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

WhyIAllowSwimSuits2

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.

Conclusion

WhyIAllowSwimSuits1

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

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Val_%26_Aran_(Women_at_beaches).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Val_%26_Aran_(Women_at_beaches).jpg

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

  1. I can appreciate teaching your sons that women are not to be merely sex symbols but people to be appreciated in their own right – especially as a woman, myself! Please do not misunderstand me. But I find it confusing how letting your son look at a nearly-naked woman on his wall at the age of 14 (I was there too) and not expect him to lust after it. Matthew 5:27-28 says that anyone who so much as looks after another woman lustfully (or a woman at a man) is committing adultery.

    Arousal, attraction, and appreciation of the opposite sex’s form is part of how we were made – however, the Fall messed that up, so it happens at inappropriate times and in unwanted circumstances. Some of it is in fact out of our control (and men have, as I understand, a harder time with this than women). But we can focus on redirecting our thoughts, when they do stray, and our impulses, to God.

    It seems counter-intuitive then to not only allow, but encourage, him to stare at a half-naked women while he’s in his room. Thoughts?

  2. Rachel,
    You raise some good questions. Matthew 5 is talking about sexually coveting another mans wife…covetous thoughts sexually speaking are thoughts of how one can get another to have sex with them outside of marriage…lust in not simply sexual arousal or desire…so as I said in my post, as long as my son is not scheming in his mind about how he can entice a woman to have sex with him outside of marriage..no lust has occurred.

    I know Christians who believe as I think u are saying…that before the fall if man had not sinned a man would never have any sexual desire for a woman before they were married…it is a nice theory. .but not supported from anything I see in the Scriptures.

    If I believed as you do…that sexual desire or arousal occuring before marriage is part of corruption from the fall..then I would agree with u and he would not have the poster. But I dont see the scriptures saying that about the fall..or condemning sexual desire before marriage. ..thanks for your comments

  3. I read your post on your view of lust just now, and spent quite a bit of time thinking out my reply to you and what you have said thusfar.

    First and foremost, I thank you for the calm and evenminded reply. Unfortunately I’ve learned to expect much worse from the internet; it’s good to see Christlike behavior even here.

    Second, however. I did go through a long process of discussing sexual immorality as a whole, from how many times it tempted the Israelites, to how often it’s compared to idolatry (and why), to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter – and from there going into the fact that sexual immorality, as a whole, from beginning to end, is a rather dangerous area to be playing around with grey lines in. But time tempered my reply to something much simpler.

    Our sole purpose in this world, once we become Christians, is to follow the Great Commission and the law of love. We are told to love God with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength. If we are to take out the great Christian theologians of the past and look only at our own experiences, not blindly following humans but pursuing God?

    Excuse me for getting personal for a moment, but I’ve really struggled in my marriage the past few years, both with sexual arousal during sex with my husband and in my emotions wandering to other men. I never did anything with them physically, but in my mind, I did, and our marriage did in fact suffer from it; I did not want anything from my husband. In fact, it took my conversion to Christianity and a decision to try thinking only and solely of my husband (and not do ANYTHING aside from sex with him) that things improved – both sexually and our marriage itself.

    I know that is the case with married people only, but I feel as if it applies. In the end, it came down to not appeasing my wandering heart and what pleasures I could find, but on doing what I thought would please God the most – that is, to save that sort of thinking and enjoyment for my husband and my husband alone. I’ve fallen away from it lately, but I know that I must get back to it, because despite the difficulty, it was entirely beneficial to both of us.

    In the same way, it seems that entertaining the thought of sex, or admiring a body so scantily dressed, becomes less a question of “Well, the Bible doesn’t specifically say this is wrong…” to “Am I pursuing what I want or am I pursuing God?”

    So what are you doing, really? Trying to defend what the world says and what your desires are, or trying to do what God says? He never said our path was easy. How does entertaining lustful thoughts of another woman please God? How does imagining sex, or a woman’s body, no matter if she’s married or not, lead us to acting in a Christ-like manner?

  4. Rachel,

    I agree wholeheartedly with you that the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments consistently preaches against sexual immorality.

    But you have to define what sexual immorality is – it is when we think(lust) or do(commit whoredom or adultery). Lust is not the same as sexual arousal, yes sexual arousal can lead to lust, but they are not one and the same.

    So when God and his prophets railed against sexual immorality, they were telling people – “do not have sex out side of marriage(whoredom) and do not have sex with another man’s wife(adultery)” in fact do not even entertain thoughts of trying to get a woman to sleep with you outside of marriage(lust).

    I do not care what the world says, the world says go ahead and have sex before your married, it is no big deal when the Bible says it is clearly condemned and is contrary to God’s design.

    Let me address your question of “am I pursuing God” and “how does imagining sex or a woman’s body…lead us to acting in a Christ-like manner?”

    The answer is the same as having a bowel movement. How does having a bowel movement honor Christ? If I go and have a bowel movement in the middle of my living room in front of my family, that does not honor God. If however I go in the bathroom and have a bowel movement, this honors God because I am using my body in a manner for which it was designed. If I do not allow myself to have bowel movements at all I will die. If only allow myself to have bowel movements once a week I will not die, but it might make me sick.

    You may say what do bowel movements have to do with entertaining thoughts of sex? They have in common that they are both naturally occurring needs in our body. While it is true will not die from not having sex or having orgasms, when we try to suppress our sexual nature it the same as forcing ourselves to be constipated.

    Now some people have very low sex drives, so it might not be as much of big deal for them to try and suppress their sexual arousal or thoughts. Others like yourself and myself and many others have to go to great lengths to suppress our sexual thoughts and arousal.

    You raise the issue that following God is not the easy path, and you are absolutely right. But he does not call on us to add to his law and put of a burden on ourselves – we should not add to his law and we should not take away from his law.

    “20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”
    Colossians 2:20-23(NASB)

    You see some Christians had already begun adding rules to God’s Word, and even adding rules they thought would keep them from sin, they harshly treated their bodies thinking it would make them holier. Paul tells us NOT to listen to these men who would add rules to God’s Word, but simply to follow God’s law as it is.

