I have a smattering of comments strewn about the internet, a bit like a chef salad that’s been tossed haphazardly across the counter, but they all revolve around a common theme that is perhaps worth mentioning, an effort to delicately explain the concept of “lust” to some people who are doing a rather poor job of it. Did I mention the part about attempting to be delicate?
Trust me, it’s rather comical sometimes, in the way that might cause one to just descend into a fit of giggles. I am keenly aware of the fact that I am attempting to “womansplain lust” and how very awkward that can be. Let me reiterate that part about how some people are doing a rather poor job of it. Like, I wouldn’t say a word, but you happen to be the pastor of a very large church with a huge internet following and you have now gone and totally eviscerated the truth of human sexuality in way that is very shaming towards both men and women and also runs counter to biological reality and biblical truth. If you cannot even see the nature of your own self in your obvious doctrine of “me, myself, and I” why in the world should we trust you on any other matter…….
Go ahead, I dare you to attempt to phrase a truth like that in a gentle manner. Also, be delicate about it.
Above all else, totally resist the urge to just forward all the violent pornography and death threats you have received that week along with the words in all caps, LISTEN UP MORON! It seems as if men might have some sexual issues of their own. Enclosed please find the evidence that clearly demonstrates human sexuality is not a simple matter of “Eve cursed, Jezebel cursed, Potiphar’s wife cursed……so just to be safe, avoid the obvious evil of ALL women’s cursed, but quite tantalizing, fluffy biscuits.”
You’ll be quite pleased to know I have never done any such thing. Or at least if I had, I would have politely left off the part about being a “moron” and “women’s fluffy biscuits.”
I have however, sent dozens of polite comments into the internet abyss that actually do demonstrate the truth of what I have been trying so desperately to communicate for years, and perhaps they tell a story that is worth pondering.
So here are some comments I’ve made:
“For the record, I despise the way we as the church, try to equate lust with shame, as if God somehow designed men wrong. Lust is not simple attraction, it requires envy and coveting, also reviling and contempt.”
“Men have been blaming women since the dawn of time for their own sexuality and refusing to take any responsibility. If a bazillion people are telling you are unable to exercise any sexual control, at some point you’ll probably start to believe it…”
“We have created this strange culture of sexual entitlement that is all infused with rage against women which can be observed by spending about 30 seconds reading an incel subreddit. Constant reference to Jezebel do not help improve matters.”
“There is actually nothing wrong with my “lusting” after a woman’s shoes. There is something wrong with believing I am entitled to whack her over the head and steal her shoes. “Lust” in all it’s translations is about contemptuously coveting what is not yours, not healthy sexual desire.”
And this one I left for Pastor Doug Wilson directly, who perhaps quite wisely, is no longer speaking to me,
“Pastor Wilson, the man who is lusting after his coworker is free to do as the bible instructs and just pluck out his own eyes. That is actually biblical. Have at it! Or he could address his heart, realize he is simply admiring the scenery as he was designed to do, and it is good.”
You may notice these comments are very much against shaming men for well, for being men. The problem with sexual shame as a form of social control is that it always makes the story go just like this, shame, repression, sin, toxic secrets….covertly accessing violent pornography and sending it to random women on the internet.
I jest a bit here, but I am quite serious about this matter. Shame and repression around human sexuality is a toxic brew. “The church,” of which I am a part, has done a great deal of harm by conveying the idea that the biggest sin of all is sexual sin, therefore anything related to sex is sin. Unfortunately the very thing that tends to just fuel more human brokenness and perversion, is actually shame and repression. In this case, the cure is actually more dangerous than the disease itself. A huge motivator behind human behavior is actually forbidden fruit.
Camilia Paglia actually once wrote quite a good article about homosexuality, about how many gay pride parades actually involve the idea of forbidden fruit, BDSM and assorted other perversions. She brought up the fact that the more a society normalizes homosexuality, the more it becomes “boring.” It is one thing to have an illicit SS affair that society frowns upon, it is quite another matter to be trapped in a SS “marriage,” driving an old mini van, and faking a headache like all the other lemmings in the world.
We understand how human behavior works when it comes to porn, too. It progresses. It accelerates to stave off teh boring. That is how we go from looking at French post cards displaying a woman’s ankle to the ever more violent, graphic, and downright ugly. Before you know it, movies like Fifty Shades of Grey are mainstream culture, chick flicks. We hunger in a downward spiral, always seeking something edgier and more bizarre.
A big part of the problem can be laid squarely at the feet of Christian culture and the way we have so often convoluted healthy sexuality with shame, repression, sin, and alleged biblical truth. “Alleged” because it isn’t true at all. Not only does the culture at large clearly see how we are all full of coconut candy and hypocrisy, we do damage to innocent relationships between men and women, and we harm marriages, too.
And, perhaps inadvertantly, we tend to create a culture that makes men hostile towards women, fearing our fluffy biscuits, perceiving us as the root of all evil, desperate to just pass the much resented, fear, power, and control on down the pecking order. Abuse, it leads to abuse. It leads to domestic violence, sexual abuse, violent pornography, pedophilia, and women so broken and confused they now dream of Christian Grey.
It is why men and women “cannot” be friends, as Amy Byrd’s book dreams of. We cannot truly be “friends” until we find away to relieve the contempt and fear so many men have towards women. One way to help with that process is to stop equating normal sexual attraction with the sin of lust, as if being attracted to women is the precise same thing as being contemptuous, resentful, and reviling towards us. Ironically, many feminists are also busy sending the precise same message, all masculinity and male sexuality is toxic.
Combine this with a frequent churchian perception that women’s fluffy biscuits are inherantly tainted and evil and you have just created and unholy alliance between the church and feminism, each one fueling the other in a perpetual race to the bottom.