Debunking The “Only Men Are Visual” Myth
Editor’s Note: I’ve spoken with so many women who ask, “What is wrong with me??” right after admitting their pull towards sex or the male (or female) form. As if only men were the ones allowed to desire the sensual or beautiful. I can assuredly tell you that nothing is wrong with you. And I’m so grateful for Kait Wright and her words today. Kait blogs at a alovelyforgotten.tumblr.com. – Lauren
Sometimes I can’t stand ‘Relationship’ books. I want to use the author’s own creation to beat the tar out of them yelling, “You don’t know me!” in some ghetto slang that’s hood-worthy.
This is the curse I suppose, of being an abnormal woman in the marital world. You see, most material suggests that men are image driven while women are emotional. But in my case?
My husband can wash all the dishes we own, tell me how great I look, and save a baby from a runaway train, but it still won’t have the effect I experience while watching him change the oil in our car shirtless.
According to these books, I’m a cold-hearted mutant. Apparently the male physique in all of its glory isn’t supposed to impact my hormones as a romantic dinner should.
The interesting part of my theoretical alienation from the female masses is that I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not alone. And that is not a reference to a few closet ‘horndogs’ out there.
I’m suggesting that we’ve been playing along in this mystical fairyland where women are all but immune to visual aids. And the majority of Christians have adopted it.
Well, fancy that… because I just found proof that they are wrong.
“Magic Mike”, an explosive Testosterone-Fest of a film, was released this past month. In a nutshell, there are men sculpted like Greek gods ‘shakin’ their groove thang’ every which way imaginable, all for the sake of a strip club’s female patrons’ delight. It made 40 million in three days.
Oh yeah, we don’t get off on the male body at all.
I don’t think that sipping a large Pepsi or popping M&M’s disguises it well either.
In a practical sense, “So what? We are women, right? We aren’t like men, it’s not the same. It’s not supposed to be.”
You can’t split humanity down the middle and make generalized statements based purely on which side you fall on. We can be exactly like men.
The worst part is that we don’t have the integrity to be honest about it. Hollywood doesn’t need our admission to confirm what they already know. Producers are making billions off of our denial as we speak.
I don’t know where leaders in our communities got the notion that us chicks aren’t affected by similar things that so obviously haunt men, but I must say – it was an irresponsible assumption. Yes, we are complex creatures, and to varying degrees are influenced by kindness and loving tendencies when it comes their promotion of our libido. But to turn a blind eye to an unacknowledged ingredient in our wiring is beyond just unwise. In fact, it’s doing criminal-level damage.
When we choose to silently pretend immunity to the consequences of visual stimulation, we literally rob ourselves of two co-existing truths:
We can be equally stirred by physicality. And secondly: We are just as susceptible to lust as men are.
The importance on the first truth is so elementary, it baffles me how oblivious some are to the female psyche. When we live in denial as to how we are motivated sexually, we are not only lying to ourselves, but to our mates. How can my husband speak to all of my facets, if he isn’t even aware of them? Especially if he was raised in an environment where this reality has been continually neglected.
No wonder most men don’t go to the gym after 30. Why would they, when they think their wives only get off on a nice card, flowers, and a lobster dinner? Those things are really appreciated, of course. I’m just speculating that it’s irrefutably unfair to passively allow our partners to believe that visual qualities have minimal weight, while we’re secretly seeing ‘Magic Mike’ with our girlfriends for a Ladies Night Out, or watching the trailer five times in a row.
We are stealing a potentially powerful element from our marriages, and sharing it freely with blockbuster.
Worse actually, because we are paying ten dollars for it while our husbands sit at home, clueless to the lure of Channing Tatum’s man thong. (So I’ve heard, at least.)
The second truth, which carries immeasurably more significance in our lives, is the one I am more concerned with. If we opt to feign irrelevance to the fact that women are prone to physically-triggered lust, remaining ignorant of the likely consequences that come with it, we are robbing ourselves of the capability to act against those consequences. A soldier can’t fight against something he doesn’t acknowledge, and neither can we.
What gets me so riled up is that many authors completely ignore the countless testimonies of our own susceptibility. The Bible refers to a woman’s lust plenty of times. In fact, God uses a lustful woman the majority of the time in analogies of Israel’s unfaithfulness. It’s not a “wayward husband looking at ‘nudey pics’” that God painted, it was a woman as in Jeremiah 2:24:
“You are like a wild donkey,
sniffing the wind at mating time.
Who can restrain her lust?
Those who desire her don’t need to search,
for she goes running to them!”
I don’t think that the women in these analogies were panting after men for their kind words, or because they liked roses. Bare feminine lust is just as a powerful propeller for women as it is for men.
I love when the Bible proves the modern world wrong, and that it’s relevant in our culture. The last time we went to see a movie, my husband and I walked past a line of women waiting to catch their glimpse of Mathew McConaughey’s booty. And ironically, they embodied the point Jeremiah made at the end of this verse. They stood in the middle of the theater like a jittery, sex-craved pack of hyenas in the middle of heat.
The point, my lovely hyenas, isn’t that our animal-like response to ‘studly’ men is inherently wrong. The point is that if we don’t accept that side of ourselves, then how will we prevent Satan from coming and tainting it for his own agenda?
The longer we separate femininity from the mental wanderings of men to the extent of denial, the more time he has to use our secret like a pin cushion. Stabbing it with shameful pins until we have no choice but to bury it, or simply give it away. Until we come to terms with the ‘caged animal’, we won’t be willing to accept Christ’s forgiveness, His guidance, His understanding, or His liberty.
The worst kind of bondage is one where the captive cannot admit it exists, and therefore cannot be freed.
I don’t think there’s anything special about ‘Mike’ at all. I think that there is something special about you. A hidden chemical makeup both powerful, yet just as sensitive to the images our culture wishes to drown it in. I’m suggesting, or rather urging, that we buck up and acknowledge the truth. We can be the wild hyena, but keeping her on a leash for our spouse is a choice that requires boundaries. That way, when we let her run free, there is no shame. Only shared opportunity to be the complex, wonderfully intoxicating beings God created us to be.