    I can see this is a truly personal issue for you as it has affected your marriage in the past and I am sorry to hear that. It is one thing if you are actually thinking about how to have sex with other men, that is lust and covetousness. But if all your were was aroused by some man you saw in a movie and you went in to husband no sin has been committed. If however it keeps you from wanting to be with your husband, then I agree it is a problem. In this case you may have to try and suppress your natural sexual thoughts, because it is leading to you in your particular case to not have normal relations with your husband. This is different for each person.

    Please don’t misunderstand me, anything can be abused, including our natural sexuality that God has designed us with. But just because something has the potential for abuse, does not make it wrong. This is the same logic people in many churches use against drinking any alcohol. Since drinking leads some to get drunk, they reason that no one should ever drink then(and that is how we go prohibition).

    I hope this explains my position better to you. I understand you may still not agree.

  5. I also do appreciate the manner in which you approach things.I appreciate the open conversations you have with your boys and if I had it to do over and knowing what I know now I definitely would have communicated differently with now my 18 yr old son. I am going to set up a time for he and I to get away here soon and discuss my ‘change in doctrine’ on these matters. It hurts me to think how he has suffered through these impressionable yrs because of misinformation,not deliberately, but still misinformed.I know God knows my heart and like yourself only want whats best for our boys. He’ll see that things are made right. However, the concern I would have with a poster are 3 things: #1 Focus, what I mean is that at that young impressionable age it’s one thing to discuss & clarify these issues, but not where it can becomes the focus of their life. Yes enjoy the view, but my fear is that it could become obsessive,There is no telling where our sin nature can lead us. A young saved man’s objective should be developing his walk with God through a good personal devotional life and developing academically,and socially.If he lives a normal life, there is plenty of opportunities to enjoy those things,but I don’t think at that age it should be overemphasized

    #2 Maturity. Boys are very immature at this age,but they’re your boys and you know them better than anyone else.except God of course

    #3 Having that on the wall can be a stumbling block to other friend he who he has over.

    Remember,our Christian life is not ultimately about us,It’s about loving God and loving others.I sure wouldn’t want to stand before God someday knowing i was a stumbling block in some way to another believer, or even worse , someone who is not saved.

    Your thoughts

  6. Jeff,

    Excellent points all three. I agree that for every parent and child it will be a different situation. I also agree that sexuality, like eating food, can be abused or obsessed over.

    As Christian parents, it is our job to help our children keep a Godly balance in their life. If I felt the poster was becoming an issue, or an obsession, or I felt it was leading to other wrong behavior I would remove it immediately.

    But this is where I take respectful difference with some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I do not feel that developing a walk with God, and enjoying one’s natural sexuality are mutually exclusive things.

    My son’s and I(as well as my 12 year old daughter and I) have open discussions about all areas of life. They know they can come and ask me questions about anything. Sometimes I will have separate conversations with my sons, and then my daughter if I think the topic warrants a gender separate discussion.

    But my main focus with my son’s is, just because sex is reserved for marriage(which we firmly believe) does not mean they have to suppress their sexuality until they married, it just means they can’t have sex until they are married.

    My son knows the first time he starts disrespecting women in anyway, or if I think he is obsessing over sex, that poster is flying off his wall.

    The stumbling block issue is also an important point you raise. Without going into a lengthy Romans 14 discussion, I believe the Bible teachings on stumbling blocks applies differently than you are thinking.

    Let me try to give you an example of how I apply Romans 14. My wife does not wear bikinis because she does not feel she has the figure for it, but her sister does. But if she did wear bikinis, I would have no problem with her wearing that at the beach or public pool. If someone from church was there that disagreed with bikinis, that is between them and God and they are not judge my wife for that.
    However, if we were to go to beach and invite a family from church, and we knew they had a problem with bikinis, then my wife would not wear one that day out of respect for their belief. So I see the stumbling block teaching as not putting your differences in someone Else’s face.

    It does not mean we all have to have the same standards, so no one get’s offended.

    I also believe that while a woman should not dress like a prostitute or whore(and should dress modest – which means dress appropriate to the occasion) a woman should not have to dress in a way that covers her beauty for fear she will cause men to lust. See my posts on this site about a woman not having to cover her beauty for more on my thoughts about that.

    Thanks for your comments

  7. Thanks for your reply. There is a passage of scripture in 1 Cor. where Paul states that ‘ all things are lawful unto me, but not all things are expedient,but I will not be brought under the power of any’. There is also another passage where Paul state that if he was causing his brother to offend he would not do that particular thing ‘to the end of world’. I think I know what these passages are saying, but I would like your take on them. Thanks

    Jeff

  8. Jeff, thank you for your comments – you mentioned what I meant to reply with next but could not because of my work schedule. I know the verses you’re talking about. The first (all things are allowed, not all are beneficial) is from 1 Cor 6:12-13. The second, about not doing anything that will cause a brother or sister to stumble ever again is also from 1 Cor, 8:1-13, emphasis on 12-13.

    Also, I would like to add that I know the context of the Colossians verses. The church being addressed was dealing with false teachings having them mutilate their bodies, and worship angels, and if I understand correctly, add extra rules regarding nature itself. i.e. worshipping something other than God. Thoughts as to how that relates to the discussion at hand?

    Finally, I’m pretty sure it’s stated in the old and new testament that God would rather have someone’s whole heart than have them stick solely to the letter of the law. (In New testament terms, I believe this applied to the Pharisees, who tried to trip Jesus up with the details and incorrectly interpret scripture to suit their own needs instead of seeing the bigger picture.)

  9. Yes. I firmly believe that if you change the heart- you change the life.Period That’s what our goal should be for our children. We put biblical restrictions on them with the intent that in time they’ll trust Christ and then live for Him.Thanks

  10. One thing that I have finally thought about enough to articulate. The Church is seen as the bridegroom of Christ; we are Christ’s bride. Also, we belong to God, to Jesus (He goes to prepare a room for us in His Father’s house, an ancient Jewish marriage custom). Even if we are to define lust and, therefore, sexual immorality, only to married women as your lust post seemed to imply… would it not be natural to assume that any Christian woman, until she is married to a man, is wholly married to Christ?

