Category Archives: Current Issues in Sexuality

Are Women Meant to be “Sex Objects”?

Over the years, I’ve engaged in a few debates in the comments section of my blog. Most of the time, myself and the commenter can clarify our thoughts, find areas of agreement, and walk away feeling like we might not be on the same page but it’s all good anyway. (At least that’s how I feel about it.)

But a few topics trigger a more visceral response in me, because they’re aren’t simply disagreements but, I believe, harmful statements. Today, I want to tackle the term “sex object.”

I have been told repeatedly by men — Christian men — that women are meant to be sex objects and that this term is a compliment. Let’s take an honest look at those statements:

  1. Women are meant to be sex objects.
  2. Calling a woman a “sex object” is a compliment.

Blog post title + illustration of man with binoculars, and the lenses read "WOW"

Why some men say that yes, women are sex objects.

I’ve read articles from both Christian and secular men who argue that women are supposed to be sex objects for men. Indeed, those who use the Bible to make their point argue it’s God-given nature for a man to see a woman as a sex object.

Their case come down to these claims:

  1. “Object” merely means something that can be seen and touched, and women qualify.
  2. We use objects and people for our purposes all the time (e.g., using a stylist for a haircut or a mechanic for a car repair).
  3. Men are visual, so their “use” of people can and will involve looking at women for the purpose of sexual arousal or appreciation.
  4. Since sex is part of marriage, husbands will and should look at their wives as sex objects — something tangible used to stimulate and satisfy sexual desire.
  5. Being viewed as a sex object is thus a compliment, because it shows a woman is useful for one of her primary purposes for men and in marriage.

Here’s the first problem — you’re defining the wrong thing.

Sometimes the meaning of a term is different from the two words that make it up. Consider how “table” could mean all kinds of things (conference table, pool table, bedside table), but when I tell my son to take his plate to the “dinner table,” he’s missed the point if he sets up to eat at a ping-pong table.

Likewise, “sex object” has its own definition, separate from “object.” Here’s how dictionaries define sex object:

  • “a person regarded by another only in terms of their sexual attractiveness or availability
    (Oxford).
  • “a person viewed or treated as a means of obtaining sexual gratification” (Collins).
  • “a person regarded especially exclusively as an object of sexual interest” (Merriam-Webster)
  • “a person viewed as being of little interest or merit beyond the potential for providing sexual gratification” (Random House).
  • “someone who is valued only as a sexual partner or for being sexually attractive” (MacMillan).

These definitions focus on treating someone as their value being mostly or entirely wrapped up in their sexual attraction or ability to gratify the person looking at them.

“Sex object” doesn’t say, “I recognize you as a person apart from your ability to satisfy me,” but rather views the person through a purely selfish and sexual perspective.

Sex object doesn't say, 'I recognize you as a person apart from your ability to satisfy me,' but rather views the person through a purely selfish and sexual perspective. Click To Tweet

Secondly, we don’t “use” people all the time — or at least shouldn’t.

Yes, we make use of services and products provided by others, but we don’t walk into a shop or an office unaware that this person has a life outside their chosen vocation. I certainly hope my readers don’t think I exist merely to dole out sex advice, even though that’s exactly the role I play in many of their lives.

Moreover, to compare the way I use a fork to the way I use my hairstylist is insulting. As if I cannot distinguish that those made in God’s image are on a different level of intrinsic value. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-26: “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” We use food and clothes, but God says confirms our lives and our bodies are more valuable than that.

So yes, we can use the services and objects people offer, but we shouldn’t use them. In a marriage, you might say we make use of the sexual gifts we offer one another — for arousal and gratification — but your spouse has deeper value.

Men are visual, but sight is not their only input.

I believe it’s generally true that men are more visual, although women certainly can be visual too. So when someone makes an argument that a man is more likely to notice a women’s appearance, I buy that. What I don’t buy is that all of his other senses and his ability to think about anything but appearance flat-line in that moment.

How do I know this isn’t true? Because men see absolutely gorgeous female relatives in an entirely different way. (And if they don’t, we rightly condemn that perspective.) Now of course, this comes far more naturally with relatives. However, I’m merely establishing here that men can attend to other factors as well.

But Proverbs 11:22 advises against seeing only the physical aspect of women: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” If the Bible didn’t think men could rely on something other than the visual, why bother giving the warning?

