Wifey Wednesday: Magic Mike, Marriage, and Women’s Libido

Why Magic Mike Can Hurt Your Marriage
It’s Wednesday, when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all can link up one of your marriage posts to the linky below! Today we’re going to talk about what turns women on–or at least, how a woman’s libido works as opposed to how a man’s libido works.

And to do that, I’d like to talk about the movie Magic Mike. A ton of readers have been emailing me and writing on my Facebook Page asking my opinion on watching it, so I thought I had better chime in!

Magic Mike is about a bunch of male strippers who are being trained to give women exactly what they want. It’s based roughly on Channing Tatum’s  real life, I guess, and it’s just a raunchy “fun” movie (that’s how it’s being described). Women apparently are all ready to flock to see it.

So what do I think?

Let’s go backwards just for a moment and look at how our culture ended up here.

For the last hundred years or so there’s been a concerted effort to get rid of morality–and God.

People wanted to be free to do what they wanted without being burdened by having to do what’s right, or having God tell them what to do. They didn’t want guilt. They wanted humanism.

But what stood in their way? The family. Marriage. Marriage and the family are profoundly moral institutions. They rely on things like commitment, and love, and selflessness. And having children within marriage also relies on chastity outside of marriage. None of that was seen as a good thing. That was all holding us back–holding women back, because marriage and family hurt our career aspirations, and holding all of us back because we couldn’t focus on happiness, but we had to focus on duty.

So it was necessary to get rid of marriage. And our society has almost done that. Divorce is rampant. Cohabitation is commonplace, almost the default today. And single parenthood is normal.

But there’s one stubborn thing that is preventing the wholesale rejection of marriage, and that’s women’s need to see sex as something more than physical.

As we’ve talked about before, and as I go into length about in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, for women, sex is largely relational. When a woman takes her shirt off at the end of the day, her husband immediately starts thinking sexy thoughts. When a man takes his shirt off, a woman tends to think, “Is he going to put that in the laundry hamper?” We don’t tend to think, to the same extent, “Oh, come get me, hubba hubba.” It’s not that we NEVER want to be taken; it’s just that what turns women on has far more to do with feeling safe, and feeling cherished, and feeling loved, than it does purely visual stimuli.

That’s a problem for our culture, because a woman who wants a stable, committed, long-term relationship to have great sex isn’t going to be happy with our hooking up society. So we have to ignore this side of women, and promote instead the idea that women’s sex drives are the same as men’s are–that what turns women on is the same thing that turns men on. So we create shows like Sex and the City which show women on the prowl. We write magazines like Cosmo which are dedicated to women having sex with as many men as possible, and portraying that as glamorous. And now we have this movie.

(By the way, none of this is to say that men DON’T need committed relationships. They absolutely do. Their need for love and relationship is just as great, but it manifests itself in different ways. For us, the way you see it most is in our sex drives. That’s what’s going on here.)

Now, if women were truly aroused primarily by anonymous sex or by visual stimuli, then Playgirl, back in the 1970s, would have been as popular as Playboy. But it never was, and eventually it was mostly bought by gay men. If women were as aroused by visual stimuli as men, then male strip clubs would be just as common as female strip clubs. But they’re not, because we fundamentally don’t work the same way. Seeing a guy strip is not what turns a woman on to the same extent as feeling pursued and cherished.

That does not mean, though, that women can’t be pushed towards more anonymous sex–that what turns women on can change. That’s what Magic Mike is about!

And that’s exactly what’s happening, which is why movies like Magic Mike are being made and are resonating with people. The more our culture portrays women as being turned on by the same thing men are, the more we start to internalize that message. I hear 13-year-old girls all the time commenting on how “hot” some guy is, or noticing his “6-pack abs”. I do not remember ANY of that from when I was 13. We talked about guys being “cute”, but never “hot”. We were thinking more that his hair was cute, not that he had great abs. Our culture is starting to affect us.

So now 30% of porn users are female. We’re being drawn to this stuff, because the arousal centres in our brains are starting to get activated by things that didn’t used to activate them before. And thus we’re literally rewiring our brains (porn has this same effect on men, by the way).

Why is this movie hitting a nerve with women? Because its message is “celebrate your sexuality! Have fun!” And most of us do want to be sexual beings. We do want to just have sex with abandon. We want passion. At our hearts, we yearn for it within a marriage relationship, but that yearning is still there. And this movie promises to tap into that.

Interestingly, the whole Magic Mike “male stripper” phenomenon tends to be something that women do WITH FRIENDS. It’s social for us, it’s not solitary like it often is for men. The movie wouldn’t work if women were going in there predominantly on their own; it works because they’re in a group. It’s seen as something fun we’re doing to validate our own sexuality.

That’s the whole background. Here’s my take away: this sort of thing, many moons ago, would have seemed bizarre to most women. Now it is seen as mainstream. That’s because our culture has subtly but relentlessly been feeding us this message that “women need to throw off the shackles! You’re sexual beings! So go out and claim it!”

But we were not created to be sexual beings in isolation, hopping from one man to the next, becoming aroused simply by the idea of having sexual power.

Our sexual power is most unleashed in marriage (which is why married women have a far easier time achieving orgasm when they make love).

So please, steer clear of this movie. It may look fun, but it honestly is doing damage to women’s sex drives. I am not a man. I do not want to think like a man, or become aroused like a man. I love the fact that what is sexy to me is love and relationship. Besides, how would you feel if your husband went to a movie about female strippers? You’d be incensed. Somehow we think this is different because at heart we know that women don’t work the same way. So if we see a movie like this, it’s to make us excited about sex! It’s to make us feel more in tune with our desires! And that has benefits for our husbands, right? No. Not any more than 50 Shades of Grey does. It’s going to change you from the way you were made to be. It’s going to make sex LESS about your husband and MORE about only the physical. That’s not good.

There is nothing wrong with being aroused by the male form–most women are to a lesser or greater extent. But fundamentally God created women so that what turns women on is being chased and cherished. That’s our half of the equation of how marriage mirrors God’s relationship with the church. And that’s what marriage is for. The more we dabble in things like this, the more we create problems for ourselves responding sexually within marriage, and the more we turn sex into something that is purely physical, and not emotionally or spiritually intimate.

That’s my take. What do you think?

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  1. Your timeline is a bit wrong, I’m afraid. Thomas Jefferson was a humanist, as were most of the Founding Fathers. As you probably know, Jefferson wrote his own edition of the bible, taking out everything that he thought was not logical, and which took away from the main point of the bible. Humanism is not to blame for the ills of modern society, but it is an easy scapegoat for those who want easy, smug answers.

    • Oh, I know it started earlier than that. In fact, it started during the “Enlightenment”. But it really didn’t have a big cultural influence until about 100 years ago when church attendance started to tank and when it started to permeate popular culture. That’s all.

    • Kristin Mullinax says:

      I was just thinking something very similar. Humanism is not the same as Hedonism, which may be what the author is thinking of. Sheila, to you I will say, I am one of those who no longer goes to church, and I’m a humanist, and I find I care about people and doing the right thing more now than I did in church. In church I was taught to disregard a person’s individual thoughts or feelings, so long as they came to church with me, or let me pray over them. Now I help people whether they’re ever going to come to church with me or not. Please, don’t blame humanism for the selfishness that has permeated our culture. Again, that’s hedonism.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The line that stood out to me most from your post was this: “But fundamentally God created women to yearn to be aroused by being chased and cherished.”

    So here is a question for you: What should a wife do who is neither chased nor cherished? My sex drive is higher than I think most married women, and I do find my husband very attractive sexually. But he is involved in an open emotional affair, and has told me he never had the FEELINGS of love for me. The only reasons he is staying with me are that he doesn’t want to tear up the family (he says I’m a great wife and mother and loves his kids), and doesn’t want to go to hell. He still wants to have sex with me, but while I still have strong sexual needs, I shut down every time he touches me. Being told plainly that I am not wanted or cherished has turned me off and I don’t know what to do.

