Why I let my Christian son have a bikini poster in his room


If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would allow my 14 year old son to have a swim suit poster in his room I would have told you that you were nuts. The reason is because I was raised in an environment that taught us that being sexually aroused by the sight of a woman’s body other than a woman you were married to was sin. This was included in a broader definition of lust that is taught in most churches today.

I would never argue that the Bible does not condemn lust, because it definitely does.

But after a great deal of Biblical soul searching, as well as biological reference searching (the chemistry of how the brain works) I came to a very different conclusion than what my upbringing taught me. The Bible never condemns a person for being sexually aroused by the sight of another person, even one they are not married to. It condemns lust – which is a very different thing. Lust is sexual covetousness, not sexual arousal.

For more the topic of Lust see my post What does the Bible say about Lust?

Teens and sexuality

I believe wholeheartedly that God has reserved sex for marriage, this is plain throughout the Old and New Testaments and I teach this principle to my teenage sons, as well as my teen daughter.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:14(KJV)

While God has reserved the act of sex (that includes intercourse, oral sex, or any other kind manual sex) for marriage, where I believe most Churches are flat wrong is in their teaching that sexuality itself is also reserved for marriage.

While on one side, we have the world blatantly encouraging our teens and young adults to have sex outside of marriage, on the other side we have the Churches teaching teens and college students that they must suppress their sexuality until the day they are married. I believe that both sides are wrong on this issue of sexuality from a Biblical standpoint.

So to that end with my teenagers I teach there is nothing wrong with my son’s thinking some girl is “hot” and there is nothing wrong with my daughter thinking some guy is “cute”.  For my teen daughter her interest in sexuality is only just now beginning, but my sons interests are both in full throttle mode(as it is for most teenage boys).

I don’t teach my son’s like my father and mother taught me, that if there is a nice woman walking down the side walk or at the beach that they have to look away or look at the ground for fear of having “lustful thoughts”.  Instead I teach them to have proper manners, and don’t stair at a girl like she is piece of meat (gawk at her), but they can take tasteful glances and appreciate the beauty that God has made in woman, as he has designed their brains to do.

Why I allow my son to have a bikini poster in his room

It was only after a lot of consideration, and even talking with my wife (she was fine with it way before I was) that I allowed my Christian son to get his first bikini poster in his room. He likes Kate Upton, so he got the Kate Upton Sports illustrated cover shot poster in his room.

Some Christians might say – “OK I agreed with you till now that your son does not have to look down when beautiful women walk by, but isn’t a swim suit poster in his room pushing it?” I don’t believe so.

I let him put a swimsuit poster in his room to remind him of the Biblical principle I have taught him that God designed him as man to visually appreciate women’s bodies.

There is absolutely no shame in this whatsoever! Even if he is aroused by that poster of Kate Upton on his wall, there is still no sin. The sin would come if he started looking up Kate Upton’s phone number, or scheming how he might try and find her to have sex with her outside of marriage (these would be lustful thoughts).

Or if he were to take his arousal from seeing Kate Upton, and then think about how he might influence a girl at school to have sex with him outside of marriage, all of these types of thoughts would be lustful, sinful thoughts.

But aren’t you teaching your son to look at women as sex objects?

I don’t have to teach my son to look at women as sex objects, his brain came pre-wired from God to do that. My job as a Christian father, is to help remind him that while women are indeed objects of sexual beauty and desire for men, they are also people with hopes, dreams, thoughts and feelings and they should be treated with honor and respect.

This is where I vehemently disagree with some conservative Christians on one side, and some radical feminists on the other side. These two groups of people that disagree on just about everything else, believe that it is impossible to look at a woman as an object of sexual beauty and desire, and at the same time honor and respect that woman, or women in general.

They suggest a false dichotomy, like it must be one or the other, and this simply is not true.

I teach both my teen sons that they would be stupid and marry a woman, just because she is beautiful. They should seek out a woman that is beautiful both on the inside, as well as the outside (and they don’t have to give up one, for the other).

I teach them to look for a woman that loves the Lord and his Word as much as they do, if not more. I teach them, that if a woman is truly surrendered to God and his design for her life, then she will be the best wife and mother to their children they could ever hope for.

But that does not mean beauty and sexuality must be sacrificed in order to find a Godly wife. It is not a contradictory to thing to find a woman who is both beautiful on the inside as well the outside.

But not all women look like that!

It was interesting how big a deal it was when I allowed my son to have the Kate Upton poster, it generated a lot of discussion before I allowed it, and then more after I allowed it. His mother (my ex-wife), was not happy about me allowing him to have the poster in the least bit. Of course I had to remind her that the rules in my home and how I teach in my home, and how she teaches in her home may be different sometimes.

My wife (my son’s step mom) is not threatened by the fact that there are more beautiful women than her in the world. She realizes that whether it is in a poster, or on the beach, or just walking down the sidewalk we will pass women that have slimmer, younger and more attractive bodies than her.

My ex-wife (his mother) always had a problem with being jealous of other women’s bodies, and she would have the attitude whenever she saw a beautiful women – “well let’s see if she keeps that look over the next 20 years”.

Regardless of either my wife, or my ex-wife’s approach, I as my sons father have to teach them about their sexuality as I believe is right. In regards to women’s bodies, my son’s know most women don’t look like Kate Upton, that is why she makes the money she does, because she is so exceptionally beautiful.