An emotionally healthy, spiritually holy man can discern that a woman is beautiful while appreciating other aspects of her. Indeed, this is how all the wonderful husbands I know act toward their wives. Hey, it’s perfectly fine to view one’s spouse as attractive and sexy, but that’s not everything about them. Indeed, your spouse’s appeal will be greater if they are also the kind of person you enjoy being around.

Sexual desire and sexual objectification in marriage aren’t the same.

Those who argue husbands will and should look at their wives as sex objects because they are used to stimulate and satisfy sexual desire miss something big: that desire and objectification are not the same.

Objectification is “the action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object,” while desire can be defined as a “strong sexual feeling or appetite.” And which one does the Bible use? “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10). Thank heavens it didn’t say, “I belong to my husband, and he objectifies me.”

Now a legitimate point I’ve heard from husbands is that when they say, “sex object,” they mean “object of my desire.” I get that, and I believe that’s what some of them intend to say.

Except that’s not what “sex object” means — see definitions above. It’s like one day discovering that it’s not “intensive purposes” but “intents and purposes”; sure, you meant the right thing, but you should still correct your choice of words to convey your meaning accurately.

“Sex object” is not a compliment to most women.

Perhaps the most iconic “sex object” ever was Marilyn Monroe. Admittedly, she played up her sexuality for the sake of her career and likely enjoyed some of the attention she received as a result. But even she understood it’s not really a compliment: “That’s the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing!”

'That's the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing!' - Marilyn Monroe | Are Women Meant to Be Sex Objects? Click To Tweet

Whether it’s something a man understands or not, most of us ladies do not want to be thought of as a thing, a symbol, a sex object. While I encourage wives to own their beauty and sexuality, it’s only one part of us. We’re many-layered beings with so much to appreciate, including but definitely not limited to our sexual appeal to our husbands.

And for heaven’s sakes, men, don’t tell a woman how she should feel about you ascribing this phrase to her. That’s like slapping someone and saying, “You should like it.” Because it’s a verbal slap to many women, so of course we don’t like it.

A wife should absolutely be the focus of her husband’s sexual desire, but she is neither his nor anyone else’s “sex object.” Because she’s not an object. She’s a child a God, a daughter of the King.

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What Is Lusting?

You’d think defining lust would be a simple enough task. Just open up Merriam-Webster, read the definition, and you’re set. But it’s not that simple. At least there’s still a lot of confusion about what constitutes lusting. I receive questions about it fairly often.

Today I’d like to take a stab about clearing up exactly what lust means and what it doesn’t, as well as when lust is okay and when it’s not.

Blog post title with illustration of woman facing forward and a thought bubble coming from her head

What Lust Is and Isn’t

Dictionary definition

Let’s start with that Merriam-Webster definition. The first entry to consider is “usually intense or unbridled sexual desire,” and the second is “an intense longing/craving,” such as a lust for power. That should rule out a few things that people sometimes want to list as lust, such as:

  • noticing an attractive person
  • saying someone is attractive

Mind you, these may not be wise choices in certain contexts, but they aren’t lust. These actions are no more inherently dangerous than noticing a beautiful sunset or commenting positively about a work of art.

While God prioritizes inner beauty, our Divine Sculptor also made some rather appealing exteriors. I mean, if you can’t acknowledge that the Chrises — Evans, Hemsworth, Pine, and Pratt — are good-looking men, you don’t have eyeballs. Not to mention guys named Idris. But I digress.

Biblical definition

More importantly, let’s look at the biblical definition of lust. That’s what really matters to us, right? While there are other relevant scriptures, our concern about lust mostly stems from this verse: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus says lust = adultery. Obviously, that’s a line we don’t want to cross.

Now the Greek word for lust in this verse is epithumeó. This word appears 15 other times in the New Testament. Do you know how many of those times it’s translated in the NIV as lust? None. Not a single one.

In fact, you might be surprised to see the other verses where epithumeó appears, such as:

For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it (Matthew 13:17).

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer (Luke 22:15).

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet” (Romans 7:7).

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want (Galatians 5:17).

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1).

(See footnote below.)

As you can see, the word used by Jesus to mean lust isn’t strictly negative. It can have positive connotations as well. Epithumeó simply means a strong desire (that second Merriam-Webster definition), and the problem occurs when our strong desire is in conflict with what God intends for us to have — like someone else’s spouse.

Again, with these verses it becomes clear that lust isn’t merely noticing someone, but rather having a strong desire or longing. Lust happens when it reaches the level of coveting — when you think sexually about someone you’re not married to or dwell on their physical attributes in your mind.

