? Or can you only spot one if you know a guy for a while? Thanks.
Tom – These are qualities that most women understand and can spot instinctively, but are hard to define…I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “the strong, silent type” used (stereotypically by swooning women in black-and-white films) to describe a man who is not overtly assertive (i.e., loud, arrogant) but exudes a quiet self-assurance that doesn’t rely on the approval of others; in a way that other men don’t generally question or challenge. He is not literally “silent” in never speaking, but his words are measured and worth listening to. The “strong” part typically refers to the physical (as the phrase has been used), but can also describe emotional stability, determination, focus on the task at hand. “Smoldering” is something I threw in and probably the most ethereal of the three qualities (although again women just “know” what this means…sorry); but with the help of an online dictionary I would describe this as kind of conviction, an internal turmoil of sorts, some mysterious quality as of emotional “layers” that take time to uncover and understand. Think Batman or some other dark, tortured (but good) soul…
You understand, the point here is not to morph yourself into someone you’re not or try to become what you think women want. When I tossed out that phrase I was suggesting that that are women who are looking for just what you’re offering; that shy guys can indeed win the girl. Work on becoming more like Christ, and you will also become the man God would have you to be as well as the kind of man women are looking for.
Tom, I beg you to stop trying to be someone else, either by following a “type” or by modeling yourself on a real man. Just be(come) the man God created you to be. As Christians, we are to reflect Christ’s character, to be His image bearers. Work on your relationship with Christ, letting the Holy Spirit change you and conform you to His image, and let God bring you to the right woman at the right time. Trust me, He is also already working on that woman to prepare her for you.
By focusing on being some “type” of man who will attract women, you’re missing the real point. A Christian man should not try to be some sort of “chick magnet.” You should be letting God transform you, waiting patiently for God to do His work and His will in your life.
I have to agree with Bob, and I did wonder if my explanations would be “enabling” in a sense, even though the intent was to point out potentially hidden qualities that God might be seeking to bring out in a personality like yours. But I will reiterate that your goal should be NOT to find the quickest route from A to B – that is, to go from feeling lonely and ignored to instantly having a girl by your side by plugging in some “magic” formula – but rather as Bob says, to discover what godly manhood is and seek to emulate Christ in thought and action, allowing relationships to happen in His timing.
To borrow another analogy (sorry, can’t help it), much like in the epics of old the hero does not seek instant gratification but embarks on a quest of self-discovery, growth and sacrifice, vanquishing foes within and without and returning in due time, a changed man, to claim his kingdom, his legacy and yes, even his princess. My intent was not to short-circuit this process by defining what the returning hero might look like; so to the extent that I showed poor judgment, I apologize.
Tom, I’ve reviewed your comments in this thread, and I have a couple of thoughts for you, as a man. I’m assuming you are not married, from the things you have written, so my comments are with that assumption in mind.
I always thought that men and women had similar sex drives, and that women were as aroused by visual stimuli as are most men. I also thought that women would become sexually aroused in much the same way as men. I’ve learned that in general, women will be attracted to a man by something other than his looks, his “sex appeal.” It may be the fact that he’s kind, funny, generous, whatever, but it has little to do with his looks. And her sexual arousal is often the result of the beginning of sexual activity, not the stimulus to begin sexual activity.
I love that my wife sexually arouses me, and I love that I can arouse her and give her sexual pleasure. But I really want her to find me attractive from who I am, not what I look like. Looks can and do change, but character is lasting.
I don’t know your age, but as a 59 year old man after 36 years of marriage, I think I can offer some man to man advice. Don’t worry about whether or not women make eyes at you, flirt, show attention in the ways you’ve described. Instead, work on cultivating a good character as a man of God. My wife has said many times, and I’ve read similar comments on this and other blogs, that she finds godliness very attractive.
I assume you are a Christian, so I beg you to rely on God to bring you the right woman, the one who will find you attractive for all the right reasons.
I apologize if my assumptions about you are incorrect, but I stand by my comments and advice.
Very well said.
As a married man I must say with all sarcasm to the idea that men and women have different sex drives.
“What? You mean reality actually isn’t like the TV shows and movies where a woman is just burning to jump into bed with a guy after a single date? Who knew?!”
Yes single men. If you read this, sex is really not like what you see in the media. (Of course, the reality of what sex is is way better.)
