The “All men struggle with lust” message is a toxic one.
On Tuesday I don’t write blog posts anymore–but I published something on Facebook this morning that I thought I’d move over here as well!
Yesterday I asked in my Instagram stories how the “All men struggle with lust” message affected women. I had hundreds upon hundreds of responses.
Here are just a few:
* It made me feel like if my husband ever cheated it was because I didn’t keep myself pretty enough
* Made me feel permanently unsafe and always on display
* I felt guilty for my large bust
* Made me not trust men (including my husband)
* Gave me that “I asked for it” mentality
* It made me vigilant around men–how I crossed my legs, how I stood up or bent over. I never could be natural
* I thought every time my husband touched me he was initiating sex (wrong!)
* It made me terrified, like an animal in a cage
* It made me feel weird around my dad and brothers
* I gained 20 lbs. trying to hide my body
* It made me feel like a freak as a woman who struggled with lust
* Put burden on my young brain that my marriage would always have shadow & sadness
* Made me afraid to have sons
* I judged other women…
* It made me size up other women to see if my husband would lust after them
* It made me feel like I’d never be enough
* Made me extremely paranoid that my honorable husband was a secret pervert
* I thought addiction to porn was normal and I didn’t see the red flags with my then fiance
* I was terrified that everything I did or wore made me a target. So I avoided men altogether.
* I still can’t wear a V-neck (and I’m 40!)
* When I was sexually abused as a child it made me feel like it was all my fault
* Eating disorder…trying to stay “perfect” to keep my husband faithful.
* I took all the responsibility for unwanted sexual encounters
* It made me feel disgusted. My friends’ dads? My teachers? My youth leaders? No safe space.
* Made me believe that men are never wrong; they’re just a victim of circumstance.
* It made me concerned about snuggling with my dad.
* I lost all respect for the men in my life. Could not see them as leaders.
So let me ask….
Are we listening?
Often authors try to dress up the message. Instead of saying, “all men struggle with lust,” they say things like “men have a sexual region of the brain that is 2 1/2 times larger, and they’re visually stimulated in a way that women will never understand.” (which is not, by the way, what science says).
But it’s the same effect. It’s the same message.
I had a conversation with a big name author about this. He believes that all men DO struggle with lust (It’s why he wouldn’t endorse The Great Sex Rescue). And I said–but EVEN IF that’s true (which it’s not), shouldn’t it matter that spreading this message has such terrible effects on women?
He disagreed. Women just need to know the truth.
But THIS IS NOT OF GOD. Women matter. God did not create men to incessantly struggle with one sin.
We have to do this better.
Please see chapters 5 & 6 in The Great Sex Rescue for a thorough debunking of the whole “all men struggle with lust” message, plus a thorough analysis of what that message does to women. AND a way to talk about it that upholds the dignity of both men and women, and points us to a safe and healthy way forward.
The Great Sex Rescue
Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.
What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?
Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.
Yesterday and overnight about 10 people alerted me to this article by Barbara Rainey, by the way, about “when sex is at the bottom of your list.” I’ll try to do an Instagram Live about it later today and talk about it!
So how did the message affect you? Let me know in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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