The X-Rated Series

My last lesson in this series could easily have been called "Men's Night." It focused on pornography. While pornography is not exclusively a man's problem, it is primarily a man's problem. For most men, the primary sexual stimulus is visual. For most women, the primary sexual stimulus is relational. What men "see" "turn them on." What women receive through relationship interaction "turns them on."

Consider this illustration. A husband and wife have argued and swapped criticisms all evening. Both are silently getting ready for bed. The husband sees his wife, is excited by what he sees, and becomes very romantic. The wife responds by saying, "You must be out of your mind!"

The same husband comes home from work a few days later. He immediately realizes that his wife had a horrible day. Without a word, he immediately does everything he can to help her. He sets the table while she cooks. He straightens up the house while she cleans the kitchen. He takes the garbage out and gives their son a bath. All evening he is busy helping without being told. When they go to bed, she is very affectionate. And he thinks to himself, "What did I do that was so romantic?"

Tonight I want to share with you the most difficult lesson in this series. Two things make it difficult. First, it is so easy to be misunderstood. It will be so easy for you to react instead of listen. Second, the Christian woman who does not accept the reality and the power of the male sex drive will not understand my message.

  1. In years past the common ways the church addressed the problems created by sex appeal were inadequate and often misdirected.
    1. Christian men, we are responsible for the ways we use our eyes and control our bodies.
      1. I do not eliminate my responsibility by blaming women.
      2. When I choose to place myself in situations that allow women to stimulate my sex drive, the temptations I experience are primarily the result of my choice.
      3. In Romans 13:13,14, Paul said that we should behave properly, not in carousing, drunkenness, sexual promiscuity, sensuality, strife, and jealousy. "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust."
    2. Christian women and men, the problem is not solved by a ruler, a tape measure, or by the yards of cloth a woman wears.
      1. In the past, the church said the primary problem existed because of the woman.
        1. That is simply not true.
        2. The problem has always existed because men and women's natures have been exploited and perverted.
      2. In the past, the church has said that the problem can be addressed effectively by controlling women.
        1. Regulate what they wear.
        2. Regulate how much of their body is exposed.
        3. Regulate what they can and cannot do in public.
      3. The key to controlling the problem existed in rules and regulations.
      4. Much too little emphasis was placed on hearts, minds, emotions, and conversion.

