PODCAST: Do All Guys Lust? Let’s Rethink Every Man’s Battle

by | Mar 26, 2020 | Uncategorized | 52 comments

Merchandise is Here!

I’d really like to change the conversation in the Christian church about lust.

We’ve been talking about it as “every man’s battle“, and this week on the blog, Keith explained why that’s not helpful. Yesterday I talked about how “bouncing your eyes“, the suggestion from Every Man’s Battle, inherently doesn’t work because it agrees with lust’s definition of women–that they’re dangerous. Today on the podcast, Keith joins me as we point to a healthier way to talk about lust. Listen in!

Main Segment: What if the problem with lust is not really about sex?

We talked in this segment about how I wrote about lust and Every Man’s Battle a few years ago  and people thought that I was being too hard on guys.

But here’s the thing: I believe that guys can be GOOD. I believe that men do not have to act in an ungodly way. I believe that men can be Christlike. In fact, I believe that MOST Christian men can be like this. And I hate the way that we talk about lust. But as Keith said, one of the bigger problems here is that we talk about lust as if it’s an attack on men’s purity, rather than a woman’s dignity.

The sin of lust is really about rejecting the woman as an image bearer of Christ, and making her simply into a sex object. Objectification means that you erase her. That’s the real sin. And interestingly, studies also show that that is the fix for lust: treat women as whole people. Keith and I had a great talk on this, and included some of what I found when I finally did read Every Man’s Battle a few weeks ago. I live tweeted it–you can read that thread here (and it went steadily downhill once I started!). (or click below to read the rest of the tweets)

And that Paige Patterson video that Keith was talking about? It’s linked in the article Keith wrote this week, too! Or you can watch it right here

Reader Question: Is it wrong to stimulate myself during intercourse?

A reader asks:

I’ve never thought about this being a problem until reading your blog but when my husband and I are intimate I use my hands to stimulate my clitoris in order to achieve orgasm, usually during intercourse, sometimes during foreplay, and sometimes after he finishes. Is this wrong, should my orgasms happen solely by my husbands touch?

I’m scared for what in my blog made you think it was wrong! Perhaps it was the post on masturbation in marriage, but I thought I made it clear there that touching yourself, when part of foreplay, etc., is fine! Anyway. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, but I think many women may also enjoy their husbands figuring things out. So guys–learn it!


You may also need to read:

When She’s Always Left Hanging
Women Deserve Orgasm, too
Why Women’s Fireworks Matter


Reader Question: Is PMS real?

Another reader wrote in with this:

I have a question about PMS… When I am pms-ing, I always notify my husband that if I’m a little on edge, then that’s why. I do my best to keep my outward actions and words in double check while I’m pms-ing to ensure that I don’t start ridiculous fights. However, lately, when I notify him that I’m pms-ing, he laughs, and is intentionally and obnoxiously annoying (he’s never annoying – quite the stick in the mud, actually). He tells me that PMS is not real, and that hormones don’t “rage”. And that I just use “PMS” to get away with being grumpy.
So my question is this: is PMS real or am I the only woman who can’t seem to keep my emotions level during this premenstrual time? And if it is real, how do I convince my husband so that we don’t part ways when I’m pms-ing and he is making fun of me? I can’t handle it anymore… I told him to ask any woman, and they will all tell him PMS is real, but his response is “of course they will. It’s a fantastic excuse!”
Please help….

Wow. Okay. Guys, that’s just not cool. PMS is real. Women go through a lot with periods, cramps, PMS, menopause, pregnancy. Please don’t make fun of us or act like it’s not real. That’s cruel.

You may also want to read:


PMS is Not Spiritual Warfare
Start Your Engines Podcast: On Periods Plus How to Tell if Sex Advice is Good


 

So what do you think? Do we talk about lust wrong? What would you say to the man who doesn’t believe in PMS? Whose wife brings herself to climax? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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52 Comments