They know that the average woman will have some strengths, and some weaknesses in her physical appearance, just as we as men have strengths and weaknesses in our physical appearance.

So no –I am not teaching my sons to have an unrealistic expectation that all women should look like Kate Upton. What I am teaching them is, it is not wrong for them to appreciate feminine beauty, and especially exceptional feminine beauty when they see it.

Update: Since I originally wrote this post Kate Upton has been doing new commercials for some video game.  My son was over at our Pastor’s house with him and his teenage sons watching TV and the commercial with Kate Upton came on.  My Pastor’s reaction was “now that is a nice looking woman”.  My son thought that was great and had to come home and tell me what our Pastor said.  I think men need to be comfortable talking about women with their sons, and let them know there is a healthy and normal way to enjoy the visual side of their male sexuality.



So when go on our family summer vacations, my son’s don’t have to feel guilty at all or look down when they see women like this on the beach. Instead they can feel free to appreciate the beauty and artistry of God’s design in how he made a woman’s body.

Picture sources

Picture 1 – “Anna Paola bikini” by Shameless Charlotte

– Flickr: Anna Paola. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anna_Paola_bikini.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Anna_Paola_bikini.jpg

Picture 2 – “Val & Aran (Women at beaches)” by edera from Genova, Italy – Val & Aran.

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


92 thoughts on “Why I let my Christian son have a bikini poster in his room

  1. Oh no please don’t misunderstand I want talking about your articles, I was referring to other blogs that I have read, I was just curious on your opinion.

  2. Deborah,

    Masturbation can be helpful to both males and females for maintaining sexual purity. As well, a woman should know her body well and thus be able to advise her husband on how to bring her to orgasm more easily and more frequently. And, as mentioned elsewhere on this blog, masturbation can help when one spouse has a higher sex drive than the other spouse. (No one should be living with unrelieved sexual tension in the married state.)

    I applaud biblicalgenderroles for addressing this issue. Many folks are afraid of dealing with such a “taboo” topic in a mature and honest way.

  3. Not agreeing or disagreeing, but in keeping with the theme of appreciating feminine beauty and Godly sexual desire, would it be acceptable for your son to have a poster of a naked woman in his room? If not, how is a woman in a bikini any more acceptable- as any red blooded male is usually looking right through it?

    Biblically there is such a thing as adultery of the heart- but for the single is there such a thing as fornication of the heart? If so, does it only include desiring sex with no commitment? If so, is desiring sex with a woman, imagining her nakedness, and/or masturbating to those thoughts acceptable if she is single and the desire is present that she would be your wife? Is this within the bounds of Godly natural sexual desire?

  4. Ben,

    I agree that Biblically speaking there is such a thing as “adultery of the heart”. But what is that? I have shown in posts that I reference for you below that the “adultery of the heart” Christ alluded to in Matthew 5:28 was speaking about sexual covetousness. It is not a sin for a man to find a woman sexually desirable whether he is married or single or whether the woman he finds desirable is married or single. The sin comes when this married or single man desires to have UNLAWFUL sex with a woman outside of marriage.

    The Bible condemns the desire to have UNLAWFUL sex, it does not condemn a man from simply finding a woman sexually desirable or even wondering what she looks like naked, or having sexual imaginations(sexual fantasies about her). It is when he allows his finding a woman sexually desirable to turn into a corrupted desire to have unlawful sex with her outside of marriage is when he has sinned. That is adultery of the heart.

    So as to your other question:

    would it be acceptable for your son to have a poster of a naked woman in his room?

    Yes if he lived alone then sure it would be for him to have a picture of a naked woman on his bedroom wall. But the fact that he lives with a family including younger brothers, a sister and a step mom that routinely go in his room is the reason I would not allow him to have nudes but only bikini and swim suit pictures.

    Incidentally – I have absolutely no problem with him looking at nude images of women online as long as he uses discretion and is not putting that out there for his younger brothers, sister or step mom to see. It is not a matter of it being sinful, but it is his him practicing his liberty with discretion and in a way that will not cause an offense to others.

    See these posts for more on the subject sexual fantasy and what is acceptable nor acceptable from a Biblical perspective:


  5. I know this is an old post of yours BGR, but just done reading it and all the comments and have been blessed by God for your insights and your views on this subject
    I just want to say, thank you and keep fighting the fight

  6. In the US, we have not addressed the fact that culture and biology are working at cross purposes. Children are experiencing physical sexual maturation at very early ages (much earlier than a few generations ago) at the same time that due to educational requirements and a dysfunctional economy, marriage is being postponed to ever later ages.

    Americans tend to be reactive rather than proactive on many issues. What are young people to do, Ben? Walk around every day with unrelieved sexual tension?

  7. Sorry, last little thing wanted to add to my previous comments:

    Why does it have to be a bikini model for you son? Why can’t it be a photo of a fully-clothed, modest women that may spark arousal, but really allow him to view women as human persons with dignity and respect? Seeing a beautiful woman clothed in normal everyday wear results in appreciating her true beauty without exposing herself in immature and immodest poses. It allows a guy to say “wow, what a beautiful daughter of God” without the potential to ogle, unless he sees all women, whether clothed or in her underwear, as eye candy and nothing else.

    Again, as a Catholic teen striving to remain pure, it seems as an unnecessary risk to expose your son to a woman’s barely-there body, and providing him with the opportunity to fall into the sin of lust. Why put temptation there when it is not needed? Temptation should come through run-in encounters with other people not fully understanding God’s love for them and His purpose for our bodies, not by inviting it into our homes where it can hang boldly upon the wall.

