Building on her atrocious post titled, You’re Not Awesome…and You Know It, Evangelical Michelle Lesley released a screed yesterday that purported to answer the question, “do women ‘lust’ after men?” As a former Evangelical pastor, I always assumed that Christians believed that women lusted just as much as their male counterparts. However, I learned that some Evangelicals don’t believe women can lust. Take the question that precipitated Lesley’s sermon to “dirty, stinking, rotten, rebellious [Evangelical] sinner [s]”:
In the past, I’ve had lots of trouble wondering about my desire and tendency to look at, and get excited by, physically attractive men, especially men who reveal a lot of themselves in underwear modeling and soft-core porn. I think this is a sin, but I’m not sure.
I’ve gotten mixed reactions when I’ve mentioned this to people. There are some who say that, yes, this is the sin of lust. Yet there are others who have told me that women cannot possibly struggle with lust, only men do. I once dealt with one particular man who was very dogmatic that God created men and women to be tempted differently, and that lust is not a temptation women deal with, so he dismissed my struggles with this subject.
When I tried to search Scripture, using Matthew 5:28, it would also seem that this is a male-only sin. So is it OK for me to keep looking at male models, including underwear modeling and soft-core porn?
According to this woman, only men can “lust.” In fact, Jesus made that very point in Matthew 5:28:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Evidently, the male pronoun in this verse means that Jesus is only talking to men, not women. It’s MEN who lust and commit adultery in their hearts, not women. This, of course, is an irrational hermeneutic, making much of the Bible irrelevant for women.
Lesley spends an inordinate amount of time building up to her answer, telling the questioner:
This is an awesome question for three reasons. First, you’re concerned about whether or not you’re sinning with the aim of mortifying this behavior if it is a sin. Second, you’re not relying on your own feelings, opinions, or experiences to determine whether or not this is a sin, you’re turning to Scripture to find out. Those are both very encouraging things. They demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is working in your heart to sanctify you and make you more like Christ.
Lesley then goes on to say that while men certainly lust more than women do — it’s their nature — women can and do lust after men. And why do women lust? Here’s Lesley’s answer:
A hundred years ago, it would have been unthinkable to see advertisements featuring nearly naked men, or strip clubs with male dancers, or pornography aimed at women, so readily available and with so little shame attached. And at that time there were probably far fewer women who struggled with the sin of lust.
These days, it’s right there on your phone or computer or TV or at the bachelorette party for your friend. Lust, lewd behavior, and lurid talk by women are actually encouraged by the feminist movement. (If men are going to objectify women with lust and porn, we’re going to objectify them right back. Really? This is equality? The right to sink to the same depth of degradation as the scuzziest of men? No thanks.) Watch any sitcom or drama on TV. You’ll see it soon enough. And, of course, there’s money to be made by making women into consumers of porn and other sexual material, so the businesses that peddle these things encourage women to lust as well. All of which means that today, just a hundred years later, far more women are struggling with the sin of lust.
So we can see that the reality is that lust is a temptation experienced by some women, even though men are more prone to it.
According to Lesley, women lust more now than yesteryear because of — drum roll, please — FEMINISM. That’s right, dirty, filthy feminists are leading Evangelical paragons of moral virtue astray. When it comes to men lusting, the typical subject of blame is women. If women only dressed a certain away, Christian men would refrain from wanting to fuck them in the pews during the singing of Just as I Am. Teen Evangelical boys would maintain their virginity — technically, since all Evangelical boys and men masturbate — until their wedding days if girls would hide their sexuality and feminine shape with Little House on the Prairie dresses. Women are viewed as gatekeepers, and it is up to them to protect the moral virtue of weak, pathetic horn dog Evangelical men.
Evangelical women, on the other hand, are ravaged not by men, but by secularism and feminism. Television, in particular, is to blame for Evangelical women lusting after men who are not their husbands.
Jesus came to die on a cruel rugged cross to pay for the sins of the flesh. He would never have thought of using another person to gratify His own selfish desires. How could we?
Is lust a sin for women too? Absolutely. Stop it. Repent. Receive the merciful grace and forgiveness Christ offers.