  1. Doug

    Honestly, I think you are somewhere off in the ditch with your opinions about lust. What you are saying does not fit any Biblical model, and it is absolutely about the mans purity, and not the dignity of the woman. It is always a heart issue of the sinner, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the object of his desire. I am curious why this is the only sin where you would imply that it is otherwise. Adultry is a heart issue of the sinner, Anger is a heart issue of the sinner, Greed, Gluttony, etc. etc. It is no different for lust, and I can easily show the truth it that. First and foremost, I can not take your dignity. It is given to you by God. Nothing I can do alters that fact.
    Another example I can give is the fact that lust does not apply only to sex. I can lust after another mans money, but that does not change the value of his money. I can lust after another mans car, boat, horses, or property, and the value is not diminished a single penny. The sin is of the heart, and the object of that lust is irrelevant.
    No. Lust is all about the purity of the heart.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Doug, we’re not saying it’s not a heart issue. What we’re saying is that books talk as if the thing being harmed by lust is a man’s purity–as if that’s the only thing harmed. No, lust is really an assault on is a woman’s dignity.
      It’s like the story in Every Man’s Battle about Alex masturbating while his sister-in-law fell asleep watching TV. That story is presented as if Alex has just sinned against HIMSELF. No, he also sinned against his sister-in-law, and yet she’s left entirely out of the conversation.
      Lust is not a victimless crime. Just read the comments yesterday and you’ll see why.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Or, to add to that, read Every Man’s Battle and ask yourself, “is there any concern here at all for the women whom they are objectifying and dehumanizing?” No. There is some concern that they are cheating on their wives, but on the whole, they are only mourning for the purity that they have lost.
        Lust is not victimless. Lust hurts women. You can’t have a conversation about lust and leave lust’s effect on women out of it–and yet that’s what the church has by and large done.

        Reply
      • Doug

        I absolutely and completely disagree.
        I am not saying lust is a victimless sin. There is always a victim. What I said was that I can not take that persons dignity. If I get frustrated and angry right now, and start swearing at you, you are a victim of my temper, but unless you respond in kind, swearing back at me, your dignity is unaffected. If you respond by swearing at me, I may have initiated but you surrendered your dignity willingly.
        What you are saying is that the solution to lust is to give you something that I could never take from you in the first place. I can not take it and therefore I can not return it.
        I really can’t comment on the case you mentioned about Alex. I haven’t read it so I don’t know details. If she caught him masturbating, then it is clear she was a victim. If she never knew, it gets a little bit murky. We could debate that till the cows come home, and I don’t know if we could reach a consensus. I think the arguement could go either way, and honestly, I am not sure where I stand. If I cuss you out under my breath and you never know, are you still a victin of my temper?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Doug, this will be my last comment on this. Go back and read yesterday’s comment section. Look at the comments from Thalea and Active Mom. Read Keith’s post and look at what was done to our daughter in order to protect men from lusting. Listen to the women who talk about how scary it is to walk at night because of how guys treat them. Actually listen to women, Doug. If we are saying that men objectifying us hurts us–well, listen to us, please. Thank you.

          Reply
        • Kay

          When I was in my twenties I was quite lost. A friend invited me to church. I enjoyed the service and felt closer to God than I had in years. I actually decided to come back and realized perhaps it was time to make some major changes in my life. On the way out I waited in line at the exit as every single person in front of me received a handshake, a smile, and a personalized greeting from the priest. I waited breathlessly for my turn, anxious to be accepted into this wonderful community. As I extended my hand to the priest, he barely touched my fingers, looked directly to his right to avoid looking at me, and muttered hello. I was crushed. I felt he had seen my sin and my doubt and had rejected me. I felt filthy. And I avoided going to church again for years. It took me almost a decade to understand what had happened. I was quite attractive in my twenties. I was wearing a modest but lovely sundress. Most of the other congregants were elderly, and my friend was male. The priest was protecting his purity by avoiding me but he was also rejecting me as a daughter of Christ. Yes, God could have and did in fact use other means to bring me into relationship with Christ. But that priest set me back years in my journey. I love that you’re trying to be a good man Doug. But your actions have real-life consequences for women. I think that’s what Sheila is trying to say.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thank you, Kay. that’s it, exactly.

          • Dennis Denzel brown

            Maybe the priest is terrified to be around beautiful sexy women because he doesn’t want to get caught looking lusting which is so humiliating. But that’s his problem he should not treat women like that at all.