    Of course, these our my thoughts and what my Catholic Faith has taught me, and I would like to see your reasoning

  8. So, one final question: if you are okay with your sons masturbating over nude women online, do you find it acceptable for them to find videos of a nude woman masturbating or otherwise playing with herself provocatively as they would be appreciating the feminine form and taking delight in it, as seemingly your stance by this post?

  9. One thing worthy of note to recognize is that when one has sexual fantasies of women one is still lusting. Imagining a woman naked is not uplifting her but rather breaking her body down into parts which the MAN COVETS. (Sorry, didn’t know how to do bold type on the iPad.) He is seeing her body for his pleasure, which is denying the dignity owed to her and the respect she commands. That means he his lusting. The desire to see a woman outside of marriage but never act on it is still a sin. Last I checked desire=wanting something=covetousness=lust. I can lust over the desire of wanting to have my friend’s new car: he has it but I imagine driving it instead. My desire outweighs the blessing God gave to my friend, which means I do no have a right to that car, and to imagine I do in a fantasy world is wrong because fantasies appeal to us without any consideration of who we are fantasizing about, even if the woman in the photo seems to be wanting a man to covet her.

    Arousal in and of itself is not a sin: sometimes the natural reaction our bodies n’ brains have to seeing an attractive member of the opposite sex is to go “wow she/he is a beautiful daughter/son of God” or as I like to joke with my female friends when we talk about catcalling, “God done goooooooooood!” Attraction to the opposite sex is good and ordained by our Savior who put that there for us to procreate once we wed.

    Here’s as question for you: would it be okay for someone to masturbate over an image of the Mother of God? Do you think that God wants us to masturbate over women of holiness? By correlation, men are supposed to treat women with respect: how am I respecting someone when I masturbate over her photo? Imagine she’s standing right there in your son’s room: wouldn’t it be wrong if she was there in the flesh and he masturbated? How does a photo of a woman suddenly change her dignity? It reduces her to a sex robot without any soul or conscience to the one who masturbates over her photo, that how.

  10. Will C,

    I admire your passion for God and your passion to be pure as a young man.

    You stated:

    “Of course, these our my thoughts and what my Catholic Faith has taught me, and I would like to see your reasoning”

    While there are some Protestants that would also agree with your reasoning on this let me point out the big difference, I have with those Protestant brothers and also the teachings of your Catholic faith. The beliefs you have expounded upon here on lust and sexuality do not come from the Bible, but they come from human tradition. Some of that tradition is very old while some of it comes from modern feministic teachings that have poisoned most Christian churches today.

    I have written many more articles than the one you found. I have expounded in great detail on the questions you have asked in these articles. So, what I would like you to do is to read the following articles in the order I list them below:


    After you read these articles above you will have seen Scripture passages that you were never taught in your catechism classes. You will see things that conflict with what your church teachers have taught you and what our culture teaches you about sex.

    One of the most important things you will find out it is what lust and purity actually are. You believe you are pursuing purity and avoiding lust and those are admirable goals. But if you don’t know what lust actually is, and what purity actually looks like (especially in the sexual realm) you will not reach these admirable goals.

    After reading these articles if you have questions based on what I wrote please feel to send follow up questions.

  11. I’m trying to keep this message brief, I’ll return with a more in-depth comment tonight.

    Okay, so two things:

    1) Are you saying you would be comfortable with your son masturbating to a dancing nude woman displaying her “goods”? Doesn’t the Bible say something about nudity reserved for man and wife and not for the public eye? (Again, right now I don’t have a lot of time, nor do I have my Bible in front of me so I don’t recall the exact verse.)

    2) I have an attractive, wonderful, God-fearing girlfriend. Her sex appeal, however, has never been my main attraction to her as I see her first as my best friend and companion. To say that all men see their wives (or girlfriends) as sex objects in not true; I speak from personal experience.

  12. Okay, I have read your stuff on mastrubation and seeing women as sex objects. So what I glean from what you’re saying in those posts is that it is not bad to see someone nude and sexually attractive because that is their purpose? I’m a little confused but I think I understand where you’re coming from: “the woman unclothed herself, so it’s not bad for my son to mastrubate over her nude form because she made that choice and her feelings are irrelavent because, again, she made that choice.”

    Is that what you’re saying? Again, I’m trying to understand what the message is behind in all of this, especially since the porn article seemed directed at married adults.

  13. Also, the Tradition of the Catholic Church stems from the Bible, believe it or not. For example, the priesthood stems from Jesus instituting and laying the groundwork for the modern priesthood today. Indeed, Jesus’s final command to the Apostles was to “go forth and preach to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” (I don’t have my Bible in front of me, so I don’t know the exact wording of that passage)
    The Bible has many clues that point to the institution of the priesthood, but I don’t have the time nor knowledge of more skilled people than I concerning those topics, so I can’t cover them fully. If you would like me to link you to some articles in support of Catholic Tradition, I’d be happy to do so.

  14. Will,

    Ok will I glad you at least read the articles and trying to understand the points. So I will try to help clarify some things for you.

    Critical to this discussion is you must understand the Biblical definition of lust which is very different than our modern definition of lust. I am going to give you a logical train to follow.