Nick, I had to laugh at your reply. I had a dad who NEVER talked about sex. Couple that with early exposure to pornography and the typical schoolboy talk about sex, and I went into marriage about as clueless as any young man could be.
Then, there was practically nothing from a Christian worldview that would address sexuality in marriage back then. A lot of what I learned was from hard knocks, mistakes, and a loving wife whom God used to gradually clean out the old and fill me with the new.
I used to feel that if she wasn’t screaming with orgasmic pleasure during intercourse, there was something wrong with one or both of us. It took a lot of learning about women’s sexual anatomy (and my own anatomy) to correct some misconceptions.
I’m so thankful for blogs like this one, which seek to correct bad information and wrong attitudes, all from a Biblical perspective. I wish I had learned a lot of it long before marriage, but better late than never. And I have the opportunity to share with younger men, including my sons, about how to approach things differently when they marry.
And you’re right, the reality is way better, because not only body parts are joined, hearts and spirits are also joined, with God smiling on the whole union.
Indeed. i also tell people that sex gets better as time goes by. I have been married six years and it has got better over time. I think it reaches points where you even wonder if you were really having sex before. We still have some work to do, but we’ve done a lot so far.
Bobthemusicguy, I was surprised to see you write “I always thought that men and women had similar sex drives, and that women were as aroused by visual stimuli as are most men. I also thought that women would become sexually aroused in much the same way as men.” Because I’ve always thought that one of the most frustratingly clearest differences between men and women is their arousal to visual stimuli, and their sex drives.
Bobthemusicguy, I don’t believe in God much anymore. I come to J’s blog for the ‘hot’ part mainly, and secondarily for the ‘humorous’. Just not the ‘holy’.
If you’re honestly open, I would be glad to discuss any problems you might have with God.
Nick, if you discussed God with me, you’d probably lose your faith. I’ve written a theological book and I know too much that you don’t want to hear. Let’s not “go there” ok?
Nick is an apologist with a great deal of information and wisdom. I think he’d be able to “go there.” Best wishes, Tom! I hope you don’t mind that I am praying for you.
I didn’t want to use the work apologist in case you guys didn’t know what it was. I’d embarrass Nick. I’m not in the business of doing that though.
I’ve read and listened to Nick (he has a website and podcast), and he is well-versed in apologetics. I can defend my faith just fine with whatever arguments people make as well. But that isn’t the point of my blog, so maybe you can check out his website: http://www.deeperwatersapologetics.com
That’s too bad. I looked on Amazon for a book by you and found nothing. Look. I read the main things I can by atheists. If someone talks about an atheist book on Facebook, I’m at the library site immediately. It just makes me do more research.
Wherever your work is, I would enjoy seeing it.
Are you kidding?! I’m wanting to look it up right now! I read liberal NT scholars, atheist writers, and everyone else I can. I have debated many non-Christians including John Loftus on various topics.
Feel free to talk to me.
Tom, you come to a Christian marriage site for the “hot” aspect, but you are going to reject the only advice the Christians here are ever going to give you. How’s it working for you? I’ve yet to hear an honest intellectual argument from an atheist or agnostic that couldn’t be answered, but I’m convinced your loss of faith is more a matter of the will and emotions than of the intellect. You remind me of the narrator in “The Hound of Heaven?”
God is the only Good there is. Anyone who rejects this Food of the soul must eternally starve, for there is no joy or peace apart from God.
J, I know this conversation has gone far afield from your original post. Thanks for your indulgence. But it has underscored one thing: anyone seeking solutions to any problem without looking to God for His wisdom and strength, is bound to get a temporary fix at best.
Tom, I hope you read comments like this as they’re intended — people wanting the best for you.
Bobthemusicguy, I reject God from an intellectual perspective only. Nothing to do with my will, I assure you.
Terry, thanks for explaining “smoldering” and the others. I notice when I act more aloof toward women, they seem to want me more. Seems crazy to me, but I’ll go with what works. I really feel that women enforce the bad behaviors we see in men. If women didn’t want jerks, there would be far fewer jerks.
About God, I don’t believe in Him much these days. (But I’ll still give Him a capital ‘H’. 🙂 ) I could get into this, but it’s a long story. You can email me if you’d like.
“If women didn’t want jerks, there would be far fewer jerks.” We don’t want jerks. Yes, I know the “bad boy” is a thing, but that’s not what mature women want. At all.