    The apostle Paul (again in 1 Corinthians) says that, in the end, unless a man or woman cannot control their desires, it is wholly better for them not to marry. Why? Because it will divide them from their first love and first responsibility, which is serving God. There is a reason sexual immorality and idolatry are considered interconnected ideas in the Bible; it puts another person between any believer and God.

    I cannot convince you. Only the Spirit convicts. But Ephesians tells us not to curse, not to do anything which might so much as lead to sexual immorality. Jesus, in that Matthew verse everyone here is so fond of, tells us that it is better for us to pluck out our eyes than to let them lead us into sin. I see you trying to say that it is okay for you to let your son, who is at the most hormonal and sex-driven point in his life, to have a pin-up created specifically for men to admire in a sexual manner hanging on his wall. Christ says it would be better to pluck out your eye than have it lead to temptation; here you seem to be placing temptation in front of your son – because, no matter how mature he is (and I do not doubt that he is), woman was created to be a weak point for man.

    I am sorry if this seems as if I am judging your parenting; I have no room to, having not been a parent myself. But I know what it is to coach people along in their faith. When I take out the abstract, theological part of Christianity and look at its core: that God created man, that we messed it up, and therefore God (the Word) became man to make a way for us to believe – or, more simply still, that I believe that someone 2000 years ago said he was God, was killed, and then came back to life – I agree wholeheartedly. That is the beauty of the Truth. It is so simple that a child can grasp it, yet its depth leads people, wise people, to spend all of their lives studying it and never see the end of new insight and understanding.

    I do not see this in what you are saying.

  11. Jeff,

    You are correct that Paul expounds upon Christian freedom in 1 Cor 6:12-13, and at the same cautions us about coming under the power of(really becoming addicted to, or obsessed) with anything. As I have had said in multiple comments, just like eating food can become an obsession, or even exercise can become an obsession, even though these are good things, the can be be abused.

    Lets now address 1 Corinthians 8:9-13(NIV)

    “9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”

    Taken by itself this passage would seem to say on face value that a Christian could never eat meat sacrificed to idols. If we then apply this as principle, going beyond the literal eating of meat sacrificed to idols, then this would seem to be saying that a Christian should never exercise their rights, or act on knowledge they have if other people do not have it. This means all Christian standards should be based on the whomever has the strictist standard, for fear of offending a brother or causing them to stumble.

    Do you believe this is the case? If that is the case then our women should wear clothing from head to toe, like the Quakers or the Amish for fear of offending our brothers or causing them to stumble. That also means no Christian should ever drink since some Christians believe it is wrong to drink, or have struggled with alcohol. It also means no Christian should own a firearm, because some Christians are offended by people owning guns. I could go on with multiple examples of different standards Christians have, but you get the point.

    But also 1 Corinthians 8:9-13(NIV) does not exist in a vacuum, but it is part of the Scriptures as a whole. One of the most important rules of Scriptural interpretation is, Scripture interprets Scripture. Lets now look at Romans 14:

    “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand…”

    10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…

    12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

    13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.

    Romans 14 mentions Paul’s “stumbling block” concept again as we see here. But notice here, unlike in 1 Corinthians 8:9-13, he addresses the weaker brother and tells them not to judge the stronger brother for eating meat. He tells the stronger brother not to “have contempt” for the weaker brother not being able to eat meat. Now why would Paul go through all the trouble to tell the weaker brother not to judge his stronger brother for eating meat, if he thought it was always wrong for the stronger brother to eat meat because it would offend(or put a stumbling block to the weaker brother)?

    The answer is that Paul is saying that if my brother is offended by eating my eating meat, then I should purpose not do that in front of him. He is not saying the stronger could never eat meat, or else that makes Christian differences in standards only theoretical, and practically all Christians must have the same standards and he would have no reason to write Romans 14. When Paul said in I Corinthians 8 “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” He was speaking in a hyperbole to make a point about being care of offending other believers. This is why if my church were going to play volleyball at a park in the summer, I would be more conservative as to the types of shorts or shirts I would want my daughter or wife to wear so as not to offend other believers. But that does not mean my wife and daughter must wear the same clothes they wear for a church activity, at all times and all places.

  12. I addressed the first part of your response in my response to Jeff.

    As to Colossians 2 this has everything to do with the discussion at hand. Paul was addressing a false teaching that was spreading across the church, Gnosticism and Asceticism that were spreading across the churches and and come to the Colossian churches.

    Gnosticism taught a form of dualism, that that all matter was inherently evil, and only the spirit was good. They also taught that salvation could only be attained through some mystical higher knowledge. A offshoot of Gnosticism, was Asceticism, and even though Paul railed against Asceticism, many church fathers after the Apostles died fell into this false teaching. Origen, Jerome, Ignatius, John Chrysostom, and Augustine all came to embrace and teach the false doctrines of Christian Asceticism.

    Basically Christian Ascetics believed the body itself was evil(not just the sins committed in the sinful nature) and they felt they to treat there body’s harshly as a result. This is why teachers like Augustine believed sex was necessary evil only for reproduction. It was common in the early church for Christian Ascetics to force their church married church members to make vows of celibacy, except for the purpose of reproduction. They also discouraged taking an pleasure of the flesh, even in eating, teaching Christians should eat only the simplest and dullest foods. This is where the monetarist movement was born.

    Paul lashes out against this Christian Asceticism when he wrote in Colossians 2:

    16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day…
    20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

    Paul is force in combating this teachings which called on Christians to treat their bodies harshly. This would have included telling married couples they had to take vows of celibacy except for the purposes of reproduction. So how does this apply to the discussion at hand? I believe if you or others are teaching young boys that they must suppress their sexuality until they are married, that is in fact “harsh treatment of the body” of the body, and a form of Christian Asceticism which Paul preached against.