    1. In Matthew 5:28 Christ said “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

    2. So Christ was not saying it was a sin for a man to simply look on a woman, but it was a sin for a man to look on “to lust after her”.

    3. So what did he mean by “lust after her”?

    4. In Romans 7:7 the Apostle Paul gave us God’s definition of lust when he wrote “for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

    5. So Paul has told us what lust is, to look on a woman to lust after her, is to covet a woman. So what is does it mean to covet a woman?

    6. To find the definition of covetousness we must turn to the 10th commandment in Exodus 20:17:
    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife,
    nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass,
    nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

    7. So what is covetousness according to the 10th commandment? Is covetousness to find your neighbor’s house desirable? No. Is it covetousness to find your neighbor’s ox or donkey desirable? No. In fact you could find these things so desirable that you offer to pay him to buy them from him and there would be no sin and no covetousness involved. But what if you know your neighbor is going on a journey and he will lock his house up while he is gone and you are thinking about sneaking into his house and living there while he is gone? Even if you did not actually do this, even the thought would be sin. It is the same way with his wife, you could find his wife very sexually desirable, but the moment you begin to think of how you could seduce his wife into having sex with you while he is gone – now you have entered the realm of covetousness. Covetousness is NOT finding something or someone desirable or even fantasizing about the use of that someone or something – covetousness is what directly precedes theft. Covetousness is the desire to unlawfully possess or use someone or something.

    8. So now we can return back to Matthew 5:28 – when Jesus said it was a sin for a man to look on a woman “to lust after her” he was saying it was a sin to look on her with covetousness, in other words the desire to unlawfully possess her or use her. No man ever committed adultery with a woman without first mapping out in his mind how he would seduce such a woman into bed with him. This is what Christ was addressing.

    But the churches(both Catholic and Protestant and Orthodox) for centuries have made a definition of lust that the Bible did not. They have said Christ was condemning sexual desire. Look at the writings of Clement and Augustine to confirm this. This is why the church condemns male sexuality which is so physically based. This is what you my friend, have been conditioned with your whole life. To condemn your physically based sexual nature. Our modern feminist culture has teamed up with the church today to unilaterally condemn male sexuality. They teach young men such as yourself that you need to view sex only from a relational perspective, much like most women do. You have been conditioned to say you value women as companions and friends and not as sex objects.

    They have taught you a false paradigm. That false paradigm is that you can only see women as friends and companions or as sex objects but not both. That my friend is a LIE.

    You can see a woman as friend, companion and sex object all at the same time. Or you can see a woman as only a friend or companion or only a sex object.

    The Scriptures tell us my friend that God made women for companionship and SEX. The Apostle Paul when preaching against homosexuality built his case on the fact that God created woman, not man, for man’s sexual use:

    “26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly,
    and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
    Romans 1:26-27

    So when I say it is ok for men to view women as objects to be used for sexual pleasure I am basing this on the very Word of God. In the Old Testament God elaborates on this:

    “15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
    16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
    17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
    18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
    19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
    Proverbs 5:15-19

    So the context here from Proverbs is about men not running with whores. God tells men do not let whores control you and use you. Instead drink from the sexual well, the pleasurable well that is your wife. The word picture in verse 19 is of man literally “drinking his fill” of the pleasures of his wife’s body and being intoxicated by it.

    Now to this you may say “Well that is in marriage and for married adults and not for unmarried people”. But that again would be untrue. Sexual relations between a man and woman are strictly reserved for marriage as Hebrews 13:4 clearly states.

    But there is a difference between sexual relations and our sexuality itself.

    Our sexuality as men is the ultimate driver toward marriage event though today they teach you poor young men to lie to yourselves and say it is not. This is by the design of God. And that sexuality does not have an “off switch”. Instead if must be channeled properly before marriage. That is why I absolutely encourage men to exercise their sexual fantasies before marriage through masturbation. Otherwise you are leaving open the door to temptation. You may think you are fine and are trying to do the right thing. But many men before you have fallen with such thoughts.

    Did you know the Bible even regulates the clean up of semen emissions from men without women present?(that means they had a wet dream or masturbated):

    “16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
    17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
    18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
    19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
    20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.”
    Leviticus 15:16-20

    So this passage speaks of three things which are NOT sin, but simply made someone ceremonially unclean and they had to go through a cleaning process afterwards.

    1. A man has emission of semen by himself.

    2. A man has emission of semen from having sex with a woman.

    3. A man has sex with a woman and she has her period.

    Later on in the passage it speaks to the woman’s period whether he touched her or not.

    None of these things are viewed as sinful. But rather normal human functions and they simply had to do proper cleaning afterwards.

    My point is that masturbation(as you know from the article you read that I wrote) is never condemned in and of itself in the Bible. In fact God even prescribed the ceremonial cleaning for after masturbation or nocturnal emissions take place. The sin Onan committed was NOT simply masturbating, but rather defrauding his brother’s wife what was owed her and he literally pulled out during sex.

    And one of the very important points I was trying to get across in many of my articles, especially on imagery is that there is a HUGE difference between an image and an actual person.
    Images are dots on a screen or ink on page. It would be no different that if a man carved a beautiful sculpture of a woman as they did in Biblical times or painted an erotic painting of a couple having sex as they did in Biblical times. It is an image, not the person. A lot of people have trouble with the concept but it is much simpler when you step back and realize the truth of what I am saying.