        • Joanna Sawatsky

          I was bullied quite a lot in my first job out of college. I’d ask a question and get an eye roll, I was talked down to and generally I could tell that I was hated. I’ve never known why I was targeted, only that I was.
          Let me assure you that the bullying stripped me of many things. I lost confidence in myself, my abilities, and my worthiness. I felt like I was a fraud. I became fearful and anxious. Each day was a struggle.
          Did I still possess basic human dignity? Of course I did. But to say that I didn’t lose something important in the process is ridiculous and that that something included my sense of self worth. Of course it did. And, quite frankly, I fail to see any meaningful difference in the experience of victims if they keep their “basic human dignity” but lose their sense of their own dignity, or their self worth.
          Sin has far reaching consequences – that’s why the Old Testament talks about familial blessings and curses. We see it all around us, breaking cycles of sin and dysfunction is incredibly difficult.
          Christ didn’t sin on the cross but his dignity was stripped away as he hung, beaten beyond recognition, mocked, a crown of thorns digging into his skupp, naked. One of my most poignant realizations recently is that Christ’s death is entirely a mock coronation. (Of course, by allowing himself to be stripped of everything – his glory, dignity, power, and might – he redeemed the nations and could say later that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”).
          If anyone reading this has a lust habit, remember that your sin has consequences for the people who you are lusting after. Women aren’t stupid and we notice men leering or treating us like a threat. Frankly, if a man has a lust habit that is out of control, the way he treats women in general is going to be affected. Let’s not be naive and pretend sinning doesn’t have consequences for the people that the sin is directed at.

          Reply
  2. Phil

    I find it disturbing that one would think it is ok to lust in private and think that has no effect on others. I have not listened to the podcast yet but I have something to add so far. Lust is a belief. When you believe something it comes out in your actions. Maybe not in that exact moment but eventually it does. Aka your thoughts and behaviors effects others. I am sorry but any good recovered addict knows this fact. And now we are going to ask if a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? Come on! Shaking my head.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Phil! Women know who is creepy and who is not. And a lot of men leave us feeling very creeped out, even if we can’t identify exactly why. But I believe that it’s this.

      Reply
      • Chris

        “Creepy” needs to be better defined. I read that word now and i cannot figure out what was meant half the time.

        Reply
    • Chris

      I am going to chalk up 1 point to Phil for that comment. The tree analogy nailed it. It addressed exactly what Doug was saying perfectly. Virtual high 5 Phil!

      Reply
  3. libl

    I have heard from secular, agnostic, or atheist gentlemen who are shocked and disgusted at how evangelicals address and believe the idea that “all men lust.” They are offended that Christians seem to think that men are just walking erections and closet rapists. These non-christians have a much healthier view on women, sex, and relationships than many Christians.
    I felt more like a person in a group of secular men than I did in a group of Christian ones. If I breast fed in front of secular men, they acted normal. Nothing was weird, creepy, sexual. It was fine. If I breast fed in front of Christian men, they were scared, offended, made a big deal about averting their eyes, or made me move into hiding, even though I was shrouded in a large blanket (you literally could only see my head, feet, and the baby’s feet stinking out.
    Secular men were largely unaware that I was feeding the baby. Christian men were hyper-aware, and even though covered, it offended their sensibilities to even think about the mammary. I needed to be hidden so they didn’t even know that I was breast feeding so I didn’t give them a chance to even think about breasts.
    Not so strangely enough, many of the men in that church battled with hidden porn addictions and emotional abuse towards their wives.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, libl. So many women have said similar things. My girls worked at the YMCA as teens. They were surrounded by secular men. And they felt very safe. The guys treated them with respect. It was at church that they were made to feel ashamed. This needs to stop.

      Reply
    • Kya

      My husband became a Christian in his 20s, while we were dating. His exposure to church prior to this was extremely limited. It has been amazing, and so much fun, to watch him grow in his faith over the last decade. I get a special kick out of explaining Christian-ese to him sometimes! (“Ever man’s battle” was one of the phrases that needed explaining. I asked him if he knew what it meant and he said, “Sin? Everyone struggles against sin.” ) He has only recently become aware of the lust issue within the church, and he has been appalled. Most of his friends have generally been women–he even had a best woman instead of a best man at our wedding–and most of them are quite attractive. But even as a non-Christian he told me he didn’t lust after or masturbate over his friends–it was far too disrespectful a thing to do to people he cared so much about.
      It is crazy to him–and me–that even as a non-Christian he could control himself and not think of women so basely, but the church treats this as an insurmountable obstacle for men who are indwelled with the Holy Spirit! He doesn’t read this blog and has told me on his own that the easiest way not to disrespect women with lust is to view them as people. If a non-Christian could figure that out, what is giving the church so much trouble?

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Exactly, Kya! I’ve found that, too. Men who didn’t grow up in the church tend to have a much easier time with this than men who did.

