Modesty Matters

Christianity Today had a thought-provoking piece on Modesty the other day.

Among many salient thoughts was this:

Teaching modesty and purity to women does not make them responsible for the way men behave. The Apostle Paul says quite the opposite. Ephesians 5 calls men to “present her a pure and spotless bride,” referencing a husband presenting his wife to God. While men and women are both charged to express self-control for their own individual purity, only men are charged specifically with being responsible for the sexual wholeness of the opposite gender. According to God, it’s the man’s responsibility to act in integrity regardless of how a woman acts or dresses. This seems to place the ultimate responsibility for respecting human sexuality squarely on the shoulders of men not woman. Protecting a sister’s sexual integrity is one of the highest forms of respect that a man can show to a woman.

It’s a common excuse among passive men to blame the way a woman dresses as the reason they have lustful thoughts — even out-of-control lustful thoughts.

The phrase that requires a lot of consideration is “men are charged with being responsible for the sexual wholeness of the opposite gender.”

i am not sure i fully understand what the author is saying there, but my initial take on it is that men exert a lot of influence over how sexual the climate is in society, which in turn has a lot of impact on how women are viewed and treated when it comes to their sexuality.  Men who respect women by not treating them as sexual objects create an environment in which women are treated as valuable persons who have dignity and are worthy of respect.

In doing so, men offer to women the opportunity to be whole and healthy in their sexuality.

When men objectify women for sexual purposes and define a woman’s value in those terms, women are deprived of sexual health and wholeness.

Porn is the great devastator of women and of men, but in this case, it is a direct assault on the sexual wholeness of women.  The cultural tide is such now that porn is promoted as good for women, as something that liberates them sexually.  In so doing, the thinking goes, they are happier and healthier sexual beings: just think of the 50 Shades phenomenon.

But not so. Is porn or erotica enjoyable?  In many ways it can be — initially.  But true sexual wholeness and health are based on Security.  When a woman has the security of a man’s love; when she has the security that she does not have to perform in order to be the focus of his sexual desire; when she knows she has the security that he treats sex as a sacred trust between them, rather than as a commodity he will consume either from her or from another “merchant,” then she is sexually healthy and whole.

Men exert great influence here, and we must lead the way with self-control, compassion and authentic love for all women, as opposed to supporting the cultural misconception that immodesty is a positive thing. If we as men stop rewarding immodesty and pornography and the commodification of sex, then we will be valuing women properly.

As a result, women will enjoy real sexual wholeness and we, as men, will too.

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