Lifestyle Magazine

From the Men :: This May Make You Uncomfortable

By Mod31

Editor’s note: It’s time for another edition From the Men! So when I received this article from Jeremy, I didn’t want to post it. This was mainly due to shock, because I didn’t expect that he would describe with such frankness the male mind when it comes to sex and temptations. I advocate for all to live out the virtue of modesty, inside and out, because we need to protect our dignity and love our brothers in Christ. However, I guess I really did have a surface understanding of the male mind. I didn’t really believe that what he is talking about could be the norm for most men, and to be honest this article made me very uncomfortable. But now that I’m over the shock, I think it could add a lot to the discussion regarding modesty and chastity. That’s why I wanted input from the men in the first place! And I’m sure it may cause some mixed reactions, so let me know your thoughts – do you agree? Are you surprised by his words? Offended? Does this not ring true to you from your own experiences? Share in the comments!

by Jeremy Depangher

While you are aware that every day men face the extraordinary temptation of lust, you may not realize that it is actually in both gender’s best interests to understand men’s sexual battles. It is in everyone’s best interest to engage in preventative and healing behaviors. It is also in everyone’s best interest for me not to hold anything back from you. I will be as graphic and forthright about the facts as I feel is necessary to help equip you with the tools to help us men.

A Never Ending Struggle

I am writing this article as someone who has an ongoing struggle with lust and sexual temptation. I am constantly battling my eyes and my thoughts. I know that I am not alone, however. In fact, I know that a minimum of ninety-nine out of every one hundred guys struggle with sexually impure thoughts. Many women have what I believe to be a very surface level understanding of a typical man’s sexual battles. You know that men enjoy looking at certain parts of a woman’s body. You probably know that we find ourselves daydreaming about sexual things frequently. And you even know that we masturbate to our thoughts and what we see during that day on campus or at work. It is likely, however, that you do not understand the full impact of those thoughts, where our eyes take us, and the extent to which we battle these temptations.

Let’s take a short walk through the day of a typical man’s visual and mental patterns. In the morning on his way to school or work, he may see a woman jogging on the sidewalk in tight shorts and a training bra. Without any kind of filter or strong mental white blood cells, his eyes will immediately fall on her cleavage and remain there until it is physically impossible to keep looking (i.e. she is out of eyeshot). This thought is no temporary snapshot to be thrown in the mental trash bin. This sexually charged image will stay with him for a while, granted that he has taken no preventative measures. If he dwells on this image for more than ten or twenty seconds, it is likely to remain with him for the rest of the day. Whether this man is single or in a relationship, he will likely try to find some private time once he gets home that evening to recharge that jogger’s image and release the pressure build up via masturbation. This is a standard outcome for men who make little to no attempt to battle their lustful desires.

While not all men behave this way to exposure in the sexual battlefield, many with even the strongest mental walls will fall into this pattern occasionally. And for most men, it is uncomfortable to talk about. This is why I think it is all too common for women to mistake the silence of their boyfriend as meaning that he has fixed the problem. Or perhaps to think their boyfriend struggles less than other men. If we have a girlfriend or a wife, imagine how horrified we would feel if we had to report in graphic detail our thoughts and actions that day.

I hope this gives you a taste of how easily we fall when faced with lust. So whether your knowledge of men’s struggles is ample or not, it is important for us to address what you can do about it. What I am going to talk about is not responsibility or fault. Yes, I understand that in a utopian world without sin, men wouldn’t lust towards women and that all sexual behavior would be completely harnessed within the context of marriage. But this isn’t the way the broken, sin-ridden world operates. You may believe that it is one hundred percent men’s responsibility to fix their sexual struggles, and that you can act in whatever way you want and it shouldn’t impact what goes through men’s heads. If that is the case, then I beg you for a change of heart. Like I said, I am not asking for a declaration of responsibility, I am asking for acts of love. I believe that one of the most caring and loving things a girl can do is think about and react to what she wears before hanging out with men.

You may believe that it is one hundred percent men’s responsibility to fix their sexual struggles, and that you can act in whatever way you want and it shouldn’t impact what goes through men’s heads…I beg you for a change of heart.

