Manly Modesty?

Every time I write about modesty, people comment pointing out that there’s a double standard—modesty is about girls dressing a certain way so that guys won’t be turned on by women’s bodies, and the idea that girls might be turned on by guys is generally left out of the picture completely. In this light, I found a recent article on the Christian Post interesting.

Near the end of my pastoral tenure a shift happened I had never experienced in 20 years of ministry. After a sermon in which I addressed men and lust a woman approached me and asked, “When are you going to start challenging women in this area? Don’t you think we struggle with lust, too?”

I was very much taken about because, frankly, I had never considered it.

He had never considered it.He had never considered it. Twenty years of ministry, twenty years of preaching modest, and he’d never thought about the fact that women are also sexual beings. This alone is illustrative of a huge blind spot in the circles that preach modest, if you ask me.

Not long after that I had occasion to sit with our middle and high school students to discuss summer activities. When talking over the annual “one-piece suits or two-piece with a dark t-shirt over it” rules, one high-school girl said, “Why don’t the boys have to wear shirts? Don’t you think girls have problems looking?” A spirited discussion ensued in which the girls eventually backed down from their assertion that boys should wear shirts when swimming.

After one lake outing I did hear a faithful girl say, “Wow! ________ looks fiiiiine with those 6-pack abs!” It was clear she was not talking about one of her female friends…they were all wearing one-piece suits. No abs on display.

Wow. The girls told the leadership that they think the guys should have to cover up too, and they got pushback. And they backed down—but in the end, they were the ones who were right.

Without speculating as to the cause or timing of this shift, let just sum it up this way: there are, even within the body of Christ, teenaged and adult females who struggle with lust. Their eyes betray their hearts in the same way most teen and adult males have experienced since puberty.

You want to know what “without speculating as to the cause or timing of this shift” means? It means that this Christian pastor and modesty preacher thinks that women didn’t used to think sexual thoughts about attractive guys, and that the fact that he’s now aware that they do means there has to have been some change. Um. Right. No.

I think the question is, “Are women the only ones who need to be modest or are men also accountable?” I think there is no question we are accountable. Male followers of Christ should take modesty as seriously as we want, hope and pray that our sisters in Christ would.

While most of those teaching modesty do continue to uphold a double standard based on the idea that guys are more sexual and/or more visually oriented than girls, not all do. I grew up on these modesty teachings, and at some point my parents began requiring my brothers to wear shirts, both when swimming and when just hanging out. One of my brothers didn’t like shirts when he was a teenager, and wanted to go without around the house, but my parents put their foot down and that ended that. (“Think of your sisters,” they said.) Another thing about rejecting double standards—in my family, it wasn’t just the girls who got purity rings when they turned 13, it was the boys too.

Still, I think the shock with which the author of the article quoted from above admitted that yes, girls are sexual beings who have sexual thoughts too, is very, very telling. There’s too often a tendency in the purity culture to view girls as natural sexual innocents and boys as natural sexual deviants. For example, much of what girls are told deals with how to resist male advances, rather than with how to resist their own sexual impulses. There’s another angle too—I often heard that boys are visual while girls are emotional. There’s this idea that women are turned on by reading romance novels but not by the sight of really nice pecks. This is wrong. In my experience, if women aren’t equally as visual as men we’re pretty darn close.

It is possible that this modesty double standard may be starting to change—not because of a shift in women’s sexual proclivities, however they may bill it, but because of an increasing understanding that women, too have sexual urges and desires and are, yes, visual creatures. This makes me wonder whether an eroding of the modesty double standard might at all affect the strong patriarchal nature of these groups’ understandings of sex and gender relations.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • NeaDods

    Speaking as someone without the modesty programming, Libby Anne, I’ll say this with confidence: HUMANS are visual; they ALL get off on a good-looking, healthy bod. I casually refer to an actors club I’m in as “Five women trying not to lick the TV.” They may have thrown in some fart jokes for kids, but George of the Jungle, with its buff lead either in designer clothes or oiled up in a loincloth, was pure chick flick.

    Of course, the secular world also teaches that to look and be attracted is not to touch — or tries to, past the rape culture.

    • tsara

      For the sake of accuracy, I’d like to point out that not all humans “get off on a good-looking, healthy bod.” Probably most do, but I don’t; asexual people exist, and I’m sure there are other people to whom your statement doesn’t apply (blind or severely visually impaired people, for instance).

      • NeaDods

        I’m willing to admit that my statement doesn’t cover 100% of people for a variety of reasons. But it must also be said that this is a conversation about modesty as well as lust, and the blind and the deeply visually impaired are hardly going to be relieved by modest clothing any more than they’re going to be incited by lust via sight.

    • Ibis3

      Also, I would imagine that some people, both men and women, are turned on more by non-visual stimuli than by nude, healthy (or “unhealthy” for that matter–let’s not assume everyone buys into the current cultural definition of what constitutes beauty) bodies per se. And then there’s fetishes of various sorts (e.g. being more attracted to a plain person with gorgeous shoes than “a good-looking, healthy bod”).

    • Hat Stealer

      To hell with modesty I say. It’s repressive, extreme, and represents a set of values that is completely off the mark when it comes to trying to define what is good or human. People who think that the human body must be hidden away are the ones who have trouble with the concept of ‘consent’ and ‘healthy sexuality.’

  • The_L1985

    The whole “Wait, women lust too? I never would have guessed!” thing is even more hilariously wrong-headed when you consider the beliefs about lust in the past. Until the Victorian era, the basic assumption in European societies was that women were the ones more strongly driven by lust, and that the reason women shouldn’t be left alone with men was because the woman would actively seduce the man. Virginity was prized because it was seen as rare for a woman to overcome her “animal” lusts.

    In Greece, small penises were considered the ideal, because a large penis, to them, implied an inability to control one’s sexual behavior, where as a smaller penis implied that the bearer didn’t allow his sex drive to rule the roost. This was also tied into the idea that a man didn’t lust (or at least, didn’t necessarily act on his lust) whereas women were helpless in the face of all that estrogen.

    • Sarah-Sophia

      If I remember correctly I believe Libby Anne or someone else said that they use to be completely asexual because they grew up in a home where sexuality was completely compressed. So perhaps women in the Victorian era were seen as asexual because a lot of them really were conditioned to be asexual. Even after the Victorian era in the 20th century if a woman did feel sexual she had to downsize or hide it because she would be seen as loose or slutty, and “asking for it.” So it would be no surprised why women were seen as less sexual then men.

      • Stev84

        It goes deeper than that. It’s all probably rooted in Greek philosophy and how they viewed emotions and reason. The flip side of of the idea that women are lustful is that they were also seen as lacking the capacity to reason properly. Which in turn was used to justify keeping women out of certain professions and higher learning.