Lust happens when it reaches the level of coveting — when you think sexually about someone you're not married to or dwell on their physical attributes in your mind. Click To Tweet

Revisiting my comment above, some celebrities are rather attractive men. But it’s one thing to recognize that, and another thing to seek out shirtless photos or flip through images in your mind or talk up how that person turns you on. No, no, and no.

Lust isn’t gender-specific

Did you notice all of my examples focused on women finding men attractive? Because one other thing lust isn’t — a purely male problem.

Too often when we talk about lust in churches or Christian circles, we assume that men struggle with lust and women really don’t. That’s balderdash.

First of all, not every guy struggles with lust, and second, plenty of women have issues with lust. Although Jesus speaks in Matthew 5:28 about men lusting after women, it’s pretty clear throughout the Bible — in stories and other verses — that women also have issues wanting what they shouldn’t have.

What’s the percentage breakdown of how the genders struggle with lust? I don’t know. Maybe it’s 70% of men and only 30% of women, but if you’re in the group that struggles, does it really matter? Don’t you just need an understanding that improper, selfish longing happens with both sexes and that God wants something much better for you?

Desire versus physiology

Finally in this section, I want to touch on an issue some worry about: When you see an attractive person and your body responds sexually, is that lust?

When you see an attractive person and your body responds sexually, is that lust? Click To Tweet

Let’s go back to Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Where does Jesus say the lust originates? It is in your eyeballs? In your groin? Or in your mind and heart?

God recognizes that we are physical beings here on earth. Having eyes that see a person doesn’t make you lust. Likewise, an erection or lubrication or a tingling in your nether regions could simply be a physiological reaction. What matters is the choice you make in your mind about how to view someone.

Now some might be saying that there’s not a conscious moment when you think, “Hey, I’m going to lust.” Rather, it just happens in a split second, as if your brain is responding to your genitals instead of the other way around.

As someone who mastered rationalization in my premarital promiscuous past, I’m just going to call you on that fish tale. Maybe you haven’t yet figured out how to interrupt the communication channel between your sexual physiology and your free-will brain, but you are making a choice and God calls you to make a different choice. He believes that — with intention and prayer and even support — you can do it, and so do I.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for having an arousal reaction that you cannot control, but own the part you absolutely can control — your decision whether or not to lust.

When Lust Is Okay and When It’s Not

Surely, after reading those examples, you can see that not all epithumeó longings are bad. Some are praised! Having a deep desire for something in line with God’s will gets a golden stamp of approval. In those cases, “lust” all you want after the thing God also longs for you to have.

Which means that lusting after your spouse is not only okay — it’s good. Deeply good. Godly good.

Lusting after your spouse is not only okay — it's good. Deeply good. Godly good. Click To Tweet

Sexual desire for your husband or wife is God’s intention for your marriage. When you think about their attractiveness, when you dwell on their physical attributes in your mind, and when you look longingly at your beloved, you’re in line with God’s will.

Go read Song of Songs and how often those spouses are basically like, “Hubba hubba, I love lookin’ at you, babe!” (Loose paraphrase.) Take, for instance, just these few verses from Song of Songs 7:6-8:

How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
  my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
  and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
  I will take hold of its fruit.”

Wow, that husband clearly has a strong desire for his wife. And God made sure that’s in our Bible!

So perhaps we need to re-frame how to talk about lust. To summarize:

  1. Lust isn’t just about sex. It’s about strong desires that can be in line with God’s will or not.
  2. Noticing and acknowledging beauty isn’t lust in and of itself. It has to go further into desire, longing, coveting.
  3. Even the sexual connotation of lust can be healthy and godly when it’s in the right context — just like sex. God blesses both in the confines of a committed marital union.

A related Greek word, epithumia, is also translated sometimes as lust (most notably in 1 John 2:16) but also more often desire — because the sexual connotation that the word lust has in modern English simply doesn’t apply to many of these verses. Thus, translators moved away from translating epithumeó and epithumia as lust between the time of the King James Version (1611) and more modern translations such as the current New International Version (updated 2011). For a full list of these verses, click HERE.

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5 Sex Words I Really Want to Change

I don’t know who gets to name sex acts, but whoever was in charge did a poor job. If you don’t use crass terms, an approach I recommend, you’re typically left with either the scientific term or common slang. Oftentimes, neither of those is appealing.

