Why does the Church have such a negative view of male sexuality?

Why it ok to condemn male sexuality and call men “pigs”, “dogs”, “shallow” and “base” for their physically oriented sexual nature? Why is the feminine relationally oriented sexual nature upheld as “divine” and the standard to which men should mold themselves?

It is not uncommon for Churches to engage in series on “sexual purity” whether it be from the pulpit or from Sunday school classes or in men’s or women’s conferences.  There is no doubt that God calls us as believers to live righteous, pure and holy lives in conformity with God’s Word.

A big part(but certainly not the only part) of living a pure life is being sexually pure. But what does it mean to live sexually pure from a Biblical perspective?

Below are some common verses that are used to talk about pursing Biblical purity:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. “

Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

Ephesians 5:3-5 (KJV)

Below is an example of how these passages might be explained in the typical church men’s group or class:

“We as Christians know that we are not to engage in sex outside of marriage.  That is a given. But did you know that God also judges your thoughts? Just because you are not having sex with some woman outside of marriage that does not mean you are being sexually pure my friend.  You must be pure in both thought and deed.

Maybe you don’t touch any women or have sex with any women outside of marriage.

But do you look at porn or other inappropriate images? Sure you might not be physically touching any woman but you are committing adultery with those women in those images  in your heart. That is sexual impurity.

Maybe you don’t look at porn or any other images. But when you get together with your guy friends and talk about what body parts you like on various women you are not acting in sexual purity toward God. You are also objectify those women as sex objects and not giving them the respect they are due.

Maybe you don’t ever engage in any of that lewd and sensual talk with other men but you think it on your own.  Even if you don’t say those things to other men – if you think them you are just as guilty of having impure thoughts about those women.”

If you have been in any conservative church’s men’s Sunday school class or youth group for any length of years you will have heard a speech similar to the one I just gave you.

The problem with the above assertions about what sexual purity is this:

These definitions of sexual impurity have absolutely no Biblical foundation whatsoever.

They are what the Apostle Paul refers to in Colossians 22:22 as the commandments and doctrines of men.

At this point we must be honest with what is actually occurring in these condemnations of sexuality.  These teachers are not condemning sexuality in general, but rather they are condemn masculine sexuality which is primarily a physically based sexuality.

Who are the one’s who will struggle most with not be able to think about the physical aspects of sex or the body parts of the other opposite sex? Men or women? We know the answer and it is men.

In the Church as well as our feminist society the feminine relational view of sex is upheld as the high and  moral view of sex while the masculine physical view of sex is dismissed as shallow and base.

This attack on the masculine sexual nature is nothing short of textbook misandry(hatred of men or things pertaining men).

But before we get into how Christian men can combat and question these teachings in their local church groups we will first delve a bit into how we got to this antagonistic view toward masculine sexuality in the Church.

What are the roots of the Church’s negative view of masculine sexuality?

Here is a passage that will answer some of your questions and I will explain why:

“20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”

Colossians 2:20-23 (KJV)

I love the KJV but this is one of those passages where old English needs some updating.  Look at the same passage in a modern translation:

“20 If you have died with Christ [a]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 [b]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)

The NASB is actually a very literal translation of the Bible and in this incidence I believe it is actually more literal the KJV and with the modern English really brings out the truth of this passage better.

A key phrase is found verse 23 – “self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body”.  This same phrase is translated as ” Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body” in the HCSB.

So when we put it all together we find this truth.

For thousands of years there have been ascetics in various parts of the world in different religions.  An ascetic is one who tries to deny themselves any kind of physical pleasure.  Often ascetics would take vows of celibacy and they would eat only bland and boring foods as to not excite their taste buds.   Some would avoid all forms of art or beauty as to avoid receiving pleasure through their eyes. The monastic movement was built on the principles of asceticism and this is why men would lock themselves away with other men so they would never see a woman and experience the pleasure of even seeing a woman, let alone touching one.  Eventually there were monasteries for women as well.

While the Apostles were still alive and writing the Scriptures some forms of asceticism had already begun to take root in some Christian churches.  This is what Paul was attempting to combat when he wrote Colossians chapter 2.  Unfortunately after the Apostles died asceticism was no longer contained and it spread throughout the church like wild fire and many early church fathers forgot about Paul’s warnings against it and began to fully embrace it. Because asceticism basically is at war with all earthly pleasure – seeing it as part of the fleshly sin nature – sex became a primary target of ascetic teachings.  Some each church fathers actually had married couples take vows of celibacy to no longer engage in sexual relations except for trying to conceive a child.

For the most part the Catholic church viewed sex as a weakness and necessary evil for producing children.  It was not until the Protestant reformation with writers like John Calvin and Martin Luther that sex was no longer seen as a fleshly but something that God designed for intimacy in marriage. Even the Puritans had a higher view of sex than they are often given credit for.

The reformation restoration of sex as a good thing and a gift from God to marriage was limited in it’s scope. It saw sexuality as good only from a romantic or relational point of view and not from an individual or physical point of view.  In other words the feminine or relational orientation toward sex was uplifted as the high and holy view of sex and the masculine physical view of sex was still depicted as the low, shallow or base view of sex.

This is why the church continued to condemn things like masturbation, viewing sexual imagery(and yes they had it the form of drawings) and oral sex.