        Reply
  4. Active Mom

    I think there is also a difference in when you are “bouncing your eyes.” I completely understand a man or woman who is fighting the battle against lust bouncing their eyes if a woman bends over in front of them etc. Even if she wasn’t trying to be provocative the visual could still be difficult for some. However, that is different than someone not looking at me when I am introduced or not even acknowledging my existence during a group discussion. A commentator told the story of an experience she had in an elevator. Those men were wrong. They were not even showing her basic dignity. They weren’t protecting their wives. For the woman who like this would you still like this if that meant your daughter never got promoted at work, put on important projects, or given the chance to succeed in their desired field? All of that happens when men go to the extremes mentioned to “avoid lusting.” The only place men seem to act like this is in the church. There are a lot of secular men who also fight the good fight against lust. They seem to find a better balance. My son can sit next to a nursing mom in church and not be embarrassed. He is a hormonal teenager. Yet, I’ve watched grown men fidget and become so uncomfortable they ask the women to go to the nursery. Seriously?

    Reply
  5. Nathan

    I don’t believe that every man will lust, although I DO believe that every man feels sexual attraction and desire now and then (not all the time).
    There are some men (here and other boards) who claim that they’ve never had any sexual thoughts of any kind for anybody ever other than their wives. I have a hard time believing this, but as we’ve said, this isn’t lusting. Lusting is deliberately wallowing in the thought, not having the thought exist in the first place.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Nathan!

      Reply
  6. Lindsey

    I know this opinion is going to be super unpopular – and I in no way mean to excuse someone entertaining inappropriate thoughts about anyone at any age – but, your argument that biological responses do not equal lust (which I agree with), cannot be tweaked to make a sixty year old unable to appreciate the attractiveness of a sixteen year old. Biologically, and historically, a sixteen year old is a woman. Indeed, it’s only within the past century or so that society began to view them as a “child” and not a woman. They’ve past puberty. They have the capability to bear and nurse children. They are biologically adults.
    That being said, societal shifts have made it appear to be doubly inappropriate to comment on how nice the girl’s figure was, and – from a social acceptable standpoint it IS. But biologically, it isn’t.
    Either way, it is extremely inappropriate for a pastor to comment on the figure of any woman in that manner – it disgraces the position as well as objecting the woman. I once had a minister who used to make extremely inappropriate remarks from the pulpit and in person. He once said – in a sermon on the seventh commandment! – that he always wanted to die at the hand of an irate husband. He also said “this one is mine” when introducing women to a visiting pastor. A lot of women laughed it off, but when he did that to me I said “No I’m not, I’m my husband and I won’t be called anyone else’s!” He was mortified, but he treated me with more respect after that. But seriously – what a creepy sense of humor!

    Reply
    • Arwen

      Just wanting to co-sign, Lindsey. In Europe and the vast MAJORITY of the world 16 yr. old’s are considered young adults. If i’m not mistaken the term teenager didn’t come about in America till the 1950s. Prior to that what exactly were they called? Young adults. In France a 19 year old can date a 15 yr. old with no problem, in America that will get you locked up! In America 16 yr. olds can be charged as adults if they murder someone.
      The college i used to attend was right across a high school. When i got on the bus i seriously couldn’t tell which students were from high school and which were from college. I remember being shocked by that. Both students look EXACTLY the same! Also in America 13 yr. old’s can get married if they have their parents consent. Remember the Saeed sister’s who were honor killed by their Egyptian father, their white mother was originally given consent to marry him at 13, but changed their minds when relatives objected, waited 2 yr.s and married her off at 15, he was 30! Creepy!
      And i truly believe this is why so many perverts travel to developing countries to fulfill their sick fetish of sleeping with young girls/boys because under the law they can’t be prosecuted. We haven’t even touched tribal societies, like the story i read of a 40 year old who moved to the Amazon and married a 12 yr. old, had 3 kids by her. Man! I have no words! He had the nerve to post pictures of his “beautiful family.”
      All in all to say, some morality is truly subjective. 300 yr.s ago consent was a different age, in another country it’s yet another age. Historians say Mary was 15-16 when she became pregnant with Christ. Which tells me God clearly didn’t see anything wrong with a 15-16 yr. old baring a child. I’m just saying. My own father at 15 was being asked by his dad when he was going to buy a house and prepare to get married in the next year. He was considered a young adult at 13 and should be married at 16 in our culture. This is why when i first came to America SOME of the sexual laws were very confusing and ridicules to me. I’m used to it now though and since i choose to live here i abide by the the rules of the land.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Arwen, I get what you both are saying. It maybe that it’s normal the world over. But I still believe it’s totally inappropriate for Paige Patterson to speak about her like that from the pulpit. It’s still highly creepy and objectifying. Even if it may be normal the world over, it is not okay for a 60-year-old man to look at a girl as a sexual object, or to talk about her like that to others, I don’t think.