Now I’m also a believer in symbolic language, a la Song of Songs, but forgoing talk of fruit and gardens for the moment, let’s talk about five sex words I’d really like to change.

Number 5 on top of a bouquet of flowers + blog post title

1. Intercourse

Intercourse literally means to run between, meaning a message conveyed back and forth. It was originally used to talk about trade, then social communication, and finally some misguided person in the 18th century coined the term “sexual intercourse.” Of course, that got shortened to intercourse, and now we’re stuck with it. Even though it sounds about as clinical as one can get.

Oh, I take that back. There’s also coitus and copulation. How do these people manage to make a sweaty, sexy, super-fun experience sound like a boring professor’s lecture? No wonder people have coined other phrases for this act — everything from “make love” to “the mattress mambo” to “the beast with two backs” (thanks for that one, Shakespeare).

One other option to refer to simple intercourse would be to talk about marital congress. Which is actually a nice phrase, given that congress is a compilation of roots that mean “to walk” and “together.” Unfortunately, as an American, I’d argue that our Congress has put at risk, or even ruined for some, the positive connotations of that word altogether. Alas, we shall move on.

2. Blow Job

Who knows where we got this term! There’s certainly no blowing involved. Unless you’re talking about that final moment when your husband ejaculates, and you could yell, “Thar she blows!” Actually, don’t do that — his penis is neither a whale nor a she.

Also, I object to the word job, as if I got hired to do this task or have to roll up my sleeves and put in 9-to-5 on this goal.

Other names for this act don’t strike me as any better: giving headknob job, and the oh-so-scientific fellatio. I recently suggested to my podcast partners that we call it “giving popsicle.” I mean, who doesn’t like a popsicle? And what husband doesn’t want to experience being treated like his wife’s personal popsicle? Just sayin’.

3. Doggy Style

I’ve both written and talked about how terrible this name for a sexual position is. What wife wants to be compared to a dog?

But when I try to get around this, I end saying stuff like “rear entry,” which can get confused with something else that I definitely don’t mean. Not to mention that rear entry doesn’t sound appealing either.

What should we call this sexual position where a husband inserts his penis into his wife’s vagina from behind? I’m kind of at a loss. (And do not Google this. I foolishly did, and immediately clicked away from three sites that were not good. No visuals, just words, but trust me on this.) Maybe we could try the kneel & squeal, since that’s what could happen with husband and wife when you try this position.

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4. Erection

The etymology of this word is just fine, with it meaning to set up or erect — exactly what happens to the penis when it’s aroused. But it also sounds unnecessarily formal. Perhaps because the most common occurrences of the word erection these days is in commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs (“If your erection lasts more four hours, call your doctor”).

Of course, there’s the tried-and-true hard-onas well as boner (usually considered a crasser term), and stiffy. Or you could get creative with full salute or pocket rocket. Yeah, despite my issues with the clinical sound of the term erection, I’ll probably keep using it rather than adopt any of these terms as my go-to word.

5. Vagina

I also considered revisiting the word penis, but it’s not such a bad-sounding word and there are a gazillion other words for that body part. Meanwhile, we’re all stuck saying vagina to name that canal wives use for marital congress. Indeed, vagina literally means sheath, like the sheath of an ear of grain; that is, hull or husk. Guess that makes the husband’s part the sword or an ear of corn. Weird.

Regardless, vagina isn’t a pretty-sounding word for an area the Bible refers to in its talk of a garden. Not that I’m suggesting we suddenly all call women’s vaginas gardens. If I tried that on this blog, I’d have to explain the meaning nearly every time.

Instead, when referring to sex, I vote for calling it the tunnel of love. You know, like those old amusement park rides where lovers sat in a two-person boat and entered a dark tunnel to experience private, intimate interaction. I can already hear all the husbands saying, “Oh yeah. Best. Ride. Ever.” What do you think? Would tunnel of love catch on?

And what other ideas do you have for words you’d like to change or synonym suggestions for the ones I mentioned?

Note: No R-rated comments. Some of the words I used here are probably uncomfortable for some readers already, and I want us to be lighthearted but also responsible in how we talk about God’s creation.

Q&A with J: Imagery & Arousal, Tantra Sex, and Devotions

Last week, I covered three reader questions that didn’t warrant an entire post, and today I’m back at it with three more!