      • Christine

        That sort of conditioning also results in an unfortunate reinforcing of this idea that women are completely non-visual. Being visually turned-on is (at least partially) a learned response. You learn that certain things are sexy. It’s actually how the entire purity culture things works really – boys are taught that if they see any hint of a woman’s body that they will be uncontrollably turned on, girls are taught that they think sex is disgusting, although it’s fun, and maybe even enjoyable, with a man who is committed enough that he’s married you. And then the next generation of people can honestly say that that’s how it worked for them.

      • guest

        I remember reading a man describing the first time he and his friends found Playboy magazines; he thought the aureolae around nipples looked weird–and had to be taught ‘no no, seeing nipples should make you feel like THIS.’

      • Alix

        I understand and appreciate what you’re saying, so please don’t take this as a detraction from your point, but I do think it’s important to note that not all asexual people are asexual because they’re somehow conditioned to be so.

        I mean, if I had a dime for every time someone threw that in my face upon learning my orientation, I’d not have financial problems.

      • smrnda

        I’m also a natural asexual, and grew up without any repression and always knew a lot about human sexuality, and if I’d been sexually active while young, my parents would have probably minded their own business about it.

        I don’t so much get the ‘you were repressed’ as ‘do you think you have an underlying medical problem?’ all the time.

      • Nate Frein

        Unfortunatley, I think I know what Alix is talking about. One of my friends is asexual, and she’s part of a group of friends I play WoW with. Now, we can use kinda flirty language and heavy innuendo, and she’s fine with it (she often jokes that a cool new game “gets her wet”).

        Unfortunately, some guys take it too far with a “you just need to find the right man” or “need to work past it” line with her, and it really makes her feel bad.

      • Alix

        I think it’s funny that most people nowadays would recognize that those lines are completely inappropriate if, say, addressed to a lesbian, and yet it’s apparently fine for those to be said to someone who’s ace.

        And it’s interesting, because most of who I get that stuff from are self-identified progressives and liberals, often also feminists. (Admittedly, part of that is that most spaces I’m active in trend progressive.) Most conservatives I know who know my orientation are confused, and tend to equate it with celibacy/abstinence, which is okay in their book.

        Progressives … are either really understanding, or really, really nasty. I have been told I’m just a straight person trying to be queer and take away from gay people (…wtf?), I have been told I need medicine to correct this, I’ve been told that if I ever marry I should either just have sex whenever my husband wants or recognize that he must cheat on me and it’d be my fault (and that they pity anyone who would marry me), I’ve been told I must have been from a Christian fundamentalist family and that I’m basically an example of why feminists need to free girls from patriarchy, and I’ve been told I’m a fifth column within progressivism/liberalism/feminism/queer rights. People have been surprised to learn that I do feel love and am capable of feeling sexual pleasure, people have told me to my face they think I’m either lying or a psychopath. People have told me that if I ever have children they should be taken away from me so I don’t “ruin” them or give them a complex about their sexuality or neuter them.

        These are progressives.

        I don’t, by any means, think this is all progressives/liberals. I still identify, strongly, as a liberal. The people who actually get asexuality, who even might recognize the term before I explain it, are, in my experience, all liberals/progressives. The people who have helped me come to grips with my orientation, and the fact that it’s okay to be ace, are all liberals.

        But I can’t deny that it’s made me gunshy. I can’t pretend there aren’t some nasty undercurrents to some manifestations of progressivism/liberalism. And it makes me tired, when even the people who ought to be my allies sometimes turn out to be vitriolic enemies, and it’s not like I can easily tell the difference.

        And holy hell, this turned into a rant. XD Sorry about that; I apparently had a lot to get off my chest.

      • Nate Frein

        Oh, hey, no worries.

        I don’t know about liberal vs. conservative. The guys we’ve had to politely (and not so politely) help shoo away from my friend have ranged from artsy college student, to socially awkward shut-in, to fairly hard core former military.

      • Alix

        :) I should probably have pointed out that I tend to hang out in places where one’s political leanings do tend to crop up.

      • Alix

        To clarify: I’m not trying to say that there aren’t people who identify as ace because they’re conditioned to. Not only is that obviously not true, but both human sexuality and human identity are fluid and not entirely self-determined, subject to all kinds of pressures. And someone who thinks they’re ace because of conditioning/abuse does need empathy, understanding, and the freedom to explore and come to grips with their own identity.

        I just … don’t want people like me, who are genuinely asexual, to get invisibled in the process. We’re invisible enough already.

        I can empathize a lot with someone who’s convinced they’re asexual because they don’t think anything else fits, for whatever reason (conditioning, abuse, bad set of labels/definitions, not fully understanding emself). I used to ID as straight, because that’s everyone’s default assumption, before growing more and more uncomfortable with a label that really didn’t seem to match my actual nature. I then went through a really crazy confusing time of identifying as bisexual, because I find both the male and female form aesthetically pleasing, but knowing the whole time I was no more bi than I was straight, that the same problem – the lack of sexual attraction – was still there. And to top it off, I felt like I was appropriating a label that wasn’t mine from people who got enough shit already.

        Fortunately, right around the time I was rather confusedly and tentatively wondering if it was even possible to not experience sexual attraction, I ran across someone who IDed as asexual. It was possibly the single biggest sense of relief I’d ever felt – that I wasn’t crazy, that there was a word for it, that there were others out there like me.

        So I can certainly understand and empathize strongly with struggling to find an identity that fits, with being raised in a society that’s convinced you are one thing, and you know you’re not that. And so I don’t ever want to silence or belittle the experiences of people who’ve gone through that struggle, no matter what labels they eventually discarded.

        I just want to be careful that we don’t forget that individual experiences aren’t universal, and that just because some people end up discarding the label of asexual doesn’t mean the orientation itself is illegitimate. (Why yes, I’ve also been told that my asexuality was “just a phase…”) It’s like how my not being straight despite once thinking I was doesn’t mean nobody’s straight, or that heterosexuality is a phase.

        Asexuality is still so invisible to so many people that I get a little jumpy about this, I guess.

      • Theo Darling

        You said this so much better than I could’ve.

      • Christine

        I think that this is actually the depression problem. Just like some people can’t understand the difference between clinical depression and being down, some people hear “not attracted to people sexually” and don’t realise that it’s different from their experiences.

      • Alix

        I’ve gotten that, too. Also, people who insist this means I can’t love anybody, yet are horribly offended when I point out they’re treating sex* and love as the same thing, because they so totally are not and I’m just twisting their words around.

        Sigh.