Key phrase – “mature women”! I can see how insecure women endorse “jerk” behavior all the time by dating married men, allowing their boyfriends to abuse them verbally and physically, not dumping the ones who look at porn, go to strip clubs or ogle other women, and generally don’t know how to act like gentlemen. And not only do they date these men, they MARRY them and make little baby jerks with them. I thank God that I kept my standards high and that my pickiness was rewarded (My husband says he’s “lucky”, but I remind him there’s no such thing as luck!).
Others have pointed this out, but it’s worth repeating: Dads, you set the example for what your daughters should be looking for. Set their sights high! (End rant.)
I understand what you’re saying, but I have quite a bit of compassion for people who make wrong choices and end up with bad consequences. The Bible is chock-full of people like that, whom God rescued from their immaturity and/or emotional weaknesses.
You’re entirely right, though, that Dads can have a great impact on this. Especially encouraging their daughters not to put up with sexual harassment.
J, isn’t it great that God is a God of second (or third, or fourth, or . . .) chances? If he weren’t, I would probably not even be alive. I remember reading about when the Jews returned from Babylon and rebuilt the temple, many of the older people mourned that the temple was far smaller and less spectacular than the one that had been destroyed. But God promised them that”the glory of the latter will be greater than the glory of the former.”
One of my spiritual heroes, Dennis Jernigan, constantly reminds others that the only thing you can’t change is your past. But God “redeems the years the locusts have eaten” and does amazing things with apparently ruined lives. For Tom Hillson, and every other person here, I pray that we will take these broken bits and pieces we call our lives and hand them over to the One who renews and restores.
But for Tom and any others who won’t do so, it’s like having someone offer you the cure for cancer, but you refuse to take the treatment. Please let the Great Physician heal you!
And those “bad boys” are often the ones doing the harassing of women. So immature (young) women who are so attracted to bad boys are actually contributing to the harassment of their own gender. Ironic, huh?
Okay, but the bad boys are still doing the harassing. And the point was — you want a mature woman.
Tom, if you’re angry at God for whatever reason, I think we have the real problem…I might be willing to converse via email, but a) personal information is not provided on this site, for good reason, and b) what you really need is counsel from an older, Christian man who has been where you are now – counsel that Bob and others here have tried to offer. I have tried to provide insight into how women think, but I can’t give advice on how to be a godly young man…because I’m not a young man and never have been. If you’re looking to this blog for ways to attract women and nothing more, I think you’ve come as far as you’re going to. I offered my insights under the impression that you, like the others here, are seeking to understand what godly sexuality within the context of marriage looks like. From your most recent comments it appears I was mistaken; but you still won’t be able to take my observations and turn them into a 1-2-3 formula for making women throw themselves at you, because they are based upon a Christ-centered outlook.
I pray that God brings you back to Himself and expands your perspective.
Terry, thanks for all your detailed comments. About God, I’m not angry with Him, because I’d have to be sure someone existed to be angry with them.
Having read Bob’s and Nick’s replies, what I’m wondering is…if you have in fact insinuated yourself into this discussion under pretense of seeking a meaningful, lasting relationship, when your real goal was to troll the site for tips on how to get girls…how is this behavior any better than that of the so-called “jerks” you seem to distance yourself from? Do you understand now why so many women keep men at arm’s length and constantly question their motives?
Good to know about Nick’s blog. Moving to a new tab now to check it out.
Tom, if you’re not coming at your situation from a Christian perspective, I have no help to offer. I believe you are looking for an answer that only God can give, but you don’t want to accept His solution. There is no happiness that is eternal apart from God, and the very best this world can offer is temporary and fickle. Even human relationships will fall away at death, only what is given to God is everlasting.
Until you are willing to turn to God for His lifeChanging power, the most you will get is a temporary fix, if that. Please,mplease, please, don’t shut God out. No matter what may have happened in your life, He holds the answers because He is the answer.
J, do you have anything to say about why it’s fabulous to be a guy? I’m not baiting you – I just want to know why I shouldn’t slit my wrists (just kidding – sort of). Thanks.
This question is way off course from this post, so I really think I want to write a whole other post — something like What’s So Great about Men? Because there are a lot of things, and on my blog I celebrate that God created them “male and female” (Genesis 1:27). You’ve got a lot to be grateful for. Please hang with me as I work up that post.