Blog post title + illustration of a bed with three question marks above

1. Imagery & Arousal

To say my husband and I have never viewed porn would be a lie, but we never have together. I’m ashamed that I ever did, but to be honest I think it has allowed me to be more open to things that I would’ve considered “taboo”. The question I have is a tricky one and I can’t tell if I’m trying to justify something or if it’s alright to do. I’m the low sex drive of the two and sometimes don’t want to even bother with sex and I’m trying not to be that way. I know that one of the fastest ways for me to be turned on is if I find a VERY up close picture of male-female penetration (no faces, hardly even a body, just the parts) and then imagine my husband doing that to me. It’s usually something we have done and I’m recalling it, but it’s something I didn’t see, shall we say, because of position. I’m never thinking of anyone else and in my mind that picture is us in the act, so much so I can practically feel when we’ve had sex like that. I had an epiphany that if we re-created it with actual pictures of us that it wouldn’t be an issues but so far it’s so sub-par in quality it’s not quite the same (maybe with time we can get it to be). Am I on a slippery slope?

I’ll get right to the point: “Am I on a slippery slope?” Yes. Yes, you are.

Studies actually show that viewing pornography or reading erotica can have benefits in the short-term by arousing you and releasing inhibitions. But in the long term, it’s damaging because it’s false intimacy. (See It’s True: Porn Can Kill Your Sex Life.)

While I can’t say it’s wrong to take a picture of yourselves to get aroused, it’s unwise to attach your arousal to an image rather than your spouse. And it’s definitely not okay to expect another couple to snap a picture of themselves (paid or not) for you to get turned on. That’s using people and their sexuality, which doesn’t comport with God’s commands on how we treat others.

Really, I think your question should be how can I get turned on? That’s what you ultimately need to figure out. Not with shortcuts, but really figuring out how to tap in your sensuality, your stimulation, your sexuality, and your satisfaction. Honestly, I give a lot of ideas in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

It’s possible to find your “inner sex kitten,” so to speak, with Christian-based resources like mine and others (check out our podcast too!). I pray that you’ll go there first and find what you need to make your marriage bed an exciting and fulfilling place.

2. Tantra Sex

Minus the Hindu aspects would it be possible to write a post or a series of posts on “tantra”. Also would it be possible either on your blog or on the sex chat podcast to talk about “energy orgasms” (if thats “beneficial “)

For those who don’t know, tantra is broadly methods and practices developed in Hinduism and Buddhism that attempt to tap into the divine through the tangible. Tantra sex has an underlying notion of the partners being embodiments of deity; thus, through breathing techniques, prolonged touch, and various rituals, you connect more deeply to one another and your divinity beyond the oft-prioritized orgasm.

Meanwhile, energy orgasms are presumably whole-body orgasms that release sexual energy throughout the body. These are achieved through a series of deep breathing techniques and clenching of specific muscle groups. This “orgasm” can be had with your clothes off or on. Knowing what I know about physiology and psychology, I believe these are not orgasms, but reactions to an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide and to tension release in the body. Think of it like when you’ve overexerted yourself for a long time and feel both happy, light-headed, and shaky. Of course, you can feel this way with regular, or real, orgasms too.

Although I’ve had requests to write about tantra sex, I haven’t written about it or energy orgasms, because neither really appeal to me. Prolonged lovemaking certainly has its place, but the goals of these approaches don’t line up with how I view godly sexuality in marriage.

For one thing, sex is a piece of marriage — a very important piece — but some couples who regularly practice tantra sex seem to put too much weight on the sexual aspect of their relationship. Moreover, it strikes me as chasing a high in the same way that couples adding more and more kink to their bedroom seem to do.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to have tantra sex or to aim for energy orgasms. But I’m not compelled or motivated to talk about it on my blog, so that’s probably about all you’ll hear from me on the subject.

3. Sex Devotions

After my husband and I are intimate, we often spend time cuddling and just chatting. Do you know of any “365 days a year marriage life sex meditation” books that could increase intimacy and sex relations? If not, ever consider writing one?

Actually, I don’t know of any that have 365 meditations. But I have two recommendations for devotional books that revolve around sex in marriage:

  1. Songs in the Key of Solomon by John & Anita Renfroe has devotions with action items for you to do as a couple. There are 60 of them, and they don’t all revolve about sex. But they are about physical closeness and intimacy, and some are sexual.
  2. My book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions for Sex in Marriage, was written for wives. However, I’ve had spouses write and tell me they went through the devotions together and it spurred both great conversation and increased intimacy. These chapters include a Bible verse, thoughts on the passage, questions (which you could ask each other), and then a prayer.

