A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian Men vs. Anti-Sex Estrogelicalism

I interrupt my normal schedule of postings to bring you this special 2 cents worth. Today I saw a new article at Boundless entitled "When Pigs Fly." It addresses the problem culture has in seeing male sexuality as something coarse and barbaric (hence, the saying "Men are pigs."). The author, Mike Ensley, frames the issue this way:
Folks you'd label as "religious" aren't as glib about the issue, but we still have a hard time acknowledging anything redeemable about male sexuality. Browsing the "men's issues" section of the Christian bookstore, a guy's going to find plenty of input on how to not do all the horrible things that men are often compelled to do.
And what, pray tell, is the result of people freaking out about male sexuality? This ...
But after 10 years being involved with sexual ministry, I've met hundreds of men afflicted with shame over their sexuality, and just as many women living under a deep fear of it.
Yep. Other people have said as much. And the Evangelical Establishment still wonders why so many men these days are not asking Christian ladies out for dates.

Hang on, it gets worse. According to the article, when the author tried to convey a positive message about male sexuality in a class recently, one man expressed dismay. "This is terrible," the man said, "I have two teenage daughters, and I know what boys want to do to them — and I'm not going to let that happen!" When Ensley asked how a woman can give herself unreservedly to a man if she believes the man's desires are disturbing, the irate father responded, "That's exactly what I'm going to tell them [his daughters] men are like." I have to admit that my Disgusted-At-Human-Stupidity Meter went into the red when I saw that statement. It only goes to show that some of the worst enemies of men are other men, even so-called "Christian men."

The demented father described by Ensley represents an extreme instance of religious misandry, but it does make one wonder about the more subtle messages propagated by our religious communities about male sexuality. I have met a lot of women who have grown up in Christian homes that have struck me as being emotionally distant and not really able to show affection or friendliness to men. Indeed, I have had the misfortune of dating a couple of women that fit this bill. Now I think I know what the problem is. They're might be sick in the head. The people who raised them might be even sicker. I'll never know, but it does cause me alarm.

Anyway, I have to give credit to Mr. Ensley for trying to counter the negativity expressed in our churches against male sexuality. His article, however, falls short for me. For instance, he writes, "There are a lot of good reasons men are put together the way we are. I think the best and most important one is women." No. Sorry, pal. I am getting sick and tired of writers who justify the existence of men on the basis of their utility to women. Cut the feminized, hand-wringing appeals for sympathy from your female readers. If they can't deal with the celebration of male horniness in Prov. 5:18-19, then they need to find another religion.

Ensley continues: "Consider that the man is visually oriented, sexually driven and emotionally more simplistic than the female and that that is good for her." Emotionally more simplistic than the female? How about emotionally more stable? Let me suggest that much of the "complexity" one sees in the emotions of some women these days is nothing more than neuroses. The reason these women are such basket cases is because society tells them they can have it all, but reality keeps interfering with their delusions of grandeur.

I'm afraid that Ensley just plays into the old myth that men are inferior beings with simple desires and thoughts. Sorry, again, pal, but it may surprise some people that men are relational, too. Case in point, it has been recently reported in the news that men don't cheat just for the sex. I read this story from another source that additionally noted some people got mad at this revelation because it seemed to be an excuse for the men. How strange that being relationship-starved has traditionally been a perfect excuse for cheating women all these years. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, it's the all too typical shame-n-blame game for men.

Anyway, Ensley writes ...
So is it such a bad thing that a guy is visually stimulated? Seems to me that God had the visual very much in mind when He first sculpted the female form ...

I'd wager God wasn't just thinking about art when He made Eve's body, but when He made her soul, too. Advertising execs are obviously onto the truth that there's something in every woman that longs incessantly to feel beautiful. A woman's soul was made to be sought after and adored, not just her body. Not just her body — meaning it's still true for her body, even while it's more true for her heart.
A woman's body and soul were made to be sought after and adored? Isn't that a nice way of saying that a woman was made to be a self-absorbed, attention queen? Okay, maybe that was too harsh, so sit down and hold the sides of your chairs, folks, because I am going to say something truly novel and shocking: Women are not the center of the universe. Did it ever occur to Ensley and the other "relationship experts" that men like to be admired and appreciated, too? As it is, I have nothing against cherishing women, but I believe they were created to be helpmeets, not idols.

Here's another juicy one from Ensley ...

Guys just need help transcending the physical (not omitting it in an attempt to feel righteous). That's why women are wired so differently; we help each other.

Transcend the physical, eh? If a man transcends beyond what's in a woman's underwear, does she transcend beyond what's in his back pocket?

But wait, Ensley also says ...
I think we all get — to some degree — that a woman inspires a man to venture into deeper realms of relationship.
Did he say deeper realms? Considering what has often befallen men who have dared to open up about their feelings, it doesn't surprise me that some gents have been inspired to either stay in the shallow end of the pool or just stay out of the water altogether.