    If you teach young boys that it is a mistake, a result of the fall, that they are sexually attracted to girls before they are married that is a form of Christian Asceticism in my opinion. If you teach young boys that is is a part of their sinful nature, not their God given nature as God designed it before the fall, that when they see a beautiful woman’s body and it turns them on or gives them pleasure before they are married – that it is a mistake – that in my view is a form of Christian Asceticism.

    So would respectfully disagree with you, that Colossians 2 has nothing to do with this discussion. It has everything to do with this discussion.

  13. Rachel,

    Yes the Church is seen as the bride of Christ in Scripture. I talk about that all the time in this blog. God designed marriage to represent the relationship between God and man. That is why woman is designed physically weaker than man and the Bible calls her the weaker vessel. Woman’s weakness compared to man, is symbolic of mankind’s weakness compared to God. Yes Paul talks about celibacy and so did Christ. But only a few are called to that life, and are given that special gift to do so.

    God’s design for the vast majority of mankind, is to marry and “be fruitful and multiply” as we are commanded in the book of Genesis.

    I respectfully disagree with your assertion that “woman was created to be a weak point for man”. Woman was designed as a helpmeet for man, she was designed to be his wife and bare his children and guide the home. Her beauty is given her as symbol of the beauty of the church.

    Psalm 45 which is a messianic prophecy of Christ and the Church says this:

    “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him…The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework…”

    Psalm 45:13-14(KJV)

    Just as God desire’s the beauty of his church, so too as symbol of that spiritual relationship, he designed man to naturally desire the beauty of women. That is why men are much more visually oriented then women most of the time. This is not some mistake of the fall – it is by design.

    What the fall caused in man – was sexual covetousness, or what the Bible call’s lust. After the fall a man would not only receive pleasure from seeing a beautiful woman’s body(as he was designed to do), but he also had the sinful capacity to lust after her(think about how he could get her to have sex with him outside of marriage). That was the corruption of the fall.

    You are not telling me anything I have not heard growing up, or even used to believe. I even respect that fact that you have that belief, as I too used to have it. But basically what you are saying is – Godliness and sexuality are mutually exclusive things. In order to be Godly, one must suppress their sexuality, except within the confines of the marriage.

    A man’s sex drive before marriage is not a mistake, it is by the design of God. It is what draws young men to young women. Yes men want women for more than sex, but a man’s sexuality is powerful driving force in his life, both before he is married, and after he is married, and it is nothing to be ashamed of or suppressed, either before marriage, or after marriage.

    You are saying I am leading my son to temptation, I say I am teaching him how not to be tempted to sexually covet, by encouraging him to embrace his masculinity and his sexuality. I teach him it is not a mistake that God gave him sexual desires, and sexual appreciation for the female form years before he could ever marry. The reason is that God wants him to learn to keep himself under control, in all areas of his life, including his sexuality.

    My son loves the Lord, he loves going to Church and he loves studying the Bible with me. He also loves playing xbox and yes he likes girls – as God design him too. He has been taught to channel his sexuality within the bounds of God’s law(which means no sex before marriage, and no thinking how to get a girl to have sex before marriage), but he is not taught to suppress his sexuality as given him by God. Instead he appreciates it, and enjoys as does his brother and so do I.

  14. Rachel,

    I wanted to revisit the first part of your comment here about Christ and the church and women.

    First – the marriage of Christ in and the church is spiritual, and we as a collective whole(the church) are collectively espoused to Christ in marriage and there will be the marriage supper of the lamb in heaven one day in the future. But there is nothing in Scripture to say a single woman, is somehow physically married to Christ before she is married to her earthly husband.

    Also my post did not say lust only applies to married women, adultery only applies to married women, and the men who seek to have them brake their marriage vows to their husband. All other sex outside of marriage, whether by a single or married man, or by single woman is properly classified under the sin of whoredom.

    In I Corinthians when Paul talks about celibacy in marriage, he calls it a “gift” just as Christ did in the Gospels. But just as celibacy is a gift from God, so to is marriage and sexuality, they are simply different gifts. When Paul talks about a person being divided between Christ and their spouse, that is absolutely a possibility as we saw with Lot’s wife, and with Sarah when she led Abraham to take Hagar. Paul was saying, if you are celibate, you never have to worry about being lead astray by your spouse, but you can only be celibate if you have the gift of celibacy, other wise you should marry else you will be brought into temptation to have sex outside of marriage. This is was what Paul was saying.

    You are correct that sexual immorality is often compared and idolatry in the Old and New Testaments. So yes if we worship our spouse, or any other person, or are become obsessed with another person to extent that it causes us to turn against God – that is sin, and it idolatry. But simply liking a girl, or loving a woman and wanting to marry her, or loving your wife are not wrong, God has designed most men and women for this kind of love, unless they have the gift of celibacy.

    Again anything can become wrong if it becomes obsessive, or outside of God’s design. But human sexuality is simply one of the wonderful gifts God has given men and women, both before and after marriage. How our gift of sexuality is exercised before marriage, and after marriage, is definitely different according to God’s design. But never does he call on us to suppress our sexuality until we are married.

    As you said to me, so I say to you. I cannot convince you, only the Holy Spirit of God can. Paul wrote in Romans 14 that whatever is not done in faith is sin. So if you feel it is sin to ever derive pleasure from the site of another man, then need to suppress that part of your sexual nature. If appreciating the site of another man, effects your marriage negatively or causes you to think less of your husband, then you may need to take action in that area.

  15. Scripture says to “flee youthful lusts.” It also says to “flee fornication.” The Proverbs tell us that a beautiful woman without discretion is like a fine gold ring in a pig’s snout. (I think modesty is in contrast to self-agrandizement and extravagance, while discretion would be in contrast to indecency. The verse is about a lot more than indiscrete clothing.) Nakedness is usually portrayed as something shameful except in the context of marriage. Our culture teaches us that it’s okay to undress in a locker room with others of the same sex. God told Moses, however, was told to build an altar without stairs so that his nakedness would not be seen.