        *Not to mention that somehow, people who I know damn good and well know the difference between sex-the-act and sexual orientation somehow think they’re both the same thing when talking about asexuality.

        I will admit, I’m getting … more than a bit annoyed with people who think I can’t really be what I identify as, and that it’s okay for people to pressure me to have sex because other people are sexual, and so I somehow must put out for them. It has … honestly, it’s driven me away from a lot of otherwise very progressive spaces. I’m never sure whether I’m being oversensitive or setting a reasonable boundary there, but. *shrug*

      • tsara

        I’ve gotten all of those things, too. And my parents worrying that they fucked me up somehow, and my mom saying that she found it very sad.

      • Alix

        Humorously, my mother is the only self-identified conservative I’ve ever come out as ace to who understands, though she still think the term makes me sound like an amoeba.

        …We had an interesting discussion when I came out, actually, where she basically admitted she was the same way; she’d just never really realized that not being interested in anyone meant she … might not be straight. Which is interesting to me, because that says a lot about how both individuals and societies navigate boundaries and create – or don’t create – distinctions.

        (It also puts paid to the idea that asexual people can’t get married, have kids, and love their spouse/kids.)

        My dad, on the other hand, only seems to have cottoned onto the “not straight” part and thus is convinced I’m a lesbian, and cracks awkward jokes about it every. single. time. I see him. I haven’t even tried to explain to him yet that I’m genderqueer, not female.

      • Nate Frein

        The boundaries should be what you’re comfortable with. Pressuring anyone to have sex is unacceptable.

      • smrnda

        I also consider myself an asexual lesbian since I’m romantically interested in other women, and am with one right now. I got a bit pissed when a religious guy told me that “why can’t you just say you’re roommates or something?” (Side note – it seems many religious people are so utterly sex obsessed that they actually think that sex IS the defining feature of a *serious relationship.* ) Yeah, love, commitment, trust and paying the bills together and taking care of your partner when sick don’t make it a relationship, it’s all P in V to some of these people.

        I mean, I look at ‘sex’ as a wide range of acts. Some couples do more things, but I don’t think that a couple who does less things sexually is doing it wrong or less close. If a couple has sex twice a day, I don’t take this to mean that they must have a better relationship than a couple who has sex twice a month, or twice a year even. For me, I can’t imagine a relationship where I don’t go to the theater.

        Sexuality has always been an interesting topic to me, but in a totally clinical/sociological/psychological sort of way.

        On how people perceive asexuals, I think it’s just a lot of ignorance or a kind of empathy or even a cognitive gap – it seems to ‘out there’ so people discount it, so I don’t think you’re being over-sensitive.

    • Ms_Morlowe

      Actually, virginity only became a ‘thing’ because of succession and inheritance laws, sometime around the 13th century: once lands, titles and wealth started to be given to the eldest legitimate son as a matter of law and course, it became important for a man to know for sure that his eldest son was actually his. Before that, most countries/regions had their own laws, and wealth was divided among children, or given to a nominated or elected successor. With the rise of monarchies and the uniting of several districts in Europe, and the growing popularity in the belief of the divine right to rule came a growing desire to keep wealth and power united, usually within family lines. Thus, a woman had to be a virgin and subsequently faithful to prove that the children she was having belonged to her husband.

      You’re absolutely right that women were considered the lustier sex, but in general it was tied into the idea of the ‘weaker’ sex: Eve and temptation and what-have-you.

      • The_L1985

        Thanks for the extra info. :)

      • Semidaunted

        It is really interesting if you look up ‘hysteria’, essentially it was a catch all term for any woman that did not fall into the culturally accepte sexuality, and it was very common. In the old theory, hysterical women could be driven mad by their sex drive in cases where husbands couldn’t keep up or unable to satisfy them.

        Fun fact, the invention of vibrators came about to ‘treat’ hysteria with orgasms (Though they didn’t call them that, lol). Before that doctors used water spray “spa’ treatment and ‘hand on’ ministrations to calm women down.

        The history of vibrators and sex toys is really interesting actually, and proves that the female ‘lustyness’ is defiantly not a new thing.

  • Katherine Hompes

    I think the popularity of Channing Tatum shows that women are also visual beings :)

    • Cathy W

      …and the number of women in the audience for Thor. Certainly some of them like superhero movies; just as certainly, some of them appreciated that female gaze was used in the filming of the movie….

      • Mogg

        I’m a Loki fan, personally :-)

      • The_L1985

        Mmm, Thor and Loki would indeed be Valhalla. <3

      • Stev84

        There are also some TV shows with equal opportunity eye candy like “True Blood” and “Spartacus”. In fact “True Blood” probably has more male than female eye candy. The men constantly walk around topless or even naked and most of them spent a lot of time in the gym.

        If you read the forums or fan pages you’ll also see that many female fans appreciate the occasional eye candy in other shows. For example “Supernatural” (which has a significant female fanbase in any case) or this scene from “Battlestar Galactica”:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr5yCyLdvIE

      • tsara

        Supernatural.

        EDIT: nvm, I see you edited your comment to mention it.

      • Stev84

        Off topic, but Supernatural is a case where the bad treatment of many female guest characters is actually largely caused by female fans. They view any permanent romantic attachment as a threat to the relationship between the main characters (or to whatever other relationship they root for) and thus often have negative reactions to them. As a result the writers eventually kill them off.

      • tsara

        They’ve been treating women terribly since the Pilot. The female characters the fans like (ex: Jody Mills) tend to be the better-written ones. You are right, but that’s not the only factor; the writers don’t seem to be able to write a romantic relationship (or a decent character intended to be a love interest) to save their lives.
        (Sorry. I have lots of feels on the subject. I really needed to restrain myself here; I can go for hours.)

      • Kit

        Seconding Stev84′s comment. In fandom, Supernatural is rather unusual in that it both responds to fandom activity and in many ways works with it. They respond to push from the fans and in one episode actually use a lot of the plot points espoused in Supernatural fanfiction. While I’m not in Supernatural fandom, I do surf a lot of other fandoms and that sort of attention and working with the fans is entirely unique.

        There is a very strong contingent of fans who think the two main characters should be together, notwithstanding the fact they’re brothers. I forget the word they use for it though.

      • tsara

        Oh, I know that. And zie is right; it’s just not the only factor.

        EDIT: Stev84, sorry for the pronoun assumption. Changing it.

      • Stev84

        Assume away. I figured it’s pretty obvious. For some reason I can’t really remember I just left the “e” off.

      • tsara

        :)

      • Stev84

        Wincest

      • Nate Frein

        twincest?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        It worked for Cersi and Jaime

      • Nate Frein

        I haven’t watched Game of Thrones. But it sounded like something my wife really likes looking at.

