Today’s post is inspired by the comments of this post over at Dalrock’s. It will be divided into two parts, the first of which responds to a comment by “Bee”, while the second features some of my thoughts and commentary concerning a comment left by “stringtheory.”
Here is part of what commenter Bee said in response to Deti talking about the incorrect, inaccurate and often outright deceptive teaching in church on the nature of men and women:
What would you teach a class of teenage, Christian men to give them the correct perspective?
Would you encourage the young men to marry young?
(Link to comment here)
I’m going to address them in order, starting with the question of “What would you teach a class of teenage, Christian men to give them the correct perspective?”
Well, the first thing I would do is advise that they read the Wisdom Books in the Bible. Proverbs, Sirach and Song of Songs especially. I know that most Protestant Bibles don’t have the Book of Sirach, which I think is a tragic loss for those who have never read it. Fortunately there are plenty of online resources where Sirach can be read in several different translations. So if you don’t want to buy a new Bible that would be a viable alternative. Both Sirach and Proverbs mesh well together in terms of explaining positive and negative traits in women. They warn men about the consequences of choosing a wife poorly and can help keep women off a pedestal. Song of Songs is useful for disabusing men of the notion that women are asexual creatures, which can again help keep away the pedestalization. All of that makes for a good, solid foundation.
Other passages in the Bible provide good lessons as well. Genesis has valuable insights of course. Potiphar’s wife’s advances on Joseph provide stark warning about female nature. Samson provides all kinds of object lessons. Both the story of David and Solomon have great value as well. All of these will tie in to what will be taught later about female nature.
Before going any further, I would tell these young Christian men that male sexuality is not inherently evil or twisted or anything of that sort. God created us as sexual creatures (save perhaps those with St. Paul’s gift), and that is a good thing. Teach them that sex is both proper and good inside of marriage- for it unites man and woman together as one flesh and is the avenue by which offspring come about- which is what God desires.
With that taken care of, I would explain to those teenage men what women find attractive in men. Help them understand the differences between Attraction traits and Desirability traits. Then I would explain to them why women find those traits attractive. Make it clear to them that most people out there, Christian or non-Christian, don’t understand this. Consequently, they will need to be suspicious of anything else they’ve been taught before which clashes with this. Inform them that there is a lot of bad teaching out there, and they need to be able to distinguish the truth from lies.
Then I would move on to explain other aspects of female nature. Some important examples include:
- The Good Genes/Good Provider dichotomy and how that plays out
- Fitness Tests
- The impact of a woman’s sexual history on marital stability
- The inability to negotiate desire
- The differences in how women communicate as compared to men
The Feminine Imperative (an ephemeral concept if there ever was one) would also be something that would need to be explained to them. While difficult to describe, it has a huge impact on nearly all aspects of our culture, and learning it is critical for men to understand why the present culture (within and without the Church) is what it is.
By the end of all these lessons, these young men should be able to see women for what they are: fallen, sinful creatures… just like men. This brings us to the second question- “Would you encourage the young men to marry young?”
The short answer to this is yes, I would. I’ve explained before why young marriage is a good thing. Young marriage would (or to be more accurate, could) help these young men avoid sexual immorality. However, that would be an incomplete answer. Because at the same time I would also encourage the young men to prepare for marrying young. That means getting serious about their life right away. If they pursue an education, don’t waste time on needless classes. Take what they need, and only what they need. Finish as swiftly as possible, so as to minimize debt and get into the workforce as soon as possible. Consider trade school if not looking at college or university. Also consider community college combined with a full or part-time job.
At the same time, it would also be necessary to encourage the parents of the young men to support their sons marrying young. Most Christians these days, parents especially are opposed to young marriage, on a variety of grounds- none of them really good. Expect a lot of resistance here. And that leads into the real problem with all of this. You see, encouraging young men to marry young is rather pointless unless you can encourage young women to marry young. Right now that isn’t happening, in fact it is the exact opposite. This provides the perfect lead-up to part two-
Commenter Stringtheory left the following comments:
On a recent camping trip, one of the guys was telling us about how his 28 year old son had started taking antidepressants. His son has never suffered from depression but told his dad he was able to say the right things and get a prescription. He’s taking them to try and kill his sex drive because he’s simply tired of pursing women with no success. The dad is upset and angry. His son is reasonably attractive, a working professional with a decent income, but all the girls he asks out turn him down, or if he does go out they want to have sex right away and his son wants to wait until marriage. So instead of being tempted with porn or fornication he’s cutting out the source of his temptation. We were all talking about the morality of this. Is it wrong to kill one’s sex drive to avoid marriage or immorality?