So the point in all this is – sex as men approach it from a very physical perspective has been condemned by the church in various forms since just after the Apostles died.  Even when things got better in the reformation it was still looked at more from a feminine and romantic perspective and the masculine perspective of sex continued to be condemned by even Protestant churches.

These roots are the foundation for why conservative churches approach the purity argument the way they do.  They are approaching sex from an ascetic and romantic approach and they dismiss the erotic(physical) side of sex as part of the sinful nature.  This is why women find much more comfort in the churches view of sex because they see sex primarily form a relational aspect and only secondarily from physical aspect.

This is why we get women calling men “dirty”, “pigs” and “dogs” because most(not all) women do not understand the erotic and physical approach to sex which is at the core of male sexuality.

The point is that telling men they cannot take pleasure in sexual thoughts about women, or sexual imagery or seeing beautiful women in front of them is nothing more than “self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body” as Paul wrote and it has absolutely “no value against fleshly indulgence”.  What is “fleshly indulgence”? It is the indulgence of the sinful nature.

If we apply Paul’s principle to our sexuality this the truth of the matter.  We as men are not going to keep ourselves from engaging in pre-marital sex or adultery by trying to not think about sex, not enjoying sexual imagery and not enjoying sexual fantasy or masturbation. In fact I would argue we are more likely to fall into true fornication if we do not exercise our sexuality in healthy ways.

The Bible says:

” There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV)

God makes “a way of escape” for each temptation we face.  God gave us the ability to process our sexual needs through fantasy and masturbation so that when faced with the temptation to have pre-marital sex or sex outside of marriage that we would use these tools as “the way of escape”.  Yet the so many churches deny Christians these tools and by denying them make the temptation for Christians to commit fornication and adultery much greater.

How to address attacks on masculine sexuality in the Church

If you as a Christian man ever hear this speech about Christian men engaging in impure speech in connection with men talking sexually about women here are some questions you should ask the teacher or speaker when they open the room for questions or discussion.

“How do you know that talking about women’s body parts is impure speech? Where does the Bible call such speech by men impure?”

If the teacher responds with Matthew 5:28 that “Well Jesus said that if a man looks with lust on woman then he is committing adultery in his heart”.  Then you can respond with these questions for your teacher about lust.

“But what is lust? Doesn’t the Bible tell us in Romans 7:7 that lust is covetousness? And isn’t covetousness the desire to unlawfully possess something that does not belong to us? Where does the Bible teach that sexual arousal, sexual fantasy or talking about women’s bodies or body parts is lust?”

At this point your teacher’s head will be spinning because unfortunately most Christian teachers simply parrot what they have been taught in their church, college or seminary without ever questioning it or researching it in the Bible for themselves.

I understand that many of these preachers and teachers are good men with good intentions.  They only want to please God with their lives. But because of how they been indoctrinated both by their church as well as our culture they cannot see sexual talk between men as anything less than dirty or impure.

They might for good measure throw one more verse at you to try and support their faulty belief that men sexually ranking women’s bodies is dirty and impure.

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

Job 31:1

There is actually a website called CovenantEyes.com that bases it’s mission on this verse. They and other Christians claim that Job was saying in this verse that he made a covenant with eyes never to think sexually about a woman he was not married to.

The problem is the Scripture doesn’t say that. We agree that men can have wrong thoughts about women.  But we disagree on what constitutes wrong thoughts. So here is how you answer your teacher if he brings up Job’s covenant with his eyes not to think upon a maid:

“Sir should we not be careful of adding to God’s Word? We know that Job was saying he would not think about something about a woman.  What does the Bible tell us we should not do regarding women and sex?

It tells us not to seduce virgin women into having sex with us outside of marriage right?  So we should not think about how to seduce women right?

It tells us not to engage in prostitution right? So we should not think about seeing prostitutes right?

It tells us not to have sex with our neighbor’s wife right? So that means we should not be thinking seducing our neighbors wife right?

But does it say we can’t enjoy thoughts of beautiful women and sexual imagery about from an intent to have unlawful sex with women outside of marriage? Where is that in the Scriptures? If the Scriptures do not condemn these things then how can we add a prohibition against something that God never forbids?

Finally as a last ditch effort they may through this passage at you.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)

Then they will ask you “How does you thinking about having sex with women and taking pleasure from seeing women’s bodies or masturbating bring glory to God?”

The answer to this question is quiet simple.  Answer their question with a question.

“Sir how does you enjoying the smell of your favorite food, or the sight of your favorite dish and then eating that food glorify God? How does you taking pleasure in looking at a beautiful mountain, flower or lake glorify God? How does you listening to a beautiful symphony as you sit in your chair relaxing glorify God?

My point is that when we do what God designed us to do we glorify God.

When a man receives pleasure in his brain from seeing the cleavage on a woman’s breast next to him in a grocery line he is glorifying God. Would you deny that God designed his brain to receive pleasure from this? If you say he did not where is this found in the Scriptures? ”

They may still reject what you have said. But make no mistake you will plant an lot of seeds of truth in the men that are in that class room.  The battle against the antagonistic views of the Church and feminists toward masculine sexuality will not be won in one class room.  But it begins there and truth cannot be hidden – it will spread once people understand it.