      • The_L1985

        WINCEST!

        *cough* Yeah, there are people who are into that, at least in a fantasy setting instead of real-life. >.> Not that I know anyone with that sort of fetish or anything. Nope.

      • Cathy W

        I’ve heard that Jamie Bamber later auctioned off what he alleged to be that actual towel, unwashed, for charity, and it went for a fairly good price… (Ahem. Getting off topic, or providing anecdata? You make the call!)

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        See Supernatural is one of those shows, that regardless of the beefcake, I don’t watch because it’s a complete sausage fest.

      • Guest

        Well, I like suprehero movies – I love superheroes, in general. Good triumphing over evil and larger-than-life stakes – that’s my thing. But how about “Arrow” as a show with eye candy for hetero/bi female fans (or gay or bi males)? Shirtless exercise scenes in almost every ep.

      • Nate Frein

        My eye candy comes from Mythbusters. I love it when Jamie wears something skin tight or goes topless <3

      • aim2misbehave

        And those tight leather pants! That’s one of the reasons I love Arrow, but only one, and I have to keep telling people “No, guys, the plot and writing and pacing really IS good! And it’s got John Barrowman and Alex Kingston, and all kinds of other fantastic guest stars!”

        Anyways, IDK if you saw much of the advertising, but there were huge billboards and building-sized ads like this plastered all over Los Angeles for at least a month: http://sciencefiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Arrow-key-art-poster.png

      • NeaDods

        Before Thor, George of the Jungle. Just because they threw in fart jokes for the kids doesn’t mean that the adults weren’t supposed to notice that the buff male lead spent the entire movie either wearing Armani or a loincloth.

        …hard to say which was the more enticing look, to be honest.

      • The_L1985

        Both for me. :) Sooo excited for the next Avengers movie and Thor 2!! Boyfriend has the Drool Bucket handy, and the Thor is highly amused.

    • Saraquill

      Also the sheer number of female fans who produce hot man on man fanart. Things like Star Trek and Lord of the Rings is a gold mine for them.

      • NeaDods

        Oh, slash is a whole ‘nother beast. Gallons of man on man action in either art or prose – produced almost entirely by straight women for straight women. (I hear rumors that the slash panel in 221BCon – an otherwise excellent convention – ran aground *because* the only panelists were straight women despite the range of sexualities in the audience.)

        Heck, I’m Holmesian, and Elementary notwithstanding, canon and the BBC make a credible argument that the lead is asexual. Yet you would not BELIEVE the amount of slash in BBC Sherlock fandom!

      • Nate Frein

        Speaking of Sherlock…have you seen the Manga based off of the new BBC version?

      • NeaDods

        No! I’ll have to go look for that.

      • Nate Frein

        I haven’t had the nerves to look past the first page.

        They nail Cumberbatch IMO…Freeman not so much :/

      • aim2misbehave

        I’m on Tumblr, and… yeah. (Star Trek is the one that pretty much started it, though, but the actors in the new movies are also pretty gorgeous. Especially Chris Pine. Where do people find guys like him and the Hemsworth brothers?)

  • Anon

    Because Magic Mike (aka 5 hot celebrity guys as strippers) completely bombed at the office, thus proving that its intended audience (women) are totally non-visual creatures.

    Oh wait, no, that’s bullshit. It made over $100 million.

    • The_L1985

      tbh, Magic Mike is sort of bullshit anyway. As a bisexual, I decided if I wanted to watch someone be objectified, well, women are already being objectified anyway. So I didn’t throw any money at it.

    • Sue Blue

      Anyone remember “The Full Monty”? That movie about unemployed men trying to make money as strippers did pretty well, too.

      • Cathy W

        Awesome movie. I watched it with my mom, my sister, and my husband. Mom and Sis didn’t think Hubby would appreciate it at all (because, as a straight guy, other guys taking their clothes off lacks a certain something for him) – but he said that they nailed pretty much every insecurity it’s possible for a man to admit to in our culture. “I’m too fat.” “It’s too small.” “The ex is cutting me off from my kid.” “I can’t provide for my wife.” – and then throw in “I’m in the closet” for good measure.
        …and, hey, if women aren’t visual, why does such a thing as a male stripper even exist?

  • MNb

    “This is wrong”

    I invite anyone who thinks that teenage girls are “sexual innocents” (stupid word, most of the time sex is innocent indeed) to visit my school in Moengo, Suriname. Over and over again I see girls who can’t get their hands off attractive boys.

  • AAAtheist

    Although it probably will never happen, maybe quiverfull environments would benefit greatly if the idea of flirting was implemented for its young people.

    The boys and girls could learn how to invite someone over with a smile or a look. They could get comfortable with acceptance and rejection. They could learn how to converse with the opposite sex (other gender? another gender?) and deal with their lust, desire, love, and curiosity on a trial-and-error basis like the rest of us do, maybe coming to the conclusion (gasp!) that their desires don’t have to dominate and overwhelm them and can be seen as natural, welcome, and healthy.

    This wouldn’t be a perfect solution, of course, especially for the LGBT within their ranks.

    P.S.: Discount the “woo” spiritual aspects of the article in question I’ve referenced. I think the author’s basic idea of flirting as uplifting social engagment still applies.

  • LouisDoench

    Reminds me of this song…

    http://youtu.be/64e7qxces_E

    • Stephanie Bowker

      Ha! Louis, I just tried posting that song but my comment got tangled up in Discus registration somehow, and I gave up. Thanks:)

      • LouisDoench

        you are welcome ;)

  • Nate Frein

    The “men are visual, woman want narrative” trope never ceases to amuse me. I get off on sexy writing all the time, and my wife finds it hysterical that “just text” can do it for anyone…she absolutely needs bright shiny pictures for porn to work for her.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

      Ditto

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Bright shiny pictures don’t hurt, but there has to be A REASON!!! At least for me. I need to know WHY. It can be a silly reason, I don’t care, but If I’m gonna get invested….

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        A male friend of mine used to masturbate to Annis Nin

      • Christine

        One of the guys in my high school class was *ahem* less than discreet on the grade 9 trip. But a lot of people didn’t get why he’d have his hand down his pants while reading a Sci-Fi book. I kept my mouth shut, rather than volunteering an explanation, but it seems obvious to me.

      • The_L1985

        And let’s not forget the Dragonriders of Pern! If you have any sort of mind-control or non-con fetish, well. Let’s just say that dragon mating season + telepathic bonds between dragon and rider = some very iffy consent, at best. It makes me a little squeamish, looking back at it.