    The point of this is to show that there is a Biblical bias against nakedness and indiscretion. Putting up that poster isn’t helping him be a better man just because he’s indulging his /masculine/ youthful lusts. He shouldn’t be ashamed of his sexuality, but this poster’s /purpose/ is to cause arousal for a woman who is A) not his wife B) indiscrete (and shaming herself). It is a purpose that is exacly the opposite of the fleeing that we are exhorted to do in scripture.

  16. Lover of Israel – thanks for you comment.
    I agree completely that the Bible says “flee youthful lusts”(I Timothy 2:22) and “flee fornication”(I Corinthians 6:18). But what are these “lusts” and this “fornication” we are to flee?

    Lusts in the Bible are covetousness(strong desires, planning out in our mind how may attain) for things God has not given us to enjoy. If my son were to be desiring to find that woman on that poster and planning to seduce her into having premarital sex with him – that is lust, an forbidden desire. It is not more a sin for to indulge his masculine appreciation for viewing the opposite sex than it is for him to view his favorite foods on television and get hungry. As long as he realizes that God has given him a beautiful tool, called masturbation, to experience his sexuality before marriage and he does not attempt to seduce a woman into having sex with him before marriage, he has done nothing wrong.

    I agree that nakedness is usually portrayed as something shameful, but if you examine the context of most Biblical discussions of nakedness it has to do with involuntary nakedness(being stripped of your clothes against your will or being seen naked without your consent). King David willingly stripped his clothes and danced before the Lord with all his might, there was no shame in his nakedness, because it was done willingly.

    Yes God told Moses to build an altar without stairs to avoid people seeing the priests nakedness as they walked up it, but that is just like Paul telling women that when they enter the church they needed to wear a “Kata Stola”, literally a full robe, as opposed to the partial clothing they may wear during the week when they working in the fields. God was not telling Moses that nakedness was always a bad thing, except outside of marriage, he was simply setting a certain standard for worship. Very similar to the fact that Priests had different marriage customs than normal Israelites.

    As far as your last point goes it is no more wrong for man to become aroused any woman, than it is for him to become aroused by the smell of his favorite foods as he walks through a restaurant and sees them on other people’s plates. Where the sin of lust enters is, if he not only becomes aroused, but actively plans in his mind how he take that food off someones plate when they go the bathroom, that is by definition lust and covetousness. If he were to actually carrying through with his plan and do it, that would be theft, or in the case of sex it would be a type of fornication(pre-marital sex).

    The scriptures never command us to flee our natural masculinty, or the special visual enjoyment of the female body that God has gifted us with, the scriptures tell us to flee sexual covetousness(which is what sexual lust is).

  17. Thanks for writing this article. It is needed to remind parents that their teenaged children do have a sexuality. Remaining in a state of denial here would be wrong. (Kudos for your courage in addressing this topic.)

    Parents need to engage and converse with and instruct their teenaged children, both sons and daughters, in this area of sexuality. Sex is beautiful within marriage and ought be saved for marriage. There is nothing wrong with appreciating female beauty as long as one does not become obsessed with it and make a false god out of it. Boys need to be told by their fathers that women are more than just their attractive faces and shapely bodies. Males can appreciate feminine beauty without objectifying the beautiful woman.

    In these times of marriage being delayed for many years after physical sexual maturation, adolescents need an outlet for their raging hormones. We do not have teenaged children at home as we are post child rearing. But, if we did have teenaged children, I would rather have them let out their sexual tension via masturbation than by fornication. I know many Christians would be horrified to read these words, but look at all the bad effects of rampant fornication in our society. (Expecting young people to go around day after day and year after year with no release of sexual tension is naive and ignorant.)

  18. Larry – thank you so much for your kind words. You really summarized well what I was trying to communicate. Why would we tell our teens and young adults they can have no sexual release before marriage(through masturbation)? What would we not realize that this was a natural “release valve” that God gave to young people to keep them sexually pure before they marry? It really is simple if you take off the stigma of masturbation and you truly understand what Biblical lust is, and what it is not.

    I think we all know – that if a young man were to masturbate before he goes out with his young girlfriend, it is going to take a lot of sexual pressure off him and he will feel less tempted to try and have premarital sex with her, again a simple biological fact, yet ignored by the vast majority of Christians today.

  19. Jay,

    Thanks for your question.

    I have two rules for my son about posters on his wall:

    1. The woman must have her breasts and pelvic area covered by some type of clothing.
    2. She can NOT be taking an overly sexual pose, like spreading her legs or other such poses.

    So by that standard, the Kate Upton poster you reference, I would not allow my son to have on his wall. Yes she is covering her breasts with her arm, but that is not a piece of clothing.

    However, you are 13, which means you need to follow whatever your parents rules are for this. If they have not given you rules, I still think my two rules above would be good for you to follow and here is why.

    I don’t think the poster you reference from Kate Upton is bad or evil, and you are not wrong for thinking she looks attractive, it is how God has designed you as a man, never ever let anyone make you feel ashamed of that fact.

    But when you put a poster up on your wall, you are in essence displaying that to the world, or anyone who would ever enter your room. It might offend some people and cause issues. That is why I think it is good to go with my two rules above when putting pictures up in your room.

    I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to ask anymore questions you have.