Bottom line: I'm not impressed. I don't need a simpering, half-hearted apology for my sexuality. Stop damning it with faint praise. I am especially not impressed when I consider that Boundless, who published Ensley's article, has been ground zero for a lot of material that strikes me as being unduly critical of male sexuality. I think it is time to throw the tray of spaghetti against the wall and tell the cooks to stop feeding us "that slop."

19 comments:

Triton said...

I think we all get — to some degree — that a woman inspires a man to venture into deeper realms of relationship.

Yes, I'm sure that's exactly like the reality we all see every day. *rolls eyes*

I wish I could inspire Boundless to venture into deeper realms of being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Amir Larijani said...

Haven't those morons read The Song of Solomon? To take a blowtorch to male sexuality is self-defeating.

(1) It gives the shaft--pun intended--to women who would otherwise desire to be married, as it forces the men to be less likely to pursue.

(2) It gives the shaft--pun intended again--to men who would otherwise desire to be married, as it demonizes them.

(3) It gives the shaft--pun not intended--to the Church, as it leads to a comical presentation of sexuality that is both un-Biblical and antithetical to humanity.

Anonymous said...

I think this approach to male sexuality is utilized to select for alpha males. Ordinary guys who approach available women have base and disgusting desires and need prayer and repentance. Alpha males who approach women are reacting to feminine beauty in an honorable way.

A normal sex drive is a beautiful God-given trait when it comes from the right men. It if comes from no-so-perfect men, it's an evil to be discouraged.

Christina said...

Ok.

I get that you want your sexuality to be glorified independent of all those evil wimin.

However, from ALL my education in scripture (which has not always been at the hands of the God-forsaken church), I've come to the following conclusions:

1) Sex involves two people and is GOOD within God's ordained context (marriage?)

2) We were not made for ourselves, but for God

3) Upon marriage, a wife's body belongs to her husband and a husband's body belongs to his wife

Please...tell me how you can rip sexuality out of the context of marriage and rail agains the claim that male sexuality was created for women?

How can you rip yourself out of the context of God's creation when you purport yourself to be a christian?

Men were created to be glorfiy God and are, oddly, a complement of women.

Women, dito.

Just because some guy is putting it in THAT context does not make him wrong, does not make him evil, and a perpetrator of what he "claims" to be fighting against.

Amir Larijani said...

Christina says:

I get that you want your sexuality to be glorified independent of all those evil wimin.

Who says anything about "glorifying the male sexuality" or is suggests that "wimin" are evil?

The issue to which Anakin speaks is the demonization of the male sex drive. Anakin and myself could probably give you an earful about the ramifications of such thinking, and how that has impacted the larger community of Christian singles.

No one here is suggesting that women and men are not complementary, only that it is erroneous to categorize the male sex drive as evil and the female sex drive as somehow angelic.

It's long past time to call such thinking for the Victorian crap that it is.

Anonymous said...

Christina,

Just go away and stop preaching to us.

I am sick of being lectured to by a little girl who has no right to preach to men.

Anonymous said...

"Guys just need help transcending the physical (not omitting it in an attempt to feel righteous). That's why women are wired so differently; we help each other."

Yeah, we knuckle-dragging men need such help in transcending the physical. And shopping malls are a male-centered world of guy-stuff that we are always obsessively purchasing. Give me a break. Rich Zubaty discusses at length how it's men who have far deeper emotions and richer intuition, who have produced the greatest poets, composers, artists, writers, philosophers and theologians, not to mention that men have also comprised the overwhelming majority of scientists, engineers, inventers, architects, innovators, those who have created civilization out of the wilderness.

Just think what we could do if only we could get our minds off handbags, shoes and the latest issue of People Magazine...

emarel

Amir Larijani said...

Anonymous says:

Christina,

Just go away and stop preaching to us.

I am sick of being lectured to by a little girl who has no right to preach to men


Easy does it, dude. She's usually an ally.

Typically, in matters such as these, where there is a difference in opinion, it is usually because she is addressing an issue that is tangential, but necessarily the point that Anakin was addressing.

Christina said...

Amir,

Anakin's post sounds like he's attacking the guy who wrote the article "When Pigs Fly".

The author is trying to recapture the GOODNESS of male sexuality - which I'd think Anakin would agree with...and he DOES to an extent and says he agrees with some of it, but he lists his major issues with the guy in his post.

"There are a lot of good reasons men are put together the way we are. I think the best and most important one is women." No. Sorry, pal. I am getting sick and tired of writers who justify the existence of men on the basis of their utility to women.