      • Nate Frein

        I read those in middle school. The whole thing struck me as creepy but I couldn’t place my finger on it.

        Now that you mention it tho, I think you’ve articulated what felt off.

      • The_L1985

        Still better than developing uncomfortable fetishes from the books…

      • Christine

        In fairness, she does present a somewhat less disturbing situation later on. But if you read a bunch of her work, you realise that the lack of consent is a common theme. (Really disturbing in a romance writer actually). She does seem to improve – the novel version of Freedom’s Landing (or whichever the first one is) actually recognises that consent is good, and the loosening of the options for the dragon riders later on.

        Actually… it just occurs to me now that having extra options makes the scenes in the first books that much *more* disturbing. But I think her goal was just to try and change the paradigm to something less awful.

        Science fiction actually has a lot of really disturbing sex, partially because if you’re reading science fiction you’re almost certain to be reading stuff that was written 40+ years ago, back when pretty much no one (even the writers widely regarded as feminist) felt that consent (at least by today’s standards) was important.

      • The_L1985

        I dunno, the scene with Tai and F’lessan in The Skies of Pern was still pretty creepy.

      • Christine

        Like I said, she tried. Key word there – “tried”, distinct from “succeeded”. If she wrote more complex things, I’d almost suspect her of continuing to be creepy to make a point, but I doubt it.

      • Christine

        I had to check Wikipedia for publication dates. I hadn’t realised that The Skies of Pern was after Dragonseye. (It’s been a while since I was paying attention to the series, so I’ve forgotten what I read when).

        If you think about it, it works the way that purity culture says that the real world works. There is no way to make that not creepy. (It’s fairly clear in some books that it’s really just a case of everyone being too horny to help themselves.)

      • eamonknight

        And let’s not forget the Dragonriders of Pern!

        Can’t we, please? For all sorts of reasons…..

      • Nate Frein

        I think my wife likes to make up the reason.

        It’s weird for me cuz she reads some really racy fantasy novels. If I were to read them, I’d have to take a cold shower every ten pages, but she just blows right through ‘em.

        EDIT: After chatting with her, she pointed out that stories give her what she calls a “slow burn”. But if she wants something sexy right away, text and reading doesn’t do it. She needs pix

    • Alice

      I think the trope is funny because everyone knows the cover of every romance novel is a solid white background with an emotional plot summary.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Sooo, if you’re into kink at all, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart series is really good.

      Just sayin’ *blush*

      • Nate Frein

        I’ll definitely keep that in mind.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        OMG YES!!! This and Kushiel’s Legacy. Dart the protagonist is a Sub, in Legacy the protag is the Dom.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Yeap! And for more vanilla-y, there’s a third series set ~300 years later (Naamah’s Kiss trilogy).

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        I like that one too. But Phedre’s always gonna be my first love!

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Agreed.

      • Nate Frein

        I will say I’m kind of wierd…I don’t always like mixing my porn with my literature. Like, i can watch a porn movie with my wife and be completely poker faced the whole time. Sex scene in a hollywood movie, on the other hand, and I’ll titter like the socially awkward high-schooler I used to be (and still lives inside).

      • The_L1985

        Book-sex tends to be handled very differently from movie-sex, though.

      • Nate Frein

        If you’ve read So Long and Thanks for all the Fish…

        The flying scene with Aurthur Dent and Fenchurch?

        Yeah. Same reaction.

        Yes. I blush while reading.

      • The_L1985

        The best part is how before it, the author does all of that adorable “You know, if you want to see what Ford and Marvin are up to…”

      • Joykins

        I’m not particularly into kink but I found the first book riveting. Plot!

    • Joykins

      I’m another “just text” person–well, text or pics will do it for me, but text is far more discreet, available, and I have about 20 more years of using it. But I may be an edge case: I didn’t usually get visually attracted to hot guys at the pool or whatever as a teen. That sort of thing didn’t even make much sense to me until I was nearly 40. I have no idea why. I’m mostly drawn to faces, though; and women’s bodies more than men’s, oddly enough, although I’m mostly straight.

      • Nate Frein

        My wife and I both like body watching both sexes. She likes enjoying looking at the female form even though the idea of having sexy times with a woman doesn’t appeal to her (but another manz does! Yay!)

        I actually was physically attracted to both boys and girls in high school…which left some very conflicting feelings as a catholic boy growing up on an air force base.

      • Joykins

        Oh, I wouldn’t mind having sexy times with someone of either gender (if the situation was right; being married now, it’s not), but mostly even now when I look at people out and about it’s more an aesthetic appreciation than RAWR. So I guess I’m one of those women who are more tactile/mental in their typical arousal–but I know there are plenty of visual women out there too! All you have to do is hang out with other women and listen to know that.

      • Nate Frein

        One thing that I love about my wife is that she understands that just because I’m committed to her, I’m not suddenly unattracted to men. She enjoys playing with me while I play with men. I’m not saying that all relationships involving a bisexual person have to be this way, but I’m not sure I could have committed my life to someone who told me “no more penis” (or “no more pussy”…there were a couple guys I might have stuck with if things had turned out different).

        And while strap-on play is fun…it’s not the same :/

      • Stev84

        There has been at least one study showing that straight women are often sexually aroused by viewing both men and women. That wasn’t true for the male test subjects. So much for men being “more visual”.

    • Semidaunted

      I actually prefer erotica because I have always had this, fear that the women in porn movies might be having sex against their will. I don’t now how rational this fear is, but that in addition to the fact that most of the acts looked uncomfortable and geared more for men turned me off ‘live action’. Erotic comics drawn by women for women though, verra nice.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    This kinda reminds me of conversations I’ve had with people about the nudity on Game of Thrones, and inevitably someone always suggests that the men should get naked too. And while I have nothing personal against naked men, in fact I enjoy them a lot, I don’t think that’s the solution.

    Same thing here, giving young boys and men the same hang ups, the same fucked up views towards their own bodies and sexualities, isn’t the solution.

    But I don’t know, maybe making the same things happen to men, is the only way we can get men to acknowledge* the fucked up restrictions our societies put on women.

    *Kinda like how I never heard men complain about poorly plotted and written love interests until Tahmoh Penikett played one on Dollhouse(Paul Ballard is a total Refrigerator Boy)

    • ArachneS

      I’ve commented to my husband, about that same thing on the Game of Thrones.
      Namely that whenever a couple has sex, the women completely disrobes, yet the man keeps most of his clothes on. It seems less necessary for the women to take off all their clothes, because every single time, they have absolutely no underclothes on! The dress could easily be pulled up.

      Whereas the men have yards and yards of clothes that would appear to get in the way and be really hot and sweaty the whole time.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Yes, part of the problem has definitely been how the show GOES OUT OF IT’S WAY to hide the male form.