  20. First of all, fantastically written article! My name’s Megan and I’m hoping you can help me out a bit. I’m a single mother and I’m raising a 12 year old boy (Alex). He’s a very well behaved straight-A student. He’s had problems with bullies for a while (something that I’m trying to rectify) but he’s had two close friends – Alicia and Mike -, whom he has known since kindergarten. Tragically, both of them, along with their parents, had passed away in a horrible car accident ten months ago. Alex completely shut down after that and wouldn’t even speak to anyone for two months. The bullying also got worse and his grades began to drop. He began speaking after two months, but he’s been severely depressed. His grades improved a bit but nowhere near straight A’s. Ever since December, I noticed a bit of a change in his mood and behavior. He’s a lot more peppy, he seems happier and he’s getting A’s again. There is one change in his routine though. Before, after coming back from school, he used to do his homework in the study room, have dinner and go to sleep in his bedroom. Ever since dec, he’s been saying that he has some extra assignments that he has to complete and he’s been using the study room for an hour after dinner. At first, I thought nothing of it but I grew suspicious as he seemed overly excited about this extra study time every single day! It’s like it’s almost the driving force for his happiness. But still, I left it alone. Two weeks ago, I needed something in the room and the second that he saw me, he closed the web browser (the only PC in our home is in the study room) and his face was flushed. I asked him what he was looking at and he said homework-related stuff. I began to walk towards the PC and he he began to freak out saying I should trust him and stuff. He got pretty upset and depressed for a few days and didn’t use the study room after dinner. After three days, he began using it again and his uplifted mood and energy returned. Curiosity got the better of me and I installed a recording software on the PC and I found that he visits this page and watches this video on a loop for an hour everyday after dinner! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaqHT4lbhGw

    I don’t know if allowing this to continue is healthy. I also need the study room myself as I work on the PC for my job. I don’t know how to confront the issue. I can’t let him know I had bugged the PC to spy on him as that’ll break his trust. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know about masturbation or anything and I think he’s getting ‘high’ off the endorphin rush of being aroused. He’s confusing that with happiness. I don’t know what to do.

  21. Megan,

    Thanks for writing me about this issue. It sounds like your son as been through a lot. I don’t think your son looking at the video(I checked it out), or anything like that is bad. That is normal teenage boy behavior. He has discovered the gift of sexuality that God has given to him. Now he simply needs to channel that gift to be exercised within the bounds of God’s law.

    There is a difference between addictive behavior, and things that just help us reduce our stress. Some people look forward to their cup of their favorite coffee each morning to start the day, and they look forward to not only the taste, but the caffeine rush it gives them that gets them ready for the day. This same person might look forward to their nighttime tea, that helps calm them from their day and helps get them ready for bed.

    Looking at that Kate Upton video, or other beautiful women helps your son to forget about the stresses of his day. One of the purposes of the gift of sexuality is indeed stress relief. Some would say this is an unhealthy way to relieve stress, by looking at beautiful women and getting the dopamine rush(that’s the chemical in the brain that releases when he sees these images). But I ask why?

    If he went to a psychiatrist, and they prescribe some “uppers” for him, that essentially did the same thing – what would be the difference? But instead of him using something artificial, he is using a natural means that God has equipped him with.

    Unfortunately as a single mom, you have to play the role of dad and mom. This means monitoring of your son, and I have no issue with you have a program on your sons computer, this is good parenting to know what he is looking at. As long as what he is looking at does not go into pornography, and as long as he does not become obsessed to the point where he is spending an obsessive amount of time looking at women online I don’t see a problem.

    Pornography simply put, is any picture or movie that depicts immoral sexual behavior(pre-marital sex,group sex, homosexual sex, incest…ect). If he is not looking at any of that, then he is fine.

    But in your role as dad and mom, you need to come along side of him, and tell him it is OK for him to look at beautiful women and have pleasure from that. Too many moms make their son’s feel like perverts when they find what you found, and I am so glad you did not have that reaction with your son. You also need to tell him that while God has given him this gift of sexuality, he has to exercise it within the bounds of God’s law.

    That means no looking at pornography(as defined above).

    That also means no sexual touching with a girl until he is married. But visually, he can appreciate all the pretty girls in his age group or older women as well and there is no sin in that.

    When he looks at women or girls in his school, he needs to be careful of not staring or gawking as that is rude. Tasteful glances are fine, staring is not.

    Letting him know that this is normal and OK for him will go along way to helping him to be the man he needs to be.

    I hope this helps – feel free to comment or email me with any other questions.

    May God be with you as you try to raise your son.

  22. Thanks for the reply! I was just hoping you could shed some light on another problem I have. I have a SI Swimsuit 2014 Magazine and I texted my dad asked him if I could have it and that there was a sale and that I had to buy it quick if I could have it and he just said “okay” I never brought it up again neither did he but I’ve just always have had this nervousness and stress hanging over me since I had the magazine. Maybe cause I don’t think he necessarily knows I have it? I don’t know. He’s fine with the SI Swimsuit Kate Upton poster I have. I have just been really stressed out since I got it.

  23. Jay,

    If he said okay, I would not stress out about it. It may have been a half-hearted okay, but it was still an ok. A lot of parents don’t know how to handle these issues. I would not stress out about it, or bring it up again. Just enjoy the beauty of the women the magazine, and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. God created the beauty of woman for your enjoyment as a man.

    Let me know if you any other questions.

  24. Thank you for the very detailed reply. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I’ll reply to you in a bit more detail this weekend but I wanted to ask you, would you consider this pornographic: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x29gpfs_rosie-jones-push_redband It’s in the same vein as the Upton video but there’s a little bit more nudity. Do you think that crosses the line?
    He’s very well behaved with other girls in real life and due to the bullying, most of his friends are girls.

    Thanks again

  25. Megan,

    No I would not consider this video pornographic. It does not depict immoral sex acts(which is the true definition of pornography). This video is a example of simple nudity.

    Now I would not allow my son’s to have any nudity on their walls of course, because that is publicly viewable, but if they privately looked a video like the one you have here I would not say anything about it, again if they practiced discretion.

  26. Well – be thankful you have a Dad, even if he is stricter than you would like. My dad was stricter on many things than I am, and I am probably stricter in just a few areas than he was. I learned many great things from my Dad, even though I do some things differently. He really inspired me from a young age to search the Scriptures, my Dad’s favorite phrase was “book, chapter verse”. What he meant was – I should have a Scripture for every belief and standard I have in my life.

    We all apply the Scriptures a little differently, but even if our application is a bit different, everything we do and believe should be founded in God’s Word, there is no other foundation for our lives that the Bible.

    Not harping on you though, I know where you are coming from.

  27. Isn’t having a poster counterproductive though? It would lead to the temptation of masturbation instead of studying or doing something else. At the very least, it would lead to a constant state of arousal which isn’t really a good thing.