        Reply
        • Lindsey

          I don’t think it was appropriate for him to speak that way about ANYONE from the pulpit, and I think his theology was super flawed. My only intention in commenting was to say this: if a man of any age is biologically attracted to a woman without it being a sin (unless he indulges wrong thoughts afterwards), then we actually have to acknowledge that biological attraction is about reproduction, and in reproduction youth is king.
          I obviously think it would be very disturbing for someone in their later years to pursue a relationship with a late teen/young adult, but that is because – as higher thinkers and more than mere animals – our relationships are about so much more than just reproduction. We should be with someone who is in a similar life stage, and who has similar experiences. That’s what is normal. Not someone having similar experiences to our grandkids.
          But attraction, that knee jerk biological function, simple will happen to some degree based upon reproductive desirability (which is also a big reason why people who are very under or over weight are considered less attractive).

          Reply
          • libl

            I don’t completely buy this evolutionary biology because statistically, very attractive “fertile-looking” women actually have fewer children than their less attractive peers. Even in the Bible, stunning Rachael was barren while less attractive Leah was very fertile.

          • Jane Eyre

            libl, do you have research for that? I don’t disbelieve you, but I would be interested to see it.

          • Rachel C

            I couldn’t reply to Libl or Jane Eyre for some reason not that they will necessarily see this comment after so long. But anyway, I think it’s important to point out that the reason the Scripture gives for why beautiful Rachel was barren and weak-eyed Leah had children is because God knew that Leah was unloved by Jacob, or by her sister Rachel for that matter, and wanted to improve her position and gain respect for her. The ability to have a child, in particular a son, was extremely important and connected to how valuable a woman was. Rachel was already the most-valued wife in Jacob’s eyes, and God was seeking to correct an unfair imbalance in that decidedly messy set of relationships.
            Having the same name as Rachel, although not pursposefully named after the Bible character, has made me pay great attention to the story.

          • Rachel C

            I forgot to say that there was no biological component in Rachel and Leah’s story. What I don’t know if there are any actual examples to prove Libl’s statement that “statistically, very attractive “fertile-looking” women actually have fewer children than their less attractive peers.”

  7. Noel

    Years ago, my husband came home from a men’s conference and told me an illustration the speaker had used in speaking about the need for women to be modest (yes, at a men’s conference- go figure.) An old man he knew had complained about having to wear Depends every Sunday to church, because the way one of the girls on the worship team dressed gave him an erection. Every week.
    The speaker did not see what was wrong in this scenario.

    Reply
    • Lindsey

      That’s gross…and serious, tmi. Plus, by the time a guy is out of his early twenties, he should have mastered the ability to control his thoughts away to prevent a full on erection.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, wow. Isn’t that sad?

      Reply
    • Noel

      I should have said, what the speaker saw, was that girl should wear something else- he did not see that old man obviously had a problem.

      Reply
      • Melissa W

        I guess maybe I see this completely differently. I see an erection as a biological response to stimuli (most often visual stimuli) and not necessarily as a result of lust. Could an erection be the result of lust? Of course. But could an erection occur without lust and just a result of biology? Again, I think the answer is yes. Just because an old man gets an erection because of how a girl is dressed doesn’t mean he is lusting or sinning and it doesn’t mean the girl is inappropriate or sinning either. If we don’t want woman to be shamed because of their bodies then we can’t shame men because of theirs either. I also don’t think an erection indicates consent for sexual contact either if the male hasn’t or isn’t able to verbally express consent. I think this is where a lot of christian men get hung up because they think a biological response means they are lusting . On the flip side, just because a non-christian man treats a woman respectfully with his actions when he is with the woman doesn’t mean he isn’t lusting in his mind or in private. After all someone who doesn’t know Christ probably doesn’t think lust is a sin or something to avoid anyway. So even though his outward actions might seem respectful you really have no way of knowing his heart at all. Just something to think about.

        Reply
    • Arwen

      Ok, Noel, i just threw up. That’s seriously one of the most disgusting things i have heard. Are you freaking serious right now! I……I…..I……have no words!

