Note: This teaching is for adults only.
It certainly is rare for a culture to climb morally upward when it comes to sexual standards. Generally speaking, it seems that cultural sexual standards trend downward, and that trend has only accelerated with the advent of photography, movies, television and the internet. Over the past sixty years of my life, the sexual standards of American culture have sunk deeper by the decade.
No one, for example, who watched any of the first twenty Super Bowl halftime shows starting in 1967—most of which featured marching bands—would ever have imagined last year’s sexually-charged halftime show. It showcased half-naked pop icons Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, whose sexually-provocative dance moves never stopped during their performances. Lopez rubbed her crotch at various times—once as she slid, legs spread, directly towards the camera. Part of her halftime performance included backup singers bowing before her as she froze on a stripper’s pole in a crucifix position. All in front of one hundred million viewers, including children. Imagine how 1967 Super Bowl fans would have reacted had they seen it!
Strangely, Lopez’s blasphemous, female-objectifying performance was characterized by her as empowering to women: “We did a show that I believe was a celebration of women… The message of standing up for yourself, being a woman, that’s what I want to pass on to little girls… everything about you — be proud of it… I’m very proud of the performance that night.” I guess Lopez thinks it would be empowering for all women to spread their legs and rub their crotches in front of millions of watching men—and their wives.
Yet, in spite of our culture’s ever-descending sexual mores, a bright star has recently appeared, a movement of protest against sexual harassment and sexual assault of women. It is an unwitting call, embraced now by millions of people, to uphold a biblical sexual standard that acknowledges the dignity of all women.
You’ve no doubt heard of the “Me Too Movement,” which had its genesis in 2006 when the phrase “Me Too” was first used by sexual harassment survivor and activist Tarana Burke. The movement went viral, however, in 2017 following the exposure of broad sexual-abuse allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. It was then that actress Alyssa Milan posted on Twitter, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Soon, millions of women worldwide started using the “Me Too” phrase and hashtag. The world has subsequently been awakened to this monumental evil—perpetrated by men—whose collective consciousness has now been lifted. Hopefully, fewer women are being sexually harassed or assaulted because of it.
More to the Story
There is, however, another side to the story that few are talking about. It is a story that should spark another movement of social consciousness, but very likely won’t. It is the story of the sexual harassment of men by women, one that actually occurs—by one measurement—on a grander scale than that of the sexual harassment of women by men.
Of what am I speaking? I’m speaking of the kind of sexual harassment demonstrated at last year’s Super Bowl halftime show, when a woman spread her legs and rubbed her crotch in front of tens of millions of men. I’m also speaking of the many lesser forms of sexual harassment by women against men that are so commonplace no one even considers them to be morally wrong.
Stop and think about it for a moment: If a shirtless man ran up to Jennifer Lopez in the stadium hallway that led to the Super Bowl football field and rubbed his crotch along with other sexually-suggestive moves while he stared at her, she would understandably call the police and perhaps press charges of sexual harassment. But for some reason it was acceptable for her to wear next to nothing, rub her crotch, and repeatedly thrust her hips in front of millions of men who gathered in a stadium and in homes to watch a football game.
And where was the outrage from the millions of women who have been decrying the sexual objectification of women by men? There was one of their own—a woman—acting like a sexual object. A squirming, twisting, crotch-rubbing sexual object. I think I can say with some degree of certainty that no male viewer was thinking about Jennifer Lopez’s singing talent during that halftime show.
And what woman who has any understanding of basic human sexuality would find fault with those men? What woman (other than the uber-feminists) would say, “Yes, even when they watch world-class artistic talent, those barbarians can only think about sex!”
News flash! At the biological level, men are sexually attracted to females, and that attraction is visually aroused, either through their eyes or imaginations. That is how men were programed by God (or evolved, if you don’t want God in the equation). Visually-aroused sexual desire is as instinctive for human males as flying south is for migrating birds.
So when women reveal their bodies, men’s eyes are drawn like a magnet to metal. To look away requires supernatural strength. And when almost-naked women perform sexually-suggestive dance movements, men’s pulses automatically increase. It’s biological, just like hunger. You can’t help but think of steak when you smell a steak being grilled on your neighbor’s back porch.
All this is to say that, when women knowingly make an attempt to sexually arouse men to whom they are not married, it is a form of sexual harassment. It is to say to those men, “I want you to want to have sex with me, but I won’t allow you to actually do it. I intend to frustrate you, and all for my self-gratification.”
And when such women knowingly make an attempt to sexually arouse other women’s husbands, they not only sin against those men, they also sin against their wives. They violate the most fundamental, universal ethic: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). If you don’t want other women trying to sexually arouse your husband, you should not attempt to sexually arose other women’s husbands.