    • I think in your case it really comes from feeling that intimacy and love again before the sex. He’s wounded you deeply, and he still is. It’s wonderful that he’s decided to stay with the family, but he also needs to make a decision to emotionally leave the other woman. I’d say that you need to try to rebuild your friendship and find things that you enjoy doing together. Right now the tension between you is probably so high that you’re not able to relax or find anything good in the relationship. You can’t expect sex to flow from that. But if you can find things to do together–taking a walk, working out, biking, fishing, whatever–then you may start to enjoy being around each other again. I think that would be a small first step.

      And honestly, speaking to a counselor about this is probably very warranted, too! He needs to truly repent in his heart, and it doesn’t sound like that’s happened yet. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through!

    • Heavenly Father, please give this dear woman the courage she needs to see this through. We know all things are possible with You. You can save this marriage and make it something others will admire. Please speak to this man’s heart, change him from the inside and help him to see his wife through Your eyes. I pray you will give her desire for her husband once again and that their marriage bed will become a sacred place for much love and fun. Please open her husband’s eyes to the incredible gift You have given him in a loving wife and their beautiful family. In the matchless name of our Lord, Savior and Friend, amen.
      Toni Ryan recently posted…My God is Bigger Than…My Profile

    • Anonymous2 says:

      Staying in a loveless relationship is worse for your children than being divorced and showing them how to be strong and independent on your own. You deserve to find someone that loves and cherishes you and this pig you are with is destroying you, your happiness (which God wants for you) and your children’s future relationships. This is a test for you to show yourself how strong you can be and how much love you have for yourself, God’s creation. Take control of your own life. Divorce this man, and be happy with and for yourself. If he doesn’t have “Those” feelings for you by now, after sharing years, and creating beautiful children, he’s not going to work on fixing it with you. Find someone that deserves to be with you, and don’t let these women guilt you into submission and oppression.

      • Actually, Anonymous, research has shown the opposite. Staying in a violent marriage is worse on the kids; staying in an unhappy but relatively conflict free marriage is better for the kids. It’s harder on us, but better for them. Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite have done a lot of work on this, and Judith Wallerstein’s 25 year divorce study showed this absolutely.

      • kharking says:

        I can’t agree. It is a great gift to be shown how to live with someone faithfully through the ups and downs even when those are mostly downs. Sheila is right, of course, that violence is in another category here.
        My mom has stayed with my dad despite multiple mistaken people telling her to pursue her own happiness at the expense of everyone else in the family. As a result, those of us kids who are married believe strongly in being committed to our spouses through the vagaries of affection and circumstances and working on our marriages. We also have an incredibly close and, in our experience, unique bond between siblings (which now includes spouses) that transcends distance and our personality differences. We have a lot of respect for her strength and know that it would have been the weak and easy thing for her to have left. It is hard on her, especially now that all of us are out of the house and she is lonely sometimes. But she has many friends and now a growing crop of grandchildren to love. And even now if she were to divorce him, she would still lose time with us (which is unbelievably important to her) because we would then be splitting our time between my dad and her.
        Every time time I look over your comment I see a sad preoccupation with self and a very limited view of happiness and strength. My mom shows her strength and her love for her Lord by STAYING. She HAS taken control of her own life and chosen to do what she knows is right. She may have given up some types of personal happiness but it is in order to gain other kinds–the kinds that last and she knows are more important.

  3. Katie Did says:

    I think part of this increase in the male-like sexual expression of women has to do with women getting revenge on men who have treated them like sexual objects for so long. Women have gotten sick of men being “free” to see the female form every where they turn. Women have gotten sick of men sharing pictures on their phones, commenting sexually about every woman that passes by, subscribing to Playboy, etc. We’re sick of Hollywood plastering the “perfect” nude female form in just about every Rated-R and in some PG-13 movies! So, women are fighting back with stuff like this Magic Mike, getting a bit of revenge, and channeling their hurt to this crap. If he can have his fantasy world, I can have mine. All it does is mess with libidos and make REAL sex overall less satisfying until we fall even farther into the sex septic tank. Isn’t it ironic that a culture who’s so gluttonous about sex is also so REAL sex starved? In trying to find that next best thing and shunning the God-created order and allowance, we’ve actually lost the BEST fulfillment we could ask for?

    God created sex to be between a husband and a wife. And because He created it that way, we can have as much as we want within that context and never feel continually starved. All other outlets outside of God’s context lead down the destructive path of addiction…never fulfilling…always needing more and harder core….always left empty and hurting somehow.

    What’s really sad is that so much of this has come into our marriages that even the marriage bed is no longer fulfilling. We need to weed out the sin and take back our marriage beds.

  4. A friend of mine invited me to go to the movies this weekend with her and her daughter. I was all for it until I found out that they were going to see “Magic Mike”. I was astonished not only that she would go see it, but that she would take her 17 year old daughter to see it too (she is a professing Christian).

    I politely told her no thank you, and that I did not go see movies like that. She asked me why, and I simply told her that I was not going to disrespect my husband by seeing it, and it is not something that The Lord would be pleased with. It’s the same reason that I will not read “50 shades of Gray”.

    I am as vigilant as possible in making sure the kind of books I read, movies I watch, and shows I watch are not only God-honoring, but marriage-honoring as well. There are even Christian fiction/romance books that I do not read because of how the relationships are portrayed.

    The way I see it, anything that creates a desire in me for anyone or anything other than God and/or my husband is a threat to our marriage. Period. End of story.

    • Good for you for standing up for the Truth. Hopefully it at least made your friend stop and think, even if she still did see the movie. What a great choice you made!
      Megan E recently posted…Not getting lost in the crookedMy Profile

    • I’m with you! And good for you for standing up for values. I often get strange looks from my friends, even Christian friends, for how vigilant I am about what goes into my head. I know from painful, first-hand experience how damaging the slow, subtle desensitizing can be to my relationship with my husband and with God.

  5. Thanks for the warning – I hadn’t heard of this movie yet and will be sure to steer clear. I’m actually debating cutting out all movies for a time because I just find that the images and innuendos get permanently etched on my brain. My husband and I just need to find some other relaxing activities (besides sex!) to do together while our kids are asleep upstairs.

  6. Sheila – did you get my email? Visit my blog :) I wrote about 50 Shades and then I wrote a little about Magic Mike and how society tries to convince us we are just like men, who need to be visually aroused. It is so frustrating to me that society has changed our mentality. I also like your quote about how our half of the equation is to be chased and cherished. We are not meant to make the first move, pursue our husbands or fall head over heels just because their physique is fantastic. You are such a wise women Sheila and I think you for writing the TRUTH!!!
    Amanda Riley recently posted…50 Shades (Part 2).My Profile

    • I sure did, Amanda! I actually have a post with round-ups going up next Monday, and you’re in it! Thanks.

  7. I saw the commercials for this movie. Honestly, it seems like a no-brainer to me. For men to sit and watch a woman strip, aside from providing temptation, is to objectify women. We rant and rave as women about such realities. To sit and watch men strip is to objectify them, too.

    We should be learning to be attracted and aroused by our husbands, not some image on a movie or television screen.
    KS recently posted…I saw the "what ifs"My Profile

    • I know! But I think it has to do with the double standard, when when women do it it’s seen as “empowering”, not as “lusting”. I think there’s a point where people at heart know that women don’t react the way men do, so for us there’s something more going on when we go to strip clubs. For us, it’s supposed to be “awakening” our sexuality, which is seen as a powerful thing. But it’s just still very distorted and wrong.