  2. I want to begin with marriage. I have a definite reason for this approach. Most of you will relate quickly to what I say about marriage. If you understand what I say about marriage, you are more likely to understand what I say about other matters.
    1. When we men marry, if we do not love the person we marry, if we are attracted only to her body, the marriage will fail.
      1. This marriage may divorce or it may not divorce, but it will fail either way.
      2. "What do you mean, 'it will fail'?"
        1. If your definition of successful marriage is a marriage that refuses to divorce, your definition is wrong.
        2. If a husband and wife live in the same house, but they sleep in different bedrooms to avoid contact with each other, never share affection, never touch each other, and interact with each other only when it is absolutely necessary, that marriage violates Bible teachings and is a failure.
        3. If a wife refuses to be sexually intimate with her husband, if she is convinced that if she refuses him long enough that he will have an affair, if she believes that she can divorce him then without guilt, she violates Jesus' teachings and that marriage exists in failure.
        4. If the husband and wife keep the public image of a successful marriage, but despise each other privately, that marriage exists in failure.
      3. "Are you suggesting that the answer to such failures is divorce?" No.
        1. I am saying that a marriage is not successful simply because it avoids the divorce court.
        2. It suffers the pain of failure.
        3. It suffers the misery of failure.
        4. It suffers the humiliation of rejection.
        5. It suffers the emotional roller coaster of depression.
        6. It creates heightened personal struggle for both husband and wife.
        7. It fails!
      4. What is success in marriage?
        1. In a successful marriage, both the husband and the wife make a conscious, serious effort to minister to each other's physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs.
        2. Success is not ministering to every need perfectly.
        3. Success is consciously accepting the responsibility and making honest, genuine attempts to meet those needs.
      5. Christian men and women, if our marriages are to be successful, men must be attracted to and marry a person, not a sexy body.
    2. So I have a question for you Christian ladies. You may not be conscious of your answer. The question: what is your objective in your physical presentation of yourself?
      1. Many ad campaigns seek to sell products to women by suggesting the use of that product will make you feel like you are a woman. Being a man, I do not know what it means to "feel like a woman." But, in the same sense these advertisements mean:
        1. Do you select and wear the clothes you wear to feel like you are a woman?
        2. Do you select and wear your makeup to feel like a woman?
        3. Do you select and wear the perfume and body scents that you wear to feel like a woman?
        4. What is that feeling? When do you have it? How do you know you have it?
        5. Is the objective to enhance your sex appeal? Is the objective to appeal to the sex drive of men? Do you know you achieve your objective by the way men look at you?
      2. Is the objective to have men scan your body?
        1. Do you want men to notice you in that way?
        2. Do you feel good about yourself only when your body is presented in a manner that men react to what they see?
    3. Now, before some of you get really mad at me, let me say that I really feel sorry for you.
      1. When you were a child, pretty little girls received the attention.
      2. When you were an adolescent, girls with a developed body were popular and attracted the attention.
      3. When you started dating, it was your body that attracted the dating invitations.
      4. After you marry, there are common dilemmas.
        1. If your husband does not treat you like you are attractive, then it is nice to know that other men find you attractive.
        2. Or, your husband wants to enhance his ego by showing you off.
        3. Or, your husband wants men to look at you but not too much.
    4. Look at the way advertisers market their products to you.
      1. How many ads challenge you to enhance you sex appeal?
      2. How many ads challenge you to measure your person by your sex appeal?
      3. How many ads challenge you to determine your personal significance by the way your body attracts men's attention?
    5. Your greatest power should be based on the person you are.
      1. Your greatest attractiveness should be seen in your person.
        1. To your husband, the person you are should enhance your sexual desirability.
        2. To your husband, knowing you as a person should create the desire to share total life with you.
      2. Your body should never be used to obscure your person.
      3. When you use the sex appeal of your body in a way that blinds men to your person, you are horribly cheating yourself.
    6. Remembering that men are visually motivated in their sex drive, let me ask you Christian women some questions.
      1. How would you like to know what Christian men think when they look at your body:
        1. In public?
        2. On the beach?
        3. In the church building?
      2. Would you like to know when Christian men cannot concentrate on communion because of your physical appearance?

  3. May I share something disturbing with you. This is not a preacher complaint. I am not asking you to scold your teens--that would be a counterproductive course of action. I am just sharing an observation.
    1. Your teenage daughters don't have a clue.
      1. They think sex appeal is cute and innocent.
      2. They think being sexually provocative has nothing to do with Christian values or Christian morality.
      3. They are horribly ignorant about the nature and power of the male sex drive.
      4. From the time they were small children they have learned to be very comfortably wearing very little clothing.
        1. It is good to use sex appeal to attract the attention of teenage males.
        2. It is funny to tease teenage males with sex appeal.
    2. When I shared the lesson on pornography, Brad and I decided that it would be a positive experience for the teenagers to hear that lesson.
      1. When we showed the interview with Ted Bundy, everyone was rivited--teens and adults.
      2. When I spoke about the doors that opened the way to pornography:
        1. You adult men and women really listened.
        2. Some of the teenage males listened.
        3. Several of the teen females laughed.
      3. They were not being disrespectful to me or what I said.
        1. They were bored.
        2. What I said meant little to them.
    3. And some of them will marry young men who are attracted to their bodies, not their persons.
      1. And every one of them who does will wonder, "What happened?"
      2. When all you are loved for is your body, it does not take long for you to feel unloved and unappreciated.

Let me close by showing you how easy it is to miss the point in matters of sex appeal. About ten years before we moved to West Africa, missionaries of various religious groups made a concerted effort to get the women to wear dresses. They were certain the sexual problems they saw would be reduced if women stopped going bare breasted. They succeeded in changing the clothing women wore.

Do you know what was erotic in their society? Not the breast. It was functional and existed to nurse babies. What was erotic was the arm pit. So the women wore dresses to church, and missionaries congratulated themselves on their success.

But the women carried babies bound to their backs. And they had to adjust the babies when they came in the church building. And they raised their arms repeatedly and "flashed" the audience.

Oh, how we attack the problem and miss the point!

I have made a covenant with my eyes;
Why then should I look upon a young woman?

(Job 31:1)

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 9 April 2000
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