What’s so great about being a guy? Are you kidding me? We have all (at least most) of the advantages.
1. No periods.
2. Not having to shave everywhere.
3. No bras, heels, or makeup.
4. …or pantyhose.
5. No periods.
6. Arousal is predictable, and orgasms come easy.
7. Being bald and paunchy and not caring, because my wife doesn’t care either.
8. Not worrying about body parts being too big, too small, too curvy, not curvy enough, etc.
9. Mowing the lawn shirtless.
10. No periods.
11. Getting ready for a date in under 10 minutes.
12. Packing everything I need for a week’s vacation in a gym bag.
13. Owning three pairs of shoes. One dress, one gym, and flip-flops.
14. Making the first move. Sure we risk rejection, but we don’t have to kiss a ton of toads waiting for a prince who may never notice us.
15. Not worrying if sex will hurt.
16. Not worrying about where my husband wants to stick his penis next.
17. Attending an office party without fear of unsolicited sexual attention (yes, Tom, that’s an *advantage*).
18. No periods.
19. Cave time.
20. Going to a public restroom without standing in line.
21. No purses.
22. Did I mention, no periods?
I could do this all day, but let me summarize by saying, I’m sooooooo thankful I’m a guy.
LOL! Good points.
That’s a pretty good list, but I’m surprised you left out that men don’t get periods.
Good point. But, I forgot the big one. No fear of ever getting pregnant.
Interesting, because I’d put “gets to birth children” in my Pros of Being a Woman column.
I think J has a great point with her response. We men don’t want the pain and the nine months and everything, but there is something magical about childbirth.
Well, if I could have avoided the pain… Lol.
e2, that’s a nice list. Allow me to respond. My main point through all my posts has been that women have it so much easier in meeting guys than men have in meeting women, mainly due to the fact that they are approached, whereas we are not. So the main point of yours I want to talk about is #14. You say that we have the advantage of making the first move and we don’t have to kiss a ton of toads waiting for our prince. (In our parlance, I guess it would be we don’t have to kiss a ton of uglies/weirdos waiting for our princess.) But – huh??? – women don’t have to kiss ANYONE! Who dictates that they have to kiss guys they don’t want to? Most women DON’T kiss guys they don’t want to. And you brush off quickly “Sure we risk rejection”. OMG – this is such a MASSIVE disadvantage we men have! Have you been rejected in your advances to a woman? If not, let me tell you, it can HURT, and hurt BAD! You can be left feeling like absolute dirt, like you are worthless, that you mean nothing! In fact, I don’t even need to prove this to women. Have a woman go across the room, hit on a guy she likes, and have him reject her in front of other people with “uh … no thanks!” or, worse, laugh in her face! This would CRUSH most women! Absolutely crush them!! Her embarassment would be extreme – she’d probably never do it again! But, as guys, we HAVE to do it again, unless we want to sit home alone the rest of our lives watching you-know-what and pigging out on ice cream or whatever.
I have many things I could say about your other points (e.g.: women can have multiple orgasms – OMG! What an incredible plus!!), but I want to harp on your #14, which is the whole point of everything I’ve been saying for days.
Yes, that’s what you’ve been saying. And not the point of this post. I will deal with your question soon, however.
Imagine being a woman and wanting to date a specific guy… the One. You’ve noticed him from afar. Perhaps you like his appearance, but you also love his personality. You’ve tried to let him know you’re interested, but he’s clueless to your subtle hints. It’s considered unfeminine for you to ask him out, so you wait… and wait… and wait. You dream about him and have written his name all over your notebook. And, you wait… in vain for the One you know you’re meant to be with. You think that’s easier than being a guy? No way. If I’m interested in a woman, I can approach her without being thought of as a loose hussy. I can ask her out. I don’t have to sit home and pine for someone who doesn’t know I exist. It’s all in my hands. Control is a good thing.
Now, imagine you’re the woman waiting for Mr. Right who completely ignores you. In the meantime, Mr. Plan B comes along and asks you out. Now what? Do you go out with someone who’s obviously not your first choice? Or do you hold out for the One who might never call? And, if you go out with Mr. Plan B, do you spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been? I can’t imagine how many women must go through life trying to muster romantic feelings for a second (or third) choice all the while daydreaming about the One who not only got away, but never even noticed.