  8. Been having concerns about the way the world views sexuality lately. Lust for the male/female form can not lead to intimacy the way God intended. Spoke about this here http://wwwunmeasuredgrace.blogspot.com/2011/11/to-love-and-to-cherish.html.
    tulip recently posted…Invitation to Accept JesusMy Profile

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this! I hate how this movie is being welcomed so openly. Not that we don’t already have a whole mountain of sleazy movies coming out all the time but this one’s whole premise is wrapped up in this immoral lifestyle. The way I see it is this: If it was a movie about female strippers I wouldn’t be comfortable with my hubs seeing it. So I am showing him respect by not seeing it myself. I’ll just have my hubs put on a private “Magic Mike” show for me at home! 😉

  10. Thank you again, Sheila, for addressing the hot button issues! Thankfully, I haven’t been invited to see this movie yet, so I haven’t had to say “no” yet. I’m not surprised when someone with no moral compass says they are going to see it. What’s sad is when I hear Christian women talking about going to see it with a group of other Christian women as if it’s no big deal. God has given me such a huge burden for the ways women are being deceived! I was telling my husband how it seems like Satan thought “Okay, I’ve got the men. Let me focus on the women now. They think they are above sexual issues. I’ll show them!”
    Melissa Titus recently posted…My must read list for 2012My Profile

  11. I guess I haven’t succumbed to this trend, because male strippers and books like 50 Shades do NOTHING for me. I find it all gross (including those so-called six pack abs)! But now my husband, ooh la la… :) It IS about love and being loved.
    LisaZ recently posted…A Reminder To Myself: About Iced Tea in the SummerMy Profile

  12. Sheila, wonderful post! I agree totally. Satan wants to destroy us and he’s finding a way in this area. Thanks so much for being so straightforward! God bless!

  13. I am so glad that I’m not the only one who feels this way about this movie! If my husband were to go out and oggle female strippers then I would feel like he was cheating on me so why would me going to watch something like that be any different? Even my husband thought it sounded like a decent movie (he didn’t watch a preview, just read a blub about a guy that was a stripper who wanted to change his life) and mentioned it to me. I told him my thoughts and he totally agreed. It is sick how easily the devil slips that immorality into everything. Kind of like being a “spiritual” person versus being a “Godly” or “Christ-centered” person. I know too many people who consider themselves spiritual but do not have the Spirit.
    Thank you so much for writing this and I ‘m praying that a ton of people read it!
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  14. Thank you so much for addressing these issues. It is really kind of devastating that even Christian women are feeling pressure to read these books and see this movie. I’m glad you another voice helping us see that the sexiest thing of all is marriage!

  15. Sheila, I appreciate your taking the time to address “hot button” issues. In this case, though, I think it could have been done without the harmful stereotypes about men and women that permeate this post. It would have been enough to say “Women watching male strippers is sinful just as men watching female strippers is sinful because in both cases people are participating in sexual activity meant only for marriage.” Enough said, end of story.

    Instead, this post is full of gender stereotypes that do more harm than good. These statements are harmful to women and insulting to men. They promote that common “Christian” myth that women are more spiritual and less sinful than men. The tone of the overall post implies that “men are just in it for the physical sensation of sex. They’d be out there screwing everything in a skirt if they had their way. Thank goodness that women are better than that and are still holding on to marriage.” Look at some of the things said:

    1) “But there’s one stubborn thing that is preventing the wholesale rejection of marriage, and that’s women’s stubborn need to see sex as something more than physical.”
    -The ONE THING that has prevented marriage from being completely destroyed in our culture is
    women? Really? There aren’t any good men out there who see sex as more than physical?

    2) “So now 30% of porn users are female. We’re being drawn to this stuff, because the arousal centres in our brains are starting to get activated by things that didn’t used to activate them before.”
    -I don’t know that this can be proven scientifically. Maybe a specific woman’s arousal would have always been activated by a male stripper. But she doesn’t know that until she sees one. Not saying she should. My point is that implying that there are no women out there who are legitimately aroused visually or who enjoy sex for the physical as much as the emotional doesn’t do anyone any good. All it does is discourage women from pursuing the physical pleasure of sex (within marriage) because “that’s not how women are made.”

    3) “Here’s my take away: this sort of thing, many moons ago, would have seemed bizarre to most women.”
    -Do you mean in American culture? Because I’m pretty sure sexual perversion in both men and women has been around since the Fall. There were plenty of male strippers/prostitutes and such in ancient Rome and other ancient cultures. I think it is a little egotistical to say that femanism and the porn industry in America are responsible for changing women’s God-designed sex drives.

    4) “But we were not created to be sexual beings in isolation, hopping from one man to the next, becoming aroused simply by the idea of having sexual power.”
    -The context and construction of this sentence imply that men are the opposite: that men are created to be sexual in isolation, hopping from one woman to the next and becoming aroused simply by the idea of sexual power. That is a truly insulting thing to say (imply).

    5) “I am not a man. I do not want to think like a man, or become aroused like a man. I love the fact that what is sexy to me is love and relationship.”
    -Again, context implies that men do not find love and relationship sexy.

    I may be (and hope I am) completely wrong about what you believe about men and women and the way
    God designed their sex drives. But this post sure does read like a lot of other “Christian” articles that imply men are just about the physical sex, and women are the holier ones who care about love and emotions. And I really don’t think that is true. Women are just as fallen as men, and both genders should be held to the same standards of sexual morality.
    Amanda recently posted…Homekeeping HappinessMy Profile

    • Amanda, I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear or if it came across that way! I do not think there is anything wrong with a man’s sex drive at all. In fact, I’ve written in the past that we are NOT more righteous than men because of our approach to sex. But we are indeed different, and I think it’s important to remember these differences. And these differences are important to preserve. Our culture is trying to get rid of those differences, and that’s dangerous.

      Men ARE more drawn to porn than women are, because they are more visually stimulated. At the same time, as I’ve written quite a lot, women are far more drawn to romance novels and erotica, which is just as harmful.

      And again, I do not think that men do not find relationships and romance sexy. It’s that their approach to sex IS different, and I think it’s important that we keep these differences. These differences are useful in a marriage, and God created them for a purpose. The differences mean that men, in general, will be more tempted by things like strippers and porn, while women, in general, will be more tempted by romantic fantasies and unrealistic expectations. It’s not that one is better; it’s that they are different. And the movie, and other things like that, are trying to erase these differences.

      I realize that this sounds like gender stereotypes, but I think if you look at the research, you will indeed find that men in general interpret sex differently than women, and that men are drawn to different things than women are. This doesn’t mean that each individual man will fall into that category, or that each individual woman will, but research has shown that in general things go in that direction. Men make love to feel loved; women need to feel loved to make love. Together, the two different approaches create a dynamic marriage. Get rid of the differences, and you’ve got a huge problem.

      I’m sorry if I didn’t make that clear!

      • Thanks for clarifying, Sheila. I apologize if I misinterpreted what you are saying. My intent wasn’t to argue for the sake of arguing. I do agree that there are God-designed differences in sex drives between the genders and that we need to fight against those trying to destroy sexual morality (not the least of which is Magic Mike!)

        My fear with the stereotyping that is prevalent in Christian circles is that often descriptions of those differences do come across as saying that women are “better” or “more spiritual” and men are “sexually-driven pigs.” When it is stated over and over that women are not designed by God to be aroused visually, it is very confusing to those women who are visually aroused. A woman who sees her husband naked and is aroused by that feels guilty and thinks something is wrong with her because “God didn’t design women that way.” A man who feels emotionally connected to his wife through sex feels guilty and think he is less of a man because “God didn’t make men that way.” I just think we need to be very careful when making broad, gender-based statements about sex.