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As for whether I’ve considered writing one, I haven’t thought about a 365-day meditation book, but I have considered writing a book with discussion prompts for couples.

I receive a fair number of emails and comments from spouses who need to communicate better about the sex in their marriage but don’t know how to get that conversation going. I’d be curious to hear from readers whether they believe such a book would be helpful.

Next week: Three more Q&As!

On “Pigs,” Good Men, and the Difference

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times in this era of #MeToo: There are many good and godly men out there.

Unfortunately, guys, some of your gender have done such a terrible job representing that various women wonder at times whether all men are pigs. Or at least a high majority of men.

Blog post title + four pigs mucking about in a muddy spot within a field

Apparently it seems that you could stand in Hollywood, Corporate America, or Capitol Hill; yell, “Pig!”; and within earshot there would be a sexual harasser or assaulter who deserves the epithet. Our human tendency is to notice what’s askew in our environment rather than what’s normal, so we can end up focusing so much on the stink of the sty in our noses rather than the aroma of goodness from all the other men in our presence.

I know this is true, because when I walked out of the movie Blade Runner 2049, I was really glad my husband was walking beside me as a reminder of honorable masculinity. Otherwise, I might have fallen prey to a general rant about “men!” with a disgusted snort every minute or so.

Now I rarely see R-rated movies anymore. I just don’t want to be bombarded by all the filth along with the other stuff. So maybe this is the new standard, but the amount of female nudity shown in close-up was utterly appalling to me. It was not done in a particularly titillating way; however, it was as if they thought nothing whatsoever of saying to an actress, or rather several actresses, “Hey, strip down, and we’re going to show off your body.” And there was no story reason why private parts had to be shown. Every single point they wanted to make could have been made with strategic hints and better filming.

I emerged from the darkness of the theater with my muscles clenched, nausea in my stomach, and my head reeling. I went off for a full three minutes or so—bless my patient husband—about how the film was written by men, directed by a man, had starring roles for men, and what did they do? They treated women like sex objects, to be displayed and used in whatever way the men wanted.

Yes, the actresses went along with it, and that does not make me happy. Plenty of times I’ve wanted to say to some woman, “Please stop! Your willingness to be treated purely as a sex object makes things worse for the rest of us.”

And in a world that consumes porn like air, I guess I shouldn’t be so shocked by a flesh-filled, R-rated film. But I’m still regularly shocked by blatant mistreatment of women.

I'm still regularly shocked by blatant mistreatment of women. Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, too many “pigs” exist, who belittle women as little more than a collection of sexual body parts. Who watch porn daily with no remorse, who argue with me on my blog or Facebook that lusting after women is just what men do, who harass and assault women for their own jollies, who blame women for their willingness to go along with the sex object fantasy, who expect their own wives to be their personal porn star. Yeah, there are plenty of men mucking around in the mud of the pen.

But like I said, I walked out of that theater with my good and godly husband. So I kept my post-movie rant directed at the “pigs” out there, not men in general.

I am blessed to have amazing men in my life! My husband and my sons don’t treat women poorly. I have male friends who are upstanding husbands and fathers and spiritual leaders, for whom respect of women is given. And many men out there are just as bothered by sexual harassers and assaulters as many of us women are.

Have these men never struggled with lust? Have they have never responded viscerally to an unclad woman on screen? Has porn never been an issue for them? No, some have struggled with these issues. But they have overcome or continue to improve, because they get it — they understand that the difference between a “pig” and a good man is this:

“Then [Jesus] turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?'” (Luke 7:44)

Jesus knew Simon literally saw the woman. Before this verse comes this passage:

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:36-39).

Jesus is asking if Simon really sees her—sees beyond the “kind of woman she is” to the woman God created her to be. Does Simon really see the person there? A person who deserves, just by being made in the image of God, to be treated with gentleness and respect.

Good men use their unique gifts to protect women, as Jesus spoke up for this woman in the presence of other men. Good men really see the women they interact with.

As I once said to my son, “Look, I get it: Women have very interesting parts. But remember that they are more than their parts.”

Want to stay out of the pig pen? Treat women like Jesus did. You can find some great examples in these passages:

Mark 5:24-34
Luke 10:38-42
John 4:1-26
Luke 7:36-50

And if you’re ever struggling, men, ask yourself Jesus’s question: Do you see this woman?