Is that really what Ensley is trying to say? Or is he trying to say that sexuality is created for women? And if that's what he's trying to say, why should Anakin have a problem with it? Like I said previously, I thought sexuality was created for the other partner in a God honoring relationship (assuming the creator is God and that we are created for his glory).

"Consider that the man is visually oriented, sexually driven and emotionally more simplistic than the female and that that is good for her." Emotionally more simplistic than the female? How about emotionally more stable?...I'm afraid that Ensley just plays into the old myth that men are inferior beings with simple desires and thoughts.

Though I personally don't know if a man's mind is more simplistic or not, Ensley seems to think so (and he's a man) and some of my guy friends seem to think so when I try to explain to them how I come to a conclusion that they see is completely and totally illogical from a more "simplistic" point of view (when they hear my logic, they know I'm being logical, just taking way more into consideration than is really all that necessary). Here's a question for Anakin - who said simplistic is inferior? You or Ensley? I was under the impression that simple is usually better due to the inclination of being streamlined, focused, and stable. And why wouldn't that be good in a complementary world where half the species has trouble trying to figure out what is the most important piece and how to focus on it?

I'm afraid that Ensley just plays into the old myth that men are inferior beings with simple desires and thoughts.

Really? Either Anakin is reading more into it than I am, or Anakin is a little off base with that statement.

Again, why does claiming men were created for women make men inferior? Is it because an article was *again* directed at men without any caveat for women? Or is it because it rubs his pride the wrong way?

No, I'm not Ensley - but Ensley has made it clear what his mission in life is - and that is to help MEN reclaim their sexuality. His target audience is men, not women.

What women need is a voice out there that says the same damn thing that Ensley told the men -

"Women were created for men."

Would that make this whole "sexuality is created for the other gender" thing more palatable???

I know that voice is woefully non-existent, but rather than harp on Ensley (who has his focus), there needs to be more vociferous objection to the lack of WOMEN educating women on this stuff from a biblical point of view. That IS the job of elder women given Titus 2:3-5 - not Motte's job or Slater's job or Mohler's job or even Ensley's job.


And...as a last note :)

Thanks for sticking up for me.

Something else, actually, for Anakin...

Ensley sounds very much like he's regurgitating John Ethridge. I'm aware you have some issue with Ethridge, for many of the same reasons you have issues with Ensley - mainly the focus on how men were created for the edification of women.

Its troublesome, especially when the women who read Captivating (which in no way talks about men's roles in our lives at the same level that Wild at Heart talks about women's roles in men's lives) will pick up both of those books and read them both...not many men will pick up Captivating to read it and will simply assume Staci discussed the wife's role in her husband's life. Which it doesn't.

But you need to understand something. This battle is not just raging against men, but its also raging against TRUE, biblical womanhood. Feminism, in many ways, has completely destroyed and taught as inferior true femininity in the same way that it has true masculinity.

Not only is the war out there for men to reclaim their true identities as men, but its also out there for women to do the same.

That doesn't justify the lack of information pertaining to the RESPONSIBILITIES of women, but it does somewhat explain the over-focus on the beauty of womanhood.

This isn't me tryng to get you to sympathize, but just so you have some context for your arguments.

I really don't think this is going to last much longer - feminism really is crumbling a LOT faster than you might think.

My generation (25 and under) is seriously starting to embrace the "beauty" of feminitiy in ways that make feminists cringe. From women continually settling into primarily female career roles to women leaving the corporate workplace in droves to raise their children.

However, its becoming somewhat apparent that responsibility is going to be a necessary lesson in the near future - and with more and more men growing dissatisfied and more aware with the teachings in the church, that's only going to help catalyze this.

Christina said...

Here's the best definition of "simplicity" I could find -

Simplicity is the property, condition, or quality of being simple or un-combined. It often denotes beauty, purity or clarity. Simple things are usually easier to explain and understand than complicated ones. Simplicity can mean freedom from hardship, effort or confusion.

First of all, Anakin mentions how female complexity = neuroses and how it is usually centered on self-gratification.

Emarel was more on target by claiming that that self-gratification is actually female simplicity =p (Men are the target audience of shopping malls, etc...)

Complexity could be equated with neuroses, sure...maybe...but its a bit more than that. Considering my brain is the only one I've spent much time in, complexity of my thinking involves being able to pull many many many factors, situations, and scenarios into one gigantic conglomerate hub. I can sift through it and occassionally be cognizant of all the items in my awareness, but my brain just can't handle everything there all at once. And complexity of emotions? Because of that, I can't pick which part to focus on, not being able to adequately decide which is more important than the other.

Second of all,
There are TWO types of simplicity - bad (stupid, dull) and good (clear and unconfused).