        Again, thank you for taking the time to respond.
        Amanda recently posted…Happy 4th!My Profile

        • I do think quite a few women are aroused visually by their husbands, though not as many as the other way around. But I think that if you were to dig deeper, that arousal is also tied into how they FEEL about their husbands. For instance, I’ve seen studies that show that a woman who dislikes a certain man/Hollywood star on a personal level just can’t find him sexy, no matter what he looks like, whereas most men can. There’s some stars, for instance, that just creep me right out, even if they are good looking. I just find them gross. I think that’s quite widespread.

          So I would say it’s GREAT that a woman is aroused visually by her husband; but I’d also say that that reaction is likely largely because he IS her husband and she loves him. If he were just a guy on the street that she didn’t really know, I doubt the arousal would be as intense, you know?

          • That makes sense; I feel the same way about some celebrities. Actually, in this case it is a great thing: I’m not even remotely tempted by “Magic Mike” because one of the actors is just totally creepy to me. I have no desire to see him at all, much less naked.
            Amanda recently posted…Happy 4th!My Profile

          • I’m totally with you! You know who else I find really creepy? Brad Pitt. After he left Jennifer Aniston he wasn’t good looking to me at all anymore, even if he is a great dad or whatever else he’s doing. I also think it’s kind of creepy how he’s trying to look young when he’s not. It’s okay to be 50!

        • Sandra Houtz says:

          Great comment Amanda … after 21 years of marriage I am still very visually stimulated by seeing my hubby naked and clothed :) No need to watch a stripper movie for me :0

  16. Have you heard of the book “Adam and Eve After The Pill”? It’s from a secular, scholarly perspective, about the damage the sexual revolution has wreaked on women.

    • I have heard of that, Jana, but I haven’t read it yet. Thanks for reminding me. I put it on my Amazon wish list!

  17. Very well written. I just wrote about this yesterday because i have seen so much buzz about it with Christian women lately…
    Amy Lopez recently posted…My take on Magic Mike…My Profile

  18. Grwat comments!

    Thought I should mention that it’s ‘Channing Tatum’, not ‘Channum Tating’ though :)

  19. Miranda says:

    Thanks for posting. The past 100 years have changed our culture… and not for the better. I love that speech from “A Man Called Peter” that Catherine gives regarding the fall of the 21st century woman. I memorized the speech when I was 12 because I felt in my heart I did not want to be like my mother the “emancipated woman” with “the right to work like a man, to think like a man, to act like a man…” I believe God made me different and I refuse to let this hell-bent culture alter my mind and my heart to make me into something I am not. No magic mike or romance (porn) novels for me. I am grateful to have a Godly husband leading our family today.

  20. Hmm, glad I married a wife who likes to be chased, and does the chasing too. And she doesn’t need a movie to trigger it!
    Kliphton recently posted…The art of givingMy Profile

  21. Fabulous post! Plenty of women notice a nice-looking guy, but that used to be it–notice and move on. This lusting, ogling, commenting on what you want to do with him, etc. seems to be a function of our perverse society rethinking sexuality. It’s creepy. I won’t be seeing Magic Mike or any other movie like it.

    I’d put a twist on the Forrest Gump truism of “stupid is as stupid does” to make it “attractive is as attractive does.” I’ll stick to my hunky husband who looks better and better every day that he loves me with the love of Christ.
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Sexual Intimacy & Your Period: Tips for WivesMy Profile

  22. Sheila – This is a fantastic article, thanks so much!

    You said “But there’s one stubborn thing that is preventing the wholesale rejection of marriage, and that’s women’s stubborn need to see sex as something more than physical.” This is spot on, and it’s a major target for those who want to make the world safe for immorality.

    For decades we’ve been fed the lie that woman can “enjoy” sex the way men do – with no emotional connections. Those who try to live this end up hurt in so many ways, including unable to enjoy sex at all with anyone. The need for women to have a good relationship with their sex partner is NOT something they have “bought into” because of social pressure, it is part of how they are made by God. Denying that does not change it, and the end results are about as bad as trying to deny gravity.
    Paul H. Byerly recently posted…Socially communicable diseasesMy Profile

  23. This was a great article! One I will point my friends to when they ask me about the movie. I’m new to your website and I’m so thankful I found it. My outlook on this movie is very simple.. I wouldnt feel comfortable with my husband watching a movie about a group of female strippers so I am not going to do that to him. I would feel terrible if he thought he needed to watch a movie like that for entertainment. I personally am not turned on or amused by the sight of strange naked men. Its weird and would make me uncomfortable. So no Magic Mike for me!

    • Sandra Houtz says:

      No magic Mike for me either … I have my hubby, magic Nevin :) And after 21 years he’s still quite magical to this wife 😉

  24. I wondered if you would post on this! I didn’t even think of this movie in the context you are discussing here and what the ideas in it are doing to women today. I recently made a decision to not pursue a career option because I am ready to start a family. It was encouraging to read that my decision to want to have kids and want to be able to stay home with them is a good thing but also not something our culture readily embraces. I do think women have come a long way from being seen as second class citizens and not able to succeed in the workplace. At the same time it’s a good reminder to be on our guard against the way Satan can twist a good thing into something bad for us!
    Claire recently posted…Journey Through the HeatMy Profile

  25. Read a brilliant article on how the pill has actually caused women more harm than men. One of the things that was a “risk” for those who played around was pregnancy so a relationship had to be built first. Today, with the pill, any semblance of relationship building before sex and be totally avoided as there is such a small chance of pregnancy. Thus the thing women most want, a committed relationship, they have given away in a huge way due to the Pill.

    I totally agree with your points and find it heartbreaking that a world that craves love so badly has done just about everything to rid it of the opportunity to get it…breaks my heart….Satan knew where to hit and he has hit a home run. Thank you for standing in the gap and bringing thing to light to think about and not running away from controversy or touchy subjects. Love how you call a spade a spade :) Blessings to you!!

  26. Very well put. I have had to decline several girls night out invitations from my Christian friends. I politely point out why I don’t want to see it but maybe I ought to strongly as they still go. :(

    • Seriously? I can’t believe how many commenters have mentioned that it’s Christian women who want to go. What is happening to us? Sigh.

  27. I agree that this is a fantastic blog post — very timely and interesting. Sheila, a question for you: Let’s imagine a scene by the poolside in the summer. Handsome, virile teenage boys and gorgeous, shapely teenage girls all dressed in swimming suits are exuberantly mingling with each other. The boys respectfully bounce their eyes because they have been taught repeatedly that they are extremely visual by nature and must protective their sexuality and respect the opposite sex by not ogling them.

    Do the teenage girls get “free looks” at the teenage guys (whose abs and pecs are prominently displayed because they are not wearing shirts) with their eyegates to their heart’s content because they are supposedly not predominantly visual by nature? Do women have the same responsibility as men to control their eyes or is all of the responsibility on men? I think that this is the subtext of “Magic Mike” — women are entitled to free looks because that is, as you said, empowerment, not lusting. But if the men look at all, it is lusting.

    • Absolutely. And no, I’m not saying that it’s empowering–I’m just saying that this is how our society thinks of it. I still think it’s wrong. But I also think that, in general, boys are more prone to temptation this way. But “more” doesn’t mean that girls have none, so yes, girls should be careful, too.