When Evangelicals talk about sexual lust what do they mean? Lust is desiring someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse for sexual gratification. It’s looking at someone and saying, “nice, I would like to fuck you.” Thanks to 2,000 years of anti-human, anti-sex teaching, Christianity has caused countless Evangelicals to spend their lives wallowing in guilt, fearing that God will judge or chastise them for looking at someone’s ass and saying, “nice.” Taught that they are hopeless, helpless, powerless sinners, Evangelicals cast themselves on the supposed mighty power of Jesus — a Jewish preacher who never lusted, never had sex with a woman (or a man). As ex-Evangelicals know, Jesus is powerless when it comes to stemming human want, need, or desire. Ask yourself, who wins? Jesus or an erect penis? Jesus or a body flush with sexual desire? Sorry, but Jesus is no match for raging hormones.
Instead of causing all sorts of psychologically harmful guilt and fear, perhaps it is better to consider whether sexual want, need, and desire are normal and healthy? Is it normal for me to see an attractive woman (or man) and appreciate their beauty? As someone who believes in the importance of owning one’s sexuality, I am capable of sexually desiring someone without acting on that desire. That’s what grown-ups do. Forty-two years ago, I made a commitment to my wife to be sexually faithful to her. She made the same commitment to me. This commitment guides how I behave sexually. This doesn’t mean I can’t look, view porn, or watch TV with provocative sexual content. One of the interesting aspects of our post-Jesus marriage is that Polly and I are free to express ourselves sexually. In fact, I find it interesting to see the type of men whom Polly finds attractive. She really has a thing for gay guys. Having conversations about these things is no threat to our relationship. We are comfortable in our own skins sexually.
People marry for all sorts of different reasons. Not every couple marries for sex. I pastored several Christian couples over the years who married for companionship and financial security. One woman had no interest in sex. She was fine with her husband meeting his “needs” outside of their marriage. Since marriage is a contract between two people, it’s up to them to determine the sexual parameters of their relationship. What goes on between consenting adults is no one’s business but theirs.
Human biology tells us that it is normal and healthy for men and women to want, need, and desire sexual intimacy. This intimacy can take all sorts of shapes and forms. As long as it between consenting adults, why should anyone care about what goes on behind closed doors? Evangelical preachers, including female preachers such as Lesley, rage against premarital, extramarital, and LGBTQ sexual activity. Teens and young adults are commanded to keep themselves “pure” until their wedding days. No sex, no masturbation — just lots of praying and cold, cold, cold showers. As former Evangelicals know, the prohibitions against premarital sex failed spectacularly. Why? Sex is what humans do. Allegedly GOD made us this way. Why would God make us this way if he didn’t want us to act on our sexual needs and desires? If having sex is as natural as eating and drinking, why all the religious prohibitions against sex? One word: control. Lesley rages against secularists and feminists because both refuse to be controlled.
And therein is the essence of Lesley’s writing. Evangelical women are vile sinners, and if left to themselves they would fuck their way through the church. The only way to stop this from happening is to control them through fear and guilt. Imagine what Evangelical churches and marriages might look like if women were free to express themselves sexually? Talk about fun times at First Baptist Church! Of course, this is will never happen. The only way for women (and men) to be their authentic sexual selves is for them to exit their churches and the strictures of Evangelical dogma.
Lust isn’t the problem, religion is. Sure, some men and women can and do have inordinate sexual desires. And how such desires affect people personally and the relationships they have with others matters. However, this is not what Lesley and her fellow prohibitionists are focused upon. Oh no, they are worried about women ringing their doorbells while having thoughts of Matt Bomer. They are worried about normal, healthy sexual behavior. Why? The answer is always the same: The BIBLE says . . . For Evangelicals, the Bible is the equivalent of Master’s and Johnson’s books on human sexuality. Think about it for a moment: Evangelicals are governed sexually by an ancient Bronze age religious text; governed by the supposed pronouncements of a God no one has ever seen; governed by the words of an unmarried man who lived and died 2,000 years ago and was never seen again; governed by a man named Paul who, by all accounts, was a misogynist; governed by the sermons of men who don’t practice what they preach. Instead of “thinking” about their own sexuality, Evangelicals conform — at least outwardly — to their churches’ and pastors’ peculiar interpretation of the Bible. The goal? Obedience. Without said obedience, Evangelical churches would empty out overnight.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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