      Reply
  8. Nathan

    Very true, Melissa. Men get erections for a variety of reasons, not all of them voluntarily

    Reply
  9. Nathan

    Is lusting victimless? I don’t believe that it is. Even if you do that alone, and never tell anybody about it, and never go after a woman you’re lusting after, such thoughts do ultimately affect how you view and treat all women over time.

    Reply
  10. Blessed Wife

    Regarding the PMS thing. I’ve noticed an odd behavior pattern in some men during certain parts of my cycle: they become unusually combative, get intense urges to tinker with things, fix things that aren’t theirs and aren’t even broken, pick dumb arguments, and sometimes engage in risky behaviors. This is most pronounced at the “poles” of my cycle, menstruation and ovulation. A perfectly reasonably-toned response such as, “My car is fine, I don’t want you to take it apart,” or “You need to put the gun away until you’re back home; in a moving vehicle in the dark is not an okay place to practice loading and unloading it,” are met with hostility, accusations of unreasonableness and, you guessed it, dismissive remarks about how I must be “PMSing”. (Both true stories, neither about my husband, thankfully.)
    It’s made me wonder if proximity to a woman whose hormones are heightened causes a testosterone spike in men that some of them don’t know how to deal with.
    It’s also prime time for sexual come-ons in men who might consider me “mate-eligible”, such as my husband, or when I was single, unrelated males.
    I wonder if the reader’s husband is doing the stuff he’s doing because her hormones are affecting his, or if he’s just being a jack(rabbit) to mess with her? It sounds like he’s trying to upset her on purpose, so he can then turn around and accuse her of behaving irrationally or unreasonably, aka gaslighting.

    Reply
    • Arwen

      I think that’s a possibility. After all men and women are flesh and bones of each other. if animals can be affects by their species hormones, like responding to when another animal is in heat, it’s shouldn’t come as a shock that the human male would react the same way to the female and her hormones. But because we as a society have beat all forms of emotions out of men to admit to that will be embarrassing to them, sadly.

      Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      Simpler explanation: on some level, men know when women are at their most fertile (our voices change, our skin is nicer, etc.), and also when we are menstruating (some of us – at least me – can look tired, bloated, and a bit older). The cues for fertility are not obvious, but they do exist. So biologically, men either really really really want to have sex with us, or they really really really don’t want to have sex with us (even though we are of a fertile age). In some men, that causes them to be antagonistic.

      Reply
  11. Flo

    When my husband was quitting masturbation, one of his big insecurities that he shared with me was that he was afraid he would often be sexually frustrated and would act weird around women: either appear to lust after them, or appear impolite while trying too hard to turn his eyes away.
    None of that happened, he did not transform into a hungry beast. He became calmer and more confident and more open. The reason why many men believe that they are slaves of their hormones and can barely control themselves, is because that idea is being repeated and spread.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Flo!

      Reply
    • Annon wife

      My husband is currently fighting his addiction to porn and masturbation habit. He is a PK (preacher’s kid) and of course grew up with all the issues with lust and “sexual frustration” put on boys and men in the church. He was “a good boy” and didn’t have sex before marriage (unless you count how much sex he had with his hand and how much porn he watched) that when he married (his ex-wife now) they were never able to consummate the marriage. He always blamed her for all that happened. We then met, dated (I grew up in purity culture and at the time was rebelling, which meant sex) and married. 15 years later and we are finally in counseling. I lost my desire for sex after kids, but since I was a good Christian wife made sure he had sex 1-2 times a week ‘so he didn’t get tempted’. (it didn’t work, he still masterbated and watched porn) I could always tell when he was because sex was harder, he had a hard time climaxing….major delayed ejaculation, needed more stimulation, had to get me into ‘certain’ positions…..and all the while my desire for sex plummeted. It hurt, I was a bad wife, and I was never fulfilled. (gee, wonder why I didn’t want sex???) I finally after one rough night of sex where I ended up on the floor crying went to counseling. He then joined me. Then after a few more months I again caught him watching porn. I was done! I called him out on it seriously considering divorce. I told him I loved him but this could not continue. He is a good guy and is trying to stop his addiction. We are in a period of abstainance where I hope he can find a way out, but I know he still masturbates. My counseling is working to overcome all the unhealthy teaching I internalized that “all men are like that”, “good wives give sex”, and “men will only want you if you give them sex”.
      Thank you for your comment and I hope I can eventually say it is all in the past and my husband and I are BOTH happy and satisfied.