Sure rejection hurts, but I would much rather be in control of a situation, even with the risk of rejection, than have to wait… and hope… that the One I really like finally notices me.
Terry, when did I ever say I didn’t want a meaningful lasting relationship with a woman? That’s exactly what I want! But you’ve said repeatedly that women won’t just fall into my arms, so that means I need to take the bull by the horns. I don’t unfortunately have female privilege of the opposite sex going after me. I can’t believe you would liken me to some jerk!
Well…I’m left with the impression that you’ve “used” me in a sense by pumping me for information about what women want, as you’ve made it clear that you’re not interested in any of our encouragements regarding godly manhood – and by extension not interested in a real relationship. My intent was not to insult you but to have you think about the similar end-goals of harassing women physically/verbally and pretending to be someone else, someone who puts on a “front” with little substance behind it. The goal of both is instant gratification, whatever the route. As Bob and Nick have both pointed out, if you’re not willing to put the work in to become the kind of man women are seeking, there’s nothing more we can tell you. And if “taking the bull by the horns” means duping the opposite sex and skipping to the end of the story, you demonstrate my point. As J clarified, we want good things for you. But even if you did manage to pull off the “strong, smoldering, silent” persona on the surface, a good woman can spot a phony a mile away. You keep looking for the angle, the shortcut, but there just isn’t one.
If you’re not convinced God exists, challenge Him to prove He does. Apply your brain. Question truth. God’s a Big Man – He can take it.
By the way, for all interested, I know J doesn’t want this to turn into an apologetics debate, which is cool with me because that can be done on my page, but since she has mentioned my podcast, I’m sure she won’t mind having it be said that she’s my guest on the 12th of this month to discuss her book Hot, Holy, and Humorous.
Not quite sure why, but this whole thread reminded me of one of my favorite Spock quotes (the real Spock, not your husband.)
To the Vulcan lady who rejected Spock for another mate, he said, “You will find that wanting is better than having.” It seems we all want most what we don’t have, whether it’s more sexual attention… or less.
e2, I like the Star Trek quote. I understand your point, but that’s why I ask women to really try to put themselves in my (or most guys’) shoes. And when they really think about it, they agree that it is worse to be perpetually ignored than to occasionally get unwanted attention.
No, no, they won’t. Not all women will agree. For instance, me. I will not agree to that, no matter how many times you say it, Tom! Why? Because this post has zero to do with “occasionally [getting] unwanted attention.” I wrote about harassment. And yes, I would rather be left alone than treated like an object who does not have full ownership of her own body.
You seem to be so intent on getting others to agree with your perspective that you aren’t listening to those others and what they experience.
Tom, I think we guys view unsolicited sexual attention differently than many women. Perhaps because we are rarely on the receiving end of it, we don’t object to it as much. But, if you’re a woman and can’t walk into the local McDonalds without wondering who’s lusting after you, it has to get old real quick. I’ve watched female colleagues hug men who come into the office because that’s what’s expected of them. I’ve watched men at wedding receptions act like it’s open season to kiss every woman there. And the women just take it; it’s easier than making a scene and ruining some bride’s special day. As a guy, I have never had to worry about hugging or kissing a woman I didn’t want to. And, as a guy, I’ve never had to worry about being raped.
Tom, I agree that being sexually ignored is painful, but it simply cannot compare to the demeaning violation of being sexually harassed.
Thank you. Yes, this.
e2, you aren’t comparing the correct scenarios. I am not talking about being sexually ignored one day vs. being sexually harassed one day. I’m talking about being sexually ignored ALL YOUR LIFE vs. being sexually harassed a couple times or a handful of times in your life. I’m telling you, I highly doubt there are many women who would trade their experience (harassed a few times in their life) with NO attention from men, NO desire from men, NO being approached by men, NO dates, NO husband who was physically attracted to them. Do you?
But you’re taking very specific parameters, lining them up, and then saying, “See, isn’t is so much better to be a woman?” And it doesn’t work like that. I sincerely pray you can stop going down this rabbit trail, and get back on the path of finding what’s so great about being a man and learning to celebrate that.
It really does suck to be ignored sexually by women. That happened with me. I was friendzoned all my life. I didn’t get married until just before I turned 30.
The good news though is that you only need to succeed with one woman. Thankful I found one.
I think the reason you’re getting so much push back is that you’re saying two different things.