    I guessing if you are like my teen sons, you like video games. If you like to play war Games like Call of Duty and you go around killing characters in those games is that the same as if you committed murder? Of course not! And in a way video games are similar to porn. They help you as a man to exercise through fantasy, your God given male aggression and your desire to do battle and fight. They help you to do this in a safe way within the bounds of God’s law. In the same way sexual fantasy, whether it is just a thought in your head, or based on an image in front of you and then you masturbating is the same as you playing that Xbox Game. The only difference is instead of exercising your God given aggression in a healthy and safe way within the bounds of his law, you are instead exercising your God given sexuality in a healthy and safe way within the bounds of his law.

    I hope this helps to clarify what you have read in my articles.

  15. Will,

    Your Statement:

    “Also, the Tradition of the Catholic Church stems from the Bible, believe it or not. For example, the priesthood stems from Jesus instituting and laying the groundwork for the modern priesthood today. Indeed, Jesus’s final command to the Apostles was to “go forth and preach to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” (I don’t have my Bible in front of me, so I don’t know the exact wording of that passage)
    The Bible has many clues that point to the institution of the priesthood, but I don’t have the time nor knowledge of more skilled people than I concerning those topics, so I can’t cover them fully. If you would like me to link you to some articles in support of Catholic Tradition, I’d be happy to do so.”

    I am more than well versed in the doctrines and history of the Catholic Church. Let’s keep this discussion about what we think God’s view of sexuality is. We will agree to disagree on our sources for truth in this discussion. You asked for my reasoning and where I get my beliefs so that is what I am showing you. I am well aware that what I am saying goes against the tradition of the Catholic church – if that is your source of authority I will never convince you otherwise. But I am just sharing with you what my source of truth on these matters is.

  16. Sexual pessimism and hatred of pleasure entered Christian thinking with Augustine and others in the late 4th century. Christ called us Christians to live a moral, human life, not an ascetic life. For some Christians, masturbation for young, unmarried persons is a terrible offense, transgression, and sin that damns one to Hell for all eternity. For others, it is not a terrible transgression. It is hard top believe that God will damn a person to hell forever and ever over this kind of activity. Let us not forget that God is sovereign, not a priesthood.

  17. Thank you for for your kind and informative responses! I’m still grappling with this issue, but I would like to ask you one more question (and thank you for putting up with me thus far):

    Would you be comfortable for your son to masturbate to a provocative nude women in suggestive poses or dancing with everything that God has given her in full display? For you said that it is not wrong to objectify women and instead appreciate her body, and that when she puts herself on display there is no sin in being sexually aroused by, having sexual thoughts for, or masturbating to her nude form.

  18. Is it the sexual arousal that troubles you, Will? Sexual arousal can occur during the teenage years without any external stimuli due to the “raging hormones” in those years.

    Sadly, the meaning of the term lust has been bastardized over the centuries in Christianity. What Jesus condemned when He condemned lust was lust in its more narrow, true sense. Such lust involves covetousness and left unchecked can drive a person to committing sexual sin (as in fornication, adultery, or even sexual assault and/or rape).

    Do not burden yourself with needless guilt and anxiety over this. The true purpose of sexual morality is not to desexualize us, but rather to get us to confine our sexual activity within marriage. The commandments protect us from our all too human tendencies to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Sex outside of marriage undermines marriages, and by extension, families. Sexual morality is needed to promote and protect marriage, and by extension, protect families. We need strong marriages for stable families (for successful child rearing). The Catholic Church can only think of sex in a binary: it is either for making babies, or it is for selfish pleasure. The Catholic Church never speaks about the emotional intimacy and emotional bonding that comes about through a mutually fulfilling sex life within marriage for the spouses.

    I am not the owner of this blog, although coincidentally I have the same first name. But, I will answer your question. Yes, I would be okay with my teenage son masturbating after having seen some erotic pictures as a means of releasing his pent up sexual tension periodically. We do not allow teenagers to get married as we did back in the Middle Ages. Back then, and even today in agrarian societies, young people often married by age 16 or so. In the world of 2018 in the USA, we have children experiencing and passing through physical sexual maturation (puberty) at very early ages now (much earlier than our grand parents and great grand parents did), at the same time, due to how we have organized our economy and our educational system, most young people cannot marry until their early 20s or even later. Yet, the Churches remain rigid and inflexible on many trivial issues. The moral of the story here is that it would be better for a young, unmarried person to masturbate than to be so sexually would up that he or she might be more vulnerable to engaging in fornication.

    That is all I can say. It is good that you are thinking these things through.

  19. Will,

    Ok now that you have read more of my articles besides this one and understand more of what I am talking about I can answer this question for you:

    “Would you be comfortable for your son to masturbate to a provocative nude women in suggestive poses or dancing with everything that God has given her in full display? For you said that it is not wrong to objectify women and instead appreciate her body, and that when she puts herself on display there is no sin in being sexually aroused by, having sexual thoughts for, or masturbating to her nude form.”

    1. Could my son masturbate to actual live nude women or live women dancing in front of him like at a strip club or some other such place – even if he never actually touched them? Absolutely NOT! This is a form of sexual relations even if he does not touch them. Sexual relations can occur between any two living beings, even without touching.
    2. Now lets go back 2000 years ago and pretend my son lived back then – so he is a horny teenager and sees buys a small sculpture of a naked woman at the market. He goes home and privately masturbates to that image. Or maybe he sees a beautiful girl in the market, takes a mental snap shot and masturbates to the thought of her later. Now fast forward to 2018 and my son finds an image of a naked woman online or a movie of a woman dancing sexually and masturbates to these images. Would I be comfortable with all these situations? You bet!