        Like the scene where Mel bleeds Gendry. The show explicitly demonstrates she pulls his penis from his pants, but when she gets off him, it’s not there. If the actor didn’t want to do nudity, that’s fine, but they should have shot the scene in a way where that wasn’t shown.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        Scuttlebutt says that Emilia Clarke has refused to do so many nude scenes as in the first season. As to the rest, I think it has more to do with HBO execs than the writers. A penis is still considered to be the realm of hardcore porn for the men who run these companies.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        I do agree with the fact that naked penis is associated with porn, where boobs aren’t, but I don’t know where to lay blame.

        I find it interesting that the only naked penis WE HAVE gotten, was Hodor who’s developmentally disabled, and therefore squicky, and Theon, who, well, it’s Theon.

        I’ve heard that about Emilia Clarke, but other scuttlebutt says it was Isme Bianco, who played Ros, and that’s why her character was killed off.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        Ros had to die. She won’t fit into Season 4 storylines.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. I can think of lots of ways having a POV into the lower classes in KL(which we DON’T have after the next wedding) would be beneficial to the show, ESPECIALLY with what’s coming.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        Don’t forget that a certain bastard was sent back to KL.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        True.

      • Divizna

        Did you mean a character got killed in the show who didn’t die in the novel?

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Ros isn’t in the novel.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Dude, I LOVED Paul Ballard and that he was a really well-written character! (I mean, the series kind of fell apart at the very end but that was because Joss Whedon was scrambling to tie up loose ends due to be being cancelled.)

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        I loved him to, but his first season story suffered because it’s whole purpose was to get him IN the Dollhouse. And season 2, he was totally fridged(everything that happened to him, happened to hurt Echo).

        I also disagree that it fell apart at the end. It did have to contradict itself a few times, but I thought the plot got tighter as it moved into the endgame, but YMMV.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Oh, I agree, the second half of season 2 was all kinds of awesome and creative–it was at the very, very end where I started going “HUH???” a few times.

        ie. Boyd. No. Just no. That does not make sense.

        And if we’re talking about the ol’ Joss Whedon fridge-stuffing that Paul was subjected to at the very, very end, yes, my objections are duly registered.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Sady Doyle had an awesome article, where she compared the indoctrination the dolls undergo to the patriarchy.

        Going with that logic, if the dollhouse is the patriarchy, then of course the bad guy is the patriarch. It was neat little flip of the relationship of Buffy and Giles, Echo and Boyd, “father” and daughter, working towards developing her into maturity.

        Which of course blew up(heh) in his face, when the daughter doesn’t want to do what dad wants.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Yeah, I think I read that one and I agreed with most of what she had to say. I feel like a lot of “Dollhouse” was about re-examining some of the paternalistic elements of Whedon’s earlier work (which is one reason I really like Paul’s character–he’s sort of the way the show took a more critical look at the “Angel”-type male savior). I wouldn’t necessarily have had a problem with what was ultimately done with Boyd if it had been set up right but I think, in the end, Whedon just did not have time to do that. So it came off as really jarring and seemed to make a lot of his earlier actions not make a lot of sense. There just wasn’t enough time to make that plot twist work.

        In short, WHY COULDN’T THERE HAVE BEEN MORE SEASONS???

    • aim2misbehave

      Eh, in the case of Game of Thrones specifically it might be a solution… I agree that in society in general combating female objectification with male objectification isn’t a solution. But it’s a pay cable TV show and specifically HBO, and based on a series with plenty of sex and nudity, so it’s a draw for people who want to see that stuff. So in that narrow context, yeah, I’d say having more naked men would be a reasonable solution…

  • http://geekinthebreeze.wordpress.com mythbri

    I think that pastor is aware that women lust – he’s just been conditioned by his religion and society to frame it within the “Madonna/Whore” dichotomy.

    Sweet Sister So-and-so who leads the church choir can’t possibly struggle with feelings of “lust” and attraction. Whereas those tramps on TV can’t even keep their clothes on 90% of the time – but that’s not surprising, because those women are sinful. You can tell by the way they dress. Upright, conservatively dressed church-going women are not that kind of sinful, so they can’t be lustful.

    • Semidaunted

      Yes, it is interesting that he used the word qualifier of faithful when mentioning the girl who commented on a guys abs. As if he expects such behavior from ‘fallen’ or sinful women, but not from the sheltered, church-going girls in his church. As if their faith makes them a different species who gave up sexuality for christ, or that they never caught sexuality from those sinnners. The last bit may be rather hyperbolic. :P

  • BobaFuct

    I’m a guy…my main exposure to other guys with their shirts off is out on the trails as I’m riding my bike. At those times, my thought is “let’s just decide, as a society, that shirts are something we should all wear in public unless we’re at the beach.” Honestly, I know it’s not the solution to the modesty imbalance, but yeesh, most guys that go shirtless really have no business doing so….

    Seriously though, I guess the only reasonable answer is that women get to go shirtless too. Of course, it would probably take years, if not decades, for people to get used to seeing breasts in public and not freaking out, but I think we’re slowly but surely starting to lose our prudishness here in the ‘ol USA, so it’s plausible.

    • Nate Frein

      I’m sorry, but

      most guys that go shirtless really have no business doing so….

      is part of the same messed up mentality. First, I’m hairy. When I work out, I sweat. Hairy plus sweaty equals really itchy in a shirt, so it’s actually really nice to take my shirt off if there’s a good breeze. And fuck you for judging me just because I don’t have a six pack.

      It is wrong to tell a woman that “she has no business wearing that outfit” because it gives her a muffintop and it is just as wrong to tell a guy that he has no business going shirtless just because he’s not a bloody adonis.

    • The_L1985

      Hey, just because you’re not attracted to a shirtless guy, doesn’t mean nobody is. Especially if he’s got some love handles. Mmmm…

      Sorry, started drooling again.

      • Nate Frein

        It especially annoys me because I have a former co-worker who’s a long distance runner. The way he puts it, he runs a ten minute mile…for however many miles he wants. I paced him on a bike once and he outlasted me.

        And he’s fifty. And he has a paunch. Why should he have to feel ugly just because his body decided to put on some padding?

    • Sue Blue

      I live in a rural area and I’ve often mowed the lawn or worked outside without a shirt when it’s hot. My husband doesn’t mind at all, and nobody else can see me unless they are trespassing. I’m fully in favor of women being allowed to go topless for comfort just as men are. Everyone’s got tits, after all. Just because they stick out further on a woman and can lactate when necessary shouldn’t be an issue. People get all bent out of shape when a woman bares a breast in public to nurse a baby, but they hardly bat an eye when a man with bigger boobs than some women and more back hair than King Kong goes shirtless.