      • Some think my family is “radical” or to conservative, but we subscribe to the belief that there should not be “mixed swimming” (To clarify: no mixing of male and female) or if so, then males and females need to be covered decently, Long shorts and a T-shirt work great for swimming! fact, we do not believe that Christians should be wearing swimsuits at all. Really, they are just glorified underwear, and we would not walk around outside in our “fruit of the loom” or bra and panties. God has strict standards of modesty for a reason: that is to protect males from committing adultery with another woman. There is not such thing as a modest swimsuit! When Adam and Eve sinned they made LOIN covering of leaves ~ but then God made garments of skin and clothed them (Gen 3:21). The priest were told to have linen breeches to cover their THIGHS (lest their NAKEDNESS be exposed) Exodus 28:42-43 There is way to much info in this to be covered in a short blog comment but ladies, so some word studies on modestly, you will be shocked at what you discover! Capri’s are wonderful for hot weather 😉

  28. Megan G. says:

    I just remembered you said you were going to post this today – lots of comments already! I love your take, and I’ve already shared it with some friends. I completely agree with everything you wrote – thanks for writing it!

  29. I so appreciate your perspective and this line: “But there’s one stubborn thing that is preventing the wholesale rejection of marriage, and that’s women’s stubborn need to see sex as something more than physical.” is such a key point. Thanks for sharing these facts so well and regularly. Gail
    Gail recently posted…Love Without Obedience Isn’t LoveMy Profile

  30. Thank you Jesus for giving us our very own warrior angel in disguise as Sheila Wray Gregoire. I definitely appreciate your forthrightness. Keep up the good work. As always a great article and even better the conversation it encouraged amongst the girls.
    Thankfully in love with a man of God,

  31. My heart goes out to anonymous 1 & feels the pain of her loneliness & hurt. However I couldn’t more strongly disagree w/ anonymous 2 & the advice that was given. The advice was nothing short of worldly & unbiblical. Is God delighting in this ladies unhappiness? Absolutely not! But where does it say in scripture He wants us to be happy? Where does it say that she needs to show her power & independence? What scripture does tell us is to be holy as God is holy. It tells us to have our joy be complete in Him not our circumstances. It tells us to love the unlovable. It also says He hates divorce! I hope & pray anonymous 1 that you will honor the covenant you made before God & be a light of God’s mercy & grace in this dark world. You are only here for a short time, this is not your permanent home, live & glorify the Lord. Don’t sin because your husband is sinning! You live for the Lord not him!

  32. There are a few of us women who are visually arroused though and telling us bat God didn’t make us this way makes it seem like I’m some kind of freak! I spent so much of my life trying to conform to what society said a woman was supposed to be that I was miserable and my marriage suffered greatly because I married a man who is more relational than most. With me not pursuing him there was little sex and I turned to porn a d nearly destroyed everything. Now that I’m in my 40s I embrace the fact that I am who I am and I am very visual. I’ve always been this way too since I was a you g girl. I did look at boys and thi k they were hot instead of cute . So did several of my girlfriends. One of them even turned me on to Playgirl when I was 14! Magic Mike is very tempting to me.

    I’ve ki d of thought the trend was actually helping women be who hey were created to be (sinful acts aside of course). I’m saying all this to say that so
    God made everybody different and when a young girl reads that God didn’t make her to be visual it can be extremely confusing and she may feel like a freak in her own body. I think as Christians we should focus on what is riht or wrong with a certain act (I stead of making people feel a need to be something they’re not. Scripture never ever tells us women aren’t visual and men are. I wonder why?

  33. Sorry for the typos in my previous post. I’m typing from my phone.

  34. I couldn’t agree with you more! In fact, I was horrified to hear my 17 year old niece say that she was going to see this movie with her mother (my sister in law)!! She asked if I wanted to go with them, and I proudly told her no and why. At 17, she didn’t completely understand, but perhaps a seed was planted.

    Stay away from these things. Guard your heart, ladies!!!
    Becky recently posted…USA! USA! USA!My Profile

  35. Sheila, thank you for boldly speaking the truth about this movie! It’s incredibly chilling to me how deeply entrenched sin is in so many people’s lives (as it was in mine until God thankfully dragged me out) that we so completely desensitized to it. I also think though there are a ton of CINOs out there–Christians In Name Only.

    May we be faithful to God and salt and light to them, and be praying daily for the Church and our nation:

    1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

  36. Mrs. Dave says:

    I have enjoyed your many posts and vlogs, but this one is tops so far! It is refreshing to see so many godly ladies reject this attempt of satan to ruin our marriagr and purity. Yes, even after marriage we are to remain pure in our thoughts and actions. I used to have a facebook, but got SO weary of Christian ladies excited to see movies with excessive profanity and nudity. So, fb went out the window! I am thankful I did that, because now I am sure some of these same ladies will jump on the 50SG and Magic Mike boat. Yucko! Sounds nasty and disgusting to me, personally. Hubby is all I need and desire. So many things in our society and Christian marriages need fixing, and can only be fixed by the precious, healing blood of Jesus. May he hear our cries and heal our hearts!

  37. Thanks for standing on Christian values. It is refreshing.

  38. Thank you for sharing this!! I have been hearing women raving about this (I had to Google it because i had no clue what on earth all the fuss was about…..) it will be great to have some thing to point people to so they can see what I think about it :)
    Nicole Elliott recently posted…Oh Say Can You SeeMy Profile

  39. I will not be seeing Magic Mike. My husband and I have set boundaries that we don’t break and while we don’t name specific movies, we just don’t even think about going “there.” We do NOT have a fragile marriage we have a precious marriage that we want to keep for always and ever. Basically, in a world full of sin, why on earth would we place something so precious as our marriage in a tempting situation?

    BTW…I find all of the discussions interesting. I teach a Gender Communication class and one area that comes out over and over in research is that females communicate through relationships (relational) and men through content. We are differently made by God from the way we see the world (our eyeballs are different) to the way we hear and process noise. Neither sex is better. Neither sex is right or wrong. God made us different for a whole lot of reasons. Society challenges us to be equals and while I certainly believe in equal opportunities for education, work, sexual pleasure and even staying home to care for kids (stay at home dads can be as nurturing as moms) I do not believe that I have to become more “male” or androgynous to succeed. I can succeed just the way God made me.

  40. I think maybe Christian women are going to see this movie because they’re not getting what they need in their relationships, not necessarily because society is trying to rewire women’s brains or because women are suddenly being pushed to be visually stimulated.

    The tone of your post is one I see a lot: Men have high sex drives. Women might sometimes, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

    In our marriage, I’m the one who wants to have sex all the time. My husband last initiated sex over 3 months ago. This is heartbreaking to me. Would I like to fantasize, even for a short time, about a man who seemed to desire me, to give me what I want? Sure! No, I won’t be going to see this movie. Ultimately it won’t make any difference for good in my sexual relationship with my husband. But for women out there who don’t feel loved and wanted, who don’t feel sexually pursued, a movie like this might give them just an hour or two of escape from the dreary reality of living with a man who doesn’t seem to care what they want or need.

    • Julia, I’ve actually written quite a bit about when women have the higher sex drives, too. You can read some of those posts here and here.