    What is the big difference between situation 1 and and the several situations I put in section 2? One involves two or more live human beings sexually relating to one another in one fashion or another. The second involves one person and an image – which is not alive. Therefore it cannot constitute sexual relations, therefore it is not sin. Because God only condemns sexual relations between living beings outside of marriage, not someone enjoying their sexuality through fantasy and masturbation outside of marriage.

    Let me know if those concepts are still not clear for you.

  20. Will,

    Its more than “just don’t see him in person”. It is about relating to a person, rather than just image(whether you imagine it your head or see it on screen). How many ways can we relate to other people today? Through phones, text messages, web cams…ect. You are not allowed by God to sexually relate, i.e. have sexual relations with any person you are not married to.

    So you could technically have sexual relations with a girl half-way across the country by engaging in phone sex or web cam sex. Many people do this and this when outside of marriage is just as wrong as if they were in each other’s arms in a bed.

    It is impossible for you to have sexual relations with an inanimate object, a non-living thing. You can no more have sex with an image of a naked woman than you can with a door knob. However you can have sexual relations with a woman on the other end of the phone or on the other end of a web cam.

    But are all images, are all thoughts(imaginations) ok? The answer is NO.

    Our sexual thoughts and those images or sights we allow ourselves to enjoy should be in keeping with God’s design. That would mean for instance, that thoughts of male on male sex, or multiple men sharing one woman, bestiality, incest, pedophilia and rape are are wrong. We cannot and should not dwell on thoughts or take in images that glorify these things. We should not dwell on or take in imagery with orgies and things like wife swapping. All of these things violate God’s design of sexual relations.

    So no – we cannot take in everything on pornhub or other sites. If it is simply man and woman having sex – then we are designed to think of these things and take pleasure from them.

  21. Okay, so is it okay for gay people to act on their gay tendencies? Aren’t they just helping each other pleasure themselves? Sure, the Bible says it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man, but what if they do it sitting up? Taking that further, is it a sin then to have a sleepover? That’s what the Bible says, taken literally, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  22. Quick little bump to see if you read my previous comment. Not trying to be rude, just didn’t know if you saw it or not.
    Also, some counter arguments to what you’re saying in this article. I’d like to get to hear what you say about them:
    And a last little note: Why is okay to compare women to slabs of meat? You compared them to hamburgers at a friend’s cookout. Why is this not seen as sinful to you? After all, it is okay to want to eat the meat given to you at your friend’s cookout because that meat has no soul. It is an inanimate object. Theologically speaking, there are three “tiers” so to speak, of souls. It is rather easy to determine that a steak has no soul, while a woman does. That indicates that she is owed a due level of respect higher than that of a hamburger, for her soul determines her humanity. Therefor, to say that she is comparable to a steak means that you are equivating women of being less than human. After all, a steak is not human, and comparing a woman to a steak indicates that you see woman as somehow “less than human.” When using another for your sexual gratification (through mastrubation by thinking about that woman you saw back at Wal-Mart) that inherently disavows any respect you have for woman.You see her as a piece of meat on a rack – an object for your selfish gratification.

    Now, I distinguish “sexual arousal” from “sexual pleasure.” When I say sexual pleasure, I mean getting any gratification

    I aso re-examined your post on mastrubation. If God gave man genitalia to “be fruitful and multiply,” then using His tools for anything less than the marital act is an irresponsible and unacceptable use of His gift.

  23. I was unable to finish my previous comment, so that’s an oof.

    As I was saying, I distinguish sexual arousal from sexual pleasure. Sexual arousal is saying to yourself, “wow, she’s a beautiful daughter of God.” Sure, there’ll be hormones thrown in there, and maybe the male body will, um, react, to the woman’s physical form, but he keeps in line with treating the woman with respect and doesn’t let her body lead his heart and mind astray.

    Sexual pleasure, however, is a different beast. If a man sees a woman and all he can see is her gifts given to her by God, then he is not truly understanding that it is God’s Will for man to respect and cherish women. If he goes home and mastrubates to her body, or to the image of a model on his wall, then he is not honoring God. How come? God puts challenges in our path. It is the walk of those called to follow Christ. Practicing a little self-restraint helps one respect and cherish one’s body and the bodies of others. Seriously. It isn’t a “need” to mastrubate. I have avoided that sin for nearly 2 years now. Am I a depraved, woman-hungry, crazed person because I have no sexual outlet? No, and in fact it helps me cherish my friends who are girls even more, because I see them as more than breasts and butts. Those women who expose themselves for media publicity (for example, Kate Upton’s infamous “Cat Daddy” dance) make that choice. They are exercising their free will endowed to them by their Creator. and you can exercise your free will by choosing not to fall to your baser, fallen tendencies but to rather be the man God has called you to be. (Please Note: When I mention “you” in the writing of this comment, I am not specifically addressing the author of this blog, but the reader of this comment.)

  24. Will C.

    Your Question:

    “Okay, so is it okay for gay people to act on their gay tendencies? Aren’t they just helping each other pleasure themselves? Sure, the Bible says it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man, but what if they do it sitting up? Taking that further, is it a sin then to have a sleepover? That’s what the Bible says, taken literally, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.”