  28. Megan,

    I have to respectfully disagree with you that a boy having a swimsuit poster on his wall is “counterproductive”. A swimsuit poster allows him to experience the gift of male sexuality(as distinct from female sexuality) that God has given him. Yes everything must be kept in balance, and if there was a problem where my son did not nothing but stay in his room staring at the poster and doing nothing else then I would take it down. But my son is a very active teenager(he actually prefers to be outside doing things most of the time).

    And respectfully – there is no more a “temptation to masturbate”, then there is a “temptation to eat”, unless we are talking overdoing something. The Bible says we can eat too much, and we can do just about anything too much(including masturbation). But the act of masturbation is no more sinful, then the act of eating food is.

    And one other thing to consider, most teenage boys are in almost ” a constant state of arousal” with, without any posters on their walls.

  29. Whenever I wake up I just look at my poster and think about the beautiful woman god had created, and walk out or carry on what I was going to do. I don’t get a “boner” when I wake up or go in my room and see it, and I’m in the core of puberty hormones right now haha!

  30. Megan,

    It is difficult raising teenage children, and I think it is very challenging for a mother to understand a teenage son. The other replies given here are very true. Like it or not, your teenage son is going to need the outlet that masturbation provides. Even though I am in my mid 50s, I can remember when I was a teen 40 years ago. The hormones are so powerful during the mid teens through about the mid 20s for a male that he is in a state of frequent arousal. I would not say constant nor continual arousal, but frequent arousal – daily or multiple times a day – with or without visual stimulation (posters, or seeing the girls at the local swimming pool in their swimsuits). That is the reality. (If there is no outlet, then the boy or youth will have frequent nocturnal emissions. The very active semen producing glands guarantee this.)

    Extremely conservative Christians are wrong to condemn masturbation a priori. In the US, because of not having a year round education system for our children and by having them eat too much food containing growth hormones, our children are faced with many years of sexual hormones before they can marry. Physical sexual maturation occurs too soon for them and the society does not allow for them to be gainfully employed so that they can marry until at least their early 20s. This is a serious societal problem – and it is one that has not been addressed seriously in the US.

    Please do not be shocked at the prospect of frequent masturbation by your teenage son. That is better for him than if he engages in promiscuous sex with girls his age when in high school or college. As to seeking a release of his sexual tension via masturbation interfering with his school work or household chores, there is no need to worry! When a boy periodically releases his sexual tension which is so very distracting to him, he is actually better able to concentrate on school work (both at home and while at school) and other activities. (And, as addressed in another essay on this blog site, masturbation can actually help an unmarried person to preserve his/her sexual purity.)

    Sorry to be so long winded . . . My advice Megan is that you think about this and when you are ready, have a talk with your son. You could tell him that you understand that he has physical tension that requires periodic release. Tell him this is natural for a boy that is growing into manhood. As well, if you do not want to explicitly approve of him masturbating, at least do not try to lay a harmful guilt or shame trip on him over it. (Personally, I would encourage him to masturbate and also tell him that sex with a woman is to be saved for marriage.) Start a dialogue with your son and encourage him to come to you when he has questions about sex. Parents need to take an active role here so that their children do not go down the wrong path at an early age and make life changing mistakes or fall into very bad habits that are both wrong and destructive. It is a toxic society and parents are the only ones children have on their side.

    Perhaps, you could let those who have offered their advice and counsel in their replies know what you do and how it works out. There may be other parents that find this article and are in similar situations. Best wishes for you and for your son.

  31. Jay – its great to hear your opinion as a young man. You are absolutely right, having a poster like that does not mean you have a constant boner all the time, and you can appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. She puts a smile on your face, and a pep in your step, there is no problem.

    Let me just say though, when you do get a boner, there is no sin in that, whether it is random or because you thought of something sexual. My 11 year old(he is not the one with any posters in his room) has an erection for about an hour every morning when he first get’s up and he frequently has random boners(he also has autism, so he developmentally challenged his maturity if of a much younger child). His step mom(my wife) who was not raised with boys is often bothered by him having erections, and I told her he can’t help it. I had to explain to her that teen and preteen boys randomly get these. He has just recently learned about sex, but I don’t think he really understand it yet, his erections probably have little or nothing to do with sexual thoughts.

  32. How does this play out when your son gets married?

    Does he take the bikini poster to his new home and put it up in the bedroom he shares with his bride?

    Does he store it in a tube in the back of a closet for 25 years until his wife and he can afford a larger home with a dedicated man cave and then hang it there?

    I like your blog and I also believe the Bible teaches patriarchy for marriage and society.

  33. Bee,

    I think he stores it in a tube when he get’s married, and perhaps if he were to ever have a man cave some day he could put it back up. I have taught my sons that at the beginning of any relationship with a woman they need to make clear their beliefs that they do not have to be ashamed of their male sexuality, or the fact that God wired them for variety. Their wives will need to understand that while they will make pledges to only have physical relations with their wives, they do not have to be ashamed of the fact that they are drawn to, and may be sexually aroused by the site of other beautiful women.

    But as I have always taught them, they still need to be gentlemen. That means they can “glance” at beautiful women as they go about their daily lives, but not “gawk” in the presence of women, especially their wives. It also means the way you talk about hot girls with your guy friends(say in your man cave), and the way you speak when you are around your wife and other ladies should be very different. There is no hypocrisy in this, as there is a time and season for everything under heaven.

    I am glad you have been blessed my blog.

  34. It’s interesting that you would mention the pledges we make in marriage. My wife and I were at a wedding this past Saturday of a couple who got to exchange their first kiss. We know both the families very well so I don’t doubt this. As I was listening to the vows exchanged as I have in several weddings, I was wondering, when we make a vow before God, he is going to hold us to it. The Bible teaches even in cases ‘to his own hurt’. The vows that are taken include things like ‘ taking her and her alone’ as well as other thing that would at least hint toward things opposite of what is taught on your blog. Could you comment on this.Thanks

  35. @biblicalgenderroles,

    Thanks for answering my questions.