First, you’re saying you would prefer a little unsolicited sexual attention rather than spending your life being sexually ignored. If you stopped there, I think people would respect your preference.
But, you go one step further. You suggest that women either do or should share your preference. And, that’s where you’re stirring up the ire of the ladies on the list.
I’ve learned that nothing good comes from telling another person how they should feel.
J, maybe I’m being obtuse. That’s a possibility – it’s happened before. But I don’t see how comparing 2 scenarios, one which I believe is the typical woman’s RELATIONSHIP life, with another scenario, which is the typical man’s relationship life, and showing that the woman has it better than the man – I don’t see why that is incorrect.
You’re defining the “typical woman’s relationship life” according to a very specific notion that isn’t in line with truth.
So what is the truth? How often are women harassed in a lifetime? Can you tell me what a TYPICAL woman experiences from men in her lifetime, good and bad?
I had to think about this for a bit. I don’t know the answer. But I do know that twice is low. In my own life, I’ve had many more incidents of men ogling, making inappropriate comments, touching me without permission, etc. Now some of those happened in a bar or a nightclub, but some happened at school or in the workplace. I know some women here say they haven’t been sexually harassed, so it’s possible to come out unscathed. But other women, probably because of location more than anything, have been harassed many more times. I just don’t what the typical is. But I feel like you’re setting up a specific scenario that is rather unlikely and then comparing to that. And the way you’re framing the argument isn’t really the point. We are where we are — male and female — and need to deal with making the best of our gender. Which has many benefits regardless of which one you are.
J, my head has been spinning with all the back and forth over who has it worse, men or women. I really think that is not a profitable conversation because we think about groups, instead of individuals. And we cant see the bigger picture of what God is doing in a particular person’s life through their particular circumstances. And even in the worst of situations, God can bring great good out of pain, suffering, and just plain evil.
I would hope that every Christian who follows your blog will look to God for His answers to our problems, without trying to decide whose problems, individual or group, are worse. That’s not productive and usually leads to an endless back and forth with no solution.
And concerning readers who seem bent on rejecting any offers of a real solution, it’s a lot like casting pearls before swine. (Anyone who doesn’t like the comparison can blame Jesus, who first said it.) Offering the truth to someone who is bent on rejecting it is fruitless. When the apostle Paul was rejected in one of the synagogues, he shook the dust off his robe and went to those who were open to the truth.
It can be fun to talk about advantages and disadvantages we have, but it’s pointless to do so if we make it something serious. I grew up in the gaming age and I’m still a gamer and every gamer knows you have to do the best with what you have. If you can better yourself, you do so, but until then, you play with the cards that you’ve been given. You can complain all you want about the hand you’ve been dealt, but that won’t change the outcome of the game. If anything, it’ll only make your performance worse. It’s best to just make the most of what you have and play to your strengths.
Nick, my point is that for many, it seems to have gotten beyond the “fun talk” and is taken so seriously that it shapes, even controls, their lives. I think we need to be cautious about regarding our strengths and weaknesses as a hand that has been dealt. Our strengths are God-given, and He knew what He was doing when He formed each one of us. And our weaknesses are often strengths that are misused or misdirected due to our fallen sinful nature.
By thinking of group problems, whether by sex, race, age, marital status, etc., we lose sight of what God can and will do in each of us as individuals. Celebrate our strengths and use them for God’s glory. Examine our weaknesses and ask God to change them into strengths that He can use. And rejoice in the fact that we and our spouses have characteristics that are often complementary to each other, so that as a couple, we are more than the joining of two individuals, and together we can show more of God’s character to the world.
When I say a hand that has been dealt, it is meant as an analogy. Not perfect, but an analogy. God has given us all different strengths and weaknesses. Maybe I might wish to have someone else’s strength. Maybe I might think my weakness is the worst. If I can improve in some area, excellent, but if I can’t, I must accept it. Whining won’t change anything. I have only one chance to play the game. I must play it to the best of my ability with what I have.
Nick, I agree that if I can’t change something, I need to deal with it anyway. But it helps me if I can “prove” that my situation is worse because then, when I face difficulty, I can take comfort in the fact that I have a very bad hand to work with.
I’m not sure about that entirely. I have spoken in a number of places, even William Lane Craig’s class, on living with disability. It means I have to work harder sure, but it also makes me more eager to do what I can do.
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