    • I was in the same boat of thinking as you as a result of a strong sex drive and a husband who has ED at 34!!…What’s wrong with a few hours of sexual escape mentally in order to find some scrap of sexual gratification??? Well, let me address this way of thinking personally….its playing with fire is what it is! And I personally experienced suffering from its’ fruit! Women don’t need porn when we have Harlequin books and the like! This is our porn for the most part! Gives us that “little escape” mentally, emotionally and physically. All begins with a thought…before you know it we’ve opened a door to Satan with a matching red carpet! Eventually, things like even greater dissatisfaction in our marriages are planted by comparing these great “fictional” romancing characters in our minds or books w/ our husbands…then resentment sets in, bitterness maybe even regret. We no longer seek out our men to fulfill us at all because why when we have exactly what we need sitting next to us on our nightstand?? Or in a movie played out in our minds where even better, we can be the main actress! Eventually, a wedge between the two of you has developed if not greater already than before. More thoughts are entertained, and before you know what happened your inviting an affair into your marriage! Exaggerated? Nope! This is exactly what happened to me and do you know how this began? Sexual retaliation…”well if your not going to give me sex, i’ll find it somewhere else….this isn’t an affair…certainly not sin, it’s just a book, just a thought…just a daydream”…Men and women have notoriously had this problem beginning w/ porn! How many stories have we heard regarding looking at porn ending into a full fledged affair?? How many times are we warned about guarding our thoughts? Controlling our minds? Having minds of Christ? Renewing our minds in the word?? Regardless of a husbands lack of sexual zeal or if he’s blatantly sinning such as an affair etc…does that justify ourselves to sin too? God forbid! Two wrongs don’t make a right…”(In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.…)” 1 Peter 3:1 By our conduct we are to win them over…not retaliate or become selfish in our own desires and needs. If we are to have the mind of Christ as Christians then does that include daydreaming of some prince charming and replacing him with our husbands? Is that not dabbling in having an affair in our minds or our hearts? Certainly Christ wouldn’t be daydreaming or thinking of such things. “(Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;)” 1 Peter 1:13 “(And set your minds and keep them set on what is above not on the things of the earth)” Coll 3:2 “(For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so)” Romans 8:6 “(We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ)”2 Corinth 10:5 “(Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth)” Col 3:1 “(if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind)” Eph 4:22 ,….…Regardless of what is going on in our marriage, we are reminded and warned numerously throughout the word to be responsible for our own thoughts, actions, words and what we entertain..for good reason! Fortunately, I have a God fearing husband who clung to God with everything in him during this affair and sin in my life and God honored my husbands faithfulness, his love and commitment to me and won “me” over in return. However, do not think for one moment that as a result of what began intentionally as an “innocent thought”, that myself and my family did not suffer the consequences of it. Thank God for his sweet grace and forgiveness!

  41. Sheila,

    I so appreciate your heart and your willingness to listen to God asking you to speak out against sin. I wish I would have heeded His prompting to speak up more often in my life. I am so so so grateful that you do!

    However, I must disagree with you on this. I always thought that women were more emotional about sex, men were more visual. After all, that has been taught for so long in the church. Before that, it was women being told that sex was just something to put up with for the sake of their husbands and that it wasn’t meant for us, as females, to enjoy it.

    Now, women are starting to say “You know what? God has made ME sexual, too! This just isn’t a husband thing!” and they are enjoying sex. After my husband told me once, early on in my marriage, “You know, sex isn’t for me. It is for us. It is also okay for you to enjoy it!” And you know what? That was incredible. I threw away notions that men are visual and women are not. I didn’t need porn or playgirl, because I haven’t looked at that stuff. All of a sudden, my husband taking off his shirt was extremely exciting to me. And I also find myself getting “turned on” just looking at him.

    This wasn’t because I was trying to encourage something in my brain that wasn’t there. It was throwing off false notions that sex wasn’t for women or fitting me in a box saying that just because I was a woman, I wasn’t visual.

    I think if women would hear more “you know what, ladies, you are sexual beings too!” and stop fitting us into some box telling us how we are or are not turned on, it would open us up to the Holy Spirit showing us who we truly are, sexually, and how God personally wired us.

    My intent is not to offend, Sheila, because I honestly am grateful for your voice in the matter. I just have to respectfully disagree. :-)

    • Kelly, I teach very much that women are sexual beings. Honestly! And if you read The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, you’ll see I talk a lot about passion, and about how God made us to actually crave and want sex and enjoy sex (we were created with a body part just for that, unlike men, who only have dual-purpose body parts).

      But it still remains that our passion is largely tied up in relationship, and not visual stimulation. And that’s key. Look historically, and you’ll see that women just haven’t been interested in porn or strippers in the same way that men have been, even when given the same chances or the same options. We just are made differently.

      That’s not to mean that we don’t like sex or want sex; indeed we do, and women were definitely created to be sexual beings. But being a sexual being does not mean that you crave sex outside of the context of relationship, and that’s where I think our culture is messing up here. Sex should not be a solitary thing; it should be focused on relationship. Men get the most fulfillment that way, too, but they are more tempted visually than we are. It doesn’t mean that they were made to crave sex while we weren’t; it’s just that our approaches are different. And I think those differences are important and useful (after all, God designed them that way), and trying to erase them doesn’t really do anyone any good, you know?

  42. Hi Sheila!

    I am sorry if it came across that I was accusing you of not thinking women are sexual beings. That was not my intent and I apologize for not wording it more clearly.

    I do disagree because I can see from my experience and from growing up in a household of girls that women are tempted visually. I don’t like putting people in boxes.

    Again, Sheila, I apologize for my ineptitude earlier in speaking clearly. I never intended to mean that you believe women are not sexual beings. Clearly, from your blog and the timely posts, they are. :-)

    • Oh, no, not at all, Kelly! I think this is one of those things where it’s like the general is USUALLY true, but it isn’t always true. So, for instance, IN GENERAL most men have higher sex drives than women, but in 30% of cases the woman in a marriage actually has the higher sex drive (a figure, incidentally, which is much higher than it was about 30 years ago, which is also interesting).

      So while some women may be tempted in this way, IN GENERAL it’s not as large a temptation as it is for men, and I should have clarified that more in the post!

      I’ve also seen studies, though, that show that while women may enjoy looking at a man, for her it’s still a relational experience, meaning that she will no longer find him that attractive or arousing if she has reason to dislike him personally, while men do not find the same dichotomy. So even when women are tempted visually, it still isn’t entirely a visual thing in many cases. However, because we as women can’t get inside men’s heads, we’ll never really know what the other gender experiences!

      • Frazzled Mom says:

        Shelia – I agree that for most of us passion is tied up in relationship. However, I have notice a shift in our young women. I wonder if it isn’t a chemical change taking place due to the overexposure to sexual images in our culture. Young women have been exposed to so much more of this than us –ahem– mature women. Christians are told to guard their hearts and minds for a reason! No doubt, Satan has Christian women in his sites. It pains me that so many Christian women are falling prey to this latest trick. I am so thankful for your gentle and loving guidance with the occasional “kick in the pants”. The Lord continue to bless you!

        • Yes, exactly, Frazzled Mom! I think things ARE changing, and I wonder if we’re going to see a difference in the way the next generation of women (and men) approach sex. Pornography has done a horrible number on men, but it’s really affected women, too. And it makes me sad to think of the issues everybody’s going to have to overcome in order to achieve really intimacy in marriage.

  43. Anonymous #1 says:

    Thank you, Amy, for reminding me that I too made marriage vows that need to be honored regardless of whether my husband does. Life IS short, and for the glory of Christ. I know this, and try to cling to it, yet when I feel the injustice of my situation, it’s hard to remind myself what it’s really all about – not me, but Christ.

  44. Charlotte says:

    Right on, sister! You explained it perfectly. Love your blog!

  45. I thought the same thing at first. I actually just walked in the door from seeing it. Magic Mike shows the reality of the stripping profession and how it throws your life into a downward spiral. The main character actually ended up quitting because he knew there was more to life than what he was doing.

    Yes, there was stuff that I could have done without seeing, but it was realistic.

    Also, I talked to my husband about it before I saw it and he said he didn’t mind if I saw it, so I was still being respectful to him.