  • Truthspew

    Interestingly there are two women I’ve befriended whose sexual escapades make mine pale in comparison. One would regale me with tales of her conquests at lunch, the other is a kindred soul to me.

    So yes, women are every bit as sexual as men are. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be a population on the planet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

      I love sex. More than most men I’ve been with.

      Guy: “We’ve had sex twice already. I want to go to sleep!”
      Me: ……*whines* “So?!?”

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        We must be sisters, LOL

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        Possibly. Is your idea of romance handing your SO a beer, taking your clothing off, and giving oral pleasure? My husband’s is of the more stereotypical girly romantic variety and it confounds me to no end.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        HA!!! YES!!!

        And he’s like, “AGAIN?”

      • LouisDoench

        My favorite line about this conundrum is from Harlem Nights

        Sugar Ray.
        Are we going to talk
        about your son all night?
        Or are you going to make love to me?

        Why don’t we make love…
        and talk about my son
        in the morning?

        Well…
        What if we made love all night…
        …and then made love all morning?
        And all afternoon?

        What if we made love real hard
        for 35 minutes
        and drop off
        into a deep coma-like sleep?

        Meet me halfway.

        :l’ll give it a shot.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411188910 Lucreza Borgia

        …or my favorite come hither speech: “Hey, let’s fuck!”

      • Truthspew

        Ah yes, the direct approach is one I’ve employed on numerous occasions.

      • Norm Donnan

        Ha guys read about girls like you in mags but we know they are just make believe.

      • Nate Frein

        What? I’ve dated women (not “girls”) like her.

      • The_L1985

        I’m a real live WOMAN, and I have the same thing going for me. We exist. People of varying sex drives exist, male and female alike! (And intersex people, but I doubt you even know what that is.)

      • Norm Donnan

        Maybe you do,but your very rare.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        We’re not rare. Purity culture causes women to think they shouldn’t have sex a lot. Not that they don’t want it a lot.

      • Sue Blue

        Exactly. This guy should read Kinsey and some of the other sex research out there – he’d probably be terrified by the multi-orgasmic women in these studies (who weren’t uncommon either).

      • Sue Blue

        Not rare at all. I can wear my husband out on any day of the week and I’m often the initiator – and it’s been that way for the entire 23 years of our marriage, so it’s not just a young woman thing. While we’re both in good shape, we’ve seen the other side of 50. In fact menopause to me just means more days when I can have sex without worrying about a period or pregnancy. The myth that women always lose whatever sex drive they have as they age is just that – another myth.

      • J-Rex

        Could you handle it if you found one?

        I get the sense that guys (outside of purity culture) are proud of being supposedly more sexual than women. They always hear about how women don’t want sex and they only put out at first, but then you become married and all the sex stops…It feels good to want sex and have sex, so their sexual desire is seen as a good thing and they pride themselves for wanting it so much because it’s a sign of manliness.

        And then they get in a relationship and most of them find out that women want sex just as much and some find out that she wants it more. He’s joked so many times that those women he hears about that want sex all the time are “Every man’s dream!” only to find that he really doesn’t want sex as much as he says he does.

      • Nate Frein

        I listened to a heartbreaking call from a woman married to an air force NCO. She could deal with being alone when he deployed, but she couldn’t deal with the fact that he wasn’t very intimate when he was with her.

      • Norm Donnan

        Ha,could l handle one,no lm passed caring now. Sex to men is a sign of manliness,If a man isnt interested in sex below 50yo there is something wrong,probably stress related,and thats ok,its the way we are made.Guys joke that the best form of contraception is marriage,except that it isnt a joke. Maybe the first year is good but throw in kids and a morgage ,from then on its all up hill.

  • Hopewell
    • Alice

      LOL, until I read the very last paragraph, I kept going back and forth trying to decide if this was a Poe or not. It is nearly impossible to tell most of the time.

  • AlisonCummins

    Even more consistently neglected in the discussion of whether boys and men should have to think about modesty are the gay and bisexual men and boys who presumably need even more help managing their lusts than the straight ones.

    (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but men with several older brothers are more likely to be gay than men without. Which suggests that there would be *more* young gay men among the Quiverfull than the general small-familied poplulation because the more kids there are in a family the more boys there are going to be with older brothers.)

  • Gillianren

    One of the first movie reviews I ever wrote was for A Knight’s Tale. In it, I referred to “Australian eye-candy Heath Ledger.” (Yes, it turns out he could act, but in that movie, did he have to?) I was in college at the time, as a returning student, but even so, the idea that there were men that women could find visually attractive was hardly surprising to me. Or to my male editor. Where has this guy been? Oh, right–not listening to women.

    • brightie

      Or listening to women who are afraid to admit they have red blood in their veins if the preacher’s listening?

  • MyOwnPerson

    Instead of returning evil for evil and making guys wear shirts at the beach, how about guys recognize that extra material can be hot and uncomfortable in the sun and let girls wear less?

    • J-Rex

      I’m sure that’s what they wanted in the first place, but in my experience, trying to explain at youth group why certain “immodest” things are inconvenient to wear for any number of reasons never works. They see your point but they’d prefer you deal with your discomfort anyways because male lust is more serious than uncomfortable clothes. The next step is to point out the double standard.
      I love how he says the girls backed down as if they had ever really wanted the guys to wear shirts. They just wanted to point out how unfair it was.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    Hm. He says “even within” the Christian community are women who struggle with lust?

    Being a Christian does not change one’s sex drive, so it’s not surprising to find that “even within” a church. This whole post is just…weird.

    • Kate Monster

      Well, sex is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad thing*, created–as all evil things are–by liberals, who are probably the army of Satan. So GOOD Christians don’t have sexual desires (Good Christians are better than everyone else, and how could they be better if they had the same physical desires?), and if they do, they suppress them and pray that God takes those nasty desires away. Whereas anyone not in God’s True Church** indulges their sin-urges like the wicked terrible people they are.

      *Unless it leads to babies within a God-approved Christian marriage. Then it is holy and beautiful.

      **The Church this guy is pastor of.

  • realinterrobang

    At least that’s one area where the observant Jews do better than a lot of the Christians — men are supposed to have their bodies covered from at least neck to knees, and short sleeves should be elbow-length, and they have to wear kippot, whereas unmarried women don’t cover their heads. And the ultra-Orthodox men? Those guys *seriously* cover up, even in the sweltering heat (when you’re in Jerusalem and it’s in the 30s Celsius, you kind of wonder how they manage in dark suits, white shirts, undershirts, tallit katan, and two hats).