All the disciplines that Emarel offered that men have excelled at have at least one thing in common -

They ALL require huge amounts of focus on the subject at hand to produce the organization required for greatness. Simplicity doesn't mean shallow and lacking in depth. Complex people are just as capable of being shallow - they just can't figure out which is more important - shoes, hair, or dress? Or how to mold them into one vision of greatness...you end up with Britney Spears on her wedding day.

Ame said...

Christina said:

"What women need is a voice out there that says the same damn thing that Ensley told the men -

"Women were created for men."

"But you need to understand something. This battle is not just raging against men, but its also raging against TRUE, biblical womanhood."

***

Christina makes some very good points here. I have no doubt that men have been targeted unfairly, especially in the church. And I am deeply sorry for what you have been through ... and thankful there are those of you willing to fight for truth.

Yet what I find interesting is that what has hurt men has also hurt women. No one wins. Satan is not simply attacking men, he's attacking all of us. Have men been hit harder ... very well may have. But we all loose here.

I also find it interesting how young this starts. I have to correct the thinking my girls (who are 11 and 8) come home with often. There's a balance at their ages b/c boys are ewww ... and I am WAY ok with that (knowing how short and fleeting these days are).

But I am not ok with them demeaning boys and/or men simply b/c they are male. I teach my girls that boys were created in the image of God just as girls were ... that God created us differently for a reason ... that we need each other.

Granted, b/c their dad is such an ass (and don't come after me on this one; Amir will vouch for me here), this is often difficult for them to believe. But God is bringing good men into their lives and slowly giving them reason to believe that what He created is good ... sex and all.

Anakin Niceguy said...

My sexuality is not created for women because my sexuality is more than my reproductive organs (whether I use them or not). (And to think that women complain about being objectified).

andtheoldladysaid... said...

It only goes to show that some of the worst enemies of men are other men, even so-called "Christian men."

...and that's what I've been saying all along!

Anonymous said...

The worst enemies of men are other men. Witness some of the ever so holy young pastors and Single Christian Man types who have only sympathy for women.

Most men are pigs, so date me, I'm nice!

How pathetic.

It is fascinating to drop in on the debate and watch Christina attempt to introduce egalitarian concepts into Christian discussions. It's no wonder the women who post here are either unmarried, unmarriageable, or stuck in relationships with complete asses.

Christina said...

It is fascinating to drop in on the debate and watch Christina attempt to introduce egalitarian concepts into Christian discussions. It's no wonder the women who post here are either unmarried, unmarriageable, or stuck in relationships with complete asses.

I will give you the same admonition I gave MarkyMarky - don't judge what I say until you are willing to listen to everything I say...which means read my blog.

I am not egalitarian. I am not a feminist.

You have absolutely NO idea who Ame and I are. I'm getting married within weeks of this date to the most amazing man I have ever met who loves me with a passion and lets get away with NADA.

And if you knew ANYTHING about Ame, you'd rescind that comment immediately.

Amir Larijani said...

Now you fathers out there: what would you say if a man--wanting to marry your daughter--said, "When can I marry your daughter? I can't want to get her into bed and have some really serious sex!"

Do you think that is evil? Perverse?

Well...God built Israel through the lineage of the man who demanded it.

Jacob, speaking to Laban, in Genesis 29:21: "Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her."

Male sexuality has not changed. The Song of Solomon represents erotica at its best.

Male--and female--sexuality is perfectly legitimate and Biblical. We are hard-wired to want sex. That is neither evil nor perverse; it is, in fact, perfectly normal and in line with what we read in Scripture.

Based on what we read in the Song of Solomon, it is very good and moral, provided that it is practiced between husband and wife.

It only becomes perverse when exercised outside those boundaries.

This may sound elementary and basic, but it sure as heck seems that we have a large sector of evangelicals who are spreading Pharisaical and other dogmatic and unBiblical understandings regarding this topic.

The Learner said...

It's no wonder the women who post here are either unmarried, unmarriageable, or stuck in relationships with complete asses.

And I haven't even posted to this thread yet....

Seriously though, I don't think men are more emotionally "simplistic" than women. But, in my experience it seems that many men can separate facts out from feelings more easily than many women can. I don't think it's about emotional depth, I think it's more about how we process information. It's one reason why I am interested in men's opinions, because they see things differently than I do.

The Learner said...

I should have read the article before I commented and then I wouldn't have to make a second one.

Much of the heartache in relationships comes from our insisting that the other be remade in our own image, rather than seeking out the ways our differences may serve the other's pleasure.

It seems that people get stuck on the idea that differences are bad or wrong instead of differences being ways that we can serve eachother. A friend of mine who married later in life told me that the key for her was to "revel" in her husband's "man-ness" or the things that made him different than her.

intrigued said...

Hi all, I just found this website today and it is very interesting to me. Unfortunatley, I was raised with a quasi women's lib type influence. I don't think it has born good fruit in my life, so I am glad I can come here to learn some things. Thanks!