  46. I needed to read this! I’ve thought about going to see magic mike (with my hubby…sounds ridiculous now!) and your article confirmed things that I knew but wanted to ignore. Thanks for making me face my own conviction!
    Ashley@marriedlane recently posted…hello there!My Profile

  47. Great post! Thanks for sharing on this topic.

    I reference your post in mine on the same subject: http://wanibug.blogspot.com/2012/07/magic-in-marriage.html
    Wani recently posted…Magic in MarriageMy Profile

  48. Jon Stevens says:

    I agree that male and female sex drives are different. I think women’s sex drive responds more to emotional stimulation. Harlequin romance novels,soap operas,and tabloids are overwhelmingly consumed by women.This is female porn.Some marriages have ended because husbands could not compete with this level of emotional stimulation.
    Now,in addition to the emotional porn,women are getting into “guy porn”. 50 shades of gray has taken emotional porn to another level. I don’t know what will come next.

  49. I’m a men’s movement (MRA/PUA/MGTOW/ETC…) guy and I have to say, wow, I didn’t know women like this still exist. Your husbands are fortunate.

  50. mike singer says:

    “But fundamentally God created women to yearn to be aroused by being chased and cherished”

    Chapter & verse references in OT/NT would be useful.


  51. Sheila:

    I want to preface my remarks here that this is not personal. Again: This is NOT a personal attack on you. Also, let’s define terms here. When I say “women”, I mean women living in English speaking North America at large. I do not mean you, your commenters, the women in your church, or the women in the churches you know. When I say “the Church”, I mean the North American Christian Church at large. I do not mean your church, the churches you are familiar with, or the people who attend said churches.

    You’re correct that culture has changed. Where you get it wrong is what got us here and why even Christian women behave as they do, and their attraction to books like 50SoG and Magic Mike.

    You argue the culture is driving women to increased sexuality. That’s incorrect.

    What has happened are a confluence of events (increased automation of housework, technological advances; cheap, safe and effective female hormonal birth control; increased female education and participation in the labor force; and liberalization of divorce laws). The Church has adopted wholesale all of these changes, except perhaps acceptance of abortion on demand. All this has led to completely unrestrained female hypergamy. Women are no longer restrained by anything. There are no social pressures on women.

    Women can do anything they want with or to anyone they want, say anything they want to anyone they want, anytime they want, and no one calls them out on it. Ever, Not even the Church. The Church fears losing its female membership so it dares not preach about female fidelity in marriage or chastity. The Church instead bashes men instead of holding women accountable.

    Women are driving culture, not the other way around.

    • Deti, culture does not have a gender. Culture is the direction that we are all being pulled. And by “culture” I do not necessarily mean individual people. Let me refer you to Ephesians 6, where it says that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. Our culture is being influenced by many forces, including dark ones, to be exactly the opposite of what God intends.

      Do women participate in this? Sure, as do men. But who cares if some women are pulled towards the culture, just as some men are? What matters is that we warn other women not to follow, and that is what I am doing here. I am a Christian woman, and I have not been part of our culture being pulled in this direction. I am trying to pull back. So please don’t say that women have done it. Some women have, and some men have, and some powers that are neither male nor female have set things in motion. It is now our job to fight against it.

  52. CoffeCrazed says:

    Ladies. I commend you who see the temptation and rebuke it. It matters not what “culture” and “society” thinks, nor what kind of pressure you think you feel. That has always been there. In a society of two, Adam and Eve, Satan represented a huge influence over society. And Eve caved. She had a predisposition to sin and the temptation was too much for her. It is not culture and society that makes this happen, it is humans own and individual nature that is the cause of sin.

    • Absolutely we all have a sinful nature and are tempted–that’s why our culture is constantly pushing us away from God’s design. And as Paul said in Ephesians, we wrestle not with flesh and blood, and our culture is part of that wrestling–it is largely influenced by dark forces.

      However, here’s my problem with the approach that says, “this is sinful, ladies, don’t do it.” I don’t think that’s very effective at reaching most women. Perhaps you think it should be. However, I think there is more going on than just a simple temptation to sin by seeing this movie. I think there is something bigger that we need to be aware of: there is a cultural (or satanic, or however you want to phrase it) attempt to completely reconfigure women’s sexuality so that it will eradicate the desire for deep connection and marriage. And this needs to be understood. If more people understood this, I think more people would be able to stand up against the temptation.

      That is why I bring it up. The people who would be open to the “don’t do it, it’s sinful” approach are already not going to go see the movie. It’s the others that I am concerned about, and it’s these women that I’m trying to address. And by giving my reasons, I also empower women who wouldn’t see it, but who have friends who want to see it, by giving them an argument and an explanation that they can then give to those friends.

      • Incidentally, I think there’s a misconception of what I mean by culture. I would see it as the equivalent of when the epistle writers talked about “the world” or Paul talked about “the flesh”. It’s those outside forces pulling us away from God. That’s all. We all participate in it, but it’s also outside of us. And we need to fight against it. But it’s not like I’m taking it out of the spiritual realm, any more than the epistle writers were by talking about “the world”, you know?

  53. Sheila,

    You wrote: “The more we dabble in things like this, the more we create problems for ourselves responding sexually within marriage. The more we turn sex into something that is purely physical , and not emotionally or spiritually intimate.”

    I disagree with your position on it’s face. Here’s why.

    1 Corinthians 7

    1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    Sex is a physical thing. According to Paul, the reason for marriage is so that we can avoid fornication. He also recommends that you not get married if you are able to control your lust and not fall into fornication. You position is that sex is something more than a physical thing, that it is in fact part of love. The scripture teaches something different in that you can show love and sex never enter into the picture. Sex is not a physical act of love but instead a physical act of lust that is only safely conducted inside the confines of marriage.

    Your attempts to redefine sex as something more lead to expectations on the part of women for an emotional intimacy that may or may not follow. Sometimes sex is just sex and not a deeply spiritual connection. Sometimes sex can lead to an intimate and spiritual connection, but it is not the connection itself. In essence you vilify men for a drive to have sex that in the confines of marriage is not a bad thing, and lift up women for wanting sex to be more than a pure physical act when in fact it is just a physical act that can only lead to a deeper connection in certain contexts. That deeper connection is not necessary for love to occur as love is a decision of action towards another person and not a feeling.

    I disagree with your premise and therefore your position in it’s entirety and don’t believe you have a scriptural backing for it.

    • Seriously? You think sex has nothing to do with love? Then what is Song of Solomon about? Why does the Scripture writer equate sex with the way that God loves us? Why is there such sexual imagery regarding how much Jesus loves the church?

      In Genesis, it literally says in Hebrews “Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived a son”. That Hebrew word “to know” is the same Hebrew word used in the Psalms when David says “search me and know me”. God is equating sex with a deep knowing, a deep intimacy, not only with lust.

      Christian writers for centuries have understood a threefold nature of sex: physical, emotional, and spiritual. It is a deep union on all three levels. Our culture has taken only the physical, and that is part of the reason our culture is as sick as it is.

      If you have never experienced true spiritual intimacy when making love, then I suggest that you are missing something very beautiful that God designed for you.

      • I see that you removed my post because you had no good reply to my points. I will consider that a silent acceptance on your part that you are knowingly going against scripture and are not willing to be reproved by it. Do not worry. I will post it on other website for them to see.

        • No, Joseph, I removed your post because you are missing the point of this blog. I have this blog to help women with marriages. I want this to be a forum where people can come for help with real problems they have in real life, from a Christian standpoint. When comments are posted that point to Scripture that I feel are a distortion of that Scripture, I don’t want to air that on this blog because it is not helpful to the people coming here. For me this is not an intellectual exercise; this is a mission. If you want to debate Scripture on a different blog, more power to you. But my mission is not to engage primarily in debate; it is to lovingly point women in the right direction. That is not what your comments were doing. You were talking about sex in a way that I do not believe that Scripture presents it, and in a way which goes directly against what my blog says. And frankly, I don’t have time to debate you. If you want to know what I think, you can read my book.