    Sorry this question got lost in my shuffle of comments. Your attempt to attack a literal view of Scripture is absurd to say the least. We know from the Scriptures based on the context of a word what it means – the Bible uses many figures of speech for for different things including sex. In the Bible when it refers to a person laying with someone it refers to sex. I can’t make it any simpler for you than that and I am not trying to mean. If you can’t understand that I can’t help you.

  25. @Will, you are Catholic. Thus, as a Catholic, you MUST uphold the Catholic Church’s teachings on modesty, lust, sexuality, masturbation, etc. That is part of the commitment you made when you were confirmed and took first communion. Arguing with BGR here doesn’t change that. You made a commitment to Holy Mother Church and therefore nothing BGR says here can change what you vowed to follow.

    I disagree with BGR here, too. I disagree on his views on pornography and his views on polygamy, but he is insightful and wise in many areas. You’ll not change his mind, but you don’t have to. You made your commitment, you plan to uphold it, and God will honor that.

  26. Will C.

    As to your concern about me comparing women to hamburgers. Are you not aware that the Bible compares women to horses:

    “I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.”
    Song of Solomon 1:9

    And in the following passage the Bible compares a woman to a well of water from a which man is encouraged to liberally drink:
    “15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
    16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
    17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
    18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
    19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
    Proverbs 5:19 (KJV)

    So if it is disrespectful to compare a woman to a hamburger then it must be equally disrespectful to compare a woman to a horse, a deer or well of water right?

    The answer is it is not wrong to compare a woman or a man for that matter to these not human things. We can use comparisons of people to non-human things to teach Biblical principles.

    Also a little tidbit you might not know about women and respect. While the Bible calls for both fear(respect, reverence) and honor toward God, Kings, governors and husbands it never calls for respect or reverence toward women. It calls for honor toward women as wives, sisters, mothers or elder women in the Lord:

    “1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
    2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
    3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.”
    1 Timothy 5:1-3 (KJV)

    So lets talk about honoring a woman. It is dishonorable to see a woman a well of water with that water representing potential sexual pleasure? Absolutely not. And it very much explains why men are aroused when they beautiful women. This is by the design of God. So my comparison of a man getting aroused by a hamburger on a grill to that of a woman is no different that a man getting thirsty when he sees a well of water.

    Lastly – I know a lot of Christian Churches including the Catholic Church teach that it is wrong to ever use another person for anything, especially for pleasure. But again the Scriptures do not support this. It is no more selfish for a man to desire to use a woman’s body for sexual pleasure than it is for him to desire to drink a glass of water – the Scriptures show us that.

    What is selfish is when a person only things of the own desires, and not the desires of others as well. So could a man possibly be selfish in a certain situation in trying to have sex with his wife? Yes. If she were ill or just had a baby that would be selfish. But if she is well and he simply wants to enjoy the pleasure of her body he may drink liberally from the sexual well that is his wife.

    And you know what else is selfish? When a woman tells her husband no to sex simply because she does not feel like it and there is not underlying medical or serious condition that would stop it. That my friend is selfishness as well.

    So yes let us give proper honor as is fitting to women. But if God compares women to horses, deers and water in the Bible I do not feel it is dishonorable to compare them to hamburgers.

    Now does this mean a woman is less than human? Of course not! No more than God’s comparison of women to non-human things makes them less than human.

    You made this assertion:

    “When using another for your sexual gratification (through mastrubation by thinking about that woman you saw back at Wal-Mart) that inherently disavows any respect you have for woman.You see her as a piece of meat on a rack – an object for your selfish gratification.”

    The problem with your assertion is that the Bible directly contradicts it. The passage I have just shown you here from Proverbs 5:15-19 commands men to see their women as wells of sexual pleasure from which to drink. Now the only well from which they may actually drink(i.e. have actual sexual relations with) is their wife.

  27. I just read livingblurredlines comment after I posted my reply. I agree 100% with her that since I use the Scripture alone as my source of truth and you use the Catholic Church’s teachings and interpretations of the Bible as your source of truth we will never agree on this issue. We have to have the same basis of truth to truly have a discussion on this issue.

    I will leave it at that.

  28. Thank you. I’d like to continue this conversation further, but unfortunately I fear that it would only lead to a back-and-forth discussion, when these things can really resolved in person. Thank you for your time and God Bless you and keep you in His comfort always.

  29. Of course, with 30,000 or so denominations at present within Christendom, it does make one wonder. Is it even possible that BGR and the Catholic Church could be in error on some issues. It seems every Christian is so very convinced that his or her interpretations and conclusions are correct, and most or all others’ interpretations are incorrect, thus the 30,000 denominations. I only present the reality of the dilemma here.

    It seems that folks can shop around for what suits them. If you are pro-life go here, if you are pro-abortion go there, etc. . . . And, you can still claim to Christian.

  30. @larryzb, while I take your point about shopping around, it can be a good thing sometimes. I am Roman Catholic, but I find a lot of Truth in Baptist teachings that my church shies away from due to societal pressure. So I find I get more spiritual help that way. I don’t ignore the parts of Catholicism I don’t like, but I do get biblical truths from sites like this one, which is not Catholic.

  31. @ Alice:

    Perhaps what I was trying to say is that it seems that nowadays Christianity is what you make it as Christians do not speak in unity and agreement on the major moral issues of our times.