Here’s a sobering warning from the One who created the human species and thus invented sex, and who therefore has the right to regulate the human species and their sexuality:
What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet” (Matt. 18:7-8).
Women who believe those words don’t try to sexually arouse men who are not their husbands.
It is not only Jennifer Lopez who needs to repent of male sexual harassment and find God’s forgiveness offered through Jesus. There are multitudes of other women who are guilty of male sexual harassment to a lesser degree. Like Jennifer Lopez, so many female actors, celebrities and models pose provocatively under camera lights for pay—making themselves akin to prostitutes—and their sexually-charged images appear all over the internet, on television and in movies, as well as magazines. They’re everywhere; you can’t escape them. They cause good men to stumble, and hurt good marriages. Many of these women have no qualms about baring their bodies before the whole world, yet they denounce the sexual objectification of women and the men who have sexually harassed them. It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. If you act like a sexual object, you shouldn’t object when you are treated like one. Women who act like prostitutes get treated like prostitutes.
The truth is, any woman who dresses immodestly in public, with the intent of drawing sexual attention, is guilty of male sexual harassment on some level. But unlike the sexual harassment perpetrated on women by men—which has caused a worldwide outcry by women—you won’t hear any outcry from men against the sexual harassment perpetrated on them by women. And that is because the majority of men enjoy seeing naked, partially-naked, and provocatively-dressed women. Again, that is how God made us. Even the most faithful husbands in the world still struggle with the onslaught of self-centered women who desire their stares.
Of course, male biology is no excuse for any man to sexually harass or assault any woman. It does, however, lay some of the blame on any temptresses who summon them.
Incidentally, over the years I’ve repeatedly heard African and Middle Eastern men remark at how shocked they were during their first visits to North America. They assumed, based on women’s clothing styles, that many of the women whom they saw in public were prostitutes, because they were dressed as only prostitutes dress in their home countries!
“So, you seem to be advocating that all women wear burkas in public” some silly reader will write to me, as if there were no other option on the broad spectrum of solutions. May I point out that the Bible instructs women to dress modestly, without enumerating specifics. That same Bible describes unmarried Rachel as “beautiful of form and face” (Gen. 29:17), so it seems both were visible and apparent. Any man could appreciate Rachel’s beauty without having to fight or succumb to lust, just as a father might admire the beauty of his own daughter.
The goal of modesty is to avoid sending a strong sexual message. In the case of promiscuous men, however, who have given themselves over to be controlled by lust, no amount of modesty will prevent them from mentally undressing a woman.
“Men believe it is OK for them to be shirtless in public. So how is it not discriminatory to claim that women shouldn’t be topless in public?” other silly readers will write, who apparently don’t realize that 99.9% of all men wear shirts in public all of the time. But beyond that, there are basic biological facts regarding males and females that inform us of the differences between them that lead to the variation in what is acceptable public behavior. Although women might enjoy looking at attractive unclothed men, their desire is quite minimal compared to men’s enjoyment of looking at attractive unclothed women, which explains why 99% of all pornography features females rather than males. A man can look at an unclothed or provocatively-clothed woman and within seconds find his body automatically preparing for intercourse, and within a few more seconds, completely ready for intercourse. That doesn’t happen when women look at unclothed men.
One can’t help but wonder when the uber-feminists (who don’t seem to understand these basics of human biology) are going to demand, on discriminatory grounds, urinals in women’s public restrooms.
One More Objection
“Don’t blame women for men’s problem. If you don’t want to be tempted by attractive women, you should close your eyes” some women will say.
But that’s not what Jennifer Lopez wanted to happen at last year’s Super Bowl, which is why they called it a “performance.” The entire goal was to get and keep everyone’s attention, which is the goal of every provocatively-dressed or partially-dressed woman. They want men to stare at them and desire them. To tempt someone and then fault them for yielding is evil and hypocritical.
The Christian Man
When it comes to sexual desire, Christian men are no different than non-Christian men. They are aroused by what they see. The only difference is that Christian men are trying to please God, and they have the Holy Spirit in them to help them obey God. So, they are more motivated and equipped to be sexually pure. But God does not diminish their built-in sexual desire at all, and the most common struggle between the “flesh and the spirit” for Christian men revolves around resisting the never-ending onslaught of sexual stimulation and harassment.
How much easier it would have been to maintain purity in days before photography, movies, television, the internet, and when women’s fashion was more modest. How blessed are the Christian men who have wives who, understanding these things, help them to remain pure. And how single Christian men need our prayers and encouragement to overcome all the temptations that are sent their way.
Praise God that, one day, there will no longer be any stumbling blocks, sexual or otherwise, in the world. Jesus promised, “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matt. 13:41-43).
Do you believe Jesus’ solemn promise? If everyone did, it would be the end of all sexual harassment, perpetrated by both men and women. — David