    Granted, there’s still some double-standard, in that women usually have to wear stockings or socks of some kind, and a lot of men walk around in sandals (so do a lot of the women; modesty in at least observant Israeli* communities seems to include a big slug of “whatever works for you”), but you don’t see nearly the disparity. (The ultra-Orthodox men also usually wind up wearing *more* clothes than their female counterparts, incidentally.)

    * Writing about IL because that’s what I know in terms of modesty culture and observing Orthodox Jewish practitioners “in the wild,” as it were. YMMV locally.

    • BrandonUB

      At least that’s one area where the observant Jews do better than a lot of the Christians

      For some values of “better”. I’d just describe this as applying their pathological ideas more evenly.

    • The_L1985

      Er, Conservative and Reform Jews are just as “observant” as their Orthodox brothers and sisters. They just interpret the Tanakh differently.

  • BrandonUB

    Forgive me if I have trouble regarding someone like this pastor as anything other than an individual that’s both evil and stupid.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Spend enough time around fanficcers, and you’ll discover that, when women are in a safe space where it’s considered okay to drool over men’s bodies – we do it a LOT.

    • Emma

      This was how I spent much of my highschool years…

    • Bella

      OH YES! We indeed do it a lot. Fangirling, oh it’s very, very fun.

  • Saraquill

    So according to the preacher’s second quote, if a woman thinks sexy thoughts about a man, it’s her fault. In many other sources Libby Anne has discussed, if a man thinks sexy thoughts, it’s the woman’s fault. I’m not pleased with this arrangement.

    Also, “‘Think of your sisters?’” As a sister, I can understand wanting to wash my eyes upon seeing more of a sibling than I care for. At the same time, unless your family is high royalty, I highly doubt viewing a half dressed sibling would induce lustful thoughts.

    • fiona64

      Exactly. Seeing my brother without his shirt has never been a lust-inducing experience.

  • jmb

    Right, because the librarians at my high school in the Eighties only had a big pinup poster of Shirtless Tom Selleck on the inside of their office door, across from their private desks, for ironic reasons, and when they talked about which actor was hotter, it was strictly joking.

    Or, you know, not.

  • Mel

    I didn’t run into purity culture until I was in my early twenties and started college. I met some guys who were struggling with sexual feelings. (Most of the problem came from the fact they demonized all sexual feelings rather than looking at their actions.) After a year of discussions, I met some of them for lunch on a horribly humid 90 degree day. All of the girls were wearing tank-tops since it was miserably hot. The guys were whining about all of the girls who were dressed provocatively. I went ballistic. I pointed out that 1) Even if those girls were looking for a hook-up, I doubt they were interested in having one with some immature, prudish and judgmental guys and 2) I’d seen each of these guys without shirts on before which showed a whole lot more skin than any of the girls did.

    The guys were shocked. One guy said to me, “But Melinda, looks don’t matter to girls. Girls care more about personality.” The two other girls and I burst out laughing – deep, wheezy guffaws with tears running down our faces. Every now and again, I’d catch my breath long enough to gasp “We don’t care about looks!” and start laughing again.

    I finally stopped laughing and said “Well, girls do like a guy’s personality, but if you’re hot, your personality gets a lot more chances.” I never heard another self-important whining fest about modesty over our next three years. One of the guys did thank me a few years later for “calling me on all of the shit I believed in college.”

  • Joykins

    “It means that this Christian pastor and modesty preacher thinks that women didn’t used to think sexual thoughts about attractive guys, and that the fact that he’s now aware that they do means there has to have been some change. Um. Right. No.”

    Well there was a change. The one that took place entirely in his head, as a new bit of information –never mind after years of preaching on the subject–was ingested and understood.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    So much double standard with “the modesty rules.” Every so often, when someone’s talking about modesty and a ton of examples of what girls should and shouldn’t wear, then at the end they mention “oh and guys need to be modest too- they shouldn’t go around shirtless.” Umm… that’s it? Guys get 1 rule, 1 rule that’s very easy to follow, and girls get an impossible bunch of rules and warnings and shame…

    I’m a woman and I think a lot of guys are really attractive. :) But no way I would ever talk about my own lust and attractions as something that should be made into rules for guys to follow, etc… that’s my problem, not anyone else’s. And seriously, I would never want anyone- men or women- to have to deal with the big harmful messed-up thing that is modesty culture.

  • Rilian Sharp

    I heard someone say that women who think they are asexual aren’t really, they’re just the normal amount of sexual *for women* and women just aren’t that sexual. Basically that women may be tricked into thinking that they are asexual because they’re not as sexual as men. I pointed out to him that there are asexual men and he said, “They’re lying.” So, a woman who says she’s asexual is mistaken, and a man who says he’s asexual is lying. Gah.

    • The_L1985

      I wonder what he’d think of me. Several of my exes joked that they might need to start lying about “having a headache.”

      • Nate Frein

        Does it count if the partner I used that excuse for was a guy?

  • Genie

    Oh. Yes.
    We had an assistant pastor at our church for a while who was very nice to look at, but he would regularly be down in the church office wearing his very scant gym gear (he must have been going there later? I don’t know?). I didn’t know where to look!
    If he’d been female wearing that little, he’d get spoken to.
    Double standards.

  • Semidaunted

    As a teen, we would roll down the windows of our car and ‘cruise’ for guys in the summer. Topless guys, guys on motorcycles, guys hiking with dogs, guys playing frisbee, you name it. We looked, laughed and flirted. I have a lot of fond memories of those times, and we still sometimes make comments among each out about a man’s particularly fine behind. It never occurred to me that people thought of this as male behavior, for us it was young, immature, not ready for real relationships but ready to go window-shopping behavior.

    We never harassed, cat called or made fun of them, but we enjoyed looking and gossiping. I am surprised the priest never noticed teen girls’ actions before.

    Perhaps he never wanted to notice them, or the women have never felt safe admitting this because having any sort of sex drive may get them branded by the community.

  • http://peaceegalitarianism.blogspot.com/ Brian Bowman

    Shoot, I thought the girls just liked my hat.

  • Composer 99

    My inner pedant is roaring to life and compels me to note that, in the OP, “pecks” (from the section “There’s another angle too—I often heard that boys are visual while girls are emotional. There’s this idea that women are turned on by reading romance novels but not by the sight of really nice pecks. This is wrong. In my experience, if women aren’t equally as visual as men we’re pretty darn close.” [Emphasis mine.]), as a shortening of “pectorals”, should be spelled “pecs”.

    (Is this the part where I make some overbearingly rude, snide comment on the overall quality of Libby Anne’s writing on account of a single, simple typo?)


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