Lust at First Glance? The Difference in Seeing vs. Gawking

Lust at First Glance? The Difference in Seeing vs. Gawking March 24, 2014

horny guyDear Shaunti,
I read in your book that even happily married men struggle with looking at other women and even have images from the past pop-up in their minds. Does this mean that it’s OK for men to lust after women because they are wired this way?
– Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

No doubt about it, men notice attractive women. But let me clarify up front, there is a huge difference between a man who notices an attractive woman, and the unhealthy practice of gawking at an attractive woman or later dwelling on those visual images for his own pleasure.

Women sometimes experience a past hurt “pop” into their mind which is similar to what happens with the uninvited images that “pop” into a man’s mind. Just as we women can redirect our thoughts, so can men – but do we always do it perfectly? No. If we as wives can recognize how great is this fight husbands must battle every day, we can be empathetic to their efforts to honor us by controlling their eyes and thought life.

It’s really about a two-way street of building each other up. Men, you can build up your woman by keeping your eyes on her when you are with her, and train your eyes to not cross the line from visual admiration to saturation. Women, you can express your admiration and respect for his efforts to not cross that line, and if you happen to catch his roving eye, gently express the intimidation it makes you feel, rather than blasting him with a derogatory cut about his caveman practices.

Do you want Shaunti to share these life-changing truths at your church or event? Inquire about Shaunti speaking, here.

Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and popular speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Visit for more.

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  • Jennifer Grove

    I really struggle to “be ok” with this issue. I came from a marriage where my husband didn’t care if I saw him gawking and/or heard his comment about another woman and I find myself experiencing hurt and jealousy when I see my fiance’ look at another woman. He knows how I feel about it and he used to be really good at turning his head but I see over the last year, not so much. When I said something to him last time He told me, “that’s in YOUR head”, and that he is not looking ‘in that way’. We are both Christians and I don’t know how to get past those feelings. I have read both books (for men and for women only).

  • Harv

    So how are you getting over this hurt and your jealousy. which is insecurity and lack of self esteem , personal worth or all leading to lack of trust? You must have a measure of self worth. Did we learn anything by our past up to now?