    I am Catholic also, but do not accept the rigid and extreme sexual pessimism that entered the Church’s thinking and then its teachings back in the late 4th century (from ancient pagan schools of thought). Christ (in the Gospel) calls us to live moral, human lives, not ascetic lives of complete renunciation of our sexuality. When Christ condemned lusting in the heart, He was not condemning all things sexual. I fully agree and urge others to govern their religious fervor with reason.

    Sorry, BGR, if we have gotten off topic here. Let us not try to de-sexuaiize our sons; their natural masculinity is already under constant attack in our toxic culture. If your son is having normal and natural heterosexual thoughts, be thankful for that, and do not guilt trip him over it.

  32. @larryzb, I agree with you. In the US, at least, society seems to be working so hard at emasculating our men that those of who follow the Word should do all we can to counter it. I don’t mind if I’m out with my husband and he notices a pretty woman. We’ve been married 25 years and while I’ve kept myself in shape and as attractive as possible, I’m no 22 yo. Appreciating another woman’s beauty does not mean my husband loves or desires me less, it simply means he’s a healthy man. Same for my sons, their father has taught them the difference between looking and gawking and I do not see the sin.

  33. @ Will C.

    When (St.) Augustine (356 – 430) converted to Christianity in the late 4th century, he did not leave all of the thinking of the ancient pagan schools of thought that he was quite familiar with (Manichean, Gnostic, and Stoic) behind. As well, when (St.) Jerome translated the Bible from the Greek into the Latin (the Vulgate, circa 383 A.D.), he performed some selective editing of some of the Bible verses on sex in marriage (all this has been noted in some books by researchers in the past 30 years). My point is that Catholic teaching on marriage and sex within marriage, and sex in general, has been influenced by other, non-Christian sources. The hatred of pleasure and the sexual pessimism that we can see in some of the Church’s positions comes from these ancient pagan schools of thought, and from Augustine’s personal bitterness (his mother, (St.) Monica, had broken up a long relationship that Augustine had had with his concubine).

    Will, we can agree that there is a need for sexual morality, but, the Catholic Church seems to have a different idea of what the true purpose of sexual morality is. The true purpose is not to try to desexualize married people as much as is possible given their married state. That may be a slight exaggeration, but, official church teaching is that the primary purpose of marriage is the begetting and rearing of children. Any concerns for the relationship between the spouses is a very distant secondary concern that is barely mentioned in many church documents on marriage over the centuries. The true purpose of sexual morality is to move people to confine their sexual relations within their marriage so as to promote and protect marriages and by extension, promote and protect the family unit.

  34. Just curious, what’s your source, larry?
    Also, how can one be Catholic if one rejects parts of Catholic teaching? Isn’t that basically picking and choosing what you like but still calling yourself Catholic? I’m a little confused on that.

  35. @ Will C.

    I can give you one well documented and well researched source (for reference and/or for reading) authored by a Catholic, but I do not want to cause you any stress as to your Catholic faith here.

    Will, you are correct as to we Catholics cannot be “cafetaria” Catholics as if the Church’s teachings are like a food buffet where one picks and chooses what one likes and leaves or avoids what one does not like. That is a very serious problem for me, and has led to my estrangement from the Church. There is the Catholic faith which is a beautiful thing, and then there are some very problematic Church teachings. I quite understand and agree with most of the Church’s teaching on morals, those which are on solid ground. That said, I note that there are some teachings that are not on solid ground given the current state of scientific and medical knowledge, the collective experience of mankind, logic and reason. Perhaps, Will, it may be better if you do not look too hard at these issues at this time in your life.

    Before I close my comment, the current pope, Francis, is acting like a tyrant as he attempts to change Church teaching by fiat and personal edict (as he recently, last summer, did with regards to capital punishment, and his attempts to change Church teaching on receiving Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics via these synods he keeps holding at the Vatican each autumn).

  36. No, please do show me the source. It is better for me to figure out who I am and what I stand for now as opposed to later; the building of good habits and the destruction of bad ones can be removed and replaced with wholesome ones now, and the sooner the better.

  37. @larryzb, yes, being a “cafeteria Catholic” is a serious problem for me, as well. The Church has committed so many grievous sins (see the Medicis and their connections to the then popes), that sometimes it is hard to distinguish if the teachings of the Magisterium are truly God-inspired or simply self-serving. It has gotten to the point where my husband, once Catholic, is now agnostic. I’m still Catholic, but I cannot deny that the Holy Mother Church has failed us in so many ways. On the other hand, the Lord never promised us a perfect Church, any more than a man can expect a perfect wife.

    So, I guess I am a “cafeteria Catholic”, which makes me kind of sad.

  38. BGR,

    Thank you. I used to be the jealous woman who felt a stinge of pain everytime my husband was even around an attractive female. Even though I knew he loved me and was attracted to me. I also felt that I wasn’t allowed to show my beauty. When I became a true believer, I even bought myself a ‘modest’ swimsuit. (Even though my husband wanted me to show off my body with a bikini.) This was also back when I only wore long skirts or dresses everyday and got rid of all my shorts. But reading these articles on the difference between lust and arrousal has helped me to understand that it is not wrong to wear those types of things. Even though I still prefer to cover up, I now don’t feel guilty about wearing a bikini. I’ve also allowed my jealousy to motivate me to take better care of myself and not just ‘let myself go’ like I had begun to do in the past.

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