          People are free to disagree, but this is my blog, and I will only allow discussion that I think will actually be helpful to the hurting women who come here. If you disagree, feel free to write on your own blog. But ask yourself this: are you truly trying to help people who are hurting and trying to achieve intimacy, because that is not what I see in the manosphere. I see blog after blog which claims to help, but which simply wants to attack women and attack the way that the church is trying to reach out to hurting women. And that, I do not believe, is acting in love.

  54. I’m very late to this conversation, Sheila but I appreciate your taking Christian women to task for reading 50 Shades and seeing movies like Magic Mike. These things are destructive to marital intimacy and it saddens me that we are having to have these kinds of admonitions on Christian websites.

    That said, I strongly agreed with Amanda’s and Kelly’s comments. The meme that sex is more emotional for women (i.e. more pure) and more physical for men (i.e. less pure) is overblown in my opinion.

    I have long ago come to realize from my conversations with women both online and off that I seem to have (and have always seemed to have) a higher sex drive than many women but I’ve also discovered that like Kelly, I’m not some kind of freak of nature either.

    What’s more, today’s young women are being conditioned to view sex as something primarily physical and also to view men aesthetically the way women have traditionally been presented aesthetically. To think this conditioning doesn’t demand that 20 year-olds of today aren’t more visually stimulated than we were 20 years ago is naive. Well, I’ll say more than you were 20 years ago because I was very moved physically when I first saw my husband and I didn’t know a thing about him.

    And totally off topic: Can you help me out with my post today, LOL? I know you’ve graduated a homeschooler.
    Elspeth@breathinggrace recently posted…Seeking Help from Longtime HomeschoolersMy Profile

    • Hi Elspeth! Thanks for chiming in here. I do think that there is far more of an emotional component to sex for women than there is for men, and 50 Shades of Grey is a great illustration of that. Porn for women has never really taken off; but one book of erotica–where it’s mostly in your head, rather than based on images–and the sales go through the roof. So we do have fundamentally different approaches to sex, which is not to mean that we aren’t visually stimulated, or we aren’t aroused by this, it’s just that it’s different, you know? Not everyone experiences those differences in the same way, but I do think lust in women is different (though equally sinful) than it is in men. It just manifests itself differently. I’ll definitely head over to your blog!

  55. Sarah DeVries says:

    While I do agree that the more women are emotionally driven and more men are physically driven, and that despite this many men and women have sex drives that buck this trend, I would like to comment on one common thoughtthat has been emerging. Why do women tend to think that emotional motivation is somehow more “pure” or righteous than physical? God has created each of us with both physical and emotional needs, but He calls us to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh. Mind and body are both part of our flesh, and I can say from my own experience that being led – or driven – by either physical urges or emotional urges will make a fine mess. Both of these must be subordinated to the Holy Spirit. Only within the context of (godly) spiritual motivations can we rightly fulfill both our emotional and physical needs. You could say that men and women each have their own particular weaknesses, whether physical or emotional. But God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)

    • Exactly, Sarah. Neither is “better” than the other, or superior to the other. We’re simply different.

    • Actually Sarah, I don’t think that an emotional approach to sex is more pure than a physical approach at all. After all, the emotional can be sinful and the physical can be chaste.

      However, and let’s be honest here, the reality is that our culture worships at the altar of feelings, and I’ve heard a good many preachers exalt the female emotionally driven approach to sex above the male’s more physical approach to it. I’ve even read respected Christian leaders excusing wives depriving their husbands on emotional grounds. I was aghast frankly, because feelings are fickle and just because a person feels a certain way doesn’t mean they’re right.

      We know that different doesn’t equal better or worse, but we have to discuss these issues within the context of the way they are applied practically in daily life and in the larger culture. And as a general rule (despite the higher wisdom you and I possess :) ), women are trained to view the emotional connection to sex as higher than the physical.
      Elspeth@breathinggrace recently posted…Seeking Help from Longtime HomeschoolersMy Profile

      • I think that both–the emotional approach to sex and the physical approach to sex–reveal different elements of God. And so to elevate one over the other is to elevate some of God’s qualities over the other. He longs to be intimate with us, but He also is fiercely jealous of us and wants to pursue us. It’s both sides. And they’re both needed, and they both can be distorted.

  56. Celeste Austin says:

    This study has been such a blessing to read and gleen from. I have been married for seven going on eight years. In that time I have had countless women confide in me their fear and hurt in the area of sexual intimacy. It is such a blessing to have something out there written from a Christian perspective that can guide us to practical ways to walk in freedom in these important areas. Sex IS created by God and Christian men and women should have the best sex lives out there. We sure have enough false media about it from the world, any one that thinks it is not time to hear what the word of God says about it isn’t paying close attention.
    thanks Again Sheila
    You are a blessing to all of us!

  57. Hm, this is an interesting article. I fully agree that things like magic mike are detrimental to women the same way that a movie like striptease or showgirls is detrimental to men. I would simply question whether or not women were actually created to be sexually driven in a different way than men are or if society has simply had a profound effect on both men and women’s perception about their own sexuality.

    In this article you mentioned that things like this movie are “doing damage” to women’s sex lives, but I wonder if that’s not simply evidence of society constantly changing the way we think and feel. We are coming out of an era in which the woman was expected to cook, clean, stay at home, and stay faithful to her husband. If she wasn’t married she had failed. That’s not what our society looks like anymore with women’s liberation the inherent understanding that women can, in fact, do anything that men can do. Obviously I’m a man, but being a student of human nature I find it to be only natural that in a world where men and women finally see each other as equals our mindsets will begin to shift because our circumstances have changed. You see more sexually independent women and more soft, sensitive men. This is the continuing history of our race, as our perspectives change by the gaining of understanding so do we.

    I do not condone magic mike or any form of porn whether visual or emotional, however, I’m also against pigeonholing people simply because we used to be different. We were different before that and then we were different before that.

    • If you need to question whether women were created to be sexually driven in a different way than men then you don’t know much about human reproduction. If there is NO biological difference why do men exist as a separate sex? What is the need? Why not have all humans be all men or all women or all something in between?

      The mere existence of 2 sexes is proof that women are sexually driven in a different way than men.

      Culture is not destiny, but simply the canvas upon which our nature expresses itself.

  58. I agree with this post. Sex today is becoming so public and the intimacy of it is being cheapened. Married women seeing movies like this are so disrespectful to husbands. Just ad if a husband watched porn or went to watch strippers. That would be extremely disrespectful to their wives. Use common sense if you are married and you go off looking for sexual stimulation outside your marriage, your going to eventually destroy it. This goes for men and women. It’s sickening any person would do this to their spouse.

  59. I think you’ve missed the biggest issue here. Yeah society may be trying to turn women into men, but that just won’t work. But men will think they are (just like men, sexually) and here’s the problem: they will start treating them thus. For eons, the notion of chivalry and honor reflected in the idea (to men) that women are not libido-driven bodies as they are. Essentially, women were looked up to; seen as better; and this then drove their idea of honor and chivalry towards them. Why treat someone special if they are the same as you in that respect. Men are losing that attitude, and fast. Future generations of women will see a very different attitude from men, and probably one they will not like.

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] I’m linking up at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum’s Wifey Wednesday. […]

  2. […] love honor and vacuum wrote about the latest slut-walk type social phenomenon (in this case it is Magic Mike) showing how the average western woman is rapidly becoming a shameless slut and the total […]

  3. […] Gregiore used the same expression in a recent blog post: When a woman takes her shirt off at the end of the day, her husband immediately starts thinking […]

  4. […] too. And so on this blog I’ve spoken out quite a bit against porn (and against the female version of porn as […]

  5. […] second was a blog written by Sheila 111 on July 4, 2012 and entitled “Wifey Wednesday: Magic Mike, marriage and Women’s Libido.” She outlines the differences between a man and a women in terms of how they view […]

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