Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lusty Girls

The Comment:
This new found hatred for bikinis is making me wonder if taking my own shirt off when I go bathing or swimming can be cause for other girls to stumble. Do you have any thoughts on this???
An honest comment from an honest guy, striving toward purity. In his recognition of how much bikinis have a negative affect on him, he's also aware that showing his skin might have a negative affect on girls. I can appreciate this gesture. 

I smiled when I first read this email--not because it was a dumb question, but because of how I often I feel like girls are quick to want the same rules applied to guys that are applied to girls (I suppose I found it a bit funny to think about guys not taking their shirt off to bathe, too...). It's inevitable, when having a conversation about modesty with girls, that one of them will chime in about how guys need to cover up, too. Sometimes I fear this more about our quest for equality than it is about our struggles when seeing them bare-chested. 

Because... while, sure, maybe some girls struggle with the visual of a shirtless guy... I don't typically think that image alone sends us into lust-world. Can it segue there quite easily? Absolutely. 

I think women are generally more turned on by emotional and physical connections than we are the visual. While we might see a hot guy and appreciate his hot bod...the arousal doesn't seem to come until we take that image into our mind and then start fantasizing about what it would be like for him to hold us or touch us or whisper sweet nothings into our ear. 

We don't need the visual in order to create the fantasy though. It's why we read romance novels, watch chick flicks and invest in trashy magazines. We want a heart connection, we want a man that meets every single need of ours (emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc) without flaw... and so we conjure that up in our heads. 

I don't need to see you without your shirt on to think about what it might be like to have you like me, want to date me, hold my hand, cuddle with me, kiss me. I don't need to see you without your shirt on to think about what physical intimacy and a deep, romantic connection with you could look like. I can get there on my own. 

So... while I appreciate the gesture, I don't really think it's necessary. Whether your shirt is on or off, I can still fantasize about you... and I'm not convinced that you having your shirt off makes me get there any faster. If anything, women will admire and talk like it does... but I truly think the things that cause us to struggle are on a more emotional level. 

Rather than asking you to keep your clothes on, I'd probably challenge women to, instead, look at the content of their books, their television dwell on the things they think about as they fall asleep at night. Maybe they do conjure up that shirtless image and go from there...but if they like you, they'll be able to conjure up their own shirtless image of you regardless of if you were shirtless or not. 

Lust, for us, typically isn't visual. 
It becomes this complicated web of emotions, desires, and fantasies that are not real.... just as much as your playboy model isn't actually a depiction of reality. 

And, unfortunately, since our issues with lust aren't easily identifiable.... probably many of us go through life lusting away, without even realizing we're doing it or the harm it's causing in our lives and in our relationships. 

After all... lust is a passionate (typically sexual) desire for something. 
And most of us are passionate, sexual beings. 

So men: be cautious, sure. But, be aware that your words, your touch, your smile.... those things can lead us into a sexual frenzy more than the sight of your body at a distance. 

I think it's probably also good to note that while short shorts on a girl can turn you on... short shorts on a guy are typically not ever a thing that causes us to lust after you! 

And ladies? It's okay that we struggle with lust differently... and I think it's important to know the ways in which we do. Be willing to consider it... even if it means giving up things you might enjoy. Consider why you enjoy them, what benefit they bring to your life... and if it could possibly be leading you to lust. 

I went there. 

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  1. Thanks you for going there.

  2. Thank you for going there. I needed it. I think in my struggle for perfection I've been denying that this is a struggle for me...Thanks for making me realize it, and also for helping me realize that I've been striving for perfection...

  3. I think that most girls go to things such as romance novels and chick flicks as a coping mechanism, but I think porn is becoming more and more of an issue for women today as well. Lust is not just a guy thing. Our culture is also feeding young girls sexual appetites at an earlier and earlier age as well.