The Pressure to Be Sexy

I understand that the way that any woman dresses is severely scrutinized in today’s lets-be-like-Hollywood society. The women of America are under extreme pressure to dress sexy. The psychological implications of this pressure are disastrous to both men and women, for more than just the obvious reasons. When a woman is under pressure to dress a certain way because she wants to “feel pretty” or “look sexy,” she has already conceded any desire to consider where the eyes of men may wander when she steps into public. Think about what could happen if you reversed the psychological valve the next time you opened your closet door. Instead of spending energy on conforming to societal standards of what’s sexy and what’s not, think about the impact that your choice of clothes may have on a brother in Christ, who is likely desperately trying not to look at your tight shorts or cleavage. Just choosing the slightly more modest t-shirt could prevent several men from a day-long struggle with their thoughts. Is it not worth giving a little bit of concern for a man who wants to see you with pure eyes? This would be a true act of love towards not only your close guy friends (who, whether you like it or not, deeply struggle with this issue), but even to men that you will never see or meet.

The Impact of Social Media

In fact, internet photos are likely worse, since a man can simply hop on his computer and gaze at the photos for as long as he wants.

Seeing a girl with immodest clothing in public is likely disastrous to a man’s sexual defenses. But what about the media? What about permanent, published memories of you in certain articles of clothing on the internet (e.g. Facebook)? I think that the main problem here is the same as with behavior in public settings. I truly believe that most women don’t understand exactly what kind of eyes look at their pictures without their knowledge. If you have 300 guy friends on Facebook, and you also have swimsuit photos of yourself at the beach, I can promise you that several, if not a majority, of those guys have masturbated to those pictures. This is shocking, I know. Remember when I tried to gauge your level of understanding of men’s sexual struggles at the beginning of this article? Well if what I just said shocks you, then your level of understanding is probably much lower than you thought. Remember that the jogger scenario and the beach photos scenario are the same struggle and will likely result in the same outcome: impurity. There is no substantive difference between the two from a man’s perspective. In fact, internet photos are likely worse, since a man can simply hop on his computer and gaze at the photos for as long as he wants.

I urge you to take down, at the very least, the most immodest photos of yourself from Facebook. I urge you to do this because this is not the way us men want to be. In fact, we are (although not often enough) shocked and horrified by our own actions as well. I encourage you to understand that ignorance or denial of these facts will only allow the problem of lust to continue to fester at its lowest depths. No matter what you do, however, it will ultimately be the man’s responsibility to recognize his sin and battle it with the Lord’s strength. But while the deepest parts of the struggle are between God and the man, the Lord also works through his female servants.

Advice to Men and A Call to Love

Strong Christian men with God’s unfailing love and grace have paved the way towards purity by inventing several strategies for fighting sexual temptation. Besides the obvious acts of prayer and meditation on the issue, the technique of “bouncing the eyes” is not uncommon. As soon as we see an attractive or alluring feature that we  feel is going to cause us to lust, we force ourselves to look away. This way, sexually charged images cannot survive because they are not fed by our gaze. Another technique, which I alluded to before, is taking your thoughts captive. As soon as a lustful thought pops into a man’s head, he has the choice to pray to God right then and there to take the thought captive and protect his heart. These techniques are just a few of the many that are out there. I do not claim to be an expert user of these strategies, but I have tried to adopt them in my fight for purity. Ultimately, God’s grace will lead me to the other side.

With more openness on the issue on the part of men, and less ignorance of the true depths of the struggle on the part of women, I believe true change can be made. I, as much as any man, believe that we should be stronger and better leaders in taking charge of our personal battlefields. Taking ownership of our sexual struggles is the very first step. But many of us have already taken this first step, and wish we were fighting a battle that we felt like we could win. I am sincerely attempting to make dramatic changes in my own fight, and I implore you to take action to help me and every other man. God’s strength is critically instrumental in helping us men, but His use of your desire to love and care for your brothers in Christ is another powerful weapon. Instead of being horrified by the problem, let’s work to fix it. And this starts the next time you decide what to wear.

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