    Your writing has challenged by beliefs regarding bikini posters, lust, arousal, nudity, and masturbation. Right now I am considering your thoughts but need to study and pray about these new, for me, ideas.

    I do agree with what you have written regarding I Corinthians 11 where we learn more about Genesis 1 and that woman is man’s glory and she was made for man. You are the first Christian writer I have come across that discusses this topic. Other Christians avoid this topic like the plague! I believe we need to interpret Genesis on the basis of the new, and later insight we get from I Corinthians 11.

    I also like your level headed emphasis on men’s sexuality. God created man with a visual oriented sex drive and that it is not wrong or dirty. It is not worse or less spiritual than a woman’s sex drive, but it is different.

  36. Jeff,

    It interesting that you bring up the vows in marriage. That is something that I have been studying for some time, and must admit my thoughts on it are not 100% formulated yet. But I will give you were I am at about 80% right now.

    First of all, “to take her and her alone”, even if you felt that was binding, is a pledge of physical monogamous marriage. No where in that pledge is a man making a pledge never to look at another woman, be turned on by the site of another woman, or not look at images of other nude women.

    But then we have to look at the vow itself. There are no recorded marriage vows anywhere in Scripture. The ones we have today are a modern construct. But I am not saying marriage vows are wrong, I am just saying we need to look at them very closely.

    Let’s say for instance that you got married before you were a Christian, or maybe you were a Christian but you did not understand Biblical gender roles. So when you got married, you wrote your own vows to each other. Say you wrote things like “I will always treat you as an equal partner, and compromise with you in all decisions, my top objective will always be to make you feel happy”.

    This type of vow I just mentioned is completely unbiblical when compared with the Scriptures. The top objective of marriage is not happiness, but holiness. Husbands are called in Ephesians 5:26 to make their wives holy. Sometimes that means sacrificing his own happiness, and her own happiness to do what he believes God has called his family to do. It is also unbiblical to vow to your wife that you will be equal partners in the marriage, when in fact God calls you to be the head of your wife and your family. It is unbiblical to vow to your wife that you will compromise with her on all decisions – remembering that the first sin Adam committed was listening to his wife’s bad advice(Genesis 3:17) and Job presents us with a model of rejecting bad advice from a wife when he told his wife she spoke as “a foolish woman”(Job 2:10).

    So after marriage many times a Christian husband might be forced to break some of the vows he made on his wedding day, because they are in fact, sinful.

    So the question then becomes – is it sinful to make a vow of monogamy to your wife?(if it is, then that part of your wedding vows would be null and void). Remember that God has made marriage, man did not. So man’s law’s regarding monogamy are irrelevant.

    Consider this from another aspect, when men are forced to make vows of monogamous marriage, they are often times vowing to something that is contrary to their God given nature. In some cases, where a wife denies her husband, or is to sick or otherwise unable to have sex with her husband, this leads sometimes to a man having sex with other women outside of marriage(the sin of whoring).

    Martin Luther was actually brought this exact situation where a man’s wife was disabled, and unable to have relations with him. He told the man to marry another woman, and that Biblical plural marriage was not wrong. I am sure this man had probably made some vow of monogamy, because that is what the Catholic Church taught.

    So a thought on this would be, if a man’s wife were unavailable for sex due for a variety of reasons(medical, or even her unwillingness to have sex), would it be wrong for him to break a vow of monogamous marriage, which is contrary to mans polygamous design by God, in order to marry another woman and thus avoid fornication(whoring)? I am not ready yet to answer these questions – I am just putting this out there for consideration.

  37. Bee,

    Thank you for your kind words. I have always believed that the New Testament is by far the best commentary there is on the Old Testament. In fact it is the only inerrant commentary of the Old Testament. Even in areas of prophecy, as well as marriage, and a variety of topics, people often come to faulty conclusions because they don’t take the whole counsel of Scripture. We always need to realize that “scripture interprets scripture”, that is a foundational principle for properly understanding God’s Word.

    Another thing I ran into growing up was, this negative view toward the Old Testament, like all we needed was the New Testament as Christians. Sure they might teach on some stories like David and Goliath, or creation or the flood, or teach some Psalms and Proverbs, but for instance on marriage, it was basically understood that we could learn next to nothing about marriage from the Old Testament.

    What I found later in life is, while yes I agree we are no longer bound by theocratic law of the nation of Israel, we can still learn many principles of about marriage in the first five books of the Bible. There is a great deal of theology there. So we have to take both the Old and New Testaments together, with the clearest statements interpreting the less clear statements, and the New Testament being the final authority by which the Old Testament is understood.

  38. If that’s the case, I know many of us that were sinning & lying to our mates right there at the alter. Way to get things started off right…..lol.

  39. I have what I believe to be a legitimate question. If you allow your pubescent child to have a picture of a woman in a bikini is his room and to “appreciate the beauty of women” by having said poster, would it be okay with you for him to masturbate to the poster?

  40. Absolutely it would be fine for him to masturbate to it. Masturbation is a normal outlet that God has given human beings to relive sexual tension either when they are not married, or when they are married and their spouse is not available. I would much rather him do that than have premarital sex with some teenage girl from his school.

    I have written two posts that touch on this subject:
    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2014/05/26/is-sexual-arousal-lust/
    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2014/04/18/what-does-the-bible-say-about-lust/

  41. So in my reading I have discovered a surprising number of articles that extoll the virtues of male masturbation as a means of maintaining sexual purity until marriage, but they condemn female masturbation as “lustful” and “impure” one going so far as to say that it is a sign of sex addiction. Please tell me your thoughts, if your daughter was wanting a picture of Channing Tatum in her room and masturbating to it would you be as accepting as with your son? I am not trying to be inflammatory just seeking answers as this is an issue I have struggled with in my own life.

  42. Deborah,

    I have never in any post said that female masturbation is wrong, or lustful or impure. I would have absolutely have no problem with my daughter having a picture of Channing Tatum in her room and her masturbating to it. Masturbation is a tool given us by God to help keep us pure for marriage.

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