      Reply
  12. Dave

    Oh Snap! (Pardon my cussing) This topic is probably going cold already soon as I noticed it. Let me just mention a website someone else recommended a few months ago mychainsaregone.org
    The main point is that the truth sets us free and that the lies we believe about our bodies lead to lust. I’ll give an example which I may have read there or perhaps here. Just part of one verse “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” Jesus didn’t glance— he BEHELD. And LOVED him. AND did NOT wish he could have sex with him. I cannot express how utterly freeing for me is this truth. I work in a store, and if I begin to think of a person’s appearance- good or bad, plain or beautiful— I think of this one truth and behold them and love them. Many years of “bouncing my eyes” only fed my lusts.

    Reply
  13. Anon

    I am SO thankful that this is being talked about and The Church’s views on lust is changing! Because we live in such a broken world, women desperately need to be affirmed that they are whole people. I don’t know how any Christian could argue against this or not see the destruction Satan has caused by objectifying women. It has cost me so much in my life, including years of not seeing men in a good light at all. It makes me so sad now. Growing up with an alcoholic womanizer for a dad, being sexually harassed in high school, not seeing any good men around me, being coerced into doing too much with an older boyfriend because i didn’t know I was worth enough to stand up to him.. it took me until last year and my quest for healthiness to have my eyes opened that there are men in the world who actually look at me like a whole person. I just wish the Church was better at teaching men and women the importance of valuing people and esp women. I have been in church my whole life and didn’t get it. Instead I felt like I was the issue because I was pretty. That’s sad.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, there are great men out there! There really are. I’m glad you’re finding them!

      Reply
  14. Bethany#2

    I don’t have any contribution to the lust conversations, as everyone else has given us a lot of great discussion! Very interesting, as this was a book I skimmed that helped confirm that wives were really just voluntarily sex slaves to one man.
    But anyway when talking about the eye bouncing and the looking away when talking. It’s not always that they are dealing with lust. I’m an introvert and I had to learn how to talk to boys as a 15yr old. I had just never interacted with non-related boys after puberty. I had no interest and I was scared of all of them. So when I talked to them, I had to look away when talking or get distracted by my own excitement! And as I got more confident in holding conversations with people, I got the eye contact thing down. But even as a married person, I get social anxiety about conversations. And so not looking is always about lust!
    (That said, I really enjoyed reading all the different perspectives on lust! ❤️)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a good perspective, too, Bethany! Thank you.

      Reply
  15. Madeline

    Oh my goodness thank you so much for this. I am SO GLAD that Christians are finally seeing how messed up the evangelical way of talking about lust is! You guys are so awesome thank you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You’re welcome, Madeline!

      Reply
      • Greg

        So what’s the difference between lust and sexual desire?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Sexual desire is simply a biological urge. It’s finding people attractive. Lust is then dwelling on that, deliberately fixating on a person’s body, imagining them doing different things or in different states of undress. You can find someone attractive and then do absolutely nothing else with that information.

          Reply
  16. Lori

    Regarding Noticing and Lusting, one of the best distinctions I’ve ever heard was from a young man:
    * * * “When I see a beautiful woman, I say, ‘Thank you, God, for such beauty,’ and I go on with my day, without wanting to use her for my pleasure. This is how I know I’m not lusting after her.” * * *
    I just love that!
    I’ve been researching different aspects of porn addiction for over two decades, and I’ve found the issue is made more difficult because:
    -feel-good chemicals ARE released when we see (or hear, etc.) something beautiful…
    -so much of our brains are dedicated to sight
    -sex is advertised specifically so we will associate those good feelings with that brand and buy from them
    All those combine together and confuse the issue, simply because it’s so prevalent… and it works!
    After watching my husband work with porn addicts, it’s become apparent that the addiction to use others can run deep and can be difficult to dislodge.
    I personally believe it comes down to this: “Whether I bounce my eyes or stare, do I want to USE her for my pleasure?”
    What makes matters worse is some addicted men have a very difficult time knowing what their own intentions are in this area. His wife would assume he wanted to use a woman he checked out. He may know he was moved by what he saw, but truly not know if it was just because she was attractive or if it was because he wanted to use her.
    So in some cases, it may be something ONLY God can discern in some men by “dividing of joints and marrow, and knowing the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    Reply

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