I should correct my above statement. The question wasn’t “Is it wrong to kill one’s sex drive to avoid marriage or immorality?” but rather to avoid immorality. I want to make clear that my friend’s son wants to get married, but he simply can’t find any non-virgins and doesn’t think his prospects are going to get better any time soon. About six months ago he did strike up a friendship with an 19 year old who was (presumably) a virgin and things seemed to be moving along but it got quashed by the girl’s parents and church elders who thought that his interest was inappropriate given the age difference. After that he had had enough and started down the chemically eunuch route.
Most of my regular readers will likely understand why I sympathize with that young man. He sounds like a slightly younger version of myself, trying to clear much the same hurdles. Before answering stringtheory’s question, I want to continue where I left off- how young women are not encouraged to marry young.
I don’t recall if it was Novaseeker or Cail Corishev who once said something along the lines that there are few things that Christians fear these days so much as a young women with potential marrying young. Whether or not that accusation is true (I think it is for many), stringtheory’s account, and that of other Christians in this part of the web, does demonstrate that many if not most Christians do not want young, attractive virgin women to marry good, virtuous men. They just don’t. If there was no age gap, as there was here, then another reason would have been given for why the relationship should not have been. As for why so many Christians act in this manner, there are two different forces working together here- one relating to women and one relating to men.
When it comes to women, most Christians oppose on principle the idea of a young, (attractive) virgin marrying. Of course, if one or more of those traits is not present, then the opposition tends to melt away. She’s no longer young? Why then, of course she should marry. She’s not attractive? Well, it won’t be such a loss if that man, older or not, marries her (although this is still not favored- its just tolerated more). She’s no longer a virgin? Well, it would be good for that men to marry her and “save her” from her past mistakes. So for those young men that Bee was asking about… well, it really doesn’t matter if you encourage them to marry young or not. Because everyone else in church is encouraging the women the men want to marry (and should marry) to not marry. At least, not right away. Not until they get more “life experience” and other such nonsense. This really is one of the great tragedies of our age- the Christian women who should marry, and would make (all other things being equal) the best wives- those who are young and virgins, are for the large part essentially commanded that they shouldn’t marry until they are no longer young.
This brings us to the men. Based on what I have seen, and what others have relayed to me, it appears as though many Christians don’t want good, virtuous Christian men to marry well. Oh, they would never admit to it and would instead deny the accusation vociferously. They would protest and say that of course they want those nice men to marry well. But the women they want to marry, those young (hopefully attractive) virgins from the paragraph before, are basically off-limits to them. As for what women they are “allowed” to marry, that is, to court without scandal or reprisal? Yeah…. Honestly, sometimes I get the impression that a lot of Christians see good, virtuous men as janitors or sanitation workers who are expected to pick up the “trash” in church. If you continue to follow stringtheory’s comments in that thread he basically describes that exact phenomenon in action. Undoubtedly it is one of the major reasons why so many men are leaving the church right now. These men are essentially being punished for their virtue, which sure doesn’t help encourage it any, as incentives matter.
Before I close I also want to address the question of “Is it wrong to kill one’s sex drive to avoid [sexual] immorality?” I know that I have read some of the works of the early Church Fathers who discussed physical castration, and they made it clear that it was a sin. One’s body is holy, a gift from God, and is not to be disfigured. I think that the same reasoning would apply to chemical castration as well. Your brain is part of your body, and using chemicals to alter your brain chemistry to suppress, hinder or eliminate certain brain functions is harmful. Yes, the intent might be good, but the action itself is not just or ordered. Jesus was not being literal when he said we should cut off our hand if it caused us to be sin- he was applying a metaphor, as per his usual style. However, reasonable minds might differ and I am curious what my readers think about the subject. Is is acceptable to use chemicals to suppress one’s sex drive so as to avoid sexual immorality? Let me know in the comments.